Volleyball: Wash. U. to honor national champions and women’s soccer

| Sports Editor

The volleyball team lifts their 2009 NCAA Division III national championship trophy as they celebrate their 3-1 victory over top-ranked Juniata College. The Bears will unveil their championship banner in the Field House at 3 p.m. Sunday. (Matt Mitgang | Student Life)

The volleyball team lifts their 2009 NCAA Division III national championship trophy as they celebrate their 3-1 victory over top-ranked Juniata College. The Bears will unveil their championship banner in the Field House at 3 p.m. Sunday. (Matt Mitgang | Student Life)

The entire country will be celebrating national champions on Sunday, but the day will be more special for several Washington University community members. While most people will be keeping tabs on the NFL matchup between the Indianapolis Colts and the New Orleans Saints, Wash. U. will honor its NCAA Division III national championship volleyball team and national runner-up women’s soccer team.

The festivities kick off after the basketball doubleheader against Emory University concludes. At 3 p.m., the 2009 volleyball team will be presented with its championship rings and have its national championship banner unveiled. The banner will join nine other volleyball championship banners. Attractions for fans include national championship posters for all in attendance and T-shirts for a limited number of students and faculty with an ID card.

The Bears captured their NCAA-record 10th national championship with a 3-1 victory over No. 1 Juniata College on Nov. 21, 2009. Sophomore Lauren Budde was named Most Outstanding Player of the 2009 championship with 15 kills and five blocks in the game. Sophomore Kristen Thomas and freshman Kelly Pang were also tapped for the all-tournament team. The American Volleyball Coaches Association also chose Pang as its Division III National Freshman of the Year.

The 2009 title marked head coach Rich Luenemann’s third victory in the national championship game. Luenemann was also named AVCA’s Division III Coach of the Year.

“It feels good to know that the banner is going to hang there forever,” said senior Erin Albers, co-captain of the volleyball team. “[People should] show their support, not just for our team, but for the soccer team because they’re deserving.”

The University will also honor the 2009 national runner-up women’s soccer team. The Bears’ appearance in the title game was the first in program history. Wash. U. fell to top-ranked and undefeated defending champion Messiah College 1-0 on Dec. 5, 2009, in San Antonio.

Senior captain Libby Held and fellow senior Caryn Rosoff both earned National Collegiate Soccer Coaches Association of America All-America honors, with Rosoff being named to the first team and Held earning a spot on the second team.

Their squad tied a Wash. U. record with 17 wins en route to their fourth straight UAA championship and national championship game appearance.

“It’s a testament to the students the university attracts, but also to the students that it develops during their time here,” co-captain of the women’s soccer team senior Becca Heymann said.

With additional reporting by Johann Qua Hiansen