FRANK CUSHMAN | SPORTS EDITOR
Women’s Basketball: The St. Norbert Women’s basketball team is coming off yet another great season under the legendary coach, Connie Tilley. They went 21-5 on route to the program’s 13th conference championship and 5th in the last 7 years. They graduated first team all-conference selection Stephanie Weigman but will return 3 all conference selections: Regan Carmichael, Brianna Byrne and Jill Kleiman, all seniors. With this core of veterans they will look to challenge for the conference crown again this season.
Men’s Basketball: The men’s basketball team enters the 2016-17 season ranked 5th in the nation. They have a really experienced starting lineup returning featuring junior point guard D.J. DeValk and senior shooting guard Terrence Garner. Last year they over performed, winning the conference regular season and tournament and making it to the sweet sixteen. All with a very young team and no seniors. This year they return 3 senior starters in Garner, Ben Bobinski and Tim Marshall and will look to lean on Devalk picked as a preseason all american. This appears to be coach Gary Grzesk’s strongest team and they will look to make a deep run in the NCAA tournament in March.
Women’s Hockey: The newest Green Knight sport, women’s hockey has been steadily improving each of the 4 years they have been a program. Last year they finished runner up in the NCHA (Northern Collegiate Hockey Association) conference tournament and narrowly missed the NCAA tournament. They will return in the 2016-17 season with a strong but fairly young squad, with only three seniors on the roster. Reaghan Chadwick, 2nd, in point total last year will lead the team at the forward position with Leigh Grall tending the net for the Knights. They opened the year with a tough 5-4 loss to St. Mary’s but will be looking to bounce back Tuesday at Concordia WI.
Men’s Hockey: Perhaps the most celebrated program at St. Norbert the men’s hockey team will have high expectations yet again, entering this season. With a team that finished national runner up last year and won their 4th NCHA title in the last 5 years. They lost a first team all american Erik Cooper to graduation this season but will return standout defensmen Blake Thompson. Thompson, a second team all american a season ago, will lead a stellar defense while forwards Pijus Rulevicius and Riley Christensen who each tallied 26 points last year. The Knights come into the year ranked first in the West region of the NCAA poll and 2nd in two national polls behind defending national champ Steven’s Point. The men swept a home and away series with Marian this past weekend outscoring the 15th ranked Sabres 13-0 over the two games. They will travel to Lake Forest next Friday for their 3rd game of the season.