Category Archives: Soccer

Soccer shootout ends NCAA championship hopes

By Amelia Sniffin


Although the Wheaton Women’s Soccer team faced numerous injuries throughout the 2019 season, the 6th-ranked Thunder battled their way to the Sweet 16 of the NCAA postseason tournament, where they lost to the University of St. Thomas in a shootout.

The Thunder’s impressive 18-1-1 record at the time and 21st conference title allowed Wheaton to host the first and second rounds of the NCAA tournament. They were led by Head Coach Pete Felske, recently named CCIW Coach of the Year for the 13th time.

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Midfielder rallies after surgery

By Cassidy Thornburg


JOE BEAN STADIUM — On Saturday, Nov. 2, junior center-midfielder Carney Blake kick-started the Thunder’s momentum coming out of halftime with a goal from the top of the box that put the Thunder up 3-0 over North Park University. The Thunder went on to shutout the Vikings 9-0 and earn the program’s 21st CCIW Championship with an undefeated conference record (8-0). Blake’s goal Saturday night marked her fourth of the season, a feat for anyone, but especially for someone who was in a wheelchair just six months before.

“Hip arthroscopy,” women’s head soccer trainer Mark Demchak said as he stretched Blake out on the training table after a practice session. That was the name of the surgery Blake had after tearing her labrum last semester — the soft cartilage that surrounds the hip socket. “It was more of a timing thing,” Demchak said. “She tore both sides, so she would have needed to have both done eventually, they just decided to fix them at the same time — fairly typical.”

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Schmidt applauds volleyball seniors

By Cassidy Thornburg


Cassie Swiderek

“She has risen to the occasion.”

After practice one day in October, senior captain Cassie Swiderek shared that one of the things volleyball has taught her is “how to prioritize time and people,” something Coach Stephanie Schmidt believes comes naturally to her.

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Women’s soccer eyes conference championship

By Amelia Sniffin


The Wheaton Women’s Soccer team is on a four-game winning streak after beating Carroll University 2-0 on Wednesday night. The team moved up to first place in the CCIW rankings after an Illinois Wesleyan scored on themselves 29th minute of Friday night’s game. The victory ended the Titans’ fourgame winning streak and added to Wheaton’s impressive 10-1-1 overall record.

“It was a statement game for us,” said junior Captain Sarah Tomich after the match. “Last year we lost to Illinois Wesleyan in penalty kicks in the conference tournament final. We wanted to show them that we are the better team and prove that we’re the best in the conference.”

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Strong start for men’s soccer

By Abram Erickson


Following an impressive 1-0 double-overtime win over Lake Forest College on Tuesday night, the number 19-ranked Wheaton Thunder Men’s Soccer team has improved to 6-2-1 on the season and looks strong headed into their upcoming conference schedule.

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New Zealand athletes reconnect at Wheaton

By Cassidy Thornburg, Sports Editor


When Stafford Dowling and David Warbrick met at the 2015 Melbourne Friendship Cup in Australia, they never expected that four years later they would become roommates at Wheaton College. During the tournament, Dowling and Warbrick both played forward for the New Zealand Cross Whites. The Cross Whites fought hard to earn a spot in the championship game, but lost in the final round of the tournament.

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Women’s soccer implements new tactics for success

Senior co-captains MadisonSchoenbeck and Suzanne Kimble — both of whom are center midfielders — are aiming for success in this year’s Women’s Soccer season. Last year, the team earned their 19th title as CCIW champions with a record of 15-5-3, but their run into the National Tournament ended in the Sweet 16, with a 0-2 defeat from University of Chicago.

Optimism ebbs throughout the soccer team with nine new additions, making up a roster of 27 strong, healthy players.

“We are very young. I think 19 or 20 of our 27 are freshman and sophomores and they’re good players,” says Head Coach Pete Felske.

Switching up the formation pattern to set heavy numbers in the midfield, Felske is confident in his team even though he says that it will be the biggest change implemented this season.

Even so, the move seemed like a clear decision despite this formation being new to both the staff and players. Felske shared that “the reason we did it (created a new formation) besides personnel is that we wanted to have a better control of midfield and I hope this helps us do that.”

With returning player Schoenbeck, a senior All-American, a successful season is understandably within reach as well as a solid run into the NCAA Division III Women’s Soccer Tournament.

With their sights set on preparing for the upcoming season, captains Schoenbeck and Kimble hope to push the team confidently through every win and loss, leaving less time for frustration and offering more time for celebrating their victories.

“The past few practices have looked really good,” says Schoenbeck. “We have some really solid freshman that came in this year … they have a good head on their shoulders.”

Freshman players Aeva Graber, Nicole Wrightvand Jensen Ellis are anticipatedvto make a great impact on the Women’s team. Returning sophomore Sarah Tomich will help lead the defensive line and Isabelle Oliver, returning leading scorer, will lead the charge offensively.

Felske remarks on the leadership of the eight seniors, two of which are captains, saying that “corporately [the senior group] is a huge influence on our squad. With big numbers, they get along well-they’re really solid,” says Felske.

Conference season will begin this weekend for the Women’s Soccer as they travel to Md. Their schedule consists of nationally ranked teams such as the University of Chicago and Illinois Wesleyan University which will push the 2018/19 squad to success.

Women’s Soccer eliminated from NCAA DIII tournament

November 30, 2017

After a 2-0 loss to the University of Chicago, the Wheaton Women’s soccer team concluded the 2017-18 college soccer season.

“They dominated the game,” junior midfielder Maddie Peebles said.

UChicago really did dominate the field statistically, but Wheaton played a physical game in the brisk and windy November weather. UChicago had 15 shots and six shots on goal, but Wheaton only had one shot on goal during the whole game. UChicago had 12 corner kicks while Wheaton only had two. At every statistic, UChicago bested Wheaton.

“U Chicago was the better team,” Peebles said. “I think we could all see that. We went into it knowing that we’d have to work as hard as we could, but, at the end of it, they were just better.” UChicago has now advanced to the final four of the NCAA Women’s Soccer Division III tournament, and they will play the 21-0-1 College of New Jersey women’s soccer team on Friday, Dec. 1 at 11:00 a.m. Wheaton’s consistent scorer Izzy Oliver did not play against UChicago due to illness.

“We can keep improving by playing faster and getting more confident,” Peebles said. Peebles and Oliver were both named to the 2017 United Soccer Coaches All-Central Region First Team, and senior star defender Sarah Van Wingerden was named to the Second Team.

“This season our team was really cohesive on-and-off the field, so it made the season really enjoyable,” Peebles said. “Everyone came in really committed to what we were doing and that helped us continue to work hard and get better.”

Wheaton had four seniors on its team this season, including starting goalkeeper Kathryn McGregor who will not return for the 2018-19 season. For the returning players, the Record will report about Wheaton Women’s soccer starting in the fall of 2018.

Women’s Soccer advances in NCAA DIII tournament

November 16, 2017

After beating Knox College on Friday, Nov. 10 and beating Loras College on Saturday Nov. 11, the Wheaton Women’s Soccer team has advanced to the NCAA Division III semifinals.

It did not take long for the Thunder to score as freshman forward Izzy Oliver shot a through ball on the right side off of an assist from senior Morgan Whitman.

Later in the first half, Oliver would put Wheaton up 2-0 in the final seconds of the period after she blocked a back pass.

Wheaton continued to put pressure on Knox College all throughout the second half with seven corner kicks, five more shots and keeping Knox to only one shot.

The game was more physical than most of Wheaton’s games, and each team had nine fouls during the game. Knox season thus ended with a final win-lose-tie record of 14-6-2. With a win on day one, the Thunder advanced to Saturday’s game against the hosting team of Loras College.
“Going into Loras, we knew we would need to play at a higher level and start faster than we did against Knox,” senior goaltender Kathryn McGregor said,

Loras put up a strong fight against Wheaton, but ultimately, they could never recover from an early 1-0 put up by a goal blasted from 30 yards out by freshman Carney Blake. Blake scored the first goal in the regular season finale against Hope in late October.

Both teams kept pressure on the goalies throughout the game with 17 shots by Wheaton and 14 shots by Loras. In contrast, Loras only had one shot on goal which McGregor saved, making Saturday’s win her 11 shutout she’s started.

Wheaton had eight fouls and five corner kicks. With a win against Loras, Wheaton advanced to the NCAA Division III Women’s Soccer semifinals.

“Coming away with two wins was an awesome feeling, and we are thankful to still be playing,” McGregor said.

The Thunder will play the University of Chicago’s women’s team on Friday, Nov. 17 at 11 a.m. at the University of Chicago. The United Soccer Coaches ranked UChicago as the fourth best team in DIII women’s soccer in its most recent poll. On that same list, Wheaton was ranked 18th.

“We are focusing on playing disciplined defense against their experienced squad and hoping to keep the pace of the game fast and wide open to give our forwards the opportunity to finish some goals,” McGregor said.

These team teams met during the regular season and UChicago, in which UChicago won 2-1. Oliver scored the only goal of that game, and she is on a shortlist of four other players who were able to get past either one of UChicago’s goalies so far this season.

CCIW tournament champs and DIII NCAA’s qualification

November 9, 2017

After a 1-0 victory over Illinois Wesleyan University on Saturday, Nov. 4, the Wheaton Women’s Soccer team won the CCIW Tournament Championship and earned an automatic bid to play in the NCAA Division III Women’s Soccer tournament.

Despite being double-covered throughout the game, the game-winning goal was scored early in the first half by freshman forward Izzy Oliver. Wheaton’s top scorer this season and the player with the most points in the conference.

“We focused on playing our game during the tournament,” Oliver said about her team’s tournament strategy. “We took it one game at a time and focusing on scoring early.”

“Our focus going into the tournament was to take it one game at a time and play as hard as we can doing what we do well,” junior midfielder Maddie Peebles said.

The Thunder outshot IWU nine shots to six, and six of Wheaton’s shots were on goal. Senior captain goaltender Kathryn McGregor was able to shutout IWU by making multiple diving saves when it looked like Titans would score.

Eight games ago, Wheaton was 5-4-3, but have ended their season 13-4-3 by winning the last eight games. “The tough start to the season served to help us develop as a team,” McGregor said.

According to the online statistics from the game, there were 647 people in attendance at the championship, which is more than four times the number of people that came to the home season opener when weather was warmer and more dry. There were plenty of IWU fans in attendance as well.

Wheaton played a physical game, which resulted in four fouls, but there were no penalties given to either team at any point during the game. The Thunder had more opportunities to set up a score from a corner kick with four corner kicks in total. It was a very good game for freshman goalie Kelli McCarthy of Illinois Wesleyan, but ultimately the one goal that got past her would cost her team the game.

The majority of play was spent within IWU’s own zone because Wheaton was able to contain the ball there and keep pressure on their defense.

Oliver was named the CCIW Women’s Soccer Newcomer of the Year for her performance this season, and Peebles was named CCIW Women’s Soccer Player of the Year as well. Head Coach Pete Felske was named the CCIW Women’s Soccer Coach of the Year, and four other players earned All-Conference honors: senior captain Sarah Van Wingerden (first team), freshman defender Sarah Tomich (second team), senior Morgan Whitman (second team), and McGregor (second team).

According to the NCAA, 43 conference tournament champions across the country were awarded automatic bids as well as one team from an individual institution/non-automatic qualifying conference. The final 20 teams were selected from teams that did not win their conference. Once there are four teams remaining, those four teams will travel to Greensboro, NC for the semifinals and the final championship game.

“It’s a great feeling to be back in the tournament after missing it last year, and we are so excited for the opportunity to continue our season,” McGregor said.

Ten years ago, the Wheaton Women’s Soccer team won their last NCAA Division III Champions title. That team went 27-0 in their whole season, and Wheaton had two women score four goals in the NCAA tournament to lead the rest of the Division III players. This season would be quite different from that season.

Arguably one of the top teams in the country ten years ago, Wheaton is ranked 23 by the recent coaches poll this year. Oliver is Wheaton’s top scorer with 13 goals this season, but Wheaton’s top scorer ten years ago had 27 goals during her season.

The 2017 Wheaton’s team focus will be different from the 2007 team focus. “Tournament mentally is keep players able to play [and healthy],” Oliver said. “Everyone must be ready to give better than their best, and to do their job on the field. We want to play our game and do it well. One game at a time.”

Wheaton’s first matchup with be on Friday, Nov. 10 at 7:30 p.m. in Dubuque, Iowa against Knox College. Knox currently have a record of 14-5-2 and won the Midwest Conference tournament after beating Monmouth College 3-1. Knox’s top scorer this season was senior forward and number twelve Kayla Brown who scored 12 goals this season as well as having one assist. There will be a live stream of the game on the Wheaton Women’s soccer website.

“Heading into our game against Knox, we are focusing on continuing the momentum and confidence we built up through conference,” McGregor said.

Junior Chelsea Gnan dribbles ahead of an IWU player as she maintains possession of the ball during Saturday’s 1-0 victory.
Photo by Grace Kim