November 30, 2020

The Sporting Insider: ‘Thrice As Nice’

I was just a freshman when arguably the greatest day in Webster University athletics history happened.

The date was Nov. 7, 2009, and three Webster fall sports teams — men’s soccer, women’s soccer and volleyball — competed for St. Louis Intercollegiate Athletic Conference tournament championships.

"The Sporting Insider" is a biweekly column written by Journal copy chief & layout editor Josh Sellmeyer.

My men’s soccer squad started the day off with a 1-0 afternoon win over Greenville College in Greenville, Ill. A few hours later, the women’s soccer team notched a dramatic, 5-4 penalty-shootout victory over Principia College in Elsah, Ill.

Many members from both soccer squads made their way to Grant Gymnasium to watch the volleyball team claim an epic, five-set win over Greenville to complete Webster’s “Triple Crown,” as The Journal dubbed it.

Three SLIAC tournament championships, three different sites. What a day it was for Webster.

Since I had been attending Webster for only a couple months, I didn’t fully understand how big of a deal the Triple Crown was. When something like that happens your rookie season, you tend to believe it will happen again and again. Three years later, I know just how difficult that Triple Crown was.

Which makes this year’s trifecta all the more special. No, the championships didn’t all occur on the same day. But the Gorloks’ 3-for-3 performance this past weekend was equally impressive to 2009.

Why? Because this year’s crop of teams dominated their opponents in their respective SLIAC championships.

The women’s soccer team kicked off the memorable weekend with a 1-0 win over Greenville on Friday, Nov. 2 at St. Louis Soccer Park. Webster outshot the Panthers 17-5, and when the Gorloks tallied the game’s lone goal in the second half, it was obvious there was no way back for Greenville.

My men’s soccer team kept the momentum going with a 2-0 afternoon win over Westminster College on Saturday, Nov. 3 at Soccer Park. Webster completely controlled the first-half proceedings, and two second-half goals were more than enough to take down Westminster.

Unlike the women’s and men’s soccer teams, the volleyball team had to face its biggest rival in the SLIAC tournament championship — Greenville. The Panthers were the only SLIAC squad to beat the Gorloks this year, and due to the conference’s tiebreaker, Greenville had the luxury of facing Webster at home.

It didn’t matter. Webster pummeled Greenville in straight sets. Several men’s and women’s soccer players made the trek to Greenville to watch the 2012 Triple Crown’s completion. Additional celebrating took place in St. Louis that night.

For me, this trifecta was much more meaningful than the one in 2009 for a multitude of reasons, the biggest being I’m a senior now and can better appreciate just how special a Triple Crown is.

No, maybe Nov. 3, 2012 won’t go down as the greatest day in Webster athletics history because only two teams earned SLIAC tournament titles. But it ought to go down as one of, if not the, best weekends ever in Webster sports.

Certainly, it was one of the best weekends of my life. Just minutes after I was lucky enough to be named the SLIAC Men’s Soccer Player of the Year, The Journal was awarded an Online Pacemaker — one of the highest honors in collegiate journalism — at a conference in Chicago. Getting together with the women’s soccer and volleyball teams that night to celebrate conference championships made the weekend even more special.

I wasn’t on hand in Chicago to hear The Journal’s name called for the prestigious award, but those things have a way of working themselves out. This weekend, the men’s soccer team — along with the women’s soccer and volleyball squads — will head to the Chicago area to compete in the NCAA Division III national tournament.

And who knows? Maybe this next weekend will go down as the greatest in Webster athletics history.

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