Posts Tagged ‘women’s soccer’

It’s never been better to be a Wash. U. fan

Saturday, November 21st, 2009

With the women’s volleyball team capturing their tenth national title in program history and the fifth team national title in the past five years, it has never been better to be a Washington University sports fan.

Men’s cross country took seventh and women’s cross country took tenth at nationals. Women’s soccer advanced to the Final Four for the second time in school history.

When I stepped foot on the Danforth Campus, I had no idea that I would write for sports. I also had no idea I would go on numerous road trips to document the roller coaster of emotions caused by sports. In August of 2007, Wash. U had eight volleyball titles and four women’s basketball titles. Since then, the men’s basketball team captured two titles, men’s tennis picked up another and volleyball has come through with two. Add to that top ten finishes in a multitude of sports and Alex Beyer’s individual national title and Wash. U. is in a sports renaissance.

The sports section has reflected this with a core group of four reporters in the 2007-2008 school year, six reporters in the 2008-2009 school year and nine in the 2009-2010 school year.

Technology has also progressed with the Sports Information Department providing live streams of home games. Both the sports section (@studlifesports) and Wash. U. sports info run Twitter accounts while numerous schools have live stats available making it easier than ever to keep up with the progress of any team.

All that’s missing is the fan numbers. Community members, who had been at Wash. U. during the 1991-1996 Division III National Championship reign of the volleyball and the 1998-2001 Division III National Championship era of women’s basketball, recalled numerous occasions when the Field House was packed.

If you are a Wash. U. student or community member, come out and support the teams. They really appreciate the support and that’s what makes being a sports reporter very rewarding.

Who knows how far teams will go this year?

You can also follow the examples of three exceptional sets of fans. First of all, the parents of athletes are known to follow their children all over the country. A parent on the men’s soccer team runs a blog and a Twitter account that has helped keep Student Life up to date.

Another great group of fans are the men and women of the cross country and track and field teams who made the trip to Cleveland, Ohio despite not competing.

Finally, the men’s soccer team and other students traveled to Rockford, Ill. to support the women’s soccer team in the Elite Eight.  The group called the Conlon Crazies painted themselves in green and red while leading numerous spirited cheers.

Don’t knock Division III especially when your school boasts one of the most well rounded programs out there.

On another note, if anyone is travelling to San Antonio for the Women’s Final Four, my e-mail is [email protected]  The sports section wants to go. Do you?

Playing sports for good

Monday, October 12th, 2009

St. Louis’ temperature took a turn for the worse with daily lows dropping into the upper 30s.  Cold wins kept most fans in their warm dorms on Sunday afternoon.

Hopefully, people will cheer on the men’s team on Tuesday night as they look to rebound from only their second loss this season. The game is a fundraiser for the Sunbeam Foundation which is dedicated towards research on rare childhood bone cancers. A Wash. U. soccer alum started the organization after his sister died due to Ewing’s Sarcoma.

As a reporter, I enjoy seeing athletes interacting with young fans and talking to them about their sports. I’m happy that various groups can use sports to help others in monetary terms or in kind. It’s really nice to see young kids having the time of their lives as they get inspired by my peers. This upcoming Saturday, members of the Olin Sports Marketing Organization will be helping out with a Football Youth Day. Last week, I covered a volleyball tournament hosted by Chi Omega that raised funds for the Make a Wish Foundation.

It’s efforts like these and others that show why sports are so important right now. The lessons learned on the field transcend those in the classroom. While playing sports, one learns sportsmanship, control, and focus.  People can also see the effect of hard work on their performance.

I’d call this past weekend a split for Wash. U. Athletics. Volleyball swept through their tournament as expected for the No. 5 program in the nation and women’s soccer beat Carnegie Mellon 1-0. The women’s soccer game was the only one I saw and from what I could see, they’ve got some very good communication on the field though there’s always room for improvement.

Football played a pretty competitive game with No. 11 Wabash thanks in large part to the defense.  When you’re up against the top offensive unit by points and you can hold them to 17 points into the end of the game, that’s pretty promising. We just need more offense and there were some big plays at Wabash so I’m sure we’ll see something against Wooster.

Men’s soccer fell 2-0 to No. 14 Carnegie Mellon but they adjusted and shut the Tartans down in the second half. Swimming and cross country are really challenging themselves by competing with Division I athletes which is great to see. This should prepare them for UAAs, Regionals and maybe even Nationals.

Here’s wishing to the success of all these charitable endeavors and for some wins this week.

Tuesday’s Tales

Tuesday, September 1st, 2009

Tuesdays are weird days to start a season. It’s a school night so many students are in their dorms finishing up homework. But three teams saw action tonight and I was able to catch various parts of their matches. These are my observations and opinions.

Women’s soccer- I started off the evening looking forward to an intense match against Illinois Wesleyan. I wasn’t disappointed as the Titans kept the ball on the Wash. U. side for the first 25 minutes. Despite that, the Bears came back and pressured the Titans. Wash. U. had an advantage of 8-4 in corner kicks.

Offensively, Wash. U. knows what to do. They just need to finish as there were several moments when a goal could have been scored. The Bears kept fighting and didn’t give up at the end.

Defensively, all the parts were there. But one lapse erases the previous shutout effort. Look to senior back Libby Held for some long range free kicks on goal. One shot from 50 yards out hit the top of the crossbar. One inch lower and it would have been a goal.  The defense also kept the pressure up so Illinois Wesleyan  didn’t have many quality shots on goal.

Volleyball- I missed the first match against Harris Stowe but I saw all of the Greenville match. There’s still some jitters to work out but the team looks good. Sophomores Kristen Thomas and Erin Kasson have really strong kills. Senior Vicki Blood seems comfortable at setter and the team in general is not giving up till the final whistle.

My first impressions of freshman Kelly Pang at libero are great. She’s everywhere, possesses great court awareness and I look forward to seeing what she and the freshmen class bring to the program.

Men’s Soccer- I caught the last ten minutes of regulation and both overtimes. Wash. U. fans voiced their outrage and felt robbed.

There was one moment in regulation where it appeared as if Wash. U. had scored to have the call overturned due to the head official failing to notice a protest by one of the linesmen.

This happened again in overtime on a beautiful play. From where I sat in the stands, it was impossible to tell if it was offsides but Wash. U.’s offense kept Illinois Wesleyan on their toes. John Smelcer did an amazing job in goal with a career tying high of 10 saves. Zach Hendrickson also has a great bicycle throw-in that sent fans to their feet. I also enjoyed seeing the WUSTL FC fans decked out in body paint and showing their pride.

Full stories will be in Friday’s issues. Again, please note these are my observations and opinions. Feel free to argue or agree. If you are visiting the site from outside the St. Louis area, take advantage of the streaming videos of various home games at bearsports.wustl.edu.

From the Sidelines

Thursday, August 27th, 2009

With another school year, comes several new seasons. The action starts September 1st with Women’s and Men’s Soccer against Illinois Wesleyan while Volleyball takes on Harris-Stowe State University and Greenville College.

The Sports section continues experimenting with ways to provide the best coverage of Wash. U. athletics. We’re on Twitter @studlifesports.  We’re also figuring out the best way to use this blog.

One idea was to attend practices, share our observations and make our own predictions.

In the past week, I’ve seen small portions of the volleyball and women’s soccer practice. There’s a palpable air of excitement. Here are my observations:

Women’s soccer- The team looks to be in shape. Despite less than 10 days of practice, the team already has a team chemistry. The squad is taking things one at a time. Illinois Wesleyan will be a good test considering the penalty shootout in last year’s Regionals.

Volleyball- The Bears may have graduated three All-Americans but they look ready. Practice was spirited with an energy that’s tough to describe in words. It seems that the team has also developed the team mentality but only game time will tell. The big question is Who will emerge as the right-side attacker?

We would love to hear from you. Email the senior sports editor at [email protected] with your comments and concerns.

Johann