August 2009 Archives
Warriors hope to surprise again after second-division projection
NORTH DARTMOUTH, Mass. - The Eastern Connecticut State University women's volleyball team looks to surprise Little East Conference opponents again in 2009 after being projected to finish in the second division for the second straight season in the 2009 LEC pre-season coaches' poll, released Wednesday.
At left: Taylor Abelli
.A winner of three straight regular season and three straight post-season tournament championships earlier this decade, Eastern was tabbed to finish fifth this year in the eight-team conference. Coming off their third straight tournament championship in 2007, the Warriors were selected to finish sixth among seven teams last year under first-year head coach Peter Viteritti. Eastern surprised many, however, capturing third place in last yaer's final standings - looking down upon three programs picked for a higher finish in the pre-season poll.
The University of Massachusetts Boston, once the doormat of the conference, rose from a fifth-place pre-season projection last year to finish second in the final regular-season standings, and is favored to win its first LEC title in this year's poll. The Beacons came within a whisker of posting their first LEC tournament title, losing to first-time titlist Keene State College, 3-2, in last year's championship match.
UMass Boston received four of eight first-place votes in the poll and totaled 59 points. Keene State College, which parlayed its second straight perfect regular season in conference play last yearinto its first tournament title, was accorded three first-place votes and amassed 56 points. Western Connecticut, fourth a year ago in the conference standings, corralled the final first-place vote but fell 12 points shy of Keene in the poll.
A four-time regular-season and seven-time LEC tournament titlist, Eastern has never finished as low as fifth in 11 seasons of LEC regular-season competition (the Warriors shared fifth place in 2003 before winning regular-season championships the next three seasons).
The Warriors (20-12) won at least 20 matches last year for the sixth time in eight years, posting a 4-2 regular-season conference mark. For the second straight year, Eastern returns seven letterwinners, and will again rely upon a talented freshman class for its success. One all-conference player from a year ago returns in sophomore second-team defensive specialist Taylor Abelli (Cheshire), last year's team leader in digs and serve percentage who was second in reception attempts.
Additional key returning sophomores coming off impressive first seasons are Samantha Slonski (Griswold) and Kristianna Ibsen (Shelton). Slonski was last year's No. 1 setter and assist leader but may move to outside hitter this season. Ibsen was the Warriors' leader last year in kills, attack percentage, service aces and blocks.
Eastern opens its 35th intercollegiate season Sept. 5 at Salve Regina University at noon.
Little East Conference
2009 Women's Volleyball Preseason Coaches' Poll
Rank, Institution (First place votes) Pts. 2008 Finish
1. Massachusetts Boston (4) 59 2nd
2. Keene State College* (3) 56 1st
3. Western Conn. (1) 44 4th
4. Plymouth State U. 41 5th
5. EASTERN CONN. 40 3rd
6. Massachusetts Dartmouth 22 6th
7. Rhode Island College 16 7th
8. U. of Southern Maine 10 --
*-2008 playoff champion
Softball player with most career starts at shortstop will be inducted Oct. 25
WILLIMANTIC, Conn. - No player in the 33-year history of the Eastern Connecticut State University fastpitch softball program has started more games at shortstop than Tammy Schondelmayer, who has been selected for induction into the University's E-Club Hall of Fame. The announcement was made by committee co-chairmen Dr. David G. Yeo and Scott Smith.
A member of four straight regional championship teams and one national titlist, Schondelmayer made 153 of her 165 career starts as a shortstop between 1986 and 1989, departing the program as the all-time leader with 279 assists.
The 16th E-Club Hall of Fame Ceremony and Social Hour is scheduled for Sunday, Oct. 25 at noon at the Betty R. Tipton Room in the Student Center. Schondelmayer is the first of six members of the Class of 2009, which will be announced throughout the months of September and October.
Recruited to play for Eastern off the intramural flag football field in the fall of her freshman year, the New London native and St. Bernard High School graduate took over at shortstop after starting the first nine games of her career in center field. Schondelmayer started 27 games at shortstop that year as the Warriors successfully defended their 1985 national championship. All of her starts over the final three seasons of her career were at shortstop, including the final 100 of her 165-game career.
Offensively, Schondelmayer's batting average improved every season, from .250 as a freshman in 1986 to a team-leading .411 as a first-team all-region selection as a senior. As the program's first all-region selection ever at shortstop that season, Schondelmayer topped all Eastern players in 11 individual categories, among them batting, slugging and on-base average, total bases and assists.
During her senior season, Schondelmayer set the current program record with an 18-game hitting streak, when she batted .507 between March 23 and April 23. The streak began with two hits against Hawaii-Hilo on the team's spring trip and concluded with two hits against Cortland State during a four-game weekend sweep of the Red Dragons and Ithaca in upstate New York. In one four-game stretch during the streak, she was 11-for-14 with seven runs scored. That year, the 5-foot-9 inch, 145-pounder led the Warriors nto the national tournament championship round and was named to the national all-tournament team The No. 3 hitter in the lineup, Schondelmayer hit safely in four of five national tournament games and committed only one error on 15 chances.
As a junior in 1988, Schondelmayer batted .305 with a team-high 14 stolen bases (in 15 tries) on a team considered perhaps the most dominant in program history. That team won a program-record 27 consecutive games, including a 26-1 mark in the regular season up north and set six team records, among those for hits, total bases and runs.
As a freshman on the 1986 national championship team - the program's fourth national title in six years - Schondelmayer played perfect defense in eight post-season games, sharing the team lead with 11 assists.
In Schondelmayer's four-year career, Eastern averaged 34.5 wins per season, compiling an overall record of 138-36 for a winning percentage of 79.3. Against regular-season competition up north in those years, the Warriors were 96-12 (88.9 percent), losing only two games to Division III opponents.
Twenty years after the completion of her career, Schondelmayer still ranks among the program's all-time Top 10 in nine career categories, among them first in triples (22), third in games, fourth in assists, fifth in stolen bases (51), and sixth in total bases (23).
Schondelmayer becomes the 11th individual (seventh player) associated with the 1986 national title team to gain E-Club Hall of Fame induction.
A Dean's List student, Schondelmayer was the only female athlete in 1990 to earn an Eastern/E-Club Outstanding Scholar-Athlete Award. She was also named Outstanding Physical Education Major that year.
Schondelmayer currently serves as director of athletics and coordinator of physical education and health at Bloomfield High School.
Since its establishment in 1986, the Eastern/E-Club Hall of Fame has enshrined a total of 85 former athletes, coaches and administrators and has also recognized the contributions of 13 "friends" with the Michael A. Atkind Exceptional Service Award and has honored 20 individuals as "Pioneers" for their efforts in helping to establish the tradition of the Eastern athletic program.
After practicing and playing home matches on a grass field through its first 12 years on the intercollegiate level, field hockey enjoys its first day of practice on its new artificial grass field . The artificial surface was installed this month inside the 400 meter track at the Mansfield Outdoor Complex by Polytan USA. Official opening ceremonies for the University's first-ever artificial grass field are scheduled prior to field hockey's first home match Sept. 8 against Babson College. The men's and women's lacrosse teams will also utilize the new facility for its home contests. This year, men's and women's soccer will also play its home matches on the artificial grass as Thomas Nevers Field undergoes renovations this fall.
Costa Rica, August, 2009 Below: At a school for underprivileged children
In mid-August, 15 members of the Eastern men's soccer program - under the direction of head coach Greg DeVito and assistant coach Adam Phaiah -- flew to the Republica of Costa Rica to experience a contrasting culture and lifestyle for one week It marked the first time in the 49-year history of the Eastern's men's soccer program that the team flew beyond the borders of the United States.
Costa Rica is located in Central America, bordered by Nicaragua to the north, Panama to the south, the Pacific Ocean to the west and the Caribbean Sea to the east. To make this once-in-a-lifetime trip possible, members of the program spent the last several years fund-raising, primarily by their participation in fall, winter, spring, and summer clinics for area youth.
In addition to the coaching staff, the following team members comprised the official traveling party: Carl Appel, Nicholas Boretti, Chris Bourdeau, Sean Capezzone, Sean Collins, Rick Emery, Matt Esposito, Maxim Fantl, Matt Kalmin, Scott Misley, Aaron Smiles, Giovanni Leon, and Blake Chenail.
Upon the team's return, senior co-captains Fantl and Boretti summarized the benefits and high points of the excursion. Their impressions follow:
"We could not have asked for a better place to come together as a team before the 2009 soccer season. Costa Rica is a beautiful country with amazing landscapes and outstanding people. We are lucky to have been able to experience such great opportunities as a team. While in Costa Rica, we took part in various activities all the while experiencing the rich culture, varieties of foods, and positive attitudes.
Below: Team members Nicholas Boretti (far left) and Blake Chenail (center) and tour guide, Sergio, keep a live python under wraps during a visit to the Congo Rain Forest.
The Eastern men's soccer team plunged into a number of unique activities, including whitewater rafting, zip-lining through the rain forest, and a community service activity held at a daycare facility. At the daycare, we acted as role models and father figures for children from broken homes and families. It was truly amazing to see the way we impacted these children's lives. It was a very fulfilling experience: as soon as we left we wanted to go right back.
This was a great way to prepare the returning players for the season, as we focused on fitness, technique, and developing a fast-paced style of play for our new turf field! The training grounds were sometimes lined up with Costa Rican locals observing and cheering for their favorite national pastime.
We would like to thank the Costa Rica Soccer Tours for organizing and planning such a wonderful trip and especially our tour guide, Sergio, and bus driver Alby. Lastly, we would like to express our appreciation to our coaching staff and Eastern administration for helping make this trip a reality."
Max Fantl and Nick Boretti
Eastern men's soccer co-captains
Last year's regular-season co-champs chase fourth title in seven years
Below: Senior defender Christine Lemieux
NORTH DARTMOUTH, Mass. - After enjoying an unbeaten Little East Conference regular season for the second time in four years last fall, the Eastern Connecticut State University women's soccer team has been selected to finish second in the 2009 LEC pre-season coaches' poll, released today.
Having posted a 45-7-4 regular-season conference record over the last eight seasons, Eastern was accorded one of a possible eight first-place votes and totaled 54 points in this year's pre-season poll. Western Connecticut was selected as the pre-season favorite for the third straight season after sharing the top spot with Eastern in the 2006 poll.
Eastern and Western Connecticut have finished atop the final regular-season standings each of the last four years. The programs shared last year's regular-season title after playing to a 1-1 overtime time in the regular-season head-to-head matchup at Nevers Field last Oct. 13. Eastern won the 2005 regular-season title over second-place Western, and the Colonials won solo titles over second-place Eastern in 2006 and '07.In 2003, Eastern shared the regular-season crown with Keene State.
Western pursues its fourth straight LEC post-season title this year and, if successful, would become the first program to achieve that feat in the 11-year history of the post-season championship.
Over the last eight seasons under tenth-year head coach Chris D'Ambrosio, Eastern has never lost more than one regular-season conference match. The Warriors are 2-4-2 against Western in the LEC regular season in that span. The Colonials have beaten Eastern by identical 2-1 scores in the LEC championship match each of the last two years.
Keene State College, which last won the LEC regular-season championship in 2004, received the final first-place vote and totaled 52 points to easily outdistance No. 4 Massachusetts Boston (33 points). Eastern has eliminated Keene from the LEC playoffs each of the past two years and has defeated the Owls the last four times the teams have met and seven times in the last eight contests.
Eight of the Warriors' 13 letterwinners were starters last year for Eastern, which reached the championship game of the LEC playoffs for the fifth time in the last six years. The Warriors finished 11-5-1 and posted their second unbeaten (6-0-1) conference season in four years. Eastern has averaged 11.9 wins per year under D'Ambrosio, the program's all-time winningest coach who recorded his 100th victory a year ago.
Four of last year's six all-conference selections are back in seniors Christine Lemieux (South Windsor), Sarah Swann (Oxford), and Kim Church (Farmington) and junior Lauren Hickey (Southwick, MA). A defender, Lemieux is a two-time all-conference pick and last year's LEC Defensive Player-of-the-Year; Swann is a midfielder and the team's top returning scorer; Church is the conference's No. 1 returning keeper in goals-against average; and Hickey, a defender, led all Eastern position players last year in minutes played. Additional returning starters are senior Taylor MacDonald (Oak Bluffs, MA), a returning forward who was named all-conference at midfield as both a freshman and sophomore; junior back Stephanie Norell (Stratford), junior midfielder Megan Pavia (Stamford), and sophomore midfielder/back Laura Violette (Wallingford). Last year, both Lemieux (first team) and Swann (second team) were All-New England picks.
Ranked as high as seventh in New England last year, Eastern opens its 24th intercollegiate season Sept. 4-5 at the Springfield College Invitational. The Warriors face Utica College in its tournament lid-lifter at 7 p.m. and open their LEC slate at Western Connecticut Sept. 19.
Little East Conference
2009 Women's Soccer Preseason Coaches' Poll
Rank, Institution (First place votes) Pts. 2008 Finish
1. Western Conn. (6)* 61 t-1st
2. EASTERN CONN. (1) 54 t-1st
3. Keene State College (1) 52 3rd
4. Massachusetts Boston 33 4th
5. Plymouth State U. 29 t-6th
6. Massachusetts Dartmouth 28 5th
7. Rhode Island College 17 t-6th
8. U. of Southern Maine 14 8th
*-2008 playoff champion
Warriors edge defending champion Rhode Island College to gain top spot
NORTH DARTMOUTH, Mass. - For the first time, the men's soccer team stands alone atop the Little East Conference pre-season coaches' poll, released today.
At left: Nicholas Boretti
After finishing third in last year's final standings and losing in the first (semifinal) round of the LEC playoffs to eventual champion Rhode Island College, Eastern edged Rhode Island by two points for the top spot in the 2009 pre-season poll. Eastern garnered three first-place votes and 57 total points, Rhode Island two first-place votes and 55 points. The University of Southern Maine, last year's regular-season champion, and Plymouth State University each received a first-place vote. Rhode Island defeated Plymouth, 1-0, in last year's LEC playoff final to receive an automatic bid to the NCAA Division III tournament.
Eastern has posted a 9-2-3 record in LEC regular-season play in two years under head coach Greg DeVito. In DeVito's first season in 2007, the Warriors won the conference regular season and playoff titles to gain their first-ever NCAA tournament bid. The playoff championship was Eastern's first in nine years of the championship and the regular-season title was its first since 1992.
Coming off their 2007 LEC titles, the Warriors shared first place in last year's LEC pre-season poll with Keene State College. Last year, the team was 4-1-2 in the final LEC regular-season standings, finishing third and receiving the No. 3 LEC playoff seed. Last year, Eastern led the conference in points, goals and assists and was second in least goals allowed.
The Warriors return ten letterwinners (six starters) from last year's team, which was ranked as high as second in New England and 13th nationally during a 14-game unbeaten streak. Eastern's 15 wins overall last year equaled the second-most in a season in program history. The Warriors (15-4-3) were the No. 1 seed in the ECAC New England Division III Tournament, marking the first time since 1975 that they qualified for post-season play two consecutive seasons.
This year, Eastern is led by seniors Nicholas Boretti (Marshfield, MA), Maxim Fantl (West Hartford), and Chris Bourdeau (Thompson), and sophomores Carl Appel (West Windsor, NJ) and Aaron Smiles (Bedford, MA). Last year's LEC Offensive Player-of-the-Year, Fantl is a three-time all-conference pick at forward and a two-time all-region pick. Boretti is a two-time all-conference pick at midfield and forward. Bourdeau was named to the all-conference team in his first season last year after transferring from Assumption College. Appel finished second in the conference in goals-against average and save percentage and was third in shutouts. Smiles was named all-conference in his first season and is the lone returning starter on defense
Top losses include second-team All-America defender Kyle Bedini and all-conference defenders Jimmy McConville and Bill Constantine.
Eastern opens its 49th intercollegiate season Sept. 5-6 at the Babson College Classic, facing MIT in its 3:30 p.m. season-opener. The Engineers qualified for last year's NCAA Division III Tournament.
Little East Conference
2009 Men's Soccer Preseason Coaches' Poll
Rank, Institution (First Place votes) Pts. 2008 Finish
1. EASTERN CONN. (3) 57 3rd
2. Rhode Island College (2)* 55 2nd
3. U. of Southern Maine (1) 40 1st
4. Plymouth State U. (1) 38 4th
5. Keene State College 37 t-6th
6. Western Conn. 26 5th
7. Massachusetts Dartmouth 23 t-6th
8. Massachusetts Boston 12 8th
*-2008 playoff champion
Eastern alumnus Dean R. Scinto of Milford tees off on the first hole at the Ninth Annual "22" Golf Classic, held this year at the University Club of Connecticut (formerly the Willimantic Country Club). The annual golf outing is coordinated by Eastern head baseball coach Bill Holowaty (who wears uniform number 22), with all proceeds benefiting the nationally-recognized Eastern baseball program.Players representing each of Holowaty's five decades and all four of the national championship teams were on hand for this year's event. A dinner and awards ceremony followed the competition.
The Eastern Connecticut State University women's soccer team is conducting a three-day clinic from 9 a.m. to noon Aug. 17-19 at Colt Park in Hartford for the Sport & Medical Sciences Academy girl's soccer team. Fifteen of the academy's players are involved in the clinic, which is under the direction of Eastern head coach Chris D'Ambrosio (in background in photo at left) and assistant coach Ken Goodale and includes a number of current Eastern players serving as clinicians. SMSA is a magnet school located in Hartford. Members of the Eastern program also conducted a girls' high school clinic last week at the Mansfield Outdoor Complex and the program is also running a youth clinic during the afternoon this week in Old Lyme.
Former Eastern head softball coach and current assistant coach Clyde Washburne (at left) is featured in a question-answer session in July's edition of Fastpitch Delivery, the official publication of the National Fastpitch Coaches' Association. Washburne, who directed Eastern to four national championships in a span of six years in the early 1980s, was inducted into the NFCA Hall of Fame in January of 2006. He returned to the program this past spring as an assistant to head coach Diana Pepin as the Warriors qualified for the NCAA Division III tournament for the second straight season.The interview was conducted by NFCA Executive Director and Fastpitch Delivery publisher Lacy Lee Baker. CLICK HERE FOR INTERVIEW.pdf
At right, workers apply the finishing touches to Eastern's new athletic logo on the west end of the new artificial grass field at the Mansfield Outdoor Complex. Three additional light poles were installed Wednesday, two on the north side of the field and one on the south side of the field, where two were already located. Colored lines on the multi-use field indicate boundaries and markings for field hockey, men's and women's lacrosse. The installation of bleacher seating for 250 and a press box are scheduled for November. This fall, the men's and women's soccer teams will also make use of the new field. Thomas Nevers Field -- the home grass field for both soccer teams since 1991 -- will undergo renovations with a new drainage system being installed. The Mansfield turf field will host its first official home match on Tuesday, Sept. 8 when field hockey hosts Babson College at 6 p.m. The following afternoon, women's soccer hosts Bridgewater State at 4 p.m.and men's soccer hosts Westfield State at 7 p.m. Athletes return to campus beginning Aug. 22 for pre-season training..
Jamie Kohn, a sophomore member of the Eastern Connecticut State University men's basketball team, performs a juggling routine with father Dave on the final day of the Eastern Connecticut Summer Basketball Clinic at Geissler Gymnasiium. Jamie, brother Jessie and Dave entertained a crowd of 80 boys and girls on Friday at the clinic, which was under the direction of Eastern head men's basketball coach Bill Geitner. Dave Kohn is a former professional clown with Ringling Bros. Barnum and Bailey Circus.
The Eastern Connecticut Summer Basketball Clinic is winding up its second week at the Eastern Sports Center, with approximately 150 boys and girls ages 5-15 involved. The camp is under the direction of Eastern head men's basketball coach Bill Geitner, whose staff includes current assistant coach Ryan Wilde and former Eastern players Kris Johnson and Kevin Zalucki. At left, Nicole Rivera, 10, of Willimantic prepares to take a free throw. Nicole is a fifth-grader at W.B. Sweeney School in Willimantic.
In 2008/09, Warriors led LEC with 81 academic honor roll qualifiers
At right: Nearly half (40) of Eastern's 81 all-academic selections were members of the running program.
WILLIMANTIC, Conn. - Any way you slice it, the Eastern Connecticut State University intercollegiate athletic program distinguished itself as the premier Little East Conference institution in the spring of 2009.
Academically this past spring, no conference institution had more than Eastern's 27 LEC Academic Honor Roll qualifiers. Athletically in the spring, the Warriors posted the highest seasonal average (7.333) among the eight conference schools after winning two LEC post-season championships and two LEC regular-season crowns (to determine a season average, teams accumulate points based upon their finish in the final regular-season standings of 19 conference-sanctioned sports, with bonus points awarded for winning conference playoffs or tournaments).
The Little East Conference began recognizing success in the classroom in 2007/08, and Eastern student-athletes have accumulated the highest total both years. This past year, Eastern student-athletes were named to the academic honor roll a conference-high 81 times, with eight three-sport athletes (cross country, indoor and outdoor track) achieving academic honor roll status in all three seasons.
Student-athletes having reached sophomore athletic and academic status with minimum grade-point averages of 3.20 are named to the LEC academic team.
In the winter, Eastern had nine more academic honor roll qualifiers than its nearest conference competitor, with the men's and women's indoor track and field program alone accumulating 17 honorees.
Receiving all-academic recognition in all three seasons were Sam Buczek (Milford), Alexis Cavanaugh (Cheshire), Amanda Ericson (Bolton), Ashlee James (Franklin), Sean McLaughlin (Branford), Anthony Mendes (North Windham), Joey Perucki (Newington), and David Tignonsini (Vernon). Two-sport academic honorees included Kim Church (Farmington), Katie Dinihanian (Stratford), Maxim Fantl (West Hartford), Melissa Healy (Naugatuck), Lauren Hickey (Southwick, MA) and Krista Juliano (Granby). Church qualified in women's soccer and softball, Dinihanian in women's volleyball and softball, Fantl in men's soccer and lacrosse, Healy and Juliano in women's cross country and indoor track, and Hickey in women's soccer and basketball.
Athletically, Eastern's 7.333 seasonal average was the highest among all conference institutions in any season this year. Only one other conference institution managed a seasonal average as high as 7.000.
For the sixth time in nine years, Eastern finished among the top three institutions in the race for the Commissioner's Cup, which measures an institution's overall performance in the 19 sports sponsored by the conference. Eastern's final aveage of 5.897 points was just over a half percentage point behind the champion.
In the ten conference sports which sponsor regular-season play in which Eastern participates, the Warriors placed third or higher in seven of them. In the spring, the men's and women's lacrosse teams won regular-season titles, baseball placed second in the standings, and softball third. Men's lacrosse and baseball advance to win LEC post-season championships.
In addition to men's and women's lacrosse winning LEC regular-season crowns, women's basketball captured its regular-season title and women's soccer shared its regular-season championship.
Among Eastern's 200 conference honorees this past year:
2 Tournament/playoff MVPs
1 All-Rookie Team member*
3 All-Defensive Team members*
183 all-conference or all-allliance**
*-Chosen only in men's and women's basketball
**-All-New England Alliance is awarded in the sports of men's and women's cross country and men's and women's indoor and outdoor track, based upon finishes in the championship meet. The New England Alliance is comprised of Little East Conference and Mass. State College Athletic Conference institutions.