2016 fall sports year and accomplishments in review

Cross Country

Cross country had another winning season for both the men’s and women’s teams. The men were led by junior runners Cody Drisko and Jeremy Porter and the women were led by Eileen Stressling and Elise Larson.

In the PacWest Conference Championships on Oct. 22 in Hawaii, the men finished third and the women in fifth after running through wet and muddy conditions. Porter (fourth place) and Stressling (fifth place) were the first Cougars to finish in their respective races.

On Nov. 5 the team competed in the NCAA Division II West Region Championships, where the men finished in 16th place and the women in 18th. Drisko was APU’s top male finisher, coming in 37th place. Stressling finished fourth overall in the women’s race to earn her way to Nationals for a second consecutive season.

On Nov. 19, Stressling competed and finished 21st overall at the NCAA Division II National Championships, earning her second All-American honor and becoming the first two-time Division II All-American for APU.

Football

The Cougars football team finished their historic season with an overall record of 9-3. Led by a veteran defense and a young passing offense, the Cougars finished with a perfect 8-0 record in the Great Northwest Athletic Conference (GNAC).

The only two regular season losses for the Cougars came against non-conference opponents Colorado Mines and Colorado Mesa. However, the winning campaign led to the Cougars getting into the NCAA Division II playoffs for the first time in school history. The Cougars entered the playoffs as the seventh seed and traveled to play the number two-seeded Sioux Falls (12-0 at the time) in South Dakota. Sioux Falls defeated the Cougars 34-21.

Junior quarterback Andrew Elffers was named GNAC Offensive Player of the Year, wide receiver Weston Carr was named GNAC Football Freshman of the Year and head coach Victor Santa Cruz was named GNAC Coach of the Year.

Men’s Soccer

The men’s soccer team constantly found themselves in close games throughout the season. Both their first and last four games of the season went into double overtime. In addition, the Cougars did not get their first win until the seventh game of the season. Despite the challenging start, the team went 6-7-4 on the season, finishing in eighth place in the PacWest Conference.

Senior forward Tim Ogunniyi and senior defender Chris Brusenback were recognized as all-conference players for their 2016 campaigns.

Swim and Dive

The women’s swim and dive team is currently 3-2 on the season after having just participated in their Winter Invitational on Dec. 2-4. With less than half of the season remaining in 2017, the swim and dive team has a lot more work to do to accomplish its goal of sending athletes to Nationals.

Junior swimmer Rosalee Mira Santa Ana just finished competing in the Asian Swimming Championships in Tokyo, and will be competing in the FINA world championships Dec. 7-11 in Canada, all while still competing in the APU swim season.

The Cougars divers will compete next in the UCLA Bruin Diving Invitational on Jan. 13 and the swimmers will compete against Cal State East Bay on Jan 14.

Volleyball

The women’s volleyball team finished with a six-game win streak to conclude the season with a 16-13 record. Overall, the team went 12-8 against PacWest opponents, going 8-2 in home matches this season.

The Cougars accomplished this winning record with predominately freshmen on the team. Nine of the 14 athletes on the roster were freshmen, which included five of the six starting players. With only one senior and one junior on the team, the women learned to quickly bond with each other, using each match as a learning experience.

Freshman middle blocker Julianne Miller was named PacWest Freshman of the Year and was also selected to the second-team all-conference. She’s the first Cougar volleyball player to win a specialty award since APU joined the PacWest conference four years ago. Miller led the entire PacWest in hitting percentage (.363) and was seventh in total blocks. Miller played in all of APU’s 116 sets this season.

Throughout the season, Miller, Madison Ogas (OH), Bailey Henington (Libero) and Aliyah Morrison (MB) were all recognized as PacWest Players of the Week.

With 12 of the 14 players slated to return for next season, the Cougars aim to become a PacWest powerhouse.

Women’s Soccer

The women’s soccer team finished their season 12-4-4, capping it off with another Division II playoff run. This season marked the team’s 19th consecutive season with at least 10 or more wins.

The Cougars won first place in the PacWest conference, earning their spot in the playoffs. They won their first playoff game against Sonoma State, but lost their second match up against UC San Diego. Before the loss to UC San Diego on Nov. 12 the Cougars had not lost a game since Sep. 24, marking their first in over a 12-game span (nine wins, three ties).

Senior midfielder Allyn Brown earned National Soccer Coaches Association of America (NSCAA) First-Team All-Region and Conference Commissioners Association (CCA) Second-Team All-Region honors after this season. Brown received all-regional honors for her second straight season.

Junior defender Hayley Patterson earned NSCAA and CCA all-region honors along being named CCA Honorable Mention All-American and NSCAA Third-Team All-American. Patterson becomes the program’s 20th All-American while also receiving all-conference honors for her second straight season and being named PacWest Defender of the Year.

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