As the semester comes to a close, it takes with it another season of MSU Denver sports.
Fall 2017 saw 12 teams across men’s and women’s athletics represent the Roadrunners. The men competed in basketball, cross country, soccer, tennis and will begin indoor track on Dec. 7. The women had squads in all of these sports, plus volleyball and golf. While a conference or national title proved elusive, Roadrunner teams had winning records in conference play in every instance applicable, earning personal accolades and recognition along the way.
Collectively, the athletics department earned trips to all five Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference Tournaments that they were eligible to make: one from volleyball, each of the men’s and women’s soccer programs, and both groups from cross-country. Volleyball and cross-country earned followup berths to their respective NCAA regional championships, as well.
Volleyball was undoubtedly the strongest full-season team in the fall, reaching the semifinals of both the RMAC Tournament and the NCAA DII South Central regional tournament. They took a 22-9 regular season and a 16-2 RMAC record to the playoffs under second-year head coach Jenny Glenn, finishing third in the conference.
Along the way, they became the only in-conference team to beat the eventual RMAC champion Regis University. The team’s efforts were recognized with national ranking votes, two all-RMAC first team players, three more named to the conference second team and an all-region DII Conference Commissioner’s Association honor for junior Santaisha Sturges.
While other Roadrunners teams did not find similar success, storylines abounded during the fall season. Men’s soccer lost eight regular players from last year’s team, and it quickly showed. The team dropped their first five matches, all by one goal, and the season seemed to be lost early. However, they flipped the script by going 8-2 in their next set of games and worked their way up to fourth place in the RMAC by the end of the season, reaching the conference semifinals.
The split-season teams put on a strong showing in their first halves, with men’s and women’s tennis collectively going .500 and golf topping out at third place in their first set of invitationals in the season. Both will go back to work in the spring, along with baseball, softball and outdoor track.
Bridging the gap from fall to spring is basketball and indoor track. Both basketball teams have entered conference play, with the women’s team currently at a winning pace of 5-3. The men’s record is the inverse of that, but won their first two RMAC contests. Senior Bounama Keita earned the conference Defensive Player of the Week honors on Dec. 5. Track begins their season on Dec. 7 at the Colorado School of Mines Alumni Classic & Multi. As we enter the break, the Roadrunners will continue to compete on the court and track and carry that over into the spring semester.