With the falls sports season officially over, 20 Slippery Rock student-athletes have received post-season recognition in the Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference (PSAC), in the Region and on the national stage.
Following a 7-4 season under first-year head coach Shawn Lutz, eight Rock players were given post-season recognition for their play. Headlining the group is junior defensive end Marcus Martin. Martin collected nine sacks this season, with 18.5 total tackles for loss and 64 tackles overall. Martin was named to the first team All-PSAC defense, the first team All-Super Region One defense and the second team All-American defense. Martin was also named the PSAC and Super Region One defensive player of the year. Joining Martin on the first team All-PSAC roster were senior defensive lineman Joe Philips, senior linebacker Bob Vernick and junior cornerback Titus Howard. Philips had 20 total tackles (nine for loss) and five sacks this season, Vernick amassed 69 tackles with four interceptions and Howard tallied one interception, seven pass break-ups and 1.5 sacks. Being named to the All-PSAC second team were junior running back Isaiah Neely, sophomore offensive lineman Steve Gaviglia, junior receiver Marcus Johnson and senior linebacker Anthony Zappone. Neely had 502 rushing yards and four rushing touchdowns after taking over as The Rock’s starting running back midway through the season, Gaviglia played in all 11 games this season after switching from defense to offense, Johnson led the Green and White with 898 receiving yards and 13 touchdowns and Zappone led the defense with 88 tackles and five interceptions while also totaling 5.5 sacks and 10.5 tackles for loss. Philips was also joined by fellow seniors Leroy McClain (receiver), Tony Twillie (defensive line) and Joe Loschiavo (center) at the 2016 National Bowl, a Division II and III all-star game for seniors.
Also under a new head coach, Steve Small, SRU men’s soccer experienced a bit of championship hangover, going 5-9-2 after winning the PSAC championship last year. Junior defender Patrick Sullivan was the bright spot on the team this season, starting in 15 games and being named to the second team All-PSAC and third team All-Atlantic Region rosters.
Making their seventh straight appearance in the PSAC Tournament, the Slippery Rock women’s soccer team, under head coach Jessica Griggs, finished the season 10-8-1, losing to East Stroudsburg University in the tournament quarterfinals. Senior team captain Dara Demich highlights the group of four players that were named to All-PSAC teams. Demich, a forward, was named to the All-PSAC second team roster along with senior defender Sam Thornton and junior midfielder Tess Keely. Junior midfielder Maddy Tletski was named to the All-PSAC third team. Demich led the team with 14 points (five goals, four assists) this season, Thornton started in all 19 games, scoring one goal and two assists, Keeley was tied for second on the team with eight points (three goals, two assists) and Tletski was second on the team with four goals (eight points).
Finishing 6-12 under head coach Julie Swiney, the SRU field hockey team landed two players on post-season rosters. Senior captain Megan McKay finished her Rock career ranked first in goals and points scored. She was named to the second team All-PSAC roster and the second team All-American roster. McKay scored 26 points (11 goals, 4 assists) in her final season and was selected to play in the Division II Senior All-Star Game. Junior defender Kayla Mack was selected to the All-PSAC third team after starting in all 18 games and making five defensive saves this season.
Going 13-19 under long-time head coach Laurie Lokash, the SRU volleyball team had one athlete receive a post-season honor. Junior defensive specialist Courtney Oberlander was named to the All-PSAC third team following one of the best defensive seasons in Slippery Rock history. Oberlander played in all 109 sets in 32 matches this season, totaling a staggering 648 digs (5.2 digs per set) to go along with 16 serving aces. The 648 digs broke the SRU single-season record and ranked second in the PSAC and ninth in all of Division II.
The fall portion of the Rock tennis season included one team event and three tournaments, with SRU winning the one team match and having good showings at the tournaments. Under head coach Matt Meredith, The Rock ended the fall ranked fifth in the Intercollegiate Tennis Association’s regional rankings, with Junior Carla Corrochano Moracho ranking as the sixth best singles player and the pairing of Corrochano and freshman Lacey Cohen ranked as the ninth best doubles pair. Corrochano finished the fall 9-3 overall and the team of Corrochano and Cohen finished 6-2 overall.
Under 30-plus year head coach John Papa, the men and women’s cross-country teams both had strong seasons, making it to the regional championships with the men sending one runner to the national competition. Junior Jeremy Parsons finished in the top-ten in both the PSAC and Atlantic Regional Championships, making it all the way to the national championship in St. Leo, Fl. Parsons finished ninth at the conference championships to make the first team All-PSAC roster and seventh at the regional championship to make the All-Region team before finishing 68th at nationals. Women’s runner, sophomore Courtney Group finished 24th at the PSAC championships to make the All-PSAC second team and just missed out on making the All-Region team with a 28th place finish at the regional championships.