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MONMOUTH, IL (08/08/2019) Nine Fighting Scots fall sports teams will
soon be on Monmouth College’s campus, and in less than a month the fall
sports season will be underway.
The football and women’s golf teams begin practice Aug. 15. The
following day, six other squads will start their preseasons: volleyball,
women’s tennis, men’s and women’s soccer, and men’s and women’s cross
country. Men’s water polo practices start Aug.
22, the day after the fall semester begins.
Women’s golf will be the first team in intercollegiate action,
opening its season Aug. 25 at Gibson Woods. Volleyball, women’s tennis,
and men’s and women’s soccer will all have home events over Labor Day
Here’s what to expect this fall. More information is available at monmouthscots.com.
FOOTBALL: Monmouth was picked to repeat as South Division champs when
the 2019 Midwest Conference Football Preseason Poll was released Aug.
1. The Fighting Scots’ offense will feature a new backfield, and the new
starters will need to get up to speed quickly
as Monmouth’s first four opponents all won at least seven games last
season. That includes 10 victories by reigning MWC champion St. Norbert
College, which is entering its final year in the conference. Opening-day
opponent Wheaton College is riding a four-game
winning streak, capturing those victories by a combined score of 205-6.
The Scots’ other non-conference foe, Wartburg College, made last fall’s
NCAA Division III playoffs. But Scots coach Chad Braun has faced
challenges before, and all he’s done in his first
four seasons is post an overall record of 35-7 and won two conference
titles. Other reasons for optimism include the return of five
all-conference players: kicker Joey Biel; offensive lineman Joe Krall;
and three players from the unit that led Division III
in scoring defense last year – linebacker Clark Gaden and defensive
backs Mason Castricone and Nick Miyler.
First home competition: Sept. 7 at April Zorn Memorial Stadium vs. Wheaton College
Homecoming: Oct. 19 vs. Illinois College
WOMEN’S SOCCER: Coach Nick Rizzo’s squad is always in the
conversation for a Midwest Conference playoff berth, and it will be
again this year thanks to the return of 1-2 scoring punch Jacie Reis and
Kara-Jade Gordon, who last season netted 17 and 14 goals,
respectively, good for first and third in the league. Rizzo is also
excited about the return of center defender Devin Cross, who missed the
final half of last season because of an injury but was a key part of the
2017 team that reached the MWC championship
First home competition: Aug. 30 at Peacock Park vs. Rockford University
CROSS COUNTRY: Coach Jon Welty made news over the summer when he
completed a marathon as part of the Boulder Ironman, a grueling
triathlon that totaled 140.6 miles. Welty’s men will have it much
easier, only having to cover eight kilometers in most races.
The low time for that distance among the squad’s returners was the
26:45 mark posted by Riley Dulin, who earned all-conference honors as a
freshman for last year’s fourth-place team. On the women’s side, Welty
has high hopes, as Monmouth returns a trio of
all-conference performers from last year’s meet, where the Scots placed
second. Those runners include Julia Sterr, Arika Hofmann and Caroline
First competition: The Scots open the season Aug. 30 at Illinois
Wesleyan University. There are no home meets this fall, but the MWC meet
will be held in Galesburg on Nov. 2.
GOLF: Haley Hoekstra looks to become Monmouth’s first women’s golfer
since Amy Rassman (2000-03) to record four consecutive all-conference
finishes, but it won’t be four straight All-MWC honors. This year, both
Monmouth golf teams will begin competition
in the St. Louis Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (SLIAC). Another
new development is that men’s coach Cory Bizarri will lead the women’s
squad. The roster cupboard was by no means left bare, as all five
golfers who scored at the Midwest Conference meet
return. Bizarri will also be busy on the men’s side during the fall,
taking the Scots to seven events in advance of their traditional spring
season. Monmouth native Sam Gillen is one of the team’s top returners.
First home competition for women: Aug. 25 at Gibson Woods vs. Augustana College
WOMEN’S TENNIS: Coach Brian Jordan welcomes back both his No. 1
singles player and his top winner from last season in Emma Johanns and
Rachel Leifheit. Playing at No. 4 singles, Leifheit posted a winning
record, and she was also above .500 in doubles. As
a team, Monmouth was 4-5 in Midwest Conference play, good for sixth in
First home competition: Aug. 30 at Monmouth College Tennis Stadium vs. Wartburg College
MEN’S SOCCER: Experience will be a strong suit for Kooten Johnson’s
squad. Not only does the seventh-year coach welcome back nine starters
from last year’s team, but six of those players were also regular
starters in 2017. Monmouth has proved it can play
with the league’s top four teams, and the Scots could very well be a
playoff-caliber squad this fall, especially if they hold their own when
three of last year’s playoff teams visit Peacock Park in October.
First home competition: Sept. 1 at Peacock Park vs. University of Dubuque
VOLLEYBALL: Several of the faces in the lineup will be familiar, as
the Scots return statistical leaders Laura Dulee (549 assists, 35 aces)
and Renee Rude (588 digs). Hitters Lauren Sperry, Ashley Farris and
Riley Cook, who combined for almost 600 kills,
are also back. But there will be a new face in charge, as Emily Thebeau
takes over from Kari Shimmin, who coached the Scots for 21 seasons.
First home competition: Aug. 31 at Glennie Gymnasium vs. Lincoln Christian University and Principia College
MEN’S WATER POLO: It was a hard-luck season for the Scots last year,
as evidenced by a three-game stretch that saw an overtime loss and two
other setbacks by a combined four goals. Coach Peter Ollis’s team had
just one home match last year, but the Scots
will open the season in Pepper Natatorium and will host three more
games in October as they look to get over the hump.
First home competition: Sept. 9 at Pepper Natatorium vs. Salem International University