Sports

Martial arts legend now focuses on the next generation

By Chris Cadeau
Medill Reports

Anthony Marquez, actor and decorated martial arts instructor, starred in the Mortal Kombat (Kung Lao) video games and “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles” movies in the 1990’s. Today, Marquez is using his passion for martial arts to influence his students in his training facility (Extreme Martial Arts) in Chicago’s North side. Medill Reports spent time with Marquez and learned about the moment he decided to stop focusing on his own professional success and start educating and motivating others.

Photo at top: Anthony Marquez (right), EKF owner and head coach, teaching a martial arts defensive tactic to his student Jun Phan. (Chris Cadeau / Medill)

Northwestern Wins First Game in 47 Days on Senior Night

By Nicholas Hennion

It had been 46 days and 11 games since the Northwestern University men’s soccer team played a winning match.

But Friday on senior night against Division III opponent Concordia-Chicago, the Wildcats ended that winless streak with a 6-0 beatdown of the Cougars in addition to honoring the squad’s six seniors.
Head Coach Tim Lenahan knew, coming into the game, that his side would generate a lot of chances to put the ball in the back of the net.

“Looking at the schedule and how difficult it was all year, we really wanted to have a game where we could have the ball a little bit more,” Lenahan said. “ Continue reading

Spieker leads Loyola-Chicago to 3-0 victory over Southern Illinois

By Kristen Keller
Medill Reports

Following a long weekend of travel, the Loyola University-Chicago women’s volleyball team returned to Gentile Arena to face Southern Illinois in a Missouri Valley Conference matchup Monday night.

Both teams were neck and neck throughout the entire match but, following all three sets, the Ramblers pushed to a 3-0 victory. Loyola continues to sit in fifth in the conference rankings while Southern Illinois has yet to secure a win in conference play.

“I’m really proud of the team for winning a kind of gritty match,” said head coach Amanda Berkley. “I wouldn’t say we played our best, but I think they made plays when it counted at the end.”

The match began with the Salukis at the service line, but that faded fast. A hitting error from Southern Illinois’s Emma Baalman gave the serve to Loyola’s Quinn Spieker, putting the Ramblers in the lead to start the match.

From there, the points went back and forth until the Salukis took the lead in the middle of the set. By the time Loyola called it’s first time out, Southern Illinois was up by two points.

But that didn’t stop the Ramblers. After going down four points in the last half of the set, Loyola came back swinging with middles Ella Van Grinsven and Heather Kocken leading the offense. The two finished the first set with five kills each as the Ramblers won 25-23.

Heading into the second set, Loyola setter Delilah Wolf started at the service line to begin the match.

Again, it was an even match, with neither vigilant team letting the opponent get more than two points ahead.

Long rallies and plays kept the action at the net, and the Ramblers continued to maintain the lead throughout the match, even if only by two points. By the time Southern Illinois used both of the team’s timeouts, the score stood 19-17 in favor of Loyola.

After that, the Salukis managed to even up the score, but Spieker played harder. The outside hitter finished off the game with back to back kills, ending the second set 25-21.

As the third set began, the Ramblers were up two sets to one on the Salukis. Both teams were out of system throughout the entire match, not performing well on defense, and making a lot of errors at the net. The winner of this match would be the team that cleaned up their game first.

And that team was Loyola-Chicago.

The Ramblers came out big in the third set with Spieker recording two service aces from the start. From there, libero Alex Nunez took over from the back line, going on a three-point serving run along with adding an ace to the stat sheet.

As the game progressed, neither team pulled away from the other. The Salukis closed the gap the Ramblers built, managing to take the lead when the media timeout came around. The two teams exchanged points up until Spieker made her way back to the service line at 21-19.

Once she started serving, Southern Illinois was unable to respond. The Salukis fell apart in the last four points, getting called on a double contact, being out of rotation on the serve receive, and hitting the ball into the block of Kocken and opposite Gabi Maciagowski.

With that, the Ramblers closed out the third set, winning 25-19 and sweeping Southern Illinois three sets to none.

Spieker led the way for the Ramblers, adding another double-double to her resume with 14 digs and 12 kills. She also served up four aces, which is her new season-high.

“Every play, there is an opportunity to do something when you touch the ball, so I try to make it my best,” Spieker said. “It’s been working out.”

Other Ramblers also contributed heavily to Monday’s win. Van Grinsven was second on the team in kills with 11 on the night. Wolf created the offense with 39 assists while Nunez notched 14 digs. Heading into tonight, Nunez only needed 135 more digs this season to reach 1,000 career digs, which she aims for as the season continues.

“I think it was good that we won this match,” Berkley said. “We’ve got to make sure that we execute a little better when we play Friday.”

Loyola-Chicago will be back on the court this Friday as they take on Valparaiso at Gentile Arena. Both teams look for a win to stay in the rankings and continue to fight for the six spots available in the conference tournament.

“This match was important to keep us in fifth place at the moment,” Berkley said. “Every match here on out matters and we’ve got to come focused and ready to play every time.”

Quinn Spieker registers 14 digs and 12 kills to lead the Ramblers in a victory over the Salukis Oct. 29. Photo by Kristen Keller | Medill Reports.

Wildcats fall to Wisconsin Badgers in first winless Big Ten season since 2003

By Nicholas Hennion
Medill Reports

Northwestern University men’s soccer entered Wednesday’s matchup against Wisconsin University with a win in at least one Big Ten game in 15 straight seasons.

But last night’s match broke that streak in Northwestern’s last Big Ten game of the season. The Wildcats fell to the Badgers 2-1 in double overtime after a game-winning goal from Wisconsin’s Noah Melick resigned Northwestern to its first winless Big Ten season since 2003. Continue reading

Loyola-Chicago defeats Indiana State 3-1 in conference matchup

By Kristen Keller
Medill Reports

A five-game losing streak put the Loyola University-Chicago Ramblers against a wall. They fell out of the top six rankings in Missouri Valley Conference play and needed a win to regain their spot.

The Ramblers went into Friday night’s matchup against Indiana State knowing the obstacle in front of them, but they came out on top against the Sycamores, winning three sets to one. Continue reading

Northwestern battles to 1-1 draw against hometown foe DePaul

By Nicholas Hennion
Medill Reports

Northwestern University simultaneously continued both a winning and losing streak after a 1-1 draw against Chicago opponent DePaul University last Tuesday.

The Wildcats are now winless – with a draw or a loss – in their last eight games (including Friday’s loss to Rutgers) against all opponents this season and haven’t picked up a win in over a month. On the flip side, the Wildcats are unbeaten – either a win or a draw – in the last five games against Chicago opponents over the past year.

Head Coach Tim Lenahan said the budding rivalry between the Wildcats and DePaul’s Blue Demons absolutely brings out the best of both sides.

“It’s always a fight,” Lenahan said. “The records go out the window and whether it’s UIC, Loyola or DePaul, it’s always a battle.” Continue reading

UNI volleyball tops standings in MVC mid-season rankings

By Kristen Keller
Medill Reports

The top six teams in the Missouri Valley Conference are battling to keep their spots and make it to the conference tournament in Springfield, Missouri, Nov. 22 to 24 as the teams enter the midway point of the season.

The MVC has traditionally placed multiple teams in the NCAA tournament, doing so 10 times in the past 12 years, according to Ryan Davis, the assistant commissioner for communications at the MVC.

University of Northern Iowa

The Panthers of Northern Iowa is one of only three schools from the MVC to ever be ranked in the NCAA, and this year, they reached as high as No. 17 in the AVCA poll. This group of women were the only team from the MVC to be ranked at any point of the season, receiving votes in the most recent poll released on Oct. 8.

Currently, Northern Iowa is undefeated in conference play with a record of 9-0, and sit at 13-6 overall for the season. They also lead the conference in kills per set with 14.87 and assists per set with 13.97, which also ranks the group eighth nationally.

As it gets closer to the end of the season, the Panthers will look to junior outside Karlie Taylor, who currently leads the MVC in kills per set with 4.9. Northern Iowa is also led by redshirt-junior setter Rachel Koop with 807 assists.

Illinois State University

This group of women rallied together to currently rank second in the conference with a record of 7-1. Not only are they third in the conference, but the Redbirds rank No. 1 in the conference for overall hitting percentage with a .240.

Leading Illinois State’s offense is freshman middle Marissa Stockman. This young player leads the conference with a .364 hitting percentage. Along with that, she tallied 72 blocks and 147 kills overall.

Stockman is not the only player making an impact for the Redbirds. Sophomore setter Stef Jankiewicz currently sits at third in the conference for assists with 758 while senior libero Courtney Pence heads the defense, racking up 393 digs so far this season.

Bradley University

The Bradley Braves sit in fourth currently with a conference record of 6-2. Although the team only sits in third place, it leads the MVC in four different categories and is ranked fifth nationally in digs per set.

Senior libero Yavianliz Rosado sets the tone for the Braves’ defense with 5.62 digs per set, which ranks her second in the conference in that category. Also leading this Bradley team is senior outside Erica Haslag, who currently has 283 kills on the season, and senior setter Hannah Angeli, who controls the offense with 720 assists on the season.

“Our big goal for this season is to rebuild and make the conference tournament,” said Bradley head coach Melissa Stokes. “Once you get to the conference tournament, it becomes a whole new season. Anyone can make a run for it.”

Valparaiso University

Sitting at 5-3 in conference play, the Crusaders sit at the top of the conference in almost every category. Overall, the team holds a record of 18-5.

Sparking up the Crusaders’ lineup is sophomore middle Peyton McCarthy. She currently leads the MVC in total blocks with 95 and blocks per set with 1.25. Sophomore Rylee Cookery leads the backrow defense with 416 digs, which is also good enough to lead the conference.

Brittany Anderson, a sophomore setter, sets the offense up for this young team, earning 897 assists for the season. With those numbers, Anderson ranks eighth nationally for assists in Division 1.

Drake University

Currently holding a record of 5-4 in conference play, Drake lands the No. 5 spot in the conference. When it comes to team statistics, the Bulldogs rank second in the conference for total team kills.

One of the main contributors to Drake’s offense is senior outside Cathryn Cheek, who leads the team with 227 kills and 46 blocks. Setting up the team’s offense is junior Paige Aspinwell with 528 assists. While Aspinwell and Cheek take care of the offense, sophomore libero Kylee Macke contributed 341 digs so far this season to lead the defensive effort.

Missouri State University

The reigning MVC champions moved themselves up to the sixth spot in the conference standings. Following a slow start to the season, the Bears are making a comeback as the season begins to dwindle down.

Leading the way for this young team is freshman outside hitter Amelia Flynn. She currently leads the team in kills with 235 and is second on the team in digs with 182.  Freshman setter Chloe Rear also contributes to the offensive efforts, recording 657 assists during  her first season of play. On defense, senior libero Emily Butters shines for the Bears, recording 387 digs on the season, which is good enough for a fourth place ranking in the conference.

Four teams won’t make it to the conference tournament, and if the standings remain the same, Loyola-Chicago, Evansville, Southern Illinois and Indiana State will be the ones left out. As teams start to clinch their spots, these 10 teams will fight for one of those six coveted spots in the MVC tournament.

Photo at top: UNI currently leads the MVC rankings heading into the final few weeks of play. (UNI Volleyball’s Facebook page)

Wildcats winless streak continues in scoreless draw with Penn State

By Nicholas Hennion
Medill Reports

Northwestern University’s soccer struggles continued Saturday night as the Wildcats failed to find the back of the net in a pivotal Big Ten matchup against Penn State, with the game ending in a 0-0 draw.

Entering the fixture on a three-game losing streak, the Wildcats are now 0-4-2 for the team’s last six contests. A win on Saturday would have moved the Wildcats into a tie with Penn State’s Nittany Lions in the Big Ten standings.

Even though the Wildcats offense produced no goals, head coach Tim Lenahan saw positive steps from his side.

“For most of the game, our side was the protagonist,” Lenahan said. “Up until overtime, we really dictated the tempo.”

Even in a scoreless game, the Wildcats created plenty of quality scoring chances. Junior Sean Lynch and sophomore Tommy Katsiyiannis generated quality opportunities in the first half for the Wildcats, who held the opposition without a shot on target in the opening frame.

The best chance for either side came in the 58th minute for the Wildcats. Forward Jose Del Valle fired a shot from a tight angle that rebounded to Bardia Kimiavi, who then forced Penn’s State keeper to make another save. A third shot on target from midfielder Connor McCabe earned the Wildcats one of its six corners.

The overtime frame proved to be difficult for the Wildcats, who were outshot 7-3 during those 20 minutes of play, though nobody scored. Lenahan said the Wildcats seemed to lose focus and weren’t very sharp.

“I think we lost our discipline and we played tired,” Lenahan said. “You want to stay disciplined and find your chances, but we were pretty well outplayed in overtime.”

The man of the match for the Wildcats was certainly goalkeeper Miha Miskovic, who recorded his seventh shutout of the season. Miskovic finally faced a shot on target in the 71st minute of the match and ended the night with four saves.

The sophomore said the team’s defense was solid all night in terms of denying Penn State quality opportunities.

“The guys in front of me didn’t allow many shots [tonight],” Miskovic said. “I do my part, and they do their part to help earn a clean sheet.”

Lenahan said having a year under his belt has proved beneficial for Miskovic, who currently sits tied for 3rd nationally with his seven shutouts.

“He’s been terrific for us [all year],” Lenahan said. “He sometimes toes the line between calm and too casual. I know it’s part of his personality, but I like the calm, I don’t like the casual.”

After starting in only four games last season, Miskovic has seen his save percentage rise 12 percentage points from 64.3 percent to 76.5 and his goals against average fall to under a goal per game.

Even with Miskovic recording seven shutouts, the Wildcats find themselves under .500 for the first time this season. Northwestern has not recorded a winning season since 2014.

Northwestern will have its first chance to get back to .500 Tuesday against DePaul University with its next Big Ten matchup Friday at Rutgers University in New Jersey.

Photo at top: Northwestern Goalie Miha Miskovic takes a goal kick in a 0-0 draw against Penn State.(nusports.com)

Chicago State athletic director; diligent basketball coaching search worth the wait

By Patrick Engel
Medill Reports

Chris Zorich knows the narrative that surrounded his three-month coaching search. He heard the criticism of his long hiring process and Chicago State’s lack of a men’s and women’s head basketball coach during the entire spring and summer evaluation periods. The first seven words he spoke while standing behind a podium Wednesday acknowledged it.

“This has been a long time coming,” Zorich said, grinning.

And he doesn’t care one bit about the criticism, because he says he’s found his ideal coaches.

Continue reading

Commentary: Legalized sports betting shows the Big Ten’s recent tradition of cutting corners

By Chris Kwiecinski
Medill Reports

The unthinkable happened to the Big Ten coaches on May 14, 2018: tradition was changed. The natural order was shattered. Comfort became the uncomfortable.

In reality, the U.S. Supreme Court just legalized sports gambling across the nation.

This was a metaphysical thorn in the sides of all 14 Big Ten coaches. It was also one of the first topics addressed on the first day of Big Ten Media Days, and it carried over across both July 23 and 24. But, that’s because it just cost coaches a competitive advantage.

“Avoid it like the plague,” Harbaugh said of what he told his players gambling. “Don’t walk away from that, run.”

It almost seemed like Harbaugh was talking to himself.

Continue reading