Pfeiffer Athletics Year in Review: Rollercoaster Ride of 2010-2011 Has Plenty of Ups and Downs
May 2, 2011
MISENHEIMER, N.C. – A 234-day stretch that started back on September 2nd, 2010, saw 18 Pfeiffer University athletic teams begin the grind of 313 contests, 142 at home, consisting of nail biting wins, heartbreaking losses, national rankings and tournament berths that all made up the 2010-2011 athletic season. This slate’s campaign wrapped up officially on April 23rd, 2011, as we start with the fall and migrate through the spring taking a look back with a Pfeiffer Year in Review.
Men’s Soccer battled in the first of those 313 events on September 2nd hosting cross-town rival Catawba in the year’s home opener and year’s first heartbreak. Falling 2-1 to the Indians in double overtime started an unusual season for the Falcons consisting of an unheard of nine overtime contests and six ties after 110 minutes of soccer all en route to a 4-7-6 record on the year. Taking the #5 seed in the Conference tournament after going 4-3-2 in league play, the Falcons upset fourth-seeded Belmont Abbey in penalty kicks (after a 0-0 contest through 110 minutes) before falling in another PK shooting at #1 Lees-McRae four days later. Fahret Salihovic led the Falcons with four goals and two assists on the season while Alex Moreno wrapped up his senior season by logging more than 1,630 minutes in net with a slim 1.05 goals against average.
In a 28 game season, a ten-game losing streak to start the season usually means disaster for the final 18 games of your season. Surprising to most, that wasn’t the case for Women’s Volleyball who rebounded to finish 12-6 after the slow start and finish in a four-way tie for third in the conference standings. A thrilling five-set win over Mount Olive at home ending the season-opening skid as Pfeiffer wrapped up league play 11-7, holding the #6 seed in the tournament due to various tiebreaking scenarios and fell in the first round at Barton 3-1. Kim Amerell was named the conference’s Freshman of the Year after 177-kill season in 26 matches of her rookie season.
Women’s Soccer began the best fall season for Pfeiffer winning the Queens Soccer Classic with 2-1 wins over #5 Carson-Newman (in double overtime) and Flagler. The Lady Falcons made the first NCAA tournament appearance of the year after claiming the Conference Tournament championship with a 10-9 shootout win at top-seeded Belmont Abbey. Trailing 2-0 late in the second half, Pfeiffer fought back to force overtime and the eventual penalty kick shootout. After going back-and-forth, goalkeeper Jamie Alcala turned aside the final Crusader shot earning a league title and berth in the national tournament. Women’s soccer put together a 13-6-2 season, 8-2 in league play to finish third, that included a school record seven consecutive shutouts while Amanda Wemple didn’t allow a goal in 758 minutes and 58 seconds of action, also a new school high.
Men’s Cross Country put together a very solid season with six top-10 finishes in the seven events this season that included a runner-up finish at the Hagan Stone Classic in Greensboro. Will Oliver paced the men all year in 2010 as the Falcons finished the season 24th overall in the NCAA II Regional Meet. Women’s Cross Country was led by Kaitlyn Mullis who had the best individual finish in every race as the Lady Falcons scored five top-10 finishes in 2010. Pfeiffer finished 2nd at the Bulldog Stampede in late September with a third place finish in October at the Hagan Stone Classic. The Lady Falcons finished 11th at the annual conference meet while wrapping up the NCAA II Regional event 28th.
As we transition into winter sports, we begin with Women’s Basketball who had a rollercoaster-type season starting with a season-opening heartbreaker at King falling 65-64 on a shot at the buzzer. The Lady Falcons put together a 14-13 season, 13-7 in league play, earning the right to host a first-round tournament game for the first time in years. During the season, the Lady Falcons heated up at the right time with a six-game win streak to end the regular season that included a 78-72 upset win at previously unbeaten in league play Barton. After knocking off Queens twice in the regular season, Pfeiffer had the tough task of trying to beat the same team three times in a season in the first round, eventually falling late to the Royals 70-62. Brittany Cox led the way averaging 15 points per game while Christina Harvey finished with 13.3. Returning the core of their team, the Lady Falcons should have a promising 2011-2012 season ahead.
Men’s Basketball also had a up-and-down season finishing 11-16 overall, 9-9 in league play, earning the tournament’s fifth seed. The year began in early November as the Falcons took on N.C. State in front of 6,420 fans inside Reynolds Coliseum. National Player of the Year Runner-Up and Pfeiffer’ Male Athlete of the Year Chris Woods led his first of many games in the point-scoring and rebound categories with 23 and 13 on the night. Pfeiffer erased a big second-half deficit to defeat Livingstone early in the year while getting a chance to play on national radio at District of Columbia in late January. A late foul and pair of Coker free throws ended the Falcons season in the first round of the tournament with an 89-87 loss at Coker.
Men’s Swimming came out in 2010-2011 with a personal assault on the swimming record books. The men set new marks in 13 of the 19 record book categories as four of the five relay events saw top times set in February while Charlie Melesh set three new records on the individual side. George Moreno and Jim Roddenbery each set two during the ’10-’11 quest. The men finished eighth at the annual Bluegrass Mountain Conference meet after a very successful regular season. Four records fell on the women’s side as Women’s Swimming also put together a solid year in the pool as Jillian Kniffen and Haley Carter each set a new record in the 100 and 200 breaststroke events on back-to-back February days. Kniffen and Carter were both apart of the relay teams that set school records on those same back-to-back days at the conference meet. The Lady Falcons also finished eighth at the postseason meet as a total of 22 records on both the men’s and women’s side fell during the four-day event.
With two of the three sections of the year reviewed, we venture into the wonderful world of spring where nine of Pfeiffer’s 18 sports start and finish their annual campaigns. We start the spring with Baseball who has the first event on the back half of the school year with an 8-5 come-from-behind win at Lenoir-Rhyne. As with previous reviewed teams, baseball was no stranger to close games and late inning, heartbreaking losses. In one of the toughest schedules of the year, baseball took on 24 nationally-ranked opponents in their 49 contests ending the year 21-28, 12-9 in conference play. Holding their own early, Pfeiffer hit their rough patch in mid-March dropping a dozen-straight games before rebounding and getting hot at the right time before the conference tournament with three-game sweeps against St. Andrews and at Coker. Winning seven of their last nine in regular season play, Pfeiffer upset Belmont Abbey in the opening round of the tournament before being eliminated by Limestone and Barton.
We continue the wild ride of 2010-2011 with Softball as the Lady Falcons again made a lot of noise in the year-end tournament finishing the event fourth as the #8 seed. Starting 0-6, Pfeiffer turned it on, particularly in conference play, with seven-straight league wins sweeping Barton, St. Andrews and Queens before splitting at Erskine. In that stretch, Pfeiffer’ Female Athlete of the Year and three-straight player of the week award winner Melanie Conklin tossed a perfect game against St. Andrews with 18-up and 18-down. With a road sweep at Queens and splitting at Erskine, the Lady Falcons had turned some heads in Conference Carolinas before, like others, hit their rough stretch midway through. Late March saw the Lady Falcons drop 13 of their 14 games before bouncing back with sweeps of King and Shaw moving into the league’s tournament. Pfeiffer upset top-seeded Limestone 2-1 in the opening round before falling 2-1 to fourth-seeded Queens and eliminating third-seeded Coker in extra innings. A pair of late Lees-McRae runs ended the Lady Falcon season 4-2 on day two of the tournament.
In just their second year of existence, Men’s Volleyball put together an 8-14 record with a difficult regular season schedule as an NCAA division one sport. After a 3-1 start at the Eastern Mennonite Invitational, the Falcons traveled to Ball State to take on their first major D1 school of the year. After splitting a pair of games at Ball State, Pfeiffer came home to take on their first division one school coming to the village in New Jersey Tech (better known as NJIT). The Falcons fell 3-0 to NJIT at home as Pfeiffer hosted its first division one opponent in official regular season play in years. Ball State, IPFW, George Mason and others are becoming potential visitors to Misenheimer in 2012 with more big name schools heading south to play Conference Carolinas schools as we are the only complete division around these parts with Barton officially entering next season.
Women’s Lacrosse put together another outstanding season with a 12-win season, 6-1 conference record and #2 seed in the year-end tournament falling in the tournament’s championship contest. Like baseball, women’s lacrosse faced a plethora of nationally-ranked opponents facing five in their 18-game slate. The Lady Falcons put together a season-high six game win streak late in the year before falling to Limestone in the tournament’s title game. Amanda Smith broke the school record for caused turnovers in a career with 94 while moving up to fourth all-time in career groundballs. Fellow senior Sarah Hebberd wrapped up her four-year career scoring the fourth-most goals in school history with 107. Seven Lady Falcons were named to All-Conference teams (the most of any team this season) while Hebberd was named Player of the Week in week #7.
Men’s Lacrosse had their own record-setting season with 10 wins in 2011 (the most in school history) while playing in the all-time longest game in NCAA history. On March 26th, Pfeiffer and Queens tangled in a seven-overtime contest in Charlotte to set the new mark, at any level, in NCAA lacrosse history. The Falcons put together a seven-game win streak early in the year winning eight of their first nine that included a 19-3 thumping over #12 St. Leo and region wins at Florida Southern, Belmont Abbey and Wingate. After falling 4-3 in that lengthy game at Queens in late March, the Falcons ended the Royals season with an 8-5 win in the semifinals of the conference tournament before falling to Limestone in the title game. Men’s Lacrosse played the final of the 313 games for Pfeiffer overall this season on day 234 (refer to the opening paragraph up top) with a 10-8 loss at Mars Hill. Pfeiffer put five on All-Conference teams, four on the first team alone, while Hayden Kirk was tabbed the league’s Freshman of the Year while head coach Peter Milliman was dubbed the conference’s top coach.
We’ve crossed the halfway point of the spring as we move to the courts of tennis beginning with Men’s Tennis. The heartbreaker trend hit the Falcons late in the year dropping three 5-4 decisions including the season-ending match with Mount Olive in the tournament’s first round. Philip Lawson led the men as a first-team All-Conference selection 15-2 record in doubles play with second-teamer Johan de Wit while going 12-5 in singles action. The men put together a tough 7-10 record overall in 2011 with a 3-5 league mark. Women’s Tennis finished the year a game above .500 at 11-10 falling in the semifinals of the conference tournament to top-seeded and eventual winner Erskine. The Lady Falcons garnered a 6-3 league record to earn them the #4 seed in the annual tournament. Alena Krutkina again led the way in 2011 as a first-team All-Conference member with a 17-3 record in singles play, all at the #1 position. Briana Oliver followed with a 13-6 singles record, primarily in the #5 spot. After a 5-1 win over Coker in the tournament’s opening round, Pfeiffer ended its season by that same score to top-ranked Erskine.
We end our year in review with a great summer time sport that most of us look forward to doing during the summer. It’s time to tee it up with Golf. Women’s Golf begins our front nine led by Freshman of the Year Angela Gimenez. Gimenez was the only first team All-Conference selection for Pfeiffer in front of Steph Peareth and Chelsea Demers on the second. Jackie McMenimon rounded out on the league’s third team to wrap up her collegiate career. Of their 10 events in 2010-2011, the Lady Falcons notched top-10 team finishes in nine of them with a pair of head-to-head wins over Findlay and Holy Cross while finishing second at the Anderson Invitational and Dana Rader Intercollegiate. The Lady Falcons wrapped up the three-day conference tournament in third. Men’s Golf also had a strong season on the links as we come up to the 18th green for our year in review. Luiz Jacintho and Tyson Louth led the Falcons with selections on the All-Conference third team. The men put together back-to-back-to-back tournament wins at Virginia State, hosting the Falcon Cup at Badin and Falcon Invitational at Old North State. Pfeiffer concluded a very tough Kiawah Island Invitational field 12th as Jacintho fell in a four-hole playoff for individual honors. Jonathan Miles claimed individual medalist honors at Virginia State and Old North State while Jacintho did so in a five-way playoff in the Falcon Cup.
As we look back on 2010-2011, we can chalk the season up as just another year inside the very competitive Conference Carolinas. Our region (the Southeast) continues to be very strong with the Peach Belt and South Atlantic Conference making up the region with us in most sports. All Pfeiffer teams eligible to make a postseason conference tournament did so (17 total) as men’s volleyball hosts just one championship match. Over the course of those 234 days, Pfeiffer racked up 157 wins among the 14 record-keeping win-loss sports with 89 coming in the insanely busy spring time beginning on the first of February. Now as we look back on the year seeing some great upsets, tough losses, great senior careers coming to an end, we quickly realize on the opening days of May that fall practice will begin in just three short months. Most schedules are being finalized right now as we get ready to kick off another year on the pitch, courts, fields, diamonds, courses and pools in 2011-2012. Mark your calendars now, the new season begins in less than four months as Women’s Soccer kicks things off on the first official day allowed of competition (why waste any time!) hosting Newberry on September 1st, 2011 at 4:00 p.m.