Heart stopping, mind-boggling, jaw dropping; these few words are only an appetizer of what the Shippensburg University community witnessed in a smorgasbord of spectacular events that revolved around the fall 2012 semester.
During that time the SU community witnessed a National Field Hockey Player of the Year in Bre White, the 2012 Harlon Hill Trophy Winner in Zach Zulli, three teams reaching the national playoffs and a PSAC East Champion. And that does not include a performance by the cross-country team that did more to cement their elite status in not only the PSAC, but the national circuit as well.
Yes, this past semester was great for SU athletics and to reflect on what the community witnessed, we highlighted the top moments and athletes of the semester. These moments and these athletes shone brighter than the rest and have left a formidable impression that will be seared into the minds of many for years to come.
Over the course of the semester, records were shattered, glory was bestowed and dreams were dashed. With the fall semester now passed, I delve into which athlete shown brighest and what moment captured the hearts of the SU community.
Coming to these decisions was not an easy task. There were many athletes who proved to be true stars for their respective teams, and likewise, there were moments from each team that were magical.
As the spring semester gets underway on the SU campus, there will only be more memories made and more great stories to discuss with one’s peers, but for now, here is the best of the best from the fall semester of 2012.
Athlete of the Year: Bre White
Do you go with the Harlon Hill Trophy winner in Zulli or do you take the National Field Hockey Player of the Year and choose field hockey’s White? Decisions, decisions.
Both of these athletes exemplified leadership qualities and posted gaudy statistics this year so it is easy to say that they both earned the top spot. However, when the lights were shining the brightest on the bigger stages, more pressure was put on White than on Zulli to perform.
How can you say that? Zulli was a catalyst for the top offense in the PSAC. His 54 touchdowns (including an earth shattering nine at Kutztown University) led the nation. He finished the year with 4,747 yards and completed 62 percent of his passes. How can he not be heavily leaned on?
Although he was leaned on to perform well throughout the season, Zulli benefitted from a receiving core that could catch anything thrown to them, an offensive line that resembled the Berlin Wall and a workhorse of a running back in Mike Frenette. Zulli’s talent is immeasurable, and he has high promise for making an impact in the higher ranks of the game but no one had a better year than White.
At first it sounds blasphemous to say that White had a better year than Zulli but how many people at SU have followed field hockey that closely? As stated by “A Broken Crutch”, a look at student’s apathy toward SU athletics, it was revealed that there were 100-130 fans in attendance at field hockey games. Therefore there were 5,000 fewer people a week seeing White perform than Zulli — and the community missed a lot from the talented junor.
White led the SU field hockey team to a 17–1 regular season record including a trip to the National Semifinals. She scored 17 goals and registered nine assists culminating in 43 points on the year.
To put that into perspective, the team’s second leading point gatherer, Taylor Bender, tallied 21 points. White had two game–winning goals on the season and had goals in 11 of the team’s 19 games.
White had the ability to carry the team on her back, and although she will remain adamant that it was a collective team effort, her individual efforts propelled SU to the year it had. Where she draws similarities to Zulli was that she could not lead her team to a championship.
Despite the losses in the biggest games, White has more of an upside going into next year. Zulli is faced with questions on the offensive side of the ball. Who will he throw to with Jacob Baskerville and Bryan Barley departing due to graduation? Who will be his workhorse as Frenette heads toward graduation as well? Zulli is an incredible talent but questions arise as to whether he can put up the same numbers next year.
White has to be the pick to carry the torch next year as she will have the pieces in place to contend for a national title.