On the strength of all five fall teams qualifying for the postseason, The Master’s College has placed nine athletes on the All-GSAC teams. Six were honored for the first time while the other three were three-peat performers.
Heading the list were men’s cross-country standouts and local products John Gilbertson (Saugus HS) and Anthony Pizzo (Hart HS) who were both selected for the third year in a row. The juniors, who seemed to be separated by only a matter of feet at each meet, were the primary reasons why the Mustangs won the GSAC championship for the second consecutive season, earned a No. 3 ranking in the final, regular-season NAIA Top 25 Poll, and are legitimate title contenders at the 2011 NAIA Men’s Cross Country National Championships this Saturday in Vancouver, Washington.
Gilbertson paced the squad for much of the season, setting a course record at the UC Irvine Invitational in September and winning NAIA National Runner of the Week honors for his effort. He captured the Biola Invitational in late October and then capped off a stellar fall campaign in November when he won the GSAC Championship, becoming the first athlete in school history to do so.
Meanwhile, Pizzo was on Gilbertson’s heels throughout the fall, notching a trio of second-place finishes, including the runner-up spot to his teammate at the GSAC Championships, and a third-place finish at the UC Riverside Invitational when he was just one-tenth of a second behind Gilbertson.
On the other hand, the women’s cross country team, running into uncharted territory, boasted a pair of first-time honorees in sophomore Holly Kopp and junior Sarah Pattison. The pair combined to lift the Mustangs into the NAIA Top 25 for the first time in program history, finishing at No. 13 in the final regular-season poll, a fourth-place showing at the GSAC Championships, and a first-time appearance at the NAIA National Championships this Saturday in Vancouver, Washington.
Kopp clocked the fastest time in program history at the UC Riverside Invitational in September, won the Biola Invitational in late October, and placed fifth at the GSAC Championships in early November. Pattison was a solid performer throughout the fall, finishing 10th at the Biola meet and 14th at the GSAC Championships.
Women’s volleyball has enjoyed its finest season in years and much of that has been forged by the play of Tori Callihan. The junior middle blocker, who is the program’s first all-conference performer in nine years, paced the Mustangs to seven GSAC wins, including a victory over No. 13 Pt. Loma Nazarene in late October and 10th-ranked Vanguard in November. She finished third in the GSAC in both hitting percentage and blocks.
For the third time in four years, Bobbie Roberts earned a spot on the women’s soccer all-conference team. The senior defender led the Mustangs to 11 wins, tallied three goals and anchored the back line.
Further up the field, forward Natasha Coyle worked her way onto the all-conference squad with a sensational freshman campaign. All she did was lead the team with 24 points (11 goals, 2 assists), the fifth-best mark in the conference, a mark highlighted by four game-winning shots.
On the men’s side, senior defender Fabrice Gautrat (Hart HS) earned all-conference honors for the second year in a row, taking charge from his spot on the squad’s last line of defense. He also scored a career-high three goals.
Joining him on the all-conference squad was COC transfer Jorge Serrano, who ignited a Mustang offense that scored 40 goals in 18 games. The junior forward finished fourth in the conference in scoring with 29 points (nine goals, 11 assists).