CWRU teams sweep opening night


Courtesy of CWRU Athletics

Second-year Jennfier Ngo spikes the ball over the net, recording eight total kills on Wednesday night.

Puneet Bansal, Sports Editor

This past Wednesday marked the fall season opener for the Case Western Reserve University sports teams. Women’s volleyball, men’s soccer and women’s soccer all played in their highly anticipated first games of the season.


Women’s Volleyball

The women’s volleyball team had seven returning players with collegiate experience and added 12 first-years to complete a 27-player roster.

When talking about the team’s approach for the upcoming season with the CWRU Athletics media team, head coach Karen Farrell said “We are not focused on who we were in 2019, but are looking to build on our camaraderie and managing adversity through our shared challenges and experiences over the past 18 months and rise up to new heights with our current talent and our laser focus on the team.”

The Spartan women faced off against Oberlin College on Wednesday evening. From the first set, CWRU looked dominant and opened up to a 10-5 lead quickly. Second-year middle blocker Jennifer Ngo was a force to be reckoned with on this opening drive, spiking the ball for two straight points on this run. One of the team’s more impressive scores included a beautiful sequence that involved almost 20 hits. First-year defensive specialist Maria Tuepker dove to the ground three times during this sequence, which ended with Ngo launching a kill for the point.

CWRU swiftly took the first and second sets 25-13 and 25-15, respectively. Oberlin made a strong showing in the third match, taking it 25-15. Ngo, first-year outside hitter Rea Marfatia and third-year setter Sara Rogers, however, were too much for Oberlin in the fourth set.

CWRU crushed Oberlin 25-8 to win the match 3-1. Marfatia led the team with 13 kills while Ngo added seven blocks and eight kills. Rogers tacked on an impressive 33 assists while Tuepker tallied 18 digs.

The women’s volleyball are slated to be back in action this weekend for the CWRU Tournament. They will be playing against Albion College on Friday, Sept. 3 and taking on Bethany College and Earlham College on Saturday, Sept. 4.


Women’s Soccer 

The women’s soccer team began their season on the road against Capital University. The squad, consisting of 17 players from the 2019 team, six second-years and eight first-years, is looking to build on their 2019 season’s success.

To reach the NCAA Division III Tournament again, the team is confident in its personnel and preparation for another run.

“This roster is chock-full of talent and depth in every area of the field with a lot of spots and playing time to be spread around,” said head coach Jen Simonetti. “We are looking forward to the first few weeks as we organize the best combinations and lineups but hope to be able to use a lot more players in each game to provide different looks/ideas as well as manage player health during the short, physical and brutal season that is college soccer.”

The first half of the match was scoreless for both teams, with several shots exchanged by both teams during the period. CWRU, however, dominated in total shots and attempted nine shots over the first period compared to only two attempts at the beginning of the match for Capital.

In the second half, past the 54-minute mark, fourth-year forward Christina Hickson received the ball from fourth-year midfielder Anika Washburn past the midfield line. Hickson managed to take the ball from the box to the goal line with two defenders closing in on either side of her. Just as the goalkeeper got in front of Hickson, she kicked the ball towards the lower left of the net, scoring CWRU’s only goal of the night and her 15th career goal.

The game ended 1-0 and CWRU emerged victorious. They also held advantages in number of shots taken (16 for CWRU and 5 for Capital) and corner kicks (9 for CWRU and 3 for Capital). Second-year goalkeeper Maggie Storti recorded her first career shutout and saved two shots.

The women’s soccer team will be in action this Saturday, Sept. 4 against Otterbein University in Westerville, Ohio.


Men’s Soccer 

With the final competition of Wednesday evening, the men’s soccer team played against Marietta College on home turf. The team, which has seven returning starters and six first-years, is aiming for a strong season from start to finish and is counting on the veteran players.

“I have really high expectations for our returning players,” said head coach Carter Poe. “Included in that group are some All-UAA performers as well as some up-and-coming guys that have phenomenal potential. What’s more, we still have some players around from the 2018 Elite 8 run. I think these guys are the players we’re looking at to set the tone for the team both on and off the field.”

The game opened with multiple shot attempts by both sides: it was clear that the Spartans and Pioneers looked to establish their offensive game early. Fortunately, the Spartans found success quite early on in the match.

At 14:28 into the first half, second-year Austin Zeleznik took a corner kick from the right side of the goal. Fourth-year forward Jacob Hall tried to head the ball into the goal but it was deflected by multiple Marietta defenders. The ball ricocheted to the left corner of the box. Second-year defender Josh Cook was the first man to ball. Just as the ball bounced, Cook used his left leg to send the ball flying towards the top right corner of the goal, netting the first goal of the season.

The CWRU offense was clearly on fire. Less than two minutes later, the Spartans took another corner kick, this time from the left side. Zeleznik sent the ball to the right side of the goal where fourth-year midfielder Henry Barnes was able to push the ball into the goal.

Neither team scored for the remainder of the match. CWRU emerged victorious with the resounding 2-0 win. Both teams were evenly matched in shots taken (12 for CWRU and 10 for Marietta) while CWRU had the advantage in corner kicks (8 for CWRU and 4 for Marietta) which played an integral role in the Spartan’s scoring.

The Spartan men will continue their three-game homestand on Saturday against Fredonia University.