The Villanovan’s All-Wildcat Teams

Tim Richer

After much deliberation, The Villanovan has come to a consensus on the ’07-’08 Men and Women’s All-Wildcat Teams.

Leading off for the men is track star Bobby Curtis, the most likely Wildcat to appear in the Summer Olympics. Curtis continued his career of dominance in the fall season by winning the Big East 8K Cross Country Championship in his hometown of Louisville, Ky. The senior finished first in a field of 116 runners. For his efforts, he was named a Division I Cross Country All-American.

Curtis continued his stellar running in the winter indoor season by winning the 3,000-meter run at the New Balance Collegiate in New York. Weeks later, Curtis won the same event at the Big East Championships on Feb. 24.

As one of two sophomore’s on this year’s All-Wildcat Team, forward Mike Seamon of the soccer team was clearly a dominant player in the Big East. Seamon started all 20 games for Villanova, registering team highs in points and goals with 20 and nine, respectively. The team’s next closest to the standout sophomore were 11 points and four goals.

The Rahway, N.J., native was named to the All-Big East Second Team.

The lone representative from the hardwood is sophomore guard Scottie Reynolds. Reynolds, Villanova’s most notable student-athlete, led the Wildcats to their third Sweet 16 in four years.

The Herndon, Va., native led the team in scoring and assists with 15.9 and 3.2, respectively. In just his second season, the combo guard scored in double-figures in 29 of Villanova’s 35 games. Reynolds stepped up his play late in the season by averaging 21 points per game in the Wildcats’ three NCAA tournament games.

Reynolds was named to the All-Big East Second Team for the second consecutive season.

Villanova’s most unique athlete during the year was clearly senior Bill Sepich. Recognized as the Male Athlete of the Year, the Delran, N.J., native qualified for the Big East Championships in indoor track and swimming and diving. Sepich was the first athlete in conference history to accomplish that feat.

The dual-sport star first qualified for the championships in the 100-yard backstroke, 200-yard medley and 200-yard freestyle relays. Late in January, Sepich qualified for the indoor track championships in the 1,000-meter run. He competed in both events from Feb. 20-23.

With several standout performances, the ’08 baseball team could not go home from the award ceremony empty-handed. Derek Shunk, a senior shortshop from Yardley, Pa., has emerged as the clear leader of this team. After being named a Preseason NCBWA All-American, he has lived up to the hype.

Shunk, Villanova’s career leader in hits, leads the team with a .344 batting average and .444 on-base percentage as of April 28. The Wildcats’ leadoff hitter has also added 56 hits, two home runs, 35 RBIs and 11 doubles.

Coaching the men’s squad is Andy Talley of the football team. Talley, a 23-year veteran at Villanova, led his injury-plagued Wildcats to a 7-4 finish, including a 16-10 victory over rivals and FCS runner-up Delaware. The season was Talley’s 17th winning year.

In addition to his on-the-field work, Talley was recently honored as one of the 75 Greatest Living Philadelphians by the Philadelphia Eagles and The Daily News. Talley was giving the honor for his work with his Bone Marrow Program, a charity in its 12th year that has gathered over 12,000 testers including a few positive recipients.

The first female on the All-Wildcat Team is senior outside hitter Alona Cherkez. The Ukrainian had a dominating offensive season, with a Team and Big East-high 642 kills.

Cherkez was named to the All-Big East First team for her season.

After winning Female Athlete of the Year, goalkeeper Jillian Loyden was a clear pick for the All-Wildcat Team. The senior solidified her status as one of the premier goalies in the country by holding her opponents to 12 shutouts in just 21 possible games.

Among her accomplishments were All-Big East First Team and conference Goalkeeper of the Year for the third consecutive season.

The New Jersey native tallied many impressive statistics, including her standing at second in the Big East and fourth overall in the country in save percentage. Loyden also was third in the conference and 10th in the nation in goals allowed per game.

Despite a sub-par season from the softball team, Meghan Morese was an obvious candidate for the All-Wildcat Team.

Leading the team with a .345 batting average, seven home runs, 29 RBIs, 12 doubles and 51 hits as of April 28, it appears as if the senior catcher will be a possibility for All-Big East First Team. Morese currently ranks 10th in the conference in batting average, 10th in slugging percentage, and eighth in total hits.

As the second representative from the volleyball team, senior outside hitter and blocker Kacy Sellers was clearly one of the past year’s top Wildcats. Sellers, who joined her teammate Cherkez on the All-Big East First Team, finished second on the ‘Cats with 441 kills. She led the team with 108 blocks.

The Battle Creek, Mich., native finished among the top in the Big East; she finished 10th in hitting percentage and kills.

Rounding out the All-Wildcat Team student-athlete roster is Akilah Vargas from the track and cross country teams.

The Brooklyn, N.Y., native had an outstanding indoor season with several victories and top finishes. Vargas finished fifth in the 800-meter run at the New Balance Invitational in February and followed up the effort later that same month by winning the event at the Big East Championships.

Vargas showed her versatility by also winning the NYC Gotham Cup in the 1,000-meter run. She extended her range in the mile run with a fourth-place finish at the Penn State National Open and a fifth-place finish in the same event at the Alex Wilson Invitational.

At the head of the women’s All-Wildcat team is Josh Steinbach, coach of the volleyball team. In just his first season at Villanova, Steinbach led the Wildcats to an impressive 17-11 season.

Villanova finished 9-5 and third in the Big East after being predicted to finish 10th in the conference preseason coaching ballots. It was the ‘Cats best finish since 1997, when they finished second in the conference. For his efforts, Steinbach received Big East Coach of the Year in just his first year of coaching in the conference.