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June 2012 Archives

Six From Eastern are ECAC All-Stars

Members of softball, men's lacrosse and baseball programs are cited

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WILLIMANTIC,Conn. -  Senior All-America right-handed softball pitcher Molly Rathbun (Hebron)  has been named New England Pitcher-of-the-Year by the Eastern College Athletic Conference (ECAC)  for the second time in three years and has been joined as an ECAC New England spring all-star by four additional Eastern Connecticut State University student-athletes. 

At right: Molly Rathbun

Named to the ECAC all-star first team for the fourth straight season, Rathbun was joined on an ECAC spring all-star team by teammate Arielle Cooper (Mystic), men's lacrosse selections Mike Devine (Cheshire) and Michael Sullinger (Brookfield) and baseball first baseman Joe Balowski (Berlin). Balowski, Cooper and Devine were first-team selections and Sullinger a second-team choice. Balowski is a junior first baseman, Cooper a junior third baseman, Devine a sophomore midfielder and Sullinger a senior attackman. All but Rathbun were first-time picks.

In addition to the student-athletes, 11th-year Eastern head softball coach Diana Pepin was named ECAC New England Coach-of-the-Year for the second time in three seasons after leading the Warriors to a program-record 44 wins in 47 games and to a fifth straight NCAA tournament. Pepin, who earned Little East Conference Coach-of-the-Year honors in 2012 for the fourth time in seven years,  headed Eastern's staff which was voted  NFCA New England Region Coaching Staff-of-the-Year in both 2010 and 2011. The ECAC began compiling a Coach-of-the-Year award in 2008.

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Only one institution had as many as Eastern's two first-team selections. Including Rathbun and Cooper, a total of five all-stars were named from Little East institutions. Only individuals who were voted first-team all-conference in their respective conferences were eligible to be included on the ECAC voting ballot.

At right: Arielle Cooper

Rathbun concluded her career as a four-time NFCA All-America (the last there seasons as a first-team pick) and four-time first-team All-New England Region pick, two-time NEISCA New England Player-of-the-Year,  three-time Little East Conference Pitcher-of-the-Year and the 2012 LEC Player-of-the-Year. Previously this year, Rathbun was named Division III New England Player-of-the-Year for the second time in three seasons by NEISCA.

Earlier this year named second-team All-America and first-team all-region, Cooper was additionally named to the all-conference team for the second time in three seasons (first time as a first-teamer) and as MVP of the Little East Conference tournament.

Rathbun was named New England Pitcher-of-the-Week three times (in a span of four weeks) this season for the 44-3 Warriors, while Cooper was selected Player-of-the-Week in the final week of the weekly report after being named LEC tournament MVP. Eastern was voted the No. 1 team in New England for the fourth straight time that week.

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At left: Diana Pepin

Rathbun completed a record-shattering career this spring by winning a program-record 33 games against three losses with a program-record 339 strikeouts and just 39 walks and a 0.73 ERA in 212 1/3 innings. She won 29 straight decisions heading into NCAA regional play and ended up beating every team that she had a decision against at least once. In addition to strikeouts, innings and wins, Rathbun also set season marks this year for appearances (42) and starts (29). She threw two no-hitters and also a perfect game against regional champion Tufts University

Although she was overlooked as the ECAC Player-of-the-Year despite amassing remarkable pitching and hitting numbers, Rathbun batted .439 as the team's designated hitter this year. She shared the team lead with Cooper in batting average and topped the club in RBI (48), walks (21), and on-base percentage (.506) and was second to Cooper in hits (58), doubles (11), total bases (84), and slugging (.636).

Rathbun, who helped Eastern to the No. 1 winning percentage (.936) in Division III, ranked among the national top four in six individual categories in the final NCAA Division III statistics. She was first in wins, and second in ERA, strikeouts and shutouts (15), third in least hits allowed per seven innings (3.46) and fourth in strikeouts per game (11.2).

Rathbun graduated with every program pitching record but one, including those for appearances (142), innings (770.6), starts (105), wins (103) winning percentage (.880), strikeouts (1,130), saves (14), complete games (94), shutouts (49), no-hitters (tied/9, and relief appearances (37). Rathbun's career ERA of 0.88 ranks second to Kim Durocher (0.71), who led the Warriors to national championships in both of her seasons in 1985 and 1986. Offensively, Rathbun finished first all-time in home runs (28), total bases (303), slugging (.642), and RBI (145), and was third in batting (.390) and hits (184).

The team's primary leadoff hitter, Cooper smashed the program record with a 33-game hitting streak (third-longest in NCAA Division III history), set season marks with a New England-leading 123 total bases, tied the 26-year-old mark with 69 hits, tied  season records with 11 home runs and  a .783 slugging average, and shared the team lead with a .439 batting average. which equals the fifth highest in a season in program history. She was named MVP of the LEC tournament with nine hits and seven assists in the field without an error.

Cooper's totals for total bases, home runs, triples, RBI, and runs exceeded those of Williams College senior outfielder Allison Hart, who was voted ECAC Player-of-the-Year for the 22-16 Ephs.

The past season, Eastern  was ranked as high as No. 2 nationally and No. 1 in New England for four straight weeks. Eastern reached the championship round of the regional tournament for the third straight season, losing for the first time after advancing to the national tournament in 2010 and 2011.

Pepin, a player on Eastern's 1990 national championship team,  has compiled a career record of 286-158 (.644) in 11 years at Eastern, and has won and coached more games than any coach in the program's 36-year history. The Warriors have won conference regular season and tournament titles each of the past three years, compiling a regular-season LEC mark of 40-2 in that span and amassing the first perfect regular-season record (14-0) in the 17-year history of conference regular-season competition.

Men's Lacrosse

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At left: Mike Devine

evine, the only ECAC first-team selection from the Little East Conference, becomes the program's 13th first-team pick in the 12-year history of the all-star team.

Devine's previous awards this year include NEILA All-New England second-team honors and LEC Offensive Player-of-the-Year and first-team all-conference accolades. He shared the conference lead with 46 goals this season, was fourth with 58 points, first with 145 shots and tied for first with eight extra-man goals. In the LEC tournament win over Keene State, Devine had three goals and one assist - all three goals coming in the final six minutes of the third quarter to spark the Warriors from three goals down to two goals up heading into the final quarter.
Devine had at least one goal in all 18 matches for the 12-6 Warriors (giving him goals in 34 of 36 career matches), who won their seventh LEC tournament title in 12 years and qualified for their tenth post-season tournament in the last 14 years with a berth in their seventh NCAA tournament.

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At left: Michael Sullinger

Devine scored 11 goals on 18 shots and totaled 14 points in the team's first two matches of the season, with a career-high six goals coming in the second match against Stevens Tech, ranked No. 9 nationally in the most recent USILA Division III poll.

This year, Sullinger competed in the NEILA East-West Senior All-Star Game and repeated all-conference honors (the first time as a first-teamer). Sullinger's conference-leading 81 points (45 goals, 36 assists) equaled the third-highest in a season in the program's 17-year history and his conference-leading assist total equaled the sixth-highest in a season in program history.  Sullinger recorded points in all but one of 18 matches this year, with six or more coming six times.  In two wins against Keene State, Sullinger totaled seven goals and four assists, with a career-tying five goals coming in the regular-season triumph.

Baseball

balowski72_0322.JPGIt marks the 12th time in the last 13 years that at least one Eastern baseball player has been recognized with a spot on this all-star team.

At left: Joe Balowski

This past year, Balowski was the only player to start all 42 games for the 29-13 Warriors, penciled in at first base each time. He spent the majority of the season as the No. 3 hitter in the order after serving as the starting third baseman and No. 6 hitter as a sophomore. Having already earned recognition as a first-team ABCA All-New England Region and all-conference pick at first base this past year, Balowski led Eastern in hitting (.371), slugging (.528), hits (66), total bases (94), RBI (37), doubles (17), and fielding percentage (.994/two errors on 361 chances).

Balowski, whose average peaked at .438 on April 1 and stood at .400 on April 11, led the Warriors with 22 multiple-hit games and 11 multiple-RBI contests He hit safely in  36 of 42 games, never went as many as two consecutive games without a hit, and put together a season-high ten-game hitting streak early in the second half of the season when he batting .426 (20-for-47) with five doubles, two home runs, 13 RBI and 14 runs scored. In eight of those games, he collected at least two hits and four times drove in at least two runs. He had two hits each in that stretch against eventual NCAA Division III Mansfield, Conn. Regional qualifiers Wheaton College, Western New England University and Trinity College, driving in seven runs. Against Wheaton, which went on to a national second-place finish, Balowski had two hits and two RBI and clubbed his third and final home run of the season in the third inning to give the Warriors a lead they would not give up on a 4-2 victory at the Eastern Baseball Stadium.

Balowski went the final 20 games of the season without an error, handling 177 chances without a miscue in that stretch.

Balowski becomes only the second Eastern first baseman in ten years to be named to the team, following Tristan Hobbes in 2007.


 

Eastern's Major Award-Winners

BONNIE J. EDMONDSON
SENIOR FEMALE SPORTSPERSON-OF-THE-YEAR


ASHLEY PRIZIO    Brookfield

Named in honor of the Eastern alumnus  and  former track and field All-America and national champion and presented annually to a senior female athlete who displays the values of integrity, sportsmanship, spirit, and dedication to team, academics, and community service. An individual's athletic accomplishments do not  factor into the selection process for this prestigious award.d

prizio head 72dpi_2626.jpgThree-year starter at attack after transferring from the Division I level... repeated as Little East Conference Offensive Player-of-the-Year... scored at least 50 goals for the second straight year (totaling 49 in her first season), finishing second on the team in points (71) and goals (50) and sharing the team lead with 21 assists... finished fourth in the Little East Conference in points... two-year team captain... after a three-year career, ranks fourth in goals (159) and points (207) and tied for fourth in assists (48)... helped team to 12-7 final record and berth in LEC playoff semifinals... Early Childhood Education major... qualified for the LEC Academic Honor Roll in both seasons of eligibility and for an E-Club Scholar-Athlete Award in her only season of eligibility... becomes the fifth member of the lacrosse program to receive this prestigious honor... Said head women's lacrosse coach Christine Hutchison: "Ashley is a talented athlete who shares her knowledge of the game every day at practice and in games. Her spirit and enthusiasm have helped to push the team to be its best. She is the complete student-athlete and a wonderful role model for the entire team. Priz is hard-working and positive and loves to compete for the pure love of the game. She is composed on and off the field. While she is capable of determining the outcome of a game, she is also extremely unselfish."

FRANCIS E. GEISSLER
SENIOR MALE SPORTSPERSON-OF-THE-YEAR
Named in honor of the late athletic director and coach and presented annually to a senior male athlete who displays the values of integrity, sportsmanship, spirit, and dedication to team, academics, and community service. An individual's athletic accomplishments do not  factor into the selection process for this prestigious award.

 

SALIEU BOLIVAR    Norwalk

bolivar jersey 72_2790.jpgThe fifth member of the lacrosse program to receive this award... four-year letterwinner and two-time team captain... started all 18 matches for team which finished with 12-6 record and won its seventh Little East Conference playoff and eighth LEC regular-season title...  first-team All-LEC at midfield... had 16 goals, five assists and 35 ground balls... member of the first recruiting class of head coach Justin Axel... Computer Science major... Said head men's lacrosse coach Justin Axel: "Sal is the most special student-athlete that I have been associated with in my 13 years of coaching. He is a product of Eastern's STEP-CAPprogram and has exceeded everyone's expectations in the classroom as he graduated after four years as a computer science major. His energy, enthusiasm and loyalty to Eastern and our program have illustrated to our underclassmen what it is to be a Warrior. As a sophomore, he was chosen to receive the Suhgritta Award by his peers as someone who is the hardest worker with the greatest drive, intensity and loyalty to our program. Sal has proven to me that anyone with drive and motivation can succeed against any odds."

JAMIE KOHN    Columbia

kohn jersey 72_8986.jpgTri-captain who started every game for the third straight year, averaging 9.7 points and a team-leading 7.4 rebounds for a 24-6 team which set a program record for wins, won the Little East Conference regular-season and tournament titles and captured a regional championship on the way to a Sweet 16 berth... never missed a game in his career... repeat selection to the LEC All-Defensive Team... led the LEC in rebounding as a sophomore and junior... scored more than 1,000 career points and finished third all-time in rebounding... repeated as a first-team selection to the College Sports Information Directors' Association (CoSIDA)/Capital One Academic All-District Team...  a member of the Dean's List every semester at Eastern and carried a 3.95 overall GPA into his senior year as a Health and Physical Education major... qualified for a spot on the Little East Conference Academic Honor Roll (minimum 3.30 cumulative GPA) in all three years of eligibility and was awarded an E-Club Outstanding Scholar-Athlete Award (minimum 3.50 cumulative GPA) in both of his years of eligibility... received a Dean's Scholarship each year at Eastern and was awarded a Competitive Scholarship in both years of eligibility... a Resident Assistant each of the last three years, Kohn has also been involved in the Pathways to Leadership Program and has earned the Health and Phyical Education Department's Highest GPA Award in each of his first three years... in the summer following his freshman year, Kohn was chosen to attend the NCAA National Student-Athlete Development Conference in Orlando... named to Who's Who Among Students in American Universities and Colleges...  Said head men's basketball coach Bill Geitner:  "Jamie has an ever-present positive outlook and easy-going personality which are infectious to those he comes in contact with. For four years, Jamie has demonstrated his commitment and dedication to our program and has served as a tremendous role model to his teammates and student-athletes and students in general."


FEMALE ATHLETE-OF-THE-YEAR

MOLLY RATHBUN   Sr.  Hebron
Softball

rathbun head 72dpi_2758.jpgEarns the award for the third straight year after being named Rookie-of-the-Year in 2009... All-America right-handed pitcher concluded her career as a four-time NFCA All-America (the last there seasons as a first-team pick) and first-team All-New England Region pick, two-time New England Player-of-the-Year, three-time Little East Conference Pitcher-of-the-Year and the 2012 LEC Player-of-the-Year... Rathbun completed a record-shattering career this spring for the 44-3 Warriors by winning a program-record 33 games against three losses with a program-record 339 strikeouts and just 39 walks and a 0.73 ERA in 212 1/3 innings. She won 29 straight decisions heading into NCAA regional play and ended up beating every team that she had a decision against at least once... in addition to strikeouts, innings and wins, Rathbun also set season marks this year for appearances (42) and starts (29). She threw two no-hitters and also a perfect game against regional champion Tufts University... the team's designated player, Rathbun shared the team lead with a .439 batting average... she topped the club in RBI (48), walks (21), on-base percentage (.506) was second in hits (58), doubles (11), total bases (84), and slugging (.636)... helped Eastern to the No. 1 winning percentage (.936) in Division III, ranked among the national top four in six individual categories in the final NCAA Division III statistics. She was first in wins, and second in ERA, strikeouts and shutouts (15), third in least hits allowed per seven innings (3.46) and fourth in strikeouts per game (11.2)... graduated with every program pitching record but one, including those for appearances, innings, starts, wins, winning percentage, strikeouts, saves, complete games, shutouts, no-hitters.... offensively, she finished first all-time in home runs, total bases, slugging, and RBI, and was third in batting average and hits...


MALE ATHLETE-OF-THE-YEAR

CARL APPEL   Sr.  West Windsor, NJ
Soccer

appel jersey 72_2528.jpgNamed first-team All-Little East Conference for the second time in three years and to the all-conference team for the third straight season... selected to compete in the New England Intercollegiate Soccer League (NEISL) Senior All-Star Game... led the Little East Conference in goals-against average (0.70) and save percentage (.854) and shared the LEC lead with ten shutouts... tied the program record with shutout total in backstopping the team to a program season-record of 14 which ranked fourth in Division III... finished the season with a personal 13-6-1 record for the Warriors, who posted a 15-6-1 overall record and won both the LEC regular season and playoff titles and competed in their five straight post-season tournament (fourth in the NCAA)... in seven regular-season conference matches, allowed only one goal for a 0.14 goals-against average... in conference regular-season play, he also led the loop in save percentage (.968) and shutouts (5)...  graduated ranked first all-time among keepers in wins, appearances, starts, full match shutouts and goals-against average and second in minutes...


FEMALE ROOKIE-OF-THE-YEAR

KRISTINA FORSMAN    Fr.  Newington
Basketball

forsman head 72_7975.jpgBecomes the first basketball player to earn the honor in six years... one of two Eastern players selected to the Little East Conference All-Rookie Team... started the most games (24) of any player on the team and led all players in minutes (870) and average minutes (36.2)... point guard who averaged 11.9 points, 4.6 rebounds and 2.9 assists and a team-leading 41 steals... started every game in which she appeared... ranked first in the LEC in minutes per game, tenth in scoring and tenth in assists, and seventh in FT percentage (.725)... had two or less turnovers in more than half (13) of her starts...  played 40 minutes nine times, including the last seven straight... averaged just under 16 points over the final nine games of the season, scoring more than 20 points twice in that stretch (23 at Bowdoin and a season-high 24 vs. UMass Dartmouth in the home finale)... final scoring average was her highest at any point during the season...

 

MALE ROOKIE-OF-THE-YEAR

ADAM RODERICK  So.  West Hartford
Baseball

roderick head 72_2407.jpgDivision II transfer was named Little East Conference Rookie-of-the-Year and second-team All-LEC in his first season after missing all of 2011 with injury...the program's second straight ECSU  Male Rookie-of-the-Year, following shortstop Danny O'Connell a year ago... helped Eastern to the second-highest batting average in the LEC (.001 shy of the leader) by batting .364 with team-leading totals for runs (40), walks (20), stolen bases (23 on 25 attempts), and on-base percentage (.436)... second on the team in average, total bases (80) and slugging (.494)... handled 97 chances with only two errors (.980 percent)...  started games at four different positions and in four different spots in the batting order but was primarily the team's leadoff hitter (32 of 39 starts) and leftfielder (25 starts)... ranked 12th in the LEC in batting and second in stolen bases...third on the team with 20 multiple-hit games... went as many as two games without a hit only once in the regular season...reached with either a hit or walk in all but two games during the season, drawing three walks and scoring three run in his debut Feb. 25 at Whitman College... beginning in Arizona, hit safely in 19 of 20 games, batting .409 (38-for-93) in that 20-game stretch with 27 runs scored, 18 RBI,  and 11 stolen bases... in a ten-game hitting streak in that span, batted .478 (22-for-46) with 13 runs, 13 RBI and six stolen bases...


INDIVIDUAL SPORT ATHLETE-OF-THE-YEAR

NADINE MENARD    Sr.  Woodstock
Women's Swimming

menard head 72_5280.jpgSenior co-captain swam to All-New England honors in three individual events at the NEISDA Championships and repeated All-Little East Conference recognition in the LEC Championships... four-year letterwinner gained All-NE honors by taking sixth in the 400 IM, seventh in the 200 butterfly and eighth in the 100 butterfly in the NEISDA meet, breaking the program record in the 200 butterfly in a time of 2:15.07 and helping the 400 medley relay to another record of 4:08.39... concluded her career with All-New England recognition a total of nine times in three years... totaled 69 of the team's 773.50 points (second-most on the team) in the NEISDA meet in three individual events as the Warriors placed fourth (second among Division III institutions) in a field of 22 teams.. earned All-LEC honors with a second-place finish in the 100 butterfly... also took fourth among 21 competitors in the 200 breaststroke and fifth in the 200 butterfly in leading the Warriors with 34 points...during the season, displayed the fastest times in four events: 100 and 200 butterfly and the 200 and 400 individual medley...  claimed 19 firsts in dual competition, winning the 100 butterfly six times,  200 butterfly three times, 200 breaststroke twice, 50 butterfly once (in her only try) and the 100 breaststroke once, the 200 IM three  times, 100 IM twice and 400 IM once... opened the season by winning the Saint Joseph College (CT) Pentathlon... captured the 100 breaststroke, 100 IM  and 100 butterfly at Saint Joseph, was 11th in the 100 backstroke and 12th in the 100 freestyle in recording a composite time of 5:44.30...  helped the Warriors to a dual meet record of 8-1 and a season record .889 winning percentage...

 

INDIVIDUAL SPORT ROOKIE-OF-THE-YEAR

RACHAEL THATCHER   Fr.  Newington
Women's Swimming

thatcher head 72_5144.jpgCompeted in three individual events and on two relays as the NEISDA Championships in February, totaling 32.5 points in three breaststroke events and combining with he teammates for 102 points in the relays...  helped the Warriors to fourth place (second among Division III institutions) in the NEISDA meet and an 8-1 regular-season mark which established a program record for winning percentage (.889)... took 13th in the NEISDA meet in the 200 breaststroke, 14th in the 50 and 19th in the 100... swam the second let of the 400 medley relay which set a program record with a time of 4:08.39 in the preliminaries and went on to fifth place, missing All-New England honors by one place... swam the second leg of the 200 medley relay which earned All-New England recognition with a fourth-place finish.. posted five first-place finishes in dual meet competition in the 50 and 100 breaststroke... recorded the fastest time of any swimmer this year with a time of 1:13.07 in the preliminaries of the 100 breaststroke at the NEISDA meet... also recorded the fastest time of any Eastern swimmer this year in the 200 breaststroke (2:34.43) in the finals of the NEISDA meet... recorded the second-fastest time of the year in the 50 breaststroke in the NEISDA finals...

 

 

 

 

 

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Kathy Manizza Re-Joins Coaching Staff

 Maneggia named permanent coach; DeVito gains fulltime status

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At left: Kathy Manizza

WILLIMANTIC, Conn. - Kathy Manizza has been appointed head men's and women's cross country and track and field coach at Eastern Connecticut State University, returning to the program as head coach after a 13-year head coaching stint at the Division I level.

The appointment was announced by Eastern interim director of athletics Michael J. Stenko.

A veteran of 22 seasons of coaching at the college and high school levels, Manizza returns to Eastern in a fulltime capacity after serving as its parttime head men's and women's cross country coach for seven years (1993-99) and as its head men's and women's track and field coach for five (1994-98). Manizza replaces Frank Poulin, who had served as head coach for the past 11 years.

For the past 13 years, Manizza has coached men's and women's cross country and men's and women's track and field at the University of Hartford, a Division I institution which competes in the America East conference.

"Coach Manizza will bring a vitality to our cross country and track and field programs," praised Stenko. "We are excited that she is returning to Eastern."

Manizza, a longtime reside of Mansfield who currently resides in Bolton, becomes the12th permanent cross country coach since the advent of the program in 1971 and 13th head track and field coach since 1975. All but three of those former coaches served in parttime capacities.

"Having coached at Eastern previously, I am very aware of the outstanding potential of the program," offered Manizza. "I learned a tremendous amount in my 13 years at Hartford, which would I will put to good use in the continued development of the track and field and cross country   programs at Eastern. Eastern," said Manizza, "is a wonderful university and I am very pleased to be a fulltime member of the athletic staff."

Manizza, who served as an assistant track and cross country coach at Eastern for two years before being appointed head coach, coached 32 Division III All-New England athletes in five outdoor seasons as head coach at Eastern, one of whom was a New England javelin champion and five of whom placed second in the regional meet.

As she did at Eastern, Manizza instituted the indoor track and field program and early in her tenure produced the program's first New England champion. This past spring, the Hartford women finished 12th and the men finished 14th at the New England Open Championship. The women's program boosted the New England champion at 400 meters and the men's program featured the 200 meter champion.

In addition to featuring 13 cross country and track and field All-America athletes in its 41-year history, Eastern has won a total of 11 Little East Conference and New England Alliance Championships in track and field and has placed as high as second 15 times since the advent of those meets in 1998.

Maneggia promoted to permanent position

maneggia vb head 72dpi_2657.jpgPeter Maneggia, who served as interim head women's volleyball coach last fall, has been appointed on a parttime basis as the seventh permanent head women's volleyball coach in the program's 37-year history.

Maneggia, who completed his fifth season as assistant softball coach this past spring, served as the assistant volleyball coach for three years before being named parttime interim head coach last fall following the departure of Fran Vandermeer prior to the 2011 campaign.

Last fall, Maneggia returned the Warriors to the 20-win plateau and his .667 winning percentage in 30 matches was their highest since 2006. The team won two in-season tournaments, then as the Little East Conference's No. 5 seed, avenged a three-game regular-season loss by upsetting No. 4 seed Western Connecticut State University on the road in the first round of the tournament.

Men's soccer coach DeVito gains fulltime status

deVito head 72_2524.jpgGreg DeVito, who has directed the men's soccer program to five post-season tournaments and a winning percentage better than 70 percent, has been promoted to fulltime status. He becomes the first fulltime coach in the program's 51-year history since program founder Tom Nevers retired following the 1978 season.

In five seasons, DeVito has compiled a 71-26-11 ledger for a winning percentage of .708, averaging 14.2 wins per season. DeVito has led the Warriors to four NCAA and one ECAC tournament berths, three Little East Conference playoff and at least a share of three LEC regular-season titles.

Last year, Eastern finished 15-6-1, captured outright the LEC regular season title and claimed the LEC playoff championship. The Warriors went on to win their second NCAA tournament match in as many years.

 

 

 


 

Men's Lax Sparks West to NEILA Win

 

neila copy.jpgEastern Connecticut State University seniors Salieu Bolivar, Tommy Flynn and Michael Sullinger (shown above in Friday night's game) helped the West team defeat the East, 14-11, Friday night in the annual New England Intercollegiate Lacrosse Association (NEILA) Senior All-Star Game at Harvard University. All three Eastern seniors scored goals for the West,which scored four straight goals in a span of seven minutes in the fourth quarter to snap a tie. Eastern fifth-year assistant coach Dave Carpenter served as a co-coach for the West team. Bolivar, Flynn and Sullinger helped the Warriors win the Little East Conference regular season and playoff titles this past year and qualify for the NCAA tournament for the seventh time in 12 years. All three were first-team All-LEC picks, with Flynn additionally honored as LEC Defensive Player-of-the-Year.

M-Lax: Four Involved in NEILA Game

For West, Bolivar, Flynn and Sullinger to compete; Carpenter to coach

bolivar jersey 72_2790.jpg

From top: Bolivar, Flynn, Sullinger

WILLIMANTIC, Conn. --  The Eastern Connecticut State University men's lacrosse program will be well-represented at tonight's New England Intercollegiate Lacrosse Association (NEILA) East-West Senior All-Star Game at historic Harvard Stadium in Cambridge, MA.

Defender Tommy Flynn (Mineola, NY), midfielder Salieu Bolivar (Norwalk) and attackman Michael Sullinger (Brookfield) - all four-year members of the program -- will suit up for the West all-star team in the 7 p.m. contest, which will be coached by fifth-year Eastern assistant coach Dave Carpenter (Redding).

flynn jersey 72_3389.jpgForty-eight of the top seniors from Divisions I, II and III will compete in the contest, which returned to Harvard Stadium after being staged at Endicott College in 2011. Each all-star team consists of two goalies, seven defensemen, eight midfielders, six attack and one faceoff specialist.

Eastern's three playing representatives were named first-team All-Little East Conference this past season in leading the Warriors to their eighth LEC regular-season and seventh LEC playoff title and an overall record of  12-6. Flynn was additionally honored as LEC Defensive Player-of-the-Year. Bolivar and Sullinger served as two of the team's five captains.

sullinger jersey 72_3393.jpgEach of the three all-stars started all 18 of the team's matches this past spring. Sullinger's conference-leading 81 points (45 goals, 36 assists) equaled the third-highest in a season in the program's 17-year history and his conference-leading assist total equaled the sixth-highest. Bolivar contributed 16 goals and five assists and picked up 35 ground balls. Ten of Bolivar's points came in the final five regular-season matches. Flynn, the team's shutdown defenseman, had 50 ground balls - second among defensemen. Flynn helped Eastern's defense limit half of its opponents to single-figure goals.

carpenter NEILA 72dpi_8969.jpg

Carpenter will be joined by Western New England University assistant coach Bill Mason on the West team's sideline. Carpenter, Eastern's all-time leader in points and assists, returns to Harvard Stadium  where he led the East team with three goals and an assist in an 11-11 tie with the West five years ago to the day in the 2007 all-star game. Carpenter led Division III that season in points (96) and assists  (61).

At right: Dave Carpenter returns to Harvard Stadium as a West team coach after competing there in the 2007 NEILA game as a member of the East team.

In 15 of 17 years, Eastern has been represented in the NEILA All-Star Game with at least one selection. A total of 32 players and coaches have now been involved from Eastern.   Last year, attackman Grant Albertson  scored twice in the West team's 18-10 loss to the East at Beverly, MA.

Also representing the the Little East Conference at tonights showcase are Western Connecticut goalie Tyler Martone on the West team and East team defenseman Sean LeBlance and attack Matt Schairer from Keene State College. -30-

 

 


 

Four from Eastern are All-New England

Softball's Rathbun is region's Player-of-the-Year for the second time

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WILLIMANTIC,Conn. - Senior All-America right-handed pitcher Molly Rathbun (Hebron) has been named Division III New England Player-of-the-Year for the second time in three seasons by the New England Intercollegiate Softball Coaches Association (NEISCA)  and was among four Eastern Connecticut State University athletes to be recognized regionally in the sports of softball and baseball.

At right: Molly Rathbun

Rathbun was joined as a first-team All-NEISCA selection by junior third baseman Arielle Cooper (Mystic), with senior rightfielder Priscilla Alicea (Stratford) gaining honorable mention honors.

Twelve players were named to each of the first and second teams and 11 were named honorable mention.

In baseball, junior first baseman Joe Balowski (Berlin) represented Eastern on the New England Intercollegiate Baseball Association (NEIBA) Division III All-New England Team as one of 15 first-team selections. Fifteen players were also named to the second team and 19 to the third team.

Rathbun concluded her career as a four-time NFCA All-America (the last there seasons as a first-team pick) and first-team All-New England Region pick, three-time Little East Conference Pitcher-of-the-Year and the 2012 LEC Player-of-the-Year. Cooper was earlier this year named second-team All-America and first-team all-region, was named to the all-conference team for the second time in three seasons (first time as a first-teamer) and as MVP of the Little East Conference tournament. Alicea was named to the all-region team and first-team all-conference this past spring for the fourth straight time.

Balowski is only second Eastern first baseman selected in last ten years

This past year, Balowski was the only player to start all 42 games for the 29-13 Warriors. He started every game at first base and spent the majority of the season as the No. 3 hitter in the order after serving as the starting third baseman and No. 6 hitter as a sophomore. A first-team all-conference pick at first base this past year, Balowski led Eastern in hitting (.371), slugging (.528), hits (66), total bases (94), RBI (37), doubles (17), and fielding percentage (.994/two errors on 361 chances).

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At left in white uniform: Joe Balowski

Balowski, whose average peaked at .438 on April 1 and stood at .400 on April 11, led the Warrioirs with 22 multiple-hit games and 11 multiple-RBI contests He hit safely in  36 of 42 games, never went as many as two consecutive games without a hit, and put together a season-high ten-game hitting streak early in the second half of the season when he batting .426 (20-for-47) with five doubles, two home runs, 13 RBI and 14 runs scored. In eight of those games, he collected at least two hits and four times drove in at least two runs. He had two hits each in that stretch against eventual NCAA Division III Mansfield, Conn. Regional qualifiers Wheaton College, Western New England University and Trinity College, driving in seven runs. Against Wheaton, which went on to a national second-place finish, Balowski had two hits and two RBI and clubbed his third and final home run of the season in the third inning to give the Warriors a lead they would not give up on a 4-2 victory at the Eastern Baseball Stadium.

Balowski went the final 20 games of the season without an error, handling 177 chances without a miscue in that stretch.

Balowski becomes only the second Eastern first baseman in ten years to be named to the NEIBA team, following Tristan Hobbes, who was also a first-team selection,  in 2007.

Three softball picks equal most in 19 seasons

No Eastern team has earned more than this year's three NEISCA selections since 1993, when the Warriors dominated the team with five picks, four of whom landed on the first team.

Rathbun was named New England Pitcher-of-the-Week three times (in a span of four weeks) this season for the 44-3 Warriors, while Cooper was selected Player-of-the-Week in the final week of the weekly report after being named LEC tournament MVP. Eastern was voted the No. 1 team in New England for the fourth straight time that week.

Rathbun completed a record-shattering career this spring by winning a program-record 33 games against three losses with a program-record 339 strikeouts and just 39 walks and a 0.73 ERA in 212 1/3 innings. She won 29 straight decisions heading into NCAA regional play and ended up beating every team that she had a decision against at least once. In addition to strikeouts, innings and wins, Rathbun also set season marks this year for appearances (42) and starts (29). She threw two no-hitters and also a perfect game against regional champion Tufts University

The team's designated player, Rathbun shared the team lead with Cooper with a .439 batting average this year.  She topped the club in RBI (48), walks (21), on-base percentage (.506) was second to Cooper in hits (58), doubles (11), total bases (84), and slugging (.636).

Rathbun, who helped Eastern to the No. 1 winning percentage (.936) in Division III, ranked among the national top four in six individual categories in the final NCAA Division III statistics. She was first in wins, and second in ERA, strikeouts and shutouts (15), third in least hits allowed per seven innings (3.46) and fourth in strikeouts per game (11.2).

Rathbun graduated with every program pitching record but one, including those for appearances (142), innings (770.6), starts (105), wins (103) winning percentage (.880), strikeouts (1,130), saves (14), complete games (94), shutouts (49), no-hitters (tied/9, and relief appearances (37). Rathbun's career ERA of 0.88 ranks second to Kim Durocher (0.71), who led the Warriors to national championships in both of her seasons in 1985 and 1986. Offensively, Rathbun finished first all-time in home runs (28), total bases (303), slugging (.642), and RBI (145), and was third in batting (.390) and hits (184).

The team's primary leadoff hitter, Cooper smashed the program record with a 33-game hitting streak, set season marks with 123 total bases, tied the 26-year-old mark with 69 hits, tied  season records with 11 home runs and  a .783 slugging average, and shared the team lead with a .439 batting average. which equals the fifth highest in a season in program history. She was named MVP of the LEC tournament with nine hits and seven assists in the field without an error.

Alicea, who joined Cooper as the only player to start all 47 games this season, batted .355 with 54 hits, 25 RBI, 44 runs, 76 total bases, and a team-tying 11 stolen bases as the team's primary No. 2 batter in the lineup.  She ended her career as the program's all-time hit leader with 206 and is second with a career .391 batting average.

The past season, Eastern  was ranked as high as No. 2 nationally and No. 1 in New England for four straight weeks. Eastern reached the championship round of the regional tournament for the third straight season, losing for the first time after advancing to the national tournament in 2010 and 2011.

 

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