October 24, 2013

Alma, Elmhurst guests at Memorial

With just over two weeks to go in their season, the Maroons will play their two final home games of the year this evening.

The games will be played at the Morgan Buerkett Memorial (Senior Night), which honors the four fourth-years, Morgan Clark, Nikki DelZenero, Katie Huntington, and Maggie Vaughn and their contributions to the team.

The night will also honor the memory of the fifth member of the Maroons’ senior class, who passed away after her first year playing for the Maroons. Buerkett was a rising second-year on the squad in the summer of 2011 when she and her parents were killed in a plane crash on their way to Florida, where she was to take part in a training camp. Buerkett will be honored along with the other members of her senior class tonight before their second match on a night named in her memory.

“These events are special to us as her teammates and friends, because it gives us the chance to come together to celebrate her life,” said Huntington, who was both a teammate and a roommate to Buerkett during their first year on campus.

“We will be playing for her this weekend, without a doubt. Ideally, the events will go smoothly and we walk away with two wins, earned while playing for our senior class, especially for Morgan who should be there with us,” Huntington said.

The Maroons (19–8, 6–1 UAA) share the distinction of having the best record in UAA conference play with Wash U (22–5, 6–1 UAA) coming into this weekend.

“We are all really excited about this accomplishment,” Huntington said.

However, they will not have the opportunity to pull ahead of the Bears’ conference record, as they will be playing Alma College (16–13, 9–7 MIAA) followed by Elmhurst College (25–4, 5–0 CCIW), neither of which is a UAA opponent.

“[I]t puts us in a great place going into the UAA conference championships. If we can play consistently through our last round of conference, we will have a great chance at winning the conference and securing a bid to the NCAA tournament,” Huntington said.

When asked about playing the final home games of her Chicago career, Huntington got nostalgic. “After so many practices and games in Ratner, you never think your career will actually come to an end, so it’s a little crazy that we are coming to a close,” she said.

“In terms of my mental game, once the match starts, I am going to have to forget about it and not focus on the fact that this will be the last time I’ll be playing in Ratner,” Huntington said on the possible distraction of Senior Night.

The Maroons face Alma College this afternoon in the Ratner Athletics Center at 2:30 p.m. Later in the evening they take on Elmhurst. That match will be preceded by a ceremony honoring the fourth-years and Buerkett, slated to begin at 6:30 p.m.