SPORTS

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April 15, 2005

04-15-05 Sports Shorts

Roussell hired as women's hoops coach

After "sweating bullets for almost two months," women's basketball head coach Aaron Roussell finally got the interim dropped from his title.

Roussell, who racked up the most wins ever by a first-year Chicago women's hoops coach with a 16-9 record, received the news Wednesday morning and immediately took the position.

"[Athletic director] Dr. [Tom] Weingartner brought me into his office and told me ‘the keys to the car were mine.' I don't think he got the offer out of his mouth before I quickly accepted it," he said.

Weingartner, with faculty and team input, chose to stay with the rookie coach on the basis of roughly 10 standards, including teaching and recruiting ability, work ethic, strategic understanding of the game, and understanding of the institutional mission. Roussell's success and unanimous team support certainly played a big factor, as the team entered the last day of the season still in contention for the UAA title, and had two wins against top-10 teams during the year.

Upon being named to the interim position to replace departed coach Jennifer Kroll the day before fall practice began, he quickly went to work revamping the team's strategy with a more wide-opened, athletic offense. The new tactics paid off, resulting in the team's best season in a decade.

"We had such a special year this past year, I don't know what I would have done had I been forced to give up the position and not been able to finish what we started this past season. We have a great group of girls and they all mean the world to [assistant] coach [Molly] Parrott and me."

With a permanent position in hand, Roussell isn't resting on his laurels. He has turned his focus toward next season with the intention of building off last year's surprising success. "We were good this past season because we worked hard; we showed that hard work will pay off," said Roussell. "We all have to be willing to work even harder, because no matter if the players believe me or not, this next season will be undoubtedly tougher than last season.

"I could not be more excited about it though. Our first day of practice, October 15, cannot come soon enough."

—Sean Ahmed

Softball team 12th in new rankings

Women's softball made a big leap in the most recent National Fastpitch Coaches Association (NFCA) rankings, jumping eight spots to 12th in the new polls released Wednesday.

The Maroons (18-1) have won 14 straight games heading into this weekend's Illinois Wesleyan Tournament. The team has the fifth-best winning percentage in Div. III, thanks to a pitching staff with the fifth-lowest team ERA in the division (0.60).

The team's next home game is a double-header against Aurora April 19.

Baseball vs. North Park washed out

Baseball's scheduled Tuesday afternoon showdown against North Park (0-21) was postponed due to rain. The game will be made up as part of an afternoon double-header at North Park April 26.

The Maroons (5-12) have lost 9 of their last 10 games. The team will face North Central (8-12) at Anderson Field today at 3 p.m.

Winter wins UAA honor

Third-year distance runner Jessica Winter was named UAA Athlete of the Week for women's track and field Tuesday.

Winter's 4:38.80 mark in the 1,500-meter run at the Chicagolands Invitational met the Div. III national championship provisional qualifying standard. She came in third in the event, helping the Maroons to a sixth-place finish at the meet. Winter also won the 800-meter run for the team at the Elmhurst Invitational April 2, crossing the line in 2:18.08 to push the team to third-place standing.

This is Winter's fifth UAA Athlete of the Week honor, and her first of the season. Winter returns to action at the Wheaton Invite tomorrow.

Sailing competes at Wisconsin regatta

On a gorgeous weekend, a few Chicago students managed to get out on the water.

The University sailing team finished 12th in a 15-team field at the Wisconsin 3-Way Regatta at the University of Wisconsin. Increasing winds may have slowed the field, as the competition continued throughout the day Saturday and well into Sunday morning.

Second-year Rachael Moloney and third-year Lia Bosma placed 10th in the women's A division, and third-year team captain Adrian Cook scored a 10th place finish of his own in the singlehanded C division. Fourth-year club commodore David Strubbe and third-year club secretary Jakob Hiller came in 12th in the coed B division.

"Considering that this was our first regatta this quarter, we think we will continue to improve as the season goes on," Cook said. "A key challenge for the team is that few Chicago students have ever been in a sailboat. We encourage them to take up the opportunity."

The team travels to the FJ Regatta at the University of Iowa tomorrow and Sunday. Those interested in the club can get more information on the website, sailclub.uchicago.edu, and by signing up for the sailing listhost, sailing@listhost.uchicago.edu.

—Joe Katz

Lacrosse sweeps; to host Saturday tourney

The Chicago women's lacrosse team stunned the competition Saturday, earning three wins at the University of Illinois Playday in Urbana-Champaign.

The team opened the day with a 12-0 shutout of Louisville. Fourth-year defense wing Allison Dahl led a quality defensive effort for the Maroons, aided by outstanding work by her classmate, goalkeeper Lindsay Atnip.

Chicago went on to squeeze past a top-10 Michigan state squad in an emotional 7-6 victory. Third-year center Keri Robertson had a hat trick to lead the team. The women wrapped up the sweep with a 12-5 win over rival Washington University.

The Maroons now stand at 5-2, having dropped two of three at last weekend's Purdue University Playday. The team handled Dayton 10-3, but fell to Illinois 11-6 and Indiana 5-3.

Chicago then notched a win against cross-town rival Northwestern April 6, taking the game 13-6.

The team finishes the regular season with a home tournament on the Midway tomorrow. Chicago faces St. Mary's faces at 10 a.m., Rose-Hulman at 1:45 p.m., and Purdue at 3 p.m.

—Carlee Tressel