Celebrating milestones on the pitch
The men’s and women’s soccer programs celebrate their 50th and 25th anniversaries, respectively, this coming fall. In 1964, when Herb Eisele was athletic director, Ralph Pica, a member of Hobart College’s first varsity soccer team, coached the young, inexperienced team in its inaugural season. JCU was the fourth school to form a team in the President’s Athletic Conference.
Pica coached seven experienced student-athletes – including captain Peter Kassay-Farkas ’66, Steve Jalics ’65, and Geza Terezhalmy ’67 – who were the nucleus of the team. Pica also encouraged moral support from the student body because the team faced the challenge of generating student interest in the face of popular, well-established fall sports such as football and cross country. The team finished second in the conference that year with a 6-1-1 (4-1) record. Kasay-Farkas, Jalics, and Terezhalmy were named to the all-PAC team.
Twenty-five years later, in 1989 when Tony DeCarlo ’66G was athletic director, the women’s program began under coach Les Szabo, the former co-director of coaching for the East-West Soccer Club. The inaugural team, which won its first game against Ohio Northern, finished 2-6 (1-6). Beth (Mulloy) Panstares ’92 lead the team in scoring that year. The women practiced from 7 to 9 a.m. because it was the only time they could all be together.
Hall of famers from the men’s program are: Marco Iglesias ’80, Tim O’Callahan ’82, Marty Joseph ’84, Drue Carney ’86, Rich Kramer ’86, Mike Mangan ’91, Rick Ferrari ’94, Grant Mast ’98, and Paul Habrecht ’00. Hall of Famers from the women’s program are: Thea (Consler) Seveland ’94, Danielle (Sluga) Felice ’95, Julie (Scaffidi) Ratchuk ’01, and Jill Comerford ’02.
The men won Ohio Athletic Conference titles in 1991, 1992, 1993, 1995, 2001, 2003, and 2005. They won OAC tournament titles in 1993, 2000, 2003, 2005, and 2007. This past season, the men’s team advanced to the championship of the OAC tournament for the third straight year. The women won the conference title in 2000, 2002, and 2013 (co-regular season champions). They also won the OAC tournament in 2001.
In addition to Pica, men’s head coaches included Tim Baab; Mark Maslona ’87; Ali Kazemaini, who took the team to its first NCAA Division III Tournament in 2000; and Hector Marinaro, the current coach. Kazemaini and Marinaro played professional soccer before coaching. For the women, Michael Marich is presently in his second season as head coach succeeding Tracy Blasius.
A clean sweep
The women’s basketball team made a clean sweep of the Ohio Athletic Conference’s major awards. Head coach Kelly Morrone was named OAC Coach of the Year; Missy Spahar ’14 was selected the Helen Ludwig Award winner for the Most Valuable Player in the conference; and Katlyn Spahar ’17 received the OAC Freshman of the Year award.
On March 15 in the DeCarlo Varsity Center, The Blue Gold Club hosted its annual Pot O’ Blue & Gold Irish-themed party to raise money for the University’s athletic programs. The crowd of alumni athletes, Blue Streak parents, and friends of the athletics department were able to: listen to live entertainment, enjoy traditional pub fare and a nacho bar, watch the NCAA basketball tournament on big screen TVs, win raffle prizes including travel packages and game tickets, hear updates from the varsity coaches, and purchase retro JCU uniforms. To see photos, click here. It’s not too early to save the date for next year’s event – Saturday, March 14, 2015.
To see the list of upcoming summer camps, click here.