Spartans shine in first semester

Eddie Kerekes, Sports Editor

Case Western Reserve University athletics started the fall 2016 semester on a hot streak. None of the Spartan teams lost a match in the first 10 days of competition, with some of those wins coming in a dominating fashion. Some teams, like men’s and women’s soccer, cooled off as the season wore on, while others, namely football and cross country, continued their strong play until the end. CWRU’s winter sports teams continued the trend of good season starts in November and early December.

Because this is our last publication of the semester, it’s time to look back on the best of each sport. The defining moment of each sport’s season is included, each in chronological order.

Sept. 1 – Crooks sets wins record

Women’s soccer Head Coach Tiffany Crooks sets the CWRU record for most wins in a career when her squad wins their opening match 1-0 over Oberlin College. Fourth-year forward Amy Lindberg converted a penalty kick in the second half to give the Spartans a lead they wouldn’t relinquish. Third-year goalkeeper Sarah Newcomb notched two saves to earn the clean sheet. Crooks would add five more wins, increasing her total to 82, as the team finished with a 6-8-4 record for the season.

Sept. 27 – Men’s soccer pulls huge upset

Just five minutes into extra time, second-year midfielder Josh Wargo netted a golden goal to give the Spartans the victory over then-No. 2 ranked Kenyon College in the largest upset in CWRU history. The men’s soccer team certainly had their hands full with Lords’ attack all match. However they held them scoreless for 95 minutes, thanks in large part to third-year goalkeeper Calvin Boyle’s 10 saves. It was chaos when Wargo’s goal reached the back of the net with the whole team mobbing him on the field. Sadly, the Spartans notched just one more win, finishing the season with a 5-9-4 record. However they did manage to draw then-No. 1 University of Chicago 0-0 on Senior Night.

Oct. 12 – Volleyball prevails in tight Senior Night game

At the match where all of the seniors were honored, fourth-year outside hitter Marian Barton had one of the best matches of her career. She had a team-high 21 kills, and the Spartans needed every single one of them. They prevailed against Hiram College in five sets, with four of them decided by just two points. This was not unusual territory for the volleyball team this season, as they won eight out of the 10 matches that went the full five sets. Overall, the team went 21-10, their second straight season with at least 20 wins.

Nov. 5 – Football comes from behind, wins ninth straight victory

Winning eight straight games was hard enough for the Spartans, snagging their ninth straight victory proved to be their toughest task of the season. After being shut out in the first half, CWRU rallied from a 19-point deficit to defeat Westminster College. Third-year quarterback Rob Cuda led the game-winning drive, which ended with third-year running back Jacob Burke plunging into the end zone from one yard out. The defense stopped a possible Titans comeback by recovering a fumble with under a minute to play. Unfortunately the Spartans were upset in their final game by archrival Carnegie Mellon University, ruining their perfect season and playoff hopes.

Nov. 12 – Kulpins finishes 20th in region

Capping off her best year as a Spartan, third-year runner Danielle Kulpins finished in 20th at the Great Lakes Region Championship race. Crossing the finish line when the clock read 22:28.5, Kulpins earned all-region honors for the first time in her career. The women’s cross-country team finished 11th in the region, which consists of 31 teams. Just two weeks prior, Kulpins had the second-best time of her career at the University Athletic Association (UAA) championship meet, finishing with a time of 22:16.87. The team finished sixth in the conference.

Nov. 18 – Men’s basketball wins at the buzzer

With just 13 seconds left in the game, the Spartans trailed by just a point and were inbounding from under their own basket. First-year forward Daniel Chambers received the inbounds pass and launched a shot that missed the mark. Third-year forward Eric Black pushed himself into a good position, jumped and tipped the ball into the basket to win the game. It was the first win for new men’s basketball head coach Todd McGuinness, though so far it has been his only one. The team looks to change that on Dec. 9 when they take on Lynchburg College.

Nov. 19 – Merriman earns All-American status

Third-year student Sam Merriman is officially the 21st fastest man in all of Division III. The lead men’s cross country runner earned All-America selection with a time of 24:43.5 at the NCAA Championships meet, a new personal best. It finished one of the best cross country seasons in Spartan history. Earlier in the year, he finished third at the UAA Championships, won the All-Ohio Division III Championship and finished seventh in the Great Lakes region. He led a CWRU team that was seventh-best in their conference and sixth-best in their region.

Nov. 27 – Hellmann goes off for 31

Talk about having the hot hand. Second-year forward Hillary Hellmann exploded for a career-high 31 points during the Spartans’ 95-87 victory over John Carroll University. Hellmann finished the game 10-of-17 from the floor, including a blistering six-of-nine on three-point attempts. She also added six rebounds and three blocks. The women’s basketball team has gotten off to an equally hot start this season, winning six of their first eight games and are currently riding a four-game winning streak. CWRU is averaging an insane 79.9 points per game. Hellman leads the team with 21.8 points per game, with third-year forward Kara Hageman not far behind her, averaging 21 points per game. They play Kenyon College next on Dec. 9.

Dec. 3 – Collier goes 4-2 for wrestling squad

At the Rochester Institute of Technology Invitational, first-year wrestler Isaac Collier won four of his six bouts bouts in the 149 pound weight class. After losing his first bout, he won four in a row, including one by technical fall, before finally losing his second bout. Collier is 8-6 so far this season. In their first team scoring match of the season, the Spartans finished in 12th place with 17.5 points. Second-year student Gavin Dersh-Fisher also has had a solid season so far, wrestling in the 184-pound class. The team returns to competition on Jan. 7 at the Waynesburg Invitational.

Dec. 3  – Swimming Sweeps at Wooster

For the second consecutive season, both the CWRU men’s and women’s swimming and diving teams finished in first place at the Wooster Invitational. For the men, it was the seventh straight season they have won the meet. Impressive performances came from fourth-year student David Merriman, first-year student Mason Beck, first-year student Elizabeth Ye and third-year student Brooke Hortness. Merriman won the 1,650-yard freestyle and notched a NCAA Division III “B” cut time. Beck won the 200-yard breaststroke while Ye finished second in the same event. Hortness was the second-best diver at the meet. The teams host a tri-meet on Jan. 21 against Ohio Northern University and Hillsdale College.