Trolls benefit from untangled Web
Memo to the other women’s soccer teams in the Chicagoland Collegiate Athletic Conference: Feel free to try to stop Trinity Christian College’s Rachael Webb one of these days. Your squad would be the first to shut her down.
Webb, more and more, is the linchpin in the Trolls’ big season. Despite being closely marked — opponents are trying, after all — she scored twice last week and had three assists in Trinity’s victories over the University of St. Francis and St. Xavier University.
Webb had a goal and two assists in a 5-2 victory at USF, then added one of each in Saturday’s 3-0 whitewash of the Cougars at Schaaf Field. Her gaudy totals through 14 matches are 12 goals and six assists for 30 points.
Even better, Trinity’s glittery record was 10-2-2 entering this past Wednesday’s match at Cardinal Stritch, the first of four CCAC encounters that will conclude the regular-season schedule.
With defenses collapsing on her, Webb is finding open teammates when she isn’t getting an open shot. That was the case in her feeding Abby McDonald for the Trolls’ second goal late in the first half against SXU.
With four minutes left, Webb then took Kayla Diemer’s pass and scored the final marker, the capper to Senior Day festivities.
The story was similar in the week’s first match, when Trinity overwhelmed USF. Webb gave the Trolls a 1-0 lead before four minutes had elapsed, fed Diemer for the second goal in the 16th minute and — after Diemer had poured in two more goals for a hat trick, the third one coming on a nifty rebound — set up Katie Linehan for the final score of the match.
Keeper Becky Gold (8-2-2) picked up her fifth shutout of the season against the Fighting Saints, while netminder Liz Shutte scored her second victory in as many starts versus the Cougars.
• Record: 10-2-2 overall, 5-1-1 CCAC, 6-1-1 home, 4-1-1 away, 0-0 neutral. Leaders: Rachael Webb 12 goals, 6 assists, 30 points; Becky Gold, 0.92 goals-against average, .863 save percentage (69 saves, 11 goals against, 5 shutouts).
• Schedule: Saturday, at Holy Cross College, 11 a.m. CT; Wednesday, at Cardinal Stritch University, 7 p.m.; Nov. 2, vs. Judson University, noon.
A quiet week for the Trolls is one in which they play only one match, and that week finally arrived.
They won it with a three-set sweep of Olivet Nazarene University, 25-23, 25-16, 25-13. The victory kept Trinity unbeaten (12-0) in CCAC play and advanced its overall record to 27-6.
More important was the chance to rest. The match against Olivet was followed by a week without one, and while there was practice, there was also the opportunity for players to take a breath before this past Tuesday’s match against Calumet College of St. Joseph.
The volleyball season began Aug. 20, and this was the first time since the end of September that there were as many as six days between matches. Now, the schedule ramps up again.
The last conference crossover weekend is Friday and Saturday, when the Trolls will play Judson University, Cardinal Stritch and Illinois Institute of Technology at Purdue-North Central. Two more conference matches take place next week, with another week off before the regular-season final against the University of St. Francis.
But that’s the prelude to the CCAC playoffs, which could see Trinity playing three matches in as many locales in five days.
The Trolls beat Olivet with their time-tested formula of a strong frontal attack — Kaitlin Feddema, Kaitlyn VanDellen and Jessica Wiltjer had 10 kills each from the team total of 41 — and keeping plays alive. The top diggers were Lauren Macaldo (nine) and Feddema (eight).
Only in the first set did the Tigers threaten, leading 14-10 before Trinity tied the set and then took the lead at 22-20. The second and third sets were routs.
• Record: 27-6 overall, 12-0 CCAC, 7-0 home, 7-1 away, 13-5 neutral. Leaders: Kaitlin Feddema 329 kills; Erynn Schuh 41 aces; Ellie Raebel 399 digs; Jessica Wiltjer 119 blocks.
• Schedule: Friday-Saturday, CCAC crossover at Purdue-North Central; Tuesday, at Purdue University Calumet, 7 p.m.; Oct. 31, vs. Indiana University-South Bend, 7 p.m.; Nov. 7, vs. University of St. Francis, 7 p.m.
It’s never easy for the Trolls.
That was proven again last week, when the momentum of a come-from-behind, sudden-death victory over St. Francis was doused a few days later by a stinging defeat to St. Xavier.
The 2-1 road win over the Fighting Saints required overtime. USF had opened the scoring on Christian Ontiveros’ goal via a 20-yard free kick in the 10th minute, but Trinity fought back after the intermission. Joey Bahena’s 7-yard rip from the right wing beat Adam Elshalakany at 46:13 to tie the match.
The score remained 1-1 through the rest of the second half and 15 minutes of overtime. But at 15:09, with the Trolls flooding the box, Noe Quirate headed a shot past Elshalakany for the victory. That goal, Quirate’s first of the season on Trinity’s 15th shot of the match, made the difference.
What the Trolls couldn’t do was carry the excitement over to Saturday’s showdown with the Cougars at Schaaf Field.
SXU tallied first, on Brandon Simoes’ boot at 32:11. Quirate notched his second goal in as many matches to knot the score at 43:20, but from that point forward, it was the Cougars getting better chances, even though the Trolls outshot their guests 12-9.
Simoes completed his hat trick with a pair of second-half goals, the last with 2:34 left.
Gabe Fennema, in the nets for both matches, is the favored goalkeeper now, and his stats are almost equal to those of Rick Fawkes, the starter in the early going. Fennema improved his goals-against average to 1.74, and has a .698 save percentage.
• Record: 5-8-1 overall, 2-5 CCAC, 3-4 home, 2-4-1 away, 0-0 neutral. Leaders: Mauricio Salgado 4 goals, 10 points; Emmanuel Yanquaye, Richie Carillo 3 assists each; Rick Fawkes 1.71 goals-against average, .769 save percentage; (20 saves, 6 goals against, 1 shutout).
• Schedule: Saturday, at Holy Cross College, 2:30 p.m.; Wednesday, at Cardinal Stritch University, 5 p.m.; Nov. 2, vs. Judson University, 2:30 p.m.
This Saturday’s Great Lakes Invitational in Grand Rapids, Mich., is the last regular-season meet for the Trolls. A fortnight later comes the CCAC Championship, hosted by Calumet College of St. Joseph in Valparaiso, Ind., and a week after that, on Nov. 16, is the National Christian College Athletic Association national meet in Ohio.
Andy Reidsma and Anna Bos are expected to lead the Trinity qualifiers for that latter engagement, and they may have a shot at qualifying for the NAIA Championship on Nov. 23 as well.
Joe Hehir (Lemont) and Trey Johnson (Manteno) have completed the recruiting puzzle for men’s coach Brandon Nicol. Hehir was a key cog in the Indians’ 48-7 record the last two seasons, while Johnson shot 58.5 percent from the floor and pulled down nine rebounds a game at Manteno. The season begins Nov. 1, when the Trolls host Indiana-Kokomo. ... Trinity’s women’s team also begins Nov. 1 with a road game at Indiana-Northwest. A pair of JV games precede the opener, including a Tuesday visit by Moraine Valley College.