Cougars golfers place second in season-opener
Led by the consistent play of seniors Kirby Brown and Brendan Ryan (Shepard), St. Xavier University’s men’s golf team opened its 2013-14 season with a second-place finish in the two-day Calumet College of St. Joseph Fall Preview.
Brown shot rounds of 77 and 75 last Monday and Tuesday, respectively, at White Hawk Country Club in Crown Point, Ind., and tied for the runner-up spot in a 43-man field with his 152 score. Ryan carded 78s on both days, and his 156 total secured for him the No. 8 position overall.
Junior Kyle Bahnick fired a first-day 76 and finished at 160 for the Cougars, while sophomore Zack Trent (85-82) was at 167. Bahnick wound up 12th among individual golfers.
SXU’s cumulative score of 635 put it ahead of everyone but the AIB College of Business (610) in a seven-team field. The University of St. Francis was third at 640.
The Cougars’ next outing is on Saturday, when they take part in Mount Mercy University’s Cropper Golf Classic. The two-day event will be held at Hunters Ridge Golf Course in Marion, Iowa.
The Cougars were unable to break into the win column last Tuesday, as host Ashford University posted a 25-13, 25-14, 25-13 triumph at Kehl Arena in Clinton, Iowa.
Junior middle hitter Marie Hackert supplied SXU (0-3) with seven kills and two assisted blocks, but the Cougars struggled offensively as they put down just 16 kills overall while committing 26 attack errors.
Sophomore right-side hitter Meghan Falsey chipped in three kills and five digs for SXU, while junior setter Kelli Shaffer registered 13 assists and seven digs. Also contributing was junior defensive specialist Dominique Aramburu (Mother McAuley), who paced the Cougars with nine digs.
Following a setback against the University of St. Francis (Ind.) in Friday’s opening match of the two-day SXU/Trinity Christian Crossover Classic, the Cougars finally bagged their first victory of the season when they upended Huntington University at the Shannon Center.
SXU’s 25-15, 25-27, 25-21, 25-19 triumph later on Friday was made possible by yeoman efforts from Hackert and Shaffer. The former paced the Cougars with 14 kills and also had two solo blocks, while Shaffer registered 29 assists, 15 digs, seven kills and six service aces.
Heard from as well were Falsey (eight kills), sophomore middle blocker Heidi Gregerson (eight kills) and sophomore libero Lauren Young (15 digs).
Gregerson made her SXU debut versus USF an impressive one as she registered a match-best 12 kills. Unfortunately for the Cougars (1-4), that wasn’t enough to prevent a 25-21, 25-23, 25-20 loss to their namesakes from Fort Wayne, Ind.
Hackert pitched in eight kills and a solo block, Shaffer distributed 27 assists and Aramburu totaled a match-high nine digs.
After their somewhat sluggish start to the season, the Cougars completed their appearance in the SXU/Trinity Christian Crossover Classic by sweeping to a pair of triumphs on Saturday.
Downed in succession were Spring Arbor (Mich.) University and Judson University by respective scores of 25-22, 25-17, 25-19 and 22-25, 25-12, 25-17, 25-13. Aramburu led the way for the Cougars with a two-match total of 32 digs and six aces.
Five of Aramburu’s aces and 12 of her digs came at Spring Arbor’s expense. Young matched her teammate’s work at the service line, while Hackert (nine kills) and Gregerson (six kills, two solo blocks) were strong along the net. Shaffer distributed a team-high 20 assists to further aid the winning cause.
Three SXU players posted a double-digit number of kills against Judson, with Hackert’s 13 topping the list. Gregerson added 12, Falsey put down 11, and Gregerson and Hackert combined to make 12 total blocks, which included six solo efforts.
Aramburu and Young had 20 and 19 digs, respectively, and the latter also served three aces. Shaffer was solid as well as she provided a career-high 38 assists, eight kills and 14 digs.
With seven matches already in the books, the Cougars are enjoying a little down time. They don’t return to the court until Tuesday, when they visit Illinois Institute of Technology for a Chicagoland Collegiate Athletic Conference match.
A goal by sophomore forward Lexi Cozzi in the 87th minute of regulation forced extra periods, and from there the deadlock remained in place as the Cougars fought Bethel (Ind.) College to a 1-1 tie in their season-opening match last Wednesday.
The Pilots notched their goal at Bruce R. Deaton Field 17 minutes before Cozzi’s, using a shot by freshman forward Lauren Kindinger for the payoff. Junior midfielder Meagen McPherson notched the assist.
Other than that play, freshman keeper Alex Perry was equal to the task for SXU as she was credited with six saves in her collegiate debut. Junior midfielder Danielle Inzinga (Marist), meanwhile, earned an assist on Cozzi’s tally.
The Cougars unloaded a total of 16 shots on Bethel, with junior midfielder Cassie Pullia accounting for three of them, including two on goal. Inzinga also placed two shots on target in the first overtime, but she was unable to slip either of them past Pilots netminder Mallory Conrad.
Perry was even better in her next assignment, as she pitched a shutout at Westminster (Utah) College on Saturday afternoon and laid the groundwork for a 1-0 SXU victory. The whitewash was registered behind nine saves from Perry.
Junior Morgan Graves collected the Cougars’ lone goal in the 49th minute following a free kick by junior midfielder Monica Chavolla. Scoring opportunities were scarce for SXU, which put only one other shot on goal and took only five shots overall.
The start of the match was delayed nearly two hours by thunderstorms.
The Cougars couldn’t overcome a similar lack of chances on Labor Day and, as a result, got tagged with their first loss. MidAmerica Nazarene (Kan.) University doled out a 2-0 defeat at Deaton Field.
SXU took just seven shots, compared to 22 for the Pioneers, and was at a 17-3 deficit in regard to shots on goal. Chavolla, Inzinga and freshman Mariana Hoerr were the only Cougars who tested MidAmerica Nazarene’s keeper.
Perry kept the Cougars close by registering a baker’s dozen worth of saves. Junior forward Ellaisa Marquis beat her with a shot from 15 yards deep in the 17th minute and senior defender Kara Quinn added an insurance marker for the Pioneers by converting a header 10 minutes into the second half. Providing the respective assists were Kara Collins and Kelli Reid.
SXU begins a three-match road stretch Saturday in Winona Lake, Ind., where it faces off with Grace College.
The Cougars were unable to break into the win column in their home opener on Saturday night, as visiting University of Northwestern Ohio blanked them 4-0. The loss was SXU’s third straight to begin the 2013 campaign.
The Cougars were limited to just three shots in the match, although both junior forward Lorenzo Savino and junior midfielder Tom Lojek (Stagg) put theirs on goal. SXU netminder AJ Pfatschbacher made three saves.
The Racers, who unloaded a total of 10 shots, tallied twice in each half. Sophomore midfielder Jure Spiller supplied both of the first-half markers on free kicks within nine minutes of one another, freshman forward Peguy Ngatcha scored in the 65th minute on a rebound shot and Ryan Cotton completed the assault with his penalty-kick goal in the 76th minute.
The Cougars resumed play this past Wednesday at Aquinas College in Grand Rapids, Mich.
Both the men and women saw Saturday’s scheduled season-opening event, the UIC Home Opener at Horsetail Slough in Palos Park, washed out by inclement weather.
The Cougars will participate in the Midwest Classic on Friday at Aspen Ridge Golf Course in Bourbonnais.