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No. 3 WVU Knocks Off No. 2 Ole Miss to Open Season

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. (Oct. 2, 2021)  The No. 3-ranked West Virginia University rifle team opened its 2021-22 season by defeating No. 2 Ole Miss, 4733-4683, on Saturday evening in Oxford, Mississippi.

WVU (1-0, 1-0 GARC) swept Ole Miss (0-1, 0-1 GARC) in both disciplines, winning smallbore, 2348-2319, and air rifle, 2385-2364.

“I’m really pleased with the effort and focus from the team today,” WVU coach Jon Hammond said. “Everyone worked hard throughout their matches and were determined to stick to their goals.

“It’s a nice way to start the season and have a solid team performance against a very good conference opponent. (Sophomore) Tal (Engler) led the way for us in both events, but we had good performances from many of them.”

Six Mountaineers took the top-six spots on the individual leaderboard, with each shooter tallying an aggregate score of 1175 or better. WVU also placed seven shooters inside the top-10 smallbore standings and six in the top 10 in air rifle.

Engler topped all three leaderboards in the match, posting career bests in aggregate score (1188) and air rifle (598). The Tzur Yigal, Israel, native also tallied a smallbore score of 591 (195 kneeling, 200 prone, 195 standing).

Senior Verena Zaisberger posted an aggregate score of 1181, including 587 in smallbore (197 kneeling, 196 prone, 194 standing) and 594 in air rifle (99-100-99-99-99-98). Additionally, fellow senior Jared Eddy tallied a 584 in smallbore and a 586 in air rifle for an aggregate score of 1170.

Junior Akihito Shimizu was third on the match leaderboard with an aggregate score of 1179. Shimizu showed a smallbore score 583 (193 kneeling, 196 prone, 194 standing) and an air rifle total of 596 (99-100-100-100-100-97).

Shimizu was followed by fellow junior Malori Brown (587 smallbore, 590 air rifle) and sophomore Matt Sanchez (585 smallbore, 592 air rifle) who placed fourth and fifth, respectively, as each posted an aggregate score of 1177. Of note, Sanchez tied his career-high smallbore score in the match.

Junior Calista Smoyer placed sixth with an aggregate score of 1175. The Slatington, Pennsylvania, native tallied a 578 in smallbore (188 kneeling, 197 prone, 193 standing) and a 597 in air rifle (99-100-99-100-99-100).

Finally, sophomore Becca Lamb rounded out the day for the Mountaineers with an aggregate score of 1158, including a 575 in smallbore (190 kneeling, 196 prone, 189 standing) and a 583 in air rifle (97-99-99-95-96-97).

The Mountaineers continue their season-opening road trip on Sunday, Oct. 3, as the team travels to Murray, Kentucky, to shoot against No. 8 Murray State. The match is set to begin at 10 a.m. ET.

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