Whitman news since 1896

Whitman Wire

Vol. CLIV, Issue 10
Whitman news since 1896

Whitman Wire

Whitman news since 1896

Whitman Wire

Fall athletics wrap up season

Whitman VS Whitworth. Photo Credit: David Jacobson

With ice and snow covering the ground, it is clear that fall in Walla Walla has ended. For many athletes on campus, this also marks the end of their sport’s competitive season. Men’s and women’s cross country, golf, soccer, tennis and women’s volleyball have recently wrapped up their fall seasons, received recognition for their achievements and began to reflect upon the accomplishments of these past few months.

Under the guidance of new head coach Scott Shields, the cross country team took fifth in the Northwest Conference this season. Shields coached women’s soccer for 16 seasons, and switched just this past year.  For the women, major highlights included sending senior Kristin Ballinger to Division III Nationals for a third time in her college career. Ballinger and sophomore Emilie Gilbert also earned all-region honors. Although men’s top runner, sophomore Cory Rand, was hindered by an injury, the men felt they too had a successful season.

“We were very consistent and peaked at the right time,” said senior captain John Callow.

With promising young runners, including freshman Spencer Corwin and Rand for the men, and sophomores Emily Gilbert and Lori Mendelsohn for the women, the team looks forward to building on their successes next fall.

Photo Credit: David Jacobson

Men’s soccer earned themselves second place in the Northwest Conference for the second time in three years under head coach Mike Washington, who was named the Northwest Conference Coach of the Year. The men ended on a definitively strong note, with seven victories and one tie in the last eight games in their season. Their final conference record was 9-3-2, with two particularly noteworthy wins against rival Whitworth, whom they hadn’t beaten for ten years prior.

Senior captains Cooper Crosby and Connor Bottomly were named two of the twelve players on the All-Northwest Conference First Team. Junior Sam Freedman got onto the Second Team, while junior Brian Percival and sophomore Leland Matthaeus received honorable mentions.

Photo Credit: David Jacobson

Women’s soccer was defined by its transition to new playing strategies and styles.

“This season was a big learning experience for women’s soccer with a new coach [Heather Cato] and a new playing style,” said junior Libby Watkins.

Additionally, nearly half the team were new players. Despite these challenges, the women found their footing this season and worked hard to develop an effective team dynamic on the field. Their final conference record of 4-10-2, the same as that of the last two years, landed them seventh in the Northwest Conference.

“Even though the results don’t reflect it, I really believe we made tremendous improvements in our game,” said sophomore Erin Flannery.

Flannery, who was named to the All-Northwest Conference Second Team, was among three sophomores who earned all-conference honors for their excellent performances throughout the season. The other two, Julianne Masser and Marisa Poorboy, received honorable mentions.

“We’re all really committed to working hard this off-season because we have high hopes for next season,” said Watkins.

Erin Flannery '13 battles a defender during Whitman's 3-2 loss vs Linfield. Photo Credit: David Jacobson

The similarly young women’s volleyball team ended their conference season with a record of 5-11, which earned them seventh place in the Northwest Conference, tied with Willamette. They were one game away from a fourth place tie between Linfield, Lewis & Clark and George Fox University. With a slow start of 0-6, the women ramped up their game mid-season to win five of their next eight matches.

First-year outside hitter Jillian Davis earned the honor of being the first Whitman player ever to be named NCAA Division III West Region Freshman of the Year. Davis was also the only freshman put on this year’s All-West Regional First Team. She finished her season with a total of 378 kills.

Sophomore middle blocker Courtney Brewer received an honorable mention, finishing her season with the second-highest number of total blocks (86) in the conference. Like the women’s soccer team, the women look forward to building upon their recent improvements next fall.

Photo Credit: Pioneer Archive

The men’s golf team finished in fifth place in the Northwest Conference this fall. First-year Andrew Welch individually took fifth and senior Brian Barton seventh at the Northwest Conference Fall Classic.

The women’s team tied with Puget Sound for fourth in the Northwest Conference. First-year Katie Zijacek took fifth individually at the Northwest Conference Fall Classic. Both teams look forward to the spring’s longer main season.

Photo Credit: Brandon Fennell

Like golf, the primary competitive season for tennis is in the spring. However, their short fall season was filled with achievements for both men and women. First-year men’s tennis player Andrew La Cava earned himself a spot at Division III Nationals–both individually and as part of a doubles team with partner sophomore Conor Holton-Burke.

The women also sent their top doubles pair, sophomore Alyssa Roberg and senior Elise Otto, to Nationals. This was Otto’s second trip to Nationals.

“Women’s tennis had an outstanding fall season this year.  The entire team is embracing the challenge of continuing to improve after a great spring last year,” said head coach John Hein.

The end of the fall season comes after a variety of challenges and victories. These teams model the spirit which drives Whitman athletics to constantly strive for improvements and enjoy playing the sport they love.

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