Wisconsin finishes 4th at Big Ten tourney

first_imgOn a day when most people were inside trying to stay warm, the women golfers of the Big Ten were participating in the 37th annual Big Ten Championship.The tournament was held at University Ridge Golf Course in Verona, and with a temperature of 45 degrees and winds up to 16 mph, conditions were far from ideal.“It was a very challenging day,” Wisconsin head coach Todd Oehrlein said. “The tough conditions made it difficult, but it boils down to character and mental toughness, the willingness to go out there and compete the whole round.”Coach Oehrlein has preached this all year to his team and today was a prime example of why. His players seemed to get the memo.“I don’t mind the bad weather for the most part, because I tend to concentrate on my game more,” UW junior Carly Werwie said. “You just have to make sure not to get frustrated too easily or else you’ll be in for a long day.”Of the 66 participants, Werwie finished tied for seventh with an eight over par. Her teammate, senior Molly Schemm, came into the tournament playing extremely well, finishing the previous two weekends as the top scorer for UW. Schemm ended the fourth round with a 76 and shot 14 over par for the entire tournament, good for 20th place.For the third year in a row, the nation’s eighth-ranked Purdue Boilermakers won the Big Ten Tournament as a team. The winning didn’t stop there, as freshman Boilermaker Laura Gonzalez took first in individuals with an eight under par. It was quite an accomplishment considering the expectations of her prior to the tournament. Without a tournament victory to her name at the collegiate level, not many people felt confident or even considered the idea of Gonzalez having a chance at winning the biggest tournament of the year. This didn’t seem to matter to Gonzalez though, who wasn’t focused on those around her.“I didn’t even realize exactly where I was on the leader board,” Gonzalez said. “I didn’t even want to know.”What made her accomplishment even more impressive was the fact that she shot the rounds low score of 69 on a day where everyone was struggling with the treacherous conditions. In fact, Gonzalez’s three under par was the only sub-par score of the round. In a situation where everyone else seemed to struggle in the bleak weather, Gonzalez shined, which she attributes to her hometown of La Hulpe, Belgium.“Being from Belgium, I’m used to the bad weather,” Gonzalez said.The last round did not go as smoothly for other golfers, including freshman and Madison-native Alyssa Elliot, who finished the tournament 21 over par. When everyone opens up the newspaper and glances at the results, some may chalk up Elliot’s weekend as a struggle, but look further. Until Sunday, Elliot was only nine over par with nine birdies in the first 54 holes.By finishing 48 over par as a team the Badgers placed fourth in the tournament. With this, UW is on the verge of a NCAA Tournament bid. Fans and players can’t help but get excited, but Oehrlein wants to take a more subtle approach.“Let’s just get in first,” he said.But tomorrow’s decision of whether UW will make the tournament will not determine success for the Badgers.“Just to play for Wisconsin is an honor in itself,” Schemm said. “I couldn’t be happier.”last_img read more

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No. 1 USC stunned in road loss to No. 3 Pacific

first_imgThe USC men’s water polo team suffered a rare setback on Saturday, falling 10-6 to Pacific for the first time since 2002.The Trojans (20-2, 2-1) entered the game with the top spot in the nation, setting the stage for a clash of Mountain Pacific Sports Federation titans, as Pacific (16-3, 3-1) entered the game just two spots below.More than 1,300 fans attended the game in Stockton, Calif. and fostered a raucous environment to support their hometown Tigers. The Trojans struggled to stop Pacific’s high-octane offensive attack, highlighting an issue on defense that has recently become more prevalent for head coach Jovan Vavic’s squad.USC gave up 10 goals for the second consecutive game. They had previously allowed that many points just once in the team’s previous 20 matches this season.“We are giving up, again, too many goals,” Vavic said. “We just have to be more aware and tougher at defense.”The defensive problems were highlighted through the first three quarters, as the Trojans gave up eight goals to dig themselves an 8-5 hole entering the final stanza.Another tough aspect for the Trojans was the hostile crowd. As the undisputed top program in the nation, USC often becomes the marquee matchup for opponents — and the Tigers were clearly amped to host the Trojans.“It was a great atmosphere — lots of people, lots of cheering,” Vavic said. “You need to welcome that and enjoy it. But at the same time, some younger players do get nervous.”Though it certainly provided another challenge for the Trojans, Vavic welcomed the boisterous scene in Stockton.“We were talking about it before the game,” Vavic said. “If you’re the No. 1-ranked team in the country, people will come watch you play. And that is why you play for USC.”The Trojans held close in the beginning, scoring first and jumping out to a 2-1 lead behind two goals from senior utility man Mace Rapsey.But Pacific responded by scoring four consecutive goals through the second quarter. The Trojans came back and cut the margin to 5-4 off a five-meter penalty shot from junior driver Kostas Genidounias with 3:55 left in the second frame, but entered the break down 6-4 after the Tigers converted on a power play.The Trojans would get no closer than that two-goal margin, as the Tigers simply wore down USC’s defense and continued to pile it on.Some of USC’s stars continued their consistent play for the Trojans, as Rapsey and Genidounias led the Trojans with two goals apiece. But senior two-meter Jeremy Davie and senior driver Nikola Vavic each contributed just one goal.The loss dropped the Trojans behind Pacific by half a game for the top spot in the MPSF.As dynasties form, program outsiders can be quick to make comparisons between current teams and past squads. But coach Vavic asserts that every team has its own strengths and weaknesses.“This is a different team than the team we had last year,” Vavic said. “We have some young players and they are going to gain from this experience.”The Hall of Fame-worthy coach knows that the Trojans need not overreact to one loss, but simply keep their noses to the grindstone.“I think that focus is the biggest thing,” Vavic said. “We’re plenty strong, we have good speed … That’s the way we want it.”USC will trek back to NorCal next week, when they visit California in a high-profile match that will be televised on the Pac-12 Networks.The team will then return home to the friendly confines of the Uytengsu Aquatics Center on Nov. 10 for a matchup against the Pepperdine Waves. Follow us on Twitter @dailytrojanlast_img read more

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