Fall sports preview

Volleyball expects to be in title hunt

The volleyball team won the 2007 NCAA national championship and enters the 2008 season with high expectations. A perennial national power, the Bears once again expect to vie for the national title.

Senior attacker Nikki Morrison is back to help the Bears defend their national title.

Three players earned All-America honors in 2007, and all three will return this year. Senior right-side attacker Nikki Morrison was a first-team All-America selection a year ago, leading the Bears with 455 kills.

Senior setter Audra Janak earned third-team All-America honors, pacing the WUSTL offense with 1,211 assists. Junior middle hitter Erin Albers garnered honorable mention All-America recognition, leading the University Athletic Association (UAA) with 1.18 blocks per game.

The Bears also welcome back senior outside hitter Alli Alberts, who was named the Most Out-standing Player of the 2007 NCAA Championship, and junior libero Laura Brazeal. Brazeal tallied 596 digs a year ago, the second-highest single-season total in school history.

Despite losing two starters to graduation, the Bears will remain strong as coach Rich Luenemann welcomed a large and talented freshman class to join the 11 returning student-athletes.

Young football team looks to compete

The football team lost 22 players to graduation last year but 13 starters will try to build on last season’s 7-3 record, which included WUSTL’s first win against a nationally ranked opponent in six years. Coach Larry Kindboom has a young team, but he should have no problem reaching this milestone: He’s one victory away from the 150th of his career.

The Bears have three senior starters who will anchor the offensive line in Dan Elliott, Nate Frogge and Paul Northrop. Senior quarterback Buck Smith threw for 1,891 yards and 13 touchdowns en route to second-team all-University Athletic Association (UAA) accolades in his first season as the signal caller. Running backs junior Matt Glenn and sophomore Jim O’Brien should provide a dynamic one-two punch out of the backfield. Glenn led the Bears in scoring last season and was second in the UAA with 12 touchdowns. O’Brien earned UAA Rookie of the Year honors and first-team all-conference accolades after leading the team with 456 yards rushing and 1,015 all-purpose yards.

The Bears have two veteran safeties to lead the charge on defense in senior strong safety Tommy Bawden and junior free safety Tim Machan. Bawden set a school record last season with a 100-yard interception return at Greenville College. Also returning on the defensive side of the ball is junior linebacker Andrew Berryman, sophomore defensive back Brandon Brown, sophomore defensive tackle Todd Palmer and senior defensive end Brent Sensenich.

Men’s soccer has high expectations

Sophomore Harry Beddo (left) returns as the Bears’ leading scorer.

Coming off of its first visit to the NCAA sectional finals since 1995, and the most successful campaign in head coach Joe Clarke’s 11 seasons, the men’s soccer squad has high expectations heading into the season.

WUSTL will return all of its top goal scorers from a year ago as it prepares for the 2008 season. Leading the Bears in scoring in 2007 was then-freshman Harry Beddo, who netted nine goals to go along with four assists leading to second-team all-University Athletic Association (UAA) recognition.

Aiding Beddo on the offensive attack will be junior midfielders John Hengel and Nat Zenner, who each tallied six goals a year ago. Overall, WUSTL returns nine players who scored 41 of their 42 goals last season.

Another key returnee will be junior goalkeeper John Smelcer. Smelcer is coming off a year in which he started all 23 games in the net, posting a 0.66 goals against average and was a second-team all-UAA selection.

In his first two seasons on the Danforth Campus, Smelcer has posted the fourth- and fifth-best single-season GAA in WUSTL history.

Several young players are ready to step in and lead the defensive unit, which lost its anchors, Elie Zenner and Onyi Okoroafor, to graduation.

Conlon takes charge of women’s soccer

First-year head coach Jim Conlon returns 23 letterwinners and seven starters from last year’s squad, which posted a 17-4 overall mark and advanced to the NCAA Sectional semifinal.

Junior forward Caryn Rosoff leads WUSTL’s bid for its third-straight University Athletic Association (UAA) championship. Rosoff, a second-team All-America selection, led the Bears with 10 goals and eight assists for 28 points. The reigning UAA MVP also led the conference in points and was second in goals scored.

Junior Libby Held and junior captain Becca Heymann, both third-team all-Central Region selections in 2007, also return for the Bears. Held, a first-team all-UAA selection in 2007, was part of a defense that allowed just 14 goals all season while posting 10 shutouts. Heymann, an honorable mention all-UAA honoree, started all 21 games in the midfield and finished second on the team in goals (9) and third in points (20).

Senior captain Caitlin Malone, a first-team all-UAA selection, was second on the team last season in scoring with nine goals and 22 points. Malone led the Bears and the UAA in game-winning goals with five.

Also returning in the Bears’ backfield is senior Carly Anderson, senior captain Shirey Lane and junior Cassie Scaman. Anderson was a second-team all-conference honoree in 2007.

Cross country teams must reload

The women’s cross country team tied its best-ever national finish, coming in third place at the 2007 NCAA Division III National Championship meet, seeing three runners earn All-America honors. However, all three of those runners graduated in May, and the Bears will look to reload in 2008.

Leading the way for the women’s team will be sophomore Taryn Surtees and juniors Hope Rathnam and Molly Schlamb. Rathnam and Schlamb both competed at the NCAA Champion-ship last season, while Surtees was named the 2007 league Rookie of the Year.

Head coach Jeff Stiles said that 2008 will serve as a bridge season for his talented men’s squad. The men’s cross country team battled injuries throughout 2007, but a healthy unit should begin to make strides toward future successes.

Sophomore Dave Spandorfer enjoyed a successful freshman year, and the Bears will also welcome back sophomore Zach Bahor, who battled injuries a year ago, and junior Alex Bearden.