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Final Four finish proud achievement for Division III Illinois Wesleyan

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Updated: April 28, 2014 10:34AM

From the beginning of the season through the Final Four, there was never any doubt Illinois Wesleyan was one of the top men’s basketball teams in NCAA Division III. The Titans (27-5) fell short of their dream of a national championship with a 71-63 loss to Wisconsin-Whitewater in the semifinals Friday in Salem, Va., but coach Ron Rose knows the College Conference of Illinois and Wisconsin regular-season champions will be able to look at the season with pride.

‘‘It really was a fun run,’’ Rose said. ‘‘It’s easy to get greedy and want another game or two, but you look back at the last few weeks, and it was a terrific experience.’’

Against Wisconsin-Whitewater, senior forward Andrew Ziemnik scored 13 points, just about right on his team-leading season average of 12.5. Junior guard Pat Sodemann scored 12 points and senior forward Victor Davis 10. But Iliinois Wesleyan was cold from the field, shooting
20-for-57, including 5-for-23 on three-pointers. Whitewater, which overcame a 29-28 halftime deficit, went on to beat Williams 75-73 in the title game.

‘‘I give Whitewater a lot of credit,’’ Rose said. ‘‘They’re a fantastic defensive team and played very well. We walk away disappointed, not feeling like we played as well as we’ve been playing. But at that time of year, you have to be at the top of your game every game.

‘‘When you think about the whole body of work that this team had in winning the conference and getting to the Final Four, it’s quite an experience. We have six strong seniors who really led this year, and it’s a great legacy that they’re leaving behind.’’

Play ball

Off to a 12-2 start, Concordia has moved into the top 10 in two NCAA Division III baseball polls. The Cougars moved up four spots to No. 10 at and moved
up three spots to
No. 9 in the American Baseball Coaches Association poll.

The Cougars have won eight games in a row, including a 3-2 victory Friday in St. Louis against No. 6 Webster, the team that ousted Concordia last year in the Central Regional. It was the start of a big St. Louis weekend for the Cougars, who also beat St. Scholastica 2-1 and Washington of St. Louis 4-1.

Concordia opens Northern Athletics Collegiate Conference play at home Saturday in River Forest with a doubleheader against Concordia of Wisconsin.

Saints’ big week

Seven athletes from St. Francis of Joliet won Chicagoland Collegiate Athletic Conference athlete-of-the-week honors for the week ending Saturday.

Designated hitter/first baseman Matt Scott won the honor in baseball after going 5-for-8 with three RBI as
St. Francis went 3-0 for the week. In softball, center fielder Lexi Southall was selected the top player and Corey Shahan the top pitcher. Sprinter Eddie Solorio was honored in men’s track, shot putter Colt Monroe in men’s field, hurdler Daryll Rodriguez in women’s track and high jumper Jabria Stainback in women’s field.

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