BEREA, Ohio – The Baldwin Wallace University men's and women's soccer teams recognized its 2017 award winners at the teams' annual banquet on Saturday.
The awards presented were Most Valuable Player, Offensive Player of the Year, Defensive Player of the Year, Newcomer/Rookie of the Year and the Players' Player award.
Senior two-time All-Ohio Athletic Conference midfielder Alex Elliott (Blacklick/IMG Academy) was named the women's Most Valuable Player while junior Academic All-OAC midfielder Jeremy Foust (Strongsville) and sophomore two-time All-OAC forward Danny Ruple (Berea/Berea-Midpark) were named Co-Most Valuable Players for the men. Ruple also received the men's Offensive Player of the Year award.
Elliott finished second on the team with eight goals and 16 points despite suffering a season-ending injury with seven games left on the schedule. For her career, Elliott appeared in and started 76 games, scoring 34 goals and recording eight assists for 76 points. She finishes her career ranked sixth in school history for goals and points scored.
Foust appeared in and started all 19 games this season, providing a calm, steady presence in the midfield. For his career, Foust has appeared in 56 games and has recorded one assist for one point.
Ruple put together a stellar sophomore campaign that earned him OAC Forward of the Year honors. The sophomore led the Yellow Jackets and the conference in goals, points and shots, setting two school records in the process. His 19 goals and 45 points broke two separate single-season records set by Carlin Vandendriessche in 2011. Ruple also earned his second All-OAC honor, was named to the United Soccer Coaches NCAA Division III All-Great Lakes Region first team and chosen to the Ohio Collegiate Soccer Association All-Ohio first team this season. For his career, Ruple has appeared in 38 games and tallied 27 goals and 13 assists for 67 points on 132 shots.
Junior three-time All-OAC forward Rachel Bender (Massillon/Jackson) was chosen as the women's Offensive Player of the Year after a stellar season in which she was named OAC Co-Forward of the Year. Her 16 goals, 40 points and 115 shots led both the OAC and the Yellow Jackets while also finished second in the conference with her team-leading eight assists. She was named the Most Valuable Player of the Herb Lauffer Memorial Tournament, hosted by Penn State Behrend College; selected to the 2017 OAC All-Tournament Team; and earned a spot on the United Soccer Coaches NCAA Division III All-Great Lakes Region second team. For her career Bender, has appeared in 64 games and has tallied 46 goals and 21 assists for 113 points, ranking second in school history in goals and points scored and fifth in career assists.
Haynam earned the award following her first All-OAC selection this fall. She recorded her best year offensively this season, scoring a career-high two goals and adding two assists for a career-high six points. Haynam was a mainstay at defense for her entire career, helping the Yellow Jackets to a 1.13 goals against average over her four years. For her career, Haynam appeared in 85 games and scored four goals and six points for 14 total points.
A team captain this season, Taubeneck anchored the defense as he started all 19 games on the back line. Taubeneck was named to the 28th Annual Bob Allen Nissan Classic All-Tournament Team after helping the Yellow Jackets to a 1-0 shutout against Spalding (Ky.) University for the team's first win. For his career, Taubeneck has appeared in 55 games, making 53 starts, and has tallied one goal and one assist for three points on 10 shots.
Women's head coach Jim Wojtkun named freshman midfielder Kenna Stones (Dresden/Tri-Valley) as the Newcomer of the Year while men's head coach Reid Ayers selected freshman forward Michael Snowball (Pittsburgh, Pa./Fox Chapel) and freshman midfielder Bryce Posner (Aurora) as Co-Rookies of the Year.
Stones had a breakout freshman campaign, appearing in all 20 games this season and making 16 starts. She scored her first collegiate goal in a 2-0 win over Grove City (Pa.) College and also recorded four assists for six total points.
Posner and Snowball were named Co-Rookies of the Year after making an immediate impact on the offense this season. Snowball was the team's second-leading scorer, recording seven goals and four assists for 18 points after appeared in 16 games and making six starts. He notched his first career hat trick in the second half of a 6-2 win over Bluffton University. Posner appeared in all 19 games and made 14 starts in his freshman season, scoring three goals and adding four assists for 10 points.
Sophomore forward Leaya Armstead (New Albany/Gahanna Lincoln) and sophomore midfielder Claire Cuthbertson (Berlin Heights/Edison) both earned the Miranda Bennett Players' Player award while sophomore Academic All-OAC midfielder Joey Geither (Parma/Normandy) won the Players' Player award on the men's side.
Armstead receives the Players' Player award for the second consecutive year while Cuthbertson earns this honor after missing the entire season due to injury.
Geither stepped from the defense into the midfield this season. He scored the team's first goal of the season in the opening game of the season and tallied career-highs in goals with three and assists with five. Geither appeared in and started all 19 games and, for his career, has made 30 appearances with 23 starts.
The Yellow Jacket women finished the 2017 season with an overall record of 11-8-1 and a 4-4-1 mark in the OAC, advancing to the conference tournament for the fifth consecutive season. The BW men finished the year with an overall record of 5-12-2 and a 1-7-1 mark in the OAC.