Valparaiso University Sports Update, March 10, 2017
Konieczny Named to Indiana All-Star Team
Valparaiso University women’s basketball incoming freshman Nicole Konieczny (Granger, Ind. / South Bend Saint Joseph) has earned a place on the 13-player Indiana All-Star roster.
The Indiana Girls All-Stars will play a home-and-home series with Kentucky, plus two games against the Indiana Junior All-Stars. All four games will take place in the month of June. One of the All-Stars will be named Indiana Miss Basketball on April 27.
Indiana will look to extend its seven-game winning streak over Kentucky when the two teams meet at Bankers Life Fieldhouse on June 10 at 4 p.m. Central Time. The second game will occur on June 11 at Central Hardin High School in Elizabethtown, Ky. at 1 p.m. Central Time.
Konieczny led South Bend St. Joseph to a 3A state championship last month. She averaged 14.4 points per game and 3.1 assists per game this year. The Indians finished the season with a 26-2 record. Konieczny scored nine points in the state championship, a 57-49 win over North Harrison.
Konieczny, who began her high school career at LaPorte before moving to South Bend, is one of four incoming freshmen who have signed National Letters of Intent to play for Valpo in 2017-18. The class also features 6-foot-2 forward Ella Ellenson (Rice Lake, Wis. / Rice Lake), 6-0 guard Taylor Richards (Doylestown, Ohio / Chippewa) and 6-2 forward Bryce Blood (Toledo, Ohio / Whitmer).
“She’s a competitor every time she steps on the floor,” Valpo head coach Tracey Dorow said after Konieczny signed her NLI in November. “She’s involved in every play. When you turn around, she’s diving for a loose ball or she’s getting a rebound and scoring. She’s passing to someone who’s scoring. She’s a kid that you might not notice being flashy, but she’s always right there.”
Women’s Golf Makes Seven-Stroke Improvement on Day 2 of Bulldog Invitational
For the second straight day, the Valparaiso University women’s golf team enjoyed its best round of the spring on Thursday at Windsor Parke in Jacksonville, Fla. as part of the Bulldog Florida Invitational. The Crusaders trimmed seven strokes off their Round 1 score by turning in a 323 in Round 2.
How It Happened
- The Crusaders finished in sixth of nine teams with a 36-hole score of 653 (+77).
- Katie Willenbrink (Mishawaka, Ind. / Penn) had a strong day, trimming six strokes off her first round score to post a 77 on Thursday. She finished at 160 (+16), which put her in a tie for 21st to lead the Crusaders.
- After pacing her team on Day 1, freshman Tiffany Curtis (Crown Point, Ind. / Crown Point) showed additional improvement on the second day of competition. She turned in an 80 on Thursday to finish at 160 (+16), tied for 19th.
- Senior Angie Kim (Schaumberg, Ill. / Fremd) also improved on Thursday, as she followed her 82 from Round 1 with an 81. Her total score of 163 (+19) tied for 23rd in the meet.
- Madison McCreary (Batesville, Ind. / Batesville) turned in an 85 on Thursday to finish the meet at 168 (+24), tied for 31st.
- Golfing as an individual, freshman Kayla Krueger (Spring Lake, Mich. / Spring Lake) stroked an 85 to finish at 169 (+25), tied for 36th.
- Kylie Shoemake (Schererville, Ind. / Lake Central) matched her Day 1 score with another 86, placing her in a tie for 40th at +28.
- Senior Sydney Shrum (Cloverdale, Ind. / Cloverdale) made a 13-stroke improvement from Round 1 with an 84 in Round 2. Kiana Jongsma (Dyer, Ind. / Lake Central) posted a 96 on Thursday to finish at 183.
Inside the Round
- Shrum’s 13-stroke improvement from Round 1 to Round 2 was the second largest in the 53-player field. The only golfer with a greater improvement was Hillary Reader of Lipscomb, who had an 88 in Round 1 and a 74 in Round 2.
- Stetson won the event by posting a 36-hole score of 616 (+40), while High Point came in second at 630.
- The Crusaders finished two strokes behind fifth-place Lipscomb and five strokes ahead of seventh-place Evansville.
Thoughts from Head Coach Jon Haas
“This was an incredibly rewarding day to be on the course with these girls. They battled for two straight days. Today’s 323 was a significant step in the right direction as our conference tournament creeps up on us.”
The Crusaders will next compete on Sunday, April 2 as they begin the Fort Wayne Spring Classic at Pine Valley C.C. in Fort Wayne, Ind.
Kapers Named to 2017 Johnny Bench Award Watch List
Valparaiso University sophomore catcher Scott Kapers (Schererville, Ind. / Mount Carmel) was named to the official 2017 Johnny Bench Award Watch list on Thursday.
Kapers is one of only two Horizon League players on the list, joining Milwaukee junior Daulton Varsho. The award is given annually to the top Division I collegiate catcher.
The watch list will be narrowed down to the semifinalists, who will be announced on May 17. Three finalists will be announced on June 5 and the winner will be unveiled on June 29.
Kapers has cut down four of the six runners who have attempted to steal against him this season. He got his year off to a favorable offensive start when he launched a three-run homer in his first at-bat of the year on Feb. 17 at Western Kentucky.
Kapers threw out 32.7 percent of would-be base stealers last year as a freshman.
“He’s the best defensive catcher in the league,” Valpo head coach Brian Schmack said. “He was a game-changer for us last year. He controls the running game with his throws. He’s aggressive; he’s not afraid to back-pick. He’s a confident kid and he’s not afraid to voice his opinion, which is good because he’s usually correct.”
Valpo Defeats Duquesne in Men’s Tennis
The Valparaiso University men’s tennis team extended its winning streak to 11 with a 7-0 whitewash of Duquesne on Friday morning at the USTA Center in Orlando, Fla. The Crusaders won every set to sustain their dominance during the spring trip.
How It Happened
- The Crusaders once again started a match on the right foot by taking the doubles point. Jeffrey Schorsch and Dave Bacalla teamed up at No. 1 doubles and made quick work of Adam Blasinky and Chris Corrao 6-2.
- The doubles point was secured when Garrett Gardner and Brandon Ancona got the best of Andrew Ong and Dane Bendel 6-1 at No. 3.
- Just for good measure, the Crusaders won at No. 2 doubles as well. Chad Kissell and Charlie Emhardt topped Tim Kane and Jared Isaacs 6-4.
- Ancona was the first player to finish his singles match, beating Ong 6-2, 6-1.
- Kissell played No. 1 singles for this match and took down Blasinky 6-3, 6-4.
- Emhardt delivered the match-clinching point at No. 3 singles, prevailing over Drew Akins 6-3, 6-2.
- Daniel Langston was sharp at No. 5 singles, defeating Jared Isaacs 6-3, 6-3.
- The closest set of the day came at No. 4 singles, as Kyle Dunn nipped Tim Kane 7-5 in the first set. The most lopsided set of the day also occurred at No. 4, as Dunn walloped Kane in Set 2 7-0.
- Bacalla and Dane Stavropoulos were the last to finish, with Bacalla recording a 6-4, 6-4 win at No. 2.
Inside the Match
- The Crusaders upped their record to 12-1, while the Dukes dropped to 5-8.
- Kissell played No. 1 for the second time this season and improved to 2-0 when holding that position. He stands at 15-6 overall and 8-3 in dual matches.
- Langston played at No. 5 for the first time in his career. He upped his record to 10-2 overall.
- Ancona extended his winning streak to seven with his singles victory.
- Dunn furthered his team lead by capturing his 17th victory of the season.
- This was the first time Ancona and Gardner have played doubles together in a match situation. Ancona has now played with five different partners this season.
- Emhardt and Kissell are a perfect 4-0 when paired together. Schorsch and Bacalla now stand at 3-0 as a duo.
The Crusaders have a pair of matches on their final day competing in Florida on Sunday. They begin the day by clashing with Liberty at 10:30 a.m. before facing off with Fairleigh Dickinson in the final match of the spring trip on Sunday at 4 p.m.