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Sports recap: looking back at a brilliant weekend for our Pioneers

Danielle Oberlander ‘21 takes a swing at the Wartburg College Invitational this past weekend where the team placed ninth. Photo contributed by Ted Schultz

By Ezra Pine


This past weekend, the undefeated volleyball team faced their biggest challenge yet, taking on Carleton College, Cornell College, and Luther College in the Associated Colleges of the Midwest (ACM) Tournament. In the first game against Carleton on Friday night, the Pioneers dropped the first set 19–25, but stormed back and won the next three sets 25–15, 25–19, 25–18. 

Later that night, though, the team had perhaps their biggest game of the season when they took on Cornell. They had lost to Cornell in every match for the past 18 years, and were hungry to put an end to that drought. They won a close first set 25–22, then took the next two sets 25–20, 25–17 to win the game and end the drought. 

On Saturday, the Pioneers beat Luther in three sets (25–19, 26–24, 25–18) to win the tournament. Kaylin Kuhn ’21 won MWC Offensive Performer of the Week for her breakout performance, averaging 5.33 kills per set over the weekend. The team, now 8–0, returns to action on Thursday night, when they play Simpson College at home. 


The football team put up a good fight against Lawrence University on Saturday, but ended up losing 28–0 in their first game of the season. Grinnell drove deep into Lawrence territory twice in the first half, but failed to capitalize on either of their opportunities. 

“I think that the score didn’t really reflect how well we did. Compared to last year, we really developed a running game, which is something that we were definitely missing out on last year,” said Daniel Carter ’22, the team’s running back. Carter was one of the few bright spots for the Pioneer offense on Saturday, as he rushed for 119 yards on 29 attempts. 

On defense, defensive back Marco Kamimura ’21 led the way with 10 tackles, and defensive backs Jelani McCray ’21 and Bryce Tanikawa ’23 contributed eight tackles each. The Pioneers will look to get into the win column when they travel to face Lake Forest College on Saturday. 

Women’s Golf 

The women’s golf team placed ninth out of 17 teams at the Wartburg College Invitational this past weekend. Nina Kouchi ’22 led the charge for the team, posting a two-day total score of 146 (two-over-par), that put her in sixth place out of the 107-golfer field. 

“Last year, as a first year, Nina was a second-team All-American,” Coach Dave Arseneault Jr. said. “This year, she’s off to a tremendous start. What she’s done, and how she’s developed to take her game to the next level, has been really impressive.” 

Besides Kouchi, Danielle Oberlander ’21 finished in 12th place after posting an impressive two-day score of 151 (seven-over-par), and Julia Echikson ’20 finished in 17th place with a score of 152 (eight-over-par). The women’s golf team will be returning to action this Saturday where they’ll compete in the Illinois Wesleyan invitational. 

Women’s Tennis 

The women’s tennis team kicked off conference play this past weekend, making a big statement to the rest of the MWC. They hosted Lawrence and St. Norbert College on Saturday, and Ripon College on Sunday. All three matches ended with the same result — a 9–0 sweep in the Pioneers’ favor. 

Abby Nielson ’21 and Sabrina Tang ’23 dominated in particular, as they each won five matches (singles and doubles) throughout the weekend. As a whole, the team has won 31 of its last 32 MWC matches dating back to 2015. 

The team next plays on Saturday at home against Beloit College and Lake Forest. 

Women’s Soccer 

The women’s soccer team played two games this weekend — one against Buena Vista University on Saturday, and another against Carleton on Sunday. 

The Pioneers dominated Buena Vista for the majority of the game, outshooting them by a 38–0 margin. Samantha Reid ’23 scored twice to notch her first two collegiate goals, and five other players each scored one goal in a 7–0 shutout victory. “It was so fun against Buena Vista to see us get a lot of people in and figure out different ways we were going to score goals,” said Coach Kirsten Koester. 

On Sunday, the Pioneers couldn’t quite match Carleton’s firepower, and were outshot 30–9. They fell behind 2–0 at the half, and Carleton kept their foot on the gas the whole way through. Though they suffered a tough 5–1 loss, one positive from the game was a goal scored by Crys Moosman ’21 in the 87th minute—their first goal as a Pioneer. 

Looking ahead, the team goes on the road to play Bethany Lutheran University on Saturday. 

Men’s Soccer 

Like the women’s soccer team, the men’s team faced Buena Vista on Saturday and Carleton on Sunday. 

Against Buena Vista, they gave up two goals in the first twenty minutes. From there, they scored seven straight goals, bolstered by a hat trick from Henry Cladouhos ’22. The Pioneers won 7–3. 

On Sunday the Pioneers faced Carleton, a team close to being nationally ranked. The majority of the game was evenly matched, as the defense limited a Carleton attack. However, in the 89th minute, the Pioneers let one slip through, and suffered a 1–0 loss. 

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