Fall sports previews
Stories by Jordon Bruner, assistant athletic director for sports information
Purdue Calumet athletes excel in classroom
PHOTOS PROVIDED BY OFFICE OF HEALTH, RECREATION and SPORTS
Purdue Calumet student athletes recorded the highest cumulative grade point average (gpa) last spring in university history.
Their 3.08 gpa is nearly a half-point higher than the average mark of the overall student body (2.62). Sixty-nine percent of the university’s 71 student-athletes achieved a term grade point average higher than that of the average full-time student (non-athlete), while carrying a larger average course load.
The men’s tennis team was tops with a cumulative 3.59 gpa, closely followed by women’s tennis (3.58). Women’s basketball (3.42) and volleyball (3.09) also exceeded 3.0. For the entire 2011-12 academic year, women’s tennis led the way with a 3.67 gpa.
Additionally, last fall, a record 62 percent of Purdue Calumet student-athletes recorded a 3.0 or higher gpa.
Overall during the 2011-12 athletic year, five Purdue Calumet student-athletes earned Daktronics-NAIA Scholar Athlete recognition, while 12 garnered Academic All-Chicagoland Collegiate Athletic Conference honors.
Men’s soccer returns; squad features 24 recruits
After more than a decade-long hiatus, a Purdue Calumet men’s soccer team is suiting up again this fall. Head Coach James Drzewiecki leads the 2012 Peregrines onto the pitch, as they compete as an NAIA independent this season.
Continuing Purdue Calumet’s planned athletic expansion, Drzewiecki and his staff have attracted an impressive recruiting haul, landing 24 decorated commitments from across the country. That recruiting class includes standouts Juan Lopez and Papa Otoo and former Peregrines basketball player Alex Richman.
Lopez has been a rising star in the Houston, Tex. Dynamo program. Otoo, originally from Ghana, is a highly regarded striker from IMG Academy, while Richman, a former club standout in Florida, impressed in spring workouts.
Women’s soccer debuts with 2 NJCAA All-Americans
Women’s soccer is debuting this fall at Purdue Calumet with a splash, as Head Coach Leslie Ferguson has recruited a talented class of first-time Peregrine student-athletes.
National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA) All-Americans Caytin Lewin (Plainfield, Ill.) and Maxzine Rossler (Big Rock, Ill.) headline the class, which features other honored players from across Illinois and Indiana.
NJCAA All-Region selections Priscilla Diaz (Aurora, Ill.), Kinsey Gallagher (Geneva, Ill.), Cindy McDonald (Oswego, Ill.) and Stephanie Salinas (West Chicago, Ill.) also figure to play significant roles, as do former Northwest Indiana standouts Nikki Goodeve (Highland), Vanessa Martinez (Hammond), Kirsten Nirtaut (St. John) and Rachel Schmagranoff (Munster).
Veteran Eaves back to lead volleyball team
Ashley Eaves (Gary) heads the list of returning letter winners for a Peregrines squad that is eager to improve on last fall’s 4-16 record.
The 5-foot-11 Eaves, a senior middle hitter, is coming off an impressive 2011 season that saw her tally 198 kills and rank in the top 10 in school history with 2.96 kills per set. Setters Jordin Ashburn (Mishawaka, Ind.) and Julie Sipek (Lombard, Ill.) also return, along with one of the Chicagoland Collegiate Athletic Conference’s top defensive specialists, Sarah Lawson (Valparaiso).
LaTiana Harris (Gary), Stephanie Infante (Round Lake, Ill.) and Jesse Miller (Grove City, Ohio) head the 2012 recruiting class. Each is expected to make key contributions this season.
Men’s cross country looking to improve
Purdue Calumet’s second men’s cross country squad this fall offers a solid core of returnees and an impressive recruiting class to help the Peregrines improve on their ninth place finish at last year’s Chicagoland Collegiate Athletic Conference Championships.
Stephen Bajzatt (Whiting) and Kenneth Karrson (Lansing, Ill.) return from 2011.
Head coach Matt Bliss also has welcomed a capable group of newcomers, led by former Lake Central High School standout Josh Keith. Cody Eitzen (Munster), James Dubish (Munster) and Phil Espinosa (Whiting) also look to make an immediate impact.
Newcomers join veterans as women’s XC builds
After solid rookie campaigns, Kristina Schafer (Dyer) and Kristen Stapay (Chesterton) are back to anchor Purdue Calumet’s second women’s cross country team this fall.
Schafer posted a personal-record time at the NAIA Great Lakes Invitational, while Stapay did likewise at Loyola’s Sean Earl Lakefront Invitational.
Natalie Drach (Griffith), Demetria Garibay (St. John), Kaley Piercy (Crown Point) and Courtney Wagner (Munster) also hope to push Head Coach Matt Bliss’ Peregrines to a top 10 finish in the always-competitive Chicagoland Collegiate Athletic Conference.
Schedule and other team information, visit http://www.purduecalsports.com.
High hopes for talented, experienced women’s basketball squad
One season removed from the program’s best record (23-10) since 2003-04, the Purdue Calumet women’s basketball team again has set the bar high for the 2012-13 campaign, as four starters and 10 letter winners return.
Alex Starr, a 1,000-point club member, tops an experienced and proven core of returnees, returning a 15 points per game average. All-conference point guard Brooklyn Short also provides versatile and proven offensive skills.
Other returning veterans are second team all-conference performers Amanda Gaskin and Kami Graber, sharpshooter Quinci Eller, and post players Madison Gervais and Lindsey Whitcomb.
Head Coach Tom Megyesi once again secured a talented recruiting class, led by 6-foot center Tory Shrum and guards Staci Groom and Maxzine Rossler.
A challenging schedule pits Purdue Calumet against nine opponents that advanced to the NAIA tournament last season, as well as NCAA Div. I foe Valparaiso. What’s more, the previous two-divisional Chicagoland Collegiate Athletic Conference has been reorganized, with five programs of the CCAC’s former Division I dropping to D-II this season.
The Peregrines open the season hosting the Papa John’s Tip-Off Classic Nov. 2-3.
Men’s basketball eager to make impact in 2012-13
A talented and plentiful recruiting class has painted the Purdue Calumet men’s basketball program with optimism heading into the 2012-13 season.
After a shorthanded Purdue Calumet squad finished 9-21 last season, Head Coach Dan Voudrie and his staff hit the recruiting trail hard, attracting more than a dozen community college and freshmen newcomers, who will join veterans led by Drew Ridlen and Trent Tucker.
Guard Ridlen contributed 10.2 points per game a year ago, while knocking down 66 three-point field goals to rank 10th in the program’s single-season record book. Frontliner Tucker started all 30 games last season, averaging 6.3 points and 5.6 boards.
Headlining the most impressive Purdue Calumet recruiting class in recent memory are transfers Roddy Richardson and Antonio Tolliver. Richardson played last season at rival Calumet College of St. Joseph, where he earned NAIA Honorable Mention All-America and First Team All-Chicagoland Collegiate Athletic Conference honors. Tolliver, highly regarded coming out of high school, helped lead Danville (Ill.) Community College to the National Junior College tournament quarterfinals last season.
”We believe that the addition of these transfers will allow us to compete immediately in the expanded CCAC, and the addition of a talented freshman class will help us stay competitive for years to come,” fifth-year Head Coach Voudrie said.
Purdue Calumet opens its season Nov. 2-3 hosting the Papa John’s Tip-Off Classic.
Filed under Peregrine Sports.