The University of Missouri–St. Louis men’s basketball team secured an NCAA Division II Tournament bid for the third time in the past four seasons Sunday after finishing second in the Great Lakes Valley Conference Tournament. The fifth-seeded Tritons fell to sixth-seeded McKendree 62-51 in Sunday’s tournament final after mounting a stiff defense of last year’s tournament crown over the previous two days at Lindenwood’s Hyland Arena in St. Charles, Missouri. Coach Bob Sundvold’s team routed fourth-seeded Rockhurst 92-58 in Friday’s quarterfinal, then blitzed top-seeded Indianapolis 82-56 in Saturday’s semifinal to advance to the GLVC championship game for the third time in the past four years. Isaiah Fuller and Victor Nwagbaraocha led four players in double figures with 16 points each in the victory over the Hawks, and Bowen Sandquist sank eight 3-pointers and finished with 30 points in the win over the Greyhounds – UMSL’s second victory over the nation’s seventh-ranked team in a 10-day period. But the Tritons couldn’t overcome cold-shooting in Sunday’s championship, hitting only 34.5% of its shots. It didn’t help that McKendree connected on 68.2% of its shots in the first 20 minutes while building a 38-24 lead at halftime. UMSL drew as close as 54-49 with 3:33 left, but the Bearcats closed the game on an 8-2 run to secure their first GLVC title. The Tritons, ranked as high as fourth in the country this season after a 12-0 start, still put together a strong enough resume to land an at-large bid when the NCAA Division II tournament bracket was unveiled on Sunday night. UMSL (21-10) landed the No. 2 seed in the Midwest Region and will take on No. 7 seed Wisconsin-Parkside in the opening round on Saturday.
The Tritons split a double-header with Davenport Thursday as they opened their home schedule at the UMSL Softball Field. UMSL dropped the first game 5-4 after surrendering three runs in the sixth inning, but the Tritons bounced back for a 1-0 victory in the second game. Third baseman McKenzie Lamos singled in Anna VanGundy with the game’s only run in the seventh inning in the UMSL victory. Pitcher Ashley Borowitz held Davenport to only two hits and struck out eight while securing her first win of the year. Center fielder Corinne Daley cracked a three-run home run in the first game, and Lamos also had an RBI double. The Tritons (5-7) are headed to Leesburg, Florida, for The Spring Games. They’ll face Walsh Tuesday in the first of 12 games they’re scheduled to play in an eight-day span.
UMSL took three out of four in a weekend series against Winona State at the UMSL Baseball Field. The Tritons’ offense came alive in wins of 13-3 and 10-5 on Saturday, and they bounced back from a 7-5 loss on Sunday to beat Winona State 8-4 in the series finale. Left fielder Brandon Olion drove in four runs in the first game, and UMSL stole eight bases. Carson Holin tripled in the first of seven runs in the first inning of the second game and scored on a throwing error on the same play. Starter Nick Torres pitched five innings and surrendered two runs in Sunday’s victory. Olion had two hits, including another triple, and scored twice for the Tritons. UMSL (7-9) will travel to Rockhurst to open GLVC play with a four-game series beginning Friday in Kansas City, Missouri.
The Tritons split a pair of dual meets over the weekend, beating Quincy 6-1 on Saturday before losing 5-2 against Hillsdale on Sunday. Jose Mayorga won a match tiebreaker against Quincy’s Samuele Contestabile, and UMSL added straight sets victories by Juan Vigil, Raphael Kerndl, Joshua Mackey and Tanin Ramnath after also winning the doubles point. The Tritons also won the doubles point against Hillsdale, but Vigil was the only UMSL player victorious in his singles match as he beat Hillsdale’s Brian Hackman 7-6, 6-0. The Tritons (3-3) will play host to Harding on Saturday at the UMSL Tennis Courts.
UMSL edged Quincy 4-3 Saturday in its lone match of the week. The Tritons won the doubles points after taking two of three doubles matches against the Hawks. UMSL also pulled out wins at No. 2 and No. 3 singles Maja Lietzau beat Blanca Salas Cruz 6-3, 6-4, and Hannah Tse handed Steffi Lao a 6-3, 6-2 defeat. But when Quincy won the first, fourth and fifth singles match, that set up a winner-take-all match at No. 6 between Kaitlyn Challis and Katrin Ismailova. Challis dropped the first set 6-3 before battling back to take the last two 6-2 each and giving the Tritons the victory. UMSL (4-2) will next face Harding on Saturday at the UMSL Tennis Courts.
The 18th-ranked Tritons golf program had two teams tied for third after the first day of the Las Vegas Desert Classic, which UMSL hosts at Boulder Creek Golf Club in Boulder City, Nevada. Both UMSL teams finished with total of 303 and were tied with Oklahoma Christian and four shots back of tournament leader Colorado Christian. This year’s field includes eight teams ranked in the Top 25 in the latest Bushnell/Golfweek Division II Coaches Poll. Five of those teams are ranked in the top 10. Sophomore Ian McCrary shot an opening-round 3-under-par 69 to take the early lead in the 54-hole tournament, and he was one of four UMSL golfers in the top 15 on individual leaderboard. Juan Antonio Padilla was tied for second after shooting 72, Joel Sylven was a shot back in a tie for fifth, and Andres Aguirre was tied for 14th after a round of 75. The tournament continues today and Tuesday.