A Page -- Aug. 2, 2010

With nine seniors back and lots of depth, 

Woodridge boys's soccer team sets bar 

higher, expectations much higher than 

2009 showing

August 2, 2010


By Norm Weber

Student/Athlete-Cleveland Editor



PENINSULA – With a combination of both experience and depth, Woodridge High’s boys’ soccer team has enough on its side to be a top challenger in the Portage Trail Conference and in the district.


The Bulldogs have 30 boys in summer camp, enough to field a team and a half, which has been steady for quite a few years now as the program’s success remains consistent. That group is led by nine seniors who have now been together for four years, including JV time early in their high school soccer careers.


“Having these nine seniors will allow this year’s team to contend for the league as well as district titles,” Woodridge coach Ben Balc said. “Our two primary goals are to win the league, and district and both are attainable.”


The only snag for the Bulldogs will be in scheduling since the PTC has mandated that all teams in the league play a double round-robin schedule within the league, leaving open only four open dates in which to schedule non-conference matches against formidable opponents in order to better prepare for the tournament trail.



Leading that veteran senior throng are three-year lettermen Robbie Arguelles, Steve Fox, Cody Lemke, and Eric Spencer. Moreover, the ‘Dogs also return the team MVP from 2009, Izet Bektic.


Other multiple-year lettermen back in the pre-season camp are senior Josh Yoho, and juniors Dan Moledor, Zac Perko, Michael Tannous, and John Weniger. Moledor earned the team’s Most Improved Player Award in 2009.


Among the underclassmen who could have an impact is sophomore Hunter Niswander, who earned the Player with the Most Potential Award last fall.


In addition to having 20 players returning from last season, coach Balc also has the luxury of adding eight newcomers to the fold, including five freshmen.


“Having such a high number of returning players translates into depth, longevity together and experience,” coach Balc said. “Our expectation is to win 11 games, maybe more.”


Although the Bulldogs tuned in a record of 3-8-5 last year, the growing lumps have been had and turn that around to at least 8-3-5 is not out of reach. Also the older guys have proven that this can be done with winning a combined 18 matches in Balc’s first two seasons as the head honcho. Coach Balc’s overall record in three seasons at the helm is 21- 17 – 15.


“Based on the individual and team preseason efforts, our confidence and mental approach to the game is on target to start the season,” coach Balc said. “We need to be unselfish in the attacking 3rd and need more communication on defense.”


Even though practices just began and the season does not start for another three weeks, the Bulldogs are ready to go now.


We’ve experimented during the preseason and the players have had a chance to show us their understanding of the game in numerous scenarios; we’re almost set,” the coach said.

Crushers seek to get back on 

winning track tonight

Aug. 2, 2010, 11 am

Written and Researched for S/A by Evan Meyer, CEO, The Sports Vault

 AVON -- SUNDAY’S FIRST UPS-The 2009 Frontier League Champion Lake Erie Crushers squandered another fine pitching performance late Sunday afternoon as Alberto Rolon and three relievers held the Kalamazoo Kings to two runs (both unearned) and just four hits.However the Men of Crush managed just five hits and one run as they fell 2-1 at All Pro Freight Stadium.


The Red Black and White have lost twelve of their last fourteen games and are seeing their chances of defending their crown get further and further away from them.Tonight they finish this abbreviated three-game homestand with the rubber game of the series with the visitors from Western Michigan as right-hander Travis Risser makes his first start since coming off the seven-day disabled list in search of his seventh win of the season.The Kings counter with southpaw Alex Szymanski who will be making just his second start of the season.

Travis Risser

Tonight's starting pitcher


RHP TRAVIS RISSER (5-2 3.59 ERA)…Travis will be making his twelfth start and thirteenth appearance of the season

HIS LAST APPEARANCE came Friday night in Washington in his first action since coming off the seven-day DL and pitched a perfect inning

HIS LAST START came July 17th against Windy City at All-Pro Freight Stadium  (7IP-3H-3R-3ER-0BB-0SO) He left the game trailing 3-0 but the Crushers scored three runs in the eighth and one in the ninth for a 7-6 victory (J.J. Pacella getting the win in relief)

TRAVIS is unbeaten in his last eight starts (5-0 3ND) and he has not lost since June 2nd at home to River City 2-1



B-W's volleyball team returns four 

starters; set to challenge in OAC

August 2, 2010

By Nick Minerd

BEREA -- With four of six starters returning, the Baldwin-Wallace College volleyball team will rely on experience and teamwork as it looks to improve and compete in the rugged Ohio Athletic Conference. With three seniors and 10 returning letterwinners, veteran Head Coach Vicki Brault expects the Yellow Jackets to take another positive step during the fall of 2010.

"We expect to be very competitive every time we take the court," said Brault. "We have experienced players and a good freshman class that we hope to work into the mix."

Brault enters her 16th year at B-W and is one of the most successful coaches in the OAC and all of Division III.  She enters her 20th season of coaching overall with a career mark of 359-256, including a 289-206 record at B-W and an 84-49 record in OAC play. Brault has led the Yellow Jackets to three OAC regular season titles, one OAC Tournament championship and two NCAA Division III National Tournament appearances.

Senior setter Casey Passen (Ashville/ Teays Valley) is expected to lead the Brown & Gold in her third season as captain. She enters the season in fourth place all-time in B-W history with 2,751 assists, including 559 a year ago. The three-year starter also was second on the team with 285 digs.

"Casey has been a great leader and role model on and off the court," noted Brault. "She is vocal and leads by example. She has a great work-ethic and always stays positive and puts her team first."

Also back for the Yellow Jacket senior class is middle hitter Abbey Thompson (Lorain/ Clearview) and defensive specialist Rebecca Pittenger (Alliance/ Senior). Thompson, a three-year letterwinner, led all Yellow Jackets with 206 kills and 42 blocks in 2009. Pittenger recorded 85 digs and a team-high 24 service aces.

Joining Thompson up front is junior two-year starter Chelsea Nissen (Williston/ Genoa), who recorded 158 kills and 182 digs last season and has 353 kills, 461 digs and 56 blocks in two seasons.


Expected to contribute at outside hitter are sophomores Rachel Switalski (North Royalton/ Parma Heights Holy Name), Karianne Sifferlin (Wooster/ Senior) and Emily Dvorak (Westlake). Switalski had 64 kills and 27 blocks. Sifferlin led the non-starters with 97 kills and was second on the team with 31 blocks.  Dvorak contributed with 86 kills and 66 digs.

Sophomore Natalie Emmons (Ashland/ Senior) rounds out the returning starters as a libero and defensive specialist.  Emmons led the team with 427 digs.  Junior Amanda Mass (North Royalton) also is expected to contribute at defensive specialist.  Sophomore Jessica Stitts (Eastlake/North) saw significant time last year as a rightside player and setter and was second on the team with 242 assists and 140 digs.
Casey Passen is fourth all-time in assists

"We have really emphasized coming together as a team," noted Brault. "We focused on teamwork during spring practice and I'm expecting a much stronger effort this season."

B-W will open the season with a quad-match versus Hiram College and Thiel (Pa.) College at 5:00 p.m. and 7:00 p.m., respectively, on Wednesday, September 2 at Ursprung Gymnasium. The Yellow Jackets also host the Marcia French Memorial Tournament on Friday and Saturday, Sept. 10-11. B-W's OAC opener is at Marietta College on Saturday, October 2 at 1:00 p.m.

"We always prepare for OAC play with a tough non-conference slate and we are looking forward to having more matches on our home court this season," said Brault. "The OAC is going to be extremely strong and competitive - maybe the toughest group from top to bottom that I have seen."


Aug 2, 2010, 10 pm

By Harry Plumer

AVON - The Lake Erie Crushers captured the rubber game of a three-game series with the Kalamazoo Kings, defeating the visitors 4-0 today in All Pro Freight Stadium in front of 3,359 fans.

The Crushers did not score until the seventh inning but had opportunities against Kings starter Alex Szymanski early in the contest. Lake Erie stranded runners in scoring position in the second and third before they loaded the bases in the sixth for a two-out rally. Andrew Davis singled, Drew Saylor walked and Joel Collins was hit by a pitch but Lee Huggins skied the first pitch he saw for a fly out to center field.

Travis Risser matched Szymanski zero for zero for five innings in his first start since coming off of injured reserve on July 30. Risser tossed five shutout innings, allowing just three hits while walking one and striking out two, before giving way to Ronnie Morales.

The first run came in the seventh, when Arden McWilliams struck an 0-1 offering from Szymanski over the wall in left for his second home run in three days, a solo shot to left, to give the Crushers the 1-0 lead. 

The Crushers added to the lead in the eighth, breaking through with three runs. Jodam Rivera led off with a double before scampering home on an Andrew Davis RBI-single down the first base line. After Drew Saylor was hit by a pitch, Davis alertly tagged up on a fly out by Joel Collins to reach third. He eventually scored on an RBI fielder's choice by Lee Huggins. The final run of the inning scored when Huggins crossed the plate on a passed ball

Jeff Cinadr picked up his fourth win of the year in relief, pitching the final three innings and finishing the shutout, allowing just one hit and striking out two. Andrew Davis finished 3-for-4 with a run scored as the Crushers totaled six hits in the game. 

The Crushers (32-33) head to Windy City for a three-game set with the ThunderBolts that commences Tuesday at 8:05 p.m. Eastern. RHP Josh Roberts (6-2, 2.10) starts for Lake Erie and faces RHP Richard Barrett (4-2, 2.38). 


Ø       Jeff Cinadr also earned the win in the series opener on Saturday, when Arden McWilliams also homered in the seventh to put Lake Erie ahead; McWilliams owns game-winning hits in three consecutive victories

Ø       The Lake Erie bullpen has not allowed an earned run in 23 consecutive innings

Ø       The shutout marked the sixth of the season for the Crushers, tied with River City for the second most in the league; Windy City has posted seven shutouts this season; The shutout was the first since June 29