Spring sports look forward to upcoming season

Three State champion teams return to action

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Libby Larch

The varsity softball team opened its season with a win over Carmel.

Chandler Watson & Max Wirth, Sports Co-Editors

Men’s track

Varsity Head Coach Mr. John O’Hara ’02 (third season as head coach) is joined by assistant coaches Mr. Jim Nohl ’78, Mr. Brian Gross, Mr. Joe Sander and Mr. Dennis Thomas.

Highlights from the 2017 season include All-Catholic champion, City champion, freshman City champion, second at Sectional and fifth at Regional.

The 2017 State Finals featured two current students returning this spring. Junior Cole Hocker placed fourth in the 1,600. Junior James Wayne was a part of the 4 x 400-meter squad claiming 17th place.

Hocker broke the 1600-meter record with a time of 4:13.58.

“2018 will be built off of the success of the 2017 season. We arguably had our best overall team last season. We have many holes to fill from graduated seniors, but with a team of over 80 athletes, we can be very competitive again. I am excited to see what our team can do collectively this season,” O’Hara said.

Sophomore Nick Hruskoci and junior Ryan Pehlman join Hocker and senior Morris Kimble as key returners to the distance squad. Senior Kyle Nickolson returns as well.

Women’s track

The women’s track and field team has hit the ground running. The squad, led by coach Mr. Mark Doctor, searches to improve its successes this season. Doctor has three years under his belt from assistant coaching to go along with nine more as varsity head coach.

Mr. Brian Gross, Miss Stephanie Israel ’12, Mr. Joe Sander, Mr. Curtis Steeger, Mr. Dennis Thomas and   Miss Rachel Weeber join Doctor as assistants.

The Irish return as City runner-up and All-Catholic runner-up,  along with a 4 x 800-meter relay that qualified for the State championships and narrowly missed the school record.

Seniors Sofia Alatorre and Erin Arney are back for the distance event.

“This year we have a good mix of experienced, returning athletes and very talented newcomers. Our biggest challenge will be the lack of numbers in some events. We are looking at being stronger in the sprints and hurdles than we have been at any time in recent memory. Our distance runners, who have traditionally been one of the greatest strengths of the team, look to continue that tradition this year,” Doctor said.

Baseball

Varsity Head Coach Mr. Ed Freije comes back for his second season as accompanied by assistant coaches Mr. Austin Green, Mr. Will Hunker, Mr. Brad Pearson, Mr. Jeremy Sinsabaugh and Mr. Keith Yost.

Amidst the perfect 29-0 season, highlights of 2017  included a City championship, a Sectional championship, a Regional championship, a Semistate championship and a State championship.

Last season’s State roster featured six key student-athletes who return this spring in hopes to defend their  championship.

The key returning players include seniors Collin Greene, catcher; Seth Link, outfield; Mack Murphy, outfield; Jared Poland, shortstop/pitcher; Evan Uhland, outfield; and junior Peyton Schofield, pitcher/first base.

Three seniors have committed to playing in college: Poland, Louisville; Alex Scherer, John A. Logan College; and Uhland, DePauw.

“I think that we will have another good year. I believe we will have the hitting to get us far later in the season but for right now we just have to keep working hard and hopefully it will pay off like last year,” Uhland said.

Softall 

Varsity Head Coach Mr. Tony Matthews returns for his seventh season, accompanied by Mrs. Linda Bamrick and Ms. Dee Dee Galligher.

The Irish softball team has unfinished business. After a City runner-up finish to Scecina and a 6-5 loss to Lawrence North in the first round of the Sectional, there is a sour taste left in the team’s mouth. Much is left to prove with a star-power squad returning.

Senior Brittany Ford, junior Lily Jennings and sophomores Annika Garwood and Grace Lorsung were named to the All-City team.

Along with the All-City members, senior Jordan Lyman comes back to her spot at second base and sophomore Mia Dittoe remains in center field. Dittoe has received interest from major Division I schools such as Boston College, Duke and Northwestern.

Ford and Lorsung are both committed to Big Ten schools: Indiana and Illinois, respectively.

“A big part of the offseason has focused on developing trust, leadership and improved communication in building team chemistry. The coaching staff is very impressed with leadership displayed by our seniors,” Bamrick said.

Women’s tennis

The Koscielski sisters are back and ready to lead the charge. Senior Maeve and junior Claire are dominant starters returning with five varsity seasons combined. Sophomore Meg Coleman comes back to the varsity roster after playing as a freshman. Seniors KK Combs and Rachel Long also return with varsity experience.

Head Coach Mr. Mark Noe, an experienced mentor with multiple State championships, is eager to lead such a talented squad. The team went 19-2 last year, winning Sectional, Regional and Semistate titles and falling to eventual State champion Carmel in the State semifinals, which were played at North Central.

Combs and Maeve are captains for the 2018 year. Maeve committed to Notre Dame this last year, signing with the Irish for the collegiate level.

“We are looking to have a successful season and improving throughout our dual matches. Success will be defined as working on consistency and on improving our games and working on areas which need attention. Match play toughness will play a huge role as we progress throughout the season,” said Noe.

Men’s lacrosse

Varsity Head Coach Mr. Andy Gruber enters his 17th season as leader of the men’s lacrosse program. Gruber is aided by assistant coaches Mr. Ryan Haas, Mr. Sam Hill, Mr. Kyle Mates ‘05 and Mr. Pete Snyder.

The Irish boasted a program-high 21 wins last spring, with just four losses.

The team repeated as State champions, winning its third in five seasons. The Irish have bested Carmel the past two years in the final game of the season. The Irish entered the schedule preseason ranked Number 3 in the Midwest by Inside Lacrosse / US Lacrosse.

Key returning players include senior Kevin Kolb and junior Richie Krowlewski at the midfield. Seniors Brock Snyder and Max Wirth have been stalwarts in the defense the past two seasons.

The Irish have added and cultivated young talent amid rebuilding after a heavy senior departure from the previous season.

Krowlewski, Snyder and Wirth have been named captains.

Gruber said, “The lacrosse team is young and inexperienced but incredibly talented. Anchored by strong goalie play, the team will have time to learn and grow.  Playing one of the hardest schedules in the Midwest will be difficult, but the expectation for a strong season remains,” he said.

The group opened with an impressive 10-8 win over Kiski (Pennsylvania) Prep. Junior Tanner Dunwoody led all goal scorers with four, joined by a hat trick from Kolb. Sophomore Matt Dennen added two goals, one being the go-ahead.

Following a loss to Culver Military Academy’s prep team, the squad heads to Cincinnati to face rival Archbishop Moeller on Friday. The next day, the Irish take on Louisville Xavier.

Women’s lacrosse

Ms. Mary Ann White heads into her first season as varsity head coach. However, the program is not completely new. She said, “This is my first year as the head coach but I have been on the coaching staff the last two years, one as junior varsity blue coach and one as a varsity assistant.”

Mr. Howard Fogel is on staff as a varsity assistant and Mr. Dan Fischer is the goalie coach.

The team went 17-1 last season, recapturing the title. The Irish have won the past two out of three in the state. “The lacrosse team won the State championship last season in a close game vs. Culver. The team was led by a talented Senior Class and consisted of many returning varsity underclassmen,” White said.

Senior Kate Burnside, a Colorado commit, leads the team at the midfield position. Burnside finds herself all over the field. Opposing defenses can only hope to contain her during her fourth campaign. Seniors Emily Howard and Meredith Kutan anchor the defense. Senior Megan Mattei holds down the offensive attack while junior Abbey Vastag comes back to her spot in the cage as goalie.

Burnside, Howard and Mattei are using their leadership abilities as captains for the  season.

“This year’s team is made up of a solid group of seniors and returning varsity players who are talented leaders and hard workers. There are some strong newcomers who are putting in work and learning to work with the returning players. The team will face several top teams from surrounding states in order to challenge themselves and prepare for the State tournament,” White said.

Men’s volleyball 

Varsity Head Coach Ms. Rhonda Low returns for her 24th season as head coach.

After the team finished third in the State last season, Low is fired up for the new season and what it has to bring. “ I am very excited to see what this season turns into, especially after the team upset a talented Roncalli team 3-0, a team that was favored to win State this year from the beginning of the season,” Low said.

After the loss of a handful of starting seniors last season, Low is still optimistic with what this year holds.

With key returning players in seniors Caleb Short, Ryan Kelly, CJ Voigt and Nicholas Toby, Low said, “I think it will be a good season for these returning seniors due to a strong set of juniors and sophomores that the team has this year.”

Low also elaborated on the importance of the returning seniors in their respected positions. “Caleb has been a force from the outside, especially with Ryan being a great setter for us so far this season. CJ has been performing very well for us in past seasons and has done the same so far,” Low said.

Toby, at the libero position, stood out among key players she mentioned. Low said, “Toby has taken over the position greatly. Especially after we lost a great libero last season, he has stepped up and really been great for us so far this season.”

Low and the Irish plan on making a State run this season with the help of the returning seniors backed by talented juniors and sophomores. The team plans to continue its championship year with a match at Bishop Chatard that will take place on Tuesday at a time that is to be determined.

Men’s golf

The golf clubs are back and in better shape than ever. Mr. Patrick Fagan returns for his sixth season as varsity head coach of the men’s team. Fagan is supported by Mr. Mike Miller and Mr. Rick Shadiow, legends hailing from the math department.

The Irish have much success from last season to build upward. The team was crowned City champions and Sectional Champions.

With a second place finish in the Regional and a fourteenth place in the State tournament, this is a group of experienced athletes returning for more.

Led by senior Austin Vukovits, who has signed to play at the next level with Mississippi State, there are six other key returners who shared in last year’s winnings. Senior Danny Paris, a DePauw commit, along with senior Chris Murphy, look to lead the charge from the front as seasoned veterans.

Juniors Jimmy Grund and Luke Mattingly look to improve their individual game, coupled with sophomores David Cooke and Braden Estes.

Paris and Vukovits were named captains for the season.

Fagan has an optimistic outlook for this season given the past success. “We finished 14th in the State tournament last year and we have everyone back. We would like to build off of last season’s success and try to greatly improve our finishing position in the State,” Fagan said.

Team depth is proving to be a vital part of this year’s run.

“We have 10 to 11 players that will figure in our varsity lineup this year and it will be very competitive to see who the five players are that will be playing once the Sectional round begins,” Fagan said.