September 25, 2016

Baseball suffers early exit, Webster teams pick up accolades over summer

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Photo Contributed by Webster Athletics Senior Taylor Stoulp lines a single in Webster’s last game of the year against Rose-Hulman Institute.

 It was a summer of accolades, honors, and in one case, disappointment for Webster University Athletics.

The Webster baseball team, which had enjoyed one of the most successful seasons in school history, was eliminated in the first round the NCAA-III Tournament after two consecutive losses to Depauw University and the Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology. Head Baseball Coach Bill Kurich reacted to the defeats.

“Obviously it’s not what we expected,” Kurich said in May. “It’s just a terrible way to end a great season. That’s the most disappointing thing, is that we had such a great year, and it was just two days where we didn’t hit the ball the way we did all year.”

Despite the loss, Webster baseball achieved the school’s first ever number one national ranking, in any sport. The team finished the year with a 37-7 record and won their fifth straight St. Louis Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (SLIAC) championship. However, they were unable to advance to the College World Series as they had done in the two seasons prior.

“In terms of a season and a team that showed up to play, practice and work every single day, this is the greatest season we’ve had as a program — it didn’t have the greatest ending,” Kurich said.

Softball All-Conference Honors 

Sophomore Rachel Franck and senior Molly Muntz ended their softball seasons on high notes.

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Photo Contributed by Webster Athletics Sophomore Rachel Franck pitches in a game against Westminster College. Franck was named SLIAC First team All-Conference for her play as a pitcher and an infielder.

Franck and Muntz both earned SLIAC First Team All- Conference Honors for their contributions to the softball team. Franck, an infielder and a pitcher, batted .427 on the year and compiled a 3.54 earned run average (ERA) to go with her four wins. She led the softball team in batting and ERA.

Senior pitcher Samantha Powers also gained an honorable mention. Powers was the workhorse of the Webster rotation last year as she pitched 35 more innings (77.1) than the next closest Webster pitcher. Powers and Franck tied for the team lead in strikeouts with 25 each this season.

Muntz, who played catcher, hit .352 on the season. The softball team finished 13-19 last year.

Academic Recognitions 

The Webster golf team was one of only 20 colleges in the nation to receive the President’s recognition by the Golf Coaches Association of America. According to Webster Athletics, the golf team compiled a 3.674 GPA last year

Away from the game this summer, a number of Webster teams achieved academic honors for their performance in the classroom last year. Various organizations have recognized the academic efforts of Webster volleyball, women’s tennis, men and women’s track and the golf team.

Merry Graf has served as the volleyball coach for the last 14 years and last year she stepped into the role of interim athletic director in addition to her coaching duties.

“I think the coaches do a great job of emphasizing to the students that they are students first and an athlete second,” Graf said. “Yes, we want to be competitive on the court, or the field, or whatever it may be, but it really is about coming here, and getting a degree so that they can get a job, so that they can be successful in their career path.”

The full catalogue of academic honors picked up by Gorloks during the summer is as follows (All GPAs and award names were obtained through Webster athletics):

Men’s basketball: Hollis Edwards, Jarod Huskey and Hank Hawkins were all named to the National Association of Basketball Coaches “Honors Court”(minimum 3.2 GPA).

Men’s tennis: Individual honors from the Intercollegiate Tennis Association (ITA): Travis Blair, Juan Granizo, Carlton Poindexter and Karl Weisshaupt (3.5).

Women’s tennis team: ITA Team Academic Award (3.2 minimum GPA required).

Women’s tennis: individual honors, Kaylen Kress, Marissa Lewis and Erin Roop 2014 received the ITA Scholar Athlete Awards (3.5 minimum GPA).

Men’s and women’s track and field: All-Academic Team honors from the U.S. Track and Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (men’s — 3.23 GPA women’s — 3.11 GPA).

Men’s golf: President’s Recognition from the Golf Coaches Association of America (3.64 GPA).

Women’s Volleyball: American Volleyball Coaches Association Team

Academic Award (3.48 GPA).

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