Archive | Women’s Athletics

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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Homecoming soccer photo gallery

It was a great day at Wildcat Field for the women’s and men’s soccer teams on Homecoming Saturday.  The women defeated Marian by a score of 3-1 and the men beat Marian 5-0.  Check out some pictures from both games. (photos by Lauren Dafoe)

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First-half explosion gives women’s soccer win over Marian

The Indiana Wesleyan University women’s soccer team defeated conference rival Marian University 3-1 in front of a large Homecoming crowd Saturday afternoon at Wildcat Field.

Caitlyn Mains (sr) battles with a Marian defender.

Caitlyn Mains (sr) battles with a Marian defender.

It was chilly, with a game-time temperature right around 40 degrees, but that didn’t bother the Wildcats. By the end of the first half, IWU had seized a 3-0 lead behind goals from midfielder Caitlyn Mains (sr), forward Katie Pannabecker (jr) and defender Susan Anthony (jr). The Wildcats spent most of the half in Knights territory with offensive precision and threatening set pieces.

Mains tapped in a mishandled ball by Marian goalie Madeline Weber (jr) for the first goal and Anthony made a nice head on the ball off of a corner kick from forward/midfielder Nicole Biggs (jr) for goal No. 3.

But the second goal, a deep shot from Pannabecker, was something special.

Pannabecker was dribbling the ball on the right middle portion of the field when she noticed the goalie out of position. She wound up for a shot from about 35 yards out, and the ball looped perfectly over the outstretched arms of Weber into the left side of the goal.

“The keeper was playing on the near post,” Pannabecker said. “I thought I’d take a crack at it.”

Goalkeeper Megan Weiss (fr) battles for the ball in front of the net.

Goalkeeper Megan Weiss (fr) battles for the ball in front of the net.

In the second half, the score stayed at 3-0 until Marian forward Olivia Annee (so) broke free from the defense for a goal with nine minutes remaining. Despite the minor slip-up, the Wildcats stayed strong on both sides of the ball throughout the game.

Head Coach Tim Strader was pleased with his team’s effort, especially against a strong team like Marian, which came into the match with a 2-0-0 Crossroads League record.

“We knew we were in a for a tough task,” Strader said. “But the girls have been putting in hard work everyday.”

Saturday’s win against Marian comes after a 4-1 Sept. 30 victory against Bethel College. The Wildcats have now scored more goals in the past two games (seven) than they had scored in the previous eight games (six).

Pannabecker is glad to see the team’s hard work finally starting to pay off, especially on the offensive side.

“In practice, we’ve worked a lot on moving the ball around teams,” Pannabecker said. “It’s nice to see that translate into games.”

The Wildcats are now 3-8-0 overall, with a 2-1-0 record in Crossroads League play. Their next game is Wednesday, Oct. 8 at Taylor University in Upland, Ind.


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