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Penguins rack up Horizon League honors

Youngstown State was well represented on this year’s All-Horizon League teams, and women’s basketball coach John Barnes was selected as the conference’s Coach of the Year.

The Penguin women posted an impressive 24-5 overall record and 18-4 league mark after being predicted to finish seventh in the league standings in the preseason poll. Barnes is the third coach in program history to receive the honor, as Ed DiGregorio won it in the 1994-95 and 1998-99 seasons in the Mid-Continent Conference, while Bob Boldon won the 2012-13 honor in the Horizon League.

Ritz averaged 17.8 points per conference game this season after transferring in from Division II Wheeling. She added 9.6 rebounds per league game and two steals per contest.

Olson, meanwhile, became the first YSU player ever to earn all-league honors four separate times. She scored 11 points per game and led the Horizon League with 4.7 assists per contest.

Mady Aulbach joined Ritz on the league’s All-Defensive Team, as she frequently harassed opposing guards all season.

“I think more than anything, it says what a great team we have,” Barnes said of all the team’s honors. “We have really good players that care about each other and work really hard. I have a great staff who’s very dedicated to the program and the kids. I’m really happy for Lilly, Chelsea and Mady.”

On the men’s side, Michael Akuechie earned a spot on the league’s Second Team, while Dwayne Cohill made the Third Team.

A fifth-year senior, Akuchie averaged 13.9 points and 7.9 rebounds per game this year and tallied 26 games in double figures. He also posted eight double-doubles.

Cohill, meanwhile, joined YSU as a transfer from Dayton and is a Cleveland native. He scored 13.8 points per game and that mark climbed up to 15.9 in league play. He ranked fifth in the Horizon in free-throw percentage.

“(Akuchie is) a guy that we were joking with yesterday. He came in as a freshman, and it’s hard to believe it’s five years later. Those development guys are really, really critical to the development of your program,” YSU men’s coach Jerrod Calhoun said.

Of Cohill, he added, “For him to come in as a first-time transfer into a program he wasn’t familiar with and become a Third Team All-League player in his first year is pretty impressive.”

The Penguin men host Robert Morris tonight in the first round of the Horizon League Tournament. The women have a first-round bye and will host a quarterfinal Thursday.