Football: The Wittenberg Tigers Football team made their 2017 season one for the history books; as the team won their 15th NCAC Championship with a perfect regular season and a 10-1 finish overall, while head coach Joe Fincham earned his 200th win of his coaching career.
The Tigers looked unstoppable this season when their offense and defense was firing on all cylinders. The team that was made-up of mainly first-time starters spent the entire season ranked in the top 25 in the country, according to the d3football.com coaches poll. The team appeared to be in position to make a run at the National Championship by entering playoffs as the ninth team and got the opportunity to play at home in the first round of the Division III NCAA Tournament. However, a determined Frostburg State team took advantage of a sloppy November day and beat the Tigers 35-7.
Volleyball: The 2017 season was not a surprise for the Women’s Volleyball team as they continued to dominate their opponents and build on the program’s winning tradition. The Tigers accomplished many things throughout their 27-3 season; they won their 11th straight NCAC Championship, eighth Regional Championship and capped off the campaign by finishing as National Runner-up in the NCAA DIII Tournament.
The team was ranked in the top 15, according to the American Volleyball Coaches Association poll, for the entire season and most of that time was spent in first, although they couldn’t pull off the win against Claremont-Mudd-Scripps in the National Championship game. Lone senior Maddie Fisher was one of several players who helped lead to a successful season; her and sophomore Aubrey Cox were named to the All-Tournament Team. Junior setter Karen Wildemann was also named to the All-Tournament Team and was a recipient of the Elite 90 Award, which recognizes student athletes who reached the pinnacle of competition at the national championship level while achieving the highest academic standard among her peers.
Men’s Soccer: The Wittenberg University Men’s Soccer team closed out 2017 with a losing record of 5-12-1. Although the team had their fair share of struggles, there were many bright moments for the team throughout the season. The brightest moment came in the team’s last game against the Terriers of Hiram College. It’s one thing to end the season with a win, but an exciting double-overtime finish makes it that much better. After graduating nine seniors, the program looks to build their talents through recruitment for the 2019 season.
Women’s Soccer: The 2017 season will be one that fans can’t forget about, after the women’s soccer team won their fourth NCAC Championship in program history and first on the road. The team’s 9-7-3 record gave them an opportunity to play in the NCAA tournament where they beat Thomas More 3-2 in thrilling overtime fashion in the opening round; where freshmen Kaitlyn Krieg scored her first collegiate hat-trick. The Tigers season would come to an end in the following round after losing to the defending NCAA DIII National Champions Washington University Bears of St. Louis.
The team managed to place five women on the all-NCAC list. Winning first team honors were junior Megan Davis, senior Jordyn Wright and sophomore Emma Thacker, ’20. Winning second team honors was Krieg and sophomore Kenzie Mason.
Cross Country: The Wittenberg Men’s and Women’s Cross-Country teams closed out their 2017 season in a sprint.
The men’s team concluded their season with a ninth-place finish at the NCAC Championships and placed 27 in the NCAA Division III Great Lakes Regional Championship Meet. Junior Charles Rodeheffer was the male athlete that stood out the most, after finishing eighth in the NCAC, earning Great Lakes All-Region honors and running a personal best 8k race time of 26:04.5.
The women’s team ended their season with an eighth-place finish at the NCAC Championship and placed 30th in the NCAA Division III Great Lakes Regional Championship Meet. The female athlete that seemed to always cross the finish line first was sophomore Alexis Gray, who ran a season best of 23:29.3 in the 6k race. Head coach Craig Penney said the team has a bright future and looks forward to what lies ahead.
Golf: After winning last year’s Division III National Championship, the Men’s Golf program seems to be putting themselves in a position to repeat. The Tigers ran away with the first half of the season by winning the 2017 NCAC Fall Preview tournament by 13 strokes and a score of 596. At the Fall Preview, sophomore Isaac Hartley took second place while sophomore Cooper Taylor followed in the standings with a score of 74-73.
The Women’s Golf team put themselves in good position after taking the 2017 NCAC Fall Preview by storm with a second-place finish that had all six Tigers finishing in the top-20. Jane Hopkinson-Wood continued her dominant senior campaign by finishing in first-place in the preview and earning four NCAC Golfer of the Week honors. Both teams will begin the second half of their season in the spring under new head coach, Michael Leotta.
Tennis: Tyler Johnston, the new head coach of Wittenberg’s Men’s and Women’s Tennis teams, started the season off right with an unbeaten (2-0) women’s team and a determined (0-1) men’s team. The doubles pairing of junior Sarah Gallup and freshmen Harunya Ravidran have proven to be a force to be reckoned with by going into the spring season with a perfect record. With new and improved, re-surfaced courts, the Tigers look to forward to a fresh start for the spring season.
Field Hockey: The Women’s Field Hockey team continued their winning tradition after finishing the season with a winning record of 14-6 and a second-place finish in the NCAC Championship Tournament. The Tigers had a back-and-forth battle against the Denison Big Red, but fell short of the championship title after losing 3-2 in the team’s first appearance in the NCAC finals since 2010.
The team managed to place five women on the all-NCAC list and three on the Division III All-Region squad. Senior Zara Tickner earned first-team NCAC and first-team regional honors. Senior Maddie Goelz and freshmen Channa Visseren both earned second-team NCAC and regional honors. Senior Audrey Coler and junior Isabella Wagner both earned all-NCAC honorable mentions.