2017-18 CLEVELAND STATE ATHLETICS TOP-10 MOMENTS
#1 - Men’s Golf Wins Fifth Straight Horizon League Championship
The Cleveland State men’s golf team continued its dominant reign over the Horizon League, capturing its fifth straight League title and the ninth title over the last 13 years to earn the League’s automatic bid to the NCAA regionals.
The Vikings shot a first round 303 and were in second place after day one. A second round 292 - the lowest round of the tournament - vaulted CSU into the lead - and the Vikings shot a final round 294 to claim the title by 18 shots over runner-up Oakland.
It was the largest margin of victory at the Horizon League Championship since 1999.
Anton Krecic was the runner-up at the League tournament, while Blake Prince finished fifth as both players were named to the all-tournament team.
Krecic, who was a first team All-Horizon League selection, opened the tournament with a 76, but used rounds of 71-70 to finish as the runner-up. It was the second straight year Krecic was named to the all-tournament team after he claimed medalist honors last year. Prince shot rounds of 74-78-70 to earn a spot on the all-tournament team for the first time in his career.
The Vikings were selected to the at the NCAA Columbus Regional at Ohio State's Scarlet Course where CSU finished 13th. Freshman Jules Blakeley was the teams top finisher, tying for 46th place with rounds of 75-75-77 (227) for his lowest 54-hole score of the season.
The season marked the end of the careers for seniors Joey Krecic, Blake Prince and Matt McAdoo. The trio became the third, fourth and fifth players in school history to win four straight League titles.
#2 - Men's Tennis Wins Horizon League Championship
The CSU men’s tennis team won its sixth Horizon League Championship in program history and its first since the 2013 season.
Seeded second at the League tournament, the Vikings swept past Youngstown State in the semifinals to set up a showdown with top-seeded Detroit Mercy in the championship match. The Titans had defeated CSU, 4-3, in the regular season.
But the result was different in the title match as the Vikings picked up the doubles point with wins at No. 2 and No. 3 doubles, setting the tone and giving CSU the momentum heading into singles play.
Sophomore Nico Mostardi – the Horizon League Player of the Year – gave the Vikings a 2-0 lead with a victory at the No. 1 singles sport. The Titans earned wins at No. 3 and No. 6 singles to knot the match at 2-2, but junior Benjamin Slade gave the Vikings a 3-2 lead with a win at the No. 4 spot.
The clinching point came from Matthew Terry – the Horizon League Freshman of the Year - at No. 2 singles, with his teammates rushing to the court and setting off a wild celebration.
The wins by Mostardi and Terry were their 28th of the season, tied for second place on the CSU single season wins list. In addition, Slade finished the season with a perfect 8-0 mark against Horizon League competition.
The Vikings traveled to 15th-seeded Michigan for a first round NCAA tournament match, falling to the Wolverines, 4-0.
#3 - Volleyball Wins Third Straight Horizon League Championship
The Cleveland State volleyball team continued its dominance in the Horizon League by winning its third straight League title this year.
The Vikings breezed through the Horizon League slate with a 13-3 record, which included 10 straight victories to conclude the regular season.
In the tournament, the Vikings topped Northern Kentucky in the semifinals, 3-1, before sweeping Green Bay in the championship match to complete a three-peat.
Sara Skeens was named the Tournament MVP after posting a team-high 30 kills and averaging 4.29 kills per set. Skeens recorded a career-high 20-kills against Northern Kentucky in the semifinals, and had 10 kills against Green Bay in the championship match.
Gina Kilner earned a spot on the All-Tournament Team after leading the Vikings to a .270 hitting percentage as a team on the weekend after averaging 11.86 assists per set. Trinniti Hall was also named to the All-Tournament Team after averaging 3.43 kills per set on a .513 hitting percentage.
The Vikings traveled to 13th-ranked Utah for a first round NCAA tournament match and fell to the Utes, 3-0.
#4 - Record Number Honored at John Konstantinos Academic Honors Luncheon
A record 231 student-athletes, representing all 18 intercollegiate sports sponsored at Cleveland State University, were recognized for their academic accomplishments at the 28th annual John Konstantinos Athletic Academic Honors Luncheon, which was held in late April.
The Luncheon was renamed in 2005-06 to honor former CSU Director of Athletics John Konstantinos who founded the event with a total of 41 student-athletes honored at the inaugural event in 1991.
The 231 student-athletes honored this year represented 69-percent of CSU's student-athlete population and were recognized for maintaining a cumulative grade point average of 3.00 or better through the end of the 2017 fall semester.
There were a total of 113 first-year honorees, 60 second-year honorees, 35 third-year honorees, 20 fourth-year honorees and three fifth-year honorees.
Several additional awards were handed out at the luncheon:
Best of the Best Award: Women's Fencing (3.75 GPA – highest for a CSU team)
President's Award: Jamie VanDewerker, Women's Swimming (3.98 GPA – highest for a CSU senior)
John McLendon Award: Samantha Butterbaugh, Cross Country
John & Sandra Konstantinos's Scholarship: Sophie Kelner, Women's Golf
Faculty Athletics Representative Award: Mackenzie Joecken, Softball
#5 - Evan Cheek Wins EWL Title and Named Most Outstanding Wrestler
Junior Evan Cheek won the 141-pound title at the Eastern Wrestling Championship, earning Outstanding Wrestler of the EWL Championships for his performance.
Seeded third in his weight class, Cheek opened the championship with a pin and clinched a berth to the NCAA Championship with a thrilling 6-4 sudden victory in the semifinals over the No. 2 seed.
In the championship bout, Cheek matched up against Clarion's Brock Zacherl who was the top-seed. Zacherl owned a 27-0 record on the season and was ranked fourth nationally by multiple outlets entering the event.
However, Cheek went on the offensive from the get-go, netting a takedown fewer than 20 seconds into the bout. After weathering a spell of pressure by Zacherl, Cheek stunned the crowd by posting a pin in the final 10 seconds of the opening period to claim his first career EWL title.
It marked just the second time that an opponent earned a bonus-point win against Zacherl in his collegiate career.
Cheek would go on to compete in the NCAA Championships down the street at Quicken Loans Arena and finished the year with 24 wins, including 16 bonus-point victories and eight pins.
#6 - Molly McNamara's Performance at Horizon League Swimming & Diving Championship
Junior Molly McNamara had a standout performance at the Horizon League Championship, helping the Vikings to a third place showing, just seven points out of second place. In the process, McNamara became just the second CSU women's swimmer to earn Horizon League Women's Swimming & Diving Female Athlete of the Year honors following her performance at the League championship.
At the 2018 Horizon League Championships, McNamara won two events, both in NCAA qualifying times. She broke the Horizon League record in the 200 butterfly (1:57.69) while becoming the first Viking woman to win that event more than once. Her time in the event was nearly two seconds under the NCAA 'B' standard and put her nearly five seconds ahead of the runner-up.
McNamara's effort in the 200 fly was her final event of the Championships and concluded a four-day stretch in which she broke five school records at the meet. She reset program standards in all three of her individual events and also helped two relay squads break school records.
McNamara broke the pool record in winning the 100 butterfly (53.27 seconds) at the League meet and posted the fastest splits in the race on the third leg of both relays she swam.
McNamara became just the third woman this century to sweep the butterfly titles at a Horizon League Championship. She is also the first Viking female swimmer to ever achieve that feat.
At the conclusion of the season, McNamara was named the Horizon League Female Scholar-Athlete for the 2017-18 Winter Season. Student-athletes from the sports of basketball, swimming & diving and indoor track & field were eligible for this prestigious honor.
She carries a 3.95 GPA as a health sciences (pre-med) major.
#7 - Anna Brandt Leads Cross Country at Horizon League Championship
Freshman Anna Brandt capped one of the top seasons in Cleveland State cross country history when she finished seventh at the Horizon League Championship to earn First Team All-Horizon League honors.
Brandt, who finished the 6K race with a time of 22:52, became the just the second Viking all-time to earn a spot on the all-league first team.
Brandt was also the first true freshman to cross the finish line at the Horizon League Championship, earning Freshman of the Year honors. She became the first Cleveland State runner to earn Freshman of the Year honors.
#8 - Women's Soccer Clinches HL Tourney Bid With Win at Northern Kentucky
Cleveland State sophomore Elaina Walnoha made her first career goal a memorable one, scoring with three minutes left in the first half to give the Vikings a 1-0 win at Northern Kentucky on Oct. 21.
The victory over the League-leading and defending League champion Norse allowed the Vikings to clinch a berth in the Horizon League tournament for the first time since 2015.
Walnoha's goal came at the 42:08 mark and it was her first tally in 27 career matches. Jamie Daniels made four saves to earn the shutout.
Under the direction of first-year head coach Dallas Boyer, the win over NKU was the fifth League victory of the season for the Vikings, tied for the most in a season in program history. It was also CSU's ninth win of the year, tied for the second most in program history.
#9 - Women's Basketball Defeats Nationally-Ranked Green Bay
Cleveland State earned one of the biggest wins in program history when the Vikings defeated 19th-ranked Green Bay, 71-60, on February 15 in the Wolstein Center.
CSU’s senior trio of Ashanti Abshaw, Khayla Livingston and Olivia Voskuhl scored 21 points each, while Livingston also added 10 assists and five rebounds for her first double double of the season.
As a team, the Vikings recorded 11 steals, including three each from Abshaw and Voskuhl.
The Vikings shot 52-percent from the floor and held Green Bay to a .361 clip, one of its lowest performances from the field during the year. Cleveland State also shot 59-percent from three-point, going 13-for-22 from behind the arc.
The win over Green Bay was CSU’s first over the Phoenix since the 2009-10 season and was just the sixth over over Green Bay in program history.
The Phoenix came into the game as the top-ranked mid-major team in the country.
#10 - Men's Basketball Advances to Horizon League Championship Game
Seeded eighth, the Cleveland State men’s basketball team made a magical run to the Horizon League Championship game, becoming the second lowest seeded team to play for a League title.
It was the third time in program history that the Vikings played for the League championship and the first time since 2008-09.
CSU advanced to the championship game with a 72-71 win over ninth-seeded Youngstown State in the first round, an 89-80 win over top-seeded and defending champion Northern Kentucky in the quarterfinals and a 44-43 victory over fourth-seeded Oakland in the semifinals.
In the win over NKU, the Vikings scored 61 points in the second half. It marked the most points in a half for the Vikings since CSU scored 70 first half points against Navy on Dec. 1, 1990.
The 43 points allowed to Oakland were the fewest against a CSU team by a Division I opponent since a 70-42 win over UIC on Feb. 5, 2012.
CSU's magical run came to an end with a 74-57 setback to second-seeded Wright State in the championship game.
Senior Kenny Carpenter and freshman Tyree Appleby were named to the all-tournament team for their performances. Carpenter averaged 17.8 points, 4.8 rebounds and 3.3 assists in the tournament, while Appleby averaged 15.3 points in his first postseason tournament along with 4.3 rebounds per game and 5.0 assists per game.