Sports updates May 9

Softball earns 10th straight bid to NCAA tournament

The softball team learned May 9 it earned an at-large bid to the NCAA Division III championship and will make its 10th consecutive postseason appearance.

WUSTL will play in the eight-team Midwest Regional on Thursday through Monday, May 12-16, at Central College in Pella, Iowa.

The fourth-seeded Bears, who finished the regular season with a 31-10-11 overall record, face No. 5 seed Fontbonne University Thursday, May 12.

Top-seeded Linfield College (41-2) takes on No. 8 seed Anderson University (28-13) at 10 a.m. in the opening game May 12. Other games that day are No. 3 seed Coe College (36-9) and No. 6 seed University of Wisconsin-Whitewater (26-10) at 2 p.m., followed by No. 2 seed Central College (35-7) and No. 7 seed Benedictine University (37-6) at 4 p.m.

WUSTL owns an all-time postseason record of 21-18 (.538). The Bears won the school’s lone regional championship in 2007, and advanced to the College World Series that year before falling in the national championship game.

Women’s golf headed back to NCAA tournament

The women’s golf team will make its second-consecutive appearance in the NCAA Division III championship. The Bears earned an at-large bid to the tournament, which will be played on Tuesday-Friday, May 10-13, at the Mission Inn Resort in Howey-in-the-Hills, Fla.

WUSTL is its third season as a varsity sport and ranked No. 5 in the Golf World/National Golf Coaches Association (NGCA) women’s coaches’ poll. The team placed in the top-five in nine of 10 tournaments in which it competed. The Bears won the Maryville Fall Warm-Up Classic Sept. 2, 2010; the Illinois College Spring Invitational April 3 and the Millikin University Spring Classic April 15.

The “junior” season of the program has brought overwhelming success with the Bears posting a record of 109-4 against Division III schools, while shooting a 329.24 stroke average per round as a team. WUSTL finished the regular season ranked No. 5 in the NCAA Division III head-to-head rankings.

Sophomore Hannah Buck and freshman Andrea Hibbert lead a group of five golfers who will compete in the NCAA championship tournament. Buck has fired an 80 or lower in 11 of 17 rounds, which is tops on the team and ranks sixth in NCAA Division III with a 79.12 stroke average. Hibbert has carded 17 rounds at 85 or lower, and ranks 28th in Division III with an 81.24 average. Sophomore Melanie Walsh (84.88) and freshmen Allyson Chee (85.18) and Marcy Koonce (86.35) round out the starting lineup.

Last season, the Bears placed 19th out of 20 teams at the NCAA championship after firing a four-day total of 1,459 (352-374-363-370). Buck earned NGCA second-team All-America and first-team all-central honors after finishing 21st at the NCAA Championship.

The championship will consist of both team and individual competition conducted concurrently. The tournament consists of 72 holes of play over four days of competition. In the team competition, the low four scores from each team for each day will count in the team’s total score.

Men’s tennis ends regular season on a high note

The No. 6 men’s tennis team concluded regular season play with an 8-1 victory at No. 17 DePauw University May 7 in Greencastle, Ind.

The Bears jumped ahead 2-1 following doubles play after a pair of 8-6 wins at No. 1 and No. 3 doubles. The 19th-ranked doubles team of seniors Isaac Stein and Max Woods won at first doubles, while sophomores Gary Parizer and Adam Putterman posted a victory at third doubles.

A pair of hard-fought victories at No. 1 and No. 2 singles highlighted six wins for the Bears. Stein rallied for a 4-6, 6-3, 7-5 win over Michael Rardon at first singles, while Woods also rallied posting a 4-6, 6-4, 7-5 victory over Sam Miles at second singles. Putterman (No. 3, 6-1, 6-4), Parizher (No. 4, 6-2, 6-2), sophomore Kareem Farah (No. 5, 6-1, 3-6, 6-1) and sophomore Bryan Haywood (No. 6, 6-1, 6-4) all added straight-set singles wins for the Bears.

The team will send two singles players and a doubles team to the 2011 NCAA Division III Men’s Tennis Individual Championships May 27-29 in southern California. Stein and Woods will represent WUSTL in the 32-man singles draw and are one of 16 doubles teams.

Women’s tennis wins at DePauw

The No. 13 women’s tennis team continued its hot streak to end the regular season with a come-from-behind 6-3 win at No. 17 DePauw University May 7 in Greencastle, Ind.

The Bears (16-5), who finished third at the 2011 University Athletic Association (UAA) Championship two weeks ago, have won eight of their last 10 matches.

WUSTL has five wins over ranked opponents during that stretch and has risen to No. 3 in the NCAA Central Region rankings. The Bears are hoping for a fourth-straight at-large bid into the NCAA tournament when this year’s bracket is announced.

DePauw held a 2-1 lead over WUSTL through doubles action, but the Bears won five of the six singles matches en route to the 6-3 win.

Senior Elise Sambol and freshman Theresa Petraskova each earned a pair of wins. The duo picked up an 8-4 win over Elizabeth Young and Meg Crowley at second doubles, while Petraskova was a 7-5, 6-4, winner over Crowly at No. 4 singles, and Sambol defeated Young 6-3, 7-5, at No. 5 singles. The Bears led 4-3 as sophomore Paige Madara beat Katie Regan 6-4, 7-5, in the sixth singles contest, and freshman Evelyn Qin clinched the victory by outlasting Kelly Gebert, 6-1, 2-6, 6-0, in the No. 2 singles match.

Track team competes at Monmouth College Invitational

The men’s and women’s outdoor track and field teams were in competition at the Monmouth College Invitational May 7 in Monmouth, Ill.

The women’s team finished second out of 11 schools with a team score of 133.7 points, while the men placed fourth with 67 points.

Junior Liz Phillips highlighted the women’s performances with a first-place, NCAA Division III outdoor championship provisional qualifying mark of 4:34.39, which ranks 11th in the country. Junior Erica Jackey won the 800-meter (2:19.25) and junior Molly Wawrzyniak posted a first-place, provisional qualifying mark in the 3,000-steeplechase (11:06.39).

On the men’s side, junior Dan Davis won the 110-meter hurdles (15.01), senior Alden Black finished first in the 1,500 (3:57.16) and freshman Justin Pieper cleared 2.01 meters in the high jump, just 0.02 shy of the school record, to grab first place.

Both teams return to action for the North Central College Dr. Keeler Invitational, Thursday and Friday, May 12 and 13, in Naperville, Ill.