Freshmen sensations take charge
Check out the best first-year collegiate performers in the country
The Tigers are finally living up to expectations from their consistently strong talent base currently sitting undefeated and ranked No. 5 in the current BCS poll.
One of the biggest reasons for their surprise season has been sensational wide receiver Watkins. He exploded onto the scene in week 3 against Auburn, which was in the midst of a 17-game winning streak. His 65-yard touchdown proved to be the game-winner.
Watkins is currently tied for the FBS lead in touchdown receptions (9) and seventh in yards (819). On Saturday he caught eight passes for 91 yards and a touchdown against North Carolina.
The Huskies were undefeated until last Wednesday and Blake has been a huge part of their success. As goalkeeper for the No. 1 team in Division I, Blake set the UConn record for consecutive shutouts (9) and fell only two short of the NCAA record (11).
He is also the DI leader in saves percentage (.948) and goals against average (.208). Blake was Big East Goalkeeper of the Week for three consecutive weeks between September 26 and October 10.
He needed only one save Saturday for the Huskies to play to a draw against No. 24 Georgetown.
No. 7 Amherst is looking to win its first NESCAC championship and Tannebaum has been one of the main reasons. She has five shutouts on her record this season, is sixth in Division III with .79 goals against average and second in save percentage at .890.
A loss to No. 2 Bowdoin may be Tannenbaum’s performance on the season. She recorded 22 saves to help the Lord Jeffs stretch the contest to double overtime before finally dropping the 2-1 thriller.
Tannenbaum had 13 saves in a shutout victory lifting Amherst to a NECSAC quarterfinal victory and a home game for the conference championship.
Monroe burst onto the scene opening weekend with 161 yards rushing and two tremendous touchdowns on runs of 46 and 87 yards. With three games left in the season Monroe is twelfth in Division II rushing for 837 yards and 12 touchdowns.
He has scored multiple touchdowns in five games this season and rushed for over 100 yards in six of them. His outstanding performance has helped take Fairmont State from a below .500 team last season to a 6-2 record and a strong performance against WVIAC leader West Virginia Wesleyan.
Saturday against Seton Hill he rushed for 139 yards and a score.
Nyman has asserted herself as one of the best scorers in all of Division II in her first season. She is the leader in both goals and points per game (1.44, 3.11) and has scored in all but one game this season.
Nyman has won three consecutive CACC rookie of the week awards, was player of the week for Oct. 14, and leads the conference with 12 total goals despite missing the first three games of the season. Scoring and scoring in bunches seems part of Nyman’s DNA as she has scored multiple goals five times.
Nyman did not score in Post's loss to Holy Family on Saturday.
Roundtree was named SLIAC offensive player of the week (Oct. 10-16) for the second time this season. She is 18th in Division III in kills per set with 4.08 and 22nd in points per set at 4.79.
Almost immediately Roundtree asserted herself as the Panthers’ best player with 45 kills in her first tournament at Monmouth.
On Saturday Roundtree continued her dominance with a combined 25 kills and 55 assists in a win against Iowa Wesleyan and a loss against Cornell.
Lalang has defined the term natural. Coming over from Kenya, he had never ran competitive cross country before this season.
So far Lalang has not only won every race he has participated in this season but he has broken the course records as well.
His most impressive performance was at the Wisconsin Invitational on October 14, defeating top flight competition such as Oregon’s Luke Puskedra, North Carolina State’s Ryan Hill and Northern Arizona’s Diego Estrada by 15 seconds or more.
When the Ephs found out Division III All-American/nationals runner-up Jennifer Gossels would not be competing this season their team looked too young to improve on its fifth place finish at nationals.
They currently sit as the top-ranked team, mostly thanks to Smith.
She has been Williams’ best finisher in three out of four races this season and was especially impressive at the New England Championships. She finished 19th in a race of mainly Division I competition and the team placed ahead of DIII powers Middlebury and MIT.
Its not often a freshman comes in and assumes leadership on national championship contending team.
Bowen, from his debut appearance, has shown who the new top dog is Palo Alto, introducing himself to the Collegiate water polo scene with a hat trick. He leads the Cardinal in goals and has led the team in goals scored eight times this season.
He also scored the game-winning goal in overtime at the SoCal Invitational to give Stanford its first win in that tournament since 2002. Bowen had two hat tricks Saturday against Brown and No. 18 Air Force.
All information and photos compiled from respective athletic department websites and the Associated Press.