Golfer Thompson does it again
Were Taylor Thompson a softball player, she’d bring a smile to the faces of hitting coaches everywhere.
After all it’s impossible to bat over 1.000.
Thompson’s sport is golf, but St. Xavier University coach Mike Mandakas is equally enamored of the sophomore athlete’s exploits. And why wouldn’t he be, seeing as how Thompson is a perfect 2-for-2 in tournament victories so far.
Thompson was four strokes behind the leader after Day 1 of last weekend’s Battle of Blackthorn Tournament before rallying to force a sudden-death playoff on Saturday. A par on the first playoff hole allowed Thompson to finish first once more.
“Taylor played another great tournament from start to finish,” Mandakas said. “To open up the season with two individual tournament wins is quite an accomplishment.”
Thompson shot a cumulative 149 through 36 holes, bettering her Friday score by one after firing a second-round 74 on Saturday. Behind Thompson SXU claimed fifth in the team standings at Blackthorn Golf Club in South Bend, Ind.
The Cougars’ two-day total was 681 (336-345) and placed them right in the middle of a nine-school field. Also scoring for SXU were freshmen Hunter Schultz (16th with a 168; 82-86), Hannah Cruz (19th with a 173; 90-83) and Katie Reno (36th with a 191; 89-102).
Freshman Marissa Hohman (49th with a 241; 126-115) completed the Cougars' lineup.
SXU was back at it this past Monday when it took part in the Deer Park Classic hosted by Cardinal Stritch University. The event ran through Tuesday.
The Cougars opened their 2014 campaign by placing seventh at the Battle of Blackthorn. Fifteen men's teams participated in the South Bend tourney.
Sophomore Kyle Yaeger paced SXU with a 149 total, good for sixth individually. Yaeger’s score, built on rounds of 75 and 74, helped the Cougars post a 618 (312-306) as a team. Also pitching in were sophomores Robert Lively (11th with a 150; 78-72) and Mark Kluk (18th with a 154; 77-77) and freshman Michael Perez (27th with a 157; 79-78), each of whom finished tied for his position.
Others representing SXU in the 80-golfer field were junior Kyle Bahnick (165; 83-82) and sophomore Zachary Trent (168; 80-88).
The Cougars men also competed in the Deer Park Classic at the start of the current week.
MEN’S CROSS COUNTRY
With only three runners available on Friday, the Cougars were unable to register a team score at the Illinois Intercollegiate Championships. However, SXU wasn’t devoid of highlights.
Junior Janis Pastars provided the biggest one by being the 10th runner down the chute at Aspen Ridge Golf Course in Bourbonnais. Pastars, who was third overall at the season-opening Twilight Invitational, completed the 8K race in 25 minutes, 39.3 seconds.
The Cougars’ other runners were junior Victor Solis and senior Kyle Counter, who clocked respective times of 27:52.8 and 27:54.6. Those put them in the 65th and 66th positions.
Next up for SXU is an appearance at the College of DuPage Invitational at St. James Park in Warrenville on Friday, Sept. 26. The men’s race is scheduled for 4:45 p.m.
WOMEN’S CROSS COUNTRY
Sophomore Nicole Watkins took 19th overall and was the Cougars’ top female runner at the Illinois Intercollegiate Championships. She covered the 5K distance in 19:34.7 as SXU was seventh among nine four-year institutions.
Junior Ann Kolker was next to finish for the Cougars as she grabbed 27th place (19:51). Freshman Alondra Delfin (38th in 20:31.5), sophomore Courtney Correa (46th, 20:50.07) and freshman Jocelyn Camacho (67th, 22:37.3) rounded out the team scoring. SXU’s other participant was freshman Diondra Woodhouse (73rd, 22:50.1).
The women join the Cougars men at the COD Invitational on Sept. 26 and will begin their race at 4 p.m.
Senior defensive specialist Jessica Galotta (Mother McAuley) produced seven kills and 13 digs on the Cougars' behalf, but that couldn't spare them from a 17-25, 25-20, 25-22, 25-20 defeat against Roosevelt University in last Tuesday's Chicagoland Collegiate Athletic Conference opener.
SXU (4-8, 0-1) never developed an offensive rhythm at the Shannon Center as it committed 24 hitting errors while putting down 33 kills over the four sets. Senior middle hitter Marie Hackert paced the Cougars with eight kills and added three blocks, one of them a solo effort. Junior outside hitter Heidi Gregerson topped SXU with five total blocks, including one solo.
Other contributors were senior setter Kelli Shaffer (25 assists, seven digs, three kills), senior libero Dominique Aramburu (22 digs) and freshman defensive specialist Shauna Meagher (three service aces). Junior right-side hitter Tori Schrementi led the Lakers (6-4, 1-0) with 14 kills.
The Cougars had a week off before returning to the court this past Tuesday versus Trinity International University in another conference match.
Senior midfielder Brandon Simoes' overtime goal allowed the Cougars to finally break into the win column as they slipped past Goshen College 2-1 last Wednesday in Goshen, Ind.
Junior forward Marco Gutierrez, who had supplied SXU with its initial tally in the 57th minute of regulation, assisted on Simoes' score four minutes into the extra session. Simoes earned an earlier assist with his corner kick that Gutierrez deposited into the Goshen net on a header.
The Cougars maintained their edge until just 5:03 remained in regulation. That's when Maple Leafs sophomore Phillip Longenecker beat SXU keeper AJ Pfatschbacher with a high shot off an assist from senior Joel Yoder. Pfatschbacher turned aside seven other Goshen shots on goal.
The Cougars generated their initial win streak of the young season by topping Benedictine University-Springfield 3-1 on Saturday at Bruce R. Deaton Field.
SXU (2-3) scored three times in the final 27 minutes to overcome a 1-0 deficit the Bulldogs (2-2) had constructed in the 61st minute on freshman Zephen Merreighn’s penalty kick. Converting for the Cougars were Gutierrez (64th minute off Dan Cordes’ free kick), Tom Lojek (76th minute off a Cordes assist) and Simoes (84th minute).
Freshman keeper Frank Valle made six saves on SXU’s behalf. The hosts held a 14-10 edge in total shots and an 8-7 advantage in shots on goal.
The Cougars were slated for a nonconference match at Cornerstone (Mich.) University this past Wednesday.
Four goals over a 28-minute stretch of the second half enabled the University of Saint Francis (Ind.) to roll past the Cougars 5-1 at Deaton Field Friday night. SXU’s lone marker came in the 88th minute from sophomore midfielder Julia Gawlak (Stagg), who was set up by junior forward Lexi Cozzi.
That tally came much too late to save SXU (0-2-2), which surrendered scores in the 53rd, 59th, 69th and 80th minutes. USF (4-1) notched its initial goal 29 minutes into the encounter.
Senior forward Anita Balciunas put two shots on goal for the Cougars, while sophomore Alex Perry and senior Danielle Koncius shared the netminding chores. Between them the two keepers stopped a total of six USF shots.
SXU returned to action this past Tuesday versus NAIA No. 7-ranked Davenport (Mich.) University at Deaton Field.