CU Women's Soccer to Play Haitian Women's National Team
Cornerstone University's women's soccer team will host the Federation Haitienne De Football (FHF) Haitian women's national team in a pre-season exhibition match at 7:30 p.m., Thursday, Aug. 23 on the campus soccer field.
The game is one of several warm up matches for the Haitian team as they prepare for their FIFA World Cup qualifying matches.
"This is a great opportunity for our team," said CU women's soccer head coach Randy Strawser. "It's also a chance for our community to see firsthand the outcome of their support for Haiti."
After the magnitude 7.0 earthquake that struck Haiti's capital, Léogâne, in January 2010, Cornerstone was one of many local organizations who worked to send aid and support to the devastated country.
"This is our chance to celebrate the work of everyone who responded to the crisis," said Bob Sack, executive director of marketing and communications at Cornerstone.
Cornerstone hopes that this event will display Christian hospitality and share about Christ to the Haitian team. As part of the event, Cornerstone is making a donation to the International Women's Opportunity Foundation (IWOF), an organization tied to the FHF whose goal is to fund re-development of women's soccer and other opportunities for the women of Haiti.
The Haitian women's team has been rebuilding its program since the disaster struck. Many players and their families were directly affected by the earthquake.
"I'm very excited to be working with Cornerstone to both help us prepare for our upcoming World Cup qualifiers and help this worthwhile cause," said Shek Borkowski, FHF Women's Technical Director.
In addition to making a donation to IWOF, Cornerstone will also make a donation to Haiti Foundation Against Poverty (HFAP), a nonprofit organization founded by Cornerstone alumna Mallery Neptune.
"I began HFAP to empower poor, orphaned and widowed Haitians and to spread the message of the Gospel," said Neptune, currently a resident of Haiti who plans to attend the game in Grand Rapids. "Cornerstone equipped me with the knowledge, spiritual discipline and truth that I need daily to serve the Lord in Haiti. It is an absolute joy to see two of my loves, Cornerstone and Haiti, come together in this way."
Cornerstone would like to invite the general public to share in this free celebration. Donations will be accepted at the gate, with all proceeds going directly to HFAP to continue its work in Haiti.
CU Volleyball Prepares for New Season
The 2012 Cornerstone University volleyball team has already begun practicing and preparing for their season. The season will get under way on August 24 at the UM-Dearborn Earlybird Collegiate Challenge Volleyball Tourney in Dearborn, Mich. They will square off against four different teams over the course of two days. The conference season will begin with a home game against Lourdes College at 7 p.m. on Sept. 19. The Golden Eagles, led by head coach Ryan Campbell, are ranked #22 in the country in the pre-season NAIA poll. Coming off an excellent 31-5 season, Cornerstone is returning some key players and is in terrific shape to make a run at a conference championship and beyond.
Key returners for the Golden Eagles include Kim Weaver, Abby Miedema (pictured right), Kate Zwier, and Megan April. The team will have to replace Jodi Grandholm, a stellar outside hitter.
According to head coach Ryan Campbell, "We have reloaded with key [new] players such as Murphy Heyer, Chelsea Lake, and Cailie Johnson." The mix of new and returning players should make up a formidable team as they go up against the rest of the WHAC.
Two goals are driving the women's volleyball team this year: winning a conference championship and making it to the national championship tournament. According to coach Campbell, the biggest obstacle to a conference championship in 2012 may be Madonna University. The rigorous practices have already started and the young women of Cornerstone are preparing on a daily basis to reach their lofty goals.
To set the tone for the season, the volleyball team took a trip to Costa Rica to serve less fortunate people and to give the girls a better understanding of how "well" they have it. They were able to run clinics, play against a few teams from Costa Rica, and serve the people there.
Senior Kate Zwier (pictured left) said, "As athletes, it is so easy for us to become prideful and selfish. Going on a mission trip forces you to become the exact opposite of prideful and selfish." The Cornerstone University volleyball team was able to come together to serve, and will be a better team this year due to the work they performed in Costa Rica.
All of the Cornerstone University students are well aware of the electric atmosphere that surrounds all home volleyball games, and coach Campbell stated that this year will be no different. You won't want to miss "Eighties Night" on Oct. 3 when Cornerstone will take on Aquinas. Dress to impress and enjoy the high level of WHAC volleyball!
Expect another terrific volleyball season from Coach Campbell and the Cornerstone women. They will entertain with their elite ability while contending for a championship.
Getting Ready to Play Ball!
As the fall semester rapidly approaches here at Cornerstone University, the new baseball team has taken shape. A total of 40 players will make up the 2012-13 Cornerstone baseball program, with 10-15 of those players making up a junior varsity roster. Eight returning Cornerstone students will join 32 brand new Cornerstone students. The 32 new players come from all different areas and backgrounds, some as far away as British Columbia, Canada and others as close as right here in Grand Rapids.
Of the 32 players, ten are transfer students and 22 will be freshmen. Thirteen are from Michigan and the other 19 are from other states. The coaching staff set a goal at the very beginning that at least half of all recruited players would come from outside the state of Michigan, and they have reached that goal with room to spare. The following states will be represented on the roster: Florida, Illinois, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Maryland, New Jersey, Wisconsin, and Indiana. There are a few different countries represented on the roster too, as Geren Albury was born in the Bahamas, Johnny Rodriguez was born in Cuba, and both Justin Geerts and Tyler Krahn are Canadian.
Truly, the best part of the diverse roster is that all 40 young men are Christians! Head baseball coach David Mitroff said, "We have been blessed to attract followers of Christ who are also outstanding baseball players. We are very excited to see how our team can positively impact the atmosphere and community of Cornerstone University."
The coaching staff is hard at work preparing for this fall, which begins on Aug. 25 when the players report to campus. The players and coaches will leave on the following day to spend two days at Camp Harvest in Newaygo to do some team building and goal setting, and to listen to the wisdom of Brian Doyle. Doyle played second base for the New York Yankees in the 1978 World Series, batting .438 through the six-game series and helping the Yankees win their second straight World Series. After returning to school, the players will have about a week to get accustomed to their class schedule before starting to work on baseball six days a week.
Incoming transfer student Cullen Montgomery said, "I have been looking forward to new student arrival day at Cornerstone University for almost seven full months. The anticipation is through the roof for me right now as the 'firsts' of practices, meetings, team Bible studies, and outreaches are waiting ahead. I can't wait to see what God has in store for our team, our school, and our community in the coming days."
Time will tell what kind of impact the baseball team will have on Cornerstone's campus, on Grand Rapids, and on the surrounding communities, but they seem to be headed in the right direction. Though this is just the beginning of something great, the coaching staff and players are looking to build a foundation that will stand the test of time.
Tennis Preps for its Second Season
The 2012-13 Cornerstone University men's and women's tennis seasons will begin with matches on Aug. 30. Coach Dan Erickson will lead the charge for both teams, who are entering their second season of existence.
While both squads took their lumps at times last year, Coach Erickson learned a lot on the journey: "Everything we did in the first year was a learning experience. From a competitive perspective, we really learned what the good teams at our level look like, and what we need to do to get there."
There are some quality returning players from both teams this year, including Amy Fouty, Janie Silvers, Hannah Guest, Allison Rusticus, and Carrie Carr on the women's side and John Andrew (pictured left), Alex Tarnow, Chris Selva, and Brad Miedema for the men. Coach Erickson's next challenge is to blend his returning players with his new and talented recruits.
There will be plenty of new faces in the program this year, highlighted by Elijah Yi, Chris Reed, Austin Hunt, and Andrew Son on the men's side. Coach Erickson believes all can make an immediate contribution here at Cornerstone. He will have to replace the loss of both Josh Webb, who led the team in singles wins last year, and Josiah Badger. Newcomers Heidi Boesl and Ashley Greene are expected to elevate the women's team this year as Coach Erickson must replace a few role players on the women's squad.
Last year the men's tennis team finished with a record of 2-24-2 and the women's tennis team finished with a 1-23 record. Both teams will be looking to improve on their respective records as the programs progress in their development.
According to Coach Erickson, lessons learned last year have resulted in changes: "From a nuts and bolts perspective, we have a much better schedule this year, in terms of students missing class. Most importantly, we learned what it means to be a team, to live and work and train and play and worship and grow together."
"Together" seems to be a theme for the men's and women's tennis programs and Coach Erickson will attempt to bring the returning players and the new players together as one and attempt to compete at a high level. There is usually at least one Wolverine Hoosier Athletic Conference (WHAC) team ranked in the NAIA top 25 poll, and this year's top teams from the WHAC in women's tennis are expected to be University of Northwestern Ohio (UNOH) and Davenport, while Aquinas and UNOH will be highly ranked in men's tennis. The tennis teams will play in nine matches this fall before resuming their respective seasons in the spring of 2013.
CU's New Stadium Looking Sharp
The baseball stadium construction is ahead of schedule and looks fantastic. The playing surface, installed by Field Turf, was completed the third week of July and has already received rave reviews by some of the baseball recruits who were able to take ground balls and batting practice. Construction is continuing around the field as the dorms are beginning to take shape. Although the facility will not be complete until the fall of 2013, the baseball team will begin practicing and playing on the field this fall.
Adam Homan, a current Cornerstone student and an outfielder on the baseball team, said, "The field is a thing of beauty. It is an honor to be a part of the first team to make this field its home." His sentiments have been echoed by numerous players as well as the Cornerstone coaching staff.
According to head coach David Mitroff, "The process of watching the stadium come together has been a privilege and makes me appreciate the sacrifices of all of those who have donated to make this possible. The hard work of the Christman Company has put us in a position to use the field earlier than anticipated."
There are big things in store for the baseball program at Cornerstone University, and the stadium is just the beginning. It is an exciting time to be on campus, and hopefully the new baseball program brings a unique atmosphere to the CU community.
To see more photos of the stadium progress, visit www.cornerstone.edu/beyondbaseball/
Luurtsema Joins CU Athletic Department
The Cornerstone University athletic department has an addition to its staff to report. Aimee Luurtsema, a recent graduate of Liberty University, has been hired as an assistant women's soccer coach and the assistant sports information director (SID). She will work very closely with Randy Strawser, head women's soccer coach and SID.
Growing up in Grandville, Luurtsema attended Unity Christian high school, where she led her soccer team to a four-year record of 107-1-1 and four state championships. She has always been a fan of Cornerstone University and was actually recruited to play basketball and soccer at Cornerstone. She chose to attend Liberty University in Lynchburg, Va., after being heavily recruited due to its Christian atmosphere and high-level competition.
Luurtsema originally studied elementary education before a meeting with a professor of business after her freshman year. She came to the realization that she was blessed with quite a bit of business savvy and ended up earning her degree in business with an emphasis in marketing. When a job opened up here at Cornerstone University, Luurtsema leapt at the chance. Her knowledge of the mission of the university and the opportunity to be a part of it drew her in.
"I am extremely passionate about CU athletics because of my past experiences and I am looking forward to seeing what God has planned for CU athletics and for me," said Luurtsema.
Driven by a passion for coaching, Luurtsema can't wait to influence the student athletes at Cornerstone.
"There are numerous things that I love about coaching," she said. "I love being able to impact the lives of the girls on the team. I want to help the team continue to get better, whether it's in their spiritual, academic, or athletic lives. I have been through a lot of the experiences that they will face in college. I also enjoy watching players grow and getting better throughout their lives, and I hope that in their four years at Cornerstone they can become better soccer players."
Armed with an excellent background, Luurtsema brings a lot to the table. She spent the past spring as an intern with Liberty University's football program as a student recruiting assistant.
"I was able to witness how much work and effort is put into developing a successful sports program. I hope that after experiencing that and being a part of a division one athletic program I can bring these unique characteristics to Cornerstone."
Luurtsema made the difficult decision to hang up her cleats last year and give up her dreams of continuing on in soccer.
"I felt that God was calling me into a different direction in my life," she said. "I have an extreme passion for coaching, so if there is an opportunity for me to coach and impact young women's lives, then that is the direction I will seek."
The Cornerstone University athletics department is blessed with the addition of a Godly young woman like Luurtsema who possesses an excellent athletic background and a passion for the development of student-athletes.
Athletic Director Dave Grube said, "We are thrilled that Aimee Luurtsema has joined our staff as the Assistant Sports Information Director and Assistant Women's Soccer Coach. Sports Information is an area that we want to grow and improve on and the hiring of Aimee is the first step in that process. In the short amount of time she has been with us she's presented a lot of good ideas and I'm looking forward to seeing her implement some of those ideas in the months ahead."