WAC Weekly: Closing Time
We’re pushing towards the end of November and each of the WAC winter sports are well under way, meaning it’s near closing time for WAC fall sports. There have already been champions crowned in men’s and women’s soccer, and a volleyball champion will have been decided by the end of the Nov. 22 weekend. What a run it has been for WAC fall sports in 2019!
This WAC Weekly we will go over each champion, how it happened and who got what major award. However, with many great plays and players throughout each sport this fall season, it’s time to put a bow on it all and wrap it up.
The men’s soccer WAC champion was decided at the Air Force Academy in Colorado on Nov. 17. The match put the second-seed Utah Valley up against the first-seeded Seattle University Redhawks. The match needed penalty kicks to decide a champion and SU came through with a few more saves, winning by a penalty kick score of 2-1. They then advanced to the NCAA tournament.
This was the Redhawks first WAC title since 2017. SU also had the Coach of the Year, Defensive Player of the Year and Freshman of the Year. Head coach Pete Fewing, senior defender Nkosi Burgess and forward James Morris were the respective winners.
The Offensive Player of the Year was UVU’s senior forward Blake Frischknecht. He broke a UVU single-season record for goals scored with 13 and had 27 total points.
UVU had six players make at least one of the All-WAC teams this year. On First Team it was OPOY Frischknecht and sophomore defender Ahmed Longmire. The Second Team had junior defender Mark Brown and senior midfielder Alec Felix. While the Honorable Mentions were senior defender Aaron Caprio and junior midfielder Zach Maas.
The women’s soccer WAC championship was eerily similar to the men’s, pitting UVU and SU against one another, each having the same seeding in Seattle. However, this match would only need one overtime to decide it. The Redhawks got the golden goal in the first overtime period and advanced to the NCAA tournament.
SU nearly swept the major awards for the women as well, having the Offensive and Defensive Players of the Year and, once again, the Coach of the Year. Senior forward Jessie Ray, senior defender Rachel Bowler and head coach Julie Woodward each took home the awards respectively.
The Freshman of the Year however, went to Lindsey Prokop, forward for the University of Missouri-Kansas City.
The Wolverines of UVU though landed five players across the three different All-WAC teams. Two made the First Team in junior midfielder Amber Tripp and senior defender Hannah Bruce, one on Second Team in freshman defender Jenna Shepherd and three on the Freshman Team in Shepherd, midfielder Heather Stainbrook and forward Jocelyn Bybee.
The WAC volleyball champion is still yet to be decided, but will be played out on Saturday night, Nov. 22, in Orem, UT. The top seed is the undefeated New Mexico State Aggies. NMSU will face UVU in the semifinals, while UMKC takes on Grand Canyon on Friday, Nov. 21.
The Aggies, along with being the top seed, also had the Player of the Year and the Coach of the Year. Senior middle blocker Megan Hart and head coach Mike Jordan were the respective winners.
The Setter of the Year went to UMKC junior Alli Schomers, Libero of the Year to Chicago State senior Megan Klavitter and Freshman of the Year to GCU setter Klaire Mitchell.
UVU however, was able to land two players on All-WAC teams. Sophomore outside hitter Kazna Tarawhiti made First Team, while senior middler blocker Makaila Jarema made the Second Tea
What we found out this WAC fall sports season was that the SU Redhawks were the kings and queens of men’s and women’s soccer, and the Aggies of NMSU may just end up having the most dominant WAC volleyball season ever. But, what we also found out was a number of new names, newcomers and potential rising stars for fall 2020. There’s much we can all be excited about and look out for now for next fall.
For more information on postseason play and awards go here.