Title: Year in review
By: Compiled by Jon Hammond S.S.W
Women’s sports showed up big for fall quarter
The fall sports season saw men’s and women’s soccer and cross country as well as volleyball in action for the Big West Conference. Every single one of these programs displayed excellent effort and achievement, and some even made their unique mark on the record book. Volleyball led by Head Coach Michelle Patton set a record for most conference wins with five, and posted their second highest overall win record with 10. The program saw excellent defensive effort all season from junior libero Maddie Hubbell who led the conference with 4.91 digs per set average and earn of the team’s two Defensive Player of the Week awards on the year. The Highlanders also saw Helena Peric earn Big West Player of the Week during the season.
Women’s cross country saw amazing success from sophomore Faith Makau as she lit up the regular season for a 16th place finish at the Stanford Invitational and individual honors at the Highlander Invitational. Makau only improved her sensational year by shaving 20 seconds off her 6k time for 20:27.50 which was good for the individual title at the Big West Championships. Makau also took home the Big West Women’s Athlete of the Year award, making it two straight years the award was given to a Highlander.
Women’s basketball and men’s tennis own the winter
There is not much more the UCR 2015-16 women’s basketball team could have accomplished, as they went a flawless 16-0 in conference play and earned 23 overall wins. This team was devastated all year by injuries, playing with only seven for the last month of the season, but that did not stop the Highlanders from not only sweeping the league, but leading it in shooting across the board. On the back off a field goal percentage of 46, three-point percentage of 36.6 and a free throw percentage of 77.2 the Highlanders led the league in scoring with 77.8 point per game. That scoring was hugely impacted by senior Brittany Crain who averaged 22.5 points per game and set a UCR career record with 2,326 points as well as fourth-most in Big West Conference history.
Men’s tennis completely re-wrote the history books this season led by first-year Head Coach Mattias Johansson (shameless plug alert here!) for a Division I record 13 wins, eclipsing the previous record of 10 in 2007. The senior-led team put together an unprecedented 10 of 13 match winning streak during the season but were unable to get a win in the opening weekend of the conference tournament.
UCR’s golf teed off on the spring quarter
Both men’s and women’s golf made the 2015-16 season a truly memorable one by not only winning twin conference titles, but by making twin trips to regionals. The women were led on the course by standout freshmen Jakeishya Le as they placed first in two regular season tournaments, the Wyoming Cowgirl Desert Classic and the Cal Poly Lady Mustang Invitational, and finished the year with a 16th place finish in regionals. Although the finish was not what the team wanted, the entire roster is returning and Head Coach Mary Ritchie was pleased with the effort of the team.
Men’s golf had an up and down season until about midway through when they finally ironed out some details. The Highlanders went on to finish strong with a first place finish in the conference tournament that surprised many, including Head Coach Rick Todd. The blue and gold also set a program record for highest team finish at regionals with sixth and an individual finish with sophomore Matt Lutz finishing third. That third place finish propelled Lutz to the NCAA DIvision I Golf Championships where he struggled at times and posted a final score of 86. Although the result for Lutz was not desirable, it was still a historic season that highlights his young career.
Check out our features and profiles for the entire year of sports here.