Five fall sports kick off the new school year

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Five fall sports kick off the new school year

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Cross country

Both the men and women begin their season on September 9 in the Forest Park Cross Country Festival in St. Louis.  They will also compete in the National Catholic Championships in Notre Dame, Indiana on September 16.  The men have a young roster, with lone senior Neal Fitzpatrick taking the reins.  Freshman Aaron Dugan is the only rookie on the squad.  They are a sophomore-heavy team, with 10 of the 14 members being in their second year.  The women also have one senior, Nina Razavi, but the four returning juniors will bring experience to the squad.  The team is looking to fill the shoes of graduate standout Isabel Leibfried.  Sophomores Elise Marker, Courtney Pfansteil and Anna Schmitz return after strong freshman seasons for the Billikens.

Men’s soccer

The men’s squad comes off a 8-7-2 record in 2015.  They have 11 new faces—nine freshmen and two transfers—to add to the experienced 30-man roster.  The Billikens sit on a 1-1 record after their first weekend against two top-10 teams.  Sophomore defender Lennart Hein and forward Anthony Brown look to make an impact this year, both holding onto Atlantic 10 Conference All-Rookie honors.  Senior defender Joe Saad is back for his final season as the Billikens’ leading returning scorer.  The men have been selected as the A-10 favorite with Dayton, last year’s conference winner, hot on their heels.  Head coach Mike McGinty returns for his seventh season with the Billikens.

Women’s soccer

SLU women’s soccer finished 2015 with an 8-9-2 record, good enough to finish 10th out of 14 Atlantic-10 teams. The goal for 2016 will be to finish eighth and earn a spot in the A-10 Championship. Many important contributors to last year’s team will return, including senior forward Danielle Tolmais, who led the team with 15 points, senior forward Kirsten Clemens, who tied for second with 14 points, and senior forward/midfielder Cristina Rodriguez, who tied for the team lead with five assists. Other returning players include senior midfielder Shaney Sakamoto, senior midfielder Tori Marshall, senior defender Kacey Bright, sophomore forward/midfielder Maddie Pokorny and sophomore defender Carli Bond.

Volleyball

SLU women’s volleyball posted a strong 2015 season, finishing 22-10 and reaching the Atlantic-10 Conference championship match, where they lost to Dayton. However, SLU will be looking to win the conference in 2016, as four starters and a libero are amongst the returning players this season. Senior outside hitter Danielle Rygelski, a 2015 AVCA All-Midwest Region honoree and a first-team All-Atlantic 10 honoree, will return. She enters the season with 1,285 career kills, fifth among active NCAA Division I student-athletes, and is eighth on SLU’s all-time kill list. Also returning are junior outside hitter Nenye Okoro, senior middle blocker Taylor Paulson, junior middle blocker Lauren Leverenz and junior libero Mackenzie Long.

Field hockey

The field hockey team is back in action with five newcomers and new head coach Danielle Baumgardner at the helm of the program.  The Billikens also have a new home turf: Sportport International, in Maryland Heights, Missouri.  They return sophomore midfielder Carly Kissinger, the Billikens’ top scorer, and sophomore midfielder Molly Feid, who had three goals and two assists for the women.  SLU started the exhibition season with two big wins against Missouri State and Lindenwood, both 2-1.  The women dropped to 0-2 after their first weekend, losing matches against Miami of Ohio and Longwood in Farmville, Virginia.  The Billikens have six home contests in the upcoming season.