SXU sports summary

Golfers continue strong play

  As the golf season wound down, St. Xavier University kept rising up to issue stern challenges.
  In a couple of recent outings, the Cougars captured one tournament championship and finished third another time. They matched that latter finish last Tuesday, as they were No. 3 in the team standings at the William Woods University Fall Invitational in Fulton, Mo.
  Spearheaded by senior James Kerr’s fifth-place individual effort, SXU shot a two-day total of 593 (301-292) at Tanglewood Golf Course. Kerr carded rounds of 71 and 74 for an overall 145 score, while senior Kirby Brown backed him with a 148, which was built off 18-hole totals of 79 and 69.

  Also scoring for the Cougars were junior Kyle Bahnick (149; 73-76) and senior Brendan Ryan (151; 78-73). Freshman Mark Kluk (156; 79-77), sophomore Zach Trent (167; 87-80) and freshman Robert Lively (178; 97-81) competed on SXU’s behalf as well.
  The host school, which split off into green and white squads, occupied the top two positions.
  The late-season surge was culminated by a second-place showing by the Cougars at last Thursday’s Troll Classic, hosted by Trinity Christian College at Calumet Country Club in Homewood.
  Kerr’s round of 74 led SXU and was good enough to land him in the fifth position among individual golfers. Brown tied for sixth after firing a 75, Ryan was one stroke behind Brown and tied for the eighth spot overall, and Bahnick carded a 77, which put him in a tie for 11th.
  SXU’s team score of 302 was bested only by Chicago State University, which shot a cumulative 298. The host Trolls were fifth (317), while fellow CCAC members University of St. Francis (308) and Olivet Nazarene (314) sat between Trinity and the Cougars.
  The event, which was delayed several times by thunderstorms, was SXU’s final one of the fall schedule. The Cougars begin the spring portion of their 2013-14 campaign in March.
  Freshman Taylor Thompson compiled a two-day score of 156 (81-75) to wind up sixth among individual golfers in the women’s event at the Williams Woods University Fall Invitational.
  Freshman Courtney Dudgeon fired 81s on both days to finish with a 162 and place eighth, while freshman Katie Reno was nine strokes behind her. Reno carded an 86 on Monday and lowered her score by one shot the next day. SXU did not record a team score because it did not have the requisite four participants to do so.
  Also taking part in the match were golfers from Columbia College (Mo.), Central Methodist University and Missouri Valley College.
  No doubt buoyed by her strong showing at the William Woods University event, Thompson culminated the fall portion of her freshman golf campaign by posting the lowest overall score at last weekend’s University of St. Francis Fall Invitational.
  Thompson shot a round of 79 on Friday to lead the field, then followed up with a 78 on Saturday. The tourney win was the first at the collegiate level for Thompson, who was the lone competitor to break 80 on either day.
  Reno was SXU’s only other participant, as two Cougars were idled by illness. Reno tied for fourth place among individuals with a two-day total of 166 (85-81).
  SXU resumes play in March.
  Junior Leslie Rosario timed out in 19 minutes, 39.94 seconds, giving her the 43rd finishing position in a 204-runner field in the non-NCAA Division I side of the Blue Division at last Saturday’s Greater Louisville XC Classic, which was held at E.P. Sawyer Park.
  SXU wound up 19th among 25 teams in that same division.
  Freshman Nicole Watkins was the second Cougar to complete the 5K race, doing so in 20:19.99, which landed her in the 81st spot. Hitting the chute after Watkins and completing SXU’s scoring were junior Ali Proffitt (115th in 20:53.17), senior Jordan Wallace (117th, 20:59.15) and sophomore Ann Kolker (126th, 21:21.94).
  The Cougars take part in the Bethel College Invitational on Friday at St. Patrick Park in South Bend, Ind.
  As his squad gears up for Saturday’s NAIA Pre-National Invitational at Rim Rock Farm in Lawrence, Kan., Cougars coach Ed McAllister expressed optimism about some signs of progress he saw in SXU’s previous race.
  The Cougars were sixth in a 35-team field at the Brissman-Lundeen Invitational, which was hosted by Augustana College at Saukie Golf Course in Rock Island on Sept. 27. Senior Brian Corcoran was SXU’s top individual as he was 14th among 491 runners after covering the 8K course in 25:38.
  The Cougars’ other four scorers formed a pack that was separated by just 38 seconds. Comprising that quartet were senior Brian Meyer (32nd in 26:13), sophomore Eric Hancock (41st, 26:21), senior Chris Sarna (64th, 26:34) and senior Chris Shellenberger (79th, 26:51).
  “I felt that it was a satisfactory meet,” McAllister said. “While we did not run quite the times that we had hoped, there were some very solid signs that this team is just about ready to achieve their peak performances in the near future.
  “Corcoran ran solidly, and I was very happy with the performance of Brian Meyer. He is quite the competitor. Finally, Eric Hancock ran his best race of the year thus far.
  “Overall, the team ran a strong second half of the race, which I had felt was one of our weaknesses in the past. I feel that our next couple of races will show exactly how much the team has improved.”
  Sophomore forward Marco Gutierrez enjoyed a career night for the Cougars, as he scored all of the team’s goals in a 4-3 Chicagoland Collegiate Athletic Conference victory over Judson University last Wednesday at Bruce R. Deaton Field.
  Gutierrez booted in the last three of his goals over an 11-minute stretch of the second half, which enabled SXU to expunge a 2-1 deficit. His scoring spree began in the 71st minute off a rebound and continued with tallies on a pair of short-range shots in the 79th and 82nd minutes.
  Gutierrez’s productive evening started in the 27th minute, when he headed a shot past the Eagles’ keeper. A throw-in by senior defender Dale Judickas (Stagg) had gotten the scoring play underway. Gutierrez’s marker offset one by Judson forward Michael Berrequin 20 minutes earlier, a goal set up by midfielder Tim Worzala.
  Sophomore forward Walter Lopez accounted for the visitors’ second goal by blasting a shot into the Cougars’ net from 45 yards away early in the second half, then midfielder Santiago Munoz completed Judson’s scoring in the 87th minute.
  SXU senior keeper Kyle Held made five saves, a total equaled by his counterpart in the Eagles’ net. The Cougars took 15 shots in all.
  The Cougars’ feast-or-famine attack continued in the former mode on Saturday night, and their three-goal output ably backed Held’s standout performance in the nets as SXU blanked Purdue University Calumet 3-0 at Munster High School in Munster, Ind.
  Judickas, freshman midfielder Kamil Szczesniak and junior midfielder Brandon Simoes all put shots past the Peregrines’ keeper, Judickas doing so in the sixth minute to hand the Cougars (3-6, 3-1) a lead they would not give up.
  Szczesniak tallied less than eight minutes into the second half, while Simoes finished off SXU’s scoring in the 82nd minute after receiving a pass from Gutierrez.
  Held stopped two PUC shots en route to registering his second whitewash of the season.
  The Cougars, who have won three of their last four outings, opened a three-match home stand this past Tuesday against fellow CCAC member Trinity International University.
  A spirited comeback try by the Cougars fell one goal short and, as a result, they suffered a 4-3 loss to No. 14-ranked Judson last Tuesday night at Deaton Field.
  SXU trailed 4-1 with less than 35 minutes remaining in the match when junior Marissa Graves and freshman midfielder Christina Sperando (Mother McAuley) stepped forward. Graves used a Sperando assist to tally in the 78th minute, then the two women switched roles as Graves set up Sperano for a goal in the 86th minute.
  Only four minutes were left, however, following Sperano’s success and the Cougars were unable to produce the equalizer. Junior midfielder Cassie Pullia notched SXU’s initial goal in the 55th minute, off an assist from senior defender Rachel Wojtysiak (Stagg).
  By that time, though, the Cougars were already chasing a three-goal deficit, as the Eagles knocked in shots in the ninth, 31st and 49th minutes. Forward Jenna Steffensen delivered the last two of those markers, while forward Angela Bianchi registered the first.
  Bianchi also scored what proved to be the match-winner on a breakaway less than a minute after Pullia had gotten SXU on the board. Midfielder Hannah Condit had one assist for Judson.
  Cougars freshman keeper Alex Perry turned aside seven other Eagles shots during the match.
  The female Cougars didn’t enjoy the same degree of success as their male counterparts at Munster, where Purdue Calumet bagged a 1-0 win on Saturday by limiting SXU four shots on goal.
  The start of the match was delayed for more than two hours by inclement weather and didn’t get underway until after 7 p.m. That backed up the men’s match until 9:15.
  Perry was nearly equal to the task for the Cougars (3-6-1, 1-3), but one of the Peregrines’ five shots on goal slipped past her and provided the hosts’ margin of victory. Freshman forward Kami Graber supplied Purdue Calumet’s marker in the 26th minute, off an assist from junior midfielder Caytin Lewin.
  SXU hosted Trinity International this past Wednesday in the first of three straight home matches at Deaton Field.
  Despite having three players who put down at least 12 kills, the Cougars couldn’t get past Roosevelt University in a CCAC match last Tuesday at the Shannon Center.
  The Lakers prevailed in five sets, 19-25, 15-25, 26-24, 27-25, 15-9. Roosevelt fought back from a 17-11 deficit in Game 3 and carried that momentum with it the rest of the way.
  Junior middle hitter Marie Hackert had 14 kills and four assisted blocks to pace SXU, while junior outside hitter Jessica Galotta (Mother McAuley) and sophomore middle blocker Heidi Gregerson supplied 13 and 12 kills, respectively. The former also had 16 digs, while Gregerson had a hand in six blocks, four of which were solo efforts.
  Other notable contributors for the Cougars were junior setter Kelli Shaffer (career-best 39 assists and 21 digs), sophomore outside hitter Cassidy Sponsler (nine kills) and junior libero Dominique Aramburu (team-high 27 digs). The Lakers’ key performer was junior outside hitter Valerie Cutrone, who finished with 20 kills and 19 digs.
  A Friday split was what the Cougars settled for on Day 1 of the two-day CCAC Crossover Tournament at Olivet Nazarene’s McHie Arena.
  Things started well for SXU, which rode 11-kill efforts from Hackert and Gregerson to a 25-19, 25-14, 29-27 win over Purdue University Calumet. Also chipping to the victory were Falsey (nine kills), Shaffer (33 assists, eight digs) and Aramburu (match-best 10 digs).
  The positive momentum couldn’t be carried into the second match, however, as the host Tigers notched a 25-15, 25-19, 25-17 triumph. Erratic hitting beset the Cougars, as they totaled as many attacking errors (26) as kills.
  Hackert again put down 11 kills to pace SXU, while Gregerson supplied six. Aramburu (12 digs), Shaffer (22 assists) and Sponsler (three service aces) were other Cougars notables.
  Another split was in store for the Cougars on Saturday, where they beat Purdue-North Central (25-9, 25-16, 25-18) in the morning before coming up short against Trinity Christian College (25-14, 25-12, 25-17) in the day’s second match.
  Hackert, Falsey and Sponsler all had nine kills to lead SXU (9-9, 4-4) past PNC, while Gregerson delivered eight, plus a pair of blocks. Galotta chipped in five kills and a team-best nine digs for the Cougars, and Shaffer totaled 34 assists, three kills and five digs.
  Gregerson was SXU’s ringleader in its loss to Trinity, as she put down six kills. Hackert and Falsey each supplied five, Shaffer dished out 18 assists and had seven digs, and Aramburu paced the defensive effort with 11 digs.
  The Cougars, who returned to the court this past Tuesday at Judson University, committed 22 attack errors versus the Trolls while totaling 26 kills.
  Kicker Spencer Nolen was on everyone’s radar when it came to receiving awards.
  Not only was he feted as the World Hyundai Athlete of the Month at SXU, but both Beyond Sports Network and Mid-States Football Association also honored Nolen. BSN recognized Nolen as the NAIA National Place-kicker of the Week and the MSFA named him as its Special Teams Player of the Week after Nolen tied a Cougars record with five field goal in SXU’s 37-25 win over the University of St. Francis on Sept. 28.
  Nolen converted kicks from 46, 43, 39, 32 and 30 yards, and also made two extra points.
  Honored as well by both BSN and the MSFA was linebacker Dave Marciano, who was selected as the National Punt Returner of the Week and Defensive Player of the Week, respectively.
  The St. Rita grad established a school standard with his 81-yard punt return for a touchdown, and augmented that play with five solo tackles and two assists while playing his primary position. In addition, Marciano ran a blocked conversion kick back to the USF end zone for a safety.


SXU Thompson WWU actionSubmitted photo: St. Xavier University freshman golfer Taylor Thompson took sixth overall at last week’s William Woods University Fall Invitational in Fulton, Mo. Thompson shot a two-day score of 156 for the Cougars at Tanglewood Golf Course.