Key players to look for in the fall season
With all the excitement surrounding football, soccer, cross country, volleyball and golf seasons beginning, I figure it would be a good idea to let the Linfield student body know who the clutch players are and what we can expect from them this fall sports season.
Let’s start with golf. On the women’s side the Wildcats have freshman Abigail Heringer a strong new golfer from Salem, Ore. She tied for fifth with a score of 15-over-par 159 in the Pacific Invitational last week. Not bad so far for her first season at Linfield.
Although the women’s golf team finished eighth out of twelve teams at the Pacific Invitational, the Wildcats improved tremendously from the first to the second day, despite terrible weather conditions.
On the men’s side, there are three impressive juniors, Taylor Klopp, Taylor Pirnke and Kevin Kawasaki. Klopp is described by head coach Greg Copeland as “a hard worker who hates to make a bogey,” and a natural leader on the team.
Pirnke is described as a solid player and shot 78 on the second day of the Pacific Invitational. Kawasaki is a hard-working player whose extra practice during the summer has helped him to improve overall as a player!
His hard work paid off when he shot a crisp 71 to sit in fourth place at the Pacific Invitational. Kawasaki helped his team achieve first place overall after the first day of the tournament.
In the world of soccer, four men stick out from the lineup: freshmen Brian Degrandmont and Jorge Rodriguez, and seniors Harper Taylor and Jake Baker.
During their last game against Whitman College, Taylor and Baker worked together to score in the first half. Baker sent in a cornerkick from the left side, which found his teammate in front of the net, setting up a point-blank range shot tying the game in the second half.
This was Taylor’s third career goal and his first goal since the 2010 season. Degrandmont tied the score at 1-1 in the game with a long-shot on goal from beyond the penalty box. Rodriguez made six saves against the Pacific Lutheran offense keeping the Wildcat’s defense firm settling with a 0-0 tie. For women’s soccer, junior Lauren Pyrch, did her part against Pacific University from the back line helping Linfield achieve its best start in the program’s history and eventually getting the team voted into the top-25 teams by the National Soccer Coaches Association of America holding the 20th spot! Pyrch has been recognized as the Northwest Conference Women’s Soccer Defensive Student-Athlete of the Week and leads a defense, that only allowed two goals and 14 shot attempts during all three matches. Pyrch is definitely a player that opponents should look out for!
Now how about those football guys? Well, as you know, the Linfield football program has had a very successful start to their season.
The team beat Texas Hardin-Simmons College 71-21 and beat out California Lutheran University last week 52-14. Linfield senior quarterback Josh Yoder was a huge contributing factor for the win against California Lutheran University as he passed for three touchdowns and scored on a 35-yard romp. In the last game against Case Western Reserve University, sophomore running back sophomore Travon Willis rushed a game-high 80 yards against the Ohio team, while sophomore wide receiver Brian Balsiger caught eight passes for 99 yards, setting the tone for the Wildcats 45-0 shut-out.
Way to go boys!
How about my favorite ladies in spandex? Although the season has started off a bit rough for the squad, there are still some hard-working athletes that we can always count on to work hard and push their teammates to success!
Two-time Northwest Conference all-star junior Kailana Ritte-Camara, topped the stats with a match-high of 14 kills and a .231 hitting average in their last game against Puget Sound University.
Although the Wildcats weren’t able to walk away with a win, her performance should show the other teams that Ritte-Camara is an aggressive player who is ready to give it her all, all year round!
And don’t think I forgot about Linfield’s cross-country runners! We have three outstanding athletes on the team including seniors Hannah Greider, Siena Noe and Joe Gladow.
With the help of Greider and Noe, the women’s team earned first place overall in the North West Classic held in Eugene, Ore., with five Wildcats finishing in the top ten spots.
Greider finished in third place while Noe finished in fifth place with a time of 19:23. On the men’s side, Gladow set the pace for other Wildcat men. He scored 85 points and helped the team finish in the top for the Northwest Conference.
The senior averaged 5:19 miles during the 4-mile course, clocking in at 21:15. With the help of these stellar athletes, the Linfield’s cross country team has a strong chance of qualifying for the NWC Championships and being a strong competitor in the league as well!
So those are the Wildcats to look out for! However, sports teams are called teams for a reason. Although this article highlights the current star athletes for the season, that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t go watch and support other Wildcat athletes that weren’t mentioned!
So get out there and support your Wildcats, who knows, maybe you will witness a new star athlete in the making!
By Camille Weber/ Sports Columnist