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In Review

SCOUTING REPORT Yellowjackets Look to Build on Past Success Varsity teams get ready for the 2014–15 seasons. By Dennis O’Donnell
sportsSENIOR SCHEDULE: Seniors Alex Swanger (clockwise from left), Ally Zywicki, and Kevin Sheehy look to lead the Yellowjackets. The soccer season for the men and the women got under way in late August while the basketball season tips off in November. (Photo: Athletics and Recreation)

Many of the Yellowjackets who helped lead last year’s athletic success return this season, including 12 who earned All-America honors.

Here’s a quick look at the 2014–15 athletic seasons:

Fall

Men’s soccer: All-Americans Alex Swanger ’15 and Keith Grafmeyer ’15 headline a returning group to defend the UAA title. Last fall, the team advanced to the Sweet 16 round of the NCAA championships. Women’s soccer: Facing one of the toughest schedules in Division III, the Yellowjackets face two opponents ranked in the preseason top five and could face five teams ranked in the preseason top 25.

Field hockey: Ranked among the best in the country last season, the Yellowjackets are looking to post their eighth straight season of 10-plus victories and return to postseason play.

Cross country: Among the elite teams in the Atlantic Region last year, both the men’s and the women’s teams expect to be strong this fall. Mark Rolffs ’15 will anchor the men, looking to follow in the footsteps of last year’s NCAA qualifiers Adam Pacheck ’14 and Yuji Wakimoto ’14, while Katie Knox ’16 leads the women.

Football: Hoping to build on the excitement of a team that won two games in the final minute—one on the final play of the game—the Yellowjackets have two dozen juniors on this year’s roster, including all–Liberty League wide receiver Derek Wager ’16.

Volleyball: Ten veterans return, including last year’s all–UAA setter Xiaoyi Li ’15, for a season that includes four early season tournaments, one of which is at home.

sportsHIGHLIGHT REEL: Junior wide receiver Derek Wager (clockwise from top left), senior pitcher Brittany Grage, junior outfielder Lance Hamilton, and senior swimmer Lauren Bailey return this year for the Yellowjackets. (Photo: Athletics and Recreation)

Winter

Swimming and diving: Emily Wylam, formerly at Case Western Reserve University, will debut as Rochester’s head coach this year. She leads a women’s team that includes returning All-Americans Lauren Bailey ’15, Vicky Luan ’16, Emily Simon ’17, Khamai Simpson ’17, and Alex Veech ’17. They’re joined by All-American diver Danielle Neu ’17. Rochester will host the Liberty League championships.

Squash: Three All-Americans—Neil Cordell ’16, Ryosei Kobayashi ’17, and Mario Yanez Tapia ’17—return to a team that finished seventh last year and sent five Yellowjackets to the individual championships.

Basketball: Led by senior guards Kevin Sheehy ’15 for the men and Ally Zywicki ’15 for the women, both teams look to be in the thick of the UAA race.

Indoor track and field: The rosters for the men’s and the women’s teams each include a half dozen or more of qualifiers from last year’s ECAC championships.

Spring

Softball: Seven starters—including Liberty League Pitcher of the Year Brittany Grage ’15—return to a team that last year advanced to the Division III championship round for the first time in school history.

Baseball: Led by all–UAA and all– Liberty League outfielder Lance Hamilton ’16, much of the lineup returns for the Yellowjackets, who advanced last spring to the championship game of the Liberty League.

Lacrosse: Bolstered by last spring’s strong freshman class, the Yellowjackets produced one of the top defenses in Division III.

Golf: Returning all-freshman team honoree Matt vanNiekerk ’17 is expected to lead the Yellowjackets, who shot their best four-man score ever at NCAAs, where they finished 12th nationally.

Rowing: All-American Emily Widra ’15 returns to help build on the success of victories by two shells at the Dad Vail national championships in 2012.

Track and field: Both teams are expected to carry strong indoor seasons to the outdoors.

Tennis: Much of the lineup is back for the men, who were ranked 37th nationally last year. The women return with a young roster that finished seventh at UAAs last spring.


Dennis O’Donnell is director of athletic communications.