Fall Sports, Faculty Award Winner Featured On Insider
Senior Miranda McConnell has started in each of her team's 21 matches this season. She'll breakdown the Yellowjackets on Tuesday's show.
Senior Miranda McConnell has started in each of her team's 21 matches this season. She'll breakdown the Yellowjackets on Tuesday's show.

Tuesday, October 16, 2018

PORTLAND, Ore. – GNAC Insider returned Tuesday night at 7:00 p.m. (PDT) with a loaded show as the fall sports season begins to hit the home stretch.

Leading off the show was Dr. Emily Vala-Haynes, an assistant professor of community health education at Western Oregon. Vala-Haynes started in Monmouth in 2014 and received the GNAC Student-Athlete Advisory Committee's 2017-18 Faculty Mentor Award last week.

A very active member both inside and outside of the classroom, Vala-Haynes travels the world to conduct research and shares her experiences with the health education classes she teaches. She also serves as a volunteer assistant coach and faculty mentor for the Wolves cross country and track and field programs.

The award won by Vala-Haynes is given to faculty members at member institutions who demonstrate exemplary support to student-athletes both on and off the field of competition while representing the NCAA Division II core values of learning, passion, service, resourcefulness, sportsmanship and balance. Past recipients of the award include Laura Reid (Simon Fraser), Amy Cooper (Alaska) and Kevin Bartlett (Seattle Pacific).

Over on the soccer pitch, Saint Martin's men's team finds itself in a tie for second place as we enter the latter portion of the season. The Saints are riding a three-match winning streak, a stretch that includes two victories over Concordia and a big road win at Montana State Billings. 

The team will travel to Bellingham on Thursday and Burnaby two days later for crucial matchups at Western Washington and No. 1 Simon Fraser. Joining the show to preview the week ahead was head coach Rob Walker, who has been at the helm in Lacey since 2007.

GNAC Insider was also joined by Central Washington defensive back Donte Hamilton. Hamilton is the reigning GNAC Defensive Player of the Week after finishing Saturday's win against Western Oregon with seven tackles, two tackles for loss and two of the team's three sacks. The Wildcats are currently ranked No. 21 nationally and sit in first place in the GNAC.

On the volleyball court, Montana State Billings has three seniors that are approaching the final matches of their collegiate careers with the Yellowjackets. One of those, middle blocker Miranda McConnell, joined GNAC Insider on Tuesday night. The senior has started all of her team's 21 matches in 2018 and will share her thoughts on the season as the team prepares for its upcoming five-match homestand.