The fall season brought plenty to celebrate for the PLNU Sea Lions. Between several teams making it to the NCAA championships, multiple athletes earning Player of the Year status for the PacWest Conference, and a number of new milestones etched into the PLNU record books, it was a season full of success.
FALL TEAM WRAP-UPS
The PLNU women’s volleyball team made school history as it battled its way to the NCAA championships for the first time this fall. PLNU had a strong finish to end the season, winning 12 of its final 13 regular season matches. With a 14-6 conference record, the Sea Lions tied for second in the PacWest standings. A sweep on Senior Day against Concordia kept the squad’s playoff hopes alive, and after a 20-9 regular season, the Sea Lions were awarded the No. 7 seed. After a tough battle with No. 2 seed Western Washington, PLNU lost in the first round of the NCAA West Regionals, ending its season. Both Heather Leavitt and Savannah Wedemeyer capped off their decorated careers by earning AVCA All-American honors.
Women’s Cross Country
In its 2015 season, the PLNU women’s cross country team exceeded expectations, making it all the way to the NCAA West Regionals, where the team finished 14th and its season came to a close. In the race prior, three Sea Lions finished in the top 12 (Alex Hernandez, Brianna Bartello and Marissa Bartello), and all five qualifying runners placed 35th or better, leading the PLNU cross country team to a third place finish at the PacWest championships. The previous season, PLNU finished eighth; its five-place improvement was the most by any team in the PacWest this season. This was also the women’s cross country team’s best-ever finish at the PacWest championships.
The Sea Lions’ men’s soccer team recorded the strongest season of its time in the PacWest Conference, going 8-3-2 in league play, and 9-5-3 overall, to finish fourth in PacWest standings. The team went unbeaten in its last four games, clinching victories over BYU-Hawaii and Holy Names. Senior Daniel ten Bosch and junior Tyler Allen led the squad and were both named to the PacWest All-Conference first team and the NSCAA All-West Region team for the first time in their careers.
PLNU’s women’s soccer team enjoyed a season full of success, earning its second straight PacWest Conference title after going 11-2 in PacWest play, and 14-5-0 overall. The team’s season came to a halt in the NCAA West Regionals on Nov. 12, as the No. 6-seeded Sea Lions lost a heartbreaker to No. 3-seeded Sonoma State, 2-0. The PacWest recognized the Sea Lions’ success, as the team dominated post-season awards. Ariel Oriarte and Tim Hall repeated as PacWest Goalkeeper and Coach of the Year, respectively, while Morgan Pearce and Keagan Bolibol stepped up to claim the Defender and Freshman of the Year Awards. The Sea Lions also placed five student-athletes on the women’s soccer All-PacWest first team, and three more on the second team, marking the most it has ever had on an NCAA all-conference squad. Defender Morgan Pearce was also named a third team All-American by the coaches (NSCAA).
Heather Leavitt became the first Sea Lion to ever earn a PacWest Player of the Year Award, as she helped lead the women’s volleyball team into the NCAA West Regional. Leavitt topped the PacWest and ranked third in the NCAA with 4.77 kills per set. She ranked fifth nationally in points and registered double figure kills in 28 of 29 matches. The senior from Mesa, Ariz., was key in helping PLNU lead the PacWest in kills (14.96), digs (19.26), and assists (14.13) per set.
Daniel ten Bosch
Daniel ten Bosch capped off his four-year men’s soccer career by being named to the All-PacWest first team. After earning second team honors each of the past two seasons, ten Bosch moved up to grab first team honors. The senior from Irvine, Calif., posted five goals and three assists in his final season. He started all 17 matches for the Sea Lions in the midfield and helped PLNU place fourth in the PacWest standings.
Ariel Oriarte was voted the PacWest Goalkeeper of the Year for the second straight season. She ranked eighth in the NCAA with a .420 goals-against average. She recorded shutouts in 12 of 19 games and helped PLNU rank 11th nationally in shutout percentage (.632). During the season, the junior from San Diego also posted a scoreless streak of five matches.
Brianna & Marissa Bartello
The freshman duo of Brianna and Marissa Bartello helped lead PLNU’s cross country team to its best-ever finish at the PacWest championships and to its first NCAA West Regional appearance. The twins from Laguna Hills, Calif., each earned All-PacWest honors this season as they finished 10th and 12th at the PacWest championships, respectively. Brianna also earned All-Region honors after placing 25th at the NCAA West Regional. The pair each earned a PacWest Freshman Runner of the Week honor this season.
By Danny Barnts & Kayle Fields
Sea Lions Earn Presidents’ Award for Second Consecutive Year
For the second straight season, Sea Lion student-athletes were honored with the NCAA Division II Presidents’ Award for Excellence, an award given to only 27 Division II member schools. This year, PLNU moved from third to second place in the country with an academic success rate (ASR) of 98 percent.
The ASR is the percentage of student athletes who graduate within six years of initial enrollment in college. It includes virtually all Division II student-athletes, including transfers and those not receiving athletic scholarships.
“I’m proud of the strong academic achievements of PLNU student-athletes and the support they receive from coaches, faculty and staff,” said President Bob Brower. “The discipline of excelling in sports and academics will prepare students well for their future, and I’m pleased to offer my congratulations.”
This season, PLNU was the only representative from the PacWest Conference to earn the Presidents’ Award for Academic Excellence, and one of just three teams in the entire West Region.
“This is a mark that recognizes multiple years in a row of our student-athletes developing a reputation of success in the classroom,” said seven-year Athletic Director Ethan Hamilton. “I am extremely thankful to the coaches, staff and faculty who have made this work.”
By Danny Barnts