|All-American selections Holly Lesperance, Michelle Greeneway, Olivia Spellmire, Kayla Griffith, Allie Carter, Alex Stensland, Heath Ogawa, Leo Canales, and Ricardo Palma|
With three conference titles, NCAA postseason participation in three sports, and a milestone handball national championship, 2015-16 was another successful year for Lake Forest College Athletics.
The Forester women's tennis team captured the department's first title and head coach Michael Raymond was named Midwest Conference Coach of the Year. The squad posted a 9-1 record in MWC play and won the tiebreaker with St. Norbert College and Grinnell College for the program's first league championship since 2003. With 157 and 134 victories, respectively, seniors Christi Valicenti and Grace Dowling finished their careers as the only players in team history to reach triple figures in wins. The squad also advanced to the MWC Tournament final in the spring and finished 16-9 overall on the year.
Three weeks after the women's tennis clinched its conference title, the Lake Forest women's soccer team did the same by erasing a two-goal deficit to defeat visiting St. Norbert 5-4 in the regular season finale. Senior Michelle Greeneway scored four times in the game and finished her career tied-for-13th in NCAA Division III history with 104 goals. Greeneway, the MWC Offensive Player of the Year, was joined by classmates Holly Lesperance and Ellen Rogers as First Team All-MWC and First Team All-North Region honorees and Lesperance was also named a Second Team All-American by the National Soccer Coaches Association of America. Greeneway added a First Team Academic All-American award to her trophy case as well. The Foresters finished the season 14-3-2 overall and 9-0-1 in MWC play.
While the Lake Forest men's soccer team fell just short of claiming the league's regular season championship, the Foresters advanced past host St. Norbert on penalty kicks and defeated Knox College 2-1 to win the MWC Tournament and earn the conference's automatic bid to the NCAA Division III Tournament. Senior Dylan Hartman was named MWC Player of the Year and also earned First Team All-Region honors. The team was 13-7-1 overall and 7-3-0 in the conference.
For the second straight seasos, the Forester men's cross country team finished third and the women fifth at the MWC Championships. The teams combined for a league-high seven All-MWC runners with junior Rocco DiMatteo (9th), sophomore Jonathan Stern (16th), freshman Jorge Villanueva (18th), and junior Sintayehu Regassa (19th) earning the honor on the men's side and junior Kristen Whitney (15th), junior Andrea Lorch (16th), and sophomore Cassie Lira (19th) on the women's. Villanueva set a new men's team record with an 8-kilometer time of 26:05.4 and Whitney broke her own mark in the women's 6K with a time of 22:49.7 at the NCAA Division III Regional Meet.
The Forester football team won three of five MWC South Division games to climb a spot to third in the divisional standings. Senior safety Pat Clark, senior lineback Sean Chapman, and junior wide receiver Willie McIntyre were First Team All-MWC South honorees and five of their teammates were named to the Second Team. In addition, freshman quarterback Jagan Cleary posted the highest single-season quarterback efficiency rating in program history.
The Lake Forest women's golf team showed remarkable improvement in its second season as a varsity sport, lowering its scoring average by 30 strokes per round and moving up a spot to fourth at the MWC Championships. Freshman Anhayte Guajardo earned All-MWC honors by placing fifth on the individual leaderboard at the conference tournament.
The Foresters finished 5-5 in MWC volleyball matches in the fall. Junior middle blocker Brittany Avonts became a three-time First Team All-MWC honoree after setting a program record with 138 blocks on the year and Lake Forest established new marks or matched the previous records for blocks as a team in three, four, and five-set matches.
Greeneway and Lesperance continued their two-sport success in the winter, playing for a women's hockey team that finished 20-4-3 overall and 15-2-1 in Northern Collegiate Hockey Association play. Greeneway received the Laura Hurd Award from the American Hockey Coaches Association, which is given to the NCAA Division III Player of the Year. She led the nation with 33 goals and finished tied-for-fourth in NCAA Division III history with 103 career scores. Greeneway, sophomores Olivia Spellmire and Kayla Griffith, and seniors Allie Carter and Alex Stensland earned All-NCHA honors and were named to the AHCA West All-American Teams.
Another All-American came from the Forester men's swimming and diving team. Freshman diver Heath Ogawa finished eighth in the 1-meter competition and 13th off the 3-meter board at the NCAA Division III Championship Meet. The Lake Forest men won more than half of the events at the 2016 MWC Championships and finished as the league's runner-up. Ogawa, senior Kristofer Korth, and juniors Orion Huey, Sam Freedberg, and Virgil Thomas each prevailed in at least one individual event and the Foresters finished first in four of five relays. Sophomore Lily McCarthy was the MWC's fastest woman in the 1650-freestyle as the Lake Forest women placed fourth at the conference meet.
A balanced effort from the Forester handball teams brought home the 50th national championship in program history. The men's and women's teams each placed second at the United States Handball Association Collegiate National Championships but Lake Forest, under head coach Mike Dau '58, was first in the combined team standings. Sophomores Leo Canales and Ricardo Palma earned Handball All-America honors by finishing second in the Open Doubles division.
The Forester men's basketball team returned to the four-team MWC Tournament for the first time since winning the league in 2012. Lake Forest was 12-11 overall and 10-8 in the league and junior captain Jim Schick repeated as a Second Team All-MWC honoree after leading the league in rebounding and ranking seventh in scoring.
Lake Forest was 9-9 and tied-for-fifth in the league in women's basketball. Seniors Michelle Ricolcol and K.C. Stralka were Second Team All-MWC selections and Stralka finished among the program's career leaders in rebounds and blocked shots.
After graduating six of the squad's top eight scorers from 2014-15, the Forester men's hockey team was 8-12-0 in NCHA play and finished fourth in the NCHA South standings. Senior goaltender Leo Podolsky finished his four seasons as the program's career leader in victories and goals against average.
A third straight conference championship and berth in the NCAA Division III Tournament by the Forester softball team highlighted a successful spring at the College. Lake Forest finished 30-14 overall and won 18 of 20 league games to claim the title. Three of the 30 victories came on May 7 as the team defeated Carroll University and Monmouth College twice to win the MWC Tournament and advance to the NCAA regional Tournament, which Lake Forest hosted. Senior Alex Hemmer was named MWC Player of the Year and was joined on the all-conference and All-Great Lakes Region teams by classmates Jessi Werner, Sally Snarski, and Kaleigh Ambrose, as well as junior Jenny McTague. Werner, a pitcher, finished as the program's career leader in wins, shutouts, complete games, strikeouts, and saves.
The largest improvement in terms of conference placing was turned in by the Forester men's golf team, which jumped from seventh at last year's MWC Championship Tournament to a tie for second at this year's event. Sophomore Davis DeKorte and freshman Parker Hill tied for fifth place indivudally to earn All-MWC honors and Lake Forest's Brian Bruha '02 was named the league's Coach of the Year. The team's scoring average improved by nearly 22 strokes per round.
Finally, the Forester men's tennis team finished 16-8 overall and 9-1 in MWC matches to palce second in the conference standings. The team posted a dramatic 5-4 victory over Monmouth College in the semifinals of the MWC Championship Tournament before falling in the final. Sophomore Dan Pivonka staked his claim as the best player in the league by winning a title at #1 singles during the MWC Individual Tournaments while freshman Trevor Allen finished first at #2 singles.
Lake Forest teams combined for a .582 overall winning percentage and an impressive mark of .689 in conference play in 2015-16. Among the individual honors were 54 all-conference accolades, including four conference player of the year awards, and nine All-American distinctions. Forester athletes and teams set or tied 77 school records and were named conference player/performer of the week 39 times.