Weekly sports recap and lineup: Nov. 14 – Nov. 20


BY GRANT RIGGS
Staff Writer

At a glance

Tuesday, Nov. 15

Men’s Basketball: 7 p.m. at University of Illinois, State Farm Center in Champaign, IL.

Friday, Nov. 18

Women’s Wrestling: All day at the Missouri Valley College Open Tournament in Marshall, MO.

Women’s Hockey: 5:30 p.m. vs. Grand Valley State at the Georgetown Ice Center in Hudsonville, MI.

Women’s Volleyball: 5:30 p.m. vs. University of Missouri-St. Louis at EastSide Centre in Peoria, IL. (GLVC Conference Tournament)

Women’s Swimming & Diving: 6 p.m. at the University of Chicago Invitational

Division 3 Men’s Hockey: 10 p.m. at Northern Illinois University

Saturday, Nov. 19

Women’s Swimming & Diving: 10 a.m. at the University of Chicago Invitational

Women’s Basketball: 1 p.m. at home vs. Lindenwood University

Women’s Hockey: 1:30 p.m. at Grand Valley State, Georgetown Ice Center in Hudsonville, MI.

*Women’s Volleyball: 5:30 p.m. vs. winner of Rockhurst University vs. University of Indianapolis at EastSide Centre in Peoria, IL. (GLVC Conference Tournament)

Men’s Basketball: 7 p.m. at home vs. Crowley’s Ridge College

Division 3 Men’s Hockey: 8:15 p.m. at Northern Illinois University

Men’s Wrestling: 9 a.m. at Lindenwood University

Sunday, Nov. 20

Women’s Swimming & Diving: 10 a.m. at the University of Chicago Invitational

*Women’s Volleyball: 12 p.m. GLVC Conference Championship vs. TBD at EastSide Centre in Peoria, IL.

* = Must win prior day’s game to play in this match.

Recap of previous week Nov. 7 – Nov. 13

Women’s Soccer

After a success-filled season, the McKendree women’s soccer team, the GLVC champions, made history by recording the program’s first ever NCAA Division 2 tournament win, 3-1 over Davis & Elkins College on Friday, Nov. 11. However, their season came to an end just two days later on Nov. 13 when they lost 1-0 to conference foe Truman State in the second round. Despite getting knocked out of the postseason earlier than imagined, the Women’s soccer team had a historic run and will likely be back next year as they will return 7 of 11 starters, including top goal scorer forward Sydnee Carroll.

Football

The McKendree football team easily had their most impressive performance of the season with a 48-14 win over Truman State. Heading into Saturday’s game, Truman State was undefeated in conference play and was ranked fifth in the Midwest region (the top 7 qualify for the playoffs at the end of the season). Riding a four-game winning streak, McKendree had their best performance of the season, as their talent on offense, defense and even special teams showed through. Despite not being able to make the playoffs after three early season losses, McKendree was able to knock Truman State out of the top seven and out of the playoffs. Another positive for the Bearcats is the amount of starters they will return for next season. On offense, McKendree will bring back all but two of its main starters (Sean Dowling and Clint Ratermann will be graduating). On the defensive side, McKendree returns 7 of 11 starters, but will lose linemen Lucky Baar, Tyler House, linebacker A.J. Wentland and defensive back Jabaree Winston to graduation. While losing all four players will hurt, especially Baar and Wentland, McKendree certainly has the talent to replace them and make another run at the playoffs next season.

Junior running back Preston Thompson looks for running room vs. Truman State this past Saturday. Thompson led the charge offensively with 131 rushing yards and a touchdown. Photo credit: Scott Stokes
Junior running back Preston Thompson looks for running room vs. Truman State this past Saturday. Thompson led the charge offensively with 131 rushing yards and a touchdown. Photo credit: Scott Stokes

Men’s Basketball

The men’s basketball team had a huge 97-57 win over Robert Morris-Springfield. Despite playing against bad competition in Robert Morris, there were many positive takeaways from this win. First, junior guard Justin Blanks built off of his success in the SIUE game by pouring in 27 points in 22 minutes off the bench on an efficient 8 of 13 field goal attempts. Look for Blanks to cement himself as the second starting guard to go along with redshirt sophomore Nate Michael. McKendree also looked much better at the foul line this past Saturday, as they made 27 of 32 free throws. This is a significant improvement from the SIUE game, where McKendree was just 23 of 47 on free throw attempts

This week’s insights

Men’s Basketball

While it is just an exhibition game, McKendree’s next test against the University of Illinois could give a pretty accurate description of what to expect from the Bearcats come conference time. For example, Illinois beat fellow GLVC team Lewis University last week by a margin of 44 points. This game against a major Division 1, Big Ten opponent will be a huge test for McKendree, as Illinois will be far better than any team McKendree will face all year long. One player to keep an eye on will be redshirt freshman center Nolan Gerling. Gerling dominated against SIUE (32 points, 14 rebounds) and had another good game against Robert Morris-Springfield (14 points, 8 rebounds). If Gerling can find at least some success and hold his own against Illinois’ big front line of centers Maverick Morgan (6’11”) and Mike Thorne (6’11”) and forward Michael Finke (6’10”), then McKendree may be on the brink of something special in conference play, where there are only 6 players that are listed at 6’10” or taller in the entire 16-team GLVC conference.

Women’s Volleyball

The Women’s Volleyball team enters the GLVC Conference Tournament this Friday riding a hot streak of seven straight wins and will first take on the University of Missouri-St. Louis, who McKendree swept 3-0 on Oct. 29. McKendree, who is the second seed out of the GLVC east division, will look to avenge last year’s semifinal loss to the University of Indianapolis. However, the Bearcats will have a tough road to win the GLVC tournament and make the NCAA National Tournament, as they will likely face both the 21st ranked team in the nation in Rockhurst University and the 15th ranked team in the country in Lewis University.