As the Fall 2016 semester comes to a close, let’s take a look back at some of the season’s most telling trends.
Field Hockey Has Impressive Season, but Will Miss Abe
UR Field Hockey (18–5), ended their season against Middlebury College on Saturday, just after winning their opening NCAA tournament game 2–0 over Shenandoah University on Wednesday. On the season, they outscored opponents 51–19, giving them a .747 expected winning percentage according to a previously-derived formula.
They exceeded this figure by just over one win in both the basic and statistical sense. They rank 22nd in Massey Ratings, 32nd in scoring margin, and 11th in goals allowed per game. The ‘Jackets attempted nearly four times as many shots as their opponents.
Senior Sayaka Abe was fifth in the nation with 0.82 assists per game, while senior Callie Fisher, junior Claire Dickerson, and freshman Maya Haigis each eclipsed the 20-point mark.
On defense, senior Alexis Wood, sophomore Courtney Dunham, and freshman Colleen Maillie each logged over 1,400 minutes, while Abe was the only non-defender to log over 1,200 minutes by a good margin.
In the goal, juniors Gabrielle Cantley and Kiran Sundaram split time as the team’s respective first- and second-half goalkeepers each game, neither allowing more than one goal per 70-minute game.
It will be difficult to deal with the loss of Abe next year, considering that she set the all-time UR record in season assists. However, the ‘Jackets improved this past year without the incredible Michelle Relin ‘16, who is responsible for the four best seasons ever in points scored by a Yellowjacket.
It won’t be easy to replace Abe’s production, but this was the sixth consecutive season that the team won at least 68 percent of its games. No matter what, expect a squad that will continue this legacy.
URVB Has Best Season Since ‘05
UR Volleyball (URVB) had one of their best seasons in recent memory, finishing with a 24–11 record, fifth in the University Athletic Association (UAA), and in consideration for a spot in the NCAA Divsion III tournament.
They achieved the most victories since 2005 and their highest conference finish since 2011. Their rank of 96 in the Massey Ratings is their best mark by a good margin since the site started in 2005. Sophomore Clara Martinez made First Team All-UAA, the first player to do so in 21 years.
The team found success with a well-balanced roster, including heavy contributions from underclassmen in each aspect of the game. They will miss an outstanding senior class that includes assist, block, and dig leaders Aimee Kohler, Alexandra Goldman, and Meghan Connor. But the sky’s the limit for a team of more experienced sophomores in Martinez, Alara Kocak and Courtney Vidovich, along with junior Shira Katz and emerging freshmen like Beth Ghyzel and Sara Apanavicius.
2016 Inconsistent for URWS
UR Women’s Soccer (5–7–6) rebounded from a tough start to end the season with a string of extremely impressive performances. The team sat at 0–4–4 to start the season after a 3–1 loss to Nazareth, and was scoring just over a half goal per game thanks to a below-five-percent shooting rate.
The difference between their performance in those opening games and their games beginning with their 3–1 win over the strong Washington University is beyond staggering, as shown in the associated graphic.
Among the highlights of the ‘Jackets play since then have been a narrow road loss to 11th-ranked Chicago, a 6–1 offensive explosion against Keuka College, and an impressive 1–0 road victory over 17th-ranked Brandeis.
The team received standout performances from senior Jean Chakmakas, who had five goals on a .227 shot percentage as part of her 11 points. Sophomore twins McKenzie and Megan Runyan lead the team with 14 points and six assists, respectively, with another double digit point total from freshman striker Jorie Freitag.
Junior Sydney Melton helped anchor the defense with a team leading at 1,429 minutes played, with seniors Alyssa Raskind and Kim Staag as well as sophomore Shayna Levy logging past the thousand mark.
Junior Madilynne Lee, sophomore Samantha Hlavac, and freshman Gwen Haffenden formed a stellar trio in the goal, combining for an .817 save percentage and five shutouts.
Overall, because Massey Ratings weight recent games more heavily, the ‘Jackets still managed to rank in the 86th percentile in Division III, with similar rankings on both offense and defense. Their schedule, which the ratings adjust for, was in the 97th percentile, so it was still a strong season, given the circumstances. Next season, however, with a large part of their core returning, the team will look to extend their recent level of play across their entire schedule.
URMS’ Tough Second Half Schedule Takes a Toll
UR Men’s Soccer (9–5–3) couldn’t come back after a dominant offensive performance in the second half on Saturday against Eastern University. The team got off to a scintillating start, winning their first six games, with their first loss coming at then-second-ranked Chicago—a team that’s still undefeated—in a game that saw UR leading in the second half.
They cooled down after that, but the ‘Jackets had one of the hardest schedules in the nation.
The team was able to maintain ball control during the regular season, outshooting opponents 101–57 on the goal, behind the leadership of senior captain Jeff Greblick, who lead the team with 11 points while attempting 26 shots on goal. Junior Geoffrey Rouin also took 17 shots on goal, and freshman Mitch Volis and sophomore Bryce Ikeda should continue to find and generate scoring opportunities next year.
The ‘Jackets will also lose top minute-getters Ben Swanger, Tanner Chester, and Zachary Kanaley to graduation, but will still have goalie sophomore Patrick Conway, who stayed in goal all but 15 minutes during the season.
In addition, sophomore defenders Lucas Loecher and Lasha Alkhazishivili will continue to anchor the team on that end. It’s undeniable that Greblick and the rest of the strong senior class will be missed, but the ‘Jackets should have no problem staying heavily in contention with the number of talented players slated to return.
Football Struggles on Defense
By all measures, it was a trying season for UR Football team (1–8). Overall, their performance ranked in the 28th percentile after aggregating online rankings, but this can be heavily attributed to their defense, which finished in the 10th percentile.
In all, the team surrendered nearly double the points per game compared to last year, and they allowed just under 500 yards per game, ranking them 238th out of the 244 teams in Division III.
The overwhelming culprit of this has been in rushing defense, which allowed 317 yards per game, placing them second to last, and nearly doubling what last year’s defense allowed. This largely contributed to the team’s struggles in red zone defense, where they allowed the opponents to score a rushing touchdown in half of their possessions. Overall, they allowed a score in 92 percent of such possessions, and a touchdown in 68 percent of them.
The team did have bright spots like junior quarterback Daniel Bronson. Hewas the focal point of the offense with his dual-threat abilities, averaging 217.6 yards through the air and an even more impressive 95.4 on the ground per game, ranking him 30th in total offense per game.
Senior receiver Kyle Allegrini ranked 39th in the nation with 141.1 all-purpose yards per game, and the team, as a whole, surrendered the ball via turnover only 14 times all season. On special teams, freshman punter Paul Mokrzycki ranked 31st, with 40.1 yards per punt.
Is the team’s drastic drop in performance on defense (illustrated in the associated graphic) a major outlier, or a sign of things to come?
It’s impossible to tell, but the laws of statistics say that the odds of the team surrendering this many points per game are around 13 percent. One can look deeper at the roster to determine the factors for this, such as the graduation of four of the team’s top five in tackles in 2015.
There’s reason to expect improvement, however, with only one of this season’s top seven tacklers graduating. And, on offense, Bronson will remain a strong dual-threat in his senior season, with key contributors like running back sophomores Emanuel Calmar and wideout Shawn Silleman returning as well.
Heading into next season, expect the team to employ its talent, along with the chip on its shoulder, to vault it back into its usual level of competitiveness, especially on defense.