BETHLEHEM, Pa. --- Moravian College is continuing its look back at the 2016-17 year with the second of two Top 10 lists, the Top 10 Stories of the Year. No. 9 on the list is freshmen Maddie Capuano, Katie Mayer and Paige Weiss being named Landmark Conference Rookie of the Year in their respective sports.
Capuano, a guard, helped the women's basketball squad to a 20-8 record in her debut season as the Greyhounds reached the Landmark Conference Semifinals and the ECAC Division III Tournament Quarterfinals. Capuano was selected as the Landmark Conference Rookie of the Year after starting all 28 games during the season.
"Being selected Rookie of the Year was my biggest accomplishment I've ever achieved," Capuano noted. "Coming from high school and being able to play big minutes as a freshman was one of my biggest dreams as a kid. I've also worked on my game since I was a little kid so receiving this award made me feel very accomplished."
Capuano was second on the Moravian squad in scoring at 12.7 points per game to go along with an average of 4.5 rebounds per contest. She set a school record in the ECAC DIII Tournament First Round with eight three-pointers in the game, and she finished the season with 54 total three-pointers to go with 72 assists and 53 steals while shooting a team-high 82.8 percent at the foul line (82-of-99).
"My biggest transition from high school to college was the early morning workouts in preseason before class that I was never use to," Capuano said. "This made me realize the importance of the game and what work I could do to improve that. I got a hang of waking up for 6:00 a.m. lifts and sprints because in the end it only made me a better player come game time."
Capuano and the Greyhounds will begin their 2017-18 season on Wednesday, November 15 when they host rival Muhlenberg College in a non-conference game set to tip off at 6:00 p.m. in Johnston Hall.
"For my upcoming sophomore season, I hope for our team to have the same kind of success we did last year with an improvement in our areas that we struggled with," Capuano explained. "With having one year under my belt, I hope to improve the individual areas of my game as well as help to guide our team in the right direction and be able to move forward with more energy and success."
Mayer was a key part of Moravian's runner-up finish at the 2016 Landmark Conference Women's Cross Country Championships, and she also helped the squad finish seventh in the NCAA Division III Mideast Regional. Mayer was the Landmark Conference Rookie of the Year as the top freshman finisher at the conference meet.
"I felt honored and excited to represent Moravian as the 2016 Landmark Cross Country Rookie of the Year," Mayer stated. "I remember that race as being one of the toughest of the season. Coach Baumann helped to give me the confidence I needed to run that race to the best of my ability in hopes of earning this special honor. I was extremely proud and excited to have been named Rookie of the Year considering all the hard work I put it in to my freshman season."
Mayer's sixth place finish at the meet in a time of 22:20.60 over 6,000-meters not only earned her Rookie of the Year accolades but a spot on the Landmark All-Conference First Team. Two weeks later, Mayer took 23rd at the NCAA DIII Mideast Regional in 22:38 as she earned All-Region and Freshman All-Region honors. Mayer was the third freshman to cross the finish line out of 371 runners.
"The biggest transition for me was managing my time so I could excel in my classes, perform to the best of my ability as a runner on a new team and finding time to bond with new friends and teammates," Mayer said. "Time management is not only meant for studying and homework as in high school, but it is also meant to help make you a happy and healthy student-athlete."
Mayer and the rest of the cross country squad are set to open the 2017 season on Friday, September 1 at the Lehigh University Invitational with the women's 6,000-meter race beginning at 6:15 p.m.
"I expect to help lead my team to the NCAA Championship meet at the end of our season," Mayer explained. "I want to continue to lower my times and hopefully represent Moravian on a national level. I hope to stay healthy and put in the hard work needed to drop fast times and accomplish our team goals."
Weiss, a defender, was integral in the women's soccer squad reaching the Landmark Conference Championship match last fall and finishing with a 10-7-1 record. Weiss was honored as the Rookie of the Year after starting 17 of 18 matches.
"It was an incredible honor to be the conference Rookie of the Year, which I am so grateful for," Weiss said. "I was not excepting it, especially with all the great talent on the team and in the conference. I would not have been able to achieve that award without the help of my teammates and coaching staff."
Weiss finished third on the squad last fall with three goals, scoring all on corner kicks in the first 16 minutes of action in three contests during the Greyhounds' 6-2 month of October. Her quickest goal of the season was at the 1:27 mark and the game-winner in a 2-0 victory at Juniata College on October 22. Weiss was also part of a Moravian defense that allowed just 22 goals in 18 contests and had four shutouts.
"My biggest transition from high school to college was the speed of play and adjusting to play with my new teammates," stated Weiss. "A big part of playing is just knowing your teammates, and building that trust on and off the field. Once we all fully jelled together we were able to slow the game down and play our game."
Weiss and the rest of her Moravian teammates will start the 2017 season on Friday, September 1 when the squad hosts SUNY Cortland in a non-conference match on John Makuvek Field beginning at 7:00 p.m.
"I expect for us to do big things this year," explained Weiss. "We just have to take it game by game, and not get ahead of ourselves. Now that we have high expectations, we are definitely going to have to push ourselves harder and harder in order to achieve our goals. I cannot wait to get back at it. Go Hounds."
The number eight story in the Top 10 Stories of 2016-17 will be released on Monday, July 31.