When Juneau's Hannah Slotnick arrived at Mary Washington College last year, Slotnick was a typical freshman a little bit unsure of herself as she made the adjustment from high school to college.
This year, Slotnick was more confident for her sophomore season as she helped lead the Eagles to a berth in the NCAA Division III women's soccer national tournament. Mary Washington College won the Capital Athletic Conference playoffs, then claimed a 1-0 victory over Gwynedd Mercy College in the first round of the NCAA tourney before being eliminated two days later with a 1-0 loss to the University of Scranton, Pa.
"I definitely think I came into this year with a plan," Slotnick said by phone from her Fredericksburg, Va., campus. "Last year I wasn't sure if I'd be on the team. I was a little intimidated. By the end of the season I realized I could play with them."
When she played for the Juneau-Douglas High School Crimson Bears, Slotnick played the sweeper position, the last defender before the other team reaches the goalkeeper. But in college she's been moved up to defensive center midfielder, where she can put her passing and shooting skills on better display.
Last year Slotnick alternated between defense and midfield, scoring one goal and adding an assist. This year she's been strictly a defensive center midfielder, and one of seven midfielders the team rotates through its three inside midfield positions. Slotnick started most of the year and finished the season with five goals and one assist, with three of her goals being game-winners. Slotnick tied for third on her team in goals scored.
"Last year I got in trouble a lot and my coach (Kurt Glaeser) told me I couldn't shoot," Slotnick said. "I worked with the men's team because I wanted to prove I could shoot. People tell me I improved, but I think I'm just more confident."
"She's improved her heading ability and shooting," Glaeser said. "She's working at her dribbling and distribution skills."
Slotnick said her role on the team has changed since she's moved from defense to midfield, and midfielders are expected to score more than defenders. But she's enjoyed the move.
"I like it, I like it a lot," said Slotnick, an undeclared English major. "No one in Juneau's heard of Mary Washington College, but it's a blast. It's wonderful to play for them."
The Eagles (15-3-3 this season) play in the Capital Athletic Conference, which is made up of schools in the Washington, D.C., area. Mary Washington took second place to Salisbury University during the regular season, but won the CAC title with a 2-1 victory over the defending champions. Slotnick said a loss to Salisbury in last year's CAC tournament prevented Mary Washington from advancing to the NCAA tourney a year ago.
"Our whole team is young," Slotnick said. "We've got four seniors and everyone else is either a freshman or a sophomore. This is the first time to the NCAA tournament for most of us. Everyone's excited because we may fly to the second round (against Scranton), but for me I'm used to flying everywhere with the high school team."
Even though Mary Washington plays at one of the lowest levels of college soccer NCAA Division III schools are not allowed to give athletic scholarships Slotnick said the level is still a lot higher than what she saw in high school.
"It's so much more of a team effort," Slotnick said. "Nobody's really at a higher level than anybody else, so we have to work together a lot more. We play about 10 times faster than high school and everything has a purpose. I coached soccer for a month this summer, at a camp at school, and that really helped me."
St. Olaf College junior striker Carolyn Detjen (Juneau-Douglas) finished third on her team in scoring this season with four goals and eight assists. She led the team in goals as a freshman and sophomore, but this year was more of a focus by the defenses of other teams.
Western Oregon junior Kara Cozby (Gustavus) was one of 71 athletes named to the 2001 Great Northwest Athletic Conference Academic cross country all-conference team. Cozby has a 3.76 GPA and is an education major.
Western Washington junior Shawn Miller (Juneau-Douglas) finished 52nd in the NCAA Division II West Regional, held Nov. 3 in Bellingham, Wash., covering the 10-kilometer course in 34 minutes, 32 seconds.
Whitman College freshman James Voelckers (Juneau-Douglas) placed 47th in the Northwest Conference Championships, held Oct. 27 in Salem, Ore., clocking the eight-kilometer course in 28:08.30.
Pacific Lutheran sophomore Breea DeSloover (Juneau-Douglas) took 15th place in the Northwest Conference Championships, posting a time of 19:13.5 for the women's five-kilometer course. The next week, running on the same course in Salem, Ore., DeSloover took 37th place in 19:40.0 at the NCAA Division III West Regional.
Western Washington University redshirt freshman tight end Rick Carte (Juneau-Douglas) finished the regular season with 10 catches for 138 yards, with three touchdowns and a pair of two-point conversion receptions. Redshirt freshman defensive lineman Lino Fenumiai (Juneau-Douglas) had five solo tackles, two assisted tackles and a fumble recovery. The Vikings had an 8-3 record for the regular season, but didn't make the NCAA Division II playoffs because of a 40-32 loss to California-Davis in WWU's final game. Carte had a two-point conversion catch in the loss.
Pacific Lutheran senior defensive lineman Jasen Bennie (Ketchikan) finished the regular season with seven solo tackles and 14 assisted tackles, including five tackles for losses, 1.5 sacks and two fumble recoveries. PLU (7-2 overall) played Whitworth on Saturday in the first round of the NCAA Division III playoffs. Bennie was on PLU's squad that won the NCAA Division III national title in 1999.
SWIMMING AND DIVING
Fresno State senior Jesie Lewis (Juneau-Douglas) and three teammates are ranked 24th nationally in the 800-yard freestyle relay with a time of 7:58.67. So far this season Lewis has posted 12 top-three finishes and has four individual victories, with most coming in sprint freestyle events (50, 100 and 200 freestyles). Lewis also has a first-place finish in the 100 backstroke.
Western Illinois sophomore Travis Watson (Sitka) took second place in the 200-yard breaststroke and was third in the 200 individual medley Saturday as the Leathernecks won a dual meet over Illinois-Chicago. Junior teammate Ty Westre (Petersburg) took second place in the 50 free at the same meet. Western Illinois used to be coached by former Petersburg High School coach Jerry Champer, but Champer left the team this summer and is now a volunteer assistant coach for the defending NCAA champion Georgia women's team.
Northern Colorado sophomore Hannah Robus (Juneau-Douglas) has joined the Bears after spending last year attending the University of Alaska Anchorage, which doesn't have a swim team. No stats were available for Robus.
Juneau resident Derek Gibb (Petersburg) has transferred to Auburn University from Golden West Community College in California. Gibb, who competed at the 2000 U.S. Olympic Trials, becomes eligible to swim for Auburn in January. Gibb holds the California state junior college record in the 50-yard freestyle.
Duke University junior center-power forward Carlos Boozer Jr. (Juneau-Douglas) is listed as a second-team preseason all-American by three different publications Street & Smith's, Basketball News and the Sporting News. Duke opens the defense of its NCAA title against Seton Hall on Monday at the Maui Invitational. In a couple of preseason exhibition games, Boozer scored 27 points and grabbed 11 rebounds as Duke beat the EA Sports All-Stars 124-75 on Nov. 5, and he had 15 points including seven during a 24-1 run to open the game as Duke beat Nike Elite 129-94 on Thursday.
Biola University senior forward Nate Strong (Tenakee Springs) is listed as a third-team NAIA preseason all-American by Street & Smith's magazine. Strong had 19 points and five assists Friday as No. 8 Biola beat No. 18 Westminster College 96-69. On Nov. 13, Strong had 13 points, six rebounds and four assists as Biola blitzed West Coast Baptist College 112-42. Strong is averaging 14.75 points and 6.67 rebounds a game as Biola has won its first four games of the year.
Colorado School of Mines sophomore guard-forward Evan Tromble (Juneau-Douglas) scored five points, grabbed two rebounds, made two assists and blocked a shot during his team's season-opener Friday, a 72-51 loss to Azusa Pacific University. CSM was to play Queens College of New York on Saturday night in the second round of the Ore Diggers' Classic.
University of Alaska Fairbanks junior center-power forward Nate Endicott (Yakutat) had two points and 13 rebounds in a season-opening 85-74 loss to Evergreen State College on Nov. 10. The next night, Endicott had eight points and five rebounds in an 87-86 loss to the Geoducks. On Thursday, in UAF's opener at the Top of the World Classic, Endicott was held scoreless in an 82-70 loss to Washington, but he add four rebounds and two assists before fouling out of the game.
Santa Clara University senior guard Caroline Gruening (Juneau-Douglas) scored a team-high 17 points as the Broncos won their exhibition preseason opener Nov. 1 with a 79-65 victory over Bay Area Pro-Am. In Saturday's regular-season opener, Gruening scored 10 points, grabbed four rebounds and dished out two assists as Santa Clara upset No. 24 Utah 67-59 in the first round of the Golden Gopher Classic in Minneapolis. Santa Clara plays Minnesota for the title today.
University of Alaska Anchorage sophomore guard Tanya Nizich (Juneau-Douglas) is leading the Seawolves in scoring with career highs of 14 points in each of UAA's first two games, a loss and a victory against Christian Heritage College on Monday and Tuesday. Nizich also has eight rebounds, three assists and one steal in UAA's two games.
University of Alaska Fairbanks has four Southeast players on its roster sophomore guard Halane Isidore (Mount Edgecumbe), freshman guard Adrienne Taalak (Mount Edgecumbe), freshman guard Courtney Mason (Juneau-Douglas/Skagway) and freshman guard-forward Jessica Peters (Klawock). Isidore, Taalak and Mason all saw action for the Nanooks in a pair of victories over Christian Heritage on Nov. 9-10. Isidore had three points, two rebounds and an assist in UAF's 92-62 victory on Nov. 9, with Taalak adding three points and an assist and Mason being held scoreless. Taalak was the only one of the trio to see action in UAF's 61-43 victory on Nov. 10, going scoreless but adding four rebounds and two assists. Taalak also was the only one of the trio to play in Friday's 70-64 victory over Columbia College, finishing with five points and one assist. Isidore and Mason are both walk-ons who made the Nanooks during tryouts this fall, while Taalak is on scholarship. Peters is also on UAF's volleyball team and is redshirting in both sports this year.
Southern Oregon University junior center-power forward Jaime Stanford (Mount Edgecumbe/Haines) scored 13 points and grabbed 10 rebounds before fouling out Friday in SOU's season-opening 94-72 loss to California State-Chico in the first round of the Coslet Classic in Chico.
The Juneau Empire's College Corner feature runs about once or twice a month during the school year and features updates on college athletes from Southeast Alaska at their schools around the country. It is compiled by sports editor Charles Bingham from university Web sites, info from local coaches and tips from interested readers. If you know of a college athlete from Southeast Alaska who should be included in the next College Corner feature, please fax the info to 1-907-586-3028 (attention sports) or send it by e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org (please no text attachments).