The men's and women's Wheaton College soccer teams started the year in similar places and now with just one conference game left the two teams have continued to mirror each other. Both Thunder teams will compete Saturday for the the CCIW Tournament championship against Carthage College.
Even stranger, both the men's and women's team won in nail-biting fashion. The men's team was the first to punch its ticket, beating North Park but needing a shootout to do so Tuesday night.
Regulation ended with the two teams tied at 1-1 following a late second half goal by Wheaton's senior forward Jordan Golz. The score came off a free kick in the 88th minute. After two overtime periods the game was still up for grabs and headed into a shootout, which the Thunder won 5-3.
The Wheaton men will host Carthage at 5:30 p.m. Saturday. The two teams' only previous game this year came early in October when the Thunder won 2-1 at home.
The women's team wasn't in quite as dire straights as the men late in their game Wednesday night against Augustana. With both teams still holding a shutout through 89 minutes senior Leah DeMoss found Anna Seabolt for only her third goal of the year. Wheaton killed off the remaining seconds and won the game 1-0 and head to the conference championship.
The women's team, which had been No. 1 in the country and the conference favorite for nearly the entire year, also will host the championship, following the men Saturday.
In fitting fashion the women Thunder also beat their championship opponent 2-1 earlier in the year. Carthage won its game in a shootout over Illinois Wesleyan to move on.
For the second consecutive year the North Central football team's future is in its own hands.
With just two games remaining the Cardinals are in first place but with teams close behind. Last year in their second-to-last game they lost to rival Wheaton College, causing a three-way tie between North Central, Wheaton and Elmhurst.
With Wheaton on the sechedule Saturday, North Central hopes to get payback for last year. This time it's Wheaton and Illinois Wesleyan chasing the Cardinals, but another loss would likely cause the same outcome. Last week North Central beat Illinois Wesleyan in dominating fashion, but because of a Wheaton loss to the Warriors nothing is sealed yet.
North Central will have to go on the road to play its local rival at 1 p.m. Saturday in Wheaton. While the Cardinals still have a final game against Augustana, the Wheaton game will likely decide the conference championship.
For the 11th time in program history and the second consecutive year the Elmhurst women's volleyball team has claimed the CCIW title. The team beat Millikin University in four sets Tuesday to win the championship.
With the win Elmhurst completed an 11-4 season all while perfect within conference. The team is ranked fifth nationally and has won the right to host the CCIW playoffs. The Bluejays will host Wheaton College at 7 p.m. Friday for their first-round game.