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Cornerstone Heading Back to NAIA Women's Soccer Tournament

For the second time in the program's history, the Cornerstone University women's soccer team has qualified for the opening round of the NAIA National Championship Women's Soccer Tournament.

The Golden Eagles, 11-6-2 on the year, and champions of both the Wolverine-Hoosier Athletic Conference regular season and post-season tournament, will be in Columbus, KY., Saturday, Nov. 20 to take on 7th-ranked Lindsay-Wilson College.

The hosts, already two-time NAIA National Champions, will take part in their 12th consecutive National Tournament first-round game.

"It's quite a challenge," said Cornerstone Womens Head Coach, Randy Strawser, who earned the WHAC Coach of the Year award. "They are regulars at the Nationals, while we have only three players who made our previous trip in 2007.

"Their team is made up of mostly foreign players; they have only three or four Americans on their roster.  Many of their players have played at a very high level in their country."

Although Cornerstone received votes during the weekly NAIA national polls, the Golden Eagles never were able to crack the top 25 in the national rankings.

"Maybe that's a good thing," Strawser said. "This could actually be a pretty good match-up for us. They don't try to jam it down your throat, they move the ball around and keep probing. I think we could match up pretty well with them, despite how many times they've been there and the ranking they have."

Cornerstone will be led by sweeper Ashley Lund, the WHAC's Defensive Player of the Year.

"She leads our team in the back," Strawser said. "We didn't give up a lot of goals this year because of her strong play, and the help she got from the rest of the defense."

"Seniors Amanda Dudiak and Ashley Morrow led us in the midfield.   Freshmen Amanda Van Laar and Maile Carigon have led the way up front and allow us to possess the ball in the attack.   Cornerstone does not have one standout scorer.  "That's a good thing," Strawser said, "because the other team doesn't have anybody to key on.   We have had 11 different players score goals this season . Maile Carigon has been very hot lately, she had the goal against Siena Heights and got the first one against Aquinas."

Cornerstone is a young team. Twenty of the 26 roster players are freshmen or sophomores.

"It has been a great season already," Strawser said, "and making it into the Nationals just makes it sweeter.  You just never know how a season will go but this one has certainly brought a lot of rewards for each member of the team.

If Cornerstone wins its 1 p.m. (CST) game Saturday, the Golden Eagles will advance to the National Finals Nov. 29 in Decatur, AL., facing the winner of the Spring Arbor-Robert Morris game.

"The big thing is that all of our young players will get a taste of playing in the Nationals," explained Strawser "that will give them an idea of how hard they need to work to keep going back. It is just a great situation for us."

Cross Country Team Prepares for National Championships on Nov. 20th 

There is nothing wrong with going into a big meet with something to prove. 

"We might have a little chip on our shoulders," Cornerstone University Cross Country Coach Rod Wortley said, as he finished preparations to send the men's team to the NAIA Nationals in Fort Vancouver Park, WA.

"We think we've been under- ranked most of the season and this will be a chance to show the raters that we can run with the top 10-15 teams in the country," said Wortley, whose team finished third in the recent Wolverine-Hoosier Athletic Conference meet and are ranked No. 22 going into the National Championship.

"You always go into a meet like this wanting to beat your ranking," Wortley said. "We certainly want to do that as the minimum standard this weekend."

Leading the way will be senior Zach Ripley, already a two-time cross country All-America in 2007 and 2009.

"It will be a great way for him to close out his career," Wortley said. "Zach was sixth at nationals last year and the best a Cornerstone runner has ever done is fifth, so that challenge is there. He is undefeated this season, and set three course records, so now it is up to him to run his race and see where it gets him."

With the forecast calling for a chance of rain every day this week, the course could be wet.

"We go in knowing it will be a slower course," Wortley said, "and that changes the dynamics of the race. Actually, it probably favors the Midwest runners a little, because this is what we've been training in."

Eight runners are going to Washington for the weekend.

"I think Alex Green is on the bubble," Wortley said. "The top 30 make the All-America team, and he has shown signs that he can be there. It just depends what kind of race he has in him that day.

"Nobody else looks like a top 30 threat, but we have guys like Jared Courtright and Travis Mabe, who have been there before. You can never underestimate what that past experience means in a meet like this."

The bottom line is pretty simple.

"It is always an honor to qualify for the Nationals," Wortley said. "It is a reward for working hard and making the commitment. I'm proud of what these guys have accomplished."

Morter Named Women's Golf Coach

Scott Morter, a 1983 Cornerstone University graduate, has been named head coach of the Golden Eagles' women's golf team for the 2011 season.

Morter, who spent two seasons as assistant coach, is an associate professor of business and finance at the university.

"We are very fortunate to have someone with Scott's ability and experience to lead our women's golf program," CU Athletic Director Dave Grube said. "He knows what it takes to build a program and he'll work hard to recruit the type of athlete that will be successful on and off the course."

Morter began playing golf when he was seven, and became a competitive junior golfer. As an adult he spent six years working at Warwick Hills Country Club in Grand Blanc, the home of the PGA's Buick Open.


"I am excited about building a team that fosters dynamic growth in all areas of life," Morter said. "My goal for each of the women on our team is to teach them and lead them to compete at an advanced level of golf, to succeed academically by being graduated in their specific discipline, and to form strong and lasting emotional and spiritual relationships."

"Scott is the right person for the job," Grube said. "He has a passion to teach the game and help players improve. I'm certain that he'll be very successful in developing championship teams at Cornerstone University."

Morter also leads the Faculty Senate at Cornerstone, and in 2007 was named Professor of the Year by the student body. He holds an M.B.A. from Grand Valley State University and is working towards his doctorate in business administration from Anderson University.

For more information on the golf program, visit www.cornerstone.edu.

Women's Volleyball Ends Strong

The women's volleyball team finished their season with an overall record of 15-25 and 6-10 in the WHAC.  Near the end of the season the Golden Eagles won five matches in a row, which included going 4-0 in the Cornerstone tournament.  The women were seeded 6th in the WHAC tournament and finished the year losing to No. 25 Aquinas College in four games. 

Several members of the team received All-WHAC honors. Senior Alicia TerHaar was named honorable mention All-WHAC and Abby Meidema was named to the All-Freshman team.  Six members were named Academic All-Conference; Jodi Grandholm, Alicia TerHaar, Kim Totten, Heidi Skjold, Lauren Pierce, Sarah Miller. 

Kim Totten was selected as the team's champion of character and head Coach Ryan Campbell was named Champion of Character Coach of the Year. In just his second season as head coach, Campbell initiated the "build a season that matters" theme, which helped seven charities in the community. 

Men's Soccer Night of Nets Raises Funds to Save Lives


Last January the Cornerstone mens soccer team spent a week in the Dominican Republic using soccer as a ministry tool in games and clinics as well as building relationships and addressing the needs of the poor in a community outside the capital city of Santo Domingo. 


For many players, that trip served to open their eyes to the needs present in the world, and perhaps more importantly, gave them a vision to be part of God's Kingdom response in meeting those global needs. 


Out of that experience came a desire to host an event at a soccer match this fall that would help change the lives of people in need in sub-Saharan Africa. They created an event called Night of Nets that was designed to raise awareness and funds to help prevent the spread of malaria, the leading global killer of children in our world today. Students and spectators were encouraged to pay $6 to attend the womens and mens soccer matches on Sept. 25. The game was one of the highest attended matches in recent CU soccer history. 


Players on both the men's and women's teams also invited family members and friends to donate to the cause, and the student organization ACTS promoted the same opportunity among the student body at CU.  The Night of Nets event raised more than $6,000 to fund malaria bed nets for more than 1,000 families in the African nation of Zambia. It was a day that allowed student athletes to use their gifts as a platform to make a difference in a tangible way as a manifestation of their faith and belief that their athletic abilities are to be stewarded for good as Christian soccer players. And it created a fun school event that allowed the whole campus community to come together and help change the lives of people in our world. 


It was a great picture of what athletics can do in the Christian university setting! Several of the players and coaches involved will travel to Zambia in May to deliver the nets to families in Africa and once again use soccer as a ministry tool in supporting the work of churches and Christian organizations ministering to the people and their needs in Zambia. The soccer teams hope this is only the start of a great CU tradition where they yearly host an event to meet the needs of those in our world today!