Top-10: Sports moments of 2011

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10. Alumni Field House opens

Dedicated April 16, Alumni Field House stands at one end of Rhodes Stadium overlooking the football field. The field house, a 30,000-square-foot state-of-the-art facility, houses seven Elon University athletics teams, including football and men’s and women’s soccer. The field house construction was part of the Elon Commitment to enhance the campus.

9. Volleyball rallies to make SoCon Tournament

Struggles on the road had the Phoenix volleyball team sitting at 4-9in SoCon play and on the outside looking in at making the conference tournament. Elon won its next three games at Alumni Gym, capped off by a three-set victory over The Citadel that punched the Phoenix’s ticket into the SoCon Tournament.

8.Women’s basketball makes Basketball Invitational 

The women’s basketball team finished its season with a 20-13 record and played in the Women’s Basketball Invitational. The Phoenix beat No. 6 seed University of South Carolina Upstate 103-72 in the first round before losing to No. 2 seed University of Alabama Birmingham in the next round.

7.Track and Field places third at Outdoor SoCon Championships 

The Elon University track and field team won two Southern Conference titles and set five school records on its way to a third place finish at the SoCon Outdoor Track and Field Championships. Then-senior Veronica Day was named the SoCon Women’s Most Outstanding Field Performer of the Year and won the triple jump as well as running on Elon’s third-place 4×100 meter relay team.

6.Mellette’s monster year

Aaron Mellette was a shining star in an otherwise dim season for the Elon football program. The junior’s accolades included regular season Football-Championship-Subdivision highs in receptions (113) and receiving yards (1,639). Mellette finished fifth in the Walter Payton Award balloting, an award given annually to the best player in the FCS.

5. Men’s tennis SoCon regular season champions

The Elon men’s tennis team won the regular season SoCon championship for the first time since 2007. The team earned the top seed in the SoCon tournament as well. The doubles team of Chase Helpingstine and Philip Nemec completed a perfect season, as they won17 straight matches and went 10-0 in the SoCon.

4. Football’s win against Furman University

Head coach Jason Swepson picked up the biggest win of his Elon career by beating No. 21 Furman University 41-34 Nov. 12. Senior linebacker Joshua Jones made the biggest play when he intercepted Furman senior quarterback Chris Forcier’s fourth-quarter pass and returned it 40 yards for a touchdown with 3:59 remaining to make the score 41-27.

3. Baseball wins SoCon regular season

By defeating Furman University 14-0 May 20, the Elon baseball team clinched the Southern Conference regular season championship for the 2011 season, marking its third crown in four years. Led by then-seniors John Brebbia and Neal Pritchard, Mike Kennedy’s squad finished the season with a 36-19 overall record, 23-7 in the SoCon.

2. Men’s basketball defeats University of South Carolina in Alumni Gym

Men’s basketball made ESPN’s SportsCenter Top 10 by upsetting the University of South Carolina 58-53 Nov. 15, marking the first victory for the Phoenix against a Bowl Championship Series basketball team at home. Sophomore forward Lucas Troutman scored 14 points and freshman guard Austin Hamilton had 12 points in his first collegiate start.

1. Men’s soccer SoCon Championship/ NCAA Tournament appearance

After struggling through a 2-5 conference season, the Phoenix responded strongly in the Southern Conference Tournament, taking down the top three SoCon teams en route to winning the program’s first conference tournament title. The championship earned the Phoenix a trip to its first-ever NCAA Tournament, in which Elon fell at Coastal Carolina University, 4-3.

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