Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Traquair Named Wesleyan Soccer Coach

Macon, Ga. - Wesleyan College has hired Ciaran Traquair to be the next head coach of its soccer program.

Traquair joins the Pioneers athletic department after spending the last two seasons as the assistant men's soccer coach at Young Harris College.  Prior to that, he spent two seasons as a men's assistant at his alma mater, Shorter College, and one season as a women's assistant coach at Young Harris.

A native of Coatbridge, Scotland, Traquair played on scholarship at Shorter from 2003-2007, where he earned team MVP accolades three times as well as twice being named an SSAC All-Conference team member.  He still holds the single season assists record (17) as well as the career assists record (28) for the Hawks.  After graduating, he spent three seasons playing semi-pro soccer for the Mississippi Brilla FC and the Chattanooga FC.

Prior to coming to the States, Traquair played his high school soccer at St. Ambrose High School, where he led his team to the National Finals in back to back years.

"I would like to extend my appreciation to Patty Gibbs and the entire Wesleyan community for bringing me on board and giving me the opportunity to become the head coach of this program," remarked Traquair.  "This job was very appealing to me because I now have the opportunity to develop the program over time and get it headed in the right direction.  It is my goal above all to have a positive influence on the lives of my players both on and off the field, and in doing so, bringing success to the program and making it competitive and relevant once again."

The Wesleyan administration believes Traquair owns the skills necessary to accomplish those goals.

"Ciaran's experience as a player and coach will really bring our team to a new level of play," stated Wesleyan Athletic Director Patty Gibbs.  "His experience with recruitment will be an asset to the continued development of our team.  His enthusiasm for the sport will be contagious with our players and in the Wesleyan community.  Our GSAC competitors will see a different team on the field this fall."

Wesleyan opens the season on Saturday, September 1 against Johnson University at the Mathews Athletic Complex.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Wesleyan's DeGraff Earns GSAC All-Freshman Softball Honors

Macon, GA - Colleen DeGraff has been named to the 2012 Great South Athletic Conference Softball All Freshman team.  The Concord, Ga., native led the Pioneers in nearly every offensive statistical category, including batting average (.365), hits (27) and runs batted in (24).

Across the team's six wins this season, DeGraff put on an offensive clinic in leading the Pioneers at the plate.  She amassed an impressive .542 batting average (13-for-24), while scoring 11 runs and driving in 16. She saved her best for last when hits in both games against Tennessee Temple resulted in the Pioneers earning two wins.  In the first game, she hit a walk off double in the bottom of the seventh that scored two runs to give the Pioneers the win, and in the second game, her triple in the fourth inning that plated three runs put the Pioneers ahead for good.

"Colleen is certainly deserving of this honor," remarked Wesleyan head softball coach Dickey Hightower.  "She is a great team player who came to Wesleyan intending to play catcher, but throughout the season, she helped us out by playing most of the year at shortstop or third base.  She did serve as our catcher in several games, and she even did some pitching for us when we got in a bind.  Colleen led the team in hitting and RBI and was certainly one of our offensive sparks this year.  It will be great having her around for three more years."

In addition to DeGraff's All Freshman nod, senior Kayla Lumley and sophomore Anna Jones were recognized as members of the Great South Academic All-Conference team, while freshman Alexia Barrett earned the Individual Sportsmanship Award. Academic All Conference is awarded to athletes sophomore or older who have maintained a grade point average of 3.25 or higher.

Monday, April 23, 2012

Freshman Lifts Wesleyan Seniors to Season-Ending Sweep

Macon, Ga. - The Wesleyan softball team capped off its 2012 season on Monday afternoon with two wins over Tennessee Temple University, sending seniors Kayla Lumley and Tricia Velasco out in style.  The Pioneers defeated the Lady Crusaders by scores of 4-3 and 9-5.

Wesleyan trailed Tennessee Temple by two runs going into the bottom of the seventh inning in the opening game of the doubleheader, but the Pioneers strung together three hits and a walk to earn the come from behind win in exciting fashion.  With one out, freshman Megan Trietsch hit a single which was followed by a Kayla Lumley walk and an Anna Jones single, loading the bases.  Freshman Colleen DeGraff stepped up to the plate next, smacking a double that drove in three runs, giving Wesleyan the win.

Once again in the nightcap, Wesleyan found themselves trailing by three runs in the early innings before DeGraff came through in the clutch with another big hit.  The freshman's triple scored Katy Trietsch, Lumley and Jones and gave the Pioneers the momentum they needed to take the lead for good.

Seniors Kayla Lumley and Tricia Velasco, playing in the final games of their Wesleyan career, both contributed significantly to the wins.  Lumley finished the night 2-6, scoring 3 runs, while Velasco 3-7 with a double and an RBI.

"I'm glad to get these wins," remarked Velasco.  "We didn't win as much as we would have liked to this year, but I think it's been the best season I've had at Wesleyan, and I really think we owe it to Coach [Dickie Hightower]." 

Added Lumley, "Wining these games today meant the world to me. It's been a tough season and we've had to fight through a lot of adversity and injury, but today we came together as a team and overcame that adversity, which is what I'm most proud of."

Wesleyan wrapped up its year with a final record of 6-23, marking the most wins for the program since the 2007 season.

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Pioneers Round Out GSAC Schedule With Southern Road Trip

Maryville, Tenn. - The Wesleyan College softball team wrapped up its Great South Athletic Conference schedule this weekend, travelling first to Salem College for a Friday night doubleheader in Winston-Salem, NC, before making the trek Maryville College for a Sunday afternoon doubleheader.  The Pioneers lost all four games over the weekend, closing out their conference season with a 2-14 record that ranks them seventh in the GSAC, one spot ahead of Spelman College.

In Friday evening's opening game, the Pioneers were shut out by Salem's freshman pitcher Abby Settles, who threw a no-hitter, striking out 10 Wesleyan batters to give her team the 8-0 advantage on the scoreboard.  The Pioneers made some adjustments at the plate during the second game of the doubleheader, picking up five hits, bolstered by Kayla Lumley's 2-for-3 performance.  However, it was the Pioneers defense that would cause them trouble in the nightcap with six errors contributing to an 11-2 loss.

With only 10 players making the trip, Coach Hightower gave the girls a break from softball on Saturday and took them white water rafting in Hot Springs, NC, before completing the trip to Maryville.

Sunday's doubleheader resulted in losses by scores of 8-0 and 9-1.  Wesleyan picked up seven hits from six different batters over the two games, and despite losing, Coach Hightower remained upbeat.  "Overall, I think we played pretty good against both Salem and Maryville.  We are getting better with each game and I'm proud of our effort each time we take the field."

Wesleyan plays its final doubleheader of the season on Monday evening against Tennessee Temple University, a team they have already beaten once this year.  First pitch is set for 4:00pm.  At the conclusion of the games, the Pioneers will pay tribute to their two seniors, Kayla Lumley and Tricia Velasco in a Senior Night celebration that will likely take place around 7:30pm.

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Saturday Softball & Tennis Update

Wesleyan College sent both its softball and tennis teams on the road for Great South Athletic Conference competition. The Pioneer netters fell to Salem College while Piedmont College swept the softball team in a doubleheader.

Softball (4-17, 2-10 GSAC)
Game 1 Box Score
Piedmont College 19, Wesleyan College 0
Wesleyan College.... 000 00 -  0  0  4
Piedmont College.... 942 4X - 19 11  1

Pitchers: Wesleyan College - Shay Jones; Anna Jones (1); Kayla Lumley (2). Piedmont College -
Brittney Head; Kasey Headrick (4).
Win-Brittney Head (13-3)  Loss-Shay Jones (0-2)  T-1:23  A-44
A. Jones faced 2 batters in the 2nd.
S. Jones faced 3 batters in the 2nd

Top Performer: Kayla Lumley (3 assists, reached on error, 3.0 innings of relief)

Game 2 Box Score
Piedmont College 27, Wesleyan College 0
Wesleyan College.... 0   0   0 00 -  0  2  8
Piedmont College.... (10)(10)6 1X - 27 20  0
Pitchers: Wesleyan College - Kayla Lumley; Shay Jones (1); Colleen DeGraff (3).
Piedmont College - Amanda Posey; Megan Studdard (4).
Win-Amanda Posey (3-5)  Loss-Shay Jones (0-3)  T-1:35  A-45

Top Performer: Anna Jones (1-for-2, 5 putouts)

Tennis (0-11, 0-6 GSAC)
Salem College 8, Wesleyan College 1

Singles competition
1. Kerri Morgan (SALEM) def. Lauren Mitchell (WC) 6-1, 6-0
2. Nozomi Hirai (WC) def. Angela Reavis (SALEM) 6-0, 6-2
3. Amy Allison (SALEM) def. Haley Ward (WC) 6-0, 6-0
4. Cierra Young (SALEM) def. Julia Shen (WC) 6-0, 6-0
5. Carly Neisler (SALEM) def. Ashley Jackson (WC) 6-0, 6-1
6. Lauren Wisen (SALEM) def. Joanna Esposita (WC) 6-0, 6-2

Doubles competition
1. Kerri Morgan/Angela Reavis (SALEM) def. Lauren Mitchell/Nozomi Hirai (WC) 8-2
2. Amy Allison/Cierra Young (SALEM) def. Ashley Jackson/Julia Shen (WC) 8-0
3. Carly Neisler/Lauren Wisen (SALEM) def. Katie McIntosh/Joanna Esposita (WC) 8-3

Wesleyan Honors Student-Athletes at Annual Awards Banquet

The Wesleyan College athletics department honored its student-athletes on Thursday night at its annual Athletics Awards Banquet.  Attended by nearly all of the school's athletes as well as President Knox, Dean Fowler, athletics director Patty Gibbs and faculty athletics representative Tom Ellington, the evening was a time set aside to celebrate the strides being made throughout the Pioneer athletics program.

The 2012 Wesleyan College Athlete of the Year was awarded to junior Lindsay Haggerty, who was instrumental in bringing about change for the Wesleyan basketball program this season. The Battle Creek, MI, native helped lead the Pioneers to an 8-12 record, which marked the team’s best season in nearly a decade. For her consistent play throughout the season, Haggerty was named to the Great South Athletic Conference women's basketball All Conference team, marking the first All Conference selection for the Pioneers since the 2002-03 season. She wrapped up the year ranked in the top ten in six different Great South Athletic Conference categories, highlighted by her league-leading scoring average of 16.7 points per game. Haggerty led Wesleyan in scoring in 16 of their 19 games played, scoring 15 or more points in 13 of her 19 games.

This year’s Multi-Sport Athlete of the Year was remarkably enough awarded to a freshman, Christina Mayfield. The Macon, Ga., native was the top performer for Wesleyan’s cross country team this fall, while also starting at midfield for the soccer team, and this spring, she is the starting left fielder for the Pioneer softball team. Mayfield finished 17th overall at the 2011 Great South Athletic Conference Cross Country Championship, which was good enough to earn her a spot on the GSAC All-Freshman team. She was Wesleyan’s top finisher in each race she competed in, and she earned four top-25 finishes over the course of the season. On the soccer field, she started all 16 games and her speed was critical on the defensive side of the ball. New to the game of softball, Mayfield started every game thus far this season and has consistently improved both in the field and at the plate over the course of the season.

Spirited and lively, Suzra Antoine was the recipient of the 2012 Pioneer Spirit Award. A member of the Wesleyan soccer team, the junior defender played in every match this season and scored her first career goal in a victory over Johnson University. Not only a participant in Wesleyan athletics, “Suze” is also the department’s biggest cheerleader who can be found encouraging her classmates at nearly every event on campus.

Receiving the Scholar-Athlete of the Year award for the second consecutive year, senior Anna Plue is a dual sport athlete who competes for both the volleyball and equestrian teams. She has maintained a perfect grade point average over the course of her collegiate academic career and hopes to one day become an animator or work to make special effects for movies. Known for excellence both athletically and academically, she has earned a spot on the Great South Athletic Conference Academic All-Conference volleyball team each of the last two seasons. In the equestrian ring, Plue qualified to compete in Regionals in the Western horsemanship division this year.

The Team GPA Award is given to the team that holds the highest collective GPA on campus, and this year, the Equestrian team earned the honor by combining for an overall grade point average of 3.45, which was a full point higher than the second ranked team. A well-rounded student-athlete who excels not only but also academically and as a contributor to the campus community is what Wesleyan strives to produce. Under the supervision of coach Courtenay Bunn, the equestrian team is held to high standards both on horseback and in the classroom. Coach Bunn monitors the academic progress of each of her student-athletes over the course of the school year and requires regular study hall hours from each of her riders. Led by the team’s only senior, Anna Plue, the 2012 equestrian team has proven that they have found the proper balance between athletics competitiveness and academic excellence.

A new award added to the program this year was the Helping Hands Award, which essentially represents the department's volunteer of the year.  Megan Crissy has gone above and beyond in her efforts to help out the athletics department over the course of the entire school year.  From game day set up and tear down to selling concessions, the sophomore from Canton, Ga., was at nearly every home event assisting coaches and athletic trainer Christine Clancy in one way or another.

Each team honored its individual award winners at the dinner, and they are listed below:

Cross Country:
Runner of the Year- Christina Mayfield
Heart and Hustle- Turhonda Williams
Sportsmanship - Kaitlyn Rentz

Most Improved Player Award - Suzanne Smith
Freshman of the Year Award - Abby Stephens
MVP of the Year Award - Charly Harris

Leadership Award- Alaina (Avera) Harrison
Leadership Award- Cecilia Cortez
Most Improved- Anna Plue

Leadership Award- Lindsay Haggerty
Most Improved- Evgenia Korun
Heart and Hustle- Sha'Vonda Jones

Leadership Award- Kayla Lumley
Coach's Award- Tricia Velasco
Rookie Award- Colleen DeGraff

Most Dedicated - Joanna Esposita
Sportsmanship Award- Nozomi Hirai
Team Spirit - Lauren Mitchell

Most Improved: Catherine Jordan
Best Sportsmanship: Jenna Ford
Coach's Award: Aaron South

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Wesleyan Sees Agnes Scott Rally for Doubleheader Sweep

MACON, Ga. - Despite a strong start to the second game of their GSAC doubleheader, Wesleyan College dropped both contests to Agnes Scott Collge by scores of 16-1 and 19-4.

Box Score - 1 | Box Score - 2 | Season Stats

In the nightcap, Wesleyan scored twice in both the first and third innings to grab a 4-3 advantage. Tricia Velasco drove in three runs to spark the Pioneer offense. Agnes Scott answered in the fourth inning, taking advantage of six Pioneer errors in a 10-run frame which put the game out of reach. Velasco and Colleen DeGraff each collected a pair of hits for Wesleyan. Kayla Lumley took the loss despite hurling a complete game.

The Scotties (15-10, 8-6 GSAC) broke open a close game in the opener with a nine-run second inning. Freshman Tiffany Cain went 3-for-4 with four RBI to pace ASC. Shay Jones made her first career start in the circle, taking the loss but also led the Pioneers (4-15, 2-8) at the pate with a pair of hits.

Wesleyan returns to the field on Saturday when they travel to Piedmont College for another GSAC doubleheader.