Truman Review Winter 2002 - Index

Winter 2002
Vol. 7. No.2

Hopes and Dreams Come to Life for the Fine Arts Division

Homecoming 2002

Around the Quad
Faculty / Student Profiles
Foundation News
Alumni News

Class Notes*

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Truman Review - Sports


Volleyball Makes Third-Straight NCAA Tournament

Despite losing two all-Americas, having a young squad and battling injuries, the Truman volleyball team was still having another successful campaign in 2002. The Bulldogs went 24-8 during the regular season and finished tied for second in the Mid-America Intercollegiate Athletics Association with a 13-3 mark. It is the 13th-straight season that the volleyball team won at least 20 games (Left to right) Rachael Shedd, Shelby Ortwerth and Rebecca Knefelkamp were key to the 'Dogs making their third straight trip to the NCAA Tournamentand the fourth year in a row that the Bulldogs finished second or higher in conference play.

Truman received a bid to the NCAA tournament for the third year in a row and the fourth time in school history. The Bulldogs, the No. 2 seed in the South Central region, received a first-round bye and went on to defeat North Alabama 3-2 and Central Missouri 3-0 for the regional title, as well as the opportunity to advance to the NCAA Elite Eight for the second
consecutive year.

The 2002 elite eight tournament was held at West Texas A&M in Canyon. Truman faced the host school and No. 1 team in the country in the opening round on Thursday, Dec. 5. Check the Truman Athletics web page at to see how the women fared.

Leading the way for Truman were its lone seniors and first-team all-MIAA selections, Monica Marlowe and Shelby Ortwerth. Marlowe, who was averaging 11.43 assists, ended her career as the all-time leader in assists average and is just the second Bulldog to record over 5,000 assists. Marlowe also ranks among the top 10 'Dogs on nine other career lists. Ortwerth moved to outside hitter in 2002 and was among the MIAA's best in kills (3.83 kpq) and was leading the team with 3.71 digs a contest.

In addition, both women earned all-region honors, while Marlowe was later named a second-team all-America by the American Volleyball Coaches Association and Ortwerth earned third-team status.

Jessica Sears continued where her freshman year left off, averaging 3.33 kills and 3.38 digs a game. Sears, along with Ortwerth, were members of the regional all-tournament team. Honorable mention all-MIAA sophomore Kelly Vogel stepped up as the other hitting threat, averaging 3.73 kills a game. Sophomore Rebecca Knefelkamp played the new libero position, the most, averaging 3.5 digs for the Bulldogs.

All of Truman's freshmen contributed right away to the squad. Among the top newcomers were Micaela Walter and Jennifer Hunter, the team's top two blockers. Both players were averaging around 2.2 kills a game and Hunter was leading the team in hitting percentage (.272) and was tied for the team-lead in service aces with Sears (34).

Second-year head coach Qi Wang was regional coach of the year for the second time.

Blakley And Burk Lead Top-Rated NCAA DII Offense

The Truman football team finished 6-5 overall and 4-5 in the MIAA. The Bulldogs ranked among the top 20 teams in the nation with 419.4 yards of total offense a game, helped by first-team all-MIAA 'Dogs Dusty Burk at quarterback and slot receiver Andrew Blakley. Burk produced the second-best season ever in the league with 3,441 yards of total offense and was second in the nation with 312.8 total yards a game. He received honorable mention all-MIAA and all-region honors.

Andrew BlakleyBlakley leaves a nearly indelible mark in the Truman, MIAA and NCAA record books. He completed an illustrious career with 300 receptions for 3,458 yards and 22 touchdowns. Blakley set the conference records for career receptions and receiving yards during the season, and finished second among NCAA Division II career receptions leaders and tied for sixth among all-Division leaders. Blakley repeated as a first-team all-MIAA receiver and was a four-time all-conference performer as well as an all-America and all-region selection.

The Bulldogs went 4-1 through the first half of the season, only dropping the MIAA opener to Emporia. They began with a pair of non-conference wins over Division I-AA non-scholarship Drake University (Iowa) and NCAA Division II Quincy University (Ill.). Conference wins came against Missouri-Rolla, Southwest Baptist, Missouri Southern and Missouri Western.

Senior flanker Geoff Jensen finished fifth in both the Truman career receptions (121) and receiving yards (1.954) categories, while Alfonso Pugh, an honorable mention all-MIAA and all-region choice as a kick returner, completed his career tied for sixth and 10th, respectively, on those lists.

Senior center Nick Ruud was a second-team all-conference pick as the Bulldogs finished 19th in the nation in total offense. Senior linebacker Judd Lienhard and senior defensive back Jake Willrich were also named to the second team. Lienhard led the team with 98 total tackles and 17 tackles for losses. Willrich had the most interceptions with five, finishing tied for second in the league.

Other honorable mention all-MIAA selections were senior defensive lineman Nick Weite, the team-leader in sacks with 4.5, junior linebacker Tameem Yehyawi, sophomore linebacker Ben Wilson, and junior defensive back Derek Kent who was second on the squad with 96 total stops. Yehyawi and senior kicker Austin Lepper were named second-team academic all-Americas.

Men's Soccer Makes The most of a Young Squad

Ricky VigilBrett CoppageThe 2002 edition of the Bulldog men's soccer team was young, with no seniors, but managed to jell early on and finish the year with a fine 13-4-0 record. The men again narrowly missed postseason action after suffering two of their four losses to the top two teams in the Central region. The 'Dogs completed the year on a six-game winning streak, shutting out three opponents during that span of time.

Junior forward Ricky Vigil led Truman with 21 points, nine goals and five game-winning scores. He was followed by freshman German Lars Pottgiesser with 16 points on six goals and four assists. Scotsman Sean Birrell tied for second on the team with four assists and had four goals as well. Vigil and junior back Brett Coppage were named first-team Verizon academic all-district and advanced to the academic all-America ballot.

Junior Adam Johnson posted a 1.12 goals against average, spending nearly the entire season, minus 36 seconds, in goal.
It was the 10th-straight winning season for the Bulldogs and the fifth under head coach Alf Bilbao. It was also the eighth
year in a row that the ‘Dogs posted at least 11 wins.

Cross Country Teams Enjoy Successful Seasons

For the third consecutive year, the men's cross country team advanced to the NCAA championships following a third-place showing at the South Central regional. Junior Alan Heincker led the way for Truman at the regional meet with a 12th-place finish and senior Matt Helbig was right behind in 13th-place, while sophomore Andy Person was 17th, senior Mike Nelson was 22nd and junior Brad Peter was 23rd.

Pam Bird (Back left), who placed 22nd, and Leah Zidon (front right, who was the Bulldogs' top finisher at 14th. led Truman to a fifth-place regional finish.

Alan Heinckler (left) and Matt Helbig (right) let Truman to a third-place finish and national qualification at the NCAA regional race, placing 12th and 13th respectively.

Truman finished 14th at the NCAA national championships. This time, Helbig led the team with a 26th-place finish. The Bulldogs came close to bringing home another MIAA title but fell one point behind the first-place finisher, Missouri Southern.
Heincker and Helbig led the way for the squad as both runners finished one-two on the team in the seven races in which they competed. Both of those runners, along with Person, earned all-conference honors with top 10 finishes at the MIAA meet.

The women's season was also a success with the team finishing fourth at the conference meet and fifth in the regional race.
Junior Leah Zidon paced the squad in five of the six meets during the year and won the Miner Invitational with a time of 19:01 on the 5K course. Senior Jennifer Tesmer and freshman Pam Bird both came on strong toward the end of the season. Zidon placed 14th at the NCAA regional meet, while Tesmer was 16th and Bird was 22nd. Bird was also the top finisher at the MIAA meet, coming in 11th.

Women's Soccer Makes Another NCAA Tourney Run

The women's soccer team rounds out the trio of fall sports teams that made the NCAA postseason cut. After taking a 1-0 decision at No. 2 seed Northern Colorado in the first round of the NCAA tourney, the Bulldogs fell 3-0 to the third-ranked team in the nation and No. 1 seed in the Central region, Nebraska-Omaha, ending their season at 16-3-2.

Women's soccer team pictureIn claiming their fourth-straight MIAA crown, the team went undefeated in the conference with an 11-0-1 mark.

Senior defender Jennifer Buscher, sophomore forward Sara Murray, sophomore midfielder Anna Sonderman and freshman goalkeeper Lisa Schmalz all earned first-team all-MIAA status. Schmalz led the league with a 0.74 goals against average, while Buscher assisted in keeping opponents under a goal a game as well and helped to limit foes to just 4.3 shots on goal a game.

Murray led the team with 27 points and nine goals and assists, while Sonderman was second with 15 points and tied for the team-lead with three game-winning goals.

Defenders Karla Danekas, a senior, and junior Beth Wieman were second-team all-MIAA picks, as were senior midfielder
Anna Smith and senior forward Heather Murray. Murray set a new school standard when she played in her 80th game for the Bulldogs vs. UNO.

Buscher, Sara Murray and Sonderman were first-team all-region picks, while Schmalz was a second-team choice.

The women enjoyed their ninth-straight winning season under head coach Mike Cannon who is now a stellar 125-50-15 at Truman over the last decade.