Vulcans sports fans stepped up to support Cal U’s student-athletes on the second annual Athletic Day of Giving.

More than 150 donors answered the call, contributing more than $20,000 to boost theAthletic Scholarship Fund.  

Both the number of participants and the fundraising total exceeded last year’sinaugural Athletic Day of Giving by more than 15%.

“Because state funds cannot be used for athletic scholarships, we count on the generosity of alumni and friends,” says athletics director Dr. Karen Hjerpe. “Their support is essential – and our coaches, staff and student-athletes appreciate every contribution.”

Basketball schedule starts 2020 at home

As the new year begins, PSAC-West women’s and men’s basketball take over the Convocation Center.

Six home doubleheaders are on the schedule in less than a month, beginning Jan. 3 when the Vulcans host Pitt-Johnstown. The women’s game starts at 5:30 p.m., and the men’s game follows.

In other early 2020 home games, the Vulcans face divisional rivals Shepherd on Jan. 28 (5:30 p.m.), Edinboro on Jan. 11 (1 p.m.), Mercyhurst on Jan. 25 (1 p.m.), Clarion on Jan.29 (5:30 p.m.) and Slippery Rock on Feb. 1 (3 p.m.).

The women’s team, under ninth-year head coach Jess Strom, is coming off a 26-6 record last year, when the Vulcans advanced to the regional final of the NCAA Tournament for the third time in five years.

One of Cal U’s top returners is senior guard Gina Vallecorsa, who led last season’s team in three-point baskets (37) and was second best in minutes played per game (27.7).

Optimism abounds with the men’s team, which begins its second season under head coach Danny Sancomb. Leading Cal U’s returning cast is all-conference junior guard Brent Pegram, who ranked eighth in the PSAC in scoring, with 18.5 points per game.

For complete schedules and information, visit

72 earn Division II academic honors

As the fall semester began, Cal U received word that 72 of its student-athletes,representing all sports, had earned DivisionII Athletics Directors Association Academic Achievement Awards for the2018-2019 academic year.

The award requires a student-athlete to post a cumulative grade-point average of 3.50 or higher, have attended at least two years (four semesters) of college, and have been an active member of an intercollegiate team during  their last academic year.

Cal U student-athletes were among 975 Academic Achievement Award recipients from thePennsylvania State Athletic Conference, which led all Division II conferences in the number of honorees. In all, 185 institutions and 11,600 student-athletes were recognized.

Four Vulcans in NFL uniforms

Four former Vulcans players took the field with National Football League teams this season.

Offensive lineman Eric Kush ’12 was a starter at right guard for the Cleveland Browns after previously playing for the Chicago Bears andKansas City Chiefs.

A three-year starter for the Vulcans, Kush was named a second-team All-American and earned first-team all-conference honors in 2012.  

Erik Harris ’13 is in his third season with the Oakland Raiders, playing strong safety and on special teams.

A two-time all-conference selection at Cal U, he previously played for the New Orleans Saints and spent three seasons with the Hamilton Tiger-Cats of the Canadian Football League.

In this season’s fourth week, Harris intercepted a pass and returned it 30 yards for what proved to be the winning touchdown in Oakland’s 31-24 win at Indianapolis.

Safety Rontez Miles ’12 is special teams captain with the New York Jets, his seventh season with the team.

A two-time first-team All-American, he was the PSAC-West Defensive Player of the Year in both his junior and senior seasons with the Vulcans.

CJ Goodwin is a second-year defensive back and special teams standout with the Dallas Cowboys. He previously played two seasons with the Atlanta Falcons and one with the Arizona Cardinals.

PSAC honors sports broadcaster

The Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference (PSAC) honored Gary Smith ’98, ’01, director of CUTV operations and adviser for Cal U’s student TV and radio stations, with the 2019 George Heaslip Award.

The award is presented to a media professional selected by the PSAC's sports information directors. It recognizes meritorious service while covering the conference's student-athletes, coaches and teams.

Smith has covered Cal U athletics for more than 25 years with CUTV and WCAL, breaking ground with home-and-away coverage of the Vulcans and PSAC playoff teams.

The award is named for the late George Heaslip, a sports information director at Cheyney University.

Soccer scores national upset

More than 75% of this year’s roster consists of first- or second-year players, but the men’s soccer team is serving notice that it’s on the rise.

An early sign of the team’s promise came in early October, when the Vulcans handed Gannon – ranked No. 4 in the nation – its first defeat of the season, 1-0.

Goalkeeper Joseph Valeriano, one of three seniors on the team, successfully faced 13 shots, while freshman Chance Pursifull made his first collegiate goal a memorable one,scoring into the right bottom of the net at the 66:04 mark.

This was men’s soccer’s first win over a nationally ranked opponent since 2016. The last time the team knocked off a similarly ranked opponent was in 2011, when the Vulcans beat No. 4 Mercyhurst, 2-0.