MIAC Athletes of the Week – September 23, 2019

Athletes of the Week

BLOOMINGTON, Minn. -- The Minnesota Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (MIAC) announced its Athlete of the Week award winners for football, volleyball, and soccer on Monday. Student-athletes from Bethel, Gustavus, Saint John's, and St. Olaf claimed the Conference's weekly honors for September 16-22, 2019.

The MIAC Athlete of the Week awards are nominated by the Conference's sports information directors and selected by MIAC staff. Throughout the fall season, team sports (football, soccer, and volleyball) Athletes of the Week will be recognized on Monday afternoons, with individual sports (cross country and golf) announced on Tuesday afternoons. The winners of the latest Athlete of the Week awards are listed below, along with details on their outstanding performances.

To view each sport's 2019-20 Athlete of the Week home page, navigate to the MIAC's Awards page or visit the 2019-20 Athlete of the Week news archive for complete details on each week's selections and winners.

MIAC Football Offensive Player of the Week
Jackson Erdmann
Saint John's University
Sr. | Quarterback
Rosemount, Minn.

Jackson Erdmann completed passes to nine different receivers and finished 24-of-35 for 335 yards and four touchdowns in the Johnnies' 33-21 win over Gustavus last Saturday. The 300-yard passing game was the fifth of Erdmann's career. He is now two passing touchdowns away from the school record of 100 held by Alex Kofoed (2004-07).

MIAC Football Defensive Player of the Week
Danny Pietruszewski
Saint John's University
Jr. | Linebacker
South St. Paul, Minn.

Danny Pietruszewski collected six tackles, including four solo stops and three tackles for loss, with a sack and a forced fumble against Gustavus last weekend. The junior linebacker came up with a game-changing play midway through the fourth quarter. Following a Johnnie fumble at the Gustavus goal line, the Gusties took over on their own two-yard line. Four plays later, Pietruszewski made a strip-sack to set up an SJU touchdown on the next play from scrimmage.

MIAC Football Special Teams Player of the Week
Leo Ferreira
St. Olaf College
Sr. | Defensive Lineman
Orlando, Fla. | Freedom

Leo Ferreira blocked a pair of kicks, including an extra point that was returned for two points to help thwart a Carleton fourth-quarter comeback in a 36-19 win for St. Olaf last Saturday. After Carleton trimmed a 24-6 deficit to 27-19 with an extra point pending, the senior lineman blocked the PAT try for teammate Max Karpinske to scoop it up and return it for two points, giving the Oles a two-possession lead. Ferreira also blocked a field goal on the first play of the second quarter to maintain the Oles' 3-0 advantage.

MIAC Volleyball Hitter of the Week
Maria Claflin
Bethel University

Jr. | Middle Blocker
Dayton, Minn. | Champlin Park

Maria Claflin was once again at the forefront of the Bethel offense last week, averaging 3.5 kills per set while hitting .281 in four matches for the Royals. The MIAC leader in kills this season, Claflin put down double-digit kill efforts in three matches, including a match- and career-high 21 kills in a five-set win over Wartburg at the Central Invitational. Claflin hit .325 against No. 8-ranked Saint Benedict before helping the Royals snap a three-match skid with a .417 showing against Wis.-River Falls on Friday.

MIAC Volleyball Setter/Libero of the Week
Dominique Dabu
Bethel University

Sr. | Defensive Specialist
Apple Valley, Minn.

Dominique Dabu tallied 114 total digs in five matches for Bethel last week, averaging an impressive six digs per set. Dabu's career-high 41 digs pushed No. 8-ranked Saint Benedict to five sets last Wednesday and helped hold the Bennies to .50 points below their season average for hitting percentage. Dabu then posted 26 digs against Wis.-River Falls and 27 more against Wartburg on Friday to help propel the Royals to a perfect 4-0 weekend at the Central Invitational.

MIAC Men's Soccer Athlete of the Week
Cole Schwartz
Gustavus Adolphus College
So. | Midfielder
Jakarta, Indonesia | Jakarta Intercultural School

Cole Schwartz was the spark plug for Gustavus' offensive attack last week, involving himself in all four of the team's goals in a pair of conference victories. Schwartz scored the first goal and assisted on the game-winner in a 2-1 victory at St. Thomas on Wednesday before scoring twice in a 2-0 shutout of Saint Mary's on Saturday. Schwartz has scored 10 goals this season, tied for the second-most in all of NCAA Division III while leading the MIAC with 24 overall points.

MIAC Women's Soccer Athlete of the Week
Rachel Waterman
Bethel University

So. | Center-Midfielder
Burnsville, Minn.

Rachel Waterman helped keep Bethel undefeated with her play in victories over a pair of MIAC foes last week. The sophomore scored on her only shot on goal to hand Carleton its lone loss of the season last Tuesday before putting together a six-point effort in a 5-2 win against Concordia on Saturday. Waterman scored two goals in the opening 14:30 against the Cobbers and assisted on the game-winning goal just 48 seconds later.