Empire 8 Conference Players of the Week – September 19, 2022


General | 09/19/2022 12:32:02

Below are the Empire 8 Players of the Week, released on September 19, 2022, for matches played from September 12 through September 18. This is the third weekly Empire 8 Honors of the 2022-23 season. Sports featured include men’s and women’s cross country, field hockey, football, men’s golf, men’s and women’s soccer, women’s tennis and women’s volleyball.


RIDER OF THE WEEK – Ethan Kenyon, Nazareth, So., Brookfield, MA/Tantasqua Regional
Kenyon was Nazareth’s top runner as he shaved nearly a minute off his personal best 8,000 meters with a time of 26:53.6 at the Yellowjacket Invitational at Genesee Valley Park in Rochester on Saturday. He finished 32nd overall in a packed field of nearly 300 riders. This is his second straight weekly accolade in E8.


CO-RUNNER OF THE WEEK – Mari Jablonski, Alfred, Jr., Monticello, GA/Jasper County
Jablonski finished top of the Behrend Invitational for the Saxons. She finished 10th in points and 12th overall on Friday. Jablonski set a personal best on the Penn State Behrend course, clocking 24:21.9 over 6,000 meters as she won a medal as one of the top finishers of the day.

CO-RUNNER OF THE WEEK – Emily Weaver, Nazareth, Sr., Martville, NY/Hannibal
Weaver led Nazareth to the Yellowjacket Invitational from Genesee Valley Park in Rochester on Saturday. with his time of 24:18.1 over the 6,000 meter course. She finished 38th overall and led Nazareth to an 11th-place team finish against regional and national competition.


CO-OFFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE WEEK – Sydney Gagnon, Hartwick, Sr., F, Chestertown, NY/North Warren Central
Gagnon scored a hat trick in Hartwick’s 7-2 win over St. John Fisher on Saturday, which ended the Cardinals’ Empire 8 regular season 24-game winning streak since 2018. Gagnon scored late in the first quarter on a rebound to make it 2-0 for the Hawks. She added her second goal of the game on a breakaway late in the second quarter for the eventual winning count. Gagnon completed the hat trick at 2:21 of the third quarter to give Hartwick a 4-1 lead.

CO-OFFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE WEEK – Makaela Mills, Keuka, Sr., M, Afton, NY/Afton
Mills enjoyed a career day on Saturday as Keuka College opened the Empire 8 game with a resounding 8-1 win over Russell Sage. The senior scored one goal and added four assists for a career-best six points. She set the single-game record for assists at Keuka and also took the top spot on the college’s career assists list with 17.

DEFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE WEEK – Madison Tadusz, Houghton, So., GK, Lancaster, PA/Lancaster
Tadusz went 2-0 last week with a 0.50 goals-and-against average and .857 save percentage. On Tuesday, she recorded a shutout win over Wells College and made six saves in a 2-1 win over Utica on Saturday.


OFFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE WEEK – Zac Boyes, Cortland, So., QB, Buffalo, NY/Kenmore West
Boyes completed 14 of 16 passes for 212 yards and a touchdown, while rushing for 16 yards in the first half of No. 14 Cortland’s 66-7 win at Buffalo State on Saturday. He led Cortland to six touchdowns on six offensive drives in the first 30 minutes of play, as the offense racked up 356 total yards on just 41 plays (8.7 yards per play) during halftime.

DEFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE WEEK – Ernesto Mitchell, Morrisville, Sr., LB, Wheatley Heights, NY/Half Hollow Hills East
Mitchell made a season-high 15 saves in Friday night’s 17-15 win over St. Lawrence University, collecting eight solo tackles. The senior also registered a sack and a second tackle for a loss and was involved in covering for a two-point failed conversion attempt by the Saints late in the fourth quarter.

SPECIAL TEAMS PLAYER OF THE WEEK – Corey Lichtman, Utica, Sr., K, Bellemore, NY/Mepham
Lichtman made a big difference in Utica’s 23-21 win over Western New England on Saturday. He was three for three on field goal attempts of 42, 26 and 50 yards. The 50-yard field goal tied the school record held by Denis Avdic set in 2009 and is the longest field goal in the conference this season. He also converted his two touchdown attempts after a point in the afternoon.


PLAYER OF THE WEEK – Jack Finnerty, Elmira, Sr., Canton, NY/Hugh C. Williams
In his biggest tournament field of the fall season, Finnerty helped the Soaring Eagles finish fifth at the Elmira Fall Invitational last Tuesday after posting an 84 (plus-12). Finnerty played a par-two round on holes 4-12 to finish tied for 16th in a field of 59 players. On Saturday, the Soaring Eagles fell short in the Sage Invitational by a few shots, with Finnerty hitting a Soaring Eagle season low of 79 (plus-7). The score was good for medalist runner-up honors as Elmira finished second overall as a team.


OFFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE WEEK – Cuneyt Vardar, Nazareth, Gr., F, Webster, NY/Webster Thomas
Vardar continued to shine for Nazareth with four goals and nine points in two wins last week. Against Pitt-Bradford on Tuesday, he netted twice and added an assist in a 5-0 victory and netted both of Nazareth’s goals in a 2-1 win over Hartwick to open E8 play on Saturday. This is his second weekly E8 accolade of the 2022 season.

CO-DEFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE WEEK – Tyler Brennan, Russell Sage, Jr., GK, Albany, NY/Shaker
Brennan had a solid week in goal for the Gators as he recorded a 0.50 goals-against average and .917 save percentage while stopping 11 shots. He made four saves against Plattsburgh on Wednesday. Three days later, Brennan recorded a shutout win with seven saves as Russell Sage started league play with a 2-0 win over Houghton.

CO-DEFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE WEEK – Foti Xidias, Utica, Jr., GK, Carteret, NJ/Carteret
Xidias allowed the Pioneers just one goal as he helped the team to a 2-0 week. Xidias allowed a goal against SUNY Delhi on Wednesday while recording three saves before earning his first shutout of the season with four saves in Utica’s 3-0 victory over Alfred on Saturday. Xidias also made four saves against the Saxons.


OFFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE WEEK – Rileigh Studley, Houghton, So., M, Yardley, PA/Calvary Christian Academy
Studley scored three goals in two games last week, helping Houghton go 1-0-1. Studley’s first goal of the week secured a tie with Buffalo State on Thursday. Two days later, Studley scored two goals within six minutes of each other to start the second half and put his side firmly ahead in a win at Pitt-Bradford.

DEFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE WEEK – Sam Pelcher, Keuka, Jr., GK, Rochester, NY/Hilton
Pelcher posted back-to-back shutouts as Wolves faced SUNY Brockport and Hartwick College to draws last week. She stopped three shots against the Golden Eagles on Wednesday and a season-high 10 against the Hawks to start the championship game on Saturday. Pelcher had three shutouts during the year, tied for conference highs.


PLAYER OF THE WEEK – Macy Youngberg, Alfred, So., Falconer, NY/Falconer Central
Youngberg went 6-0 this week as she helped Alfred continue his winning streak, taking her record to a 6-0 start for the first time since the 2004 season. She teamed up with Alina Zabihailo in the doubles n 1 for the week, beating Brockport, 8-1, Penn State Behrend, 8-4 and the University of Utica, 8-5. Youngberg played No. 4 singles, winning at Brockport, 6-0, 6-2. She then won in three sets against Penn State Behrend, 6-3, 2-6, 6-4. Youngberg ended his unbeaten week with a clean, 6-0, 6-0 sweep over Utica on Saturday.


PLAYER OF THE WEEK – Eleanor Cepiel, Utica, Sr., OH/RS, Manorville, NY/Eastport South Manor
Cepiel continued to be the Pioneers’ offensive engine as the team went 3-2 in five games last week. Cepiel averaged 12.8 kills per game after averaging 64, while averaging 16.6 recoveries per game after averaging 83 in the team’s five games. She had 17 kills against St. Lawrence and added a weekend-best 23 digs in a win over Medaille. It is his second weekly E8 honor of the 2022 season.

ROOKIE OF THE WEEK – Shelby Swartz, Hartwick, Fr., OH/RS, Candor, NY/Candor
Swartz had 28 kills and 37.5 points in three appearances for Hartwick. On Friday, Swartz hit .371 while posting a season-high 16 kills and five blocks against William Smith. She also recorded eight kills against Morrisville. Swartz was also a force at net, collecting 12 blocks in total.

Empire 8 conference members are committed to academic excellence above all else, and the league is considered an outstanding NCAA Division III conference. Members have distinguished themselves among their peer group for its quality institutions, spirited and athletic competition, exceptional services, and highly ethical policies and practices. Its commitment to meeting the educational needs of its student-athletes is the hallmark of E8. To learn more about Empire 8, visit www.empire8.com.




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