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Opinion

Columnist looks back at a year for Falcons to remember

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April 28, 2011

The 2010-2011 school year has been arguably one of the most exciting for Falcon athletics.  As the year is slowly coming to a close, it is worth remembering the moments and accomplishments.  The fall season ended an era.  The Falcon football team wished Coach John O’Grady a farewell after he retired after 22 seasons with the Falcons.  The Falcons will look forward to new coach Matt Walker in the upcoming season. Walker joins UW-River Falls after spending the 2010 season as an offensive assistant and tight ends coach for Butler University.

Although the team finished well bellow .500, Falcon return specialist Greg Klingelhutz was named to the 2010 D3football.com All-West Region second team.

According to UWRF Sports Information, “Klingelhutz set a NCAA Div. III kick off returns record by returning for 1,017 yards in 2010. No other player in the history of Div. III football has ever returned for over 1,000 yards. Klinglehutz also tied the NCAA record with 49 returns in a season.”

The women’s soccer team placed fourth in the Final WIAC standings with a 10-8-2 record.  Midfielder Carlin Bunting, forward Alyssa Manor and defender Cassie Stang were named to the All-WIAC team.
Katie Rydeen led the women’s cross-country team.  Rydeen turned in a time of 22 minutes, 52 seconds in the 6,000 meters, which is eighth best in school history.  On the men’s side, Scott Bowman ran the 8,000 in 25 minutes, 34 seconds, which also places him eighth in school history.

The men’s hockey team used a late-season momentum swing to upset rival UW-Stout in the first round of the NCHA play-offs. Sean Roadhouse would net the game-winner with 29 seconds to go. The Falcons would fall in the next round to then ranked No. 2 St. Norbert’s College. Four players would earn honors from the NCHA. Forward Justin Brossman, defenseman John Bullis, and goalie Scott Lewan all earned honorable mention to the 2011 team.  Forward Alec Hagaman was named to the All-Rookie team.

Both the women’s hockey team and the men’s basketball team exceeded expectations and made impressive runs at history.  The women’s hockey team broke many school records, including being ranked No. 1 for the first time in school history, as they went undefeated in conference play while boasting a 28 game unbeaten streak throughout the season, posting a 24-2-4 overall record.  Falcon defenseman Lauren Conrad and forward Kait Mason were both named to the 2011 American Hockey Coaches Association or AHCA All-America team.

According to UWRF Sports information, “Conrad, a senior, had a great final season for the Falcons. She was the team’s top scoring defenseman with eight goals and 15 assists for 23 points.”  Mason meanwhile led the team in scoring as a freshman with 20 goals and 20 assists.

“The 20 goals ties the Falcon individual single season goals record and she set a record for season points with 40,” according to UWRF Sports Information.  The Falcons’ magical season ended with a 4-1 loss to Gustavus Adolphus in the NCAA quarterfinals.  Coach Joe Cranston was named the NCHA’s Coach of the Year.

The men’s basketball team completed their run at history, turning a Cinderella story of finishing worst in the conference to second in just one year.  This year marked the first time in school history that the team made the NCAA tournament, which ended in a first round lost to Illinois Wesleyan 83-76. They finished with a 208 record overall, which was highlighted by a 15-game winning streak, which is a school record, and a home victory over the defending national champions, UW-Stevens Point.  The Falcons took the game 73-60. Senior Jake Voeltz was named to the National Association of Basketball Coaches or NABC second All-West Region team.

UWRF Sports Information stated that, “Voeltz, a 6-4 forward, was named to the first All-WIAC team earlier this year. The senior led the Falcons in scoring averaging 15.3 points and in rebounding, averaging 7.1 a game. He also led the team with 26 blocks.”
Falcon guard Shane Manor was named to the third D3Hoops.com West All-Region team. Sports Information noted that, “Manor, a 6-5 guard, was second in scoring for the Falcons averaging 14.9 points a game.” He was also named to the first All-WIAC team.
Coach Jeff Berkhof was also named one of 17 finalists for the Glenn Robinson Division III National Coach of the Year award. Berkhof completed his fifth year at UWRF and was named the 2011 WIAC Coach of the Year.
The school year may be coming to a close, but the memories and excitement of the 2010-2011 Falcon athletic year will never be forgotten.

Ashley Goettl is an alumna of UW-River Falls. She was editor of the Student Voice from fall semester 2011 to spring semester 2013.