July 1, 2014

Basketball and volleyball, two sports that feature jumping, don’t have a lot in common with baseball but what they all share are the 2013-14 TMC Athletes of the Year.

13006_511923228860149_863850170_n.jpgJacquelyn Marshall (women’s basketball), Samantha Dougherty (volleyball), and Steve Karkenny (baseball) played significant roles in leading their respective teams to winning records, upper-echelon finishes in GSAC play, NAIA Top 25 rankings, and national tournament appearances.

Marshall (San Clemente, CA) earned the honor for the second year in a row, becoming the first Mustang female athlete since Emily Bruton (Women’s soccer, 2009-10, 2010-11) to do so.  One of the nation’s finest frontcourt players, she made her second and final season as a Mustang a memorable one, leading the Mustangs to a 24-9 record, a second-place finish in the GSAC, weekly Top 25 rankings (as high as No. 7), and a second straight NAIA National Tournament berth.

En route to All-GSAC and first-team All-American honors (the program’s first first-team selection since Tiffany Webb in 2004-05), Marshall posted team-highs of 16.7ppg and 10.7rpg (343 total, shattering a 27-year old single-season mark), notched 18 double-doubles, scored in double figures 29 times, and pulled down 10 or more rebounds on 19 occasions.  Marshall was special in the classroom, too, earning GSAC and NAIA Scholar-Athlete honors.

Dan Waldeck, Jacqui’s coach during her two-year stint at TMC, praised her saying, “Jacqui is a special athlete and person.  This honor is well-deserved.  She will go down as one of the best to put on a Lady Mustang uniform, but more importantly, the way she has grown in the Lord and the passion of her heart to honor Christ really stands out.  For those reasons, I’m thrilled to see her achieve this honor.

There are so many women pursuing excellence on and off the court or fields here at TMC, so her selection is a commendation to all the teams and players that raise the bar every day in representing our school and its programs, and the Lord in a way that promotes excellence and discipline.”

Dougherty (Madera, CA) capped one of the finest careers in the history of the volleyball program at The Master’s, pacing the SamDougherty3.jpgMustangs to a 23-9 record, a fourth-place finish in the GSAC, weekly Top 25 rankings (as high as No. 6), and a second consecutive NAIA National Tournament berth.

Leading the GSAC in kills and finishing third in service aces, she was a repeat choice on the all-conference squad, landed a spot on the NAIA Volleyball National Championship All-Tournament team, and earned All-American honors for the second straight season, this time as a second-team selection.

Former Mustang coach Bobby Blanken, who mentored Dougherty during her four years at the college, had this to say about his former player, “Four years ago as we scrambled to throw a team together with little time to prepare, Samantha was a surprise and welcome addition to what would soon become a special group.  Sam’s contributions as a player were undeniable by both her teammates and opponents. One contribution, however, that is easily missed by those not regularly with her was Sam’s heart for team and its mission.  Without Sam, TMC volleyball would have retained its position in the GSAC basement.  With Sam, TMC rose to national prominence and placed a once obscure and little-known school into the spotlight.

Yet, despite all of this, Sam remained committed to her team and its mission.  Sam invested hours upon hours into making her teammates know their own value in light of their Creator’s design.  As a committed Christian should, Sam made her existence about the glory of God by taking His highest created being and seeking make them more like Him.  I am forever grateful to Sam for her commitment to the seemingly improbable and for a heart willing to go the distance.  Because of Sam, I want to be more like Christ.”

It was only a matter of time before Steve Karkenny was the men’s honoree for this annual award.  The junior outfielder/pitcher has put up big numbers and been the best player on one of the nation’s top teams since he stepped foot on Reese Field in the spring of 2012.

Karkenny.jpgNamed All-GSAC, this time as an outfielder and closer, and an NAIA All-American for the second year in a row, Karkenny was the primary weapon on a Mustang team that went 37-18 overall, finished second in the conference, stayed in the NAIA Top 25 during the entire 2014 campaign (as high as No. 7), and qualified for both the GSAC Tournament and NAIA Opening Round.

Karkenny led the club in eight offensive categories, including batting average (.373), hits (69), home runs (6), rbi (45), total bases (107), slugging percentage (.578), on-base percentage (.483), and stolen bases (28).  He also distinguished himself on the mound, developing into the conference’s best closer, notching seven saves while going 3-2 with a sparkling 1.14 earned-run average.  Capping off a marvelous, all-around campaign, his 1.000 fielding percentage earned him a spot on the GSAC’s Gold Glove Team.  Karkenny performed in the classroom, too, earning GSAC and NAIA Scholar-Athlete recognition.

Commenting on Karkenny’s selection, head coach Monte Brooks said, “Once again, Steven had an amazing year.  His personal accomplishments over the course of his career have been nothing short of remarkable.  It’s a joy for me to see him work so diligently to improve his skills as a player and then be rewarded for his efforts with this special award.  It has been a privilege and honor to have Steven in our program.”