Coaches carry positive attitudes into fall sports season
First-year head cross country coach Sean Thielitz’ goal is to maintain one program while continuing to progress with the other.
The Lady Pioneers have won three of the last six Midwest Conference cross country championships and have finished no worse than third in the span. The men are coming off their best season in recent history, finishing fourth at the 2001 conference championship.
Among the returning Lady Pioneers are seniors Tami Wittlieff and Lauren Opalinski and Junior Kristin Igielski. Igielski was a national qualifier in her freshman campaign in 1999. Wittlieff is coming off her best year as a Carroll athlete. Thielitz expects to have a positive impact as team co-captain. Opalinski returns as senior co-captain after earning all-conference honors in 2001 with a ninth-place finish at the conference championships.
The men’s cross country team lost a lot when Adam Broten graduated. Broten finished second in the conference in 2001 and qualified for the national meet at the NCAA Regional.
Junior co-captain Rob Jach is ready to take over as leader to the Pioneer squad. It will be a new role for Jach, but is one Thielitz feels comfortable with. “Certainly Rob will feel more pressure,” said Thielitz. “I feel comfortable with him, because he’s a very consistent runner and that is great to have as your number one.”
Finishing in the top four is a goal for Thielitz, but most importantly, he expects the team to set the tone for the future.
Second-year head coach Jeff Voris and the 2002 Carroll College football program will have to followup on a tough 2-7 season. Voris and the coaching staff have successfully increased the quality and quantity of the team from the 51 players they had last year to 60 incoming freshmen along with the returning players.
Thirty-one letter-winners from 2001 have returned to make this program successful once again. Among them are key returning seniors Steve Smart and Brad Dement and sophomore Jacob Bodi. Smart was a second-team All-Midwest Conference offensive lineman last season, while Dement and Bodi made the honorable mention team at quarterback and defensive lineman, respectively. Among the returning players, Voris is pleased to have the senior quarterback back for another year. Also, the return of D.J. Otto gives the Pioneers a solid kicking game.
In the past couple of years Carroll has had a tough early-season conference schedule, but they will not face St. Norbert College, Ripon College, Grinnell College and Monmouth College until later this season. The schedule may not be easier, but it will give the players a little change from the previous years.
Last year, the Pioneers had their first victory at Lawrence University. This year, Carroll faces Lawrence for Homecoming, Saturday, creating a “very exciting atmosphere.”
This year’s offense will have to succeed with the running game to account for the loss of graduated wide receivers Brandy Spoerl and Brad Guettel. Spoerl and Guettel combined for 132 catches last season. Together they also provided a great spark for the Pioneers on special teams.
Among the returning players, Voris is pleased to have Smart back for another year on the offensive line. Also, the return of D.J. Otto gives the Pioneers a solid kicking game.
“We’re excited about the upcoming season,” Voris said. “Our success this year will depend on our improved strength and conditioning, and our dedication to studying the game. There is no question the Carroll College football program is headed in the right direction. We just need to play every snap with great effort and great discipline.”
Warren Garstecki has the Lady Pioneers headed in the right direction as the head women’s golf coach. Garstecki is very happy to see improvements in the Lady Pioneers as the season progresses.
Junior Eden Seaman has led the Lady Pioneers throughout the season. Seaman had a career-low of 88 finishing in a tie for 11th place at the Knox Invitational on Sept. 13. She has a 96.1 average for 18 holes.
Sophomore Jennifer Schuetz shot a season-low of 96 on the second day of the UW-Whitewater Invitational Sept. 8. Sophomore Catreena Van de Mark recorded her season- low round of 113 at the Monmouth Invite and she keeps improving each week.
Despite having a young team and coaching for the first time, Garstecki thinks his team will be competitive in the Midwest Conference. “If all the players learn to not throw strokes away on the golf course, they could cut their scores by five strokes a round,” he said. “If they do that, we could be serious contenders for the conference championship.”
Fourth-year head men’s soccer coach Rick Mobley has high expectations for the men’s soccer program. The team accomplished a few of its goals last year. “The goal in 2002 is to not have lapse,” Mobley stated.
The 2002 team features plenty of quality experience, youthful skill and energy. Returning are three all-conference performers from a year ago in seniors Joe Snyder and Aaron Manske, and junior goalkeeper Dan Peplinski.
Snyder led the conference in scoring. This year, Mobley hopes junior Phillip Hackbarth and freshman Michael Katzenberg, along with others, can help take the scoring load off of Snyder. Manske will team with junior Matt Drago to form one of the best center back duos in the conference. They provide the center defense with a hard tackling, physical presence.
Peplinski, a two year starter, and sophomore Jeffrey Madsen will compete for the starting goalkeeper position. Sophomore Andy Smith will train as the third goalkeeper after being center back a year ago.
“The little bit of success we had last season will not change our team. We will approach each game one at a time. We won’t worry about what other people expect of us,” says Mobley. “By no means are we the best team in the league, but we have put ourselves in a situation where we can be competitive in each and every game we play.”
Second-year head women’s soccer coach Jason Bretzmann is confident the Lady Pioneers are headed in the right direction. With 11 starters returning from las
t year, they look forward to returning to the conference tournament. “We’ve played some good soccer so far,” Bretzmann says. “Our goal as a team is to win every game through the end of the regular season, and the conference tournament in November. If we practice and play the right way, that’s clearly possible.”
The top eight scorers, including All-Midwest Conference selections Courtney Fryatt and Krista Schneider, are back with plenty of firepower. Schneider led the team in goals and points as a freshman. Fryatt finished second on the team in points and first in assists. Also, returning is junior forward Jessica Reeves who moved from central defense her freshmen year to striker last year.
“Courtney Fryatt has been banged up at the beginning of the season, but we hope to have her back to the same form that she was last season,” Bretzmann states. “Krista Schneider’s goal is to break the school’s goals in a season record. Last year she missed tying it by one goal.”
The Lady Pioneers also return all four opening-day defensive starters from last year in seniors Jennah McIntyre and Erin Pauling, and sophomores Tracy Tetting and Kristin Beyer. Beyer ended the last season with an injury, but is 100% for this season.
“I expect that everyone will work harder and harder every day in practice, and put what they learn into the game situation. We have some quality players who can really light it up if they work within the system. Everyone on this team is a soccer player, and each player contributes in her own way.”
As the new coach for the women’s tennis team, Tatum Klingbeil can say that her outlook on the season is very positive. Although the Lady Pioneers record does not say “watch out,” the team strength has been growing since the first meet.
“We are a team that coaches should be worried about,” says Klingbeil. “Our match confidence is growing each time we step on the court.”
The players, coaches and fans should watch out for are Sara Shaft in singles, Katie Bobholz and Melissa’ Wen in doubles, and Tracy Gratz and Dionna Welton in doubles as well. Shaft, the only senior on the team and captain, has done very well in singles with a 3-2 record, as well as pushing most matches to a third set. She shows strength of spirit on the court and is a leader during practice. Klingbeil expects a strong showing in the conference from Shaft.
With practice, conditioning and knowing now what to expect from Klingbeil, the Lady Pioneers will be prepared to make their mark on the rest of this season and in years to come. “We will have very good depth through all positions,” says Klingbeil.