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updated: 12/12/2012 10:11 PM

All-Americas, national champs abound among DuPage collegians

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It's the end of fall. Our mailbag of college achievers is bursting. Let's get on with it ...

Benedictine running back Johnny Borsellino, who elevated the bubble screen to an art form at Montini, earned repeat Division III All-America honors by the American Football Coaches Association as an all-purpose selection. A three-time Northern Athletics Conference First-Team selection and the league's first repeat All-America, Borsellino's 1,916 all-purpose yards -- despite teams kicking to him just twice in the Eagles' last seven games -- ranked seventh in Division III. Benedictine's career leader in touchdowns, scoring and rushing attempts will play in the all-star Aztec Bowl Friday in Monterrey, Mexico, along with Eagles senior linebacker Chris Buonavolanto (Lake Park).

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A running back on that AFCA All-America squad was Elmhurst College senior Scottie Williams (Downers Grove South), who won the Gagliardi Trophy as the nation's best Division III player, it was announced Wednesday night. Williams, who led the Bluejays to their first playoff win in history and first College Conference of Illinois & Wisconsin title since 1980 while earning CCIW offensive player of the year, ran for program records of 2,046 yards and 22 touchdowns, second in the nation with 170.5 yards rushing per game. An Academic All-America in 2011 and D3football.com First-Team North Region this season, Williams was just 17 yards shy of the CCIW all-time rushing mark; overall his 5,203 yards, 50 touchdowns and 332 points are all Elmhurst records.

A strong ground game opens up the pass, and vice versa. Elmhurst's four-year starting quarterback Joe Furco (Wheaton Warrenville South) completed 60 percent of his passes this season for 2,064 yards, 14 touchdowns. In the process Furco set Elmhurst career records for total offense and passing completions, attempts, yardage and touchdown passes.

Also on the D3football.com All-North Region squad was Wheaton College senior safety Garrett Cook (WW South) and junior linebacker Erik Westerberg (York), Augustana's MVP, two-time Academic All-America and CCIW defensive player of the year. Wheaton College linebacker Pat Dansdill (WW South) and North Central safety Shane Dierking (WW South) made second-team defense. North Central senior running back Nick Kukuc (Naperville Central) somehow made only third-team offense after setting eight career or season records for the powerful Cardinals and catching a 27-yard touchdown pass in the National Bowl last Sunday.

It was a great year for former WW South quarterbacks. Elmhurst's Tim Lester was named CCIW coach of the year. At Drake, Eric Piatkowski -- Furco's predecessor and former Wheaton Rams youth teammate -- earned team MVP and first-team all-Pioneer Football League honors each for a second straight year. Piatkowski set career program records for passing yardage, attempts and touchdowns and extended his records for completion percentage and completions while leading the Bulldogs to a second straight PFL title.

Locals swept Augustana men's soccer offensive and defensive awards. Junior defender Evan Johnson (Glenbard South) was named best defensive player, while sophomore forward Josh Bennett (Wheaton North) took the Vikings' offensive honors.

Playing midfield for the Indiana Hoosiers men's soccer team, sophomore Patrick Doody's (Neuqua Valley) cross from the far left led to a header then a chip-in goal in the 64th minute of the NCAA Division I National Championship last Sunday in Hoover, Ala. The goal stood up for a 1-0 victory over Georgetown to give Indiana its eighth national title. After playing in 17 games as a freshman in 2011, Doody started 21 of the Hoosiers' 24 games this season, with 3 assists.

During a junior season in which she set career highs in seven different statistical categories in matches, Tennessee junior outside hitter Kelsey Robinson (St. Francis) earned first-team Southeast Conference and American Volleyball Coaches Association All-South Region honors a second straight season. In October the 6-foot-2 Robinson became the fifth Volunteer to surpass 1,000 career digs and kills and capped her season with AVCA Division-I All-America honorable mention.

Army senior outside hitter Ariana Mankus (Benet), the two-time Patriot League MVP, was an honorable mention pick on the Northeast Region team.

Kristine Egebrecht (Wheaton Academy), a junior middle hitter at Indiana Wesleyan, made AVCA NAIA first-team All-America, as well as AVCA National Christian College Athletic Association Division I All-America Team. The Crossroads League and Northwest Region player of the year is Indiana Wesleyan's first first-teamer in its 45-year history. Egebrecht finished second in the NAIA in hitting percentage, top-50 in total kills, kills per game and total blocks.

Two Naperville residents made the National Soccer Coaches Association of American Division-I All-America third team: Illinois junior midfielder Vanessa DiBernardo (Waubonsie Valley), a repeat All-America pick; and Miami (Ohio) senior midfielder Jess Kodiak (Naperville Central). Kodiak was the Mid-American Conference's offensive player of the year, scoring 12 goals with a program-record 12 assists, sixth nationally. Her 90 career points rank in Miami's top five. DiBernardo made the Hermann Trophy Watch List the past two seasons and earned a third straight All-Big Ten first-team merit. She has 87 career points for the Illini, a reachable 21 away from the program record of 108. She also made Top Drawer Soccer's second team.

Notre Dame forward Crystal Thomas (Wheaton Academy), who led the Irish with 10 goals and 22 points, was on Top Drawer's Freshman second team and made the Big East All-Rookie Team.

More Warrior. Lee University junior forward Leah Fortune (Wheaton Academy), who has played on Brazil's national team, was a repeat choice on the NSCAA's NAIA first team. Fortune scored 16 goals with 10 assists for 42 points on a Lee squad that reached the NAIA national semifinals. She also returned on the NAIA's own All-America first team, and was an NAIA Scholar-Athlete as well. Devin Johnston (Lake Park), a senior defender for NAIA runner-up Olivet Nazarene, was a second team NAIA and NSCAA pick.

Augustana senior defensive lineman Pete Schimek (Benet) made just 3 solo tackles this season. But in a fifth year of eligibility after an injury-plagued college career, that earned him the outstanding honor of Augie's Jerry Freck Award for being a team player and contributing however possible.

Senior Elise Anderson (WW South) and sophomore Meagan DeSalvo (Hinsdale South) both ran on the first Illinois Wesleyan cross country team to reach the Division III cross country championships.

Another Wesleyan Titan, defensive lineman Zach Borta (Naperville Central) was named the football team's most valuable freshman.

Here's a winner: On Nov. 9, Portland (Ore.) junior goalkeeper Erin Dees (Downers Grove North) made 8 saves in a 2-2 tie through regulation with Washington State in the first round of the NCAA Tournament. She converted a penalty kick to tie at 4-4. Then she got back in net and stopped 3 Washington kicks in a 6-5 Portland win that earned Dees Top Drawer Soccer national player of the week.

Next week: More!

doberhelman@dailyherald.com

Follow Dave on Twitter @doberhelman1

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