Deja vu all over again

Two teams qualify for postseason play, but old rivals cut the season short

by Chris Thompson

Logger women’s teams kicked, blocked, headed, and spiked their way to national prominence this fall. Women’s soccer won its fourth consecutive Northwest Conference title, in the process racking up an astonishing 17 regular-season shutouts. And after being picked to finish seventh in the Northwest Conference, the volleyball team proved everyone wrong by tieing for second in the league with nationally ranked Linfield College.

As conference champions, women’s soccer won an automatic trip to Atlanta for the first round of the NCAA Division III tournament, where the Loggers picked up their 18th and 19th shutouts, defeating Maryville College 3-0 and Emory University 2-0.

The team barely had time to catch its breath before boarding a plane for Chicago and the NCAA Sectional. There, the Loggers took on undefeated Macalester College in an epic battle that remained scoreless through 90 minutes of regulation and 20 minutes of overtime. The game officially went down as a tie in the record book, but a shootout determined who would advance to the national quarterfinals. After goalkeeper Erin Williams ’06 made a crucial save in the ninth round, Fiona Gornick ’09 booted the game-winning penalty kick and advanced the Loggers to the sectional final.

On a cold November afternoon, the women of UPS faced the University of Chicago, the same school that had knocked the Loggers out of the playoffs in 2003. Alas, history repeated itself as neither team could find the net during regulation, just like the last time the two met. Then, with 53 seconds remaining in overtime, Chicago’s Renee Neuner scored, sending the Maroons to the Final Four in Greensboro, N.C.

It was an abrupt end to a nevertheless great season. The team put five players on the All-NWC first team, including Offensive Player of the Year Cortney Kjar ’06 and Defensive Player of the Year Katie Wullbrandt ’06. First-year Head Coach Dan Keene was named NWC Coach of the Year. Kjar and Williams were named to the 2005 National Soccer Coaches Association of America/adidas Women’s NCAA Division III All- America First Team.

The volleyball team’s second-place conference finish was good enough to earn an at-large spot in the NCAA West Regional at Whitworth College. The fourth-seed Loggers faced fifth-seed Cal State East Bay in the first match. UPS played well, but Cal State, which cut short the Loggers’ tournament appearance in 2002, made the necessary adjustments and took the match three games to one.

Head Coach Mark Massey was named Northwest Conference Coach of the Year for the second time, and Kayla Roof ’09 was elected to the First Team All-NWC. Roof was also honored by the American Volleyball Coaches Association, which awarded her West Region Freshman of the Year, as well as First Team All-West Region and Honorable Mention All-America.