College Corner: Exeter grad Wesley going hard for Canisius volleyball

Sara Wesley (Exeter), Canisius volleyball (Courtesy Canisius athletics)
Sara Wesley (Exeter), Canisius volleyball (Courtesy Canisius athletics)
Sara Wesley (Exeter), Canisius volleyball (Courtesy Canisius athletics)
Sara Wesley (Exeter), Canisius volleyball (Courtesy Canisius athletics)

Junior Sara Wesley continues to be a mainstay with the Canisius College women’s volleyball team.

The 5-foot-10 middle blocker, an Exeter Township grad, has played in all 25 sets and has 53 kills, 19 total blocks and six digs. She had a breakout year as a sophomore finishing third in kills with 194 and first in total blocks with 79.

“Sara is a consistent force on the team,” coach Lenika Vasquez. “I never have to tell her to go hard. We joke that she has two speeds – hard and harder.”

According to the coach, some people feel she’s a little undersized to play her position. Vasquez disagrees.

Advertisement

“Sara plays big and fast and those are her strengths,” she said.

The coach also lauds Wesley’s efforts off the court.

“Sara has helped push the culture of work ethic in the weight room as well as on the court,” Vasquez said. “She is consistently pushing to find her next level and I’m looking forward to seeing what she will accomplish this season.”

The Golden Griffins opened the season at 2-5 after going 1-3 in the strong Duquesne Invitational on Sept. 1-2 in Pittsburgh.

Mark Forrest (Hill School) >> Mark Forrest was named to the preseason Patriot League men’s soccer All-Star team and the Lehigh junior proved that it was a good call in the first game of the season.

Forrest, from Douglassville (The Hill School), scored all three goals in a 3-2 season-opening victory over Rider in a non-league contest on Aug. 25 in Bethlehem. That made it easy on whom to mark in the Mountain Hawks next two games — losses to George Washington (1-0) on Aug. 27 and Ohio State (2-0) on Sept. 1. The 6-foot-3 forward was limited to a total of three shots in the two games.

“Mark reported to camp fit and healthy and got off to a good start as a result,” coach Dean Koski said. “He is a clinical finisher with size, strength and a great feel — a rare combination for a forward.”

Scoring goals is nothing new to Forrest. He led Lehigh with 11 goals with four game-winners and 26 total points as a freshman and led the Mountain Hawks in scoring with seven goals, four assists and 18 points with a game-winner last season.

“If Mark can continue with his current form and keep finding goals we will certainly win some games,” Koski said.

Lehigh is picked seventh in the league’s preseason poll.

Drew Kresge (Daniel Boone) >> The sophomore had a perfect day as a placekicker for the Villanova football team in a season-opening 38-35 victory over Lehigh on Sept. 2 in Bethlehem. Kresge was a perfect 5-for-5 in extra points and his 32-yard field goal early in the fourth quarter gave the Wildcats, ranked 10th in the College Football Subdivision, a 38-28 lead and they held on against the No. 17 Mountain Hawks. Kresge didn’t kick as a freshman but he did earn Colonial Athletic Conference All-Academic honors.

Abby McKay (Governor Mifflin) >> The freshman collected her first collegiate goal and it was a game-winner as her Slippery Rock field hockey team turned back Queens on Sept. 4 in Lexington, Va. She took three shots in the game. McKay’s playing time has increased with each game with The Rock, which is 2-1. She played 17 minutes in a season-opening 4-1 victory over American International and 43 minutes against Queens. On Sept. 6, she played 55 minutes in a 1-0 home loss to Mansfield.

Jill Braunsberg (Daniel Boone) >> The Wilmington (Del.) women’s volleyball team opened its season by going 1-3 in Bentley’s Hoffman Memorial Tournament Sept. 1-2 in Waltham, Mass, but the Wildcats got a big effort from the 5-foot-10 setter/opposite. Braunsberg was named to the All-Tournament team after recording 51 assists, 45 digs and 28 kills. She’s coming off a solid freshman season where she recorded 353 assists, 248 digs and 148 kills as Wilmington posted a 10-20 record.

Courtney Vidovich (Daniel Boone) >> The 5-foot-10 junior defensive specialist/libero helped the Rochester women’s volleyball team post a 3-1 record in the season-opening Red Dragon Tournament Sept. 1-2 in Cortland, N.Y. Vidovich had 73 digs (5.21 per set) and five service aces including a college career-high 28 digs in a 3-0 victory over Vassar on Sept. 2. She had 343 digs and 65 service aces in 60 matches and 181 sets entering this season to go along with 34 assists and 13 kills.

Meg Donohue (Berks Catholic) >> The senior is bidding to become a three-time All-Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference first-team selection after a good start with the Monmouth field hockey team. Donohue scored two goals in a season-opening 6-2 victory over Bucknell on Aug. 25 and has picked up two assists to give her six points in the early going for the 2-2 Hawks. As a freshman, she was a second team All-MAAC pick and was named Rookie of the Year. Donohue has 25 goals and 20 assists in 63 games with 60 starts in her career.

Alyssa Riccione (Berks Catholic) >> The 5-foot-1 senior defender has helped the Bryant women’s soccer team get off to a 3-1-1 start, the Bears having given up just three goals with three shutouts. Riccione also has helped out on the offensive end picking up an assist in a 2-1 loss to Quinnipiac on Aug. 30 in Hamden, Conn. She has played in 52 games with 23 starts in her career with Bryant and picked up a goal as a sophomore and an assist as a junior.

Erin Gilligan (Oley Valley) >> The 5-foot-2 senior midfielder is a key performer on defense for the unbeaten Syracuse field hockey team which is ranked fifth in the country with a 5-0 record. The Orange has shutout all five of its opponents. Gilligan picked up her first college assist in a 2-0 season-opening victory over California in Berkeley on Aug. 26. She has started all five games and has played in 67 games with 40 starts in her four seasons. She has four career goals.

Megan Kida (Oley Valley) >> The junior is starting on defense once again for the La Salle field hockey team which opened the season with a 3-1 loss to Appalachian State but has come back with 1-0 victories over LIU and Lehigh, the latter on Sept. 1. Kida had an assist on the goal against Lehigh. She has played in 35 games with 33 starts in her career with the Explorers and has contributed three goals and three assists with a game-winner to the offensive side of the ball. Kida was named to the Atlantic-10 All-Rookie team as a freshman.

Jenna Hawkins (Fleetwood) >> The redshirt freshman is starting in goal for the Bloomsburg women’s soccer team which is 2-1 on the season after a 3-0 victory over Millersville on Sept. 6 in Bloomsburg to even its PSAC record at 1-1. Hawkins had two saves in that game and has just four on the season thus far. She had two saves as the Huskies opened the season with an 8-1 victory over Chestnut Hill on Aug. 31 and didn’t have a save in the team’s PSAC opener, a 2-1 loss to Indiana on Sept. 2.

Kyle Hartman (Kutztown) >> The sophomore midfielder is a key performer on defense for the Lock Haven men’s soccer team, the Bald Eagles 2-0-1 with a 0-0 tie with Georgian Court in the season-opener on Aug. 31 in Lock Haven. They followed that up with a 5-3 victory over Shepherd on Sept. 4 and then had a 4-0 shutout of District of Columbia on Sept. 6 in Lock Haven. Hartman played in 16 games with one start as a freshman.

Emily Hepner (Schuylkill Valley) >> The 5-foot-4 junior defensive specialist leads the Lycoming women’s volleyball team with 23 digs which averages out to 2.56 per set. She also has six assists and four service aces for the Bears who captured the season-opening Lycoming Tri-Meet with two victories on Sept. 2 in Williamsport but suffered a 3-0 MAC Commonwealth decision to Alvernia on Sept. 6 in Reading. Hepner entered the season with 1,085 digs (519 as a freshman and 566 as a sophomore).

Cody Hunsicker (Tulpehocken) >> The senior has been a solid defender for the Lafayette field hockey team, but this season she’s been helping out the offense. Hunsicker had scored just one goal in 41 games and 26 starts prior to this season but she scored a goal in the season-opening 3-0 victory over Hofstra on Aug. 31 and had the game-winning goal in a 2-1 victory over Appalachian State on Sept. 2. She had four shots on goal in that game. The Leopards are 2-1 after a 2-0 loss to James Madison on Sept. 3.

Dan Techman (Twin Valley) >> The senior defensive end led the team with five solo tackles and had eight tackles overall to help the

Case Western Reserve football team turn back the University of Chicago on Sept. 2 in Chicago. It was the 5-foot-11, 220-pounder’s first career start. He played in all 10 games off the bench with the Spartans last season and had 22 tackles including 4.5 for losses and four sacks. He played in six games in reserve as a sophomore and had six tackles in a game against Bethany, W.Va.