Oracle Insight: Top athletes for 2010-11

With the 2010-11 academic year nearing its finale, The Oracle looks back on a year of athletic achievement and names the top 10 USF athletes of the year:

5) Jeff Attinella, men’s soccer

Attinella, a goalkeeper, played every minute of his senior season, posting a goals-against average of 0.78.

He posted 10 shutouts this season, including a USF-record streak of six consecutive shutouts that began Sept. 29 against Rhode Island and ended Oct. 16 against West Virginia.

Attinella was a three-year starter for the Bulls, playing in 61 games during his college career. He posted 28 shutouts and was named the Big East Goalkeeper of the Year in 2009.

4) Andrea Smith, women’s basketball

In her first year at USF after transferring from Gulf Coast Community College, Smith started all 31 games as a guard, playing 980 minutes — 200 more than anyone else. She was the only player on the team to start every game.

Smith led the team in scoring, averaging 16.5 points per game — nearly a third of the team’s 60.4 points per game average and nearly double the production of the team’s next highest scorer and her twin sister, Andrell Smith.

Against Auburn on Nov. 22, in her fifth game for USF, Smith scored a season-high 33 points in the Bulls’ 67-49 win over the Tigers.

Her season ended abruptly March 4, when she tore her ACL less than a minute into USF’s first game of the Big East tournament against Pittsburgh.

3) Denise von Eynatten, track and field

Von Eynatten took home the Big East Indoor Pole Vaulting championship this season after posting a jump of 14 feet, 1.75 inches — a new Big East, USF and personal record.

At one point, von Eynatten was ranked No. 6 in the NCAA and qualified for the indoor national championship meet.

Von Eynatten also took home the title after the Jayhawk Classic in Lawrence, Kan., with a jump of 14 feet. At the NCAA Indoor Championships, von Eynatten finished fifth with a height of 14 feet, 1.25 inches.

2) Terrence Mitchell, football

Mitchell, from Hillsborough High School, came to USF as one of the highest-rated prospects ever to enter the program.

In his freshman year, he excelled as a punt returner and also transitioned from cornerback to wide receiver. For his efforts as a returner, Mitchell was named a first-team freshman All-American by, and was chosen to the all-Big East freshman team by

His average of 11 yards per return was 23rd best nationally and best among freshmen.

1) Freshman class, softball

Coach Ken Eriksen’s freshman class is loaded with potential stars, making the softball team USF’s most likely to win a Big East conference title in the future. With two weeks left in the season, the team is tied for the conference lead.

Infielder Kourtney Salvarola came to USF as the No. 5 prospect nationwide and has started every game this season, splitting time between shortstop and third base. She is batting .300 with six home runs and 40 RBIs.

Pitcher Sara Nevins is 14-5 this season with a 1.71 ERA and 170 strikeouts. She has been named the Big East Pitcher of the Week twice this season and set a new school record with eight saves. She has pitched complete-game shutouts in each of her last five starts.

First baseman Stephanie Medina is batting .364 and leads the team in home runs (eight), RBIs (49) and total bases (77). She has been named Big East Player of the Week twice this season.

The other five members of the freshman class have all seen action this season and have potential to be future stars for the program.