Homecoming weekend was a tremendous success for the Anderson athletic program, with three of the four home teams emerging victorious in their contests.
The volleyball team got the action started with a three-sets-to-none sweep over Franklin College.
AU picked up the sets 25-22, 25-20 and 25-19. The victory was the first of the conference season for the Ravens.
After a slow start, a common occurrence for the team, the Ravens did a great job of closing out each set to secure the victory.
Many Ravens had strong performances. Emily Hale led the balanced attack with 10 kills in 25 attempts. With only one error, she hit .360. Shannon Kirkey added nine kills. Lucy Kieweg had 16 digs.
Senior setter Sydney Coffman was particularly effective, racking up 32 assists in the three sets. She added four service aces.
“The whole team worked together to get the win,” said Coffman. “Once we picked up some momentum, it was easy to finish it in three sets.”
Both soccer teams had incredibly strong showings, combining for three hours of shutout soccer. The women’s soccer team posted a dominant 3-0 victory over Earlham. Anderson had a comfortable three-goal lead at the half before cruising to the finish line. 23 players saw action.
Maddie Martin had her way with the Quaker backline, accumulating three shots, two of which were on goal, one goal and one assist. Emily Buchman added her team-high eighth goal of the season. Morgan Reed scored the third and final goal of the match. The Ravens out-shot Earlham 19-3.
Allyson Saylor and D’Anjrea Allen combined for the clean sheet.
The Ravens look to build momentum from their dominant performance as they hunt for a top four spot in the conference. “It is important for us to stay mentally focused,” said captain Danae Miller. “The next game is always our most important.
“Heading in to the final two weeks of the regular season, if we continue to play how we are playing, top four is attainable,” she said.
The men’s team picked up a huge victory over Earlham, moving into the all-important fourth spot in the HCAC standings.
A header by Cory Baker in the 19th minute was the lone goal of the match, as the Ravens staved off a late Quaker push to hold on to 1-0 win. The Ravens improved their record to 8-6-1, 3-2 in conference play.
Goalie Brandon Weer had another tremendous showing in net, racking up six saves, giving him 89 on the year to lead the conference.
AU hosts Bluffton tonight, in a match that should be winnable. The Beavers are 1-4 in conference, 1-12 overall.
“Our goal is to win out,” said Jacob Pokorski, the conference leader in assists. “We only need to worry about our team. As long as we do what we need to do, we will be in the tournament.”
The lone home team to suffer a defeat was the football team. After a 15-minute defensive battle, the Ravens trailed 3-0 at the end of the first quarter.
The floodgates quickly opened as Defiance racked up 21 points in both the second and fourth quarters, winning 45-0 to spoil homecoming.
“We couldn’t get anything going on the offensive side,” said Dayan Smith. “That put the defense in tough spots. We have a good defense, but they spend too much time on the field.”
Drew Wilson led the Raven defense with 10 tackles. Stephen Marshall had a big day in the Yellow Jacket backfield, racking up three tackles for loss, including two sacks.
With three games remaining, Smith would like to see the offense step up.
“To have a solid finish to the season,” he commented, “we have to figure out ways to score on offense and get our defense some rest.”
Prior to the football game, AU enshrined five new members to its Athletic Hall of Fame: Rachel Miller, a women’s basketball star, football and track star Jeff Evrard, track and field great Cliff Goss, former football coach Kevin Donley and founder of the esteemed AU athletic training program Steve Risinger.
The Anderson cross country teams were the lone Ravens on the road this weekend, participating in the Jenna Strong Classic in Wilmingon, Ohio on Friday. The meet had teams from all three NCAA divisions, as well as from the NAIA and junior college level.
Both the men’s and women’s teams ran well. The men placed 17th out of 30 teams while the women finished 20th out of 32.
Five HCAC schools participated in the meet; AU finished better than all four conference foes. AU’s 504 points were just three less than Franklin, giving them a slight edge for the 20th spot. Sarah Repp was the top female runner, finishing 86th overall with a 5K time of 21:09.5. Ian Leatherman led the men’s team with an 8K time of 27:34.4.
“We’ve been working so hard this year,” said Kayla Medaris. “Seeing that hard work pay off was so rewarding. It was so fun to celebrate that small victory with one another.”