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In four-year career, she led Warriors to consecutive Final Four berths


HallofFame_72dpilogo.jpgWILLIMANTIC, Conn. -    A key component of two NCAA Division III Final Four qualifiers, three Little East Conference championship teams and an ECAC tournament titlist, Bernice Laferriere will join three former women's basketball teammates in the University's E-Club Hall of Fame. The announcement naming Laferriere as part of the Class of 2010 was made by committee co-chairmen Dr. David G. Yeo and Scott Smith.

A versatile shooter, rebounder and ball-handler, the 5-foot-9 inch Bristol native and 1988 Bristol Eastern High School graduate totaled 1, 300 points in 103 career games over four years between 1988 and 1992, leaving the program as its all-time scoring leader and ranking second all-time in three-point field goal percentage, third in steals and fourth in assists.

The 17th E-Club Hall of Fame Reception and Induction Ceremony is scheduled for Sunday, October 24 at noon at the Betty R. Tipton Room in the Student Center.

In the E-Club Hall of Fame, Laferriere joins former basketball teammates Robin Gaby '90, Lisa Matukaitis '93, and Wendy Rogers '98

Laferriere's signature season came in 1990/91. During that junior campaign, she led the Warriors to the first of two consecutive berths in the NCAA Division III Final Four by averaging career-highs in scoring (16.9), rebounding (6.4) and steals (2.7) and earning honors as a WBCA Division III honorable mention All-America and Little East Conference Player-of-the-Year. That year, she was also named first-team All-Northeast District and first-team All-New England by the ECAC and by the New England Women's Basketball Association (NEWBA).

During her junior season, Eastern won three straight NCAA tournament games (after losing by nine points to the University of Southern Maine in the Little East Conference championship game) to qualify for the NCAA Division III Final Four for the first time in program history.

Laferriere scored 22 points in a win over Moravian in the sectional tournament opener and later netted a career-high (later broken) 29 points with seven rebounds and seven assists in a nine-point victory over Washington University (MO) to help Eastern claim third place at the Final Four and become only the second New England team ever to win a game at the Division III Final Four. With 39 points, 11 rebounds and eight assists in two games, Laferriere represented Eastern on the all-tournament team.

In that All-America junior season, Laferriere scored in double figures in 25 of the team's 28 games, including 17 straight., as the Warriors won their first Little East Conference title in any sport, was ranked first in New England in three of the final four polls, and was selected Division III Team-of-the-Year by the ECAC. Individually, it would be eight more years before another Eastern player would earn conference Player-of-the-Year accolades.

In order to reach the Final Four in 1990/91, Eastern became the first team that season to defeat Western Connecticut on its home court (in the NCAA opener), snapped Moravian's nation-leading  25-game winning streak, and handed Southern Maine its first loss in 12 games in erasing its final obstacle to a first-ever Final Four appearance.

Laferriere put the finishing touches on her Hall of Fame career as a senior, leading Eastern to 25 wins - the most to that point in program history - and a second straight NCAA Final Four appearance. After the Warriors won their first-ever Little East tournament championship that season, Laferriere  scored a career-high 30 points in a nine-point win over Emmanuel (she was injured in the team's 12-point regular-season loss to the Saints) in the NCAA opener, then broke the program career scoring record with a 23-point effort against Moravian in a seven-point loss to the host Greyhounds in the Final Four semifinals. Ranked first in New England, the Warriors were ranked as high as 13th nationally that season. Along with teammate Wendy Rogers, Laferriere became the program's first three-time All-Little East Conference selection as a senior.

As a freshman under E-Club Hall of Fame coach Bob Miller. Laferriere averaged 6.8 points and 4.9 rebounds when top-seeded Eastern won its only ECAC New England Division III Tournament title ever. Coming off the bench, Laferriere was named to the all-tournament team in her collegiate debut at the Eastern Tip-Off Tournament and three weeks later earned similar honors at the Poinsettia Classic at the University of Scranton, recording her first career double-double in the final.

As a starter in her sophomore year, Laferriere started 15 games for a 20-game winner that lost to only one New England opponent all year on the way to a program-record No. 2 national ranking. She averaged 10.9 points and 5.5 rebounds that season and shot a team-leading 71.1 percent from the foul line.

Eighteen years after graduation, Laferriere still ranks among the Top Ten players in program history in points (5th), steals (7th), three-pointers (10th) and assists (10th).

In addition to basketball, Laferriere lettered one season in softball. As a senior in 1992, she was a member of a team which competed in its 12th straight national tournament and placed fourth overall at the NCAA Division III national tournament at Pella, IA.

Earlier announced as a 2010 E-Club Hall of Fame inductee was  Denise Lamontagne, the first All-America second baseman in the history of the Eastern Connecticut State University fastpitch softball program.

Since its establishment in 1986, the Eastern/E-Club Hall of Fame has enshrined a total of 91  former athletes, coaches and administrators and has also recognized the contributions of 15 "friends" with the Michael A. Atkind Exceptional Service Award and has honored 22 individuals as "Pioneers" for their efforts in helping to establish the tradition of the Eastern athletic program.

Tickets are priced at $45 and must be reserved in advance by contacting Dr. David G. Yeo at 860-465-5166 or at or Scott Smith at 860-465-4326 or at




clinic0730withtitle72dpi_1436 copy.jpgA printable version of the 2010 Eastern Connecticut Summer Clinic group photo is available free of charge by contacting Eastern Sports Information Director Bob Molta at Now in its fifth year, the clinic is under the direction of ninth-year Eastern head coach Bill Geitner, his staff, and members of the Eastern men's and women's basketball teams. Sixty-four youngsters were involved in the first session, with just under 100 expected for the second session, which gets underway Monday.




Eastern head baseball coach Bill Holowaty (at right ) recently threw out the ceremonial first pitch at Borleske Stadium for the Walla Walla (WA) Sweets of the West Coast League, one of the top wood bat leagues in the west. Former Eastern recruiting coordinator and pitching coach Mark Michaud '02 serves as pitching coach under manager J.C. Biagi for the Sweets, the league leader with an average attendance of just under 1,500. Michaud recently wrapped up his first year as fulltime pitching coach at Whitman College (WA) under head coach Jared Holowaty '02. The youngest of Bill Holowaty's  three children, Jared Holowaty was named as a head college coach for the first time last summer after serving four years as recruiting coordinator at the University of Maine under head coach and Eastern graduate Steve Trimper '92.  As an undergraduate, Michaud served on the Eastern coaching on the 1998 and 2002 national championship teams while Jared Holowaty was a senior captain on the '02 national titlist and Trimper an outfielder on the 1990 national championship team. While visiting his son in Washington state, Bill Holowaty was also introduced to the crowd at a recent Seattle Mariners' game at Safeco Field.

Photo courtesy of Walla Walla Sweets



She was a two-time All-America, member of '90 national champion


HallofFame_72dpilogo.jpgWILLIMANTIC, Conn. - The first All-America second baseman in the history of the Eastern Connecticut State University fastpitch softball program, Denise Lamontagne has been selected as a 2010 inductee 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 regional championship teams from 1987 though 1990, Lamontagne was a four-year starter at second base and a captain on the 1990 NCAA Division III national titlist. She becomes the first position player from that national championship squad to gain Hall of Fame induction and the first of only two All-America second baseman in the program's 34-year history.

The 17th E-Club Hall of Fame Reception and Induction Ceremony is scheduled for Sunday, October 24 at noon at the Betty R. Tipton Room in the Student Center.

A durable, steady performer and team leader, Lamontagne was in the starting lineup in 164 of a possible 166 games in her career. The Waterbury native and 1986 Holy Cross High School graduate missed only one game in her career - that coming in the 152nd game -- and was due to an academic obligation.

A two-time second-team All-America pick, Lamontagne batted well over .300 and collected more than 50 assists every season. In her career, she batted .338 with 171 hits, 93 runs, 96 RBI and 237 assists. At the time of her graduation, she ranked second all-time in RBI and doubles, third in hits and defensive chances, fourth in assists, and sixth in total bases.
Lamontagne began and ended her career as the No. 3 hitter in the lineup. As a sophomore, she batted sixth in the order, with four of the five batters ahead of her eventual Eastern Hall of Famers. Her most valuable contribution to her teams was her ability to make contact at the plate, as she struck out an average of only once every 25.3 plate appearances in her career (only twice in 133 plate appearances on the 1990 national title team).

With Lamontagne, Eastern won 136 games (34.0 per year) and lost only 30 for an .819 winning percentage. Prior to claiming the program's fifth national title in 1990, the Warriors finished third nationally in 1987 and 1988 and second in 1989.

A shortstop and catcher in high school, Lamontagne supplanted eventual Hall of Famer Cathy McGillicuddy at second base in her freshman season in 1987, precipitating McGillicuddy's selection as an All-America selection in center field  that season under Hall of Fame coach Clyde Washburne. Lamontagne played her final three seasons under the late Jeff Anderson.

 In the 1990 national championship season, Lamontagne batted .350, led or shared the team lead in RBI, doubles, triples and walks and fielded at .963 on 163 defensive chances. That year, the Warriors lost only three regular-season northern games (all to Division I opponents), capturing 15 consecutive games at one point and later winning three elimination games on the final day to claim the national title.  In five national tournament games that year, Lamontagne handled 22 defensive chances with only one error. In a 4-1 win over Trenton State College that forced a winning-take-all national title game (won 1-0 by Eastern) that year, Lamontagne collected five putouts and four assists at second base, three of the putouts and two of the assists coming in the first two innings.

Lamontagne earned her B.S. Degree in Business Administration and has served the last 20 years on the police force in the Town of Cromwell.

Since its establishment in 1986, the Eastern/E-Club Hall of Fame has enshrined a total of 91  former athletes, coaches and administrators and has also recognized the contributions of 15 "friends" with the Michael A. Atkind Exceptional Service Award and has honored 22 individuals as "Pioneers" for their efforts in helping to establish the tradition of the Eastern athletic program.

Tickets are priced at $45 and must be reserved in advance by contacting Dr. David G. Yeo at 860-465-5166 or at or Scott Smith at 860-465-4326 or at


teamwithheadline72dpi_1405 copy.jpgThe Eastern Connecticut State University men's soccer program completed its fourth annual youth clinic Friday, with approximately 75 local boys and girls attending. Two clinics were staged last week, with one session from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. (shown above) and one from 5 to 8 p.m. Under the direction of Eastern men's soccer head coach Greg DeVito, his staff and players, the clinics were two of four scheduled between April and August. The fourth clinic involves high school youngsters and is scheduled Aug. 18-20 on the Eastern campus. For more information, contact Greg DeVito at 860-465-4334 or at or visit




Goalie to compete for USA All-Stars in Manchester, England next week

berube_jersey_72_0328.jpgWILLIMANTIC, Conn. - Wheels or wings?  The choice, ultimately, was no choice at all.

WARRIORlogo2009_72dpi.jpgWhen a spot opened up with the USA All-Stars in early June and he was extended an invitation to join the elite travel team for an 11-day tour to Manchester, England, Eastern Connecticut State University men's lacrosse goalie Donald Berube never hesitated.

"I was trying to save up enough money this summer to buy a car to bring to school (in September)," said Eastern's soon-to-be sophomore goalie, "but I said 'I can get a car anytime. I'd rather spend my money on this. I just couldn't turn it down. I'm never going to have a chance to do this again.'"

With a year of college lacrosse under his belt and a Little East Conference Rookie-of-the-Year Award on his shelf - the 5-foot-10 inch, 210 pound backstop was scheduled to board Delta Airlines Flight 9092 in Atlanta with four teammates Friday evening for the eight-hour flight to the United Kingdom.

Running concurrently in Manchester with the 2010 FIL World Lacrosse Championships  - the lacrosse equivalent of the FIFA Soccer World Cup -- the USA All-Stars will compete in an elite tournament beginning Sunday, with the championship match scheduled for Thursday.

The 26 members of the USA All-Stars' traveling party (22 players and four coaches) have been split into seven groups and will meet up at Manchester International Saturday morning. The party will drop its bags at the Championship Village before practicing  later that day in preparation for Sunday's opening game. The all-stars will practice every morning and play one game every night through Wednesday in hopeful anticipation of qualifying for Thursday's championship match.

Traveling across the Atlantic to represent the US in an international tournament this summer was not something that Berube could have possibly envisioned. Following the completion of the spring semester at Eastern, Berube returned to his Tewksbury home, planning to spend the summer working as a laborer in the construction  business for his uncle.

But that all changed in early June.

"You don't even understand, I'm so excited right now," said Berube, just days prior to his departure. "I can't wait to leave. I've been counting the days down since I was asked."

Berube_action724900.JPGBerube is joined on the team by cousin Zach Johnson. A defenseman and long-stick midfielder who attended Division I Maryland University last fall, it was Johnson who actually set the wheels in motion for Berube's late addition to the team roster. It came about when a  former teammate of Johnson's at Maryland withdrew from USA All-Stars  in early June, and Johnson contacted Berube of the development. Soon after, Tim Duffy, the head coach of the all-star team, fired off an email to Berube, inquiring of his interest
in filling the void.

Berube never hesitated. 

The rather hefty price tag of $3,000 - which covers transportation, equipment, lodging, tournament fees and breakfast - did not deter Berube, who put the purchase of new wheels on the back burner in favor of winging it over the Atlantic. Capitalizing on this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, Berube drained his piggybank, and also received some financial support from his parents, Steve and Debra.

The 20-year-old, who was preparing for his first collegiate season a year ago at this time, is one of three goalies on the team, along with Andrijko Andrusko and Jason Rosenzweig. Andrusko completed his senior season at Holy Ghost Prep in Bensalem, PA this past spring and is expected to enroll at Division I Lafayette College in September; a native of Massapequa, NY, Rosenzweig was one of six goalies on the roster at Division I power Towson University last spring and did not see varsity action.

"I've been running and lifting a lot the last few weeks - trying to get ready," said Berube. "Once I found out that I was definitely on the team, I wanted to (be prepared.)"

Berube was told by Duffy that all three goalies would rotate in during the tournament, either alternating by half or by game. He expects the USA team to represent itself well, singling out the US or Canada as possible favorites for the Gold.

According to Berube, Duffy had known of him through Berube's participation several years ago in Clams, which is New England's oldest and largest indoor lacrosse league. Berube was involved with that elite lacrosse developmental league as a sophomore and junior in high school. More recently, Duffy had watched Berube several times as a member of the Eastern program this past spring via the internet. A former All-America at Ohio State University, Duffy previously played with the Chicago Machine of Major League Lacrosse, won a Gold Medal with the UK at the 2004 European Games, and is founder and president of Chicago-based Ante Up Lacrosse.

"This kind of trip is a great experience for any of our student-athletes," noted third-year head coach Justin Axel, who recruited Berube after also following him in Clams. "It provides an exciting atmosphere in which to compete, but more importantly, it allows them to explore another culture and country, which ultimately creates a great learning environment."

Berube and Johnson are the only Massachusetts natives on the roster, which includes two additional players attending New England institutions: Connecticut College's Stephen Eicher from Northport, NY and University of Vermont's Kyle Leman of Barrington, IL. Like Berube, both midfielders recently completed their freshman seasons in college.

The majority of players on the team are either entering or recently completed their first years on the Division I level, among them Connecticut All-State midfielder Peer Fish of Old Lyme, reportedly headed to the University of Denver.

At Eastern this past spring, Berube filled the shoes vacated by graduated goalie Kyle Savage. Born in Dallas but a resident of Tewksbury for the last ten years, Berube won the starting job at Eastern in the first week of the season, starting the final 16 matches after coming off the bench in his debut in the season-opener. Berube was involved in all but two decisions for the Warriors, who won 12 and lost five despite experiencing heaving graduation losses from the 2009 season. Berube compiled a 10.68 goals-against average and a .529 save percentage. He averaged nearly11 saves per match, totaling ten or more seven times in one nine-game stretch. Two of his season highlights came at home early in the season: In the third match of the season, Berube stopped seven shots in a thrilling 11-10 overtime victory over a formidable Montclair State University team for his first collegiate win. Four nights later, he stopped 14 shots as the Warriors beat Amherst College for the first time ever, 14-12.

"I'm not just going over there (to sightsee)," pointed out Berube. "I'm going over there to play lacrosse. I may never have this opportunity again."












In 2009/10, program set the Little East standard for comprehensive success


WILLIMANTIC, Conn. - In 2009/10, no institution in the Little East Conference displayed better balance between athletic and academic performance and sportsmanship than Eastern Connecticut State University.

Eastern, a member of the conference's Original Six in 1986, was the only conference team this year to be rated in the upper tier of the eight-team conference when it came to measuring three important attributes: athletic prosperity, academic achievement, and sportsmanship.

No conference institution was voted as the winner of the team Sportsmanship Award more times than Eastern, which shared the conference lead by winning a total of four times. In the race for the Commissioner's Cup -- which measures an institution's overall performance in the 19 sports sponsored by the Little East Conference - Eastern placed second overall. Academically, 64 Eastern student-athletes were named to either the fall, winter or spring LEC All-Academic Team - a total which placed it just one selection behind the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth and the University of Southern Maine, which shared second place in the listing.

Good sports every season


In the inaugural year of the award, at least one Eastern program in each playing season was voted to be the most sporting: men's soccer and field hockey in the fall, men's basketball in the winter and women's outdoor track and field in the spring. The men's soccer program averaged only one yellow card - and no red cards -- every three games for a total of seven in 22 matches. That caution total was half as many as its nearest LEC competitor and 34 less than the conference leader. The men's soccer team combined sportsmanship with the ultimate athletic success, winning its second LEC tournament crown in three years under three-year head coach Greg DeVito.  The field hockey program was under the direction of fourth-year head coach Christine Hutchison, the men's basketball team under eighth-year head coach Bill Geitner and women's outdoor track and field team under ninth-year head coach Frank Poulin.

Team successes made for Cup contention


As an overall program, Eastern matched its second-place finish in the Commissioner's Cup standings for the fourth straight year, posting a Top Three finish for the eighth time in the ten-year history of the award. For sports in which the conference conducts regular-season play, point totals are determined by the order of finish in the final regular-season standings, with bonus points awarded to the champion of the ensuing post-season conference championship tournament. For sports that do not conduct regular-season competition (cross country, track and swimming), points are awarded based on the order of finish in the conference championship meet.

Of the ten Eastern programs which compete in LEC regular-season competition, eight finished with a share of second place or better, with the softball program winning the outright regular-season LEC title and women's lacrosse, baseball and men's soccer earning a share of the regular-season crown. In addition to the regular-season champions and co-champions, the women's soccer and men's lacrosse programs placed second in the regular season and men's and women's basketball finished with a share of second place. Softball, men's soccer and women's soccer added valuable points by combining for 28 bonus points as LEC post-season tournament champions.

 Despite accumulating 18 points in soccer (becoming only the second LEC institution to win the men's and women's LEC playoff titles in the same year), Eastern was only ranked fourth in the Commissioner's Cup rating heading into the winter. The Warriors improved their lot by placing second in five winter sports, then engineered a spring rush in which all four Eastern programs placed first or second in the regular season. The result was an overall second-place finish for 2009/10.

Academically, sixty-four made grade


Complete LEC All-Academic listing.pdf

Twenty-five Eastern student-athletes earned a spot on the fall LEC All-Academic Team, 18 on the winter squad and 21 on the spring list. Sixteen of Eastern's 17 intercollegiate programs were represented with at least one selection on the inaugural team during the year. Student-athletes having attained sophomore academic and athletic status with overall grade-point averages of 3.30 were recognized with all-academic team distinction.

Four Eastern cross country and indoor and outdoor letterwinners achieved all-academic status in all three seasons: senior Alexis Cavanaugh (Cheshire), juniors Amanda Ericson (Bolton) and Ashlee James (Franklin) and sophomore Ryan Hughes (Cheshire). Ten additional student-athletes were two-season recipients: seniors Erika Barber (Portland), Sandra Brautigam (Scotland), Kim Church (Farmington), Maxim Fantl (West Hartford), juniors Lauren Hickey (Southwick, MA) and Becky Knapp (Naugatuck), and sophomores Kristianna Ibsen (Shelton), Bryan Jorge (Bristol), Nick Pates (East Haven), and Megan Wallace (Trumbull). Barber, Brautigam, Pates and Wallace all competed in indoor and outdoor track, Knapp in cross country and indoor track, Jorge in cross country and outdoor track, Ibsen in volleyball and indoor track, Church in soccer and softball, Fantl in soccer and lacrosse, and Hickey in soccer and basketball.


 Staff of head coach Pepin selected Coaching Staff-of-the-Year by NFCA

pepin and team 72.jpgWILLIMANTIC, Conn. - The Eastern Connecticut State University softball coaching staff - led by ninth-year head coach Diana Pepin - has been voted as the 2010 New England Region Coaching Staff-of-the-Year by the National Fastpitch Coaches' Association (NFCA) in a balloting of the region's head coaches.

Under the leadership of Pepin and assistants Peter Maneggia and Clyde Washburne and student-assistant Bill Mullins, the Warriors won their 13th regional championship in 2010 en route to a third-place finish at the NCAA Division III national softball tournament at Eau Claire, WI.

The regional championship was the first under Pepin for Eastern, which qualified for its third straight NCAA tournament after winning its first Little East Conference tournament title. The team's 39 wins tied the program record set during the 1985 national championship season and its .859 winning percentage was second only to the the mark of .872 established during the 1990 national championship season.

Earlier this year, Pepin was named New England Coach-of-the-Year by the ECAC and Coach-of-the-Year by the Little East Conference. The conference honor was the third in the last five seasons for Pepin, who ranks second all-time at Eastern in wins (207), games coached (356), and years coached. She has lost 148 games and tied one for a .583 winning percentage.

Maneggia concluded his third season with the staff in 2010.. He contributed more than 20 years of coaching experience, with previous head softball coaching jobs at Division I College of Holy Cross and Division III St. Joseph's College of Hartford.. He also was an assistant at Division I Central Connecticut State University and at Division III Trinity College and served for one year as assistant at Eastern under former head softball coach Tom York.

three coaches72dpiApril 2010 087.jpgWashburne concluded his second season as assistant coach in 2010, returning to the program in 2009 after coaching the program's first 11 seasons (1977-1987), then serving as head coach on a temporary basis in 1993 following the death of head coach Jeff Anderson in 1992. Washburne led the program to national prominence by winning one AIAW and three NCAA Division III national championship and compiling 284 wins and a .721 winning percentage. He is a member of Eastern, Connecticut, and NFCA Hall of Fames.

Above: Head coach Diana Pepin with two of her three assistants: Bill Mullins (left) and Peter Maneggia.

A Lebanon native, Mullins joined the coaching staff after transferring last fall from the University of Connecticut, where he served in a similar capacity with its softball program.

A Willimantic native and a player on  the 1990 national championship team, Pepin was named sixth permanent head coach in program history in 2002. Six of her last seven seasons have produced at least 20 wins. Over the last five years, the Warriors have won 54 of 70 LEC regular-season games (.771 percent), one regular-season title outright (2010), shared one title and finished second or shared second place on two occasions. The Warriors have been the No. 1 seed in the LEC tournament two of the last three seasons.

In 2010, the Warriors won 1-0 extra-inning decisions to claim both the LEC and Wellesley, Massachusetts regional championships. Eastern won three straight games in the national tournament after an opening loss, eventually placing third in the eight-team field. During the year, Eastern was ranked first in New England in four of the last five polls and was rated among the top in the NFCA Top 25 poll every week after opening the season with a 5-1 record.

"Eastern (softball) had a tradition of winning, and we got back that tradition this year," noted Pepin after the dust had settled on a memorable 39-6-1 season. "This was a testament to the players that we have right now. We are where we want to be right now."

The coaching staff at national champion East Texas Baptist University was named national Coaching Staff-of-the-Year. The Tigers were the only unbeaten team at the national tournament, edging Linfield College, 5-4, in the first game of the national championship series to hoist their first championship trophy.