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The Scarlet & Black

The Scarlet & Black

Men’s and Women’s basketball start season play

The+men%E2%80%99s+and+women%E2%80%99s+basketball+teams+started+off+their+seasons+with+losses%2C+but+both+look+ahead+with+hope+to+improve.+Photo+by+Andrew+Tucker
The men’s and women’s basketball teams started off their seasons with losses, but both look ahead with hope to improve. Photo by Andrew Tucker

Women’s Basketball 

The women’s basketball team began their season last Friday with a 48–68 loss to Central College.  

Despite the loss, multiple players posted big numbers. Guard Kathryn Stender ’21—who only played in six games last year due to an ACL injury—notched a double-double with 10 points and 12 rebounds, center Mikayla Kricfalusi ’20 scored eight points and grabbed 11 boards, and forward Aidan Coalson ’22 put up 10 points and eight boards.  

“I thought we rebounded the ball pretty well and defended really well at times. However, we struggled to capitalize on the offensive end when we were able to string some stops together, so that made it tough to stay in the game,” coach Dana Harrold, who’s in her seventh year coaching the women’s basketball squad. 

Looking ahead to the rest of the season, the Pioneers are looking to improve off of their 8–16 record from last year. The squad will be led by guard Tyria Heath ’21, who averaged a team-best 12 points per game last season. 

“Tyria always plays a big role. She’s the rock of our team. If we ever need to switch the momentum of a game, she’ll just take over and score,” Kricfalusi said. 

Apart from Heath, Kricfalusi will play a major role this season, as she’s the team’s lone senior and one of the few players who can make her presence felt in the paint. Guards Sasha Thomas ’22 (currently out with concussion-like symptoms), Sofia Ahooja ’22 and forward Kate Tomczik ’22 will also be key contributors, as they all played significant minutes last season and put up quality numbers across the board.  

However, it’s Stender who could be the X factor for the team, as this is her first season where she’s fully healthy and ready to compete right out of the gate. “[Kathryn’s] one of those players who’s really scrappy, and always looking for a way to contribute. Having her back will help a lot,” Kricfalusi said.  

The team plays multiple non-conference games through November, before starting Midwest Conference (MWC) competition early in December. 

“We’re expecting to have a winning season because we have the talent, the experience and the dedication, which are all things you need to have a winning season. Hopefully, we can make a run at the MWC championship,” Heath said. 

Men’s Basketball 

The men’s basketball team have had a difficult start to their season. They dropped their first game to Coe College 101–117 last Friday, and suffered a 74–92 loss to Wartburg College on Tuesday night.  

“So far, our games haven’t gone as we expected. We’re definitely not scoring as much as we wanted, but the start of the season always has growing pains,” guard Anthony Gulve ’20, the team’s lone senior, said. 

The Pioneers had one of their best seasons in school history last year, going 19–6 and making it to the MWC tourney as the two seed. This year, their biggest challenge will be replacing the offensive production of Vinny Curta ’19, who averaged an astounding 25 points per game. 

“Patrick [Simms ’22] filled [Vinny’s] role last year when he got hurt, and he did great. He’ll fill in part of that role, and we also have a lot of guys who can shoot the ball well. We’ll move, drive and kick more often as opposed to one guy handling it all,” said guard Hannes Kogelnik ’21. 

Besides Simms, who scored in double-digits for each of the first two games, Kogelnik and guard Jackson Qualley will likely take on a lot of Vinny’s offensive role, as they each averaged over 15 points for the squad last season. 

The Pioneers also added another guard, Jake Benhart ’22, who transferred from a Division II school to play at Grinnell. He led the team with 19 points in his first game, and should have an established role in the offense moving forward. 

“Jake actually looked at Grinnell coming out of high school. He’s a really exciting player that can shoot the ball well, and is very crafty. We’re counting on him to contribute,” coach Dave Arsenault Jr. said.  

Lastly, anchoring the squad down low will be a trio of forwards: Will Beebee ’22, Will Dubow ’21 and Brad Geiman ’21. Beebee had 39 blocks last year and Geiman had 66, which went down as the second most blocks ever in team history. The three forwards will all play significant minutes this season as they round out the team’s front court. 

Looking ahead, the team opens up conference play early December, and they’re focused on trying to avenge their loss in last year’s MWC tourney semifinal. 

“We know we have the team and the capabilities to beat St. Norbert, Lake Forest and take that number one spot in conference. It’s definitely a realistic goal to try and host conference, win conference, and advance to the NCAA tourney,” Gulve said. 

The men’s and women’s basketball teams started off their seasons with losses, but both look ahead with hope to improve. Photo by Andrew Tucker
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