Top left: Hannah Reister and Becky DeRuiter; Top right: Carolyn Goettsch; Bottom: Goettsch, Katherine Hozian, Haley Hatalla
BOURBONNAIS, Ill. – Players, parents and close friends of the Olivet Nazarene University volleyball team met in the Warming House for the annual awards banquet on Sunday, Feb. 3. The Tigers used the time of fellowship to reminisce about the season, talk about the future and recognize the outstanding play of several players.
The 2012 season was dubbed as a “rebuilding” year for the Tigers. Having advanced to the NAIA National Tournament four of the prior five years, the Tigers had grown accustomed to winning. The 11-28 overall record posted this past season was a little tough for head coach Brenda Williams to swallow, at first.
“In the past I wouldn’t have been able handle a rebuilding season, but I stepped back and asked God for patience,” said Williams to the attendees. “I had to get back to what God had planned. He reminded me that it’s about the relationships, relationships with Him and with each other. He gave me a peace that I’ve never had before when the losses were coming. He gave me a great group of young ladies.”
With just two seniors on the roster, the Tigers relied heavily on six freshmen and didn’t give them time to think before throwing them into the fire. The schedule that Williams put together included 22 ranked opponents.
“These girls are ready for anything now,” added Williams about her young team.
Freshman Hannah Reister (Mason, Mich.) was recognized by her teammates as the Most Improved Player, while freshman Becky DeRuiter (Chicago Heights, Ill.) was received the Outstanding Newcomer award.
The Nicole Garde Award is awarded to the athlete who displays Christian character, servant leadership, and perseverance on and off the court. This year, the award was given to senior Carolyn Goettsch (Utica, Mich.).
Senior Katherin Hozian (Elk Grove Village, Ill.) was recognized as a first-team Chicagoland Collegiate Athletic Conference (CCAC) honoree and named National Christian College Athletic Association (NCCAA) All-Region, while Goettsch and junior Haley Hatalla (Manteno, Ill.) were recognized as CCAC second-team honorees.
For their work in the classroom, Hozian and Goettsch received NAIA Scholar-Athlete awards for the second consecutive year, CCAC Scholar-Athlete awards for the third time and NCAA All-Academic honors.