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December 2011 Archives

M-Basketball: Defense Rules the Day

Point total by an opponent is lowest since institution of shot clock

ives hunter72_0797.jpgSPRINGFIELD, Mass. - In its most effective defensive performance since the institution of the shot clock 26 years ago, the Eastern Connecticut State University men's basketball team held Hunter  College 31 points below its season scoring average in a 75-35 victory  Saturday in the first round of the 25th Annual Hampton Inn Naismith Classic, hosted by Springfield College at Blake Arena.

At left: Joe Ives (14) defends against Hunter's Joel Cerda in Saturday's 75-35 victory.

A winner of six straight, Eastern (7-1) moves into Sunday's 3 p.m. championship game against host Springfield (8-3). Like Eastern, Springfield used a suffocating second-half defense to ease past winless (0-7) University of New England, 72-48, in Saturday's second semifinal. Hunter faces New England in Sunday's 1 p.m. consolation game.

 A three-week layoff for final exams and the Christmas holiday had no dampening effect Saturday on the Warriors, who equaled their season scoring average offensively against Hunter (4-6) while holding the Hawks 31 points under their season scoring average. Always one of the top defensive teams in the Little East Conference, Eastern takes over the LEC lead in scoring defense with an average of 55.5 after Saturday's showing.

Until Saturday, Eastern had not shut down an opponent to this extent since a 32-27 victory over Western Connecticut State University in Danbury in the seventh game of the 1983-84 season (the overmatched Colonials incorporated deliberate slow-down tactics in that game and led 15-14 at halftime) . That game was played two years prior to the institution of the 45-second clock and ten years before the current 35-second clock was put into effect.

All 15 players in uniform saw time Saturday for Eastern, which scored the first six points of the game, led by seven midway through the first half, by 18 at the break and by as many as 44 with two minutes left.

Eastern got a game-high 17 points from senior guard Nick Nedwick (Irvington, NY) and a career-high 16 points from junior post player Chris Robitaille (Canton). Little East rebounding leader Jamie Kohn (Columbia) exceeded his season average with a game-high nine rebounds, Robitaille pulling down seven and Nedwick six. Nedwick and Robitaille were 15-for-26 from the floor.

Junior point guard Joe Ives (Avon) didn't take a shot, but had five assists, five rebounds and four steals while first-year sophomore guard Tim Quinn (Vernon) scored ten points off the bench in 12 minutes, six of his points coming on a pair of three-pointers 66 seconds apart with the game well in hand.

The Warriors took control of the game midway through the first half, limiting Hunter to just two field goals over the final ten minutes and used an 11-2 run over the final 5:30 to push a nine-point lead to 18 at the halfway point.

Kohn  scored the first three points of that run after grabbing offensive rebounds and Nedwick had a hand in the final six points by feeding Robitaille twice for easy buckets underneath and cashing in the final points of the half with free throws after drawing a foul while driving to the basket.

Hunter managed only 15 points on 24.0 percent shooting in the first half and 20 points on 29.6 percent shooting in the second half. Hunter's starting five was outscored 44-14 by Eastern, which got a game-high 17 points from senior guard

The contest against Hunter was only the second one in the series, following an 80-60 Eastern loss in the championship game of the 1997 Eastern Tip-Off Tournament at Geissler Gymnasium.

Springfield looks for its tenth tournament title Sunday and seventh victory over Eastern in this eight-game series which dates back to 1975.  The Pride were beaten by Rutgers -Newark, 71-66 in last year's final after downing SUNY Purchase, 66-61, in the 2010 championship game.

Against New England Saturday, Springfield pulled away from a five-point halftime lead by holding UNE to 16 second-half points.

Eastern and Springfield have faced and beaten two common opponents this season. Springfield won 60-55 at home against Trinity College Dec. 9 and 52-44 at Connecticut College Dec. 13 in its final game before exams. Eastern  downed Trinity, 74-50 at home Nov. 22 and Conn, 69-52, on the road six nights later.


Baseball: Warriors 9th in Pre-Season

Four-time national champs gain highest ranking among NE institutions


Complete Poll.doc

WILLIMANTIC, Conn. --  The Eastern Connecticut State University baseball team has been ranked No. 9 nationally in the 2012 ABCA/Collegiate Baseball Division III national pre-season poll.

At right: Steve Cammuso (44)

A winner of 34 of 47 games last year en route to its 11th straight 30-win season and 28th in the last 39 years, Eastern returns 13 letterwinners in 2012 from last year's team, which qualified for its 32nd NCAA tournament in 36 years last season and competed the New York Regional Tournament on an at-large basis.

Eastern is top-rated among five New England institutions in the poll. 2011 New England Regional champion Western New England University is 11th, Wheaton College 16th, Tufts University 20th, and University of Southern Maine 21st.

Last year against teams rated in this year's pre-season poll, Eastern won five and lost four, defeating No. 21 Southern Maine three times at home, and No. 8 Buena Vista University and No. 22 Johns Hopkins University once each in Arizona and losing to No. 3 Kean University and No. 5 SUNY Cortland on the road and Western New England and Tufts at home. The loss to Kean came in the season-opener and the loss to Cortland came in the second round of the regional tournament.

The Warriors were ranked among last year's Top 10 nationally in the first six polls - including No. 7 in the first three -- after receiving a No. 26 rating in last year's pre-season poll. Eastern concluded last year's regular season rated 12th, was voted 21st after losing in the championship round of the Little East Conference tournament (as the No. 1 seed) and fell out of the Top 30 after splitting four games as the No. 5 seed in the regionals. Eastern was ranked No. 24 in the final poll conducted after the 2011 national tournament.
Eastern was ranked first in the first five weeks of last year's New England poll, second in the next two and fourth in the final two polls.

From a starting lineup which dropped a 6-3 decision to College at Brockport in the 2011 finale, Eastern returns four position players, as well as five of the seven pitchers who saw mound work. The first five hitters in the order from that game have graduated, among them ABCA Division III Player-of-the-Year Jim Schult (a right-handed pitcher/DH) and All-New England leftfielder Rob Perry.

Eastern must replace its entire outfield but returns six seniors, seven of last year's 11 varsity pitchers and three starting infielders.

Schult was last year's top hitter and pitcher, combining with graduated right-hander Chris Wojick on nearly half of the team's pitching victories.

Top returning position players are senior all-conference catcher Steve Cammuso (Rutland, MA), sophomore all-conference shortstop Danny O'Connell (Braintree, MA) and junior third baseman Joe Balowski (Berlin). Projected as top returning pitchers are senior righties Jim Dimon (Seymour), Michael Hepple (Newington), Mike Riemer (Ellington) and Evan Chamberlain (Amston), and junior righties Matt Purnell (Stafford Springs) and Andrew Merritt (Norwalk).

A 12-time NCAA regional champion since 1982 and four-time national champion, Eastern won regional titles five times in the first eight years of last decade, last claiming a national championship in 2002 with an 8-0 shutout of Marietta College in the championship round at Grand Chute, WI.

Eastern is scheduled to open its 45th season under head coach Bill Holowaty (1,353-502-6/72.9 percent) March 24-26 with four games in three days at Whitman College (WA). Whitman is coached by his son Jared (now in his third year), a former four-year Eastern letterwinner and captain on the 2002 national championship team. The Warriors return home and will visit Kean March 10 before playing eight games in eight days in California and Arizona. Eastern is scheduled to host Suffolk University March 26 in its home-opener.







Soccer: Smiles, Appel Cited Regionally

For second year, Smiles is ECAC All-Star and Appel scholar all-region

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Appel (near right), Smiles

WILLIMANTIC, Conn. -Senior defender Aaron Smiles (Bedford, MA) and senior keeper Carl Appel (West Windsor, NJ) have repeated regional honors in men's soccer.

Smiles was named to the ECAC New England Division III All-Star Team for the second straight season while Appel earned a spot on the National Soccer Coaches' Association of America (NSCAA) College Division  Scholar All-East Region Team for the second time in as many years. Division II and III student-athletes who had attained junior eligibility were eligible for scholar all-region honors. The East Region is comprised of New England, New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Ohio, West Virginia and Kentucky.

As juniors last year, Smiles was a first-team ECAC All-Star and Appel a first-team scholar all-region pick and second-team Scholar All-America. Smiles was the only Little East Conference selection on this year's 22-person ECAC team (11 first-teamers and 11 second-teamers), and Appel the only LEC pick among 139 regional scholar honorees.  Fourteen student-athletes were named to the scholar all-region first team, 13 to the second team and 12 to the third team. One hundred were selected honorable mention.

Earlier this year, Smiles was named to the NSCAA All-New England Region team for the third time, earning first-team honors for the second time. He was also named to the New England Intercollegiate Soccer League (NEISL) Senior All-Star Game played last month at Harvard University, the All-LEC team for the fourth time (third as a first-teamer) and was picked as the conference's Defensive Player-of-the-Year for the first time.

Smiles started all 19 matches in which he appeared (missing three with a concussion), averaging 82.8 minutes per match and contributing five assists to improve his career total in that department o 29 - the most by an Eastern player in at least the last 22 seasons.

A team co-captain, Appel is a Sport & Leisure Management major with a cumulative 3.56 ERA. He earned a spot on the LEC All-Academic Team for the
Maximum third time this past fall and will earn an Eastern E-Club Scholar-Athlete Aware for the maximum second time this May.

Appel was named to the all-conference team for the third time this past fall, second time as a first-teamer and joined Appel on the roster of the NEISL All-Star Game. In 2011, Appel tied the program record with ten full shutouts in backstopping the team to a program season-record of 14. He finished the season with a 13-6-1 record, a 0.70 goals-against average and .854 save percentage, ranking 24th nationally in save percentage and 36thth in GAA. As a team, Eastern ranked fourth nationally in shutout percentage (.636/14 in 22 matches), 15th in save percentage and 21st in GAA.

Under fifth-year head coach Greg DeVito in 2011, Eastern finished 15-6-1 (one win shy of the program record which was set two years ago), 6-1-0 in the Little East and became the first team in the program's 51-year history to record as many as five straight seasons of ten or more wins. The Warriors, ranked eighth in the final NSCAA New England rankings, qualified for post-season play for the fifth straight year, fourth as NCAA tournament participants. Eastern finished with a share of first place in the final conference standings for the third time under DeVito, winning outright its second regular-season title and going on to its third conference tournament championship.


Softball: Youth Clinics in March


YOUTHCLINICPHOTO_0848 copy.jpgWILLIMANTIC, Conn. -- The Eastern Connecticut State University fastpitch softball program will stage its annual Eastern Softball Clinic on consecutive Sundays in March at Francis E. Geissler Gymnasium on the Eastern campus.

Under the direction of 11th-year head coach Diana Pepin - who heads up Eastern's 2010 and 2011 New England Region Coaching Staff-of-the-Year -- the clinics are scheduled for March 4 from 5 to 7 p.m. and March 11 from 9 a.m. to noon.

The clinic on March 4 will instruct youngsters aged 11-to-18 on hitting, while the March 11 clinic is for youngsters aged 8-to-18 will teach the basics of throwing and receiving, hitting, bunting and ground balls.

The clnics will be conducted by Pepin, her coaching staff, and 2012 team members.
The Warriors won last year's New England Regional championship for the second straight season and finished in a tie for fifth nationally at the NCAA Division III national softball tournament with a 35-7 record.

Cost of each clinic is $40. Checks should be made payable to "ECSU" and mailed to Diana Pepin, Head Softball Coach, Sports Center, Eastern Connecticut State University, Willimantic, Conn. 06226.

For more information, contact Diana Pepin at 860-465-5182 or at

Jeff Konin Appointed Athletic Director

Eastern alumnus, Hamden native will begin his duties July 2


WILLIMANTIC, Conn. -- Jeff G. Konin '88 has been appointed  Director of Athletics at Eastern Connecticut State University, it has been announced by Eastern President Elsa Núñez. The appointment is effective July 2, 2012.
Konin, a native of Hamden, is a nationally recognized expert in the field of sports medicine and athletic training, and has significant teaching and administrative experience in collegiate athletics in his current positions at the University of South Florida as vice chair of the Department of Ortho and Sports Medicine and executive director of the Sports Medicine and Athletic Related Trauma Institute,

Konin has significant financial, staffing and operational management duties. During his time at South Florida, Konin was instrumental in securing a major philanthropic gift exceeding $1 million and was recently named the Kennedy Family Endowed Chair of Athletic Training as part of the gift. 
"In addition to his academic leadership at the University of South Florida and his experience in athletic administration, Mr. Konin is an internationally recognized scholar in the field of sports medicine," said Núnez.  "We are very pleased to hire someone of Jeff's talent and experience for this important position at Eastern. The fact he is an alumnus of our University makes his return to Connecticut even more special."

Before his appointment at South Florida, Konin served as an assistant athletic director at James Madison University in Harrisonburg, VA.  His academic appointments include faculty positions at Delaware Technical and Community College, James Madison University and the University of South Florida.

Konin has authored and edited academic texts and numerous journal articles and is a frequent national and international lecturer on athletic and sports-related topics.  He also served on the 1996 medical staff for the Olympic Games in Atlanta, GA, and currently serves as the medical coordinator for Team USA Wheelchair Rugby.

After earning his Bachelor of Science degree at Eastern in 1988, Konin received his master's degree in education from the University of Virginia in 1989, a master's degree in physical therapy in 1994 from the University of Delaware, and his doctorate from Nova Southeastern University in 2004

As an undergraduate at Eastern, Konin served as a student-trainer under current Eastern head athletic trainer Dr. David G. Yeo.



Soccer: Two are NSCAA All-NE Region

Aaron Smiles is named first team, Daniela Marchitto fourth team

smiles action72dpi_9426.jpg

WILLIMANTIC, Conn. -- Senior defender Aaron Smiles (Bedford, MA) and junior forward Daniela Marchitto (Orange) - the men's and women's Player-of-the-Year selections in the Little East Conference this past season-- have been named to their respective National Soccer Coaches' Associate of America (NSCAA) All-New England Region teams.

At right: Aaron Smiles (10)

Smiles was named to the men's team for the third time while Marchitto was a first-time selectee. A first-team repeater, Smiles became only the second player in the history of the men's program to receive the honor as many as three times.  A total of 26 players were to the men's All-New England South Team - 13 to the first team and 13 to the second team. Smiles, who will be eligible for NSCAA All-America honors on the basis of his first-team selection, was one of three all-region selections from the Little East Conference.

marchitto72dpiPicture 702.jpgMarchitto was a fourth-team all-region selection to the women's team, which included 46 players divided into four teams. Marchitto was one of four all-region selections from the Little East, three of whom landed on the fourth team.

At left: Daniela Marchitto (8)

This past year, Smiles was named LEC Defensive Player-of-the-Year and became only the second Eastern player in 23 years of LEC men's soccer to be named to the all-conference team as many as four times. He earned first-team accolades for the third straight year.   He was also named to the NEISL Senior All-Star Game last month.

Smiles started all 19 matches in which he appeared (missing three with a concussion), averaging 82.8 minutes per match and contributing five assists to improve his career total in that department o 29 - the most by an Eastern player in at least the last 22 seasons.

Under fifth-year head coach Greg DeVito in 2011, Eastern finished 15-6-1 (one win shy of the program record which was set two years ago), 6-1-0 in the Little East and became the first team in the program's 51-year history to record as many as five straight seasons of ten or more wins. The Warriors, ranked eighth in the final NSCAA New England rankings, qualified for post-season play for the fifth straight year, fourth as NCAA tournament participants. Eastern finished with a share of first place in the final conference standings for the third time under DeVito, winning outright its second regular-season title and going on to its third conference tournament championship.

This past year, Marchitto was selected as the Little East Conference Offensive Player-of-the-Year - the fourth straight season in which an Eastern player has been tabbed as either the offensive or defensive Player-of-the-Year. The 2009 LEC Rookie-of-the-Year, Marchitto was named to the all-conference team for the third straight time - second time as a first-teamer.

Also a first-team all-conference selection in lacrosse last season, Marchitto was second in the conference this season in points (37), goals (15) and game-winning goals (4) and shared second place in assists (7). She contributed a point in 14 of 20 matches, including seven straight heading into the LEC championship game, won on penalty kicks by Eastern over top-seeded Keene State College at Keene, NH. Marchitto's goal was the only one of the match in a semifinal-round home win over Western Connecticut.

Marchitto's final point total this year was the fourth-highest in a season in program history and her goal mark equalled the fourth-highest.  With one year remaining, Marchitto ranks third all-time in goals (33), tied for fifth in points (79), and sixth in game-winning goals (10).

Seeded second, the women (11-9-1) qualified for their third straight (fifth in nine years under 12th-year head coach Chris D'Ambrosio) NCAA Division III tournament this past year with a 3-2 penalty-kick shootout win in the championship game of the  Little East tournament  The LEC tournament title was the fourth in nine years for Eastern., whose 6-1-0 LEC regular-season record this past year gave it a 62-9-6 mark - with more than one loss occurring in a season only once -- in regular-season conference play the last 11 seasons.


Women's Basketball: Alumni Salute


alumni group72dpi_0545.jpgALUMNI RE-UNITE: Women's basketball alumni who played under former head coach Bob Miller (second from right in above photo) re-united Saturday. Former coaches and players from the Miller era (1974-1993) in attendance were recognized at halftime of the varsity game between Eastern and Rhode Island College prior to a reception at the Student Center later in the afternoon and a dinner at the Johnson Room that evening. Miller led the Warriors to 332 victories in 19 seasons, their first 16 post-season tournaments and back-to-back NCAA Final Four berths in 1990-91 and 1991-92.

W-Track: Gingras and Huhn Qualify

At Harvard, both establish PR's in qualifying for NE Division III Meet

Eastern's Finishers.pdf

CAMBRIDGE, Mass. - Junior Cora Gingras (East Hampton) and sophomore Amy Huhn (Hebron) of Eastern Connecticut State University each established personal bests and qualified for post-season competition at the Harvard University Track and Field Open Saturday at the Gordon Track & Tennis Center.

gingras72dpi1210_0207.jpgAt left: Cora Gingras

Gingras improved by 9 ½ inches her previous best in the triple jump, capturing ninth place in a field of 17 with a mark of 34-11 ¾ to qualify for the New England Division III Championships in mid-February.

In the pole vault, Huhn's height of 9-6 ¼ was six inches higher than her previous indoor best which she established for the second time last year at the New England Division III Championships. Her personal best height in outdoor competition is 9-8, set last May at the New England Division III Championships. Huhn's height Saturday provided her with a 12th-place finish in a field of 24.

Other top performances Saturday: senior Amanda Quinones (Trumbull) was timed in 10:51.74 in running to tenth place among 31 at 3,000 meters; sophomore Lauren Hultzman (Putnam) was fourth among 22 with a height of 5-1 in the high jump; and first-year sophomore Akaya McElveen (New Haven) was second in a field of 14 at 500 meters with a time of 1:23.63.

Quinones was less than two seconds shy of qualifying for the New England Division III championships while McElveen missed the ECAC Division III qualifying time by less than two seconds, as well.

Following McElveen at the finish line at 500 meters for Eastern were freshman Ashley Westman (Newington) and sophomore Tacia Bryant (Guilford). Westman was fifth (1:24.92) and Bryant seventh (1:26.09).

Division I, II and III institutions were represented at Saturday's non-scoring meet.

Eastern visits Wesleyan University Jan. 21 at 10 a.m.


M-Track: Hewett a Post-Season Qualifier

At Harvard Open, he is sixth in a field of 48 competitors at 400 meters

Below: Fredrick Hewett

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Eastern's Finishers.pdf

CAMBRIDGE, Mass. - In his first collegiate 400 meter race, first-year sophomore Fredrick Hewett (New London) qualified for the New England Division III Championships with a time of 50.78 at the Harvard University Open Saturday at the Gordon Track & Tennis Center.

Hewett raced to a sixth-place finish in the event in a time of 50.78, bettering the qualifying standard by just less than a a second. In his first collegiate meet last Saturday at Springfield, Hewett won the 200 meter dash in a time of 23.40, falling just .16 shy of the standard needed to qualify for the New England Division III Championships in mid-February.

Freshman Andre Reynolds (Hartford) was timed in a personal best 9.05 in the preliminaries of the 60 meter hurdles, missing by .01 seconds the Division III qualifying standards.

Freshman Dylan Kruppa (Torrington) was 13th in a field of 48 with a time of 51.84 at 400 meters, falling .12 seconds the Division III qualifying time but bettering his mark of 54.18 from a week ago.

Division I, II and III institutions were represented at Saturday's non-scoring meet.

Eastern visits Wesleyan University Jan. 21 at 10 a.m.


W-Basketball: LEC Rally Falls Short

Warriors come from way back before dropping 78-52 decision

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LEC LOGO PARE.jpgWILLIMANTIC, Conn. - After watching a 20-point halftime lead dwindle to eight, the Rhode Island College women's basketball team scored the final 18 points of the game without missing a shot to post a 78-52 Little East Conference victory over Eastern Connecticut State University Saturday afternoon at Francis E. Geissler Gymnasium.

Above: Piper Chapman

The pre-season favorite to win its first LEC championship, Rhode Island (6-2, 2-0 Little East) started quickly by canning nine of its first ten shots from the floor (60 percent in the half) for an 18-point lead six minutes into action, and ended with a surge by connecting on its final four shots from the field and its final ten free throws after the Warriors had crept to within eight, 60-62, with 6:30 left.

After Eastern (4-4, 1-1 Little East) chipped away  a 21-point deficit to pull to within eight senior post player Rachel Riley stole the ball and scored inside, then grabbed a defensive rebound and scored again in the paint to ignite the game-ending 18-point run. Moments later, Riley blocked a shot, grabbed the rebound and converted against on the offensive end to push the lead to 16, 68-52, with 3:40 left.

Senior guard Cynthia Gaudet  scored eight points in that final RIC run with a field goal and six free throw. Riley set up Gaudet's bucket in that spurt with an offensive rebound.

Gaudet and Riley combined for 51 points, 16 rebounds, five steals and six assists. Gaudet had 26 points, five rebounds, six assists and four steals. She nailed three three-pointers and was 11-for-14 from the foul line. Riley pulled to within a point of 1,000 in her career with 25 points and 11 rebounds (ten in the second half). She was 10-for-16 from the floor and 5-for-5 from the stripe without a turnover in 37 minutes.

Eastern shot 28 percent from the floor with 14 turnovers in digging a 20-point halftime hole and eventually lost to RIC for only the third time in the last ten meetings. In the game, Rhode Island scored 34 points off Eastern's  21 turnovers, outscoring the hosts 23-6 in that department in building its 20-point halftime lead. Each team's starters combined for all but four points (two for each team) in the contest.

Rated second in the LEC in field goal, three-point and free throw percentage and second in three-points made, RIC shot 48.1 percent from the floor, was 22-for-26 from the foul line and sank six of 12 three-point attempts (Eastern's three-point defense ranks last in the LEC).  On the offensive end, the Warriors were off the mark on 14 of 15 three-point tries.

Facing a 19-point deficit seven minutes into the second half, Eastern erased 11 points in a span of four minutes with an 11-0 run.  Junior guard Jessica Blodgett (Niantic) scored twice with a jumper and inside basket and  junior post player Lauren Kelleher (Dartmouth, MA) dropped in two inside buckets and freshman guard Kristina Forsman (Newington) connected on a three-pointer.

Kelleher was Eastern's only double-digit scorer with 14 points,  with Forsman, Blodgett, senior Piper Chapman (Portsmouth, RI) and freshman  Taylor McBride (Willimantic) all finishing with nine. Chapman shared game-high honors with 11 rebounds.

Eastern visits Connecticut College Jan. 2 at 7 p.m.


Men's Basketball: Warriors Slay RIC

Warriors hand two-time defending LEC champs their first loss of season


WILLIMANTIC, Conn. - The  Eastern Connecticut State University men's basketball team never trailed after the first three minutes Saturday afternoon,  snapping a seven-game losing streak at the hands of two-time defending Little East conference champion and previously unbeaten Rhode Island College,, 70-59, at Francis E. Geissler Gymnasium.

At right: Hamilton Levy

Eastern (6-1, 2-0 Little East) handed Rhode Island (9-1, 1-1 Little East) its first loss of the season by winning its fifth straight.

Having received mention in the most recent Division III national poll, Rhode Island was coming off a 57-47  home win over #15 nationally-ranked WPI Thursday, and had not lost to Eastern since a 79-77 decision  here in February of 2008.

The game was the re-match of the 2011 LEC tournament title game,  with the host Anchormen downing the Warriors for the 14th time in 15 meetings, 62-49. Eastern's previous three home victories over RIC had come by a total of eight points.

Rhode Island was the pre-season favorite to capture its third straight LEC title, while Eastern was picked for a tie for fourth despite reaching last year's LEC title game.

Eastern had four double-digit scorers, led by senior forward  Hamilton Levy (Woodbury), who scored a season-high 18 points (5-for-7 from the floor)  in a career-high 34 minutes. Senior guard Nick Nedwick (Irvington, NY) had 13 points, five rebounds and five assists and senior forward Jamie Kohn  (Columbia) 12 points and eight rebounds. Junior forward Chris Robitaille (Canton) added ten points and five rebounds.

After surrendering a 13-4 RIC run that pulled the visitors to within a point with 5:30 left, Eastern responded with ten consecutive points over three minutes  to salt the game away. Two decisive plays over the final minutes were the result of an RIC goaltending call on a shot by Levy with 3:40 left that gave Eastern a 56-50 lead,, and a three-point play by Kohn on an-bounds pass under the basket moments later that made it 59-50 with three minutes left. Both buckets were assisted by junior guard Joe Ives (Avon).

Eastern shot 51.1 percent from  the floor in the game and canned half of its 12 three-point field goal tries.

Eastern forced 20 Rhode Island turnovers and commited only 13 fouls, which put the visitors at the foul line only ten times, where they missed seven. Led by Levy (6-for-8), Kohn (4-for-5) and Nedwick (4-for-6), the Warriors were 16-for-24 from the foul line.

Six-foot-six inch center Mike Akinirola led RIC with 18 points, eight rebounds and three steals. Junior guard Tahrike Carter added 14 points and six rebounds and sophomore guard Tom DeCiantis 14 points.

Senior forward Mason Choice, Rhode Island's  top rebounder and second-leading scorer, was held to six points and four rebounds in 25 minutes. Choice left the game briefly with 5:56 left and his team trailing by two after being saddled with his fourth foul, and he was dismissed with his fifth personal foul with 2:45 left and his team trailing by ten.

Eastern played without starting junior guard Mike Garrow (Terryville), who missed his second straight game with illness. He will be out indefinitely.

Eastern faces Hunter College Dec. 31 at 1 p.m. in the opening round of the James Naismith Tournament, hosted by Springfield College.


W-Swim: Warriors Dominate, 144-108

Eastern commands 12 of 14 firsts in victory over Bridgewater State


WILLIMANTIC,C onn. - The Eastern Connecticut State University women's swim team either won or swam the fastest times on an exhibition basis in ten of 12 individual events and in both relays Saturday afternoon in a 144-108 victory over visiting Bridgewater State University at the Sports Center pool.

At right: Colleen King

The  win is the fourth straight for Eastern (3-0) over Bridgewater (3-5).

Led by sophomores Amanda Rivers (Meriden) and Colleen King (Barkhamsted), eight different Eastern swimmers either won individual events or swam the fastest time on an exhibition basis. Rivers won the 50 and 200 yard freestyle and King captured the 50 breaststroke and posted the fastest time in the 50 butterfly on an exhibition basis.

Eastern swimmers finished 1-2 in seven events and 2-3-4 in the 100 freestyle.

Additional individual winners for Eastern included sophomores Marissa Colley (East Haven) in the 100 backstroke and Erin McVeigh (Windsor) in the 500 freestyle, freshmen Kayla Smoragiewicz (Norwalk) in the 50 backstroke, Rachel Thatcher (Newington)  and Abby Arisco (Wallingford) in the 100 butterfly. Senior Nadine Menard (Woodstock) also posted the fastest time on an exhibition basis in the 400 individual medley.

The 200 medley relay opened the meet by claiming the top two spots, with the relay of Smoragiewicz, King, McVeigh and Colley touching first. Swimming on an exhibition basis, the 200 freestyle relay concluded the meet with the fastest time. Swimmers were McVeigh, Rivers, sophomore Michelle Schapp (Shelton) and Smoragiewicz.

Freshman Kristen Carey, sophomore Chelsie Nolan, and junior Bridget Hasson went 1-2-3 for Bridgewater in the 1000 freestyle and  sophomore Nelia Borden edged Schapp by less than a half-second at the finish of the 100 freestyle. Nolan was also second in the 500 freestyle and Carey third in that event.

Eastern  visits Keene State College Jan. 14 at 1 p.m.


W-Basketball: Amherst Shakes Warriors

 On strength of 16-4 run, last year's national champs post 66-45 win


WILLIMANTIC, Conn. - Senior forward Jackie Renner  swished a three-point field goal midway through the second half to fuel a 16-4 Amherst College run as the Lord Jeffs were finally able to pull away from Eastern Connecticut State University, 66-45, Thursday night in women's basketball at Francis E. Geissler Gymnasium.

At right: Freshman Taylor McBride drives to the basket in the second half of Thursday's 66-45 loss to Amherst College. (Cristina Danielson photo)

Eastern (4-3) held Amherst (7-0) 15 points below its season scoring average and forced 16 turnovers  to stay within striking distance until the midway point of the second half. At that point, Renner sank one of Amherst's seven three-pointers in the game and followed moments later with a pair of free throws to begin the decisive 16-4 run over seven minutes that expanded a seven-point lead to 19, 57-38, with three minutes left.

The win is the 26th straight for Amherst, ranked No. 1 in Division III after capturing its first national championship a year ago. The Lord Jeffs have beaten Eastern the last four times the teams have met.

Renner shared game-high scoring honors with 14 points with senior guard  Caroline Stedman and Eastern senior forward Piper Chapman (Portsmouth, RI) . Chapman and Amherst senior guard  Kim Fiorentino  led the way with ten rebounds each.

Despite shooting only 27 percent from the floor in the first half, Eastern  was able cut an early 13-point deficit to four nine minutes into the first half. While the visitors were missing two shots and turning the ball over twice on four possessions, Eastern freshman guard Kristina Forsman (Newington) was scoring five points on a jumper and three-point field goal (the team's only three-pointer on the night on nine tries), with Chapman adding a pair of free throws and junior guard Jessica Blodgett (Niantic) scoring an inside basket.

The Warriors trailed by eight at haltime and by seven midway through the second half before Amherst put together the game-winning run. On 14 possessions in Amherst's 16-4 burst, Eastern missed  eight of nine shots from the floor and turned the ball over three times.

Averaging a double-double this year, Eastern junior post player Lauren Kelleher (Dartmouth, MA) was held scoreless from the floor but grabbed nine rebounds. The Warriors' starters were just 15-for-52 (28.8 percent) from the field with 12 turnovers.

Amherst played the final 27 minutes without six-foot senior Lem McCormick, who left the game with 6:56 left in the first half after sustaining a bloody lip. McCormick finished with seven points. She averages 12.7 points and  5.5 rebounds.

Renner played all but one minute, adding five assists and  seven rebounds to her 14-point effort. Six-foot-two inch freshman Megan Robertson came off the bench for ten points and nine rebounds in 26 minutes for Amherst.

Eastern hosts Rhode Island College Saturday at 1 p.m. in a Little East Conference game.


W-Basketball: Up Next is No. 1 Amherst

Warriors host Division III's top-ranked team Thursday at 7 p.m.


WATCH LIVE (6:50 p.m.)

WILLIMANTIC,Conn. - The defending national champion Amherst College women's basketball team sports a 54-game home winning streak, which means next to nothing heading into Thursday night's 7 p.m. game against Eastern Connecticut State University in a game scheduled to be played at the Warriors' Francis E. Geissler Gymnasium.

At left: Piper Chapman (40) and Lauren Kelleher are provided the Warriors with a potent 1-2 inside punch this season.

What does work in favor of Division III's No-1 ranked team when it meets the Warriors for the fourth time in three seasons, however, are five returning seniors who are all starters this season from the 2011 NCAA Division III national championship team which won 32 of 33 games for the second straight season. An Amherst victory Thursday would be the 100th in 106 games in the careers of the team's six seniors.

Eastern (4-2) is expected to face its stiffest early-season test when its hosts Amherst (6-0), which is coming off its 25th straight victory Tuesday over an overwhelmed Emmanuel College team which edged the Warriors, 57-53, two weeks ago at Geissler Gym.

Eastern and Amherst met twice last year at Amherst- once in the regular season and once in the second round of the NCAA tournament. Amherst won both by an average of 23 points. The Lord Jeffs  return five players who averaged at least 20 minutes in those two games, Eastern two in six-foot senior post player Piper Chapman (Portsmouth, RI) and junior guard Jessica Blodgett (Niantic).

The last time the teams met at Geissler Gymnasium in 2009, Amherst emerged from a defensive struggle with a 53-34 victory on the way to its second straight appearance in the national semifinals.

In last year's regular-season game, Amherst's depth sunk Eastern as the Lord Jeffs used a 15-3 run in the final four minutes of the first half to pull away for a 79-55 victory. Both teams were nationally-ranked and undefeated at the time, Amherst (8-0) No. 1 and Eastern (7-0) No. 23.

In the second round of last year's NCAA tournament, Kim Fiorentino scored 16 points in the first half for Amherst, which advanced with a 76-54 decision.

Through six games this year, Eastern has won by an average of nearly 20 points - that average helped immensely by a 74-point blowout in the season-opener. The Warriors are averaging 76 points a game and allowing 56, are shooting 43 percent from the field and 67.3 percent from the foul line, outrebounding their opponent by +9 and averaging 18 turnovers per contest.

Amherst has won its six games by an average of 35 points, which includes a 52-point opening victory and a 55-point triumph this past Sunday. Amherst is averaging 81 points a game and allowing 47, is shooting 40.6 percent from the field and 78.5 percent from the stripe, outrebounding its opponent by +12 and averaging 11.5 turnovers.

For Eastern, Thursday's game is sandwiched between two key Little East Conference home contests against the University of Southern Maine - the winningest program in conference history - and Rhode Island College. The Warriors routed Southern Maine, 75-57 last Saturday and face pre-season No.-1 ranked Rhode Island College Saturday.

Chapman, who averaged 7.0 points and 6.0 rebounds against Amherst last year, tops Eastern this year in scoring (16.7), field goal percentage (55.1) and rebounding (8.3). Six-foot-one-inch unior post player Lauren Kelleher (Dartmouth, MA) averages 15.8 points and a team-leading 12.0 rebounds with a 51.6 field goal percentage, and Blodgett is the third double-figure scorer with a 14.7 average. She adds 7.3 rebounds and has totaled a team-high 11 three-pointers. Rounding out the starting unit are freshmen  guards Kristina Forsman (Newington) and Taylor McBride (Willimantic). Forsman averages less than two turnovers per game with an 8.8 scoring average and team-leading 3.3 assist mark; McBride averages 3.3 assists and  is shooting 50.0 percent from the floor.

Against Eastern this year, Amherst will be without 2011 national Player-of-the-Year Jaclyn Daigneault, a 5-foot-11 inch post player, as well as 5-11 Sarah Leyman, both of whom graduated.

Returning are All-America honorable mention Caroline Stedman - a 5-foot-10 inch guard - as well as four senior classmates: Fiorentino, guard Shannon Finucane, 6-foot Jackie Renner and 6-foot Lem Atanga McCormick. Added to the mix this year is 6-foot-2 inch freshman Megan Robertson, who has come off the bench to post team-high scoring (15.3), and rebounding (8.2)  averages and a team-best55.6 shooting average.

Rhode Island College, Eastern's final opponent prior to the holiday break, is also a senior-laden team which has won five of its first seven, including its LEC opener against Plymouth State University.

The Anchorwomen were swept last year by Eastern but rebounded from a 24-point early-season loss on their home court to battle the Warriors to a six-point decision at Geissler Gym.

Top senior starters for RIC - which lists six seniors this year -- are 6-foot-1 inch post player Rachel Riley and guards Cynthia Gaudet and Stephanie Coro. Riley, a returning first-team all-conference pick, averages 14.6 points and 9.7 rebounds with a 61.1 field goal percentage; Gaudet averages 16.4 points and 5.0 assists and Coro 10.4 points and a team-leading 14 three-point field goals.

Rhode Island has not been challenged in its five victories, with the losses coming by one point at the University of New England (which has defeated Southern Maine and nationally-ranked Colby) and by eight at Emmanuel.

Eastern has beaten the Anchorwomen 23 of the last 26 times the teams have met.

M-Basketball: Warriors Breeze, 88-48

POULTNEY, Vt. - Senior guard Nick Nedwick (Irvington, NY) and junior post player ChrisWARRIORlogo2009_72dpi.jpg Robitaille (Canton) shot a combined 13-for-20 from the floor to lift the Eastern Connecticut State University men's basketball team to a  88-48 win over Green Mountain College Tuesday night.

The win is the third straight for Eastern (5-1) and the loss the fifth straight for Green Mountain (1-5).

Nedwick had a team-high 16 points and was one of four starters in double figures. Nedwick was 7-for-10 from the floor in 22 minutes and Robitaille had 12 points on 6-for-10 shooting from the floor and a game-high seven rebounds in 22 minutes.

 All 15 players in uniform made the stat sheet, with 14 contributed either a point, rebound or assist.

Leading by seven points after eight minutes, Eastern went on a 17-3 run over the next six minutes to balloon the lead to 21, 28-7, six minutes before the break. Nine of those points were courtesy of  three three-pointers. Sophomore guard Brian Salzillo (North Haven) had two - giving him at least one in every game this year - and junior forward Tyler Hundley (Cheshire) one.

While Eastern was sinking a season-high ten three-pointers (on 15 attempts), the Eagles were pressed into 3-for-19 shooting from three-point range.

Nedwick's point total gives him 1,263 in his career and moves him into a tie for tenth place all-time in scoring at Eastern with E-Club Hall of Famer Paul Kaminski. Nedwick is 39 points behind E-Club Hall of Famer Frank Johndrow  for ninth place and  330 shy of Rich Vega's (1998-2002) all-time program mark of 1,593.

Eastern hosts Rhode Island College Saturday at 3 p.m. in a re-match of last year's Little East Conference championship game, won 62-49 by the Anchormen.



W-Basketball: Warriors Crush Owls

Blodgett leads way with 18 points and ten rebounds in 67-42 victory


WATCH: Post-game interview with head coach Denise Bierly (3:19). Interview by Amanda Palmieri '13.

WILLIMANTIC, Conn. - Junior guard Jessica Blodgett (Niantic) scored 14 points of her team-high 18 points in the first half and junior post player Lauren Kelleher (Dartmouth, MA) had nine points and a game-high 12 rebounds in the game to lead the Eastern Connecticut State University women's basketball team to a 67-42 non-conference victory over Westfield State University Tuesday night at Francis E. Geissler Gymnasium.

At right: Angela Paterson (5) of Westfield State defends against Jessica Blodgett in the second half of Eastern's 67-42 win Tuesday night.

Eastern (4-2) never trailed in the game in improving its home record to 4-1 and downing Westfield State (3-5) for the 19th straight time and  21st time in 22 meetings in this series.

Leading by four eight minutes into the game, Eastern went on an 11-4 run over four minutes to push the lead to 11 with eight minutes left in the half. Senior post player Piper Chapman (Portsmouth, RI) and junior guard Samantha Riccio (Avon) sank three-pointers in that run - the 6-0 Chapman's was her first of the year and second of her career -  with Kelleher blocking a shot and scoring inside.

After that burst, the lead never dipped below nine the rest of the way, with a 13-3 surge over six minutes in the second half pushing the advantage to 23 with five-and-a-half minutes left.

Blodgett tied her career high with 18 points and her ten rebounds was one shy of her all-time best. Kelleher, named to the New England Women's Basketball Association weekly honor roll Monday for her performance last week, has missed a double-double only twice this season, once by one rebound and once by one point. She also had three blocked shots. Chapman was 7-for-12 from the floor with six rebounds and only one turnover in 29 minutes. Freshman point guard Kristina Forsman (Newington) contributed five points, five rebounds, four assists and three steals and only two turnoers in 31 minutes.

Westfield team scoring leader Jen Ashton, a freshman guard, scored 19 of her team's points, taking 27 of their 67 attempts from the floor. The Owls, winners of last year's Massachusetts State College Athletic Conference (MASCAC) regular-season championship, shot just 20.7 percent from the floor in the second half, managiing only 16 points (six field goals).

Eastern hosts 2011 national champion and No. 1 ranked Amherst College Thurday at 7 p.m.




Women's Track: Three are Qualifiers

Hultzman, Gingras and Quinones qualify for post-season in season-opener

Eastern's Finishers.pdf


At left: Lauren Hultzman

SPRINGFIELD, Mass. - Senior Amanda Quinones (Trumbull), junior Cora Gingras (EastWARRIORlogo2009_72dpi.jpg Hampton) and sophomore Lauren Hultzman (Putnam) qualified for post-season competition when the Eastern Connecticut State University women's indoor track and field team opened its 2011/12 season at the Springfield College Invitational Saturday.

All three qualified for the  New England Division III Championships in late February: Quinones in the mile (5:26.66) and Hultzman (5-1- ¾) and Gingras (4-11 ¾) in the high jump. In addition, Hultzman  totaled 2,567 points in the pentathlon  to qualify for the New England Division III meet. Quinones' time and Hultzman's height established personal bests.

Hultzman captured the high jump and Gingras was third in a field of 11 in the high jump, while Quinones was second in the mile.

With 74 points, Eastern placed fourth in a field of five as a team in a meet won by Springfield College (247.5).

Other second-place finishers for Eastern were sophomores Tacia Bryant (Guilford) in the long jump and Amy Huhn (Hebron) in the pole vault, and freshman Ashley Westman (Newington) at 800 meters. Bryant's mark of 4.94 meters was one centimeter shy of the New England Division III Championship standard while Hultzman established a personal best of 5-1 ¾ Huhn tied her personal best of 9-0 ¼. Westman was timed in 2:34.76 in her first collegiate race.

The 4x800 meter relay added ten points to Eastern's total with a winning time of 10:24.60 in a field of four. Eastern competitors were Quinones, Gingras, Westman and sophomore Katie France (Portland).

In addition to the high jump, where she collected 701 points in the pentathlon,  Hultman was eighth at 800 meters (442 points), ninth in the long jump (413), tenth in the 60 meter hurdles (595) and 11th in the shot put (416).

Eastern competes in the Harvard University Open Saturday at 9 a.m.


Men's Track: Newcomers are Winners

Jolley and Hewett take individual firsts as men's track opens season

Eastern's Finishers.pdf

Hewett (top), and Jolley

hewett head 72dpi_0145.jpgSelow)PRINGFIELD, Mass. - First-year sophomores  Mark Jolley (East Berlin) and Fredrick WARRIORlogo2009_72dpi.jpgHewett (New London) each  took individual firsts in their first collegiate meets when the Eastern Connecticut State University men's indoor track and field team  opened its 2011/12 season at the Springfield College Invitational Saturday.

Jolley  qualified for both the ECAC Division III and New England Division III championships with a jolley head 72dpi_0161.jpgwinning mark of 6-4 in the high jump - besting a field of 14. Hewett outran 17 competitors with a winning time of 23.40 at 200 meters that left him just 16 hundreths of a second shy of qualifying for the New England Division III meet.

As a team, Eastern finished last in a five-team field with 32 points. Host Springfield (202) garnered 53 more points than second-place WPI. Westfield State University (127) was third and  Rhode Island College (82) fourth.

Others contributing to Eastern's point total were sophomore Tom Takacs (Trumbull), freshmen Dylan Kruppa (Torrington) and Andre Reynolds (Hartford) and the 4x200 meter relay team.

Takacs  was fourth at 600 meters (1:28.26) to net four points, Kruppa sixth in the long jump (20-3 ¾) and Reynolds sixth in the 60 meter hurdles for one point apiece. The 4x200 relay of Reynolds, Hewett, Kruppa and senior Nick Pates (East Haven) was third for six points.

Senior James DiBeneditto (Enfield) recorded a personal-best distance of 41-1 in the shot put.

Eastern competes in the Harvard University Open Saturday at 9 a.m.

W-Swimming: Warriors Second at LEC's

Nine earn all-conference recognition with second-place finishes

Point Breakdown.pdf

All-Conference Team.pdf

menard_head_4285.jpgNORTH DARTMOUTH, Mass. - Senior Nadine MenardLEC LOGO PARE.jpg (Woodstock) earned all-conference honors for the second time in as many years in helping the Eastern Connecticut State University women's swim team to a solid second-place finish in a field of eight teams at the 2011 Little East Conference Championships Saturday at the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth's Tripp Athletic Center pool.

Above: Nadine Menard

After finishing second in the 200 yard butterfly as a junior and earning all-conference honors,Menard took second place in the 100 butterfly Saturday.

The Warriors collected 274 points, 63 more than third-place Western Connecticut State University. Keene State won the meet with 588 points.

The top two relays and top two individuals in each individual event are accorded all-conference honors. There were 12 individual events, two relays and two diving events.

In addition to Menard, the Eastern 200 medley relay and 400 freestyle relay both placed second to gain all-conference honors. Sophomores Michelle Schapp (Torrington) and Colleen King (Barkhamsted) and freshmen Rachel Thatcher (Newington) and Kayla Smoragiewicz (Norwalk) teamed for all-conference recognition on the 200 medley relay and sophomores Amanda Rivers (Meriden), Erin McVeigh (Windsor), Becky Odgers (Shelton) and Marissa Colley (East Haven) combined on the 400 freestyle relay.

Other top finishes included Rivers, who was third in both the 50 and 100 freestyle; Schapp  fourth in the 200 backstroke and Menard fourth in the 200 breaststroke.

Fourteen different swimmers contributed to Eastern's point total. The top seven relays and first 12 individuals were awarded points.

Five Eastern swimmers collected at least 20 points each in three individual events apiece. Menard topped the Warriors with 34 points, followed by Rivers with 31,  sophomore McVeigh 27, Schapp 23, and Odgers 21.

In addition to second and fourth-place finishes, Menard was fifth in the 200 butterfly; Rivers added a seventh in the 100 backstroke, McVeigh a fifth in the 200 and 500 freestyle and seventh in the 100 freestyle; Schapp fourth in the 200 backstroke, fifth in the 100 backstroke and 11th in the 500 freestyle, and Odgers took seventh across the board in the 200 and 500 freestyle and 200 backstroke.

Keene State College freshman Diana Primer established two new championship meet standards to lead the Owls to the program's sixth straight c hampionship.
Keene State broke a total of four championship meet records en route to winning all 12 individual events for the second straight year and posting the program's second highest point total (588) at the conference meet.

Eastern set a program high-water mark for points to finish second for the fourth consecutive season after previous finishes of third (three times), fourth (three times) and fifth (once).
Western  (211), Westfield State University (174), University of Massachusetts Dartmouth (160), Bridgewater State University (94), Plymouth State University (60), and Rhode Island College (44) completed the eight-team standings. The Anchorwomen were making their debut at the conference championship meet.

The archived broadcast of the championships is free of charge and accessible on

Formed in 1986, the Little East serves as New England's premier athletic conference for public institutions in NCAA Division III. Featuring 19 championship sports, the Little East sponsors quality competition in every season for our student athletes. Our eight state colleges and universities dedicate themselves to an ongoing fulfillment of the Division III mission of passion, responsibility, sportsmanship, and citizenship.
Eastern hosts Bridgewater State Saturday at 1 p.m


W-Basketball: Warriors Pound USM

They never trail in winning Little East Conference opener, 75-57

kelleher emm72dpi_0078.jpgWILLIMANTIC, Conn. - The antidote for a two-game losing streak is not usually the University of Southern Maine.

Saturday afternoon, it was.

At left: Lauren Kelleher

In the opening Little East Conference  women's basketball game of the season, junior post player Lauren Kelleher (Dartmouth, MA) led all players with 23 points,  ten rebounds and four blocked shots as the Warriors led from start to finish in a 75-57 victory over the Huskies at Francis E. Geissler Gymnasium.

The win for Eastern (3-2) stretches its winning streak against Southern Maine (4-3) to three - its longest against the Huskies in 20 years. Since losing the first 13 games in this series against the 19-time conference tournament champions, Eastern has won 17 times in the last 21 seasons and is 7-5 against the Huskies in the last 12 meetings, including a 78-64 triumph in the semifinals of last year's LEC tournament.

By winning, Eastern avoided its first three-game losing streak in five years, when Southern Maine was the catalyst for a three-game slide in early December of 2006 with an 80-59 pasting of the Warriors in Gorham, ME.

Saturday, Southern Maine was unable to handle Eastern' s inside duo of the 6-foot-1 inch Kelleher and six-foot senior Piper Chapman (Portsmouth, RI) or the point guard tandem of freshman Kristina Forsman (Newington) and Taylor McBride (Willimantic).

Kelleher posted her fourth double-double in five games this year (missing by one rebound in the other) as Eastern raced to an 11-2 lead and never trailed. After Southern Maine closed to within four points with nine minutes left in the first half, Kelleher and Chapman fueled a decisive 12-4 run by combining for  seven points as Eastern moved out to a 12-point lead, 39-27, with 5:30 left.

Forsman and McBride combined for 16 points, 11 rebounds and 11 assists . Forsman had 11 points, a season-high seven rebounds and six assists without a turnover in 36 minutes, and McBride had five points, four rebounds and five assists in 28 minutes. The pair also played a role in Southern Maine's sub-40 percent shooting from the floor.

Leading by 14 at halftime, Eastern put the game away quickly in the second half by scoring the first ten points over the first four minutes to open up a 24-point, 56-32 advantage. While the visitors were missing six field goals and two free throws and turning the ball over three times, Kelleher scored the first six points of the second half on inside hoops and junior shooting guard Jessica Blodgett  (Niantic) added two free throws and a jumper to account for the 10-0 run.

Chapman followed Kelleher with 15 points and nine rebounds, the pair combining for 38 points, 19 rebounds, five blocked shots and shooting 14-for-22 from the floor and 10-for-11 from the foul line. Chapman scored all of her points (6-for-8 from the floor) and ten of Blodgett ten of her 14 points and six of her eight rebounds in the first half to help the Warriors to the 14-point halftime lead.

Junior wing Haley Jordan topped Southern Maine by scoring 22 of her team's points and grabbing seven rebounds, but the Warriors were able to neutralize the inside efforts of junior Jordan Grant and senior Courtney Cochran. The pair was limited to 16 points  (8-for-21 field goal shooting) and ten rebounds and forced into five turnovers.

Eastern hosts Westfield State University Tuesday at 6 p.m.


Men's Basketball:Warriors Prevail,67-62

In LEC opener, Eastern produces down the stretch against Southern Maine

philipsusm72dpi_0207.jpgWILLIMANTIC, Conn. -- In a game featuring 19 lead changes, the Eastern Connecticut State University men's basketball team snapped the 11th and final tie t by scoring the final five points in a  Little East Conference-opening 67-62 win over the University of Southern Maine Saturday afternoon at Francis E. Geissler Gymnasium.

At left: Chae Philips moves the ball in the second half against the University of Southern Maine.

With the game tied at 62-all and Southern Maine in possession after a blocked shot by Jeremy Alexander, senior  forward Jamie Kohn (Columbia) scored on an uncontested  layup after an Eastern steal on the defensive end to give Eastern  (4-1) the lead for good, 64-62, with just under 30 seconds left. Kohn, last year's conference rebounding leader, then grabbed a rebound following the second of two straight Southern Maine misses moments later and sank one free throw after being fouled with 10.1 seconds left.

Trailing by three, the Huskies couldn't convert a layup on their final possession and senior forward Hamilton Levy (Woodbury) grabbed the rebound upon his entrance into the game and following with two free throws that iced the verdict with 2.0 seconds remaining.

The win is the seventh straight for Eastern over Southern Maine (5-2), off to one of its best starts in recent years.  The Warriors were ranked in a tie for fourth in the LEC coaches' pre-season poll and are coming off an appearance in last year's conference tournament title game. Southern Maine was picked for seven in the eight-team loop.

Neither team trailed or led by more than five points in the game. The Huskies led by  three points in the final minutes of the first half and had a chance to increase the advantage, but missed two inside baskets before turning the ball over on their third possession on a steal by Eastern freshman Brandon Yarborough (Stamford). Yarborough couldn't turn the teal into points, but Kohn followed with an offensive rebound and layup with a minute left to cut the USM lead to one.

Southern Maine's tenth turnover of the half then resulted in an inside bucket by Eastern junior post player Chris Robitaille (Canton) in the final seconds as the Warriors took a one-point edge into the lockerroom - their first lead in seven minutes.

After compiling a team-high 12 double-doubles last year, Kohn recorded his first of the season with 12 points and ten rebounds, with senior guard Nick Nedwick (Irvington, NY) adding 13 points, five rebounds and four assists and Robitaille 14 points (ten in the second half) and five rebounds. Robitaille was 7-for-11 from the floor and is now shooting 67.9 per cent (19-of-r28) from the floor.

Yarborough came off the bench to contribute six points and four rebounds in nine second-half minutes, finishing with eight points and six rebounds. Yarborough canned six of eight free throws over the final seven minutes.

Behind Robitaille and Yarborough, Eastern's four bench players outscored  Southern Maine's four reserves by 25-2.

Eastern visits Green Mountain College Tuesday at 7 p.m.


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