The 2012 fall semester is upon us and with it comes a flood of athletic events. The new athletic semester kicks off this week with each of Geneva’s seven programs opening the 2012 campaign. Now veterans of the Presidents’ Athletic Conference and NCAA Division III, the Golden Tornadoes begin their second official season of full membership. While six of those fall programs will be seeking their initial conference title, the women’s volleyball team will be looking to defend its 2011 championship as the school’s first conference winner.
Geneva’s women’s tennis team will be the first program to open the new season on Thursday at NCAA Division II foe Malone University. Head coach Mandee Craft begins her 12th season at the helm and will look to continue the slow rise to prominence in the PAC. Last year, Geneva finished the season with a conference record of 5-4 that also included an impressive post-season run from one of its top returning players. Julie Kline advanced all the way to the PAC finals in the #4 singles flight before settling for conference runner-up. Kline headlines a solid core of players that return to the mix to open the 2012 season.
The women’s soccer team will feature several new faces as sixth year head coach Linda Sumner hopes to get the program back to form after falling to 6-12-1 a year ago. Geneva suffered four one-goal losses a year ago and an influx of offense should turn those losses into victories in the new year. Senior Maura Allen has led the Golden Tornadoes in scoring in each of the past two seasons and will look to close out her career with a bang. Allen has tallied a combined 20 goals to lead the way and will receive some help with the return of Elise Mann to the program after sitting out last year. Mann posted 17 points for the Golden Tornadoes two years ago. Risa Tillman will help solidify the defensive side of the field as the only other senior on the roster with Allen.
The men’s soccer team came as close as one can without actually winning a conference title. A heartbreaking loss to Thomas More in the conference championship didn’t side track a Geneva team that went on an impressive run through the NCCAA national tournament that ended with a second place finish on the national stage. Geneva’s men’s soccer team ended its 2011 season with an overall record of 16-6-3 that helped improve head coach Gary Dunda’s two-year record at Geneva to 30-9-5. A veteran group of seven seniors return to the field for Geneva in 2012 with something to prove to the rest of the conference. The offensive duo of Jeb Nash and Teddy Krzywiecki are back after combining for 11 goals last year. Geneva’s defense will rely heavily on seniors Jon Mathoslah and David Gerlach while the combination of Bryan Butler and Evan Biedenbach in goal should be one of the top tandems in the PAC.
Geneva’s cross country teams open the 2012 season this weekend. Leading the pack for the men’s team will be Nick Edinger as he looks to continue one of the finest careers in school history. Edinger advanced into the NCAA regional meet a year ago and will look to make a repeat trip in 2012. Edinger is one of just a handful of runners in Geneva history to run a sub-27 minute 8K. On the women’s side, Geneva returns all five of its top runners from last year and according to head coach Bryan Yowler have a legitimate chance to challenge for a conference title. Alayna Merkle, Emily Hoobler, Shannon Rech, Heidi Steiner and Anna Kluitenberg will all be looking to capture a conference crown.
The 2012 football season gets underway on Saturday at Frostburg State. Geneva and Frostburg will be opening the season for the fourth consecutive year with Geneva winning twice and the Bobcats taking the opener last year. The Golden Tornadoes will look to get out of the gate quicker after starting the 2011 season at 0-4. Geneva won three of its last four games to close out the season at 4-6 a year ago including a 4-4 mark in conference play. The quarterback duo of Zack Hayward and Rocco Colavecchia won’t surprise any PAC opponents in 2012 but that doesn’t mean the potential for explosiveness doesn’t exist. Hayward passed for nearly 1500 yards and 12 TD’s last year while Colavecchia led the team with 730 rushing yards and 27 receptions. Geneva also returns 12 players that have started at least one game on the defensive side of the ball. A veteran defensive unit should help to continue the momentum built in the second half of the 2012 season. Linebacker Dillon Goodell returns in the middle of that defense after leading Geneva with 73 tackles. Kevin Miranda, a second team All-PAC player last year, will lead the defensive line after he led the way with five sacks a year ago. Geno DeMarco enters his 20th season on the Geneva College sideline and will continue to add to his record of career victories on College Hill.
What’s next for the Geneva volleyball team. The coaching duo of Wendy Smith and Curt Conser have seen the program set records for victories in each of the past two seasons. Last year, Geneva went 27-9 overall and 17-1 in the PAC to capture the school’s first PAC title. Setter Deanna Briody claimed PAC player of the year honors and will return as one of the top setters in the league. Geneva will also return many of the key suspects that helped catapult Geneva into the top spot last year. With the likes of Ashley Davis, Kristland McCracken, Maggie Bowersox and Erin Smith surrounding the net, it may be time once again to clear space in the Geneva College trophy room.
Both the women’s volleyball team and men’s soccer team topped the PAC pre-season coaches poll as favorites to claim the top prize at season’s end. The 2012 fall athletic season promises to be an exciting one and all the action begins this week.
Following is the athletic schedule for the week:
|Thursday, Aug. 30||Tennis @ Malone 4:00 pm|
|Friday, Aug. 31||
W. Soccer (HOME) vs. Pitt-Bradford 4:00 pm
Volleyball vs. PS-Behrend @ Gettysburg Tournament 5:00 pm
M. Soccer vs. Oberlin @ Oberlin Tournament 7 pm
Volleyball @ Gettysburg 7:00 pm
|Saturday, Sept. 1||Volleyball vs. Dickinson @ Gettysburg Tournament 10:00 am
Cross Country @ Westminster 10:00 am
Tennis (HOME) vs. Chatham 11:00 am
Volleyball vs. Messiah @ Gettysburg Tournament 2:00 pm
Football @ Frostburg State 2:00 pm
W. Soccer (HOME) vs. Muskingum 3:00 pm
M. Soccer vs. Heidelberg @ Oberlin Tournament 7 pm
Geneva is one of only 118 colleges in the U.S. to be approved for membership in the Council for Christian Colleges and Universities (CCCU), and is a founding member.