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August 2012 Archives

Volleyball: Warriors Claim Opener in 4 Sets

 Wilson collects career-high 21 kills and attacks at .381 in win over RIC

wilsonRIC72dpi_0616.jpgSPRINGFIELD, Mass. - Senior middle hitter Katie Wilson (Pittsburg, CA) recorded a career-high 21 kills and attacked at .381 to help lift the Eastern Connecticut State University women's volleyball team to a 3-1 win over Rhode Island College Friday night in the season-opener for both teams at the Springfield College Invitational. Game scorers were 25-16, 25-15, 22-25, 25-17.

At left: Katie Wilson

As a team, Eastern attacked at .250 on the evening, moving out to a 2-0 lead by attacking at .520 in the second set. After dropping the third set, Eastern broke from a  14-14 tie in the fourth set by outscoring the Anchorwomen  11-3 the rest of the way. Sophomore Allie Henry (Middletown) tied the set at 14-all with a kill, freshman Bryanna Kelly (Dunbarton, NH) gave the Warriors the lead for good with a service ace, and Wilson and senior Danielle Bourne (Branford) followed with kills to push the lead to 17-14.

Wilson contributed seven kills in the second set win and nine in the third-set loss. The 6-foot-2 inch Wilson also had four service aces and three blocks and Henry collected 33 set assists.

Junior libero Erynn Miller (Stratford) handled 22 serve receptions with only one error and she also led all Eastern players with 15 digs.  Freshman Allie Luppi (Tewksbury, MA) followed Miller with  12 digs in her collegiate debut.  Junior Nicki Gasch (New Fairfield) added eight kills and a .278 attack percentage and Bourne six kills.

As a team, Eastern registered 14 service aces and commited only five reception errors.

On Saturday, Eastern faces Westfield State University at 10 a.m. and Springfield College at 3 p.m.

Fall Season Kicks Off This Weekend

All six programs get underway; w-soccer and field hockey are home

WARRIORlogo2009_72dpi.jpgWILLIMANTIC, Conn. - The Eastern Connecticut State University fall athletic season gets into high gear this weekend as all six fall programs open their respective seasons.

The women's soccer team plays at home by hosting the 2nd Annual Warrior Classic at the Mansfield Outdoor Complex Friday and Saturday, while the field hockey team hosts Saint Joseph's College (ME) Saturday at noon, the  men's soccer team competes in the Western New England University Shootout Saturday and Sunday, the volleyball team plays three matches at the Springfield College Invitational Friday and Saturday, and the men's and women's cross country teams run in the Keene State College Alumni Invitational Saturday.

Both the men's and women's soccer teams repeated as the top picks in their respective Little East Conference pre-season polls. The men captured both the LEC regular season and playoff title a year ago while the women upended No. 1 seed Keene State College in the title match of their LEC playoffs.

Men's Soccer


Last year, Eastern finished 15-6-1 overall and 6-1-0 in the conference regular season and as the No. 1 playoff seed, shut out UMass Dartmouth and Keene State to claim the LEC playoff title. The Warriors advanced to the second round of the NCAA tournament for the second straight year with its second first-round shutout win in as many seasons.

Eastern returns 15 letterwinners from last year, seven of them regulars. The Warriors lost eight letterwinners

At right: Bradley Fletcher.

Key losses from last year were four-time All-LEC defender Aaron Smiles, a two-time All-New England Region pick and 2011 LEC Defensive Player-of-the-Year; four-year starting keeper Carl Appel, a 2011 All-New England Region pick and three-time All-LEC selection and program leader in most every career goalkeeper category; and 2011 first-team All-LEC defender Matt Esposito, the MVP of last year's LEC playoffs.

Top returnees from last year are senior forward Matt Furman (Montville), senior forward/midfielder Cory Tobler (Portland), junior midfielder Carl Stensland (Storrs), senior defender Bradley Fletcher (Middletown), and senior keeper Jordan Munsell (Waterford).

Furman is a two-time first-team All-LEC pick and the team leader in goals and points the last two years; Tobler was a second-team All-LEC selection last year; Fletcher a two-time All-LEC pick and 2009 LEC Rookie-of-the-Year; and Munsell appeared in five matches in net last year (two starts) and did not allow a goal in 200+ minutes.

Eastern has qualified for post-season play every year under sixth-year head coach Greg DeVito, four times in the NCAA and once as the top seed in the ECAC. The Warriors have averaged 14.2 wins per year under DeVito and Eastern is the only public institution in New England to be ranked in every NSCAA New England Division III poll each of the last three seasons.

Eastern has won three Little East Conference regular season and three LEC playoff championships under DeVito. The Warriors have lost exactly one game in LEC regular-season play every year under DeVito.

Eastern repeated as the No. 1 team in the Little East Conference pre-season poll, receiving five of eight first-place votes and edging Keene State College in total points, 58-57.

Last year, Eastern finished second in the LEC regular season behind Keene State but went on to win its fourth LEC tournament title by defeating the top-seeded Owls on penalty kicks on their home field following a 0-0 overtime tie.

Eastern was ranked first for the fifth time in the LEC pre-season poll. The team held first place on its own this year and in 2011 and shared the top spot with Keene in 2010 and 2004 and with Western Connecticut in 2006. Eastern has never won the regular season when being ranked first or sharing first in the pre-season poll and last year won the LEC playoff title for the first time after being rated No. 1 or sharing the top spot in the pre-season poll.

Western New England edged homestanding Eastern in overtime midway through last year and, like Eastern, won a first-round NCAA tournament match. The Golden Bears were ranked No. 3 in the final New England poll,  and No. 19 nationally. The Warriors will face either the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy or Springfield College in the second round of the tournament. Eastern blanked Springfield, 2-0, in last year's NCAA opener.

Women's Soccer

wsocpreview72_8522.jpgEastern returns 13 of last year's 20 letterwinners and eight of last year's 12 regulars (1,000+ minutes) this season from an 11-9-1 team which won six of seven LEC regular-season matches on the heels of a memorable 16-1-5 campaign in 2010. The Warriors qualified for the NCAA tournament last year for the third straight season and fifth in the last nine years.

Among this year's returning regulars are eight seniors. Key players among the seniors are forwards Daniela Marchitto (Orange) and Taylor Buchanan (Ellington), keeper Mackenzie MacLeod (Northfield), and forward/midfielders Chelsea Downer (Colchester) and Kelly Wallace (South Windsor). Marchitto was last year's LEC Offensive Player-of-the-Year and a fourth-team All-New England Region choice when she led the team in goals and assists; Buchanan led the 2010 team in goals and points before missing all of 2011 with an ACL injury; in her first year as a starter last year, MacLeod appeared in all 21 matches, with 19 starts; Wallace is a two-time all-conference selection who has twice led the team in assists. Additional returning starters include junior midfielder Tamar Merheb (Bethel), an All-LEC pick last year,  and junior back Megan Godwin (Manchester). Both are two-year starters.

Top losses from last year are keeper Theresa Pagnozzi and starting backs Amber Petrizzo and Sam Konopka, as well as midfielder Jo-Ann Merheb. Pagnozzi backstopped the 2010 team which was unbeaten until a season-ending NCAA loss. She missed most of last year but returned to earn LEC playoff Most Outstanding Player honors.  She made nine saves and did not allow a goal in 110 minutes in two LEC playoff matches.

Head coach Chris D'Ambrosio is now in his 15th season with the program, the last 12 as head coach.  Under D'Ambrosio, the Warriors  have claimed outright or shared four Little East Conference regular season titles, captured four LEC playoff titles, qualified for five NCAA and three ECAC tournaments, and have recorded a winning percentage over 65 percent. Th winning percentage is the highest among the five head coaches in the program's 26-year history.

Prior to D'Ambrosio's arrival, Eastern was 26-23 in the first ten season of LEC regular-season competition. Since then, the Warriors are 65-13-6 (81.0) in regular-season conference play, having lost more than one regular-season conference match only once in the last eleven years and compiling the best regular-season winning percentage and most wins during that span of any LEC program.  In the last nine years, Eastern has advanced to the LEC tournament championship match seven  times, winning four. No team has advanced to the final more times in that span and none have claimed more than Eastern's four titles.
The Warriors open the season with the same opponents from a year ago at the Warriors Classic: Fitchburg State University Friday night at 7 p.m. and the University of Saint Joseph (CT) Saturday night. Eastern won by a combined 10-2 margin against those opponents on last fall's opening weekend.
Field Hockey

FH preview72dpi_6465.jpg

WATCH: Head Coach Christine Hutchison Discusses the Season Ahead (6:00)

Despite losing seven seniors, an infusion of several talented newcomers have the Warriors optimistic under seventh-year head coach Christine Hutchison.

Looking to qualify for the Little East Conference tournament for the first time since  2004, Eastern returns four starters in seniors Lauren DeLuca (South Windsor), Rochelle Normandin (South Windsor) and Hannah Collier (Watertown) and junior Kelly Gawron (Ramsey, NJ). DeLuca, a returning All-LEC pick, and Gawron are defenders, Normandin a midfielder, and Collier a forward.

At left: Rochelle Normandin

Five of this year's starters are newcomers, three of them freshmen: sophomore defender Sam Rossetti (Shelton) and sophomore goalie Olivia Mullen (Bethel), freshmen midfielders Mackenzie Brower (Granby) and Laura Chicorka (Enfield), and freshman forward Hannah Keiser (Danbury).

Brower won three state titles in high school while Keiser was selected to the All-State team and Chicorka was a four-year all-conference pick and played Futures for three years.

 Rounding out the starting squad are junior midfielder Finley Ahearn (Wallingford) and sophomore forward Deisy Naranjo (Washington Heights, NY).

Women's Volleyball


WATCH: Head Coach Peter Maneggia Previews His Team (6:22)

A veteran team under first-year head coach Peter Maneggia won 20 matches last year and upset Western Connecticut State University on its home floor in the opening round of the Little East Conference tournament.

At left: Shannon Burke (3) and Katie Wilson

Ranked fifth among eight teams in this year's LEC pre-season poll, Eastern lost its top offensive player in Kristianna Ibsen, No. 1 defense specialist in Taylor Abelli, and best setter in Samantha Slonksi, but returns its best all-around player in 6-foot-2 inch middle hitter Katie Wilson (Pittsburg, CA).

Outside hitter Danielle Bourne (Branford) and right-side hitter Shannon Burke (Manchester) round out the senior class on a team comprised of seven returnees and six newcomers.

Bourne and junior Nicki Gasch (New Fairfield) will be counted upon to fill the void left by Ibsen, with junior Erynn Miller (Stratford) expected to take over at libero in place of Abelli. Sophomore Allie Henry (Middletown) and University of Saint Joseph (CT)  sophomore transfer Jess Patrizi (Beacon Falls) will share setting chores following the graduation of Slonski. Patrizi led Saint Joseph in assists and digs last fall and was among the top three in points.

The Warriors, who play only one home match in September, face Rhode Island College Friday night in its opener at Springfield before meeting Westfield State University and host Springfield Saturday. The Warriors swept Rhode Island twice last year in conference play but last faced Springfield five years ago and Westfield in 2001.

Maneggia is in his fifth season with the program. After serving three seasons as an assistant under two different head coaches, Maneggia was named interim head coach for the 2011 season. He was appointed permanent head coach last spring.


Golf: Tournament Supports Athletics


courseverticalKONIN72dpi_0512 copy.jpgOne hundred and forty golfers took part in Sunday's  Third Annual Eastern Golf Tournament, sponsored by the Eastern softball, women's volleyball and women's soccer programs. . The tournament was staged at the University Club of Connecticut and raised money for Eastern's intercollegiate program. In inset photo above, new Eastern Director of Athletics Dr. Jeff G. Konin '88 addresses the participants prior to the start of the noon shotgun start. Many local businesses -- as well as the Eastern community -- supported the fundraiser by sponsoring tees and donating prizes and in-kind gifts. Eastern's athletic fall season kicks off this weekend, with the women's soccer program at home as its hosts its second annual invitational tournament at the Mansfield Outdoor Complex.

W-Soccer: High School Girls' Clinic


girls_soccer_clinic_72dpi2012_1078.jpgForty girls are attending the Girls' High School Summer Soccer Clinic, conducted by the Eastern Connecticut State University women's soccer program this week at the Mansfield Outdoor Complex. The clinic is under the direction of Eastern women's soccer head coach Chris D'Ambrosio and assistant coach Ken Goodale, with members of this year's team serving as clinicians. The Warriors open their 13th season under D'Ambrosio Aug. 31 and Sept. 1 by hosting the Warriors Classic. Eastern has qualified for NCAA tournament play each of the past three seasons, winning its fourth Little East Conference playoff title a year ago.  For a print-quality copy of the above photograph, contact Bob Molta at


Men's Soccer: Costa Rican Wrapup


teamcostarica72dpi.jpgMembers of the Eastern Connecticut State University men's soccer team gather for a team photo after playing the host Deportivo Saprissa S.A.D. youth soccer club over the weekend at Estadio Ricardo Saprissa Ayma in San Juan de Tibas, Costa Rica. The Warriors were wrapping up a week-long pre-season stay in Costa Rica in Central America. The pre-season trip to Costa Rica was the second in four years for Eastern,which begins pre-season training Aug. 20 in preparation for its 2012 opener at the Western New England University Shootout Sept. 1-2. The Warriors have competed in the NCAA tournament four times and have been the No. 1 seed in the ECAC tournament once in five years under head coach Greg DeVito.

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M-Lacrosse: "Warrior For a Day" Clinic

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A total of 40 high school boys attended Eastern Connecticut State University's "Warrior For a Day" Clinic Sunday, sponsored by the Eastern men's lacrosse program. The day-long event included morning and afternoon sessions of instruction and scrimmaging under the direction of Eastern head coach Justin Axel and his coaching staff and players at the Mansfield Outdoor Complex, we well as a mid-afternoon lunch, tour of campus and film session. Each camper also received a reversible Eastern Lacrosse practice jersey.


Basketball: Second Week Concludes


Week2_72dpi_0755.jpgA total of 130 youngsters ages 5-16 attended the second week of the Eighth Annual Eastern Connecticut State University Basketball Clinic, which is conducted on the Eastern campus under the direction of Eastern head coach Bill Geitner and his staff. The clinic ran each day Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.  For a printable image of the photo above, contact Bob Molta at

Basketball: Youth Camp Attracts 260


mcbride_camp72dpi_0656.jpgTaylor McBride, a sophomore on the Eastern Connecticut State University women's basketball team, conducts a dribbling drill at the Eighth Annual Eastern Connecticut State University Basketball Clinic at Francis E. Geissler Gymnasium. A total of 260 area boys and girls ages 5-to-16 participated in the camp, which concluded a two-week run on the Eastern campus Friday afternoon. The camp is under the direction of 10-year Eastern head men's basketball coach Bill Geitner and players and assistant coaches from the Eastern men's and women's basketball programs.

Swim: Eastern Scholar All-America Again

For second time this year, Warriors recognized by CSCAA for academics

swimteam72dpi_4339.jpgWILLIMANTIC, Conn. - For the fourth time overall and second time in 2011/12, the Eastern Connecticut State University women's swim team has achieved Division III Scholar All-America status from the College Swimming Coaches' Association of America (CSCAA).

As a team, Eastern's 25 student-athletes achieved an aggregate grade-point average of 3.13 this past spring under 16-year head coach Maureen Fahey, whose teams have featured 25 selections to the Little East Conference All-Academic Team in the five-year history of the award and 43 E-Club Scholar-Athlete Award recipients in 16 years.

 The CSCAA recognizes college swim programs with fall and spring GPAs of 3.00 or better with Scholar All-America status. This past spring, 130 Division III women's swim programs nationwide earned that honor.  Eastern was also recognized with Scholar-All-America status in the fall when it compiled a fall semester GPA of 3.04.

"The success that our swimmers have achieved in and out of the pool is a testament to Coach Fahey's commitment toward developing well-rounded student athletes," praised Dr. Jeff Konin, Eastern's director of athletics. "This recognition by the CSCAA reflects our student-athletes' dedication to Eastern's  mission."

This past year, more than one-third of Eastern's swimmers who were eligible for inclusion on the LEC All-Academic Team qualified by amassing cumulative GPAs of at least 3.30. Those qualifiers included senior Samantha Armitage (Bristol), junior Kelly Hill (Port Tobacco, MD) and sophomores Marissa Colley (East Haven), Colleen King (Barkhamsted), Amanda Rivers (Meriden) and Mackenzie Russo (New Milford).  Armitage and classmates Andzelina Chmielewski (Enfield), Jennifer Dufraine (Somers) and Nadine Menard (Woodstock) earned E-Club Scholar-Athlete Awards, which are presented to juniors and senior athletes with cumulative GPAs of at least 3.15.

This past year, Eastern set a program season record for winning percentage (.889) with an 8-1 record and went on to post a fourth-place finish (second among Division III institutions) at the Division II-III New England Intercollegiate Swimming and Division Championships. At that meet, nine individuals were accorded All-New England status a total of 26 times   


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