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Opinion

Falcon winter athletics reveal early, positive improvements

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December 9, 2010

The Falcon athletic teams have been mighty impressive thus far. What could arguably be the most exciting game ever played at the Karges Center, the Men’s Basketball team upended the No. 1 team in the country and defending national champion, Stevens Point, 73-60.

The Falcons were nearly flawless and proved that they will be a force to be reckoned with in the WIAC. Jontae Koonkaew led the Falcons in scoring with 20 points in the thriller. Jacob Voeltz finished with a double-double, scoring 17 points and grabbing 11 rebounds. After the game, the Karges faithful flooded the court to express their excitement as witnesses to history in the making. The latest poll has the Falcons ranked 18th in the country.

The women’s basketball team is back and stronger than ever. After failing to make the NCAA playoffs a year ago, the Falcons returned a core group that has started the season very strong. The Falcons are currently 5-2 on the season and ranked 25th in the country. The Falcons five-game winning streak ended after falling to the defending WIAC champions and No. 8 Stevens Point. Junior Tiffany Gregorich has led the Falcons in scoring, averaging 13 points per game. She will be one of the favorites for WIAC Player of the Year.

The No. 3 ranked women’s hockey has started the season 8-0, which is the best start in school history. This should be a huge confidence booster for the Lady Falcons who host a pivotal match-up against No. 7 Gustavus Adolphus College on Friday. A year ago, the Gusties knocked the Falcons out of the NCAA playoffs. Senior goalie Cassandra Campbell has led the Falcons between the pipes, allowing a mere four goals in four games. She is 4-0 on the year.

The men’s hockey team has also proven that they can compete with the best in the country.

The Falcons only lost by a goal to No. 3 ranked St. Norbert’s. The Falcons are coming off a sweep of Lake Forest. The Falcons will head to UW-Stout for a critical series over the weekend. Justin Brossman and Josh Calleja lead the Falcons in points, each scoring four goals and accumulating seven assists.

Last weekend, the Men’s and Women’s Swimming and Diving team hosted the Falcon Invitational.

Kevin O’Brien finished strong for the Falcons. He placed in the championship finals, finishing fifth overall in the 100-yard fly. The senior’s time of 54.38 ranks the fourth fastest time in school history. O’Brien has three of the four best marks in the River Falls record books as he finished in 54.33 earlier this year and posted the all-time best score last year of 51.72, according to the UWRF Athletic’s website.

For the women, Tamra Knight, Caitlin Gargulak and Angela Tholen each placed in the top 22 in the 1650 freestyle event, with Knight leading the way at 14th place overall, according to the UWRF Athletic’s website.

The winter sports season has just begun, but already our Falcon athletic teams have proven that they are the best in the conference and country. There have been many exciting match-up thus far, but the fun has just begun. Look for more key matchups as the Falcons compete for postseason berths and WIAC championships. Go Falcons!

Ashley Goettl is an alumna of UW-River Falls. She was editor of the Student Voice from fall semester 2011 to spring semester 2013.