Mia Riese and Shalyn Brady
Sports Editor and Sports Reporter
With a heavily dominated sophomore team, the women’s cross country team came out hot by placing second at their first meet of the 2018 season, the Earlybird Invite.
At the second meet of the season, the Aurora Invite, the Bluejays captured a first place title. Top runners at the Aurora Invite were Emily Gilligan, Elita Spadlowski, Isabella Wolke, and Alisandra Mondrella.
Emily Gilligan was the top finisher for the Bluejays for Earlybird and Aurora Invitationals. Gilligan finished second at the Earlybird Invite and sixth at the Aurora Invite, resulting in her receiving CCIW Athlete of the Week.
The women’s XC team kept the 2018 season rolling with a fifth place finish at the Augustana Invite.
Becky Garcia was the Bluejays top finisher at the Benedictine Eagle. The team finished 11th without the majority of their regular top runners.
At the final invite of the season, the Pre-National Invitational at University Wisconsin-Oshkosh, Gilligan, Wolke, and Spadlowski led the Bluejays to a 33rd place finish.
Emily Gilligan and Elita Spadlowksi earned All-CCIW Honors.
Graduating five seniors last year, the men’s cross country team had to rely on the freshmen class and a few seniors to carry them through the 2018 season.
The Bluejays opened up the season with a fourth place finish at the Earlybird Invitational. The team was led by Ashith Chirayath placing 30th and Juan Castaneda placing 32nd.
As the season continued, Castaneda and Chirayath were the top finishers for the Bluejays as the team finished 12th at the Aurora Invitational and 17th at the Augustana Invitational.
The Bluejays competed at the CCIW Championships, earning an eighth place team finish out of nine teams.
However, head coach James Akita explained the eighth place finish by saying, “We competed, and with 3 top 25 teams in the country in our conference, it can be tough to place high. On top of that, our number 5 runner, Armando Alvarez dropped out due to injury, which hurt our team score.”
Juan Castaneda placed 23rd at the CCIW Championships, being just three places shy of receiving All-CCIW honors.
The Bluejays welcomed new head coach Tadd Matlby and assistant coach Terry Maltby to their coaching staff for the 2018 season.
The new coaching staff led the women’s tennis team to a 7-4 overall record and a 4-4 conference record.
The women’s tennis team cruised passed many of their opponents—only taking losses to North Central, Augustana, Carthage, and Wheaton.
Captain Rachel Rettger commented on the success of the team, “It was the team’s first winning season in 10 years, so that was something we were all proud of.”
The Bluejays wrapped up the 2018 season with a huge 9-0 conference win over North Park University. Doubles Kathryn Wheeler and Rachel Rettger, Chiara Guidio and Ysabel Gonzaga, Sarah Paist and Maddy Freeman swept all three double matches. The team also easily took all six single matches.
The women’s tennis team will be back in action for the 2019 spring season.
The football team started the season off with a great 21-20 win over Aurora University. However, it stopped there.
After the first game of the 2018 season, the Bluejays struggled to get another win under their belt. The Bluejays lost all 5 of their home games and also lost on the road to Carthage, Illinois Wesleyan, and North Central.
Despite the team struggles, defensive player Brandon Greer earned CCIW Player of the Week two times this season. Kicker Blake Bailey also earned a CCIW Player of the Week honor.
The Bluejays wrap up their season Saturday, November 10 at Wheaton College.
The women’s golf team, made up of primarily freshmen and sophomores, struggled to stay afloat this season.
Three of the five tournaments the Bluejays finished in last place—one of those being the 2018 Women’s Golf CCIW Invitational.
However, the Bluejays earned a third place finish out of five teams at their home Invitational at Oak Brook Golf Course. Freshman Sydney Roberts led the way for the Bluejays at their home tournament shooting 82, which made her tie for second place. Sophomore Eva Toon shot 86 for a ninth place finish, and freshman Julia Shaver shot 99 for a 23rd place finish.
The women’s golf team has two spring 2019 Intiationals, April 8 and 16.
The women’s volleyball team finished the year with a 12-19 record, which falls just below the average for a .387 win percentage. From that 12-19, they only came away with two wins in conference play, losing six for a .250 win percentage in the CCIW. They dropped five of those 19 at home, winning only three matches in their home gym.
Despite the difficulty of finding success for this young and growing team, the Bluejays finished the season with back-to-back wins against Benedictine University and Lincoln College.
Junior right side hitter Bailey Brouwer led all attackers with a 3.05 kill per set average, racking up a total of 338 kills on the season, while junior setter Kelly Townsend led the charge all season long, accumulating 626 assists and a 5.91 assist per set average. Freshman defensive specialist Valerie Thomas finished her rookie season strong with 432 digs, a 4.32 dig per set average.
The women’s volleyball team is one of the youngest, with ten players currently on the roster who still have three more years left at EC.
After falling to Wheaton College in the CCIW semifinals on October 31, the women’s soccer team wrapped up its season with a successful 9-6-2 record for a .588 win percentage. They went an even 4-4-0 in conference play, won five matches on home turf, and went 4-4-1 on the road.
Freshman MJ Lessila came onto the team and dominated from the start: she finished the season first in goals with six, second in points with 13, and fifth in assists with one. She also had a team-high three game-winning goals. Senior Sidney O’Keeffe contributed 14 points, three goals, a team-leading eight assists, and one game-winning goal in what was a strong final season.
After starting the season on a hot 5-0-1 streak, they surrendered their first loss on September 18, 19 days into their season. With losing ten seniors this spring, they welcomed in five freshman, all of who performed well in their first seasons on the team.
The men’s soccer team dropped their final game of the season on October 27, a 1-4 loss to Illinois Wesleyan University. They ended the year with a 4-14 record and a .222 win percentage.
The team won just 2 at home and dropped 8, while going 2-8 on the road. In the process, the team fell to a 2-5 record in CCIW play.
Senior Keegan Thompson was stellar throughout the season, leading the team in every single category. 11 points, 4 goals, and 3 assists.
In their first season under new head coach Jason Foreman, the men’s tennis team had a final record of 0-19. They won 14 of 149 total sets played, winning with just a .009 percentage.
The team of seven players will be losing two in Chris Wallace and David Demoll come springtime.
Playing in seven tournaments this fall, the team finished in top the five three different times, including one first overall victory.
Four players led the way in rounds played with 11, and two of those four had team lows of 68. Senior Curtis Geiger had one first place finish in the Judson Fall Invite—the same tournament in which the team came away with first place—and freshman Ethan Green ranked second overall in just his second tournament of the year, the Aurora University Invitational. At their annual Elmhurst College Fall Invitational, the Bluejays captured third place with an overall score of 302.