A Page -- Nov. 3, 2011 -- AM Edition

Rebels to host Comets in first round of big-school state football playoffs

By Jim McQuaide, Jr.

Saturday night, the Solon football Comets will travel to Willoughby South in the first round of the 2011 Ohio High School Athletic Association Football Playoffs.

The Comets enter the post season with a 9-1 record and Willoughby South enters with an 8-2 record. This will be the fifth time Willoughby South and Solon have met on the football field.


The Rebels have won 7 straight games and come off a 45-26 win over district rival, Eastlake North. Solon comes into the playoffs having won three straight games and defeating Strongsville, last Friday night, 38-14.

Solon comes into the playoffs having won three straight games and defeating Strongsville, last Friday night, 38-14.

Strong Finish

Last week’s win gave the Comets their third straight over the Mustangs and a share of the NOC Valley Division title. Offensively, Solon was on fire with Khoury Crenshaw, Alex Knight, and Cory Stuart each contributing. Defensively, Ryan Schwenke returned an interception 40 yards for a touchdown.

Knight, Alex.jpg   

Knight (L), Stuart (R)

Nick Davidson, George Berry, and Aaron Penn each finished the game with 6 tackles. The Comets finished the regular season going 5-0 on the road and 4-1 at home. Solon, Mentor, and Twinsburg all tied for the NOC Valley Division title. The Comets have won the title three straight years.

South and Solon will meet in a Regional Quarterfinal game. The winner of this game will advance to the Division I, Region 1 Semifinals. In the All time Series between the Comets and South, Solon leads, 3-1.


Seven hundred seventeen schools played football this season in Ohio and now only 192 remain. Official Regional Quarterfinal brackets will be posted at www.OHSAA.org on Tuesday. There are some great matchups throughout the state, especially here in Northeast Ohio.


With the conclusion of the regular season, the Northeast Ohio Conference will crown champions in each of the three football divisions. In the Lake Division, Garfield Heights stopped Brush’s four game winning streak to share the division title with the Arcs. The Hudson Explorers took care of business in the River Division finishing 5-0 and an outright division title. In the Valley Division, Twinsburg defeated the Mentor Cardinals last Friday night which created a three-way tie for the Valley Division title among Mentor, Twinsburg, and Solon.


The Northeast Ohio Conference will send three teams to the football playoffs this season. In Division I, Region 2, Hudson will host 9-1 Findlay on Saturday night. Division I, Region 1 has two NOC schools within the top 8. Mentor plays host to Cleveland John F. Kennedy on Saturday and the Solon Comets will travel to Willoughby South.


Saturday will be the ninth time that Willoughby South has made the OHSAA State Football Tournament and the Rebels are looking to overcome their first round loss from last year.  The 2011 berth marks the 17th time that Solon has entered the post season in school history and the Comets are desperately looking to advance past the Regional Finals, an interval at which they have been stopped the last two years after going undefeated through 12 games both times.

Saturday night begins five one-week seasons for 192 teams in the state and in a “one and done” tournament, everyone puts forth their best effort.

“To make our 17th appearance in the playoffs definitely shows the support of the Solon Community for this football team,” said Solon Head Coach Jim McQuaide. “We will face a very good Willoughby South team on

Saturday. They are well coached and have guys that can make plays at any time.” 

Marietta Men and Mount Union Women

Picked To Finish First In OAC Preseason Basketball Polls


Austintown, OH- The Marietta men and Mount Union women were tabbed as the basketball favorites in preseason voting by the Ohio Athletic Conference (OAC) coaches.

Marietta tallied 81 points (nine first-place votes) in the men’s coaches’ poll, followed by John Carroll with 69 points (one first-place vote), Otterbein with 59 points, Capital with 50 points and Heidelberg with 49 points. 

The Pioneers were last season’s OAC Regular-Season and Tournament champions, with a 15-3 (27-4) record and advanced to the NCAA “Sweet 16”. Marietta returns its entire team from last year, including all five starters and 11 letter winners. Leading the way for Coach VanderWal will be Trevor Halter (Malvern) and Kevin Knab (Lakewood).

Lakewood's Kevin Knab

 Halter, the OAC Mike Gregory Player-of-the-Year, led the Pioneers in scoring averaging 15.1 points-per-game and tallying 63 three-pointers on the season. Knab was second on the team in scoring with 14.8 points-per-game and led the Pioneers with 6.1 rebounds per outing and 31 blocked shots. 

On the women’s side, Mount Union tallied 81 points (nine first-place votes) by the women’s coaches, followed by Baldwin-Wallace with 70 points (one first-place vote), Ohio Northern with 63 points and Capital and Otterbein each with 50 points.

The Purple Raiders finished last season with a 15-3 (26-4) record, claimed the OAC Regular-Season and Tournament crown and advanced to the second round of the NCAA Tournament. 

Mount Union returns three letterwinners and nine starters from last year’s squad and will look to seniors Kori Wiedt (North Olmsted) and Amanda Rose(Green), along with junior Rosa LaMattina (Westlake). Wiedt averaged 12.3 points and 4.6 rebounds-per-game. Rose scored 9.0 points and a team-best 5.8 rebounds-per-game a year ago. LaMattina averaged 12.0 points and 3.7 rebounds-per game last year.

Yellow Jacket Women Picked Second and 

Men Seventh in OAC Basketball Polls

BEREA, OHIO – The 2011-2012 Baldwin-Wallace College basketball teams begin its schedule on Tuesday, November 15 when the men and women host a doubleheader in the Rudolph Ursprung Gymnasium in the Lou Higgins Center.  Each team is expected to be improved and seeking an Ohio Athletic Conference title.

The Yellow Jacket women, 18-8 a year ago, open the schedule against traditional rival Wittenberg University at 8:00 p.m. and were tabbed by the OAC Coaches to finish second this season.  The B-W men, 9-16 overall last season, open against Cleveland cross-town and nonleague rival Case Western Reserve University at 6:00 p.m. and were tabbed seventh by the OAC Coaches in its annual preseason poll.

The women’s basketball team returns four starters and 10 letter winners and is listed among the “Others Receiving Votes” in both the d3hoops.com andUSA Today/ESPN Division III Coaches’ polls.

Falls alumna Rossman (L), Walsh Jesuit alumnus Ameen (R)

The Yellow Jacket women will look to senior forward Catherine Spisak (Sandusky/ St. Mary’s Central Catholic)  and junior All-OAC guard Jessica Carpenter (North Canton/ Hoover) to provide leadership for a deep team.  Spisak looks to lead the way in the paint. She scored 6.2 points and averaged a team-leading 8.2 rebounds per game last season. She also shot 82.9% from the free throw stripe and contributed 27 assists, 22 steals and nine blocked shots.  Carpenter is the leading scorer among returnees, averaging 9.3 ppg. a year ago. She also led the team with 33 three-pointers and had 47 assists and 32 steals.

The return of junior forward/ center Nancy Coulter (Washington Court House/ Miami Trace), who missed last season with an injury, will help on the inside. Two years ago, Coulter scored 7.6 ppg. and grabbed 4.3 rpg. Sophomores Lexi Rohrbach (Tiffin/ Columbian), Jessica Lairson (Louisville) and Natalia Simovic (Seven Hills/ Parma Normandy) to help inside. Rohrbach scored 6.3 ppg., grabbed 5.5 rpg. and blocked 18 shots. Lairson can play both inside and outside. She scored 8.7 ppg., grabbed 3.7 rpg. and can shoot from the perimeter as she canned 20 three’s. She also had 13 blocked shots.

At the point guard, look for Rachel Rossman (Olmsted Falls) to start for the third straight season. She scored 4.4 ppg. and had 74 assists and 31 steals last winter. Look for junior Megan Frisina (Corry, Pa./ Corr Area) to aid in the backcourt after scoring 4.6 ppg. with 22 triples.

“We will have quite a bit of competition during camp for spots in the rotation,” said Harrer, the school’s winningest women’s basketball coach with 433 career victories. “We return a number of solid veterans and we have a number of newcomers who will push them every day to get better. We play a challenging schedule and are looking forward to the season.”

The men’s basketball team returns four starters and 10 lettermen from a year ago and will look to senior All-Ohio Athletic Conference point guard Promis Cabbil (Elyria) and sophomore All-OAC forward Kyle Payne (Brunswick) to lead the way this season.  Cabbil and Payne are two of the best returning players in the OAC at their respective positions.

Cabbil will start at the point for the fourth straight season and enters his final campaign with 643 career points, 258 assists and 109 steals. He also shoots 80 percent from the foul line (227-of-285), including many in late-game, clutch situations. Payne, last year’s OAC Freshman of the Year, averaged a team-high 15.3 points-per-game, shot 54.9 percent (128-of-233) from the field and 45.7% (21-of-46) from behind the three-point arc.  He also pulled in 4.8 rpg.

Look for sophomore sharpshooter Grant Fairhurst (Ashland) and freshman Jaron Crowe (Mentor), who missed last season with an injury, to help in the backcourt. Fairhurst scored 7.1 ppg. and made a team-high 44 three-pointers, including tying a school single-game record with eight.

Look for junior Ben Umbel (Poland/ Seminary) and sophomore Kevin Krakowiak (Valley City/ Parma Heights Holy Name) to continue to help both inside and out. Umbel, who transferred to B-W from Youngstown State, scored 3.1 ppg. a year ago and is one of the most athletic players on the team. Krakowiak had a strong frosh season by scoring 9.5 ppg., making 34 triples and canning a school-record 94.5% of his foul shots (52-of-55). Also, senior Brandon Schmidt (Wellington) has experience as a starter.

Look for Payne to be joined at forward by juniors Chris Ameen (Broadview Heights/ Walsh Jesuit) and Sean Rothermel (Delaware/ Hayes), sophomores Scott Branchick (Mentor) and Aaron Selmek (Delaware/ Columbus St. Francis DeSales) and transfer Tyler Farrell (Brunswick).

The hard-working quintet are solid offensively and defensively. Ameen has started each of his first two years and scores 9.9 ppg. and grabs 5.9 rpg. He also can step out on the perimeter and made 10 three’s last season.  Rothermel scored 4.3 ppg. and grabbed 2.4 rpg. and made 67% of his field goals (42-of-63). Branchick, who missed his freshman year due to an injury, added depth and strength last season and scored 1.1 ppg. Selmek scored 2.8 ppg. and grabbed 3.0 rpg. and gained valuable experience.

“We bring back a number of experienced players and will continue to work hard every day with the goal of winning an OAC title and advancing to the NCAA Division III Tournament,” said fourth-year coach Duane Sheldon.  “We have to stay focused and play one game at a time. We are looking forward to the start of the season.”

Mentor's Steph Rogers named pre-season All-

league for Lake Erie College

PAINESVILLE– The Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (GLIAC) released its preseason women's basketball media poll on Tuesday, Nov. 2.  Lake Erie College was picked to finish seventh in the GLIAC South Division while senior center Stephanie Rogers (Mentor, Ohio/Mentor) earned a spot on the Preseason All-GLIAC South Division Second Team.

Mentor's Rogers (L), Stow's Wagers (R)

The Storm garnered 29 points in the voting conducted by media members who cover the league's 14 teams.  Defending division co-champions Ashland University (153 points, nine first-place votes) and the University ofFindlay (152, 10) were first and second, respectively, in the voting followed by Hillsdale College (136, four) andTiffin University (100, one).  Wayne State University was fifth with 77 points and then Ohio Dominican University(53) and Lake Erie.


Rogers was a second-team All-GLIAC South Division and All-GLIAC Defensive Team pick a year ago when she averaged 15 points and 7.6 rebounds per game while leading the league with 79 blocked shots. 

The Storm finished 3-22 overall (2-17 GLIAC) in its first season in the conference, but returns five starters to this year's team, including former All-Independent Team selection Alyssa Wagers (Stow, Ohio/Stow-Munroe Falls) who averaged nearly a double-double (13.6 ppg., 9.4 rpg.) as a junior in 2009-10.  She missed all of last season with a knee injury.

Lake Erie opens the 2011-12 season next Tuesday, Nov. 8, with an exhibition game at Division I Ohio University. The Storm then tips off for real on Saturday, Nov. 12, at home against Ursuline College.

No. 3 Baldwin-Wallace Ends Season With 2-0 

Loss At No. 2 John Carroll, In OAC Men’s 

Soccer Tournament Semifinals

UNIVERSITY HEIGHTS, OHIO -- The fourth-seeded Baldwin-Wallace College men’s soccer team falls to second-seeded John Carroll University, 2-0, tonight in an Ohio Athletic Conference Tournament semifinal match on Wasmer Field in the Don Shula Stadium.

John Carroll improves to 12-7 and advances to play top-seeded Ohio Northern University on Saturday, November 5 in the OAC Tournament championship game at 2:00 p.m. on the ONU Soccer Field.  The Polar Bears knocked off fifth-seeded the University of Mount Union, 6-0, earlier today in Ada.  With the loss, B-W ends the season with a record of 16-5 overall.
John Carroll opened the scoring on an unassisted goal by sophomore forward Kevin McKamish (Pittsburgh, Pa./Fox Chapel) at the 50:45 mark of the second half.  The Blue Streaks closed out the scoring (2-0) when sophomore midfielder Nathan Sharbaugh (Pittsburgh, Pa./Mt. Lebanon) found the back of the net off a rebound shot.

In net for the Yellow Jackets, junior Ryan Hulings (Centerville) had eight saves and ended the season with a record of 15-4 this season.  For the Blue Streaks, senior Carl Contrascier (Hinckley/Medina Highland) collected seven saves and improves to 11-6 on the season.

(L-TO-R) Salukombo , DeAngelis, Paulu

Lakewood’s Dee Salukombo crowned Runner of the Year in Westlake-based NCAC; Jackson’s Max Paulus throws four TD passes for same central Ohio college; Ellet grad Cara DeAngelis earns top women’s runner award

By Norm Weber

Student/Athlete-Cleveland Editor


Denison senior Dee Salukombo (Lakewood, OH/Lakewood) won the North Coast Athletic Conference men’s cross country title and was crowned the NCAC Runner of the Year after finishing first at the event with a time of 25:09 over the eight-kilometer course.


He is a four-time first-team All-NCAC performer, and is the only runner from 2010 to make a repeat first-team appearance.

Ohio Wesleyan sophomore Cara DeAngelis (Norton, OH/Ellet) captured the individual title and was named the NCAC Runner of the Year after covering the six-kilometer course in 22:10. She is the first OWU runner to claim the individual title since 1988.


DENISON junior quarterback Max Paulus (Massillon, OH/Jackson) threw a career-high four touchdown passes in the Big Red’s 38-27 win over Oberlin. Paulus became the first DU signal caller since 2001 to throw for over 2,000 yards in a season as he currently sits at 2,048 yards.

KENYON put up 24 points in the second quarter, but surrendered 44 points to Ohio Wesleyan in the other three periods in a 44-24 setback against the Battling Bishops. 

Lakewood's Dan Shannon

Junior Dan Shannon (Lakewood, OH/Lakewood) accounted for two of the Lords’ second quarter scores, connecting with sophomore receiver Victor Progar (Brighton, MI/Brighton) on a 19-yard touchdown pass before logging a 50-yard touchdown scamper

OBERLIN suffered a 38-27 loss against Denison in Granville on Saturday. The Yeomen tried to catch the Big Red off guard throughout the afternoon as four different players registered at least two pass attempts in the game.

Former Wildcat Adam Niec 

Junior wide receiver Adam Niec (Brecksville, OH/St. Ignatius) had a career day after hauling in five receptions for 113 yards and two touchdowns.


HIRAM qualified for the NCAC Tournament for the third time in school history after defeating Wooster, 6-0, and Denison, 1-0, last week. 


Junior forward Ryan Minick (North Royalton, OH/North Royalton) tallied a hat trick in the victory over the Fighting Scots, while junior Ty Smith (Rocky River, OH/St. Ignatius) scored the game-winner in overtime on Saturday to lift the Terriers into the conference Tournament


HIRAM finished the regular season with straight-set victories over Denison and DePauw and a four-set loss to Wittenberg. Senior Kristi Opfer (Garrettsville, OH/Garfield) smashed 22 kills and made 15 blocks during the week. The Terriers are the only conference team to take a set from the champion Tigers this season.


Heights' Strowder

DENISON completed the season with five-set victories over Kenyon and Ohio Wesleyan to finish 12-16 overall. Senior Lauren Strowder (Cleveland Hts., OH/Cleveland Hts.) posted a career-high 25 kills against the Ladies.


KENYON dropped a 174-84 decision at Ohio State. Senior Zack Turk (Strongsville, OH/St. Edward) was part of the first-place 200 free relay and took second in the 50 free (20.69). Both efforts were NCAA provisional qualifying marks.


Mount Union booters kicked from tourney by Polar Bears

ADA, Ohio—The Mount Union men's soccer team lost to No. 9 Ohio Northern, 6-0, in an Ohio Athletic Conference semifinal match Tuesday afternoon in Ada. The Purple Raiders end their season 10-8-2 and had their best OAC Tournament showing in program history.

The Purple Raiders began the match as the aggressor. In the fifth minute, senior Kevin Cindric(Willowick/Eastlake North) found a loose ball near a scramble in front of the net and kicked it into the goal for an apparent 1-0 Raider lead. However, the referee on the near sideline signaled offsides, wiping the goal off the scoreboard.

The match remained scoreless through 25 minutes when Ohio Northern took control by scoring three goals in the next five minutes. Nathan Bescom, the OAC's second-leading goal scorer put one in goal off a cross in the box at the 25:07 mark, Cameron Johnson added a goal off a long throw-in at the 28:52 mark, and Christian Huelsman capped the flurry with a header from Austin Windsor at the 29:46 mark.

Goals by Cory Dobkins and Huelsman gave the Polar Bears a 5-0 halftime lead. Huelsman scored his third goal of the match in the second half to complete the hat trick for the 6-0 final score.

Junior goalkeeper Jon Critell (Youngstown/Cardinal Mooney) made four saves for Mount Union. SophomoreAlex Bable (Columbiana/Columbiana) played 14 scoreless minutes in goal.

Mac Church made two saves to record his OAC-leading 11th shutout of the season. The Polar Bears (17-2-2) extend their unbeaten streak to 13 and will host the winner of tonight's John Carroll/Baldwin-Wallace match Saturday in the OAC Tournament championship. The Purple Raiders were the only OAC team that Ohio Northern did not defeat during the regular season, playing to a 1-1 tie in Alliance.


RedHawks Make Trek to Alaska for CCHA Series

Miami battles the Nanooks Friday and Saturday in Fairbanks


Riding a five-game losing streak, its longest since 2008-09, Miami (2-6-0, 0-4-0 CCHA) heads north to Alaska to take on the Alaska Nanooks in a CCHA series Friday and Saturday at the Carlson Center with both games at 11:05 p.m. ET (7:05 p.m. local). The RedHawks will be playing on Olympic-sized ice (200 feet by 100 feet) for the first time this year. Miami will also be looking for its first CCHA win this weekend after being swept in back-to-back weekends to start league play.

The ‘Hawks opened CCHA play at Ferris State Oct. 21-22, suffering a pair of defeats, and returned home only to be swept by No. 18 Lake Superior State, which was Miami’s first regular-season home sweep since the 2001-02 season. On Thursday, the Lakers scored 42 seconds into overtime to steal a 3-2 win away from Miami as senior defenseman Cameron Schilling tallied two points in the loss. On Friday, LSSU jumped out to a 4-0 lead midway through the second period and held on for the 5-3 win. Miami rallied with three unanswered goals, including two short-handed tallies, to get within one, but the Lakers would not be outdone.

Alaska (3-3-2, 0-2-2 CCHA) comes into the weekend in 10th place in the CCHA, just two points ahead of the RedHawks, also looking for its first league win. The Nanooks opened CCHA action hosting then-No. 11 Western Michigan at home, losing the opener and tying the second night. Last weekend, UAF traveled to Ohio State and also played the Buckeyes to a draw Thursday, but lost the shootout, as was the case with WMU, before falling 6-0 Friday night to OSU. Nik Yaremchuk leads Alaska with five goals and six points while Colton Beck also has six points though the Nanooks have just five goals in four league games. Defensively, UAF is giving up 3.50 gpg in CCHA action, as is Miami.


Enrico Blasi (Miami ’94) is in his 13th season behind the RedHawk bench. He is a four-time CCHA Coach of the Year and was named National Coach of the Year in 2005-06. He stands 264-175-46 in 13 seasons at his alma mater, where he has led Miami to seven NCAA Tournaments, including two Frozen Four berths, a National Championship game appearance, a pair of CCHA regular-season titles and the school’s first ever Mason Cup last year. Blasi is the the winningest coach in school history.

Dallas Ferguson (Alaska ‘96) is in his fourth season at the helm of the Nanooks where he has compiled a record of 54-48-22. He was named CCHA Coach of the Year in his first season in charge of UAF (2008-09) and led his alma mater to the NCAA Tournament for the first time in program history in 2009-10. Prior to taking over the reins at Alaska, he was an assistant at UAF for four years.


The RedHawks are 35-14-5 all-time against Alaska starting in the 1984-85 season, including 15-7-3 in Fairbanks. Miami went 3-1-0 against UAF last year, splitting in Oxford during the regular season but sweeping the Nanooks in the CCHA Playoffs. The RedHawks are 3-0-1 against Alaska in their last two trips up north, winning the shootout in the lone tie and outscoring UAF 15-3 during that stretch.