Hall of Fame class defined programs

First women’s soccer player, volleyball star enshrined

Dean of Students and Vice President of Student Affairs Keith Paylo, former women’s volleyball player Lindsey Oberacker, former women’s soccer player Angela Olivieri and Athletic Director Dan Swalga pose for a photo after the Pioneer Athletic Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony on Saturday in the Lawrence Hall Ballroom.

Written By Josh Croup and Allison Schubert

Angela Olivieri went out on a limb when she committed to play women’s soccer at Point Park, a program only in its second season when she began her career in 2006 that finished 2-14 the prior year.

Lindsey Oberacker signed with a Point Park volleyball program that never won a conference championship in its 18-year history leading up to her freshman year in 2009.

Since then, both programs have experienced successes and growth that may not have been possible without the addition of the two athletes, and they’re now the newest additions to the Pioneer Athletic Hall of Fame.

Olivieri and Oberacker were inducted into the Hall of Fame to join 56 other individuals and one team already enshrined as some of Point Park’s best.

The new inductees were joined by past and present athletes, coaches, friends and family on Saturday in the Lawrence Hall Ballroom for the induction ceremony honoring their time as Pioneers.

Athletic Director Dan Swalga watched Olivieri and Oberacker rise through the ranks of their programs from recruit to hall of famer.

“Every time we have these things there’s a couple things that I observe,” Swalga said. “The passion that they had for their sport and the love they had for Point Park, their teammates, etc. It’s great to see that, and in this case, I saw both of them for four years straight, and now I see them grown up. They’re young women ready to explode into the world.”

Olivieri was an immediate producer for the Pioneers, notching a program-record 22 goals in her freshman season. Throughout her time in a Point Park jersey, she tallied 45 career goals and over 100 career points.

She is the program’s only player named to the all-conference team all four years of her career and is the first women’s soccer player in the Hall of Fame.

Olivieri chose her father Claudio to present her Hall of Fame induction.

“He was my high school coach,” Olivieri said in her speech. “When I got recruited to come play out here, he actually retired from coaching high school to come to all of my games. In my four years, I can’t think of many games that my parents missed – that being both home and away.”

Had Olivieri listened to some of her other past coaches, she may not have received her Hall of Fame honor.

“When I was in middle school, oddly enough, I had a coach tell me that I wasn’t good, that I should just quit now basically,” Olivieri said in her speech. “I used to get so anxious to go to those soccer practices that I would actually throw up before practice because I just thought that I wasn’t any good.”

Oberacker also wasted no time becoming an impact player for the volleyball team, leading them to a 32-8 season and the American Mideast Conference Tournament Finals in her freshman season.

She led the team to its first conference championship and first appearance in the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) National Tournament during her junior season. Point Park has since returned to the national tournament three more times.

The volleyball team had a combined 127-34 record when Oberacker played for the green and gold.

Putting a heavy emphasis on how much her teammates meant to her, Oberacker chose former teammate and fellow captain Margaret Gillooly to present her honor Saturday.

“[Gillooly] was my roommate, my friend, pretty much the yin to my yang,” Oberacker said. “Our team was a unit; we were a group. We were people who hung out outside of the court. We got to know each other’s quirks, how we work as people, what we like, what we dislike and how we function as human beings. That’s how you really develop a successful team, and those are the teams that win championships.”

Director of Athletic Communications Kevin Taylor also had the chance to watch Olivieri and Oberacker suit up as Pioneers.

“It really takes a lot, as others have said, to really take your program to the next level,” Taylor said. “It takes a special kind of person to do that. It takes a special kind of character for that.”