UMSL Tritons 2018-19 year in review
Student-athletes from the University of Missouri–St. Louis continued their excellence on the field or court or in the pool, as well as in the classroom, during the 2018-19 academic year. The Tritons sent four teams to the NCAA Division II Championship, won the Great Lakes Valley Conference title in softball, posted a combined .615 winning percentage across all sports, had one All-American and 17 All-GLVC selections individually and saw 117 student-athletes receive academic all-conference honors.
Here are a few of UMSL’s accomplishments from the past year:
Those 117 academic all-conference selections helped UMSL claim GLVC team academic awards in eight sports: women’s tennis, volleyball, women’s swimming, men’s tennis, softball, women’s soccer, women’s basketball and men’s golf. The award recognizes each team from GLVC-member institutions that have maintained a 3.30 GPA throughout the academic year. The women’s tennis team was the top performing UMSL team with a combined 3.73 GPA.
The men’s basketball team recorded its first 20-win season since 1990-91 after beating Maryville in the regular-season finale. That included a 13-4 record at home and an 11-7 mark in GLVC play. Senior guard Johnathan Matthews and senior forward Eric Dust led way for the Tritons, who at one point reeled off six straight victories in the middle of league play. That included a comeback for the ages against William Jewell as UMSL closed the game on a 19-1 run in the final 4:25 to win 86-84 on Feb. 2.
All-GLVC selections Ben Kasprzak and Vitor Monteiro helped the men’s tennis team compile a 14-7 record and secure an invitation to the NCAA Division II Championship. It was UMSL’s eighth appearance under Coach Rick Gyllenborg and first since 2016. Kasprzak went 16-8 at the top of the Tritons’ lineup. Senior Rob White was chosen as the Intercollegiate Tennis Association (ITA) Midwest Region Most Improved Player and finished his career with 56 career singles victories, third-most in school history.
Coach Amanda Scott was voted the GLVC Coach of the Year after guiding the Tritons to their fifth conference championship in the past six years. She had plenty of help from players such as junior pitcher Andee Tiffee, senior pitcher Carly Kingery and senior first baseman Chelsea Martinez, who were all named to the GLVC all-conference team. Tiffee, who posted a 16-5 record with a 1.80 earned run average, was named to the first team. The Tritons (35-19) opened the season with six straight losses, but by the end of the season were riding a 14-game winning streak into the NCAA Division II Tournament.
The women’s golf team secured a bid to the NCAA Regional for the 10th straight year and placed in the top four to advance to the NCAA Division II Championship for the third year in a row. Junior Emma Thorngren paced the team through the season with a 76.73 stroke average, and she placed in the top six individually in both the GLVC Tournament and the D2 East Regional, the latter to earn all-region recognition.
Not to be outdone, the men’s golf team also advanced to the NCAA Division II Championship and secured a 10th-place finish. Sophomore Reilly Ahearn was the Tritons’ top finisher in the season’s final tournament, tying for 28th place with a combined score of 218. But freshman Joel Sylven turned heads throughout the season, pacing the Tritons with a 71.89 stroke average. He was the recipient of the DII Phil Mickelson Outstanding Freshman Award and named to the PING All-America Third Team.
To read more about the Tritons’ in the past year, see UMSL Athletics’ Year in Review.
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