Pilot Roundup: Volleyball win streak snapped, but other teams performed well

By Kyle Garcia | September 27, 2018 6:54pm
Pilots dive for the ball trying to make a save.
Media Credit: Jeff Braccia / The Beacon

Saturday was a tough day for Oregon sports, as the Oregonian tweeted in such a downtrodden manner.

The Portland Pilots Twitter account made an interesting observation.

The Oregonian quickly rectified the situation with a quick congratulations.

Yes, soccer performed very well this weekend as @PortlandPilots let The Oregonian know, but it wasn’t a perfect weekend for all UP sports. Let’s take a look at how everyone performed.

Volleyball comes back down to Earth

Volleyball had the feel good story of the year up to this point; the team was undefeated at 12-0 going into conference play, their best record to start the season ever. New head coach Jeff Baxter was off to one of the best starts for any coach in D1 history. They had gotten big wins against Hawaii and Boise State on the road and were tied for the lead in the WCC with the no. 1 team in the nation, BYU. Nothing could stop the Pilots it seemed.

Then something stopped them.

Pepperdine demolished the Pilots in a 3-0 sweep this past Thursday. The Pilots never had control and struggled to gain any momentum. It was a tough end to what was a glorious streak and a bad omen for what may be coming in conference play.

The Pilots were more competitive with the Loyola Marymount Lions, another tough team that going into the game was 10-2. However, they still couldn’t pull out a victory, with the Lions escaping Chiles with a 3-2 win.

It was a tough weekend for the Pilots, and it’s not going to get easier from here. This week they’ll go up against San Diego and BYU, two teams that historically have dominated the conference. San Diego has struggled so far this year, going 4-7 so far this year, so there is a chance that the Pilots take them down on Thursday. BYU, however, is a different story. The only undefeated team left in the conference is not likely to go down easy, especially since the Pilots are on the road. 

It seems like the Pilots could easily fall to 0-4 in conference play after a strong start to the season. Whether they will continue to struggle in the WCC remains to be seen, but it has not been an auspicious start.

Soccer is still doing great though!

With volleyball’s losses, men’s soccer now stands alone as the lone undefeated team on campus. They swept the weekend with big wins against in-state rival Oregon State and the 24th ranked Coastal Carolina Chanticleers. 

Benji Michel continues to stand out for his solid play. He had two goals over the weekend and is now up to eight goals for the year, the most in the WCC. He is also leading the conference in total points at seventeen and average points per game with 1.89. 

The Pilots moved up to 13th in the nation in United Soccer Coaches Poll and are second in the WCC so far. They play one more game before they start conference play, facing off against Northern Illinois this Friday at 7 p.m. on Merlo Field.

Also, in case you were curious like I was, here’s what chanticleer looks like.

A chanticleer

Pretty neat!

The women’s team also went undefeated this weekend with a road win against North Dakota and and a win at Merlo against Seattle University. The team has now officially passed their win total from last year and continues to improve under new head coach Michelle French.

Sophomore Taryn Ries had another goal this weekend coming off a fantastic weekend last week where she scored three in two games. She’s at six now for the year is tied for third in the conference in total goals. 

Goalkeeper Rachel Lusby also had a stellar weekend, earning WCC Player of the Week honors for her outstanding play. Lusby had 11 combined saves through two games this weekend, both of which were shutouts. She currently leads the WCC in fewest goals allowed (seven), goals against average (0.63) and shutouts (six). Lusby has been a staple for the Pilots all season and continues to impress.

Overall the women’s team has outplayed expectations this year and have a lot of momentum going into conference play this week. They’ll be going on the road against San Diego and BYU this weekend to start WCC play, two teams that are right in the middle of the pack of the conference. It’ll be a telling game for the Pilots, giving them an idea of how they’ll perform in a conference they were picked to finish seventh in. With the way they’re playing right now, they could easily exceed their projection.

Cross Country was back in action, too

Both cross country teams were back in action this past weekend. The men’s team continues to dominate the competition, finishing first overall while the women’s team finished fourth.

Redshirt sophomore Reuben Kiprono finished first overall with a time of 24:39.5 in the men’s 8k. All six runners for the men’s team finished in the top 15.

Men's cross country finished first at the Dellinger Invite this past weekend.
by Kim Spir / The Beacon

The women’s team ran without some of their best runners this past Friday, but still they showed some progress. Redshirt senior Rebecca Howard was the top finisher for the team, coming in 12th with at time of 20:51.2 in the 6k. Three other runners also finished in the top 25: juniors Natalie Smith and Maddy Lyons finished 16th and 19th while redshirt freshman Katelyn Schultz finished 23rd.

It’s been another solid year for the cross country teams, and so far they have shown no signs of slowing down. 

What’s up next?

Most teams are on the road this weekend. Both the volleyball team and the women’s soccer team will travel to San Diego and Provo to begin conference play against the Toreros and the Cougars. Both teams play San Diego on Thursday Sept. 27 at 7 p.m. and on Saturday volleyball plays BYU at 1 p.m. while the Pilots play at 6 p.m.

The men’s soccer team will play another home game this weekend against a solid Northern Illinois team. The Huskies are the no. 24 team according to Top Drawer Soccer and should be a challenge for the Pilots. They play on Friday Sept. 28 at 7 p.m.

Both cross country teams are also back in action this weekend. They’ll run in the Nuttycombe Invite on Friday Sept. 28 in Madison, WI and then fly back to Salem, Oregon for a meet the next day on Sept. 29.

Stay tuned for the next Pilot Roundup.