GROVE CITY – Excitement and experience are both plentiful for the Grove City College men’s soccer team as it prepares for the 2021 season. Coach Mike Dreves will have one of the largest and most-seasoned squads of his 16-year tenure. Grove City returns 26 veterans from the spring 2021 campaign in which the Wolverines went 7-2 overall and 7-1 in the Presidents’ Athletic Conference.
Ten full-time starters return from the spring season, along with several other players who have started multiple matches in their career.
In goal, Luke Greenway returns for his 4th season. A 3-time All-PAC honoree, Greenway owns 23 career victories and 11 career shutouts. He is one of the conference’s most experienced and decorated goalkeepers.
Grant Baierl and Jesse Greyshock will both push Greenway for the starting job. Greyshock made 2 starts in 2019 and has 8 career appearances on his ledger.
Grove City’s defensive corps will be well-fortified with 3 returning starters. Matt Kimmich and Aaron McFeaters moved into the lineup as rookies in 2019 and have been stalwarts in the back. Clay Meredith started all 9 matches in spring 2021 and has the inside track to start again at defender. Grove City also returns 3-year lettermen Christian Giannetti and Drew Yun at defender. Giannetti has made 30 career starts while Yun has 12 starts among his 47 career appearances. Jake Smith, Ari Campbell, Daniel Mathes and Tim Prather also return from the spring 2021 season. Dreves expects all four veterans to also be in the mix at defender.
Bryce Deaven returns to help lead a young but experienced group of midfielders. Deaven has made 45 career appearances and looks to reclaim a fulltime starting post this autumn. Jacob Graham debuted last spring by earning All-PAC honors. He has the inside track to again start at midfielder. Chris DeLucia, Chris Eklund, and Lance Lenosky each played in all 9 matches last spring. DeLucia made 7 starts while Eklund started twice. All three are 2ndyear returnees.
All-PAC honorees Kennan Roewer and Hunter Hardin will compete for starting spots at either midfielder or at forward. Roewer earned 1st Team All-PAC last spring after posting 3 goals and an assist in 8 starts. He will be counted on for offensive production this fall. Roewer owns 43 career appearances at Grove City. Hardin emerged as a freshman in spring 2021 by ranking 2nd on the team with 4 goals. He registered a team-leading 3 game-winning scores.
Grove City also features its top goal scorer from each of the last 2 seasons in forward Sam Belitz. After sharing the team lead in goals as a freshman in 2019, Belitz blasted in 6 goals in 8 matches last spring. A 2-time All-PAC selection, Belitz will be a focal point of Grove City’s offensive attack again this fall.
Forward Mark Guinta led Grove City with 4 assists last spring and will look to remain a key cog in the offensive effort. He has 18 career starters to his credit. Forward Holton Gwaltney also returns up front after becoming a 1st-time starter in spring 2021. Gwaltney posted a goal and 3 assists in 9 matches last season. He is a 3-year letterman. Jonah Loew will look to break into the lineup on a regular basis after playing 4 matches as a rookie.
Grove City opens the season Sept. 1 with a home match against Oberlin at Don Lyle Field. Conference play begins Sept. 29 at Washington & Jefferson.
Following its second-straight PAC Championship Tournament title, the Westminster College women’s volleyball program has been selected as the league favorite in 2021, according to the league’s annual preseason coaches’ poll. The results of this year’s poll, voted on by the conference’s 10 head coaches, were revealed with the PAC’s Players to Watch List Wednesday afternoon.
Westminster, led by 29th-year head coach Tammy Swearingen, claimed eight first-place votes and 89 total points to top this year’s preseason coaches’ poll.
The No. 1 seed in last spring’s championship tournament, Westminster did not drop a set in its two tournament wins. Westminster secured a 3-0 victory over No. 3 Grove City College in the championship tournament title match on April 15. It was the program’s fifth PAC championship. Westminster has advanced to the league’s title match in each of the last four seasons.
Bethany College and Grove City tied for second in the preseason coaches’ poll, with each program collecting one first-place vote and 73 total points.
Bethany, led by 15thyear head coach Courtney Hilyer, was the No. 4 seed in the conference’s championship tournament last spring. On April 10 the Bison suffered a five-set loss to No. 5 Washington & Jefferson College in the quarterfinal round. The 2018 PAC champion, Bethany had made eight-straight appearances in the semifinal round before suffering quarterfinal losses in 2019 and 2020-21. Bethany owns a pair of PAC titles.
Led by third-year head coach Leo Sayles, Grove City earned the No. 3 seed in the league’s championship tournament last spring. The Wolverines secured a straight-set win over No. 2 Geneva College in the semifinal round on April 13 and advanced to the championship tournament’s title match for the first time since 2002. In 2019, Sayles guided the Grove City volleyball program to its first 20-win season in 12 years. Grove City owns a PAC-best nine conference championships, with its last coming in 2001.
W& J registered 71 points to finish fourth while Geneva was fifth (57). Saint Vincent College and Thiel College tied for sixth with 45 points.
Chatham University was eighth (41), followed by Franciscan University in ninth (24) and Waynesburg University in 10th (22).
This season’s players to watch list includes seven All-PAC First Team selections, six All-PAC Second Team selections and nine All-PAC Honorable Mention selections from last spring.
Westminster senior Maya Steward and Grove City sophomore Anna DeGraaf highlight this year’s players to watch list. In April Steward was voted the PAC Player of the Year while DeGraaf collected the PAC Newcomer of the Year award.
Steward and DeGraaf also earned spots on the league’s All-Tournament Team after the conclusion of the six-team event last spring, with Steward claiming Most Outstanding Player honors.
A three-time All-PAC selection (second team in 2018 and 2019), Steward averaged 3.58 kills and 3.95 points per match while hitting .249 (11835-334). Her 118 kills last spring ranked fourth in the league.
Steward racked up 91 kills during Westminster’s 8-0 conference regular season. She had 15 or more kills on three occasions this season, including tying her career high with 17 in the conference tournament title match.
DeGraaf had a terrific first season for Grove City, finishing fourth in the PAC in total blocks (35.0) and fifth with a .280 hitting percentage (10531-264). Her 105 kills were the third-most by a Grove City player this season. Her 135.0 points scored this season were the sixth-most in the league.
The league’s regular season concludes Saturday, Oct. 30 with the sixteam PAC Championship Tournament scheduled to get underway Tuesday, Nov. 2. The title match is slated for Saturday, Nov. 6.
This year’s tournament champion will secure the PAC’s automatic qualifying bid to the NCAA Division III Championship. Team selections for the Division III Championship will be announced Monday, Nov. 8, with regional action slated for Thursday-Sunday, Nov. 11-14.