Fall sports in full swing

Article by Jalen Perry

Perry039@rangers.uwp.edu

VOLLEYBALL

The women’s volleyball team is back after what many would consider a down year. Coach Paciero said that the team was in a bit of a re-building stage. The team finished with a positive win record of 15-13, and an 8-10 record in the competitive GLVC East. The team returns team MVP sophomore Jackie Langer, junior Rebecca Roembke, the team’s Most Improved Player, sophomore Lexi Turek, and junior Lauren Hickson. The team is currently off to a solid 7-4 start, with wins coming against conference foe Mizzou University S&T, and a recent sweep of then undefeated Michigan Tech University. The squad’s next home game will be November second, as they clash with conference nemesis – University of Indianapolis at seven p.m.

CROSS COUNTRY

Two of the best teams here at UW-Parkside have always been both the women’s and men’s cross country. The teams are consistently ranked in either the top ten or twenty in the country. In fact, both teams are currently ranked in the top ten in the latest regional polls (men ranked third, women eighth). The men finished third of six teams in their first meet of the year (Flyers/Flames Invitational) and first at their second (UW-Parkside Midwest Open). The women finished fourth out of five teams during their meet at the Flyers/Flames invitational, and second of thirteen during their meet here at the UW-Parkside Midwest Open. The team’s next meet is in Minneapolis at the Roy Griak Invitational on September 26th.

SOCCER

The men and women’s soccer clubs have kicked off their season and they are both looking to continue their success from this past season. The men’s has begun the 2015-16 campaign with a 3-3 record, having notched shutout victories against fellow GLVC teams University of Indy, Truman State, and Saint Joseph’s College (Ind.). The team returns key players senior Antonio Gonzalez, junior Ben Kosmider, senior Elliott Schultz, and junior Ryan Shogren. Coach Jason Zitzke is now in his fifth season as head coach and is reaching nearly twenty years on the Rangers’ staff (17), and currently has 173 wins as the head man over the Parkside men’s soccer club. The men’s next home game will be on September 25th versus University of Mizzou-St. Louis at 3:30 p.m. All eyes will be on the women’s soccer team, who tied a season overall record with 18 wins, going undefeated in the regular season, sweeping through the GLVC tournament and making it all the way to the Sweet Sixteen in the NCAA tournament. The Rangers lost valuable players to graduation, names such as GLVC Defensive Player of the Year and First Team All-GLVC member Karley Mecko, First Team All-GLVC member Niekie Pellens, First Team All-GLVC member Mallory Geurts, and GLVC Freshman of the Year Bailey Reed to transfer. But the team returns key players in Second Team All-GLVC Selection, junior Jillian Hetfleisch, sophomore Jenna Brzeski, junior Taylor Schiffer-Jander, and senior Kelly Trojak. The team also lost long-time head coach Troy Fabiano, who took his school record for wins by a soccer coach (222) to UWM. He is succeeded by Coach Brittany Nikolic, who played at Stanford University for three seasons and comes with very high coaching credentials, including turning around a down and out Alverno team into a strong DIII program and leaving as the all-time leader in wins. The team is currently 2-3-1 and already own a road win against rival University of Indianapolis. Their next home game is on September 25th against University of Mizzou-St. Louis at 1:15 p.m.

Ranger women’s perfect season comes to a close, fall 1-0 in Sweet Sixteen

On Nov. 21 the number three ranked Ranger women’s soccer team, riding high on a perfect season, fell to eleventh ranked Grand Valley State University early in overtime, 1-0. It was a valiant effort on the end of the Ranger women, who could have given up at least six goals, but fought to keep them from the back of the net.

The game opened up unusually for the Ranger women, with the team being more on the defensive for the majority of the first half. Grand Valley St. controlled much of the tempo, but that didn’t stop the Rangers from attacking whenever possible. Neither team was superior, but the Lakers seemed to have the edge early and often. Senior Midfielder Kelsey Armour took the best shot of the game for the Rangers with twenty seven minutes left in the first, kicking the ball out of the reach of the keeper, but slightly above the post. Later in the first, Grand Valley was threatening deep in the box, keeper Mallory Geurts got slightly out of position and a Laker put a good shot on goal, but Defender of the Year, Senior Karley Mecko came up big, deflecting it out of bounds, keeping the score knotted at zero going into the half.

The second half started out much like the first, with the Lakers attacking early throughout, and the Rangers attacking on any opportunities that presented themselves. The game got very physical, with a lot of pushing and shoulder blocks for both sides (a GVSU player was carded with twenty four minutes left). GVSU got deep into the box on a few occasions, but First Team Member Goalie Mallory Geurts kept them in front of her; the game went into overtime still tied at zero.

The overtime period went back and forth for what seemed like a few moments; that was until the game ended on a header off of a corner kick by a GVSU player, propelling Grand Valley State into the Elite Eight, and leaving the Ranger Women defeated.

The Rangers were undefeated throughout the season, collecting the regular season and conference titles on route to a sweet sixteen appearance. The team landed six players on All-GLVC Teams, and three individual awards (Karley Mecko was Defensive Player of the Year, Bailey Reed was Freshman of the Year, and Troy Fabiano was Coach of the Year). The game was also the finale for four great Ranger careers, Kelsey Armour, Karley Mecko, Ashley Meyer and Emily Konior. In their four years, the Rangers made it to the NCAA tournament four straight times, appeared in two sweet sixteen games, and put up an astonishing record of 32-2-6 at Wood Road Field.

We at The Ranger News want to once again congratulate the UW-Parkside Women’s Soccer Team on a banner season, and on being not only one of the most dominant teams this year, but consistently achieving excellence year in and year out. You are our champions, ladies.

Article by Jalen Perry