SPRINGFIELD, Ohio - Another banner fall sports season has reaped tangible rewards for 34 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 two All-America selections to date. 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 also been distributed in the last week for every sport except football. Individual finishes at the conference championship meet on Nov. 1 determined all-conference selections in men's and women's cross country.
Juniors Sarah Yuskewich (Columbus, Ohio/Watterson) and Emilie Schmid (Canton, Ohio/Massillon Jackson) swept top honors in volleyball with Player of the Year and Libero of the Year designations to lead the postseason awards season. In addition, field hockey Head Coach Marianne Besharawas named NCAC Coach of the Year for the third time in her four seasons at the helm.
The Wittenberg volleyball team finished 28-7 overall in 2003 and won the NCAC regular season and tournament titles for a seventh straight year without a loss. Yuskewich, who broke the NCAA Division III record for assists in a season in 2002, extended the Wittenberg stranglehold on the conference Player of the Year award to seven straight years. She finished 2003 with 1,408 assists, moving into first place on the Wittenberg career assists list, and she also had team-highs of 111 blocks and 41 service aces. She was selected first-team All-NCAC and Player of the Year and first-team All-Great Lakes Region by the American Volleyball Coaches Association. A 2002 All-American, Yuskewich will learn next week if the honor will be bestowed upon her for a second straight year.
Schmid was named Libero of the Year and all-region, the first time she has been recognized for her contributions with postseason NCAC or region awards. Her dig total of 814 in 2003 ranks No. 2 in school history, and it easily led the conference while ranking among the top three nationally all season. The Libero of the Year award is new in 2003, and it recognizes the top player in the conference at the unique, defensive-oriented position.
Junior Kristin Fox (Galion, Ohio/Galion), who showed her versatility by filling in at outside hitter after injuries left the team shorthanded early in the season, joined Yuskewich on the all-conference and all-region teams after leading Wittenberg in kills with 421. Rounding things out were senior Lindsay Nelson (Massillon, Ohio/Tuslaw) and senior Michelle Emming (West Chester, Ohio/Mount Notre Dame), who both earned second-team All-NCAC honors. Nelson was the fourth Tiger to garner all-region honors.
In field hockey, Wittenberg rallied from a 1-4 start to win 10 straight games to conclude the regular season and finish 9-3 in the NCAC and 13-7 overall. The Tigers won the NCAC regular season and tournament championships, and advanced to the NCAA Division III tournament for the sixth time in school history and second year in a row. Wittenberg's season ended in the second round with a 6-0 loss to Cortland State.
Junior goalkeeper Jen Meyer (Solon, Ohio/Hathaway Brown) was named first-team All-NCAC, first-team All-Great Lakes Region and third-team All-America for a second straight year. Meyer allowed 28 goals, 11 more than in 2002, but she spearheaded the midseason turnaround and helped a young defense that was replacing three all-region players record six total shutouts, five with her in the cage. Junior midfielderBlair Ufer (Ann Arbor, Mich./Pioneer), the team's second-leading scorer with 23 points in 2003, earned the same honors as Meyer - first-team all-conference, first-team all-region and third-team All-America. She earned the same NCAC honor a year ago and was an honorable mention choice in the regional voting in 2002.
Freshman Katy Barrett (Powell, Ohio/Watterson) was the team's third first-team All-NCAC choice after she paced the Tigers in scoring with 24 points. Second-team honors went to junior Melanie Boss (Dayton, Ohio/Fairmont), sophomore Julia Wickham (Columbus, Ohio/Grandview) and junior Carrie Happ (Pittsburgh, Pa./Vincentian). Freshman Rachel Dunn (Pittsburgh, Pa./North Allegheny) rounded out the team's all-conference honorees with honorable mention recognition. Barrett, Happ and Wickham were additionally honored with second-team All-Great Lakes Region recognition.
The football team closed another outstanding season with an 8-2 overall record and a mark of 4-2 in the NCAC, good for a tie for second place. Wittenberg placed 12 players on the All-NCAC awards list. Four Tigers earned first-team All-NCAC: senior offensive guard Chad Thompson (Ft. Thomas, Ky./Highlands), senior wide receiver Skip Ivery (Columbus, Ohio/Groveport-Madison), junior offensive guard Brad Kassner (Circleville, Ohio/Circleville) and sophomore wide receiver Jered Glover (Middletown, Ohio/Middletown). Thompson made his third straight appearance on the first-team, while Ivery and Kassner made their second. It was the first such designation for Glover, the team's leading receiver in each of his first two collegiate seasons.
Second-team choices included junior tailback Raymar Hampshire (Lima, Ohio/Elida), junior quarterback Ryan Holmes (Oxford, Ohio/Talawanda), junior center Corey Chatman (Mansfield, Ohio/Senior), senior kicker Conrad Hindert (Terrace Park, Ohio/Mariemont), junior defensive tackle Jarrett Brown (Columbus, Ohio/St. Charles) and sophomore cornerback Mike Freeman (Huber Heights, Ohio/Wayne). Honorable mention went to freshman fullback Tyler Harmon (Indianapolis, Ind./Perry Meridian) and sophomore safety Yusef Abdul-Zahir (Canton, Ohio/McKinley). All-region and All-America honors for football will be announced later this month.
Four members of the Wittenberg men's soccer team, which finished the 2003 season with a 4-5 record in the NCAC and a mark of 8-10 overall, earned All-NCAC honors. Freshman Sebastian Missura (Quito, Ecuador/American School) was named to the second team after leading the team in scoring with nine goals and 19 total points. Senior Steve Doring (Dayton, Ohio/Wayne), senior Tim Fogler (Chagrin Falls, Ohio/Kenston) and sophomore Matt Berry (Tipp City, Ohio/Tippecanoe) were all named Honorable Mention.
The Wittenberg women's soccer team, which finished 8-10-1 overall and 3-5 in the NCAC, placed five student-athletes on the All-NCAC honor rolls. Senior forward Geri Woessner (Dayton, Ohio/Oakwood), the team's leading scorer all four years and the No. 2 goal scorer in school history, made first-team for the third time. Sophomore midfielder Emily Hiscar (Pataskala, Ohio/Watkins Memorial) was named second team for a second straight year, where she was joined by freshman Jamie McIntyre (Columbus, Ohio/Grandview). Honorable mention recognition went to senior Jenny Miller (Cincinnati, Ohio/Mother of Mercy) and freshman Phoebe Gaston (Cincinnati, Ohio/Northwest).
At the NCAC Cross Country Championship Meet, senior Becky Barnes (Williamsport, Ohio/Westfall) earned third-team All-NCAC honors after finishing 18th. In addition, Barnes finished 30th in the NCAA Division III Great Lakes Regional meet at Hanover College on Nov. 15. That finish was good for all-region honors (the top 35 finishers are so recognized).