WUSTL sports teams are enjoying an unprecedented string of success.
The men’s and women’s soccer teams, the volleyball team and women’s cross country all are competing this weekend in NCAA Div. III postseason play and still have a shot at a national title. And the men’s and women’s basketball teams begin regular-season play this weekend as preseason No. 1 teams in NCAA Div. III.
Men’s soccer has reached the “Sweet 16,” NCAA sectionals for the first time since 1997 — head coach Joe Clarke’s first season on campus — and host the next round this weekend at Francis Field.
Women’s soccer also has reached the sectionals for the second straight season.
The volleyball team is making its eighth straight NCAA quarterfinal appearance and has advanced to the final eight in 16 of the past 17 seasons.
Not to be outdone, the women’s cross country team won its third-straight NCAA Midwest Regional Championship and will be running for their first cross country national title in Minnesota.
Besides the No. 1 rankings in basketball, both the men’s and women’s teams are the favorites to defend their University Athletic Association (UAA) championships, based on preseason polling of UAA coaches.
The men’s team, ranked No. 1 preseason by Basketball Times, D3hoops.com, DIII News and Sporting News, has won eight conference championships. The women’s team, ranked No. 1 by USA Today/ESPN Coaches and Basketball Times, has captured 10 straight titles and 17 of the 20 league championships.
The men’s team returns four starters from last season, including senior forward Troy Ruths and junior point guard Sean Wallis. Both Ruths and Wallis were named preseason All-Americans by the Basketball Times, DIII News and D3hoops.com.
The women’s team, which finished second in the Division III NCAA Tournament last season, is returning two starters in junior forward Jaimie McFarlin and junior guard Jill Brandt. McFarlin is a DIII News preseason All-America honorable mention selection. The Bears will also welcome back junior guard Shanna-Lei Dacanay, who started seven of the team’s first nine games last season before suffering a season-ending injury.
The men’s team opens the season Friday, Nov. 16, against Ohio Northern University at the Calvin Tip-Off Tourney in Grand Rapids, Mich. The women also begin their season Nov. 16 against No. 15 Illinois Wesleyan University at the DePauw Tip-Off Classic in Greencastle, Ind.