Three coaches win top conference honors
The fall season for the Quakers of Earlham College brought multiple program firsts and a pair of postseason berths. Three Earlham coaches earned conference Coach of the Year honors and 24 players earned all-conference honors.
Lauren Horton earned Coach of the Year honors after leading her team to a regular season HCAC championship and a first-place seed in the conference tournament. In her seventh season as head coach, the Quakers have now won a match over every team in the conference and have won a championship for the first time since joining the HCAC in 2010. The Quakers finished with a mark of 20-6 in the 2021 season and an 8-1 conference mark. The team won the HCAC regular-season championship and hosted the conference tournament where it lost in the finals to Transylvania University, 3-1.
In her first year as head coach, Nicole Volgraf earned conference Coach of the Year honors after guiding the Quakers to their first ever NCAC tournament berth in her first season at the helm. Under her guidance, Earlham achieved the program record for wins in a season and hosted a postseason game.
The team finished its season with a mark of 15-4 and 6-2 in conference play. Their record earned them a third-place finish in the NCAC standings and a trip to the conference tournament. Earlham was eliminated in the semifinals by Denison in a penalty shootout.
Derick Lawrence, at Earlham since 2019, was named Cross Country Coach of the Year by the HCAC. He led men’s cross country to its first championship for the Quakers since 1996 and the fourth conference championship in program history. Both the men’s and women’s teams improved from their preseason ranking, where the men were tabbed third and the women selected seventh.
The Quaker cross country teams battled rain and wind at the 2021 HCAC championships at Blue River Memorial Park in Shelbyville, Indiana.
The men’s team finished with an average time of 27:58 in the 8K race to win the event while the women averaged 26:52 in the 6K earning them sixth place.
The Quaker men were closely followed by Manchester who finished just six total points behind Earlham. The race for the win came down to the final 600 meters of the race.
First-year Connor Del Carmen (pictured, above) earned newcomer of the year on the men’s side as he led the Quakers with a seventh-place finish. Sophomore Ian Gorley was second for the Quakers, finishing less than a second behind Del Carmen. The pair earned All-HCAC status.
Shianna Bellingham, a junior, earned all-conference honors on the women’s side with her ninth-place finish.
Austin Burt ’23, Alexander Roberts ’24, Henry Foultner ’24 and Greta Shaffer ’23 earned honorable mention status for their finishing position.
Denise Bergdolt ’22, Meg Murphy ’22 and Olivia Layne ’22 earned first team All-NCAC honors with Molly McKellar ’22 making the second team and Guin Schalck being named All-NCAC honorable mention.
Bergdolt (pictured, above) also earned Midfielder of the Year honors as she led the conference in goals and assists for the 2021 season. The senior from Mannheim, Germany, scored 12 goals and dished out 15 assists in the campaign, including five game-winning goals. She was also named to the NFHCA all-senior team for her efforts.
Murphy was named Defensive Player of the Year and is the first goalie to earn the honor since 2016. She led the conference in shutouts and goals against average, tallying 10 and .61 respectively. Murphy collected 49 saves in the cage this season.
Layne was a key member of the Earlham offense this season, recording four goals and two assists from her midfield position. Layne contributed two game-winners and 23 shots on goal for the Quakers.
McKellar earned second team honors after becoming a threat offensively with her penalty corners. She had eight assists on the season and was the dedicated in-bounder on penalty corners for the Quakers.
Schalck netted nine goals this season with 34 shots on goal. She proved to be a key player both pushing into the attack as well as contributing on defense this season.
Maria Young (pictured, above) was named HCAC Player of the Year after leading the Earlham offense as a sophomore. Young scored 315 kills in the regular season, averaging 3.58 kills per set and swinging at a .286 percentage. She also put up 37 total blocks and collected 236 digs. Young ranked in the top four in the conference in every offensive stat and led the league in total points for the season. Young was also named to the All-Midwest Region team and is honored as a third team All-American this season.
Giselle Mora ’22 earned first team honors for her attacking efforts this season. The senior tallied 258 kills for 3.07 kills/set. Mora attacked at a .188 clip and scored 25 service aces this season. She also played a role defensively with 123 digs and 23 total blocks.
Erin Wagner ’23 pulled in first team honors for her setting contributions this season. Wagner dished out 1,048 assists on the year. She averaged 10.97 assists/set, ranking her fifth in NCAA Division III. She broke the program record for assists in a game with a 71-assist showing against Mount St. Joseph this season. She also had the second highest number of digs on the team with 304 and had 13 total blocks. Wagner led the Quakers in serving aces with 36.
Olivia Kyrk ’24 was an efficient scorer with her time on the court. She scored 226 kills for 2.42 kills/set throughout the season. Her attack percentage of .314 ranked second in the conference for efficiency. She was named HCAC Offensive Player of the Week for the first time in her career this season and earned first team honors for the whole season.
Akiko Tajima ’25 was named to the first-year team, a selection of six first-year players who made an impact among the starters. Tajima collected 228 digs in the back line for the Quakers and had a .933 reception percentage on 240 targets.
Sarah Dickman ’22 earned CoSIDA Academic All-District recognition for her efforts on and off the court this season. The senior from Richmond has a 4.0 GPA with a major in biology. She has also been an integral part of the Quaker offense with 247 kills and 26 service aces.
The Earlham College men’s golf team ended the fall portion of its 2021-22 season on a high after winning the second annual Randal Sadler Invitational. First-year Mychal McKelvey led the Quakers on the weekend and was named HCAC men’s golfer of the week.
Men’s golf will begin the spring schedule at the Invitational at Boone’s Trace on March 19-20. The event is being contested at Berea College.
Earlham women’s golfer Claire Waggener set three new program records while competing at the HCAC women’s golf championship. The senior from Hilliard, Ohio, finished in eighth place individually at the HCAC Championships with a combined score of 246.
Waggener’s eighth-place effort ranks second among HCAC finishes in the program’s history and earned her a spot on the all-conference list.
During the HCAC tournament, Waggener broke two program records specific to the tournament. Her first-round score of 79, and second round score of 161 are the lowest scores recorded by an Earlham golfer at the tournament.
Waggener also broke the program record for the lowest 54-hole score in program history at 246 at the end of three days of competition.
The women’s golf team finished in seventh place overall at the championship tournament with a score of 1,166.
Caleb Wilgen ’23 played in all 16 games this season and started in 15. He amassed 1,220 minutes on the pitch for the season and took 18 shots from the midfield, placing eight on goal.
Devin Fitzgibbon recorded play in 14 games and started in nine contests. The first-year from Cincinnati, Ohio, tallied his first collegiate assist against Wittenberg in September.
Tess Cunningham started all 15 games in the midfield for the Quakers this season. The junior from Greensboro, North Carolina, scored four goals in her 1,300 minutes on the pitch. An instrumental part of the offense, Cunningham took 34 shot attempts and placed 16 on frame.
Quinn Doden ’25 also started all 15 games on the defensive side of the field. She played the maximum number of minutes at 1,370. Doden managed five shots from her position as the leader in the Quaker defense.
Earlham finished its season 4-10-1 with a seventh-place finish in the conference standings, narrowly missing out on postseason play despite battling key injuries.
Stories by Adam Knaub. Photos by Dan Oetting and Jenna Strong.