The 2011-2012 year was full of surprises and ups and downs for Webster University athletics. In a given moment or play, everything changed. As I reflect on the year, these are my most memorable moments in Webster sports.
On the regular season’s last day, the men’s soccer team defeated Blackburn College to secure a spot in the St. Louis Intercollegiate Athletic Conference tournament. The Gorloks played with guts and determination. However, they were easily defeated in the SLIAC tournament championship. Longtime men’s soccer coach Marty Todt was inducted into the St. Louis Soccer Hall of Fame on Oct. 13.
The women’s soccer team, touted as one of the preseason favorites, battled through an uneven season. Sophomore Katie Aubuchon literally had her teeth knocked out in a loss at the end of the season. The Gorloks were stunned in a first-round loss to third-seeded Greenville College in the SLIAC tournament, which ended Webster’s season.
In cross-country, junior Daniel Henkey set a school record at the Augustana Invitational. The women’s cross-country team came through on high preseason expectations by winning its first-ever SLIAC championship.
As a result, coach Dusty Lopez was named the 2011 SLIAC women’s cross-country Coach of the Year. Barely two months later, Lopez announced he would leave Webster at the end of the track and field season.
The volleyball team handily captured the SLIAC crown, defeating Greenville in the championship. It was the fourth conference championship in five years for the Gorloks.
In men’s basketball, shock waves hit the Gorloks when 2011 SLIAC All-Conference point guard Willie Trimble announced he would not be playing this year.
Unexpectedly, the Gorloks still captured the SLIAC regular-season crown. Entering the tournament as the top seed, Webster was upset at home by MacMurray College in the first round. An emerging star surfaced in sophomore Stefan Whittingham, who won the SLIAC Player of the Year award.
In the middle of the season, women’s basketball junior guard and top playmaker Gwen Williams was ruled academically ineligible. The Gorloks fought their way into the SLIAC tournament but were knocked out by eventual champion Westminster College in the first round.
The softball team traveled to California and lost nine of 10 games. The Gorloks were shut out five times on the trip. But Webster bounced back behind the stellar pitching of sophomore Trisha Thompson, who threw two no-hitters this season.
The golf team won its second straight SLIAC championship in dominating fashion. Junior Kyler Scott shot a tournament-low score of 212 and earned the 2012 SLIAC Player of the Year honor.
The women’s tennis team had its 13-match win streak snapped in a 9-0 loss at Washington University. But the Gorloks rebounded from that to win their second SLIAC championship in three years and earned a berth in the NCAA Division III women’s tennis tournament.
In track and field, senior Gretchen Rieger showed why she is the top javelin thrower Webster has ever had. Freshman Jenny Howard won a pair of events at the same meet, a Webster first.
The baseball team steamrolled through the SLIAC competition and won its sixth conference championship in a row.
Every year has its moments — this year is no different for Webster athletics. No, the Gorloks did not win every game, match or race. But they did show they are a lot like the St. Louis weather — if you are looking for a change in it just wait until tomorrow, because it probably will happen.