March 2013 Archives
In first outdoor meet of season, Warriors capture ten Top 3 finishes
Eastern Men's Finishers.pdf Eastern Women's Finishers.pdf
NEW LONDON -- The Eastern Connecticut State University men's and women's track and field team qualified for post-season competition 14 times when the teams opened the 2013 outdoor season Saturday at the U.S. Coast Guard Academy Spring Invitational.
Fredrick Hewett (at left), Lauren Hultzman (at right)
As a team, the men placed seventh (41 points) in an 11-team field and the women seventh among 12 teams with 63 points.
En route to qualifying for the New England Division III Championships in May, sophomore Nikki Chambers (East Hampton) outran a field of 33 competitors to win the 800 meters in a time of 2:21.00.
Eastern also posted four second-place finishes: junior Fred Hewett (New London) in the 200 (22.51), the men's 4x100 relay (43.71), senior Cora Gingras (East Hampton) in the triple jump (35-1 ¾), and junior Lauren Hultzman (Putnam) in the high jump (5-3).
Sophomore Andre Reynolds (Hartford), the indoor 60 meter hurdles record-holder, finished third in the 110 hurdles in a time of 15.49 to qualify for the New England Open, ECAC and New England Division III Championships. The men's 4x100 relay also qualified for all three regional post-season championships, while Hultzman reached the standard for Division III New England and ECAC competition in the high jump.
Additional individuals qualifying for the New England Division III Championship were Hewett in the 200, the men's 4x400 relay, Gingras in both the triple and high jump, and freshman Emily Kohn (Columbia) in the discus.
Other men finishing in the top-half of their events were freshman John Boisette (East Hartford), who was tenth among 40 in the 100 and 25th among 56 in the 200; freshman Kyle Bolden (South Windsor), who tied for 12th among 24 in the long jump and fifth among 13 in the triple jump; sophomore D'Vonte Chambers (West Haven), who was 12th among 29 in the 400; Hewett, who was second among 56 in the 200; junior Andrew Prince (Orange), who was third among 40 in the 100 and 16th among 56 in the 200; Reynolds, who was third among 15 in the 110 hurdles; freshman Brandon Sullivan (Coventry, RI), who was 14th among 40 in the 100 and 20th among 56 in the 200; and senior Alex Verrill (Hiram, ME), who was ninth among 24 in the long jump.
For the women, junior Tacia Bryant (Guilford) was 18th among 50 in the 200 and fourth among 23 in the long jump; senior Christine Charpentier (Monroe) 21st among 50 in the 200; Gingras tied for fourth among ten in the jump, second among 16 in the triple jump and seventh among 23 in the long jump; Hultzman second among ten in the high jump, fifth among 20 in the javelin, and third among 23 in the long jump; Kohn fifth among 21 in the discus; junior Akaya McElveen (New Haven) seventh among 27 in the 400, junior Alexa Palasky (Griswold) seventh among 14 in the 5000 and the 4x100 relay was third among eight.
Hultzman competed in five individual events and totalled 18 of the women's point total in three of them, Gingras compiling 14 1/2 points in her three individual events.
The men's 4x100 relay was a combined effort of Hewitt, Chambers, Prince and Boisette. The women's 4x100 relay was comprised of Bryant, Charpentier, McElveen and Chambers.
Eastern competes in the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth Corsair Classic Saturday.
Eight players contribute to unanswered goals as Warriors pull away
PROVIDENCE, R.I.- What a difference a year makes.
One year after struggling mightily in a one-goal victory over Rhode Island College in the first round of the 2012 Little East Conference women's lacrosse playoffs, Eastern Connecticut State University opened its 2013 conference season with a 17-6 victory over the Anchorwomen Saturday.
At left: Erin Conn
The win is the first away from home this year for Eastern (3-4, 1-0 Little East) and snaps a two-game losing skid. The shot and goal totals and shot differential (+25) represent a season-high for the Warriors, who broke from a two-goal lead early in the second half by outscoring Rhode Island (2-3, 0-1 Little East) 11-2 the rest of the way.
The Warriors never trailed after scoring the first four goals, but strikes by Danielle Landon in the final seconds of the first half and Harmony Tillison's free-point goal in the opening minute of the second half pulled the Anchorwomen to within a pair.
A that point, a remarkable eight different players netted one goal apiece, with junior attack Erin Conn (Moriches, NY) and senior midfielder Christina Rully (Orange) contributing a goal and an assist. Three of the goals came on free-position shots, where Eastern converted six of 14 in the match.
In addition to outshooting the hosts 45-20, Eastern won 18 (of 25) draws, eight by Conn.
The loss was the 63rd in 67 regular-season conference matches for Rhode Island, which is 0-14 all-time against the Warriors.
Conn finished with three goals and two assists, senior midfielder Daniela Marchitto (Orange) and junior midfielder Taylor Shannon (Waterford) each adding three goals. Junior attack Christine Lillis (Waterford) and senior midfielder Taylor Buchanan (Ellington) chipped in with two goals apiece for Eastern, which put nearly 85 percentage of its shots on cage. Rhode Island goalie Taryn Carbone limited the damages to a degree by making 21 stops.
Junior Haley Heslin (Hartford) and freshman Hannah Keiser (Danbury) each made four saves in goal for Eastern. In her third appearance, Keiser played 21 minutes and gave up only two goals.
Eastern visits Wellesley College Wednesday at 4:30 p.m.
The Eastern men's lacrosse program provided a clinic for Colchester youth lacrosse Saturday morning, then staged a second one in the afternoon in its Little East Conference opener.
Eastern opens defense of Little East title by blasting Salem State
MANSFIELD, Conn. - Junior first-line attacks Trevor Morrissette (Bedford, NH) and Mike Jordan (Cheshire) combined for 11 goals and five assists and freshman goalie Blake Smaldone (Hamilton, MA) made six saves for his first win in his first start as the Eastern Connecticut State University men's lacrosse team opened defense of its Little East Conference title by routing Salem State University, 21-5, Saturday afternoon at the Mansfield Outdoor Complex.
Playing its first home match in a month, Eastern (3-5, 1-0 Little East) held Salem State (5-2, 0-1 Little East) to two goals over the final 46 minutes in posting its 12th victory over the Vikings in this 12-match series.
Eastern was productive on extra-man opportunities, and more efficient on man-down situations. The Warriors turned eight Salem penalties into six goals, with Jordan cashing in four times. Defensively, the Warriors' man-down unit stopped the Vikings on all ten of their extra-man tries.
At right: Tyler Fresen
Eastern racked up at least 40 shots for the third time this year. Morrissette (six goals, three assists) and Jordan (five goals, two assists) both unloaded nine shots on cage.
In playing the first half, Smaldone made six saves - four in the opening quarter - to gain his first career win. The last of four goalies to see time, sophomore Richard Squires (Norwalk) played the final 6:28 - without allowing a goal or making a save -- in his first appearance of the year.
Twelve different players contributed a goal or assist, with junior midfielder Tyler Fresen (Newington) assisting on four goals and scoring two himself. Led by senior faceoff specialist Josh Dubinisky's (Woodstock) seven ground balls, 18 different players picked up at least one. Dubinsky won 11 of 20 faceoffs.
Salem season scoring leaders Ben Melaugh and A.J. Robertson, who had combined for over 40 percent of the Vikings' points this year, were held in check throughout. Melaugh had one goal and one assist and Robertson one goal.
Eastern visits Keene State College Saturday in a Little East Conference match at 1 p.m.
At left: Tommy McKenna (Photo by Katie Dulz)
MANSFIELD, Conn. - Senior righty Evan Chamberlain (Amston) pitched a four-hitter through seven innings and senior lefty Tom Darby (Middletown, RI) got a strikeout and ground ball to leave the bases loaded in the ninth as the Eastern Connecticut State University baseball team defeated Plymouth State University, 5-3, in the first game of a Little East Conference baseball doubleheader Saturday afternoon at the Eastern Baseball Stadium.
Plymouth (10-7, 1-1 Little East) rebounded for a 5-3 victory in Game 2, scoring the only runs it would need in a four-run fourth inning on an RBI single by No. 8 hitter Dave Hall and a two-out, two-run triple to right by lefty-hitting leadoff batter Steve Beard. Beard came on to score the fourth run on a wild pitch.
In the second game, Tucker Regan gave up only two runs on two hits, pitching into the fifth before Josh Young came on for his first win of the season. In a game where all of the runs were scored in the first six innings, Spencer Webb nailed down the victory. Webb pitched the final two scoreless innings, escaping from a ninth-inning jam to record his third save by retiring the potential tying run on a double play started by shortstop Brandon Cox and ending the game with a fly ball to center.
In the Plymouth win, Beard, Dan Armstrong, Brian Thompson and Hall all had two hits, with Beard plating two runs with his fourth-inning triple.
Ranked No. 23 nationally, Eastern (12-5, 1-1Little East ) earned its third straight victory in the opener despite being held without an earned run and stranding ten runners. Eastern staked Chamberlain (4-0) to a 3-0 lead in the fourth and Chamberlain departed on the long end of a 4-0 lead before the Panthers rallied by scoring three times in the eighth on singled by Hall and Cosgrove and Beard's long home run to right.
The Warriors scored their three fourth-inning runs on RBI singles from freshman DH Pete Gonski (East Lyme) and junior second baseman Tommy McKenna (Lexington, MA) and a bases-loaded hit-by-pitch and added single runs in the sixth on junior third baseman Mike Vaccarelli's (Wolcott) sacrifice fly and single run in the ninth on sophomore No. 9 hitter Chuck Vogt's (Windsor Locks) first hit and RBI in an Eastern uniform.
Trailing by two, Plymouth chased Eastern senior closer Matt Purnell (Stafford Springs), loading the bases on two singles and an error. Darby, making his first relief appearance of the season, recorded his first career save by getting a called strikeout and retiring Beard on a game-ending ground ball to second.
On the afternoon, McKenna had three hits and drove in his first three runs of the season, and senior centerfielder Mike Riemer (Ellington) reached four times with two hits and two walks and scored twice.
Beard had four hits and was credited with five of his team's seven RBI. Armstrong and Thompson each had three hits.
Eastern visits Wesleyan University Monday at 4 p.m.
MANSFIELD, Conn. - Freshman DP Alicia White (Colchester) and junior second baseman Megan Godwin (Manchester) both drove in four runs and senior third baseman Arielle Cooper (Mystic) reached safely five times and scored five runs as the Eastern Connecticut State University softball team opened defense of its Little East Conference title with 8-2, 9-1 victories over the University of Massachusetts Boston Saturday afternoon in its home-openers at the Eastern Softball Field.
The second game was stopped in the sixth inning due to the eight-run rule.
Ranked No. 23 nationally, Eastern (7-5, 2-0 Little East) collected 22 hits in the doubleheader -- ten of them doubles - and remained undefeated against UMass Boston (5-11, 0-2 Little East) in this 35-game series.
Junior Erin Miller (Waterford) and senior Christine Akcer (Milford) each threw complete games for Eastern. Miller (3-1) allowed 11 hits in the opener but didn't walk a batter and struck out two and stranded one Beacon runner in every inning. Akcer (1-0), making her second appearance and first start of the season due to a calf strain, gave up nine hits and walked two without a strikeout and stranded ten runners.
Eastern did not commit an error in the sweep and turned two double plays in the opener.
At right: Megan Godwin (Photo by Katie Dulz)
In the first game, Godwin drove in four runs with a two-run double, RBI single and infield ground out and White and senior first baseman Kelly Paterson (Southington) plated two each. White had two hits and scored two runs and Paterson three hits.
Eastern had six doubles in the nightcap, White tying the Eastern record with three. White and sophomore rightfielder Sam Rossetti (Shelton) both had three hits. Rossetti drove in three runs with a two-run double in a five-run third inning and an RBI single. White doubled in runs in the first and third and doubled and scored in the sixth. Junior centerfielder Mattie Brett (Waterford) also knocked in two runs with a suicide squeeze and sacrifice fly.
Cooper, batting .605 on the season, doubled and scored the team's first run in the first inning of the opener, singled and scored in the third and walked and scored in the sixth. In the second game, she doubled and scored leading off the first, and walked and scored in the third.
Leadoff hitter Kelsey Souza recorded five of UMass Boston's 20 hits on the day, with cleanup hitter Erika Vecchiet driving in all three of her team's runs with a two sacrifice flies in the opener and an RBI single in the nightcap.
In both games, Vecchiet drove in first-inning runs to give the Beacons the early leads, and in both games, the Warriors tied the game in the bottom of the inning, then broke it open with big third inning aided by infield errors. In the first game, the Warriors scored four times in the third on four hits - capped by Paterson's two-out, two-run double - and pushed five across in the third inning of the nightcap on just two hits, two walks, a suicide squeeze, infield error and sacrifice fly. Rossetti drove in two of the runs with a double.
Eastern host Springfield College Tuesday at 3 p.m.
He scatters three singles in 7 innings to gain first career win in first start
MANSFIELD, Conn. -- In his first career start, sophomore righty Brent Pelella (Southbury) shut out Roger Williams University on three hits through seven innings to propel the No. 23 Eastern Connecticut State University baseball team to a 2-0 non-conference victory Thursday afternoon at the Eastern Baseball Stadium.
At left: Brent Pelella
In his tenth career appearance, Pelella (1-0) and sophomore righty Tyler Cyr (Bristol) and senior righty Matt Purnell (Stafford Springs) combined on the team's first shutout since Greg Porter (Mystic), Purnell and Michael Hepple combined on a four-hitter in a 7-0 victory over Manhattanville College at the Eastern Baseball Stadium on April 18 of last year.
Pelella, who has not allowed a run and only six hits (all singles) in 12 2/3 innings this year, stranded three runners when he gave up two hits and issued his only walk in the first two innings, but settled down to allow only one more hit and faced just one batter over the minimum over his final five innings of work. He fanned five and threw two wild pitches.
Cyr and Purnell (third save of the year) each pitched a hitless inning to close out Pelella's first career victory in his first decision. Facing the tying run at the plate after issuing a two-out walk, Purnell got a called strike three to end the game.
A leadoff walk to freshman DH Pete Gonski (East Lyme) and a two-out hit batter set the stage for junior third baseman Mike Vaccarelli's (Wolcott) RBI infield single that gave Eastern a 1-0 lead in the third. Vaccarelli legged out the infield single, and when the bouncing throw from senior shortstop John Oppenhimer pulled sophomore first baseman Reid Nelson off the bag toward right field, Gonski scored from second on a slide at the plate.
At left: Mike Vaccarelli
Senior centerfielder Mike Riemer's (Ellington) leadoff home run to left in the sixth - his team-leading second - made it 2-0 and were the only runs allowed by Roger Williams (9-7) freshman starting righty George Lund and senior righty reliever Tony Trafecanty.
Lund (1-1) limited Eastern to three hits and both of its runs through five innings to absorb his first career loss in his second career start while Trafecanty threw three shutout innings, also giving up three hits.
After putting together its first flawless fielding effort since the opener yesterday against Manhattanville, Eastern commited just one error against the Hawks to improve its season percentage to .957. The mddle infield of junior Brendan Lynch (Wethersfield) and senior Drew Accomando (Monroe) handled 11 chances with just one miscue.
Eastern opens Little East Conference play Saturday at noon, hosting Plymouth State University in doubleheader.
Warriors score two in 7th to down Chicago, then mercy Carleton in finale
At right: Arielle Cooper
CLERMONT, Fla. -- The Eastern Connecticut State University softball team closed out its ten-game, six-day trip at the National Training Center Wednesday by recording its first sweep and finishing 5-5. The Warriors host Massachusetts Boston in a doubleheader Saturday at 1 p.m. in its northern and Little East Conference openers.
Eastern Conn. 4, U. of Chicago 3
Senior third baseman Arielle Cooper (Mystic) tied the Eastern Connecticut State University softball career home run record with a game-tying solo home run leading off the seventh inning and freshman DP Alicia White (Colchester) recorded her second walk-off hit of the season with a double two batters later to carry the Warriors to the victory over the University of Chicago Wednesday afternoon at the National Training Center in Clermont, FL.
Cooper's first home run of the game - a solo shot leading off the third - gave Eastern a 2-1 lead in the third inning before Chicago tied the game in the sixth on a leadoff triple and sacrifice fly. Cooper's 28th career homer leading off the seventh- her fourth of the trip - tied the game. After freshman Alyssa Hancock (Waterford) was walked, White unloaded an opposite-field double to left to send Hancock home with the game-ending run.
Making her fifth start of the year and fifth of her career, sophomore Erin Miller (Waterford) gained her first career complete game and second win in three decisions this year by giving up only six hits and two walks while fanning five.
Eastern Conn. 16, Carleton College 0 (5)
One day after being swept for the first time on the trip and being mercy-ruled, Eastern (5-5) completed the sweep by blasting Carleton with 18 hits in a game stopped after five innings.
Cooper recorded her ninth multi-hit game on the trip with two hits, two RBI and two runs scored as six players contributed at least six hits. Junior centerfielder Mattie Brett (Waterford) was 4-for-4 and drove in five runs and senior first baseman Kelly Paterson (Southington) was 3-for-4 with five RBI and two runs scored.
Brett had a two-run double and scored in a five-run first inning, a two-run triple in the second, and in a six-run fourth singled and scored and drove in a run with a double. Paterson had a two-run single in the first, RBI double in the third and two-run double in the fourth.
Sophomore Shannon Martin (Wethersfield) gained her first career win by tossing the final three innings. She gave up two hits and walked four while fanning two.
On the trip, Eastern batted .363 as a team with a .947 fielding percentage and 5.19 earned-run average.
Cooper batted .622 (23-for-37) with 14 runs scored, five doubles, four home runs and two triple and a 1.189 slugging percentage. She opened the season ranked in a tie for 16th all-time in hits, but has vaulted into sixth place with 173, 33 behind the ball-time leader.
White batted .464 (13-for-28) with 11 RBI, three doubles, a home run and six runs scored. Brett batted .433 (13-for-30) with two doubles and a triple, nine RBI and nine runs scored, and junior second baseman Megan Godwin (Manchester) batted .406 (13-for-32) with 11 runs and four RBI.
Balowski ends 0-for-18 slump with two hits and two RBI in 8-2 victory
At left: Mike Riemer
MANSFIELD, Conn. - All-New England senior first baseman Joe Balowski (Berlin) snapped an 0-for-18 slump with two hits and two RBI and junior pitcher Pat Barnett (Windsor) pitched 2 1/3 scoreless relief innings for his first career win when the No. 23 Eastern Connecticut State University baseball team downed Manhattanville College, 8-2, Tuesday afternoon at the Eastern Baseball Stadium.
In the midst of a stretch of 13 home games in 15 contests, Eastern (10-4) scored the final six runs of the game, breaking a 2-2 tie with two runs in the fifth with a two-out rally punctuated by senior centerfielder Mike Riemer's (Ellington) two-run double to straightaway center field, then added three runs in the seventh on Balowski's two-run double to right and a bases-loaded walk.
Barnett (1-0) gained his first career win as the second of four Eastern pitchers, who combined to allow only eight hits and two walks, with seven strikeouts. Barnett replaced junior righty Michael Pendergast (Farmington) at the start of the fifth inning with the score tied 2-2, and faced the minimum six batters over the next two innings. He allowed only one hit while striking out one, walking one and hitting a batter.
Junior third baseman Mike Vaccarelli (Wolcott) improved his team-leading batting average to .434 with three singles (he also reached on an error) in Eastern's 13-hit attack. He scored two runs. Freshman DH Pete Gonski (East Lyme) singled, doubled and walked and scored a run and upped his batting average to .545 (6-for-11).
Defensively, Eastern handled 44 chances in the field without an error - its first errorless game since the season-opener. Vaccarelli, junior shortstop Brendan Lynch (Wethersfield) and senior second baseman Drew Accomando (Monroe) combined on 11 assists.
In his first start of the season, Pendergast gave up only six hits and two earned runs in four innings, fanning one without a walk. Senior righty Matt Purnell (Stafford) closed out the win by striking out the side in the ninth.
Manhattanville (3-13), which features 21 freshmen and sophomores on its roster, was led offensively by junior shortstop Hans Arias and senior rightfielder and cleanup hitter Sean Ferguson. Arias had three singles and Ferguson singled and doubled and scored both of his team's runs. The Valiants lost their seventh straight.
Eastern hosts Roger Williams University Thursday at 4 p.m.
Manizza (far left), DeVito
This week's half-hour edition of Eastern Athletics Weekly with studio host Nick Aconfora will air live on LittleEast.tv Wednesday at 2 p.m. Today's guests are first-year head cross country and track and ield coach Kathy Manizza, who will discuss her first season back at Eastern after 13 years at the University of Hartford, and will preview the start of the outdoor track season which gets underway Saturday at the U.S. Coast Guard Academy. Also appearing on the show will be head men's soccer coach Greg DeVito, who will provide an update on the condition of senior player Jon DeCasanova, who suffers from aplastic anemia, and outline a fundraising Goal-A-Thon to benefit the Be The Match national marrow donor program scheduled for April 20 at the Mansfield Outdoor Complex. The show will also be archived immediately upon its conclusion for later viewing on LittleEast.tv. One hour after the conclusion of the show -- at 3:30 p.m. -- Aconfora will bring you the pre-game show prior to Eastern's 4 p.m. baseball home game against Manhattanville College. The game will also air live on LittleEast.tv and will be archived for later viewing.
In non-conference match, five-time defending NEWLA champ breezes
At right: Ashley Wolk
BRIDGEWATER, Mass. -- The Bridgewater State University women's lacrosse remained unbeaten on the season as the Bears downed visiting Eastern Connecticut State University, 14-4, Tuesday evening at Swenson Field.
Bridgewater (4-0), which has won five straight New Englnd Women's Lacrosse Alliance (NEWLA) titles and qualified for eight post-season tournaments in the last 14 years, scored the first four goals of the game and held a commanding 12-1 lead at the intermission as Eastern (2-4) was outshot by a 2-to-1 margin and lost 11 of 14 draws over those first 30 minutes.
The Bears held the Warriors off the board for a stretch of over 34 minutes in the 60-minute match, when they scored the final eight goals of the first half and the first of the second to push their lead to 13-1 two minutes into the second half. The Bears slowed the pace for the remainder of the contest before Eastern finally answered with three goals in 6+ minutes inside the final 11 minutes.
Junior attack Erin Conn (Moriches, NY) paced Eastern with a pair of goals, while classmate Ashley Wolk (Barrington, RI) tallied four draws, two ground balls and two caused turnovers to go along with an assist.
Sophomore attack Riley Cachelin, the Bears' leading point producer, led all scorers with three goals and three assists, while junior attack Melanie Appleman notched three goals and a pair of helpers. Junior midfielder Taylor Clancy had a terrific all-around game as she finished with three goals and an assist to go along with five ground balls, three controlled draws and one caused turnover.
Freshman midfielder Lauren Geary, ranked fifth nationally with an average of 8.67 draws per match, won eight of her team's 14 draws.
Eastern opens its Little East Conference season Saturday at Rhode Island College at 1 p.m.
Fourteen runs on 16 hits aren't enough in Game 1 loss to Buena Vista
At left: Kelly Paterson
CLERMONT, Fla. - The Eastern Connecticut State University fastpitch softball team went from feast to famine at the National Training Center Tuesday. But in both cases, it came up empty in its bid to climb over the .500 mark.
Buena Vista U. 17, Eastern Conn. 14
In the loss to Buena Vista University, the top four hitters in the Eastern (3-4) lineup combined for ten hits but Buena Vista (7-4) sent 12 batters to the plate in the top of the seventh inning, scoring eight runs on seven hits, a walk, wild pitch and error.
The Warriors, who commited seven errors in the game, had taken a 14-9 lead into the seventh after scoring six times in the bottom of the sixth on four hits, two walks, a sacrifice bunt and an error. The big blow of the inning was a bases-clearing triple by senior first baseman Kelly Paterson (Southington).
Senior third baseman Arielle Cooper (Mystic), junior second baseman Megan Godwin (Manchester) and junior centerfielder Mattie Brett (Waterford) each had three of Eastern's 16 hits, with Paterson driving in five runs with her sixth-inning double and a two-run triple (her first extra-base hit of the season) in a seven-run fourth. Cooper plated three runs with a two-run single in the fourth and RBI double in the six-run sixth. Brett's third hit was the 100th of her three-year collegiate career (she had 55 hits as a freshman at Endicott College in 2011).
Buena Vista freshman starter Jenna Falline, who had one-hit No. 14 Carthage College a day earlier, was driven from the mound in the fifth. She was charged with eight (earned) runs on 11 hits. The win went to junior Britney Kubik, who allowed five earned runs on five hits in 2 1/3 innings, but benefited from her team's eight-run final inning.
Carthage College 8, Eastern Conn. 0 (6)
Senior Krystina Leazer struck out eight and walked one in a complete-game five-hitter as No. 14 Carthage (9-3) handed Eastern (3-5) its second straight loss in a game stopped with one out in the Carthage sixth inning due to the eight-run rule. The shutout was the second of the day for the Lady Reds.
Leazer did not allow an extra-base hit and gave up only two hits in an inning once, when freshman DH Alicia White (Colchester) stroked a leadoff single in the fourth and advanced to third on a one-out single by junior centerfielder Mattie Brett (Waterford). Brett had two of Eastern's hits.
The 3-through-5 hitters in the Carthage lineup combined for seven hits, with No. 3 hitter Vicki Pyan going 3-for-4 (double, triple) with four runs scored and an RBI.
Eastern closes out its Florida trip Wednesday against the University of Chicago (1 p.m.) and Carleton College (3 p.m.).
Warriors back on track with 10-7 victory over FDU-Florham
MADISON, N.J. - The Eastern Connecticut State University men's lacrosse team limited FDU-Florham to just 13 shots on goal - the lowest total on net by an opponent since the second match of the season - and emerged with a 10-7 non-conference victory which snapped a four-match losing streak Tuesday at Shields Field.
At left: Michael Dellanno
The ability to protect the ball (season-low 13 turnovers by clearing all but three of 28 attempts) and stay out of the penalty box (a season-low four flags) helped Eastern (2-5) salvage its first victory in a stretch of five straight road contests. In its previous win this year - an 11-4 home triumph over Gordon -- the Warriors allowed the Fighting Scots a season-low 12 shots on cage.
FDU-Florham (2-7) equaled its season average for goals this year in losing for the fourth time in its last five contests.
After giving up the first two goals of the match eight minutes apart, the Warriors responded with three in a row and never trailed thereafter, taking the lead for good with just under two minutes left in the first half on junior All-America midfielder Mike Devine's (Cheshire) 13th goal of the year. Senior midfielder Kevin Fechtmann (Levittown, NY) made it 5-3 with a half-minute left in the half. Junior attack Mike Jordan (Cheshire) assisted on both.
Clinging to a one-goal lead after FDU scored three straight and four of five in the second half, Eastern held the Devils to just one goal on eight shots in the final quarter and without a shot on goal - their three shots in that span all went wide -- over the final ten minutes. Sophomore midfielder Zach Thresher (Somers) and freshman attack Michael Dellanno (Wakefield, MA) each connected on goals in the final seven minutes to add insurance.
With four assists through the first six matches, Jordan complemented his two goals with a career-high five assists. Devine added two goals and an assist and Dellanno scored twice for the second time in two career starts.
Senior goalie Drew Deane (Vernon) won his second match of the season, turning aside six shots.
The defending Little East conference regular-season and playoff champion, Eastern opens conference play Saturday at 2 p.m. by hosting Salem State University.
Warriors excel in and out of the pool and are noted for sportsmanship
WILLIMANTIC, Conn. - Over the last handful of seasons, the Eastern Connecticut State University women's swim team has continued to raise the bar on its accomplishments in and out of the pool.
The 2012/13 season was no exception.
After winning eight of nine dual meets in the regular season for the second straight year and attaining a second place finish in the Little East Conference Championships for the fifth straight time, the Warriors attained their highest rating ever (2nd) in the New England Intercollegiate Swimming and Diving Championships in February.
In a true "team" effort, 18 swimmers on the 23-person roster qualified for the NEISDA meet, and 17 individuals contributed points in individual events.
"We've never had that many (qualify) in the three years that I've been here," noted junior tri-captain Marissa Colley (East Haven). "It's really exciting. Because of how hard everyone works, it's a good feeling to know that you've (qualified), that your time is good enough to be recognized. Everyone sets achievable goals in the beginning of the season," added Colley. "We work for four months, and by the end, when we go to New England's, we know that we need to be focused, and we have in our head what time we want to get. And the majority of the time, all the girls get the time that they want."
In the NEISDA meet, junior Michelle Schapp (Torrington) led the way with 75 points, junior Becky Odgers (Shelton) adding 74, freshman Katie King (Barkhamsted) and junior Erin McVeigh (Windsor) adding 73, Colley 70, junior Jacqueline Tromp (Bohemia,NY) 68, senior Stephanie O'Kelly (Westport) 64, sophomore Kayla Smoragiewicz (Norwalk) 62, sophomore Rachael Thatcher (Newington) 60, and junior Colleen King (Barkamsted) 59.
Eight Eastern individual and relay records were set in the meet. Schapp broke her own records in two backstroke events, Katie King broke two breaststroke records and O'Kelly one, and three relay records were re-written.
In a 21-team field, Eastern individuals were named All-New England a total of 22 times and all five relays earned identical honors as the team recorded program-bests not only with its second-place finish but with its total of 1,136.5 points. Despite not sponsoring diving - where it could have added upwards of 100 points to its total - Eastern out-pointed all but one team in the competition.
The top eight individuals and first four relays in each events are accorded All-New England honors. Schapp, Odgers and Katie King all swam to regional honors in each of their three individual events, with O'Kelly, McVeigh, Tromp, Colley, Colleen King and Smoragiewicz earning the honor twice.
Additionally, all five relays earned All-New England honors, none of them finishing lower than fourth. Schapp and McVeigh added All-New England accolades with four relays each, Odgers and Smoragiewicz with three, Colley and Katie King with two and Colleen King and freshman Macaire Jones (Danbury) with one each.
In addition to the breaking eight records, a remarkable 42 personal-bests were attained by 17 individuals in the competition. Besting their previous top times in the maximum three events were Colleen King, Katie King, McVeigh, Odgers, O'Kelly, Thatcher, Tromp, and freshmen Heather Avery (Wethersfield) and Courtney Holzer (Cromwell).
For the swimmers, the season is a long and arduous one. It begins with a three-week pre-season in preparation for the season-opener in late October. The first semester includes a season-opening pentathlon and the LEC Championships in early December, and a total of five meets. Soon after the holidays, the team spends a week training intensely in Florida. In addition to running and swimming sessions, the Warriors compete in the Bob Moweson Meet at the Ft. Lauderdale Aquatics Complex. Eastern returns to competition in early January with a six to seven dual meets, before beginning the two-week "tapering" process which hopefully produces maximum fitness for the NEISDA Championships in mid-Feburary.
At left: Recognized prior to the final regular-season home meets of their careers Feb. 2 were 2012/13 seniors Stephanie O'Kelly (second from left) and Julie Pietrycha (third from left).
"You are mentally and physically tired and know that you are not going to see your best times toward the end of the (regular) season," says Colley. "Then, you start tapering, and once tapering is over, your body's going to be rested and you're going to be strong enough to achieve the times you want (at the NEISDA Championships)."
As has become commonplace under 17-year head coach Maureen Fahey - the NEISDA Coach-of-the-Year in two of the last past five years (including this season), the swimmers' accomplishments outside the pool and their displays of sportsmanship on the pool deck have kept pace with their achievements in the pool.
For the fifth semester since the fall of 2008, Eastern qualified as a member of the Scholar All-America Team, which is sponsored each semester by the College Swimming Coaches' Association of America and acknowledges Division III swim programs with a cumulative GPAs of at least 3.00. A total of 114 programs nationwide earned the honor in the fall of 2012, but
Eastern was the only swim program in the LEC to reach the standard, checking in with a cumulative team GPA of 3.13.
"The success that our swimmers have achieved in and out of the pool is a testament to Coach Fahey's commitment toward developing well-rounded student athletes," praises Dr. Jeff Konin, Eastern's director of athletics. "This recognition by the CSCAA reflects our student-athletes' dedication to Eastern's mission."
As part of the emphasis upon classroom excellence, six individuals - Arisco, Colley, Colleen King, junior Mackenzie Russo (New Milford), Schapp and Thatcher - earned spots on the Little East Conference Academic Honor Roll for having cumulative grade-point averages of at least 3.30 through the fall semester (freshmen are not eligible for the award). The six All-Academic selections equaled the most by any of the ten LEC institutions which sponsor swimming and equaled the most by any of Eastern's six winter programs.
"Coach is always stressing that you have to have good grades," points out Colley. "She'll sit down and have meetings with us to talk about our grades and mid-terms. Even when we're not in season, she still talks to us individually."
At the NEISDA Championships this past Feburary, Eastern was voted to receive the Sportsmanship Award for its enthusiasm and support for not only its own swimmers, but those on competing teams, as well.
A telling moment at the NEISDA meet came when Eastern swimmers vocally lent their support to the University of Saint Joseph (CT) relay team. With all four of their NEISDA qualifiers competing in the relay, the Blue Jays had no swimmers left on the deck to lend encouragement, "so we cheered for them," said Colley.
Desai's seven-hitter sends No. 19 Eastern to third loss in last four games
MANSFIELD, Conn. -- Sophomore lefty Josh Desai pitched a seven-hitter through 8 1/3 innings and three batters who were hit by pitch or walked came around to score in Suffolk University's 6-1 baseball win over Eastern Connecticut State University Monday afternoon at the Eastern Baseball Stadium.
At left: Kyle Hart
The win is the third in 14 contests against Eastern (9-4) in this series for Suffolk (10-1), which scored the only runs it would need in the first inning on a game-opening hit-by-pitch, sacrifice bunt, infield single, wild pitch and senior rightfielder Mike Cunningham's RBI single over the third base bag.
Ranked No. 4 in New England, Suffolk won its tenth straight game, third up north. Ranked No. 3 in New England and No. 19 nationally, Eastern lost for the third time in the last four games after a six-game winning streak.
Desai (2-0) allowed only six singles and a double with four strikeouts and two walks. He also hit two batters. Desai carried a five-hit shutout and five-run lead into the seventh inning before the Warriors broke through for their only run on a leadoff double by sophomore DH Kyle Hart (Guilford) and RBI infield ground ball by sophomore leftfielder Adam Roderick (West Hartford).
Within two outs of the team's second complete game of the season, Desai was lifted with two runners aboard in the ninth, and sophomore righty Frank Tierney came on to induce a game-ending double play on a full count.
Batting .362 as a team, Suffolk was limited to seven hits by four Eastern pitchers, but benefited from four walks, two hit-by-pitch and two wild pitches.
Suffolk junior second baseman Devan Jones was hit by the first pitch of the game and scored the first run of the game on a wild pitch. Jones led off the third inning by being hit again and scored the Rams' third run on senior leftfielder Chris Stanley's two-out RBI single to left. Jones' second home run of the season - a two-run blast to lift with two out in the fourth -- made it 5-0 and three consecutive walks and an infield error gave the Rams a 6-1 lead in the eighth.
Jones reached three times and scored three runs. Junior All-New England first baseman Jake Cintolo was the only Suffolk player with more than one hit. His infield single in the first advanced Jones to third base and he also singled leading off the fifth.
Senior second baseman Drew Accomando (Monroe) and Hart each had two hits for Eastern. Accomando is 9-for-16 in his last five games. Hart, who had two hits in as many at-bats as a fifth-inning replacement in right field, is 5-for-12 this season.
Playing 13 home games in a 15-game stretch, Eastern hosts Manhattanville College Wednesday at 4 p.m.
Cooper (far left), White
NORTH DARTMOUTH, Mass. - One Eastern Connecticut State University softball veteran and one rookie have been recognized by the Little East Conference in its weekly awards program, through games of March 24.
Senior All-America third baseman Arielle Cooper (Mystic) was recognized with a weekly award for the fourth time in her career Monday when she was selected LEC Player-of-the-Week after batting .682 through the first six games of the season at the National Training Center in Clermont, FL. In the second weekly report of the season, freshman DP Alicia White (Colchester) was named LEC Rookie-of-the-Week after batting .429 (6-for-14) with eight RBI and two runs scored.
A two-time Player-of-the-Week as a junior and one-time Rookie-of-the-Week as a freshman, Cooper is 15-for-22 with nine RBI and nine runs scored for the Warriors, who are 3-3. Cooper, alternating as leadoff and No. 3 hitter in the order, has four doubles, a triple and two home runs with a 1.227 slugging percentage and .680 on-base percentage. She has had at least two hits in every game and at least one RBI in every game. Against Union College and SUNY New Paltz Saturday, she homered in each game - her 25th and 26th career home runs which pulled her to within two of tying the career record.
A starter at DP in all five games in which she has appeared, the left-handed hitting White tied the program's 35-year-old record with seven RBI, four coming on a walk-off grand slam with two out in the bottom of the seventh of a 12-8 win Sunday over Fontbonne University. Having batted in the No. 5 through 8 spots in the order thus far, White added another RBI in the second game of the day in an 8-4 loss to Middlebury College. In addition to six hits, White has walked twice and reached on a hit-by-pitch. She has a .529 on-base percentage and .714 slugging percentage.
Coming off last year's record 44-3 record and NCAA regional tournament appearance, Eastern is ranked sixth nationally in the most recent NFCA Division III poll.
Tuesday at Clermont, Eastern faces Buena Vista University at 1 p.m. and Carthage College at 3 p.m.
Freshman White's first career HR is a walk-off slam against Fontbonne
CLERMONT, Fla. -- Freshman DP Alicia White (Colchester) hit a walk-off grand slam with two out in the bottom of the seventh inning to lift the Eastern Connecticut State University softball team to a 12-8 come-from-behind win over Fontbonne University in the first of two games Sunday at the National Training Center.
At left: Alicia White
In the second game, Middlebury (4-2) scored five runs in the first two innings on five hits, two walks and two errors and Eastern (3-3) stranded 11 runners in an 8-4 loss.
White tied the 35-year-old Eastern record with seven RBI against Fontbonne (6-5), driving in the team's first two runs with a single in the first, plating another with a ground ball in the fourth, then slammed a game-ending grand slam in the seventh after the Warriors had loaded the bases on walks after there were two out and none on.
The home run was the first in the career of White, who finished the afternoon with eight RBI after delivering a two-out RBI double for Eastern's final run in the sixth inning against Middlebury.
Eastern trailed 8-2 against Fontbonne after the Griffins scored all of their runs in their first two at-bats, but the Warriors were able to cut the gap to 8-6 after three innings, then tied the game with two unearned runs in the fourth on two hits, two passed balls and an infield error.
Sophomore Shannon Martin (Wethersfield) paved the way for White's game-winning blast by shutting out Fontbonne over five innings as the third of four Eastern pitchers, and doubling with one out and scoring the first run of the third, then stroking an RBI double with two out in the fourth to tie the game at 8-all.
Eastern outhit Middlebury, 13-9, and also drew three walks and a hit-by-pitch, but stranded 11 runners against junior Elizabeth Morris, the complete-game winner. The Warriors stranded three in the second, and the Panthers followed with two runs in the bottom of the inning on a triple and sacrifice fly to expand their early lead to 5-0. In the fourth, Eastern scored its first two runs on a two-run, two-out pinch single by junior Jen Tamindzija (Malden, MA) but Morris left two runners aboard when she retired senior All-America third baseman Arielle Cooper (Mystic) on a ground ball to third.
Cooper had three hits in each game (two doubles), scored three runs and drove in two on the day. Against Fontbonne, she reached base in all five plate appearances with three singles and two walks and scored the team's first run in the first and also rode home on White's game-winning grand slam.
Martin recorded all three of her hits on the day against Fontbonne. White had five hits and scored one run to go along with her double and home run and eight RBI. Junior second baseman Megan Godwin (Manchester) reached four times with three walks against Fontbonne and a single against Middlebury and scored three runs. Freshman shortstop Alyssa Hancock (Waterford) registered three hits on the day and reached a fourth time with a walk. Senior rightfielder Katie Sokoloski (Eastford) reached in all three of her plate appearances with two bunt singles and a walk against Fontbonne and scored two runs and also walked against Middlebury.
Eastern's starting infield of Cooper, Hancock, Godwin and senior first baseman Kelly Paterson (Southington) handled 35 chances on the day with just one error, with the middle infield of Godwin and Hancock perfect on 21 attempts.
In six games, Eastern has a .988 fielding percentage (two errors) and .324 batting average. Cooper (15-for-22) is batting a team-leading .682, with White (6-for-14) at .429 and Godwin at .400 (8-for-20).
Eastern faces Buena Vista University (1 p.m.) and Carthage College (3 p.m.) Tuesday.
Wheaton breaks its own hex, keeps Warriors reeling with 12-11 win
NORTON, Mass. -- Until Saturday, it had been a case of close, but no cigar, for the Wheaton College (MA) men's lacrosse team in 2013.
Following Saturday's 12-11 decision, that remains the case for Eastern Connecticut State University this season.
At right: Trevor Morrissette
After losing its first four matches of the year by a total of 12 goals, Wheaton (1-4) never trailed after the opening ten minutes and held off Eastern's (1-5) late second-half comeback at Mirrione Stadium.
Idle since March 13 heading into Saturday's non-conference tilt, the Warriors have lost four straight matches, those setbacks coming by a total of 12 goals. It was only Eastern's (1-5) second loss to Wheaton (1-4) in this 12-game series - first since a 13-12 decision which came in the Warriors' fifth intercollegiate game ever played 17 years ago at Norton.
Making his debut after being sidelined by a pre-season shoulder injury, freshman attack Michael Dellanno (Wakefield, MA) scored the first goal of the match in the first five minutes, and later ignited Eastern's second-half comeback with his second strike with five minutes left in the third quarter
After scoring his second goal, Dellanno gained his first career assist 25 seconds later on a feed to junior attack Trevor Morrissette (Bedford, NH) as Eastern outscored the hosts 5-1 in a stretch of less than six minutes that pulled the Warriors even, 9-9, 62 seconds into the fourth quarter.
At that point, however, Eastern went quiet for nearly nine minutes. After killing off seven of nine penalties to that point, the Warriors couldn't prevent an extra-man goal after they were penalized on the faceoff following junior attack Mike Jordan's (Cheshire) goal that made it 9-9. In the nine minutes that followed its tying goal, Eastern turned the ball over four times and couldn't connect on three shot, two of which were saved by Wheaton junior goalie Harrison Bramhall.
Eastern senior goalie Drew Deane (Vernon) stopped ten shots - his second-most in a match (by one) this year. In only one period (the third), did the Lyons manage more than three goals (five).
Sophomore attack Matthew Hillman contributed to all but three of Wheaton's goals by scoring five himself and dishing off for four more. Twice in the last seven minutes, he tacked on insurance goals after Eastern had pulled to within one score of knotting the game.
Morrissette finished with four goals for Eastern as the only player with more than two, with junior All-America midfielder Mike Devine (Cheshire) recording four assists for the second time in three match. Three of the helpers came on the Warriors' first four strikes of the match. Devine came up empty on four shots, marking the first time in 17 matches dating back to last year that he has not contributed at least one goal.
Eastern plays its fifth straight road match - looking for its first victory away from home this year -- Monday at Fairleigh Dickinson U.-Florham at 4 p.m.
Johnson (far left), Komornik
CLERMONT, FL -- Senior third baseman Arielle Cooper (Mystic) homered in each game, sophomore Erin Miller (Waterford) earned her first college save and freshman Emily Komornik (Shelton) was credited with her first collegiate win in her first start as the Eastern Connecticut State University fastpitch softball team split two games Saturday for the second straight day at the National Training Center.
Eastern (2-2) downed Union College (0-2), 5-1, in its first morning game, then couldn't complete a comeback later in a 6-4 loss to SUNY New Paltz (2-2).
Cooper's two-out solo home run staked Komornik (1-0) to an early lead before she took the mound against Union. Komornik scattered four hits and allowed only a fifth-inning run in her second collegiate appearance, and Miller pitched the final three innings for her first save.
With Eastern leading 3-0 in the fifth against Union, Miller allowed an RBI single after replacing Komornik, who was lifted after giving up a leadoff double and a subsequent walk. Trailing 6-1, Union loaded the bases with none out in the sixth, but Miller got an infield pop and a double play on a fly ball to junior centerfielder Mattie Brett (Waterford) to end the threat.
Complete-game loser Alyssa Wolejko (0-1) of Union gave up only five hits and didn't walk a batter, but three of the hits went for extra bases. In addition to Cooper's blast, junior second baseman Megan Godwin (Manchester) doubled and scored on senior first baseman Kelly Paterson's (Southington) sacrifice fly to give Eastern a 3-0 lead in the fourth, then tripled in Cooper (infield single) and scored on sophomore rightfielder Shannon Martin's (Wethersfield) infield ground ball to make it 5-1 in the sixth.
Cooper and Godwin both had two hits, scored two runs and drove in a run.
Trailing 6-0 against New Paltz, the Warriors bounced back with two runs in the fifth and two more in the bottom of the seventh and had the tying run on base before freshman lefty Katie Rutcofsky came on end the game on a line drive to second base off the bat of Paterson.
Eastern had scored its two fifth-inning runs on a walk and four consecutive singles, and its two in the bottom of the seventh came via Cooper's 26th career home run (two shy of the career record) - a two-run shot which drove in junior leftfielder Stephanie Johnson (Plantsville).
Miller (1-1) was driven from the mound in the third inning when the Hawks moved out to a 6-0 lead by scoring four times on two singles, three walks and a passed ball.
Batting 2-3 in the order, Johnson and Cooper combined for five of Eastern's nine hits and three RBI off senior righty Amber Carozza (1-1). Each also scored a run. The top four hitters in the Eastern lineup netted all but two of Eastern's hits.
After earning the first-game win in a starting role against Union, Komornik kept the Warriors within striking distance against New Paltz by shutting out the Hawks over the final four innings, giving up only two singles and no walks and retiring the final ten batters in order. On the day, Komornik scattered six hits and walked two with a strikeout in eight innings.
Sunday, Eastern faces Fontbonne University at 9 a.m. and Middlebury College at 11 a.m.
Chamberlain pitches team to opening win; clutch hits elusive in nightcap
MANSFIELD, Conn. -- Senior righty Evan Chamberlain (Amston) spaced five singles over six innings and senior second baseman Drew Accomando (Monroe) and junior shortstop Brendan Lynch (Wethersfield) drove in runs in a three-run fifth inning to lift No. 19 Eastern Connecticut State University to its tenth straight baseball victory over Westfield State University, 7-1, in the opening game of a non-conference doubleheader Saturday afternoon at the Eastern Baseball Stadium.
At right: Brendan Lynch
In the second game, Eastern (9-3) stranded seven runners in scoring position - four of them at third base - as Westfield (4-7) ended an overall seven-game losing streak with a 6-5 triumph.
In the first game, Chamberlain (3-0) lowered his ERA to 1.66 by fanning seven and walking three. Eastern led 3-0 before Westfield scored its only run with a two-out single by team batting leader Dan Rokitowski. The Warriors moved out to a 6-1 lead by scoring three times in the fifth off complete-game loser Peter Cassidy on three doubles, a walk, passed ball and wild pitch. Lynch's double plated sophomore DH Adam Roderick (West Hartford), who opened the inning with a double, and Accomando drove in senior first baseman Joe Balowski (Berlin) and senior centerfielder Mike Riemer (Ellington) with a double to right-center.
Westfield broke a 5-5 tie in the sixth inning of the nightcap on a bases-loaded walk to Kevin Greene. An inning-opening infield single, a pair of bunts by Mike Molta and Rokitowski and an intentional walk loaded the bases with two out to set up the tie-breaking free pass.
The Warriors trailed throughout the second game - leaving six runners in scoring position through the first five innings - before finally tying the game, 5-5 in the sixth with three runs. An infield error ignited the rally before junior third baseman Mike Vaccarelli (Wolcott) plated the first two runs with a single to right-center, and Lynch's sacrifice fly tied the game.
Down 6-5 in the seventh, Riemer and freshman rightfielder Pete Gonski (East Lyme) singled, but winning pitcher Kevin Zyrkowski induced a ground ball and fly out to center to end the game.
Vaccarelli finished the day with four hits and drove in three runs, as did Lynch and Accomando. Riemer reached safely five times with three hits and two walks and Accomando reached safely four times with two hits and two walks. He doubled and tripled. Lynch doubled twice among his three hits.
Westfield's Greene drove in four runs on the day, three of them coming in the nightcap on a pair of singles after he had fanned twice in the opener. He also reached on an error and walked in four plate appearances in Game 2. Molta and Evan Moorhouse also collected three hits. Playing only in the second game, Andrew Medeiros reached safely all four times with a single, wind-blow, sun-aided triple which was dropped in right field, sacrifice fly and intentional walk in the sixth during the Owls' game-winning rally.
In the second game, five Westfield pitchers tossed one inning apiece before Zyrkowski (1-0) came on to get all three outs in the sixth on a game-tying sacrifice fly and inning-ending double play, and leave the tying run aboard in the seventh.
Eastern hosts Suffolk University Monday at 3:30 p.m.
Cooper, Godwin have 4 hits, freshman Hancock has 6 RBI with help of first HR
Hancock (far left), Miller
CLERMONT, Fla. -- Senior All-America third baseman Arielle Cooper (Mystic) doubled twice and tripled and drove in four runs, and freshman infielder Alyssa Hancock (Waterford) doubled home two runs in her first official at-bat and hit a three-run home run in her second as the Eastern Connecticut State University softball team opened its 2013 season with a split at the National Training Center.
In the opener, William Paterson College (3-7) scored three runs in the fourth and Eastern (1-1) stranded the tying run on second base in the sixth in a 5-4 loss. In the second game, Cooper drove in three runs with a game-ending triple, junior shortstop Megan Godwin (Manchester) had three hits, and Hancock socked a three-run home run in the second in Eastern's 13-3, six-inning victory over Concordia University Wisconsin (1-5).
In the second game, sophomore Erin Miller (Waterford) pitched 2 1/3 innings as the second of three Eastern pitchers to gain her second career victory without a loss. Sophomore Shannon Martin (Wethersfield) pitched into the third inning in her first collegiate start and appearance and was lifted with her team leading 5-1 after allowing an RBI triple.
Batting ninth, Hancock had a sacrifice fly, two-run double and walked against William Paterson, unloaded a three-run home run in the second inning against Concordia and later walked with the bases loaded for her sixth RBI of the day.
Godwin and Cooper both had four hits on the day, with senior first baseman Kelly Paterson (Southington) collecting three hits.
Batting leadoff, Cooper doubled and scored leading off the first inning against William Paterson. In the fourth, Hancock and Cooper stroked back-to-back doubles, but Hancock was thrown out at home on Cooper's double that would have given the Warriors a three-run cushion. Cooper's sixth-inning sacrifice fly in the six pulled Eastern to within 5-4.
Against Concorida, Cooper singled and scored in the fourth, reached on an error and scored in the fifth, and ended the game with a bases-clearing triple in the sixth.
Godwin and Cooper combined to score seven runs on the afternoon and record 13 total bases. Freshman DH Alicia White (Colchester) reached safely four times against Concorida with a hit, two walks and a hit-by-pitch, and scored once.
Miller made her first career start against Williams Paterson but did not figure in the decision after departing with a 3-2 lead after opening the fourth by walking a batter and allowing an RBI double. An RBI single and passed ball gave the Pioneers the lead for good, 4-3.
Saturday, Eastern faces Union College at 9 a.m. and SUNY New Paltz at 11 a.m.
They connect on only nine of 33 shots in non-conference loss to UNE
MANSFIELD, Conn. -- The University of New England defense limited Eastern Connecticut State University to two goals through the first 29 minutes and freshman goalie Courtney Kendall made 16 saves as the Nor'easters posted a 15-9 non-conference women's lacrosse victory Friday afternoon at the Mansfield Outdoor Complex.
At right: Alexa Foldy
Eastern (2-3) outshot New England (1-4) 33-27 but missed 24 of its shots - including 11 of 14 free-position attempts - as New England defeated the Warriors in the first regular-season meeting ever between the programs.
Kendall, who had lost twice this year to nationally-ranked teams, made nine saves and gave up only three goals in the first half, limiting the Warriors to one goal over the final 18 minutes of the first half as the Nor'easters took a 7-3 advantage into the break. Eastern never led in the game and was able to string together as many as two consecutive goals once.
Down 9-3 early in the second half, the Warriors scored twice in 70 seconds on goals by junior attack Alexa Foldy (Brookfield) and senior midfielder Christina Rully (Orange) to cut the gap to four, but the visitors scored four of the final six goal over the last 15 minutes of play.
Junior attack and team scoring leader Hannah Tavella gave New England early momentum by scoring four of her six goals in a span of 15 minutes in the first half. Tavella, who put all eight of her shots on goal, has 16 goals in five matches this year.
Eastern won 19 of 26 faceoffs, with junior attack Erin Conn (Moriches, NY) capturing nine draws and senior defender Rachel Meotti (Glastonbury) won four draws and picked up four ground balls, as did Foldy.
New England won the ground ball battle by 12, picking up 31. Junior midfielder Johanna Currier had five, Tavella four and sophomore midfielder Jessica Deedon added four off the bench.
After connecting on 43 percent of their free-position shots through four matches, Eastern missed 11 of 14 against New England, including eight of ten in the second half.
Eastern visits Bridgewater State University Tuesday at 6 p.m.
No. 9 Cougars end No. 19 Warriors' six-game winning streak with 2-1 win
UNION, N.J. - Kean University RBI leader Joe O'Connor plated Tyler Smarslok with a two-out single in the bottom of the eighth inning to break a tie and the Eastern Connecticut State University baseball team stranded the tying run on third in the ninth inning as the Cougars edged the Warriors, 2-1, in a battle of nationally-ranked teams Friday afternoon at Jim Hynes Stadium.
At left: Joe Balowski
Ranked No. 9 nationally, Kean (12-4) ended No. 19 Eastern's (8-2) six-game winning streak with its fifth straight win over the Warriors since 2007.
In a matchup of team aces, senior righty Kevin Herget outdueled Eastern senior lefty Tom Darby (Middletown, RI), although neither figured in the decision. Herget pitched seven shutout innings of four-hit baseball and departed with a 1-0 lead, while Darby gave up only one (earned) run on five hits before departing one batter after the hosts took a 1-0 lead in the seventh.
Trailing 1-0, Eastern tied the game in the eighth when junior third baseman Mike Vacccarelli (Wolcott) singled to open the inning against new pitcher Charles Thielmann, stole second, moved to third on a ground ball by sophomore leftfielder Adam Roderick (West Hartford) and scored on senior first baseman Joe Balowski's (Berlin) sacrifice fly to right.
Working his first full inning in place of Darby, senior righty Matt Purnell (Stafford) opened the eighth by hitting Smarslok, who was sacrificed to second by No. 3 hitter Andy Lopez and scored on O'Connor's two-out single - his team-leading 14th RBI and only hit of the game -- through the left side.
With Eastern trailing by one, senior second baseman Drew Accomando (Monroe) opened the top of the ninth with his second hit (he reached three times in the game and also fielded nine chances without an error), moved to second on junior DH Gavin Lavallee's (New Milford) sacrifice bunt and to third on a wild pitch, before Thielmann got the second out on a ground ball to short, and induced a game-ending fly ball to center.
Herget fanned eight and walked four, while Darby struck out five and walked two. Thielmann (3-1) gave up two hits without a strikeout or walk in two innings and Purnell (1-1) fanned one and gave up one hit. Purnell had entered the game in the seventh after the Cougars had scored their first run, and got two ground balls to leave a second runner in scoring position.
Eastern hosts Westfield State University in a non-conference noon doubleheader Saturday at the Eastern Baseball Stadium.
Despite substantial losses, Warriors return experience, leadership
WATCH: Head Coach Diana Pepin (below, left) and senior All-America Arielle Cooper (below, right) are interviewed by Nick Aconfora previewing the season. (13.45)
WILLIMANTIC, Conn. -- In no other team sport is success more predicated on one position than it is in fastpitch softball, where a dominant pitcher can transform a bad team into a respectable one, a good one into a great one and a great one into a national champion.
Above: Senior pitcher Christine Akcer
For four years, four-time All-America Molly Rathbun was that pitcher for the Eastern Connecticut State University softball program, where her strong right arm turned a good - in many instances, very good - team into one which competed for national championships.
On Friday, 11 letterwinners - seven of them starters - will begin to address the question of whether a very good starting nine with the potential of playing outstanding defense and producing a large number of runs - is enough to return the Warriors to the NCAA Division III national tournament for the third time in four years.
Head coach Diana Pepin, who has coached and played on many of the best teams in program history - including a national champion -- feels that it could be.
"I would say that we are a slightly above-average team that has good cohesion, which I think makes a dominant team," says Pepin, already the program's winningest head coach heading into 12th season. "I will say that we will take some bumps and learn from them. But our offense and defense is solid. We won't get 300 strikeouts (Rathbun averaged 283 per season, twice eclipsing the 300-strikeout plateau in a season), but with this defense, there really is no reason to have physical errors."
At left: Senior All-America third baseman Arielle Cooper
For Eastern, the loss of Rathbun's arm (103 wins) and bat (28 HRs/303 total bases) are not the only hurdles to overcome in its quest for a sixth straight NCAA tournament berth and fourth consecutive Little East Conference regular-season and tournament titles. Also lost is All-New England Region rightfielder Priscilla Alicea - who amassed the most hits in program history over a four-year career - and pitcher/DP Kassondra Silva from a team which ripped off 40 straight victories and finished with a record 44 triumphs against but three losses in 2012.
The presumed return of Silva was expected to soften the blow of Rathbun's loss, but the backup pitcher (8-0 last year) and cleanup hitter (.314) sustained complications from the ACL surgery which kept her out of the 2011 season and will not return to complete her eligibility.
"This is going to be a pitching staff this year, and we have to figure out who complements who and how we can take advantage of their strengths," stresses Pepin.
The losses of Rathbun & Co. are more of quality than quantity, however; thus, the outside expectations remain high. For the third straight season, Eastern is the pre-season coaches' pick to repeat its LEC title, garnering six of eight first-place votes to earn a ten-point margin over runner-up Keene State College.
At right: Senior first baseman Kelly Paterson
The respect extends beyond the region, however, with the eight-member NFCA national poll board ranking Eastern among its Top 10 in each of the five polls to date. Before playing a game, Eastern moved ahead of 2012 regional champion Tufts University into sixth place nationally in what will be the final poll (released Wednesday) before the Warriors must begin to substantiate their lofty status on Friday with season-opening contests against Williams Paterson University and Concordia University-Wisconsin at Clermont, FL.
"Even though Molly and Priscilla were complete team players, their teammates knew that they could rely upon them heavily (last year)," said Pepin. "Now, the players have to rely upon everyone to contribute. They understand that from 1-through-18, we need everyone to contribute in some way, shape or form."
Rathbun's solo act may be replaced this year by a group effort consisting of senior Christine Akcer (Milford), sophomores Erin Miller (Waterford), Sam Rossetti (Shelton), and Shannon Martin (Wethersfield) and freshman Emily Komornik (Shelton).With a 19-5 record and 3.12 ERA in 44 career appearances, Akcer, who is slowly returning from a pre-season calf strain, is the only one of the five with substantial pitching experience on the college level. As freshmen, Miller and Rossetti saw a combined total of only seven innings spread over six relief appearances.
Despite the staff's relative inexperience, Pepin is encouraged by their off-season and pre-season work ethic and by their progress under the tutelage of Rathbun, serving this year as pitching coach.
The return of seven starters - including the catcher, three-quarters of the infield and two-third of the outfield -- could make up for the lack of a true pitching ace. The Warriors feature versatility, veteran leadership and post-season savvy in senior corner infielders Arielle Cooper (Mystic) and Kelly Paterson (Southington), and juniors Megan Godwin (Manchester), Megan Bondy (Mystic), Stephanie Johnson (Plantsville) and Mattie Brett (Waterford).
Cooper returns from a 2012 All-America season for her fourth starting season at third base and Paterson to her fourth starting season in the lineup, third at first base. The team's starting shortstop since Day 1, Godwin may alternate in the middle infield this year.
"Cooper and Kelly (Paterson) have been standouts for the past three years at the corners," praises Pepin. "I think that they're the rock and Godwin is the (vocal) leader."
Bondy will be the starting catcher for the second straight year after splitting duties as a freshman; Johnson has shared time in the outfield for two years but will be the opening-day leftfielder in 2013. Brett returns as the starting centerfielder after an all-conference freshman season in 2011 at shortstop at Endicott College (she was an All-State second baseman in high school).
Pepin points out that "Bondy has really matured behind the plate and understands what is expected. She has become more confident and more vocal."
A part-time leftfielder as a freshman, Martin will open the season in right field, while junior Jen Tamindzija (Malden, MA) will return to a regular spot in the infield after she recovers from a pre-season back injury.
At least three freshmen should have an immediate impact: catcher/DP/outfielder Alicia White (Colchester) and infielders Alyssa Hancock (Waterford) and Alyssa Dumphy (Southington). Either Rossetti or White will open at DP and will bat in the middle of the lineup, with Hancock expected to start in the middle infield. Dumphy will back up Cooper at third, while White may also see action in right.
Although inexperienced, the catcher spot is potentially deep behind Bondy, with sophomore Sarah Arburr (Bristol) and freshmen Taylor Smyth (Meriden) and White in the wings.
Veteran Katie Sokoloski (Eastford), the team's fourth senior, will provide leadership and maturity and will see action in the outfield.
Cooper, who obliterated the program's previous record with a 33-game hit streak last year, will open the season back in the leadoff spot, with Hancock batting second, Brett third and either Rossetti or the left-hitting White fourth. Batting lefty as well, Martin is fifth, Godwin sixth, Paterson seventh, Bondy eighth and the left-swinging Johnson ninth.
"I really think that our offense is potent," says Pepin. "We have no weak links from top to bottom. In past years, maybe 7-8-9 were kind of OK, but now you can't discount anybody."
Eastern plays ten games in six days in Florida before returning home for four consecutive home dates over the next eight days, opening the home and conference season March 30 against the University of Massachusetts Boston.
Eastern Connecticut State University senior lefty Tom Darby (above) will be the guest of studio host Nick Aconfora on this week's half-hour live edition of Eastern Athletics Weekly Wednesday, March 20 at 1 p.m. on www.Littleeast.tv. On Monday, the Middletown, RI native was named ECAC New England and Little East Conference Pitcher-of-the-Week after winning two starts last week, against Purchase College and SUNY Old Westbury. In 12 innings, he fanned 19 and walked only two and gave up six hits and two runs. Darby is 3-0 this year witih a 1.06 ERA in 17.0 innings and is 9-0 lifetime. Eastern is off to an 8-1 start and is ranked No. 19 nationally in the first ABCA/Collegiate Baseball Division III poll, released today. The Warriors host Bridgewater State University Thursday at 4 p.m. at the Eastern Baseball Stadium. Wednesday's show will be archived immediately upon its completion for later viewing under "Recent Archives" on www.Littleeast.tv.
Last week's two pitching victories propel him to weekly honors
WILLIMANTIC, Conn. - Before the season began, 45th-year head coach Bill Holowaty felt that pitching - especially starting pitching - could be the long suit of the Eastern Connecticut State University baseball team in 2013.
So far, he has proven to be a prophet.
At right: Tom Darby
On Monday, senior lefty Tom Darby (Middletown, RI) became the second Eastern starting pitcher in two weeks to be named Pitcher-of-the-Week by the Little East Conference after he won two games in seven days during the week ending this past Sunday.
On Wednesday, Darby was additonally honored as the ECAC New England Division III Pitcher-of-the-Week.
The weekly honors are the first in the career of Darby, who recovered from arm problems last year (which had relegated him to two brief appearances in three season) to win all six of his decisions with a 3.12 ERA.
Through the first eight games (seven wins) of this year, Darby has been the anchor of a staff which has fashioned a 2.22 ERA with 82 strikeouts and 22 walks in 69.0 innings. In starting roles, Darby and fellow seniors Evan Chamberlain (Amston) and Andrew Merritt (Norwalk) and junior Greg Porter (Mystic) have struck out 54 and walked only 11 in 40 1/3 innings, with a miniscule 2.01 ERA. The starters have pitched into the fifth inning on all but one occasion.
Last week, the 6-foot-3 inch, 200 pound Darby won both of his starts at Baseball Heaven in Yaphank, NY against Purchase College and SUNY Old Westbury. In 12 innings, he fanned 19 and walked two and gave up only six hits (four singles) and two walks in 8-5, 4-2 victories, respectively.
Against Old Westbury, Darby struck out a career-high 12 in seven innings, giving up two singles and walking one en route to his first career complete game.
Darby is now 3-0 this year with a 1.06 ERA, 23 strikeouts and three walks in 17 innings to improve to 9-0 lifetime.
Last week, Chamberlain was selected as the LEC's first weekly Pitcher-of-the-Week for the second straight year when he opened the season by striking out a career-high ten batters against just two walks in five shutout innings in an 8-1 victory over New Jersey City University at Hoboken, NJ.
Joining Darby as the ECAC's top Division III pitchers last week were sophomore Seth Cornell of Houghton College, senior Richard Anderson of the College of Staten Island, and sophomore Dan Fein of Salisbury University. Cornell was the Upstate winner, Anderson the Metro winner and Fein the South winner.
Accomando drives in five runs as baseball opens home season with rout
MANSFIELD, Conn. -- Before the game, Eastern Connecticut State University head baseball coach Bill Holowaty noted how good it felt to be finally playing at home after the Warriors had opened their season with eight straight games away from the Eastern Baseball Stadium.
Then, the Warriors went out and played that way.
At left: Drew Accomando (Photo by Katie Dulz)
Senior second baseman Drew Accomando (Monroe) drove in five runs with a three-run home run and two singles, and later pitched a scoreless ninth inning to spark the team to a 16-2 non-conference victory over Becker College in its 2013 home-opener Monday afternoon at the Eastern Baseball Stadium.
Accomando's first home run of the season capped a five-run first inning for Eastern (8-1), after Becker (0-10) had reached Eastern junior righty Greg Porter (Mystic) for an unearned run in the top of the first. Accomando, 1-for-16 in his first five games, also plated a run with a single when the Warriors added two unearned runs in the second, and singled in another run when Eastern scored three unearned runs in sixth.
Porter (1-1),making his first start and appearance in over two weeks, gave up both of Becker's runs over the first five innings. He allowed only six hits - five of them singled - while striking out seven and walking one. Junior righty Michael Pendergast (Farmington), freshman righty Sam Kosterich (Stamford), junior lefty Jose Santiago (Windham) and Accomando each tossed a scoreless frame to close out the team's sixth straight win.
Contributing two hits to Eastern's 17-hit attack off five Becker pitchers in starting roles were junior third baseman Mike Vaccarelli (Wolcott), senior centerfielder Mike Riemer (Ellington), with reserves Joe Perez (North Branford), a sophomore centerfielder, and freshman leftfielder Pete Gonski (East Lyme). Gonski, who also pitches, had an RBI single and scored in his first collegiate at-bat in the fifth, and singled and scored in the eighth.
After driving in five runs through six innings, Drew Accomando (at left) added a scoreless ninth inning to his 2013 home field resume.
Senior DH Austin Phillips, batting eighth, had two of Becker's seven hits with a single when the Hawks scored in the second and singled and reached third in the sixth. Leadoff hitter Todd Tompkins, a senior centerfielder, reached on an error and scored the first run of the game in the first, then drove in the team's second run with a single in the second.
Eastern hosts Bridgewater State University Wednesday at 4 p.m.
Lavallee's first RBI of year decides opener; Darby dominates Game 2
At right: Tom Darby
YAPHANK, N.Y. - Junior DH Gavin Lavallee (New Milford) drove in junior shortstop Brendan Lynch (Wethersfield) with a two-out single in the top of the eighth inning in the opener and senior lefty Tom Darby (Middletown, RI) struck out a career-high 12 batters with his first career complete game in the nightcap as the Eastern Connecticut State University baseball team swept SUNY Old Westbury, 4-3 in eight innings and 4-2 Sunday night at Baseball Heaven. Each game was scheduled for seven innings.
In the opener, Eastern (7-1) erased an early deficit by scoring once in the third and two tying runsin the sixth before winning the game with an unearned run in the eighth, and senior righty Matt Purnell (Stafford Springs) evened his career record at 3-3 by pitching two scoreless innings for his first victory of the year.
Lynch, batting leadoff in the game, reached on a one-out infield error and the Warriors loaded the bases on a single by junior third baseman Mike Vaccarelli (Wolcott) and a walk to senior No. 3 hitter and first baseman Joe Balowski (Berlin). With two out, Lavallee reached safely on an infield single to the left side, playing Lynch with the go-ahead run.
Making his fifth appearance of the year, Purnell gave up a single to start the ninth, but junior catcher Nik Ververis (Plainfield), who had entered as a pinch hitter in the third, threw out Old Westbury (3-6) shortstop Jeremy Delgado attemping to steal for the second time in the game. Purnell got a ground ball to the left side and comebacker to end the game.
Darby (3-0) improved to 9-0 lifetime by striking out a career-high 12 to gain his first career complete game in nine career starts. He gave up two singles while hitting two and walking one. Eastern led 3-0 before the Panthers scored their only two runs without the aid of a hit in the bottom of the second, pushing the runs across on a walk, hit batter, two stolen bases and a wild pitch.
In the sweep, Vaccarelli reached safely five times with had four hits and a walk and was credited with two of the team's four RBI. Ververis, Balowski, senior rightfielder Tyler Caserta (Stratford) and Lynch all picked up two hits and senior centerfielder Mike Riemer (Ellington) walked twice.
Through eight games, the Eastern pitching staff features a 2.22 ERA with 82 strikeouts and 22 walks in 69 innings.
Eastern opens its home season Monday, hosting Becker College at 4 p.m. at the Eastern Baseball Stadium.
Senior has ten points and becomes program's fifth 200-point scorer
MANSFIELD, Conn. -- Senior midfielder Daniela Marchitto (Orange) had a career-high ten points and tied her career-high with eight goals to power the Eastern Connecticut State University women's lacrosse team to a 15-8 non-conference victory over Salve Regina University Saturday afternoon at the Mansfield Outdoor Complex.
After becoming the fifth 200-point scorer in program history early in the match, senior Daniela Marchitto (at right) takes time out to defend against Salve's Holly Duddy. (Photo by Katie Dulz)
With her first goal of the match five minutes into play, Marchitto became the fifth player in program history with as many as 200 career points. With ten points on the day, Marchitto moved into fourth place all-time ahead of former teammate Ashley Prizio in points (209) and goals (162). She is one point shy of third-place, alltime.
For Eastern (2-2), junior attack Erin Conn (Moriches, NY) won 15 of 19 faceoffs and captured 11 draw controls and chipped in four goals. No other Eastern player had more than one point.
Senior defender Rachel Meotti (Glastonbury) and senior midfielder Taylor Buchanan (Ellington) - the latter playing in her first game of the year due to an ACL injury - each picked up three ground balls and junior transfer midfielder Mikaely Whitehouse (Columbia) scored her first goal in an Eastern uniform when she converted a free-position shot midway through the first half.
Making her fourth start, junior goalie Haley Heslin (Hartford) evened her season record at 2-2 by making six saves.
Salve (1-3) scored the first two goals of the match in the first four minutes -- one coming on freshman attack Holly Duddy's first career goal - and led by a goal 12 minutes into action before the Warriors countered with five straight to move out to a four-goal lead two minutes into the second half. Whitehouse's goal tied it at 4-4 midway through the first half. The Warriors missed on their first two shots of the possession but maintained possession thanks to ground balls by junior attack Alexa Foldy (Brookfield) and Buchanan. After Whitehouse tied the match. Neither team could break the tie on a combined 15 possessions over nine minutes and 30 seconds until Conn stuck a free-position goal off a Seahawk turnover to give the Warriors the lead for good, 5-4, six minutes before halftime.
Erin Conn (at right) won 15 of 19 faceoffs and captured 11 draws to propel the Warriors against Salve Regina Saturday. (Photo by Katie Dulz).
Marchitto and junior midfielder Taylor Shannon (Waterford) followed Conn's go-ahead goal with goals of their own in a two-minute span, and Marchitto opened the second half with a free-position marker two minutes into the stanza for the team's fifth unanswered goal that made it 8-4. Marchitto's first goal of the stretch came 11 seconds after she won the draw following Conn's faceoff. Meotti's ground ball off a Salve turnover led to Shannon's only goal of the match that made it 7-4 with just under four minutes left in the first half, and the first of three free-position strikes by Marchitto - set up on a Salve turnover and ground ball pickup by sophomore defender Olivia Mullen (Bethel) -- pushed the lead to four, 8-4, in the opening minutes of the second half.
Trailing 8-4, Salve never got closer than three the rest of the way, and the Warriors pulled away with the final four goals of the match over the final 15 minutes - Conn sandwiching goals around a pair by Marchitto in an eight-minute span. Neither team scored over the final seven minutes.
Above: The Warriors warm up under the watchful eyes of the girls from the Colchester Youth Lacrosse program. Sixty youngsters attended a 90 minute clinic staged by the Eastern women's lacrosse program Saturday morning at Geissler Gymnasium.
Junior midfielder Grace Kelly, senior midfielder Kelly Burke, and sophomore midfielder Gina Tortorici all had two goals for Salve, with freshman attack Lisa Pulie scoring once and chalking up the first three assists of her career. Tortorici led Salve with four ground balls and won four of eight faceoffs.
Making her first start in goal for Salve, junior Alyssa Corvi made 12 saves, eight coming when the Warriors scored eight goals and outshot Salve, 19-9, in the second half
This year, Marchitto has contributed to half of the team's 46 goals with 19 goals and four assists, having converted on more than half of her season's shots. Her previous eight-goal match had come during her sophomore season in a 19-17 win over Salve the last time the teams met in Mansfield.
Eastern hosts MIT Tuesday at 4:30 p.m.
By Jonathan Mizger/Sports Information Staff
The National Athletic Trainers' Association (NATA) has designated the month of March as National Athletic Training Month.
The theme of the second annual NATA month is Every Body Needs an Athletic Trainer. From the NATA toolkit, the goal is "to continue to reach those individuals and organizations that can help make a difference for athletic trainers when it comes to legislation, employment and public health."
At right: Athletic trainer Julie Alexander works recently with baseball catcher Ben Richards, who is rehabbing from Tommy John surgery. (Daniela Marchitto photo)
Promoting the awareness of athletic training to people who do not know what athletic trainers do is a key goal that the NATA looks to achieve. Educating people of the importance of athletic trainers and establishing relationships between student-athletes and athletic trainers are things to consider in promoting the awareness.
Eastern Connecticut State University has athletic trainers who work hard without needing any recognition or high praise. The athletic trainers at Eastern are people who are helpful to the student-athletes and make sure each are cleared to play based on the guidelines on handling a specific injury.
Below (from left): Eastern athletic trainers Julie Alexander, Stevie Clines, Tom Holton, Jarrett Sorge.
Athletic trainer Julie Alexander, who graduated from Eastern with a B.S. in Psychology and went on to earn a M.S. in Athletic Training at Old Dominion University, expressed her feelings on the importance of this month and beyond.
"I think that we will carry out our day-to-day functions the same way we always have," said Alexander. "Any athlete that comes in with an illness or an injury that's athletically-related, we care for the same way regardless of whether it's March, April, May, August or September. I think this month of March is more to promote the field of athletic training to people who don't understand what it is that we do. A lot of people think athletic trainer, they think personal trainer, a strength coach, and while we do have some function in teaching strength and conditioning and techniques, we're also on the field emergency care, injury evaluation, treatment rehabilitation, returning to play concussion management, the list goes on and on."
Alexander, who was hired at her alma mater this past summer after many years at Division I Sacred Heart University, has been proud of helping out the people she has met in her field.
"After 20 plus years, I can tell you that anytime we have an injured athlete, the best day is the day that they return to their field of play," said Alexander. "That is probably the most exciting thing about what we do, especially if it's an athlete that's been injured, had surgical interventions, has gone through post surgical rehabilitation in our room; returning to play is those days I look forward to. I enjoy every day but those are the days that are special."
As there are upsides, there are downsides for being an athletic trainer. Athletic trainer Tom Holton, who earned a B.S. in Physical Education from Eastern and an M.S.S. in Sports Medicine from the U.S. Sports Academy, noted that he loves his job but dislikes when he lets the student-athlete know the bad news.
"I love doing my job it's just part of the job you hate saying 'you can't play'," said Holton. "I really wish I could come into work every day and not have to do that.. The reality of the fact is that there's people we have to hold out and tell them 'you're season's over, you got to have surgery' and deal with the emotions of that athlete and how they're going to handle 'my career is over'."
Holton, a staff member since 1999, noted how being able to get the student-athlete to get back in his or her field of play and watching him or her succeed is one of his proudest moments as an athletic trainer.
Eastern director of athletics Dr. Jeff Konin, another Eastern alum, has been an athletic trainer and a physical therapist. Konin mentioned how the importance of athletic trainers is not just for the collegiate level, but for all levels of competition.
"The purpose is to bring awareness to the general public, to bring awareness to the public of the importance of athletic trainers and the injury prevention care of the numerous student-athletes that participate in sports in all levels," said Konin. "At the high school level, less than 50 percent of high schools have an athletic trainer, and when every high school has programs but less than half of them have proper ways to care for the kids, that's why an awareness month is there to inform people of what they should be doing to provide appropriate programs. You wouldn't put them out there if you didn't have the fields, you wouldn't put them out there if you didn't have the coaches and you really shouldn't put them out there if you don't have the appropriate medical care for them."
As the spring season is starting to get into full-swing, so are the athletic trainers at Eastern working hard to make sure every student-athlete is evaluated and cleared to play. The month of March will be busy at Eastern with lacrosse, baseball, softball, and track & field. The Eastern athletic trainers will be the unsung heroes in helping our student-athletes, not only during national NATA month, but every month of the academic year.
"I have the best job in the world," said Alexander. "In this job, you don't sit behind a desk or do the same thing every day . Every day is different , and you get to work with amazing people who you want to see get better when they get injured.. What's better than that?"
They continue difficult schedule, drop third straight to quality opponent
AMHERST, Mass. - All six matches in this men's lacrosse series between Eastern Connecticut State University and Amherst College have been hotly-contested, with all of them decided by five goals or less.
At right: Mike Devine
The problem for the Warriors, is that the Lord Jeffs have emerged with the slim victory in five of them.
Playing its fourth qualify opponent in the opening weeks of the season, Eastern (1-4) was never out of contention Wednesday, but also never led after the opening eight minutes as Amherst (1-2) won its first match of the year after two opening overtime road losses with a home-opening 13-9 triumph at Gooding Field.
Eastern's man-down unit killed eight of ten penalties to improve its season percentage to .829, and senior faceoff specialist Josh Dubinsky (Woodstock) claimed 13 of 25 faceoffs to up his season mark to .475, but Amherst's defense allowed the Warriors as many as two consecutive goals only once - in the final minute of the third quarter that pulled Eastern to within three entering the final 15 minutes.
Limited to one goal through the first 42 minutes, Amherst junior Devin Acton recorded three straight Lord Jeff goals in the final 17 minutes to keep the Warriors at bay.
After totaling two goals in his first three matches, first-line junior attack Mike Jordan (Cheshire) led the Warriors with a career-high four goals against Amherst, giving him seven in the team's last two outings, but he was the only first-line attackman to break through. Junior All-America midfielder Mike Devine (Cheshire) was the only other Eastern player with more than one, scoring for the 16th straight game, witih two. Devine has contributed at least one goal in 32 of his 34 collegiate matches, only failing to score at least one in the first goal of his freshman year and in the season-ending Little East Conference playoff loss to Keene State College that season.
After Acton put the Jeffs up 10-5 late in the third, quick goals from Jordan and Devine made it a 10-7 game heading into the final frame. The Warriors would draw no closer than three, however, as two more goals from Acton helped clinch the Amherst win.
Senior Drew Deane (Vernon) turned back six shots for Eastern, five of them coming in the first half when the hosts moved out to a 7-3 halftime advantage, in sustaining his third loss in four decisions.
Eastern visits Wheaton College (MA) in a non-conference match Saturday, March 23 at 1 p.m.
Warriors rally in second half but cannot catch Cardinals in 13-9 loss
MANSFIELD, Conn. - The Wesleyan University women's lacrosse team scored the last two goals of the first half and the first four of the second, then held off an Eastern Connecticut State University rally over the final 20 minutes to post a 13-9 non-conference victory Wednesday afternoon at the Mansfield Athletic Complex.
At left: Taylor Shannon battles Lydia Kring during this faceoff in Wednesday's loss to Wesleyan. Shannon won four of eight faceoffs in the match. (Photo by David Santerre).
The win is the 11th in the 11-game series for Wesleyan (1-2), whose ability to immediately answer Eastern's (1-2) scoring strikes on three separate occasions prevented the Warriors from gaining significant momentum.
Wesleyan opened up a six-goal lead four minutes into the second half by netting the final two goals of the first half, then scoring four times in the first four minutes of the second. Down 10-3, the Warriors never allowed the Cardinals to score as many as two consecutive goals the rest of the way, however, and a run of four straight markers - two by senior midfielder Daniela Marchitto (Orange) and two by junior attack Erin Conn (Moriches, NY) - cut the gap to 10-7 with just over nine minutes left.
The Warriors could not get closer than that three-goal margin the rest of the way, however.
At left: Seniors Christina Rully and Samantha Barone combined for six ground balls and caused three turnovers Wednesday against Wesleyan. (Photo by David Santerre).
Three times in the match, the Cardinals responded to an Eastern goal with one of their own by winning the ensuing faceoff: after Eastern tied the match, 1-1, ten minutes into action, senior attack Kaylin Berger gained the ensuing draw and sophomore attack Caitlin Daniels scored 11 second later; after the Warriors ended Wesleyan's six-goal sport with junior midfielder Ashley Wolk's (Barrington, RI) unassisted goal early in the second half, senior midfielder Lydia Kring won the subsequent draw, and fed freshman midfielder Martha Harding for her first collegiate goal 12 seconds later to make it 9-3; and after Conn converted a free-position shot with 9:29 left for the Warriors' fourth straight goal inside the final ten minutes, sophomore defender Daphne Kroessler scooped up the draw off Kring's faceoff, and Daniels fed Kring for another winner - her first goal of the match -- 35 seconds later to restore a four-goal, 11-7 lead.
Berger, Daniels and junior attack Maddy Coulter evenly divided nine of Wesleyan's goals, with Kring picking up two assists. Coulter and Daniels found the back of the net on all of their shots to support freshman goalie Nina Labovich, who made five stops to record her first career win in three decisions.
Marchitto led Eastern with three goals, Wolk and Conn chipping in two, with junior goalie Haley Heslin (Hartford) making three saves, just one in the second half.
Kring won 13 of 22 faceoffs. Junior defender Abby D'Angelo won four draws, Kring three. Senior defender Rachel Meotti (Glastonbury) won four of Eastern's draws and senior midfielder Christina Rully (Orange) topped the Warriors with four ground balls.
Eastern hosts Salve Regina University in a non-conference match Saturday at 1 p.m.
This week's edition of Eastern Athletics Weekly -- hosted by Nick Aconfora and Nick Minutelli -- will preview the 2013 fastpitch softball season with head coach Diana Pepin and senior All-America third baseman Arielle Cooper (shown above). The show will get underway at 12:30 p.m. and will be streamed live and later archived on www.littleeast.tv. Coming off a record-breaking 44-3 season, the Warriors return seven starters in their quest for a sixth straight NCAA tournament and a fourth straight Little East Conference championships. Eastern is ranked No. 1 in the pre-season conference poll and sixth in the most recent NFCA Division III national poll. The Warriors open their 37th intercollegiate season with ten games in six days March 22-27 at Clermont, FL. The hosts will also review the spring season to this point and look ahead to upcoming games, including Wednesday's women's lacrosse home match against Wesleyan University at the Mansfield Outdoor Complex.
Sophomore powers Gulls as Eastern falls to 1-3 with non-conference loss
BEVERLY, Mass. - Sophomore attack Kyle Weber matched an Endicott College men's lacrosse program record for most goals in a match by scoring eight in a 16-12 Endicott men's lacrosse victory over Eastern Connecticut State University Monday night at Endicott Stadium.
At left: Chris Brown
Less than a week after Alex Patinkin scored more than half of Babson College's goals in an 11-8 victory over Eastern (1-3), Weber totaled half of his team's goals to lead Endicott (3-1) to their second victory over the Warriors in as many years.
Weber's offensive outburst more than doubled his season total. He now has a team-high 13 goals on the season for an Endicott squad that has won its last three games after dropping its season opener.
Junior All-America midfielder Mike Devine (Cheshire) led Eastern with two goals and four assists, with junior attack Mike Jordan (Cheshire) adding three goals and an assist and junior midfielder Tyler Fresen (Newington) three goals.
An inability to capitalize on extra-man opportunities was costly in Eastern's bid to overcome a five-goal deficit three minutes into the second quarter and a six-goal margin with two minutes left in the third quarter. Endicott was slapped with nine minutes worth of penalties, but the Warriors managed goals on only three of 11 man-up tries.
Eastern utilized the extra man to pull to within there goals with three minutes left. Jordan's extra-man strike on an assist from sophomore midfielder Zach Thresher (Somers) made it 13-8, and Devine's second goal of the match on senior midfielder Kevin Fechtmann's (Levittown, NY) helper cut the gap to four, 14-10 with four minutes left.
Weber's big night came off three unassisted goals with another five coming from the sticks of sophomores Harrison Cotter and Joshua Tordik as well as junior defender Lucas Paratore. Cotter and Tordik each finished with three assists in the game with Tordik adding a highlight reel goal early in the fourth quarter. Weber's eighth and final goal with 2:19 remaining in the third quarter proved to be the game-winning as it pushed Endicott ahead 13-7.
Eastern Connecticut made one last push over the final 15 minutes of the game by scoring five times. Trailing by just three with 4:07 remaining, an empty netter goal by Gulls defender Anthony Martignetti and a hard-fought unassisted tally by Murphy gave Endicott some breathing room as they went on to win 16-12.
The Gulls controlled the face-off for a majority of the game as Sam Ozycz went 19-for-30 on the draw with 12 groundballs while battling Eastern senior Josh Dubinsky (Woodstock).
Junior defender Chris Brown (Cohasset, MA) and sophomore defenseman Travis Tiger (Ridgefield) both total a game-high three caused turnovers for Eastern. Tiger, Brown, and Dubinsky all scooped five groundballs.
Eastern visits Amherst Wednesday at 4:30 p.m.
Riemer and Ververis each hit three-run home runs in second game
YAPHANK, N.Y. - Senior centerfielder Mike Riemer (Ellington) had three hits in the opener and socked a three-run home run in the nightcap to power the Eastern Connecticut State University baseball team to 9-3, 8-5 non-conference victories over Purchase College Monday at Baseball Heaven.
At right: Tom Darby
In the first meetings ever with Purchase (1-4), Eastern (5-1) got strong starting pitching for the fifth time in six outings this year, with senior righty Evan Chamberlain (Amston) allowing only one run on three hits over the first six innings of the opener, and senior lefty Tom Darby (Middletown, RI) stopping the Panthers on four hits and no earned runs over the first five innings of the nightcap.
Both starters won their second decisions in as many starts this year.
Riemer and sophomore leftfielder and leadoff hitter Adam Roderick (West Hartford) each had three hits in the first game in Eastern's 14-hit attack, with Roderick, No. 2 hitter shortstop Brendan Lynch (Wethersfield), senior rightfielder Tyler Caserta (Stratford), and junior DH Gavin Lavallee (New Milford) all scoring two runs. Lynch also stole three bases on the day and scored three runs.
Chamberlain allowed only a solo home run with two out in the fourth and left with a 7-1 lead, striking out seven and walking one. Sophomore catcher Cory DeMedeiros (Fall River, MA) and senior first baseman Joe Balowski (Berlin) both drove in two runs. Eastern scored runs in five of eight innings.
Riemer and first-year junior transfer Nik Ververis (Plainfield) hit three-run home runs to spark the Warriors to an 8-0 lead after three innings of the nightcap, and senior righty Matt Purnell (Stafford Springs) pitched two scoreless innings for his second save as the Warriors completed the sweep.
This sixth-inning sacrifice bunt in the first game by Drew Accomando (at left) set up a three-run inning that gave the Warriors a 7-1 lead.
Thanks to four errors, 11 of the runs in the second game were unearned -- including all of the runs scored by Purchase. After picking up three hits in the opener, Riemer drilled a three-run home run in the first inning of the second game after Lynch reached on an error and junior third baseman Mike Vaccarelli (Wolcott) walked. Batting ninth in the order Ververis ripped a three-run home run - his first home run and RBIs in an Eastern uniform after transferring from Husson University- with two out in the third to make it 8-0. Sophomore transfer second baseman Corey Keane (Tolland) plated his first two runs in an Eastern uniform with sacrifice flies in the first and third.
Darby struck out seven and hit one batter without issuing a walk to gain his eighth career victory without a loss. Darby surrendered just one hit through the first four innings, that coming when an outfield fly ball was lost in the lights and fell in for a double.Darby sandwiched two strikeouts around a single in the fifth before an infield error prolonged the inning and consecutive hits accounted for three RBI.
Leading 8-5, Eastern loaded the bases with none out in the seventh but Phil Georges struck out the side to end the threat. Purnell struck out four and gave up only one hit in recording the final six outs.
Eastern visits SUNY Old Westbury Sunday at noon.
Senior forward becomes program's first such selection in 11 years
WILLIMANTIC, Conn. -- Eastern Connecticut State University senior men's basketball forward Chris Robitaille (Canton) has become the first player from the program in 11 years to earn ECAC New England Division III All-New England honors when he was named as a second-team choice.
At right: Chris Robitaille (Photo by Cris Yarborough)
The 6-foot-5 inch Robitaille was the only player from the Little East Conference to be named to the team, whose members can only qualify by being named to the first team of their respective conference all-star teams. Robitaille led Eastern (22-8) to its first ECAC championship last Sunday by averaging a double-double (20.0 points/10.3 rebounds) with a .614 shooting in three tournament victories. The No. 3-seeded Warriors defeated No. 1 seed and host Westfield State University, 74-60, in the title game.
A four-year player and 2012/13 tri-captain, Robitaille led the conference in field goal percentage (.573/currently 35th in the NCAA) for the second straight year and was first in the LEC in minutes (33.0), tied for second in rebounding (8.4), tied for fourth in scoring (14.6), tied for fifth in blocks (1.1) and tied for ninth in assists (2.3), all of those marks except field goal percentage representing season-highs in his career. During the year, Robitaille had 12 double-doubles (currently 27th nationally and the most in the conference), with five of them coming in the final seven games, and reached the 1,000-point mark in the final game of his career in the ECAC title game.
Robitaille concluded his109-game career with 1,003 points (9.2 ppg.) and 638 rebounds (5.9), 93 blocks and 136 assists and a .573 field goal percentage, ranking among the program's all-time Top 10 in rebounds and blocks and third in field goal percentage.
Six players were named to the All-ECAC first team and five to the second, with Aaron Toomey of Amherst College and Quarry Greenway of Johnson & Wales University being voted Player and Rookie-of-the-Year, respectively. Robitaille, one of only two selections from a public university, becomes the program's sixth All-ECAC choice since 1985/86 and the first since Rich Vega repeated as a third-team choice as a senior in 2001/02.
"Chris being honored by the ECAC is a tremendous recognition for all his hard work," cited 11th-year head coach Bill Geitner. "This year, Chris consistently demonstrated that he was one of the best forwards in the country. He has been a special ambassador for our basketball program," added Geitner, "and I am happy for him to be recognized by the ECAC."
Robitaille and fellow seniors Joe Ives (Avon) and Tyler Hundley (Cheshire) paced the Warriors to four consecutive 20-win seasons in their careers - the winningest four-year period in the program's 72-year history -- one LEC regular-season and tournament crown, a berth in the 2011/12 NCAA Sweet 16 and to the No. 1 seed in the ECAC tournament in consecutive seasons.
He has adapted to cultural and athletic differences in England
By Jonathan Mizger/Sports Information Staff
Jamie Kohn played his final collegiate basketball season at Eastern Connecticut State University last year. Now, the 23-year-old Kohn is playing professionally in a different nation. Kohn has always wanted to explore new horizons and play the game he loves. Now he gets to do both.
Jamie Kohn's (at right) adjustment to international basketball and English culture has been a smooth one. (Photo courtesy of David Kohn).
A stalwart on three straight 20-win seasons at Eastern - including last year's NCAA Sweet 16 qualifier -- Kohn is a guard/forward for the Tees Valley Mohawks (Division 1 and National Trophy) of Middlesbrough, England, in the England Basketball League. Middlesbrough is a large town situated on the south bank of the River Tees in north east England, that sits within the county of North Yorkshire.
Upon graduating with a degree in health and physical education from Eastern, Kohn signed a one-year contract with Tees Valley through April.
"The owner of the team that I'm playing for now is from the [United] States and is an old friend of the family," said Kohn. "We got in contact with him and he's seen me play over the years and he's the one that offered me the contract to play."
On the court at Eastern, the 6-foot-5 inch Columbia, Conn. native led the Little East Conference in rebounding twice, earned a spot on the LEC All-Defensive Team in each of his final two seasons, and was selected as tournament MVP when the Warriors won the Little East tournament championship a year ago.
In his career, Kohn scored over 1,000 points and graduated third all-time in program history in rebounding. Off the court, Kohn may have even been more accomplished - if that's possible. He was named to the National Association of Basketball Coaches' Honors Court as a senior, was a two-time CoSIDA Academic All-District selection and earned spots on the LEC All-Academic Team in all three years of eligibility.
Kohn, who holds dual citizenship in the United States and Austria, noticed the differences playing basketball in England than in the U.S. Kohn noted how basketball is not Europe's most popular sport -- that being futbol -- but Kohn noted how pleased he was with how the basketball culture is growing.
"It's an adjustment and it's very different. Basketball in Europe has been growing a whole lot over the past decade," said Kohn. "It is getting a lot bigger and more and more people are playing it and following it more. There are different rules; it's a different type of game in a whole new league. There are differences that I have to adjust to but it's something that I'm used to. I had to adjust from high school to college to professional and it's been great. "
The affable Kohn (at left) is enjoying life on and off the court overseas. (Photo courtesy of David Kohn).
As of early February, Kohn was the No. 1 player in Men's Division 1 and National Trophy play, averaging 20 points, 10.3 rebounds, and 2.5 assists. Kohn reflected on how he was able to perform at a high level.
"It makes me feel good. It makes me feel special that it shows that all the hard work has been paid off and a lot of it I have to thank Eastern and the program that I went through there," said Kohn. "It was a big part of my development as a player and I'm seeing that pay off a lot in the specific things that I got better at, the things that we focus on, the defensive mind of (Eastern head coach Bill Geitner), and those kinds of things are how I got better in every way."
Kohn has strong ties not only to his alma matter but also one of his most influential persons in his life.
"My father, David Kohn, has been my coach and my mentor all throughout my life, and he's taught me a lot of what I know," said Kohn, whose younger siblings, brother Jessie, and sister Emily, both currently attend Eastern. Jessie spent last semester studying in Spain while Emily is a first-year member of the Eastern track & field program.
For Kohn, living outside the U.S. is not a new experience. In fact, he was born outside the country in Oberndorf, Australia and spent the his childhood in that country while David Kohn attended Clown School and toured with the Ringling Brothers Barnum & Bailey Circus. As a youth, Jamie travelled with his father and also won age group state championships in basketball on teams coached by David.
As a young teenager, Jamie moved with his family to Columbia and played high school basketball at Coventry High School. Jamie's mother, Dorli, is Austrian but speaks four languages fluently and graduated from the University of Salzburg and his father played water polo and swam intercollegiately at the University of Connecticut, where he graduated Summa Cum Laude.
Kohn is excited to get attention from new fans and players from a new perspective of playing basketball in Europe.
"Once you come to Europe and play on a team, it's a lot easier to get exposure from around Europe and other teams," said Kohn. "For a player like me who can play at a high level -- but not at the NBA level -- this is where I want to be."
At left: Kohn's intensity and unselfishness on the court played a big part in Eastern's recent rise to prominence in the Little East Conference.
Kohn is still a team player has he has gotten along well with his new teammates.
"That was one thing that was a very positive surprise for me," said Kohn. "I knew none of my teammates besides the owner's son. I'm living with two of my teammates and it's been really great. The two people I'm living with are the other American players on the team. Everyone with the exception of one Nigerian is British, and we are really close, kind of like a family type atmosphere, which is what you want in a team."
When he can, Kohn watches the live stats and video broadcasts of Eastern's men's basketball team, following them through the Little East tournament and on to the ECAC tournament championship.
"It's been really great to see those guys and keep that winning tradition going at Eastern," said Kohn. "The last couple of years, we got that tradition going, which culminated last year with the Little East regular season and tournament championship, and Sweet 16. Last year, we were a second from being out of it three times, but we stuck together and never gave up and I know that's what they did this year."
Kohn is focused on the rest of the season playing with the Mohawks and enjoying the opportunity to play at a professional level in a new world.
Saturday's scheduled non-conference men's lacrosse match against Endicott College at the Mansfield Outdoor Complex has been postponed and has been re-scheduled for Monday at 4 p.m. (note change) at Endicott College in Beverly, MA. Saturday's baseball doubleheader against Albertus Magnus College at Baseball Heaven in Yaphank, NY has been cancelled and the time of Sunday's baseball doubleheader against Amherst College at Baseball Heaven has been changed from 11 a.m. to noon.
Thirty players saw action when Warriors won three of four games
WATCH: Senior Evan Chamberlain (at left) reviews the weekend and looks ahead to the rest of the season. (6:43)
WILLIMANTIC, Conn. -- It was not a unique occurance for Eastern Connecticut State University to host the NCAA Division III regional baseball tournament last May. After all, the old Alumni Field and current Eastern Baseball Stadium have housed the event 18 times in the 37-year history of the tournament.
What was unusual was the fact that the Warriors were spectators - not participants - at the tournament, something which has occurred but five times in 44 seasons under head coach Bill Holowaty.
This past weekend, Eastern began its march back to post-season prominence when it opened its season with three wins in four games. The Warriors defeated New Jersey City University, 8-1, and Stevens Tech, 8-7, on Saturday in Hoboken, NJ. On Sunday at Baseball Heaven in Yaphank, NY, perennial post-season qualifier Ithaca College scored five early runs in a 6-3 victory before the Warriors bounced back to conclude the mini-trip with a 9-1 rout of Baruch College.
Andrew Merritt (below) was one of three starting pitchers to provide quality starts last weekend.
Thirty of the 32 players on the travel roster saw time over the weekend - 16 position players and 14 pitchers. Veteran infielders Joe Balowski (Berlin), Mike Vaccarelli (Wolcott) and Brendan Lynch (Wethersfield) and outfielders Adam Roderick (West Hartford) and Mike Riemer (Ellington) were the leading hitters, with transfer newcomers Nik Ververis (Plainfield) and Tyler Caserta (Stratford) seeing significant starting time.
The starting pitching was encouraging, with seniors Evan Chamberlain (Amston), Tom Darby (Middletown, RI) and Andrew Merritt (Norwalk) all cruising through their five-inning stints, combining to allow just nine hits and five walks while striking out 19.
In relief on opening day, junior Michael Pendergast (Farmington) and freshman Peter Gregory (Pittsfield, MA) allowed only two hits and one run in four relief innings against New Jersey City. On Sunday, sophomore Brent Pelella (Southbury) tossed 3 1/3 shutout innings in relief of junior starter Greg Porter (Mystic) - giving up only two singles and hitting two batters - in the loss to Ithaca. Behind Merritt against Baruch, sophomore Matt D'Orsi (West Hartford), senior closer Matt Purnell (Stafford Springs) and senior utility player Drew Accomando (Monroe) muzzled the Bearcats on one hit with seven strikeouts over the final four innings.
It should be noted that the extreme cold, wind and intermittent snow flurries on both days were not conducive to optimal performances, with Holowaty listing the demanding conditions among the three coldest playing dates during his tenure.
Based upon the weekend's performances, Holowaty's contention that pitching depth and defensive versatility will prove to be strengths for this year's club was confirmed. He cites Gregory, freshman pitcher Sam Kosterich (Stamford), freshman shortstop Jeffrey Zajac (Wallingford), sophomore transfer infielder Corey Keane (Tolland), Ververis, Caserta, and injured sophomore catcher/infielder Chuck Vogt (Windsor Locks) as newcomers who will bolster the veteran nucleus.
With the return of injured (Achilles) junior starting shortstop Danny O'Connell (Braintree, MA) still weeks away, Lynch and Zajac shared shortstop duties and commited only one error between them.
Leftfielder Roderick, last year's Little East Conference Rookie-of-the-Year, and sophomore Joe Perez (North Branford) shared leadoff duties, with junior Gavin Lavallee (New Milford) and senior utility player Accomando handling the DH position.
The experience void left by the graduation of veteran catcher Steve Cammuso after last year still concerns Holowaty, who fully realizes that veteran leadership behind the plate is essential to the development of his young pitching staff. At catcher, Holowaty is looking to contributions from one or all of the following: sophomore Cory DeMedeiros (Fall River, MA), Ververis, Roderick and/or Vogt.
Eastern returns to Baseball Heaven this weekend (weather permitting) for doubleheaders Saturday at noon against Albertus Magnus College - coached by Eastern graduate Brian Leighton - and Amherst College Sunday at 11 a.m.
Eastern Athletics Weekly will stream live at 12:25 p.m. on Littleeast.tv on Wednesday, March 6 from the Sports Center. Hosts Nick Aconfora, Sean Harrison and Nick Minutelli will re-cap the men's basketball team's ECAC New England Championship this past Sunday. They will be joined by senior tri-captain Chris Robitaille and head coach Bill Geitner. The hosts will also look back at the baseball team's season-opening four-game trip with senior starting pitcher and captain Evan Chamberlain. The one-hour show will be be archived immediately upon its completion for later viewing and can be accessed under "Recent Archives" on Littleeast.tv .
Warriors honored with program-best four players; Preston is top rookie
Two freshmen players from young women's team are named All-Rookie
Clockwise from far left: Garrow, Robitaille, Preston, Salzillo
NORTH DARTMOUTH, Mass. -- The Eastern Connecticut State University men's basketball team set program bests when four players - two of them first-teamers - were named to the 2012/13 All-Little East Conference team, as voted upon by the eight conference head coaches.
Senior forward Chris Robitaille (Canton) and junior forward Mike Garrow (Terrvyville) were both selected to the six-player first team, while junior guard Brian Salzillo (North Haven) and freshman guard Trachone Preston (Enfield) were among five second-team picks.
In addition, Preston became the program's fourth Rookie-of-the-Year in seven years, following Edwin Ortiz (2006/07), Courtney Simmons (2007/08) and program scoring leader Nick Nedwick (2008/09).
Eastern's four overall men's selections and two first-teamers led all conference schools in the balloting. It marked the first time in 26 years of conference play that as many as four Eastern players were recognized with the honor. Eastern had two first-team picks last year for the first time in Nedwick and Hamilton Levy.
Picked to finish third in the conference this year after losing four starters from the 2011/12 LEC regular-season and playoff championship squad, Eastern rode to a second-place finish with a program-high 12 LEC regular-season triumphs against two losses. After losing two starters late in the season to injury, the second-seeded Warriors were eliminated in the LEC semifinals, but third-seeded Eastern rebounded to capture three straight games and hoist its first ECAC New England Division III championship trophy nine days later to post their fourth straight 20-win season (22-8).
A rebuilding Eastern women's team - whose starting lineup usually featured three sophomores and a freshmen - place two freshmen on the five-person All-Rookie Team in guard Brianna Leonard (Amherst, MA) and forward Jill Ritrosky (Pittsfield, MA), give the Warriors seven such selections in seven years.
The 6-foot-5 inch Robitaille led the conference in field goal percentage (.570) for the second straight year and was first in minutes (33.0), third in rebounding (8.4), fourth in scoring (14.6) and tied for ninth in assists (2.3). He had 12 double-doubles (27th nationally), with five of them coming in the final seven games, and reached the 1,000-point mark in the final game of his career in the ECAC title game. Robitaille was the only Eastern player to receive LEC Player-of-the-Week honors this year, when he shared the honor in the second report of the season on Nov. 26.
Below: Leonard (left) and Ritrosky
The MVP of the ECAC tournament after averaging 19.0 points and 7.3 assists with a .676 field goal percentage, Garrow was fifth in the LEC in scoring (14.6) and field goal percentage (.505) and 12th in rebounding (5.5). In the ECAC title game, he had 25 points and a career-high 14 rebounds and was 10-for-15 from the floor, including 4-for-5 from three-point range. After appearing in only the first five games of last year and earning a medical redshirt, Garrow was the only Eastern player this year to start all 30 games and was second only to Robitaille by averaging 32.7 minutes per game.
Salzillo led a balanced Eastern attack with a 15.0 scoring average - second in the conference -- with 67.3 percent of his points coming from three-point range. He led the conference with an Eastern season-record of 94 three-pointers - 35 more than his nearest LEC competitor - and is rated sixth nationally with 3.36 makes per game. He canned at least one three-pointer in all 28 games in which he appeared, extending his streak to 35 over a two-year span. Salzillo was second on the team in free throw percentage (.849) but did not have enough attempts to qualify in the LEC.
No rookie was recognized more often than Preston, who was named the conference's outstanding rookie three times over the course of the season. Preston, who started the final 24 games of the season, ranked second in the conference among freshmen with a 10.8 scoring average, was second overall in three-point field goal percentage (.459), tied for seventh in assists (2.5) and seventh in free throw percentage (.787). He led all LEC rookies in each of the latter three categories.
Leonard and Ritrosky ranked 2-4 on the team in minutes played, combining for 44 starts. Leonard was third on the team in scoring (9.7) and third in rebounds and Ritrosky was first in free throw percentage (.742), second in rebounding (7.9) and fourth in scoring (9.5). The pair helped the Warriors to a share of third place in the conference, with their 8-6 LEC mark bettering the 4-10 showing of the previous year. Eastern finished 10-16, winning seven of 11 at one point after a 2-9 start.
Leonard was named both LEC Player and Rookie-of-the-Week Feb. 11 and was also the top rookie on Feb. 4. She scored a season-high 28 points Feb. 5 in a 70-55 conference home win over Western Connecticut Feb. 5 and recorded both of her season's double-doubles against the Colonials.
Ritrosky collected double figures in points in ten of the team's final 11 games, scoring nine in the other game in that stretch. In the season-ending 66-54 LEC tournament home loss to Rhode Island College, she had 16 points and 13 rebounds.
Warriors shut out over final 22 minutes in first loss to Beavers since 2005
WELLESLEY, Mass. - The Babson College men's lacrosse team successfully killed off ten of Eastern Connecticut State University's 12 man-up opportunities, holding the Warriors scoreless over the final 22 minutes in an 11-8 victory in a match featuring two regionally-ranked teams.
At right: Mike Jordan
With the victory, No. 8-ranked Babson (3-0) stops a seven-game losing streak at the hands of No. 10 Eastern (1-2), with five of those losses having come by four goals or less (including three one-goal setbacks).
Down 8-5 after Eastern junior attack Trevor Morrissette (Bedford, NH) scored his second goal in 70 seconds, the hosts kept the Warriors off the board the rest of the way, scoring the final six goals. Senior attack Alex Patinkin was credited with four of Babson's final six goals. Patinkin, who managed only one goal on nine shots a year ago against Eastern, was the only Babson player with more than one goal, finishing with six to give him 13 in three games this year. Patinkin unloaded 16 of his team's 41 shots.
Babson excelled both with its man-down unit and at the faceoff X. The Beavers hadn't given up an extra-man goal in its first two games (opponents going 0-for-7), and surrendered only two on Eastern's 12 extra-man opportunities. Three times in the second quarter, Eastern was operating with a two-man advantage, and managed to score on only one of those chances.
Behind sophomore John Joseph (12-of-19), the Beavers were successful on 15 of 23 faceoff opportunities, including 10-for-14 in the second half.
Trailing 4-3 at halftime, the Warriors banged in five third-period goals, including the first four when they took command of a 7-4 lead with 8:27 left in the quarter. Babson. Morrissette's goal on a feed from junior attack Mike Jordan (Cheshire) with 7:17 left gave the visitors a three-goal lead but the Warriors would not score again. Patinkin scored two of his team's final three goals that tied the match after three periods, and the senior gave his team the lead for good five minutes into the fourth quarter on an assist from freshman midfielder Scott Doten.
Junior All-america midfielder Mike Devine (Cheshire) recorded half of Eastern's eight goals, including both of its man-up markers 27 seconds apart in the second quarter that pulled the Warriors even with seven minutes left frame. Jordan had a goals and two assists and Morrissette two goals and a helper. Eastern leading scorer Tyler Fresen (Newington) - who had eight goals in the team's opening two matches - was limited to three shots and one assist.
One year after being torched for 15 goals and making only nine saves in his team's three-goal loss at Eastern, Babson senior James Whalen won his third match in as many decisions in net. Whalen made 15 saves, seven coming in his perfect fourth quarter. Eastern senior Drew Deane (Vernon) stopped 11 shots in his first loss of the year after an opening victory.
Eastern hosts Endicott College Saturday at 1 p.m.
They are eighth in pentathlon and 500 meters, respectively
Hultzman (above), Kruppa (below)
NEW YORK -- Junior Lauren Hultzman (Putnam) and sophomore Dylan Kruppa (Torrington) earned All-ECAC honors at the 2013 ECAC Division III Track & Field Championships this past weekend at the New Balance Track & Field Center in New York City.
On Friday, Hultzman finished eighth in a 12-team field in the pentathlon (fourth among New England competitors) with 2,885 points to break her own program record set at last year's New England Division III Championships by 26 points. In sharing first place in the pentathlon high jump with a height of 5-3 ¼, , Hultzman also broke that program record by one-quarter inch that she had shared with senior Cora Gingras (Portland). She was tied for third in the long jump (16-5 ¼), fifth in the 60 hurdles (10.20), eighth in the shot put (28-5 ½) and ninth in the 800 (2:50.54). Five points separated the seventh and eighth-place finishers.
Hultzman competed in the ECAC meet a year ago, placing in a tie for 11th in the high jump with a mark of 5-0 ½.
Running the 500 for the third time in his career on Saturday, Kruppa was eighth in a field of 20 (third among New England competitors) at 500 meters in a time of 1:06.97, .38 seconds off the program record. The third and eighth-place finishers were separated by .88 seconds.
Competing at the ECAC Championships for the first time in an individual event, Kruppa posted a personal-best time of 1:06.63 in a 16th-place finish at 500 meters at last weekend's New England Open meet.
The Eastern Connecticut State University softball program staged its annual youth clinic this past Sunday at Francis E. Geissler Gymnasium. Head coach Diana Pepin, the coaching staff and players served as clinicians. The three-hour clinic was attended by youngsters ages 8-10 and taught the fundamentals of throwing, catching, hitting and bunting.
Warriors 74, Westfield State 60
Tournament MVP: Mike Garrow
WATCH: Head Coach Bill Geitner reviews the championship (4:14)
WESTFIELD, Mass. -- Following a slow start, the third-seeded Eastern Connecticut State University men's basketball team rode a 22-6 scoring run over the final nine minutes of the first half on the way to a 74-60 victory over top-seeded Westfield State University Sunday afternoon in the championship game of the 2013 ECAC New England Division III Tournament at the Woodward Center.
At left: Mike Garrow dribbles through Westfield's fullcourt press in the second half Sunday.
The ECAC title is the first in men's basketball for Eastern (22-8), which was making its seventh appearance since 1981. The Warriors had beaten Johnson & Wales University, 85-64, in a first-round home contest Wednesday and moved into the championship game for the third in its last three tournament appearances with a 77-65 win over second-seeded Anna Maria College Saturday at the Woodward Center.
Junior forward Mike Garrow (Terryville) was named tournament MVP after scoring 25 points and pulling down a career-high 14 rebounds (only the second time that he has had at least ten rebounds this year) in playing virtually all 40 minutes. Garrow was 10-of-15 from the floor, including 4-of-5 from three-point range as one of five Eastern players to contribute at least one three-pointer.
Westfield (23-6) sank two three-point field goals and completed a conventional three-point play to take a quick 9-1 lead four minutes into play, and led by six before the Warriors scored 22 of the final 28 points of the half to take a ten-point lead into the break. During that scoring stretch, five different Eastern players nailed three-point field goals, with Garrow contributing two, senior guard Tyler Hundley (Cheshire), junior guard Brian Salzillo (North Haven) and junior guard Justin Nunez (Hartford) and freshman guard Trachone Preston (Enfield) one each.
"It was definitely a battle," admitted 11th-year Eastern head coach Bill Geitner afterward. "It was 40 minutes of very, very intense basketball, but I think that our guys knew that that was going to be the case. We had the utmost respect for Westfield. We knew that it was going to be a very physical game, and our guys persevered."
Westfield started three seniors, among them 6-foot-7 inch Matt Devine and 6-foot-6 inch Ryan White, and guard Lee Vazquez. Devine and White combined for 19 points and 15 rebounds (Devine also blocking four shots), with the 5-foot- 6 inch Vazquez commiting mayhem with 15 points, six steals, four assists and three rebounds in 38 minutes. Vazquez was his conference's unanimous selection as Player-of-the-Year and was joined on the all-conference first team by Devine for a team which captured its first outright regular-season conference championship this winter.
At right: Westfield's Ryan White (at left in photo) is unable to prevent Chris Robitaille's 1,000th career point midway through the first half Sunday.
Eastern, which won nine of its last ten this season en route to its fourth straight 20-win season, pushed the lead to 13 when Salzillo fed Garrow for a driving transition basketball four minutes into the second half. After the Owls pulled to within five with six minutes left, Garrow took over by scoring seven straight Eastern points with a bucket in the paint, a corner three-pointer on a pass from Preston and a baseline drive to restore a nine-point lead with less than two minutes left. The Warriors kept the hosts at bay by sinking all ten of their free throws over the final 69 seconds, four of the freebies coming on one-and-one situations. Preston was 6-for-6 from the stripe in those final second, with Salzillo adding two and sophomore guard Brandon Yarborough (Stamford) two.
Salzillo, who wrapped up the season with a program-record 94 three-pointers, teammed with Garrow in the first half to keep the Owls from running away with the game. Both had 12 points in the half, with Salzillo adding three assists and three steals. After misfiring on five of their first six shots and turning the ball over three times on their first ten possessions against Westfield's pressing defense, the Warriors rallied to shoot 51.9 percent in the first half (Westfield just 30.3) .
Behind Garrow, Salzillo fired in 20 points, matching Garrow with four three-point field goals and adding five steals and five assists, and Preston added 12 points.
At left: Seniors Tyler Hundley and Chris Robitaille embrace following their final collegiate game Sunday. The team's third senior, Joe Ives, sat out the team's final ten games with a knee injury.
Six-foot-five inch senior forward Chris Robitaille (Canton) - who joined Garrow this year as a first-team All-Little East Conference selection -- completed a late run to 1,000 career points, reaching the milestone in his final collegiate game with a turnaround jump shot in the paint on his fifth attempt of the contest with 11:13 left in the first half - his third and fourth points of the game. Robitaille, the 27th player to reach that plateau in program history and the fifth under Geitner, finished the game with just seven points and three rebounds, but was instrumental in the team's surge to the final. Robitaille had a career-high 31 points with 11 rebounds in the first-round win and followed with 22 points and a career-high 17 rebounds (fifth double-double in six games) in Saturday's semifinal.
Robitaille led the Warriors in the tournament by averaging 20 points and 10.2 rebounds and shooting .614 from the floor. Garrow averaged 19 points and 7.3 rebounds and totaled ten assists and sank .676 percent of his field goals. Salzillo averaged 18.7 points and 3.7 rebounds, collecting a team-high 12 assists and shooting .519 from three-point range (14-of-27). The Warriors were 30-of-38 from the stripe in the tourney, shot .543 from the floor and .500 from three-point range (28-of-56).
Eastern completed the season by winning nine of 11 games on its opponents' home court. Westfield had won 11 of 12 overall entering Sunday's title game.
It is the sixth ECAC championship for Eastern - first since the women's lacrosse program defeated Plymouth State in 2002. Other ECAC titles came by the women's volleyball team in 1985 and 1988, men's soccer in 1974 and women's basketball in 1988-89.
Early run of eight straight goals sparks them in home-opening victory
MANSFIELD, Conn. - The Eastern Connecticut State University women's lacrosse team scored eight unanswered goals over a ten-minute span, leading from start to finish in a 14-3 non-conference victory over Colby-Sawyer College in its 2013 home-opener Saturday afternoon at the Mansfield Outdoor Complex.
At left: Christine Lillis looks for an opening in Saturday's 14-3 home-opening win over Colby-Sawyer (Photo by Carl Stensland).
In its fourth straight victory over Colby-Sawyer (0-1) in this five-game series, Eastern (1-1) gave up only eight shots in the match, won 14 of 19 faceoffs and forced 28 turnovers.
Eight Eastern players contributed a goal or assist and senior defender Rachel Meotti (Glastonbury) and senior midfielder Christina Rully (Orange) combined to cause nine of Gordon's turnovers and each picked up four ground balls. Junior midfielder Ashley Wolk (Barrington, RI) and junior attack Erin Conn (Moriches, NY) combined to capture 14 of 19 faceoffs.
Senior midfielder Daniela Marchitto (Orange) played a role in five of Eastern's first eight goals by scoring three and assisting on markers by junior attack Alexa Foldy (Brookfield) and Conn. Marchitto has seven goals and two assists in two matches this year and moved into a tie for fifth all-time with 150 goals.
In her second career start, junior goalie Haley Heslin (Hartford) collected her first career win by stopping three shots over the first 52 minutes. Freshman goalie Hannah Keiser (Danbury) played eight scoreless minutes in her debut.
Senior midfielder Ashley Reis scored Colby-Sawyer's first and last goals and freshman goalie Karley Hamilton made seven saves in her collegiate debut.
Eastern hosts Wesleyan University in the second of five straight home matches Wednesday, March 13 at 4 p.m.
In first home game, Warriors shut down Gordon in non-conference win
At right: Josh Dubinsky (25) and Gordon's Peter Kovacevic battle for a faceoff in Eastern's 11-4 victory Saturday.
MANSFIELD, Conn. - The Eastern Connecticut State University men's lacrosse team limited Gordon College to one goal through the first 41 minutes and successfully killed off seven of the Scots' eight extra-man opportunities in the game an 11-4 non-conference victory Saturday afternoon at the Mansfield Outdoor Complex. The contest was the first at home after Wednesday's scheduled home-opener against Stevens was moved to Trinity due to unplayable field conditions.
Ranked No. 8 in New England, Eastern (1-1) held Gordon (0-3) to just 21 shots and senior goalie Drew Deane (Vernon) gave up only one goal and made four saves over 30 minutes to record his first career victory in his first start.
In downing Gordon for the fifth time in this series in as many matches, Eastern got five goals from junior midfielder Tyler Fresen (Newington) - giving him eight goals in two matches this year -- and six teammates chipped in one goal apiece.
At right: Defenseman Travis Tiger keeps tabs on Gordon's Mio Sison in the second half of Saturday's triumph.
The Warriors nursed a 1-0 lead through the first nine minutes of the game before Fresen and freshman midfielder Ryan Scott (Norwalk) scored 65 seconds apart to make it 3-0. Gordon responded with what proved to be its only goal until just 3:37 remained in the game before Eastern answered with the next eight - spanning the first three quarters - to over out to an 11-1 lead.
The Warriors were whistled for the first five and eight of the ten penalties in the match but its man-down unit stopped seven of Gordan's man-up tries.
Senior faceoff specialist won nine of 15 faceoffs and sophomore defenseman Travis Tiger (Ridgefield) caused three of Gordon's 23 turnovers. Scott and sophomore midfielder Dean Accomando (Monroe) both recorded their first career goals and junior defenseman Chris Brown (Cohasset, MA) his first career assist.
Freshman goalie Blake Smaldone (Hamilton, MA) made his first career save in his first appearance over the final 13 minutes.
Sophomore midfielder Sam Spellman scored two of the team's final three goals over the last 3:37 for Gordon, which has opened its season against three regionally-ranked teams.
Eastern visits Babson Tuesday at 4 p.m.
Chamberlain, Darby each pitch five scoreless innings in opening wins
HOBOKEN, N.J. - The Eastern Connecticut State University baseball team got scoreless starting pitching and All-New England Region first baseman Joe Balowski (Berlin) had five hits and drove in four runs in an 8-7 victory over Stevens Tech which completed a two-win opening day for the Warriors Saturday at Dobbelaar Field.
Tom Darby (at left) won his seventh career game without a loss Saturday.
After senior righty Evan Chamberlain (Amston) tossed a two-hitter over five innings in an opening 8-1 decision over New Jersey City University (3-4), senior lefty Tom Darby (Middletown, RI) won his seventh career game without a loss against Stevens (2-1) with a near-identical two-hit performance.
Chamberlain (1-0) fanned ten batters and walked only two and Darby (1-0) struck out four and surrendered one walk.
Junior infielders Mike Vaccarelli (Wolcott) and Brendan Lynch (Wethersfield) each had two hits in the victory over NJCU, with Lynch plating three runs with a two-run single in the fourth and RBI double in the fifth. Balowski scored twice for Eastern and Vaccarelli reached safely four times with two singles and two walks.
Against Stevens, Balowski doubled twice and singles three times in five at-bats, driving in a run with a double iin the first, two unearned runs in the second with a single and gave the Warriors a 7-0 lead with a run-scoring single in the fourth. Sophomore leadoff hitter Adam Roderick (West Hartford), last year's Little East Conference Rookie-of-the-Year had three hits - including an RBI double in the fourth and solo home run leading off the sixth that ballooned Eastern's lead to 8-0. Roderick also scored three times.
While junior righty Michael Pendergast (Farmington) and freshman righty Peter Gregory (Pittsfield, MA) combined on a two-hitter over the final four innings of the opener, the Warriors' bullpen faltered against Stevens.
Darby departed with a 5-0 lead in the second game, but four subsequent pitchers gave up seven earned runs on 12 hits as the hosts rallied for all seven of their runs over the final three innings. With three runs in in the ninth and the bases loaded, senior righty Matt Purnell (Stafford Springs) got Ryan Mannello on strikes to end the game.
Junior righty Greg Porter (Mystic) and senior righty Andrew Merritt (Norwalk) are expected to open on the mound Sunday when the Warriors face Ithaca College at 10:30 a.m. and Baruch College at 1:30 p.m. at Baseball Heaven in Yaphank, NY.
Behind Robitaille in semis, Warriors win first ECAC game ever on road
At right: Chris Robitaille (Cris Yarborough photo).
WESTFIELD, Mass. - Senior forward Chris Robitaille (Canton) had 22 points and a career-high 17 rebounds to lead the third-seeded Eastern Connecticut State University men's basketball team to a 77-65 victory over second-seeded Anna Maria College Saturday at the Woodward Center that moved the Warriors into the championship game of the ECAC New England Division III Tournament for the third time in four years.
A winner of eight of its last nine, Eastern (21-8) faces No. 1 seed Westfield State University in Sunday's 1 p.m. championship game. Westfield (23-5) won for the 11th time in its last 12 games with an 88-72 triumph over fourth-seeded Castleton State in the first of Saturday's two semifinals.
In search of its first ECAC Tournament championship, Eastern won its first road game ever in the tournament in defeating Anna Maria (21-9) for the sixth time in seven meetings in this series. It was the first contest between the clubs in 17 years.
Coming off a career-high 31-point effort in Wednesday's 85-64 quarterfinal-round win over sixth-seed Johnson & Wales University, Robitaille move to within four points of 1,000 in his career with his game-high point total Saturday. Robitaille and junior forward Mike Garrow (Terryville) each netted 13 points in the second half to spark the Warriors from a two-point halftime lead.
Robitaille has scored at least ten points in his last 14 games and has eight double-doubles in that span. In two tournament games, Robitaille has canned 24 of 34 tries from the floor and has commited only two turnovers.
Garrow followed Robitaille with 21 points on 8-of-12 shooting and junior guard Brian Salzillo (North Haven) contributed his eighth straight double-figure game with 17 points. Salzillo has drained five three-point field goals in as many tournament games, extending his program season record to 90. Salzillo, who averages 3.3 three-point field goals per game this season, has had at least basket from long range in his last 34 games dating back to the final weeks of last year.
Eastern shot 53.8 percent from the floor in the first half as compared to just 39.4 percent by the Amcats, and allowed only two points off turnovers, but led by only two points at the break. The Warriors were finally to break from a 49-49 tie and build a nine-point lead in the second half, thanks to an 11-2 run over five minutes. Robitaille contributed five points in the run and senior guard Tyler Hundley (Cheshire) sank two free throws. After missing the last two games with a concussion, Hundley came off the bench to hit his only field goal - a three-pointer - convert both of his free throws, grabbed two rebounds, hand out two assists and make two steals in 17 minutes.
Now in its seventh ECAC Tournament appearance since 1981, Eastern climbed over the .500 mark to 7-6 with this year's two victories. As the top seed, the Warriors reached the title game in both 2010 and 2011 but lost to Elms, 94-71, and Brandeis University, 65-50, respectively, at home. Until Saturday, the Warriors were 0-3 on the road in the tournament, losing first-round road games in 1981 and 1990 and a second-round tilt in 1986.
Eastern has won eight of ten games this year on its opponents' court and brings a three-game winning streak against Westfield into Sunday's title game. The Warriors have decisioned the Owls four of the last five times the clubs have met but have dropped the last two against Westfield on its court.
Versatility, leadership and pitching depth could drive Warriors
WILLIMANTIC, Conn. - The Eastern Connecticut State University baseball program has assembled a long list of All-America players and professional draft picks in qualifying for 39 post-season tournaments and winning 14 regional and four national championships in 44 years under head coach Bill Holowaty.
At left: Joe Balowski
It is quite possible that no one on the 2013 edition of the team will attain those personal achievements, but that does not mean that the goal of qualifying for national tournament competition is not attainable.
A total of 20 letterwinners - including five starting position players and two of the pitchers who appeared in the final game of 2012 - return in 2013 as the Warriors shoot for their first regional championship berth and national tournament appeareance in six years.
"Our team goal," says Holowaty, "is to take a bunch of unselfish, disciplined, good ballplayers and make an exceptional team. It's something that we've been working on since last fall. I feel that we have good ballplayers. Are there any studs? No. Are they good ballplayers? Yes. If we can think as 'one', we can be a very good team. But we need to be commited to 'we', not 'me'. And so far," points out Holowaty, "that has been happening."
Void of a deep senior class during last year's 29-13 season (coming up one win short of its 12th straight 30-win season), Holowaty is encouraged by the early leadership of his nine seniors - eight of them veterans of the program.
Five of those seniors are members of a pitching staff for which Holowaty holds out great promise for not only this year, but for the ensuing three seasons.
Senior first baseman Joe Balowski (Berlin) is the team's lone returning All-New England Region selection, earning first-team accolades last year on the strength of team-leading totals for batting average, total bases and hits and a .994 fielding percentage in his first season at that position.
Additional returning position players from last year's season-ending appearance in the Little East Conference tournament are senior second baseman Drew Accomando (Monroe), senior centerfielder Mike Riemer (Ellington), junior shortstop Danny O'Connell (Braintree, MA), junior third basemen Mike Vaccarelli (Wolcott) and Brendan Lynch (Wethersfield) and sophomore leftfielder/catcher Adam Roderick (West Hartford). Roderick was named LEC Rookie-of-the-Year and joined O'Connell as a second-team All-LEC selection.
As juniors last year, 2013 senior righties Andrew Merritt (Norwalk) and Matt Purnell (Stafford Springs) combined to allow only one run in 6 1/3 innings of last year's 1-0 LEC loss to Plymouth State.
As he has every season, Holowaty feels that the team's success hinges upon pitching and defense. He likes this year's pitching depth but is concerned in the early going with the offense and the lack of experienced catching.
Expected to get the ball when the team opens its season with four games in two days March 2-3 are senior righty Evan Chamberlain (Amston), senior lefty Tom Darby (Middletown, RI), junior righty Greg Porter (Mystic) and Merritt. In his first healthy season, Darby joined Porter as the most dependable starter a year ago, both going undefeated. Chamberlain alternated as a starter and closer.
Evan Chamberlain (at left) is projected as the 2013 opening-day starter.
Also vying for starting slots are junior righty Michael Pendergast (Farmington) and sophomore righty Brent Pelella (Southbury).
A long reliever last year, Purnell is penciled in as the closer this year, with additional bullpen help coming from among junior righty Pat Barnett (Windsor), sophomore righty Tyler Cyr (Bristol), freshmen righties Peter Gregory (Pittsfield, MA) and Sam Kosterich (Stamford) and unproven lefty returnees Jose Santiago (Windham), Matt D'Orsi (West Hartford) and Dave Cloutier (Chicopee, MA). Barnett and Cyr each tossed ten innings on the varsity level last year; Cloutier is a senior with but two varsity appearances on his resume, Santiago a junior also with just two appearances, and D'Orsi is a sophomore with four relief outings to his credit.
"Our young pitching staff has potential to be a mainstay for the next three years," stresses Holowaty.
Veterans Roderick, Vaccarelli, Balowski, Riemer, Lynch, Accomando and junior DH Gavin Lavallee (New Milford) will comprise the opening weekend's starting lineup, along with sophomore catcher Cory DeMedeiros (Fall River, MA) and first-year senior outfield transfer Tyler Caserta (Stratford).
Lynch will replace the injured O'Connell at short and DeMedeiros will step in for injured sophomore transfer Chuck Vogt (Windsor Locks) behind the plate. O'Connell is expected to sit out the first month of the season with an Achilles injury, and Vogt will miss up to three weeks with a broken finger. DeMedeiros made four varsity appearance off the bench as a freshman. Balowski, the No. 3 hitter, is the only left-handed bat in an opening lineup which features Roderick returning to leadoff and Riemer settling in at cleanup.
At left: Drew Accomando
Holowaty is also expecting contributions from junior outfielder Tommy McKenna (Lexington, MA), sophomore outfielders Joe Perez (North Branford), PJ Jamieson (New Fairfield) and Kyle Hart (Guilford), sophomore transfer infielder Corey Keane (Tolland), freshman infielder Jeffrey Zajac (Wallingford) and junior transfer Nik Ververis (Plainfield), a catcher/outfielder.
In addition to senior leadership (Darby, Riemer and Chamberlain all returned for a fifth year to complete their eligibility), Holowaty sees versatility as a team strength, pointing to Accomando's ability to play outfield, Balowski's ability to play the left side of the infield, Roderick's experience at catcher (where he saw considerable time last year), and Vaccarelli and Lynch's ability to play several infield positions.
Holowaty believes that physical fatigue produced mental fatigue a year ago when the Warriors dropped a doubleheader at the University of Southern Maine on the final day of the regular season, then followed an opening LEC tournament victory with two season-ending losses on the final day.
Holowaty will not make an alibi for the fact that a number of those players were being asked to assume starting roles for the first time in their careers in 2012.
"Our expectations are always that whomever is in the lineup is going to play well," he emphasized. "I don't ever assume that we are young or that we are not good enough, but probably at the end of last year, it showed up. We were not physically strong enough to play in May. I thought that we physically broke down, and then we mentally broke down. We did not understand how to play 40 games in 80 days.
"We have to be stronger this year, and we've worked on that."