Noah Yantis –
The Illinois College Women’s basketball team are looking to beat last year’s 12-11 record with the help of Preseason All-American selection Hannah McGinnis and second-year Coach Lora Westling.
Incoming freshmen Melissa Solorio and Danielle Hauch will be looked upon to deliver good things once the season is in full force. Hanna Bergkoetter, a junior college transfer from Kaskaskia College, “will be playing a strong role in the high post,” says Coach Westling. Westling also commented on Solorio’s ability thus far, “Melissa has shown a lot of talent and hard work in the early season. She will be a factor in our team as the season goes on.”
Earlier this offseason, Hannah McGinnis was named Preseason All-American and hopes to maintain that success throughout her senior season. She commented saying, “Being selected was a great surprise and a really nice way to end the preseason.”
The team’s focus will be to focus on the next game, not necessarily on one opponent or one shootout. Westling says she hopes the team will have an MWC Championship in the next five years and continue to show that they are a core team in the conference and across the nation, not just a one-and-done in the NCAA Tournament.
The team’s season kicks off on November 8 against the University of Missouri-St. Louis in an exhibition matchup. The official season opener is November 17 here in Jacksonville at MacMurray. The home opener will be against Fontebonne University on November 19.
Led by Coach Mike Worrell, entering his 18th year, and assisted by Morgan Braught, the Men’s team is looking to best their record of last year, which was 13-10. Their record in the MWC last year was 9-9 and they hope to get started out on the right foot at the Bill Merris Memorial Shootout on November 21 and November 22 here in Jacksonville.
The Blueboys graduated nine players and are looking for a strong senior season from Jacob Taylor, Marty Johnson, and Brandon Fishburn.
Defense is one of the keys to a championship at any level, and the Blueboys will be striding towards locking down their opponents. Last season the Blueboys only allowed one team to score in the triple digits, and that was the high-powered offense of Grinnell, which put up an NBA All-Star game-like 132.
Illinois College’s offense was running full throttle last season, with four games scoring triple digits and a consistent presence of 80-point and 90-point games. Brandon Berry, who was a senior last season, will be missed in part because of the fact he led the team with 19.1 points a game.
Eight freshmen have joined the team and will be a bright light shining towards the future. With both senior experience and a high number of underclassmen, the Blueboys are looking to have a strong season in hopes of capturing the MWC Championship and be yet another IC team to have a winning record this year.
Noah Yantis, from Arthur, Illinois, is a freshman majoring in History and Political Science with a minor in Communication and Rhetorical Studies. Noah participates on the golf team, is a Class of 2018 Student Senator and Chairman of the Public Relations Committee, and is a features and sports writer for The Rambler.