Spartan Club Athletes of the Week for Sept. 16: Nathan Ekberg and Kimberly Chen

Spartan Club Athletes of the Week for Sept. 16: Nathan Ekberg and Kimberly Chen

The Spartan Club, comprised of Case Institute of Technology (CIT), Western Reserve University (WRU) and Case Western Reserve University (CWRU) alumni, parents of current students, faculty and staff, and friends of the University, is aimed at helping foster and honor the proud tradition of athletics at the University, while also supporting the current student-athletes.  For more information on the Spartan Club, and to help support its purpose by becoming a member, CLICK HERE.

Case Western Reserve University junior Nathan Ekberg, a defender on the men’s soccer team, and senior Kimberly Chen, a forward on the women’s soccer team, have been named the Spartan Club Athletes of the Week for their performances this past week.

Ekberg led a Spartan defense that did not allow a goal in 200 minutes of play this past week as he helped the Spartan men post a 1-0-1 record.  Ekberg led a defense on Wednesday night that allowed only four shots on goal as the Spartans’ earned a 1-0 win over Geneva College. Ekberg and the Spartan defense then recorded 110 minutes of shutout play in Saturday’s 0-0 double-overtime tie against Ohio Wesleyan University. The CWRU defense once again only allowed four shots on goal during the game. For the season, Ekberg and the defense have allowed only 4.0 shots on goal and 13.2 shots per contest throughout the first six games of the season. The Spartans moved to 3-1-2 overall on the 2019 campaign.

Chen scored two goals, including one game-winning goal, and tallied one assist to help the 22nd-ranked Spartans pick up two wins in as many games this past week. In Wednesday’s 4-0 win over Albion College, Chen assisted on the first goal of the game as she directed a corner kick from the right side of the field into the box where sophomore Lizzie White was there to head it past the Albion goalkeeper. In Sunday’s thrilling 3-2 double overtime victory over Adrian College, Chen scored the game-winning goal in the 101st minute of the second overtime period to extend the Spartans (6-0-0) winning streak to six. Chen also scored a goal earlier in the game as she extended the CWRU lead to 2-0 at the 45:56 mark of the second half. For the season, Chen ranks tied for third on the team with 10 points on three goals and four assists. She also currently ranks tied for first among all University Athletic Association players with four assists. With the two wins this past week, the Spartans are now 6-0-0 on the season, which is their best start to a campaign since the 2002 season.

The Spartan Club Athletes of the Week are selected by the CWRU Department of Athletics each Monday, based on their performance during the previous week of competition.

Honorable Mention: Cara Giannuzzi (women’s cross country) was the Spartans’ top finisher at the Allegheny Cross Country Classic on Saturday.  Giannuzzi finished 18th out of 83 finishers in the three-mile race, crossing the finish line in a time of 20:06.  Her finish helped the Spartans finish third out of six teams at the meet.

Rahul Mikkilineni (men’s cross country) was the top finisher for the 19th-ranked Spartans at the Allegheny Cross Country Classic on Saturday.  Mikkilineni finished 12th out of 75 runners in the four-mile race, completing the course in a time of 22:27.  He helped the Spartans place third out of six teams at the meet.

Lauren Unterborn (women’s soccer) allowed only two goals in over 190 minutes of play and made five saves to help the Spartans to two wins this past week. She played 90 shutout minutes in net on Wednesday night against Albion, and followed that performance on with a 3-2 double-overtime victory over Adrian on Sunday. For the season, Unterborn improved to 5-0-0 and has totaled four shutouts. Unterborn ranks tied for first in the UAA in goals against (2), second in the goals-against average (0.42) and fourth in save percentage (.778).

Garrett Winter (men’s soccer) connected on a late goal in the second half of the Spartans 1-0 victory over Geneva College on Wednesday night. Winter’s game-winning goal broke a scoreless tie at the 89:57 mark. CWRU took a corner kick with roughly 20 seconds left in regulation and the ball was bounced around in the box before Winter gathered it and deposited it into the net from about eight yards out. The score was Winter's first of the season and 12th of his career.

Haley Sims (volleyball) posted 50 kills (2.38 per set) on a .312 hitting percentage for the Spartans this past week. In addition, Sims tallied a team-best 22 total blocks. In Saturday’s 3-0 win over Washington & Jefferson, Sims led the squad with 10 kills on 17 total attempts for .588 hitting percentage. For the season, Sims currently ranks second on the team with 98 kills (2.28 per set) and ranks first with 39 total blocks, including seven solo.

Faith Ellis (volleyball) set up the Spartans offense this past week as she totaled a team-best 87 assists (4.35 per set) and added 36 digs (1.80 per set). In Saturday’s win over Washington & Jefferson, Ellis tallied a team-high 16 assists and three digs. For the season, Ellis leads the squad with 207 assists (4.93 per set).

Trisha Sundaram (women’s tennis) led the way for the Spartans at the Kenyon Invitational this past weekend as she went 2-1 in singles play to place second in Flight A and also posted a 2-0 record in doubles play with junior Nicole Cardwell to place first in Flight B. In singles action, Sundaram defeated Kenyon's Erika Oku, 2-6, 6-3, retired in the first round, defeated Denison's Alex Cash, 6-1, 3-6, 10-5, in the semifinals, but fell to Carnegie Mellon's Lauren James, 6-0, 6-1, in the final. In doubles action, Sundaram and Cardwell earned an 8-2 win against Winslow and Blackwood of Kenyon in the opening round and an 8-3 win in the final against Iordache and Fidel of Carnegie Mellon.

James Hopper (men’s tennis) teamed with junior Matthew Chen to win the top flight at the Villanova Invitational, despite facing entirely Division I competition.  Hopper went 4-0 in singles matches and 4-0 with Chen in doubles play during the weekend.  He capped off his outstanding performance at the tournament with a 6-2 doubles win over Villanova’s Tyler Roth and Alex Kim, and a 6-1, 6-2 singles victory, clinching the championship.

2019-20 Spartan Club Athletes of the Week:

September 3rd: Spencer Weigand (men’s cross country) & Anika Washburn (women’s soccer)

September 9th: Colt Morgan (football) & Haley Sims (volleyball)

September 16th: Nathan Ekberg (men’s soccer) & Kimberly Chen (women’s soccer)