Archive | Women’s Athletics

Women’s soccer gives gutsy effort in loss to unbeaten Spring Arbor

The Indiana Wesleyan University women’s soccer team lost 0-2 Wednesday, Oct. 22 in a physical contest against the Crossroads League’s only undefeated team, Spring Arbor University.

From the start of the game, the Cougars, ranked No. 9 in the NAIA, put a lot of pressure on the Wildcat defense. They finally broke through in the 12th minute when Shannon Balcer (jr) headed in a corner kick from the far post to give Spring Arbor a 1-0 lead.

Photo by by Becka Roth

Photo by by Becka Roth

The Wildcats held strong the rest of the half, quelling several Cougar attacks while producing a few offensive strikes of their own.

The even possession continued through into the second half, but the physicality of both teams increased significantly after the intermission. Overall, IWU committed eight fouls in the contest, while the referees called three fouls on Spring Arbor.

In the 68th minute, a deflected ball by IWU goalie Megan Weiss (fr) bounced off of Spring Arbor’s Aubrey Schierbeek (fr) and into the goal to give the Cougars a 2-0 lead and conclude the game’s scoring.

Wildcats Head Coach Tim Strader said he was proud of his players’ effort against a very talented Spring Arbor squad.

“To lose 2-0 against a very high-quality team like Spring Arbor is really good,” Strader said. “The fight [the team] brought was unbelievable.”

As the last home regular-season game of the season, the Wildcats celebrated Senior Night for their seven seniors: Kerrin Clancy, Caitlyn Mains, Tracey Tiernon, Elisa Teller, Haley Svrcina, Megan Hardesty and Jillian Owens.

photo by Becka Roth

photo by Becka Roth

“The seniors have showed a lot of heart and determination for us all year,” Strader said.

With the loss, the Wildcats moved to 3-4-1 in Crossroads League play. They conclude their regular season 3 p.m. Saturday at Mount Vernon Nazarene University.

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Coach Moats focuses on players, not 700th win

Without even realizing it, Wildcats Head Volleyball Coach Candace Moats brought home her 700th career win Oct. 7 against Mt. Vernon.

In previous years, her assistant coaches kept track of her record, but this year she had no idea that the game was a landmark win.

“I came to the office later that day and someone tells me congratulations for 700, and I said, ‘700 what?’” Moats said.

Kelly Cypher (jr) said Moats is more focused on her players than she is her own record.

“She isn’t just about the wins we get or the stats of the game,” Cypher said. “What she wants more than anything, is to be invested in each one of us as her players to help us grow as a person in our character and our walk with the Lord.”

Photo taken by Jared Johnson

Photo taken by Jared Johnson

At her first college, Nebraska University, she struggled to find her own identity outside of volleyball. She transferred to Crown College, a Christian college, and carries that experience over to coaching and supporting her players.

“I just try to live as a woman of God would live in front of the girls that he gives me to mentor and in some ways be accountable for,” Moats said.

“She really wants to know who we are outside of volleyball,” Cypher said. “As we go through the volleyball season, she reminds us of the bigger picture of why we play: ‘For Him.’”

Moats had not planned to go into coaching. She was prepared to go into elementary education, but, as she states, that was not God’s plan for her. She helped coach her final semester at Crown since she was ineligible as a transfer student. When the head coaching position opened up after that semester, the current head coach recommended her for the job.

After 10 years coaching at Crown, she felt God “nudging” her to go. After attending Crown herself, she had built a strong support system of family and mentors, which made leaving difficult.

“I didn’t really want to [leave] because I was very comfortable there,” Moats said. “Through a lot of fasting and praying over a course of time God made it very clear that I was supposed to go.”

Moats said God provided her with a specific Bible passage, Genesis 12, to strengthen her during this time of decision-making.

“He’s talking to Abraham and says, ‘I want you to go to the land that I will show you and I will make your name great and I will bless you,’” Moats said.

Moats said she sees that blessing all around her, even now at Indiana Wesleyan University.

“I look back at the years and, even this year, we have squeaked by so many matches that could have put us in a situation and we wouldn’t be where we are,” Moats said. “But again, there is this blessing that just seems to be there and I am so grateful for that.”

Photo taken by Jared Johnson

Photo taken by Jared Johnson

Moats spent 8 years coaching at Grace College before being called to IWU, where she has been for the past 13 years. She tries to focus on growth and bringing new ideas to the team rather than how many more years she will coach.

“I’m just trying to enjoy this more and more every year instead of fighting it,” Moats said.

Moats said her assistant coaches, players and even other teams give her new ideas and coaching strategies.

“Every year I’m thinking differently,” Moats said. She doesn’t want the team to feel like a “dictatorship.” Instead, she tries to build community through teamwork and collaboration.

Student manager Cindy Coats (sr) said she has enjoyed learning from Coach Moats.

“[It] has been such an honor because she is always so humble as a coach,” Coats said. “She always gives glory to God and praises her team.”

Moats said the relationships she has built over the years have “impacted” her, “shaped” her and made her different.

“The highlight for me is all that I’ve learned by being in relationship with all of the women that I’ve been able to be a part of their lives,” Moats said.

Moats said she hopes IWU will be one of the final schools she works at before retirement. She credits the strength and vision of the Athletic Department with the joy she receives from working at IWU.

“God’s created this opportunity, this career, this calling for me and I need to be faithful in it till the end,” Moats said.

Coach Moats Timeline

A timeline of Coach Moats’ career from Crown College to win number 700.

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Volleyball plays everyone in victory over Spring Arbor

Katey Holler (jr) prepares herself for a powerful serve // Photo taken by Jared Johnson

Katey Holler (jr) prepares herself for a powerful serve // Photo taken by Jared Johnson

The Indiana Wesleyan University women’s volleyball team used a balanced attack to defeat Spring Arbor University in straight sets (25-12, 25-13, 25-20) Wednesday, Oct. 15.

In a battle between IWU, the Crossroads League’s No. 1 team (11-1 in league play), and Spring Arbor, and the last-place team in the league (0-13), Wildcats Head Coach Candace Moats made sure all 15 of her players got in the game.

“I really wanted to generate some encouragement for some of the players that don’t get much playing time,” Moats said.

Leading the offensive attack for the Wildcats were Kylie Portera (so) and Alijah Mulitauopele (sr) with seven and six kills, respectively. Katey Holler (jr) set up her spikers to the tune of 28 set assists and Ashlen Buck (so) added 11 digs for IWU. Every Wildcat player registered at least one kill, set assist or dig.

But the game wasn’t all positive for the Wildcats. Moats still hopes to see her players take more initiative going after the ball.

Remy Bucknor (so) unleashes a spike on Spring Arbor // Photo taken by Jared Johnson

Remy Bucknor (so) unleashes a spike on Spring Arbor // Photo taken by Jared Johnson

“There’s still timidity there,” Moats said. “There’s not a lot of directing traffic.”

Moats was happy, however, with how the Wildcats were able to stay focused despite playing a less-talented team.

“We wanted to keep up the passion and energy, and I think we did that,” Moats said. “This weekend we are playing some teams that will play their best matches of the season against us, so we really have to be on our guard.”

The Wildcats host Bethel College at 7 p.m. Friday and Goshen College at 3 p.m. Saturday this weekend in Crossroads League play.

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Cancer survivor D’Aniello lifts women’s tennis

The Indiana Wesleyan University women’s tennis team won the Crossroads League Tournament Championship last Saturday, Oct. 4 against Marian University 5-2.

But one of the team’s most valuable players, Gabby D’Aniello (jr), didn’t play.

D’Aniello wasn’t injured, nor was she sick. Rather, she encouraged her teammates from the sidelines, just as she had all season. D’Aniello was a member of the 10-person travel team, but rarely played in the team’s contested matches.

“She has influence on this team that transcends the position she plays,” head coach Eddy Shigley said.

Gabby D'Aniello (jr) practices Wednesday, Oct. 1 to help her teammates prepare for the Crossroads League Tournament.

Gabby D’Aniello (jr) practices Wednesday, Oct. 1 to help her teammates prepare for the Crossroads League Tournament.

Ten years ago, it would’ve been hard to picture D’Aniello on IWU’s women’s tennis team, much less alive.

When D’Aniello was 10 years old, doctors discovered she had Non-Hodgkins Lymphoma, a type of cancer that attacks the immune system. She went through four months of chemotherapy, spinal taps and surgeries.

What would have happened if D’Aniello’s cancer went unnoticed?

“I wouldn’t be here,” D’Aniello said.

The treatments cured her cancer, but D’Aniello still couldn’t play any sports involving lots of physical contact, including soccer, which she played before the cancer came. That’s when she started taking a shine to tennis.

“None of the other [non-contact sports] really interested me, and my dad liked playing tennis, so it gave us something to do,” D’Aniello said.

She continued to play tennis growing up, and from her history with cancer, she developed another passion: nursing. When it was time to make a college decision, IWU wasn’t on her radar at first.

“I didn’t want a Christian school. I wanted to get out of my bubble,” D’Aniello said. “But I looked into their nursing program, and it was one of the best ones I could find.”

D’Aniello talked to the women’s tennis head coach at the time, Terry Porter, and she knew that IWU would be a good place for her. She decided to attend the university as a nursing major.

Thanks to the opportunities it created for her, D’Aniello said she doesn’t treat her experience with cancer as a negative thing.

“I still have to go in for checkups just to make sure it doesn’t come back, but most of the impact the [sickness] has made has been positive,” D’Aniello said. “I wouldn’t have chosen to study nursing without it; I probably wouldn’t have started playing tennis. Even with my relationship with God, some of the ways I’ve seen him work in my life because of [the cancer] has made God more personal for me.”

Now, D’Aniello plays an integral role on IWU’s women’s tennis with her godly character.

“Her attitude is unbelievable,” said Shigley. “She always has an upbeat, positive attitude. She’s a super encourager and she has this love for life.”

D’Aniello’s teammates also recognize her influence on the team. Courtney Siepman (jr) roomed with D’Aniello during their freshman year and developed a great respect for how much she read the Bible, but more importantly, how she lived out her faith. Siepman added D’Aniello’s work ethic is fantastic.

“She always tries her hardest,” Siepman said. “It’s a tough spot to be in, but she still works hard even though she might not actually play in the match.”gabby

Mikayla Marazzi (so) added D’Aniello is a great comforter on match days.

“When I’m upset after a match, Gabby’s the person I go to. She’ll give you a hug and tell you it’s okay,” Marazzi said. “I think she’s that person for a lot of people.”

While she isn’t part of the regular lineup, Shigley said D’Aniello is still a fantastic tennis player. IWU’s depth of talent just keeps many very good tennis players outside of the scoring lineup.

“She provides a real consistency, whether through her return of serves, her serves, whether it’s her net game, she’s just really, really consistent,” Shigley said. “At almost any other team in the [league], she would be playing either one, two or three for them.”

But even D’Aniello realizes what she provides is mainly off the court.

“I don’t think my greatest contributions are necessarily on the court,” D’Aniello. “I think it’s just me being there for the girls and being someone they can talk to.”

Shigley concluded his team would certainly not be the same without D’Aniello, without someone who provides all the intangibles needed for a successful team.

“Every team needs a Gabby D’Aniello. They’re a solid player, but they don’t crack the lineup, and yet the team respects them because of their integrity, their leadership, their spiritual vitality,” Shigley said. “What Gabby brings to this team is priceless.”

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