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2020 Hall of Fame Class announced; induction to be held on Jan. 18

 

November 29, 2019



Northwestern Oklahoma State University and Ranger Athletics is pleased to announced the 2020 class to be inducted into the Northwestern Sports Hall of Fame.

Ramon Byndum (Basketball), Steve Gale (Football), Dana Gandolfo Mitrovic (Softball), Mel Sharp (Basketball), will be the 28th class to be honored as Hall of Famers at the University.

The annual Hall of Fame ceremony will be held on Saturday, January 18, 2019 during halftime of the Northwestern men’s basketball game against Oklahoma Baptist.

Prior to the induction ceremony, a luncheon will begin at 11:00 a.m. inside the Student Center Ballroom. Tipoff for the basketball games are scheduled for 1 p.m. for the women’s contest against OKBU, immediately followed by the men’s game in which the inductees will be honored.

“I am pleased we have such an outstanding Hall of Fame class for 2020,” said Brad Franz, director of athletics. “This group is so talented and has experienced so much success as Rangers. It is a great group to add to our current Hall of Fame.”

Reservations for the Hall of Fame luncheon can be made by contacting Haylie Pegelow in the Foundation and Alumni Association office at 580-327-8593 or at [email protected], or visiting the Foundation website. Tickets for the event are $20 and open to the public.

Past inductees will be recognized during halftime of the women’s basketball game.

Recapping the 2019 Season

The 2019 Ranger soccer season came to a close with a 6-2 victory over Southern Nazarene. The team would finish the season 7-10-1 along with 4-7-1 in conference play. First-year Head Coach Erik Solberg led the team to one of the most successful seasons that the program has had since joining Division II in 2014.

After a season that featured zero non-conference wins and just three in conference, the team had three wins out of conference and four within in conference setting the largest amount of conference points since joining the Great American Conference.

"I am processed oriented, so I think this was a step in the right direction for the seniors and our team," Solberg on the improvement this season. "I would have liked to had a chance to compete for a conference championship in the tournament but I think we really had a tremendous season and we proved a lot of people that Northwestern Soccer is going to be a formidable opponent going forward."

Northwestern showed key improvements this season in earning results against conference champion Southwestern Oklahoma State and beating runner-up Oklahoma Baptist both on the road.

"We beat the team in the conference championship in Oklahoma Baptist, drew Southwestern and took OBU to overtime the second time. This proves that we can play with not just the bottom teams in the conference, but with anybody."

Northwestern finishes the season with 38 goals scored on the year which is the fourth most in program history and the most since 2014 to go along with 21 assists on the season, which is good for a total of 97 points which make them 4th in points per game in program history.

"We had the most conference points since 2004, most goals since 2004 and most shutouts since 2005. There were a lot of things to be proud about this year. While it is disappointing we didn't get every single goal we have a lot of forward momentum going into next year and hopefully we have a different outcome where we are competing for a championship."

The defensive side of the ball set their own new marks. The four shutouts on the season is good for third best in program history, the 1.61 goals against average is also fourth best. The team finishes with a .781 save percentage which is good for seventh in program history.

"Yea that was one of our goals, probably the most successful season looking at total number of wins, most conference points since joining Division II lot of times 13 points will get you into the conference tournament but didn't this year. Gives us a tone of forward momentum for the team and staff. Sets us up to spring board in the future and set a new standard, expect to be a team above .500, a team in the conference tournament and can compete for a conference championship. That is what I am all about, thought we took a lot of forward steps this year."

Northwestern was recognized this season for this successful season by having four players honored in conference awards. Goalkeeper Reyna Gonzalez had GAC Newcomer of the Year, along with being on the honorable mention list. Junior defender Makayla Barrientos made all-GAC second team. Lastly two seniors were recognized with their play first in forward Yazmin Gomez finishing the season with seven goals making all-GAC second team. Then senior midfielder Kaley Whitworth getting honorable mention inside the GAC along with all-central region second team.

"It is a nice thing for our seniors to go out on a legacy, being a part of the best program we have had here since going Division II. I am proud and excited for the future and very happy with this season, but it also gives us a taste to compete at the highest level."

Northwestern recognized seven seniors this past year before the Southern Nazarene game which was; Yazmin Gomez, Kaley Whitworth, Priscilla Villalobos, Megan Mayfield, Tiana Young- Mauchly, and Ashlie Wilhite, who will be graduating as a senior.

"We are indebted to our seniors for the effort they put in. There are some big shoes to fill. They all played a big role in the team this season."

The Rangers will have five game between March and April representing their spring season that will help prepare them for the fall. Coach Solberg noted what the team can work on.

"Our spring goals are filling the spots of those seniors through recruiting, but also with the players on the team, having them step up and play in bigger roles is number one, while working to grow our team chemistry. I really believe through the spring games that can help play a bigger role in giving them the opportunities. Working on finishing our chances, I thought if we finished a few more of our chances we could have won a couple more games than we did. Also, of course defensively staying compact and disciplined, where we are pretty young in the back, at the same time we have players that can make a statement going forward. Work on preventing that one goal, one foul, one mistake that could lead to losing games. We have a lot of positives coming back, we just need to work on growing the team bonding together using the resources we have to get better as a program."

 

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