Fall sports let individuals shine despite records

Nate Bottiger, Staff Writer

Plagued by injuries and poor weather conditions, the women’s soccer team as well as the women’s cross-country team have produced poor results this season.

The women’s soccer team posted a 3-12 overall record with a 1-8 record in the West Virginia Intercollegiate Athletic Conference.

The women’s cross-country team had four middle finishes out of their seven invitationals. They finished their season with a 10th-place finish out of 13 teams at conference championships.

Although some teams have struggled this season, some individuals have stood out. The women’s soccer team’s junior goalkeeper was at one point ranked No. 27 in the nation in total saves.

Athletic Director Pat Pecora said the women’s soccer and cross-country teams are still experiencing growing pains because they are relatively new teams.

Pecora said the women’s soccer team continues to work hard, despite the injuries that troubled many players this season, and women’s cross-country has made good progress this season.

Cross-country’ s freshmen Sasha Peterman and Christina Monnie consistently finished well at invitationals this year.

The men’s soccer team and women’s volleyball team also are successful this season, in one way or another.

The men’s soccer team won Oct. 26 in overtime against Shepherd (W.Va.) University with a goal from sophomore Bryce DeLizio that gave the team a conference tournament berth. They are seeded fifth out of six tournament teams.

The women’s volleyball team has hit a hot streak, winning six out of their last seven matches. The team has an 11-13 overall record with a 7-5 conference record.

Senior volleyball player Jessica Heidenthal said the hot streak resulted in part because team members began to think more of the team as a whole and beyond themselves.

Head basketball coach Bob Rukavina is to entering his 23rd year as head coach and said successful seasons were successful seasons stood out.

Rukavina said the two teams were junior-andsenior oriented with players who had good experiences playing the game and good team chemistry.

Last year, the team was ranked third out of the 15 conference teams. The team was ranked second in the nation in both scoring and assists last year.

When recruiting, Rukavina said he looks at what kind of person potential players are – their work ethic and academics. Rukavina said no factor outweighs another.

“You look at all of the components instead of just one.”

More than half of Pitt-Johnstown’s athletic teams have yet to play out their seasons this year. This includes the wrestling team, which has been consistently successful.

The team holds 20 regional championships, the last of which was in 2008, along with two Division II national titles.

Pecora said it is possible to be good for a week, a day or a year, but true success is being consistently good.

“Consistency is the truest measure of success.”

Pecora said university administrators are not only interested in athletes learning through athletic achievement but also in the classroom and community.

Sports also evolve over time, which causes rules, playing styles and pace to change.

Pecora said more athletes become highly committed to sports even from a young age.

“It puts a higher level of responsibility on the athlete.”

Pecora said he does not support this development, and that sometimes these high responsibility levels, if not handled property, could prove to be problematic and stressful.

Pecora said putting a high responsibility on players at a young age could cause them to become imbalanced in other parts of their life, like with family, friends and religious beliefs.

“At the end of the day, sports have to be enjoyable.”