Monthly Archives: November 2011

First-round playoff predictions

Hey ’Cats. The regular season is now officially over, and with the Northwest Conference championship sewed up, we can start talking playoffs as a reality.

The NCAA’s selection show on Nov. 13 revealed that No. five Linfield will host a rematch against a revamped No. eight California Lutheran University team that hasn’t lost since the season-opening game at Maxwell Field.

Cal Lutheran has been a vastly different team since the ’Cats won a low-scoring affair on Sept. 10.

The Kingsmen have scored more than 52 points in their last six contests, including a 70-20 pasting of Occidental College on Nov. 12.

Their defense only allows 16.2 points and 292.2 yards of total offense per game, and has taken the ball away 18 times for a +6 turnover margin so far.

However, take these statistics with a grain of salt: only three of Cal Lu’s eight victories this season have come against teams with winning records.

The win-loss percentage of the teams they’ve top 52 points against is a combined 19-35, so it’s not as if they’ve been playing teams like Linfield every weekend.

Furthermore, their average margin of victory against teams with winning records (Pacific Lutheran and Redlands) is a meager 7.5 points.

I have my doubts as to how tough this Kingsmen team will really be when facing a Top-five team on the road, especially one that already held them to a season-low 14 points last time they met.

Cal Lu can score a pile of points if they’re facing a defense that will let them score a pile of points, and any defense would look good playing teams like Pomona-Pitzer, who didn’t win a single game this season.

On the other hand, Linfield’s defense has consistently shut down teams with high win-loss margins, like Willamette, Lewis & Clark and Cal Lu, and that consistency is going to be what anchors this team through their playoff run.

Furthermore, junior quarterback Mickey Inns was making his first career start against the Kingsmen to start the season and had a marginal outing.

Since then, he’s become a red-hot scoring threat from any distance any time he drops back to pass.

I’m not kidding you; the kid’s got a damn laser out there.

Here’s my prediction: Cal Lu puts a few points up early to keep things close out of the gate, but the Kingsmen offense is once again baffled in the long run by Linfield’s tough D.

A seasoned Mickey Inns is the difference maker in a game that quickly becomes a Wildcat blowout in the second and third quarters. Final score: Linfield 38, Cal Lu 14.

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Chris Forrer
/Sports columnist
Chris Forrer can be reached at linfieldreviewsports@gmail.com.

Linfield’s Hall of Fame welcomes new athletes

Athletic Director Scott Carnahan embraces Emily Chadwick, class of ’98, after presenting her with a plaque commemorating her induction into the Linfield Hall of Fame on Nov. 12 in the Ted Wilson Gymnasium. Seven former athletes and the 1981 national runner-up volleyball team were added to the Hall of Fame. Joel Ray/ Sports editor

Teams warm up for winter season

Fall is coming to an end, meaning that volleyball, soccer and football are as well.

With the end of fall, comes winter, and Linfield sports that will be starting this season are men’s and women’s basketball, as well as the men’s and women’s swim teams.

Both basketball teams will kick off their seasons this week, with the men playing Nov. 15 and the women playing Nov. 18.

The men’s basketball team looks forward to the upcoming season despite graduating five seniors last year.

The team has welcomed one new freshman to the team, as well as bringing up three other players from junior varsity.

The team has eight returning players.

“We have a very talented group of freshmen,” coach Larry Doty said. “Andrew Batiuk will see significant playing time on the varsity at the post position. At 6’9,” he is the second tallest front line player.”

Doty highlighted Batiuk’s raw talent.

“He is a talented player who can play from the 3-point line as well as with his back to the basket,” Doty said.  “Two of our post players are injured currently and will not be in the line-up until sometime in December, giving Andrew significant playing time at the post.”

The team’s goal is to make it to the Northwest Conference playoffs, meaning the team must finish in the top four teams.

The women’s basketball team also has high hopes for the upcoming season.  The team welcomes back seven all-star players returning to the team, as well as 10 new freshmen.

“[The new players] will all add great excitement in the program,” said coach Robin Potera-Haskins.

Potera-Haskins also said that each returning player has made an impact on the team.

“Senior Gretchen Owens led the conference in scoring last year and we are striving for the same this season,” Potera-Haskins said. “Brynna Fuller, also a senior, will lead the team at the point guard position and is a good outside shooter. Sophomore Kaely Maltman started as a freshman last year and  will have a hugh impact on the team with her scoring ability and aggressiveness. Junior Nicole Barton is a very versatile player who will add great depth.”

With a strong team, Potera-Haskins believes that they will be a
contender for the Northwest Conference.

“We look forward to building a strong competitive D3 program”, Potera-Haskins said.

As both basketball teams start up this week, the swim teams have been hard at work in competition for the last three weeks.

With a combination of new and old swimmers competing this season, the team has hopes to build a strong program that can go head to head with the other large teams in the conference.

The men’s team has doubled in size since last season with 19 swimmers, while the women’s team has 24 swimmers.

“We have significantly grown as a team this season and it is great to see us stand up next to the other large teams,” junior captain Rhiannon Ladwig said.

The swim teams’ next six meets will be at home.

While each winter sport gears up for a strong season, the teams all have geared up  for a good season.

Making sense of a strange playoff bracket

The NCAA released the bracket for the 2011 Division-III football playoffs on Nov. 13 and was received with much surprise from pundits and student-athletes.

No. five Linfield, which captured the Northwest Conference Championship and therefore the league’s automatic bid to playoffs, is slated for a rematch against No. eight California Lutheran University on Nov. 19 at Maxwell Field.

This marks the fifth time in the past three seasons the two teams have faced off, with Linfield owning a 4-1 advantage in the series.

During an interview on Nov. 12, head football coach Joseph Smith said he did not expect to face Cal Lutheran in the first round of the playoffs.

“I’d be surprised,” Smith said. “Possibly Redlands [College], a team from the South they move in or someone else.”

The 2011 playoff bracket bucked several trends in seeding and regional grouping that had been present in prior seasons.

For example, this year’s bracket did not identify specific seeds, leaving fans and pundits alike unaware of how matchups in later rounds might play out in terms of which school hosts what game.

Also, playoff brackets from previous seasons of Division-III football generally have tried to keep teams from the same region in the same area of the bracket.

This season, according to www.d3football.com, the four bracket areas appear to be organized with four teams from the highest seed’s region and two teams each from two other regions. This could create many interesting and potentially difficult travel situations for teams.

Although the seeding was not revealed, it can be somewhat gleaned by identifying the bracket area’s top seed and working backward from there to get a rough idea of ranking.

Doing so reveals a few puzzling scenarios in terms of both seeding and location grouping.

For example, undefeated and 9-0 Linfield appears to have been inexplicably
seeded No. three in one
bracket area behind a one-loss Wesley College team seeded No. two.

This means that the NWC champion Wildcats could be on the road all the way to Dover, Del., where Wesley is located, as early as the second round of the playoffs.

Without being a part of the seeding committee and knowing exactly which team went where, and why, it’s impossible to fully grasp the logic in some of the stranger parts of this bracket.

However, according to junior quarterback Mickey Inns, the ’Cats are ready to take on all comers, starting with a much improved Cal Lutheran squad.

“It’d be fine by me, they’re a good team,” Inns said. “Our mentality is that we’ll be ready to go against anybody, anytime. We’re going to stick to that and ride it into playoffs.”

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Chris Forrer
/Sports columnist
Chris Forrer can be reached at linfieldreviewsports@gmail.com.

Wildcats flounder against Loggers

Traveling to Tacoma, Wash., the two swim teams geared up for their first dual meet of the season. Linfield fell to the University of Puget Sound on Nov. 11 and 12.

“This weekend, our team really came together and supported each other,” junior Rhiannon Ladwig said. “The team spirit was high and I think we made a strong Linfield presence against UPS.”

Though the men’s team fell 97-164 against the Loggers, it didn’t go down without a fight. Junior Seth Ruwitch placed first in both the 100-meter breaststroke, finishing in 1:12.30, and the 200-meter breaststroke, coming in at 2:24.16. He also placed second in the 400-meter individual medley, which he finished in 5:13.72.

“Our team has improved in a number of ways since our last meet, but most notably I would say that everyone seems much more determined this time around,” senior Marc Pereira said in an email. “We had some tough events at some tough pools this weekend. The temperature and the architecture at the pools this weekend were difficult to deal with, but overall we did pretty well. I expect our times will be improving a lot in the next few weeks.”

Junior Miles Phillips and sophomore Lee Rivers also placed well. Phillips placed second in the 200 freestyle with a time of 2:09.49, and Rivers placed second in his three events.

For the women’s team, sophomore Natalie Groat placed first in the 200-meter freestyle. Meanwhile, freshman Kelcie Kimura placed first in the 50-meter freestyle, beating University of Puget Sound swimmer Ava Williams by .05 seconds.

“There were many great swims, and I think Natalie Groat had an amazing weekend. She swam the 200 butterfly each day and also did well with the 200 free against UPS,” Ladwig said. “Also, Alex Lyles was a freshman who did very well. He was put in difficult events and pulled through with a great time and a smile.”

Athletes who were on the team in previous years have high hopes for this year’s team.

“The team hopes to rank much higher this year than we did last year,” Pereira said. “ I think it’s an achievable goal too, with our bigger number of swimmers and the new talent we have.”

The Wildcats will host their next six meets, with the next competition being the Northwest Invitational.

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Kaylyn Peterson
/Sports editor
Kaylyn Peterson can be reached at linfieldreviewsports@gmail.com.