SPRINGFIELD, Ohio - Another
banner fall sports season has reaped tangible rewards for 33
Wittenberg University athletes who were selected to All-North Coast
Athletic Conference teams. In addition, several Tiger athletes
received regional and national recognition from various
organizations, including three first-team All-America selections to
Announcements for football, men's and women's soccer, volleyball and field hockey came in separate releases from the NCAC office in the past two weeks, and regional and national award announcements have been distributed over the last few weeks as well for every sport except football. All-conference selections in men's and women's cross country were determined by individual finishes at the conference championship meet hosted by Wittenberg University at John Bryan State Park on Nov. 2.
Three Wittenberg athletes won NCAC Athlete of the Year honors for a fall sport. Senior cross country runner Abi Gerstle (Kettering, Ohio/Fairmont) won an individual championship at the NCAC meet to claim Female Runner of the Year honors for a second straight year, sophomore setter Sarah Yuskewich (Columbus, Ohio/Watterson) earned volleyball Player of the Year, and senior sweeper Rebecca Russ (Louisville, Ky./Sacred Heart) claimed the field hockey Defensive Player of the Year award. In addition, two coaches earned top conference accolades - Connie Surowicz was named Coach of the Year for a third time in volleyball andMarianne Beshara was co-Coach of the Year in field hockey, the second time in her three seasons leading the Tigers that she has claimed that award. In addition, Yuskewich, Russ and field hockey senior Emily Duh (Hellertown, Pa./Saucon Valley) claimed All-America honors.
Yuskewich re-wrote the Wittenberg, NCAC and NCAA Division III record books for assists in a season in 2002. She distributed 2,125 assists in 143 games (14.86 per game average), including three matches in the NCAA tournament, shattering the records for total assists and assists per game that were both previously set by Wittenberg's Shelli Habegger in 2000. Yuskewich, who was second on the team in blocks with 51.5 and service aces with 55 and third in digs with 272, was named first-team All-NCAC and Player of the Year, first-team All-Great Lakes Region by the American Volleyball Coaches Association and first-team All-America by the same organization.
By earning Player of the Year, Yuskewich became the sixth different Wittenberg player to claim the honor in the last six years. She led Wittenberg to its sixth straight NCAC regular season and tournament championships in 2002. But Yuskewich wasn't the only one garnering postseason recognition, as sophomore outside hitterMonica McDonald (Newark, Ohio/Catholic), the conference leader in kills, and senior middle hitter Tiffany Keller (Massillon, Ohio/Tuslaw), last year's NCAC Player of the Year and the team's leader in blocks, earned second and third-team All-America status respectively. Both were also first-team All-NCAC and first-team all-region choices.
Senior outside hitter Teresa Murphy (Blacklick, Ohio/Newark Catholic), a three-time first-team All-NCAC honoree, was squeezed off the first team in 2002 and wound up with second team recognition this year. She still finished her career as one of a select few athletes in Wittenberg history to gain all-conference honors four straight years.
In field hockey, Wittenberg finished first in the NCAC with a school record-tying 10-2 record and a 17-4 overall mark. The Tigers won the inaugural NCAC field hockey tournament championship and advanced to the NCAA Division III tournament for the fifth time in school history. Wittenberg's season ended in the second round with a 3-0 loss to Williams.
Russ was the leader of a defense that set a school record with just seven goals allowed against NCAC competition and yielded just 14 goals in 20 regular season games. She was also the leader in postseason honors, beginning with the aforementioned Player of the Year award and first-team All-NCAC recognition for a third consecutive year. In addition, the National Field Hockey Coaches Association named Russ first-team All-Great Lakes Region for a second straight year and first-team All-America for the first time in her career. Duh also earned first-team All-America honors after putting together one of the finest seasons in school history in 2002, scoring a school-record 60 total points on a school-record-tying 26 goals and eight assists. Duh was also a first-team All-NCAC and all-region selection, the second straight year she earned those awards.
Two other Tiger field hockey players claimed All-America honors as well. Senior defender Heather House (Dayton, Ohio/Oakwood) and sophomore goalkeeperJen Meyer (Solon, Ohio/Hathaway Brown) were named to the third team. It was the first national recognition for either, coming on the heels of first-team All-NCAC and first-team All-Great Lakes Region honors for both. House has been a stalwart on defense for the Tigers for three straight years and was an integral part of the record-setting unit of 2002. Meyer allowed just 17 goals all season and started every game.
Also garnering All-NCAC recognition were sophomore midfielder Blair Ufer (Ann Arbor, Mich./Pioneer), the team's fifth first-team selection, and senior defender Jill Hobelman (St. Louis, Mo./Villa Duchesne) and sophomore Melanie Boss (Dayton, Ohio/Fairmont), who were both honorable mention choices.
At the NCAC Cross Country Championship Meet, Gerstle took home the individual women's title for a second straight year with a time of 18:46, which was five seconds faster than the rest of the field and 23 seconds better than her winning time in 2001. Gerstle then finished ninth at the NCAA Division III Great Lakes Regional meet at Ohio Northern University on Nov. 16, advancing her to the national competition for a third straight year. Gerstle finished 54th in a field of more than 200 runners at the NCAA Division III National meet at St. Olaf College in Northfield, Minn. on Nov. 23.
The football team closed another outstanding season with a 10-2 overall record and a mark of 6-1 in the NCAC, good for second place. While the Tigers' string of five consecutive NCAC championships ended, Wittenberg still placed 15 players on the All-NCAC awards list. Nine Tigers earned first-team All-NCAC: senior tailback Daniel Grove (Uhrichsville, Ohio/Claymont), junior offensive guard Chad Thompson (Ft. Thomas, Ky./Highlands), junior wide receiver Skip Ivery (Columbus, Ohio/Groveport-Madison), sophomore offensive guard Brad Kassner (Circleville, Ohio/Circleville), senior defensive end Allen D'Andrea (Naples, Fla./Barron Collier), senior linebacker Dustin Goldsbury (Columbus, Ohio/Ready), senior outside linebacker Andy Pope (Hamilton, Ohio/Lakota East), senior safety John Hauser (Columbus, Ohio/Bishop Hartley) and senior defensive end Jim Lackmeyer (Cincinnati, Ohio/Purcell Marian). For Goldsbury and Hauser, it was the fourth time in their careers that they had garnered All-NCAC recognition, while it was the third first-team selection for Pope.
Second-team choices included senior quarterback Greg Cornett (Franklin, Ohio/Franklin), senior center Adam McClain (Danville, Ind./Community), senior offensive tackle Tony Banich (Indianapolis, Ind./Ben Davis) and senior defensive back Andy Waddle (Springfield, Ohio/Greenon). Honorable mention went to sophomore fullback Raymar Hampshire (Lima, Ohio/Elida) and senior defensive tackle Lloyd Hudson (Cincinnati, Ohio/Sycamore). All-region and All-America honors for football will be announced later this month.
Three members of the Wittenberg men's soccer team, which finished the 2002 season with five wins in its last six games to end up 5-4 in the NCAC and 7-10-1 overall, earned All-North Coast Athletic Conference honors. Senior forward Brian Armstrong (Delaware, Ohio/Dublin Coffman) was rewarded for his hard work and NCAC-leading 34 total points with a first-team designation, the first of his career. Junior midfielder Steve Doring (Dayton, Ohio/Wayne) and senior midfielder Matt Lapish (Grosse Point Farms, Mich./South) both were named to the second team.
The Wittenberg women's soccer team, which finished 6-12 overall and 4-5 in the NCAC, placed one athlete on the All-NCAC second team and two more among the honorable mention selections. Freshman midfielder Emily Hiscar (Pataskala, Ohio/Watkins Memorial) was named second team. Junior forward Geri Woessner (Dayton, Ohio/Oakwood), the team's leading scorer despite missing half the season with a knee injury, and sophomore midfielder Rachel Ridgeway (Montclair, N.J./The Taft School) were both named honorable mention.