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 and
the fourth year in a row that the Bulldogs finished second or higher in conference
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
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 gobulldogs.truman.edu
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
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
And Burk Lead Top-Rated NCAA DII Offense
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.
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
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.
Country Teams Enjoy Successful Seasons
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
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
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,
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
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
Women's Soccer Makes Another NCAA Tourney Run
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.
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
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.