Men’s soccer goes 1-2 after home opener

Junior mid-fielder/forward J.D. Garnett applies defensive pressure on a Loras player at a game on Friday, Sept. 16. (Photo by Stefan Carlson)

ELMHURST MEN’S SOCCER LOSES HOME OPENER

EC’s men’s soccer team lost their first game at home on Friday, Sept. 16 to the University of Chicago Maroons.

The visiting Maroons (6-0) used the strength of an impressive second half performance to move past the Bluejays (3-1-2) by a final score of 4-1.

Despite a quick pace of play, the game began with a strong display of defense. Both sides dismissed multiple shot at- tempts early on in the contest.

The game remained scoreless until the Bluejays managed to claim the lead when Junior J.D. Garnett scored his first goal of the season in the 35th minute. Garnett figures to be a large part of the Bluejays offense this season.

As the first half continued, the Maroons found the back of the Elmhurst net by way of a David McBroom kick, tying the game at 1-1. The score would stay that way into the intermission.

The second half did not go the Bluejays way. The Elmhurst defense broke down and allowed Chicago to strike quickly as they gained possession of the lead in the 51st minute.

Shortly after that the Maroons struck again when Max Lopez worked his way through the Bluejays’ defense and gave Chicago both the momentum and a 3-1 lead.

The trend continued later on as the Maroon added one more tally in the 68th minute to give themselves an insurmountable 4-1 lead late in the game.

The Maroons held the Bluejays’ offense in check for the better part of the second half through ball control. The Blue- jays seemed to struggle when looking for any kind of rhythm when moving the ball into the attacking zone. A fierce Maroon defense did an impressive job of interrupting any communication between the EC players.

EC attempted four total shots throughout the game, one making it on goal. The Maroons attempted 17 shots with eight of them on goal.

ELMHURST MEN’S SOCCER DEFEATED IN BATTLE OF THE BIRDS

After a tough loss in their home opener, the Bluejays took to the turf at Langhorst Field on Sept. 20 as they battled the Falcons of Concordia University.

Despite another early lead, Bluejays’ efforts to rebound from the home opening loss were halted by Concordia, ultimately losing 2-1. With the loss, EC fell to 3-2-2. Concordia improved their record to 6-1.

The scoring began quickly, as the Bluejays jumped to a first half lead thanks to a goal from forward Didrik Cooper-Seip. The goal marked the first of his young career at EC.

As play continued, the Bluejays’ defense kept the team in front as they held Concordia scoreless through the duration of the first half of play.

Unfortunately, that changed in the second half when the Falcons netted a goal at the 52nd minute. This tied the score at 1-1.

In the 56th minute, Bluejay’s Midfielder Matt McNamara received a red card from Referee Andy Maratto’s squad. The ejection forced EC to play a man down for the rest of the game and gave the Falcons a massive advantage.

Despite the unfortunate situation, the Bluejays turned away 10 consecutive shots before the Falcons Iven Hernandez put Concordia ahead in the 71st minute, putting the falcons ahead 2-1.

The remainder of the second half went the Falcons way as they fired off 18 shot attempts against the Bluejays five.

In total, the Falcons attempted 23 shots in this contest, with nine on goal. The Bluejays countered with nine shots, three on goal. The leader for the Bluejays was junior Alec Gnass. The Michigan native matched his season high with three shots attempted and one shot on goal. Other strong contributors were Lucas Weatherby with his two shot attempts and goalie Nick

King, who made seven saves.

JOHNSON AND HICKS LEAD MEN’S SOCCER TO VICTORY OVER IIT

After a pair of home losses set the EC men’s soccer team back, the team earned a 3-0 shutout victory on the road against the Illinois Institute of Technology Scarlet Hawks on Sept. 23.

EC scored three goals and capitalized on strong defense on the path to a victory. The win improves the Bluejay’s season record to 4-2-2.

The scoring began with sophomore forward Sam Johnson. After receiving a pass from Lucas Wetherby, Johnson put the Bluejays ahead 1-0 with his first goal of the season in the 18th minute.

That score held into the second half of play, at which point Johnson tallied his second goal of the game after an assist from J.D. Garnett. With two goals, Sam Johnson equaled his season total from last year.

In the 55th minute, Junior Andrew Hicks continued the offensive push as he scored his second goal of the season.

The EC defense stifled the Scarlett Hawks all night long, leading to a shutout performance, the 5th of the season for the Bluejays.

In total, the Bluejays attempted 13 shots with nine on goal. Meanwhile the Scarlett Hawks could only muster up four shots with none of them reaching goal.

Other players of note in this contest were J.D. Garnett and Zach Clements, with two shots a piece. The defense as a whole played a strong game, as goalie Nick King was not forced to record a single save.

Langhorst Field will be the setting for the next EC Men’s soccer game, as the Simpson College Storm visit on Monday, Sept. 26 at 6:30 p.m. for a non-conference match-up.

Simpson College is 5-2-1 on the season, riding a two game winning streak. They should prove to be a challenge for the Bluejays, as the Storm offense is averaging 16.9 shots per game on the season with 18 goals scored.

Athlete to watch: QB Orlando Hernandez

Sophomore quarterback Orlando Hernandez scans the field for a receiver at a game on Saturday, Sept. 10. (Photo by Kivin Woods)

Sophomore quarterback Orlando Hernandez leads the Bluejays football team with offensive decision-making and ability. In a mere three games he has been named the CCIW Offensive Player of the Week for the week of Sept. 19, exemplifying his ability to be the offensive leader his team needs on the field.

A football quarterback must be quick, precise, and sturdy on his feet. He is the offensive mastermind, so to speak, on the field. If a team wants to score, it will do so through the quarterback more often than not. He must be able to see it all, think through it all and get the ball to it’s destination on every play with confidence, accuracy and power.

Proving that he can fulfill this role despite his youth, Hernandez had a game spectators will not forget for a while when he and his team welcomed North Park College to Langhorst Field in the CCIW opener on Sept. 17, also acting as the home-opener for the team.

He threw four touchdown passes in three quarters of play, throwing 50 percent for the game. He was also able to get away from the opponent’s defensive line and carry the ball 13 times, earning 62 rushing yards for the game.

Utilizing 255 in-game plays so far in the season, Hernandez and the team have been able to gain 1,084 yards against opponents. The team is averaging about 270 yards per game and currently places eighth in total offense overall.

Individually, Hernandez has been able to place seventh in the conference in total rushing yards and sixth in total passing yards. He attributes this to the power and skill of his offensive line.

“I’d like to consider myself a dual-threat QB, meaning I can both run and throw the ball effectively,” he said “My offensive line deserves much of the credit for that.”

As a sophomore, Hernandez has already been able to blow his freshman year stats out of the water. In the 2014-2015 season he was a backup player. He played in five games and started in four of them, which were the last of the season. He was able to pass for 164 yards and rush for 146 yards on 46 carries.

“I backed up three quarter- backs for most of the season, due to injury. When I was finally healthy again, I got the opportunity to [start] the last four games. My experience back in high school taught me how to fight through adversity and to keep pushing when times get tough,” he said.

In the four games that he’s started in the 2015-2016 season, he has already been able to pass for 604 yards and in 51 carries he’s gained 295 yards for his team, leading the entire offensive team in rushing yards, as a quarterback.

Hernandez also admits that another vital part of his success as a student, a player, and a leader is the support behind him.

“I have a large support system. I know that every coach on the team and all my team- mates believe in me, which gives me a boost of confidence in my ability,” he said. “My family especially plays a large role in my support system. My parents make it to every game, and my grandparents come to every home game from Indiana. They are all my backbone.”

All athletes at EC are held to and expected to achieve or exceed a standard. Academics are a huge part of any athletic team, and failure to maintain the standard will result in less or even no time on the field.

“Academically, I have been able to achieve the standard by managing my time most effectively. We do not have any football related activities scheduled on Mondays, and this is when I usually get all my school work done,” Hernandez shared.

In the next two years up to graduation, he hopes to do two things with the help of his supporters and his teammates.

“Before I leave I want to leave a standard of excellence here at Elmhurst. A standard that future players will follow to prove that we are elite, and [we strive to be] unmatched,” he said. “I want everyone to know that the Elmhurst Bluejays run an elite program and we are no team to be overlooked,” he said.

So far, he has done well in showing his teammates, his family and the fans of the EC Football program that as long as he is here, he will lead by example.

EC football team loses to rival Wheaton

Defensive and offensive lines collide at the beginning of a play at the EC vs. Olivet football game on Saturday, Sept. 10. (Photo by Kivin Woods)

Despite leading early in the contest, the EC Bluejays football team stumbled to a 10-6 loss at the hands of the Wheaton College Thunder (4-0) this weekend as they competed in their second CCIW Conference matchup of the season.

The Bluejays won the coin toss, elected to defer, and promptly sacked Wheaton quarterback Andrew Bowers on the first play off from scrimmage. Defensive end Cameron Hall was credited with the sack, as he set the tone for an afternoon that proved to be a defensive struggle.

That sack led to a three and out from the Wheaton offense, as they were forced to punt the ball from deep in their own territory. The punt only netted them 36 yards, and the Bluejays offense took over in great field position at their 41- yard line.

EC quarterback Orlando Hernandez found wide receiver Korey Partenheimer and they connected for a 26-yard gain on third and 11 early in the drive. After a pair of unsuccessful plays, Hernandez and the offense found themselves in another third-and-long situation, this time at the Wheaton 34-yard line.

Once again the Bluejays moved the chains by way of a Hernandez throw, as freshman wide receiver Jawan Gaines snuck open for a 15-yard gain down to the Wheaton 19- yard line. After a pair of rushes and an incomplete pass, the offense was faced with 4th down and 4 to gain from their opponents 13-yard line.

Facing his first tough decision of the game, Head Coach Ron Planz opted to play it safe as the field goal unit came on and freshman placekicker Blake Bailey converted his second attempt of the season into 3 points and an early lead for the Bluejays with less than 10 minutes remaining in the first quarter.

After trading unsuccessful possessions, EC delivered a 41 yard punt; however, a strong Thunder punt return gave Wheaton possession at the EC 42-yard line to begin their next drive.

Beginning the drive in four down territory, Wheaton proceeded to convert an early fourth and three into a first down and they appeared to be gaining steam. Their momentum was short lived as the Thunder were called for an illegal block on first-and-10 from the EC 24 yard line.

The penalty set them back into a first-and-17 situation. With a pass completion and a positive rush, they managed to put themselves into a manageable 3rd down and 4 from the Elmhurst 18-yard line.

Wheaton took to their passing game in hopes of continuing the drive, but the EC defense stood strong as the Thunder pass went incomplete.

Faced with a situation nearly identical to the one EC faced earlier in the game, Wheaton also decided to attempt a field goal. That plan went awry when the kick sailed wide right and the Bluejays kept their lead as they regained possession.

Defense continued to be the main storyline as the first quarter turned into the second quarter. After another field position swap, EC found themselves with the ball at their own 31.

Hernandez took charge and led the Bluejays down the field, completing three straight passes gaining for 61 yards. The third pass, a 26-yard completion, found the safe hands of senior Wide Receiver Connor Brewer and brought the Bluejay offense back into the red zone as he went out-of-bounds at the Wheaton 5-yard line.

Upon entering the red zone, the short field stumped the offense for a second time when Wheaton stuffed a first down rushing attempt, followed by a pair of incomplete passes. Coach Planz called for the sure points and Bailey came through again, giving the Bluejays a 6-0 advantage with just over nine minutes to play in the second quarter.

With a little over three minutes remaining in the half, Wheaton took over on offense.

Quarterback Bowers hit five straight passes for 49 yards and added 23 on the ground, bringing Wheaton down to the Elmhurst 6-yard line with 11 seconds to spare.

After a pass attempt aimed at the end zone fell incomplete, Wheaton was forced to kick a second down field goal which put them on the scoreboard heading into the half. Elmhurst 6 – Wheaton 3.

Elmhurst received the ball to commence the second half of play.

The third quarter proved to be inconsequential as neither team could manage much offensively and field position was swapped numerous times.

The fourth quarter of play got off to a tumultuous start when an Hernandez pass attempt was intercepted near midfield and was returned all the way to the EC 25-yard line.

The sudden change proved to be too much for the Bluejay defense to handle with Wheaton scoring the first touchdown of the ballgame on an 11-yard Bowers strike thrown to sophomore Thunder wide receiver Trey Hanley.

The extra point attempt was kicked through the uprights and Wheaton suddenly found themselves in front 10-6 with a little over 11 minutes remaining in the game.

Taking over possession with hopes of reclaiming the lead, despite their best efforts, the EC drive hit a wall after a Wheaton defender broke free and sacked Hernandez on a first-and-10 at the Elmhurst 48-yard line.

On the very next play, EC was charged with a holding penalty that brought them all the way back to their 34-yard line. Facing second-and-24, the Bluejays were unable to pick up the first down.

Facing another difficult decision, Coach Planz placed his faith in his veteran defense and sent on the punt team. That decision paid off as his special teams came through, pinning Wheaton back just inside their own 20-yard line.

On the ensuing Wheaton drive, the EC defense stood tall and quickly forced the Thunder offense off of the field. Provided with one final opportunity to find the end-zone, the Bluejays offense took over with a little more than three minutes left to play.

Looking to move quickly, the Bluejays dropped back to pass, but the Thunder saw it coming as they sent linebacker Caleb Ashby and lineman Chase Greenlee on a blitz and they took down Hernandez on a second-and-seven pass attempt.

A pair of incompletions followed and Wheaton regained possession of the football with a little more than two minutes to play. Bowers promptly ran for a 12-yard gain, giving his offense a first down and presenting his team with an opportunity to run out the remainder of the clock as Wheaton went on to seal the victory.

Despite the loss, the veteran EC defense proved its worth by holding an unbeaten Wheaton squad to a season low 244 yards of total offense and as well a season low 10 points scored.

The Bluejays will look to get back on track this weekend when they are scheduled to make a trip out west to Augustana College for their third CCIW Conference game. With both teams currently holding 2-2 records on the season, the Vikings will be a fair challenge for the Bluejays.

Kick-off is scheduled for 1:00 p.m. on the campus of Augustana College in Rock Island, Illinois on Saturday, Oct. 1.

Bluejays football opens season 1-1

Bluejays defensive end Myles Carroll charges the field on a game against Olivet College on Saturday, Sept. 10. (Photo by Kivin Woods)

The Elmhurst College football team lost 13-27 against the Olivet College Comets on Saturday.

Similar to their last game against Loras College, the Bluejays’ offense struggled during the first quarter. However unlike the Loras game, there was no fourth quarter comeback to secure the 28-27 Bluejay win.

Head coach Ron Planz offered up some reasons as to why things didn’t go the Bluejays way Saturday.

“We really hurt ourselves in a lot [of] situations today,” he said. “ All three phases of the game — penalties, turnovers, and poor decisions — proved to be too much for us to overcome.”

The Bluejays’ defense was slow out of the gate, allowing an eight play 47 yard touchdown as well as a field goal in the first quarter. However, they held firm the second quarter, sparked by an early interception by all conference player Sean Wetherell.

The defense was strong, allowing just three points for the rest of the half and holding the Comets to almost half the yards they had in the first quarter.

The Bluejays’ offense capitalized on the Wetherall turnover with a touchdown toss by Orlando Hernandez to senior Wideout Conor Brewer, resulting in a six-point lead by Olivet going into halftime.

Coming out of the half, the Bluejays’ forced Olivet into a punt situation but the Comets were bailed out by a punt fumble by Danny Bourgault.

The Comets’ forced one more turnover on the Bluejays, but it was their red zone offense and relentless defense that won them the game.

The Olivet football team had five more red zone opportunities than the Bluejays. They totaled less passing yards, but won the rushing battle by 52 yards.

The Comets’ defensive line was no slouch either, piling up five sacks throughout the contest and keeping Hernandez’s head on a swivel.

In the second half, junior wide receiver and former all-conference player Kaylon Miller had five receptions, racking up 139 receiving yards including a 65 yard touchdown catch.

Planz explained the importance of having Miller back on the field after missing much of last year with an arm injury.

“We have so much talent on this team. Every week anyone could be the guy to spark us,” he said.

“We need to make sure we are coming up with ways to get everyone involved so that we don’t become too predictable or reliant on any one person. That goes for offense, defense, and special teams.”

Unlike the Sept. 3 game at Loras College, there was no Bluejay comeback on Saturday. In the Loras game, the Elmhurst football team’s 19 point unanswered run in the fourth quarter carried the team to secure a late victory.

Coach Planz discussed how the team’s attributes contributed to the fourth quarter rally.

“The guys showed a lot of grit. They kept pounding away and kept the faith,” he said.

“I think [the] team has the right mindset,” he said.

“They know that every game has it’s ups and downs. I feel like understanding that allows us to have the type of comebacks we showed at Loras.”

That game was spotlighted by d3football.com as the national game of the week. The Bluejays will look to improve all areas of their team as they host the Vikings of North Park next week for the opening conference game on Sept. 17.

In anticipation of the upcoming opener, Planz offered up what he thinks the key to victory will be.

“We know the teams we face will be tough, well coached and hungry. We need to match that and make sure we play smart, physical football,” he said.

Women’s soccer team wins season opener

Elmhurst College’s women’s soccer team defeated annual rival Dominican University 4-2 in the opening game of the season at Langhorst Field on Thursday Sept 1.

The Bluejays enacted intense defensive effort, which kept the Dominican Stars’ offensive flow in deadlock for most of the game. Taking control of the game with defense was a primary goal for the Bluejays.

Before the game, Bluejay head coach Paul Webster was adamant that defense was the key to victory.

“We have to defend on all fronts.” he said. “We aim for defensive pressure tonight, and scoring will come in turn. We’re here to play the game and learn how to play our game as a team.”

Sophomore midfielder Brittany Reinhart scored for the Bluejays 17 minutes into the first half. Her goal was assisted by senior midfielder Courtney O’Keeffe.

The Stars’ response came about eight minutes later as their first goal was scored by freshman forward Josseline Williams. The goal came after senior goalkeeper Emily Gordon blocked a shot and Williams quickly rebounded the miss and shot again to beat the already grounded Gordon.

Junior Bluejay midfielder Kim Stanczak led in scoring with two goals, one being near the end of

the first half with about 64 seconds left on the game clock before halftime, the assist attributed to Sidney O’Keeffe.

During halftime, Elmhurst President Troy VanAken commented on the number of fans that showed up to see the season opener.

“What excites me the most right now is the turnout in the stands,” he said. “It makes me really happy to see the students, friends, and family members out here cheering for our women on the field.”

After halftime, the Bluejays went on to score three more unanswered goals. In her first game as a Bluejay, sophomore midfielder Emma Krick was able to shoot a 30-yard shot past Dominican sophomore goalkeeper Pamela Ruiz after a quick juke on a defender to create space.

Less than five minutes later, Stanczak scored her second and the final Bluejay goal of the game with an assist from sophomore forward O’Keeffe.

The visiting team was able to

score one last goal with about 15 minutes left in the game. Junior Dominican defender Lexi Kiotis was able to take advantage of an Elmhurst defensive lapse.

Third-year forward Genevieve Kapecki was injured near the Elmhurst goal while putting a complete halt to one of the final Dominican possessions of the game.

According to the physical therapist on the field, she suffered a bone contusion on her left ankle.

The Dominican player later approached Kapecki after the game as the physical therapist was working on her. The Dominican player asked Kapecki if she was okay before apologizing.

With the season opener ending with a big win for the home team, the lady Bluejays prepare for their next battle that will take place September 3rd, against the visiting Olivet College.