The Otterbein Cardinals have seen ten players combined to bring home thirteen Academic All-America Awards.
Here you can read about each player who has been recognized as Academic All-America.
2002 - Kristin Keen
In 2002, Kristin Keen became the first Academic All America award winner in the Otterbein Women’s Soccer program.
A 2000 Sophomore Transfer, Kristin joined the team in a time of transition. Her background in club soccer (Ohio Premier) and a year in DII college soccer prepared her well to help the Otterbein team work toward the goal of a 1st Ohio Athletic Conference (OAC) Championship by 2002.
Kristin, an attacking Central Midfielder immediately started scoring. Over the next three seasons she would score 25 goals (9 game-winners), including a goal against MountUnion in 2002 regular season match to clinch an OAC Championship. Keen also added 19 assists during her time at Otterbein, to add to her goal tally. Her 69 points left her 4th all-time at Otterbein, . . . an exceptional total considering she only played three years as a Cardinal.
Kristin earned a number of player awards at Otterbein including two team MVP awards (’01, ’02), a conference Midfielder of The Year Award (’02), three OAC Awards, two All Ohio awards (’01, ’02) and Great Lake Region honors in 2001 and 2002.
It was academically though where Kristin really made her mark. In 2002 alone she won 1st team academic honors in the conference, the state and the region leading up to 2nd Team Academic All America recognition (the first such award for the women’s soccer team at Otterbein).
Kristin graduated with honors in 2003 after studying Life Sciences at Otterbein. She then earned her MS in Integrated Biomedical Science at OhioState before completing her education at the Mt. Carmel College of Nursing. Kristin now works as an RN at Nationwide Children’s Hospital.
2006 - Annelise Erpenbeck
Annelise Erpenbeck joined the Otterbein College Women’s Soccer team in one of the program’s strongest classes. In all, five of the eight players in the graduating class earned All America honors on the field, in the classroom or in Kelli Peirano’s case, on the track.
Annelise began her Freshman year with tons of potential and a great desire to improve. She was willing to do the work and contribute whenever needed, but one class ahead of her stood Katie Chrien, the program’s most successful Goalkeeper to that point.
Annelise did the work for three seasons, improving and stepping in when needed. By the time her Junior year came around, she couldn’t have been needed more than when she was called upon to play 80 minutes in the Sweet 16. In her final college soccer match, Katie Chrien came out of the box to deal with an over-struck through ball, but tore her acl when she caught her foot in the turf while striking the ball. Annelise came into the game with no warm-up, finished regulation and anchored the team through 2 periods of overtime without allowing a goal. She also made a save in the shootout, but the team fell short a few minutes later.
2006 would prove to be the year Erpenbeck prepared for. As the team struggled through injuries to 14 players and constant changes to the line-up, Annelise’s play remained constant. By the end of the season she had tallied 14 shutouts, tying the school and conference record for a single season. The team also defended their OAC Regular Season Championship, but fell short in a shootout in the OAC Final , despite another save from Erpenbeck.
Her contributions to the team’s championship season and return to the NCAA Tournament coupled with her outstanding performance in the classroom (Athletic Training) garnered her a 2006 CoSIDA Academic All America Award.
The 2007 Otterbein Athletic Training Graduate went on to earn her Master’s Degree in Physician Assistant Studies at the Medical University of South Carolina in Charleston. She now works in the Emergency Department at Springs Memorial Hospital in SC.
2008, 2009, 2010 - Jenny Knox
Jenny Knox is one of Otterbein University’s most decorated athletes. In addition to her three All America Awards as a player, she was also named Academic All America five times (three times by the NSCAA and twice by CoSIDA).
Jenny joined 2011 classmate Tara Carter on the 2009 and 2010 CoSIDA Academic All America Teams, after combining with defensive standouts Laura Vasbinder, Hannah Fairbanks and Alyssa Hale to set the national standard for Goals Against, Shutouts and Save Percentage from 2008 to 2010 and a perfect 4.0 in the classroom. The 2008, 2009 and 2010 teams finished 7th, 10th and 3rd respectively in the final national rankings.
The Allied Health Major left Otterbein in 2011 to attend The Ohio State University to study Physical Therapy.
2009, 2010 - Tara Carter
Tara Carter finished her playing career at Otterbein University in the National Semi-Final as the DIII National Goalkeeper of The Year with a perfect 4.0 GPA. Carter was a Finalist for the first NCAA Elite 88 Award for DIII Women’s Soccer that weekend. She was also named the 2010 CoSIDA National Student of The Year taking the top honor over students from DII, DIII and NAIA schools.
Tara joined 2011 classmate Jenny Knox on the 2009 and 2010 CoSIDA Academic All America Teams, after working with defensive standouts Laura Vasbinder, Hannah Fairbanks and Alyssa Hale to shatter conference defensive records for Goals Against, Shutouts and Save Percentage from 2008 to 2010. The defensive unit was ranked first of 400 teams in DIII for each of the categories above.
The 2008, 2009 and 2010 teams finished 7th, 10th and 3rd respectively in the final national rankings.
Tara earned her Art Degree in 2011 and immediately began her coaching career at Otterbein while working toward her MBA.
2012 - Emily Bates
Emily Bates played four years of varsity soccer at Otterbein that included three OAC Championships, two NCAA Tournament appearances and a 2010 trip to the National Semi-Final.
While playing soccer at Otterbein, Emily earned her undergraduate degree in Mathematics, keeping a perfect 4.0 GPA
the entire time.
Emily played in 18 games her freshman year and contributed more and more each season during her career. By her senior year, Emily had started as a Forward and as a Defender (scoring goals from each position). As a sophomore, Bates scored her first collegiate goal (vs Case Western) and followed it with a the second in a 2-0 win over Capital.
As a junior, Emily was moved to a defensive midfield position but continued to score goals, including both in a 2-0 win over Mount Union and a game-winner at Baldwin Wallace.
By her senior year, Emily was a 90 minute player earning time as a defender (after a handful of Defenders were injured). Her athleticism and ability to learn quickly made her an obvious choice to stabilize the defensive group. Her efforts helped guide the team to a 7th Regular Season OAC Championship.
After graduating in 2013, Emily has begun her career as a Teacher.
2012 - Rachel Denz
Rachel Denz, played four years of varsity soccer at Otterbein, Captaining the team in her junior and senior years. Her playing career included three OAC Championships, two NCAA Tournament appearances and a 2010 trip to the National Semi-Final.
While playing soccer at Otterbein, Rachel earned her undergraduate degree in Psychology, keeping a perfect 4.0 GPA the entire time.
Rachel joined a very successful group of Midfielders in 2009 earning her first college “Start” in the OAC Final win over Ohio Northern. Rachel Degen was forced to miss the game due to injury, . . . Denz took the opportunity and never looked back. By her sophomore year, Denz was one of only three non-seniors in the starting line-up.
Rachel scored her first collegiate goal in 2010 when she netted the game-winner over John Carroll University late in the 2nd half of the regular season match-up. She went on to score just 4 more goals in her career, but each came at the some of the biggest times. Her second in 2010 was chosen Co-Goal-of The-Year (the equalizer in the Elite 8 against Denison), followed by a 2011 89th minute game-winner over Earlham, the 2nd in a 2-2 Draw at Capital and the first in a 2-1 win over Capital in 2012.
After graduating in 2013, Rachel spent a year working as a psychometrician at the Nationwide Children’s Hospital Child Development Center. Denz took over Graduate Assistant Duties with the Otterbein Women’s Soccer Team from 2014 to 2017.
2014 - Jillian Strimbu
Jillian Strimbu played four years of Soccer at Otterbein, winning an OAC Championship in 2012 and 2014.
During the same time, Jillian studied Equine Pre-Vet Studies and concluded her college career with a 3.985 G.P.A.
Jillian scored her first two collegiate goals in the same match, during a 3-0 home win over Hiram College. She then quickly made a habit of scoring, and doing so in every way possible. Strimbu scored goals with her right foot, left foot, and head, scoring from 2 yards out, the penalty spot or 25 yards out (and everywhere between). She even scored the first Golden Goal in Memorial Stadium when the team opened play in the venue (2014) against Kenyon College. KyLee Tuchfarber won a Penalty with exactly one minute remaining in the second period of Overtime, . . . Jillian converted the kick and sent the entire team onto the field in celebration.
She ended her playing days as the OCWS record-holder for Goals in a Single Season (14), tied with Melanie Evans (1988). She also set the highest mark for Game-Winning Goals (16) in the program's history.
After graduating in 2016, Jillian began post-graduate studies at The Ohio State University's College of Veterinary Medicine. She hopes to be practicing Veterinary Medicine for small animals by 2020.
2018 - Holly Bernhold
Holly Bernhold started her career at Otterbein by finishing first in Fitness Testing, a feat she repeated in her sophomore year. She also finished second to open her Junior year.
Holly often started and played the entire 90 minutes as Wide Defender, but also saw time in the center of defense. Holly was a natural leader, always providing a tremendous example with her high work rate. This is why she was often named the team's Third Captain.
Academically, she earned a 3.99 GPA in Allied Health finishing her college studies in just three years. She also worked numerous jobs tirelessly and volunteered with a number of groups on and off campus.
Holly ended her career on a high helping the team win OAC Regular Season and Tournament Titles. Although she only scored two goals in her career, they both came in her final season. The first came against Mount Union in a 2-0 win at home. The second was the 2018 OCWS Goal of The Year. Minutes after hesitating to shoot, Holly told herself the next time she was in a similar situation she wouldn't hesitate again. That similar situation came in the 81st minute while down a goal to Capital, . . . and came from 41 yards out. Her laser to the upper 90 leveled the match, minutes before an Overtime Game-Winner won the conference title outright.
After graduating in 2019, Holly will be continuing her studies at Ohio University.
2019 - Bella Shivley
In 2019, Bella Shivley joined an elite group of OCWS players that have won All-America Honors as both a student and an athlete. Only Tara Carter and Jenny Knox (both 2007-2010) accomplished that achievement before her. Earning this distinction as just a Junior, Bella has the opportunity to continue to add to her impact on the program for another season still.
CoSIDA is the collective College Sports Information Directors of America, who nominate and in turn, award just 33 Women's Soccer Players with All-America Status each year. In 2019, each player on the list had a 3.84 GPA or better. Bella landed on the second team with a 3.89 GPA in Nursing. Additionally, Shivley has volunteer experience with the Ronald McDonald House and has served as Marketing Chair of the Westerville Special Olympics Club.
Bella and Haley Moses (ONU) represented the OAC as the only two players from the conference to earn this honor.
2020/2021, 2021 - Delaney Earl
In 2021, Delaney Earl joined Tara Carter, Jenny Knox (both 2007-2010) and Bella Shivley (2019) on the short list of OCWS Players to earn an All America Awards as both a student and an athlete.
In 2021 CoSIDA (the collective College Sports Information Directors of America), awarded just 33 Women's Soccer Players with All-America Status, as they do each year. Delaney also won the award in the Spring of 2021, after the 2020 season was moved to the Spring due to Covid. Delaney is one of just four students across the country to win the award twice in six months. The other three studied at Case Western, Messiah and MIT.