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February 2012 Archives

M-Basketball: Medaille is Opponent

Little East champs face Mavs in NCAA first round Friday at Oswego

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WATCH: Head Coach Bill Geitner Previews the NCAA Tournament (3:59)

LIVE VIDEO            LIVE STATS

 

WILLIMANTIC, Conn. - The Eastern Connecticut State University men's basketball team will face Medaille College in the opening round of the 2012 NCAA Division III Tournament Friday at Max Ziel Gymnasium on the campus of SUNY Oswego in Oswego, NY.

In the first round, Eastern (22-5) faces Medaille (25-2) at 5:30 p.m. and SUNY Oswego (25-3) meets Endicott College (20-8) at 7:30 p.m. The tournament final is scheduled for Saturday at 7 p.m. Video and live stats are expected to be available and links will be provided on the Eastern Results/Schedule page at that time.  

All four teams in the Oswego regional qualified automatically for the 62-team tournament, which is comprised of 42 automatic qualifiers and 20 at-large selections.

Eastern won its first Little East Conference tournament title in 12 years Saturday over two-time defending champion Rhode Island College. Medaille defeated Penn State-Behrend in the Allegheny Mountain College Conference (AMCC) tournament final. Oswego downed SUNY Cortland in the championship game of the State University of New York Athletic Conference (SUNYAC) tournament, and Endicott routed Salve Regina University to claim the Commonwealth Coast Conference (CCC) title.

From the Little East Conference, Rhode Island College and Western Connecticut State University received entrance as at-large selections.

The winners of the 16 regionals will advance to sectional  tournament play March 9-10 at sites not yet determined.

Under tenth-year head coach Bill Geitner, Eastern has won 20 games for the third straight season this year, setting a program season record with the 82-60 victory over

Rhode Island College Saturday and also winning a program-record 11 conference games
during the regular season. Earlier in the season, the Warriors won 13 straight games and bring a five-game streak into their fourth NCAA tournament.

Eastern was the top seed in the ECAC New England Division III Tournament each of the last two seasons, losing in the final both times. In their last NCAA appearance in 2000, they dropped an 80-75 first-round decision at Springfield College.

Of the four regional teams, only Oswego (14th) was ranked in the in the most recent national poll. In the final regular-season NCAA Division III regional ratings, Eastern was ranked sixth in the Northeast, and Oswego second and Medaille  fifth in the East. Endicott was not rated among the top 12 in the Northeast.

Eastern features four senior starters or key reserves in guards Chae Philips (West Haven) and Nick Nedwick (Irvington, NY) and forwards Jamie Kohn (Columbia) and Hamilton Levy (Woodbury). Nedwick, who became the program's all-time leading scorer late in the win over Rhode Island, leads the Warriors in scoring (17.0) and also averages 4.0 rebounds and 3.4 assists and has totaled 29 three-point field goals. Philips averages 3.9 points and 2.6 rebounds off the bench, Levy 10.4 points and 4.8 rebounds and Kohn, the Little East tournament MVP, 9.9 points and a team-high 7.5 rebounds. Junior forward  Chris Robitaille (Canton) is second on the team in scoring (11.3) and rebounding (6.6) and has a team-leading 62.6 shooting percentage, while sophomore guard Brian Salzillo (North Haven) has amassed a team-high 51 three-point field goals off the bench. Joining Nedwick, Kohn, Levy and Robitaille in the starting lineup has been junior point guard Joe Ives (Avon). Ives averages 4.2 points and is shooting 84.9 from the foul line.

Medaille won its first nine games and has captured its last 13 and finished with 17 wins in 18 regular-season conference games. Both of the Mavericks' losses came away from home, 75-72 in overtime against Dickinson and 70-59 against La Roche College ten days later in their only conference loss.

Five players - four of them seniors -- have started every game for Medaille, which features a balanced lineup of seven players averaging between 7.0 and 11.3 point. The Mavericks average 9.0 three-pointers per game wit a 39.6 percentage as compared to Eastern's 5.8 three-pointers per game and 35.7 percentage.

Eastern and Medaille have met once previously, with the Warriors posting a 72-44 victory at the Bahama House Classic at Daytona Beach Jan. 2, 2007.

Tickets are priced at $6 for adults and $3 for students with valid ID.  The Campus Center Box Office hours are 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Tuesday through Wednesday and 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Thursday through Friday and may be reached at (315) 312-3073.  Online tickets may be purchased at tickets.oswego.edu beginning Tuesday, February 28 at 10 a.m. Fans are encouraged to purchase tickets in advance.


 

M-Lax: Stevens Ducks Warriors' Bid

 Devine scores six, but Stevens converts five extra-man tries to prevail

Devine_72_5559.jpgHOBOKEN, N.J. - Senior goalie Jamie Tommins (Fairfield) made 16 saves and sophomore midfielder Mike Devine (Cheshire) scored a career-high six goals as the Eastern Connecticut State University men's lacrosse team challenged No. 8 nationally-ranked Stevens Institute of Technology before dropping a 14-10 decision Wednesday at DeBaun Field.

At left: Mike Devine

Each team scored its goals in spurts, but Stevens (2-0) answered a streak of three straight by Eastern (1-1) which opened the second half with three of its own that pushed the Ducks into a 10-6 lead with just over a minute left in the third period. The Warriors  got two back to open the fourth period but Stevens again answered with four straight that quelled Eastern's upset bid.

Tommins held Stevens' high-powered offense in check throughout, turning back 16 shots. The hosts unloaded 64 shots to post an advantage of better than 2-to-1, but only 30 of them reached the cage.

Devine, who scored five goals in Eastern's opening 11-4 win at Gordon College Saturday, led all players with  six goals, with senior attack Michael Sullinger (Brookfield) chipping in two goals and two assists. First-year junior transfer and starting attackman Christian Leone (West Norwalk) recorded the first two points of his career with two assists.

Against Stevens, which reached the second round of last year's NCAA tournament, Eastern dug out of an early 6-2 hole when Devine scored twice - the first coming on the team's second extra-man goal of the young season - and Sullinger scored a third to pull the visitors to within one, 7-6, early in the second half.

Eight of the game's 24 goals came in man-up situations. Stevens scored five - four coming among its first seven goals. Two of Eastern's three extra-man goals came in the final minute to account for the final four-goal margin.Four of Stevens' first seven goals came in man-up situations, two by freshman attack Andrew Scrutchfield.

Junior midfielder Josh Dubinsky (Woodstock) was 10-for-27 at the faceoff "X" and picked up a team-high nine groundballs.

Eastern visits Endicott College Tuesday at 7 p.m. The Gulls are rated No. 11 nationally and No. 4 in New England.

 

 

 

Men's Basketball: Captains Fantastic

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At left: Little East Coach-of-the-Year Bill Geitner with senior tri-captains (from left) Hamilton Levy, Nick Nedwick and Jamie Kohn.All three players were recognized by the LEC in its end-of-the-year awards program. 

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Complete listiing.pdf

NO.DARTMOUTH, Mass. - Western Connecticut State University senior guard DaQuan Brooks became the most decorated men's basketball player in Little East Conference history this afternoon, when the conference office announced its 2011-2012 major award winners and All-Little East teams. Brooks is the first student-athlete to be selected as the Player of the Year in three successive seasons. University of Massachusetts Dartmouth senior center Lance Greene was named the Defensive Player of the Year, while University of Massachusetts Boston freshman guard Vinny DeLucia was chosen as the Rookie of the Year. Eastern Connecticut State University boss Bill Geitner was tabbed as the Coach of the Year by his peers, while the Warriors also earned the Team Sportsmanship Award.

In addition to the major awards program, the eight Little East men's basketball coaches honored 11 student-athletes on its all-conference teams. The All-Little East teams are comprised of six members on the top team, and five student-athletes represented on the second squad. The coaches also elected five-member All-Defensive and All-Rookie teams.

Brooks is just the first men's basketball player to earn the prestigious top player award in three consecutive seasons, surpassing seven former student-athletes that were honored twice in their careers. The senior from Atlanta, Ga. was also named the 2009 Little East Rookie of the Year. Brooks became the first men's basketball player in Colonial history to eclipse the 2,000-career point mark this season (2,195), achieving the milestone against Connecticut College on Jan. 31, 2012. The three-time All-Little East, first-team selection is currently the Western Connecticut all-time leader in assists (458), while ranking second in 3-point field goals made (271) and fourth in steals (181). Brooks also established a new standard for single-season points with 700 this season, while ranking third in assists (157).

A starter in each of his 26 appearances, Brooks is currently third in the nation in scoring (28.0 points per game) and eighth in 3-point field goals per game (3.4). He reached double digits in the scoring column in each of his 26 games, including registering at least 30 points 12 times. A prolific scorer, Brooks averaged 28.2 points per game against conference opponents, including a season-high 48 points against Eastern Connecticut on Feb. 7, 2012.

Greene is the first men's basketball player in Corsair history to be bestowed with the conference's top defensive player award since the Little East began sponsoring the trophy in 2008-09. The senior center from Dorchester, Mass. is making his debut on the All-Little East, first-team after earning second squad accolades as a sophomore. .

DeLucia is the seventh player in Beacon history to garner the conference's top rookie award and first since Amigo Paniagua was recognized in 2005. The freshman guard from Miami, Fla. also reserved his spot on the Little East All-Rookie Team as the highest vote getter among first-years.

Geitner and his three senior tri-captains -- Jamie Kohn (Columbia), Hamilton Levy (Woodbury) and Nick Nedwick (Irvington, NY) -- were all recognized during the conference's season-ending awards program. 

is making his second appearance in the past three years as the Little East's top coach, and the sixth time in program history an Eastern men's coach has been honored. The Warriors also earned the Team Sportsmanship Award for the second time in the past three years. Geitner guided Eastern  to an overall record of 22-5, marking the program's third-consecutive 20-win season. The Warriors captured the program's first Little East regular-season title with an 11-3 mark, and earned the right to host the semifinals and finals of the conference tournament at the Francis E. Geissler Gymnasium

A guard, Nedwick became only the second Eastern player in the 26-year history of the conference to be named all-conference as many as three times, joining Rich Vega. Both were named to the first team every year. On Saturday, Nedwick broke Vega's program record for career points.

A first-year starter at forward, Levy was honored for the first time when he was named to the second team.

Nedwick and Kohn were among five players picked to the All-Defensive team. Nedwick was named to the squard in each of his four years -- additionally being named Defensive Player-of-the-Year as both a sophomore and junior. Kohn, the MVP of last weekend's LEC tournament, was picked to the All-Defensive team for the second straight season as the team's starter at forward.

Eastern protected its home court advantage throughout the tournament, defeating Keene State in a dramatic double-overtime thriller and ousting two-time defending champion Rhode Island College in the finals. Geitner and his squad captured the program's first Little East tournament title in 12 years and third overall with the victory over the Anchormen. The Warriors earned the program's fourth appearance in the NCAA Division III tournament.

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.           

Little East Honors Freshman Trio

 Forsman, McBride and McCourt recognized with end-of-season awards

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From far left: Forsman, McBride, McCourt

Complete listing.pdf

NORTH DARTMOUTH, Mass. - The Little East Conference office announced its annual women's basketball major award winners and all-conference teams this afternoon after a vote by the league's eight coaches. University of Southern Maine senior center Courtney Cochran was named as the Player of the Year, while University of Massachusetts Boston freshman Kirsten Morrison  was chosen as the Rookie of the Year. Rhode Island College senior guard Cynthia Gaudet as selected as the Defensive Player of the Year, and Marcus Reilly was tabbed as the Coach of the Year by his colleagues. Eastern Connecticut State University and Western Connecticut State University shared the Team Sportsmanship Award to close out the major awards program.

In addition to the major awards program, the Little East women's basketball coaches honored 11 student-athletes on its all-conference teams. The All-Little East teams are comprised of six members on the top team, and five student-athletes represented on the second squad. The coaches also elected five-member All-Defensive and All-Rookie teams.

Cochran is the seventh Huskies women's basketball player to garner the conference's top award, and first since Ashley Marble was honored in three consecutive campaigns (2005-2007). The senior center from Waite, Maine is making her second straight appearance on the All-Little East first-team.

Gaudet is the first Anchorwoman to be selected as the top defensive player in the conference since the Little East began sponsoring the award in 2009. In addition to her major award, Gaudet is also making her debut on the All-Little East first team and All-Defensive team. Her intensity on the defensive end of the court enabled Rhode Island College to feature one of the most stifling defensive attacks in the country, ranking among the national leaders in field goal percentage defense (12th, 31.5), scoring margin ( 13th, +18.0 ppg), and scoring defense (23rd, 50.5). 

 Morrison is just the third Beacon to be chosen as the top rookie in the conference and first since Linda Caruso was honored in 1994. The North Reading, Mass. product is the lone first-year to earn a spot on the 11-member All-Little East teams, garnering second team accolades. A force in the low blocks, Morrison ranked among the conference leaders in scoring (2nd, 16.5 ppg), rebounding (3rd, 10.1 rpg), blocked shots (3rd, 1.6 bpg), and minutes played (7th, 32.0)

Three of Eastern's six freshmen were honored in the end-of-season awards program. Guard Taylor McBride (Willimantic) joined four others on the All-Defensive team, while guard Kristina Forsman (Newington) and froward Shannon McCourt (New Fairfield) were named to the five-person All-Rookie team. Forsman was a starter since the season-opener this year while McBride and McCourt took over starting assignments in the ninth game of the year.

Eastern has now had eight All-Defensive selections in six years and seven All-Rookie picks in seven years. McBride is the program's first freshman named to the former team. The Team Sportsmanship Award represents a first for the program.

.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.

Baseball: Warriors Complete Sweep

 

cammusoslides_1872dpiUSE86.jpgWALLA WALLA, Wash. -- Senior cleanup hitter Steve Cammuso (Rutland, MA) cracked his ninth career home run in the top of the tenth  inning to snap a tie and propel the Eastern Connecticut State University baseball team to an 8-5 victory over Whitman College Sunday afternoon at Borleske Stadium.

The game-winning HR secured a four-game sweep for Eastern (4-0) over Whitman (0-12) in Walla Walla, Wash. The game was played in mid-30 degree temperatures and was stopped several times due to swirling snow and hail

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At right: Joe Balowski

The Warriors scored four runs to tie the game in the middle innings  but needed to come from behind again with an unearned run in the seventh on no hits, two walks  and an error and sophomore catcher T.J. Larivee's (Salem, MA) sacrifice bunt. With one out in the tenth, sophomore Danny O'Connell (Braintree, MA) reached on an error and junior Joe Balowski (Berlin) singled before Cammuso launched his first home run of the season to left for his first hit of the game

In his first career pitching performance, junior Drew Accomando (Monroe) pitched the final two scoreless innings as the fourth of four Eastern pitchers. Accomando walked two and commited a balk in the bottom of the tenth before leaving the tying run at the plate with a ground ball to sophomore Brendan Lynch (Wethersfield) and a game-ending fly ball to freshman Steve Bizzaro (Wappingers Falls, NY) in center to gain the victory.. . 

 Making his first start of the year (second appearance), senior righty Michael Hepple (Newington) allowed only two hits and one earned run over his three-inning stint, but walked five and threw two wild pitches and Eastern's defense commited two errors which led to three unearned runs in the third. Hepple left on the short end of a 4-0 deficit.

In his second appearance on the trip, sophomore transfer Michael Pendergast (Farmington) struck out five with only one walk and two hits in limiting the hosts to one run in the middle innings as the Warriors tied the game with the unearned run in the seventh.

Four Eastern pitchers combined to walk 11 and five Whitman hurlers issued seven free passes.

Balowski reached base five times with three hits and two walks and scored two runs. He also recorded 11 putouts with two assists at first base. Sophomore second baseman Mitch Plourde (Ellington) was aboard four times with two hits and two walks.  

Ranked No. 9 nationally, Easton managed three three-run victories over the Missionaries in the series and had to recover from significant deficits after three innings in the last two. Eastern head coach Bill Holowaty was opposed by his son, Jared Holowaty, a member of the 2002 Eastern national championship team now in his third season with the Division III team.

Eastern visits No. 3 nationally-ranked Kean University Saturday, March 10 at 1 p.m. looking to end a three-game losing streak at the hands of the Cougars, a national tournament qualifier last spring.

M-Track: Hewett PR's in 200 and 400

 

hewett 72foropen_1233.jpgAt the New England Open Indoor Track and Field Championships Friday at the Boston University Track and Tennis Center, Eastern sophomore Fredrick Hewett (New London) qualified for next weekend's  ECAC Championship in both the 200 and 400 meter dash, establishing personal bests in both. Hewett was timed in 22.65 to place 25th in a field of 31 at 200 meters and broke 50 seconds for the first time in the 400 with a time of 49.75 which was good for 21st among 31 cmopetitors.

W-Track: At NE Open, Two Excel

 Hulzman is is All-New England in high jump; Quinones PR's in  5,000

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Hultzman (far left), Quinones

\BOSTON - A week after earning All-New England honors for the first time in her career in the high jump at the New England Division III Championships, sophomore Lauren Hultzman (Putnam) earned an identical honor at the New England Open Championships Saturday at Boston University's Track and Tennis Center.

Hultzman, who captured the Little East Conference/New England Alliance high jump title two weeks ago, equaled the program record which she holds with teammate Cora Gingras and claimed eighth place in a field of 19 Saturday with a mark of 5-foot-3 inches. She was the highest finisher among Division III athletes in the event.

At last weekend's New England Division III meet, Hulzman placed fourth in the high jump with a height of 5-2 ¼., which matched her winning height at the NEA/LEC meet the previous Saturday.

At 5,000 meters on Friday, senior Amanda Quinones (Trumbull) lowered her time for the fourth time in as many tries in her indoor career with a clocking of 18:17.42 which placed her 15th overall - second in her heat -- in a field of 28. Quinones dropped 43 seconds from her first effort this season at that distance on Jan. 21

Hulzman and Quinones will compete at this coming weekend's ECAC Division III Championships at the New York Armory.

 

M-Basketball: Little East Champions!

Top-seeded Warriors pull away from RIC for first crown in 12 years

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CLICK HERE: Selection Show: Monday, noon EDT

WATCH: Post-Game Interviews           WATCH: Pre-Game Interview

WILLIMANTIC, Conn. - The Eastern Connecticut State University men's basketball  team shot 55 percent from the floor in the second half to pull away from two-time defending tournament champion Rhode Island College, 82-60, in the Little East Conference championship game Saturday before 1,800 fans at Francis E. Geissler Gymnasium.

In winning its first LEC tournament title in 12 years - and first under tenth-year head coach Bill Geitner -- Eastern (22-5)  broke the program record for wins which it had tied last year and qualifies automatically for the program's  fourth NCAA tournament. Rhode Island was making its sixth straight championship game appearance, having won four times.

In a re-match of last year's title game, won by Rhode Island College (22-6), Eastern fell behind by eight points in the opening minutes but never trailed after senior guard Nick Nedwick (Irvington, NY) sank a three-pointer with three minutes left in the first half after being shut out for the first 17 minutes of the game.

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At mid-week, Eastern was ranked No. 6 in the NCAA Division III Northeast Region standings -- an improvment of three spots from the prior week -- while RIC was rated fourth as the top-ranked team among the four LEC schools in the top ten.The Warriors should move into the top spot among conference teams when the NCAA tournament selections are announced Monday at noon, and may receive a favorable first-round matchup and/or a first or second-round home game. First and second-round games are scheduled for this Thursday through Saturday..

Leading by two points at the half, the Warriors outscored Rhode Island 17-8 over the first seven minutes of the second half  to move out to a 51-40 lead and later built a 17-point advantage with eight minutes left.

At left: Tournament MVP Jamie Kohn secures a keepsake following the championship win.

Seven of Eastern's points in that decisive 17-8 run came on seven free throw attempts, with
Tournament Most Outstanding Player Jamie Kohn (Columbia)  and junior center Chris Robitaille (Canton) both converting conventional three-point plays.

Less than 24 hours after missing 19 of 36 free throws in an 81-76 double-overtime semifinal victory over Keene State College, the Warriors canned 28 of 35 against Rhode Island. From the stripe, Robitaille was 7-for-9, Nedwick 6-for-6, and Kohn 4-for-5.

Amidst the excitement, Nedwick became the all-time leading scorer in the 72-year history of the program. Needing 13 points to break Rich Vega's existing mark, Nedwick reached the milestone of 1,594 points when he sank the first of two free throws with 2:52 left. Nedwick, who scored nine of the team's 12 points at one point late in the game, scored all but three of his team-high 16 points in the second half and finished with 1,597 career points.

Nedwick led five double-digit scorers for Eastern, two of whom came off the bench. Robitaille and senior guard Chae Philips (West Haven) each had 15, Kohn 14 and sophomore guard Brian Salzillo (North Haven) 11. Salzillo came off the bench to sink three of Eastern's eight three-point field goals and chipped in four of Eastern's tournament total of 16

Kohn recorded his second tournament double-double by adding a team-high 13 rebounds to help the Warriors out-rebound RIC, 35-27. In the tournament, Kohn had 37 points and 24 rebounds and was 14-for-23 from the floor (60.9) with five assists. Nedwick had 43 points in the tournament with eight rebounds and was 10-for-14 from the foul line, while Philips and Robitaille both had 24 points and ten rebounds. Philips added five assists and four steals. In the tournament, Philips was 6-for-7 from three-point range after totalling only 13 during the regular season

nedwickrecord72dpi_5195.jpgEastern won two of three this year against Rhode Island -- including both times at Geissler Gymnasium. Nedwick was sidelined with an ankle injury in Eastern's 66-48 setback at The Murray Center Jan. 28..

At left: Nick Nedwick is congratulated after breaking the program's 72-year-old scoring record in the LEC tournament championship game Saturday.

 Senior forward Mason Choice  led Rhode Island with a game-high 21 points (8-for-12 from the floor), while junior guard Tahrike Carter added 14 points. In the tournament, Choice had 38 points, ten assists and eight rebounds. He shot 57.9 percent from the floor and was 15-for-18 from the stripe. Senior center Mike Akinrola followed Choice in the tournament with 34 points and six rebounds. Akinrola, last year's tourney MVP, shot 57.9 from the field and converted 11 of 12 free throws.

Trailing by 11 points with 3:14 left, third-seeded Rhode Island had advanced to the final by stunning second-seeded Western Connecticut, 75-74, in Friday's semifinal.

The 20-win season is the third straight for Eastern and the team's final winning percentage will be no worse than fourth all-time in a season.

 

Baseball: Different Routes, Same Result

Fast start, fast finish both produce victories against Whitman College

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WALLA WALLA, Wash. -  The Eastern Connecticut State University baseball team took two different routes to a doubleheader sweep of Whitman College Saturday afternoon in  blustery and cold conditions at Borleske Stadium.

At right: Steve Cammuso

Eastern (3-0)  held off Whitman for a 12-9 victory in the opener by racing to a 7-0 lead after three innings, then holding on -- and did all of its scoring in the late innings to rally from six runs down after  six innings for a 12-7 triumph in the nightcap.

Looking for its first victory of the season, Whitman (0-11) held built its 6-0 lead after six innings of the nightcap before Eastern took advantage of four unearned runs in the seventh to jump back into the contest.

The Warriors then took the lead with a five-run eighth and added three runs in the ninth to complete their doubleheader sweep.

Whitman's collapse late in the second game negated a fine pitching performance by freshman righty  Will Thompson, who blanked the Warriors for six innings before a two-out error in the seventh opened the floodgates.

Thompson gave up singles -- one of them a bunt single -- to two of the first three batters he faced in the first inning.

After that, however, Thomopson  retired 16 of the next 17 Warriors who stepped into the batter's box. Apart from a two-out base on balls in the third inning, Thompson kept the opposition off the basepaths until sophomore transfer T.J. Larivee (Salem, MA) - who drove in three of Eastern's runs in its three-run opening win Friday against Whitman -- singled through the left side with one out in the seventh.

One out later, an infield bobble gave Eastern  an opening. A tiring Thompson walked the next two hitters to force home a run. Sophomore Brendan Lynch (Wethersfield)  then slapped a two-run single up the middle, trimming Whitman's lead to 6-3.

A hit-batsman followed by an infield single made it 6-4 and ended Thompson's outing. Freshman lefty Griffin Sutich got a ground ball to second base to end the inning.

In the Eastern eighth, three consecutive one-out walks -- two of them on full-counts -- loaded the sacks for sophomore Mitch Plourde (Ellington), who crushed a one-hop bullet past the third baseman to plate two runs and even the score at 6-6.

After another pitching change, yet another full-count base on balls and a wild pitch gave the Warriors a 7-6 lead. Back-to-back RBI-singles widened Whitman's deficit to 9-6. The Missionaries tried to rally in the bottom of the eighth. Freshman Peter Valentine singled and sophomore Aaron Cohen walked, but two strike-outs ended that threat.

Eastern added to its lead in the ninth when freshman Kyle Hart (Guilford) hammered a two-run home run to left field for his first career homer. Two more walks, a wild pitch and a run-scoring fielder's choice gave the visitors a 12-6 cushion.

The fifth of six pitchers, freshman lefty Matt D'Orsi (West Hartford) was credited with his first collegiate win in his first appearance in the second game. He struck out four batters in 1 2/3 innings and was charged with one unearned run on two hits.

It was too little and too late, but Whitman tacked on its last run in the bottom of the ninth. Freshman Eli Mathieu and sophomore Chris Konolige led off the inning by drawing walks, and Mathieu later scored when sophomore Kyle Buckham grounded out to second base.

Whitman used three infield hits and a Warrior throwing error to score its first run in the first inning. After Buckham and Cohen collected the first safeties, Buckham moved to third base and scored with two outs when sophomore Jimmy Madden singled to the left side. Valentine and sophomore Cam Young ripped RBI-doubles in the second inning to extend Whitman's lead to 3-0.

The Missionary lead grew to 5-0 in the fourth when Young walked, swiped second base and scored ahead of Cohen's home run over the left-field fence. Whitman tacked on its sixth run in the sixth inning when Buckham doubled to the left-field wall and scored on Cohen's line-shot single to right field.

In the opener, the top five batters in Eastern's lineup combined for ten of the team's 15 hits and junior transfer Alex Julian (Sterling, MA) gained credit for his first victory at Eastern as the third of six pitchers. Junior righty Andrew Merritt (Norwalk) was staked to a 7-0 lead after three innings but did not stick around long enough to gain credit for the victory, although he was touched for only two runs on five hits with five strikeouts and two walks before leaving in the fifth.He was driven from the mound during a four-run Whitman fifth inning that cut the Warriors' lead to 7-6. The Warriors added three insurance runs in the seventh and eighth innings on five hits, the big blows coming on a doubles by junior Joe Balowski (Berlin) and Plourde and an RBI single by Balowski.

Balowski finished with three hits and three RBI in Game 1, and senior Steve Cammuso (Rutland, MA) and Larivee each had two hits and two RBI. Sophomore Mike Vaccarelli (Wolcott) swatted his first career home run - a solo shot in the third, while  Lynch scored three times as the leadoff batter.

In the doubleheader, Eastern had 24 hits but allowed 18 and utilized 11 pitchers. Cammuso had five hits and four RBI, Larivee three hits and two RBI, Balowski four hits (two doubles) and four RBI and Lynch added three hits and three RBI, scored four times and reached three times on walks.

The teams are slated to finish their weekend series with a single game at 2 p.m. EDT Sunday.

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M-Lax: Warriors Post Opening Victory

Devine nets five goals, three assists; Tommins stops 18 shots vs. Scots

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WENHAM, MA-- Sophomore Mike Devine (Cheshire) had five goals and three assists and senior goalie Jamie Tommins (Fairfield) won his first match in two years when the Eastern Connecticut State University men's lacrosse team opened its season with an 11-4 victory over Gordon College  Saturday afternoon at Brigham Athletic Complex.

At right: Jamie Tommins

In his second career start, Tommins made 18 saves over the first  56 minutes for his second career win in three decisions. 

Junior midfielder Josh Dubinsky (Woodstock), taking over for two-time All-America faceoff man Eric Vasil, won 15 of 18 faceoffs in his first career start and picked up 15 ground balls.

Eastern's defense did not allow a goal through the first 18 minutes and never trailed. Devine scored consecutive goals late in the first period and early in the second to help stake the Warriors to a 3-0 lead.

Gordon (0-2) was coming off a three-goal loss in its opener earlier in the week to Springfield College, one of the top Division III teams in New England. The Warriors and Scots were meeting for the second straight season after a 13-year layoff.

Senior attack Michael Sullinger (Brookfield) picked up five ground balls  and Devine and freshman defenseman Travis Tiger (Ridgefield) four each.

The win was the 50th against 22 losses for fifth-year Eastern head coach Justin Axel.

Eastern visits Stevens Tech Wednesday at 4 p.m. The Ducks are ranked No. 9 nationally in Division III.

 

Baseball: Newcomers Aid Opening Win

In first encounter as head coaches, Eastern's Holowaty gets better of son

 

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At left: T.J. Larivee

WALLA WALLA, Wash. --  First-year sophomore transfer T.J. Larivee's (Salem, MA)  two-out, two-run double capped a three-run third inning and lifted Eastern Connecticut State University to a 4-1 baseball victory over Whitman College Friday afternoon at Borleske Stadium in the Warriors 2012 opener.

Eastern, No. 9 in one NCAA Division III preseason poll, is coached by Bill Holowaty, now in his 44th season at the helm of the Warriors. Holowaty's son, Jared Holowaty, is in his third year as Whitman's head coach. Jared was a captain on Eastern's most recent national championship team in 2002.

Jan Holowaty, Bill's spouse and Jared's mom, threw out the ceremonial first pitch prior to the game.

Sophomores Mike Vaccarelli (Wolcott) and  Mitch Plourde (Ellington) set the stage for Eastern's three-run third inning with lead-off singles. When sophomore Brendan Lynch (Wethersfield) bunted through a pitch, Vaccarelli was caught in no-man's land between second and third. As the catcher's throw headed to second, however, Vaccarelli broke for third, sliding in safely. Lynch then dumped a run-scoring double down the left-field line and later scored on Larivee's two-run double.

Whitman, which let a pair of scoring opportunities slip away in the first two innings, pushed across its only run in the fourth.

The Missionaries loaded the bases with one out when sophomores Chris Konolige and Kyle Moyes drew walks on either side of a single to right field by freshman Eli Mathieu.
Eastern sophomore transfer Michael Pendergast (Farmington)  took over for senior starter Jim Dimon (Seymour), but Whitman freshman Peter Valentine walked on a full count to force home a run.

Sophomore Kyle Buckham, next up for Whitman, rapped a line drive that was caught in shallow center with the runner at third base tagging but staying put. Pendergast fanned the next hitter to keep the Warriors in front 3-1.

Larivee plated an unearned insurnce run for  in the eighth. After his sharp grounder kicked off the third baseman's glove for a two-base error, he moved to third on junior Drew Accomando's (Monroe) deep fly to center and then scored on sophomore Vaccarelli's two-out single to left. Junior Justin Weeks started on the mound for Whitman and went five and two-thirds innings, scattering six hits while striking out two and walking one.

After errors by the Missionary infield put Warriors on first and third in the top of the sixth, freshman Griffin Sutich relieved Weeks and snuffed out the threat with a called strike three.
Sutich sailed through the seventh, working around a lead-off infield hit. Sophomore Brett Lambert tossed the last two innings for Whitman, giving up just one hit and the unearned run. As well as Whitman's bullpen performed, the Eastern relief corps was better.

After Pendergast pitched through the fifth, the Warriors got one inning of scoreless relief from four different hurlers - freshman Tyler Cyr (Bristol), junior Matt Purnell (Stafford Springs) , and seniors Michael Hepple (Newington) and Evan Chamberlain (Amston).That quartet combined to shut down the Missionaries on three hits over the final four frames. They didn't walk a batter and Purnell tossed called third strikes past each of the hitters he faced in his inning of work.

In his Eastern debut after a 3-1 record at Assumption College last year, Pendergast got the pitching victory while the save went to Chamberlain - his fifth in the last two seasons.

Whitman threatened in the bottom of the first when sophomore Chris Andrews was nicked with a pitch and moved to second base on a single to right by sophomore Cam Young. A ground ball force-out at second base put Missionaries on first and third with two outs, butDimon escaped the jam with a strike-out.

In the bottom of the second, Mathieu reached on an Eastern error and advanced to second when Moyes walked with one out. The Missionaries came up empty when Valentine lined out to right field with the runner getting doubled off first.

With two outs in the Whitman sixth, Moyes doubled over the center fielder's head. He was left stranded when the next hitter popped out.  Cohen reached on a bad-hop single in the Missionary eighth but was erased when the Warriors turned a 6-4-3 double play.
After Valentine doubled into the right-field corner with two outs in the bottom of the ninth, Chamberlain got the game's final out with a ground ball to short.

The loss dropped Whitman, a young squad with two dozen freshmen and sophomores on the roster, to 0-9 on the season.

Friday's game, the season opener for Eastern Connecticut, was the first of four slated between the two clubs. Weather permitting, a twinbill starts at 3 p.m. EDT Saturday with a single game to follow Sunday.

M-Basketball: A Heart-Stopping Victory

Warriors  prevail in two OTs, move into final vs. RIC again

robitailleksc72dpi_4625.jpgWILLIMANTIC, Conn. - In a pair of heart-stopping games, top-seeded Eastern Connecticut State University and third-seeded Rhode Island College survived in the semifinal round of the 2012 Little East Conference men's basketball tournament Friday night and will meet in the final for the second straight year.

At right: Chris Robitaille beat the buzzer to force a second overtime in Friday night's semifinal win over Keene State. (Cristina Danielson photo)

For Eastern (21-5), senior guard Nick Nedwick (Irvington, NY) forced overtime with a three-point field goal with 32 seconds left in regulation, and forced a second overtime by finding junior center Chris Robitaille (Canton) in the lane for a basket at the buzzer as the Warriors edged fourth-seeded Keene State College (19-8), 81-76 in double overtime in the first semifinal before 1,200 fans at Francis E. Geissler Gymnasium.

Rhode Island (22-5) moved into the sixth straight championship game with an improbable 75-74 triumph over second-seeded Western Connecticut State University (20-6) that it fashioned by erasing a nine-point deficit over the final 1:29 with a game-ending 12-2 spurt.

Sunday's 5 p.m. title game - with the winner qualifying automatically for next week's NCAA Division III tournament - pits last year's two finalists. Last year, Rhode Island captured its second straight title and fourth in the last five years with a 62-49 triumph over Eastern. The Warriors have won two conference tournament titles, the last one coming in 2000 over the University of Southern Maine. Eastern and RIC split a pair this year, each winning on its home court.

Eastern  ties game at end of regulation and first overtime

philipksc72pdidpi_4676.jpgBy missing 19 of 36 free throws, Eastern needed its late-game heroics to dump Keene, which was the only conference team in the regular season to defeat the Warriors on their home court

At left: Chae Philips (11) contains Keen's Ryan Martin in the second half of Friday's semifinal win at Geissler Gym. (Cristina Danielson photo).

In a game which featured 15 ties and 16 lead chances, Eastern overcame its poor free throw shooting by turning the ball over only 14 times (as compared to 22 for Keene) and outrebounding the taller Owls 20-8 on the offensive glass. Eastern outscored Keene 16-5 on second-chance points.

Eastern scored the final six points of the second overtime to improve its home record to 10-2. In overtime, Philips hit a three-pointer (he was 3-for-4 from "three" in the game) and the Warriors scored five points from the stripe. Robitaille's layup with 1:43 left gave Eastern the lead for good, 78-76.

The Warriors were behind by six points with two minutes left and by five with 48 seconds left in regulation but forced overtime when senior forward Jamie Kohn (Columbia) sank a jumper with 46 seconds left and Nedwick nailed a game-tying three-point field goal 14 seconds later after Rhode Island missed a free throw which would have all but sealed the win with 48 seconds left.

In the first overtime, Eastern took a three-point lead on senior guard Chae Philips' (West Haven) three-point field goal with a minute left, but Keene answered with a jumper by Rashad Wright and Ryan Martin's three-pointer that gave the Owls a 71-69 advantage with ten seconds left. On its final possession of first overtime, Nedwick was bottled up on the left side of the lane but lofted a pass to the right side to Robitaille, who caught the ball and dropped it in as the horn sounded.

Nedwick (27) and Kohn (23) combined for 50 of the team's points in the game and were the club's only double-digit scorers. Nedwick, now 13 points shy of setting a program career scoring record, had 17 points after the break, as did Kohn. Kohn led all players with 11 rebounds (eight offensive), with Robitaille scoring nine points and grabbing seven rebounds.

Martin topped Keene with 26 points (9-for-10 from the foul line) and six assists, with Anthony Mariano adding 11 points and Wright ten points and nine rebounds. Nicco DeMasco came off the  bench to grab nine rebounds.

Rhode Island Delivers Down Stretch

Western led by 11 with four minutes left and by nine with 1:29 remaining, but Rhode Island connected on its final four shots from the floor and all three of its free throws the rest of the way. Rhode Island's Mason Choice scored the tying and winning points with free throws with 8.6 seconds left. Western missed a three-point field goal as time expired.

On its final six possessions, Western missedtwo field goals and turned the ball over three times, with its only points coming on a pair of free throws by Michael Kennedy that gave the Colonials a 74-71 lead with 30 seconds left. 

Choice and Mike Akinrola combined for 27 of their team's 43 points in the second half while Western's DaQuan Brooks scored 26 of his game-high 41 points after the break.  Brooks was 10-for-11 from the foul line and finished with a game-high 12 rebounds.

Akinrola led the Anchormen with 22 points and didn't commit a turnover in 29 minutes. Choice had 17 points (11-for-12 from the line) and added seven assists and six rebounds.

The team combined to sink 40 of 47 free throws in the game.

 

 

 

M-Lax: Possessing the Intangibles, Warriors Chase Tangible Rewards

BOLIVAR_preview 72_5270.jpgWATCH: Pre-Season Interview with Justin Axel.(11:36)

WILLIMANTIC, Conn. -- Coaches love a team with talent. They love a team with speed. They love a team that has size and is physical

At left: Salieu Bolivar.

But to a man, every coach would trade all of that in for a group of players with passion, instincts, a sense for the game, and unity.

Now in his fifth season as the head men's lacrosse coach at Eastern Connecticut State University, Justin Axel feels that his 2012 edition is steeped in those qualities.

"We're really excited about the makeup of this year's team, the intangibles that they have," states Axel. "The lacrosse IQ of this team is amazing. This team does a really great job with all of those kinds of "x" factors, the intangibles, the heart, the sense of urgency, the hunger. And I think that these factors get overlooked a lot of times," notes Axel, who has won at least ten matches every year at Eastern, with a program-record-tying 15 coming when the program won its first NCAA tournament game in 2009. "This team is dangerous when it's hitting on all eight cylinders."

On Saturday, the Warriors begin their 17th season on the intercollegiate level when they visit Gordon College. The contest kicks off a schedule which Axel feels is the most challenging yet. Three of the team's first seven matches are against teams ranked in the top 13 of the most recent USILA national poll and six of the first ten are against opponents either ranked nationally or having received votes in the national poll.

Six - and possibly a seventh - players in the starting lineup in last year's season-finale are gone from a team which won 12 of 18 matches and reached the championship match of the Little East Conference playoffs for the tenth time in 11 years.

Among the losses are the starting goalie, as well as two-time All-America faceoff man Eric Vasil (80.2 winning percentage and nearly 300 ground balls as a senior), attackman  Grant Albertson - the team's leading scorer each of the past two years -- defenseman Ryan Schneeloch, and long-strick midfielder Sean Leary. Each of the five were named all-conference or Rookie-of-the-Year at least once in their careers.

flynn_preview72_5267.jpgThe team may also be without junior defenseman Nick Stoop (Crofton, MD), who missed most of the fall and all of pre-season in the spring with back problems

At left: Tommy Flynn (5).

"Because of what we lost from last year, and the senior class that we had,  a lot of people are counting this team out," Axel contends. "But there is definitely a strong sense of urgency this year. This team is hungry, passionate, and positive; they are always building each other up. They are attacking every situation; they are not backing down from anyone."

The Warriors will receive leadership from five three-year letterwinners in shut-down defenseman Tommy Flynn (Mineola, NY), midfielder Salieu Bolivar (Norwalk), goalie Jamie Tommins (Fairfield) and attackmen Jeremy Cogliano (Bedford, MA) and Michael Sullinger (Brookfield). Flynn, Bolivar, and Sullinger are all returning all-conference players.

Axel has the luxury of choosing his starting goalie from among six candidates. Tommins will likely open in net and will be backed by junior Drew Deane (Vernon), with freshman John Capodicasa (West Hartford) also in the mix.

With Stoop questionable, two-time all-LEC performer Flynn returns to the back line and will be joined by sophomore Chris Brown (Cohasset, MA) and freshman Travis Tiger (Ridgefield), with first-year junior transfer Merrick Smith (Stonington) recovered from ACL surgery and junior John DiPietro (Norwalk) adding depth.

"Our team defense initially concerned us, but from what we've seen (in the pre-season), that will be the least of our problems," points out Axel. "They've done an excellent job of jelling."

After serving a two-year apprenticeship under Vasil, junior Josh Dubinski (Woodstock) will take over at the "X". Dubinsky won 67.6 perent of his faceoffs in limited action last year. Bolivar, a two-year captain, was last year's top-scoring midfielder and was second only to Albertson in goals. Bolivar will be joined on the first midfield line by two sophomores: Mike Devine (Cheshire), a freshman all-conference pick last spring, and Tyler Fresen (Newington). Junior Kevin Fechtmann (Levittown, NY), senior Mark Vincent (Norwalk), sophomore Travis Pastor (Brookfield) freshman Dean Accomando (Monroe) will all see plenty of time at that position.

The long-stick midfielders will be junior Jordan Munsell (Waterford) and sophomore Mike Fanning (Norwell, MA).

Sullinger returns as last year's second-leading scorer and is the active leader on this year's team in career assists and points. Sophomore Trevor Morrissette (Bedford, NH) and community college junior transfer Christian Leone (West Norwalk) will join Sullinger as one of the team's top goal-scorers. Cogliano is a crease attackman. Sophomores Mike Gillotti (Danbury) and Mike Jordan (Cheshire) add to a versatile attacking line. Sullinger and Bolivar combined for just under 100 points last spring, with Devine the club's No. 1 freshman point-producer.

Axel feels that "you can't short-stick any of these attackmen because they can all carry the ball, they can all dodge, and they can all finish. It's a very dynamic attack group. We haven't had,"Axel contends, "a group like this yet."

Freshman Keith Sardo (Ellington) is expected to complement Dubinsky in the faceoff circle, with Fresen also available to take faceoffs.

After visiting Gordon in Saturday's season-opener, the Warriors travel to No. 9 Stevens Tech and No. 13 Endicott College before opening at hme against Babson College and Wheaton College (MA). Among other opponents on this year's schedule, Amherst College is ranked No. 6 nationally, while Widener University, Keene State College and Wesleyan University all received votes in the most recent national ratings.

"This is, without a doubt," says Axel, "our toughest schedule."

Having lost as many as two conference regular-season matches last year for the first time in 11 seasons of LEC competition, Eastern was rated second in this year's conference pre-season coaches' poll behind Keene State, which sets just fine with Axel.

"Keene returns  a lot off last year's team, and they beat us in the conference championship," admits Axel. "It's good to be No. 2 sometimes, because as No. 1 you have that bullseye on your back. And I remind our guys of that from time to time. It's good for them to play with a chip on their shoulder."

M-Basketball: For Warriors, a Tall Task

Top-seeded in balanced field, they host LEC tourney beginning Friday

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WATCH: Head coach Bill Geitner surveys the LEC tournament field (7:25).           Interview by Amanda Palmieri.

WILLIMANTIC, Conn. - When the crowd files out of Francis E. Geissler Gymnasium early Saturday evening after a men's basketball champion is determined in the 26th Annual Little East Conference post-season tournament, there is one phrase that you are virtually assured of not hearing.

Above: Behind the leadership of seniors (from left) Hamilton Levy, Chae Philips, Nick Nedwick and Jamie Kohn and head coach Bill Geitner, the Warriors begin their quest for a first LEC tournament title in 12 years Friday.

With the top four seeds - all with 19 or more wins - clashing for the right to gain the automatic berth in the NCAA tournament which gets underway  next week, "I never expected  (fill in the blank) to win this tournament,"  will certainly not be resounding off the walls of Geissler Gym.

All four teams - host and top-seeded Eastern, second-seeded Western Connecticut State University, third-seeded and two-time defending champion Rhode Island College and fourth-seeded Keene State College - have many things in common. With one exception (Keene State), all have beaten each other (and lost to each other) once in the regular season. All won at least ten regular-season conference. Games. And if Keene eliminates Eastern in the first of two opening games Friday at 5:30, all will have won 20 games.

After the Eastern-Keene opener Friday, two-time conference tournament champion Rhode Island College faces Western Connecticut at 7:30 p.m. The winners move on to the tournament final Saturday at 5 p.m. at Geissler Gym. The losers, despite the semifinal exit, might very well live to play another day (in the NCAA tournament).

All three tournament games will be streamed live on LittleEast.tv. The call of the games will be provided by John Cabral of the Little East publity office, and Eastern's Nick Aconfora.Video streaming link, game re-caps, box scores and more are all available throughout the tournament at Little East Tournament Central.

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For the first time in 26 years, Eastern earned the No. 1 seed by winning its first LEC regular-season title with a program-record 11 regular-season conference wins in 14 games, finishing a mere one game ahead of the other three semifinalists in what might have been the most hotly-contested of all LEC regular-season races.

At right: Current Eastern senior Jamie Kohn defends against current Keene junior Anthony Mariano in this Eastern-Keene matchup two years ago at Geissler Gym. Mariano had a team-high 29 points in that game but current Eastern senior Nick Nedwick had a career-high 36 in Eastern's 91-86 triumph.

Does that No. 1 seed make the Warriors the prohibitive tournament favorite? Not according to tenth-year Eastern head coach Bill Geitner, whose team pulled even in the conference standings on the final week of the regular season, then secured the home court advantage this past Saturday by downing Massachusetts Boston in a tougher-than-expected battle.

"Any of these four semifinalist can make a case as the favorite," observes Geitner, who has re-vitalized the program in recent years with three consecutive 20-win seasons. "Over the course of the season, all four teams have put together NCAA-type resumes. This year," adds Geitner, "the Little East is one of the best conferences in the country. All four of these teams are very, very good."

Geitner feels that, in addition to the automatic qualifier,  two LEC teams could be selected for at-large berths to this year's NCAA tournament. Which means that the possibility exists that an LEC team with 20 wins could end up on the outside looking in come selection day.
In the current NCAA Northeast Regional rankings, Rhode Island is fourth, Western fifth,

Eastern sixth and Keene State tenth. On the strength of last Tuesday's three-point riumph at Keene, the Warriors leap-frogged over the Owls in the ratings, pulled even in the conference standings, and set themselves up to earn their first conference regular-season title four days later.

While Geitner is pleased with the No. seeding, he not fooled by it. "If we lost at Keene eight days ago," points out the coach, "we're the No. 4 seed and Keene is No. 1 All four semifinalists were one possession away from winning the conference (regular season) this year."

As the team's current 20-5 ledger would attest, Eastern enjoyed success both at home and on the road this year. Away from Geissler, the Warriors were a remarkable 11-3 (with two points separating them from a possible 13-1 road mark); at Geissler they were 9-2. At home, Eastern beat every LEC opponent except one: Keene State. That contest was a 64-56 Owls' decision that was played exactly a month before Friday's semifinal ago and snapped a winning streak which ended just one shy of the program record of 14 in a row set in the early 1940s.

That loss also snapped a six-game regular-season winning streak for Eastern's three four-year seniors against Keene. Eastern and Keene have met twice previously at Geissler Gym in the LEC tournament, Eastern coming away with first-round victories both times. After winning at the buzzer over the Owls 12 years ago in the first round, Eastern pocketed a 24-point first-round victory two year ago that snapped a nine-year drought of one-and-dones in LEC openers.

Against Keene this year, Eastern has held the Owls to an average of nearly 20 points under their season scoring average, has commited eight fewer turnovers, and despite a large disparity in height, holds a +6 edge on the offensive glass. On the down side, Eastern is shooting only 37.7 percent from the floor against the Owls.

Against Keene, senior guard Nick Nedwick (Irvington, NY) has been limited to an average of four points under his team-high scoring average of 16.6 on a 27.6 shooting percentage. Junior center Chris Robitaille (Canton) has averaged a double-double with averages of 12.0 points and 12.5 rebounds. Senior forward Jamie Kohn (Columbia) averages 11.5 points and 8.5 rebounds against Keene this season and is 9-for-11 from the foul line, and senior forward Hamilton Levy (Woodbury) 11 points and 4.0 rebounds. Those four starters have averaged at least 30 minutes against Keene.

The bulk of Keene's scoring this year against Eastern has come from senior forward Ollie Hunter (14.0 ppg.), junior guard Ryan Martin (12.0) and junior forward Eric Fazio (11.0). Hunter is shooting nearly 58 percent from the floor against Eastern and Fazio has converted half of his field goals. Rashad Wright, a 6-foot-10 inch junior center, averages 7.0 rebounds against the Warriors and 6-foot-8 inch sophomore center Montel Walcott has come off the bench to grabe 13 rebounds in 28 minutes. Fazio and Martin have combined to sink 11 of 12 free throws in the two-game regular-season set.
 

 

 

 

 

 


 


 

East vs. West: Father & Son Reunion

Eastern's Bill Holowaty faces son Jared '02 this weekend in Walla Walla

By Dave Holden, Sports Information Director, Whitman College
and Bob Molta, Sports Information Director, Eastern Connecticut State U.

Jess program cover FINAL72dpi.jpg

Friday: 4 p.m. EDT 

Saturday: 3 p.m. EDT (doubleheader)        

Sunday: 2 p.m. EDT

VIDEO/LIVE STATS

WALLA WALLA, Wash. - Head coach Jared Holowaty and his Whitman College Missionaries are the underdogs -- no doubt about it -- as they prep for this weekend's East vs. West baseball battle against coach Bill Holowaty and his Eastern Connecticut State University Warriors.

Artwork created by Jessie Kohn '14, a Visual Arts major at Eastern.

The 32-year-old Jared Holowaty, starting only his third season at Whitman, is still building a program that has but one senior and just a few juniors on its roster. He has a roster of 27 players and three assistant coaches. He is 0-8 after opening his season on the road in Idaho and Arizona. The four-game series against his father kicks off the team's home schedule.

Contrast that relative inexperience with Bill Holowaty (Jared's father), a coaching legend in his 44th season and nearly 1,400 victories and four NCAA Division III national titles to his Eastern Connecticut credit. His sub-varsity and varsity roster counts 44 and he is aided by eight assistant coaches.

The elder Holowaty, as the proud proprietor of one of the top DIII baseball programs in the nation, also comes to Walla Walla later this week with a 28-player travelling roster anchored by nearly a dozen seniors and juniors. The Warriors, who will open their season in Walla Walla, are ranked No. 9 in the pre-season.

A mismatch, you say? Maybe so, but as the good-natured taunts continue bouncing from one side of the continent to the other, the younger Holowaty doesn't hesitate to play his trump card.

Just remember, he tells his dad, that mom is on my side!

holowatysandjan72dpi_0676.jpgMom, in this case, is Jan Holowaty, the proverbial good sport who has sat through publicity photos and interviews as two of the main men in her life get ready to butt heads on the baseball diamond.

At left: Jan Holowaty mediates between her husband Bill and son Jared.

"There's no question in my mind, that I'm rooting for my son," she tells one interviewer, her hubby sitting nearby. "It's simple. I've cheered for Bill for 50 years and I've been loyal to him forever. They've won enough". Still, she pauses to look at the father of her three children and ask, "Does it matter to you who I cheer for?"

Bill Holowaty shakes his head 'no' as his spouse adds, "I'm not going to yell and scream (for Whitman) . . . but if they could split (the four-game series), boy oh boy..."

Two decades ago, Mom Holowaty walked the same tightrope on behalf of her eldest son Jason when he played four seasons of second base for Brown University. Eastern Connecticut and Brown split the four games the two teams played.

Jared, six years his brother's junior, remembers those Eastern Connecticut-Brown games.

"I think those games were hard on dad," he says. "My brother was a very good athlete, and a great student, but his personality is more easy going and relaxed.

"Jason probably isn't as competitive or tenacious or aggressive as what you see in our dad, or in me. I'm more like my father in that way. Butting heads might come more naturally for the two of us."

Holowaties portrait FINAL72dpi.jpgPlus, he says with a big grin, "I remember what I was like as a kid. I was a huge pain in the rear,which is what happens when you're a kid and you grow up around a bunch of college baseball players.

"So, I don't think dad is going to have any problem trying to kick me and my team in the rear this weekend. Looking back, I've probably done enough to deserve it. This is one time when I might be taking my team down with me."

All kidding aside, there is no mistaking that Bill and Jared share the same outgoing and very likeable personality, or that their father-son bond is strong and good.

"This weekend's baseball series really isn't about my dad against me, but I know he's excited and thrilled about the chance to bring his team out there to play us," Jared Holowaty says. "He's a father who's looking forward to playing his son's team. What father wouldn't enjoy the heck out of a situation like that."

Bill Holowaty also prefers to keep the focus on the experience to be gained as two teams from opposite sides of the country compete against other. "We want it to be very positive experience for all of the players, but I'm sure they want to kick us, and we want to kick them."

Make no mistake, though, competing against your sons is not easy, he admits. Trying to beat Brown with son Jason playing second base was the "worst I've ever felt in a game," he says. "I was just beside myself for all four of those games ... I wanted to beat Brown, but I didn't want to make Jason look bad."

The same situation looms for this weekend, he says. "I don't want Jared to look bad as a coach, but I want to win."

Unlike his older brother, Jared Holowaty opted to stay home and play for his father at Eastern Connecticut. A four-year starter in the outfield and a two-year team captain, he helped the Warriors win three conference titles as well as the NCAA DIII national title in 2002. He was twice was named to the all-conference first team.

"Playing for my dad was a great experience, but that was only because I postponed college for a year to play for the Melville Braves club team in Australia," he says. "I was there with my brother, and we had a great time. It also gave me a year to grow up. Before that, I don't think my dad could have put up with me."

As Holowaty was returning from his year in Australia, Eastern Connecticut was winning the third of Bill Holowaty's four national titles. That development is what persuaded the son to stay and play for his father. "That's the only reason I went to Eastern Connecticut -- I wanted to win a national title. I think that's what they call putting all of your eggs in one basket, which isn't a good idea unless it works out. I was fortunate that it worked."

After graduating with a degree in economics, Jared Holowaty spent the next six years as an assistant baseball coach, the first two seasons at Eastern Connecticut and the College of New Jersey, and the last four at the University of Maine. Whitman selected him for its head coaching position in July of 2009.

"I like to think I've taken bits and pieces of my coaching philosophy from all the coaches I've worked with or played for, including my dad," he says. "Sometimes you learn what not to do from other people. It probably takes years to really develop your own coaching style."

In looking ahead to this weekend, Holowaty distances himself from the notion that "this is about me coaching against my father, or vice versa, or that it's just about winning and losing. Both teams want to win four games, but this series gives guys on both teams a chance to meet one another and compete against each other.

"This experience opens a window to a different part of the country for both teams. That's what I remember most and appreciate the most about what baseball did for me as I was growing up. Baseball took me places where I might not have gone otherwise, and it introduced me to people I might not have met."

As a father, Bill Holowaty is happy that his youngest son found a baseball home at Whitman. "Those people (at Whitman) are so supportive of Jared," he says from his home in Connecticut. "He loves it out there, and we're do darn happy because the people accepted him. They received him like a son."

Extra Innings: Jan Holowaty, in coming west with her husband and his baseball team, is bringing more family, including the couple's daughter Jennifer, who played basketball at Eastern Connecticut . . . Jan Holowaty's brother, Jim Auwood, and his wife Joanne are also making the road trip... Jim Auwood was a batboy on Bill Holowaty's first team in 1969 ... Bill Holowaty played basketball at UConn, although he was also recruited to play at North Carolina by a young Dean Smith ... Jared's brother, Jason, lives with his wife and infant son in London, where he is manager of game development for Major League Baseball International ... Jason Holowaty still plays for the Great Britain's national baseball team ... Generous Whitman alumni support is helping with travel costs associated with this weekend's East vs. West series ... Support from Whitman's Kight Family baseball endowment is also helping defray costs.

 

 

 


 

M-Basketball: Hosts Vernon Youth

 

clinic72dpidpi_4305.jpgThe day after clinching its first Little East Conference men's basketball regular-season championship, Eastern Connecticut State University players and coaches conducted a clinic Feb. 19 for members of the Vernon fifth and sixth grade travel team  at the Sports Center's Francis E. Geissler Gymnasium on the Eastern campus. In photo, members of the Vernon team are put through agility drills under the watchful eyes of the Eastern coaches and players. Vernon plays in the North Central Connecticut Travel Basketball League. All of the youngsters attend Vernon schools and reside in Rockville/Vernon.

 

 

 

W-Swim: Warriors 4th at NEISDA Meet

 

rivers fornes72dpi_7628.jpgAbove: Amanda Rivers

Individual Breakdown.pdf

NEISDA Web Site

WHITE RIVER JCT., Vt. - Sophomores Amanda Rivers (Meriden) and Erin McVeigh (Windsor) combined to earn All-New England honors a total of 11 times to power the Eastern Connecticut State University women's swim team to a fourth-place finish at the three-day Division II-III New England Intercollegiate Swimming and Diving (NEISDA) Championships, which concluded Sunday night at the Upper Valley Aquatic Center.

Rivers earned All-New England honors six times for the second straight year and McVeigh earned five after earning four as a freshman as the Warriors posted their second-highest team finish (they were third two years ago) in 16 years in this competition. Twenty-two teams competed this year, 19  of them as Division III institutions and three from Division II.

Division II Bentley captured the team title with 1,552.5 points, with Division III Keene State College (1,358) second, Division II Assumption College (1,061.5) third and Eastern (773.5) fourth. Keene and Eastern finished 1-2 in the Little East Conference Championships in December.  Other Little East teams competing in the event were University of Massachusetts Dartmouth (9th/461 points), Western Connecticut State University (13th/339) and Plymouth State University (15th/237.5).

The top eight individuals in each event and first four relays are recognized as All-New England.

Rivers was named All-New England in three individual events and three relays while McVeigh was All-New England in two individual events and three relays. Rivers' highest individual finish was second in the 50 freestyle (24.55) and McVeigh's best individual effort was sixth in the 200 freestyle.

Three individual and one relay program records were broken.

Rivers broke the 100 freestyle relay record that she set this year a total of three times this weekend, the final time coming in a time of 53.66 as the leadoff for the final event of the weekend - the 400 freestyle relay.

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Sophomore Michelle Schapp (Torrington) - named All-New England in one individual event and with three relays - broke her backstroke record twice, the second time coming in an eighth-place finish in the final of the 50 backstroke (28.92) on Sunday.

At left: Nadine Menard

Senior Nadine Menard (Woodstock) swam to All-New England honors in three individual events and broke former teammate Amy Arisco's year-old record by more than two seconds with a mark of 2:15.07 in a seventh-place finish in the final of the 200 butterfly. Menard concluded her career with All-New England recognition a total of nine times in three years.

The fourth record was established Friday by the 400 medley relay when it placed fifth. The relay of Schapp, freshman Rachael Thatcher (Newington), Menard and Rivers was timed in a record of 4:08.39 in the preliminaries.

 A total of nine different individuals combined for All-New England honors a total of 26 times. Others gaining All-New England recognition were sophomores Marissa Colley (East Haven), Colleen King (Barkamsted) and Becky Odgers (Shelton) and freshmen Kayla Smoragiewicz (Norwalk) and Thatcher. Colley and Odgers each earned the honor twice with the relays while King repeated All-New England honors in the 50 butterfly and added a second award with a relay. Thatcher and Smoragiewicz each helped a relay to regional honors.

 Schapp swam to All-New England honors in five events last year and Odgers in one.

A total of 513.5 of the team's points came in individual events and another 260 came in five relays. Fifteen of the 17 individuals that qualified from Eastern contributed at least one point. Rivers totaled a team-high 81 points, plus swam on four relays; Menard had 69 points plus swam on one relay; McVeigh 55 points plus three relays and Schapp 47 points plus four relays.

In the meet, Menard, Jennifer Dufraine (Somers) and Andzelina Chmielewski (Enfield) all closed out four-year careers, as did Samantha Armitage (Bristol) and Tara McCane (Torrington), who did not compete this weekend. Chmielewski chipped in 15 points to Eastern's total with a 13th-place finish in the 50 backstroke and a 24th-place finish in the 100 backstroke, and Dufraine added 12 points with an 18th-place finish in the 400 individual medley and 20th-place showing in the 200 butterfly. 

Eastern set a program record this season for regular-season winning percentage (.889) with an 8-1mark in dual meets. The Warriors have finished seventh or better in the New England meet each of the last five years and among the top ten nine times in the last 12 seasons.


 

 

 

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W-Track: Hultzman Delivers at NE Meet

She sets records in pentathlon and hurdles and is All-NE in high jump

hultzmanNEs72dpi_1819.jpgNORTHAMPTON, Mass. --  Sophomore Lauren Hultzman (Putnam) broke her own Eastern Connecticut State University records in the 60 meter hurdles and pentathlon and earned All-New England honors with a fourth-place finish in the high jump at the New England Division III Women's Indoor Track and Field Championships at the Smith College Track and Tennis Facility this weekend.

At left: Lauren Hultzman competing in Friday's pentathlon 800.

In Friday's pentathlon, Hultzman broke the hurdles record set moments earlier by junior Cora Gingras (East Hampton) with a mark of 10.07 on the way to accumulating a record 2,859 points and an 11th -place finish in a field of 18.  In the first heat of the hurdles, Gingras was clocked in 10.20 to break Hulztman's record of 10.29 and Hultzman followed in the fourth heat by lowering the standard again. Gingras placed 13th in the pentathlon.

In a field of 19 Saturday, Hultzman accumulated the team's five points with a fourth-place finish in the high jump to earn All-New England honors for the first time. Hulztman was one of three jumpers behind champion Julie Eagle of WPI to jump 5-2 ¼. Eagle won with a mark of 5-4 ¼. Hultzman and Gingras share the program high jump record (5-3). Hultzman won this year's Little East Conference/New England Alliance individual title with an identical jump of 5-2 ¼.

Eastern senior Amanda Quinones (Trumbull) lowered her personal record at 5000 meters by 21 seconds with a time of 18:39.56 that gave her a 16th-place finish. Freshman Akaya McElveen (New Haven) was 22nd at 400 meters in a time of 1:03.94 and sophomore Amy Huhn (Hebron) jumped 9-6 ¼ for the fourth time this year as she tied for 16th in the pole vault. Gingras tied for 16th in the high jump (4-10 ¼) and was 19th in the triple jump (33-6 12).

In the pentathlon, Hultzman tied for first in the high jump, was sixth in the long jump, ninth in the hurdles, 13th in the shot put and 15th at 800 meters. Gingras was eighth at 800 meters, 11th in the long jump, 12th in the hurdles, tied for 12th in the high jump and 16th in the shot.

At this meet last year, Hultzman was 12th  (5-0 1/4) and  Gingras 14th (4-10 ¼) in the high jump, Gingras 15th in the pentathlon (2,430 points) and Huhn was tied for 23rd in the pole vault (9-0 ¼).  As a freshman in 2010, Gingras competed in the high jump, long jump and triple jump in the New England meet, finishing as high as tied for 12th in the high jump.

Eastern  will compete in next weekend's New England Open at Boston University. Qualifiers will be announced at mid-week.


 

Men's Basketball:Little East Champs!

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WATCH: Post-Game Interview with Bill Geitner (4:05)

Tournament Bracket.doc

Little East Tournament Central

nedwick umb72_2090.jpgBOSTON -- Senioir guard Nick Nedwick (Irvington, NY) scored 15 of his game-high 23 points in the second half as the Eastern Connecticut State University men's basketball team won its first Little East Conference regular-season championship with a hard-fought 76-68 victory over the University of Massachusetts Boston Saturday afternoon at the Clark Athletic Center.

At left: In a battle of high-scoring senior guards Saturday, Eastern's Nick Nedwick (22) totalled a game-high 23 points and UMB's Isaac Jenkins (1) had 17.

In recording its third straight 20-win season and third straight LEC victory in the final eight days of the regular season, Eastern (20-5, 11-3 Little East) earns the program's first LEC regular-season title in 26 years of conference play and with it, its first No. 1 tournament seed.

The Warriors will earn a bye through the first round of the tournament and will host the semifinals and final Friday and Saturday at Francis E. Geissler Gymnasium. In a Tuesday first-round game, fourth-seeded Keene State College hosts fifth-seeded Massachusetts Dartmouth at 7:30 p.m. The winner advances to face Eastern Friday night in the first semifinal-round game at 5:30 p.m.. Eastern swept UMass Dartmouth and split with Keene State during the regular season. The Warriors' three-point victory at Keene Tuesday pulled them even with the Owls atop the LEC standings.

The Warriors entered the day sharing the top spot in the LEC with Keene State College, but the Owls sustained a Saturday loss to two-time defending conference champion Rhode Island College, which allowed the Warriors to claim the ouotright title. By winning Saturday, the Warriors nailed down the No. 1 seed, regardless of the Keene-RIC outcome..

Senior forward Hamilton Levy's (Woodbury) three-point field goal six minutes into the second half pushed Eastern's lead to double-digits against pesky UMass (5-20, 1-13 Little East), but the Warriors could not break free. In the final minutes, UMass' 7-0 run cut the Eastern led to two, 70-68, with just over two minutes left before the Warriors connected on the final six points of the game on free throws..

Junior point guard Joe Ives (Avon) came up with two of the biggest plays after the Beacons had moved to within the bucket with two minutes left. The Warriors gave the ball back to UMass and the hosts had a chance to tie, but Ives came up with a steal in the backcourt, then fed junior center Chris Robitaille (Canton) in the lead for an inside basket to make it 72-66 with 1:17 left.  After UMB missed two field goals, Nedwick grabbed a defensive rebound and sank two free throws with 34 seconds left, and Ives sealed the championship with two more freebies with 21 seconds left

Eastern never trailed by more than three and took a five-point lead into the lockerrom with an off-balance corner jumper. The second-half lead crested at 14 with just under ten minutes left before the Beacons canned nine of their next 11 shotws and a pair of free throws to pull to within two, 70-68.

Robitaille and sophomore guard Brian Salzillo (North Haven) each scored 14 points for Eastern, with  Robitaille leading all players with niine rebounds and Levy adding ten points and seven boards. Salzillo provided a scoring spark off the bench, contributing eight points in the first half on 3-for-4 shooting (2-for-3 from "three).

Freshman guard Vinny DeLucia scored 12 of his team-high 18 points in the second half for UMass, hitting seven of ten field goals in the game.

In the last three years, Eastern has accumulated a 30-12 record in LEC regular-season games and has set a record for LEC regular-season wins each year. Two years ago the Warriors won nine, last year ten and this year 11...

 

 

 

W-Basketball: Tourney Bid Falls Short

 Warriors' late-season run comes to end as UMB takes final LEC spot


ecsuwhoopteam300dpi_2538.jpgBOSTON - The Eastern Connecticut State University women's basketball team never led after the opening basket in a 75-53 Little East Conference loss to the University of Massachusetts Boston Saturday afternoon at the Clark Athletic Center in a game which determined the final seed in the upcoming conference playoffs.

With the first season sweep of Eastern (8-17, 4-10 Little East) in nearly 20 years, UMass (8-17, 4-10 Little East) is awarded the sixth and final seed in the LEC playoffs, which get underway Tuesday with first-round games.

The Warriors  used conference wins last week over UMass Dartmouth and Keene State College to move into sixth place -- a game ahead of UMass. Looking to avenge a 68-55  home loss to UMass a month ago, Eastern got out of the gate slowly Saturday. The hosts, who qualify for the conference playoffs for the first time in the third year of the six-team post-season setup, outscored Eastern 17-4 after the Warriors opened the game with a three-point field goal to open up an early ten-point lead (17-7). UMB's lead dipped under double figures only once the rest of the way.

Eastern freshman froward Shannon McCourt (New Fairfield) led the Warriors with 25 points - the second-highest total of her brief career, with freshman guard Kristina Forsman (Newington) adding 12 and freshman guard Danyelle Rodriguez (Willimantic) chipping in 11. First-year senior post player Jaymie Sommers Voluntown) shared game-high rebounding totals with ten and McCourt eight.

Junior guard Teresa Pina, who had only six points on 3-for-11 shooting a month ago against Eastern, led all players with a career-high 32 points - the most by a UMB player this season to go along with ten rebounds. She was 13-for-19 from the floor. Freshman Kirsten Morrison - a 6-foot-2 inch freshman center - had 23 points and nine rebounds.

 

 

Little East: Eastern W-Lax No. 1 in Poll

Warriors chosen to chalk up sixth straight regular-season title in '12

LEC LOGO PARE.jpg

prizio lec 72dpi_6205.jpgNORTH DARTMOUTH, Mass. - Eastern Connecticut State University - which has won or shared the last five Little East Conference women's lacrosse regular-season championships under five-year head coach Christine Hutchison - has been predicted to capture a sixth straight in 2012 in the LEC pre-season coaches' poll, as voted by the league's seven coaches.

At left: Ashley Prizio

Eastern, 29-1 in LEC regular-season play under Hutchison,  penned six of the seven first place votes into its ledger and totaled 48 points to sit atop the annual preseason survey for the fourth time in program history.

According to the coaches' predictions, Little East women's lacrosse fans are in store for a competitive race for home field advantage in the conference tournament. Keene State College, a winner of two of the last three conference tournament titles, secured the final first place vote to edge Western Connecticut State University for second place by a point.

Most recently, the Warriors were named to the pre-season top spot in 2009 and won that regular-season crown with their third of four perfect 6-0 seasons under Hutchison.

Eastern returns ten of 11 position players from last year's 9-8 team (four of whom were first-year letterwinners), among them the runaway team scoring leaders in senior attack Ashley Prizio (Brookfield) and junior midfielder Daniela Marchitto (Orange) Prizio (60-13-73) was the 2011 Little East Offensive Player of the Year and a conference all-star both years in the program after transferring from the Division I level. Last year, she paced the conference circuit in goals per game (3.53), points per game (4.29), and game-winning goals (5), while Marchitto (45-17-62) was a 2011 first-team all-conference performer who was fifth in the LEC in points per game (3.65) a year ago.

Other key returnees include senior defender Meg Barrett (Setauket, NY), junior midfielder Taylor Buchanan (Ellington) and junior defender Rachel Meotti (Glastonbury). Barrett is a two-time first-team all-conference pick, and Buchanan and Meotti were 2011 second-team all-stars. Meotti was in her first season at Eastern after transferring from the Division II level.
While Eastern lost two-year starting goalie Nancy Ibrahim, senior goalie  Kristianna Ibsen (Shelton) returns after a two-year's absence, as does senior attack Nicole Shusdock (Norwalk). Ibsen was a second-team all-star in 2009.

Other returning starters from 2011 are junior midfielder Christina Rully (Orange), junior defender Samantha Barone (Plainedge, NY), sophomore attacks Erin Conn (Moriches, NY) and Christine Lillis (Waterford), and sophomore midfielder Ashley Wolk (Barrington, RI).

In ten years of LEC regular-season and post-season play, Eastern is second in the conference in total regular-season outright or shared titles and post-season tournament championships. with a combined eight titles (five regular season, one of which was shared, and three tournament). Plymouth is first with nine but in the last four years,  has only one shared regular-season crown. Keene has won two tournament and one regular-season championship and the University of Southern Maine has a tourney title to its credit.

Eastern  opens its season March 3, hosting Colby-Sawyer College.

LITTLE EAST CONFERENCE
2012 WOMEN'S LACROSSE PRE-SEASON COACHES' POLL

Rank Nomination First Place Total
1 EASTERN CONNECTICUT  6 48
2 Keene State College 1 35
3 Western Connecticut State University  34
4 Plymouth State University  30
 University of Southern Maine  30
6 University of Massachusetts Dartmouth  13
7 Rhode Island College  8

 

Swimming Pursues Peak Performance

Warriors hope to maintain recent success at NE Championships

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WATCh: Senior Jennifer Dufraine (at left) previews this weekend's New England Championships (6:35)

lecswimforne72_0533.jpgWILLIMANTIC, Conn. --  The Eastern Connecticut State University women's swim team's 'third season" culminates this weekend at the 33rd Annual New England Intercollegiate Swimming and Diving Association (NEISDA) Division  II-III Championships at the Upper Valley Aquatic Center in White River Junction, Vt.

Above: This year's All-Little East Conference selections will lead the Warriors into this weekend's New England Championships.

Eastern's 'first season' began October 1 with pool workouts six days a week and weight lifting sessions three days a week and concluded with the final meet of the first semester in mid-December.

The 'second season' got underway with two-hour double session pool workouts and land conditioning,  Jan. 4-12 at Ft. Lauderdale, FL, and progressed with two-a-day workouts back in Willimantic through the first two weeks of classes through the remainder of the month.

The current 'third season" kicked off at the conclusion of the regular season two weeks ago in a home win over Rhode Island College as the team's New England qualifiers 'taper' their workouts in preparation for this weekend's three-day New England championship meet which opens Friday morning and concludes Sunday evening.

Competition starts at 10 a.m. each morning with preliminary events. Those qualifying for the finals return to the evening session which begins at 5:30 p.m.

This year, 17  of the team's members -- over 70 percent of the roster - qualified for this weekend's meet during a regular season which included nine dual meets (which produed an 8-1 record), two invitationals and the Little East Conference Championships.

In the last 11 years, three Eastern swimmers have combined to win 14 individual championships at the meet, 113 have earned All-New England honors, and two have been named recipients of the Kay Fromer Award which is presented to a senior at the meet who has accumulated the most points in their career at the championship.

Between 20 and 25 teams annually compete in the NEISDA meet. As a team, Eastern has finished among the Top 10 the last four years and eight times in the last ten seasons.

With an outstanding freshman class last year, the Warriors followed up a program-best third-place finish of two years ago by finishing fifth. Last year, seven swimmers combined to earn All-New England honors a total of 25 players. Five of those swimmers were freshman, and all returned  this season and make more than 25 percent of this year's New England qualifiers.
As sophomores, Michelle  Schapp (Torrington), Amanda Rivers (Meriden), Erin McVeigh (Windsor), Becky Odgers (Shelton), Colleen King (Barkhamsted)  and Marissa Colley (East Haven) should accumulate the majority of the team's points, along with senior tri-captain Nadine Menard (Woodstock) and freshmen Rachael Thatcher  (Newington) and Kayla Smoragiewicz (Norwalk).

In individual and events and relays, Rivers swam to All-New England honors in six events last year, Schapp in five, McVeigh in four, Menard in two, and King and Odgers in one each.
Menard is the team's best to finish in the money in the individual medley, butterfly and/or breaststroke, Schapp and Smoragiewicz in the backstroke, Rivers in the sprint freestyle and/or backstroke, McVeigh in the distance freestyle,  Odgers in the distance  freestyle and/or backstroke, Colley in the freestyle, King in the breaststroke and butterfly,  and Thatcher in the breaststroke.

In addition to Menard, senior tri-captains Andzelina Chmielewski (Enfield) and Jennifer Dufraine (Somers) will be closing out four-year careers this weekend. Additional qualifiers include junior Jen O'Leary (West Suffield) and Julie Pietrycha (Newington), sophomores Vic San Pietro (Stratford) and Jacqueline Tromp (Bohemia, NY) and freshmen Abby Arisco (Wallingford) and  Shannon Coleman (Plantsville).

Traditionally, a host of individual and relay records fall in this meet, and this season should be no exception. Last year, Schapp set three individual records in the backstroke, 2011 graduate Amy Arisco broke four in the individual medley and butterfly, and Rivers one in the freestyle. In addition, the  relays re-wrote the recordbook in four events.
 

 


 

 


 

Basketball:Alumni Expand Their Games

Former standout players discover a passion in the coaching ranks

By Jonathan Mizger '13

coleman 72dpi_3708 copy.jpgWILLIMANTIC, Conn. -- We view the game of basketball as a game played with a ball and a hoop. We view it with five people competing against five other people on a hardwood court. We view it as techniques displayed by the players such as passing, dribbling, jumping, dunking, shooting, and blocking. We view the game in just how it is played. There is more to the game of basketball than just X's and O's, performance, and skills. There is more to the game than just the players; there is the behind-the-scenes action of what goes on for building a basketball program.

At left: Allison Coleman has brought the same enthusiasm she had as a four-time All-America (inset) to her role as an assistant coach. (Cristina Danielson photo)

As student-athletes at Eastern, the role of current assistant coaches Kris Johnson and Allison Coleman was to produce for 40 minutes on game day. Like most players, they gave only a passing thought to the limitless hours and detailed tasks provided by their coaching staff. When not playing, practicing or studying, most players are relaxing. In contract, when away from the game and practice court, the coaching staff immerses itself  for six months in recruiting, preparing  scouting reports and practice plans, analyzing and breaking down tape, entertaining recruits and attending to the myriad details of  countless other tasks.

At Eastern Connecticut State University, there are the men's and women's basketball team. Bill Geitner leads the men's team as the head coach and Denise Bierly leads the women's team. The head coaches play a vital role in leading their  respective teams, but rely heavily upon their assistant coaches.

johnson 72dpi_1163 copy.jpgGeitner looks for insight from among his three dedicated assistant coaches, one of whom is Johnson. A native of Sturbridge, MA, Johnson is a former four-year player under Geitner through the 2008/09 season. Johnson brings his experience of his collegiate career to help out his alma mater for a third season.

At right: Kris Johnson has transitioned his drive as a player (inset) into his current coaching position..

"When I played here, I was a shooter," said Johnson,  who, in three-point field goals, ranks fourth all-time in a career, third in a season and first in a game. "I try to help out the guards a lot by working on shooting form and different ways to come off screens."

Johnson has a great deal of passion for the game of basketball that makes him want to transfer that emotion into the players he has on the team."It was something I really had a passion for", said Kris. "I like coaching these guys; I try to bring a lot of energy so they feed off of it and they're motivated to work and get better."

Coleman, a native of Jewett City is the only four-time All-America in the history of Division III. She brings her competitive nature and her impressive statistical records to the team for her second season.

"I think the biggest thing is the experience, and the kids listen to the things that I tell them. They know I've been in the trenches and I've been through the war," noted Coleman, who holds program career records for points, rebounds, assists and steals and is second in three-point field goals.

After leading the team to the national championship game as a junior, Coleman was named National Player-of-the-Year in her senior season in 2003/04. With her stats and leadership, Coleman is proud to have returned to her alma mater  to complete her degree requirements and coach basketball.

"I like being back in a program that gave me so much when I was a student-athlete here", said Coleman. "I'm able to give back in a different way than actually playing on the court."

Both Johnson and Coleman spend plenty of time recruiting high school players, scouting opposing teams, and developing practice plans and scouting reports. They contribute a lot of their time to build upon the program's status for the future of their team.

"I really like the recruiting aspect," said Johnson. "I enjoy going out to see potentially new players and sell the university."

"I enjoy scouting our opponents," said Coleman. "I know how to read a team's defenses and offenses, and put that into a scouting report. I also love recruiting; having to talk to the prospective student-athletes and telling them about the program is probably one of my favorite aspects about being an assistant coach."

Johnson and Coleman may have had great experiences of playing basketball, but they are learning new things every day.

"I'm learning a lot from (assistant coach Stan Harris) about our post play," said Coleman. "I'm learning a lot from him in that aspect, about utilizing different defenses, and switching defenses. We played a little bit of zone when I played here, but we're starting to play a little more here at Eastern and coach Harris has also taught me about that."

"(As a coach), I've become more defensive-minded," points out Johnson. "Sometimes I get more focused on the offensive end, but, really, defense wins games."

Johnson and Coleman have resumes that stand out in a crowd. Their performances on and off the court have prepared them for relating their experiences and teaching the game of basketball to future student-athletes. As their coaching careers are starting to grow, Johnson and Coleman hope to one day become head coaches.

"Given the opportunity, I would like to be a head coach somewhere", said Coleman. "Coach Bierly has taught a lot about not only on-the-court stuff , but off-the-court, behind the scenes things that, as a player, you never realized."

"I have a good teaching job right now, and I'm coaching college basketball," observed Johnson. "As of right now, I'm basically set up."

The pair is enjoying every minute of coaching, having developed a passion to teach young people the game. They are happy to maintain relationships with the programs that they were once part of as players. and are looking forward to futures as head college basketball coaches.
 

 

 

M-Basketball: Warriors Catch Keene

With one game remaining, they pull even with Owls atop LEC

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KEENE, N.H.--  Senior forward Jamie Kohn (Columbia) and junior guard Joe Ives (Avon) each hit two free throws in the final 25 seconds to help keep the Eastern Connecticut State University men's basketball team in front as the Warriors moved into a tie for first place in the Little East Conference with a 65-62 victory over  Keene State College Tuesday night at Spaulding Gymnasium.

At right: The rebounding of Chris Robitaille (at right) in Tuesday's LEC win at Keene State has the Warriors reaching for their first conference regular-season championship.

With one regular-season conference game remaining, Eastern (19-5, 10-3 Little East) and Keene State (18-6, 10-3 Little East) share first place in the conference, one game ahead of Rhode Island College and Western Connecticut State University. In Saturday's regular-season finales, Eastern visits Massachusetts Boston (1-12 LEC) while Keene visits two-time LEC tourney champion Rhode Island College and Western hosts Plymouth State (4-9 LEC).

Unofficially, if Eastern and Keene finish in a tie for first place by winning Saturday, and Western defeats Plymouth State, the Warriors would be awarded the No. 1 seed for the conference tournament. In that scenario, both Eastern and Keene would be 11-3 and Western would finish in sole possession of third place with a 10-4 record. Employing the first tie-breaker (after head-to-head), Eastern split with Western and Keene lost twice. If Eastern and Keene both lose Saturday and end up in a tie for first at 10-4, and Western defeats Plymouth, there will be a four-way logjam at the top..

Eastern never trailed in the second half, sinking 11 of 14  free throws over the final 20 minutes and 15 of 21 in the game. The Warriors commited only ten turnovers - equaling their second-lowest total of the season - which led to only eight Keene State points. The Owls lead the LEC with a scoring average of  84.6 but have averaged only 63 points in splitting two games with the Warriors.

Since horrific free-throw shooting (7-for-19) cost them an overtime decision at Western Connecticut a week ago, the Warriors have responded with 27-for-39 marksmanship from the stripe (19-for-24 in the second half) in their last two conference victories..

Coupled with the Eastern women's 61-56 victory, the Warriors swept their second straight LEC doubleheader after failing to win both in eight previous tries dating back to Jan. 10.

With Eastern leading by a point, Kohn converted two free throws with 24.6 seconds left to give Eastern a 63-60 lead, and after Rashad Wright connected on his only two free throw tries of the game with 9.1 seconds left after being fouled while putting back an offensive rebound, Ives hit his third and fourth free throws  in as many attempts in the game with 6.9 seconds left to restore the three-point margin.

After a timeout, Keene drove the length of the floor but while being closely guarded, Keene's Ryan Martin - the  LEC leader in three-point percentage - hit the front of the rim while attempting a game-tying three-pointer as time expired.

Junior center Chris Robitaille (Canton) led Eastern with 16 points and 12 rebounds - the second-highest rebounding game of his career and his first double-double since Jan. 1. Senior forward Hamilton Levy (Woodbury) added 12 points and senior guard Nick Nedwick (Irvington, NY) had ten points and six rebounds and Kohn eight rebounds.

With the win, Eastern tied its season record of ten LEC regular-season triumphs and moved to within a victory of its third straight 20-win campaign.Eastern has won two LEC tournament titles -- most recently in 1999/00 -- but has never finished better than second in 25 years of conference regular-season competition.

The top two teams in the final standings draw first-round tournament byes while the next four seeds compete in first-round games a week from tonight.

 

 

 

W-Basketball: Warriors Stun Keene

They avenge 20-point loss three weeks ago with 61-56 road verdict

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KEENE, N.H.--  Freshman guard Taylor McBride (Willimantic) scored the first seven points of her team's 11-0 run late in the game as the Eastern Connecticut State University women's basketball team stunned Keene State College, 61-56, Tuesday night at Spaulding Gymnasium.

At right: Taylor McBride

Eastern (8-16, 4-9 Little East)  knocked Keene (15-7, 9-4 Little East) out of a share of second place in the conference (the top two teams earn first-round byes) by avenging a 58-38 loss to Keene Jan. 24 at Geissler Gymasium.

A win at Massachusetts Boston Saturday gives Eastern sole possession of sixth place in the final standings and a berth in the LEC tournament, which gets underway with first-round games a week from tonight. Eastern would finish sharing sixth place with UMass Boston with a loss and the Beacons would earn the final playoff berth based upon its two wins over Eastern.UMass won by 12 points a month ago in Willimantic.

Eastern trailed by nine points seven minutes into the game but cut the gap to four at halftime, then shot 53.8 percent from the floor and 10-for-13 from the foul line in the second half  to post two consecutive wins for the first time since early December. Keene had won seven of its last eight and was 9-1 at home prior to the game.

Trailing by one point with 5:21 left, the Warriors ripped off 11 straight points over 4+ minutes. While the hosts were missing six straight shots in that stretch, McBride scored the first seven points on a layup, jumper and three-point play, and freshman guard Kristina Forsman (Newington) capped the burst by converting four consecutive free throws in less than 30 seconds as the Warriors sealed the win with a ten-point lead with 66 seconds left.

Forsman led four double-figure Eastern scorers with 16 points (her eighth straight double-digit game) and also grabbed a career-tying eight rebounds. She was 8-for-10 from the stripe. McBride finished with a career-high 15 points, handed out five assists and came up with five steal, freshman forward Shannon McCourt (New Fairfield) had her 12th double-double with 14 points and 14 rebounds. Freshman guard Danyelle Rodriguez (Willimantic) tossed in 13 points for Eastern, whose starters played all but five minutes. All six players to see action are in their first season with the team, five of them freshmen.

McBride and McCourt were both 7-for-11 from the floor and combined to go 10-for-13 from the field in the second half.

Keene, which started four seniors and a junior, got a game-high 18 points, seven rebounds and five assists from senior Courtney Cirillo.

It marked the second straight game where Eastern avenged an earlier drubbing. On Saturday, the Warriors recorded a 12-point win at home over Massachusetts Dartmouth after the Corsairs had administered an 18-point beating Jan. 10.

Warrior, Corsair Cagers Played4Kay

play4kayphoto72dpi_4072.jpgkayyowphoto403.jpgLittle East Conference men's and women's basketball rivals Eastern Connecticut State University and the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth teamed to raise money as part of the Play4Kay initiative (formerly known as the "Pink Zone") during the doubleheader Saturday, Feb. 11 at Francis E. Geissler Gymnasium. Money was raised on Feb. 11 through donations and selling T-Shirts and baked goods. College basketball teams across the country unit from Feb. 10-20 to raise money in support of the Kay Yow Cancer Fund, in partnership with the V Foundation and Women's Basketball Coaches' Association. The fund is a charitable organization committed to being a part of finding an answer to the fight against women's cancers through raising money for scientific research, assisting the underserved and unifying people for a common cause. Kay Yow was the former head women's basketball coach at N.C. State who was diagnosed with cancer in 1987 and passed away on Jan. 24, 2009.

W-Track: Four Earn Recognition

 

hultzman_hj72dpi_1289.jpgSophomore Lauren Hultzman (above) became the first Eastern female in the 14-year history of the New England Alliance/Little East Conference Indoor Track & Field Championships to win the high jump Saturday at the Costello Athletic Complex on the campus of the University of Southern Maine. Hultzman recorded a mark of 5-2 1/4 inches to earn All-NEA and All-LEC honors. Also earning honors were junior Cora Gingras, who shared third place in the high jump with an identical height of 5-2 1/4 in the LEC scoring and was tied for fourth in the high jump in the NEA scoring. Gingras was also named All-NEA with a seventh-place finish in the triple jump. Senior Amanda Quinones broke her own program record at 3000 meters which she set at last year's meet. Quinones was sixth in the NEA with a time of 10:31.59. Sophomore Amy Huhn earned All-NEA honors with a fifth-place finish in the high jump with a mark of 9-0 1/4.

M-Track: Hewett, Reynolds Awardees

 

hewett lec72dpi_1158.jpgSophomore Fredrick Hewett (above) earned All-New England Alliance and All-Little East Conference honors a total of three times at Saturday's 14th annual championships at the Costello Athletic Center on the campus of the University of Southern Maine. Hewett was third in the NEA scoring and second in the LEC scoring at 400 meters in a time of 50.80 and was seventh in the NEA race at 200 meters in a time of 23.40. Freshman Andre Reynolds also earned All-NEA recognition with a seventh-place finsh in the 55 meter hurdles in a time of 8.37.  Eastern was last among ten teams in the NEA competition and sixth in a six-team field in the LEC scoring.

W-Basketball: Warriors Bounce Back

They hang on to share of final Little East playoff spot by upending UMD

sommersumd72dpi_4082.jpgWILLIMANTIC, Conn. - Freshmen Danyelle Rodrigez (Willimantic), Kristina Forsman (Newington)  and Taylor McBride (Willimantic) each converted a three-point play on three consecutive Eastern Connecticut State University possessions early in the second half that sparked a decisive 16-2 run and carried the Warriors to a key 66-54 Little East conference women's basketball decision over the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth Saturday afternoon at Francis E. Geissler Gymnasium.

Above: Despite giving away four inches, the 5-foot-9 inch Jaymie Sommers outrebounded UMass Dartmouth's Colleen Moriarty (33), 16-14.

The Eastern (7-16, 3-9 LEC) victory ends a nine-game slide and is its first conference victory after eight losses - a streak which began when the Warriors allowed 79 points in an 18-point loss at UMass Dartmouth (14-9, 5-7 LEC) a month ago.

More importantly, Eastern retains a share of the sixth and final LEC tournament playoff slot with Massachusetts Boston, which slipped by Plymouth State University, 75-69, Saturday afternoon at Plymouth, NH.  UMass Dartmouth, which has followed five straight wins with two straight (LEC ) losses,  is in fifth place, two games ahead of Eastern and UMass Boston with two regular-season conference games remaining.

Eastern visits Keene State College (9-3) and UMass Boston in its final two conference regular-season games. UMass Boston hosts UMass Dartmouth Tuesday before closing out against visiting Eastern Saturday.

After converting seven of 18 three-point field goals in its earlier 18-point win over Eastern, UMass missed 15 of 17 tries from long range Saturday, and shot only 35.5 percent from the floor after a mark of 46.6 the first time around.

In a game which featured eight ties and 11 lead changes, Eastern  went on its 16-2 run to give it an 11-point, 48-37  advantage with 11 minutes left. McBride converted a conventional three-point play with a layup and free throw off a UMD steal to spark the 16-2 run, and after the Corsairs failed on two straight shots, Rodriguez drained a three-pointer off a pass from senior center Jaymie Sommers (Voluntown) and 40 seconds later, Forsman swished her only three-point field goal of the game off another UMass miss.

In all, Eastern outscored UMass 27-6 over ten minutes that pushed the Warriors lead to a game-high 18 with six minutes left.

Forsman took 24 of Eastern's 71 shots - the majority of them driving, underhand layups - and topped all players with a career-high 24 points. Sophomore forward Shannon McCourt (New Fairfield) notched her second double-double this year against UMass and 11th this season with 20 points and 16 rebounds (one rebound shy of her season best) and Sommers grabbed 16 rebounds and made three steals.

 Junior forward Colleen Moriarty  led UMass with 23 points and 14 rebounds, with senior guard Stephanie Houtman added 17 points and six rebounds. The pair combined on 17-for-34 shooting from the floor.

Eastern trailed in the opening minutes of the game before scoring 11 straight points - eight by Forsman - over a six-minute stretch to move out to a six-point, 20-14 lead with eight minutes left.  On nine possessions in that span, UMass missed six shots and turned the ball over three times, with Sommers coming up with two of her steals.

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M-Basketball: Warriors Complete Sweep

They move within a game of first with 72-65 Little East win over UMD

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WILLIMANTIC, Conn. - The Eastern Connecticut State University men's basketball team never trailed in the second half, leading by as many as 15 and sinking seven of eight free throws over the final five minutes to emerge with a 72-65 Little East Conference victory over the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth Saturday afternoon at Francis E. Geissler Gymnasium.

Above: Nick Nedwick defends against UMass Dartmouth's Colin Burns in Saturday's 72-65 Little East victory. Nedwick and Burns each led their respective teams with 20 points.

By sweeping UMass Dartmouth (11-12, 5-7 LEC) for the third straight season, Eastern (18-5, 9-3 LEC) retains a share of second place in the conference with Western Connecticut. With two regular-season games remaining, Western and Eastern both moved to within a game of leader Keene State College after Western dumped the Owls, 108-105 in overtime Saturday at Danbury.

Leading by five at halftime, Eastern withstood 11 second-half turnovers by sinking 54.5 percent of its second-half field goals and eight of ten free throws. In the second half, senior Jamie Kohn (Columbia) and Nick Nedwick (Irvington, NY) combined for 22 of Eastern's 34 points. After scoring two points in the first half, Kohn responded with ten points and six rebounds after the break, with Nedwick leading the way over the final 20 minutes with 12 points on 5-for-8 field goal shooting.

With Eastern leading by seven with five minutes left, Kohn converted four of four free throws and senior Chae Philips (West Haven) was 3-for-4 from the stripe.

Eastern's three inside players of senior Hamilton Levy (Woodbury), Chris Robitaille  (Canton) and freshman Brandon Yarborough (Stamford) all finished the game with four personal fouls.  Robitaille picked up his third and fourth personals six minutes into the second half and left the game in favor of Yarborough with the Warriors leading by eight. He returned six minutes later with the Warriors in charge of a 12-point lead.

Nedwick shared game-high scoring honors with  UMass senior guard Colin Burns with 20 points, with Levy scoring 19 points. Kohn  recorded his first double-double since Dec. 3 with a game-high 11 rebounds. Robitailled added ten points (eight in the first half) and four blocks and Philips had five points, six rebounds and two steals in 22 minutes off the bench.

After missing  12 of 19 free throws in a one-point loss at Western Tuesday, Eastern responded by sinking 12 of 18 against UMass.

UMass, coming off a five-point home win over two-time defending LEC champ Rhode Island Tuesday, got 20 points (8-for-14 from the floor and four three-pointers) from Burns, with senior center Lance Greene adding 14 points and ten rebounds and three steals.

Eastern visits Keene State College Tuesday at 7:30 p.m. before closing out the regular season and conference season at the University of Massachusetts Boston next Saturday at 3 p.m.

 

W-Lacrosse: Silent Auction Fundraiser

silent auction 72dpi_4061.jpgAs a fundraiser, the women's lacrosse program is conducting a Gift Basket Silent Auction today (Friday, Feb. 10) from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. and on Saturday, Feb. 11 from noon to 5 p.m. in the lobby of the Sports Center. Saturday's auction will run during the men's and women's basketball home games against UMass Dartmouth. The gift basket themes are Valentine's Day, Baking, Night at the Movies, Chocolate, St. Patrick's Day, Italian, Shopping, Restaurants, Eastern Athletics, and many more. Shipping is available. For more information, contact head coach Christine Hutchison at 860-465-4333.

M-Basketball: CoSIDA Cites Kohn Again

Senior is again voted to its district all-academic team

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kohn tie 300dpi_9010.jpgWILLIMANTIC, Conn. -- Eastern Connecticut State University senior Jamie Kohn (Columbia) has repeated as a first-team selection to the College Sports Information Directors' Association (CoSIDA)/Capital One Academic All-District Team  in the sport of men's basketball.

In a vote of the District 2 college Sports Information Directors, Kohn was named as one of five selections to the NCAA Division III District 2 team from an original pool of 15 nominees. District 2 encompasses institutions located in Connecticut, Delaware, District of Columbia, Kentucky, Maryland, New Jersey, Rhode Island, and West Virginia. Kohn, the only selection from New England on the District 2 team, was joined by Tim McCarty and Alex Pandgrangi of Johns Hopkins (MD), Mike Atkins of Salisbury University (MD), and  Daniel Whelan of Thomas More College (KY).

As a first-team pick, Kohn's name will automatically be advanced to the national CoSIDA Academic All-America ballot.

As a junior last year, Kohn was named to the CoSIDA District 1 College Division first team. Student-athletes from Division II and III institutions located in New England and New York were eligible for that honor last year. This year, the districts were re-organized.

A four-year member of the men's basketball program, Kohn has been a member of the Dean's List every semester at Eastern and carried a 3.95 overall GPA into his senior year as a Health and Physical Education major.

Kohn has qualified for a spot on the Little East Conference Academic Honor Roll (minimum 3.30 cumulative GPA) in all three years of eligibility and has been awarded an E-Club Outstanding Scholar-Athlete Award (minimum 3.50 cumulative GPA) in both of his years of eligibility.

Kohn has received a Dean's Scholarship each year at Eastern and was awarded a Competitive Scholarship in both years of eligibility. A Resident Assistant each of the last three years, Kohn has also been involved in the Pathways to Leadership Program and has earned the Health and Phyical Education Department's Highest GPA Award in each of his first three years.

In the summer following his freshman year, Kohn was chosen to attend the NCAA National Student-Athlete Development Conference in Orlando. This semester, he was named to Who's Who Among Students in American Universities and Colleges.

A 6-foot-5 inch forward and team tri-captain, Kohn reached the 1,000-point plateau  January 28. Having appeared in all possible 109 career games and having started every game the last three seasons, Kohn was named to the LEC All-Defensive Team as a junior and topped the conference in rebounding as both a sophomore and junior. This year, he averages 9.5 points and a team-leading 7.2 rebounds and is second on the team with 59 assists for the 17-5 Warriors.

 

M-Basketball: Brooks Torches Eastern

He scores 48 points, but his pass sets up winning basket at horn

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DANBURY, Conn. -- Western Connecticut State University erased a 17-point deficit over the final nine minutes of regulation to force overtime, then went the length of the court with 4.5 seconds left for a winning layup in an 82-81 Little East Conference men's basketball victory over Eastern Connecticut State University  Tuesday evening at Feldman Arena.

At right: Chae Philips

With its second-half heroics, Western (18-4, 8-3 Little East) pulls even with Eastern (17-5, 8-3 Little East) for second place in the conference and avoids its first three-game losing streak at the hands of the Warriors in nearly 30 years (Eastern eliminated the Colonials in the semifinals of last year's LEC tournament and captured the first game of this year's home-and-home series Jan. 17 by a score of 74-61 at Geissler Gym).

Western senior guard DaQuan Brooks scored a career-high 48 points, but it was his pass to an unguarded Gary Robinson that set up the winning layup as time expired in overtime that propelled the Colonials to the come-from-behind victory.

After both teams missed field goal attempts in the final 30 seconds of overtime, Eastern senior forward Jamie Kohn (Columbia) swished a short baseline jumper from the left side to give the Warriors an 81-80 lead with 4.5 seconds left. Each team then called a timeout before  Brooks took the inbound under his defensive basket and dribbled the ball nearly the length of the court. Tightly guarded, Brooks found Robinson alone under the right side of the basket with a pass while streaking down the left side of the court, and Robinson banked it in as time expired.

Ranked third nationally in scoring, Brooks finishing with a career-high 48 points, scoring  37 of his team's 47points in the second half and overtime. In the game, e was 13-for-28 from the floor and 5-for-13 from three-point range and sank 17 of 21 free throws. Brooks' game-winning assist was his fourth of the game and moved him to within four of taking over the Western career lead in that department.

The basket at the final horn was only the second of the game for Robinson, whose only bucket prior to the game-winner was a three-pointer with four minutes left in the first half.

After wiping out an early ten-point deficit, Eastern did not trail for 39 minutes until Brooks connected on the second of two free throws with  75 seconds left in overtime that gave the Colonials an 80-79 lead.  It was Western's first lead since 30-29 with five minutes remaining in the first half.

Down by 17, Western scored 18 of the next 23 points to cut the gap to four with just over two minutes left, then scored the final six points of  regulation over the final 69 seconds. Brooks' two free throws with 25 seconds left in regulation tied the game at 72, and Eastern's potential game-winning shot in the lane bounced off the rim and was rebounded by Western's Ryan Pelletier as time ran out.

Eastern missed 12 of 19 free throws in the game and played the final minutes of overtime without senior starters Nick Nedwick (Irvington, NY) and Hamilton Levy (Woodbury), who both fouled out.

Kohn led Eastern with 18 points (8-for-12 from the floor), with Nedwick scoring 17  points and handing out five assists. Junior center Chris Robitaille (Canton) totaled  16 points and shared game-high rebounding honors with nine. Senior guard Chae Philips (West Haven) added a career-high 14 points (12 in the first half), five rebounds and four assists in 34 minutes off the bench, and Levy finished with 12 points.

Nedwick and Levy were issued their fifth fouls of the game with the score tied - both fouling out for the first time this year - less than 30 seconds apart midwday through the five-minute OT session.

Brooks was Western's only double-digit scorer, but Mark Redding  pulled down nine rebounds and Robinson eight.

Eastern and Western share second place in the LEC, two games behind Keene State College and one game ahead of two-time defending champion Rhode Island college, which was upended at Massachusetts Dartmouth, 73-68, Tuesday night.

Eastern hosts Massachusetts Dartmouth Saturday at 3 p.m.

 


 

W-Basketball: Warriors Can't Keep Pace

With 12 minutes left, Western embarks upon 21-8 run on way to LEC win

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DANBURY, Conn. --  Freshman guard Caroline Brasa scored 13 of her game-high 19 points in the second half, when the Western Connecticut State University women's basketball team shot 57.1 percent from the floor and connected on ten of 11 free throws to complete the season sweep of Eastern Connecticut State University, 66-53, in a Little East Conference game Tuesday evening at Feldman Arena.

At right: Shannon McCourt

Western (14-8, 6-5 Little East)  snapped a four-game losing streak with the victory, which sent Eastern  (6-16, 2-9 Little East) to its ninth straight loss.

Eastern trailed by only four points after one half, where there were five ties and six changes, but Western pulled away late in the game when Eastern went nine minutes between baskets (scoring six points on free throws) and the Colonials went on to outscore Eastern 21-8 over nine minutes to open  up a 14-point lead with three minutes left.

Eastern scored 17 of its points in the game off of 19 Western turnovers, but the Warriors shot just 30.8 percent from the floor in the game and hosts netted 57.1 percent of their second-half field goals and converted ten of 11 second-half free throws.

Brasa, who came off the bench to score 13 points in Western's four-point victory at Eastern Jan. 17, led all players in this game in a starting role, with sophomore forward Sciarra Brandt posting a double-double with 16 points and a game-high ren rebounds.

Eastern freshman forward Shannon McCourt (New Fairfield) scored 11 first-half points when the Warriors maintained a slim lead throughout much of the stanza )despite shooting 27.3 percent from the floor) by taking care of the ball (only three turnovers). McCourt led Eastern in scoring for the ninth time in the last 14 games with 17 points (along with five rebounds), freshman point guard Kristina Forsman (Newington) adding 12 points and six rebounds and first-year senior center Jaymie Sommers (Voluntown) totaling ten points and a team-high nine rebounds.  Eastern's five starters - all first-year players and four of them true freshmen - played all but four minutes of the game.

The top four teams in the LEC won Tuesday. With three conference regular-season games remaining, Western is in fourth place, one game ahead of UMass Dartmouth, while Estern remains in a tie for sixth place, one game ahead of Plymouth State. The top six teams in the final standings qualify for the LEC playoffs,w hich get underway with first-round games in two weeks.

Eastern hosts Massachusetts Dartmouth Saturday at 1 p.m.

 

 

Little East: Swim Team's Thatcher Cited

Freshman is Warriors' first rookie honored this season by conference

thatcher72dpi_3351.jpgLEC LOGO PARE.jpgNORTH DARTMOUTH, Mass. - Rachael Thatcher (Newington) has become the first Eastern Connecticut State University freshman women's swimmer honored as the Rookie-of-the-Week by the Little East Conference this season, for the week ending Feb. 5.

In a pair of dual meet wins last week, Thatcher won three times and was second once. Against Western New England University Wednesday, she won the 50 yard breaststroke in a personal-best time of 34.37 and was second to teammate Michelle Schapp (Torrington) in the 500 in a time of 5:52.55. Three days later in the final regular-season dual meet of the year at home against Rhode Island College, she  established personal records in winning the 100 breaststroke (1:13.67) and 50 breaststroke (34.08).

In addition to competing in four individual events, Thatcher swam a leg on three winning relays, twice with the 200 freestyle relay and once with the 200 medley relay.

This year, Thatcher has won the 100 breaststroke four times and her winning time of 1:13.67 Saturday represented the fastest time by an Eastern swimmer in that event this year.

Thatcher becomes the program's third weekly honoree this year, following  senior Nadine Menard (Woodstock)  October 30 and sophomore Erin McVeigh (Windsor)  two weeks ago.  Last year, the program featured three weekly Rookie-of-the-Week honorees: Amanda Rivers (Meriden) twice and Schapp once.

With a final 8-1 record this year, Eastern set a dual meet record for winning percentage of 88.9. The Warriors compete in the NEISDA Division II-III Championships  February  17-19 at the Upper Valley Aquatic Center in White River Junction, VT.

 

 

 

W-Track: Recordbook Re-Written at SC

         Hultzman, five others contribute as four marks are broken and another is tied

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SPRINGFIELD, Mass. --  Eastern Connecticut State University sophomore Lauren Hultzman (Putnam) broke two records and tied another when the Warriors participated in the Springfield College Invitational Saturday afternoon at the Springfield Field House.

At left: Lauren Hultzman

In all, six athletes contributed when four records were broken and another was tied as Eastern totaled 52 points and placed fifth in a field of nine.

Both Hulzman and junior Cora Gingras (East Hampton) broke Gingras' former   pentathlon record of 2,532 points with 2,752  and 2,551 points, respectively. Hultzman also established a program record in the 60 meter hurdles with a time of 10.29 and tied Gingras' high jump record with a jump of  5-3.

In addition, senior  Amanda Quinones (Trumbull) eclipsed the four-year-old program mile record by a second-and-a-half with a winning time of 5:22.14, and also ran the 1,600 meter anchor leg of the record-setting distance medley relay, which shaved nearly nine seconds off that two-year-old record (Quinones also ran the final leg of that relay). Joining Quinones on the winning DMR were sophomore Katie France (Portland), junior Christine Charpentier (Monroe) and freshman Nikkii Chambers (East Hampton). France ran the opening 1,200 meters, with Charpentier following at 400 meters and Chambers 800 meters.

Gingras qualified for the New England Championships in the pentathlon Saturday while Hultzman had qualified December 3 at Springfield with 2,567 points.  Hultzman's point total placed her third and Gingras was fourth in the six-team pentathlon field. Hultzman won the high jump with her record-tying mark and Gingras was first at 800 meters. Springfield College senior Kelly Curtis claimed the pentathlon with 3,048 points.

Prior to Saturday, Quinones had run the indoor mile five times, with her previous personal best coming Dec.  3 at Springfield, when she was second two seconds with a time of 5:26.66. Saturday, she eased to a 25-second win over Springfield  senior Alex Mustardo.

In addition to running the DMR, Chambers added six points in her first collegiate meet with a third-place finish at 600 meters. Sophomore Amy Huhn  (Hebron) chipped in five points by taking fourth in the pole vault.

Eastern competes in the Little East Conference/New England Alliance Championships Saturday at noon at the University of Southern Maine.

 

Men's Track: Hewett Stands Out at SC

         He is second at 60 and 200 meters and qualifies for NE meet in 60

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SPRINGFIELD, Mass. --  Eastern Connecticut State University sophomore Fredrick Hewett (New London) collected 16 of his team's 19 points with second-place finishes at 60 and 200 meters at the Springfield College Invitational Saturday afternoon at the Springfield Field House.

At right: Fredrick Hewett

Hewett won his heats in both events,  and in his first attempt at 60 meters at Eastern, qualified for the New England Division III Championships with a time of 7.14, which was just .14 seconds behind winner Sean Bernstein of SUNY Oneonta in the field of 37 runners.

At 200 meters, Hewett was timed in 23.34 and finished only behind Anderson Emerole of the University of Hartford by .43 seconds. In four races at 200 meters, Hewett has won three times to go along with Saturday's second-place finish behind his Division I competitor.

Hewett's second-place finishes netted him 16 of Eastern's 19 points. The Warriors finished eighth in a ten-team field.

Also collecting points were freshman Kevin Lochard (Stamford) and junior Stephen Spranzo (Colchester). Spranzo recorded two points witih a seventh-place finish in a field of 15 at 1000 meters and Lochard added one point by taking eighth in a field of 14 at 800 meters.

Eastern competes in the Little East Conference/New England Alliance Championships Saturday at noon at the University of Southern Maine.

 

 

 

Alumni Basketball Group Photos

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Anyone wishing a printable version of the men's or women's alumni basketball game team photos above should contact Bob Molta at molta@easternct.edu. The alumni games are available for viewing at littleeast.com. The games are listed under "Recent Archives."

W-Swim: Warriors Tune Up with Win

         They  prepare for NE meet by disposing of RIC on Seniors' Day

swimseniors72dpi_3521.jpgWILLIMANTIC,Conn. - The Eastern Connecticut State University women's swim team tuned up for the upcoming New England Championships with a 118-92 victory over Rhode Island College on Seniors' Day Saturday morning at the Sports Center pool.

With its fifth straight win in the final dual meet of the season, Eastern (8-1) established a season winning percentage of .889 in dual meet competition and concluded the season without a loss in five home dual meets.

For the second straight meet, the Warriors swept all 14 events, winning 12 individual competitions and both relays. Eastern swam the final six  events on an exhibition basis against Rhode Island (0-3), a first-year program.

Five individuals won two events each: senior Nadine Menard (Woodstock) the 100 yard butterfly and 100 individual medley, and also swam the third leg of the 200 medley relay. sophomore Erin McVeigh (Windsor) claimed the 200 and 500 freestyle and also swam the final leg of the 200 freestyle relay; sophomore Amanda Rivers (Meriden), the 50 backstroke and 100 freestyle, freshman Kayla Smoragiewicz (Norwalk) the 50 freestyle and 100 backstroke and freshman Rachael Thatcher (Newington) the 50 and 100 breaststroke. Rivers, Smoragiewicz and Thatcher also swam a leg of both relays. 

Among those finishing first or second in individual events, Rivers established a personal record in the 50 backstroke (29.80), Smoragiewicz in the 50 freestyle (27.29), sophomore Marissa Colley (East Haven) in the 200 freestyle (2:04.43), and Thatcher in the 50 breaststroke (34.08) and 100 breaststroke (1:13.67).

Eastern's five seniors - all of them four-year members of the program -- and their parents were honored prior to the start of the meet: Menard, Samantha Armitage (Bristol), Andzelina Chmielewski (Enfield), Jennifer Dufraine (Somers), and Tara McCane (Torrington).

Eastern competes in the NEISDA Division II-III Championships Feb. 17-19 at the Upper Valley Aquatic Center in White River Junction, VT.


 

W-Basketball: Rally Falls Short, 55-53

Plymouth ends hex, holds off Warriors for its first Little East victory

sommerspsu72dpi_3639.jpgWILLIMANTIC,Conn. - The Plymouth State University women's basketball team avenged a 15-point loss to Eastern Connecticut State University a month ago by surviving the Warriors' rally and posting a 55-53  Little East Conference victory Saturday afternoon at Francis E. Geissler Gymnasium.

At left: Jaymie Sommers grabs one of her game-high 19 rebounds Saturday. (Photo by Cristina Danielson)

The victory is the first for Plymouth (5-15, 1-9 Little East) this season on its opponent's home court after eight losses and snaps an 18-game losing streak at the hands of Eastern (6-15, 2-8 Little East), which lost its eighth straight.

Saturday, there were nine ties and eight lead changes but Plymouth was able to hold off the Warriors' second-half rally, Trailing by 13 eight minutes into the second half, Eastern took its first lead (48-47) of the second half with 4:26 left following a 17-3 run on a defensive and assist by  freshman guard Taylor McBride (Willimantic), who fed freshman forward Shannon McCourt (New Fairfield)  for the go-ahead bucket. With Eastern leading by one with 34 seconds left,  Plymouth's Tiffany Lewis won the game by sinking her third three-point field goal (3-for-3) for the final and winning points of the game.

Trailing 55-53, Eastern called timeout with 28.2 seconds left but freshman guard  Danyelle Rodriguez' (Willimantic)  three-point field goal attempt with 14 seconds left rimmed the basket and popped out and Plymouth junior guard  Kellie Walsh grabbed the rebound.

In a 15-point loss to Eastern Jan. 7, Plymouth mssed 18 of 20 three-point field goals. Saturday, the Panthers were 7-for-21 from long range while , Eastern failed on 11 of 12 from behind the arc. In all, the Warriors shot just 29.2 percent from the field.

Walsh of Plymouth had 17 points, five steals and four rebounds and Lewis 15 points and seven rebounds. Fourteen of Lewis' points came in the second half, when she fired in all three of her three-pointers and was 5-for-7 from the floor overall.

Eastern senior  center Jaymie Sommers (Voluntown) led all players with 17 points and 19 rebounds, with McCourt adding  14 points and 14 rebounds - her tenth double-double of the year . McBride handed out seven assists and grabbed a season-high eight rebounds.

With four regular-season conference games remaining, Eastern remains in a two-way tie for the sixth and final playoff spot with Massachusetts Boston, which was beaten by unbeaten conference leader Rhode Island College Saturday, 70-43. Plymouth is in eighth place, a game back of Eastern and UMass Boston.

Eastern visits Western Connecticut Tuesday at 5:30 p.m. The Colonials are tied for fourth in the conference with UMass Dartmouth, which upended the Colonials, 60-57, Saturday at North Dartmouth, MA.

 

 

 

M-Basketball: Inside Play Keys Win

   Levy and Robitaille combine for 37 points, 17 boards in LEC victory

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WILLIMANTIC,Conn. - Inside players Hamilton Levy (Woodbury) and Chris Robitaille (Canton) dominated the paint by combining for 37 points on 15-for-22 shooting and 17 rebounds to pace the Eastern Connecticut State University men's baskeball team to a 72-52 triumph over Plymouth State University Saturday afternoon at Francis E. Geissler Gymnasium.

At right: Hamilton Levy goes up in traffic for two of his team-high 19 points in the second half Saturday. (Photo by Cristina Danielson)

By sweeping the season series with Plymouth (7-13, 2-8 Little East), Eastern (17-4, 8-2 Little East)  maintains sole possession of second place in the Little East Conference with four remaining games, one game behind Keene State College and one game ahead of Rhode Island College and Western Connecticut State University.

Eastern never trailed against Plymouth and led by 26 six minutes into the second half before a 16-4 Plymouth run pulled the Panthers to within 14 with eight minutes left. At that point, senior guard Nick Nedwick (Irvington, NY) connected on a three-point field goal and senior guard Chae Philips (West Haven) hit a free throw to re-store an 18-point lead.

kohn1000th72dpi_3841.jpgEastern was awarded 20 more free throws than Plymouth, outscoring the visitors by 14 from the foul line, with Nedwick, junior guard Joe Ives (Avon), junior guard Brian Salzillo (North Haven) and freshman forward Brandon Yarborough Stamford) combining to go 11-for-12 from the stripe.

Above: Prior to the start of the game, Jamie Kohn was presented with a ball recognizing the 1,000th career point which he achieved last Saturday at Rhode Island College.With Jamie are his brother, Jesse, and head coach Bill Geitner. Jesse, a sophomore Visual Arts major, painted the commemorative ball.

Behind Robitaille (12 points), Eastern set the tempo in the first half, , shooting 51.9 percent and turning the ball over only three times en route to a 17-point lead.

Levy, who had a game-high 23 points and grabbed seven rebounds in Eastern's 14-point victory over Plymouth a month ago, led Eastern with 19 points and nine rebounds Saturday, with Robitaille adding 18 points and eight rebounds and Nedwick 12 points, five assists and four rebounds.

Sophomore guard Petey Skevas led Plymouth with 21 points but was the only player with more than seven as the team's other four starters took only 12 shots from the floor, combining for only nine points and seven rebounds

Eastern visits Western Connecticut Tuesday at 7:30 p.m. The Colonials, four-point losers at Eastern in mid-January, shares third place in the conference with Rhode Island College, one game behind Eastern. Western dumped host Massachusetts Dartmouth, 88-70, Saturday..

 

 

Little East: Eastern Pre-Season Favorite

Softball and baseball programs are projected to win respective titles

Softball team also ranked No. 4 nationally in NFCA pre-season poll

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NORTH DARTMOUTH, Mass. - In the first 11 Little East Conference pre-season baseball and softball coaches' polls, no single institution had been named as the outright pre-season favorite in both sports. That has changed in 2012.

In 2012, for the first time, one institution - Eastern Connecticut State University -- has been selected as the outright pre-season favorite to win both the baseball and softball regular-season conference titles.

In a vote of the eight conference head coaches, the Eastern softball program became the first to be named to the top spot in unanimous fashion, receiving all possible 64 points, while the baseball program received half of the possible eight first-place votes and was awarded 58 points.

Both Eastern teams won their respective regular-season titles last spring, the softball team (13-1) by four games and the baseball team (11-3) by three. The Eastern softball team went on to its second straight LEC tournament title last year after winning its second straight regular-season championship. The Eastern baseball team also won its second straight regular-season title last spring but lost in the LEC tournament title series to Rhode Island College.

Keene State College was second to Eastern in both 2012 pre-season polls. The Keene softball team finished in a three-way tie for second place in 2011 while the Keene baseball team was fourth.

The top pre-season rating was the Eastern softball program's third overall in 12 years, all three top rankings coming in the last four seasons. The baseball team has now been tabbed as the outright top pre-season favorite five times and has also shared the No. 1 spot twice. In 2011, the Eastern softball program received seven of eight first-place votes, the third time that the pre-season favorite received at least that number.

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 In softball, the pre-season favorite has won the regular-season championship five times in 11 seasons; in baseball, the pre-season favorite or co-favorite has gone on to the regular-season title seven times. In the six years that  the Eastern baseball team has been named as the favorite or co-favorite, it has claimed the regular-season championship five times, failing to meet expectations only in 2008. The Eastern softball team won regular-season titles as the pre-season favorite the past two years after finishing with a share of second place as the 2009 pre-season softball favorite.

While no other institution has earned the outright pre-season top spot in both baseball and softball in the same season, the University of Southern Maine baseball team shared the 2002 pre-season No. 1 ranking with Eastern whle the Husky softball program was the outright pre-season favorite. Neither USM team won the LEC regular-season championship that season.

The Eastern baseball team is also the No. 9-ranked team in the 2012 ABCA/Collegiate Baseball Division III national pre-season poll, released in December. 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.

Top returning baseball 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).

Eastern baseball 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.

The Eastern softball program is 48-8 in the last four seasons of LEC regular-season play (74-13 overall), having posted consecutive 13-1 campaigns the last two years.  The Warriors have qualified for NCAA Division III tournament play each of the last four years (the last two seasons as the automatic qualifier from the LEC) and gone on to regional championships and national tournament berths each of the last two years.

From the starting lineup that lost to eventual national softball champion Linfield College in the 2011 national tournament and compiled an overall record of 35-7, Eastern returns all but one starter, 14 letterwinners in all.

Five seniors return for Eastern, among them three-time All-America and two-time LEC Pitcher-of-the-Year Molly Rathbun (Hebron), who has won 70 of 81 career decisions with 791 strikeouts and a 1.21 ERA in  558 1/3 innings; three-time all-region outfielder Priscilla Alicea (Stratford); 2011 junior all-region third baseman Arielle Cooper (Mystic), and 2011 sophomore shortstop Megan Godwin (Manchester).  Rathbun and Alicea are three-time all-conference selections, and Cooper a 2010 honoree. Godwin was last year's LEC Rookie-of-the-Year.

Eastern was ranked fifth in last year's final NFCA poll after finishing in a tie for fifth in last year's NCAA Division III national tournament with a 1-2 tournament record. Six of last year's eight national tournament qualifiers are ranked 1-6, with 2011 national tourney participants DePauw  University ninth and Messiah College 13th.

The Warriors were ranked in all 14 national polls last year, including second in the pre-season and first regular-season polls and ninth heading into NCAA tournament play. Six of the teams ranked in the 2011 NFCA pre-season Top 10 eventually advanced to the national tournament: Eastern, Linfield College, DePauw University, Luther College, Messiah College and Christopehr Newport University.

Defending national champion Linfield College returns three of last year's six All-Americas but lost third-team All-America pitcher Claire Velaski. Six of last year's eight national tournament participants return their No. 1 pitchers or one of their top co-pitchers. Eastern returns  Rathbun, while other top returning pitchers include Katelyn Thomason of University of Texas-Tyler, Whitney Haller of Christopher Newport, Jessica Rhoads, Jocelyn Hickey and Sara Dietrich of Messiah, Emily Bichler of DePauw and Lyndsey Rowell of Cortland. 

The Eastern softball program is scheduled to open its 11th season under head coach Diana Pepin (242-155-1) March 19-24 with ten games in Clermont, FL. The team opens its northern and home season March 27 with a doubleheader against Salve Regina University in the first scheduled games at the new Eastern softball facility.
 

 

 

 


 

W-Swimming: Warriors Sweep to Win

Behind Menard and Colley, Warriors capture all 14 events

swim72dpi_3210.jpgSPRINGFIELD, Mass. - Senior Nadine Menard (Woodstock) and sophomore Marissa Colley (East Haven) each won three events as the Eastern Connecticut State University women's swim team swept all 14 events in a 145-106 victory over Western New England University Wednesday night at the Alumni Healthful Living Center.

In defeating Western New England (2-8) for the eighth straight time, Eastern (7-1)
won all 12 individual events and both relays in its final dual meet away from home this year. Eastern swam the final four events on an exhibition basis.

Eastern swimmers claimed the top three spots in four individual events and went 1-2 in four additional individual events and both relays.

Menard won the 100 and 400 yard individual medley and the 200 breaststroke and Colley captured the 50 and 200 backstroke and 50 freestyle. Sophomore Erin McVeigh (Windsor) won the 100 freestyle and 100 butterfly and swam the last leg of the 200 medley and 200 freestyle relays. In addition to her three individual firsts, Colley swam the third leg of the 200 freestyle relay.

Sophomore Michelle Schapp (Torrington) also contributed two first-place efforts in the 200 and 500 freestyle.

Eastern hosts Rhode Island College Saturday at 11 a.m. in the final regular-season dual meet prior to the NEISDA Division II-III Championships.

 

M-Basketball: Victory Not in the Cards

 Against Eastern, Wesleyan posts second straight 66-65 triumph

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MIDDLETOWN, Conn.  --  The good news for the Eastern Connecticut State University men's basketball team Wednesday was that senior guard Nick Nedwick (Irvington, NY) returned to the lineup after missing the first two games of his career with an ankle injury.

At right: Chris Robitaille puts up a shot in the first half of Wednesday's 66-65 loss. (Photo from the Smith archive collection)

The bad news for the Warriors was that Nedwick's 22 points, eight rebounds and four assists weren't quite enough to help Eastern (16-4) avoid its third loss in five games.

Against Wesleyan (16-5) in the final non-conference game of the year, Eastern failed on two opportunities inside the final 30 seconds to score the go-ahead basket and eventually dropped a 66-65 decision at the Freeman Athletic Center.

Wesleyan secured its fourth win in its last five outings when Glen Thomas sank a pair of free throws for the final points of the game with 32 seconds left. Thomas was fouled after grabbing an offensive rebound. The free throws were the only ones made by Thomas in five tries in the game.

On their next possession, the Warriors had a field goal attempt blocked,  but the Cardinals reciprocated by missing the front end of a one-and-one with 13 seconds left that gave the ball back to the visitors. Inbounding at halfcourt after a timeout with six seconds left, Eastern's bid at a game-winning three-point field goal bounded off the iron as time expired.

The one-point decision was the first of the season for Eastern, ranked among the national leaders with a +15 point differential this season.  Until Wednesday, Eastern had played only two games - both in the Little East Conference -- decided by single figures (both at home), edging the University of Southern Maine by five in December and losing by eight last Tuesday to Keene State.

There were eight ties and 13 lead changes in the game.  The Cardinals, who led most of the way and for a span of more than 20 minutes, found themselves trailing for the first time in the second half with 3:06 to play as the Warriors grabbed a 61-60 lead on an inside basket by junior Chris Robitaille (Canton). Wesleyan had overcome a 24-20 deficit with a 14-2 run near the end of the first half to take a 34-26 lead, equalling the largest margin in the contest.  The halftime score was 34-29 in Wesleyan's favor.

The Cardinals again opened up an eight point lead, 41-33, with 15:53 to go and held the lead until the 3:06 mark though Eastern had cut the gap to 51-50 on a three-pointer by senior guard Chae Philips (West Haven) with 7:30 on the clock.  Wesleyan then scored on four of its next five possession, the final three all on baskets by junior Mike Callaghan, who led the Cardinals with 20 points, for a 60-56 edge.  At the same time, Nedwick, who led all scorers in the game, was collecting seven straight Warriors points to make it 60-59 before a Cardinal miss and Robitaille's layup ended Wesleyan's 21:36 stretch with the lead.

Callaghan then buried a pair of free throws at 2:39 to regain the lead for Wesleyan, 62-61.  A pair of Nedwick charity-stripers at 2:10 gave the lead back to the Warriors, 63-62.  Each team missed a scoring chance before Callaghan hit a jumper at :56.8 for a 64-63 Wesleyan advantage.  Again Eastern countered at :46.3 when Robitaille upped his point total to nine with Eastern's last basket and a 65-64 margin. 

Eastern turned the ball over only 12 times but Wesleyan capitalized virtually every time, outscoring the Warriors 21-8 after turnovers.

Senior forward Jamie Kohn (Columbia) was the top rebounder in the game, grabbing nine - including the 800th of his career - to go along with nine points while also dishing out a game-best five assists. Robitaille matched Nedwick with eight rebounds. Phlips scored nine points on three three-point field goals (on four tries) and Robitaille added nine points and eight rebounds.

Wesleyan now has a 14-10 edge in the overall series vs. Eastern and won its second straight game by the identical 66-65 count with last year's win coming in Willimantic. 

Eastern hosts Plymouth State University Saturday at 3 p.m. in the first of five conference games which close out the regular season.

Wesleyan University Sports Information contributed to this report
 
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