Ready, set, go: Washington University teams prepare for first weekend of postseason play
Thursday: Home vs. Wisconsin-Whitewater, 6 p.m.
Sunday (if W): Away @ No. 6 Ohio Wesleyan, time TBD
No. 14 Women’s Soccer:
Saturday: Home vs. Thomas More, 5 p.m.
Sunday (if W): Home vs. winner of Ohio Wesleyan vs. UW-Oshkosh, 5 p.m.
No. 2 Volleyball:
Friday: Home vs. Webster, 8 p.m.
Saturday (if W): Home vs. winner of No. 15 Chicago vs. No. 21 Wisconsin-Whitewater, 6 p.m.
Sunday (if W): Home, Regional Championship Match, 4 p.m.
No. 2 Women’s Cross-Country and No. 3 Men’s Cross-Country:
Saturday: NCAA Midwest Regional @ Augustana College, 11 a.m.
With the regular season successes of the Washington University volleyball, cross country and men’s and women’s soccer teams, a postseason berth was essentially a foregone conclusion for all four teams.
But the volleyball team and both soccer teams received additional good news on Monday, when the postseason brackets were released and all three found out that they would be hosting opening-round matches in the postseason.
Here’s a quick look at each of those three teams—along with the cross country teams, which will travel to Rock Island, Ill., for the NCAA Midwest Regional—and their looming postseason opponents.
Ending the regular season with a 14-3-1 record and a share of the University Athletic Association title, the Bears will open up postseason play against the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater Thursday evening at Francis Field. Whitewater, which finished the season as the Wisconsin Intercollegiate Athletics Conference champion with an 11-7-1 record, will be facing the Bears for the first time in history. Wash. U. is making its second consecutive tournament appearance and 20th overall, and it is seeking its first postseason win since 2007 when it reached the NCAA quarterfinals. The Bears are looking to improve their postseason track record after a heartbreaking loss in last season’s second round, in which they lost in penalty kicks to Loras College.
If the Bears win, they will travel to Delaware, Ohio, to face No. 6 Ohio Wesleyan University on Sunday. While Wash. U. has not played OWU since 1990, the Bears are 5-2 all-time against the Bishops.
The women’s team was rewarded for its 15-4 regular season campaign with a shot at home-field advantage in each of the first two rounds of the playoffs. The Bears have won at least one postseason game each year since 2006, and will be looking to continue that streak by beating Thomas More College in the opening round on Saturday. Thomas More comes in as the Presidents’ Athletic Conference champions, sporting a 12-4-1 record. The Saints will also be facing Wash. U. for the first time ever.Last season the Bears advanced to the second round before being eliminated by Otterbein University, but they are only two years removed from a run to the national title game.
The Bears would host the winner between Ohio Wesleyan University (12-4-4) and the University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh (12-6-3) if they advance to the second round. Wash. U. is 2-0 all time against OWU and 1-0 against Whitewater.
With a 32-1 record and the 2011 UAA championship to its name, the volleyball team will begin its 25th straight postseason appearance in the Washington University Field House. The Bears are very familiar with their opening-round opponent: cross-town rival Webster, which has never beaten Wash. U. in 19 tries (including a 3-0 Bears win on Oct. 26).
The Bears’ opponent in the second round would be either UAA rival No. 15 Chicago (the first team to beat Wash. U. in a set in 2011, during a 3-1 Bears win on Oct. 15) or No. 21 Wisconsin-Whitewater (whom the Bears defeated 3-0 on Sept. 10). Among the potential Regional Championship match opponents is No. 9 Carthage College, whom the Bears have faced and swept four times since the 2009 season, including a 3-0 win on Sept. 9 of this season.
With the cross country teams having another strong year, as both the men’s and women’s squads are in the top five of the US Track and Field and Cross Country Coaches’ Association (USTFCCCA) Poll, both have high aspirations heading into the regional meet on Saturday morning. The men’s team enters the race as the Midwest region’s No. 2 team, behind only defending regional champion and USTFCCCA No. 1 overall North Central College. The team will look to improve on its fourth-place regional finish in 2010, and will be facing some of the country’s best in North Central, No. 5 Wheaton, and No. 8 Wisconsin-Oshkosh.
The women’s team, which trails only Williams College in the overall national rankings, enters the weekend as the Midwest’s No. 1 team. The team will be looking to take the Midwest regional title from No. 7 overall Wisconsin-Eau Claire, which won the regional title in 2010.