Fall sports teams looking to “turn a new leaf”


Becca Langys/ Photo Editor

Demetri Royer and a teammate team up for a tackle.

Michael Harms , Courier Staff

The seasons are changing. The sun is setting earlier and the temperature is dropping, which is signaling the end of the summer months and the transition into winter as fall has arrived. The leaves will begin to change color and Western athletics will look to turn over a new leaf. Many fall sports teams have been off to a rocky start, but here’s how they can turn themselves around.

Football: current record 0-4. What went wrong? The offense seems to be out of sync. The running game for Western is solid but never seems to be the workhorse they need it to be. The passing game has struggled immensely in the first few weeks for Western with junior quarterback Connor Sampson. A lack of big plays and too many giveaways have left Western with an offense incapable of finding a consistent rhythm.

What went right? The defensive takeaways. The Leathernecks have two takeaways in two straight weeks, not to mention the defense has taken a leap every week in improvement. They have yet to keep a team from scoring over 20 points but have key stops in important situations each week and are on the verge of taking the next step.

What’s the outlook? The offense has too many questions to know. Who will be the starting quarterback, Sampson or Kevin Johnson who played last week when Sampson went down with an injury? The team can still put up a playoff appearance as conference play starts next week.

Men’s Soccer: current record 0-7. What went wrong? For now, nothing, technically. This team has 15 newcomers. Soccer only starts 11 including the goalkeeper. Of course, head coach Dr. Eric Johnson is using his players in as many ways possible before conference play starts. The only problem may be the backline.

With senior Tim Trilk in goal, it would seem that Western would have a few clean sheets, but that has yet to happen. They have given up a goal in every game and have given up three goals in five of their seven matchups.

What went right? Trilk. The man in the net has just been amazing. In the early days of September, he found himself in the lead for saves in the NCAA. With this many unfamiliar faces on the pitch, it’s nice to see a familiar dominant face in between the posts.

What’s the outlook? To go 2-3 in the conference. With only five Summit League matchups, the team needs a couple of wins. Playing powerhouse Denver University will be a tough matchup, but both Eastern Illinois and Purdue Fort Wayne appear as winnable matchups. With a little luck, they could even end up with a winning conference record.

Volleyball: current record 3-11. What went wrong? A tough road schedule. Out of those 14 games only one has been at home. It is never easy to win on the road and that has proved true for the volleyball team.

What went right? Mackenzie Steckler. She was ranked sixth in the NCAA for blocks this year. The Western defense has struggled, but Steckler has been a star. Hopefully, she can help the team turn things around as Summit League play has arrived.

What’s the outlook? For Summit League play, the Leathernecks should look to have a .500 record. After two seasons with only five total Summit League victories, the team should look to double that total with seven this year.

As fall turns the leaves’ colors, it allows for WIU athletics to turn over their leaf: to get back on track and dominate. Keep the tradition of tough alive throughout this fall, as the new season is getting ever closer.