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IWU football cracks Top 25; Lauck, VonGunten earn conference awards

From staff reports

After the first win over a ranked program in its short history, the Indiana Wesleyan football team made its first-ever appearance in the NAIA top-25 when the poll was released on Monday.

The Wildcats (6-2), topped No. 14 Siena Heights (now No. 21), 28-21 on Saturday and received rating 32 points to jump into the polls at No. 25.

IWU garnered even more recognition as defensive back Cameron Lauck and kicker/punter Ben VonGunten received NAIA Players of the Week awards.

Lauck, a junior from Cridersville, Ohio, had two second-half interceptions, each leading to scoring drives for IWU, and finished with nine tackles to earn Defensive Player of the Week.

VonGunten, a sophomore from Leo High School in Spencerville, Indiana, won Special Teams Player of the Week after his six punts averaged 48-yards, including three that were downed inside the 20-yard line. VonGunten also made both field goal attempts, from 27 and 38-yards. 

The Wildcats host No. 2 Marian University on Saturday at noon.

College football

Marian 41, Taylor 3

Taylor’s Drew LeFever became the first player this season to rush for over 100 yards against the NAIA’s top-rated defense, but No. 2 Marian dominated the Trojans Saturday night in Upland.

The Knights (7-0, 4-0 MSFA) entered the game allowing only 7.3 points and 190 total yards of offense per outing and Taylor managed to put up the second-highest yardage total against the MU defense this season with 239 total yards.

LeFever closed with career-highs of 27 carries and 114 yards. 

TJ Swore had a career-high 11 tackles for TU’s defense. 

Zane Shilts provided Taylor’s only points with a 32-yard field goal with 3:15 remaining in the contest.

After taking a 13-0 lead to the intermission in the first half, Maria exploded for 246 yards and three touchdowns in just 15 plays of the second half to break the game open.

Taylor (2-6, 0-4 MSFA) hosts No. 16 Saint Francis (6-2, 3-2 MSFA) at 1 p.m. Saturday.

Women’s soccer

Indiana Wesleyan 2, Saint Francis 0

The Crossroads League’s top-seeded Wildcats advanced to the league tourney semifinals with their shutout on Saturday.

 IWU out-shot the Cougars 28-4 and put 14 shots on goal. 

Lexis Garcia netted her 14th goal of the season, putting IWU up 1-0 in the 29th minute. Sydney Brown scored her seventh of the season just three minutes later.

Sam Castaneda collected her 10th shutout of the season in goal for the Wildcats.

IWU (16-1-2) hosts fourth-seeded Mount Vernon Nazarene  a2 p.m. Saturday in the Crossroads League semifinals.

MVNU tops Taylor in PKs

After playing to a scoreless draw through two overtime periods, Host Mt. Vernon Nazarene topped Taylor 4-2 in penalty kicks on Saturday to advance in the Crossroads League tourney.

Taylor (12-5-1, 5-3-1 CL) had 24 shots, 12 on goal but was unable to find the net through regulation and OT. 

The Trojans’ defense limited the Cougars to seven shots, none in the 20 total minutes of overtime. Megan Williams made three saves in goal for Taylor.

Taylor will now wait to see if it receives an at-large bid to the NAIA Tournament that begins on Dec. 2.

Men’s soccer

Spring Arbor 2, Taylor 0

Host and seventh-ranked Spring Arbor scored in the 52nd and 67th minutes and limited the Trojans to just two shots, one on goal, to advance to the Crossroads League semifinals on Saturday.

Luke Williams recorded eight saves in goal for Taylor.

Taylor finished its season (6-10-3). 

MVNU 2, Indiana Wesleyan 0

Host-Mt. Vernon Nazarene scored a pair of goals just five minutes apart in the second half to end the Wildcats season in the quarterfinal of the Crossroads League tourney on Saturday.

IWU edged MVNU 11-to-9 in the shots and both sides landed three on goal.

College volleyball

Indiana Wesleyan 3, Huntington 0

Fourth-ranked Indiana Wesleyan kept pace in the race for the Crossroads League regular season championship with a 25-23, 25-14, 25-15 win at Huntington on Saturday.

The Wildcats improved to 30-1, 16-1 in the Crossroads League and remained tied atop the league standings with No. 15 Marian (28-1, 16-1). IWU hosts Goshen at 7 p.m. Wednesday to close the regular season.

IWU recorded a .313 hitting percentage to the .093 hitting percentage for the Foresters. The Wildcats were paced by Ana Collar’s 11 kills.

The Wildcats also tallied six aces, three by Allison Sparrow.  Havyn Gates recorded 15 digs to lead the team.

Taylor 3, Goshen 0 

Taylor honored seniors Julia Pomerenke, Samantha Korn and Abby DeSimpelare prior to Saturday’s regular season finale and then made quick work of the visiting Maple Leafs, 25-19, 25-18, 25-23.  

TU hit .304 in the contest with 54 kills and also collected 63 digs and extended its current winning streak to four matches.

Pomerenke had 12 kills, hitting at a .409 clip, and added three blocks. Korn led all players with 19 digs and DeSimpelare added 16 assists.

Taylor (21-15, 10-8 CL) moved into a tie for fourth in the Crossroads League standings and will travel to Mount Vernon Nazarene (23-10, 10-8 CL) to open the league tourney at 5 p.m. on Saturday.