Gearing up for fall sports

Olivet senior Jessica Jones fights for control of the ball against Hasting College’s (Neb.) Esmeralda Lacayho in a 1-1 tie on Sept. 5. The game was a rematch of Olivet’s first round loss at NAIA Nationals last year. Photo by Morgan McCririe

By Jenny White

The fall athletic season is in full swing, as teams show promise on the courts and fields.

Women’s soccer
The National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) ranked the women’s soccer team No. 4 during preseason. The most difficult part of this year was finding replacements for the graduated seniors, according to Head Coach Bill Bahr as he recruited 10 freshman for this year’s team.

Noted team members this year include freshmen starting midfielder Katie Smith and forward Karlee Jo Silver. Other key players include returning senior midfielder Janel Schmitt and captains Katrina Holm and Katie Dirkse.

The Lady Tigers are ranked No. 19 by the NAIA. Currently they are 4-1-1, with wins against Cornerstone University (Mich.), Roberts Wesleyan University (N.Y.), Southern Nazarene (Okla.) and Travecca Nazarene (Tenn.).

Men’s soccer
The men’s soccer team is currently 0-5-1. At the start of the season they played the No. 1 ranked Hastings College, which resulted in a loss of 1-0. The men’s team this year is young, with only one senior and the starting lineup consisting mostly of freshmen and sophomores. However, the coaching staff has high hopes for the team.

The noted players are returning midfielder Patrick Hoep, forward Brandon Simoes, and defender John Rosenbaum, head coach Justin Crew said.

“Our team is very young, but we are coming together gradually and starting to learn how to play together. I think our whole team is improving. By the time we get to conference we should have a good shot of winning and going to the national tournament,” freshman Todd Bevan said.

Cross Country
The men’s and women’s cross country teams opened the season with two wins at the Midwest Classic on Sept. 9, held at Aspen Ridge Golf Course in Bourbonnais.

The women were ranked No. 7 in the NAIA preseason poll after coming off an appearance at the NAIA national meet and winning the CCAC meet last year. Both the men’s and women’s teams are balanced in terms of  age and experience.

Women’s volleyball is currently at 6-3. Their biggest win came after defeating the No. 1 team and rival St. Xavier University.
“We have great team chemistry this year,” said head coach Brenda Williams. “The returning players went on a mission trip over the summer that brought them close together.”

Williams mentioned that the team worked well together during spring training, and as a result, believes the players will be prepared for the regular season.

In addition to their win against St. Xavier, the volleyball team defeated No. 15 ranked school Northwestern College (Iowa) as well as No. 20 ranked school Dordt College in their first three games.

Men’s Golf
The men’s golf team opened at Calumet St. Joseph (Ind.) on Sept. 7, placing sixth out of 13 teams. The team this year is composed mostly of younger players, with six freshmen on the ten-member team. Upperclassmen on the team include senior Matthew Krajec, and juniors Kyle Huber and Aaron Miles.

The next meet for the men’s golf team will be held at the University of St. Francis on Sept. 13.

Women’ Golf
The women’s golf team won its first tournament title on Friday, Sept. 2, at the Robert Morris University Fall Classic against 12 other teams, led by freshman Ashley Miller who finished second individually. Players said the win gave them the extra confidence they needed to start the year.

“We’re really excited for our season this year,” said returning sophomore Nora Durkin. “We have some talented new recruits that have brought a lot to the table, and good leadership to get us started off strong.”

The golf team finished third at the Knox College Invite in Galesburg on Sept 9.

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