SU roundup: Hornets’ Merritt, Rampale garner ODAC honors

FOREST — Shenandoah University junior Presha Merritt and freshman Jenna Rampale lead the SU All-Old Dominion Athletic Conference honorees for field hockey in selections announced Wednesday afternoon by the conference office.

Merritt was named to the All-ODAC first team while Rampale garnered Rookie of the Year honors in addition to a second-team accolade.

Rampale was one of three SU women, along with Ashley Cross and Kelani Bailey, to be tapped for the second team.

Junior Sarah Brock rounds out the honorees with her third team selection.

For Merritt, Cross, Bailey and Brock, the 2014 selections are repeat honors. Merritt and Cross were first team honorees in 2013 while Bailey and Brock both matched their spots from last fall.

Merritt, a dominant player on both ends of the field, led the Hornets with nine assists from her midfield spot and her 15 points tied her with Brock third on the team.

She also had a team-high three game-winning goals this fall, netting the crucial tally against league opponents Virginia Wesleyan, Sweet Briar and Roanoke.

Rampale stepped in and backstopped her squad to a program record 12 victories while leading the league in both save percentage and goals against average.

She also posted two shutouts among her 12 victories.

Cross co-led the league in goals and was third in scoring with 15 goals and three assists for 33 points. She was named ODAC Player of the Week on Nov. 3 after scoring four goals and registering one assist in a pair of wins over Eastern Mennonite on October 29 and Nov. 1.

Bailey was second on the team in both goals, eight, and points, 16, on her way to the second team spot. She had game-winning goals against both York (Pa.) and Frostburg State.

Brock, a mainstay on defense, rounds out the SU representatives to the All-ODAC team with her second straight third team honor.

Her seven assists was second on the team to Merritt and her first goal of the year, against Washington & Jefferson on Sept. 6, was a game-winner.

Men’s basketball

WINCHESTER — For the third consecutive year, the Shenandoah men’s basketball team opens its season by hosting the BB&T Tip-Off Classic.

The 2014 edition of the tournament begins Saturday evening at 6 p.m. when Methodist and Monclair (N.J.) State play in the opening game of the third annual tournament.

Shenandoah hosts Cazenovia (N.Y.) at 8 p.m. in the nightcap.

The consolation and championship are scheduled for 2 and 4 p.m., respectively, Sunday.

The Hornets won the 2013 BB&T with an 84-77 win over Methodist in the opening round and a 76-71 victory over Hood in the championship.

The championship was the first in-season tournament championship for the program in nine seasons.

Senior Xavier Alston, who had 10 rebounds and five blocks in the championship game, earned All-Tournament honors for coach Rob Pryor’s squad.

The championship propelled SU to a 10-3 start that included the program’s first-ever ODAC and ODAC road victories.

SU unofficially opened the 2014-15 slate this past Saturday by taking on Division I George Mason in an exhibition contest. Senior Jared Carithers led the Hornets with 17 points, while Jimi Starks and Walt Moody added seven points each.