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March 2009 Archives


 Dewing slugs two-run HR in seventh as No. 1 Warriors prevail

Box score.htm                                                Andrew Dewing (below)

dewing WEB_9128.jpg

MANSFIELD, Conn. - Andrew Dewing (Swampscott, MA) hit a two-run, game-tying home run in the seventh inning and pinch runner Joe Cousineau (Newington) scored on a two-out passed ball in the bottom of the ninth  to give the Eastern Connecticut State University baseball team a 5-4 victory over Manhattanville College Tuesday afternoon at the Eastern Baseball Stadium.

Batting No. 8 in the order, Dewing hit the first pitch from freshman  lefty Dan Levine well over the left field fence to bring Eastern (15-1) back from an early four-run hole and tie the game at 4-4 in the seventh inning.

After Manhattanville (12-10) stranded the go-ahead run on second base in the top of the ninth, the Warriors won the game in the bottom of the inning when Cousineau raced home from third on a two-out passed ball. Pinch hitter Steve Cammuso (Rutland, MA) singled to left to open the inning, his sixth hits in 12 at-bats this year. Cousineau was sacrificed to second by Shane Kingsley (Beacon Falls) and moved to third on Dewing's ground ball to the right side. The first pitch to pinch hitter Tristan Hobbes (Utica, NY) slipped between the legs of catcher Alex Braverman and rolled halfway to the backstop to allow  Cousineau to score the game-ending run.

Right-handed pitcher Chris Wojick (Uncasville) struck out five over the last two innings to gain his second win without  a loss as the fourth of four Eastern pitchers. The Warriors are ranked No. 1 nationally in Division III.

Manhattanville led 4-0 after three innings and carried a 4-2 lead into the seventh. Two hits and an infield ground ball gave the Valiants a 1-0 lead in the second and the visitors  tacked on three more in the third on four hits - three in succession. Mike Mooney hit a leadoff double to spark the second-inning run and had a two-out RBI single and scored on Chris Nardozzi's single in the three-run third.

Levine limited Eastern to just one run through the first five innings on Shawn Gilblair's (Windham) RBI single in the fourth. He surrendered Eastern's second run in the sixth on Melvin Castillo's (Danbury) sacrifice fly, and departed after Dewing's two-run game-tying blast in the seventh.

Making his third appearance, right-hander Andrew Morrison (Old Saybrook) pitched 2 1/3 innings of strong relief to set up Wojick. He took over after a leadoff walk in the sixth inning and retired three in a row. He pitched a hitless seventh inning before giving up a one-out double in the eighth and was lifted in favor of Wojick.

Mooney had three of Manhattanville's 11 hits and scored two runs. Stephen Pinto, Chris Nastasi and Nardozzi each had two hits. Batting cleanup, Kevin Murray  was hitless but walked three times.

Eastern hosts Amherst College Wednesday at 4 p.m.

Eastern Conn. 5, Manhattanville College 4

Manhattanville (12-10) 013 000 000 -- 4 11 2
Eastern Conn. (15-1)  000 101 201 -- 5   5 2

Dan Levine, Chad Wallace (7) and Nick Parente, Alex Braverman (9). James Kukucka, Mike Tingley (4), Andrew Morrison (6), Chris Wojick (8) and Chris Cannata. WP-Wojick (2-0), LP-Wallace (1-2). 2B-Stephen Pinto, Mike Mooney, Chris Nardozzi (M); HR-Andrew Dewing (1) (E).




 Four athletes in three sports cited for excellence last week by Little East


WILLIMANTIC, Conn. - A total of four Eastern Connecticut State University athletes in three sports have been cited by the Little East Conference weekly awards program for the week ending Sunday, March 29.

In baseball junior third baseman Melvin Castillo (Danbury) was named Player-of-the-Week after batting .565; junior midfielder Taylor MacDonald (Oak Bluffs, MA) and senior midfielder Jessica Richards (Somers) were named the Offensive and Defensive Player-of-the-Week, respectively in the sport of women's lacrosse; and freshman pitcher/first baseman Molly Rathbun (Hebron) was named Rookie-of-the-Week in the sport of softball.


Castillo was additonally honored as the ECAC New England Player-of-the-Week, announced Tuesday.


 The weekly reports were the second in baseball and softball and third in women's lacrosse. The honors were the first of the season for Eastern athletes.

castillo jersey300_6987.jpgCastillo On Early-Season Rampage

In a 4-1 week for the No.-1 nationally-ranked Warriors, Castillo batted .565 (13-for-23) with a 1.130 slugging and .630 on-base percentage, respectively. He has had back-to-back four-hit, four RBI games in wins over Calvin College and the University of Chicago in Arizona, and now has nine multiple-hit and six multiple-RBI games this year. On the week, Castillo belted three home runs and four doubles, drove in nine runs and scored nine. Against Calvin, he reached base safely in all six plate appearances, including a four-for-four performance at the place, with five runs scored and four RBI. Castillo launched 31st career home run during a Little East Conference split with No. 10 ranked and pre-season conference favorite University of Southern Maine on Saturday.

Since starting the season 1-for-12, Castillo is batting .529.

Castillo has been named to the all-conference team in each of his two seasons, gaining LEC Rookie-of-the-Year, first-team all-conference and third-team All-America accolades as a freshman in 2007. He was twice named LEC Rookie-of-the-Week in 2007.

Eastern won a program-record 13 games to start the season and brings a 14-1 record into Tuesday's 4 p.m. non-conference home game against Manhattanville College.

Rathbun Dominant with Arm and Bat

rathbun head WEB_8264.jpgIn a 5-3 week, Rathbun was 4-1 with a save and a 0.79 ERA, while batting .316 (6-for-19) from the cleanup spot with four doubles, a walk, and a sacrifice fly as the DP and first baseman. In the pitching circle, she appeared in six games with five starts and five complete games and two shutouts. Rathbun allowed 13 hits (11 singles) in 35 1/3 innings, fanning 58 and walking 11. In back-to-back pitching wins against Lawrence College and the University of Chicago, she fanned 24 batters, walked one and gave up two hits and an earned run.

A winner of her first four appearances (her loss came on an eighth-inning wild pitch), Rathburn shut out Wisconsin-Whitewater on three hits March 22. The Warhawks were ranked No. 1 in Division III at the time after reaching the 2008 national championship game.

In nine appearances (seven starts) this year, the righty is 7-1 with a 0.52 ERA in 54.0 innings. She has fanned 82 and walked 20 and has allowed only two doubles among the 19 hits allowed. Opponents are batting .110 against her. She is second on the team with a .333 batting average (11-for-33) and has a team-high 20 total bases. She has committed only one error on 37 defensive chances.

Ranked in a tie for third in New England, Eastern is 8-4 and hosts Springfield College Wednesday at 3:30 p.m. in a non-conference doubleheader.

Midfielders Recognized in Women's Lacrossemacdonaldrichards WEB_9342.jpg

MacDonald (10), Richards (16)

MacDonald helped Eastern extend its conference winning streak to 17 with three goals and three assists in a 14-13 home win over visiting Keene State College Saturday in the conference opener for both schools. The teams were ranked 1-2 in the pre-season coaches' poll.

In a five-goal run that snapped a halftime tie, MacDonald scored twice -- including the goal that put the Warriors ahead for good -- and assisted on another. She also collected two ground balls, two draw controls and a caused turnover against the Owls.

In three games during the week, MacDonald had six goals and five assists, eight ground balls and three caused turnovers for the two-time defending conference regular-season and playoff champions.

MacDonald is a two-time all-conference selection who was named Rookie-of-the-Year as a freshman in 2007 and last year's Defensive Player-of-the-Year and playoff MVP. Last year, she was twice named Defensive Player-of-the-Week and was once selected Offensive Player-of-the-Week. She was named Rookie-of-the-Week once in 2007.

In Saturday's win over Keene State College,  Richards won 17 of 23 faceoffs and claimed eight draw controls en route to the first weekly honor of her three-year career. On the season, she has won 39 of 64 faceoffs and tops the club with 32 draw controls.

With a 2-6 overall record, Eastern visits Mount Holyoke College in a non-conference match Wednesday at 4:30 p.m.





Senior center becomes program's sixth pick to Division III elite team

mcfetridge head WEB_5719.jpg

WILLIMANTIC, Conn. - Eastern Connecticut State University's  Ashley McFetridge (Canton) has been selected to the ten-person Women's Basketball Coaches' Association (WBCA) Division III State Farm Coaches' All-America Team.

McFetridge becomes Eastern's sixth selection to the team, but only the third different individual. She joins Robin Gaby in 1990 and the nation's only four-time selection -- Allison Coleman between 2001 and 2004.

A 6-foot-2 inch post player, McFetridge was one only ten players nationwide chosen to the team. A total of 42 players - representing eight all-region teams from throughout the country - were eligible for consideration.

Eight of the All-America selectees were seniors, among then National Player-of-the-Year Hillary Klimowicz of The College of New Jersey. McFetridge was one of two players chosen to the All-America team from Region I (New England). She was the only player from the Little East Conference named to the five-person Region I team.

So far this year, McFetridge has been named to the New England Women's Basketball Association (NEWBA) All-New England first team, and to the NEWBA Senior Classic.and repeated as an all-region pick and as Little East Conference Player-of-the-Year. She was also named to the all-conference first team and to the All-Defensive Team for the third year in a row and earned a spot on the LEC Winter All-Academic Team for the second time in her second year of eligibility. She led the conference in points (404) and was third in scoring average (13.9) and rebounding average (8.1) and second in field goal percentage (.502) and blocked shots (1.8).

McFetridge completed her 107-game career ranked fourth all-time in career points (1,364),  first in blocks (158), sixth in rebounds (777) and tied for ninth in games. She helped Eastern to three 20-wins seasons and an overall record of 86-27 (.761)

Eastern won 25 and lost four this year and captured the LEC regular season title. The Warriors earned an at-large berth to the NCAA Division III tournament, their 12th appearance in program history.



Saturday, March 28, 2009

Nationally-ranked Warriors and So. Maine each win one game of twinbill

Box scores    Game 1.htm  Game 2.htm

Wes Dutton (below)

dutton WEB_0061.jpgMANSFIELD, Conn. - Senior All-America Shawn Gilblair (Windham) hit a three-run home run in the bottom of the first inning and junior righty Matt Fontaine (Cranston, RI) pitched 3 2/3 shutout innings in relief to pace the Eastern Connecticut State University baseball team to an 8-4 win in the second game of a season-opening Little East Conference doubleheader with the University of Southern Maine Saturday afternoon at the Eastern Baseball Stadium.

Behind senior righty Tim Therrian, Southern Maine (12-2, 1-1 little east) axed Eastern's (14-1, 1-1 little east) program-record 13-game season-opening winning streak in the first game. The Warriors' second-game win put an end to Southern Maine's 11-game winning streak.

In the most recent Division III national poll, Eastern is ranked No. 1 and Southern Maine No. 10. The teams are the most successful in the history of the Little East Conference and have combined for six national titles.

While Eastern's starting pitchers in the doubleheader met with only marginal success, junior relievers Fontaine and Wes Dutton (Waterbury) combined to give up only three hits and one run with five strikeouts and no walks in 8 2/3 inning.

In his second start of the year, Southern Maine junior lefty Collin Henry (0-1) never got out of the first inning of the second game. With two on base via walks, Gilblair unloaded his first home run of the season over the right field fence to give Eastern a quick 3-0 lead. Senior All-America Melvin Castillo (Danbury) then ended Henry's day by launching his team-leading sixth home run of the year - the 31st of his three-year career - over the left field wall.

The visitors twice pulled to within a run in the second game before Eastern added an insurance run in the fifth on junior John Parke's (Middlefield) sacrifice fly and two more in the seven on a two-out, two-run double by sophomore Jim Schult (Wappingers Falls, NY).

While the Warriors were struggling to protect their early four-run cushion, Fontaine did not allow a hit after replacing junior righty starter Will Musson (Wethersfield) with two on and one out and Eastern leading 5-4 in the sixth. Fontaine got senior All-America Chris Burleson to pop out to short and induced an inning-ending ground ball from Josh Mackey. Fontaine retired all 11 batters he faced, three on strikeouts.

Therrian (4-0) pitched a complete-game six-hitter without allowing an earned run nor walking a batter in Southern Maine's first-game win. Therrian, who was reached for five hits in 3 1/3 innings of relief a year ago against Eastern, fanned eight.

Gilblair (2-1) matched Therrian through the early going and took a 1-0 lead into the fourth before the bottom dropped out. After getting all six outs over the first two innings via the strikeout, Gilblair struggled through a scoreless third and a disastrous fourth. The Huskies scored four runs in the fourth on four hits, a walk and infield error. Batting fourth in the lineup, first-game loser Henry and teammate Ryan Pike chased Gilblair with back-to-back home runs leading off the fifth that made it 6-1.

In his longest outing at Eastern, the left-handed Dutton stopped the Huskies on three hits, allowing only one run. He fanned two without a walk.

Eastern hosts Manhattanville Tuesday at 4 p.m.

Game 1
U. of Southern Maine 7, Eastern Conn. 1

Southern Maine (12-1, 1-0 little east)    000   430   000 -- 7 11 1
Eastern Conn. (13-1, 0-1 little east)      010   000   000 -- 1   6 2

Tim Therrian (4-0) and Jordan Berthiaume. Shawn Gilblair (2-1), Wes Dutton (5) and Chris Cannata. 2B-Ryan Pike (S), Jim Schult, Shane Kingsley (E); HR-Colin Henry (1), Pike (4), Berthiaume (2) (S).

Game 2
Eastern Conn. 8, U. of Southern Maine 4

Southern Maine (12-2, 1-1 little east)  030  100  000 -- 4   6 2
Eastern Conn. (14-1, 1-1 little east)    410  010  20x -- 8 11 0

Colin Henry (0-1), Nick Hahn (1), Mike Eaton (7), Matt Leach (8) and Jordan Berthiaume. Will Musson (3-0), Matt Fontaine (6) and Chris Cannata. 2B-Ryan Gaffney (S), John Parke, Jim Schult, Andrew Dewing (E); HR-Mike Eaton (2) (S), Shawn Gilblair (1), Melvin Castillo (6) (E).



Warriors open home season with shutout sweep of UMass, 15-0, 4-0

Box scores  Game 1.htm  Game 2.htm                             Katie Pensiero (below)

pensiero WEB_9344.jpg

WILLIMANTIC, Conn. - Junior centerfielder Ashley Sullivan (Trumbull) had four hits, scored four runs and drove in three as the Eastern Connecticut State University softball team opened its Little East Conference and home seasons with a 15-0, 4-0 doubleheader sweep of the University of Massachusetts Boston Saturday afternoon at Howard Spector Field.

Ranked in a tie for third in New England, Eastern (8-4, 2-0 little east) scored ten runs in the first inning of the opener on ten walks, seven wild pitches and three hit batsmen in a game stopped after the Beacons batted in the fifth inning due to the eight-run rule. Eastern is the pre-season favorite to win the conference while UMass (3-11, 0-2 little east) is picked to finish last.

Sullivan, a first-team all-region selection last year, had two hits in each game to raise her season average to .455. She also reached three times on walks. Junior shortstop Kim Church (Farmington) was 3-for-4 in the doubleheader with two RBI and two runs.

In the opener, freshman righty Molly Rathbun (Hebron) pitched a complete-game one-hitter to gain her seventh win in eight outings this season. She also closed out the second game with two hitless innings in relief of right-handed starter Katie Pensiero (Stamford) for her first save. Pensiero, making her first appearance of the season after missing the spring trip due to illness, allowed three hits over the first five innings while fanning three and walking two for her first win of the season.

Eastern hosts Springfield College Wednesday at 3:30 p.m.

Game 1
Eastern Conn. 15, Massachusetts Boston 0 (5 inn.)

UMass Boston (3-10, 0-1 little east)        000 00 --   0 1 0
Eastern Conn. (7-4, 1-0 little east)       (10)41 0x -- 15 6 1

Courtney Haroules (0-3) and Elisa Laroche. Molly Rathbun (7-1) and Nikki Mustin.


Game 2
Eastern Conn. 4, Massachusetts Boston 0

UMass Boston (3-11, 0-2 little east)    000    000 0 -- 0 3 1
Eastern Conn. (8-4, 2-0 little east)       001   102 x -- 4 9 1

Kara Willis (3-8) and Lisa Polsonetti. Katie Pensiero (1-0), Molly Rathbun (6) and Nikki Mustin. 2B-Rathbun, Kim Church (E).


Warriors score first ten goals of match in opening defense of title

Box score.htm

Mike Silvestrini (below)

silvestrini WEB_9114.jpgWILLIMANTIC, Conn. - Sixteen different players contributed to the offense and 38 players saw action as the Eastern Connecticut State University men's lacrosse team opened defense of last year's regular-season Little East Conference championship with a 17-5 victory over the University of Southern Maine Saturday afternoon at Thomas Nevers Field.

The match featured pre-season conference favorite Eastern (4-2, 1-0 little east) against a University of Southern Maine (3-3, 0-1 little east) team picked to finish eighth.

Eastern shut out the Huskies for the first 27+ minutes in rolling up a 10-0 lead.  Twelve different players scored at least one goal and four contributed assists. Junior attack Vinny Tornatore (Norwalk) scored a career-high four goals in a little over one half of play. Freshman midfielder John Carney (Seaford, NY) scored his first career goal with eight minutes left. Making his first start of the year (second appearance), sophomore attack Brendan Hoppey (Shoreham, NY) scored his first goal of the season. Hoppey, last year's LEC Rookie-of-the-Year, missed the first four matches of the year due to a broken hand and had three assists in his first appearance of the season last Saturday off the bench at Salisbury University.

Already the program career record-holder in numerous categories, senior goalie Kyle Savage (Southington) moved to within two appearances of establishing a program career record in that category by playing the first half in inet.

The Warriors picked up 49 ground balls in the match and won 15 of 24 faceoffs. Sophomore midfielder Eric Vasil (Southington) was 8-for-12 on faceoffs and scooped up a team-high nine ground balls. Senior defenseman Mike Silvestrini (Guilford) added six ground balls and senior defenseman Steve Lane (Groton) four.

Kyle Savage made seven stops in the first half before giving way to freshman Jamie Tommins (Fairfield) and sophomore Stephen Goomrigian (Norwalk), who wrapped up the win. Tommins mad four saves and Goomrigian turned back three shots over the final seven minutes.

Eastern visits Wheaton College Wednesday at 4 p.m. in a non-conference match.

Eastern Conn. 17, U. of Southern Maine 5

Southern Maine (3-3, 0-1 little east)    0   1   3   1 --   5
Eastern Conn. (4-2, 1-0 little east)      5   5   3   4 -- 17

Goals: S-Preston Gilbert 3, Will Joy, Cason Carlson; E-Vinny Tornatore 4, DJ Simmons 2, Michael Sullinger 2, John Carney, Maxim Fantl, Brendan Hoppey, Eric Vasil, Zach Malouf, Ben Raccio, Michael Glennon, Brian Fechtmann, Kyle Bainton,
Assists: S-Marc Stannard; E-Matt Savage 3, Simmons 2, Parker Geane 2, Fechtmann 2, Salieu Bolivar, Lathrop, Vasil, Hoppey,
Shots: S-31, E-48.
Saves: S-James Suriyodorn 17, E-Kyle Savage 7 (1 goal allowed, 30:00 min.), Jamie Tommins 4 (22:40, 3), Stephen Goomrigian 3 (7:20, 1)


Warriors protect one-goal lead over last five minutes in14-13 victory

Box score.htm

Jessica Richards (below)

richards WEB use_9337.jpgMANSFIELD, Conn. - The Eastern Connecticut State University women's lacrosse team built a five-goal lead with 15 minutes left and held on for a 14-13 Little East Conference victory over Keene State College Saturday afternoon in an early battle of the top two conference teams.

A two-time defending regular-season and playoff champion, Eastern (2-6) snaps a three-game losing streak with its second straight one-goal home decision this year. An ECAC tournament semifinalist last year, Keene (2-5) lost for the sixth straight time to Eastern - the last two by one goal. It was the conference opener for both clubs.

Eastern has now won 17 consecutive conference games following its last loss in the LEC conference playoffs in 2006. The Warriors and Owls were ranked 1-2 in the conference coaches' pre-season poll.

The Warriors trailed only once in the game with 12 minutes left in the first half, and
scored the first five goals of the second half  to take a 12-7 lead midway through the half.
Keene outscored Eastern 6-2 over the final 14 minutes, however, getting goals from freshman defender Sarah Valacer and sophomore midfielder Emily Persano to cut the gap to the final 14-13 margin with five minutes left.

The Warriors were held scoreless over the final nine minutes of the match but possessed the ball for over four minutes after the Owls had drawn to within the final 14-13 score. Keene gained possession with 15 seconds left but was unable to attempt a shot on net.

Junior midfielder Taylor MacDonald (Oak Bluffs, MA) - last year's LEC Defensive Player-of-the-Year -- scored two of the goals and assisted on another during the Warriors' five-goal explosion that opened the second half.  MacDonald and junior attack Dana McLaughlin (West Hartford) converted free-position goals in that stretch. The Warriors were 3-of-6 on free-position tries despite missing 30 of 36 of those shots this season heading into the game.

Eastern senior midfielder Jessica Richards (Somers) collected eight of Eastern's 18 draws and won 17 of 23 faceoffs. Junior attack Brooke Wayte (Bellport, NY) led Eastern with a career-tying (and season-high) four goals and added four draw controls to go along with a team-high six ground balls. Wayte had collected three of her goals with four minutes left in the first half that helped Eastern stave off Keene through the first half of a 7-7 tie.

Keene sophomore defender Annie Brown picked up a team-high four ground balls, with sophomore attack Jill Kirk, sophomore defender  Jamie Albert and  senior goalie Jen Gearing adding three each. Kirk and Albert shared team-high honors in goals with two each. Brown and Kirk were named all-conference as freshmen.

Eastern visits Mount Holyoke College Wednesday at 4:30 p.m.

Eastern Conn. 14, Keene State College 13

Keene State (2-5, 0-1 little east)        7    6 -- 13
Eastern Conn. (2-6, 1-0 little east)     7    7 -- 14

Goals: K-Jill Kirk 2, Jamie Albert 2, Emily Persano 2, Caitlyn Corace 2, Samantha Benson, Molly Corcoran, Jenny Illis, Sarah Valacer, Dene Tully; E-Brooke Wayte 4, Taylor MacDonald 3, Dana McLaughlin 2, Courtney Bedocs 2, Jessica Richards, Ashley Del Vecchio, Megan Barrett.
Assists: K-Lauren Sawyer 2, Kirk 2, Albert, Corcoran, Lillis; E-MacDonald 3, Del Vecchio, Nicole Shusdock.
Shots: K-23, E-33; Saves: K-Jen Gearing 10, E-Kristianna Ibsen 4.


After win over Wellesley, Warriors end trip with 3-0 loss to Columbia (MO)


rathbun WEB_9719.jpg

CLERMONT, Fla. -- Freshman righty Molly Rathbun (Hebron) equaled her season high with 13 strikeouts in a complete-game four-hitter and  sophomore Rachel Soychak (Mahopac, NY) broke a tie with a fifth-inning RBI single as the Eastern Connecticut State University softball team edged Wellesley College, 2-1, in a battle of 2008 NCAA tournament qualifiers.

At right: Molly Rathbun

In the last of ten games on its six-day spring trip, Eastern (6-4) was handcuffed by Columbia (MO) College righty Valerie Teter (9-2) in a 3-0 loss. Freshman Priscilla Alicea's (Stratford) bunt single in the bottom of the first inning was the only hit and one of ony two baserunners for Eastern, which was struck out a program-record 17 times. Alicea stole second and was sacrificed to third but a strikeout ended the inning and proved to be the Warriors' only threat.

Eastern 2, Wellesley 1

The win was the second -- both by a 2-1 score -- against a regional opponent on the trip for Eastern, which opened its season by besting Babson College Saturday morning.l

Eastern scored the winning run in the fifth inning after there were two out and none on. Soychak's single on a 0-2 pitch brought home pinch runner Stephanie Buchanan (Moosup) from second. Buchanan was running for Rathbun, who had doubled to left.

Eastern took a 1-0 lead in the third on an RBI triple by No. 9 hitter Alicea that sent home Kelly Finlay (Thomaston) from first. Wellesley tied the game in the fourth when Jessie Haladyna reached on an infield single with one out, stole second and scored on Alex Warren's single to center.

Eastern  had six hits and received five walks but stranded nine runners. The Warriors left the bases loaded in the fourth and fifth innings against losing pitcher Beej Grundlock (4-3). Grundlock ended the fourth inning with a strikeout and escaped the fifth when pinch hitter Rachel Denny (East Haddam) flied out to the base of the center field fence.

Rathbun (6-1) walked four and hit a batter. She struck out the first six batters she faced and also retired the side on strikeouts to end the game in the seventh. In the seventh, Wellesley No. 9 hitter Megan Townsend singled to right. Rathbun fanned leadoff hitter Amanda Tai and No. 2 hitter Elora Daniels. After Townsend stole second, Rathbun struck out No.3 hitter Alison Davis on three pitches to end the game. Rathbun thew 126 pitches, 84 for strikes.

On the season, Rathbun has a 0.60 earned run average in 47 innings. She has appeared in seven games with six starts, six complete games and two shutouts. She has allowed 18 hits, 16 of them singles and given up six runs (four earned) with 67 strikeouts and 16 walks. Opponents are batting .118 against her.

Columbia 3, Eastern 0

Teter struck out ten in a row and faced only two batters over the minimum. Courtney Caswell (Wakefield, RI) reached o a two-out walk in the fifth inning for Eastern's only other baserunner.

Columbia is ranked 23rd nationally in NAIA this year after winnings its regional tournament and qualifying for last year's national tournament.

In her second collegiate start, freshman righty Rosie Manzo (Hudson, MA) tossed her first complete game. Manzo (0-2) Manzo shut out the Cougars over the final four innings on three hits, fanning one and walking one. She stranded five runners over those final four innings.

Eastern opens its home and Little East Conference seasons Saturday against the University of Massachusetts Boston in a 1 p.m. doubleheader.

  .Eastern Conn. 2, Wellesley College 1

Wellesley College (5-6)    000   100   0 -- 1 4 1
Eastern Conn. (6-3)         001   010   x -- 2 6 0

Beej Grundlock (4-3) and Megan Townsend. Molly Rathbun (6-1) and Nikki Mustin. 2B-Rathbun (E); 3B-Priscilla Alicea (E).

Columbia College (MO) 3, Eastern Conn. 0

Columbia (12-6)               012   000   0 -- 3  7 0
Eastern Conn. (6-4)         000   000   0 --  0 1 2

Valerie Teter (9-2) and Ashley Farmer. Rosie Manzo (0-2) and Nikki Mustin. 2B-Teter (C).




 Warriors commit season-low turnover total but fall to No. 9 Maroons

WEST PALM BEACH - The Eastern Connecticut State University women's lacrosse team commited a season-low turnover total but won only six of 24 draws in falling to No. 9 nationally-ranked Union College Wednesday afternoon at Lake Lytal Park.

Eastern (1-6) turned the ball over only 18 times but went 22 minutes without a goal in the first half and was able to win only six of 26 draws. Union (2-1) rang up 11 straight goals in the first half and was never headed.

Ranked ninth nationally, Union was coming off a one-goal loss to No. 3 Franklin and Marshall College Monday. The loss was the fourth this year for Eastern against a team ranked nationally.

In addition to holding their turnover total under 20, Eastern was successful on 13 of 17 clears. Six different Eastern players scored one goal, while 12 different players contributed a goal or assist for Union.

Senior Jackie Bivona (Middlebury) and junior Taylor MacDonald (Oak Bluffs, MA) each had three ground balls for Eastern, with MacDonald winning two draws.

Eastern begins its quest for a third straight Little East Conference regular-season title when it hosts Keene State College Saturday at noon. The Warriors won by one goal last year over Owls en route to their second straight undefeated season.

Union College 17, Eastern Conn. 6

Union (2-1)               12   5 -- 17
Eastern Conn. (1-6)    2   4 --   6

Goals: U-Chelsea Charette 3, Kristin Joyce 3, Chloe Schmitz 2, Abby Stohler 2, Lizzy Rosato 2, Melissa Hine, Jill LaForest, Allie Cuozzo, Hilary Salander, Casey Dianni; E- Brooke Wayte, Nicole Shusdock , Jessica Richards, Jackie Bivona, Ashley Del Vecchio, Courtney Bedocs.
Assists: U-Charette, Hine, Schmitz, Stohler, Liz Zamore; E-Taylor MacDonald
Shots: U-26, E-19; Saves: U-Cat Ruggiero 4 (30:00 min., 2 goals allowed), Alexis Deeb 4 (30:00, 2); E-Kristianna Ibsen 6.




Palo's game-ending pinch single gives Warriors 7-6 win over BVU

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. - The Eastern Connecticut State University baseball team survived six errors and rallied from an early three-run deficit for a 7-6 win over Buena Vista University Wednesday in a battle of nationally-ranked teams featuring long winning streaks Wednesday afternoon at Salt River High School.

After No. 1-ranked Eastern (13-0) scored twice in the bottom of the eighth to take a 6-4 lead, No. 22 Buena Vista (11-1) tied the game with a pair of unearned runs in the top of the ninth on two walks, an error and a game-tying single by Brandon Pietrzyk. In the bottom of the ninth, sophomore Jim Schult (Wappingers Falls, NY) reached on a one-out single, went to second on a wild pitch, to third on senior Shawn Gilblair's (Windham) ground ball to second base, and after an intentional walk to junior Melvin Castillo (Danbury), scored the deciding run on junior Mike Palo's (Brookfield) opposite-field pinch single to right.

Eastern, which moved into the top spot earlier this week in both the and ABCA/Collegiate Baseball national polls, snapped Buena Vista's 11-game winning streak with the its 13th straight victory that wrapped up a perfect 8-0 spring trip to Arizona. The Beavers hadn't lost since a season-opening 8-5 setback at Nebraska Wesleyan.

Trailing 4-1 after two innings, Eastern got effective two-inning relief from junior lefty Wes Dutton (Waterbury) and scored five unanswered runs to carry a 6-4 lead into the ninth. Eastern tied the game at 4-4 with two runs in the bottom of the sixth on senior Tristan Hobbes' (Utica, NY) run-scoring single and a pinch ground ball by sophomore Robert Perry (Manchester) that brought home Castillo with the tying run. Sophomore Andrew Dewing (Swampscott, MA) and freshman Steve Cammuso (Rutland, MA) both contributed pinch singles in the inning. Cammuso's single plated Castillo with the go-ahead run and a wild pitch sent home freshman pinch runner Justin Proctor (Meriden) with an insurance run.

Schult, who hit for the cyle Tuesday, was 3-for-5 in the game to raise his average to .525. Castillo was 2-for-3 to raise his average to .463. Junior Travis Bass (West Hartford) hit a solo home run to give Eastern a 1-0 lead in the first and junior John Parke (Middlefield) swatted a solo homer in the fifth for Eastern's second run. Bass has hit in eight straight games.

Five Eastern pinch hitters combined for four hits and Perry's game-tying ground ball.

Eastern opens its Little East Conference season Saturday at 2 p.m. against LEC pre-season favorite and No. 10 nationally-rankedUniversity of Southern Maine.

Eastern Conn. 7, Buena Vista U. 6

Buena Vista (11-2)       022   000   002 -- 6   8 1
Eastern Conn. (13-0)    100   012   021 -- 7 12 6

Ryan Wuebker, Kyle Dupic (8) and Kevin Kloewer. James Kukucka, Wes Dutton (7), Chris Wojick (9), Matt Fontaine (9) and Andrew Magliola, Chris Cannata (5). WP-Fontaine (2-0); LP-Dupic (2-1). 2B-Jim Schult (E); HR-John Parke (3), Travis Bass (2) (E). 




 Rathbun pitches six-hitter for win, No. 8 Warhawks mercy Warriors

CLERMONT, Fla. - Eastern Connecticut State University freshman righty Molly Rathbun (Hebron) won her fifth game with a complete-game six-hitter in a 7-3 softball win over Elmhurst College Wednesday morning at Legends' Way Field at the National Training Center

In the second game, No. 8 ranked University of Wisconsin-Whitewater collected eight hits in 2+ inning off freshman righty Rosie Manzo (Hudson, MA) and went on to a 10-2 victory in a game stopped with Whitewater (8-1) batting in the bottom of the fifth due to the eight-run rule.

Eastern is ranked third in New England.

Eastern Conn. 7, Elmhurst College 3

Rathbun had shut out then No.-1 ranked Whitewater, 4-0, Sunday with a complete-game three-hitter. Battling the flu Wednesday, Rathbun (5-1) was staked to a 7-0 lead after four innings against Elmhurst (8-3) but tired in the sixth inning when the Blue Jays scored all of their runs on three hits. It was the second win in five days for Rathbun against Elmhurst. She had thrown  3 2/3 hitless innings in relief Saturday in Eastern's 6-4 win.

After scoring two unearned runs in the second inning, Eastern broke the game open with five runs in the fourth on three hits, two errors, a walk and hit batter. Freshman Alicia Mangiafico (Manchester) recorded her first collegiate hit, run and RBI in the inning, Rathbun singled in one run, and junior Kim Church (Farmington) drove in one with a double. Junior Ashley Sullivan (Trumbull) also drove in a run with an infield ground ball.

Rathbun had two of Eastern's six hits. On the mound, she fanned six and walked two. The earned runs were the first allowed by Rathbun in her career after 38 2/3 innings. In six games this year, she has a 0.52 ERA in 40 innings, with 54 strikeouts and 12 walks. She has given up 14 hits, 12 of them singles.

UW-Whitewater 10, Eastern Conn. 2 (5 inn., 8-run rule)

With Eastern senior ace Katie Pensiero (Stamford) unavailable to pitch on the trip due to illness, Manzo made her first collegiate start (second appearance) against a team which reached last year's national title game. Manzo was touched for four runs on five hits in the first inning was lifted with one out and one run in and the bases loaded in the third. Sophomore righty  Caitlin Cravens (Ellsworth, ME) retired the side without further damage in the third and closed out the game.

Sophomore lefty Jessica Stang (4-1), the losing pitcher in last year's national championship game and a 2009 pre-season All-America, pitched a complete-game two-hitter for her 20th win in 32 career appearances. Her only loss this year came Sunday against Eastern.

Whitewater No. 3 hitter Suzanne Gersich had three hits, drove in three with a fourth-inning home run, and scored two runs. Leadoff hitter Amy Gahl had a double and game-ening two-run triple among her three hits, scored two runs and drove in two.

Eastern scored a run in the fourth on senior Rachel Denny's (East Haddam) two-out single and another in the fifth on freshman No. 9 hitter Priscilla Alicea's (Stratford) two-out double to shallow center.

Eastern closes out its trip Thursday against Wellesley College (9:30 a.m.) and Manchester College (11:30 a.m.).

Eastern Conn. 7, Elmhurst College 3

Eastern Conn. (5-2)   025   000   0 -- 7 6 0
Elmhurst (8-3)           000   003   0 -- 3 6 4

Molly Rathbun (5-1) and Nikki Mustin. Lindsay Nauman (4-1) and Liz McAllister, Kendra Ostrader (5). 2B-Church (Ea), Maureen Roderick (El).

UW-Whitewater 10, Eastern Conn. 2, 5 inn. (8-run rule)

Eastern Conn. (5-3)    000   11 --   2   2 1
UW-Whitewater (8-1)  401   32 -- 10 13 2
One out when game ended

Rosie Manzo (0-1), Cailtin Cravens (3) and Nikki Mustin. Jessica Stang (4-1) and Liz Yucuis, Taylor Rothmund (5). 2B-Priscilla Alicea (E), Amy Gahl, Amanda LeBeau (W); 3B-Gahl (W); HR-Suzanne Gersich (1) (W).


 Warriors challenge many records during record-setting 12th opening win

CHANDLER, Ariz. - The Eastern Connecticut State University baseball team celebrated its return to the No. 1 national ranking with a record-setting performance Tuesday that established a program record for consecutive season-opening victories in a 20-13 victory over the University of Chicago at Snedigar Complex.

Eastern  (12-0) set a program record for consecutive wins to open the season by collecting 25 hits - 13 of them for extra bases. The team's nine doubles are one shy of the program record.

A four-time national champion, Eastern is ranked first nationally in both the poll released Monday night and the ABCA/Collegiate Baseball released Tuesday afternoon.

Four hitters batting in the middle of the Eastern lineup combined to total 18 hits, drive in 15 runs and score 14. They had six doubles, three triples and a home run. 

Sophomore Jim Schult (Wappingers Falls, NY) became the sixth player in program history to hit for the cycle. Schult and  junior Travis Bass (West Hartford) tied the program record with six hits apiece Schult also tied the program record by scoring six runs, and Bass' two triples also tied the program record. Schult's 12 total bases were just two shy of the program record set by Melvin Castillo  (Danbury) on April 29, 2007.

Schult  and Bass were both 6-for-7. Schult scored six runs scored and drove in six. Bass scored five runs scored and drove in three. Castillo, a junior, had four hits and drove in four runs, a senior cleanup hitter Shawn Gilblair (Windham) had two hits, scored two runs and drove in two. Gilblair and Castillo each had two doubles.

In hitting for the cycle, Schult singled and scored in a three-run first inning, had an RBI single and scored in a seven-run second inning; reached on an error in a two-run third inning; doubled in the only run of the  fourth inning; drove in both runs in a two-run sixth inning; drove in the first run and scored the second run in a two-run eighth inning, and tripled in one run and scored one in a three-run ninth.

The second of four pitchers, freshman righty Michael Hepple (Newington) earned his first collegiate win in his third appearance. He allowed four (earned) runs in 4 2/3 innings, giving uup six hits, fanning two and walking none.

Eastern moved out to a 10-0 lead by scoring seven runs in the second inning on six hits, but Chicago answered with eight runs in the bottom of the inning on four hits, four walks and a hit batter. Freshman Trace Capps capped the inning with a three-run double for his second hit of the inning and freshman Stephen Williams scored twice with a single and hit-by-pitch.

Eastern is batting .372 as a team with a .617 slugging percentage and  is averaging 11.4 runs per game. Schult is batting .514 with an .857 slugging percentage; Castillo is batting .451 with a .902 slugging percentage; and Bass is batting .434 with a.717 slugging percentage.

Eastern looks for its first unbeaten trip west when it faces Buena Vista University Wednesday at 2 p.m. ET at Scottsdale, Ariz . in its eighth game in Arizona.
Eastern Conn. 20, U. of Chicago 13

Eastern Conn. (12-0)    372 102 023 --  20   25   4
Chicago (2-2)               080 000 311 --  13   12   4

Michael Holmes, Michael Hepple (3), Andrew Morrison (7), Matt Fontaine (8) and Chris Cannata. Marshall Oium (0-1), John Kozlar (4), Alex Garcia (9) and Scott Hofer. WP-Hepple (1-0). 2B-Shawn Gilblair 2, Melvin Castillo 2, Jim Schult, Travis Bass, Tristan Hobbes, Cannata (E), Hofer, Trace Capps ©; 3B-Bass 2, Schult (E); HR-Schult (2) (E), Stephen Williams (2) ©.




 Warriors No. 1 in Top 25 and in first ABCA Top 30

WILLIMANTIC, Conn. - By extending its season-opening winning streak to ten, four-time NCAA Division III national baseball champion Eastern Connecticut State University has moved up five place into the No. 1 spot in the fifth weekly Top 25 national poll, released Monday night, and topped the first ABCA/Collegiate Baseball Top 30 rating, released Tuesday afternoon.

Now 11-0 after Monday's 17-15 win over Calvin College in Chandler, Ariz., Eastern has equaled its best start in program history. The Warriors jumped ahead of four teams - all of whom lost one game - into the No. 1 spot in the poll. Cortland State was ranked first in the pre-season and Salisbury was first each of the next three weeks before 2008 national champion Trinity College took over the No. 1 spot last week.

Warriors command 17 first-place votes in poll

In the poll, the Warriors received 17 of a possible 25 votes and 604 points from the panel of Sports Information Directors and media members. Salisbury (17-3) dropped to second after losing one of four games and received 563 points and three first-place votes. Texas-Tyler (21-5/4-1 last week) is third in the poll with 505 points, Trinity (8-2/4-1) and Millsaps College (22-3/3-1) share fourth in this week's poll with 502 points Trinity received one first-place vote, Millsaps three.

Other New England teams ranked in the top ten along with Eastern and Trinity were Wheaton College (6th) and Little East Conference foe University of Southern Maine (10th).
Eastern was not ranked in last year's final poll and was 13th in the pre-season this year, 12th on Feb. 22, 11th on March 1, and 8th on March 8 before moving to fifth last Monday.

Eastern edges Millsaps in ABCA/Collegiate Baseball poll

Never ranked higher than 26th in last year's American Baseball Coaches' Association/Collegiate Baseball poll, the Warriors received four first-place votes and 232 total points in the first poll, which is released every other week during the season. A panel of eight coaches representing each geographic region vote in the poll.

Millsaps received three first-place votes and 230 points for second place, with Texas-Tyler third, the College of Wooster fourth and Kean University fifth. Wooster was awarded one first-place vote. Among New England schools, Wheaton was seventh, Trinity 13th and Southern Maine 23rd.

Eastern was ranked 27th in last year's final poll, conducted following post-season play.


The team's 11-0 start equals the start of the 1972 team - the fourth team under current 41st-year head coach Bill Holowaty. Under Holowaty, Eastern became the first program to win as many as four Division III national championships, the most recent one coming in 2002.

As a team, Eastern is averaging 10.6 runs per game and has a team .361 batting average and .598 slugging average and a staff 2.56 ERA. Nine times, the Warriors have scored at least nine runs in a game.

Eight regulars are hitting over .300. Former All-Americas Shawn Gilblair (Windham) and Melvin Castillo (Danbury) and Jim Schult (Wappingers Falls, NY) top the team in batting average. Gilblair is batting .433 with ten RBI and Castillo .432. Castillo leads the team in slugging (.909), RBI (16), runs (15), home runs (5) and total bases (40). Schult is batting .429 withi 13 runs. Sophomore Shane Kingsley (Beacon Falls) is batting .375, junior Travis Bass (West Hartford) .370 with 14 runs scored and six stolen bases, and junior Will Musson (Wethersfield) .333 with 11 RBI. Junior John Parke (Middlefield) has driven in 12 runs with a .311 batting average.

Lefty Gilblair (2-0, 3.00) and righty Musson (2-0, 1.12) are also two of the team's top pitchers. Junior righty Chris Wojick (Uncasville) is 1-0-2 with a 1.86 ERA in six appearances. Senior righty James Kukucka (Vernon) is 1-0 with a 0.00 ERA in 10 2/3 innings and junior lefty Mike Tingley (Rockville) 1-0 with a 1.23 ERA in 7 1/3 innings. Opponents are batting .227 against the staff.

Eastern looks for its best start ever Tuesday when it faces the University of Chicago at Chandler, AZ at 2 p.m. ET. The Warriors close out their eight-game Arizona trip Wednesday against Buena Vista University at Scottsdale at 2 p.m. ET and host the University of Southern Maine in a Little East Conference doubleheader Saturday at 2 p.m. at the Eastern Baseball Stadium.



Monday, March 23, 2009
            He cracks two home runs and two doubles in 17-15 victory

CHANDLER, Ariz. -- Junior third baseman Melvin Castillo (Danbury) reached safely six times with two home runs, two doubles and two walks, scored five runs and drove in four and Shawn Gilblair (Windham) sparked a four-run ninth inning with a go-ahead two-run double as Eastern equaled its best start in program history by winning its 11th straight game in a 17-15 victory over Calvin College at Snedigar Complex.

With Eastern trailing 14-13 and one out in the top of the ninth, John Parke  (Middlefield) reached on an infield single and  stole second, pinch  hitter Tristan Hobbes (Utica, NY) walked and Gilblair plated Parke and pinch runner Shane Kingsley (Beacon Falls) with the tying and go-ahead runs.

With the win, Eastern equals the team record of consecutive season-opening victories set in 1972 - the fourth season in head coach Bill Holowaty's 41-year tenure. That team won 23 of 26 games.

Castillo, batting .583 since opening the season 1-for-12, had a leadoff double and scored in the second inning, hit two-run home runs in the third and fifth, doubled and scored in the sixth and was intentionally walked in the seventh and intentionally walked and scored in the ninth. His second homer gives him 30 in his three-year career. He is one of only five players in program history to reach that mark.

Eastern had nine doubles and two home runs in the game.

Eastern trailed 5-0 after one inning but later took its first lead at 10-8 after scoring six runs  in the fifth on six hits after there were two out and one on base. In the inning, Castillo hit a two-run home run and No. 8-9 hitters Andrew Dewing (Swampscott, MA) and Steve Cammuso (Rutland, MA) contributed RBI doubles. Parke, Travis Bass (West Hartford) and Dewing all had three hits.

Junior lefty Mike Tingley (Rockville) gained his first win since 2007 by pitching three shutout innings. Tingley, who missed all of last year following arm surgery, gave up two hits and no walks and fanned five. With Eastern's first four pitchers largely ineffective against Calvin (0-4), Tingley was summoned while Calvin was scoring three unearned runs to take a 14-12 lead.  Tingley took over for junior lefty Wes Dutton (Waterbury) with two on and no one on in the sixth. Tingley retired the side after allowing only one run, then pitched a scoreless eighth and ninth (the only two innings that Calvin did not score) before junior righty Chris Wojick (Uncasville) got the final three outs of the ninth to earn his second save.

Senior cleanup hitter Nate Pocock was one of three Calvin hitters with three hits. Pocock socked a double and triple, drove in four runs and scored three. His three-run home run in the bottom of the fifth returned the lead to Calvin, 11-10.

The No.-5 ranked Warriors look for their first 12-0 start when it faces the University of Chicago at 2 p.m. at Chandler.

Eastern Conn. 17, Calvin College 15

Eastern Conn. (11-0)     012 162 104 --  17 18 4
Calvin College (0-4)       511 133  001 -- 15 17 0

Danny Schmiemann, Bill Roveto (1), Nathaniel Belke (4), Wes Dutton (6), Mike Tingley (6), Chris Wojick (9) and Steve Cammuso, Chris Cannata (9). Zach Thomas, Derick Vargas (5), Jeff Groenewold (6), Rob Kool (7), Brett Cavanaugh (9) and Matt Dodrill. WP-Tingley (1-0). LP-Kool (0-1). Save-Wojick (2). 2B-Melvin Castillo 2, John Parke, Shawn Gilblair, Will Musson, Robert Perry, Travis Bass, Andrew Dewing, Cammuso (E), Nate Pocock, Scott Burden, Tyler Berger (C). HR-Castillo 2 (5) (E), Pocock (1) (C).



Warriors play Bengals on even terms in first half before stumbling


 WEST PALM BEACH -- The Eastern Connecticut State University women's lacrosse team went scoreless for 14 minutes in the second half and fell to Buffalo State College, 18-11,

Monday afternoon at Lake Lytal Park.


Eastern senior Dana McLaughlin's (West Hartford) only goal of the game pulled Eastern (1-5) even at halftime, 9-9, but after taking a one-goal lead early in the second half, the Warriors were outscored 8-0 as Buffalo (7-1) moved out to a 17-10 lead with 14 minutes left.

Eastern outshot the Bengals 39-32, but Buffalo sophomore goalie Ashley O'Brien turned back 20 of the 31 shots that the Warriors put on cage. Eastern was able to convert only one of nine free-position shots, with O'Brien saving four of them.

Eastern senior defender Jackie Bivona (Middlebury) collected six ground balls and junior midfielder Taylor MacDonald (Oak Bluffs, MA) won six draws.

MacDonald scored twice and sophomore Ashley Del Vecchio (Fairfield) and junior Katie Beers (Trumbull) in the first six minutes of the match to stake Eastern to a quick lead. The Bengals bounced back to score five of the game's six goals late in the half. Neither team was able to score more than two consecutive goals until Buffalo went on its eight-goal run.Leanna Pace scored all three of her game's goal in that eight-goal run and Kendyl Clarkson scored two of her game-high six and Katie Henderson two of her game total of five.

MacDonald led Eastern with three goals and recorded its only assist to improve her team-high totals to 12 goals and 11 assists. Beers, junior Brooke Wayte (Bellport, NY) and freshman Nicole Shusdock (Norwalk) each added two goals. Beers (11), Wayte (7) and Shusdock (7) follow MacDonald in goals this year. MacDonald also tops the club with 28 draw controls and 21 ground balls. Bivona is second to MacDonald with 23 draws adn 18 ground balls.

The Warriors wind up their three-game trip at SpringFling Wednesday at 4 p.m. against No. 9 nationally-ranked Union College. The Dutchwomen (1-1) are coming off today's 11-10 loss to host Franklin & Marshall, ranked third nationally.The two-time defending Little East Conference champions open their conference season Saturday when they host Keene State College at noon in Mansfield.

Buffalo State College 18, Eastern Conn. 11

Eastern Conn. (1-5)         9     2 --  11
Buffalo State (7-1)           9     9 --  18

Goals: E-Taylor MacDonald 3, Katie Beers 2, Nicole Shusdock 2, Brooke Wayte 2, Ashley Del Vecchio, Dana McLaughlin 1; B-Kendyl Clarkson 6, Katie Henderson 5, Karen Shaddock 3, Leanna Pace 3, Marian DeBolt.
Assists: E-MacDonald; B-Shaddock 5, Clarkson 3, Steph Georgopoulos, Molly Seifritz
Shots: E-39, B-32; Saves: E-Kristianna Ibsen 6; B-Ashley O'Brien 20.






Chicago equally frustrated by freshman, but escapes with 1-0 win

CLERMONT, Fla. - In her third career start, freshman Molly Rathbun (Hebron) pitched a complete-game one-hitter with a season-high 13 strikeouts as the Eastern Connecticut State University softball team disposed of Lawrence University, 5-0, Monday afternoon at Legends' Way Field at the National Training Center.

Against Lawrence (0-3), the 5-foot-9 inch Rathbun (4-0) allowed only two baserunners in tossing her second consecutive shutout. She allowed only one baserunner (a walk) through the first five innings before the Vikings' No. 8 hitter Lara Wasserman rapped a clean double down the left field line on a 2-1 pitch. Rathbun stranded Wasserman on third with the help of two strikeouts.



After tossing five no-hit innings and finishing with a one-hitter in Eastern's (4-2) 5-0 win over Lawrence University, Rathbun (4-2) came back two hours later to throw a perfect game for six innings but sustained a one-hit loss when the University of Chicago (3-1) scored the only run on a wild pitch with one out in the bottom of the eighth.

 Each team started the eighth inning by placing a runner on second base, in according to the international tie-breaker rule. In the top of the eighth, Eastern botched a suicide squeeze which resulted in the final out of the inning on a close play at home plate. With a runner on third in the bottom of the eighth and one out, Rathbun uncorked a wild pitch on her first delivery to Liz Payonk, allowing Kathleen Duffy to score the winning run.

A leadoff single in the top of the seventh was the only batter to reach base against Rathbun, who fanned 11.

Winning pitcher Sarah Neuhaus, also a freshman righty, pitched a complete-game three-hitter and like Rathbun, did not walk a batter.

 With the score tied, Eastern had runners on second and third and one out in the sixth, but Neuhaus got an infield pop and a called strikeout to end the threat.The Warriors also stranded a runner at second in the fourth.

With the Warriors playing their sixth game in three days, head coach Diana Pepin mixed her lineup against the Maroons. Senior second baseman Kelly Finlay (Thomaston) replaced junior Kim Church (Farmington) at shortstop, and senior Stephanie Buchanan (Moosup) and freshman Christine Yeomans (Durham) made their first career starts at right field and second base, respectively. Yeomans recorded her first collegiate hit with a single leading off the sixth inning and was sacrificed to second by No. 9 hitter Buchanan.

In two games on the day, Rathbun allowed two hits and no earned runs in 14 1/3 innings. She fanned 24 and walked one. After six games this year, Rathbun has not allowed an earned run in 33 innings. She has surrendered just eight hits (seven singles) and two runs while fanning 48 and walking ten. Opposing batters are hitting just .077.


Against Lawrence, Rathbun threw 88 pitches--62 for strikes --  in the one hour and 37 minute game. The shutout was the second in the last two starts for Rathbun. On Sunday, she surrendered only three singles and fanned 12 in a 4-0 win over No. 1 nationally-ranked University of Wisconsin-Whitewater.

Eastern managed seven hits off complete-game loser Emily Perish (0-2), scoring two runs in the fifth and two more in the sixth with the help of errors and passed balls to break open a tight game. Batting cleanup, Rathbun doubled twice and drove in the first run of the game with a sacrifice fly. She led off the sixth inning with her second double of the game to the base of the center field fence and pinch runner Michelle Lawlor (Brookline, MA) later scored on successive passed balls.

Eastern scored the only run it would need in the fourth inning when senior first baseman Rachel Denny (East Haddam) tripled to right field and came home on Rathbun's fly ball to center.

The Warriors made it 3-0 in the fifth on singles by senior third baseman Courtney Caswell (Wakefield, RI) and sophomore leftfielder Katie Dinihanian (Stratford), junior shortstop Kim Church's (Farmington) suicide squeeze bunt and two throwing errors. Batting ninth, Dinihanian drove Caswell with the first run on a single to center. She then stole second and raced to third on a throwing error by the catcher, and scored on Church's sacrifice bunt.

Leading 3-0, the Warriors tacked on two more runs on Rathbun's leadoff double, a single by sophomore DP Rachel Soychak (Mahopac, NY), two passed balls and an outfield error on Caswell's routine fly ball which allowed her to circle the bases.

Rathbun struck out four batters at least twice -- with No. .3 hitter Alex Goodson going down three times on strikes . She struck out five straight at one point early in the game. In four games this year, Rathbun has not allowed an earned run in 25 2/3 innings. She has given up one run and seven hits (six singles) while fanning 37 and walking ten. Opponents are batting .084 against her servings.

Eastern Conn. 5, Lawrence U. 0

Eastern Conn. (4-1)       000  122  0 -- 5 7 0
Lawrence (0-3)              000  000  0 -- 0 1 3

Molly Rathbun (4-0) and Nikki Mustin. Emily Perish (0-2) and Hillary Cheever. 2B-Rathbun 2 (E); 3B-Rachel Denny (E).

 U. of Chicago 1, Eastern Conn. 0, 8 inn. (tiebreaker)

Eastern Conn. (4-2)       000 000 00 -- 0 3 0
Chicago (3-1)                000 000 01 -- 1 1 1
One out when winning run scored
Molly Rathbun (4-1) and Nikki Mustin. Sarah Neuhaus (2-0) and Sara Whaley.


 Warriors rout Ephs in opener, break tie in seventh inning of nightcap

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. - Juniors John Parke (Middlefield) and Chris Thomson (Montville) homered in a six-run first inning in the opener and the Eastern Connecticut State University baseball team scored twice after there were two out and none on in the seventh inning to snap a tie in the nightcap in a 10-1, 6-4 sweep of Williams College Sunday at Sagauro High School.

Ranked No. 5 in Division III, Eastern (10-0) recorded its second doubleheader sweep in two days to improve to 5-0 on its eight-game Arizona trip. The games were the first this season for Williams (0-2).

In the opener, junior righty Will Musson (Wethersfield) and junior lefty Wes Dutton (Waterbury) combined on a two-hitter and Eastern scored six runs in the bottom of the first on four this, two walks, two passed balls, and a wild pitch. Parke  and Thomson hit home runs in the inning. The home run was Thomson's second in two days. Senior Tristan Hobbes (Utica, NY) had two hits and Thomson and Parke each drove in two runs.The run charged to Musson was unearned. He fanned six and walked three in seven innings.

In the nightcap, an infield throwing error with two out and the bases loaded in the top of the seventh scored two runs to snap a 3-3 tie. Junior righty Chris Wojick (Uncasville) pitched the final 3 2/3 innings to close out the win.  After there were two out and none on in the seventh, Hobbes (single), Parke (walk) and Musson (hit-by-pitch) reached safely to load the bases. On a ground ball to third, the throw to second trying for the inning-ending forcout was off the mark, allowing two runs to score. Wojick gave up four this and one (earned) run, fanned four and walked one. Junior Melvin Castillo (Danbury) had two hits for his fifth multiple-hit game of the eyar and senior Shawn Gilblair (Windham) drove in three runs with a two-run double in the third and a sacrifice fly in the ninth.

In ten games this year, the Warriors are batting .354 with a staff pitching ERA of 1.88. Sophomore Jim Schult (Wappingers, NY) tops all regulars with a .478 average, with Gilbalir at .462, senior Andrew Magliola (East Haven) .438 and  sophomore Chris Cannata  (Southington) .400.

Eastern faces Calvin College Monday at 12:30 p.m. ET at Chandler, Ariz.

Game 1
Eastern Conn. 10, Williams College 1

Williams (0-1)         000 010 000 --   1   2 3
Eastern Conn. (9-0) 601 020 10x -- 10 11 3

Dan Benz (0-1), Tom Hester (5), Dan Marcet (8) and Chad Brown. Will Musson (2-0), Wes Dutton (8) and Steve Cannata. 2B-Jim Schult, Robert Perry, Cannata (E); HR-John Parke (2), Chris Thomson (2).

Game 2
Eastern Conn. 6, Williams College 4

Eastern Conn. (10-0) 002 001 210 --   6   9 2
Williams (0-2)           000 111 100 --   4 11 6

Jim Schult, Wes Dutton (6), Chris Wojick (6) and Andrew Magliola. Paul Burgdorf, Harry Marino (6), Dan Grossman (7), Ben Oliva (8) and Chase Davenport. WP-Wojick (1-0). LP-Grossman (0-1). 2B-Shawn Gilblair (E), Davenport (W).






 Freshman Rathbun fans 12 in a complete-game three-hit victory

 CLERMONT, Fla. - A year ago, pitcher Molly Rathbun (Hebron) was striking out opposing high school hitters by the dozen. In her second collegiate start Sunday, the 5-foot-9 inch righty fanned 12 University of Wisconsin-Whitewater batters in a complete-game three-hit gem that led the Eastern Connecticut State University softball team to a 4-0 win over the No. 1 ranked team in Division III.

Eastern (3-1) settled for a split of two games at Legends' Way Field at the National Training Center Sunday when Buffalo State College scored six runs in the fourth inning in a 9-2 victory.

Eastern Conn. 4, UW-Whitewater 0

In one of the most overwhelming performances against a national-caliber team in many years, Rathbun limited Whitewater (4-1) to three singles as she handed the Warhawks their first shutout loss since 2007. Whitewater returned all but two starters from a team which reached last year's national championship game.

Rathbun had a no-hitter until No. 9 hitter Courtney Baldwin punched an opposite-field single to left with two out in the fifth. After the first inning, only one Whitewater got as far as second base Rathbun did not walk a batter after walking two in the first inning, when she got a swinging strikeout of No. 5 hitter Amanda LeBeau to strand runners at second and third.

Rathburn (3-0), who struck out 12 batters in 11 2/3 innings of two season-opening wins Saturday, struck out four straight batters over the first two innings Sunday, and later fanned four of six hitters. She completed the shutout with two swinging strikeouts and an infield ground ball in the seventh.

Rathbun has not allowed an earned run in three games this year (giving up one total run) while striking out 24 in 18 2/3 innings and giving up only six hits (all singles). Rathbun outdueled Whitewater's 2008 freshman All-America lefty Jessica Stang, who gave up seven hits and was able to strike out only three Eastern batters.

Freshman rightfielder Priscilla Alicea (Stratford) had a sacrifice fly to give Eastern a 1-0 lead in the third, and senior catcher/first baseman Rachel Denny (East Haddam) made it 3-0 with a two-out, two-run opposite-field single to right. No. 9 hitter Katie Dinihanian (Stratford) scored the fourth run in the fifth, coming home on Denny's two-out RBI double down the left field line.

Buffalo State 9, Eastern Conn. 2

Making her second start this year after coming out of the bullpen almost exclusively last year, sophomore righty Caitlin Cravens (Ellsworth, ME) was knocked out while the Bengals were scoring six runs in the fourth inning on four hits, two walks, and two infield errors. Freshman righty Rosie Manzo (Hudson, MA) made her collegiate debut in place of Cravens, working the final 3 2/3 innings. Manzo did not allow a hit and only one baserunner over the final two innings.

Cravens has stepped in as the No. 2 starter due to the illness of senior co-captain Katie Pensiero (Stamford), who is not expected to see action until the northern and home-opener Saturday against Massachusetts Boston.

Denny drove in both Eastern runs with doubles in the first and third innings. Denny has six RBI this year and needs three to break the career record of 118. She already holds the season record.

Junior shortstop Kim Church (Farmington) and junior centerfielder Ashley Sullivan (Trumbull) matched Denny with two hits each. Defensively, Church was errorless on five chances.

Sullivan is 7-for-10 this season, Dinihanian 6-for-12, Denny 6-for-14 and Rathbun 5-for-13 with three runs and three RBI. The team is batting .316.

Monday, Eastern faces Lawrence University (9:30 a.m.) and the University of Chicago (1:30 p.m.)

Eastern Conn. 4, UW-Whitewater 0

UW-Whitewater (4-1) 000 000 0--0 3 1
Eastern Conn. (3-0)  003 010 x--4 7 1

Jessica Stang (2-1) and Liz Yucuis. Molly Rathbun (3-0) and Rachel Denny.
2B-Denny (E).

Buffalo State College 9, Eastern Conn. 2

Buffalo State (3-1)  200 610 0--9 10 2
Eastern Conn. (3-1)  101 000 0--2   8 2

Nicole Sabura (2-0) and Lindsay Goff. Caitlin Cravens (0-1), Rosie Manzo (4) and Nikki Mustin. 2B-Marissa Mariano (B), Rachel Denny 2 (E); 3B-Priscilla Alicea (E).




Warriors rally from early deficit but MIT holds on for 17-13 victory

WEST PALM BEACH --  The Eastern Connecticut State University women's lacrosses team erased an early four-goal deficit but MIT later outscored the Warriors 8-2 en route to a 17-13 victory Sunday morning at Lake Lytal Park.

Coming off its first win of the season Wednesday - a triple overtime victory over visiting Vassar College Wednesday  - Eastern (1-4) gave up five of the first six goals and never led in dropping its first match on the spring trip.

Junior Casey Flynn, sophomore Erica Little and freshman Katie Kaufmann combined for 15 goals and five assists for MIT (2-2), which won its second straight after two opening losses.

Eastern scored four straight goals to climb out of an early hole and tie the match at 5-5. MIT scored the first three goals of the second half to take a 13-7 lead. Eastern managed to cut the gap to two, 15-13 with five minutes left on goals by junior Brooke Wayte (Bellport, NY) and junior Katie Beers (Trumbull) before Little and Flynn each scored an insurance goal inside thefinal two miutes.

Senior Jessica Richards (Somers) won 20 of 24 faceoffs for Eastern, and collected nine draw controls. Junior Taylor MacDonald (Oak Bluffs, MA) had five ground balls and Wayte four. MacDonald also won three draws. Senior Jackie Bivona (Middlebury) caused three turnovers.

Beers finished with four goals, Wayte three and MacDonald and freshman Nicole Shusdock (Norwalk) two each. MacDonald also assisted on three goals to improve her team-leading point total of 19. Beers and MacDonald share the team lead with nine goals each.

Eastern faces Buffalo State College Monday at 4 p.m.

MIT 17, Eastern Conn. 13

MIT (2-2)                  10     7 --   17
Eastern Conn. (1-4)    7     6 --   13

Goals: M-Casey Flynn 6, Erica Little 5, Katie Kauffman 4, Samantha O'Keefe, Kelly Duncan.
E-Katie Beers 4, Brooke Wayte 3, Taylor MacDonald 2, Nicole Shusdock 2, Dana McLaughlin, Courtney Bedocs.
Assists: M-Flynn 3, Little 2. E-MacDonald 3; Ashley Del Vecchio, Brooke Wayte.

Shots: M-31, E-27; Saves: M-Molly McCartin 8, E-Kristianna Ibsen 5.


 Warriors give No. 1 Sea Gulls toughest test of season in 15-7 setback

SALISBURY, Md. -- The Eastern Connecticut State University men's lacrosse team matched No. 1-ranked and two-time defending national champion Salisbury University through the first eight goals of the game before the Sea Gulls eventually re-grouped for a 15-7 victory to post their 86th consecutive regular-season victory Saturday night

Eastern (3-2) recovered from an early 3-0 deficit to score four of the next five goals and pull even at 4-4 one minute into the second period. At that point, Salisbury (9-0) went on an 8-1 run that put them comfortably ahead, 12-5, midway through the third period.

The loss snaps a modest two-game winning streak for Eastern. Two-time defending national champion Salisbury extended its overall winning streak to 51, its home streak to 81, and its regular-season streak to 86. The Sea Gulls have not lost a regular-season game in six years.

Eastern senior keeper Kyle Savage (Southington) made a season-high 19 saves to backstop a defense which limited Salisbury 30-goal scorer Mike Cannone to one goal and which held the Sea Gulls off the board on six of seven man-up situations. Salisbury national Player-of-the-Year Kyler Berkman was held scoreless on seven shots. He managed to record his 20th and 21st assists of 2009. Sophomore faceoff specialist Eric Vasil (Southington) continued his faceoff dominance by winning 14 of 25 faceoffs and is now 73-for-103 this year. Vasil picked up a team-high ten ground balls.

The game marked the season debut of sophomore attack Brendan Hoppey (Shoreham, NY), who had missed the first four games of the season with a hand injury. Hoppey, last year's Little East Conference Rookie-of-the-Year, contributed three assists. Senior attack Matthew Savage (Southington) and junior midfielder Zach Malouf (Norwich) each had two goals for Eastern. Senior midfielder DJ Simmons (Mystic) freed himself to take ten shots, but was able to put only one past Salisbury sophomore goalie Johnny Rodriguez. Simmons and senior defenseman Mike Silvestrini (Guilford) each collected four ground balls.

The Warriors converted a season-high three man-up goals (on eight attempts), sophomore attack Brian Fechtmann (Levittown, NY) using that extra-man opportunity to tie the score at 4-4 on a feed from Hoppey early in the second period.

Eastern was outshot 2-for-1, but the hosts managed only a 42-38 edge in ground balls.

The seven-goal margin was the second-closest match by an opponent this year against Salisbury, which was most recently coming off 27-7 and 15-2 wins over Marymount (Va.) and Colorado College, respectively.

Eastern opens Little East Conference play when it hosts the University of Southern Maine Saturday at 1 p.m.





 Warriors pound five HRs in second game; now 8-0 this season

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. - Melvin Castillo (Danbury) and Steve Cammuso (Rutland, MA) each hit two home runs in the second game to highlight a 31-hit, two-game attack when the Eastern Connecticut State University baseball team swept SUNY New Paltz, 13-3, 14-4 Saturday at Saguaro High School.

Ranked No. 5 nationally, Eastern (8-0) improved to 3-0 in Arizona with its 31-hit attack which included six home runs and 15 extra-base hits. Leading 5-0, the Warriors put Game 1 away with five runs in the fourth inning on five hits and one New Paltz (2-10) error.  Eastern scored in every inning after the first in Game 2, with Cammuso swatting two two-run home runs and finishing with five RBI. A catcher, Cammuso was making his first career start.

A third baseman, Castillo is now tied for sixth all-time with 28 career home runs. Since starting the season 1-for-12, Castillo is 12-for-19 and at .419,  is one of six players batting better than .400 this year.

 In his first career appearance, sophomore righty Andrew Morrison (Old Saybrook) gained his first win in the second game in relief of junior lefty Mike Tingley (Rockville). In his first start since missing all of 2008 due to arm surgery, Tingley gave up only three hits while fanning five and walking two in pitching into the fourth inning.

In the doubleheader, 15 different players had at least one hit, 12 drove in at least one run and nine had at least one extra-base hit. As the No. 9 hitter, In the doubleheader, Castillo had four hits, drove in five runs and scored four. Junior DH Mike Palo (Brookfield) drove in four runs in two games. Senior first baseman Tristan Hobbes (Utica, NY) hit his third home run of the year in the first game and first-year junior transfer Chris Thomson (Montville) belted his first homer in an Eastern uniform in Game 2 and also scored three runs

Junior righty Matt Fontaine (Cranston, RI)  struck out five in six innings to gain the first-game win. He allowed five hits and three (earned) runs.

In winning its first eight games this year, Eastern is out-scoring its opponent better than 3-1 and out-hitting its opponent better than 2-to-1. The Warriors have 14 home runs and 39 extra bases and a .372 team batting average thus far this year and 14 different pitchers have combined on a 1.99 ERA and a 3-for-1 strikeout-to-walk ratio.

Eastern faces Williams College Sunday in a 2 p.m. (ET) doubleheader at Scottsdale, Ariz.



Freshman pitches and hits Warriors to two season-opening wins

CLERMONT, Fla. -- Freshman Molly Rathbun (Hebron) did not allow an earned run in 11 2/3 innings and drove in the go-ahead runs in both games as the Eastern Connecticut State University softball team opened its 2009 season with wins over Babson College and Elmhurst College Saturday at Legends' Way Field at the National Training Center.

Eastern defeated Babson (8-6), 2-1 in eight innings when Rathbun's routine fly ball to right with two outs was dropped, allowing sophomore outfielder Katie Dinihanian (Stratford) to score the game-ending run from second base. Rathbun pitched a complete-game three-hitter with nine strikeouts in that game and didn't allow an earned run.

In a 6-4 win over Elmhurst (2-1), Rathbun tripled in the first two runs of the game in the first inning and added a solo home run leading off the third. Rathbun was credited with her second win of the day by pitching the final 3 2/3 innings in place of sophomore starter Caitlin Cravens (Ellsworth, ME).

In accordance with the international tie-breaker rule, each team began the eighth inning of the first game with a runner on second. Rathbun got two strikeouts to leave the Babson runner stranded in the top of the eighth. With No. 9 hitter Dinihanian on second base to begin the bottom of the eighth, Babson sophomore pitcher Caroline Barr got two strikeouts before intentionally  walking Eastern No. 3 hitter Rachel Denny (East Haddam). On a 3-1 pitch, Rathbun then lofted a high, yet easy, medium-deep fly ball to right. The ball was dropped, allowing Dinihanian to ease home with the game-ending run.

The Warriors collected 15 hits off two Elmhurst pitchers in the second game and led 5-0 before the Blue Jays battled back. Trailing 5-1, Elmhurst knocked out Cravens in a three-run fourth inning to cut the gap to 5-4. Rathbun got two fly balls to leave two runners aboard in place of Cravens, then faced only one batter over the minimum over the final two innings.

Against Babson, Rathbun stranded 11 baserunners, getting strikeouts to end four different innings. In two of those innings, she left the bases loaded. Against Elmhurst, the right-hander fanned three and walked one and did not allow a hit.

Senior all-region centerfielder Ashley Sullivan (Trumbull), sidelined throughout most of the pre-season with a broken hand, had four hits in the second game after entering as a late-inning replacement against Babson. Rathbun and Dinihanian both had three hits against Elmhurst, with Rathbun scoring three to go along with her three RBI.

Eastern senior pitching ace Katie Pensiero (Stamford) did not make the ten-game trip after becoming sick this past week.

Sunday, Eastern faces UW-Whitewater at 9:30 a.m. and Buffalo State College at 1:30 p.m.


Two-time All-America wins 22nd career game, collects four hits

PHOENIX - Two-time All-America Shawn Gilblair (WINDHAM) won his 22nd career game and collected four hits and drove in three runs when the Eastern Connecticut State University baseball team opened its Arizona spring trip Friday with a 9-3 win over Johns Hopkins University in a meeting of nationally-ranked teams at South Mountain Community College.

The win is the sixth without a loss this year for Eastern, ranked No. 5 nationally. No. 14 nationally-ranked Johns Hopkins (6-7) reached last year's national championship game after becoming the only team last year to defeat national champion Trinity College.

Limited to one pitching win last year due to an assortment of injuries, Gilblair (2-0) pitched the first six innings against Johns Hopkins and left with a 6-3 lead after knocking in two of the team's three tie-breaking runs in the top of the sixth with an opposite-field double. Gilblair improved his career pitching record to 22-6 and moved into eight place all-time at Eastern in career wins.

Eastern collected 16 hits off three JHU pitchers and commited just one error in the field.
Junior third baseman Melvin Castillo (Danbury) -- batting fifth in the order behind Gilblair -- had two hits, including the 26th home run of his career. After Gilblair singled with one out in the fifth, Castillo hit a two-run game-tying home run. Junior shortstop Travis Bass (West Hartford) had three hits and scored two runs. With the Warriors trailing 2-0, Bass singled and scored Eastern's first run on Gilblair's single through the right side in the third inning. With one out in the sixth, junior second baseman John Parke (Middlefield) and Bass singled. Parke raced home from third with the go-ahead run on an infield error, and Gilblair made it 6-3 with his two-run double.

Gilblair fanned seven and walked two before senior righty James Kukucka (Vernon) and freshman lefty Michael Holmes (Easton, MA) closed out the win by pitching the final three scoreless innings. In his collegiate debut, Holmes struck out two.

Eastern plays two seven-inning games with SUNY New Paltz Saturday at 1:30 p.m. ET at Saguaro High School in Scottsdale, AZ.

Eastern Conn. 9, Johns Hopkins U. 3


Eastern Conn. (6-0) 001 023 210 -- 9 16 1
Johns Hopkins (6-7) 021 000 000 -- 3   8 1

Shawn Gilblair (2-0), James Kukucka (7), Michael Holmes (9) and Andrew Magliola. Marco Simmons (0-2), Greg Harbeck (7), Pete Smith (7) and John Swarr. 2B-Gilblair (E), Dave Kahn (H); 3B-John Parke (E); HR-Melvin Castillo (E):, Lee Bolyard (J).


 pensiero WEB2_9474.jpg                                                                                   Katie Pensiero (below)

Although the Eastern Connecticut State University women's fastpitch softball team had never won the Little East Conference and had not qualified for the NCAA tournament in nearly a decade, head coach Diana Pepin was quite certain that the Warriors would reach both of those goals last year.

And they did, sort of.

The  Warriors, in fact, did not capture the LEC tournament tile - whose winner is granted a free pass to the NCAA tournament. But they did share the regular-season crown with a sweep of defending conference and regional champion Rhode Island College on the final day, and rode 28 victories to an at-large invitation to the NCAAs - the first for the five-time national champions since 1998.

Last year's 28 wins were the most by an Eastern softball team in 14 years and gave the Warriors at least 20 wins for the third straight season and for the fourth time in five years.  Last year, Eastern won  a program record 12 conference games in 14 outings  (the losses by a total of three runs), the final two coming in convincing fashion over Rhode Island College and giving it a share of the regular-season LEC championship.

With the return of their three top hitters and two key pitchers and a potentially potent group of newcomers, Pepin is expecting more of the same when the program's 33rd-season kicks off Saturday at Clermont, FL. So are the conference coaches, who have annointed Eastern as the team to beat in 2009 by voting the Warriors to the top position in the 2009 pre-season conference poll.

Rachel Denny (below)

denny r WEB_5922.jpg"Our focus is on the "WIN" - What's Important Now - and if we do that, we will have another memorable season," states the eighth-year head coach, who knows something about memorable seasons after a 159-game playing career netted 136 wins, four regional championships, and national finishes of first and second (twice). "I think the kids from last year want to maintain (the success), and go farther (in the NCAA tournament). The veterans are teaching the newcomers what 'Eastern Softball' is all about. They expect nothing but the best, and they want to go farther than they did last year, and they think that the newcomers can help us get there."

Pitching - the ingredient which separates the contenders from the pretenders in softball - could be a source of strength this season. Among position players, four starters return and four have been lost from a team which re-wrote the program recordbook for home runs, doubles and slugging percentage.

Senior Rachel Denny (East Haddam) anchors the middle of the lineup as one of the top power hitters in Division III. Junior centerfielder Ashley Sullivan (Trumbull) came within a whisker of setting a season record for batting average in her first season as a starter last year, and junior Kim Church (Farmington) is a solid returning middle infielder. As a freshman, outfielder Katie Dinihanian (Stratford) batted over .300 and shared the team lead in stolen bases.

Senior righty Katie Pensiero (Stamford) and sophomore righty Caitlin Cravens (Ellsworth, ME) return as last year's two most effective pitchers. A 2009 co-captain, Pensiero led the staff in most significant categories and Cravens emerged as a consistent arm out of the bullpen who broke the long-standing program record for relief appear ances in a season.

A returning All-New England and all-conference slugger, Denny may put an exclamation point on a stalwart career in which she set season records last year for home runs, slugging percentage and RBI. With a full season to go, she already owns the program record for home runs and is currently first in slugging percentage, third in RBI, and fourth in batting average. Her ninth RBI of 2009 will give her that record, as well.

Sullivan enjoyed one of the most remarkable single-season turnarounds in program history. Following a non-descript freshman season, Sullivan more than doubled her batting average last year to a team-high .456 - just three-hundreths of a percentage point shy of the season record. Despite going hitless in the first six games of the year and managing only five hits in ten spring trip games, Sullivan recovered to fashion a sensational sophomore season which  included a 14-game hitting streak which she carried into the final game of the season.

church WEB_9433.jpgA two-year infield starter, Church (pictured at left) provided stability by starting all 42 games at shortstop last year. She matched Sullivan with 16 multiple-hit games.

After missing the fall season as a freshman member of the volleyball team, Dinihanian provided the lineup with a left-handed bat near the top of the order. She split time between left field and DP as one of six players on the team to bat .300 with at least 100 at-bats.

Sullivan, Church and Denny are all returning All-New England and all-conference performers. Denny and Sullivan were additionally named to the all-tournament team at last year's NCAA New York Regional Tournament.

In Pensiero, Eastern has a pitcher who lowered her ERA more than a full percentage point last spring from 2007. She has won 21 of 34 decisions with a 3.16 ERA in roughly 200 innings. She started all four regional tournament games in a span of three days last year, and authored a shocking win over top-seeded Montclair State University which ended the Red Hawks' season and moved the Warriors into the semifinals. The unheralded Cravens came out of the bullpen a record 20 times, winning 11 of 14 decisions in nearly 100 innings of work. Six of her wins came in relief roles, including a 4-3 tournament win over Keuka when she gave up only one run in 4 1/3 innings as the second of three Eastern pitchers.

Lost starters from a year ago include catcher and cleanup hitter Krystle Denny and rightfielder and leadoff hitter Kate Livingston, each of whom started every game a year ago. Also graduated is versatile outfielder Ashley Marchitto, who started games at all three outfield positions last year, and sure-handed second baseman Casey Mahoney. Krystle Denny was a four-year starter behind the plate who combined last year with Rachel Denny (no relation) to pound out 19 home runs, collect 191 total bases, and drive in 86 runs.  In her third season at Eastern, Livingston emerged as a reliable leadoff hitter who led the team in at-bats en route to a career-high .341 average.

Junior co-captain Courtney Caswell (Wakefield, RI) is expected to return to her starting position at third base - where she made 34 starts following the injury to Soychak --  and senior Kelly Finlay (Thomaston) will get the first crack at the vacant second base job.

Newcomers may help fill the two vacant outfield and catching slots and can also bolster the DP position. Junior transfer Nikki Mustin (Canterbury) may open the season behind the plate, with freshman lefty-hitting Priscilla Alicea (Stratford) in left field, freshman Rosie Manzo (Hudson, MA)  in right, and freshman Alicia Mangiafico (Manchester) at DP. Expected to step in as a front-line pitcher and power hitter is All-State righty Molly Rathbun (Hebron), who did not participate in the fall due to her involvement in volleyball. 

With Sullivan (broken hand) and Pensiero (sickness) sidelined through the early part of the season, Dinihanian may replace Sullivan as the opening-day centerfielder. Rathbun will get the opening-day mound assignment and replace Krystle Denny as the cleanup hitter. Church will open the season as the leadoff hitter in place of Livingston, and Dinihanian may bat ninth after owning the No. 2 spot in the order as a freshman. Rachel Denny is back as the No. 3 hitter, and Mustin could alternate at first base and catcher.

Outfielder Stephanie Buchanan (Moosup) is the team's fifth senior and a second-year player and will be joined on the team by junior returnees Katie O'Toole (Waterbury) and Michelle Lawlor (Brookline, MA) and sophomore Rachel Soychak (Mahopac, NY). O'Toole made 13 of her 15 starts last year at DP. The starting third baseman as a freshman, Soychak was batting over .400 through the first five games before a knee injury limited her effectiveness the rest of the season.

Providing the team with depth will be freshmen Samantha Slonski (Griswold), Christine Yeomans (Durham), Tina Brosnan (Preston) and Audrey Martineau (West Haven). A two-sport athlete, Slonski is an outfielder; Yeomans can play both infield and outfield, Brosnan is an infielder, and Martineau a catcher.

Eastern laid the foundation for last year's success with its most successful spring trip ever. The Warriors won eight of ten games in Tucson. One of the losses was a one-run, eight-inning decision to eventual national champion Wisconsin-Eau Claire, which needed a two-out walk-off home run to subdue Eastern.

"I think we were successful last year because of the leadership," points out Pepin. "They really made sure we were going to be competitive, they wanted it. They all focused on the "WIN". We didn't focus on any game but the one we were playing. We knew that if we went pitch-by-pitch, the wins would come."

Up north, Eastern never lost as many as two successive games in the regular season. A heart-breaking 7-6, eight-inning loss to Keene State foiled its bid for a first LEC tournament title. But after an opening loss to eventual champion SUNY Cortland in the New York Regional, Eastern showed its resilience with consecutive one-run wins on one day before a sloppy one-run, eight-inning loss ended the season.

Eastern jumps into its 14-game conference season less than 24 hours fter returning from Florida. The Warriors host Massachusetts Boston March 28 in a 1 p.m. twinbill.






Wednesday, March 18, 2009

She nets nine points -- including winner -- in longest match 

Box score.htm

Below: MacDonald (10), Richards (16)

macdonaldrichards WEB9344.jpgMANSFIELD, Conn. - Junior midfielder Taylor MacDonald (Oak Bluffs, MA) made certain that the longest match in Eastern Connecticut State University women's lacrosse history went down in the recordbooks on a positive note with a game-ending sudden-death overtime goal that gave the Warriors an 11-10 win over Vassar College Wednesday afternoon at the Mansfield Outdoor Complex.

The match was the first at home this year and resulted in the first victory of the season for Eastern (1-3), which was not facing a nationally-ranked opponent for this first time in 2009. It was the first meeting between the Warriors and Vassar (2-2).

MacDonald scored three of Eastern's final four goals and assisted on the other, finally ending the historic match by scoring a game-ending goal 10:34 into overtime by scoring her team-leading fourth goal of the match.. The match lasted 70 minutes and 34 seconds.

The teams played to a 10-10 tie through 60 minutes of regulation. Neither team scored in the first (non-sudden-death) six-minute overtime period and neither team scored in the next three-minute sudden-death overtime period. MacDonald scored the decisive goal with 1:34 gone in the third (sudden-death) overtime period.

With nine points, MacDonald totaled the ninth-most points in a match in program history. She complemented her four goals with five assists. The five assists equal the third-most in a match in program history.

Eastern trailed 9-5 with 6:20 left in the first period, but allowed Vassar only one goal the rest of the way. The Warriors scored the final two goals of the first half and the first two goals of the second half (both by MacDonald) to tie the match at 9-all. Neither team scored in the final 12 minutes of regulation. Although it came with a full 12 minutes left in the second period, sophomore midfielder Ashley Del Vecchio (Fairfield) forced overtime when she netted her third goal of the match on a pass from MacDonald to pull the Warriors even at 10-all. Del Vecchio had managed only one goal in the first three matches of the season.

In one of her finest all-around games, MacDonald also won eight ground balls, captured five draws and caused three turnovers. Senior midfielder Jessica Richards (Somers) won 13 of 18 faceoffs that helped net Eastern a decisive 17-8 advantage in draw controls.

With the score tied 3-3, the Brewers outscored Eastern 6-2 to carry a 9-5 lead into the final six minutes of the first half. Katama Martellucci and Sarah Warner each had two of those goals and Martellucci also assisted on one.

Eastern plays the first of three matches in West Palm Beach Sunday with a 10 a.m. encounter with MIT.

Eastern Conn. 11, Vassar College 10, 3 ot

Vassar College (2-2)  9 1 (0) (0) (0) -- 10
Eastern Conn. (1-3)  7 3 (0) (0) (1) -- 11

Goals: V-Katama Martellucci 3, Christine Eaccarino 2, Sarah Warner 2, Jennie McAllister, Liz Pacheco, Allie Morgan; E-Taylor MacDonald 4, Ashley Del Vecchio 3, Brooke Wayte, Rachael Joy, Megan Barrett, Katie Beers.
Assists: Eaccarino 2, Martellucci, Moe Byrne, Morgan; E-MacDonald 5, Beers.
Shots: V-17, E-37; Saves: V-Nicole Englehardt 12, E-Kristianna Ibsen 10.






Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Warriors ride Mustangs to victory in Nevers Field season-opener

Box score.htmvasil_9111.JPG                                                             Below: Eric Vasil

WILLIMANTIC, Conn. - Keyed by its defense, the Eastern Connecticut State University men's lacrosse team allowed only four goals through the first three periods, then cleared the bench in the final quarter in coasting to a 14-7 victory over Mount Ida College Wednesday afternoon in its first match of the season on Thomas Nevers Field.

With its second win over Mount Ida (1-3) in the last two years, Eastern (3-1) improves its all-time record at Nevers Field to 84-7. The Warriors have given up only seven goals in each of two wins in the last five days.

Thirty-three uniform players saw action for the Warriors - including all three goalies --with ten contributing a goal or assist and 13 picking up at least one ground ball.

Sophomore midfielder Eric Vasil (Southington) set the tone by winning ten of 12 faceoffs in the first half, helping Eastern take a 7-3 lead into the break. Eastern held Mount Ida to just one goal in each of the second and third periods and carried a 10-4 lead into the final 15 minutes.

Senior attack Matthew Savage (Southington) had three goals and three assists and junior attack Vinny Tornatore (Norwalk), in his first start of the year, had three goals. Seven of his eight shots were on cage. Vastil won 16 of 21 faceoffs on the afternoon to improve his season percentage to .756 (59-of-78). He also sparked the Warriors to decisive 34-20 advantage in ground balls by picking up a team-high 13. Matthew Savage added five ground ball to go along with his six points. Behind senior midfielder DJ Simmons (Mystic), Eastern more than doubled the Mustangs' shot total. Simmons took a dozen shots - scoring two goals - and also corralled four ground balls.

Eastern never trailed and scored seven straight goals to break from a 3-3 tie in the opening minutes of the second quarter. Junior goalie Matt Vernik of Mount Ida made 21 saves to keep his team within range, but the Mustangs scored only two goals in a stretch of 34 minutes that sealed their fate.

All three Eastern goalies saw action. Senior Kyle Savage (Southington)  lowered his goals-against average to 8.27 by surrendering six goals and making eight saves over 52 minutes before giving way to freshman  Jamie Tommins (Fairfield) and sophomore Stephen Goomrigian (Norwalk).

Freshman attack Michael Sullinger (Brookfield) recorded his first collegiate goal four minutes into the final period on a feed from Matthew Savage.

Eastern visits defending national champion Salisbury University Saturday evening at 7 p.m.

Eastern Conn. 14, Mount Ida College 7

Mount Ida College (1-3) 2 1 1 3 --   7  
Eastern Conn. (3-1)  2 5 3 4-- 14

Goals: M-Brett Conley 3, Matthew Savage 2, Alex Champagne, Nate Prince; E-Vinny Tornatore 3, Matthew Savage 3, Maxim Fantl 2, DJ Simmons 2, Brian Fechtmann, Michael Sullinger, Lee Mascolo, Kyle Bainton.
Assists: M-Dan Harrington, Prince; E-Matt Savage 3, Fechtmann 2, Simmons, Eric Vasil, Steve Lane, Sullinger.
Shots: M-20, E-48; Saves: M-Matt Vernik 21 (14 goals allowed, 58:39 min.), Justin Famiglietti 0 (0, 1:21); E-Kyle Savage 8 (6 goals allowed, 52:05), Jamie Tommins 0 (1, 5:21), Stephen Goomrigian 0 (0, 2:34).


Leading twice by five runs, No. 5 Warriors escape Albertus upset bid

Box score.htm

schmiemann WEB_9565.jpg

   MANSFIELD, Conn. - The No. 5 nationally-ranked Eastern Connecticut State University baseball team needed all of two five-run leads to escape with a 9-7 non-conference victory over Albertus Magnus College Tuesday afternoon in its home-opener at the Eastern Baseball Stadium.

At left: Danny Schmiemann

Eastern, which jumped three places to No. 5 in this week's Division III national poll, moved out to 5-0 and 8-3 leads against Albertus (0-7), but had to withstand an Albertus Magnus seventh-inning rally as it posted its best start since an identical 5-0 start nine years ago.

The game was added to the schedule Monday night and was the second played between the teams in four days.

Trailing 8-3, Albertus scored four times in the seventh before junior right-handed reliever Matt Fontaine (Cranston, RI) got a three-pitch strikeout to end the inning with the bases loaded. Fontaine fanned three, the second strikeout the 100th in his 88-inning Eastern career.

First-year sophomore lefty transfer Danny Schmiemann (Sea Cliff, NY) pitched two relief innings to record his first win at Eastern. He allowed one hit and fanned three.
Five Eastern pitchers combined to strike out 14 and walk only two and give up only one earned run. The five pitchers hit three batters and commited two walks, however.

Sophomore right fielder Jim Schult (Wappingers Falls, NY) hit a three-run home run in the second to help stake Eastern to a 5-0 lead. It was the first home run this year for Schult, who also reached three times on walks and scored two runs.

The third Eastern pitcher, freshman Michael Hepple (Newington) made his collegiate debut in the seventh inning with Eastern leading 8-3. Hepple allowed four hits and was charged with four runs, leaving the game with the bases loaded and two out and Eastern clinging to an 8-7 lead. Fontaine's strikeout on three pitches kept the lead intact. Only one of the runs charged to Hepple was earned as a catcher's interference call to the second batter of the inning helped ignite the Albertus rally. Three of the hits allowed by Hepple never left the infield. The righty fanned two batters and did not walk anyone.

Senior first baseman Tristan Hobbes (Utica, NY) reached base in all three of his appearances by sandwiching two walks around a two-out triple in the second. In his first game of the season, junior infielder Travis Horrigan (Roxbury) came off the bench to contribute two singles in as many at-bats. Horrigan singled in the seventh on the first pitch he saw, then gave Eastern an unearned insurance run with a two-out single to center in the eighth.

First-year sophomore transfer and leadoff hitter Shane Kingsley (Beacon Falls) left the game in the second inning after hyper-extending his finger sliding head-first into home while scoring the first run of the game on a wild pitch.

Sophomore Kyle Calechman of Albertus reached base in all five of his plate appearances and scored two runs. He was 3-for-3 with a double and was hit by pitch twice. Freshman Dan Stewart did not allow an earned run in five innings of relief for the Falcons. He gave up seven hits and one run while fanning two and walking two.

Eastern opens its six-game trip to Arizona Friday at 2 p.m. against No. 14 Johns Hopkins University. The Blue Jays were the only team to beat national champion Trinity College last year, losing in the national championship game to the Bantams.

Eastern Conn. 9, Albertus Magnus College 7

Albertus Magnus (0-7) 000 300 400 -- 7   9 2
Eastern Conn. (5-0)  230 300 01x -- 9 12 2

John Stavola, Dan Stewart (4) and Robert Boscarino, Malcom Mendez (8). James Kukucka, Danny Schmiemann (5), Michael Hepple (7), Matt Fontaine (7), Chris Wojick (9) and Andrew Magliola, Chris Cannata (7). 2B-Kyle Calechman, Erik Suraci (A), Robert Perry (E); 3B-Tristan Hobbes (E); HR-Jim Schult (1) (E).

Behind Musson and Castillo, Warriors complete weekend sweep

Box score.htm

musson WEB_9405.jpgYAPHANK, N.Y. - In his first collegiate start after 29 relief appearances, junior righty Will Musson (Wethersfield) handcuffed SUNY Old Westbury on five hits over seven innings, and junior third baseman Melvin Castillo (Danbury) broke out of an early-season slump with four hits and three RBI as the Eastern Connecticut State University baseball team used a late rush to down SUNY Old Westbury, 11-2 Sunday afternoon at Baseball Heaven.

At left: Will Musson

Making his first collegiate start after 29 relief appearances (27 at the University of Connecticut and two at Eastern this year), Musson (1-0) spaced five hits and two walks over the first seven innings to gain his first win at Eastern and third of his collegiate career. He fanned six in his stint before junior lefties Wes Dutton (Waterbury) and Mike Tingley (Rockville) each struck out two of the three batters they faced to close out the win. Tingley missed all of last year due to arm surgery.

Ranked No. 8 nationally, Eastern (4-0) last won its first four games of the season in 2003, when it went on to capture the regional tournament and place third nationally. Old Westbury (3-4) was coming off Saturday's 14-6 loss to the University of Southern Maine. The win was the third in three days for Eastern, which defeated Farmingdale State Friday and Albertus Magnus yesterday.

Eastern scored ten of its runs in its final four at-bats, chasing Old Westbury junior righty ace Robert Whitenack (2-1) when it took a 6-1 lead with a run in the sixth on one hit, two walks and a hit batsman. Last year's Skyline Conference Pitcher-of-the-year, Whitenack had fanned 16 in 13 innings in his first  two starts. He struck out eight Eastern batters in less than six innings, but walked four and allowed seven hits Three of the six runs charged to Whitenack were unearned and came in the fifth inning.

Castillo, a freshman All-America in 2007, put a 1-for-12 season-opening slump behind him as Eastern's only batter with more than one hit in the 13-hit attack. The third baseman and No. 6 hitter was 4-for-4 with a double and triple, drove in three runs, and scored two.

With the score tied 1-1, Eastern scored four times in the fifth on a key infield error and a two-out, bases-clearing triple by Castillo. No. 9 hitter Chris Cannata (Southington) was hit by a pitch to open the inning and sophomore rightfielder Jim Schult (Wappingers Falls, NY) later had an RBI single to give Eastern a 2-1 lead. A single by senior leftfielder Tristan Hobbes (Utica, NY) and an infield error loaded the bases for Castillo. Castillo also had a leadoff double and scored on junior centerfielder Joe Cousineau's (Newington) RBI single in a three-run seventh.

First-year junior transfer Chris Thomson (Montville) had his first hit in an Eastern uniform and drove in two runs. As a mid-game replacement in left field, Thomson singled in both Eastern runs in the eighth.  First-year sophomore transfer Robert Perry (Manchester) also recorded his first Eastern hit when he followed Thomson with an infield single.

Eastern plays the first of six games in Arizona Friday when it faces No. 5 Johns Hopkins University at Phoenix at 2 p.m. ET. The Blue Jays were the only team to defeat national champion Trinity College a year ago, reaching the national championship game.

Eastern Conn. 11, SUNY Old Westbury 2

Old Westbury (3-4) 001 000 100 --   2   5 3
Eastern Conn. (4-0) 010 041 32x -- 11 13 0

Robert Whitenack (2-1), Jorge Hiraldo (6), David Collado (7), Jake Tauber (8), Robert Hugli (8) and Steve Henriquez, Steve Sciame (8). Will Musson (1-0), Wes Dutton (8), Mike Tingley (9) and Chris Cannata. 2B-Albert Bevaczua 2 (OW), Travis Bass, Melvin Castillo (E); 3B-Castillo (E); HR-Emmanuel Mateo (2).





 In w-lacrosse, Warriors drop third straight to nationally-ranked opponent

beers WEB_9535.jpg

Box score

.htmMIDDLETOWN, Conn. - The Wesleyan University women's lacrosse team scored four goals in just over four minutes to break from a tie midway through the first half, then scored the final four goals of the match to pull away for a 13-6 non-conference victory over Eastern Connecticut State University Sunday afternoon at Smith Field.

At left: Katie Beers

(dark jersey)

Eastern (0-3) scored twice in the first ten minutes to tie the match at 2-all before No. 19 nationally-ranked Wesleyan (3-1) answered witih four in a span of just over four minutes after calling a timeout to move out to a 6-2 lead with 11 minutes left in the first half. Jess Chukwu came off the bench to score the first two of those goals  30 seconds apart, picking up a ground ball after a save by Eastern freshman goalie Kristianna Ibsen (Shelton) for the second goal.

Trailing 9-4 after the opening goal of the second half, Eastern against scored two goals in a row in the first five minutes of the second half to cut the gap to three, but was unable to score again over the final 25 minutes of the 30-minute half. Junior Dana McLaughlin's (West Hartford) first career goal on a pass from sophomore Ashley Del Vecchio (Fairfield) had made it a three-goal game, but Wesleyan scored the final four goals to pull away for its seventh win without a loss in this series.

Eastern junior Katie Beers (Trumbull) had the first multiple-goal game of her career as she led the Warriors with three goals - all in the first half -- on six shots. Beers tied the match 2-2 on a pass from junior Brooke Wayte (Bellport, NY) ten minutes into the game, added her second on a feed from McLaughlin with three minutes left in the half, and her free-position strike in the final second made it 8-4 at halftime. Beers did not take a shot in the second half.

Senior Jackie Bivona (Middlebury) had five ground balls and caused two turnovers for Eastern.  Junior Taylor MacDonald (Oak Bluffs, MA) and senior Jessica Richards (Somers) were each credited with five draw controls. Richards won  the first four draws of the game that allowed the Warriors to remain close through the first ten minutes, but Wesleyan won six of the final eight draws of the first half. Freshman Megan Barrett (Setauket, NY) and senior Sara Barrett (Bourne, MA) complemented Bivona by commanding three ground balls each.

The Warriors commited 26 turnovers in the match, but forced the hosts into 23.

Ibsen made 14 saves to improve her season save percentage to .465 and lower her goals-against average to 15.33.

All three of Eastern's losses this year have come to teams ranked in the national Top 20. A week ago, Wesleyan was tied with No. 4 nationally-ranked Gettysburg College with seven minutes left before losing, 12-8.

Eastern hosts Vassar College Wednesday at 4 p.m.

Wesleyan U. 13, Eastern Conn. 6

Eastern Conn. (0-3)  4 2 --   6
Wesleyan U. (3-1)  8 5 -- 13

Goals: E-Katie Beers 3, Dana McLaughlin, Nicole Shusdock, Taylor MacDonald; W-
Jess Chukwu 3, Erin McCarthy 2, Charlotte Hastings 2,  Maggie Lile 2,  Laurel Sticklor,  Claire Hunter,  Tanya Moss,  Eileen Gaffney
Assists: E-McLaughlin, MacDonald, Ashley Del Vecchio, Brooke Wayte; W-
McCarthy 2, Hastings, Sarah Hoefle, Sticklor
Shots: E-18, W-39; Saves: E-Kristianna Ibsen 14; W-Maggie Drowica 7 (58:00 min., 6 goals allowed), Abby Sedney 0 (2:00, 0)



Sophomore gains first win in first start; Eastern scores three in first

schult jersey WEB_7006.jpg

YAPHANK, N.Y. - Sophomore righty Jim Schult (Wappingers Falls, NY) scattered three singles in seven innings to gain his first collegiate win in his first start and the No. 8 nationally-ranked Eastern Connecticut State University baseball team scored three first-inning runs in posting a 6-1 victory over Albertus Magnus College Saturday afternoon at Baseball Heaven.

At right: Jim Schult

Schult, who is batting a team-leading .625 as Eastern's (3-0) starting rightfielder, shut out Albertus Maguns (0-5) over his final six innings of work after giving up a first-inning unearned run. He fanned four, walked two and hit two batters in his seventh career appearance.

Junior second baseman John Parke (Middlefield) started the game with a double and later scored on the first of two Albertus errors in the inning. Senior first baseman Tristan Hobbes (Utica, NY) made it 2-0 with an RBI single that plated junior pinch runner Joe Cousineau (Newington), and the third run scored on a throwing error by the catcher when Hobbes took off for second.

First-year Division I sophomore transfer centerfielder Shane Kingsley (Beacons Falls) had three hits, scored two runs and stole base for Eastern while batting in the No. 8 slot, with Hobbes and Parke also collecting two hits.

With Eastern nursing a 3-1 lead, Kingsley led off the seventh with a single and later scored on a two-out single by junior shortstop Travis Bass (West Hartford). University of Connecticut first-year junior transfer DH Will Musson (Wethersfield) unloaded his first collegiate home run with a solo shot in the eighth to make it 5-1. Kingsley led off the ninth with his third hit and scored again later in the inning when sophomore pinch hitter Andrew Dewing (Swampscott, MA) -- a second-year Division I transfer -- was walked with the bases loaded. Musson drove in two runs and scored two.

Two-time All-America utility player Shawn Gilblair (Windham) left the game after injuring his leg in the first inning while running the bases. Gilblair, limited by shoulder, elbow and knee injuries last year, had four hits through the first two games this year and had won the opener as a pitcher by fanning eight over the first three innings against Stevens Tech.

Eastern faces SUNY Old Westbury Sunday at 2:30 p.m. at Baseball Heaven.

Eastern Conn. 6, Albertus Magnus College 1

Eastern Conn. (3-0)  300 000 111 -- 6 9 1
Albertus Magnus (0-5) 100 000 000 -- 1 3 1

Jim Schult (1-0), Chris Wojick (8) and Chris Cannata. Charles Chancio (0-1), Dan Stewart (6) and Malcom Mendez. 2B-John Parke, Tristan Hobbes (E); HR-Will Musson (1) (E).



Warriors snap tie with three goals early in fourth quarter in 10-7 victory

malouf WEB_9479.jpg

Box score.htm

NORWICH, Conn. - The Eastern Connecticut State University men's lacrosse team scored three unanswered goals in the first three minutes of the fourth quarter to snap a tie and went on to record a 10-7 non-conference win over Roger Williams University Saturday afternoon at Norwich Free Academy.

At right: Zach Malouf (31)

Roger Williams (2-1) got a man-up goal from senior Dave Hurley  17 seconds into the fourth quarter to tie the match at 5-5 before Eastern (2-1) responded with three goals in less than three minutes to assume an 8-5 lead with just under 12 minutes left in the match.

Junior Maxim Fantl (West Hartford) netted his second goal of the match with a goal from the right side of the cage to give Eastern the lead for good, 6-5 with 13:30 left. Sophomore Eric Vasil (Southington) won the ensuing faceoff and fed senior Matt Savage (Southington) six seconds later to make it 7-5, and sophomore Brian Fechtmann (Levittown, NY) pushed the lead to 8-5 off a feed from Matt Savage with 11:45 remaining.

After scoring only two goals in the middle two periods, Eastern exploded for five in the final quarter, when the Hawks stayed close by scoring two of their three goals in the frame on extra-man opportunities.

Eastern remains unbeaten (5-0) in games played at Norwich Free Academy and remains undefeated (4-0) against Roger Williams in this series which dates back to 1997. It was the first meeting between the clubs in ten years.

Matt Savage led Eastern with two goals and two assists, all but one assist coming over the final 15 minutes. He also had five ground balls. Vasil won 15 of 17 faceoffs and picked up 12 ground balls. He has won 43 of 55 faceoffs this season. Fechtmann, Fantl and junior Zach Malouf (Norwich) each added two goals and senior DJ Simmons (Mystic) contributed two assists. Malouf, who played his high school lacrosse at Norwich Free Academy, gave Eastern a 1-0 lead two minutes into play and the Warriors never trailed thereafter.

Hurley improved his team-leading scoring total to 13 points by scoring four goals and assisting on another. He connected on four of his six shots in the match. Defensemen Glenn Pacitti, a junior, and senior Chris Mecozzi each had three ground balls to lead Roger Williams.

Eastern  hosts Mount Ida College Wednesday at 4 p.m.

Eastern Conn. 10, Roger Williams U. 7

Roger Williams (2-1)  1 2 1 3 --   7
Eastern Conn. (2-1)  3 0 2 5 -- 10

Goals: R-Dave Hurley 4, Jim Turenne, Drew Smith, Domenic Celeste; E-Zach Malouf 2, Matt Savage 2, Maxim Fantl 2, Brian Fechtmann 2, Michael Glennon, Eric Vasil.
Assists: R-Justin Leddy 2, Hurley, Smith; E-M. Savage 2, DJ Simmons 2, Michael Sullinger, Vasil.
Shots: R-27, E-43; Saves: R-Tyler Roebuck 19, E-Kyle Savage 13.


 Schult and Musson each collect four hits in victory over Farmingdale   

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kooch WEB_9393.jpg

FARMINGDALE, N.Y. - Jim Schult (Wappingers Falls, NY) had four hits and scored four runs and Will Musson (Wethersfield) added four hits and drove in two runs when the Eastern Connecticut State University baseball team downed Farmingdale State College, 12-5, Friday afternoon.


At right:  James Kukucka

Trailing 5-3 after five innings, Eastern (2-0) scored three times in the sixth on five hits and tacked on five insurance runs in the ninth to win its second game  in three days.  F armingdale (3-7) has lost six straight.

The third of five Eastern pitchers, James Kucucka (Vernon) was credited with the victory. Kukucka was summoned with one out while the Rams were scoring three runs  and taking  a 5-3 lead in the fifth. After the first four Ram batters reached safely in the fifth againt two previous Eastern pitchers, Kukucka gave up a two-out RBI double but closed out the inning without further damage, then allowed only one hit and two baserunners over the next two innings. He left on the winning end of a 6-5 lead.

Schult recorded the first four-hit game of his career in Eastern's 16-hit attack. He had an RBI triple and scored in a three-run fourth inning, singled and scored in the three-run sixth, reached on an infield single and scored in the eighth and singled and scored in the ninth. Musson, a first-year transfer from the University of Connecticut, delivered RBI singles in the sixth and ninth innings. He also pitched a 1-2-3 eighth inning before Chris Wojick (Uncasville) fanned all three batters that he faced in the ninth.

In the decisive three-run sixth inning, the first four Eastern batters had hits. Pinch hitter Andrew Dewing (Swampscott, MA) drove in Shawn Gilblair (Windham) with the first run, Schult scored the second run on Musson's single, and No. 9 hitter Andrew Magliola (East Haven) put the Warriors ahead for good with a two-out RBI single to center that plated Joe Cousineau (Newington). With Eastern trailing 2-0, Cousineau blasted his first career home run - a two-out solo shot - to cap a three-run fourth inning.

 Gilblair, who struck out eight in three innings of Wednesday's opening win over Stevens Tech, doubled twice and also singled and scored three runs.

Eastern faces Albertus Magnus College Saturday at 2:30 p.m. at Baseball Heaven in Yaphank, N.Y.

Eastern Conn. 12, Farmingdale State College 5

Eastern Conn. (2-0)  000 303 015 -- 12 16 5
Farmingdale State (3-7) 110 030 000 --   5   8 3

Matt Fontaine, Danny Schiemann (5), James Kukucka (5), Will Musson (8), Chris Wojick (9) and Andrew Magliola. Tom Heeman, James Raimondi (6), Mike Biasi (6), Steve King (7), Patrick Gilbridge (9) and Zak Nersesian. WP-Kukucka (1-0). LP-Raimondi (0-3). 2B-Shawn Gilblair 2, John Parke, Travis Bass (E), Don Moscatelli, Frank Scarlato, Rich Gili (F); 3B-Jim Schult (E), Kevin Curtis (F); HR-Joe Cousineau (1) (E).



Both named to Senior Classic; McFetridge named first-team All-NE


mcfetridge head WEB_5719.jpg

morey head WEB_5718.jpg

Nicky Morey (left), Ashley McFetridge (right)

WILLIMANTIC, Conn. - Eastern Connecticut State University seniors Nicky Morey (Columbia) and Ashley McFetridge (Canton) have been recognized with season-ending awards by the New England Women's Basketball Association (NEWBA).

A 6-foot-2 inch post player, McFetridge was one of five selections to the NEWBA Division III All-New England first team and both players were also named to the NEWBA Division III Senior Classic, which features 23 top New England seniors in an all-star exhibition March 28 at 1:30 p.m. at Western New England College.

Sixteen institutions were represented with players on the Senior Classic team, with Eastern, Bowdoin, Wellesley College, Springfield College, Brandeis University, Emerson College and Westfield State College represented by  two picks.

This year, McFetridge repeated as Little East Conference Player-of-the-Year. She was also named to the all-conference first team and to the All-Defensive Team for the third year in a row. She led the conference in points (404) and was third in scoring average (13.9) and rebounding average (8.1) and second in field goal percentage (.502) and blocked shots 91.8).She finished fourth all-time at Eastern in career points (1,364) and first in blocks (158).

Morey repeated as a first-team all-conference selection this year. The 5-foot-8 inch guard ranked second in the conference this year in points (392) and was fourth in scoring average (13.5), fifth in assist average (3.1) and free throw percentage (.805) and second in minutes (961). She concluded her career ranked fifth all-time in points (1,296).

It was the first NEWBA All-New England honor for both players.

Val Beckwith of Bates College was named NEWBA Player-of-the-Year and Nicole Wurdeman of Babson College was selected NEWBA Rookie-of-the-Year. First-year Bowdoin College coach Adrienne Shibles was named Coach-of-the-Year.

Eastern won 25 and lost four this year and captured the LEC regular season title. The Warriors earned an at-large berth to the NCAA Division III tournament, their 12th appearance in program history.













Warriors no match for No. 14 Bantams, who score five early goals

bivona WEB_9357.jpg

Box score.htm

HARTFORD, Conn. -- Carrie Disa, Caitlin Irvine and Jennifer Calver each scored three goals to power the Trinity College women's lacrosse team to a 16-3 victory over Eastern Connecticut State University Wednesday afternoon at Robin L. Sheppard Field.

Ranked No. 14 in Division III, Trinity (3-0) led 5-0 through the first eight minutes and scored six unanswered goals in both the first and second halves. Eastern (0-2) was coming off a 17-4 loss Sunday at No. 12 Babson College.

At left: Jackie Bivona

Both Trinity and Babson utilize artificial outdoor turf fields, as well as expansive indoor facilities. Due to inclement weather, Eastern has practiced on its home grass field only twice in five weeks, spending most all of the pre-season in the gymnasium.

Junior midfielder Taylor MacDonald (Oak Bluffs, MA) scored twice for Eastern and freshman midfielder Nicole Shusdock (Norwalk) added her second collegiate goal in as many matches off a pretty feed from sophomore attack Ashley Del Vecchio (Fairfield) late in the first half.

Senior defender  Jackie Bivona (Middlebury) led Eastern with six ground balls and MacDonald had three draw controls and was successful on five of her nine draws taken.

Coming off an injury which sidelined her in Sunday's opener, freshman midfielder Megan Barrett (Setauket, NY) had three ground balls and won a draw in a starting role.

For the second straight game, freshman goalie Kristianna Ibsen (Shelton) made 13 saves, nine in the first half.

After failing on 11 of 18 clear attempts in Sunday's opener, Eastern was successful on 16 of 25 attempts Wednesday. The Warriors, however, commited 27 turnovers, four more than in its opener, and won only seven of 20 draws.

Eastern visits Wesleyan University Sunday at 2 p.m.

Trinity College 16, Eastern Conn. 3

Eastern Conn. (0-2)  2 1 --   3
Trinity (3-0)   8 8 -- 16

Goals: E-Taylor MacDonald, Nicole Shusdock; T-Carrie Disa 3, Caitlin Irvine 3, Jennifer Calver 3, Rachel Romanowsky 2, Kristin Phelps 2, Jesse Schultz, Alisen Urquhart, Kristina Scontras.
Assists: E-Ashley Del Vecchio; T-Romanowsky 2, Calver, Disa.
Shots: E-12, T-37; Saves: E-Kristianna Ibsen 13, T-Stephanie Fisher 3 (51:00 min., 2 goals allowed), Avery Harries 1 (9 min., 1 goal allowed).



Gilblair fans eight in three innings; Hobbes records first multiple-HR game

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hobbes WEB_6480.jpgHOBOKEN, N.J. - After waiting 11 days for its 2009 baseball season to unfold, Eastern Connecticut State University pounded out 13 hits, allowed only two hits and played perfect defense in a 10-0 victory over Stevens Institute of Technology Wednesday afternoon at Dobbelaar Field on the SIT campus.

At left: Tristan Hobbes

Junior shortstop John Parke (Middlefield) opened the game with a walk and junior second baseman Travis Bass (West Hartford) hit a home run to give No. 8 nationally-ranked Eastern a quick 1-0 lead, and the Warriors were never threatened in winning for the fourth time in as many starts against Stevens (2-7).

Eastern had a two-game trip to Virginia washed out in its scheduled openers 11 days ago and was snowed out of two more games this past weekend.

Every Eastern starter but one contributed a hit, with senior first baseman Tristan Hobbes (Utica, NY) homering twice - the first multiple home run game of his136-game career - and Bass and Parke homering once each. Batting 1-2 in the order, Parke and Bass reached base six times with four hits and two walks. They each scored twice and drove in two runs apiece.

Two-time Division III All-America senior Shawn Gilblair (Windham) equaled his pitching win of last year's injury-plagued season.  The senior lefty fanned eight batters in his three-inning starting stint, getting the first five batters on called strikes. The win was the 21st in 27 career decisions for Gilblair.

Seven of Eastern's runs in the game - including its first five - were the result of home runs. After opening the game and scoring on Bass's opposite-field homer in the first, Parke unloaded a two-run home run to left to make it 3-0 in the second. The left-handed-hitting Hobbes had a solo home run in the third to give Eastern a 5-0 lead and later added a two-run shot in the seventh to make it 9-0.

First-year University of Connecticut junior transfer Will Musson (Wethersfield) had two hits and two RBI and pitched on hitless inning in his Eastern debut. Bass led Eastern with three hits and senior catcher Andrew Magliola (East Haven) had two hits and scored a run.

Five Eastern pitchers combined on a two-hitter. They struck out 11 and walk three.

All nine of Eastern's starters in the game were upperclassmen, with all but Musson returning from a year ago. Stevens, which has lost four games this year to nationally-ranked teams, features 25 freshmen and sophomores on the roster. Stevens lost twice to No. 1 Salisbury and once to No. 4 Kean.

Eastern plays a makeup game at Farmingdale State University Friday at 3 p.m.

Eastern Conn. 10, Stevens Institute of Technology 0

Eastern Conn. (1-0)  221 020 210 -- 10 13 0
Stevens Tech (2-7)  000 000 000 --   0   2 3

Shawn Gilblair (1-0), James Kukucka (4), Wes Dutton (6), Will Musson (8), Chris Wojick (9) and Andrew Magliola, Chris Cannata (9). John Watters (0-1),Kyle Hanas (5), Jeff Hart (8), Vincent Vinci (9) and Denis Ackermann. 2B-Travis Bass (E), Mark Rasulo (S); HR-Tristan Hobbes 2 (2), John Parke (1), Bass (1) (E).



Maturity level may dictate success as Warriors chase fifth national title


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The Eastern Connecticut State University baseball team will be attempting to acquire One for the Thumb when the program's 61st season officially unfolds this afternoon against Stevens Hoboken, NJ.

At right: Matt Fontaine

Last year's team featured a number of position players who were thrust into starting or important roles for the first time.  Nonetheless, the Warriors qualified for their 36th post-season tournament in 40 seasons under head coach Bill Holowaty, winning 32, losing 15 and tying one and capturing three games and losing two (by a run each) in the NCAA Division III New York Regional Tournament. Nine of those players return after their initial season of fulltime responsibilities.

The Warriors feel that they have what it takes to become the first team in the 33-year history of  of the Division III championship to win as many as five national championships.

As the season approaches, Holowaty likes the pieces that are in place for his 41st season, and feels that this year's club may have a step up on last year's team in a number of areas. Still, the winningest coach in New England intercollegiate athletic history knows that there is a long way to go before anyone is to be fitted for a national championship ring, and that there are too many variables to contend with before the program can even think about hoisting a fifth regional or conference championship flag  in the last seven years.

parke WEB_8917.jpg"I'd say that we're are hopefully more mature," says Holowaty. "The maturity level and the leadership level, I think, will be better, so I think we should be a better team. I think that our experience at all positions this year is better. There are going to be some bumps along the way, but hopefully, it will lead to a very good team, a very competitive team. Have we improved to the extent that we will be a contender in the national area? At this time, I can't say, but we're planning on that."

At right: John Parke

Of last year's three workhorse pitchers, one returns in the form of junior righty Matt Fontaine (Cranston, RI), who is joined by returning senior starters Shawn Gilblair (Windham) and James Kukucka (Vernon) and junior reliever Chris Wojick (Uncasville). A 20-game winner, the left-handed Gilblair hopes to return to the All-America former after injuries limited him to four starts in 2008. Junior lefty Mike Tingley (Rockville) also returns from a redshirt season in 2008.

Junior infielder Melvin Castillo (Danbury) and Gilblair were both All-America selections in 2007 when Gilblair was named national Player-of-the-Year as an All-America repeater. Junior shortstop/leftfielder John Parke (Middlefield) and Wojick were named All-New England Region a year ago, as was Gilblair, who also joined Castillo on the All-ECAC team. Injuries made havoc of Giblair's season last year; although he was still able to hit .400, his at-bats were limited to 124 and his innings fell off to less than 25.

magliola WEB_8968.jpgSix of last year's top seven hitters, as well as senior catcher Andrew Magliola (East Haven), are among 16 letterwinners. Gilblair brings 20 home runs and 126 RBI into his final season, while Castillo has accumulated 25 home runs and 114 RBI in two years. Other returning regulars are senior first baseman Tristan Hobbes (Utica, NY), Parke, junior infielder Travis Bass (West Hartford), and sophomore first baseman Andrew Dewing (Swampscott, MA). Magliola is in his second year as the starting backstop.


At left: Andrew Magliola

"Being unselfish will be a key," notes Holowaty. "The immaturity last year was a problem, as was people not being leaders of themselves. I think that our maturity level has improved, but time will tell. People accepting roles on the team is key. If you can't accept your role on a team, in any place in life, then it's a problem. We stress that, but it's a tough thing to do. Only time will tell if we do it. Hopefully, we will do it, but I can't promise that."

Last year, the Warriors won their final eight regular-season conference games to obtain the second seed in the Little East Conference tournament.A winner of nine regular-season LEC titles and six LEC tournament crowns in 11 years, Eastern was unable to pull off a threepeat in the tournament., but nonetheless received an at-large bid to its 29th NCAA tournament. Looking for its third straight berth in the national tournament, Eastern won three games after an opening loss before being eliminated in extra innings in the New York Regional Tournament.

Among field players, Parke and Magliola were swimming in the deep end of the pool last year after previously frolicking in the wading pool. So was first-year transfer Bass and freshmen Dewing and Jim Schult (Wappingers Falls, NY). It was also the first time in the limelight for freshmen Dewing and Schult and for Bass, the latter having gotten his feet wet as an All-New England shortstop at Castleton State College in 2007.

In fact, the only newcomers able to pierce the starting lineup this year may be Division I transfers Shane Kingsley (Beacon Falls) and Will Musson (Wethersfield). Kingsley is a sophomore who played last season at Marist College; a junior, Musson spent the last two seasons pitching in relief at the University of Connecticut.

This year, each of the aforementioned players enter the season now possessing baseball resumes which include a full - and successful - season in the program. Parke opened last season in left field before moving to shortstop and was the primary leadoff hitter; Magliola started 36 games behind the plate and compiled a .983 fielding percentage and led all players in putouts; Bass proved himself more than able to compete in a nationally-competitive program with his second straight standout season. This spring, he returns to second base, where he started 26 games in 2008. Bass' adjustment this season will be to make the transition from the bottom third of the order into the No. 2 slot vacated by graduated left fielder Jon Dalton. A Division I transfer, Dewing split time last year at first base with Hobbes (and also DH'd) and batted in the heart of the order. Schult was the team's primary right fielder as a freshman, and No. 6 hitter. His role this year will expand to include a spot in the pitching rotation. He will be one of three hitters/pitchers for the Warriors, along with Gilblair and Musson.

This year, Parke and Bass will open the season as middle infielders and bat 1-2 in the roder. Castillo will start where he left off last year - at third base and batting third in the lineup. In addition to DH'ing and pitching, Gilblair could replace Dalton in left and will return to the cleanup spot. Gilblair and Schult may flank either Kingsley or junior Joe Cousineau (Newington), who are vying for the starting centerfield spot vacated by graduated Ismael Bolorin. Cousineau returns to the program after seeing some varsity time as a freshman.

The lefty-hitting Hobbes and right-handed Dewing are expected to share first base again, and Magliola returns as the No. 1  backstop. Musson should make a solid impact in any of several areas. He can play third base and left field and also DH and can provide the pitching staff with a dominant closer or middle reliever. Musson has proven his worth with successful summer stints in two of the nation's premier wood bat leagues: the Alaska Baseball League (in 2008) and the New England Collegiate Baseball League (in 2007).

Like a number of last year's position players, Fontaine and Kukucka were in somewhat of a 'feeling-out' process, as the demands placed upon both of them were softened by righties Joe Esposito and Jimmy Jagodzinski. Those two were post-season veterans who combined for 15 wins and nearly 140 innings a year ago. The untested Fontaine fulfilled pre-season expectations by pitching 77 1/3 innings (second only to Jagodzinski) and fanning a staff-high 88, with 17 of his strikeouts coming  in one game.

Fontaine, Kukucka, Schult and Tingley may fulfill the role of starters, with Wojick, Musson and returning junior lefty Wes Dutton (Waterbury) serving as relievers. Holowaty is also looking to first-year Division III sophomore lefty transfer Danny Schmiemann (Sea Cliff, NY) and junior righty transfer Bobby Nicoll (Canterbury). Schmiemann was a starter and reliever last year at DeSales University, which won its conference tournament and competed in the NCAA tournament (he started the NCAA opener). Nicoll has been idle since pitching the 2005 and 2006 seasons at the University of Connecticut-Avery Point. Sophomore righty Andrew Morrison (Old Saybrook), who pitched exclusively on the sub-varsity level last year, may also contribute.

"I think the key for us is to stay hungry," says Holowaty. "This has got to be a hungry team with hungry players, and if we're not, we're not going to be where we need to be, because we don't have any studs. We can't get complacent. We can't be fat cats who think we're good."

In the field, junior two-year letterwinner Travis Horrigan (Roxbury) will provide defensive strength at all three infield positions, junior Mike Palo (Brookfield) can play third base and provide the team with a potent bat off the bench, and sophomore one-year letterwinner Steve Cannata (Southington) will return as the backup catcher to Magliola. Sophomore Andrew Dyer (Topsfield, MA) may contribute in the outfield after spending last season exclusively with the sub-varsity.

First-year transfers  who could emerge as prime time players are outfielders Chris Thomson (Montville) and Robert Perry (Manchester). A junior, Thomson played on two NJCAA regional championship teams at Avery Point; Perry was a member of Post University's ECAC Division II Tournament qualifier.

Other potential varsity contributors are freshmen Justin Proctor (Meriden), Kevin Keys (Fairfield), Steve Cammuso (Rutland, MA), Eric Bukowski (Cheshire) and Ian Hnatov (Glen Head, NY). Proctor is an infielder, Keys and Hnatov first basemen and Cammuso and Bukowski catchers.



Warriors commit 23 turnovers in falling to Beavers

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barretts WEB_9372.jpgBABSON PARK, Mass. --  The Eastern Connecticut State University women's lacrosse team turned the ball over 23 times and managed only seven clears on 18 attempts in a season-opening 17-4 non-conference  loss to No. 12 nationally-ranked Babson College Sunday afternoon at MacDowell Field.

At left: Sara Barrett

Babson (2-0) led 11-1 at halftime and had no difficulty protecting that lead by limiting  Eastern (0-1) to only three second-half shots, two of them coming in the final 8.5 seconds. The win is Babson's third straight over Eastern after the Warriors won  the first two matches in this series.

Eastern senior defender Sara Barrett (Bourne, MA) had six ground balls and caused five turnovers and junior midfielder Taylor MacDonald (Oak Bluffs, MA) won five draws. In addition to forcing 23 Eastern turnovers and allowing only seven clears on 18 tries, Babson won 15 of 22 draws.

Freshman midfielder Nicole Shusdock (Norwalk) recorded her first collegiate point for Eastern when she converted a free-position shot with 8.5 seconds left.

Freshman goalie Kristianna Ibsen (Shelton) made 13 saves in her collegiate debut, ten ibsen WEB_9316.jpgcoming in the first half when the Beavers unloaded 20 shots.

Senior midfielder Jackie Godfrey figured in seven of Babson's goals by scoring two and assisting on five. Senior attack Lindsay Bucci paced the Beavers with four goals, three coming in the first half.

At right: Kristianna Ibsen

Eastern played without two potential freshman injured starters and lost senior attack Jessica Richards (Somers) due to a twisted ankle with 2:50 left in the first half.

Eastern visits nationally-ranked Trinity College Wednesday at 4:30 p.m. in a non-conference match.

Babson College 17, Eastern Conn. 4

Eastern Conn. (0-1)    1 3 --   4
Babson College (2-0)  11 6 -- 17

Goals: E-Ashley Del Vecchio, Nicole Shusdock, Katie Beers, Brooke Wayte; B- Lindsay Bucci 4; Anna Collins 3; Jackie Godfrey 2; Erin Daley 2; Trisha Babson 2; Jess Parker 2; Kaitlyn Pettengill; Sam Sulliman.
 Assists: E-Taylor MacDonald; B-Godfrey 4, Bucci 2, Pettengill 2
Shots: E-11, B-33; Saves: E- Kristianna Ibsen 13, B-Sarah Macary 4 (46:07, 2 goals allowed), Laura Bronner 0 (13:53, 2).









Red Hawks break open tight contest to register non-conference decision

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MONTCLAIR, N.J. - The Eastern Connecticut State University men's lacrosse team gave up only one goal to Montclair State University leading scorer Tyler Meth, but four of his teammates combined for six goals that broke open a tight game late in the third quarter and carried the Red Hawks to a 14-8 non-conference victory Saturday afternoon at Sprague Field on the MSU campus.

Playing its second game in three days, Eastern (1-1) never led  in the second half but trailed by only two goals, 8-6, after senior attack Matt Savage's (Southington) second goal with four minutes left in the third period. Montclair (3-1) owned the final 19 minutes, however, outscoring the Warriors 6-2 the rest of the way to post its third straight victory over Eastern after losing the first two contests in this series.

Meth, the Montclair leader with ten goals through the first three matches, managed only one goal on eight shots Saturday, but teammates Robert Simicola, Mike Corsetto, Matthew Prongay and Taylor Bonner combined to wrap six goals around the final minutes of the third period and first nine minutes of the fourth as Montclair pulled away.

Eastern's first four goals of the match gave it one-goal leads each time before Prongay and Meth scored in the final two minutes to provide the hosts with a 6-4 advantage at halftime. Eastern was never able to get any closer.

In Thursday's 15-8 season-opener win at Babson, Eastern shut out the Beavers in the third period which allowed the Warriors to carry an 11-4 lead into the final 15-minute session. Saturday, Montclair scored six times in the third period, then held Eastern scoreless in the fourth until less than a minute remained.

Sophomore attack Brian Fechtmann (Levittown, NY), junior midfielder Maxim Fantl (West Hartford) and Matt Savage each scored twice for Eastern. Fechtmann, who scored two goals in 14 matches as a freshman leads Eastern with five goals in two matches.

Sophomore midfielder Eric Vasil (Southington) won 16 of 23 faceoffs against Montclair and is now 30-for-38 in two matches. He collected eight ground balls and senior defenseman Steve Lane (Groton) five. First-year junior midfielder Michael Glennon (Walpole, MA) contributed three assists on three of the team's first four goals. His pass set up senior midfielder Ben Raccio (Hamden) with five minutes left in the first half that gave Eastern its final lead, 4-3.

Bonner scored five goals on seven shots for Montclair, giving him nine strikes in four matches.

Eastern senior goalie Kyle Savage (Southington) was credited with ten saves while Montclair senior netminder Thomas Bowers had 13. Bowers was last year's ECAC Metro-South Goalie-of-the-Year for the Skyline Conference regular-season and playoff champions.

Eastern hosts Roger Williams University at Norwich Free Academy Saturday at noon.







Looking to extend streaks, Warriors will turn up the heat this season

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Defending a Little East Conference championship is not a new experience for the Eastern Connecticut State University women's lacrosse team. However, the defensive scheme being employed to help carve out a third straight conference championship is.

In defense of two consecutive undefeated Little East Conference seasons, third-year head coach Christine Hutchison feels that a new-look defense in 2009 could play a significant role as the Warriors look to extend a 16-game winning streak in conference play.

"We will play an aggressive type of defense this year, where we will be looking to double, where we will be looking to help, where we are really, really looking to get in (the opponents') faces," says Hutchison, who directed Eastern to a 10-7 overall record and second straight unbeaten conference championship season last year. "I think that we  are extremely capable of playing that high-pressure defense this year," maintains Huchison. "I'm excited to see what it looks like against our conference opponents, because no other school in the conference plays that way."

In all, 12 letterwinners return for the start of the program's 14th intercollegiate season. Last year, the starting lineup which opened the season March 7 at nationally-ranked Wesleyan University remained intact through the season-ending NCAA tournament loss to nationally-ranked Colby College. Five of those starters are back.

Among the returning starters are defenders Jackie Bivona (Middlebury) and Sara Barrett (Bourne, MA) , center Taylor MacDonald (Oak Bluffs, MA) and attacks Brooke Wayte (Bellport, NY) and Courtney Bedocs (Hamden). Sara Barrett and Bivona are two of the team's three seniors, while MacDonald, Wayte and Bedocs are juniors.

The job of the defense this season  -- which will include starting sophomore Paige Booth (Hollis,NH) and starting freshmen Megan Barrett (Setauket, NY), Jaime Mugavero (Clinton) and Samantha Petrella  (Yorktown, NY) - will be twofold: to execute the pressure defense which meets the attacking team closer to mid field than to the goal, and to establish the tempo until a relatively unproven offense can break in its shooting shoes. Gone from a year ago are four of last year's top six scorers. Two of the conference's top guns have graduated in Offensive Player-of-the-Year Megan Gloster (33-28-61) and LEC goal leader Lily Anderson (53-7-60). Also gone is last year's fourth-leading scorer in Natalie Sims (22-13-35).

Backstopping the defense will be freshman goalie Kristianna Ibsen (Shelton), a 5-foot-10 inch two-sport athlete who was the top all-around player on this past fall's volleyball team. The high school all-stater will be the team's third different starting goalie in as many years.

"Our defense has a lot of confidence in Kristianna," notes Hutchison. "I think already she's very good, but she has some basic fundamentals that she's working on and she'll get a lot better as the season goes along."

bivona WEB_0608 copy.jpg

A team which could get contributions from all five freshmen roster members, will be centered around MacDonald, the LEC's Defensive Player-of-the-Year and tournament MVP and first-team all-conference midfielder last year. The LEC Rookie-of-the-Year in 2007, MacDonald led last year's club in ground balls, draw controls and caused turnovers. Bivona and Sara Barrett are seasoned defenders, 2008 all-conference selectees, and 2009 co-captains. Each has played a prominent role in the last two conference championships.

A second-year player, Wayte is a proven goal-scorer, having collected 32 goals and nine assists in her first season after transferring from the Division II level. Hutchison feels that Wayte will emerge from the shadow of Anderson and Gloster this season to provide much of the offensive spark. Aiding Wayte's efforts will be Bedocs, who contributed 15 goals and three assists and is the third-leading returning scorer from a year ago. Sophomore Ashley Del Vecchio (Fairfield), last year's top freshman scorer with 15 goals and 18 points, will see plenty of time at attack and midfield after recovering from sickness which has plagued her recently in the pre-season.

Three additional offensive players expected to assume prominent roles have combined for only ten career goals. Offensive midfielders Jessica Richards (Somers) and Dana McLaughlin (West Hartford) last played in 2007, while junior attack Katie Beers (Trumbull) made only one appearance last year due to injury. Richards had six goals and nine points during the 2006 and 2007 seasons and Beers has totaled four goals and eight points in her two-year career.

"We don't have the senior leaders on attack like we did last year, so we're kind of waiting for those one or two players to step up and really make a difference," says Hutchison. "But they're extremely disciplined. They are doing what we ask them to do and they look to improve at every practice."

After coming off the bench to contribute six goals and seven points as a freshman last year, Rachael Joy (Huntington Station, NY) will be counted upon offensively this season, as will freshman attack wing Nicole Shusdock (Norwalk). Junior Kristina Sisti (Farmington) and first-year sophomore Lauren St. Pierre (Southington) will contribute at attack and at midfield, respectively.

In the LEC pre-season coaches' poll, the expectation for a three-peat was nearly unanimous. The Warriors commanded six of seven first-place votes and held a seven-point margin over runner-up Keene State College. Although Keene's third-place finish in the final regular-season standings a year ago was projected in the 2008  pre-season poll, a young Owl team played Eastern on even terms until the final minutes, when the Warriors squeaked by with a 13-12 win at Keene, NH.

"The players know that it is going to be hard to get an undefeated season again, but they want it badly," observes Hutchsion. "It's stressful (to be undefeated), but I also think that they expect themselves to win, so it's easier from my perspective, because they already have higher or the same expectations of themselves than  I do."

Eastern opens the 2009 season with consecutive games against nationally-ranked teams (No. 11 Babson and No. 13 Trinity) and plays six of its first seven matches away from home. A confrontation which may ultimately dictate the LEC champion is scheduled when the Warriors and Keene square off in the LEC opener for both teams March 28 in Mansfield.

Since losing a road match at Massachusetts Dartmouth in mid-April of 2004, Eastern has won 33 of 37 conference matches - all of the losses at the hands of Plymouth State. Since dropping a 9-5 decision to the Panthers in the 2006 LEC playoff final, Eastern has won 16 consecutive conference games. In each of the last two seasons, the Warriors have followed perfect (6-0) LEC regular seasons with two playoff victories. Eastern has won three of the last four LEC playoff titles. In seven years of LEC play, the Warriors are 46-10 (36-6 in the regular season, 10-4 in the playoffs).













Falcons score 24 straight first-half points in breezing to 81-46 victory

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GRANTHAM, Pa. - The Messiah College women's basketball team advanced all the way to the national championship game in last year's NCAA Division III tournament. Friday night, the Falcons flexed their muscle in the opening round of the tournament, breezing to an  81-46 victory over Eastern Connecticut State University at Brubaker Auditorium.

In its 12th NCAA tournament appearance, Eastern (25-4) missed six shots and turned the ball over three times on its first nine possessions in digging an 11-0 hole over the first four minutes. Leading 17-8, Messiah (23-4) held Eastern without a point over the next ten minutes, scoring 24 of its own on the way to a 29-point, 41-12 halftime lead.

Messiah, which won its NCAA opening game for the fifth straight season, meets Thomas More College in Saturday's 7 p.m. regional title game. Thomas More defeated Randolph-Macon College, 76-61, in Friday's first semifinal.

In the first half, Messiah shot  54.8 percent from the floor and held the Warriors to 18.8 shooting. Eastern scored its least number of points in a game this year and allowed the most and recorded its worst shooting percentage (29.8). The Falcons are ranked third nationally in field goal percentage, fifth in scoring defense, and seventh in scoring margin.

The 35-point loss is Eastern's second-worst in NCAA tournament history behind a 36-point loss to the University of St. Thomas (MN) in the 1991 NCAA Division III national semifinals.

Katie Kalb led five Messiah double-digit scorers with 18 points, while Ashley Brooks had 16. The pair combined to sink 13 of 18 field goals and combined on six three-point field goals.

In the final games of their four-year careers, forward Ashley McFetridge (Canton) had 13 points and a game-high seven rebounds and guard Christina Amato (Marlboro, MA) had  ten points. 

The Warriors won a program-record 16 straight games this year and won their most regular-season games (23) ever before ending the season with two straight losses.



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BABSON PARK, Mass. - In the pre-season, second-year head coach Justin Axel felt that this year's biggest improvement would be evident in the area of faceoffs.


Thursday's season-opener proved him prophetic.


At right: Eric Vasil (12)


Sophomore midfielder Eric Vasil (Southington) dominated the faceoff circle by winning 14 of 15 faceoffs and also picked up 14 ground balls and scored three goals to lead the Eastern Connecticut State University men's lacrosse team to a season-opening 15-8 win over Babson College at MacDowell Field.


It marked the first season-opening win since 2005 for Eastern, which defeated Babson (0-2) for the fourth straight year and eighth time in nine years.  


malouf WEB_9239.jpgBabson led 3-2 after the first quarter, and played the Warriors to a 4-4 stalemate in the fourth quarter. In between, Eastern completeley dominated play. In those decisive middle two periods, the Warriors had advantages of 9-2 in goals, 30-12 in shots, 29-17 in ground balls and 9-2 in faceoffs. Over those 30 minutes, Eastern's experienced defense limited Babson to just four clears on 16 attempts.


At left: Zach Malouf


Leading by one goal, Eastern erupted for eight unasnwered goals to run away with a 13-4 lead three minutes into the final quarter. The Warriors scored the final four goals in the final three minutes of the first half to take a 9-4 lead into halftime. Seven different players either scored a goal or assisted during that four-goal run.


Vasil, who won 54.5 percent of his faceoffs as a freshman last season, won 14 of 15 face-offs for the Warriors, recording 11 of his 14 ground balls on his own face-off victories. He also scored three goals on as many shots. Sophomore attack Brian Fechtmann (Levitttown, NY) matched his classmate with three goals, while senior attack Matt Savage (Southington) tacked on one goal and three assists. Senior midfielder DJ Simmons (Mystic) and junior midfielder Zach Malouf (Norwich) each contributed two goals for Eastern, while senior goalie Kyle Savage (Southington) made 10 saves before departing in charge of a 12-4 lead early in the fourth quarter.


bench shot WEB_9298.jpgEvery player in uniform saw action for the Warriors. Five Eastern newcomers  recorded their first collegiate points: Midfielder Kyle Bainton (North Attleboro, MA) had a goal and assist, attack Parker Geane (Easton) and midfielder Henry Peterson (West Hartford) a goal each and attack Michael Sullinger (Brookfield) and first-year transfer midfielder Michael Glennon (Walpole, MA) one assist apiece. All but Glennon are freshmen.


A total of 22 penalties were whistled in the game. Eastern was 4-for-11 in extra-man opportunies and its man-down unit stopped seven of Babson's nine man-up tries. Three of the Warriors' man-up goals came during the seven-goal second period, with Fechtmann, Malouf and Simmons capitalizing on those extra-man situations.


In all, Eastern won 20 of 25 faceoffs.


After picking up 53 ground balls in last year's win over Babson, the Warriors collected 52 Thursday to out-pace Babson by 21 in that category. Senior defenseman Steve Lane (Groton) followed Vasil with six ground balls, senior midfielder Ben Raccio (Hamden) adding four.


Babson was led by senior E.J. Peterson, who scored three goals, and senior Bryan Wilbur, who added three assists. Senior Max Owen started in net and made five saves in 28 minutes of action before giving way to sophomore Mike Saucier, who stopped nine shots in 32 minutes.


Eastern visits Montclair State University Saturday at 2 p.m.







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Double-digit wins for the 11th time in the program's 13-year history and a sixth Little East Conference championship in eight years punctuated Justin Axel's first season as head coach of the Eastern Connecticut State University men's lacrosse program in 2008.

At right: Kyle Savage

Unsure of what to expect in his first season as a collegiate head coach, the former assistant coach at Division III's premier program (Salisbury University) was generally encouraged by the way the season played out,  only disappointed by the way it finished.

Still, the team's first home loss ever to a conference team which bumped the Warriors from the conference tournment in the semifinal round will serve as motivation for this year's team.

"That was a heartbreaking loss," admits Axel. "I was very nervous going into that semifinal game. I watched them play, and they looked a lot better than they did the first time around (in Eastern's 14-10 win April 6),  and our guys took them lightly (in the tournament).  As much as losing that game hurt, it was the best thing that could have happened to the guys who returned.  I feel sorry for (last year's) seniors, but this year's senior know that there's not going to be a single team taken lightly, there's not going to be a single team that we're not going to get after for 60 minutes. "

The Warriors begin their 14 intercollegiate season Thursday afternoon with a 4 p.m. non-conference match at Babson College. No player on their year's team has ever been part of an Eastern team which has won its season-opener, but the Warriors  bring a three-game winning streak against the Beavers into the opener.

Eastern is scheduled to play 15 matches,  nearly half (seven) in conference play. Seven of its last eight matches will be in conference play prior to the first round of the LEC playoffs April 28.

Eight seniors are among the 19 returning letterwinners,  and it is this group which has impressed Axel.

"The senior leadership has been amazing this year," says the head coach. "Having such a great senior group, they know that this is the last call. They don't want to give up any soft goals, they don't want to give up a game. They are not satisfied going 10-7. They want to compete in every game, they want to win every game, no matter who their opponent is."

Key players return at every position, but the defense should prove to the cornerstone. In front of senior goalie Kyle Savage (Southington)  are senior close defenders Mike Silvestrini (Guilford)Steve Lane (Groton) and junior Douglas Hackenyos (West Suffield). Savage and Lane are three-year starters and Silvestrini and Hackenyos have been in the starting lineup in each of their two seasons. Returning at long-stick midfielder is sophomore Sean Leary (West Hartford), who split time at that position a year ago.

Both the midfield and attack return key, experienced players. Sophomore Eric Vasil (Southington) and senior Will Lathrop (Plantsville)  return as the top faceoff men. Senior DJ Simmons (Mystic) and juniors Maxim Fantl (West Hartford) and Zach Malouf (Norwich) are among the top midfielders, along with Vasil, senior Ben Raccio (Hamden), and first-year junior Michael Glennon (Walpole, MA), a transfer from the University of Hartford.

In all, three of last year's top four scorers return in senior attack Matthew Savage (Southington), Simmons, and sophmore attack Brendan Hoppey (Shoreham, NY). After recovering from a broken hand which will sideline him for the first two weeks of the season, Hoppy will team with Matthew Savage and sophomore Brian Fechtmann (Levittown,  NY) on the top attack line. Junior Vinny Tornatore (Norwalk), who will try to compete with a brace after tearing his ACL in the pre-season, will see time at attack as well, along with freshmen Michael Sullinger (Brookfield) and Parker Geane (Easton).

While injuries have claimed as many as five players even before the start of the season, Axel feels that improved depth  may allow the team to overcome early bad luck. "Had this happened last year, we would have been in a lot of trouble," says Axel. "At least this year, we have more depth. Had we lost a defenseman last year, we would have been in trouble; had we lost an attackman, we would have been in trouble; if we had lot a starting midfielder last year, we would have been in a world of trouble, because we just didn't have the depth."

Hoppey was last year's conference Rookie-of-the-Year, while Lane, Matthew Savage and Silvestrini are returning first-team all-conference picks. Hoppey, Kyle Savage and Simmons were all named to last year's LEC second team.

Additional top newcomers include transfers Ryan Schneeloch (Glastonbury) at close defense, Tommy Flynn (Mineola, NY)  at long stick and Mark Vincent (Norwalk) at midfield. The latter two are freshmen. A sophomore, Schneeloch will contribute immensely after coming over from Plymouth State. Flynn will work with Leary after one semester at Nassau Community College, while Vincent will solidify the midfielder at transfering from Adelphi University. He is currently nursing a pre-season injury.

As defensive midfielders,  freshmen  Salieu Bolivar (Norwalk) and Derek Burd (Somers) will see plenty of time, along with senior Kevin St. Pierre (Southington).

Freshman Henry Peterson (West Hartford) is the third faceoff man, while sophomore Pat Gority (Glastonbury) will see time at midfield and junior Dan Pippitt (New Canaan) at long stick. Sophomore Stephen Goomrigian (Norwalk) and freshman Jamie Tommins (Fairfield) will back up Kyle Savage  in net. Goomrigian served as Savage's only backup as a freshman last year, coming off the bench to appear in five matches. 

Courtesy of Little East Conference Athletic Communications Office

Complete Listing.pdf

NORTH DARTMOUTH, Mass. - The Little East Conferecce office announced its annual women's basketball all-conference teams and major awards winners this afternoon after a vote by each of the eight head coaches. Eastern Connecticut State University senior forward Ashley McFetridge (Canton, Conn.) repeated as Little East Conference Player of the Year, and teammate sophomore guard Jessica Moriarty (East Haven, Conn.) was selected as the Defensive Player of the Year. Rhode Island College freshman guard Stephanie Coro (North Providence, R.I.) was named the Rookie of the Year, while Denise Bierly and Kimberley Rybczyk shared Coach of the Year honors.

The Little East Conference honored 11 student-athletes on the top-two teams, while six and five players comprise the all-defensive and all-rookie teams, respectively.

McFetridge is the fifth student-athlete in conference history to repeat as the top player, joining the three previous awards winners to duplicate the honor. The native of Canton, Conn. is also making her third appearance on the All-Little East, first-team and all-defensive team. McFetridge is ranked among the conference leaders in blocked shots (second, 1.9 bpg), field goal percentage (second, 51 percent), rebounding (third, 8.1 rpg), and scoring (third, 14 ppg). A starter in all 28 games, she reached double figures in the scoring column 19 times, while scoring at least 20 points on five outings. McFetridge showed the ability to elevate her game when playing the top regional teams, posting six of her 10 double-doubles on the campaign against clubs ranked in the final NCAA Division III Northeast Region poll.

Moriarty is the first player to be named the Little East Defensive Player of the Year as the award was voted in this past summer. She helped the Warriors boast the conference's top defense and seventh best in the nation, allowing opponents to score just 49.9 points per game. From her guard position, Moriarty collected at least 10 caroms four times, including a season-high 12 at Keene State College on Jan. 27. She also registered multiple steals in 12 of her 28 appearances, including a season-best four against Plymouth State University.

Coro made an immediate impact in the Anchorwomen lineup, leading Rhode Island College and ranking second the in Little East in scoring with 14.6 points per game. The North Providence, R.I. product also earned a place on the All-Little East, second team and all-rookie team. Coro was second in the conference in free throw percentage (82.1) and three-pointers made (56), while ranking sixth in steals per game (2.0). A starter in 18 of her 26 appearances, she reached double digits in scoring 23 times, including a season-high 24 points against Western Connecticut. Coro is the second player in Rhode Island College history to be named the conference's top rookie.    

Bierly guided Eastern Connecticut to the program's 12th NCAA Division III Women's Basketball Tournament appearance, earning an at-large selection in the field of 63 yesterday morning. The Warriors are ranked 14th in the latest poll, and fifth in the final NCAA Division III Northeast Regional poll. Bierly has guided Eastern Connecticut to at least 20 victories in seven of her past nine seasons, including boasting a 25-3 mark on the present campaign. Eastern Connecticut sported a 13-1 record in the Little East Conference-matching the program's most successful season since 2001-and earned the top seed and right to host the annual conference tournament.

Rybczyk is enjoying her most successful season in her tenure on the Western Connecticut sideline, leading the Colonials into the NCAA Division III Tournament for the first time in the program's history since the 1998 campaign. Under her direction, Western Connecticut has posted its second straight season with at least 20 wins, sporting a 21-5 mark. Each of the Colonials' losses came at the hands of 2009 NCAA Tournament teams. Rybczyk led her team to a 12-2 record in the Little East to earn the second seed in the conference tournament, where they reached the semifinal round.

Joining McFetridge on the top-team are classmate guard Nicky Morey (Columbia, Conn.), Keene State College junior guard Kristin Degou (Newburyport, Mass.), University of Southern Maine sophomore Kaylie DeMillo (Jay, Maine) and teammate senior Stacey Kent (Northwood, N.H.), and Western Connecticut State University senior forward Stacey Roberts (Windham, Conn.).

Plymouth State University sophomore forward Amanda Kania (Manchester, N.H.), University of Southern Maine junior guard Nicole Paradis (Skowhegan, Maine), Western Connecticut State University sophomore guard Karli Spera (Waterford, Conn.), and Keene State College forward Nicole Simmler (Oxford, Mass.), join Coro on the All-Little East, second-team.

The Colonials, Owls, and Warriors each placed two players on the all-defensive team. Keene State College senior guard Michele Boudreau (Readsboro, Vt.), and Western Connecticut teammate's senior guard Alyssa McGhee (Hartford, Conn.) and sophomore center Melissa Teel (Hamden, Conn.) join Degou, McFetridge, and Moriarty.

Coro is joined on the all-rookie team by Plymouth State University freshman forward Alicia Doucet (Manchester, N.H.), University of Massachusetts Boston freshman guard Laniece Langford (Boston, Mass.), Rhode Island College freshman forward Rachel Riley (Coventry, R.I.), and University of Southern Maine freshman forward Kristi Violette (Readfield, Maine).









Complete list.pdf

Courtesy of Little East Conference Athletic Communications Office

NORTH DARTMOUTH, Mass. - The Little East Conference office announced it annual men's basketball all-conference teams this afternoon after each of the eight head coaches casted their votes. Rhode Island College senior guard Bobby Bailey (Fall River, Mass.) earned a pair of the major awards, earning Defensive Player of the Year, while Keene State College senior Tyler Kathan (Ludlow, Vt.) shared the conference's top player award with Bailey. Western Connecticut State University freshman guard Daquan Brooks (Bristol, Conn.) was tabbed Rookie of the Year, and Bob Walsh was selected Coach of the Year by his peers.

The Little East Conference honored 11 student-athletes on the top-two teams. The conference also recognized a five member all-defensive team, and six-player all-rookie team.

Bailey is just the second Anchorman to earn at least a share of the conference's top award, since Alex Butler headlined the all-conference teams in 1997. The native of Fall River, Mass. is making his third straight appearance on the All-Little East Conference teams, but his debut on the first team after earning second team honors the past two campaigns. Bailey returned from an injury for the final 22 games of the regular season to help Rhode Island College post a 19-3 overall record, including a 12-1 mark in the conference circuit. A starter in 20 games, he reached double figures in scoring in 17 contests, including a season-high 21 points against Western Connecticut on Jan. 27. Bailey recorded a double-double against then-nationally ranked Amherst College, netting 17 points and pulling in 11 rebounds. He averaged 11.9 points and 5.2 rebounds, while adding 42 assists.

On the defensive side, Bailey helped the Anchormen sport the top-ranked defense in scoring defense (64.9 ppg) and field goal percentage defense (40.8). The three-time All-Little East defensive team pick collect at least six boards 11 times, including 13 in the Little East Championship against UMass Dartmouth. He ranked third in the conference in steals (39) and blocked shots (20). Bailey is the first student-athlete to be honored as the top defensive player.

Kathan is the sixth player in conference history to earn at least a share of the Little East Player of the Year award twice, and first since Plymouth State College's Adam DeChristopher repeated in 1999. The three-time All-Little East, first-team selection averaged a double-double in 26 games to lead the conference circuit in scoring (18.4 ppg) and rebounding (10.2 rpg). Kathan posted seven of his Little East-best 14 double-doubles against conference opponents. He reached double figures in scoring in all but two games, while scoring at least 30 points three times. Kathan netted a season-high 36 points against Western Connecticut.

Brooks is just the second Colonial to be tabbed the Little East Rookie of the Year since Western Connecticut joined the conference in 1994. The Bristol, Conn. native was to top-vote getter on the all-rookie ballot after ranking among the conference leaders in steals (fifth, 1.6 spg), scoring (sixth, 13.6 ppg), and assists (eighth, 3.0 apg). Brooks reached double figures in the scoring column in 18 of his 26 appearances. He netted a season-best 33 points, including five three-pointers, against Keene State College on Feb. 14. Brooks handed out multiple assists 21 times, including a season-high seven at Southern Vermont.
Walsh has been selected as the top coach in the Little East for the second time in the past three years. The Anchormen earned the program's third consecutive berth into the NCAA Tournament after posting a 23-5 overall record. Rhode Island College is ranked No. 17 in the latest edition of the national poll, and fourth in the final NCAA Division III Northeast Region.  Walsh led his squad to the program's most successful campaign in the Little East, boasting a 13-1 mark to earn the top seed in the annual conference tournament.
The guard tandem of senior Tirrell Hill (Bronx, N.Y.) and sophomore Antone Gray (Providence, R.I.) join Bailey as Rhode Island College earned three first-team selections.  Kathan and University of Massachusetts Dartmouth senior guard Reece Freeman (Cambridge, Mass.) and junior forward Brandon Shelton (Cambridge, Mass.) complete the All-Little East, first team picks.

Keene State College senior forward Nate Anderson (Westminster, Mass.), Western Connecticut State University senior guard Dashon Jennings (Bridgeport, Conn.), Anchormen senior forward Kaseem Johnson (New Haven, Conn.), Corsair sophomore guard Brandon Stephens (Dorchester, Mass.), and Eastern Connecticut State University junior guard Edwin Ortiz (Hartford, Conn.) each represented their institutions on the second-team.

University of Massachusetts Dartmouth sophomore guard Jeff Macchi (Franklin, Mass.) and Warriors freshman forward Nick Nedwick (Irvington, N.Y.) join Bailey, Freeman, and Hill on the all-defensive squad.

Freshman forwards Gary Robinson (Torrington, Conn.) and Leroy Mayers (Bronx, N.Y.) join Brooks as Colonial representatives on the all-rookie team. Rhode Island College freshman forward Mason Choice (Newport, R.I.), Keene State freshman guard Derek D'Amours (Agawam, Mass.), and Nedwick complete the six-member team.












Warriors face regional host Messiah in first round Friday at 7:30 p.m.

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images.jpgWILLIMANTIC, Conn. -The Eastern Connecticut State University women's basketball team was named to its 12th NCAA Division III tournament this morning and will face host Messiah College in a first-round game in the field of 63 Friday night at 7:30 p.m. at Brubaker Auditorium.

In the other first-round game at Messiah Friday night, Randolph-Macon College (23-5) faces Thomas More College (26-2) at 5:30 p.m. Friday's winners will advance to Saturday's 7 p.m. championship game, with that winner moving on to a sectional tournament March 13-14. The national Final Four is scheduled for March 20-21 at Hope College.

Eastern (25-3) and Messiah (22-4) received at-large bids after losing in their respective tournaments this past weekend. The Warriors lost in the final to the University of Southern Maine in the Little East Conference and Messiah lost to Widener University in a first-round (semifinal) game in the Commonwealth Conference. Eastern was the defending LEC champion and Messiah the four-time defending Commonwealth champion. Thomas More and Randolph-Macon were awarded automatic bids to the tournament after winning the President's Athletic Conference and Old Dominion Athletic Conference tournament titles, respectively. Eastern, Messiah and Thomas More were all top seeds in their tournament, Randolph-Macon the second seed.

Forty teams earned automatic bids as conference champions while 23 were selected on an at-large basis. Eastern is one of three Little East Conference and 12 New England institutions competing in the tournament.

Prior to this past weekend's tournaments, Eastern was rated fifth in the Northeast Region, Messiah fifth in the Mid-Atlantic Region, Thomas More second in the Great Lakes Region, and Randolph-Macon sixth in the South Region.

Eastern, which dropped a 71-66 decision to the University of Rochester in last year's NCAA opener, has never played any of the other three teams in the regional.

Messiah is making its 11th NCAA tournament appearance, tenth straight. The Falcons reached last year's national championship game before falling to unbeaten Howard Payne University, 68-54.  Messiah was also a national finalist in 2001. That year, Washington University (MO) won its fourth straight crown by downing Messiah, 67-45.

Eastern won the Little East Conference regular-season title outright for the first time since 1991 by winning 13 of 14 conference games this year. After losing in overtime at Southern Maine Jan. 10, the Warriors won their final 11 regular-season conference games to earn the top seed in the conference tournament. Seeded No. 3, Southern Maine won its 19th conference tournament title in 23 years by upsetting the defending conference tournament champion Warriors on their home floor in the final and snapping their program-record 16-game winning streak.

Eastern's 23 regular-season wins established a season record in that department. The 25 wins overall equal the third-most wins in a season in the program's 38-year history. The Warriors have won at least 20 games in seven of the last nine seasons. The program record of 28 wins was set when Eastern reached the national title game in 2003, losing by a point to Trinity University (TX). That year, Eastern defeated Bowdoin College, 58-47, to win its sectional title and advance to its third Final Four. Messiah fell one win shy of reaching the Final Four that year, losing its sectional title game to Rochester, 71-60.

Eastern is led by two-time conference Player-of-the-Year Ashley McFetridge (Canton), a 6-foot-2 inch post player, as well as by two-time  first-team all-conference guard Nicky Morey (Columbia). Both are 1,000-point career scorers.

The same five Eastern players have started every game this year, and a total of seven provide the team's nucleus.  McFetridge, Morey, sophomore guard Jessica Moriarty (East Haven) -- the 2009 conference Defensive Player-of-the-Year -- and senior point guard Christina Amato (Marlboro, MA)  all average better than 30 minutes a game. Senior Kate Brunet (Bristol) averages 27 minutes a game. First-semester transfer Amanda Pierlioni (Plainville) rotates in at the post and sophomore guard Brittany Whiteley (Windsor Locks) rotates into the backcourt. 

The Falcons have lost two of their last four after winning 15 straight. Like Eastern, Messiah starts four seniors in 6-foot-2 inch Silalei Shani, six-foot Ashley Brooks, 5-foot-7 inch Katie Kalb, and 5-foot-6 inch Christa Wenrich. Junior Julie Henninger, at 5-foot-9, rounds out the starting five. No Messiah player averages as many as 30 minutes per game, with seven averaging between 22 and 29. Kalb averages 13.0 points, Shani 12.7 points and 9.3 rebounds, and Brooks 12.4 points and 5.2 rebounds. Kalb has recorded 69 of the team's 149 three-pointers and Henninger averages 3.6 assists per game.

Eastern is ranked fifth nationally in scoring defense (49.5 ppg. allowed) and eighth in field goal percentage defense (.322). Messiah is rated among the national Top 10 in field goal percentage (3rd/46.7), scoring defense (5th/49.5), scoring margin (7th/+21.5) and three-point field goal percentage (10th/.381).

Messiah has won its NCAA tournament opener the last four years.

The post-season appearance is the eighth in 15 years under head coach Denise Bierly, who needs two wins for 300 in her head coaching career (all at Eastern). The Warriors are making their sixth NCAA appearance under Bierly (the Warriors qualified for the ECAC tournament twice).





Friday, Feb. 27, 2009

At NE Open meet, Warriors chop 15 seconds off mark set six days earlier

                                                             From left: Noheimer, D'Elia, Hunt, and Clayton

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BOSTON -  The Eastern Connecticut State University distance medley relay team set a program record for the second time in as many weeks, chopping 15 seconds off its six-day-old mark Friday evening at the 2009 New England Open Men's Track and Field Championship, hosted by Boston University at the Track & Tennis Center.

The relay team of senior Nicholas Noheimer (Willimantic), sophomore Mike D'Elia (Windham), freshman Steven Clayton (North Haven) and first-semester junior transfer Dave Hunt (New Milford) was timed in 10:39.58 Friday, smashing the record of 10:54.39  that it established last Saturday with an eight-place finish that earned it All-New England honors at the Division III Championship. Friday, the Warriors placed 16th in a field of 18 in a race won by Division II University of Lowell (9:55.30). Eastern fell just under two seconds shy of qualifying for next weekend's ECAC Division III Championship.

The relay distance is 4,000 meters. Noheimer ran 1,200 meters, D'Elia 400, Clayton 800 and Hunt 1,600.

Also competing in the meet for Eastern was freshman Andrew Ricketts (Hartsdale, NY), who placed 23rd in a field of  30 with a time of 6.72 in the preliminaries of the 55 meters. Ricketts' season and career best came in the opening meet of the year, when he was timed in 6.62 in placing second in a field of 26 at the Springfield College Invitational Dec. 6.

New England institutions from all three divisions are eligible to compete in the championship, which was won for the 15th time in 16 years by the University of Connecticut. Williams College was the highest Division III finishers, placing ninth among 32 teams which scored points.

Barber, Petrizzo compete for women's team

Junior Erika Barber (Portland) and sophomore Amber Petrizzo (Plainville) - the program record-holders in the pole vault and 400 meters, respectively -- represented Eastern in the women's competition Friday.

Competing in the Open for the first time indoors, Barber was 18th in a field of 20 with a mark of 10-0 ½, while Petrizzo was timed in a season best of 1:00.43 to finish in a tie for 23rd among 31 competitors. Barber's height was the seventh-best among Division III competitors and Petrizzo's time the eighth-fastest among Division III runners. Petrizzo set the current program record of 59.70 in last year's preliminaries.

The University of Connecticut blitzed a field of 32 scoring teams, totaling 186.50 points. Runner-up Northeastern University was well back with 61.