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Club Sports: Men’s Water Polo notches vital 12-6 win over rival

Special to The Observer | Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Notre Dame swept the field at the conference qualifiers hosted in Rolfs Aquatics this past weekend. The Irish opened with a 16-6 victory over Dayton, with junior Chris Jennis leading the team in scoring.  This was followed by the team’s biggest win in several years, a 12-6 victory over Grand Valley State.

Although the squad garnered a win over national power Florida two weeks ago, the 12-6 triumph over 20th ranked and defending conference champion Grand Valley State was particularly crucial, as it ended a long string of losses to the Lakers in a heated rivalry. Jennis starred early, scoring five first half goals. Senior captain Dan Geisman and sophomore Jack Turek assisted junior Tate Kernell in goal to keep the Laker offense in check throughout the game. Late goals by freshman Dolff Hanke iced the game, while freshman Marc Gazda and sophomore Pat Raycroft were also key Irish players.

The Irish maintained their focus Sunday morning, defeating Ohio University 11-6.  The game featured several stellar saves by Kernell, with Jennis and Hanke again leading the scoring parade. This set up a finals bout with Illinois Chicago, another Midwest power and last year’s conference runner-up.

Once again the Irish proved victorious in a grueling 9-7 championship win. Kernell’s goaltending proved to be the difference in the contest.

Men’s Ultimate Frisbee

Notre Dame hosted the 16th edition of its home tournament, Whitesmoke, this past weekend at the Junior Irish Soccer Complex. The Irish split their roster into two squads for the tournament. Notre Dame-X was led by seniors Adam Barsella, Thomas Kenealy and James Denue, while Notre Dame-Y was led by seniors Michael DellaPenna and William Cernanec.

The X squad took fifth out of 16 teams with a 5-1 record, while the Y team finished 11th, going 3-4. ND-X won its pool Saturday with wins over Northwestern, Western Michigan and Aquinas to clinch a bye into the quarterfinals. Meanwhile, ND-Y finished 1-2 in pool play with an easy win over Michigan State B, followed by defeat at the hands of North Park, and a close 8-7 loss to Kalamazoo.

The Y-squad then dropped its pre-quarterfinal against Indiana-Y to fall into the ninth place bracket. Impressive performances from both teams came from junior handlers Dan Bolivar and Greg Goodman, as well as freshmen David Terry, Keith Podgorski and Kyle Hill. ND-Y began Sunday play with a win over Aquinas, before losing to Purdue and beating Northwestern for 11th place. ND-X lost a 15-14 heartbreaker to Indiana-Y in the quarterfinals after a comeback attempt fell just short. The game featured handlers Denue and junior Eric Bens frequently hucking to Barsella and Kenealy in the endzone.  ND-X came back to win its next two games though, the first a rematch against Western Michigan, and the second over Indiana-X in the game for a fifth-place finish. Freshman Jason Wassel impressed for ND-X in his first college tournament with great throws all weekend.

The squad will get back to training before returning to action Nov. 5-6 at Northcoast in Cleveland, Ohio.     

Women’s Ultimate Frisbee

The women’s squad also hosted its annual Whitesmoke Tournament this past weekend. In its second year as a fall tournament Whitesmoke made a big step by changing locations to the beautifully manicured Junior Irish soccer facility in South Bend, two-time host of USAU Club Central Regionals.

The teams enjoyed perfect weather, great early-season playing time, and a friendly but competitive atmosphere. The women split into two equal squads to conquer the playing fields. One of the teams finished 4-3 on the weekend, with excellent defense from sophomore Kim Kowalski as well as cutting and handling from sophomores Kelsey Fink and Molly Carmona, all under the leadership of junior Courtney Iverson.

The second squad went 1-6 on the weekend. However, the team showed marked improvement throughout the weekend. Led by senior captain Ashley Saterlee the team came out strong Saturday with fine play by seniors Kelly Nickodem and Stefanie Zipf and junior Andrea Palazzolo.  After a weekend of Ultimate, the squad will get back to practice this week in preparation for their next tournament in Cleveland from Nov. 5-6. 



This past weekend the Notre Dame and Saint Mary’s Equestrian team ventured up to the University of Wisconsin-Madison for its first horse show of the year. It was an overall successful weekend for the ladies with three riders qualifying for the regional tournament in the spring. 

Saturday started with sophomore Katie Walsh having an outstanding ride and taking first in open fences and freshman Katie Sylva taking third in her first collegiate competition. A new rider to the team, junior Maureen McQuillian took a solid third in intermediate fences. Seniors Victoria Scheid and Sarah Lusher also had successful rides, qualifying for regionals in novice fences and taking third in each of their respective groups.

Walsh was able to take second in open flat the first day, with junior Mia Genereux and Sylva following behind with fourth and fifth in the class respectively. Scheid had another successful day, taking first in intermediate fences, putting her on the path to qualify for regionals on Sunday. Sophomore Stephanie Nearhos had a great ride, claiming third in the intermediate flat class Saturday. 

Walk-Trot-Canter was a high-scoring class for the Irish, with junior Caitlin Harris taking third and qualifying for regionals and freshmen Shannon Nooman and Rebecca Bullis taking first and third in the class as well. Freshman De’Lana Northbird had an outstanding ride in her first horse show ever and walked away with a third place ribbon in the walk-trot class.

Experienced senior rider Catherine Mikkelsen was also able to place third and fourth in her flat and jumping classes.

UW-Madison placed first, UW-La Cross placed second, and Notre Dame-Saint Mary’s walked away at third overall on Saturday.

The ladies were back on their horses Sunday. Genereux started off the day with an amazing ride, taking a respectable second in open fences. Junior Maureen McQuillian took second and Nearhos fourth in their intermediate fences class.

Open flat was a very successful class for the Irish on Sunday. Genereux and Walsh both earned first in their groups, Sylva took third, with Amy Girodano following close behind in fourth. McQuillian and Nearhos both won their intermediate flat class and Scheid took third, officially qualifying for regionals in the flat.

Freshman Carrie Kuhen took fifth in her novice flat class and senior Christine Martin followed behind, taking sixth in the class. Bullis won the Walk-Trot-Canter class and freshman Jackie Voltz along with Nooman both took fourth in their respective classes. Genereux was the high point rider for the day and McQuillian was the reserve high point rider. 

Despite all the individual successes, the team finished the weekend in fourth place overall. UW-Madison took  first, UW-La Cross second, and Iowa State third.


The cycling club entered two events this weekend at Purdue. The first race of the weekend was a cross-country race, on the extremely tight and twisty trails in McCormack Woods adjacent to the Purdue campus. The first race to start was the Men’s C, in which junior Carl Josephson and Jose Lugo competed for the Irish. Overcoming a slow start that put him into the single track in the woods near the back of the pack, Lugo picked off riders in the technically demanding serpentine sections of the trails to net a fifth place on the day. Josephson, starting in just his second race of his career, rode to a solid 11th place ahead of several more experienced riders from the Midwest Conference.

Graduate student Douglas Ansel and sophomore Luke Tilmans competed in the Men’s B race later in the morning. Ansel picked up speed as the race went on and was in position to pass into third position only one-third of the way into the 16-mile race. However, he suffered a flat tire and crash in quick succession that prompted him to withdraw from the race with an injured knee. Tilmans began to pass riders in the latter portion of the race and finished fourth, several slots better than his last race at the University of Michigan.

The second day of racing at Purdue consisted of a short-track race held on a short 800-meter track with several sharp climbs and off-camber turns that tested riders’ technical ability and nerve. Ansel was the only Notre Dame representative at the race and was leading the Men’s B race at the halfway point when he pushed too hard in a turn and crashed, losing 10-15 seconds and several positions. He was able to pull himself back up to third position at the finish, lapping several riders in the process.


This weekend, Notre Dame attended the Cary Price Intersectional at Grosse Pointe Yacht Club in Michigan. Nine schools attended the regatta, including Michigan, Northwestern, Queens, Hope, Ohio State, Miami of Ohio, Cornell, Purdue and Notre Dame. The weekend got off to a slow start as high winds prevented any racing from taking place on Saturday. However, on Sunday the winds quieted slightly and 10 races were sailed. Notre Dame placed third in the A Division, first in the B Division and first overall. Seniors Nathaniel Walden and Beth Werley sailed A’s for Notre Dame, while seniors Mike Flanigan and Natalie Fang sailed B’s.

A second team of sailors raced in the Pere Marquette Regatta at Marquette. Three Irish boats finished eighth, 13th and 15th in a fleet of 16 racers. Wisconsin and Minnesota placed first and second in the race.

Jeff Miller, Pat Power and Peter Roemholdt skippered ND A, with Becky Jegier, Sarah Eide, Pat Gallagher, Maria Skorcz and Claire Donovan in crew.

Tony Michuda, Blaize Habrick and Annie Schoenwetter skippered ND B, with Lauren George, Katie Suarez, Wyn Sullivan, Johathan Tran and Matt Rossetto in crew.

Women’s Rugby

Notre Dame traveled to Ann Arbor, Mich. this past Sunday to play in its first league game against University of Michigan. The Irish expected this game to be their most difficult of the scheduled season, but they demonstrated their ability to play in the same league as teams like University of Michigan and finished with a close 24-20 loss.

The Irish kicked off to the Wolverines to begin the first half, but a penalty against the Irish pushed them back to close to their own try line. Although the Irish regained possession of the ball, the Wolverine defense rushed the players, blocked a kick and jumped on the ball in the try zone for their first try. After the kickoff to the Wolverines, the Irish scored their first points of the game off a penalty kick taken by sophomore kicker Amelia Vojt.

The Wolverines responded to the Irish points by again powering the ball into Irish territory. They played through phases with enough speed and intensity to push the Irish defense back until they could finally worm through the defensive line for another try and conversion, bringing the score to 3-14. Neither team scored a try again in the first half of the game. However, the Irish were able to move into a position to kick for points again, and gained three more points from Vojt. The Wolverines pushed back into Irish territory, but the Irish defense battled hard, keeping them from scoring a try. In the last play of the first half, the Wolverines kicked for points, bringing the halftime score to 6-17.

The Irish entered the second half with renewed enthusiasm and determination. Although the Wolverines continued to challenge the Irish in their own territory, the Irish forwards demonstrated their heart and tenacity by holding off the Wolverines’ repeated mauls for 25 minutes at their own tryline before graduate student Kayla Bishop was finally able to kick the ball out of danger.

The Irish managed to score a try at last later in the second half by passing the ball out wide to freshman Natalie Branch off of a scrum near midfield. Unfortunately, the Wolverines kicked the ball over the defensive line, caught the ball as it bounced away from the fullback, and brought the ball in for a try. With five minutes left in the game, the Irish concentrated on moving the ball quickly into the hands of backs, and passing the ball out wide to Natalie Branch again proved successful. A try by Branch wrapped up the game and brought the final score to 24-20.

The Irish hope to work on rucking, especially avoiding penalties by not coming in from the side, and setting a solid defensive line, especially around rucks, before their next game, Sunday at home against Indiana University.