Hey everyone. Guess What? PILOT ROUNDUPS ARE BACK!
It’s week three, but for some it might feel like week 283. You’re homework on your syllabi is becoming more real. (Did you know that’s the plural for syllabus? I did not until sophomore year. The things you learn in college.) Deadlines for early projects are approaching quicker than you realize. It’s starting to sink in that school is back in session.
There’s a lot going on. You have things to do, people to see, Saturdays and Sundays to waste away watching football (It was not a productive weekend for me). So, you would be forgiven if you weren’t all caught up on what’s happening with Pilot Athletics to start the season.
You shan’t worry any longer! I’ve awoken from my football-induced coma to give you an update on everything UP sports, detailing what just happened and what’s to come. Here’s the first Pilot Roundup of the 2019-20 school year.
Soccer earns wins all around
Both soccer teams won all their games last weekend, the men’s team going 2-0 in dominating fashion while the women’s team fought hard for their second win of the year. That puts both teams at 2-1-1 on the season.
The first weekend of the season was tough for the men. They tied Colgate 1-1 in their season opener and lost to Coastal Carolina 1-0. So, of course the winless Pilots responded by scoring nine goals across the next two games, including six against Davidson. They handedly took down George Washington University last Friday, winning 3-0.
It was a good comeback from a winless first week. A total goal differential of 9-0 is nothing to scoff at, and it shows why this men’s team was ranked to start the year. They dropped out of the rankings after week one, but after a pair of commanding victories last weekend, Portland might be back on the national radar.
Getting some road wins would be a great way for them to establish themselves as a team to be reckoned with, and they’ll have that opportunity this week. It’s off to a rough start with a 2-0 loss to Seattle University on Thursday, but they have a chance for redemption at the University of Wisconsin on Sunday at 5 p.m.
The women’s team, meanwhile, had to fight for every goal in a 2-1 victory against the Denver Pioneers, rallying from an early own goal. Senior midfielder Kimberly Hazlett scored her first goal of the year while freshman forward MJ Roe scored the first of her career in the team’s home opener.
It hasn’t been easy going to start the season for Portland. They had a grueling double overtime season opening draw against a solid University of Washington squad and a less than ideal 4-0 loss to University of North Carolina, who’s ranked second in the nation. All of those games, including their 1-0 victory over New Mexico, were on the road.
Now, they’ll travel on Friday to Eugene for a matchup against the Oregon Ducks at 7 p.m. After that they’ll be home for a game against Seattle University on Sunday.
Volleyball goes 2-1 at home tournament
Volleyball put together a solid weekend, going 2-1 with victories against Idaho and Utah State and a loss against Washington State that went 23-10 last season.
As our very own Morgan Wahler broke down, the Pilots saw positive contributions from players young and old. Senior middle blockers Shayla Hoeft and Katie Barker continued to be leaders on the court, with Hoeft leading the team in kills and making the All-Tournament Team.
The new additions also brought plenty to the table. Freshmen Grace Zilbert and Jayde Harris played vital roles in each match while Claire Forrest, a sophomore transfer from Seton Hall, recorded seven blocks and 17 kills over the weekend.
It hasn’t been as magical a start to 2019 as 2018 was, but 4-2 is still good. Hoeft along with junior Kelli Hughes both noted that there was plenty of positive signs (good back row play, solid defense), but also some struggles as well, like forced hitting errors, lack of height. They still have five preseason games before conference play, but ironing out these difficulties could make a tough WCC slate a lot easier.
Volleyball will go south to Las Cruces, New Mexico to participate in the NMSU Invitational. They play two games on Friday — Grambling State at 10 a.m. and New Mexico State at 6 p.m. — and one game Saturday against Lamar University at 10 a.m.
Cross country definitely shaking off the rust
I said it before the season and I will say it one more time: Both cross country teams are two of the best in the west, and they’ve shown why in these first couple of meets.
At the PSU Viking Rust Buster this past Saturday, one could argue that rust was certainly busted. (I apologize for that joke.) The men’s team finished first overall while the women’s team finished third. Every runner across both teams set personal records, with the exception of two.
The Rust Buster victory marks the second team victory of the season for the men’s team. Redshirt junior Reuben Kiprono took the individual title in the men’s race with a time of 18 minutes, 11.9 seconds in the 6,000-meter. Five Pilots finished in the top ten on the men’s team.
The women’s team only had one top-10 finisher, Grace Perkins, with a time of 14:13.5 and a seventh-place finish. But every runner set a personal record in the 4,000-meter except for Alexandra Newsom.
Most of the early meets are usually tune-ups to get back in shape and also get runners who may not run at Nationals or bigger meets some work. They’ll have the week off from competition before they compete at the Western Oregon University Sundowner on Sept. 20.
Kyle Garcia is the Sports editor for The Beacon. He can be reached at email@example.com.