25 Spartans Named All-UAA; English, Calabrese, Sicre and Coaching Staff Earn Special Awards
PITTSFORD, N.Y. – Twenty-five members of the Case Western Reserve University football team have been named to the 2011 All-University Athletic Association team. A league-high 11 Spartans were tabbed first-team, including seven from the defense, and Head Coach Greg Debeljak and his staff were named the league's Coaching Staff of the Year.
In addition, three Spartans earned special awards with senior defensive tackle Dale English (Middleburg Heights, Ohio/Holy Name) named UAA Defensive Player of the Year, junior safety Dan Calabrese (Concord, Ohio/Notre Dame-Cathedral Latin) the UAA Special Teams Player of the Year, and freshman running back Manny Sicre (Miami, Fla./Belen Jesuit Prep) the UAA Rookie of the Year.
The Spartans finished the season at 9-1 overall and 3-0 in the UAA with a fourth conference championship in five years (2007-09, '11).
Case's 25 selections were the most of any team in the UAA. The Spartan defense produced 12 honorees overall and accounted for more than half (7-of-13) of the league's first-team defensive selections. As a unit, Case ranked seventh in the nation in rush defense (75.8 ypg), 12th in scoring defense (12.9 ppg) and fourth in red zone efficiency (52%).
The UAA Coaching Staff of the Year award is the fourth for Debeljak and company, who have led the Spartans to an overall record of 48-6 during the past five seasons.
Joining Debeljak on the staff award is Assistant Head Coach/Defensive Coordinator Marcus Macalla, Offensive Coordinator Dereck Slesh, Special Teams Coordinator/Linebackers Coach Jerry Schuplinski, and fellow assistants Mickey Iliano (Offensive Line), Mike Jones (Cornerbacks), Jim Michals (Outside Linebackers), Ben Taylor (Defensive Line), Vic Preisel (Wide Receivers), Ryan Breon (Offensive Line) and Joey Baum (Quarterbacks).
English finishes his career as one of the top defensive linemen in school history. In 2011, he totaled 53 tackles with UAA-bests of 17 tackles for loss and 8.5 sacks. CWRU's career sacks leader, English leaves the program as a four-time All-UAA First Team honoree with 215 tackles, 59 TFL, 33 sacks and two interceptions. A team captain and four-time UAA Defensive Player of the Week, English played in all 42 games during the past four seasons with 32 starts.
Calabrese earned his award for the all-around impact he made with the Special Teams unit in 2011. He made 33 punt returns for 367 yards (11.1 ypr) with a touchdown and eight kickoff returns for 195 yards (24.4 ypr). Calabrese took over for an injured Zachary Scott (Imperial, Pa./West Allegheny) at the holder position early in the year as senior kicker Daniel Vasil (Erie, Pa./McDowell) hit 11-of-14 field goal attempts and 18-of-19 extra point tries during the final six games of the season. Calabrese also threw a 23-yard touchdown pass on a fake field goal versus Hiram College in mid-October. Also tabbed as a first-team selection for defense, the junior safety recorded 46 tackles, a forced fumble, and six interceptions – two of which he returned for TDs in week five against Oberlin College en route to being named to the D3Football.com Team of the Week. Calabrese earned second-team honors at both safety and punt returner last season.
Sicre, a second-team pick on offense, was the team's leading rusher in his rookie campaign. He finished fourth in the UAA with 638 yards rushing on 154 carries (4.1 ypc) and totaled five touchdowns. In his collegiate debut, he rushed for a team season-high of 172 yards on just 16 carries with a 75-yard TD dash in a victory versus John Carroll University.
Joining English and Calabrese on the All-UAA Defensive First Team is senior linebacker Jacob Adams (Cincinnati, Ohio/Princeton), junior cornerback Cary Dieter (McKees Rocks, Pa./Montour), senior end Richard Doolin (Bethel Park, Pa./Bethel Park), junior outside linebacker Ryan Ferguson (Wheaton, Ill./St. Francis) and junior end Adam Watson (Mentor, Ohio/Mentor).
Ferguson and Adams were the UAA's top-two tacklers, with 95 and 94, respectively.
In his first season at the hero position, Ferguson also totaled 6.5 tackles for loss with both an interception and fumble return for TDs in the season-opener at John Carroll.
Adams turned in another stellar campaign, adding 8.5 TFL, two sacks, two interceptions, five pass break-ups, a forced fumble, a fumble recovery and a blocked kick. The second-year starter and two-time first-team All-UAA selection also scored a pair of TDs with an INT return for score and a reception on the previously mentioned Calabrese fake field goal. For his career, Adams played in 32 games with 20 starts and totaled 201 tackles, three forced fumbles, three fumble recoveries, two blocked kicks and four sacks.
Dieter, a first-time All-UAA honoree, started for the second-straight season and recorded 41 tackles in nine games with five pass break-ups and the key fumble recovery in an October 1 victory at Allegheny College (Pa.).
Doolin, a Capital One Academic All-American, started all 10 games and recorded 43 tackles, including 10 for loss, with 3.5 sacks and a forced fumble. Named second-team All-UAA during the past two seasons, Doolin finishes his career with 145 tackles, 33.5 TFL and 19 sacks.
Watson earns first-team honors for the first time as well after being named second-team All-UAA honors as a sophomore. In 10 games, he recorded a career-high 56 tackles with 6.5 sacks, a forced fumble, a fumble recovery and a blocked kick.
Four Spartans earned top honors on offense with senior wide receiver Bryan Metlesitz (North Royalton, Ohio/North Royalton), senior guard Tony Opperman (Pickerington, Ohio/St. Charles Preparatory), sophomore running back Kenny Riordan (Spring Grove, Ill./Richmond Burton) and senior tackle Brandon Rollé (Harrisburg, Pa./Susquehanna Township) all garnering first-team status.
Metlesitz, a first-team pick as a kick returner last season, turned in a career year with a UAA-best 56 receptions for 599 yards and five touchdowns. In 39 career games, he recorded 91 catches for 987 yards and seven TDs to go along with 1,301 kick return yards.
Opperman makes his third-straight appearance on the All-UAA First Team and fourth overall with second-team honors as a freshman. The 2011 award is possibly his most impressive, considering he played in just four games after suffering what was thought to be a season-ending knee injury in week one. Overall, Opperman was a four-year starter and played in 32 games for his career. During the last two years, the Spartans never lost a game that Opperman played in.
Riordan is a first-time honoree in his first year as a starter. He rushed for 556 yards on 120 carries (4.6 ypc) with a pair of touchdowns. The second-year Spartan got stronger as the year went on, turning in a pair of 100-plus yard efforts during UAA play in the final three weeks with runs of 45 and 56 yards. Riordan earned UAA Offensive Player of the Week honors after conference wins versus the University of Chicago (Ill.) and Carnegie Mellon University (Pa.).
Rollé started all 10 games at the ever-important left tackle spot in his first year as a full-time player.
Earning second-team All-UAA honors on offense along with Sicre were sophomore guard Jake Abbott (Huntingtown, Md./Huntingtown), junior tackle Cullen Dolan (Chicago, Ill./Brother Rice), freshman wide receiver Sean Lapcevic (Presto, Pa./Chartiers Valley) and junior quarterback Erik Olson (Bethel Park, Pa./Bethel Park).
Abbott played in nine games and made eight starts with his only time out of the lineup due to injury. The second-year Spartan certainly didn't disappoint in his first year as a starter after being named the team's Freshman Most Valuable Player in 2010.
Dolan was a rock at the right tackle position, starting all 10 games in his second season as a starter.
Lapcevic provided a reliable target all season, recording 36 catches for 429 yards and a TD.
In his first season with the team after transferring to CWRU this past summer, Olson started all 10 games and completed 154-of-257 passes for 1,571 yards and 11 TDs. Doubling as the team's punter, Olson also rushed for two scores and was named UAA Offensive Player of the Week on three separate occasions.
Harris, now a two-time second-team All-UAA pick, played in all 10 games with seven starts and recorded 41 tackles, including six for loss, with 1.5 sacks.
Nossem, a first-time honoree, finished with 64 tackles, four sacks and three interceptions. He was the UAA Defensive Player of the Week after recording 14 tackles in a win at Denison University.
Honorable mention honors on the offensive side of the ball went to senior center Michael Allen (McMurray, Pa./Peters Township), senior tight end Bryce Coleman (Solon, Ohio/Solon) and senior wide receiver Eric Street (Barberton, Ohio/Coventry).
Allen, a team captain, started every game for the second-straight season. He finishes his career as a three-time All-UAA honoree with two first-team nods and 31 starts in 36 games played.
Coleman started nine games, sitting out one with an injury, and made nine receptions for 82 yards and his first career rushing TD. A two-year starter, he played in 29 games for his career.
Street played in nine games and made five receptions for 60 yards.
Earning honorable-mention honors for defense was sophomore safety Jordan Banky (Pittsburgh, Pa./Mount Lebanon), senior cornerback Matthew Davis (Chatsworth, Calif./Chaminade College Prep) and junior linebacker Wade Self (Hawthorn Woods, Ill./Lake Zurich).
Banky played in nine games with eight starts and made 26 tackles with a fumble recovery and two interceptions.
Davis started all 10 games with 43 stops and a forced fumble.
Self, a UAA Defensive Player of the Week in late October, started nine games and made 66 tackles, including 4.5 for loss, with a sack and two forced fumbles.
Vasil earned honorable mention honors on special teams. In his first season as a full-time kicker, he made 13 field goals and 22 extra points. His streak of 11-of-14 field goal and 18-of-19 extra points in the final six weeks included a long field goal of 43 yards in a win at Washington University-St. Louis in early November. Vasil was a two-time UAA Special Teams Player of the Week.