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March 2012 Archives

M-Lax: Warriors Cruise in LEC Opener

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At left: Drew DeaneLEC LOGO PARE.jpg

SALEM, Mass. --  Nine different players scored goals and four Eastern Connecticut State University goalies saw time as the Warriors opened play in the Little East Conference with a 13-3 victory over Salem State University Saturday afternoon at Alumni Field.

Eastern (4-4) ended a two-game losing streak with its first road win after three consecutive losses. Salem (3-6) had captured three of its first four at home but never managed more than a single goal in any period in losing to Eastern for the 11th time in this 11-game series.

With the match tied 1-1 heading into the final minutes of the first quarter, the Warriors closed out the first period with markers from sophomore attack Trevor Morrissette (Bedford, NH) and the first career goal from first-year junior defenseman Merrick Smith (Stonington). In all, Eastern limited the hosts to one goal in a stretch of  50 minutes spanning the early minutes of the match until  midway through the final quarter.

Eastern junior faceoff  specialist Josh Dubinsky (Woodstock) won ten of 17 faceoffs and picked up five ground balls. Also scoring their first career goals were freshman attack Zach Thresher (Somers) and freshman midfielder Hennessy Aspilaire  (Deep River).

Senior Jamie Tommins (Fairfield) played the first 42 minutes to gain credit for the win in net as the first of four Eastern goalies, with junior Drew Deane (Vernon) contributing ten scoreless minutes with five saves after taking over in the fourth quarter. Freshman Anthony Lomangino (Hicksville, NY) played the final four minutes in his debut, allowing one goal.

In three of its wins this year, Eastern has limited its opponent to a combined total of 14 goals by posting its best defensive effort of the season.

Eastern hosts Keene State College Saturday at 1 p.m. in a conference match.


W-Lax: Warriors SInk Anchorwomen

 In LEC opener, Eastern gets past improved Rhode Island College, 14-7

barrettRIC72dpi_8640.jpgLEC LOGO PARE.jpgMANSFIELD, Conn. -- In a match which featured a combined total of 54 turnovers, five-time defending Little East Conference regular-season champion Eastern Connecticut  State University pulled away over the final 12 minutes to defeat Rhode Island for the 12th time without a loss in the third-closest final scoring margin in the series, 14-7, in the opening Little East Conference match of the season for both teams at the Mansfield Outdoor Complex.

At right: Senior defender Megan Barrett wins this second-half draw in Saturday's 14-7 victory.

A winner of five straight, Eastern (7-3) never trailed but never led by more than three goals until scoring six of the final seven goals of the match over the final 12 minutes. Eastern was the pre-season favorite to win a sixth straight LEC regular-season title, while Rhode Island (1-5) was picked for seventh (last).

Eastern's defense allowed the visitors to score more than two consecutive goals only once, that coming in the early part of the game. After a  free-position goal by Rhode Island (1-5) sophomore midfielder Jessalyn O'Neill cut the Warriors' lead to 8-6 with 13 minutes left, Eastern responded with six of the final seven goals of the match. Junior midfielder  Daniela Marchitto (Orange) scored her team-leading 32nd and 33rd of the season to spark the run and sophomore midfielder Ashley Wolk (Barrington, RI) wrapped it up with her first two goals of the match in the final four minutes.

Eastern senior goalie Kristianna Ibsen (Shelton) stopped 14 shots - her highest total since the fourth match of the season, while Rhode Island sophomore Taryn Carbone made eight.

Eastern sophomore Erin Conn (Moriches, NY) won 17 of 23 faceoffs (10-for-11 in the first half) and collected eight of them herself with draw controls.  Senior defender Megan Barrett (Setauket, NY) and junior defender Rachel Meotti (Glastonbury) each picked up five ground balls, with Meotti also winning four draws.

O'Neill, senior attack Nicky Drolet  and freshman attack Jessica Ricci combined for all of Rhode Island's goals, with sophomore defender Cassy Arines and senior defender Jenna Childs leading the Anchorwomen with six ground balls each.

Marchitto's five goals led Eastern - two coming in a span of less than two minutes midway through the first half which gave Eastern an early a 4-1 lead.

Eastern hosts Wellesley College Wednesday at 4:30 p.m.



Men's Lacrosse: Dubinsky Profiled


Eastern Connecticut State University men's lacrosse junior faceoff specialist Josh Dubinsky (at right) of Woodstock has been profiled by staff writer Brian Girasoli in today's edition of the Norwich Bulletin. READ

Baseball: Pitching Spells Relief in Win

Three relievers pitch four scoreless innings in 7-3 win over RWU


MANSFIELD, Conn. - Three relief pitchers combined on four shutout innings to help lift the Eastern Connecticut State University baseball team to a 7-3 non-conference victory over Roger Williams University Thursday afternoon at the Eastern Baseball Stadium.

At right: Chris Ganoe, a senior Sport and Leisure Management major at Eastern, tosses out the ceremonial first pitch Thursday in honor of his grandfather, Rick Ganoe. A long-time Eastern employee and scoreboard operator at the old Alumni Field and at the Eastern Baseball Stadium, Rick passed away earlier this month.

Ranked 13th nationally and No. 3 in New England, Eastern (11-3) never trailed after scoring three runs in the first inning off starter Bryan Motta (0-2) on three hits, an error and a walk, then scored twice more in the fifth off reliever Brendan Telfer on two hits, two walks (one intentional) and a hit batter after Roger Williams (5-14) had pulled to within a run. The Warriors have won six of their last seven while Roger Williams had captured its last two entering the game.

Sophomore righty Greg Porter (Mystic) gained his second win in as many decisions after replacing junior starter Andrew Merritt (Norwalk) to start the fifth. Staked to the 3-0 lead, Merritt allowed single runs in the third and fourth before leaving in favor of Porter with the Warriors leading 3-2 after four innings. Merritt was making his first appearance since being hit in the knee with a line drive in the first inning of the team's 16-8 win at Claremont-Mudd Colleges  11 days ago.

In his first relief appearance this year after two starts, Porter struck out three and gave up three hits in two innings and left with the Warriors in control of a 5-2 lead. Junior righty Drew Accomando (Monroe) and junior righty Matt Purnell (Stafford Springs) each followed with a scoreless inning (one combined hit) before sophomore righty Jon Blair (Waterford) survived the ninth by leaving the bases loaded. He walked three and gave up a hit.

Sophomore shortstop Danny O'Connell (Braintree, MA) and junior centerfielder Mike Riemer (Ellington) each drove in two runs for the Warriors, while sophomore leftfielder and leadoff hitter Adam Roderick (West Hartford) scored twice and junior No. 3 hitter Joe Balowski (Berlin) and O'Connell each had two hits.

bizzaro72dpi_8576.jpgBalowski doubled and Riemer and O'Connell contributed run-scoring singles in the three-run first and Riemer (walk) and O'Connell (single) plated key fifth-inning runs after the visitors had cut the three-run deficit to one with single runs in the third and fourth. For insurance purposes, sophomore DH T.J. Larivee (Salem, MA) singled in a run in the seventh and freshman second baseman Armando Soler (Hartford) singled in Eastern's final run in the eighth as a late-inning replacement.

At left: Freshman Steve Bizzaro attempts to bunt for a hit leading off the eighth inning Thursday'. A late-inning replacement, Bizzaro was thrown out at first but the Warriors recorded a 7-3 victory at the Eastern Baseball Stadium.

The Hawks stranded 12 runners on base, leaving at least one runner aboard seven times and at least one runner in scoring position four times. They failed to score in three innings when they left two runners aboard.

Trevor Manzi and Chris Travers each had two hits for Roger Williams, which lost for the eighth time in nine tries against Eastern in this series. Travers doubled leading off the fourth and scored his team's second run on a single by Trevor Larson, and also doubled leading off the sixth but was stranded there when Porter sandwiched two strikeouts around an fly ball to Riemer.

Eastern hosts the University of Massachusetts Boston in its Little East Conference openers Saturday in a noon doubleheader. Senior  righties Evan Chamberlain (Amston) and Jim Dimon (Seymour) are slated to open on the mound. Chamberlain is 1-0 with two saves and a 2.84 ERA in eight relief appearances. Dimon has no decision in three starts with a 3.86 ERA.

Women's Lax: Warriors Stay Red-Hot

They capture fourth straight with 12-9 decision over Mount Holyoke

barrettMHC_8346.jpgMANSFIELD, Conn. - Sophomore Ashley Wolk (Barrington, RI) scored her second goal of the match off the faceoff to curtail a run of four straight Mount Holyoke College goals as the Eastern Connecticut State University women's lacrosse team held off the Lyons, 12-9, in a non-conference match Wednesday afternoon at the Mansfield Outdoor Complex.

At left: Eastern's team defense of Megan Barrett (3), Erin Conn (far left) and Taylor Shannon (7) close in on Mount Holyoke's Molly Macdonald in Wednesday's 12-9 victory.

The win is the fourth straight for Eastern (6-3), which had lost six of its first nine each of the past three seasons.  Mount Holyoke (4-3) has dropped three of its last four after winning its first three matches.

Averaging 13 goals per match, Mount Holyoke was limited to  only four through the first 47 minutes before responding with four in a six-minute span late in the game to pull to within two, 10-8, with 7:25 left. Having gone ten minutes without a goal after building a 10-4 lead midway through the period, the Warriors answered with two in a row to re-gain the momentum. 

Sophomore Erin Conn (Moriches, NY) won the ensuing  faceoff when senior Megan Barrett (Setauket, NY) collected the draw control after the Lyons' fourth  straight goal, and  Wolk deposited her ninth goal of the season on a pass from sophomore Alexa Foldy (Brookfield) to make it 11-8 with seven minutes left. With Eastern playing a man down several minutes later, Mount Holyoke scoring leader Molly Macdonald hit the post on a free-position shot that would have made it a two-goal game again, and Eastern senior Ashley Prizio (Brookfield) scored her 20th goal from in close to improve the Warriors' lead to four, 12-8, with four minutes left.

Holding to a slim two-goal lead at halftime, Eastern strung together five straight goals to move out to a 10-4 advantage midway through the period . The Warriors' defense kept the visitors off the board for 12 minutes in that stretch.

Conn was credited with ten of 14 faceoffs in the second half, Meotti winning four of the draws and Marchitto two.

Eastern senior Kristianna Ibsen (Shelton) made six saves to record her sixth win in nine decisions, while  junior Liz Malenfant stopped the identical number of shots.

Meotti finished by winning six of Eastern's 14 draws. Prizio led Eastern with four goals and two assists, Marchitto adding three goals and three assists. Freshman Kirsten Kilburn won five draws for Mount Holyoke and nine faceoffs. Sophomore Annabel Barrett led the Lyons with five ground balls while Macdonald scored a team-high three goals.

Eastern opens Little East Conference play Saturday against visiting Rhode Island College at 4 p.m.


Softball: At Home, Warriors on Range

They inaugurate new facility with sweep of Salve Regina, 9-0, 3-1


Senior pitcher Kassondra Silva delivers a pitch in the late innings of Eastern's 3-1, second-game win over Salve Regina University Tuesday. The banner in the background is in honor of program founder, pioneer, and first head coach Clyde Washburne, who threw out one of the two ceremonial first pitches as the Warriors inaugurated their new campus facility with a pre-game ceremony.

MANSFIELD, Conn. - Senior Kassondra Silva (Hamden) came within an out of her first complete game since 2010 in the nightcap and hit her first home run among three hits on the day ended the opener as Eastern Connecticut State University inaugurated its new campus field with a 9-0, 3-1 non-conference softball sweep of Salve Regina University Tuesday at the Mansfield Outdoor Complex.

Silva's two-run home run - the first of her collegiate career -- with nobody out in the bottom of the sixth inning ended the opening contest due to the eight-run rule.

The home games were the first for all but four seniors for Eastern (11-1), which had swept six doubleheaders the past two seasons playing at the University of Connecticut while the current facility was being built.

The Warriors, ranked fifth nationally and second in New England, have won ten straight while Salve (7-7) had a four-game winning streak snapped with its first losses since returning from its Florida trip.

Senior All-America Molly Rathbun (Hebron) shut  out  the Seahawks on two hits -- a third-inning infield hit with two out and a clean single to right by No. 8 hitter Kristen Parolise leading off the top of the sixth.  Rathbun (9-1) established a program career record with her 38th shutout and moved to within one complete game of tying that program record.  She struck out 11 without a walk in the opener.

Silva (2-0), who missed all of last year with an injury after lettering in 2010 following her transfer from the Division I level, spaced three singles in separate innings with four strikeouts and a walk before giving way to Rathbun, who got a game-ending called strikeout to strand the tying runs on base in the seventh. The save extended her program record to 12.

Ten different Salve players struck out at least once.

Led by junior third baseman Arielle Cooper (Mystic), six Eastern players recorded at least two hits in the doubleheader.  Cooper had a double, home run (her  (the 15th of her career) and two singles in seven at-bats, scored two runs and drove in two. She moved to within four of 100 hits in her career.

Sophomore centerfielder Mattie Brett (Waterford), Silva, senior rightfielder Priscilla Alicea (Stratford) and Rathbun all collected three hits, with freshman first baseman Sam Rossette (Shelton) contributing two.

Freshman rightfielder Laura Anne Dinan had two of Salve's five hits on the day and drew the team's only walk and scored its only run.

Eastern opens Little East Conference play Saturday at 1 p.m. by hosting Plymouth State University in a doubleheader.

LEC: Four from Eastern Earn Awards

In w-lax and softball, Marchitto, Ibsen, Rathbun and Rossetti are cited

LEC LOGO PARE.jpgNORTH DARTMOUTH, Mass. -  On one end of the spectrum, senior softball pitcher Molly Rathbun (Hebron) earned a weekly honor from the Little East Conference  for the 14th time in her four-year career Monday. On the other end, freshman utility player Sam Rossetti (Shelton) earned her first.

In between, junior midfielder Daniela Marchitto (Orange) and senior goalie Kristianna  Ibsen (Shelton) were honored for the second time in their careers with the women's lacrosse program.

In the second weekly LEC softball awards, Rathbun was tabbed as Pitcher-of-the-Week and Rossetti Rookie-of-the-Week;  in the third weekly women's lacrosse report, Marchitto was selected as Offensive Player-of-the-Week and Ibsen Goalie-of-the-Week.

On a 9-1 season-opening Florida trip (the best start after ten games in program history), Rathbun appeared in all ten games on the mound. In addition to a 8-1 record with one save, Rathbun had a 0.50 ERA with 69 strikeouts and eight walks in 42.0 innings with four complete games and three shutouts in five starts. She gave up only 15 hits and runs in only one game (a 4-2 loss to regionally-ranked Tufts in the second game of the season).

After giving up the fourth run against Tufts, Rathbun closed out the trip by hurling 36 1/3 innings without allowing a run -- 12 2/3 innings shy of her Eastern record set in April of last year.

In addition to her conference honor, Rathbun was selected as New England Pitcher-of-the-Week Wednesday by the New England Initercollegiate Softball Coaches' Association (NEISCA) in its first weekly awards program. Eastern was ranked second in the first regular-season New England poll behind Tufts University.

On the trip, Rathbun set program records for career wins with her 74th (against Benedictine University in relief) 11th save (against Buffalo State), and 110th appearance (against Bethel University), and tied the program record  with her 37th shutout when she tossed her seventh career no-hitter (against the University of Chicago).

A three-time All-America and two-time LEC Pitcher-of-the-Year, Rathbun recorded her 800th career strikeout on the trip, striking out 14 batters twice in a game.. In back-to-back wins against UW-Stevens Point and UW-Superior, she drove in the game-winning runs with doubles and won both games as a pitcher, allowing one hit in eight innings. Offensively, she batted .300 (9-for-30) with a 40.0 on-base percentage and team-high seven RBI and a team-tying four doubles

Rossetti appeared in nine of ten games at first base, DP, pitcher and pinch hitter. Batted .375 (6-for16) with two RBI and a double and appeared in two games out of the bullpen.  Defensively, she had nine putouts and an assist on 11 chances.

Ranked fifth nationally, the Warriors play their first games on their new softball field Tuesday with a 3:30 p.m. doubleheader against Salve Regina University.

Last year's LEC Offensive Player-of-the-Year, Marchitto led Eastern in goals (11) and assists (7) in a 3-0 week which pushed the Warriors over the .500 mark at 5-3. Named a weekly Rookie-of-the-Week in 2010, Marchitto scored on half of her shots. During the week, became the 14th player in program history to score as many as 100 career goals.  Marchitto had two goals and four assist against MIT, four goals and three assists against Concordia University (WI) and five goals against Ckarkson University. Marchitto leads the Warriors this year with 25 goals and 12 assists.

Returning to the team after a 2009 rookie season, Ibsen played all 180 minutes in a 3-0 week with an 8.67 GAA and .500 save percentage. She made 12 saves in a 15-9 victory at MIT. In three matches, had nine ground balls and caused three turnovers. Ibsen was named LEC Goalie-of-the-Week once as a freshman in 2009.

The women's lacrosse team hosts Mount Holyoke College Wednesday at 4:30 p.m.  -30-


Baseball:Relief Pitching Fuels 5-4 Win

In home-opener, No. 14 Warriors score unearned run in tenth to trim Rams


WATCH: Post-game interview with senior tri-captain Steve Cammuso (below) (2:37)

cammuso head 72dpi_2353.jpgMANSFIELD, Conn. - Sophomore pinch runner Pat Barnett (Windsor) scored from second base with none out in the bottom of the tenth inning when sophomore Adam Roderick's (West Hartford)  bunt single was thrown away as the Eastern Connecticut State University baseball team opened its 2012 home season with a 5-4 victory over Suffolk University Monday afternoon at the Eastern Baseball Stadium.

At left: Michael Hepple lets loose with a ninth-inning pitch in Monday's 5-4, 10-inning win over Suffolk University in the 2012 home-opener.

Ranked 14th nationally, Eastern (10-3) tied the game, 4-4,  with an unearned run in the bottom of the sixth and won the game with its third unearned run in the bottom of the tenth when Suffolk (5-10-1) commited its fourth error trying to retire Roderick at first base. Sophomore No. 8 hitter  Mike Vaccarelli (Wolscott) and senior No. 9 hitter Steve Cammuso (Rutland, MA) singled to open the inning against new pitcher Eli Libby (0-2), a freshman righty. Roderick dropped a perfect bunt to the left of the mound and the late throw skipped past first base as Barnett scored his first career run in his second career game.

Eastern got strong relief pitching from  seniors  Tom Darby (Middletown, RI),  Evan Chamberlain (Amston) and  Michael Hepple (Newington) to help the Warriors erase an early 3-1 deficit and defeat Suffolk for the 11th time in 13 meetings in this series.The trio allowed only one run on seven hits over 7 1/3 innings while striking out 13 and walking only two.

With only 8 2/3 innings on his resume entering play, the left-handed Darby struck out nine in four innings and allowed just one run on three hits and two walks in relief of sophomore starter Michael Pendergast (Farmington). Chamberlain was summoned with two on and two out in a 4-4 game in the seventh and got a called strikeout to keep the score tied.  In his team-leading ninth appearance, Hepple (2-0) pitched two scoreless innings, allowing three hits with two strikeouts and no walks. 

Hepple induced an inning-ending 1-6-3 double play in the top of the ninth and left the go-ahead run on second in the tenth by getting a fly ball to junior centerfielder Mike Riemer (Ellington) to escape the tenth.

Roderick and Cammuso each had three hits in the Warriors' 12-hit attack and junior Joe Balowski (Berlin), and sophomores T.J. Larivee (Salem, MA) and Mitch Plourde (Ellington) each drove in a run. Batting third in the order, Balowski singled in the first run of the game in the first and scored the team's second run in the third; Larivee, the cleanup hitter, doubled in Balowski to make it 3-2  in the third and scored the tyinig run when Plourde was walked  with the bases loaded  also in the third.

Trailing 4-3, Eastern tied the game with an unearned run in the sixth when Cammuso doubled  on a ball wind-blown fly ball which Mitch Monke also lost in the sun, and scored  the tying run when Accomando's infield ground ball was throw away.

Suffolk junior starter Jhonneris Mendez  did little to tarnish his 1.93 ERA. The righty pitched the first nine innings, giving up only two earned runs on nine hits and two walks and striking out three. The Rams' 2-3-4 hitters of sophomores  Jake Cintolo, Devon Jones and Mendez combined for seven of their team's 13 hits, with freshman J.C. Collette and junior Chris Stanley also contributing two hits each. Leadoff hitter Mac Jacobson, a sophomore, walked twice and scored each time.

Eastern  visits Manhattanville College Wednesday at 4 p.m.


Men's Track: Hewett Maintains Success

First-year competitor qualifies for NE DIII meet in outdoor opener

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Eastern's Finishers.doc

WESTFIELD, Mass. --  Sophomore men's track and field competitor Fredrick Hewett (New London) of Eastern Connecticut State University enjoyed an extraordinary indoor season in his first season this past winter.

At left: Fredrick Hewett

Saturday, he picked up where he left off, placing third in large fields in qualifying for the New England Division III Championships at 100 and 200 meters Saturday at  the 2012 outdoor opener at the Jerry Gravel Classic, hosted by Westfield State University.

After qualifying for post-season competition at 200 and 400 meters during the indoor season, Hewett placed third among 43 competitors Saturday at 100 meters in a time of 11.17 and was third in a field of 57 at 200 meters in a time of 23.68.

In two events, Hewett recorded 12 of the team's total of 31 points as Eastern placed ninth among 15 teams. Division II American International College won the meet with 170 points, 60 more than host Westfield State.

Freshman Kevin Lochard (Stamford) finished sixth in a field of 50 and gained three points at 800 meters in a time of 1:58.61 - just more than a second shy of the New England Division III qualifying time.

Freshman Dylan Kruppa (Torrington) collected six points by taking sixth in a field of 24 in the long jump (20-0 ½) and seventh among 26 at 400 meters (51.75). At 100 meters, freshman D'Vonte Chambers (West Haven) was seventh in a field of 43 in a time of 11.48.

Eastern  participates in the U.S. Coast Guard Academy Spring Invitational Saturday at 10:30 a.m.


W-Track: Eastern Trio Terrific at WSU

Huhn wins PV in record-tying fashion; Quinones sets PR at 10,000 meters

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Eastern's Finishers.doc

WESTFIELD, Mass. --  Sophomore Amy Huhn (Hebron) tied the Eastern Connecticut State University outdoor pole record -- setting a facility record in winning the event- and senior Amanda Quinones (Trumbull) broke her previous best at 10,000 meters when the Warriors opened their 2012 outdoor season at the Jerry Gravel Classic, hosted by Westfield State University.

At left: Amy Huhn

Huhn jumped a foot higher than her previous best a year ago, tying the outdoor record of 10-8, set in 2010 by Erika Barber. The mark was also the best ever at the facility.

Quinones, the 2010 Little East Conference and New England Alliance Champion at 10,000 meters, was second in a field of six at 10,000 meters, qualifying for the Division III New England, New England Open and ECAC championships in her first try outdoors. She was timed in 38:53.90 - more than two minutes faster than the Division III New England qualifying standard and 14 seconds better than her previous best.

Eastern finished in ninth place with 34 points in the 14-team field.

Junior Cora Gingras (East Hampton) collected a team-high 14 points while Huhn had ten with her winning effort, and Quinones eight, Gingras competed in four events. She was fourth in the 400 meter hurdles (1:12.68) and fourth in the triple jump (34-6 ¾), fifth in the high jump (4-11) and 15th in the long jump (13-9 ½). She qualified for the New England Division III Championships in the high jump and triple jump, establishing a personal best in the latter event.

Eastern  participates in the U.S. Coast Guard Academy Spring Invitational Saturday at 10:30 a.m.


Softball: Rathbun No-Hits Chicago, 2-0

It is the seventh of her career no-hitter; she returns for relief win

WATCH: Final Outrathbunbondynohitter72_7990.jpg

CLERMONT, Fla. -- Senior All-America Molly Rathbun (Hebron) recorded her seventh career no-hitter -- the 33rd in program history -- to lift the Eastern Connecticut State University softball team to its seventh straight win -- a 2-0 decision over the University of Chicago Saturday morning at the National Training Center.

At right: Molly Rathbun (left) and catcher Megan Bondy.

Later in the afternoon, Rathbun (8-1) returned to throw 3 2/3 shutout innings in a relief win as Eastern (9-1) completed its best spring trip with its eighth straight win, 12-5, over Bethel University (MN)..

The nine wins in their first ten games give the Warriors their best start after ten games in the program's 36-year history, eclipsing the 8-2 start compiled by seven earlier teams (including the 2008 and 2010 editions).

Eastern 2, University of Chicago 0

Rathbun  faced 25 batters in the game and allowed only one ball to leave the infield. She struck out 14 batters -- nine through the first four innings. Four batters reached base -- two on walks, one on a hit batsman and one on an error.  The only ball to leave the infield was caught by Eastern junior leftfielder Courtney Weber (Groton), a routine fly ball off the bat of No. 9 hitter and Chicago pitcher Sarah Neuhaus.

Junior third baseman Arielle Cooper (Mystic) had a hand in four of the seven outs that did not come via strikeout. Cooper caught two line drives and a foul pop (which sealed the no-hitter) and threw out one batter on a ground ball. The other out came on a popup to sophomore shortstop Megan Godwin (Manchester). Coming off a one-hit, 1-0 victory Friday night against UW-Superior, Rathbun threw 105 pitches against the Maroons.

As she did in the victory over Superior, Rathbun drove in the first run against Chicago with a double in the fourth inning that plated junior pinch runner Kaie Sokoloski  (Eastford) and the Warriors gave her a two-run cushion on Godwin's two-out single in the seventh that sent home senior pinch runner Rosie Manzo (Hudson, MA)

Chicago (8-3) had a seven-game winning streak ended.

Eastern 12, Bethel University 5brett72_7920.jpg

For the third straight day, Rathbun (9-1) was credited with both victories. Rathbun entered the game in the top of the fourth inning with one out and two runners in scoring position and protected a 6-5  lead by striking out Bethel's (6-10) No. 2 and No. 3 hitters. Over the final 3 2/3 innings, she struck out seven and gave up one hit and walked one.

At right: Mattie Brett 

The Warriors, ranked fifth nationally, scored five runs in the bottom of the first and one in the second  to erase a a two-run deficit and take a 6-3 lead before the Royals battled back in the fourth on two hits, a walk and an error.

Rathbun reached safely in five plate appearances and scored three runs (with her pinch runner scoring a fourth) with two hits and two walks and a Bethel error. With the Warriors clinging to their 6-5 lead, she stroked a two-run double and pinch runner Sokoloski later scored as Eastern opened up a 9-5 lead.

Sophomore centerfielder Mattie Brett (Waterford) contributed three run-scoring singles and drove in a fourth run with a sacrifice fly and stole two bases. Batting 1-2 in the order, Cooper and senior rightfielder Priscilla Alicea (Stratford) each reached base three times with a hit, walk and error and combined to score five runs.

On the trip, Rathbun appeared in all ten games on the mound. In addition to a 8-1 record with one save, Rathbun had a 0.50 ERA with 69 strikeouts and eight walks in 42.0 innings with four complete games and three shutouts in five starts. She gave up only 15 hits and runs in only one game (a 4-2 loss to regionally-ranked Tufts in the second game of the season). After giving up the fourth run against Tufts, Rathbun closed out the trip by hurling 36 1/3 innings without allowing a run -- 12 2/3 innings shy of her Eastern record set in April of last year..

Eastern opens its northern season Tuesday with a 4 p.m. doubleheader against Salve Regina University with the first games on its new home field at the Mansfield Outdoor Complex.


Baseball: Pipers' Six-Run 8th Decisive

Seven Eastern pitchers can't contain Hamline in Warriors' 14-8 loss

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At left: Mitch Plourde

TUCSON, Ariz. - Hamline University scored six runs on five hits in the eighth inning to break open a tight game and record a 14-8 baseball victory over Eastern Connecticut State University in the Warriors' final spring trip game Friday afternoon at the Kino Sports Complex.

Eastern (9-3) finished with a 5-2 record in California and Arizona after having a four-game winning streak ended. Hamline is 8-9.

Eastern had tied the game 6-6 in a four-run sixth and later trailed 8-7 before the Pipers broke the game open by sending 12 batters to the plate with five hits and two hit batsmen in their six-run eighth inning. Mark Radmacher had a bases-clearing triple in the inning.

Sophomores Mitch Plourde (Ellington), Adam Roderick (West Hartford) and T.J. Larivee (Salem, MA) were among seven players with two hits each, each of the three driving in two runs. Plourde had two doubles, Roderick a triple and Larivee a double.

Down 6-2, Eastern had tied the game with four runs in the sixth by collecting five of its 15 hits. Roderick had a two-run triple, Plourde a run-scoring double and junior Drew Accomando (Monroe) an RBI single.

Seven pitchers saw action and combined to give up 13 hits and walk ten batters, with all but one being charged with at least one run. Junior righty starter Matt Purnell (Stafford Springs) was lifted while the Pipers were scoring three runs in the fourth to take a one-run lead. Freshman righty Cory Dean (Danbury) sustained the loss as the fourth pitcher. He did not allow a hit in 2/3 innings but walked two.

Radmacher and Tyler Johnson had three hits each for Hamline, with Radmacher driving in four runs with a double and triple and Johnson plating three and also had a double.

 Eastern opens its home season Monday at 3:30 p.m. against Suffolk U.


Softball: Warriors Snare Pair in Florida

Rathbun wins both games on the mound and with run-scoring doubles

CLERMONT, Fla. -- Senior All-America Molly Rathbun (Hebron) won both games with herIrathbun uw 72dpi_7843.jpg arm and bat Friday afternoon at the National Training Center, leading the Eastern Connecticut State University softball team  to  a 3-2 victory  over the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point and a 1-0 verdict over the University of Wisconsin-Superior.

At right: Molly Rathbun

Rathbun defeated  Stevens Point (6-8) in relief and Superior (4-7) with a complete-game one-hitter as Eastern (7-1) ran its winning streak to six games. In each game, she drove  in the winning run with doubles -- her first extra-base hits of the season.

After striking out the side in relief in the top of the seventh inning in relief of junior Kassondra Silva (Hamden) against Stevens Point, Rathbun (6-1)  ended the game in the bottom of the inning when she capped a two-run rally by driving  the second pitch she saw to the base of the left-center field fence with one out, plating senior Priscilla Alicea (Stratford), who had tied the game with a single to center. The pitching win was the 75th for Rathbun, who had broken  the program record with her 74th victory Wednesday in a 4-3 relief decision over Benedictine University.

Against Superior, Rathbun did not allow a hit nor a ball out of the infield for 5 2/3 innings before left-handed hitter Chelsey Jarzin chopped an 0-2 offering  over the head of  junior third baseman Arielle Cooper (Mystic) and beyond the reach of sophomore shortstop Megan Godwin (Manchester)  to break up the no-hit bid. Rathbun struck out nine and walked one and induced a game-ending double play begun by Godwin. She faced only three batters over the minimum.

Against Superior, Rathbun's two-out RBI double to left in the third sent home from second No. 9 hitter Stephanie Johnson (Southington) with the only run. Johnson  was hit by a pitch with one out and stole second.

Against Stevens Point, Eastern had taken a 1-0 lead in the third on Cooper's sacrifice fly which sent home senior Jaymie Sommers (Griswold). Sommers had doubled to left to lead off the inning and moved to third on a single to center by sophomore Jen Tamindzija (Malden, MA).Silva did not allow a hit and only two baserunners through four innings before the Pointers grabbed a 2-1 lead in the fifth by collecting all three of their hits in the game and scoring twice on run-scoring doubles by Maddie Sawdey and leadoff hitter Sam Raddant.  Silva fanned four, walked a batter and hit one and left trailing 2-1 after six innings. Rathbun kept the margin at one by quickly dispatching three batters on strikes in the top of the seventh.

Johnson also played a role in the win over Stevens Point with a leadoff single in the seventh. She was erased on a ground ball by Cooper, who alertly took second while Stevens Point was returning the ball to  losing pitcher Sara Babbitts (0-5), and Cooper scored the game-tying run on a close play at home on Alicea's single. Prior to her game-winning drive, Rathbun had been retired on a ball to the fence in left in the third and had lined out to short  in the fifth.

Seven players had one hit each for the Warriors against Stevens Point and five had one each against Superior, which kept the game close behind the complete-game pitching of  junior Amanda Le Bard (3-3). Le Bard spaced one hit in five different innings, and walked two (one intentionally). She hit one batter - Johnson - who made her pay by coming around on Rathbun's double in the third.

Eastern closes out the trip Saturday against the University of Chicago at 8 a.m. and Bethel University (MN) at noon.


Baseball: Sophs Spark Warriors, 7-6

O'Connell drives in two key runs as No. 14 Warriors outduel No. 16 Carthage


TUCSON, Ariz. - The Eastern Connecticut State University baseball team  erased an early three-run deficit by scoring five straight runs in the middle innings, and sophomore Danny O'Connell's (Braintree, MA) second run-scoring single of the game snapped a seventh-inning tie and vaulted the Warriors to a 7-6 victory over Carthage College Thursday afternoon at the Kino Sports Complex.

At right: Danny O'Connell

The outcome extended No. 14 nationally-ranked Eastern's  (9-2) winning streak to four and was the fourth straight loss for Carthage (2-5), rated No. 16 in the first ABCA/Collegiate Baseball Division III national poll.

Now 5-2 with one game remaining on the spring trip, Eastern tied the game 4-4 with three runs in the fourth and later scored what proved to be the winning run on Connell's RBI single. O'Connell also had an RBI single in the three-run fourth.

O'Connell led Eastern with three hits, two runs and two RBI, with sophomore T.J. Larivee (Salem, MA) picking up two hits and scoring two runs and sophomore Mitch Plourde (Ellington) driving in two runs in the fourth inning.

Senior righty Evan Chamberlain (Amston) gained the win in his first decision this year as the third of four Eastern pitchers, with senior righty Michael Hepple (Newington) fanning two in the ninth for his first career save. Chamberlain worked 3 2/3 innings, allowed two runs on two hits with two strikeouts and a walk. Senior lefty Tom Darby (Middletown, RI) replaced senior righty starter Jim Dimon (Seymour) in the third and contributed two scoreless innings before giving way to Chamberlain.

The Warriors had an opportunity to distance themselves from the Red Men in the middle innings but left the bases loaded twice -- after scoring its three in the fourth and again after moving into a 6-4 lead with two runs in the sixth on a bases loaded ground ball by Plourde and an RBI single by sophomore Adam Roderick (West Hartford).

While Eastern was unable to execute offensively several times with men in scoring position, the failure to produce when it counted virtually cost Carthage the win. The Red Men stranded at least one runner in all nine innings, 16 in all. They left the bases loaded in the seventh after tying the game 6-6 and stranded two runners five other times, including in the ninth. Against Hepple, Carthage had two on and two out, but cleanup hitter Zach Kozlowski struck out for the second time to end the game.

It was Eastern's first win over Carthage after an elimination-game loss in the 1995 national tournament and a first-round setback in the 2007 nationals.

Eastern closes out its spring trip Friday against Hamline University at 2 p.m. EDT at Tucson.


M-Lax: Amherst Breaks Quickly in Win

No. 5 Jeffs score first six goals of match and take down Warriors, 13-8

fresen 72dpi_7248.jpgMANSFIELD, Conn. --  Two nights ago, the Eastern Connecticut State University men's lacrosse team got off to a hot start, but cooled off quickly in a six-goal loss to Widener. Thursday, against No. 5 ranked Amherst College, the Warriors were slow to start, and it also cost them, this time in a 13-8 loss at the Mansfield Outdoor Complex.

At left: Tyler Fresen

And in both matches, turnovers played a big part in the setbacks.

Against Amherst, the Lord Jeffs raced to a 6-0 lead in the first 13 minutes, and after the Warriors bounced back with four of their own, the hosts again got out of the gate slowly in the second half. Eastern managed only six third-quarter shots and were held off the board as Amherst pulled away to a 10-4 lead after three quarters.

Ranked second in New England, Amherst remains unbeaten this season after reaching the NCAA quarterfinals a year ago and posting a final 15-3 record. The Lord  Jeffs avenge their only loss to Eastern in this five-game series in a 14-12 loss at Mansfield in 2010.

Ranked seventh in New England, Eastern turned the ball over a season-high 30 times against Amherst, but its man-down unit successfully killed all five of the visitors' extra-man advantages.

Senior Cole Cherney and sophomore Devin Acton each scored two of their four goals in the opening 6-0 spurt for Amherst and each also sparked the 5-0 run that opened the second half with their other two. Senior All-America Evan Redwood  led the visitors with three goals and two assists.

Eastern junior Josh Dubinsky (Woodstock) continued his encouraging play at the faceoff  "X" recently, winning 14 of 25 attempts and securing 12 ground balls. Senior Michael Sullinger (Brookfield) led the Warriors with three goals,  sophomore Tyler Fresen (Newington) added two and sophomore Trevor Morrissette (Bedford, NH) handed out two assists.

Amherst directed 27 of its game total of 49 shots on cage, with Eastern senior Jamie Tommins (Fairfield) making 14 saves.  Senior Sam Jakimo stopped seven shots - a combined total of only one in the first and last quarters.

Eastern opens Little East Conference play Saturday at Salem State University at 1 p.m.





Softball: Rathbun, Cooper Pace Sweep

     With two wins, Rathbun becomes program's winningest pitcher

rathbun_72_3700.jpgCLERMONT, Fla. -- Senior All-America right Molly Rathbun (Hebron) tied the program career pitching record by allowing three hits over six innings against Williams Paterson University, and broke the program record with her 74th victory by retiring the final six  batters against Benedictine University as the Eastern Connecticut State University softball team captured two games at the National Training Center Wednesday morning.

At left: Molly Rathbun

Rathbun (4-1) struck out seven and hit a batter without a walk in a combined 6-0 shutout of William Paterson (4-2) in the first game for Eastern (5-1), ranked No. 5 nationally..

As the fourth of four pitchers, Rathbun was summoned with two runners aboard and none out in the top of the sixth with Eastern trailing 3-2 against Benedictine (3-5). With one out, Rathbun began an inning-ending double play by snaring a line drive and doubling up a runner at first with a throw from her knees, and the Warriors pushed across the tying and go-ahead run in the bottom of the sixth on three hits and a walk for a 4-3 triumph.

Rathbun struck out three Benedictine batters in the top of the seventh --  leaving the tying run at first base - to overtake former Eastern All-America righty Christia Mohan as the winningest pitcher in program history. Rathbun is 74-12 in her career. Mohan was 73-16 between 1987 and 1990, earning national Player-of-the-Year honors in leading the Warriors to their fifth national title as a senior.cooper_72dpi_3695.jpg

At right: Arielle Cooper

In two wins, junior third baseman Arielle Cooper (Mystic) was 6-for-7 with a home run, triple,  three doubles, and a single for 14 total bases, drove in four runs and scored two to raise her average to .500 (10-for-20). Against William Paterson, the leadoff hitter doubled and scored in the first, doubled in the fourth and belted a two-run home run in the sixth. Against Benedictine, she doubled in the first, singled  in the fourth and slammed a two-run triple with two out in the fifth that cut the Eagles' three-run lead to one.

Against William Paterson, which was facing its third nationally-ranked team this year (the Pioneers lost by two runs Sunday to Luther College, which was ranked No. 1 nationally at the time) and had merited mention in this week's national poll, Rathbun stranded runners in scoring position in four of six innings to keep her shutout intact before  freshman Erin Miller (Waterford) closed out the shutout by allowing one hit and a walk in the seventh in her collegiate debut.

Rathbun and freshman Sam Rossetti (Shelton) drove in runs with singles to give Eastern a quick 2-0 lead in the first inning against WPU, and sophomores Mattie Brett (Waterford) and Stephanie Johnson (Southington) doubled and senior Priscilla Alicea (Stratford) singled to make it 4-0 in the second. Cooper's 14th career home run - the first by an Eastern player this season - was a two-run shot in the sixth which rounded out the scoring.

The top four hitters in Eastern's lineup combined for eight of its 13hits against two Pioneer pitchers, with junior DP Kassondra Silva (Hamden) reaching three times with two hits and a walk.

Silva and Benedictine starter Kelly Loy were locked in a pitcher's duel before the Eagles scored three times in the fifth in chasing the Warriors' righty, who walked two  of the first three hitters and was lifted in favor of Miller. Kelly Mieszala greeted the freshman with a two-run double and No. 3 hitter and losing pitcher Brittany Adcox (2-4) knocked her out with a run-scoring single. In her second appearance of the year, junior Christine Akcer (Milford) came on to prevent further damage with a strikeout and inning-ending infield popup.

After the Warriors got two back in the bottom of the fifth, a walk and error spelled the end of Akcer's day in the top of the sixth, but Rathbun stranded both runners and gained the victory when Eastern scored twice in the bottom of the inning. Rathbun  and junior Courtney Weber (Groton) opened the sixth with singles and Weber raced home with the tying run on a single by freshman Jacqui Alvarado (Bay Shore, NY). After reaching on a fielder's choice, sophomore Megan Godwin (Manchester) scored what proved to be the winning run when she moved to second on a walk, to third on Alvarado's single and scored on a ground ball by senior Christine Yeomans (Durham).

On Friday in Clermont, Eastern faces UW-Stevens Point at 3 p.m. and UW-Superior  at 5 p.m.


Baseball: Pitching Powers Warriors, 7-1

 Porter wins first career game with two-hitter over five innings

porter_raw_7791.jpgTUCSON, Ariz. -- Sophomore righty Greg Porter (Mystic) won his first career game by allowing only one run on two hits and a walk and hit batsman, with four strikeouts over five innings and junior Mike Riemer (Ellington) and sophomore Danny O'Connell (Braintree, MA) each drove in two runs as the Warriors improved to 4-1 on their spring trip with a 7-1 victory over Carleton College Wednesday morning at the Kino Sports Complex.

At left: Greg Porter

Ranked No. 14 nationally in the first ABCA/Collegiate Baseball poll, released Tuesday, Eastern (8-2) broke a 1-1 tie with three unearned runs in the third on two hits and two errors, and tacked on single runs in three of the last four innings.

Riemer drove in the go-ahead run in the third with a sacrifice fly and O'Connell plated two runs with a single. The Warriors had taken a 1-0 lead in the top of the second when Riemer reached on an infield single with one out, stole second, moved to third on a ground ball, and scored on sophomore Mike Vaccarelli's (Wolcott) run-scoring single.

Leading 4-1, the Warriors chased Carleton (4-5) senior righty Kiyota Gomi with a run in the sixth when Riemer drew a bases-loaded walk and added another unearned marker in the seventh and a final run in the eighth on a leadoff double by junior Joe Balowski (Berlin) and junior Drew Accomando's (Monroe) RBI single.

Sophomore leadoff hitter Adam Roderick (West Hartford) stole two bases and scored two runs and sophomore Brendan Lynch (Wethersfield) had two hits and a walk in a lineup where seven players had one hit each. Accomando reached safely three times with a hit, walk and hit-by-pitch, scored a run and drove in a run.

In relief of Porter (1-0) freshman righty Tyler Cyr (Bristol) gave up only one hit over three innings, fanning one without a walk and senior righty Michael Hepple (Newington) completed the combined three-hitter with a hitless ninth, where he fanned two.

Eastern faces No. 16-ranked Carthage College Thursday at 5 p.m. EDT in Tucson.

W-Lacrosse: Warriors Slip By Clarkson

They keep Knights scoreless over final 7:28 and emerge with 14-12 win


HILTON HEAD, S.C. -- In a women's lacrosse match which featured seven ties and three lead changes, Eastern  Connecticut State University scored the final two goals in the last two minutes, keeping Clarkson University scoreless over the last 7:28 to post a 14-12 non-conference win Wednesday at Chaplin Park.

Above Alexa Foldy protects the ball from Clarkson's Mary Twiss in the final minute of Wednesday's win.

A winner of three straight, Eastern (5-3) scored the first five goals of the second half - three by sophomore Erin Conn (Moriches, NY) and two by junior Daniela Marchitto (Orange) to turn a one-goal halftime deficit into a four-goal, 12-8 lead midway through the half.

After the Golden Knights (0-3) scored four consecutive goals to tie the game for the final time, 12-12, Eastern killed a two-minute man-down situation, and Marchitto set up Conn's go-ahead goal with an interception to give the Warriors the lead for good, 13-12, with 2:13 left. Conn won the ensuing faceoff and senior  Nicole Shusdock (Norwalk) scored from in close on her only shot of the half to make it a two-goal advantage with 30 seconds left.

Marchitto led Eastern with five goals and senior Ashley Prizio (Brookfield) had four goals (all in the first half) and two assists (both the second half). Conn contributed four goals - three coming in the first nine minutes of the second half - and won six draws and 14 faceoffs and Prizio won three draws.

Senior goalie Kristianna Ibsen (Shelton) made seven saves - five in the second half - and also set up Conn's second and third goals of the second half with long clearing passes.

Senior defender Megan Barrett (Setauket, NY) won four ground balls and junior defender Samantha Barone (Plainedge, NY) three, and sophomore Taylor Shannon (Waterford) caused two turnovers.

Katie VanDeValk led Clarkson with fie goals and Alyssa Cristaldi followed with four goals and an assist. Senior goalie Hannah Walters stopped ten Eastern shots.

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


Softball: Remembering a 'True Warrior'

Suzanne ("Suzy Warrior") Warner Stanton

(April 19, 1967-March 12, 2012)

suzy warrior72dpi_7572.jpg

The Eastern Connecticut State University softball fam)ily lost a cherished member when Suzanne ("Suzy Warrior") Warner Stanton passed away peacefully on March 12 after an 18-month bout with a rare form of cancer. She was 44 years old.

Warner's warm personality and quiet competitiveness epitomized the essence of the Warriors' national championship teams of the mid-1980s and early 1990s, and earned her the nickname "Suzy Warrior" from her teammates. A humble and caring person with a ready smile, Warner was the only player to play on both the 1986 and 1990 teams which won national championships in Storm Lake, IA under Clyde Washburne (1986) and the late Jeff Anderson (1990).  A catcher, Warner  caught for two of the most successful pitchers in program history - All-Americas Kim Durocher in 1986 and Christia Mohan in 1990.

On national championhip teams which produced an abundance of  All-Amercas, E-Club Hall of Famers and career record-holders, Warner was overlooked, but relished in being a good teammate and unheralded performer. At the time of her graduation, she was second all-time with a .985 fielding percentage and finished with a solid .320 batting average.

"Sue was the essence of a team player, a true Warrior; driven yet always selfless, and humble - traits which she carried throughout her life," offered Dawn Snyder, a teammate on the 1990 title team. "She was a great person, and always a positive re-inforcement."

Kris Mach-Urillo, another teammate on the '90 title team, remembered Warner as "a great person and truly a "Warrior" in all aspects of the word. She had a great spirit and was such a kind and loving person.. Her memory will always live on. I am sure our former coach, Jeff, who was also taken from us too soon, is by her side. "

A native of South Windsor, Warner lived with her husband Paul and children Brad, Jodi and Brett in East Hampton at the time of her untimely passing. She is also survived by her mother and six siblings.

M-Lacrosse: Warriors Falter on Road

They can't maintain fast start as they are beaten by Widener, 16-10

dubinsky 72dpi_7334.jpg

CHESTER, Penn.  -- The Eastern Connecticut State University men's lacrosse team scored three goals in the first six minutes, but Widener University countered with six consecutive goals and went on to a 16-10 victory Tuesday night at Lesslie C. Quick Sstadium.

At left: Josh Dubinsky

Widener (2-5) got a goal from Josh Fox with two seconds left in the first half to take a 10-5 advantage into the break and limited the Warriors to one fourth-quarter goal to defeat Eastern (3-3) for the second straight time in this three-game series dating back to 2003.

Ranked No. 7 in this week's New England Division III poll, Eastern was coming off consecutive home wins. Three of Widener's opponents this season are currently ranked in the USILA national Top 10 and two others (including Eastern) received votes this week

Trailing 14-6 after 45 minutes, the Warriors opened the fourth quarter with four unanswered goals -- the first two of the game by sophomore leading scorer Mike Devine (Cheshire) -- to cut the gap to four with six minutes left. Hoping to cut further into the Widener lead, Eastern commited four turnovers the rest of the way -- one leading directly to a Widener goal with 1:47 left --and came up empty on two shots.

Junior Josh Dubinsky (Woodstock) won 21 of 29 faceoffs and contributed his second career goal and an assist. Senior Jamie Tommins (Fairfield) made ten saves for the Warriors. Senior attack Michael Sullinger (Brookfield), this past week's Little East and ECAC Offensive Player-of-the-Week, had a goal and two assists. Dubinsky, who was named this past week's Little East Defensive Player-of-the-Week, picked up 15 ground balls.
Fox and Johnny Casey combined for seven goals for the Pride, who turned the ball over only13 times -- primarily due to successfully clearing all but three of their 21 attempts -- and forced 21 Eastern turnovers..

Eastern hosts No. 5 nationally-ranked Amherst College Thursday at 4:30 p.m.


Baseball: Warriors Pound Norse, 13-1

In first career start, Pendergast pitches 5 2/3 shutout innings

pendergast head 72_2387.jpg

At left: Michael Pendergast

TUCSON, Ariz. - Eastern Connecticut State University sophomore righty Michael Pendergast (Farmington) won his second game of the year in his first career start to lead the Warriors to a 13-1 rout of Luther College Tuesday morning at the Kino Sports Complex.

In the first of four scheduled games in Tucson after a 2-1 record at the California Invitational, Pendergas pitched 5 2/3 shutout innings for the Warriors (7-2), ranked No. 14 in the first ABCA/Collegiate Baseball national poll, released Tuesday.

Pendergast allowed only three hits and walked three with two strikeouts, with senior righty Evan Chamberlain (Amston) fanning three without giving up a hit as the third of four pitchers.

First-year sophomore T.J. Larivee (Salem, MA) had three hits and two RBI for Eastern, sophomore Danny O'Connell (Braintree, MA) drove in two runs with one hit and first-year sophomore Lucas Cimmino (Westfield MA) drove in three runs with an eighth-inning pinch triple in his first at-bat at Eastern.

Leading 2-0 the Warriors broke the game open by scoring four runs on three hits in the sixth and added six runs in the eighth when they sent ten runners to the plate. In the sixth, O'Connell plated the first two runs with a single with the bases loaded sophomore Mike Vaccarelli  (Wolcott) drove in one with a single and sophomore Adam Roderick (West Hartford) made it 6-0 with an infield ground ball.

Eastern collected ten hits off three Luther (2-4) pitchers, the Norse hurlers also walking eight and hitting  four batters.

Eastern faces Carleton College Wednesday at Tucson at noon EDT.




Softball: Warriors Trim Eau Claire, 1-0

Rathbun fans 14 Blugolds, then sets save record vs. Buffalo State

rathbun uww slides_9651.jpg

At right: Molly Rathbun

CLERMONT, Fla. -- The Eastern Connecticut State University softball team swept two games Tuesday morning at the National Training Center, edging the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire, 1-0, with a fifth-inning run and scoring late to dump Buffalo State College, 7-1.

 Eastern 1, UW-Eau Claire 0

Senior All-America Molly Rathbun (Hebron) threw a complete-game two-hitter with 14 strikeouts to power the No. 3 Warriors (3-1) past No. 15 UW-Eau Claire (5-2)  for their first win over the Blugolds in this four-game series.

Rathbun (2-1) faced only four batters over the minimum as she walked one and hit one batter in addition togiving up a leadoff double in the fourth and a one-out infield single in the sixth. She struck out the side in the second and fanned two batters in five of the other six innings.

The win was the 72nd for Rathbun, one shy of the program record held by Christia Mohan (1987-90)

First-year sophomore transfer Mattie Brett (Waterford) scored he only run of the game scored in the fifth when she singled with one out, stole second and came around on an infield single by freshman Sam Rossetti (Shelton) and infield error.

Eastern managed only three hits off  Eau Claire sophomore lefty Emma Wishau (2-2), who entered the game with a 0.64 ERA and faced only three batters over the minimum. She fanned six without walking a batter and allowed only one hit out of the infield.

The Warriors were cominig off a 4-2 loss to Tufts University Monday while Eau Claire dropped a 1-0 decision to the Jumbos Sunday. The Bluegolds had won their last two games.

Eastern 7, Buffalo State College 1

Eastern erased a deficit by scoring four runs in the fifth and three in the seventh to back junior righty Kassonda Silva (Hamden), who gave up only four hits over the first five innings for her first win this year in her first decision. Rathbun retired the final four batters to set a program career record with her 11th save.

Rathbun, senior Priscilla Alicea (Stratford) and sophomore Megan Godwin (Manchester) each drove in two runs. Alicea put Eastern ahead for good with a two-run triple that sparked the four-run fifth inning. Alicea and junior Arielle Cooper (Mystic) both scored twice.

Silva and Buffalo senior Kaylee Lekki (0-1) matched zeros through the first three innings before the Bengals broke through for what proved to be their only run on a double and single in the fourth. Silva got an infield ground ball to Cooper at third and strikeout to strand a runner at third, however, and the Warriors struck for four runs in the top of the fifth.

The Warriors pushed across their four fifth-inning runs on a one-out double by freshman No. 9 hitter Jacqui Alvarado (Bay Shore, NY) (her first career hit), whose pinch hitter came around to score the tying run on Alicea's two-run triple. Alicea scored on a sacrifice by Rathbun who scored the fourth run on Godwin's ground ball to short.  



Eastern has won two of three contests in the series against Buffalo State (3-3).

LEC: Two from Men's Lacrosse Cited

Sullinger (offense) and Dubinsky (defense) gain weekly recognition

Sullinger (top), Dubinsky

sullinger lec72dpi_7283.jpgNORTH DARTMOUTH, Mass. - Eastern Connecticut State University men's lacrosse senior attackman Michael Sullinger (Brookfield) and junior midfield faceoff specialist Josh Dubinsky (Woodstock) have been recognized by the Little East Conference in its weekly awards program.

For the week ending March 18, Sullinger was recognized as the conference's Offensive Player-of-the-Week and Dubinsky as Defensive Player-of-the-Week for the first time in their careers when the Warriors won a pair of non-conference home matches.On Tuesday, Sullinger was additionally honored as ECAC New England Division III Player-of-the-Week.

A four-year member of the program,  Sullinger produced nine goals and six assists for 15 points and Dubinsky won 64.7 percent of his faceoffs (33-for-51) and picked up 31 ground balls in regional victories over Babson College (15-12) and Wheaton College (12-7).

dubinsky72pow_7277.jpgAgainst Babson, Sullinger scored five goals and handed out three assists, while collecting five ground balls. Four days later, he registered seven points, including three assists against Wheaton.

In five matches for the 3-2 Warriors, Sullinger has had a hand in 25 of the team's of 57 goals. The three-year starter leads the team with 12 assists and 25 points and is second with 13 goals. In his 47-game career, the team captain has 60 goals and 60 assists.

Dubinsky is in his first year as a starter, moving into the top faceoff spot following the graduation of two-year All-America Eric Vasil. Coming off a 6-for-21 faceoff performance in a loss to nationally-ranked Endicott College, Dubinsky was 14-for-29 a week later against Babson and followed that up by winning 19 of 22 against Wheaton. After taking only 37 faceoffs as a sophomore, Dubinsky has taken all but four of the team's faceoffs this year, winning 64 of 117 for a 54.7 percentage with a team-high 58 ground balls.

Eastern visits Widener University tonight at 7 p.m.



Softball: Split Marks Opening Day

In Game 1, Warriors win in 8 after blowing six-run lead, drop Game 2

bondy_72dpi_4292.jpgCLERMONT, Fla. - The Eastern Connecticut State University softball team, ranked No. 3 in Division III, defeated Fontbonne University, 7-6 in eight innings and lost to New England foe Tufts University, 4-2, on the opening day of the 2012 season.

At left: Megan Bondy

 Eastern Conn.  7, Fontbonne U. 6 (8)

In a battle of two teams voted as their pre-season favorites in their respective conferences, Eastern blew a 6-0 lead but won the game on a double steal with two out in the bottom of the eighth to make a winner in relief of three-time senior All-America pitcher Molly Rathbun (Hebron).

Down 6-0 Fontbonne  (2-3) tied the game with two runs in the fourth, two in the fifth and two in the sixth but in the bottom of the eighth, Eastern scored its fifth unearned run of the game without the help of a hit when sophomore shortstop Megan Godwin (Manchester) scored from third on a delayed double steal. Godwin began the inning on second bases in accordance with the international tie-breaker rule and moved to third on an infield error. She stole home as pinch runner Courtney Weber (Groton) was stealing second. The throw home trying to catch Godwin bounced off the foot of Fontbonne pitcher Kourtney Von Behren.

The fourth of four Eastern pitchers, Rathbun (1-0) struck out five of the six batters  she faced to gain her 71st career win - two behind the current program record.

Returning after missing all of last year with an injury, junior starting pitcher Kassondra Silva (Hamden) drove in two runs in support of herself with a first-inning double and four more runs scored in the second on a two-out outfield error off the bat of junior third Arielle Cooper (Mystic),who came all the way home on the second error of the play.

Silva departed the game after four innings on the long end of a 6-2 lead. She was re-inserted in the sixth and walked the only batter she faced when the Griffins tied the game with two runs on a two-out, two-run single by cleanup hitter Danielle Glixman off Eastern freshman Sam Rossetti (Shelton).

Sophomore catcher Megan Bondy (Mystic) threw out three of four runners attempting steal. She threw out one runner in a second inning when the Griffiins loaded the base without scoring, accounted for the final out when Fontbonne scored two in the fifth, and threw out Rachel McCarthy, who was pinch running after Glixman tied the game with her two-run single in the sixth.

Tufts U. 4, Eastern Conn. 2

Eastern managed only four hits and one earned run off two Tufts (5-1) pitchers.

Neither team scored after the fourth inning, with Tufts freshman Allyson Fournier leaving the tying runs in scoring position when she came on to get an inning-ending strikeout in the sixth, then pitched a 1-2-3 seventh with two strikeouts for her first save.

Rathbun (1-1) pitched a complete-game seven-hitter for Eastern with five strikeouts and only two walks - both intentional - over six innings. Her ninth of ten strikeouts on the day -- a called strikeout ending the fourth inning with the bases loaded against Tufts -- was the 800th of her career. She is the program's all-time leader in that category.

Godwin gave Eastern a 1-0 lead with an infield ground ball which scored senior rightfielder Priscilla Alicea (Stratford), who had tripled to open the game and sophomore transfer Mattie Brett's (Waterford) RBI double after a two-out error pulled Eastern to within 3-2 in the fourth.

Tufts had taken a 3-1 in the third on Lena Cantone's bases-clearing double which followed two singles and an infield error.

Junior Rebecca DiBiase limited Eastern to one earned run on four hits before turning it over to Fournier with two on and two out in the sixth. With the Warriors down by two, Rathbun walked and Cooper singled to start the sixth, and both moved into scoring position on an infield ground ball by Silva. DiBiase got a strikeout for the second out before Fournier was summoned to end the inning with a called strikeout on a 3-2 pitch.

Eastern was ranked No. 1 in New England in the pre-season. Tufts is No. 7 in New England.

 On Tuesday, Eastern will face Wisconsin-Eau Claire at 9 a.m. and  Buffalo State College as scheduled at 11 a.m.



W-Lacrosse: Warriors Clip Falcons

 Against second-year program, they are never headed in 20-5 win

burkhardtK72dpi_7569.jpgHILTON HEAD, S.C. - The Eastern Connecticut State University women's lacrosse team spread its scoring among 12 different players en route to a 20-5 victory over Concordia University (WI) Monday morning at Chaplin Park.

At left: Kelsea Burkardt (22) carries against Concordia's Erin Lau in the second half of Monday's 20-5 victory.

With its second win in three days, Eastern (4-3) moves back over the .500 mark.   The Falcons (0-2), a second-year program.  are looking for their first-ever victory.

Junior midfielder Daniela Marchitto (Orange) scored her 100th career goal on a free-position shot midway through the first half - her second of four goals in the half -- and finished with four goals and three assists.

Junior midfielder Christina Rully (Orange), sophomore attack Erin Conn (Moriches, NY), senior attack Nicole Shusdock (Norwalk), and freshman midfielder Sandy Scarpa (Waterford) all contributed two goals.

Sophomore attack Vic San Pietro (Stratford) scored her first career points with a goal and assist and sisters Amy and Kelsea Burkhardt (Old Saybrook) each netted one. Amy, a freshman, was appearing in her first career game and Kelsea, a sophomore,  was seeing time in her first match of the season.

Sophomore midfielder Taylor Shannon (Waterford) won six of Eastern's 19 draws, junior defender Rachel Meotti (Glastonbury) four and sophomore midfielder Ashley Wolk (Barrinigton, RI) three. Wolk also caused two turnovers and won five of six faceoffs. Conn won nine of 13 faceoffs.

Senior goalie Kristianna Ibsen (Shelton) made six saves.

Freshman midfielder Sammi Reiter of Concordia scored four of her team's goals on six shots. Freshman goalie Becca David made five saves.

Eastern faces Clarkson University Wednesday at 2 p.m. at Chaplin Park.


Baseball: Eastern Bats Come Alive

Top of the order drives in ten runs on nine hits and scores seven runs

cammusoslides72dpi_1872dpiUSE86.jpgCLAREMONT, Calif. - Senior catcher Steve Cammuso (Rutland, MA) and junior first baseman Joe Balowski (Berlin) combined for five hits, eight RBI and 11 total bases to spark the Eastern Connecticut State University baseball team to a 16-8 victory over Claremont-Mudd-Scripps Colleges Sunday morning at Arce Field.

At left: Steve Cammuso

In breaking a four-game losing streak at the hands of Claremont-Mudd (12-11), No. 9 nationally-ranked Eastern (6-2) recorded 17 hits, five extra bases and five stolen bases and benefitted from five Stag errors to score eight unearned runs.

The top four starters in the Eastern lineup - sophomore DH Adam Roderick (West Hartford), sophomore third baseman Brendan Lynch (Wethersfield), Balowski and Cammuso --  combined to drive in ten runs with nine hits and score seven runs.

Cammuso drove in five runs with a sacrifice fly in the first, three-run home run in the third and single in the fourth, while Balowski singled in the first, reached on an error and came home on Cammuso's second home run of the season (tenth of his career) in the third, tripled and scored in the fourth and doubled home two runs in the fifth.

Each team traded big scoring innings in the middle innings --  Eastern moving out to a 9-2 lead with a five-run fourth and Claremont answering with four in the bottom of the fifth to cut the gap to 9-6.

The Warriors built an insurmountable 13-7 lead with three runs in the seventh on three hits, a wild pitch, passed ball, stolen base, and infield error. With Claremont pitcher John Rizzo on in place of Luke Mayer, freshman Steve Bizzaro (Wappingers Falls, NY) and junior Mike Riemer (Ellington) singled with one out, sophomore Danny O'Connell (Braintree, MA) plated a run with a sacrifice fly, freshman Kyle Hart (Guilford) doubled home the second run and a third scored on the error.

Riemer and Balowski each had three hits -- the first hits of Riemer's career -- and Roderick, Lynch, Cammuso and Bizzaro collected two apiece. Roderick and freshman Armando Soler (Hartford) each stole two bases and Riemer one.

In his second appearance at Eastern, sophomore transfer Jon Blair (Waterford) gained his first piching win as the second of six pitchers. Blair took over for junior starter Andrew Merritt (Norwalk) after the first three hitters in the Stag lineup all reached safely on hits. Blair allowed four hits in 4 1/3 innings, walking two and striking out two and being charged with three runs.

Like Eastern, Claremont's top four hitters were productive with nine hits and six runs scored. Sophomore starter Brett Watanabe (0-1) was knocked out of the game during Eastern's five-run fourth but hit a grand slam  as the No. 5 hitter in the lineup to account for all of the Stags' runs in the fifth.

Eastern faces Luther College Tuesday at 1 p.m. EDT at Tucson.


W-Lacrosse: Warriors Drop Engineers

      They control momentum with five-goal run in 15-9 victory

marchitto 72_6195.jpgCAMBRIDGE, Mass. - Junior midfielder Daniela Marchitto (Orange) had a goal and two assists to spark a five-goal Eastern Connecticut State University run midway through the first half and the Warriors went on to a 15-9 women's lacrosse victory over MIT Saturday afternoon.

At left: Daniela Marchitto

Playing its fourth road game in six outings, Eastern (3-3) snapped a two-game losing streak which kept MIT (0-4) winless on the young season.

The  Warriors turned the ball over a season-low 12 times and never trailed in the match. Eastern broke from the second and final tie of the match on a goal by Marchitto six minutes into play and later took command by scoring five straight goals and seven of nine to move out to an 11-5 lead  nine minutes into the second half.

Leading 6-5, the Warriors seized the momentum when Marchitto had a goal and two assists and senior attack Nicole Shusdock (Norwalk)  two goals in a string of five straight goals that gave Eastern a six-goal advantage, 11-5, nine minutes into the second half. The Engineers were never able to score as many as two straight goals the rest of the way.

Shusdock and senior attack Ashley Prizio (Brookfield) each had four goals for Eastern and Marchitto finished with two goals and four assists.

Sophomore attack Erin Conn (Moriches, NY) and junior defender Rachel Meotti (Glastonbury) each won four draws for Eastern, and senior goalie Kristianna Ibsen (Shelton) made 12 saves.

Eastern faces Concordia University (WI) Monday at 11 a.m. at Hilton Head, S.C.


Baseball: Redlands Quiets Eastern, 3-0

      Pitching pair three-hits Warriors, who are shut out for second time

roderick head 72_2407.jpgREDLANDS, Calif. - Josh Snyder and KevinMacLachian combined on a three-hitter as the University of Redlands handed the Eastern Connecticut State University baseball team its second shutout loss in three games, 3-0, Saturday morning at The Yard. The game was stopped after 6 1/3 innings due to rain.

At left: Adam Roderick

Eastern's (5-2) scheduled game at Whittier College later in the day was cancelled due to rain.

Snyder (1-0), a senior righty, scattered three singles over the first five innings and left on the long end of a 3-0 lead. MacLachian, a freshman righty, walked one but used a 5-4-3 game-ending double play to end the game and record his first save.

Junior righty Matt Purnell (Stafford Springs) of Eastern made his first career start (24th appearance), allowing five hits and all three runs (two earned) in 4 1/3 innings in sustaining his first career loss in two decisions.

Sophomore centerfielder and leadoff hitter Adam Roderick (West Hartford) had two of Eastern's three hits with a leadoff single in the first and two-out single in the third. He also walked once in three plate appearances. It was the second straight game of two hits for Roderick, a Division II transfer who sat out last year with injury.

Eastern managed only six baserunners (three hits, two walks and an error) and  only senior catcher Steve Cammuso (Rutland, MA) managed to reach third base. Cammuso reached on an error to open the fourth, stole second and move to third on an infield ground ball but was left there when Snyder induced a ground ball to end the inning.

Batting ninth, sophomore Brendan Lynch (Wethersfield) had Eastern's other hit. He got aboard with a two-out infield hit in the fifth, stole second, but was erased attempting to steal third.

Redlands (10-10) scored twice in the second off Purnell on two hits a balk and an infield error and made it 3-0 in the fifth on Connor Hancock's two-out double to left - the only extra-base hit for either team.

Eastern is visits Claremont-Mudd-Scripps Sunday at 1:30 p.m. EDT.


M-Lax: Eastern Controls Tempo, Wins

Warriors allow as many as two goals in row only once through 57 minutes


MANSFIELD, Conn. --  The Eastern Connecticut State University men's lacrosse team shut out Wheaton College (MA) for the final 11 minutes of the first quarter and held the Lyons off the board for the entire third quarter in posting a 12-7 non-conference victory Saturday afternoon at the Mansfield Outdoor Complex.

Above: All 34 position players in uniform saw time Saturday against Wheaton, among them freshman defenseman Aaron Daley (18).

Eastern (3-2) scored the final five goals of the first half and later connected on four straight goals in a 13 minute stretch spanning the end of the first half and beginning of the second ini downing Wheaton (2-3) for the tenth straight time after losing the first match between the teams in this series.

The Warriors controlled play by winning 20 of 23 faceoffs, collecting twice as many ground balls and unloading nearly twice as many shots.

Five different players found the back of the net in a five-goal run which gave the hosts a 6-1 lead after one quarter. Senior attackman Michael Sulliniger (Brookfield) assisted the first three goals when the Warriors grabbed the early momentum, then scored the first of his four goals to cap the run with 26 seconds left in the quarter.

Wheaton scored as many as two consecutive goals only once in the match until the final ten minutes. With Wheaton trailing 8-3 five minutes into the second quarter, junior midfielder Sean Doherty  set upsenior attack Mike Harrington's goal and followed with his own four minutes later to pull the Lyons to within three, 8-5, with just under three minutes left in the first half. After an Eastern timeout, Sullinger beat Wheaton sophomore goalie  Harrison Bramhall from close range on a pass from sophomore midfielder Tyler Fresen (Newington), however, to restore a four-goal advantage, and senior goalie Jamie Tommins (Fairfield) made a difficult save on a long-range shot as time expired in the first half.

Leading 9-5 at the break, the Warriors kept the Lyons from scoring in the third quarter - giving up only two shots - and carried a 12-5 lead into the final 15 minutes.

Eastern junior faceoff midfielder Josh Dubinsky (Woodstock) won 19 of 22 faceoffs and picked up 16 ground balls for Eastern, and Fresen and seniors Tommy Flynn (Mineola, NY) and Salieu Bolivar (Norwalk) combined for 13 ground balls.

Harrington had three goals and Doherty three assists for Wheaton.

Tommins turned back six shots over the first 54 minutes to receive credit for the win in net. Bramhall made 12 saves for Wheaton.

Eastern visits Widener University Tuesday  at 7 p.m.

They begin their quest for a third straight regional title March 19

sbgroupplaks72_0050.jpgpepin head 72.jpg

WATCH: Head Coach Diana Pepin Previews the Season (11:30)

WILLIMANTIC, Conn. -- The expectation of great things for the Eastern Connecticut State University fastpitch softball program never completely disappeared. It just took a few years off.

Last year, those expectations - which were an everyday occurance when the Warriors were winning regional and national championships on a regular basis in the 1980s and 1990s - returned.

This year, those expectations have been ratcheted up to another level for the Warriors, who return all but one starter from a squad which won its second straight Little East Conference and NCAA regional championship in 2011. In the pre-season, they are rated No. 4 nationally, and first in New England and first in the conference.

The expectations were high last season when the Warriors were coming off their first regional championship in 18 years in 2010. This year, with a strong returning nucleus and promising new group creating more depth, the Warriors feel even better equipped to cope with the pressure accompany lofty projections.

"If can stay healthy and do the things that were are capable of doing, then this could be another very good year," contends 11th-year head coach and Diana Pepin, who has coached more games than any other coach in the program's 35-year history. "Eastern is back on the map and is a team to beat," points out the head coach. "We're getting a lot of attention. However, we need to keep it in perspective, so we're trying to focus on the moment and play Eastern softball.

"We really don't talk about winning," says Pepin, a former four-year player at Eastern and a starter on the 1990 national championship team. "(Winning) is a process. If we play Eastern softball and we play hard every inning and every pitch, then we will win, because I think that we have some talent and are mentally tough."

The cornerstones of the team's success over the last few years have been three-time All-America senior pitcher Molly Rathbun (Hebron), three-time All-New England Region senior outfielder Priscilla Alicea (Stratford), and  2011 all-region junior third baseman Arielle Cooper (Mystic).

Other starters on one or both of the two regional championship teams are junior Kassondra Silva (Hamden), utility players Rosie Manzo (Hudson, MA) and junior Kelly Paterson (Southington) and sophomores Megan Godwin (Manchester), Megan Bondy (Mystic), Stephanie Johnson (Plantsville) and Jen Tamindzija (Malden, MA).

A transfer, Silva returns for her second season at Eastern as a pitcher and hitter after sitting out all of last year with an injury. After transferring from the Division I level in 2010, Silva batted .316 and ate up nearly 50 innings on the mound; Manzo split her time last year almost equally between all three outfield positions; Paterson has played full seasons at second base and first base; Godwin was a third-team all-region pick and LEC Rookie-of-the-Year last season; Bondy started more than half of last year's games at catch; Johnson developed into the team's starting left fielder in the second half of last year; and Tamindzija spent the majority of last season as the starting second baseman.

As the 2012 season dawns, it is likely that load of the pitching duties will fall again upon the shoulders of Rathbun, and to a lesser extent, Silva and junior Christine Akcer (Milford). Rathbun is 70-11 with 791 strikeouts and a 0.94  ERA in 558 1/3 innings and is expected to lock up every remaining program career pitching record by season's end.

Bondy and freshman Sarah Arburr (Bristol) and Jacqui Alvarado (Bay Shore, NY) provide welcome depth behind the plate.


"The players are pushing each other every day in practice," notes Pepin. They are competing, and I don't think that we have a lot of dropoff (behind the starters).We can go to the second level, which we weren't able to do in past years."

At right: Molly Rathbun

Alicea averages 50-plus hits per season in her career and needs only 41 to take over as the program's all-time hit leader. She enters her final year as the only player in program history with a .400 career average (minimum 200 at-bats). She also ranks among the top ten in runs and stolen bases.

Cooper's glove made her last year's assist leader and her productive bat (her career slugging average ranked her among the all-time top five) will return her to the cleanup spot.

Cooper and Godwin return to the left side of the infield and Johnson and Alicea are penciled in as starting corner outfielders.  Following an impressive pre-season, senior Christine Yeomans (Durham) may draw her first starting assignment at second base, with freshman Sam Rossetti (Shelton) the expected starter at first base. First-year sophomore transfer Mattie Brett (Waterford) should open in center field as one of two newcomers to earn starting berths (along with Rossetti).

Rathbun, who has a .371 career batting average, over 100 hits and 200 total bases and nearly 100 RBI, returns as the DP and No. 3 hitter ahead of Cooper.

Behind the starters, Alvarado will back up Cooper at third in addition to providing catching depth; Paterson will see time at second and first base again, and Tamindzija brings a .300-plus batting average to add additional strength at second base. Brett is also a talented middle infielder who may see time there.

In the outfield, Manzo will see time in center and junior Courtney Weber (Groton) can spell either corner outfielders.

Silva and Rossetti can also serve in the DP role.

Setting the table for Rathbun and Cooper in the lineup will be Godwin and Alicea, with Silva's left-handed bat slotted for the No. 5 spot in the order.

With her squads having won consecutive regional and conference championships and proven that they can compete at the national level, Pepin feels that the program still has goals to reach for.

"This team wants to go further in the national tournament," says Pepin, whose clubs have bounced back from opening national tournament losses each of the past two seasons to finish fifth (last year) and third (in 2010). "But they have to keep it in perspective: we have to make it there first. I tell the players 'commit to today, stay in the moment', because if we worry about that (going deeper into the national tournament), then (getting to the nationals) is not going to happen. So, they have to relax and play together and understand that we are not playing for a championship (right now). We need to play one game at a time."

On its ten-game spring trip to Clermont, FL which begins March 19, Eastern will face a number of traditional powerhouses in Tufts University, William Paterson, Benedictine University and UW-Stevens Point before christening its new home facility March 27 with a 4 p.m. doubleheader against Salve Regina University. The Warriors kick off a 14-game conference slate Saturday, March 31 by hosting Plymouth State University in a 1 p.m. doubleheader.

The Warriors excelled the last two years despite playing all of their games on the road and conducting practice sessions at a nearby middle school on a field which offered no amenities.

At their home-away-from home at the University of Connecticut the past two years, the Warriors compiled a perfect 12-0 record, sweeping six LEC doubleheaders. They cannot expect long-term perfection at their new on-campus home - situated at the Mansfield Outdoor Complex - but they will relish the home-field advantage which has made previous teams difficult to defeat.

"The kids are excited to play on their own field," says Pepin. "They know that it's their field and they want to represent it well."


Baseball: Warriors Crown Kingsmen

In west coast opener, Eastern pushes across five late runs in 7-5 win

Accomando_72_5493.jpgTHOUSAND OAKS, Calif. --  The Eastern Connecticut State University baseball team scored five runs in its final two at-bats - pushing across three runs in the top of the ninth inning - to defeat California Lutheran University, 7-5, Friday afternoon at Ullman Stadium.

At left: Drew Accomando

Playing its first of eight games in eight days, Eastern (5-1) handed the Kingsmen (12-7) only their second home loss in eight contests this season by wiping out a three-run deficit after seven innings. The Warriiors cut the gap to 5-4 with two runs in the eighth, and got RBIs from sophomores T.J. Larivee (Salem, MA) and Danny O'Connell (Braintree, MA) and freshman P.J. Jamieson (New Fairfield) to surge ahead in a three-run ninth.

The fourth Eastern pitcher, senior righty Evan Chamberlain (Amston)  recorded his second save of the season with a scoreless ninth in which he retired the potential winning run with a game-ending strikeout with two runners aboard. Senior righty Michael Hepple (Newington)  gained his first win of the season with two innings of one-hit scoreless relief.

Ranked No. 9 nationally, Eastern went through three Cal Lutheran pitchers to overcome a 5-4 deficit in its three-run ninth. With one out, junior Joe Balowski (Berlin) doubled and freshman pinch runner Armando Soler ( (Hartford) scored the tying run on Larivee's run-scoring single. Junior Drew Accomando (Monroe) then sent sophomore pinch runner Gavin Lavallee (New Milford) to third with a single, and O'Connell squeezed in what proved to be the winning run. In his first career game, Jamieson then doubled home Accomando with an insurance run.

Down 5-2, the Warriors pulled to within a run with two runs in the eighth on a two-run single by sophomore pinch hitter Mike Vaccarelli (Wolcott). New pitcher Spencer Trygg a 6-3, 220 pound senior righty, was unable to retire a batter in the inning, with Accomando (infield single), O'Connell (double down the left field line) and Vaccarelli greeting him and also ending his day.

In his second start of the season, senior righty Jim Dimon (Seymour) struck out six over the first six innings, but walked four. Two of the four runs charged to him were unearned.

Accomando broke from a 2-for-12 season-opening slump by collecting a career-high four of the team's season-high 16 hits and scoring two runs, with sophomore leadoff  hitter Adam Roderick (West Hartford) driving in two runs with two hits and O'Connell and Balowski adding two hits each. Roderick plated Eastern's first two runs with a single as the Warriors scored twice after there were two out and none on to cut a three-run deficit to one in the sixth. Junior pitcher Andrew Merritt (Norwalk) reached on an infield single and sophomore Brendan Lynch (Wetherfield) poked an opposite-field double to set up Roderick's two-run single.

Saturday, Eastern visits the University of Redlands at 1 p.m. EDT and Whittier College at 6:30 p.m. EDT.


W-Lax: Cards Trump Warriors, 16-7

Eastern stumbles in second half in non-conference loss to Wesleyan

wolk 72_6095.jpgMIDDLETOWN, Conn. --- The Eastern Connecticut State University women's lacrosse team scored the final four goals of the first half to cut an early deficit to one but was outscored by eight goals in the second half in a 16-7 non-conference loss to Wesleyan University Wednesday afternoon.

At left: Ashley Wolk

 After Wesleyan (2-1) scored the first five goals of the match, Eastern (2-3) held the Cardinals off the board over the final eight minutes of the first half pull to within one, 6-5, at the break. The hosts. The hosts turned the tables in the second half, however, countering with seven consecutive goals and keeping the Warriors from finding the net for the first 21 minutes of the second half on the way to their tenth win without a loss in this series.

Eastern converted its only two free position goals of the match during its four-goal run which capped the first half. Sophomore Ashley Wolk (Barrington, RI) and freshman Taylor Shannon (Waterford) bookended the four-goal spurt with free position strikes, with junior Daniela Marchitto (Orange) and sophomore Christine Lillis (Waterford) filled in with a goal each.

Sophomore Erin Conn (Moriches, NY) finally broke through for Eastern with nine minutes in the match after the Cardinals had poured in the first seven goals.

Seven different players scored one goal each for Eastern, with Conn helping the Warriors win 14 of 25 draws with seven draw controls. Sophomore Rachel Meotti (Glastonbury) picked up three ground balls for the Warriors.

 Senior goalies Kristianna Ibsen (Shelton) of Eastern and senior Maggie Drowica of Wesleyan stopped nine shots each.

 Eastern visits MIT Saturday at 4  p.m.


M-Lax: Warriors Prevail in Home Debut

Behind Sullinger, Eastern has enough to dam Beavers, 15-12 

leonebab72_7039.jpgMANSFIELD, Conn. - First-year junior transfer Christian Leone (West Norwalk) had five assists, but his lone goal on a man-up situation with 5:33 left was a key one as the Eastern Connecticut State University men's lacrosse team  never trailed after the opening goal to post a tight 15-12 victory over Babson College Tuesday afternoon in the 2012 home-opener at the Mansfield Outdoor Complex.

At left: Christian Leone

The win is the seventh straight for Eastern (2-2) against Babson (3-2) in a game which featured two New England-ranked teams in the host Warriors (tied for 10th) and the visiting Beavers (9th). Both teams have also received votes in the most recent USILA Division III ratings.

The match was the third straight for Eastern against a regionally-ranked team and first win after losing those previous two by a total of five goals. Babson had opened its season with a two-goal win against Skidmore College (which also received votes in the national poll) and was coming off a one-goal setback against No. 12 ranked Union College.

Tuesday, Eastern never trailed after the first eight minutes  and led by four with seven minutes left in the first half, but Babson continued to challenge for the lead. Three times in the second half, the Warriors opened up a three-goal lead, but each time the Beavers responded with one of their own to cut the lead to two.

With 8:36 left, Babson made it a one-goal game on senior Cam Caruso'sunassisted goal. Soon after, the Warriors were awarded consecutive man-up chances and Leone converted on the second Babson penalty with his first career goal with 5:33 left.Thirty seconds later, team sophomore scoring leader Mike Devine (Cheshire) scored his team-leading 17 goal of the season - third of the match - to push Eastern's lead to the final 15-12 victory.

Senior Jamie Tommins ( Fairfield) made ten saves for Eastern to even his record. Junior James Whalen turned back nine shots for Babson but was able to stop only one of the Warriors' eight shots on net in the hosts' seven-goal second quarter that boasted them into a 10-6 halftime advantage.

Eastern senior attack Michael Sullinger (Brookfield) dominated Eastern's seven-goal second quarter by scoring three of his game-high five goals and dishing out two of his three assists. Sullinger opened and closed the period with strikes, both set up on passes from Leone.

Eastern junior faceoff midfielder Josh Dubinsky (Woodstock) lost four of six faceoffs in the first quarter but battled back to take 12 of the remaining 23 and finished the afternoon with 15 ground balls. Sullinger picked up five  and junior defenseman Merrick Smith (Stonington) corralled four.

Babson collected 53 shots - 14 more than Eastern -- but well under half of those shots reached the net.

Eastern hosts Wheaton College (MA) Saturday at 1 p.m.


M-Basketball: NABC Honors Nedwick

Head coach Geitner is named district's top coach for Sweet 16ers

nedwick sc nabc72_1023.jpgKANSAS CITY, Mo. --  Eastern Connecticut State University men's basketball guard Nick Nedwick (Irvington, NY) has become the second player in program history - first in 19 seasons -- to be selected to the National Association of Basketball Coaches (NABC) All-Northeast District Team.

At left: Nick Nedwick

The 6-foot-1 inch, 185 pound  Nedwick was one of 11 All-Northeast District selections, as voted upon by the NABC coaches in the Northeast District.  He was one of five second-team selections. Six players were named to the first team and will move on to NABC All-America consideration.

Additionally honored was Eastern tenth-year head coach Bill Geitner (143-128), who was named Northeast District Coach-of-the-Year - the first such Eastern coach to receive the honor.

A four-year starter, Nedwick  led Eastern this season in scoring (17.3) for the third straight year and finished as the all-time leading scorer in the program's 72-year history  with 1,657 points  (14.4 ppg.).  He is also third all-time in steals (206) and fifth in assists (340) and fifth in three-point field goals (133). He also grabbed more than 400 rebounds in his career, totaling 407 for an average of 3.6.

In addition to garnering All-LEC first-team honors this past year for the third straight time, Nedwick was named to the LEC All-Defensive Team for the fourth straight season  (he was LEC Defensive Player-of-the-Year as both a sophomore and junior).

"Nick is very deserving of this award," noted Geitner. " He has worked extremely hard and his commitment to getting better has been contagious. He is a rare talent in that he has the ability to dominate a game on both the offensive and defensive ends."

After missing two games with an ankle sprain in late January, Nedwick later averaged 20.6 points, 3.8 rebounds 3.0 assists, 1.8 steals and shot 76.5 percent from the foul line in two LEC tournament and three NCAA tournament games. In the final game of his career, he scored a season-high 31 points, tallying the team's final 15 and 17 of its last 20 points of the season over the last four minutes this past Friday night in a 72-65 loss to eventual Final Four qualifier Cabrini College at Middlebury, VT in the opening round of the sectional tournament.

Nedwick recorded the top three and four of the top six scoring games of the season, capped by his 31-point effort in the final game of his career.  It was the second 30-plus point game of his career, trailing only his 36-point outburst  on January1 9 of his sophomore season in a 91-86 LEC home win over Keene State College.

In addition to leading the club in scoring, the team tri-captain performed the difficult feat of also topping the team in assists (3.5) and was the steal leader as well with a 1.8 average.  Nedwick was second with 31 three-pointers and first in free throws made (108) and attempted (149) and among players with at least 50 free throws made, showed a team-best 72.5 percentage. He finished 15 points shy of his second straight 500-point season, averaged 3.9 rebounds and in his final two seasons, totaled nearly 200 assists.

This year, Nedwick found double figures in all 28 games in which he appeared, In an LEC semifinal win over Keene, he poured in 27 points but made the pass of the season which set up Chris Robitaille's game-tying layup which forced a second overtime in an eventual 81-76 double overtime verdict which virtually assured the Warriors of an NCAA berth. Nedwick's additional season highs this year included eight rebounds in a one-point loss at Wesleyan University, seven assists in a 13-point home win over UMass Boston, and five steals in a 14-point triumph at the University of Southern Maine.

Nedwick broke Rich Vega's ten-year career scoring record of 1,593 points
in the final home game of his career when he sank the first of two free throws with 2:52 left in the 82-60 LEC championship game victory  over two-time defending champ Rhode Island College.


At right: Head coach Bill Geitner with (from left) associate head coach Ryan Wilde and assistant coaches Kris Johnson and Bill Roveto at this year's Sweet 16.

Nedwick becomes only the program's second player since the award was instituted in 1950 to earn NABC All-Northeast District accolades, following first-team selection Rossie Covington in 1992/93. A 6-foot-2 inch center, Covington averaged 20.2 points and 7.4 rebounds with a 56.6 field goal percentage in leading the Warriors to their only berth in the NCAA Elite 8 in 1992/93 and a final record of 21-7. That year, three of the five first-team all-district selections came from Little East institutions.

Under Geitner,  Eastern  posted its third straight 20-win season this year, finishing with a program-record 24 victories against six losses, winning an LEC regular-season record 11 games, claiming its first LEC regular-season title and its first LEC tournament championship since 1999/00. The Warriors advanced to the NCAA Division III Sweet 16 for the third time - first since 1992/93 - by defeating Medaille College and host SUNY Oswego in regional play.

This year's team success was predicated on defense, as the Warriors led the conference in scoring defense (59.7), three-point FG percentage defense (29.9), rebounding defense (26.0), and turnover margin (1.83)  and was second in FG percentage defense (40.8).. The team also led all conference teams with a 12.9 scoring margin.

Eastern won 13 straight games this year and its first seven conference contests and never lost as many as two in a row. The Warriors carried a seven-game winning streak into the sectional opener and finished the season with a record of 13-4 away from Geissler Gymnasium.

Geitner led Eastern to its first LEC regular-season title after being picked to finish in a tie for fourth in the eight-team loop. For this, he was named LEC Coach-of-the-Year for the second time in three seasons.

In the last three seasons under Geitner, Eastern has compiled an overall record of 65-26 (71.4 winning percentage) and a regular-season LEC slate of 30-12. The team's overall winning percentage of 80.0 percent this year is fourth-best in program history - the best since 1968/69 (21-4/84.0).


Softball: Warriors Rise to the Top in NE

Second straight regional title nets Warriors No. 1 New England rank


WILLIMANTIC,Conn. -- Two-time defending NCAA Division III regional champion Eastern Connecticut State University is the top-ranked team in the 2012 New England Intercollegiate Softball Coaches' Association (NEISCA) pre-season poll.

At right: With a second straight regional flag under its belt, Eastern has risen to the top of the New England rankings in 2012.

Ranked second in every weekly NEISCA poll a year ago (the final poll was released prior to conference tournament play), Eastern headlines this year's pre-season poll as one of eight 2011 post-season tournament qualifiers to be named among the Top 10 slots.

The U.S. Coast Guard Academy, last year's top-ranked team every week, was second in the pre-season poll. Both Eastern and Coast Guard return an All-America pitcher and all but one key player.

Eastern (35-7 last year) was joined in the poll by fellow Little East Conference teams Keene State College and Western Connecticut State University. Western was named as an at-large selection to last year's NCAA tournament and Keene was the ECAC New England Tournament title.
The Warriors were the top-ranked team in the 2012 LEC pre-season poll and the fourth-ranked team in the National Fastpitch Coaches' Association (NFCA) pre-season poll. After repeating as the No. 4 team in the first regular-season NFCA poll, Eastern moved up to No. 3 in the most recent poll, released last Wednesday, behind 2011 national champion Linfield College and Luther College.
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.

The program is 48-8 in the last four seasons of Little East Conference regular-season play,  having posted consecutive 13-1 campaigns the last two years. 

From the starting lineup which  lost to Linfield in the 2011 national tournament all but one starter returns, 14 letterwinners in all (a 15th letterwinner, Kassondra Silva (Hamden) returns from the 2010 team after redshirting last year).

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, and  three-time all-region outfielder Priscilla Alicea (Stratford). Also back are junior all-region third baseman Arielle Cooper (Mystic), and sophomore all-region 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.

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 in Mansfield.




Rank, Institution     2011 Record/Tournament
2. U.S. Coast Guard Academy   38-4  NCAA
3. Keene State College    29-12-1 ECAC
4. Springfield College    26-15    --
5. Middlebury College    30-8  NCAA
6. Western Conn. State U.    28-14  NCAA
7. Tufts U.      23-18    --
8. Saint Joseph's College, ME   37-10  NCAA
9. Western New England U.    27-18  ECAC

10.  Worcester State U.     29-11  NCAA

Others receiving votes:  
Babson College, U.  of New England


Baseball: Herget Masters Warriors, 5-0

Kean junior extends his scoreless streak to 24 innings this year

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At left: Matt PurnellWARRIORlogo2009_72dpi.jpg

UNION, N.J. - Through the early going this year, no team has been able to figure out the deliveries of Kean University junior righty Kevin Herget. And you can add the Eastern Connecticut State University baseball team to that expanding list.

Saturday, Herget (3-0) extended this year's scoreless streak to 24 innings as No. 2 nationally-ranked Kean (8-2) shut out No. 8 Eastern (4-1), 5-0, at Jim Hynes Stadium for its fourth straight win over Eastern and fifth in six years.

Herget, who pitched a complete-game seven-hitter with ten strikeouts in a win over Eastern last year,  scattered six singles over the first eight innings Saturday and struck out nine in handing the Warriors their first loss after they had beaten Whitman College four times two weekends ago in Walla Walla, Wash. This year, Herget has fanned 25 and walked only four and allowed only nine hits.

In his second start of the season, Eastern junior righty Andrew Merritt (Norwalk)  was lifted after allowing  a leadoff single in the fourth. He was charged with three runs on six hits while fanning one and walking one. Merritt gave up two runs in the bottom of the first after retiring the first two batters. He allowed two hits and a walk and threw a wild pitch in that two-run first and the Cougars made it 3-0 in the third on a pair of singles and a sacrifice fly.

Herget, now 17-2 in three seasons, retired the first 12 Eastern batters in order - fanning six -- before cleanup hitter Joe Balowski (Berlin) reached on an infield single leading off the fifth.   Balowski was erased on a double play ground ball to short, however.

Down 3-0, the Warriors threatened in the sixth when junior Drew Accomando (Monroe) and sophomore Mike Vaccarelli (Wolcott) reached safely on a single and error, respectively, but Accomando was thrown out trying to steal third and Herget got a pair of infield ground balls to end the inning. Trailing 5-0, Eastern threatened again by loading the bases with one out in the eighth but Herget curtailled the threat with a pair of strikeouts.

In his third relief appeaerance of the season, junior righty Matt Purnell (Stafford) didn't allow a hit over three innings, with only one batter reaching (on a hit-by-pitch). Purnell fanned three.

The 2007 NCAA Division III national champion, Kean has reached the national tournament in four of the last five seasons.

Eastern plays the first of  eight games in eight days in California and Arizona Friday against California Lutheran University at 1:30 p.m. EDT.


W-Lax: Babson Surges Past Warriors

After scoring first goal, Warriors are held scoreless for next 28 minutes


WATCH: Video Archive

MANSFIELD, Conn. - All-New England senior attack Trisha Babson  had three goals and three assists, won 12 faceoffs and corralled eight draw controls to power the Babson College women's lacrosse team to a 15-4 victory over Eastern Connecticut State University Saturday afternoon.

At right: Eastern's Erin Conn advances the ball against Babson's Erin Daley in Saturday's non-conference loss. 

Coming off a three-goal loss at No. 18 ranked Bates College Tuesday, Babson College (1-1) shut Eastern (2-2) out for 28 minutes after the Warriors scored on their first shot in the opening five minutes, scoring the final seven goals of the first half and the first one of the second half to move out to an 8-1 lead. The Warriors scored two of their four goals in the final 11 minutes.

Senior attack Colleen Mulligan, Babson, junior midfielder Jameson Spang and sophomore attack Misha Beatty combined for 13 of Babson College's goals to lead the visitors to their seventh straight triumph over Eastern in this ten-game series.Mulligan connected on fur goals and Babson, Beatty and Spang three each. The Beacons converted six of 16 free-position opportunities, while the hosts were awarded only three and scored on one.

Trisha Babson won all eight faceoffs in the first half. She gained the draw control on five of those faceoffs, with senior defender Bridget McCurdy  gaining possession of the other three.

Sophomore goalie Julie Baharestani  needed only three saves to even her season record in goal. After stopping 16 shots in a five-goal win at Roger Williams Thursday, Eastern senior Kristianna Ibsen (Shelton) stopped 15 shots, 12 coming in the first half when Babson College amassed a 24-5 advantage in shots.

One of four Eastern players to take a faceoff, freshman midfielder Taylor Shannon (Waterford) won five of seven tries, with sophomore attack Erin Conn (Moriches, NY) won four of nine and was credited with four draw controls. Conn scored three of Eastern's goals and now shares the team lead with 13. Junior defender Rachel Meotti (Glastonbury) matched Conn with four draws while sophomore midfielder Ashley Wolk (Barrington, RI) and senior defender Megan Barrett (Setauket, NY) each picked up two ground balls.

For Babson College, senior defender Erin Daley caused three turnovers and picked up three ground balls and Spang had three ground balls.

Eastern  visits Wesleyan University Wednesday at 4 p.m.


Against Cabrini, they rally from 16 points down to within four


MIDDLEBURY, Vt. - Cabrini College led from start to finish but had to withstand a furious Eastern Connecticut State University run in the final minute and eliminated the Warriors from the NCAA Division III tournament with a 72-65 victory in the Sweet 16 Friday evening at Pepin Gymnasium on the Middlebury College campus.

At right: Senior Nick Nedwick drives for two of his season-high 31 points in the final minutes Friday night.

Ranked fifth nationally and first in the NCAA Mid-Atlantic Region, Cabrini (29-1) won its 20th straight game and handed Eastern (24-6), ranked 21st, a season-ending defeat which snapped a seven-game winning streak.  The Cavaliers move to an Elite Eight game Saturday at 7 p.m. against unranked University of Scranton, which upset No. 4 Middlebury College, 58-55, in Friday's second semifinal, handing the Panthers their first home loss of the season.

Cabrini scored the first seven points of the game and amassed its largest lead of 16 points, 59-43, with six minutes left. Down by nine with 29 seconds left, the Warriors scored seven of the next nine to pull as close as four, 69-65, with 8.0 seconds left before  Cabrini's John Boyd swished a pair of game-clinching free throws with 7.2 seconds left.

Eastern senior guard Nick Nedwick (Irvington, NY), the program's all-time leading scorer, concluded his career by scoring Eastern's final 15 points and 17 of its last 20 on over the final four minutes. Nedwick scored those final points on a selection of drives to the basket, conventional three-point plays and three-point baskets.

Nedwick scored nearly half of Eastern's points, finishing with a season-high 31 points and a team-high five assists. He was 12-for-22 from the floor and 6-for-9 from the foul line andn also handed out five assists. Seniors forwards Jamie Kohn (Columbia) and  Hamilton Levy (Woodbury) combined for 17 rebounds, but the Warriors were outrebounded by 13.

Cabrini senior guard Cory Lemons, an All-America candidate, was held to just one field goal and two points in the first half but finished as one of the Cavaliers' four double-digit scorers in a balanced attack with 12 points, Aaron Walton-Moss, a freshman guard, came off the bench to score a team-high 15 points for Cabrini and the 6-foot-1 inch guard grabbed a game-high 14 rebounds.  AJ Williams added 14 points, John Boyd had 13 points and six rebounds for the winners and Lemons contributed five assists and only one turnover in 40 minutes.

While the Warriors  tied their season low of only seven turnovers, the poor free throw shooting which has plagued Eastern all season surfaced  again as the Warriors missed 12 of 22 attempts and also went  just 5-for-21 from three-point range.

Nedwick finished his 115-game career ranked first in the program's 72-year history with 1,657 points.



M-Basketball: Warriors in Sectionals

They face once-beaten Cabrini in sectional opener Friday

By Nick Wilcox
Sports Information Office


WATCH: Head Coach Bill Geitner Evaluates Friday's Opening-Round Sectional Opponent (0:30)

WILLIMANTIC, Conn. - To provide some perspective: A total of 413 institutions were eligible for the NCAA Division III men's basketball championship in 2011/12.  After more than three months of competition, 62   were chosen to the tournament. Today, 16 remain. By Saturday night, four will be left. On March 17, one will be crowned as the 38th national titlist in the history of the championship.

At left: After celebrating their Little East Conference championship February 25, the Warriors won twice last weekend to move into this weekend's NCAA sectional tournament.

This weekend at Middlebury, Vt., the Eastern Connecticut State University (24-5) men's basketball team continues its march in the tournament, facing Cabrini College (28-1) in its third Sweet 16 appearance in program history at 5:30 p.m. at Middlebury College's Pepin Gymnasium. At 7:30,  Middlebury College (26-3) faces the University of Scranton (22-7) at 7:30 p.m.

Friday's winners move into the Elite Eight the following night at 7 p.m. at Middlebury. Saturday's survivor advances to the Final Four, to be hosted for the 17th consecutive year at the Salem Civic Center in Salem, Va. March 16-17.

Also hosting sectional tournaments this weekend are the College of Wooster,  Franklin & Marshall College and the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater.  This year, there will a new national champion, as 2011 champion University of St. Thomas (MN) was eliminated by the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater, 91-62, in a regional championship game last weekend at Whitewater.

This weekend's sectional tournament teams:

Eastern Connecticut State University
The Warriors take on the Cavaliers of Cabrini in the first meeting ever between the programs.   Eastern is fresh off victories over Medaille College, 66-51, in last Friday's regional opener and a huge double-overtime win capturing the NCAA regional against the host Lakers of SUNY Oswego, 70-69, Saturday at Max Ziel Gymnasium.

This is the Warrior's first appearance in the NCAA sectional tournament since 1992-93, when they reached the Elite 8 for the only time in program history with wins at Salem State University and a double-overtime thriller over New York University at North Dartmouth, MA .

This marks the Warriors' fourth  NCAA appearance, first since a five-point first-round loss at Springfield College. In 1991-92 they reached the Sweet 16  before losing to New Jersey City University by six points at Salisbury, MD.

Having won at least 20 games for the third straight season under tenth-year head coach Bill Geitner, Eastern has set a program record for wins in a season and bring a seven-game winning streak into Friday's game.  The team's 11 Little East Conference victories also represent a high-water mark in 26 season of LEC play. 

Eastern  started off  by winning 14 of its first 15 games and its first seven conference contests before dropping a 64-56 home conference decision to Keene State College (whicha record of 14-1 heading into a home game versus Keene State.  The Warriors have not lost since a dropping an LEC overtime heartbreaker at Western Connecticut  in a game where they led
By eight points with 2:25 in regulation.

A 65-62 win at Keene State pulled Eastern even in the conference standings in the final week of the regular season and an Eastern win and Keene State loss on the final day of the regular season gave the Warriors their first conference regular-season title.

In the conference tournament at Geissler Gym, Eastern emerged with an 81-76 double overtime win over Keene and followed the next evening by avenging an earlier 18-point loss with an 82-60 triumph over two-time defending LEC tournament champ Rhode Island College.

Eastern is 5-3 in four seasons of NCAA participation. The Warriors  have never met Scranton and have faced Middlebury only once, losing in the consolation game of the Ithaca College tournament by a point 29 years ago.

Statistical Leaders:
Points Per Game: Nick Nedwick, 16.8
Assists Per Game: Nedwick, 3.4
Rebounds Per Game: Jamie Kohn, 7.3
Field Goal Pct.: Chris Robitalle,  62.4
Three-Point Pct.: Brian Salzillo, 39.6
Free Throw Pct: Joe Ives, 85.5

Cabrini College
The national leader in winning percentage, No. 5 ranked Cabrini has not lost in the 2012 portion of its 2011/12 schedule and bring a 19-game winning streak. The Cavaliers' only loss came against Centre College, 69-67, in overtime in the final of the Centre College tournament December 30.

The Cavs are competing in the sectionals for the second straight season after winning their second straight conference and regional championship. Cabrini has qualified for the NCAA tournament ten times (three straight), with an overall record of 8-10. The Cavs were eliminated in the sectional semifinals by eventual national runner-up College of Wooster a year ago.

As a regional host last weekend, Cabrini dumped Castleton State College, 104-87, and went overtime to eliminate Hobart College, 90-88. Cabrini was eliminated last year by Wooster, 94-77, which went on to lose to St. Thomas in the national championship game.

Statistical Leaders:
Points Per Game: Cory Lemons, 17.9
Assist Per Game: Lemons, 6.6
Rebounds Per Game: Aaron Walton-Moss, 8.3
Field Goal Pct.: Aaron Walton-Moss, 64.0
3-Point Pct.: Lemons, 42.2
Free Throw Pct:  Lemons, 82.9

Middlebury College
Ranked No. 4 nationally, the Panthers play in the New England Small College Athletic Conference (NESCAC),  which features three of the top eight teams in the Northeast Region. A winner of its first 18 games, Middlebury's only losses this season have come at Keene State in a nail biter  (77-76) and twice on the road by two points each time against NESCAC conference foe and former national champion Amherst College (ranked second nationally), the last time coming in the NESCAC tournament finals. Middlebury is coming off wins against Morrisville State (75-49) and Albertus Magnus (89-73) in the regionals at home, where the Panthers are 12-0. In its fourth straight NCAA appeaerance, Middlebury reached the final four last season, losing to eventual winner St Thomas (MN). The Panthers are 6-4 in NCAA play.

Statistical Leaders:
Points Per Game: Ryan Sharry, 19.0
Assist Per Game: Dylan Sinnickson, 5.3
Rebounds Per Game: Ryan Sharry, 10.6
Field Goal Pct.: Peter Lynch, 63.9
3-Point Pct.: Joey Kizel, 51.9
Free Throw Pct.: Joey Kizel, 91.0

University of  Scranton
The unranked Royals have been in the  NCAA field 24 times -- second only to  Wittenberg College. They have reached the Final Four four times and won national championships in 1976 and 1983, both time over Wittenberg by a total of four points. Scranton is 34-23 overall in NCAA play.

This year, the Royals won the Landmark Conference, beating Moravian College, 82-70,  and Juniata College, 78-70. Last year, they lost to Becker College, 80-73, in the first round of the NCAA tournament but rebounded to easily eliminate Becker in the regional final at Wayne, NJ after a 70-67 overtime victory over Messiah College in the opener.

Scranton has won 19 of its last 22 (five straight) after a 4-4 start. Four  of its seven losses have come by a total of nine points.

Statistical Leaders:
Points Per Game: Travis Farrell, 13.7
Assist Per Game: Tommy Morgan, 2.6
Rebounds Per Game: Travis Farrell, Ross Danzig 5.4 each
Field Goal Pct.: Luke Hawk, 51.3
3-Point Pct.: Matt Swaback 41.4
Free Throw Pct.: Travis Farrell, 79.3





W-Lax: Warriors Break Fast, Down RWU

 Shusdock, Marchitto combine for seven goals in first 16 minutes


BRISTOL R.I. -- Senior Nicole Shusdock (Norwalk) and junior Daniela Marchitto (Orange) combined for seven goals in the first 16 minutes as the Eastern Connecticut State University women's lacrosse team jumped to an early lead on the way to a 16-11 non-conference verdict over Roger Williams University Thursday afternoon.

At right: Kristianna Ibsen makes one of her 16 saves in the first half of Thursday's 16-11 win.

Eastern (2-1) never trailed, racing to a 10-3 lead and holding off a late Roger Williams (0-3) thrust to down the Hawks for the second time in three years. The outcome of all three contests in this series has been similar with Eastern winning 15-10 in 2010 and Roger Williams 16-10 last year.

With 12 minutes left, the Hawks scored four consecutive goals to cut Eastern's lead to four 15-11 with 5:27 left. Roger Williams won the ensuing draw but Eastern senior goalie Kristianna Ibsen (Shelton) made one of her 16 saves -- this one on a shot by RWU freshman  Deven Machette - to prevent further damage. The Warriors were able to clear the ball after the save and re-gained the momentum on a goal by senior Ashley Prizio (Brookfield) on a pass off a free-position opportunity by freshman Taylor Shannon (Waterford) with 3:39 left.

barrettrwu72dpi_5794.jpgThe Warriors scored five goals in the first 11 minutes, RWU junior goalie Justine Sullivan departing at that point without making a save. Shusdock had the team's first two goals and added an assist Marchitto scored twice and Prizio had a goal and assist in that opening 5-1 spurt.

At left: Senior defender Megan Barrett (in blue)

Marchitto led all players with five goals Prizio adding four goals and an assist and Shusdock three goals and an assist. Last yeare's Little East Conference Offensive Player-of-the-Year, Prizio had missed the first two games this year with an ankle injury. Prizio and Marchitto combined for more than half of the Warriors' 31 shots. Each took eight.

Sophomore Erin Conn (Moriches, NY) won 13 of 26 faceoffs and was credited with seven draw controls and two goals for Eastern, and senior Megan Barrett (Setauket, NY) and sophomore Rachel Meotti (Glastonbury) combined for 11 ground balls. Prizio caused three turnovers. Sophomore Ashley Wolk (Barrington RI) accounted for Eastern's other two goals and Shannon was the only Eastern player with multiple assists (2).

Eastern hosts Babson College Saturday at 1 p.m.


Softball: Field of Dreams


sbfieldbanner_5600.jpgThe Eastern Connecticut State University women's softball team was able to utilize  its new softball facility for the first time this afternoon when it conducted its first official practice on the newly-constructed field at the Mansfield Outdoor Complex. The Warriors had played all of their games on the road for the last two years while the facility -- only the second on-campus home in the 36-year history of the program -- was being constructed. Eastern is scheduled to play 15 home games this season, the first coming March 27 in a 4 p.m. doubleheader against Salve Regina University. Official pre-game ceremonies are scheduled prior to a Tuesday, April 24  Little East Conference 5 p.m. doubleheader with Western Connecticut.Eastern is the two-time defending NCAA New England Regional champion and kicks off its season with ten games in six days March 19-24 at the National Training Center in Clermont, FL.

M-Lax: In Loss, Defense Keyed Surge

Warriors keep No. 15 Endicott scoreless for final 14 minutes in setback


BEVERLY, Mass. --  It had been 16 years since the Eastern Connecticut State University and Endicott College men's lacrosse teams had battled, but the result remained the same: the home team winning by one goal.

Tuesday night, Eastern (1-2) scored the final four goals of the match - keeping Endicott (1-1) off the board for the final 14-plus minutes - but couldn't get the equalizer in a 10-9 loss to the Gulls, ranked No. 15 nationally and No. 4 in New England.

Sixteen years ago, Eastern also outscored Endicott 4-1 in the final quarter and did not allow a visiting goal in that final quarter for over 14 minutes until the Gulls cut the Eastern margin to one with nine seconds left in a match which ended in Eastern's favor at Nevers Field, 9-8.

This year, both teams were coming off tight losses to nationally-ranked teams, Eastern losing by four at No. 7  Stevens Tech last Wednesday and Endicott by three against No. 6 RIT at Cambridge, Mass.

Against Endicott Tuesday in their third straight road match, the Warriors were slow getting out of the gate,  giving up the first three goals (two on man-up situations) and trailing by four, 7-3 at halftime. Eastern outscored the hosts 6-3 over the final 30 minutes, however, cutting the deficit to the final one-goal margin on fourth-quarter goals by  sophomores Mike Devine (Cheshire), Tyler Fresen (Newington) and Trevor Morrissette (Bedford, NH).

Morrissette's only goal of the match in a man-advantage try on senior Michael Sullinger's (Brookfield) third assist  of the match in the final minute gave the Warriors an opportunity to pull even. However, Endicott won its 16th faceoff in 22 tries, and by the time Eastern freshman Travis Tiger (Ridgefield) dislodged the ball free, time expired.

Endicott outshot Eastern 41-23 but was able to put on four more shots on goal than the Warriors. Eastern senior Jamie Tommins (Fairfield) turned back nine shots, with Endicott  junior Tom Burke making six.

Both teams were balanced offensively, as 14 different players combined for the game's 19 goals and ten contributed at least one assist. Devine led Eastern with three, senior Salieu Bolivar (Norwalk) adding two and Sullinger finished with three assists. Senior Tommy Flynn (Mineola, NY) led Eastern with six ground balls.

Connor McCormack and Brian Estes each had two goals for the Gulls, with eight other players contributing one each.

Endicott has reached the second round of the NCAA tournament each of the last two seasons after winning back-to-back ECAC tournament titles in 2008 and 2009.

In its home debut, Eastern hosts Babson College Tuesday at 4 p.m.


W-Lax: Seahawks Trim Warriors, 14-13

Eastern comes from five goals back in non-conference loss

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MIDDLETOWN, R.I. -- There were five ties and five lead changes but neither team scored over the final four minutes as the Salve Regina University women's lacrosse team pulled away for its first win over Eastern Connecticut State University  in the last three meetings between the teams, 14-13, Tuesday afternoon at Gaudet Field.

At right: Nicole Shusdock

Eastern (1-1) took its final lead, 10-9,  one minute into the second half before the hosts answered with three in a row to take the lead for good, 12-10, 11 minutes into the second half. The teams combined for only five goals over the final 19 minutes, two by sophomore attack Erin Conn (Moriches, NY) and one by junior midfielder Daniela Marchitto (Orange) and two by Salve (1-0) junior  Jennifer Jones.

After Marchitto's  eighth goal of the season on the team's only successful free position goal moved Eastern to within 14-13 with just under four minutes left, the Seahawks allowed the Warriors only two possessions the rest of the way. Conn won the faceoff after Marchitto's goal but her shot was saved by Salve sophomore goalie Josie O'Reilly on the first possession, and Eastern turned the ball over on its final possession with just under a minute remaining.

Trailing by five goals, Eastern scored the final four goals of the first half to pull to within one, 9-8, at the break. Senior attack Nicole Shusdock (Norwalk) scored three of those four goals, with Marchitto assisting on two.

Eastern senior goalie Kristianna Ibsen (Shelton) made nine saves for Eastern. Shusdock led Eastern with five goals, Conn scoring four and Marchitto had two goals and two assists and won three draws. Senior defender Megan Barrett (Setauket, NY) led Eastern with four ground balls, sophomore midfielder Ashley Wolk (Barrington, RI) picking up three.

Freshman midfielder Sandy Scarpa (Waterford) scored her first career goal with 13 minutes left in the first half.

The teams combined to miss13 of 15 free-position shots. Jones and senior Sarah Livingston combined for nine of Salve's goals.

Eastern was the pre-season favorite to win the Little East Conference while Salve was picked for seventh in the Commonwealth Coast Conference.

Eastern played without senior attack Ashley Prizio (Brookfield), last year's Little East Conference Offensive Player-of-the-Year. She missed her second straight match with an ankle injury.

Eastern visits Roger Williams University Thursday at 4 p.m.

M-Basketball: Headed for the Sweet 16

Salzillo's three-pointer with 2.7 seconds left in double OT rescues Warriors


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Sectional Tournament Info

Updated Bracket.xls

OSWEGO, N.Y. --  Eastern Connecticut State University sophomore guard Brian Salzillo (North Haven) didn't miss a shot all night, but it was his final basket -- a three-pointer -- with 2.7 seconds left in the second overtime which gave the Warriors a thrilling 70-69 double overtime victory over SUNY Oswego in the second round of the NCAA Division III men's basketball tournament Saturday night at Max Ziel Gymnasium.

At right: Brian Salzillo
Salzillo drilled his third three-pointer of the game from the top of the key to vault the Warriors into the NCAA Sweet 16 next weekend at Pepin Gymnasium on the Middlebury College campus. 

At 5:30 p.m. Friday, March 9, the Warriors (24-5) will face Cabrini College (28-1), which went overtime Saturday night to eliminate Hobart College, 90-88.. In the other sectional opener Friday at 7:30 p.m., host Middlebury College (26-3)  faces the University of Scranton (22-7).

All four sectional champions advance to the NCAA Division III Final Four Friday/Saturday, March 16/17 at the Salem Civic Center in Salem, VA.
After giving away a five-point lead with one minute left in the first overtime, Eastern erased a three-point deficit with 31.8 seconds left in the second overtime to hand Oswego (26-4) its first loss after 17 straight wins and its only loss in 18 home games this year.
Oswego's Sean Michele, the nation's leading free throw shooter, missed the second of two free throws with 12.1 seconds left that kept Eastern within two points, 69-67. Eastern then went the length of the floor and got the ball in the hands of Salzillo, who swished the game-winning three-pointer from the top of the key with 2.7 seconds left. After  a timeout, Oswego quickly got the ball in the front court and got a good look from the right side, but a potential game-winning three-pointer fell short of the iron.
Salzillo led Eastern with 15 points, going 5-for-5 from the floor (3-for-3 from three-point range) and 2-for-2 from the line. Senior guard Nick Nedwick (Irvington, NY) and junior forward Chris Robitaille (Canton) each had 14 points and senior forward Hamilton Levy (Woodbury) added ten. Robitaille had ten rebounds and Nedwick five assists

Nedwick had nine points in the first half and tossed in a long off-balance three-pointer at the horn that gave the Warriors their largest lead of the game, 36-26 at halftime. The hosts chipped away before finally taking their first lead on three free throws by Hayden Ward with just under six minutes left in regulation. Nedwick was held scoreless in the second half before contributing three huge points on a baseline drive and free throw that put the Warriors back in front, 54-52, with 1:33 left. After Ward sank two tying free throws with 32.2 seconds left, Nedwick's potential game-winning three-point scoring bid rattled in and out of the basket and Eastern was unable to put in the offensive rebound in a scramble as regulation time ran out.

The first overtime session was a nightmare for Eastern at the free throw line and for Oswego from three-poinr range. The Warriors led by five with one minute left but clanged three free throws in the final 41 seconds that would have sealed the win. Oswego, for its part,  failed on nine straight three-pointers before breaking through  on Michele's longball (which followed two Oswego offensive rebounds that pulled the Lakers to within two 60-58, with 15 seconds left and set up Chris Gilkes' buzzer-beating layup on a pass from Michele that forced a second OT.

It marks Eastern's second double-overtime win in this year's post-season. In the Little East Conference semifinals eight days ago at Geissler Gym, the top-seeded Warriors slipped by No. 4 Keene State College, 81-76.

Eastern had  moved into Saturday final by ending Medaille College's 13-game winning streak, 66-51, in Friday's first semifinal. In Friday's second game, Oswego posted a come-from-behind 72-71 overtime win over Endicott College.

Eastern has advanced to the NCAA sectionals for the third time, first time in 19 years. In 1993, the Warriors eliminated New York University in double overtime, 78-73 before losing to Massachusetts Dartmouth in the final by 11. The previous year, the Warriors dropped their sectional opener, by six points to New Jersey City University.



W-Lax: Warriors Charge Past C-S, 18-6

Nineteen players see action as hosts coast in 2012 season-opener

wolk72dpi_5434.jpgMANSFIELD, Conn. --  The Eastern Connecticut State University women's lacrosse team scored the first eight goals, keeping Colby-Sawyer College off the board for 21 minutes and opening its 17th intercollegiate season with an 18-6 non-conference victory at the Mansfield Outdoor Complex.

At left: Ashley Wolk (11). (Photo by Cristina Danielson)

A total of 19 players saw action for Eastern, with ten contributing a goal or assist and nine winning at least one ground ball.

Eastern won 18 of 26 faceoffs and converted six of eight free-position shots as it captured its season-opener for the first time since 2004. The Warriors were opening their season with a home match for the first time since downing Endicott College in a New England Women's Lacrosse Alliance match March 30, 1999.  It was also the first meeting between Eastern and Colby-Sawyer (0-1) since that 1999 season when the Warriors posted a 21-9 home victory.

Sophomore midfielder Ashley Wolk (Barrington, RI), who took only four faceoffs last season, won 13 of 17 faceoffs and earned seven draw controls against Colby-Sawyer, while junior midfielder Daniela Marchitto (Orange) led all players with six goals and two assists, converting all but one of her shots. Sophomore attack Erin Conn (Moriches, NY) added four goals and freshman attack Meg Eremita (South Windsor) contributed three assists in her collegiate debut. Freshman attack Lauren Wells (Stratford) came off the bench to connect on her first career shot with 14.3 seconds left.

Returning to the program since starting all 18 matches in 2009, senior goalie Kristianna Ibsen (Shelton) gave up only one goal while making three saves in the first half. In her second career appearance, senior Amber Petrizzo (Plainville) turned aside three shots over the final 30 minutes.

Other newcomers joining Eremita in the starting lineup were freshman defender Olivia Mullen (Bethel) and first-year sophomore midfielders Taylor Shannon (Waterford) and Alexa Foldy (Brookfield). Shannon scored on her only shot and Foldy connected on one of two attempts for their first career goals. Shannon also won three draws and Foldy picked up two ground balls.

Eastern played without three starters from a year ago, when it finished 9-8 and claimed its fifth straight Little East Conference championship.

Laurel Bauer, Ashley Reis and Brittney Murphy all had two goals for Colby-Sawyer, while freshman Michelle Upham picked up three ground balls. Sophomore goalie Adrienne Bender was credited with six saves.

Eastern visits Salve Regina University Tuesday at 4:30 p.m


W-Lacrosse: Playing Outside the Box

In 2012, Warriors eyeing success beyond the Little East Conference


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WATCH: Head Coach Christine Hutchison (at left) surveys the season.(7:55)

WILLIMANTIC, Conn. - The battle cry of the Eastern Connecticut State University women's lacrosse team under head coach Christine Hutchison has remained consistent: "We don't lose conference games."

This year, with the return of ten starting position players from a team which won all six of its Little East Conference regular-season games, that battle cry might be extended to include both conference and non-conference games.

Above: Megan Barrett

A  team which features talent and depth - perhaps the best on both counts under Hutchison - feels that it can compete on par with a number of its 11 non-conference opponents. Last year, the Warriors lost seven of nine contests against non-conference opponents. This year's team hopes to improve noticeably against those teams.

A total of 26 players comprise this year's roster, six of them with at least two varsity letters on their athletic resumes, and more than half of them having won at least one varsity letter. Ten of those players were bonafide starters on last year's  9-8 team which won six of its final eight regular-season matches and advanced to the championship game of the Little East playoffs for the fifth time in five years under Hutchison.

"This team, by far, has the most depth of any team since I've been here," says Hutchison, named the conference's Coach-of-the-Year in three of the last five seasons and a winner of 29 of 30 regular-season LEC matches in that span. "We've had some very good players (over the years), but in groups of five or so. We actually have a very , very good group of 12 - and with substitutes who I could put in or start. This is the first time in my coaching career," points out Hutchison, "that the team has gotten along very well that was really, really talented."

The loss of two-time starting goalie Nancy Ibrahim will be tempered by the return of 5-foot-10 inch senior goalie Kristianna Ibsen (Shelton), who won second-team All-LEC honors in her previous season in 2009.

Three of the team's key veterans at each of the three field positions are senior defender Megan Barrett (Setauket, NY), senior attack Ashley Prizio (Brookfield) and junior midfielder Daniela Marchitto (Brookfield). Barrett and Prizio are two-time All-LEC selections - Prizio gaining LEC Offensive Player-of-the-Year honors in her second season last year - while Marchitto was name first-team All-LEC as a senior.

Also back are junior All-LEC performers Taylor Buchanan (Ellington), a midfielder, and defender Rachel Meotti (Glastonbury). Meotti made a significant contribution last year as a first-year Divison II transfer; Buchanan won 31 draws anc contributed 27 points last year but will be lost for most of March while recovering from ACL surgery.

 Barrett, junior Samantha Barone (Plainedge, NY) and sophomore Finley Ahearn (Wallingford)  will set up shop in front of Ibsen, along  with freshman Olivia Mullen (Bethel), and defensive wings Meotti, Buchanan and junior Christina Rully (Orange) and sophomores Taylor Shannon (Waterford) and Haley Heslin (Hartford) The latter two are transfers who have four years of eligibility remaining.

Marchitto and Shannon will be the centers, Marchitto taking more than 100 draws as a freshman. The attack wings are sophomores Ashley Wolk (Barrington, RI) and Alexa Foldy (Brookfield).

Prizio, ranked tenth all-time in goals in just two years, will be joined at attack by sophomore Erin Conn (Moriches, NY), senior Nicole Shusdock (Norwalk), sophomore Christine Lillis (Waterford) and freshman Meg Eremita (South Windsor). Conn took the majority of the draws last year and was third behind Prizio and Marchitto in scoring. Shusdock returns after lettering in 2009. Lillis enjoyed a solid freshman season but is coming off knee surgery and has also been slowed by additional injuries.

Additional support could come from freshman midfielder Sandy Scarpa (Waterford), who brings great footspeed to the team; senior backup goalie Amber Petrizzo (Plainville).

Rounding out a team are sophomores Kelsea Burkhardt (Old Saybrook) and Vic San Pietro (Stratford) and freshmen Amy Burkhardt (Old Saybrook), Jasmine Pounds (Norwalk), Sammy Sexton (Mystic) and Lauren Wells (Stratford).

As always, the no-conference schedule presents obstacles. Last year's team managed only two non-conference wins in nine tries, those victories coming against Salve Regina University (19-17) at home and Mount Holyoke College (17-11) on the road. Two of the other out-of-conference setbacks were competitive.

Hutchison feels that this year's team could improve upon the non-conference records of recent seasons.

"We have always focused on the conference (game) - which is very important - but we also need to focus on these other (non-conference) games," notes Hutchison. "We're at the point now - we have the depth - to beat some of those teams. We have the depth to focus on winning every game, not just our conference games. The girls' mentality has always been that 'we do not lose conference games,", but now we have to say 'we do not lose games, period.'"

"I think that we have a better chance to do that this year than in the past."

After going undefeated in the conference regular season for the fourth time in five years and advancing to the LEC playoff championship game for the seventh straight year, the Warriors were favored to capture the regular-season title in the pre-season coaches' poll. Keene State, last year's tournament champ, was second by 13 points, with Western Connecticut (edged by a goal by Eastern in last year's LEC semifinals) a point behind the Owls.

Many coaches and teams shy away from acknowledging a pre-season No. 1 rating. But rather than downplay the prediction, Eastern has embraced it.

"I think that the girls need to know that they are first, because they need that expectation that we need to win," says Hutchison. "I (told) them immediately and said 'let's go. Let's live up to it.' We have a lot of upperclassmen on this year's team whose mentality doesn't accept losing."



M-Basketball: Warriors Apply Clamps

They snap Medaille's 13-game win streak in NCAA opener, 66-51

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ncaa-logo.gifOSWEGO, N.Y. --  The Eastern Connecticut State University men's basketball team held Medaille College 25 points below its season scoring average in recording its first NCAA Division III Tournament victory in 19 years with a 66-51 victory in a first-round game Friday night at Max Ziel Gymnasium on the SUNY Oswego campus.

At right: Tyler, Hundley (25), a 6-foot-6 inch junior, took his game outside the three-point line Friday, sinking a pair of three-pointers minutes apart in the second half in the Warriors' NCAA win..

Now 12-3 away from its home court, Eastern (23-5) snaps Medaille's (25-3) 13-game  winning streak with its sixth straight victory and first NCAA Tournament victory since a 78-73 double overtime victory over New York University in the opening round of the Northeast-East Sectional Tournament March 12, 1993. The NCAA appearance is Eastern's first in 12 years.

Eastern, which extends its program record for season wins, faces host SUNY Oswego (26-3) Saturday at 7 p.m. in the regional championship game. The Lakes eliminated Endicott College, 72-71 in overtime in Friday's second semifinal. Saturday's winner advances to next weekend's sectional tournament at a site to be determined.

Eastern trailed by five early but moved into the lead for good when senior forward Hamilton Levy (Woodbury) sank a three-pointer and connected on the second of a two-shot foul moments later for a 15-14 Eastern lead.

The Warriors led by seven at halftime and moved out to its first double-digit lead (45-35) with 12 minutes left  when junior forward Tyler Hundley (Cheshire) drained the first of his two three-pointers which came just minutes apart.

The top defensive team and No. 1 team defending the three-point field goal in the Little East Conference this year, Eastern held the Mavericks 25 points below their season scoring average, 11 percentage points under their season field goal percentage of 48.7,  12 percentage points below their season three-point percentage of 39.6  and six three-pointers shy of their season average of 9.0 per game.

Eastern's bench contributed significantly to the win, with sophomore guard Brian Salzillo (North Haven) sinking three three-pointers and finishing with 11 points, senior guard Chae Philips (West Haven) adding four points and four assists, and the 6-foot-6 inch Hundley six points with his two three-pointers.

Senior guard Nick Nedwick (Irvington, NY) led a balanced Eastern offense with 15 points (4-for-8 from the floor/7-for-8 from the foul line), senior forward Jamie Kohn (Columbia) adding 12 points (4-for-6). Junior forward Chris Robitaille (Canton) went to the bench in favor of Hundley for significant minutes in the second half due to foul trouble, but finished with a game-high nine rebounds to go along with seven points. Levy finished with seven points, five rebounds and three assists.


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