Soccer, Football, and Cross Country Come to a Close
The highlight of the fall sports season came to an end during the first round of the national tournament. Our Bucs took on Washington University Nov. 13 in St. Louis. They got an automatic bid into the tournament by running the tables in the conference tournament to clinch a spot. For more details, Grady Spencer’22 took an in-depth look at that run for the Midwest Championship a few weeks back.
In the opening round the Bucs were out-matched, simply put. WashU was a nationally ranked team and top ranked in the region. It would have taken a miracle for the Bucs to win. It was sort of a David versus Goliath matchup. WashU has multiple national championships, most recently in 2016. Whereas our Bucs are making only their first tournament appearance. As a result WashU won the game 4-0, leading by three at halftime. Beloit also only had eight shots on goal. That just shows the dominance WashU employed against the undermatched Buccaneers.
Regardless of the outcome, it was still an experience that those women got to experience. Taylor Goodyear’22 said “It honestly was one of the best experiences… that’s not something many get to experience.” She is absolutely right, it’s a prestigious achievement. Mikaila Davis’23 said “We were able to experience just how competitive it is. Teams are willing to do whatever it takes to move on.” Continuing on to say how valuable that experience was. And how motivating it was to her and her teammates.
Goodyear was one of four seniors; Midori Tanada’22, Christy Melton’22 and Makenna Downing’22. Goodyear had a chance to reflect on her four years, she said “My best friends are all players… and getting to compete with them was the highlight of my time at Beloit.” Finishing that chapter is such a bittersweet moment.
For those returning players it is something that they can build on and know they know exactly what it takes. Davis said that their goal is to continue to get better each time they compete, practice and play their games. “Coach McKee has always set our standards high and that’s because we have a team that has the chemistry, skill, and mentality to always achieve more.” This team now has a taste of the NCAA tournament, look for them to take a bite out of it next year.
The football season also wrapped up on the same day as women’s soccer. They finished 0-10. Their final game came against Illinois College, who was riding a four game win streak after starting 0-5. The Bucs lost the game only by a score of 21-3. Two late IC touchdowns lead to that score. Otherwise, it was close all the way through. The half time score was 7-0 and it was 7-3 after the third quarter.
Despite the record, Beloit did do things right throughout the year. For starters, they had a knack for forcing turnovers. On the year they forced 12 total turnovers. They recovered nine fumbles, one in each of their first four games and three against Lawrence as well as intercepting three passes. On the offensive side, they were highlighted by AJ Fitzpatrick’24 who did double duties as the return man. At receiver he hauled in 40 passes for 351 yards and three touchdowns. Despite some flashes at QB, Jacob Shafer’24 struggled on the year. He tallied 1,009 yards, four touchdown passes and 12 interceptions.
Coming into the year the team had a record setting number of players. However, most of them had never played a college snap. The first few games were filled with growing pains. But as the season went on you could tell those young players were getting more comfortable and playing a little bit more confidently. While only losing seven players to graduation and an undisclosed number of recruits coming in, look for those young players this year to be difference-makers next year.
Speaking of those seven seniors, they are Silas Say’22, Dallas McKinney’22, Josh Shapiro’22, Robert Franklin’22, Jonathan Lombardo’22, Corey McNea’22 and Brady Card’22. It’s not easy playing college sports, let alone a physical sport like football. As a spectator, I applaud you seven for all you’ve gone through and have done in your four years. I’m sure Beloit football is proud to have you all as alumni.
Cross country regionals happened also on Nov 13. Beloit sent nine runners. They were Alexandre Atou’24, Christian Bowers’25, Aidan Cortinas’25, Carter Browne’25, Marianna Carus’24 and Josie Czuj’25, Aaron Holzmueller’22, Maggie Baugh’22 and Maddie Holicky’22. None posted good enough times to move one, but all got a chance to compete at the regionals. Which should only help moving forward.
There were only four total seniors; Holzmueller, Baugh, Holicky and Montana McMahon’22. Similar to football, I can’t imagine running for my sport. As Jacob Topefer’23 wrote in his article a few weeks back commending you all for running the miles you do. I would just like to echo that and show my gratitude for the runners who put four years of hard work into the cross country program.
That’s a wrap on fall sports. There are not as many winter sports, men’s and women’s basketball and mens’ and women’s swim and dive. Keep an eye on the Beloit College Athletics webpage to see when your Bucs are in action.