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Indoor Track: Opener Saturday at UMB Invite

        Under Manizza, men and women offer promise in 20012/13

 
By Brendan Driscoll/Sports Information Staffgingras Zoom72_2869.jpg

WILLIMANTIC, Conn. -- Following a month of training, the Eastern Connecticut State University men's and women's indoor track and field season officially begins Saturday, Dec. 1 at the University of Massachusetts Boston Invitational at Roxbury Community College's Reggie Lewis Athletic Center in Boston.

At right: Cora Gingras

Head coach Kathy Manizza has returned to Eastern after spending the past 13 years at the University of Hartford and is coming off her first season as head men's and women's cross country coach. Jason Edwards, a former All-American Eastern track and field athlete, will join Manizza on the coaching staff, along with Michael Lunt and Brien Woodaman. Lunt brings 20 years of high school track and field and cross country coaching experience. Woodaman was a four-year letterwinner under Manizza at Hartford who specialized in the hammer, weight and shot.

The addition of Edwards to the coaching staff will be a tremendous benefit to the team since he was a four-time All-American in the long jump at Eastern in the late 1990s and early 2000s. (He still holds the conference and alliance  records for the long jump both indoor and outdoor and the conference indoor record at 200 meters).

Edwards had several reasons to return to Eastern but one of the most important reasons was to work with Manizza, his former coach for two years at Eastern who he credits with much of his improvement in the long jump.  Edwards is excited about his return to Eastern because of  the progress of the University, including the addition of the outdoor track at the Mansfield Outdoor Complex seven years ago. He also had a good feeling about returning to his alma mater after meeting with new Athletic Director Dr. Jeff Konin, who is very supportive of him and the entire track and field program.

This year, Manizza hopes that the teams can move up in the Little East standings. She also hopes that a few athletes will be able to qualify for nationals at the end of the season. It won't be easy to accomplish these goals since the indoor season is tough to train for during the winter months of Connecticut (Eastern does not yet have a field house or indoor track facility). They program does have the outdoor track, but when there is snow on the ground the team will have to be creative to practice.

hewett 72_1233.jpgWith the addition of a handful of newcomers, Manizza sees improvement on the horizon, and believes, along with Edwards that with a positive attitude the team can accomplish anything. The coaches really want to make sure that the athletes have a good sense of team spirit in order to have a successful season.

At left: Fredrick Hewett

With each program featuring only two returning seniors, Manizza has goals beyond just this season for the program. Manizza is recruiting heavily for next year, and wants to build the program by hopefully getting 10 to 15 impact freshmen for the 2013/14 season.

According to Manizza, the men's team has a few athletes who  have a chance to qualify nationals this season including, among them junior sprinters  Fredrick Hewett (New London) and Michael Singletary (Hartford). They could be a very talented combination in the 4x200 relay, as well.

In his first season last year after transferring from  Southern Tech Academy in Charlotte, NC -- where he played football as a post-graduate in the fall of 2009 -- Hewitt was the team's top sprinter. Indoors and outdoors, he ran to All-Little East Conference and All-New England Alliance honors at 200 and 400 meters. 

Singletary was unable to compete a year ago but is coming off a full cross country season this past fall after spending the 2010/11 year at Division I Liberty University.

According to the coach, if healthy, sophomore Lee Cattanach (New London) has the ability to break some distance records this year at 3,000 meters and in the mile. Cattanach  just finished an impressive cross country season,  where he achieved All-LEC and All-NEA recognized based upon his finish at the conference/alliance championships.

The coaching staff also maintains high expectations for sophomore Dylan Kruppa (Torrington) and junior Mark Jolley (East Berlin),  among others. Both second-year competitors are sprinters and also compete in the jumps. Other top candidates include sophomore returnees D'Vonte Chambers (West Haven) and Andre Reynolds (Hartford), the latter earning All-NEA recognition indoors as a freshman.

With the team competing at the first-ever UMass Boston Invitational - where at least 14 two and four-year institutions will be represented --  the 4x200 relay is seeded first in a 17-team field, Hewett is seeded second in the 400 and eighth in the 55, Singletary third in the 500, Jolley fifth in the high jump, Kruppa sixth in the 400, Cattanach ninth in the 5,000, Chambers tenth in the  55, and Reynolds tenth in the 55 hurdles.

The women's team also has a talented roster. Junior Lauren Hultzman (Putnam) should benefit from working with Edwards for the entire season. Last year, she qualified for the high jump and pentathlon in the New England Division III championships, gaining All-New England laurels in the high jump at both the Division III and Open championships. Manizza hopes she can add a few feet to her personal throwing record. Junior Amy Huhn (Hebron) is one of the best pole-vaulters in the LEC and feels that she has a chance to do even better this year.

Seniors Cora Gingras (East Hampton) and Christine Charpentier (Monroe) - both fourth-year letterwinners --  also have a chance to improve this season. It is Manizza's belief that Gingras  has a chance to break the school record in the triple jump.

Indoors last year, Hultzman won last year's conference and alliance high jump championships, Gingras was All-NEA in the triple jump and All-NEA and All-LEC  in the high jump and Huhn All-NEA in the pole vault.

Hultzman owns the program's indoor records in the 60 hurdles and pentathlon and shares the high jump record with Gingras. Charpentier is the lone returning member of the record-setting 4x200 relay (set in her freshman season) and joins junior Katie France (Portland) and sophomore Nikki Chambers (East Hampton) as returning members of the Distance Medley Relay which set the current record last February.

On Saturday, Hultzman and Gingras are seeded 1-2 in the high jump, Gingras, junior Tacia Bryant (Guilford) and Hultzman 3-4-5 in the long jump, Huhn second in the pole vault and Gingras second in the triple jump. In addition, the 4x400 relay is seeded sixth, freshman Kylie McCartney (Manchester) seventh in the mile, France ninth in the 3,000, Chambers ninth in the 800 and junior Akaya McElveen (New Haven) ninth in the 500.

The new coaching staff wants the teams to have a successful season,  but at the same time they emphasized the importance of education and having a good work ethic in both their students and in their sport. The staff wants to prepare these student-athletes for the rest of their lives by asking them to do the best they can in every aspect of their life right now.
 

At Eastern, Things Have Come Full Circle

 After careers at Division I level, former student athletic trainers return to their roots

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Standing (from left): Dr. Daniel Switchenko, Dr. Jeff Konin and Dr. David Yeo. Sitting (from left): Tom Holton and Julie Alexander.

 

By Brendan Driscoll/Sports Information Staff

WILLIMANTIC, Conn. - Two fulltime summer hires have made for an interesting --  and unique -- situation in the Eastern Connecticut State University Department of Intercollegiate Athletics.

Tom Holton, Eastern Class of 1989, has served on the Eastern athletic training staff since 1999. This past summer he was joined by two fellow alumni:  Dr. Jeff  Konin '88, and Julie (Glode) Alexander '90,who returned to their alma mater after successful careers at the Division I level. Konin was named director of athletics while Alexander was named to the athletic training staff following the retirement of  Dr. David Yeo, Eastern's long-time popular head athletic trainer.

While undergraduates at Eastern, all three former students - Holton, Konin and Alexander - learned under Yeo and Dr. Daniel Switchenko, who served as teachers and mentors to the trio.

Yeo  retired this past spring after more than 25 years as head athletic trainer and professor of Health and Physical Education but remains in a faculty emeritus role. A full professor of Health and Physical Education, Switchenko has been a member of the faculty since 1981, when he was hired in a dual role as professor and head men's basketball coach. As the basketball program's winningest head coach  during his 13-year career, Switchenko led the Warriors to five post-season tournaments, including a spot in the NCAA Division III Elite Eight in 1993. He was inducted into the University's athletic Hall of Fame in 2002.

Holton, Konin and Alexander all went through Switchenko's challenging Applied Anatomy and Physiology, Physiological Basis/Movement, and Physiology of Exercise classes and also studied athletic training and served as student athletic trainers under Yeo.

Today, a 12x15 inch plaque occupies a special place in Eastern's athletic training room. The plaque is entitled the Jeffrey Konin Athletic Training Award  in honor of Konin, who became the first individual to earn an athletic training accreditation through advanced education beyond his undergraduate degree from Eastern. The names of Holton and Alexander occupy distinguished spots on that award for meeting that critera.

Both Yeo and Switchenko are extremely proud of the educational and professional achievements of  their former students, and both are both thrilled to have them back at their alma mater.  The bond joining Holton, Alexander, Konin, Switchenko and Yeo is, undoubtedly, a unique and rewarding one for all parties involved.

According to Yeo "I don't know any other college where the director of athletics and two athletic trainers all studied under one person," referencing Holton, Konin and Alexander.. Eastern does not, and never has, offered an undergraduate degree in athletic training, so it was the dedication of Yeo and Switchenko who helped the trio gain admittance to graduate school. Yeo demonstrated the  three things a trainer needed to have to be successful:  passion, endless dedication, and the desire to set  high goals. He gave them the opportunity to be with the teams for practice and games. They were all required to work hard while they were at Eastern, because Yeo was the only fulltime trainer at the time. Yeo also added that that he is very proud that they choose to be here in the first place and happy that they eventually chose to return. Since he has recently retired as a full time faculty member, Yeo feels that he has left the department incredibly strong for the future.

A native of Willimantic, Switchenko points out that "for three former students to achieve that level of success is so rewarding." All three of alumni went through all of Switchenko's classes while they were undergraduates. Switchenko specifically remembered all three of them as students and how they had performed in his class. He is not surprised by the amount of success his three former students have achieved and is very proud that he was once their professor. "The ultimate goal is to prepare students to become (better) than you."

 Konin officially took over as director of athletics this past July 2. Konin is a native of Hamden  and received his undergraduate degree in 1988. Upon completion of his undergraduate studies,  he received his Master's Degree in Education from the University of Virginia a year later, a Master's Degree in Physical Therapy from the University of Delaware in 1994, and a PhD. from Nova Southeastern University in 2004. Prior to accepting his current appointment, Konin served as vice chairperson of the Department of Orthopaedics and Sports Medicine and executive director of the Sports Medicine and Athletic Related Trauma Institute at the University of South Florida.

Firmly entrenched at South Florida, Konin ultimately accepted Eastern President Dr. Elsa Nunez's offer to return because of the great environment the campus offers. He also saw the position as a tremendous accolade, because it meant a lot that Eastern wanted him to return to his alma mater.

While Konin was a student at Eastern, he was the student athletic trainer for the men's basketball team during Switchenko's coaching tenure. Konin served in that capacity for two seasons, and in Switchenko's eyes, was a member of the team and was fully committed to the program.

Yeo came to Eastern in 1986 when Konin was working with the basketball team. As Eastern did not offer a major in athletic training, Yeo afforded Konin an opportunity to gain experience by working both in practice and during games. Yeo quickly realized  what Konin had done for the basketball program, and allowed him to continue being the trainer.

Konin remembers his time at Eastern and is appreciative of the impact these two men have had on his professional growth. Konin described Yeo as "one of a kind." Konin said that Yeo was "a great person and great teacher", and following Yeo's example, "learned how to treat people right." When Konin reflected on his time in Switchenko's classes, he believes that  "the world would be a better place if more classes were like that." Konin felt that Switchenko's classes held students accountable and were among the very few classes where students walk away with knowledge and understanding that  remains with them decades later.

As director of athletics, Konin hopes to continue the environment that has been created by Switchenko and Yeo. He believes that the athletic administration has a great opportunity to show leadership for the entire campus. Konin also feels that student-athletes should have three major roles in their college careers that enhance a great experience: their experience in their respective sport, education, and their role in the community.

A native of nearby Storrs, Alexander returned to Eastern after 17 years on the athletic training staff at Sacred Heart University. Alexander graduated from Eastern in 1990 after playing three seasons of volleyball under Eastern Hall of Fame coach Floretta Crabtree.  After receiving her undergraduate degree in psychology, Alexander earned her Master's Degree in athletic training from Old Dominion University. Comfortable at Sacred Heart after nearly two decades at the Division I institution, Alexander says that she was not actively looking for  employment elsewhere,  but had always told herself that if the opportunity to return to her alma mater presented itself, that she would pursue it.

Alexander did not initially join the volleyball program at Eastern as a freshman, but was recruited off the tennis court by Crabtree. Alexander says that she was not an overly gifted athlete, but through hard work in practice became a starter in her junior and senior years. Switchenko described Alexander as an 'outstanding' student. "She was very focused and serious - she was all business in the classroom," remembers Switchenko. As a volleyball player, Switchenko pointed out that Alexander was a "tremendous team player and became highly skilled, due to her commitment to the team."

Alexander admits that both Yeo and Switchenko had a huge impact on her ambitions and professional career. "'Passionate' is the one word that describes both of them," she says, adding that she has never seen either of them "in a bad mood." According to Alexander, Yeo's teachings in the area of athletic training still resonate with her. Her experience in Switchenko's classes proved that she was hard worker and wanted to meet the challenge. Spurred on by a desire to meet Switchenko's expectations, Alexander received two A's and a B in his three classes.

 Holton has been at Eastern since 1999. The Willimantic native received his undergraduate degree in 1989 and his graduate degree in sports medicine at the United States Sports Academy two years later. Holton's professional experienced include involvement in professional baseball at the minor league level and also at the amateur level with USA Skating and USA Baseball. He says that he wanted to return to Eastern to train athletes at the Division III level and to give back to the university that gave him so much.  He felt that the Division III athletes he now trains that wanted to play and compete compare to many of the athletes at  the Division I level and in the minor leagues.

Switchenko described Holton as a hard-working student and is proud of the way that he has developed into a successful athletic trainer. Yeo explained that Holton could be working in a bigger place - similar to the environment in professional  baseball and with the Olympics - but that it is a testament to Holton's makeup to decide to return and  remain at his alma mater.

Holton says that he is very appreciative of everything that he learned while an undergraduate here. As an undergraduate intern, he remembers that Yeo instilled in him the drive to improve and the desire to always learn more. Through Yeo, he says that he was able to mold himself and he became a better person. Holton also described Switchenko as one of the top professors he has ever had. "Everything that he taught made sense, and would become burned into your memory." Like Alexander, Holton also felt the classes were so beneficial because of Switchenko's demand for accountability.

Since  Holton, Konin and Alexander all graduated within three years of each other, they were familiar with one another while undergraduates. Konin and Alexander knew Holton and had experience working with him at Eastern. However, Konin and Alexander were not as familiar with each other, due to the two-year difference. However, according to Alexander,  they had all maintained contact throughout their professional careers prior to being "re-united" many years later.

With the three alumni holding major roles in the department of athletics, Eastern hopes to  build upon the positive environment that has been created by individuals like Yeo and Switchenko. It is clear how much of an impact Yeo and Switchenko have had on the three alumni, and how much the two professors have meant to their professional careers.

Without the impact of the two mentors, Holton, Konin and Alexander may not have opted to return to Eastern.  However, they all chose to return, in part, because of what Eastern Connecticut State University meant to them while they were impressionable undergraduates.

 


 

W-Swimming: LEC Championships Beckon

Warriors feel that they will maintain solid presence at Saturday's meet


By Brendan Driscoll/Sports Information Staff

colley_head_72_2309.jpgHow They're Seeded.doc

Little East Championship Release

WATCH: Championship Interview (7:27) with Marissa Colley (at left) 

WILLIMANTIC, Conn. -- Eastern Connecticut State University will be hoping that it's a case of "been there, done that" when the Warriors compete in the 12th Little East Conference Championship Women's Swimming and Diving Championships at the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth's Tripp Center pool Saturday at 11 a.m.

The meet will be broadcast live and later archived on LittleEast.tv.

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At right: Junior Erin McVeigh is Eastern's top seed in the 200 and 500 yard freestyle and 200 butterfly at Saturday's LEC Championships. (Colleen King photo)

Eastern hopes to continue its strong presence in the eight-team championships, where it has claimed a solid second place behind perennial champion Keene State College each of the past four years. Keene won its sixth straight title and ninth overall a year ago, with the Warriors second with 274 points, 63 more than third-place finisher Western Connecticut State University.

The Warriors have competed against each of the other seven squads in the meet this year except for Keene State, and has posted impressive wins over each.

Head coach Maureen Fahey, now in her 17th year, says that she expects her athletes to do their best on Saturday and produce their fastest times of the year, with the final standings of the championships of secondary appearance.

In the meet, the maximum 18 members of the 24-person roster will compete. According to Fahey, they are all "poised to swim fast. Hopefully, they can all record their best times of the season."

The top two individuals and first two relays are accorded All-LEC honors and first 12 individuals and top seven relays score points. The meet involves 16 events: 12 individual swimming and two relay events and two diving competitions. Eastern does not sponsor diving.

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At left: Freshman Katie King is seeded second in the 100 yard breaststroke and fourth in the 200 breaststroke for Saturday's LEC Championships. (Colleen King photo)

One swimmer Fahey had high hopes for Saturday was junior Jacqueline Tromp (Bohemia, NY), who has high individual and team expectations for herself. Said Tromp, "I would like to swim my fastest times of the season so far in all of my events, which include the 100 back, 200 back, and 400 IM."  In the previous two years, Tromp has scored points for Eastern in the 100 and 200 yard backstroke, including a fifth place finish in 2010 in the 100 yard backstroke. Tromp also hopes that the team can show support for each other regardless of how they perform as individuals.

Tromp expects the team to place very highly in this championship because of the additional competition which includes LEC members Keene, host UMass Dartmouth, Rhode Island College, Plymouth State and Western Connecticut, along with Bridgewater State and Westfield State from the Massachusetts State College Athletic Conference. Tromp added, "There is more competition, which will give us more motivation to do better then the other teams.  I think the increase in adrenaline will help everyone improve in their races."

Last year in the conference championship, Eastern finished second in 400 freestyle relay. Three of those swimmers make up Eastern's strong junior class. Last year, Erin McVeigh (Windsor), Marissa Colley (East Haven) and Becky Odgers (Shelton) finished second with a time of 3:45.75 in the finals, three seconds behind the winning relay.

Keene swimmers are seeded first in all but one event and have earned the top two seeds in ten. For Eastern, McVeigh is seeded first among Eastern swimmers and among the top five overall among all swimmers in the 200 and 500 freestyle and 200 butterfly.  Freshman Katie King (Barkhamsted) is seeded second in the 100 breaststroke and fourth in the 200 breaststroke, freshman Macaire Jones (Danbury) third in both the 50 and 100 freestyle, Colley fourth in the 200 backstroke, Odgers fourth in the 1,000 freestyle, senior Stephanie O'Kelly (Westport) third in the 200 breaststroke, and junior Michelle Schapp (Torrington) fourth in the 100 backstroke.

The Warriors hope to accumulate many points in the 200 breaststroke with O'Kelly, Katie King and sophomore Rachael Thatcher (Newington) seeded among the top six, the 100 freestyle with Macaire Jones, first-year junior Morgan Charlow (Branford) and sophomore Abby Arisco (Wallingford) among the top seven, and the 200 butterfly with McVeigh, Arisco and freshman Heather Avery (Wethersfield) among the top ten.

In three individual events last year, McVeigh totaled 27 points (the most among returnees), Schapp 23, and Odgers 21. Gone from a year ago are last year's top two point-producers in Nadine Menard (34 points) and Amanda Rivers (31) .

No one who has previously earned All-LEC honors in an individual event is on this year's roster, although seniors Colleen King (Barkamsted), McVeigh, Colley, Odgers, Schapp, sophomore Kayla Smoragiewicz (Smoragiewicz) and Thatcher all competed on relays which gained second-place finishes a year ago and contributed 26 points apiece. The makeup of this year's 200 medley (seeded second) and 400 freestyle (seeded fourth)  relays have not yet been announced. 

The team should be at its peak performance due to their hard training over the past few weeks. Fahey is excited to see what the teams' times will look like when they get to compete against the rest of the Little East Conference.


 

M-Basketball: Warriors Burst Past Conn

Warriors overcome late deficit with nine straight points in 84-79 victory

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WILLIMANTIC,Conn. - In a game which featured 12 ties and ten lead changes, the Eastern Connecticut State University men's basketball team scored its final five points from the free throw line to post an 84-79 victory over Connecticut College Tuesday night at Francis E. Geissler Gymnasium.

At right: Joe Ives

Eastern (3-1) scored 13 points on its seven offensive rebounds in the second half to overcome a three-point halftime deficit and defeat Conn College (1-3) for the fourth straight time and seventh time in the last nine contests.

Four Eastern double-digit scorers - led by senior guard Joe Ives' (Avon) career-high 23 - was enough to offset the offensive heroics of Conn junior guard Matt Vadas. Vadas poured in 33 points on a selection of short and long-range jumpers. Vadas, who was 11-for-23 from the floor (4-for-10 from three-point range) and 7-for-7 from the line, connected on 20 of his points in the second half. Junior guard Tyrone Turner came off the bench to toss in 16 for Conn (6-for-8 form the floor) - 12 coming in the second half.

Trailing by two points with just under two minutes left, Eastern responded with nine straight points to pull away. Two offensive rebounds by sophomore guard Brandon Yarborough (Stamford) led to inside buckets in that stretch, and senior forward Chris Robitaille (Canton) and Ives combined for five free throws over the final 34.4 seconds to nail down the win.

With Eastern trailing by two in the final minutes, Yarborough missed after grabbing the offensive rebound of Ives' three-pointer, but senior forward Mike Garrow (Terryville) followed with a board and putback to even the score at 77. Following a rare miss by Vadas, Ives pulled down the rebound and moments later, Yarborough was there to clean up Garrow's misfire and give the Warriors the lead for good, 79-77, with just under a minute left. 

Ives was 5-for-9 from the floor (4-for-7 from three-point range) and 9-for-10 from the foul line en route to his career-high total, while Robitaille had his second straight double-double with 15 points and a game-high 14 rebounds, along with three blocked shots. Junior guard Brian Salzillo (North Haven) kept Eastern in contention in the first half by converting all three of his three-point field goals and 13 total points over the first 20 minutes. He also had five rebounds and four assists. Garrow  finished with 14 points and his only offensive rebound and putback was a key one when the Warriors tied the game, while senior forward Tyler Hundley (Cheshire) chipped in nine rebounds. Five of Yarborough's six rebounds came on the offensive glass and helped the Warriors to a 46-27 overall rebounding advantage.

Eastern sank 26 of 35 free throws in the game, including 18-for-23 in the second half. In addition to Ives, Garrow was 6-for-8 from the stripe, Yarborough and freshman guard Trachone Preston (Enfield) both 3-for-4 and Salzillo sank both of his tries. 

Eastern  opens defense of its Little East Conference title Saturday at the University of Southern Maine at 3 p.m.

 

W-Basketball: New Paltz Prevails, 64-56

Warriors can't maintain fast start in dropping fourth straight decision

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WILLIMANTIC, Conn. - A fast start did not translate into a fast finish Tuesday night for the Eastern Connecticut State University women's basketball team, which watched an early 13-point lead dissipate over eight minutes in a 64-56 non-conference loss to SUNY at New Paltz at Francis E. Geissler Gymnasium.

At right: Taylor McBride (23) gets the reach over New Paltz' Shannan Walker in the second half of Tuesday's loss. (Photo by Tom Silvestri)

One year after being roughed up by New Paltz (3-0) in a 31-point loss, Eastern (1-4) jumped on the Hawks this time by racing to a 15-2 lead in the first five minutes of the game, but followed by going scoreless over the next ten minutes during an 18-0 New Paltz run that pushed the visitors into a five-point lead and handed the Warriors their fourth straight loss.

Leading by four at halftime, Eastern surrendered 42 second-half points, with senior guard Maliqua Fisher and freshman forward Michelle Valle leading the way with 11 each. The Hawks shot under 40 percent in the second half but turned nine Eastern turnovers into 12 points and cashed in 14 free throws.

Eastern's last lead of the game came with eight minutes left on a perimeter shot from senior guard Samantha Riccio (Avon). At that point, New Paltz outscored the Warriors 13-2 to open up a ten-point lead with four minutes left.  The Warriors made one last push for contention when sophomore guard Kristina Forsman (Newington) canned her fourth three-pointer of the game to cut the deficit to five with two minutes left. Sophomore forward Shannon McCourt (New Fairfield) rebounded a New Paltz miss on the other end but the Warriors couldn't convert a short jumper on their next trip down, and a jumper from Valle and three free throws from Shannon Walker iced the Hawk's second victory in as many years over the Warriors.

New Paltz played the final 19 minutes of the game without leading scorer and rebounder Alex McCullough, a 6-foot-1 inch senior forward, who sustained a right ankle injury. McCullough had only two points on seven field goal tries and two rebounds in 15 minutes before being helped from the floor with her team trailing by four.

Fisher led New Paltz with 17 points and added eight rebounds with just one turnover in 35  minutes. Valle added 13 points and a game-high nine rebounds and freshman forward Jennifer Sixsmith 11 points and seven rebounds off the bench.

Forsman was 8-for-18 from the floor en route to a career-high 24 points and turned the ball over only once in 35 minutes before fouling out with 6.6 seconds left. McCourt added ten points and eight rebounds but was guilty of nine of the team's 22 turnovers.

Eastern visits the University of Southern Maine in its Little East Conference opener Saturday at 1 p.m.

 

M-Basketball: Robitaille Recognized by LEC

Trinity performance nets senior forward Player-of-the-Week award

robitaille_TC_72_6736.jpgNORTH DARTMOUTH, Mass. - Senior forward Chris Robitaille (Canton) has been recognized with a weekly award by the Little East Conference in men's basketball for the first time in his career when he shared honors as Player-of-the-Week in the weekly award program's second week, through games of Sunday.

In the team's fifth win in as many years over Trinity College last Tuesday, the 6-foot-5 inch Robitaille led all players in the game with 15 points (7-for-14 from the floor) and 12 rebounds with a career-high five blocked shots in a 56-53 victory that gave Eastern its second victory of the season in three games.

Behind Robitaille, Eastern erased a seven-point halftime lead, holding Trinity to two points and outscoring the Bantams 19-2 through the first 12 minutes of the second half. Robitaille had seven points, eight rebounds and three blocks in the second half.

Last year's LEC leader in field goal percentage, the four-year letterwinner was 3-for-5 from the floor in the second half. In 90 seconds in the second half, he grabbed an offensive rebound and scored, then blocked a shot and scored inside to give Eastern its largest lead, 46-36, with nine minutes left. After Trinity cut the lead to three, Robitaille scored in the paint again with the shot clock winding down to make it a five-point lead with two minutes left.

On the season, Robitaille averages 11.7 points and a team-high 7.3 rebounds with a team-high seven blocked shots. He shares the conference lead in blocks per game (2.3), is tied for third in offensive rebounds per game (3.0), tied for fourth in assists per game (3.3) and tied for seventh in rebounds per game.

Eastern hosts Connecticut College Tuesday at 5:30 p.m.
 


 

W-Basketball: Valiants Surge Past Eastern

Manhattanville overcomes 11-point first-half deficit to claim 63-60 win

forsmanmville72_6980.jpgWILLIMANTIC, Conn. - Post players Jennifer McSharar and Alyson Caiazzo combined for 27 points, 20 rebounds, five blocked shots and seven steals to help lift the Manhattanville College women's basketball team to a 63-60 non-conference victory over Eastern Connecticut State University Monday night at Francis E. Geissler Gymnasium.

At left: Kristina Forsman drives to the basket in the first half as Manhattanville's Alyson Caiazzo moves in to defend. (Photo by Courtney Weber).

Eastern (1-3) limited Manhattanville (3-1) to one field goal and three points in jumping to an 11-point lead seven minutes into the game, but the Valiants charged back, scoring seven straight points in one stretch and finally taking its first lead in the final seconds of the first half, 30-28 on a half-court three-point field goal by freshman guard Ashley Raaf.

There were eight lead changes in the second half and neither team lead by more than four points before Manhattanville took the lead for good with seven minutes left. The Valiants scored six straight points to move out to a five-point lead with five-and-a-half minutes left when Caiazzo sandwiched two inside hoops around a pair of free throws from McSharar.

The visitors pushed the advantage to seven on a three-point field goal from Taylor Wilson with two minutes left and led by three on a pair of free throws from McSharar (9-for-12 from the foul line) with 18.3 seconds left.

Eastern had an inside shot roll off the rim with 14 seconds left and had one last chance to tie the game when Manhattanville missed two free throws with 6.5 seconds left. Eastern freshman Brianna Leonard  (Amherst, MA) grabbed the rebound of the second one, but the Warriors lost possession in the backcourt and could only reclaim the ball as time expired.

The Valiants overcame 27 turnovers to defeat Eastern for the second straight year. The Warriors scored nearly one-third of their points (18) off of Manhattanville turnovers

The 5-foot-10 inch McSharar and 6-foot-1 inch Caiazzo each had ten rebounds. McSharar led her team with 15 points and four steals and Caiazzo was 6-for-8 from the floor en route to 12 points and also added three blocks and three steals.  Wilson was 3-for-5 from three-point range and added 13 points  before fouling out with 1:13 remaining.

Eastern got 14 points (7-for-11 from the floor) in the first half from Shannon McCourt (New Fairfield) and nine from Kristina Forsman (Newington) to move out to its 11-point lead. McCourt missed eight minutes in the second half, however, after being tagged with her fourth personal foul with Eastern leading by two with 13:35 left.

McCourt led all players with 18 points, with Forsman finishing with 15 points and four steals. Freshman Jill Ritrosky (Pittsfield, MA) grabbed a team-high eight rebounds and Taylor McBride (Willimantic) handed out six assists and collected six steals.

Eastern hosts SUNY New Paltz Tuesday at 7:30 p.m.

 

Four From Eastern are Senior All-Stars

Wilson, Fletcher, Furman, and Munsell  will compete in all-star games

fletcher_NEISL72dpi_5327.jpgWILLIMANTIC, Conn. - Eastern Connecticut State University  volleyball player Katie Wilson (Pittsburg, CA)  and men's soccer players Bradley Fletcher (Middletown), Matt Furman (Montville) and Jordan Munsell (Waterford) have been selected to participate in their respective upcoming New England Division III senior all-star games.

Wilson, a 6-foot-2 inch middle hitter,  is one of 35 selections to the New England Women's Volleyball Association (NEWVA) Senior Classic, while Fletcher, Furman and Munsell are among 43selections to the New England Intercollegiate Soccer League (NEISL) All-Star Game.

At left: Bradley Fletcher

The soccer showcase is scheduled for  Sunday, Nov. 25 at 11 a.m. at Harvard University. The volleyball all-star game is scheduled for Sunday, Dec. 2 at noon at Babson College.  A skills and drills competition (10 a.m.) and lunch (11:30 a.m.) will precede the game.

A total of 23 different institutions are represented in both the volleyball and soccer all-star games. The Little East Conference will be represented with four selections from four institutions at  the volleyball game and six conference players representing three institutions will compete in the soccer match.

munsell NEISL72_0797.jpgWilson becomes the 23rd Eastern selection to the volleyball all-star game since 1987 - second in as many years under head coach Peter Maneggia. The selections of Fletcher, a defender, Furman, a forward, and Munsell, a keeper,  bring to 18 - eight in six years under head coach Greg DeVito-- the number of Eastern players tabbed to the soccer all-star game.

At right: Jordan Munsell

This past season, Wilson ranked third in NCAA Division III with an average of 5.40 points per set and 11th with an average of 4.21 kills per set. She led the conference in points (626.5) and points per set, kills (488) and kills per set, was second in attack percentage (.302), and tied for fifth in service aces per set (0.53). The first-team All-LEC selection concluded her three-year Eastern career as one of eight players all-time with at least 1,000 kills (8th/1,007) and ranked fifth all-time in attack percentage (.286). She became only the second player in program history with as many as 1,000 kills and 100 block solos (107).

Wilson totaled at least 20 kills in five of the last six matches of her career, attacking at .346 in that final stretch, averaging 52 attempts per match, and posting a career-high 30 kills Oct. 20 against Salve Regina University.wilsonNEWVA72_4965.jpg

Behind  Wilson, Eastern won 19 and lost 14 and qualified for its first post-season tournament since 2007 with a berth in the ECAC New England Division III Tournament.

At right: Katie Wilson

The three NEISL selections mark the most in a season for Eastern in program history (its first selections came in 1986 when all players were eligible to compete, not just seniors). Behind these players,  Eastern won a program-record 17 matches against two losses and a tie, claimed its third LEC post-season and third LEC regular-season title in four years and was ranked fourth in New England and 24th nationally in the final regular-season ratings.

This past year's Little East Conference Defensive Player-of-the-Year and a first-team All-LEC pick, Fletcher averaged a team-leading 91.6 minutes per match, and with Munsell, was the anchor of a defense which gave up only 15 goals (more than one in a match only three times)  and led the LEC in least goals allowed per game (0.75), goals-against average (0.73) and shutouts (9).

furman_neisl72_0984.jpg

At left: Matt Furman

In his first season as a starter, Munsell started 19 of 20 matches and figured in all 20 decisions. He topped the LEC in goals-against average (0.69) and shutouts (8) and was second in save percentage (.829). In mid-October, he started four straight matches which ended up as shutouts and stopped a career-high nine shots in the NCAA tournament loss to St. Lawrence University in his collegiate finale.

Furman was the team leader in goals (13) and points (31) for the third time in his four-year career, serving as the conference leader in both of those departments en route to conference Offensive Player-of-the-Year and first-team all-LEC honors. Four goals were game-winners for Furman, who had points in ten of 12 matches at one point after going scoreless in the first four matches of the year. He left the program with 38 goals, 22 assists and 98 points, fifth all-time in the latter category.

Fletcher and Furman both achieved All-LEC status for the third time in their respective careers.


 


 

W-Basketball: Saints Too Much to Overcome

Warriors drop first road game of season to No. 20 Emmanuel, 65-47

emmanuel72_6393.jpgBOSTON - The task was a tall one for an inexperienced Eastern Connecticut State University team to tackle : No. 20 nationally-ranked Emmanuel College in its first game away from home Tuesday night.

Playing its third game in four days, Eastern (1-2) trailed by only nine points seven minutes into the second half  before missing 17 of its final 22 shots as Emmanuel pulled away for a 65-47 victory -- its third straight home victory in as many games this season -- in a non-conference game at the Jean Yawkey Center on the Emmanuel campus.

Featuring  only one player with more than a year's experience, Eastern
went cold from the floor over the final13 minutes, turning the ball over only one time in that stretch in losing for the third time in the last four meetings with Emmanuel. The Saints were coming off a 25-win season last year which was punctuated with three wins in last year's NCAA Division III tournament and a berth in the sectional tournament.

Emmanuel averaged six-feet across the starting front line and opened the game with two seniors, two juniors and a sophomore. Eastern countered with a senior, three sophomores and a freshman.

Senior forward Fiona O'Dwyer poured in a career-high 30 points and grabbed a game-high 16 rebounds to lead Emmanuel, ranked 20th nationally in the first WBCA Division III regular-season poll.

Eastern's defense forced seven Emmanuel turnovers in the opening six minutes of play, leading to a 9-0  run, capped by  a three-pointer from  sophomore guard Kristina Forsman (Newington) as the Warriors moved out  to a 12-8 lead.

Both teams struggled offensively in the first half -- continuing to turn the ball over under pressure and combining for 20 turnovers in the opening fifteen minutes of action - but the Saints were able to maintain the upper hand.  Senior guard Laura Benvenuto  found Liz Daley  on a backdoor cut and Daley's hoop gave the Saints a ten-point lead at 27-17 with three minutes remaining in the half.

The Saints found themselves in foul trouble and Eastern took advantage of being in the bonus eight minutes into the second half. The Warriors drained  five consecutive free throws to cut their deficit to nine at 44-35. 

A turn-around in the paint by Bujnowski extended the Emmanuel lead to 52-37 and forced a Warrior timeout with 8:12 on the clock.  Out of the timeout, Eastern sophomore Shannon McCourt (New Fairfield) scored on a drive and freshman guard Megan Cardarelli (Manchester) sank a jumper from the wing to chip away at the Saints' lead.  Senior guard Chenae Earle  then found O'Dwyer on the break at the five-minute mark to put the Saints up, 60-44, and forced another Eastern timeout.  Unable to re-gain their shooting touch, the Warriors scored just three more points over the final five minutes.

McCourt and Forsman combined to take 33 of Eastern's 55 shots and commit ten of the team's 22 turnovers, with McCourt finishing with 17 points and 14 rebounds as the only Eastern player in double figures. The 5-foot-11 inch O'Dwyer connected on 13 of 22 field goals and also came up with seven of her team's total of 11 steals.

Eastern hosts Manhattanville College Monday at 6 p.m.


 


 

M-Basketball: Warriors Lock Down Trinity

garrowjam72_6854.jpg HARTFORD, Conn. - The trademark defense of the Eastern Connecticut State University men's basketball team that carried it to last year's Round of 16 re-emerged after a one-game hiatus Tuesday night as the Warriors limited Trinity College to one basket over the first 12 minutes of the second half in a 56-53 non-conference victory at the Ferris Athletic Center.

At left: Mike Garrow's jam on an inbound pass from Trachone Preston following a Trinity turnover gave the Warriiors a one-point lead early in the second half Tuesday night.

Trailing by as many as a dozen points late in the first half, Eastern (2-1) outscored Trinity (1-2) 19-2  over the first 12 minutes of the second half, then nursed a ten-point lead to its fifth victory over Trinity College in the last five years.

Barring a return engagement in the NCAA tournament this season, Eastern's senior class - for the second straight year - will have gone undefeated against the Bantams in its four-year career.

Holding a slim lead in the final minutes, Eastern finally put the game on the positive side of the ledger when Trinity's attempted game-tying three-pointer at the buzzer fell short.

Hampered in pre-season and early this year with a pulled leg muscle, freshman point guard Trachone Preston (Enfield) provided a second-half spark for the Warriors, and senior guard Joe Ives (Avon) and junior guard Brian Salzillo (North Haven) combined to sink five of six free throws over the final 60 seconds.

In its first road contest of the season, Eastern collected nine blocked shots (the teams combined for 16), nailed half of 12 three-point field goals, turned the ball over only 11 times, and was 16-for-21 from the foul line. This overcame a 42-30 deficit on the boards, including a -10 margin on the offensive glass.

Relying upon one of the Little East Conference's top defenses to record 20-win seasons each of the past three years, Eastern harassed Trinity into terrible second-half shooting and numerous turnovers Tuesday which accounted for just 19 points by the Bantams.

preston_72_6848.jpgThe Warriors had opened the season Friday night by holding Western New England University to just 34 points in a 28-point victory in the Eastern Tip-Off Tournament, but surrendered an uncharacteristic 75 points in an 11-point loss to Clark University in Saturday afternoon's championship game.

At left: Trachone Preston is guarded by Trinity's Jaquann Starks in the second half Tuesday.

After a tip-in by Steve Spirou  gave Trinity a 12-point lead with 53 seconds left in the first half, the Bantams did not score again until 13 minutes remained in the game. In-between, Eastern scored the final five points of the first half and the first eigt of the second to take its first lead, 35-34, since the game's seventh minute.

Preston's three-pointer from the top of the key and junior Mike Garrow's (Terryville) follow-up of a miss by senior Chris Robitaille (Canton) cut the gap to seven by the break, and   consecutive three-pointers from Garrow and Salzillo and a slam dunk by Garrow on an inbound pass from Preston had the hosts backpeddling in the opening minutes of the second half.

Eastern's lead crested at ten, 46-36 with nine minutes left when Robitaille blocked a shot and later scored from underneath on a pass from Garrow. The Warriors scored only ten points the rest of the way but made enough big defefnsive plays to hold off the Bantams.

After struggling from the floor throughout most of the second half, Trinity finally found its shooting touch by connecting on baskets on three straight possessions, the final one a short jumper by Hart Gliedman that pulled Trinity to within two, 55-53, with nine seconds left.

yarborough72_6921.jpgSalzillo, who had converted two free throws on the team's first two-shot bonus of the half less than ten second earlier, rimmed the second of two free throws with 8.4 seconds left that left Eastern's lead at three, but a potential  game-tying three-point attempt by Trinity's Jaquann Starks from the left side was partially blocked by an Eastern defender as the horn sounded.

At left: Eastern's Brandon Yarborough gets gangled up with Trinity's Jamil Ebo in the second half of Eastern's 56-53 win Tuesday evening.

Preston, who had scored five points in 14 minutes this past weekend, contributed nine points against Trinity in 19 minutes off the bench. Preston took over for Ives one minute into the second half after the latter fell hard on his back on a field goal attempt. Preston entered the game with Eastern trailing by four and was replaced by Salzillo with the Warriors leading by eight with just under ten minutes left.

Eastern senior starter Tyler Hundley (Cheshire) did not score a point, but contributed three key plays in the final minutes that helped the Warriors maintained the lead. The 6-foot-6 inch forward grabbed consecutive defensive rebounds on Trinity shots after Eastern had turned the ball over, then tied up Trinity's 6-foot-6 inch  Jamil Ebo with a blocked shot with 65 seconds left that set up Ives' two free throws that made it 53-49 with a minute left.

Eastern emerged with the win despite the fact that only five players scored points - Preston off the bench and Ives, Robitaille, Salzillo and Garrow in starting roles. Robitaille led a balanced effort with 15 points, a game-high 12 rebounds, and five blocked shots,  Salzillo and Garrow adding 11 points each, and Garrow contributing seven rebounds and six assists while playing all 40 minutes.Ives had ten points. Salzillo had two three-pointers and combined with Ives to go 10-for-11 from the line, the only miss coming in the final seconds.

Trinity, coming off a two-point win over Little East opponent UMass Dartmouth Saturday, did not have a double-digit scorer and was outscored by nine from the foul line.

Eastern enjoys three off days for the holiday before returning to practice Saturday in preparation of Tuesday's 5:30 home game against Connecticut College.

 

 

 
 
 


 

W-Swimming: Home Debut a Success

Warriors record fastest times in all 14 events in 147-87 win over USJ

tromp72_0147.jpgWILLIMANTIC, Conn. - In its final tuneup before the Little East Conference Championships, the Eastern Connecticut State University women's swim team recorded the fastest times in all 14 events in a 147-87 victory over the University of Saint Joseph (CT) in its home-opening dual meet at the Sports Center pool.

At left: Jacqueline Tromp (Photo by Colleen King).

Eastern (2-0) official was credited with winning nine individual events and the 200 yard medley relay before swimming the final three individual events and meet-ending relay on an exhibition basis. Saint Joseph (1-2) was handed 49 of its points while Eastern swam on an exhibition basis.

Ten different Eastern swimmers won events, with junior Erin McVeigh (Windsor) and freshman Macaire Jones (Danbury) each capturing two individual events and contributing to a winning relay. McVeigh won the 200 butterfly and 400 individual medley and Macaire Jones the 200 freestyle and 50 butterfly.

Also claiming individual firsts were senior Stephanie O'Kelly (Westport), juniors Jacqueline Tromp (Bohemia, NY), Becky Odgers (Shelton), Marissa Colley (East Haven) and sophomores Rachael Thatcher (Newington), Shannon Coleman (Plantsville), Kayla Smoragiewicz (Norwalk) and Abby Arisco (Wallingford). O'Kelly won the 200 breaststroke, Tromp the 50 backstroke, Odgers the 1,000 freestyle, Colley the 200 backstroke, Thatcher the 50 breaststroke, Coleman the 50 freestyle, Smoragiewicz the 100 freestyle and Arisco the 500 freestyle.

Eastern went 1-2-3 in the 200 freestyle, 200 backstroke, 200 breaststroke, 500 freestyle and the 50 butterfly.

Twenty-five percent of Eastern's dual meet wins in program history have come against Saint Joseph.

Eastern competes in the Little East Conference Championships December 1 at the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth.

W-Basketball: Warriors Drop Tip-Off Finale

Gulls swoop in, collect two wins and a 56-42 championship-game win

By Bill Mullins/Sports Information Staff

mcbride72dpi_6372.jpgWILLIMANTIC, Conn. - The Endicott College women's basketball team used an early 11-0 run and was never seriously threatened in winning the 33rd Annual Eastern Connecticut State University Tip-Off Tournament championship with a 56-42 victory over the host Warriors Sunday afternoon at the Francis E. Geissler Gymnasium.

Above: Sophomore guard Taylor McBride (Photo by Courtney Weber) 

Eastern (1-1)  used a 13-5 run to finally pull to within ten  with a minute to play but Endicott's (2-0) lead proved to be too much. Endicott junior Jennifer White made four free throws down the stretch to seal the victory.

A 17-time tournament champion, Eastern was denied its third straight tourney title12th in the last 16 years.  Endicott had overcome a six-point halftime deficit in a 58-47 first-round win over Connecticut College Saturday,  while Eastern dispatched Simmons College, 64-33, in Saturday's late game.

During the critical 11-0 run over two minutes, four different players were able to contribute points for Endicott, including junior Jordan Ferland leading that charge with the first four points of the eight that she would score for the game. During that time, Eastern missed all eight shots it attempted and an early 2-0 lead turned into an 11-2 deficit just four minutes and 21 seconds into the game.

The Warriors got off to a slow start - no one would reach double figures in the game -- and could never rebound after a 33.3 percent (10-30) shooting effort in the first half. For the game the Warriors managed to shoot just 30 percent (18-60) as they were held to their lowest point total since January 24 of last season. Sophomores Taylor McBride (Willimantic) and Shannon McCourt (New Fairfield) led the Warriors with eight points apiece while freshman Erin Brooks (Billerica, MA) added seven off the bench.

The Warriors seemed entirely overmatched in the game as they were dominated on the boards 51-29 and were outscored by ten points on second-half opportunities by Endicott's 16-6 advantage on the offensive glass.

Most active on the glass for the Warriors were McCourt and freshman Jill Ritrosky (Pittsfield, MA) who pulled down seven and six, respectively. Also indicative of the aggressiveness of Endicott was the 20-9 edge the Gulls held in free-throws attempted, as they took the ball to the basket time after time and when they were unable to finish they were able to get to the free throw line and capitalize on their opportunities, especially in the first half.

Leading the charge for Endicott was tournament Most Valuable Player Samantha Crough  with 15 points, eight rebounds, three blocks, and three steals. White aided in the cause with 11 points, eight rebounds, and three blocked shots of her own. Senior point guard Jen McBrien  recorded a game-high 14 rebounds. For the tournament,  Crough finished with 25 points and 16 rebounds. Joining Crough on the all-tournament team from Endicott were McBrien and White. McBrien had 20 rebounds in the tournament and White 31 points, 16 rebouds and was 13-for-16 from the foul line.

There were some high points that the Warriors will be able to take away from this game and build upon moving forward. Not to be lost amid the hustle and bustle of the final score was the high-quality defensive play that Eastern exhibited in the game, holding Endicott to 38.2 percent (21-55) shooting and forcing the Gulls into 23 turnovers.

Eastern placed two players on the all-tournament team in McBride and freshman Brianna Leonard (Amherst, MA). In the tournament had 14 points, four assists, and five rebounds while playing lockdown defense and engineering the Eastern offense. Leonard put up totals of 15 points and eight rebounds, giving a big lift off the bench in both contests. McCourt had the best numbers for Eastern in the tournament with team-highs of 25 points and 13 rebounds on 55.0 shooting from the floor. 

Eastern visits Emmanuel College Tuesday at 7 p.m.

Notes:
The matchup was the first all-time between Eastern and Endicott.

This is the 12th time that Eastern has come second in the Tip-Off Tournament.

With the win, Endicott improves to 3-1 all-time in the tournament after coming in third in 2005.

At one point in the game, four freshmen and a sophomore were on the court for Eastern, which features ten newcomers on its 16-player roster. Injured freshmen Gabriella Farrell (Stoneham, MA) and Victoria Pfohl (Trumbull) did not see action on the weekend. Endicott started a senior and four juniors in the final game, Eastern a senior, three sophomores and a redshirt freshman.

Endicott is coached by Brittany Hutchinson, a Groton, MA native who played briefly under current Eastern head coach Denise Bierly in 2004/05. Hutchinson led the Gulls to the ECAC tournament in her first season as head coach a year ago.

Connecticut College routs Simmons for third place

In the game to decide third place, Connecticut College (1-1) won its first tip-off tournament game in its fourth try by holding Simmons College (0-2) to 20.8 percent shooting from the floor and forcing 24 turnovers (five shot-clock violations) in a 52-27 victory.

Simmons managed only four second-half field goals and was outscored 27-11 over the final 20 minutes, when Conn turned the ball over only three times.

Conn all-tournament pick Willa McKinley, a freshman, was the only player in the game in double figures, finishing with 15 points and no turnovers in 25 minutes. Junior Tara Gabelman (Irvington, NY) had nine points (5-for-5 from the foul line), a game-high 13 rebounds, four assists and three blocks for the winners.

Conn scored 14 straight points late in the first half - going ahead for good on McKinley's three-point field goal to move out to a 15-point, 21-6 lead with five minutes left in the first half.  Conn sank six free throws in as many attempts in that stretch and McKinley, senior Kacie Quick  and freshman Caroline Jadovich all dropped in three-point field goals.

McKinley led Conn in the tournament with 19 points (8-for-16 from the floor), while Gabelman had 16 points, 18 rebounds, four assists, four blocks and three steals and sophomore Carlee Smith 13 points and ten assists.

Simmons, making its tip-off debut, missed 12 of 15 three-pointers in the game. In two games, the Sharks shot just 23.8 percent from the floor and 29.4 percent (5-for-17) from the foul line with 41 turnovers.   Simmons junior Leah Davis and junior Hannah May combined for 23 of their team's 60 tournament points.


 

M-Basketball: Clark Races Past Warriors

Cougar's depth, experience are too much in 75-64 loss in tip-off title game

By Bill Mullins, Sports Information Staffsalzillo 72_6682.jpg

WILLIMANTIC, Conn. -- The Clark University men's basketball team used a 23-2 run over an eight minute span late in the first half to hand the Eastern Connecticut State University men's basketball team a  75-64 loss in the championship game of the 32nd Annual Tip-Off Tournament Saturday afternoon at Francis E. Geissler Gymnasium.

At right: Brian Salzillo

During the run,  Eastern (1-1) managed just one basket, a layup by junior Mike Garrow (Terryville) and from there Clark wouldn't look back it seized upon the momentum and was able to solve the Eastern defense with relative ease and use its size to limit quality looks for the Warriors.

In the battle for third place, Bowdoin College (1-1) limited Western New England University (0-2) to 32.3 percent shooting in the second half in a 72-63 victory.

For Clark (2-0), all ten players who saw action score points by halftime. Senior Brian Vayda  and senior DJ Bailey  led four players in double figures for the visiting Cougars with 16 apiece, while junior Jake Gubitose and senior Marcus Armstrong each added 10 points in the Clark victory.

In addition to leading the Cougars in scoring in both of their games at the tournament, Vayda was named the tournament Most Valuable Player after accumulating 40 points and 12 rebounds in the two-game affair. Joining Vayda, Bailey also was recognized on the all-tournament team for Clark after putting up 25 points and six rebounds in the tournament.

Eastern senior Tyler Hundley (Cheshire) scored a layup to cut the Clark lead to 60-56 with 5:13 to play but in the end the veteran-laden Cougars, with their depth, just ended up being too much for this young group of Warriors to handle. Eastern employed a full-court press tactic to get back in the game late in the second half and saw success as it cut four points off what once was a 14 point advantage for the Cougars, but couldn't draw closer than that the rest of the way.

After a couple of shot clock fiascos, Clark was able to keep its  composure a bit better and a layup by Armstrong and a three-pointer in transition from Vayda pushed the Cougar lead to 11 and Clark would hold on to win by that margin.

For the second game in a row Eastern junior Brian Salzillo (North Haven) started off hot as he hit three of his first four attempts from beyond the arc en route to a game-high 20 points, to go along with career-high tying marks of six rebounds and four assists. Salzillo was one of four players to hit double figures for the Warriors. Also hitting the double-digit mark were Garrow  and senior Chris Robitaille (Canton), with 14 each, while the aforementioned Hundley chipped in 12 to go along with four rebounds before fouling out in the final minute of the game. A night after being frustrated into a 2 for 11 performance from the floor, Robitaille was able to find some more space but struggled from the stripe to the tune of just 2 of 6 shooting and a new cause for frustration.

Sophomore Brandon Yarborough (Stamford) and Garrow led the way for the Warriors on the boards with seven apiece as Eastern was outrebounded by a 33-31 margin. Continuing a disturbing trend from a first-round win over Western New England, Eastern was high on the turnovers again, as it committed 16 (35 in the tournament), compared to just eight  for the Cougars. Free throws, coupled with the turnover deficiency proved vital in the undoing of the Warriors. Eastern shot just 7 of 13 (53.8 percent)  from the stripe while Clark hit on 15 of its 20 tries (75.0 percent).

Once again the Warriors shot well from deep, hitting on 50 percent of their tries (11 of 22), but unlike Friday,  found it tough sledding from inside the arc, making just 12 of 30 two-point tries. Despite using 11 players throughout the course of today's game, Eastern received little relief in turning to the reserves as it shot a combined 0-for-4  from the floor, and only Yarborough saw extended playing time.

Like Clark, Eastern also landed two players on the all-tournament team in juniors Garrow and Salzillo, both repeating their honors from a year ago. For the tournament,  Garrow scored 29 to go along with 14 rebounds, seven assists, and two blocked shots. Salzillo scored 32 points, while also contributing 12 rebounds and four assists.

The tournament title for Clark was its second in as many tip-off appearance. The Cougars  also beat Eastern in the 1982 final,  74-71.

The Warriors will be back in action Tuesday at  Trinity College  at 5:30 p.m. before returning home the following Tuesday with a 5:30 p.m. tilt against Connecticut College.

Bowdoin College 72, Western New England 37

Bowdoin's bench outscore the bench of Western New England 22-4 as the Polar Bears downed the Golden Bears for third place.

All-tournament selections Keegan Pieri and Bryan Hurley, both sophomores,  led the way for Bowdoin. Pieri had a team-high 17 points on 50 percent shooting and added six rebounds while Hurley had 11 points and ten assists. Seven-foot sophomore John Swords came off the bench to outscore Western New England's subs 12-4 on 4-for-6 field goal shooting and 4-for-5 free-throw marksmanship.

Swords all grabbed seven rebounds in 21 minutes. Junior Andrew Madlinger was perfect for Bowdoin, scoring 15 points on 6-for-6 field goals (3-for-3 from "three").

Senior Damon Alston responded from a scoreless opening ight with a game-high 20 points for the Golden Bears, junior Ryan Mickiewicz  adding 15 and junior Dennis Rinaldi, who did not see action Friday 14 points and a game-high eight rebounds and game-high four steals.

Notes:

Vayda (16 points, 5 rebounds, and four assists) was named the player of the game by the Eastern Connecticut Sport's Information Office for his efforts.

With the loss Eastern's all-time record against Clark falls to 3-7.

With his two blocks, Robitaille moves into sole possession of sixth place on the school's career blocked shot list.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


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W-Basketball: Warriors Tank Sharks

Hot shooting and suffocating defense pave way for first-round tip-off win

By Bill Mullins/Sports Information Staff

mccourt72_1204.jpg

WATCH: Post-Game Interview: Head Coach Denise Bierly.(2:09)

bierly_head_72_2739.jpgWILLIMANTIC, Conn. -- The Eastern Connecticut State University women's basketball team got off to a 16-2 run in its season-opener against visiting Simmons College and eased to a 64-33 victory in the opener of the 33rd Annual Tip-Off Tournament Saturday evening at Francis E. Geissler Gymnasium.

At left: Shannon McCourt

The Warriors used a balanced offensive attack and staunch defense to power their way past the under-sized and over-matched Sharks of Simmons in the season-opener for both clubs.

The Warriors advance to play in Sunday's 3 p.m. championship game oagainst Endicott College, which used a strong second half to wipe out a six-point halftime lead in a 58-47 victory over and Connecticut College. Simmons faces Conn College in the 1 p.m. third-place matchup.

During the tone-setting run to open the game, sophomore Shannon McCourt (New Fairfield) scored the first ten points of the game for the Warriors, while freshmen Brianna Leonard (Amherst, MA) and Megan Cardarelli (Manchester) added four and two points, respectively. The Warriors kept up their stifling defense even after their hot shooting cooled as the first half wore on before heading into the locker room with a comfortable 36-15 lead on the strength of a 60.7 percent (17-28) to 33.3 percent  (5-15) shooting advantage.

After a bucket by junior Georgia Kostopoulos with eight minutes remaining in pulled the Sharks to within 22-9, Simmons would get no closer the rest of the way. Eastern came out firing again in the second half, charged by an 11-4 run fresh out of the locker rooms.

The Warriors finished the game shooting an impressive 47.4 percent  (27-57) compared to a tepid 27.1 percent  (13-48) effort for  Simmons. Each team took 11 attempts from the line with Eastern hitting on eight of its compared to just three successes for Simmons.

Eastern used a 9-0 run to take a 50-25 lead and turn it into a 59-25 lead with 3:32 to play, coming on the heels of a 6-3 spurt by Simmons. It is also worth noting that Simmons senior Liz O'Connor hit an extra-long range three-point jumper from almost 30 feet as time expired.

Fourteen different players saw action for Eastern in the contest, with eight getting into the scoring column and all but one grabbing at least one rebound. McCourt led the Warriors with a game-high 17 points on 8-of-10 shooting to go along with six rebounds and two assists.

Joining McCourt in double figures were fellow sophomore Kristina Forsman (Newington) and Leonard, with 11 and 10 points, respectively. Sophomore Taylor McBride (Willimantic), senior Jaymie Sommers (Voluntown), and freshman Erin Brooks (Billerica, MA) each tallied six while Cardarelli contributed five, and freshman Avi Morrison (Hampton, NH) poured in three points by canning the first three-point field goal attempt of her career.

Eastern controlled the battle of the boards, winning that contest by a staggering 47-23 margin. Freshman Jill Ritrosky (Pittsfield, MA) led the way with seven rebounds and was aided by McCourt and Cardarelli with six apiece while Forsman and Leonard each aided the cause with five of their own, with Leonard also racking up a game-high three steals. Forsman led the team in assists with six while Morrison added three and McCourt and senior Samantha  Riccio (Avon) each contributed two helpers.

Junior Leah Davis led Simmons with nine points off the bench, while O'Connor and freshmen Jen Janiak and Gracie Rolfe accounted for five points each. On the boards, four different players - O'Connor, Kostopoulos, Rolfe, and freshman Nicole Alberghini - had three apiece for Simmons.

Endicott College 58, Connecticut College 47

Conn's 25 personal fouls led to 36 free throw attempts by Endicott, which outscored the Camels 25-8 from the stripe en route to the first-round win.

Endicott trailed by six at halftime but got a combined 23 points from juniors Jennifer White and Samantha Crough on the way to a 36-point second half. The Gulls recorded 16 of their second-half points from the stripe. White was 7-for-8 from the foul line in the game, sophomore Kayleen Whall 6-for-9. After missing five of six three-pointers in the first half, Endicott nailed 4 of 5 in the second half.

White led both teams with 20 points - 15 in the second half. Whall had 13 and Crough ten. Crouh, White and junior Jordan Ferland all had eight rebounds to lead the Gulls to a +8 advantage on the board.

Conn, which totaled 22 turnovers, shot just 24.1 percent from the floor in the second half and failed on all eight three-point tries after dropping in five of ten in the first 20 minutes. The Camels were 8-for-18 from the foul line.

Sophomore Carlee Smith was Conn's only double-figure scorer, finishing with ten points to go along with five assists and three steals.

Game Notes:

With the win Eastern improves to 33-9 all-time in season openers, 18-1 under Head Coach Denise Bierly, including winning the last 16 in a row.

M-Basketball: Defense Carries Warriors

In tip-off opener against WNEU, Warriors allow fewest points  in 29 years

By Bill Mullins/Sports Information Staff

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POST-GAME INTERVIEW:

Head Coach Bill Geitner (2:18)

geitner_head_72dpi2012_2794.jpgWILLIMANTIC, Conn. -- The Eastern Connecticut State University men's basketball team got its season off on the right track with a  62-34 win over visiting Western New England University Friday night in the opening round of the 32nd Annual Eastern Tip-Off Tournament at Francis E. Geissler Gymnasium.

At right: Mike Garrow (Cris Yarborough photo)

Eastern, comingoff last year's appearance in the NCAA Division III Sweet 16, moves into its 28th tournament final Saturday at 3 p.m. against Clark University, which got a three-point field goal from Brian Vayda in the final seconds to down Bowdoin College, 55-54, in Friday's second semifinal. Clark defeated Eastern in its only other tip-off appearance in 1982, winning the title game 74-71.

Bowdoin, which lost in the tourney final in its only previous tip-off appearance in 2009, faces Western New England in the 1 p.m. game for third place.

The Warriors used big runs at the start of both halves and to close out the first half en route to their rout of the Golden Bears, keeping the team a perfect 11-0 in season-openers under the leadership of head coach Bill Geitner. The 34 points by Western New England are the fewest allowed by Eastern in 29 seasons (including all of the shot clock era), the lowest yield since holding down Western Connecticut in a 34-27 slow-down win during the 1983/84 season, prior to the use of the shot clock.

Eastern started out by hitting their first three 3-point field goals of the game as they jumped out to a 9-0 lead 2:07 into the game. Redshirt junior Mike Garrow (Terryville) connected on the first attempt and junior Brian Salzillo (North Haven) converted the subsequent two attempts for the Warriors. After trading blows until the 5:49 mark, Eastern revved up the offense again and closed the half on a 10-1 run, in which five different players scored, for a 34-15 halftime lead.

Eastern shot 12 of 22 from the field in the first period, including 6-of-9 from beyond the arc while showcasing their trademark defensive intensity by holding Western New England to 22.2 percent shooting from the field, 11.1 percent from three-point range.

Eastern continued its hot shooting as the second half opened with a 9-0 run, led by four points from senior point guard Joe Ives (Avon) and a capped by a three-pointer from fellow senior Tyler Hundley (Cheshire).

Raring to go following a season in which he missed all but the first five games last year, Garrow led the way for the Warriors with 15 points on 6-of-10 shooting, including a thunderous one-handed baseline dunk going under the basket to seal the game.

For the game, nine different Eastern players scored, and 13 saw playing time in the opener. Salzillo also scored in double figures as he hit four of his first five shots to finish with 12 points. The third-leading scorer was Hundley with seven, while senior Chris Robitaille (Canton), Ives, and junior Tim Quinn (Vernon) each had six for the balanced attack.

Eastern dominated on both ends of the floor, outshooting the Golden Bears 46.9 percent (23-49) to 254 percent  (15-59) and out-rebounding the visitors by a 46-27 margin. The rebounding effort was led by Robitaille and Hundley, with nine apiece, while Garrow added seven and Salzillo established a new career-high with six. Hundley's rebounds also represented a career best.

For the game,  Eastern sank half of its 20 three-point field goals, including a torrid 6-of-9 in the first half. Western New England was just 2 of 19 from behind the arc in the game. Robitaille had a career-high six assists and Ives four.

Senior Damon Alston, Western NE's leading returning scorer from last season, was held scoreless on 0-7 shooting. No Golden Bear player reached double figures.

The Warriors will need to work on reducing the number of turnovers they commit, according to Geitner. "We committed 19 turnovers and that isn't our kind of basketball", he said.

 Game Notes:

With the win Eastern improves its all-time mark to 12-12 against Western New England.

The championship appearance will be the 11th in a row for Eastern, which has captured three titles, most recently against Bowdoin in 2009.

Garrow  (15 points, 7 rebounds, 3 assists, 1 block, 1 steal), named to last year's tip-off all-tournament team along with Salzillo, was named Player of the Game by the Eastern Connecticut Sports Information Office.

Eastern is now 51-21 in season opener's dating back to the 1939-40 season, and now has a 28-4 record in tip-off openers.

Eastern heads into tomorrow's match-up with just a 3-6 all-time mark against Clark.

Basketball Teams in 'Prime Time'

 

danceteam72dpi_6025.jpgThe Eastern Dance Team helped provide the entertainment at Prime Time Madness, held Wednesday night in support of the men's and women's basketball teams in front of a crowd of more than 1,000 fans at Francis E. Geissler Gymnasium. Players were introduced and later threw T-Shirts into the crowd. The Eastern cheerleaders also performed at the pep rally, which included the Dance Troupe, New Element and Sheldon and the Blue Guys. Students also participated in a Crazy Race and Hot Shot contest. Both Eastern teams open their seasons this weekend with the annual Eastern Tip-Off Tournament. To view Prime Time Madness and watch interviews with the men's and women's coaches and players, log onto LittleEast.tv. It is listed under "Recent Archives". All Eastern games in the tip-off tournament will also be streamed live on LittleEast.tv.

Swim: Hour of Power Benefits Research

 

hourofpower72.jpgWILLIMANTIC, Conn. -- On November 13, Eastern Connecticut State University joined  thousands of athletes across the country in jumping into the pool in support of Carleton College's Ted Mullin Leave it in the Pool Hour of Power Relay.  Over the first six years of this nationwide--and worldwide--event, participants raised over $330,000 to support research at the University of Chicago into the causes and treatment of sarcoma, a rare soft-tissue cancer, in young people.

Initially began to honor former Carleton swimmer Ted Mullin, who passed away in the fall of 2006 from sarcoma, the Ted Mullin "Hour of Power" Relay has grown from 15 teams in its first year to 160 teams in 2011 with 8,000 participating athletes who joined forces to honor all those who are fighting against or have lost the battle to cancer.

Last year's event included 107 college and university programs representing 39 conferences across NCAA Division I, II and III, and Independents, along with 46 high-school and club teams. This year's numbers are on pace to match and possibly exceed last year's totals. All those athletes will hit the pool with a shared goal--to increase awareness about sarcoma and raise money for the Ted Mullin Fund for Pediatric Sarcoma Research at the Comer Children's Hospital at the University of Chicago.

2012 Ted Mullin "Hour of Power" Relay registrations to date:

Total Registered Teams:145
Colleges and Universities: 92
High School and Club Teams: 49
International Teams: 4
New Teams: 33
Estimated Athletes: over 7,000

For a full description of the event, visit http://go.carleton.edu/HourOfPower

The event takes place in each team's home pool and is a one-hour, all-out, leave-it-in-the-pool practice consisting of continuous, any-stroke relays for one hour, with the objective of keeping all relays in each lane on the same length.

The all-out 60-minute relay is a challenging workout the fuels both team spirit and team energy.

Funds raised during the event act as seed funding for the University of Chicago's pediatric sarcoma research program. The program brings together oncologists, surgeons, radiation oncologists and physician scientists who have a particular interest in adolescents and young adults with sarcoma, allowing collaborative efforts in the identification of the causes of sarcoma at the most basic molecular and cellular levels.

 

Men's Basketball: Heavy Lifting in 2012/13

Despite loss of four key players, Warriors will try to maintain standard

By Brent Pelella/Sports Information Staff

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WATCH: Pre-Season Interview with head coach Bill Geitner (10:44 min.)

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WILLIMANTIC, Conn. - Eastern Connecticut State University head men's basketball coach Bill Geitner continues to raise the bar of expectations for his Eastern men's basketball team, and after last season's Sweet Sixteen appearance, the rest of the country does as well.

Above: Team captains with head coach Bill Geitner are (from left) Mike Garrow, Joe Ives, Chris Robitaille and Tyler Hundley.

The Warriors come into this season ranked 12th in one preseason Division III poll and won't sneak up on any of their opponents this year. However,  Geitner knows that a national ranking isn't anything to be satisfied about, "That ranking is a testament to how good we were last year. It is a nice morale boost for our program, but it isn't indicative of where we will be come March (i.e. NCAA tournament time)."

The approach this season's team will have to take is much different from last year because of the departure of four impact players from a year ago, "We lost a lot in Nick Nedwick, Hamilton Levy, Jamie Kohn and Chae Phillips" - who constituted three of last year's four leading scorers and three-point field goal specialists, and two of the top three rebounders - "but that doesn't change my outlook for what we can do. Our strengths will have to start on the defensive end and produce offensive opportunities."

Despite six new members on the 14-player roster, Eastern returns starters Joe Ives (Avon), a senior guard, and Chris Robitaille (Canton), a senior forward, along with its sixth man in sharp-shooter Brian Salzillo (North Haven), a junior guard.  Ives will have more of an opportunity to play off the ball this season due to the plethora of combo guards, highlighted by (injured) freshmen Trachone Preston (Enfield) and Kevin Leumene (Stamford). Preston set his high school program's career scoring record and was twice named All-State and Leumene helped his high school team to a state championship as a junior.

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The Warriors will look to the 6-foot-5 inch Robitaille to be a leader on both ends of the floor after putting up 10.9 points and 6.8 rebounds per game with a conference-leading .619 shooting percentage as a junior. Senior Tyler Hundley (Cheshire) and sophomore Brandon Yarborough (Stamford) will accompany him in the frontcourt and provide length and athleticism. At 6-foot-6, freshman Darryl Best (Hamden) should add depth to the frontcourt. 

At right: Chris Robitaille

Yarborough is a forward who can offer production in several different aspects, especially on the defensive end with blocked shots and steals. Hundley does much of the same, and at 6-5-can be a matchup nightmare at either small forward or power forward, due in large part to his ability to sink a three-point field goal.

In the backcourt, the aforementioned Ives and Salzillo will be counted on to score after they combined for 12.2 points per contest last year. Their exceptional shooting percentage of 45.8 percent on 109 shots is revealing of the numbers they could put up with more shot attempts.

Although, Eastern lost a lot from last year, it gets back a talented wing player in 6-foot-4 inch junior Mike Garrow (Terryville), who missed the majority of last season with mono. Garrow
showed a glimpse of what he can bring to the team after averaging 8.6 points and 4.4 rebounds in only five games.  "This will be a huge year for Mike. He plays hard and can really score the ball." Geitner said.

This year's Eastern team is very young with only three seniors on the roster, and as a result will take some time to establish an identity. Any young team will progressively improve as the season goes on, but that won't change this coaching staff's expectations, "It might take a few weeks to create the consistency we need on defense, but we expect the same attitude our program has instilled. I expect our team to convey energy and discipline every day, and the rest will develop along the way, added Geitner, who has emphasized defense in engineering  three straight 20-win seasons - including last year's record 24 triumph en route to the Little East Conference regular-season and tournament championships and two NCAA tournament wins which carried the team to the Sweet 16.

Last year, the Warriors led all LEC teams in scoring and rebounding defense, scoring margin and three-point field goal defense and were second in field goal percentage defense. The team ranked 12th nationally in scoring defense by giving up less than 60 points per game.

Junior point guard Justin Nunez (Hartford) returns to provide defensive strength in the backcourt, with junior Tim Quinn (Vernon) also back for his second season after transferring from the Division III level.

Offensively, expect an outside-in scheme with perimeter shooting. Of course, Eastern will also look to find inside opportunities for its big man, Robitaille, of whom Geitner claims, "could be the best big in the league."

The defending LEC champions are going to have their hands full with another strong ballot of little east opponents this season; "There are no easy games in this conference. We have to play hard every game and be tough." Geitner emphasized, whose team was ranked third in the LEC coaches' pre-season poll behind the teams it defeated to win its first tournament crown in 12 years - Keene State College and Rhode Island College.

Keene State is a team that will contend with Eastern at the top of the league with a lot of returning talent, but as Geitner noted, every game will be important and every team has the ability to win games.

 

Prime Time Invades Geissler Wednesday

 

crowd 72_4609.jpgWARRIORlogo2009_72dpi.jpgWILLIMANTIC, Conn. - Prime Time Madness invades Eastern Connecticut State University Wednesday evening at 8 p.m. at Francis E. Geissler Gymnasium during an hour-long pep rally in support of the Eastern men's and women's basketball teams, which open the 2012/13 seasons this weekend at Francis E. Geissler Gymnasium.

Players and coaches from both teams will be introduced and there will be performances by the Eastern dance team, dance troupe, competitive cheer team, and New Element. Students in attendance will also have an opportunity to win T-shirts throughout the course of the evening.

Games involving fans include a Hot Shot contest, which involves two co-ed teams of two competing to see which team can score the most points in 60 seconds; a Crazy Race, which involves contestants racing from end line to free throw line wearing large layers of clothing, making five loops around a bat, and sinking a free throw before their teammate does the same thing.

Also on hand to liven the crowd will be Sheldon and the Blue Guy.

Musical entertainment will be provided by Total Grind Entertainment Group.

The men's basketball team faces Western New England University Friday at 5:30 p.m. in its tip-off and season opener, while the women face Simmons Saturday at 5:30 in its tip-off and season debut.

 

 

By Jason Tierinni/Sports Information Staff

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WATCH: Pre-Season Interview with head coach Denise Bierly (13:24 min.)

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WILLIMANTIC, Conn. -- Last year,  an off-court incident led to the dismissal of three starting players, leaving the Eastern Connecticut State University women's basketball team with nine players who had never played a college game prior to the season. Complicating matters, Eastern's only remaining experienced player went down with a season-ending knee injury with nine games left in the season.

At left: Head coach Denise Bierly with senior co-captains Jaymie Sommers (far left) and Samantha Riccio.

But even though last year may have not looked successful to an outsider, it was a rewarding one for head coach Denise Bierly, her staff, and her players.  "I learned about the kids on the team, about their character, about them fighting through adversity and about them as individuals," says Bierly, who had entered the year off a 21-win season that resulted in an NCAA Division III Tournament berth.

riccioCONN72_1273.jpgNow in her 19th season, Bierly has won 344 games and has compiled a .691 winning percentage. The second game of this weekend's Eastern Tip-Off Tournament  will be her 500th at Eastern and her seventh conference victory will be her 200th.

At right: Samantha Riccio

Like last year, this year's team remains inexperienced with ten of 16 players new to the program, but the wealth of experience realized by forward Shannon McCourt (New Fairfield) and guards Kristina Forsman (Newington) and Taylor McBride (Willimantic) as freshmen last season should pay dividends over the next three years. McCourt and Forsman landed on last year's Little East Conference All-Rookie Team and McBride was named to the All-Defensive Team.

 Eight of this year's players are freshmen and five are sophomores.  The two seniors - who will serve as captains - are four-year player Samantha Riccio (Avon) and second-year player Jaymie Sommers (Voluntown). Riccio missed the final weeks of last year with the knee injury; Sommers  volunteered to join the team to help fill out the roster, and ended up starting all 17 games in which she appeared as a hard-working and important 5-foot-9 post player.
The sixth returning player is sophomore Rabia Rawji (Danbury).

sommersCONN72_1599.jpgWith only one fourth-year player in Riccio, Bierly knows having a younger team means it may be a little more challenging to score points. So in order to be successful this year Bierly mentions her team will have to "buy in and commit to playing on the defensive side of the floor. We will also have to buy in to rebounding. If we do those two things I think all the games we play will be competitive."  

At left: Jaymie Sommers

Expectations for this year's team haven't been made by Bierly because if you do, she says, "you may be boxing yourself in and what if this team can go beyond their expectations?"
Eastern's first focus, according to Bierly, is to win the Eastern Tip-Off Tournament, which gets underway Saturday with the Warriors facing Simmons College at 5:30 p.m. at Francis E. Giessler Gymnasium.

With a full, relatively experience roster last year, the Warriors won their second straight tip-off championship, and kicked off the month of December two weeks later by routing perennial conference champion and NCAA qualifier University of Southern Maine in their LEC opener at Geissler Gym.

Eastern emerged from a grueling first semester of play with a 4-4 record, but won only four games the rest of the way after being decimated by the dismissal of three starting players.

Having witnessed a gritty season-long effort by last year's undermanned and undersized team, Bierly says of this year's squad, "I have a lot of kids with a lot of heart and I think they are going to be up for the challenge this season." 

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 "I really just want this team to just play basketball."  I don't want them to worry about the scoreboard or the team's record because if you are playing Eastern level basketball the wins will take care of themselves. That's what we try and get them to focus on to help them get better every day." 

At right: Kristina Forsman

For an outsider looking in there is no telling how hard last season truly was on the team and coaching staff but Bierly explains, "This year the coaching staff and the girls on the team are working very hard to get the wins and get this program back on track."

This upcoming season for the Eastern women's basketball team should be a very exciting one in hopes of reclaiming prominence in the Little East Conference and if this team wants to do so they just have to believe.   The second-most successful program in the 26-year history of the conference, Eastern is picked to finish fifth in the pre-season coaches' poll - a position reflected by last year's 4-10 LEC record.

Never did the team get down during the season when they weren't winning games.  Knowing they had to scrap and claw to get every victory Eastern fought on. "The practices the team had during the year even with a small, inexperienced team were still consistent and upbeat," says Bierly. 

At the end of last season, Eastern traveled to Keene State College knowing if they won their last two regular season games they could make the LEC tournament.  That game, the young squad played with desire.  They won the game against a Keene team which started five seniors. Bierly said that it was "our biggest win of the season. For that young group to go up there and get that win was just amazing."

The next Saturday, Eastern played Massachusetts Boston but lost, crushing its hopes of making the Little East Conference tournament.  Winning two of its last three games last season against teams which had soundly beaten the Warriors the first time around helped keep the team motivated and positive moving into the off-season. 

In any season positive things do happen and last year Eastern had a bunch. Many of the young players on the team got time in games that they normally would not have seen for at least a year or two. Three freshmen averaged over 27 minutes a game.  Sommers was asked to play when the team was low on numbers and "totally exceeded what I thought she'd contribute," said Bierly.  During the last eight weeks of the season Sommers came in adding height to a very small team and played 35 minutes a game after not having played competitive basketball since high school.

"She's a special kid. She's improved her game and she wants to get better," Bierly exclaimed. Now a senior, Sommers has a full season with the team to show everyone what she's got.  Even though a big freshman class was brought in, Bierly says, "She's not afraid of it and up for the challenge."    

Bierly expects many of the incoming class to contribute immediately, among them redshirt sophomore Lauren Halla (Whateley, MA) and freshmen Jill Ritrosky (Pittsfield, MA), Megan Cardarelli (Manchester), Brianna Leonard (Amherst, MA), Victoria Pfohl (Trumbull), and three-point specialist Avi Morrison (Hampton, NH). Halla sat out all of last year with a pre-season injury.

At 6-foot-2 inches tall, first-year junior Rhea Gorham (Norwalk) may play a key role as the season progresses, as could freshmen Erin Brooks (Billerica,MA), Sarah Denihan (East Hampton) and Gabriella Farrell (Stoneham, MA).

 

W-Swimming: Schapp Cited by LEC

She wins two individual events to gain second weekly career honor

schapp72dpi_0006.jpgNORTH DARTMOUTH, Mass. -  Eastern Connecticut State University junior Michelle Schapp (Torrington) was named Little East Conference Swimmer-of-the-Week for the week ending Nov. 11 after winning two backstroke events and competing on two winning relays at this past Saturday's Louise Goodrum Invitational on the campus of the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth.

At right: Michelle Schapp (Photo by Colleen King)

The weekly honor was the first for an Eastern swimmer this year and the second in the three-year career of Schapp, who was selected Rookie-of-the-Week on January 16, 2011.

The program record-holder in all three backstroke events, Schapp won the 50 yard backstroke Saturday in a time of 29.31 and the 100 backstroke in a time of 1:04.61. She also swam the first leg of the winning 200 medley relay (1:57.47) and the second leg of the winning 200 freestyle relay (1:48.19).

Eastern dominated the six-team non-scoring meet at UMass Dartmouth, winning nine individual events and both relays.

Schapp has been named All-LEC twice in her career, with the 200 medley relay last year and 400 freestyle relay as a freshman. She is a nine-time All-New England performer in individual and relay events.

Eastern opens its home season Saturday at 11 a.m. against the University of Saint Joseph (CT).

 

Little East: 23 Earn All-Academic Honor

 

library72_5092.jpgA total of 23 Eastern Connecticut State University intercollegiate athletes were named to the Little East Conference's 2012 All-Academic Team for the fall season. That total gives Eastern 401 such honorees in the history of the award, which began in the fall of 2007. Since the fall of 2009, student-athletes must have reached sophomore academic and athletic status and have accumulated an overall grade-point average of 3.30 to earn a spot on the team. Listed below are this year's recipients. In parentheses is the total number of times they have achieved All-Academic status, including this fall.

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Danielle Bourne (5), Sr., Women's Volleyball (Branford)

Lee Cattanach (1), So., Men's Cross Country (New London)

Jordan Clark (2), Jr., Men's Soccer (Manchester)

Christine DeFilippo (2), Women's Soccer (Ronkonkoma, NY)

Nicholas Demo (1), Men's Soccer (Brookfield)

Katie France (4), Women's Cross Country (Portland)

Nicki Gasch (1), Jr., Women's Volleyball (New Fairfield)

Kelly Gawron (2), Jr., Field Hockey (Ramsey, NJ)

Kaitlyn Kennedy (2), Jr., Women's Soccer (Burlington)

Kelly Labanara (1), So., Women's Cross Country (Chaplin)

Mackenzie MacLeod (3), Sr., Women's Soccer (Northfield)

Daniella Marchitto (5), Sr., Women's Soccer (Orange)

Erynn Miller (2), Jr., Women's Volleyball (Stratford)

Brittany Miskell (2), Sr., Women's Cross Country (Woodstock)

Jordan Munsell (5), Sr., Men's Soccer (Waterford)

Rochelle Normandin (3), Sr., Field Hockey (South Windsor)

Alexa Palasky (4), Jr., Women's Cross Country (Griswold)

Mike Radlbeck (2), Jr., Men's Soccer (Westbrook)

Sam Rossetti (1), So., Field Hockey (Shelton)

Rachael Skinner (1), So., Women's Soccer (Uncasville)

Cory Tobler (3), Sr., Men's Soccer (Portland)

Kelly Wallace (2), Sr., Women's Soccer (South Windsor)

Katie Wilson (2), Sr., Women's Volleyball (Pittsburg, CA)

 

M-Basketball: High Marks in Pre-Season

Despite losing key players from Sweet 16 team, Warriors ranked No. 12

 

By Jonathan Mizger/Sports Information Staff

ivesnetcutting72dpi_5208.jpgWILLIMANTIC, Conn. - A year ago, an Eastern Connecticut State University men's basketball team loaded with experience and talent managed to remain under the radar until the halfway point of the season.

At left: Senior Joe Ives and the Warriors hope to repeat a scene from a year ago which resulted from the Little East Conference tournament championship at Geissler Gym.

This year, there is nowhere to hide for a team which lost all but one of last year's top scorers and rebounders and has been rated 12th in the DIII News pre-season Top 25.

With less than a week away from opening season tip-off, the Eastern Connecticut State University's men's basketball team looks to train hard and return to the NCAA tournament.

Last year, Eastern won a program-record 24 games and went all the way to the NCAA Division III Sweet 16 after capturing its first Little East Conference tournament title in 12 years and the SUNY Oswego regional tournament. The Warriors ended last year's regular season ranked sixth in the NCAA Division III Northeast Regional ranking and 14th in the final  D3Hoops.com national ranking, released at the end of the season.

The Warriors are returning eight players from last year's Sweet 16 team, but only two of the seven players who logged 20 or more minutes per game.

Returning letterwinners are seniors Joe Ives (Avon), Chris Robitaille (Canton) and Tyler Hundley (Cheshire), junior Justin Nunez (Hartford), Brian Salzillo (North Haven) and Tim Quinn  (Vernon), and sophomore Brandon Yarborough (Stamford). Junior Mike Garrow (Terryville) also returns after missing all but five games last year with mono.

"I think this year's preparation started when all of the returners last year -- as soon as we got done losing to (eventual national runner-up) Cabrini in the Sweet 16 -- they quickly shifted gears and said okay let's get back in the weight room let's continue to work and get better," said Eastern head coach Bill Geitner, who has directed the program to an unprecedented three straight 20-win seasons.  "I think that whole experience last year from winning the regular season conference, hosting the conference tournament, playing the semis and finals in front of a packed gym, advancing to the Sweet 16 and playing in those atmospheres really served as a motivating factor for the guys that are coming back."

Freshmen Darryl Best (Hamden), Kevin Leumene (Stamford), Trachone Preston (Enfield), Michael-Thomas Scrio (Westerly, RI), Matthew Sterner (Plymouth) and first-year sophomore Albert Gyimah (Bronx, NY) will hope to learn the offensive and defensive systems, learn from the leadership of the returning players, and gain opportunities to perform at a competitive level.

In the DIII News rating, Eastern is the second-ranked team from New England behind No. 8 Amherst College. No. 16-ranked MIT is the only other team ranked from the New England region.

The pre-season D3Hoops.com national pre-season Top 25 ranks three New England squads among its top five: top-ranked MIT, No. 4 Middlebury College, and No. 5 Amherst. The Warriors  "also received votes" in that listing.

"I think any preseason poll - specifically at the Division III level - has more to do with what the team and the program did the previous year," said Geitner. "In that regard it's nice that we're out there. Our name, Eastern Connecticut, out at the national level means we made accomplishments last year, and in return we should feel good about that."

After failing to make the NCAA tournament in 2010/11, Eastern did not appear in the Top 25 a year ago until the mid-way point in the season when a 12-1 start landed it a No. 25 ranking. With talented and experienced seniors Nick Nedwick, Jamie Kohn, Hamilton Levy and Chae Phillips at the forefront, Eastern won the LEC regular-season tournament, and as the No. 1 seed, eliminated Keene State in overtime in the finals before blowing out Rhode Island College by 22 in the title game at Francis E. Geissler Gymnasium.

With this year's high, early-season ranking, Geitner and his squad still have the same goals that stay true to the program.

"Our goals haven't changed," said Geitner. "Our goals are to come every day to practice and get better individually and collectively as a team and if we do that we will feel we're going to be a good team at the end of the season."

Now in his 11th year as head coach at Eastern, Geitner continues to enjoy the atmosphere on campus.

"Eastern is a special place with many special people and there's a family atmosphere that is unique," said Geitner. "I enjoy coming to work every day, spending day with my colleagues. It's truly a family atmosphere that makes all employees feel welcome."

The Warriors open their season against Western New England University Friday at 5:30 p.m. in the opening round of the 32nd Annual Eastern Tip-Off Tournament. -30-


 

M-Soccer: Season Ends in Overtime, 2-1

In NCAA first round, early lead holds up until final minutes of regulation

WATCH: Post-Game Interviews:

stensland72USESLU111012_3977.jpgSeniors Cory Tobler (1:27) and

Bradley Fletcher (1:25)

By Bill Mullins/ Sports Information Staff

WILLIAMSTOWN, Mass. -- -On a seasonably cool day in northwestern Massachusetts,  the Eastern Connecticut State University men's soccer team lost, 2-1 in double overtime, at the hands of St. Lawrence University in a spirited and hotly contested match at Cole Field on the Williams College campus.

 At right: Junior Carl Stensland gets the jump on St. Lawrence's Andrew Bednarsky during Saturday's NCAA first-round match. (Photo courtesy of Frank Poulin).

Despite it being just the second defeat of the season for Eastern (17-2-1), it came at a costly time, as the Warriors were eliminated in the first round of the NCAA Division III regional tournament, and thus ending their season.

After a scoreless first overtime period in which quality chances were hard to come by a resounding ending came in the second. One minute and eleven seconds into the second sudden-victory-overtime period St. Lawrence's Mark Provost put a hard shot under the outstretched arm of a diving senior Jordan Munsell (Waterford) to seal a victory for the Saints (14-2-3), who move on to face host Williams in Sunday's regional title contest at 1:30 p.m. The winning goal came after a series of free balls which were finally cleared out of the box,  but the final one eventually found itself on the right foot of Provost, and he didn't waste the opportunity.

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At left: Under six-year head coach Greg DeVito (far right), Eastern's seniors led the program to an unprecedented four straight NCAA tournament appearances. From left: Bradley Fletcher, Jordan Munsell, Matt Furman and Cory Tobler.

Eastern looked to be the aggressors in the early going. For the first twelve minutes of the match Eastern outplayed St. Lawrence,  resulting in numerous opportunities. There were three balls played into the box within the first two minutes, which Eastern had chances to get shots. Less than a minute into the match, the first chance was lost as senior Cory Tobler (Portland) sent a chipped ball caroming off the post and out of bounds. A minute later on a more successful cross Tobler found senior Matt Furman (Montville) with his pass and Furman put a hard shot wide of the mark resulting in a goal kick. A hard cross off a set piece by junior Mitch Power (Douglas, MA) at 10:27 was punched away by SLU keeper Nate Goss-Woliner to end the threat.

Following the initial onslaught of the Warriors, St. Lawrence -- which featured six players standning 6-foot-3 or taller -- mounted a furious eight minute counter-attack in which it dominated possession and scoring chances, while tallying five corner kicks. The Saints had a golden opportunity after a cross and a back heel flick by Dan Marvin, but Munsell pulled it in and saved the threat.

Following this period of high activity by the Saints, Eastern was able to receive a major lift, in the form of a goal and a 1-0 advantage at 23:16. It started when junior Carl Stensland (Storrs) played a ball into the box and a sliding Furman nudged it with his toe away from a diving Goss-Woliner into empty space, where freshman Arman Karbassioon (Cheshire), making just his fourth start of the season,  buried the chance into the back of the vacated St. Lawrence net. Karbassioon's second goal of the year came on the  second shot of his career, the shot and goal coming nine days ago in a Little East Conference semifinal win over Plymouth State University.

Karbassioon's goal gave the Warriors a much needed lift where they were able to withstand the St. Lawrence-dominated remainder of the second half. They Saints tallied five more shots and two more corner kicks but the Eastern defense stood strong, and even mustered a couple of counter-attacks. With this the Warriors were able to go into the halftime break with a 1-0 advantage, and even had an opportunity to push the margin to 2-0 but it went by the wayside.

The most notable of their counter-attacks was on a cleared ball out of the defensive end. With Furman waiting right at the midfield line, a ball was played over the St. Lawrence back line and into space. Furman, taking advantage of the pleading and momentary pause by the defenders asking for an offside call, sprinted into space where he came up with the ball and was able to go one-on-one with only the keeper to beat. As Goss-Woliner came out of his net to challenge, Furman held the ball, for what in hindsight may have been a touch too long, and his attempt was deflected away and out of bounds for arguably the greatest save of the day.

The early going of the second half was again dominated by the physical play of St. Lawrence aside from another counter-attack opportunity that Furman was again at the receiving end of. Following a quick change of possession, Tobler took a loose ball and played a gorgeous long ball to Furman who again beat all of the Saints' defenders to it but on his cutback move from ten yards out he slipped, and possession was corralled by Goss-Woliner before a shot could be taken.

St. Lawrence's best chance of the second half's early going was on a shot taken by Provost in the 61st minute. He hit a driven ball from just outside the 18 yard box that Eastern junior defender Mike Radlbeck (Westbrook) was able to jump up and deflect out of harm's way.

Following that attempt, Eastern's tactics took on a more defensive approach, especially as substitutions became far more liberal. In addition,  the starting 4-3-3 formation shifted to a more traditional 4-4-2. This approach seemed to work for the majority of the remainder of the second half as Eastern would frequently drop eight players to defend and continually turned away attacks and corners, while blocking a number of shots. The highlight reel play of this stretch was went St. Lawrence's Jamal Samaroo put a shot on goal that a sliding Munsell was able to kick away. The tactic seemed to frustrate the St. Lawrence players and Nick Lincoln was hit with a yellow card at 82:06.

However, the shutout was not to stand, as St. Lawrence tallied chance after chance and was finally able to put home the equalizer. Following a series of headers in the box after St. Lawrence freshman  Dan Hunt was able to put home the game-tying goal - the first of his career. After an initial corner kick was handled over the crossbar by Munsell the Saints were awarded a second corner and Eastern's luck would run out. This second corner kick of the sequence refused to find a home until Hunt was able to put in into the back of the net at 84:26.

The remainder of regulation was a rather tepid affair as both teams seemed to be content with playing for overtime. The exception to this was at the 88:33 mark as Brian Gilloran picked up the second yellow card of the day for the Saints.

The first overtime was mostly an evenly matched affair, despite the shot and corner kick advantage enjoyed by St. Lawrence. Of note, at the midway mark of the overtime period, Tobler, as he was backpedaling following the wrapping up of a free ball by St. Lawrence, was struck in the chest by Goss-Woliner on the edge of the 18 yard box where with the assistant referee looking right at the play yet no foul was called. None of the chances posed great risk and the period ended in a 1-1 tie.

Notes:

Ranked fourth in New England and 24th nationally, Eastern finished  as the Little East Conference regular season and tournament champions. Ranked No. 13 nationally and No. 2 in the East, St. Lawrence drew an at-large bid after failing to win the Liberty League playoffs.

Eastern's 17 wins are a single-season program record, breaking the mark of 16 set by the 1969 NAIA New England champions.

Both of Eastern's losses this season came in overtime but the Warriors were still an impressive 4-2-1 in matches which extended beyond 90 minutes.

Eastern junior starting back Jordan Clark did not dress for the match.

Eastern's seniors finish their career with a mark of 62-17-6.

St. Lawrence's Mark Provost was selected as Man of the Match by the Eastern Connecticut Sports Information Office.

Eastern falls to 0-3-0 all-time against St. Lawrence, whose NCAA loss a year ago spoiled an unbeaten regular season. SLU qualified for its 17th NCAA tourney this year.
 

Swim: Warriors Top Team at UMD Invite

 Warriors win nine individual events and both relays at Goodrum meet

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NORTH DARTMOUTH, Mass. - Four Eastern Connecticut State University women's swimmers won at least two individual events each as the Warriors captured nine individual events in all and both relays at the Louise Goodrum Invitational Saturday afternoon at the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth's Tripp Athletic Center Pool.

At right: Erin McVeigh

In the non-scoring competition involving six institutions - four from the Little East Conference - Eastern freshman Katie King (Barkamsted) won three events and juniors Erin McVeigh (Windsor) and Michelle Schapp (Torrington) and freshman Macaire Jones (Danbury)  each claimed two individual firsts,  Schapp also contributed to the winning 200 medley and 200 freestyle relays and McVeigh, Katie King, Macaire Jones, junior Becky Odgers (Shelton) and sophomores Abby Arisco (Wallingford) and Morgan Charlow (Branford) competing on one winning relay each.

Katie King won the 50 and 100 yard breaststroke and the 200 individual medley, McVeigh the 200 and 500 freestyle events, Schapp the 50 and 100 backstroke, and Macaire Jones the 50 and 100 freestyle.

Eastern swimmers went 1-2 in the 50 and 200 freestyle, 100 backstroke and 200 individual medley and 200 medley relay.

Eastern opens its home season Saturday at 11 a.m. against the University of Saint Joseph (CT).

W-Volleyball: Five-Set Loss Ousts Warriors

Eastern  can't complete comeback in first-round ECAC loss to Salve

wilson 72_5385.jpgNEWPORT, R.I. -- The Eastern Connecticut State University and Salve Regina University women's volleyball  teams staged epic battles in their two regular-season contests this season.

At left: Katie Wilson

For those expecting a similar struggle in the third meeting between the programs in the first round of the ECAC New England Division III Tournament, they weren't disappointed.

 In its first post-season tournament in five years, however, fourth-seeded Eastern attacked at only -0.38 in the decisive fifth set in losing for the first time in 12 matches against fifth-seeded Salve Regina  Thursday night at the Rodgers Athletic Center.  Salve won by 27-25, 25-21, 16-25, 19-25, 15-8.

After attacking well under .100 in the first two set losses by a combined six points, Eastern (19-14) attacked at .216 in the nine-point third-set victory and at .389 in taking the fourth set by six points. The Warriors stumbled to -0.38 in their final set of the season.

In the decisive fifth set, the Seahawks responded by jumping out to an 8-3 lead, led by two blocks and a kill from junior Jill Diffendaffer.  After the two teams switched sides, the Warriors closed the gap to 8-5 by taking two straight points. The Seahawks were still clinging to a three-point advantage at 10-7 when they cemented the match by taking five of the next six points, including a game-clinching kill by Jennifer Duggan.

Eastern senior Katie Wilson (Pittsburg, CA)  led all players in the match with 23 kills but attacked at only .188 on a career-high 69 attempts. She also had four block solos and four block assists and 13 digs. Junior Erynn Miller (Stratford) recorded a career-high 30 digs, with freshman  Allie Luppi (Tewksbury, MA) adding 18 digs. Senior Danielle Bourne (Branford) totaled 12 kills, sophomores Allie Henry (Middletown) and Jess Patrizi (Beacon Falls) combining for 41 assists.

Salve (18-14), which set a program season record for wins this year, got 19 kills and 17 digs from  Duggan and 28 digs from Megan Clancy. 

Wilson concluded a three-year career at Eastern after transferring from the Division II level as the eighth player in program history to record as many as 1,000 career kills, only the third such player to reach that milestone in less than four years. In program history, only Wilson and former All-America and E-Club Hall of Famer Kathy Kimball registered both 1,000 kills and 100 block solos. Wilson also departs ranked fifth all-time in career attack percentage (.286), fifth in block solos (107) and tenth in attack attempts (995).

Wilson led the Warriors this year in numerous individual categories, including points per set (5.40), kills (488), attack percentage (.302), service aces (62), block solos (52), assists (49) and total blocks (101) and was second in reception percentage (.946), reception attempts (500) and digs (342). Bourne reached 100 kills in a season for the first time (146). Miller recorded a team-high 440 digs and led the Warriors in receptioin percentage (.949) and reception attempts (573).

Eastern ended its season on a two-match losing streak after ending the regular season on a seven-match winning streak. The Warriors had beaten Salve twice in the regular season, once in five sets and once in four sets.

 

Salve Regina 3, Eastern Conn. 2

Eastern Conn. (19-14)   25   21   25   25     8
Salve Regina (18-14)    27   25   16    19   15

 

Kyle Shaw: Making a Run for the Money

Cross country runner bowling 'em over on professional duckpin circuit

By Jason Tierinni/Sports Information Staff

shaw_feature_72_5279.jpgshaw_head_72_0587.jpgWILLIMANTIC, Conn. -- Sophomore Kyle Shaw of Lebanon runs cross country for Eastern Connecticut State University, but one thing many people may not know about him is that he is a professional duckpin bowler, as well.

Shaw was in a youth duckpin bowling league until this past year. Now he is in an official professional duckpin bowling league. In his youth league, he competed in five or six tournaments a year, winning the national invitational tournament two years ago. That tournament is the big individual tournament that everyone really strives to win, Shaw exclaimed. Last year, he finished second in the national tournament, losing in the final by two pins. The five years prior to winning the national invitational tournament, Shaw was ranked in the top ten in the country for all boys.

To date, Shaw has competed in three professional duck pin bowling tournaments. He has not won any of those yet but says that  "it's on my list to win a few." 

Duckpin bowling has rules similar to ten-pin bowling. In ten-pin and in duckpin, bowlers try to knock down pins in the fewest rolls per frame. In duckpin, bowlers have three balls per frame but in ten-pin bowling bowlers have two balls per frame to knock over the set of ten pins.

The balls used in duckpin bowling are 4-3/4 in (12 cm) to 5 in (12.7 cm) in diameter, weigh 3 lb 6 oz to 3 lb 12 oz each, and lack finger holes.

In the youth league,  everyone would get ranked by average at the end of the year. When Shaw first made the ranking at the age of 12 he was No. 38 in the country among all boys.  Usually, no one under the age of 16 makes it into that ranking, pointed out Shaw.  At the age of 14, he  moved up in the ranking  to No. 8.  At age 15, he advanced to No. 2 in the country, and from then on, has had the No. 1 ranking for youth duckpin bowlers.

This past year -- his last in the youth league - Shaw's "pin fall" (number of pins knocked down per match) was 147.7 - more than 22 pins more than his nearest state competitor.  "The top professional men's duckpin bowlers in the country average about 151-152," Shaw explained.

Heading  into the men's professional duckpin bowling league, the 19-year-old Shaw was ranked No. 2 in the state, and in the top ten in the country among adults.

In order to maintain the success he had in the youth league and transfer it to the men's professional league, where he is bowling now, the 5-foot-9 inch, 130 pound Shaw says he needs to keep up his practice. "It shows when you don't practice for a while or don't practice as much." Shaw said. He also says that "one or two bad weeks can really hurt you in the long run."  Shaw said that this year he hasn't  started  off "too hot." He knows it is the professional league now,  but he says he doesn't bowl any differently than if he was bowling in the youth league. "Besides the fact that there is money on the table, I  still go out and throw every ball I can the best I can."  

Shaw originally got into duckpin bowling because his father, Lynwood, started working at Lucky Strike Lanes in Mansfield when Shaw was three-years-old.  He began bowling  by himself while his dad was working and eventually he "just got the hang of it", and has been bowling ever since. 

The popularity of duckpin bowling has been on the decline in recent year. Thus, the number of alleys dedicated to duckpin bowling has been decreasing. Shaw said that there are only presently about eight lanes in the state dedicated to duckpin bowling , down from about 20 over the last ten years. 

Shaw competes in a professional duckpin bowling league once a week and sometimes will compete in a tournament on a weekend. Despite carrying a full load of classes and training for cross country most every day, Shaw is normally  at Lucky Strike practicing three-to-four-times a week, two-to- three hours per day, for an average of between eight and ten hours per week.

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The primary difference between duckpin bowling and ten-pin -- other than the scoring -- has to do with the technique, says Shaw.  "In ten-pin you have the large ball which can cover almost half the lane at once, where in duckpin, you can chop right through one pin. Physically, there is a lot more skill required in duckpin."

"There is a big mental game involved in duckpin bowling", explains Shaw.  "In ten-pin you can hit the pocket one hundred different times and get ninety-nine different strikes.  In duckpin, you could hit the pocket one hundred times and leave ninety nine different splits."  Shaw believes that this is the reason why no one - incredibly -- has ever bowled a perfect game in duckpin.

The mental game Shaw needs for duckpin bowling is indeed similar to the one he needs for cross country. He says that throwing a bad ball in duckpin can be equivalent to having a bad mile split or bad race.

"You can't get down on yourself.  You just got to keep going and do your best every single time no matter what," he says.

The biggest similarity Shaw drew from competing in a professional duckpin bowling league and running cross country is the discrepancy in attitudes that he observes.

"Everyone really seems to enjoy running cross country," he points out, "where in duckpin bowling,  I see a lot of the guys doing it more for the money and not for the fun.  That's where the term game starts to fade away."  Shaw says he always tries to keep in the back of his mind that "it's just a game, don't get mad."

A goal for Shaw is to be the best professional duckpin bowler in the nation, but he cautions that  "I will have to step it up because the guys at the top are tough."  

Kathy Manizza,  Eastern's  cross country and track & field coach,
offers that  "Kyle has a tough job of balancing work, two sports, and academics.  He is also a commuter, so he can't give 100 percent to cross country like he would like to.  I know at times this frustrates him -- because he knows he could be faster with more training  -- but he also needs to devote time to bowling."

Manizza went on to say that Shaw, "is very conscientious about the team and not letting the team down, so he does the best he can."  She then explained that, "He did not run track at Eastern last year, but he is going to give indoor a try this year, and then during the outdoor season, he will focus more on bowling." 

On a normal day, Shaw finds himself going from class to cross country practice before stopping at home briefly to grab his gear and a quick bite to eat  before going off to the lanes to practice bowling.

Throughout the day he must determine when he will have time to go bowling that week.

"Sometimes I am out the door at eight in the morning and my parents don't see me till ten at night." says Shaw of his jam-packed schedule.

But even with such a full schedule he feels that bowling is not a "schedule-packer but a relaxer" because it is fun.  Manizza noted, "It's awesome that he's able to do so many things that he enjoys and is very good at."

If Shaw does have any down time in his crammed schedule and he isn't practicing picking up seven-ten splits, he can be found biking or running on a nearby trail.
 
 

All-LEC: 17 From Eastern Honored

EASTERN CONNECTICUT STATE UNIVERSITY
FALL, 2012
LITTLE EAST CONFERENCE SELECTIONS

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FIELD HOCKEY
Team Record: 6-12 (2-9 in LEC/11th of 12 teams); Did not make LEC playof
fs

Chicorka (below left), DeLuca

chicorka_head_72_0143.jpgdeluca_head-72_0135.jpgAll-Conference
Laura Chicor
ka  Fr. F Third Team  Enfield (Enrico Fermi)
Eastern's first freshman All-LEC since 2001; 4th on team in points (8); Started every match.
Lauren DeLuca  Sr. B Third Team  South Windsor
Third team in 2011; Led team with nine defensive saves; Started every match

 

WOMEN'S VOLLEYBALL
Team Record: 19-13* (4-3 in LEC/4th of 8); Lost in first round of LEC tournament

Wilson (below)

wilson_head_72_0121.jpgAll-Conference
Katie Wilson  
Sr. MH First Team  Pittsburg, CA (Norwich Free Academy, CT)
Eastern's first All-LEC since 2009; Leads LEC in kills and points per set and is second in attack pct.; third nationally in points per set and 11th in kills per set; needs 16 kills for 1,000 in 3 years.
*-Has qualified for ECAC tournament

 

 

WOMEN'S SOCCER
Team Record: 9-6-3 (6-1-0 LEC/t-1st of 8 teams); Lost in semifinals of LEC playoffs

Below: Karahalios, Marchitto, Wallace, Downer

karahalios_head_72_0086.jpgRookie-of theYear 

Gia Karahalios  Fr. B    South Windsor
Centerback who started every match and led all players in mpg (83.0); Fourth ROY in program history; opponents averaged only 1.1 goals per match.
All-Conference
Chelsea Downer  
Sr. MF First Team  Colchester (Bacon Academy)
3-year player; 10th in LEC and third on team in points (9-3-21), exceeding the combined total of her first two seasons; had 5 game-winners, two serving as "Golden Goals" in LEC play.
                                Gia Karahalios  Fr. B First Team  South Windsor
marchitto_head_72_0084.jpgSixth first-team freshman pick in program history.
Daniela Marchitto Sr. F First Team  Orange (Amity Regional)
1st team in 2009 and '11, 2nd team in 2010; 2009 ROY, 2011 Offensive POY
3rd four-time All-LEC in program history, 1st since 2004; Led team in goals and points (10-4-24) for 2nd straight year; 3rd all-time in career goals (43) and points (103).
Kelly Wallace  Sr. MF Second Team South Windsor
1st team in 2010 and 2011; Led LEC in assists for the second time and team in assists for 3rd time;broke program season assist record of 14

wallace_head_72_0067.jpg

downer_head_72_0073.jpgin final match of season; ranks among top 15 nationally in assists and assist per match; set program career record of 33 assists during season.

 

 

 

 

MEN'S SOCCER
Team Record: 17-1-1* (6-0-1 LEC/1st of 8 teams); Won LEC playoffs
*-Has qualified for NCAA tournament

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power_jersey_72_0029.jpggiustina_jersey_72_0038.jpgtobler_jersey_72_0015.jpg 

 

 

 

 

 

 

stensland_jersey_72_0025.jpg Defensive Player-of-the-Year
Bradley Fletcher  
Sr. B    Middletown (Xavier)
2nd Eastern player to win the award in as many years and fourth player in 7-year history of award; LEC ROY in 209.
Offensive Player-of-the-Year
Matt Furman 
 Sr. F    Montville
3rd Eastern player to win award in last five years; led LEC in goals (13) and points (31)
All-Conference
Bradley Fletcher  
Sr. B First Team  Middletown (Xavier)
Started every match, averaging 91.1 mpg, sitting out only 30 minutes all season; team allowed an oaverage of just over half-a-goal a game.
Matt Furman  Sr. F First Team  Montville
Led team in goals and points for third time, totaling 4 game-winners.
Jordan Munsell  Sr. K First Team  Waterford
1st-year starter posted 17-1-1 record with LEC-leading 8.0 shutouts and LEC-leading 0.63 GAA; 2nd in LEC with .831 save pct. Started 4 consecutive shutouts during season.
Mitch Power  Jr. MF First Team  Douglas, MA
3rd on team in points and tied for second in goals (7-3-17), exceeding the total of his first 2 seasons combined; 4 game-winners; MVP of LEC playoffs after scoring first goal of championship match;
Cory Tobler  Sr. F First Team  Portland
2nd-team All-LEC as a junior; 2nd on team in points and assists and tied for 2nd in goals (7-6-20); 4 game-winners; set personal season-highs in goals and points and tied previous season high for assists.
Christopher Giustina Jr. B Second Team Enfield (Enrico Fermi)
2nd-year player is tied for second in the LEC in assists; started all 18 matches in which he appeared, averaging 88.2 mpg.; helped team to 9 shutouts and never more than 1 goal in a match over the last 9 matches.
Carl Stensland  Jr. MF Second Team Storrs (E.O. Smith)
2nd-year player dominated the midfield for Eastern; recovered from an injury-plagued start to appear in 18 matches with 16 starts and average just under 80.0 mpg; contributed 2 goals and three assists.

 

Photos:

Top row (from left): Fletcher, Furman, Munsell.

Second row (from left): Power, Giustina, Tobler.

Third row: Stensland.


 

 

 

W-Volleyball Back on Post-Season Track

Seeded fourth in ECAC tournament, Warriors visit Salve Wednesday

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WILLIMANTIC, Conn. - A loss in the opening round of the Little East Conference women's volleyball tournament six days ago left Eastern Connecticut State University a win shy of the 27th 20-win season in program history.

Wednesday, Eastern will have an opportunity to claim that 20th victory after being named to the ECAC New England Division III Tournament for the seventh time - first in ten years.

Fourth-seeded Eastern (19-13) visits fifth-seeded Salve Regina University (17-14) at 7 p.m. at Rodgers Recreation Center as the clubs meet for the third time this season. The Seahawks have already set a program record for victories and are coming off a second-place finish in the Commonwealth Coast Conference championships last week.

The post-season tournament berth for Eastern  is the 26th in program history and  first since 2007, when the Warriors qualified for the third of three straight NCAA tournaments.  The ECAC bid is the seventh for Eastern, first since dropping a three-set decision in its 2002 opener. The Warriors are 7-4 in ECAC tournament action, having won championships in 1985 and 1988.

The Warriors had won seven straight and 11 of their final 12 regular-season matches heading into last week's conference tournament, where fourth-seeded Eastern dropped a three-set decision. With a victory Wednesday, the Warriors would reach the 20-win plateau for the second time in as many seasons under head coach Peter Maneggia (39-23).

First-team All-Little East Conference senior middle hitter Katie Wilson (Pittsburg, CA) leads Eastern in  points  (5.36/third nationally), kills (4.19/11th nationally) and blocks (0.84) per set, hitting  (.309), and reception percentage (.938), reception attempts (438) and service aces (59) and is second in digs per set (2.96). Junior outside hitter Nicki Gasch (New Fairfield) averages 2.35 kills per set and junior libero Erynn Miller (Stratford) tops the club with 3.57 digs per set and with 534 reception attempts. Sophomore setter  Allie Henry (Middletown) averages 7.07 assists and sophomore Jess Patrizi (Beacon Falls) 4.53 assists in limited action. Freshman defensive specialist Allie Luppi (Tewksbury, MA) is second on the team with 57 service aces.

In two regular-season victories over Salve, Wilson averaged 6.39 points and 5.67 kills per set, with a .361 attack percentage and seven blocks, Miller 4.44 digs per set, Gasch 2.67 kills per set and Henry 11.11 assists.

Salve, returning to the ECAC tournament for the second straight season, features 11 freshmen and sophomores on its roster. After losing in four sets to Eastern at the Crabtree Classic Oct. 20, the Seahawks had won four straight before being eliminated in their conference title match in straight sets by Roger Williams University. In two matches against Eastern this year, Clare Adams had 30 kills and 47 digs, Jennifer Duggan 23 kills, Megan Clancy 46 digs, Leah LoConte 38 assists and  and Taylor Violet 35 assists.

In other first-round matches Wednesday, top-seeded Brandeis University (19-13) hosts No. 8 Albertus Magnus College (12-12) at 7:30 p.m.; No. 2 Western New England University (22-7) hosts No. 7 Husson University (16-9) at 7 p.m.; and No. 3 Keene State College (19-16) hosts No. 6 Daniel Webster College (16-11) at 7 p.m. The tournament semifinals are scheduled for Saturday and the final for Sunday. The Eastern-Salve winner faces the Brandeis-Albertus victor in one Saturday semifinal.

Live video and in-game statistics against Salve Regina will be available at http://livestats.prestosports.com/salveregina/

M-Soccer: Warriors Draw SLU in NCAA

 

msoclechamps72_5934.jpgWILLIMANTIC, Conn. - The Eastern Connecticut State University men's soccer team will be making its sixth straight post-season appearance - its longest such streak since the mid-1970s  -- when the Warriors face St. Lawrence University in the opening round of the 2012 NCAA Division III Tournament Saturday at Cole Field on the Williams College campus.

In Saturday's first round, Eastern (17-1-1) plays St. Lawrence (13-2-3) at 1:30 p.m. after host Williams (13-1-3) takes on Thomas College, ME (15-2-2) at 11 a.m. The regional title match is set for Sunday at 1:30 p.m.

Ranked No. 24 nationally and No. 4 in New England, Eastern gained an automatic berth after coming off its fourth Little East Conference playoff championship in six years. The post-season appearance is the 18th in program history, fourth straight in the NCAA field and fifth NCAA berth (in six years).

Ranked 13th nationally and second in the East, St. Lawrence was selected on an at-large basis after losing on penalty kicks in the Liberty League semifinals last Thursday against RPI.

Williams, ranked ninth in Division III and second in New England, was awarded an at-large berth after losing to Amherst (ranked second nationally) in the New England Small College Athletic Conference (NESCAC) championship game. Thomas was the North Atlantic Conference playoff champion.

Eastern and  St. Lawrence are two of the top-ranked defensive teams in Division III. Eastern has posted nine shutouts in 19 matches, the Saints 14 in 18 matches.  St. Lawrence ranks sixth nationally in shutout percentage and tenth in goals-against average.

Eastern's five four-year seniors will be competing in their unprecedented fourth straight NCAA tournament: Jon DeCasanova (Glastonbury), Bradley Fletcher (Middletown), Matt Furman (Montville), Jordan Munsell (Waterford) and Cory Tobler (Portland).

In the second round of last year's Lotto Classic, Eastern lost a 1-0 decision to host St. Lawrence in the second meeting between the clubs in the series, which began in 2005.
 In their first NCAA tournament appearance ever in 2007, Eastern lost, 2-0, to Williams in the
first round. It was the first meeting between the programs. The Warriors defeated Thomas in the only contest between the clubs, in 1992.Eastern is 2-4 in NCAA tourney play. After losing in their openers in 2007 and 2009, the Warriors defeated Nichols College, 1-0, in 2010, and Springfield College, 2-0, a year ago.

Seeded first, Eastern won its fourth Little East Conference playoff title in six years and second straight with the victory over third-seeded UMass Dartmouth. The victory gave the Warriors a season record 17th victory - breaking the 43-year-old mark set in 1969 when the Warriors won the NAIA New England championship.

Junior midfielder Mitch Power (Douglas, MA) was named the LEC playoff Most Outstanding after scoring Eastern's first goal against UMass Dartmouth on a free kick in the seventh minute.

Furman was named LEC Offensive Player-of-the-Year and Fletcher LEC Defensive Player-of-the-Year and the pair were joined on the LEC All-Conference first team by Tobler, Munsell, and Power, giving the Warriors a program-record five first-team selections. Junior midfielder Carl Stensland (Storrs) and junior back Christopher Giustina (Enfield) were second-team selections.

Furman, Tobler and Power have combined for 27 of the team's 43 goals and 68 of its 126 points and are joined by Fletcher and junior Jordan Clark (Manchester) as players having started all 19 matches. Munsell has started 18 matches in net with eight shutouts, a 0.63 goals-against average and .831 save percentage.

Since the institution of separate LEC offensive and defensive players-of-the-year awardees in 2006, Eastern athletes garnered both honors for the first time.

Eastern has averaged over six all-conference picks per season under sixth-year head coach Greg DeVito (88-27-12).  DeVito has a .740 winning percentage, averaging just under 15 wins per season. Under DeVito, Eastern is 38-5-6 in regular-season LEC play and has never lost more than one regular-season LEC contest in a season.

A total of 14 New England institutions were selected as either automatic qualifiers or at-large selections to the 62-team field, which concludes with the national championship match Dec. 1 at Blossom Soccer Complex in San Antonio.

In addition to Williams, other New England institutions hosting regionals this weekend are Brandeis University and Babson College.

Men's Soccer: LEC Champion!

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 Warriors remain perfect in title games with 3-1 win over UMass Dartmouth

By Bill Mullins/Sports Information Staff

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WATCH:

NCAA Selections        (Monday, 1 p.m.) 

Post-game interviews

Jordan Munsell, Luke Capezzone, Mitch Power (7:19)

Head Coach Greg DeVito (3:14)

WILLIMANTIC, Conn. -- The Eastern Connecticut State University men's soccer team fought their way to a 3-1 victory over the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth Saturday at Nevers Field in the championship match of the Little East Conference playoffs before a rowdy crowd of 500 fans.

At left: The scoreboard tells the story as the Warriors celebrate their fourth LEC title in six years.

While having an at-large bid to the NCAA tournament all but guaranteed, the Warriors removed all doubt as the victory gave the host's their third Little East Conference tournament championship in the last four seasons and fourth in six seasons under head coach Greg DeVito, and secured a bid this week's NCAA tournament. The  tournament appearance will be the sixth straight for Eastern (17-1-1), fifth in the NCAA.

Top-seeded Eastern, now 10-0-0 at home, becomes only the second team to  win consecutive LEC titles, following Keene State College ten years ago (2001-02).

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At left: Goalkeeper Jordan Munsell and defender Christopher Giustina keep their eye on the ball in the second half of Saturday's match.

"We came out with the intention to do what we always do," noted DeVito. "We knew that (UMass) was going to be ready. We knew they had good players and that they were going to be a tough opponent, said DeVito of the third-seeded Corsairs, who had succumbed to Eastern in overtime a week ago when the Warriors clinched third second straight regular-season LEC title, first in unbeaten (6-0-1) fashion. "We wanted to just come out and do our thing. It's been working so far, so we just stick with it."

Eastern, ranked fourth in New England and 25th nationally, carried a 1-0 lead into the late stages of the match before the Corsairs gained the equalizer in the 75th minute on sophomore forward Elton Borges' third goal of the year. It came on a header off a free kick by sophomore Josh Chao.stenslandumd72dpi_5644.jpg

It took Eastern just 43 seconds to re-gain the lead (for good), and a second goal less than three minutes later wrapped it up. Following a Corsair foul, Eastern senior midfielder Carl Stensland (Storrs) played a bouncing free kick into the box that was headed home by senior defender Mike Radlbeck (Westbrook), igniting pandemonium. The chances continued to come for the Warriors and they were finally able to ice the game on senior forward Matt Furman's (Montville) 14th goal of the season. After senior forward Cory Tobler (Portland) had a shot blocked from ten yards out, Furman buried the rebound.

Above: Carl Stensland and Aelaf Solomon of UMass Dartmouth battle for position in Saturday's LEC title match.

Junior midfielder Mitch Power (Douglas, MA) got the scoring started in the seventh minute for Eastern. Following a UMass Dartmouth foul just outside of the 18-yard box, Power lined up a free kick and drove it past the outstretched arm of UMass (12-7-0) senior keeper Mike Phelan and into the lower left corner of the net. Prior to the goal, Eastern's Tom Vear (Monson, MA) was sprinting towards goal with two defenders on his back before being tripped up to set-up the free kick opportunity.

In keeping with the recent history of the series the game was feisty and physical throughout. Within the first 20 minutes of the match, ten fouls had already been called and the first of three  yellow cards issued to UMass Dartmouth, the second of which came in waning minutes and signaled the departure of  junior midfielder Anthony do Santos.

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At left: Tom Vear and Mike Radlbeck block the path of UMass Dartmouth's Jordan Sindo in the second half Saturday.

The 75th minute led to a flurry of activity. It began with Eastern Tobler and UMass Dartmouth senior back  Brady Paradis battling for possession on the Eastern side of midfield where Tobler was called for a foul as he fell to the ground. After a quick re-start, Chao played the ball to  Borges, who was left unmarked at the right post and knocked in a shot from in close, low and to the right of Eastern senior keeper Jordan Munsell (Waterford).

As the second half started and progressed Eastern continued to press forward and maintain a lot of possession in the UMass Dartmouth end, but wasn't able to generate many scoring opportunities nor were they able to put any more shots on net before UMass Dartmouth was able to put home the equalizer.

Until scoring the go-ahead and insurance goals, the best Eastern goal-scoring chance in the second half came on a cross by junior midfielder Zach Kice (Denver, CO), but the attempt by Furman from around the 6-yard box caromed well high and wide of the net.

For his efforts, Power was named the tournament's Most Outstanding Player. He was highly involved in both the midfield and offensive play throughout the tournament as he set an aggressive and physical tone for the Warriors. Eastern's fourth LEC title  is second only to Keene State's six championships.

Eastern has put in a bid to host an NCAA tournament. The pairings, locations and schedule  will be announced Monday. Eatsern has never hosted an NCAA tournament match in men's soccer.

Notes:
- Eastern advanced to Saturday's final with a 2-1 overtime win over Plymouth State at Nevers Field on Thursday, while UMass upset second-seeded Keene State College, 3-1, on the Owls' home field.
-The goal by Matt Furman was the 39th of his career, moving him into sole possession of fifth on the school's all-time list.
-Eastern's win broke the 43-year old school record for victories in a season, set by the 1969 NAIA New England champions under E-Club Hall of Fame coach Tom Nevers, who was in attendance Saturday.
-Eastern now leads the all-time series against UMass Dartmouth, 32-10-6.
-Since the arrival of Head Coach Greg DeVito in 2007, Eastern owns a mark of 7-1-2 in LEC tournament play. DeVito is 87-27-12 overall
-For the match Munsell posted two saves, Phelan one.
 Phelan was also the starting goalkeeper for UMass Dartmouth in the 2009 LEC championship match.

W-Soccer: In LEC, PKs go Western's Way

After 110 minute stalemate, Colonials advances to final on PK shootout

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MANSFIELD, Conn. --  Both the Eastern Connecticut State University and Western Connecticut State University women's soccer teams had their opportunities for additional goals through 110 minutes of action in Saturday's Little East Conference semifinal contest at the Mansfield Outdoor Complex.

At right: Eastern's Kelly Wallace (left) closes in on Western's Camille Lawson in the first half of Saturday's LEC semifinal at the Mansfield Outdoor Complex.

After the two most successful teams in the conference playoff's 14-year history played to a 1-1 double-overtime tie, third-seeded Western  (15-3-3) moved into Sunday's noon championship match against top-seeded host Massachusetts Boston with a 3-1 penalty kick advantage over second-seeded Eastern (9-6-3).

Tracy Sales, Sarah Menta and Katie Wolfe all converted penalty kicks for Western, with Wolfe sealing things when she drove her 12-yard attempt under the crossbar for her team's third successful try on five tries. Eastern freshman Gia Karahalios (South Windsor) recorded Eastern's only make, drilling her shot into the upper right-hand corner of the cage.

With Western shooting first, both teams missed their first attempts before Sales and Karahalios traded goals. Menta gave her team the lead for good and Western senior keeper Caitlin Avery preserved that lead by denying Eastern's top scorer on the season - senior Daniela Marchitto (Orange)- with the only save of the session. Down 2-1, Eastern had an opportunity to tie after Western missed its fourth attempt, but Eastern junior Tamar Merheb's (Bethel) bid sailed wide to the right. Wolfe ended the contest seconds later.

It was the third time that an Eastern-Western LEC playoff match was decided on penalty kicks. Western prevailed, 4-1, on PKs in the 2002 semifinals at Eastern's Thomas Nevers Field, and Eastern advanced on sudden death PKs in the 2004 semifinals at Keene, NH.

Eastern, which downed Western, 1-0, late in sudden death overtime here in late September, scored first Saturday on Merheb's fourth goal of the season which came on  senior Kelly Wallace's (South Windsor) perfectly-place corner kick in the tenth minute.(With her 14th assist, Wallace broke the Eastern season record in that category). That lead stood until Western pulled even less than two minutes before the break when Cecelia Dias  scored her first goal of the season on a cross from Sales. Sales threaded a perfect ball through two Eastern defenders to Dias, who hammered an 18-yarder under the cross bar.

Eastern keeper Mackenzie MacLeod (Northfield) made two of her four first-half saves in the first four minutes of the match to keep Western from jumping out quickly, and with 13 minutes left in the first half, made a spectacular leaping save of Sales' high shot, knocking it over the crossbar. Two minutes into play, MacLeod gathered in a high bouncer of Samantha Trayer's free kick, then dove at the post two minutes later to knock down Sales' free kick. The rebound fell in front of the goal before Eastern was able to clear it out of danger.
Wallace's header off a serve went wide of the left post eight minutes into play, and Marchitto hammered a wide open shot from inside the box right at Western keeper Jamie Trayer  four minutes later.

The Warriors had three legitimate chances to break the tie in the second half. Thirteen minutes into the second half,  junior Blair Church (New London) took the ball wide left on Wallace's corner kick, and Chelsea Downer (Colchester) a minute later couldn't convert two chances two minutes apart, coming up empty on a  one-timer off a cross, which was saved  by Avery, and firing an open attempt on the right flank into the side of the net.

Avery didn't allow a goal and made three saves over the final 65 minutes after taking over for Jamie Trayer to start the second half. MacLeod stopped six shots. Both teams had 12 shots.
Since losing in double overtime at Eastern Sept. 29 -- Western has not lost, winning nine and tying two. After that victory, Eastern ended its season with four wins, two ties and three losses over its final nine contests. The Warriors are unbeaten (5-0-1) against the Colonials the last six times the clubs have met. Earlier in the series, Western had captured nine straight.

The winningest post-season team with seven championships, Western meets UMass Boston for the second time in three years in the final. Western edged UMass Boston, 1-0, in the 2010 title match after the Beacons had advanced with a PK shootout over Eastern at the Mansfield Complex.  In Saturday's other semifinal, UMass Boston shut out fourth-seeded Keene State for the second time this season, this time by a 3-0 score.

 

W-Swim: Warriors Coast by Western

DANBURY, Conn.  - The Eastern Connecticut State University and Western Connecticut State University women's swimming teams opened the 2012-13 dual met season with the Warriors taking a 92-60 victory Saturday at the O'Neill Center pool.

First place finishers for Eastern included Becky Odgers (Shelton) with a 1:04.67 in the 100 Backstroke, Stephanie O'Kelly (Westport) with a 1:16.97.49 in the 100 Breaststroke, Erin McVeigh (Windsor) with a 1:04.24 in the 100 Butterfly and a :28.51 in the 50 Fly, Michelle Schapp (Torrington) with a 5:53.03 in the 500 Freestyle, Morgan Charlow (Branford) with a 2:10.79 in the 200 Free, Rachel Borden (Milford) with a :28.80 in the 50 Free, Katie King (Barkhamsted) with a 2:25.65 in the 200 IM and a 1:06.58 in the 100 IM and a :33.17 in the 50 Breast, Abby Arisco (Wallingford) with a :59.41 in the 100 Free, and Kayla Smoragiewicz (Norwalk) with a :31.70 in the 50 Back.

Western's lone first place finish was turned in by junior Dana Molloy (Brewster, NY) who captured the 1-meter diving with a score of 126.38. The Colonials competed with four swimmers.

Eastern visits Massachusetts Dartmouth Saturday at noon.

M-Soccer: Tobler 'Golden' Again for Warriors

For second time in five days, senior scores game-ending OT goal

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WATCH: Post-game interview with senior Matt Furman (4:45 min.)

WILLIMANTIC, Conn. - Senior Cory Tobler (Portland) scored on a hard shot from the left corner of the box that deflected off a Plymouth State University defender with less than six minutes gone in sudden death overtime as the Eastern Connecticut State University men's soccer team moved into the championship match of the 2012 Little East Conference playoffs with a 2-1 victory Thursday afternoon at Thomas Nevers Field.

At right: Cory Tobler (9) and Ted Karstrand of Plymouth challenge for the ball in Thursday's Little East semifinal.

The championship match appearance will be the fourth in six years for top-seeded Eastern (16-1-1), which tied the program's 44-year-old record for victories. In Saturday's noon final, Eastern hosts  third-seeded Massachusetts Dartmouth, which knocked off No. 2 seed Keene State College at the Owl Athletic Complex, 3-1, Thursday night.

The Golden Goal was the second in five days for Tobler. Last Saturday, he gave the Warriors an identical 2-1 overtime victory over Massachusetts Dartmouth -- a victory which gave Eastern the regular-season title and No. 1 tournament seed.

Ranked fourth in New England and No. 25 nationally, Eastern and fourth-seeded Plymouth State (7-11-0) traded goals late in the first half before Tobler gave Eastern its fourth overtime victory this year against a loss and tie with his fourth game-winning goal - seventh overall - of the season. The shot was the fifth of the match but the first on net for Tobler, who took a pass from senior Matt Furman (Montville) on the left wing and cut toward goal at speed. With Furman stationed in front of the net, Tobler sent a low drive from the left corner of the box toward goal. The ball deflected off a Plymouth defender situated directly in front of  senior keeper Bjorn Ohlsson and into the net.

Plymouth, which had scored three goals in a two-goal loss to Eastern at Nevers Field during the regular season scored first in the 40th minute when team scoring leader Parker Spear  stole the ball at his team's offensive end line and slid it under Eastern senior keeper Jordan Munsell (Waterford).

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At left: Eastern's Christopher Giustina and Plymouth's Christian Bua get tangled up during Thursday's LEC semifinal at Nevers Field.

The Warriors, now 9-0-0 at home this year, needed just over four minutes to tie the match when freshman Arman Karbassioon (Cheshire) scored on a one-timer on his first collegiate shot in his second (straight) career start.  The play originated on a served ball into the box by junior Mitch Power (Douglas, MA). When the ball got knocked out of the box, Karbassioon ran on to it and nailed a low 20-yarder through a maze of players under a diving, but screened,  Ohlsson.

Plymouth nearly ended a six-match losing streak at the hands of Eastern in the opener minutes of overtime,  when a looping 30-yard shot by Plymouth freshman Petro Masumbuko  deflected off the foot of Eastern junior Jordan Clark (Manchester) and took one big bounce toward goal, where Munsell took a step back, then leaped to snare the ball before it carried under the cross bar.

During the regular season,  Tobler submitted the Golden Goal three minutes into overtime in a 1-0  verdict over UMass Dartmouth in a match which decided the regular-season champion last Saturday at Nevers Field. Eastern won its second LEC playoff title in 2009 with a 1-0 verdict over the Corsairs at the Mansfield Outdoor Complex.

 

 

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