Three teams to prepare for postseason

The+GNAC+champion+Wildcats+pose+with+the+championship+banner+after+defeating+Humboldt+State+University+42-28+Nov.+11.+The+Wildcats+will+now+prepare+for+the+playoffs.
The GNAC champion Wildcats pose with the championship banner after defeating Humboldt State University 42-28 Nov. 11. The Wildcats will now prepare for the playoffs.

The GNAC champion Wildcats pose with the championship banner after defeating Humboldt State University 42-28 Nov. 11. The Wildcats will now prepare for the playoffs.

Photo Courtesy of CWU Athletics

Photo Courtesy of CWU Athletics

The GNAC champion Wildcats pose with the championship banner after defeating Humboldt State University 42-28 Nov. 11. The Wildcats will now prepare for the playoffs.

Simo Rul, Senior Sports Reporter

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Photo Courtesy of CWU Athletics
The GNAC champion Wildcats pose with the championship banner after defeating Humboldt State University 42-28 Nov. 11. The Wildcats will now prepare for the playoffs.

As the fall sports season wraps up, some teams are looking forward to the playoffs and some are looking to regroup for next season. Football, volleyball and women’s rugby are looking to keep their seasons alive, while cross country and women’s soccer are looking to regroup and perform better in 2018.

It has been a year of highs for several teams as the CWU football team is ranked seventh in the nation and first in the region, volleyball is top three in the GNAC and ranked No. 6 in the region and women’s rugby is ranked No. 3 in the nation. Football and women’s rugby know their fate as they head into the postseason, while volleyball’s future is still uncertain.

Football take GNAC

The CWU football team’s regular season is done and the Wildcats finished undefeated at 11-0. The Wildcats defeated Humboldt  in their final game 42-28 last Saturday to win the GNAC title, their first since 2012. This is their first playoff appearance since 2009 when the team went undefeated in the regular season, but lost in the playoffs to finish 12-1. The 2012 team did not make the playoffs based on their super region ranking, even though they won the conference title..

“Our goal is to win a national championship, so I’m excited for playoffs and see where we get seeded and everything; its going to be good,” senior linebacker Sean Elledge said.

Elledge said that this season is exciting for the school because they haven’t had this type of record since 2009 and that there is a lot of support from everyone at CWU and also the Ellensburg community.

The Wildcats finished the season as GNAC champions. Currently they are ranked No. 7 in the nation and are No. 1 in their region. With the Wildcats being ranked No. 1 in their region, this means they have a first-round bye. They will play the winner of Winona State and Texas A&M Commerce. They also have the home field advantage up to the semifinals, if they are to advance that far.

Rugby NIRA tournament

The No. 3 CWU women’s rugby is preparing for the NIRA playoffs. The Wildcats have a bye in the quarterfinals and will await the winner of Norwich University and Quinnipiac University.

The Wildcats finished their regular season with a 4-3 record. They have faced potential semifinal opponent Quinnipiac University twice, coming away with a 1-1 record, but they have not faced Norwich this season. According to head coach Trevor Richards the team wants to focus on committing to what they have already been working on, such as finishing their tackles and communicating with each other because they have struggled in these areas, in order to be successful.

“The rest of our game I think is pretty good, I think we access space really well and we just play for each other. I think now the final piece being able to trust each other and making sure we finish our tackles,” Richards said.  

Volleyball makes a move

The CWU volleyball team is currently 19-7 on the season and 14-4 in the GNAC. The Wildcats are ranked third in the GNAC and sixth in the region. The top eight teams from the region go to the postseason.

The Wildcats have not lost back-to-back games this season. When the losses did happen, they were usually quickly followed by winning streaks. However, they aren’t getting ahead of themselves by any means.

“We really just take it game by game,” junior outside hitter Maggie McTaggart said. “We just look to the next opponent, sometimes that stuff can cloud your thoughts and heads. We just really take it one thing at a time.”

Soccer looks to refuel

The CWU women’s soccer team missed the playoffs after finishing with a GNAC record of 1-9-2 . While they are losing seven seniors this year, they are looking to bring in a new recruiting class to help them have a strong next season.

“We have some talented girls coming in offensively, we definitely have to improve defensively,” head coach Michael Farrand said. “We have a couple girls we have an eye on right now defensively who would be great.”

According to Farrand it will be tough to replace players like senior midfielder Mackenzie Nolte, senior forward Whitney Lowe and senior defender Abbie Litka, but they have had a good jump on the recruiting class they are looking to bring in.

Nolte holds numerous records for CWU, while Lowe and Litka have also been important in the Wildcats success the past few years.

XC looks to next year

CWU men’s and women’s cross-country teams competed at the NCAA Division II West Regional Championship on Nov. 4 in Monmouth, Oregon.

Junior Alexa Shindruk was eight seconds away from qualifying for nationals. Shindruk finished in 18th place.

“We knew Alexa Shindruk was going to have a really good chance [to qualify],” head coach Kevin Adkisson said. “She ran a super gutsy race, was actually right in the position to be one of those qualifiers individually.”

The Wildcats are in a good spot going into next season as the only senior leaving for either team is senior Ron Leaf. Shindruk will be back to lead the way for the women’s side and the men’s side will have four seniors to lead the way, to name a few runners that are coming back are juniors Tyler Humphries and Corbin Carlton .

For the teams moving on to the postseason, the next few weeks will be especially important as they size up their opponents and put the final touches on their plays. For the team whose season ended earlier than they would have liked, they will have already begun planning for their comeback next year.

 

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Three teams to prepare for postseason