Campus clippings: Former Springdale soccer standouts take honors
To no one's surprise, Springdale's successful girls soccer teams of the recent past have produced a number of talented college players.
Three, in particular, finished the season with all-conference accolades. Two are sisters who have a propensity for defense.
Robert Morris senior Alexa Sarsfield picked up All-Northeast Conference honors after anchoring a defense that posted five shutouts. For her career, she had four goals and four assists and played most of her 71-game career at center-back.
Cleveland State freshman Marissa Sarsfield, meanwhile, was named to the Horizon League All-Freshman team. A defender, she helped the Vikings post six shutouts.
University of Charleston senior Brittany Loveland capped her career with an All-Mountain East Conference first-team selection. Loveland, a four-year starter, finished the season with six goals and five assists.
Freshman midfielder Jessie Thiessen (Fox Chapel) scored her 10th goal of the season to help the Gators to a 2-0 win over Wittenberg that clinched the program's first North Coast Athletic Conference title. The Gators (11-5-4) advance to the NCAA Division III Tournament for the fourth time in school history. Thiessen leads the team in points with 26.
Senior goalkeeper Sarah Geffel (Kiski Area) picked up her third shutout of the season — and first in the postseason — as Gannon upset No. 15 Slippery Rock in the PSUAC quarterfinals. Geffel finished 10-8-1 with 84 saves and a 1.37 goals-against average this season.
Senior midfielder Kelly Russo (Fox Chapel) was named to the All-Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference third team after scoring four goals for No. 7-ranked California, which won the PSAC title and earned a berth into the NCAA Division II Tournament. Teammate Danielle Kearns (Deer Lakes), a freshman midfielder. has three goals and three assists for the top-seeded Vulcans (17-2-2).
Penn State New Kensington
Two players were named to All-Penn State University Athletic Conference teams. Sophomore forward Michael Killian (Highlands) earned first-team honors, while sophomore center-back Casey Cavanaugh (Burrell) received second-team recognition.
Senior midfielder Zach Hall (Deer Lakes) has four goals and four assists for the No. 24 Rock, who sealed the Pennsylvania State Athletic conference title with a 3-2 win over Mercyhurst in double overtime.
Freshman outside hitter Arden Fisher (Riverview) led the Colonials (6-19) this season in kills with 227 (2.58 per set) and service aces with 23.
Sophomore 6-foot-4 guard Nolan Cressler (Plum) scored a career-high 23 points in a season-opening 82-60 loss at Syracuse. He scored 20 in the first half.
Senior forward Jenny Papich (Fox Chapel) was named to the Preseason All-West Division Team. Papich, the reigning PSAC West Division Athlete of the Year, averaged 12.3 points, 5.7 rebounds, 1.8 assists and 1.7 steals per game last season as Gannon went 31-5 and reached the NCAA Division II Elite Eight. The Golden Knights return all five starters.
Bill Beckner Jr. is local sports editor for the Valley News Dispatch. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.