College Sports

Women's soccer teams kicks off big week with UNC Asheville

The Winthrop women's soccer team kicks off a big week this at 4 p.m. today with a Big South Conference match at UNC Asheville.

The Lady Eagles are 3-0-1 in their last four matches and are 2-0 in the league. A win today against the Lady Bulldogs (0-2, 2-9 ), would set up a showdown Saturday at Eagle Field against league-leading Coastal Carolina. The Lady Chants, who are in the middle of a 10-day break, have won a school-record six straight matches and are 3-0 in the BSC.

Coastal was picked third in the preseason poll behind Liberty and Winthrop. The Lady Eagles, 3-4-4, defeated Liberty 3-2 in Lynchburg, Va., this past Saturday.

Winthrop got a big boost from junior Chelsea White who scored a goal and assisted on the game winner by Ashley Bader in the 70th minute.

White's performance against the Lady Flames and S.C. State earned her Big South Conference player of the week honors.

• GUT CHECK TIME: Winthrop's volleyball showed some maturity and intestinal fortitude in North Charleston on Friday with a gut-check performance against Charleston Southern.

The Eagles and Lady Bucs had split the first four games and the score of the deciding fifth game was 14-14 when three-time Big South Conference player of the week Shannon Sitzmann's 21st kill and sixth block gave Winthrop the hard-fought win.

"We had other opportunities and couldn't finish," coach Sally Polhamus said. "But with the match on the line, we made the big plays.

"We just did the little things in both matches."

Winthrop came back on Saturday and defeated Coastal Carolina to improve to 11-9 and 6-0 in the conference.

Senior Tara Toepke set a Big South Conference record with 12 aces in the five-match win over the Lady Bucs. Her total is the fifth best in NCAA history.

• RUNNERS TEE IT UP: The men's cross country team has run around the Winthrop Golf Course too many times to count. But Tuesday they were walking and carrying golf bags.

With school out and the next meet not until Oct. 27, coach Ben Paxton organized the first Fall Break Cross Country Golf Classic.

Paxton had hoped to tee off at 9 a.m., but the runners, who are usually up and working out at 6 a.m., overslept.

Brad Orr won the inaugural event with a 44, one-shot better than Paxton. Former Northwestern standout Brandon Hudgins had a 49, while Trevor Beesley and Ben Henderson trailed the field with 52 and 55.

• A FIRST FOR THE GRAFFER: When Rich Posipanko missed the Eagles 9-1 win over Brevard on Oct. 9, it marked the first time in 32 years as an assistant or head coach that he wasn't on the sidelines when his team played.

Assistant Dan Ridenhour took over while Posipanko was away dealing with a family emergency.

Ridenhour was then hospitalized with an intestinal virus not long after Posipanko returned and missed the trip to VMI on Sunday, a game that ended in a scoreless tie.

Assistant media relations Brett Redden, a former Eagle player and coach at Westminster Catawba, came out of the press box to assist Ridenhour against Brevard and Posipanko at VMI.

"We played a man down for 80 minutes at VMI and their goalie had a career day," Posipanko said. "If there was a positive was that we were a man down and still had chances to win the game."

The Eagles are 1-1-1 with three Big South Conference games left -- Radford, UNC Asheville and Coastal Carolina. They're all at home.

"If we want to get the No. 1 seed and the first-round bye we have to win out and get some help," Posipanko said.

The BSC tournament runs Nov. 15, 16 and 18, with the winner getting the automatic bid to the NCAA tournament.

• RINGING IN ANOTHER TITLE: The Eagle Club will host its basketball Tip Off 2007 on Nov. 8 at McBryde Hall on campus.

Fans will have a chance to meet players and coaches. The men's team will also be presented their championship rings.

The cost is $20 per adult and $10 for children 10 and under. A reception starts at 6:30 p.m., with dinner being served at 7 p.m.

Those wishing to attend should RSVP Sharen Dubard at (803) 323-2129, ext. 6218, or

• MEN'S GOLF: In Savannah, Ga., the Winthrop men's golf team lost in a playoff to host Georgia Southern in the 54-hole Mizuno Southbridge Invitational, and junior Kelly Manders captured the medalist trophy with a 14-under par tournament total of 202.

Winthrop took a six-shot lead into the final two rounds.

The Eagles shot a 281 on Monday and followed that with an even better round with a 280 on Tuesday morning to take a nine-shot lead over Georgia Southern heading into the final round.

But Winthrop faltered to 295 while GSU fired a 286 to finish in a deadlock. Georgia Southern won the tournament on a scorecard playoff.

Manders turned in his best collegiate performance. After shooting a 69 on Monday, he followed that with a 68 and a 65 to claim a four-shot win over Western Carolina's Matt Cooke.

Winthrop freshman Cypriano Ayala, who led the tournament by one shot over Manders and three others heading into the final 36 holes, shot a 71 in the second round, but was disqualified in the final round.

Senior Pete Alminas and freshman Jacob Carlsson tied for 12th as the pair finished with 212s. Alminas had rounds of 73-71-73 while Carlsson shot 71-71-74. Junior Trevor Muffled tied for 69th as he finished with a 234 (75-76-83).

• WOMEN'S GOLF: In Greensboro, N.C., the Winthrop women's golf team moved up one spot to finish sixth in the UNCG Starmount Classic.

The Lady Eagles shot 301 to finish at 608 and 25 shots behind tourney champion East Carolina.

Winthrop was led by senior Jutta Degerman who shot an 8-over 150 (74-76) to tie for 21st place. One shot back was sophomore Rachel Smith who had a 71 to go along with an opening round 80 and finished tied for 24th.

Freshman Allison Itria, tied for 29th with a 152 (77-75). Junior Sara Hester shot 155 (76-79) to tie for 34th place.

Rounding out the Winthrop scoring was Brittany Dabule in 66th place with a 177 (88-89).