Wash. U. sports brief: Up and down weekend for Bears
It was a busy weekend for Washington University’s sports teams. Men’s soccer took on a conference foe, the golf team traveled to Ohio and while fall WILD was taking place in Brookings, swimming and diving and volleyball both hosted competitions.
In a heart, the University of Rochester’s Geoffrey Rouin tracked a ball through the air, swiveled and fired a volley into the net to hand the Washington University men’s soccer team their third loss on the trot.
The game’s decisive moment came two minutes into the second overtime period, when the ball was launched over the top of the Wash. U. defense towards Rouin who was running in behind the back line. Freshman goalkeeper Bryant Hales was forced to come out of his penalty area to prevent the Rochester forward from having a one-on-one opportunity. Hales got to the ball first but could only half-clear it with his chest. This instigated a scramble, and eventually, the loose ball found its way to Rochester’s Aidan Miller, who chipped the ball to Rouin. Hales could not scramble back to his goal line in time, and Rouin’s first-time shot nestled in the far corner, giving the Yellowjackets a 1-0 victory.
In a game filled with half-chances but no clear cut scoring opportunities, neither team found a breakthrough through 90 minutes of play. The scoreless tie was largely a result of neither team being able to hit the target. In over 100 minutes of soccer, Wash. U. outshot Rochester 21-16 but neither could direct these shots on goal, with the final shots on goal totals coming to four apiece. Rouin’s double overtime chance was one of the only clear-cut opportunities of the match, and he capitalized.
The most dramatic moment of regulation came halfway through the second half, when senior goalkeeper Colin McCune was forced to leave the field after picking up an injury in a 50-50 challenge in the six-yard box. After three years on the bench McCune has been having a standout senior campaign, starting in all six of the Bears’ wins and posting a 0.71 goals against average.
After starting the season with seven matches unbeaten, Wash. U. has now lost its last three matches and has started 0-2 in conference play. Perhaps more concerning is the fact that the Bears have only found the net twice over those three losses. Wash. U. will hope to recover in their next three matches, their last three chances to play at Francis this year.
Things have not been perfect for the Washington University volleyball team so far this year, with the Bears winning just ten of their first sixteen matches. Wash. U., however, turned a similar mediocre early season last season into a run to the national final, and this weekend’s return to Francis Fieldhouse represented a perfect opportunity to start another late season surge. The Bears took advantage, with four wins in four chances.
In the first set of matches, a Friday evening doubleheader, Wash. U. hosted a pair of crosstown rivals, taking on Fontbonne University and Webster University. In both all-St. Louis matchups, the Bears were dominant, winning both matches in straight sets and never letting either opponent past 20 points in a set.
The second day featured a pair of games against out of state visitors. First came Thomas More College, and this time Wash. U. found a bit more of challenge. After seeing an early 6-4 lead in the opening set vanish, the Bears played from behind for the rest of the first frame, which they eventually lost 25-21.
With the Saints up 25-24 in the next frame and Wash. U. on the verge of two-set hole, junior Ifeoma Ufondu took the set into her own hands. First, Ufondu successfully finished off a Wash. U. attack to tie the score, and then, she gave the Bears their first set point of the match with a service ace. A Thomas More error on the next point brought the set score to 1-1.
From there, the Bears had all the momentum. The third set was a narrow 25-23 win, but Wash. U. never trailed in the frame. In the decisive fourth set, Wash. U. trailed 19-18 but ripped off a 4-0 run, giving them a three-point cushion that held out for a 25-22 victory.
The final match of the weekend against Central College was back to business as usual for the Bears, as Wash. U. won each set by a comfortable 10-point margin. All in all, the Bears only dropped a single set out of 13 that they played over the weekend. The Bears will hope to carry that momentum into their biggest test of the regular season next weekend, as they play their last four conference games before the UAA tournament, including matchups with number three Emory and number 25 Chicago.
The Wash. U. golf team finished second out of 12 teams at the Pat Clouse Invite at the Springfield Country Club in Springfield, Ohio, falling just short to hosts Wittenberg University.
Despite a one-stroke advantage through day one, the Bears couldn’t fend off the Tigers, who posted a tournament-low 303 round Sunday. They finished four high of the Tigers with a two-day score of 45-over par 621, well-ahead of third-place DePauw University at 641.
Freshman Gigi Garcia led the Red and Green with two rounds in the 70s, 72 Saturday and 77 Sunday for a Wash. U.-best 149 total. Three other Bears had a round in the 70s during the tourney: junior Chloe DiPetrillo (82-76), sophomore Emily Carnes (79-81) and sophomore Samantha Haubenstock (86-74). Senior Erin Drolet rounded out Wash. U.’s scorers with a 163 effort.
Next weekend, the Bears travel to San Destin, Fla. to wrap up their fall season with the Golfweek D3 Invite.
Swimming and Diving
While many students were enjoying fall WILD, the Wash. U. men’s swimming and diving team was racing to a victory over Division I Saint Louis University Friday in its home opening meet in the I.E. Millstone Pool. The Bears finished first in 10 of 17 events, edging the Billikens, 155-125.
The two relays provided a key 18-point advantage, with the Red and Green outscoring SLU 13-4 in both the 200-yard medley and 200-yard freestyle by placing first and third in each. Senior Ross Brown led the way as part of the winning squad in each event, while sophomore Chase Van Patten and junior Andrew Pek and freshman Justin Li helped capture the top spot in the freestyle.
The medley featured a particularly heated ending, with the quartet of Brown, junior Brandon Lum and sophomores Peyton Wilson and Simon Deshusses closing out the Saint Louis competition by just eight-hundredths of a second, 1:35.38 to 1:35.46. Another Wash. U. group, led by Pek and Li, also finished just behind at 1:35.90, settling for third place and the accompanying pair of points.
Freshman Seth Ritter was impressive in his first career home appearance, winning the 500-yard freestyle and the 1,000-yard freestyle. The latter result came by a wide margin; Ritter wrapped up the 1,000 in 9:25.43, while no Billiken finished in under 10 minutes.
Senior Ryan Nathenson also clinched 18 points by diving uncontested in the one-meter and three-meter events. Elsewhere, the Bears seized four of the top five times in the 200-yard backstroke, while Lum, the defending Division III 200-yard butterfly national champion, took care of business in his best event.
The women’s team also competed in the dual meet, winning just two events in a 193-107 loss. Senior Nicole Zanolli (200-meter freestyle) and sophomore Jenna Wilf (100-meter breaststroke) earned the first-place finishes.
Wash. U.’s next meet will also be at home, Saturday, October 28 versus DePauw.