By Jorge Cantu
The fall sports season has come to a close, and Whatcom’s teams have proven they are a force to be reckoned with. All three teams—volleyball, men’s soccer, and women’s soccer—qualified for postseason play.
Kris Baier, director of student life at Whatcom, was very proud of their success. “For all of our teams this season to go to postseason play was truly an accomplishment,” he said. “It reflected very well on WCC, and I view it as a tribute to our community.”
The Whatcom volleyball team had a successful season with first-year coach Jeff McDonald, finishing the regular season second in the NWAACC North Region standings with a league record of 10 wins and two losses. The Orcas were 25-12 overall.
“Losing to just one team in the conference was a big accomplishment [as well as] maintaining an excellent record overall,” McDonald said. ”We’ve beaten some really tough teams and our losses included just one sweep, the rest of our losses being in five [games].”
At the NWAACC Championship Tournament in Gresham, Oregon, held Nov. 19 through Nov. 21, the Orcas defeated Pierce Community College, three games to two, in the first round. They then lost to Mt. Hood Community College, three games to one. Freshman Sabrina Schwindler had 18 kills in the match, while sophomore setter Katie Cowan gave 50 assists and freshman libero Alex Storino added 29 digs.
In their third match, the Orcas’ season came to an end with another loss, two games to one, against Chemeketa Community College.
Several players had especially outstanding seasons, as Cowan led the entire NWAACC with an average of nearly 11.5 assists per game. Schwindler finished the season ranked sixth overall in kills and fourth in hitting percentage, and sophomore Sarah Cicchitti led the conference in service aces.
“I feel that I have created some very smart players this season,” McDonald said.
Kelsie Meenderick, a member of the team, said she has had fun playing with the girls on the team this season. “I like spending time with them,” she said.
The men’s soccer team clinched their fifth-consecutive North Region championship with a league record of six wins, two losses, and five ties. After defeating Everett Community College 2-0 in the first round of the playoffs, their season ended with a 3-1 loss against Spokane. Freshman Nino Tursic scored at the 40-minute mark of the game to bring the Orcas’ their only goal.
“I am proud of the way the returning players have stepped up and been a positive influence on the first year players,” commented head coach Josh Turpen about the team.
As for the women, they won their first North Region title in the program’s second season, finishing with a league record of 9-3-1. After defeating Everett 3-0 in the first playoff game, they also lost in the second round of playoffs, against Colombia Basin, in a tie-breaker shootout. Whatcom led the game 1-0 after a goal during the sixth minute of the game from sophomore Rachel Rexroat. Colombia Basin tied the game during the 55th minute, and was able to win the game in the shootout by a final of 4-1.
“I am very pleased with the way they have bonded as a team and play together, as opposed to playing as a group of individuals,” Turpen said. “I am proud of the way the women have played defensively, only giving up 8 goals this season.”
There will be an all-star game that will be held on December 5, at Kiggins Bowl in Vancouver, Washington. The North-South all-stars will take on the East-West all-stars. The women’s game is at 12 p.m., followed by the men’s game at 2 p.m.
Whatcom soccer teams will send seven women to the all-star women’s soccer team, and four men to the men’s all-star soccer team. “Players on Whatcom’s soccer teams have truly shown they are great players, working very hard, some of them placing on the all academic team as well,” Baier said.