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May 2013 Archives

M-Lacrosse: Stoop is NEILA All-Star

 

stoop_72res_8970.jpgSenior defenseman is scheduled to compete in East-West Game Friday

stoop_tie_72_9126.jpgWILLIMANTIC, Conn. - Senior defenseman Nick Stoop (Crofton, MD) will represent the Eastern Connecticut State University men's lacrosse program at the 2013 New England Intercollegiate Lacrosse Association (NEILA) Senior All-Star Game, which is scheduled for Friday, May 31 at 7 p.m. at Merrimack College's Martone-Mejail Field.

The two-year Eastern letterwinner will become the 29th Eastern player to gain the all-star nod in the 18-year history of the program. The program has been represented with at least one selection 16 times. Last year, midfielder Salieu Bolivar, attack Michael Sullinger and defenseman Tommy Flynn led the West to a 14-11 victory over the East at Harvard Stadium.

 Stoop will play for the West against the East. A total of 24 players were named to each team. Two additional players were named to the game from the Little East Conference: East selections attack Taylor Jette and defenseman Tommy Todd. 

After missing the entire 2011 season with a back injury Stoop returning to start all 18 matches this year for 10-8 Eastern, collecting 24 ground balls and causing 13 turnovers. He helped the Warriors successfully defend their Little East Conference playoff championship and qualify for their eighth NCAA tournament in the last 13 years.

This year, Stoop served as a team captain and earned second-team All-LEC honors - the only Eastern defenseman to gain that honor. He also earned a spot on the LEC Academic Honor Roll, received an Eastern/E-Club Scholar-Athlete Award, and was selected as recipient of the prestigious Francis E. Geissler Senior Male SportsPerson-of-the-Year. Recipients of that award are cited for sportsmanship, fair play, integrity, and teamwork.

Said six-year Eastern head coach Justin Axel, "Despite missing his junior season due to injury, Nick was named a senior captain for our team this year because of his passion and work ethic.  The intensity that Nick brought to every game and practice was second to none."

Stoop lettered at Eastern for the first time in 2011, appearing in all 18 matches with 17 starts and helping the Warriors to a 12-6 record. He spent his freshman season in 2010 at Division I Robert Morris University, appearing in six matches.

 

 

 

 

 

 


 

M-Lacrosse: Bonded by Brotherhood

 

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Above: Celebrating the 2013 Little East Conference championship were (from left) Sean and Kevin Fechtmann, Angus, Drew and Aiden Deane, and Brendan and Mike Gillotti.

Below: With head coach Justin Axel are brothers (clockwise from bottom left) Brendan Gillotti, Mike Gillotti, Kevin Fechtmann, Drew Deane, Axel, Angus Deane, and Sean Fechtmann.

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Freshmen were sold on program by older siblings

WILLIMANTIC, Conn. -- In the history of Eastern Connecticut State University intercollegiate athletics, Brother Acts have not been all that unique. Beginning with the Fitzgerald brothers in the late 1960s, the Silvas and Smyths in the'70s,  the Gierases and Borsaris in the 80s, and most recently, the Bartuneks in the early part of the decade and the Levys in the latter part.

Over the years, for sure, a number of brothers -- and sisters -- have shared space on the Eastern playing and practice fields and basketball courts.

In fact, beginning with Justin and Mark Murphy and Keith and Greg Gallinoto in 1996,  no less than six brother combinations have called themselves teammates in the first 16 years of the men's lacrosse program.

Clearly, the 1979 Pittsburgh Pirates of "We Are Family" fame, had nothing on the Eastern men's lacrosse team in 2013. This past season, the program's brother bonanza took a unique twist under six-year head coach Justin Axel, when incumbents Drew Deane of Vernon, Mike Gillotti of Danbury and Kevin Fechtmann of Levittown, NY were all joined by their freshmen brothers: Angus Deane, Brendan Gillotti, and Sean Fechtmann.

While two sets of brothers had previously lettered in the same season under Axel, 2013 marked the first time that three sets of siblings earned varsity letters in the same season. And while there are no official supporting figures, this confluence of siblings sharing the same patch of 60 x 110 turf is indeed an anomaly, if not a downright first at the collegiate level.

Axel feels that the willingness of parents to entrust him with multiple children
speaks well of the program's ability to develop successful people, students and athletes.

"I think that this means that the word is being passed around - that good things are happening here," says Axel. "I believe that after the families got to see first-hand that what I spoke about when I recruited their (older) son was actually happening, this gave them a lot of confidence, and between (the players) having a good, healthy balance of knowing what was expected, knowing how to work hard, but still enjoying the Division III athletic philosophy, that I think that made it a good sell for the younger brother."

This past year, Angus and Sean arrived just in time to share their respective brother's final seasons in an Eastern uniform (as well as joining in on a Little East Conference championship), while Mike and Brendan Gillotti will enjoy a second and final season together in the spring of 2014.

To be certain, it was not a completely random coincidence that three high school seniors would eventually settle upon the same college as their older brothers in the same year. But the prospect of having an older brother already at Eastern did not necessarily make the decision to attend Eastern a slam-dunk, either.

To a person, the three younger siblings indicated that their parents were generous with advice throughout the college process, but that the ultimate decision rested squarely on their shoulders.

Of the three younger siblings, the decision may have been the easiest for Sean Fechtmann, who had been exposed to the Eastern lacrosse program for nearly one third of his life. For six years beginning in junior high through his senior year at Division Avenue High School, Sean regularly took the three-hour car ride with parents Eileen and John from their Nassau County home to Willimantic to first watch oldest brother Brian, and later Kevin.

 "For me personally, I was influenced by Brian and Kevin," noted Sean.  "I knew that they loved it here, and I'd talked to Coach Axel since I was in eighth grade. So, I've always been a part of Eastern. I knew that I was going to come here."

FechtmannK72_5096.jpgBrian Fechtmann was actually recruited by Axel's coaching predecessor at Eastern, but turned down several other offers and cast his lot with new coach Axel and Eastern.

After Levittown, NY native Brian Fechtmann (at right) turned down several in-state offers by commiting to Eastern in the fall of 2007, younger brothers Kevin and Sean followed suit.   

Brian and Kevin were both four-year players and senior captains under Axel. With Brian, the Warriors went undefeated in the regular season in winning consecutive Little East Conference regular-season championships, and also claimed their first LEC playoff title and qualified for their first NCAA tournament under the current head coach. Both older Fechtmanns majored in Physical Education.  Brian, currently awaiting the results of his police academy test scores, is hoping to follow in the footsteps of his father, who served on New York City police force before retiring and moving on to coach lacrosse and serve as director of athletics at Kellenberg High School on Long Island. Kevin, who chose Eastern over Division III power Cortland State, graduated earlier this month with a concentration in exercise science and is eyeing a career in the challenging physical therapy field.

Attending the same university has provided the opportunity to re-connect for the Fechtmann brothers, who had only sporadic contact after Kevin graduated from high school and headed to Eastern. Entrenched as a lacrosse family - the elder Fechtmann having gained All-America honors twice at Nassau Community College - the Fechtmanns were impressed with the experience and lacrosse knowledge offered by Axel. 

An honors student in high school, Angus Deane entertained several options - one which had him attending a private college to study business and play hockey or lacrosse - before ultimately settling upon Eastern. The lure of attending college close to home and joining older brothers Drew and Aiden (a junior transfer) was attractive, but not overwhelming.

"I'm the youngest (brother) and always like being around my older brothers," admitted Angus. "When choosing Eastern, (my brothers being here) didn't really have a huge effect on my choice, but it was a plus, an extra benefit."

While admitting that athletics was a secondary consideration to academics when evaluating college choices, Angus made the team's final roster as a walk in the fall. According to Drew, Angus made significant improvements this past spring, and early in the season, the two appeared on the field together in an official match, marking the first such occurance in their lacrosse careers.

Angus' inclusion in the program was a boost to the psyche of Drew, who credits his brother's presence for improving his own physical and mental performances.

The first Rockville High School lacrosse grad to earn a spot on a college lacrosse roster, Drew saw increased time each season of his four-year Eastern career. This past year, he shared starting duties in net with freshman Blake Smaldone, winning three games and compiling over 400 minutes.

"Of all the years I played at Eastern, this year was definitely the best, solely because Angus was here," said Drew. "I don't really know how to describe it, but it made the experience so much more enjoyable. It made me so much more comfortable and confident in myself because he helped me improve day to day."

In addition to lacrosse, the Deane and Fechtmann brothers played a number of other organized sports throughout high school - among them hockey, football and wrestling. Not so with the Gillottis. Born two days shy of exactly two years apart, Mike and Brendan had narrowed their focus to lacrosse by the time they were sophomores at Danbury High School.

The Gillottis were introduced to the sport by their uncle, Marty Morgan, who was involved in the youth program in nearby New Fairfield. Mike and Brendan played midfield and attack in the New Fairfield youth leagues, but Brendan switched to goalie as a ten-year-old upon joining the newly-created Danbury youth league. In those years, their father, Mike, coached the two boys, and currently serves as president of the Danbury Youth Lacrosse Association.

The lacrosse development of the Gillottis can be attributed in no small part to the proximity of their ages and their contrasting positions. With only a two-year gap in their ages, their similar skill level allowed them to test each other on even terms, without one dominating the battle. And, like the Deanes, one being an offensive player and a defensive player helped each hone their respective skills.

In similar fashion to one-on-one basketball, the Deanes and Gillotti boys spent hours before and after games and during free time, Mike refining his shot placement and Brendan adjusting his positioning and reflexes in order to stop that shot.  In addition to pushing each other to new levels, these sessions - often played out in isolation - served to cement the relationship between the brothers.

Since they are four years apart in age, the Fechtmann and Deane brothers played only minimally together - if at all -- on the varsity level in high school. Such was not the case for the Gillottis. As the No. 1 varsity starting goalie position as a freshman, Brendan spent two full varsity seasons practicing and playing every day with Mike.

During their high school lacrosse seasons, the Gillottis were inseparable (and when they both wore their hair long, were often mistaken for each other), which made Mike's departure for college in 2010 a traumatic event in the life of the younger Gillotti.  "After Mike's senior game in high school, there were lots of tears shed," Brendan admitted. "I thought, holy smokes, it's over. What am I supposed to do now?"

"Two full years as (high school) teammates helped our relationship," says Brendan. "Sharing that experience with Mike made it that much better. We stretched and squeezed every little bit out of that (final) season. We enjoyed each other's company and cherished that relationship that we had. We played sports so that we could do something together," he added. "We could have been kicking a rock down the street, but as long as we were doing it together, it made that time so much better. I could never say a bad word about my brother. I love him so much."

Mike arrived at Eastern unsure of his educational path, finally settling upon Sport & Leisure Management.  For Brendan, the Youth Preparation Program at Danbury High School gave him an opportunity to receive hands-on experience in the area of physical education during his junior year. The exposure gained by the YPP program turned on a light bulb instantaneously in his head.  

As with the Deanes and Fechtmanns, the bond between the Gillotti brothers remains unbreakable. While they maintain separate residences at Eastern - Mike off campus and Brendan at Mead Hall -- it is a rare day that they do not communicate either in person, on the phone or through text messaging. "It's definitely nice to have not just a brother, but a brother and a best friend," offered Mike. "We make a point to see each other every day. We catch lunch in the student center, or just catch up. I see him every day - in season or out of season. We're always together doing something.

"We provide constructive criticism to each other when and where it's needed. We push each other. We definitely get in each other's faces," confesses Mike,  "but at the end of the day, we're still brothers. Lacrosse is only going to go so far, then we have to live with each other for another 40 years after that."

 


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Baseball: Purnell is ABCA All-America

Senior righty is also a D3baseball.com All-America second-teamer

Darby gains D3baseball.com third-team All-New England recognition

purnell72_0294.jpgdarby_jersey_72_1241.jpgWILLIMANTIC, Conn. - Eastern Connecticut State University senior right-handed relief pitcher Matt Purnell (Stafford Springs) has been named second-team Division III All-America by both the American Baseball Coaches' Association (ABCA) and D3baseball.com.

At left: Matt Purnell  

Above: Tom Darby

The All-America honors follow Purnell's earlier selections as the Division III Pitcher-of-the-Year by the New England Intercollegiate Baseball Association (NEIBA),  first-team All-New England Region by  NEIBA and D3baseball.com, and first-team All-Little East Conference relief pitcher. Senior lefty pitcher Tom Darby (Middletown, RI), a first-team All-Little East pick earlier this month, joined Purnell on the D3baseball.com All-New England Region team, earning a spot on the third team.

As a first-team NEIBA senior selection, Purnell is eligible to compete in the 2013 NEIBA New England All-Star Game on Monday, June 3 at LeLacheur Park at Lowell, MA. The game pits the Division II-III All-Stars against the Division I All-Stars.

The All-America selection caps Purnell's steady climb through a four-year career which began with exclusive work on the sub-varsity pitcher as a freshman.

The ABCA All-America selection for Eastern gives the program at least one such honoree in 12 of the last 16 years. Purnell becomes the program's 54th ABCA All-America since 1970, 20th in the last 16 years. Prior to this year, Scott Chiasson - later reaching the major leagues with the Chicago Cubs - was the program's last closer to gain All-America distinction, that coming during the 1998 national championship season.

Purnell becomes Eastern's fourth All-America selection this spring, following first-team NFCA softball selection Arielle Cooper (Mystic) and honorable mention USILA men's lacrosse picks Mike Devine (Cheshire) and Tyler Fresen (Newington).

Purnell appeared in 29 of the team's 44 contests this year. His appearance total established season records for both appearances and relief appearances in a season. The 6-foot-2 inch, 200-pounder was 6-1 with a 1.63 ERA and nine saves (third-most in New England) and 51 strikeouts and only five walks in 38.2 innings. He shared the staff lead in wins and topped all pitchers in ERA and saves, the latter category one shy of the season record.

This season marked the first as the team's fulltime closer for Purnell, who did not have a save in 37 relief appearances throughout his sophomore and junior seniors. He was 1-0 with a 3.30 ERA in 30.0 innings over 20 relief appearances as a sophomore, and 1-3 with a 3.97 ERA in 34.0 innings over 19 appearances (17 in relief) as a junior.

This year,  Purnell gave up earned runs in only six appearances, surrendering more than one in a game only once. He struck out 17 batters before issuing his first walk in his ninth appearance and recorded saves in three consecutive games in mid-April in conference victories over Western Connecticut State University and in both ends of road sweep at Rhode Island College.

In his career, Purnell appeared in 68 games - fourth-most among pitchers in program-history - with an 8-4 record, nine saves, a 2.89 ERA, 106 strikeouts and 31 walks in 102 2/3 innings.

Darby shared the staff lead in wins with Purnell -- also losing one decision - and led all starters with a 2.97 ERA. Darby led the staff with 67 strikeouts (against just 16 walks) and shared the team lead with 11 starts. After pitching only 1 2/3 innings in his first two seasons due to arm problems, Darby concluded his career with a 12-1 record and 2.99 ERA with 118 strikeouts and only one home run allowed in 114 1/3 innings.

Eastern won 30 games for the 29th time since 1973, finishing 30-13-1. Ranked seventh in the final New England poll, Eastern won two and lost two as the No. 2 seed in the Little East Conference tournament earlier this month.


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


 

M-Lacrosse: Two named All-America

Junior middies Devine and Fresen named honorable mention

devine_72_8102.jpgWILLIMANTIC, Conn. - Eastern Connecticut State University junior midfielders Mike Devine (Cheshire) and Tyler Fresen (Newington) have been selected to the 2013 USILA Division III All-America honorable mention men's lacrosse team.

At left: Mike Devine

The honor is the second in as many years for Devine, the team's second-leading goal-scorer and third-leading point-producer in 2013. Devine, a three-time All-Little East Conference selection and 2013 LEC playoff MVP, had 36 goals, 17 assists and 53 points in leading the Warriors to their second straight conference playoff title and NCAA tournament berth this spring and final overall record of 10-8 and final No. 8 ranking in the New England Division III poll.

Fresen, a two-time All-LEC selection used a second-half surge to finish first on the team in assists (26), second in points (57) and fourth in goals (31). The goal and point totals this year were the highest in his three-year career.

The pair were the only All-America selections out of the Little East Conference.

Below: Tyler Fresen

fresen_72_8097.jpg"I'm extremely proud of the efforts of Mike and Tyler," praised sixth-year Eastern head coach Justin Axel (71-36 record).  "They both worked extremely hard last off-season, and have already set even loftier goals for the 2014 season.  They are both great leaders, athletes, and incredible people who help continue to mold the "family" culture of Eastern lacrosse. Provided that we continue to stay focused and work hard as a team," noted Axel, "it will be a very exciting next year as we return two senior All-Americas."

In addition to repeating All-America honors, Devine repeated as a first-team ECAC New England All-Star (only one team was selected in 2013), released today. Devine was one of three midfielders named to the 13-person team, sharing midfield honors with seniors Andrew Fiamengo of No. 6 nationally-ranked Tufts University and Andrew Metros of No. 10-ranked Middlebury College.

This year, Devine ended the season with five multiple-goal matches to give him 13 in 18 matches. He totaled five goals in LEC playoff victories over Western Connecticut State University and Keene State College en route to LEC playoff MVP accolades. Against Keene, the 6-foot-3 inch, 220-pound Devine scored the tying and go-ahead goals a minute apart in the final six minutes.

Devine holds the Eastern record by scoring in 23 consecutive matches dating from early in his sophomore season to mid-March of this year. After three seasons, he ranks eighth all-time in goals (111) and 12th in points (147).

Fresen totaled eight goals and ten points in the first two matches of the season but managed only nine goals and nine assists in the next nine matches before striking for 14 goals and dishing out 15 assists in the last seven matches of the season which produced a 6-1 record.

Fresen heads into his senior season ranked sixth all-time with 75 assists and tied for 14th with 131 points.

 A total of 146 players nationwide were voted to either the first, second, third or honorable mention All-America teams. Sixteen players were named to each of the first, second and third teams, and 98 were named honorable mention. Devine and Fresen were among six players from New England institutions selected among 28 honorable mention midfielders.

Eastern has had 14 All-America players since 1999.Prior to Devine this year, four Eastern players had gained the All-America award in back-to-back seasons: defenseman Shanon Sligo (1999-00), long-stick midfielder Pat Ammendolia (2002-03), attack  Marc DiGiovanni (2002-03), and faceoff midfielder Eric Vasil (2010-11).


 

ECAC Track: Reynolds Recordbreaker

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Complete Results

Andre Reynolds (above) broke the Eastern Connecticut State University men's outdoor track and field record in the qualifying round of the 110 meter hurdles on the first day of the 2013 ECAC Championships Thursday at Blake Track on the campus of Springfield College. Reynolds was timed in 15.00, breaking by .11 the three-year-old record set by Tyler Edwardsen at the New England Open. Others competing for Eastern Friday at the ECAC Championships were Lauren Hultzman (5-2 1/2), who missed All-ECAC honors by one place in a ninth-place finish in the long jump; Cora Gingras (5-0 1/2), who was 20th in the high jump; Luisantonio Rosado (56.48), who was 19th in the 400 hurdles; Fredrick Hewett (49.88), 20th in the 400, Akaya McElveen (1:00.36), 31st in the 400, and Nikki Chambers (2:26.58), 37th in the 800.

 

Softball: Cooper 1st Team All-America

She becomes program's first to gain first-team recognition at 3B

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Photos by Courtney Weber

LOUISVILLE, Ky. - Eastern Connecticut State University senior third baseman Arielle Cooper (Mystic) has become the first third baseman in program history to earn first-team All-America honors when she repeated national honors at that position by the National Fastpitch Coaches' Association (NFCA).

A second-team All-America selection at third base as a junior, Cooper becomes the program's first first-team All-America selection at third base in the program's 37-year history and is the first full-time position player to earn first-team honors  since outfielder Leanne Shoop in 1990.

"Arielle has made her mark on Eastern softball -- one which she deserves -- and one which I believe makes her best third baseman ever at Eastern," noted 12th-year Eastern head coach Diana Pepin. "She is a tremendous athlete who was driven to be successful. She was a competitor, with the heart of a champion. Our program has been elevated because of her work ethic and passion for the sport," added Pepin of Cooper, who set numerous season and career records this season en route to first-team NFCA All-New England Region honors for the second straight season and 2013 Little East Conference Player-of-the-Year and Eastern Female Athlete-of-the-Year plaudits. "What Arielle has done this season in terms of hitting is unbelievable, and being regarded as one of the best in the country is truly an honor."

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Batting primarily leadoff, Cooper put the finishing touches on a sterling career and brilliant final season. She led Eastern in virtually every offensive category, among them batting (.538), slugging (1.076), total bases (142), on-base percentage (.629),  runs (61), hits (71), RBI (43), home runs (16), doubles (13), and walks (34). Her marks for batting, slugging, total bases, on-base percentage, runs, hits and home runs represented program season records, and her final season batting average was 99 points above her previous-season best, set in 2012.

After setting the current consecutive game hitting streak of 33 as a junior, Cooper hit safely in 26 games this year. After failing to hit safely in one game that stopped her 33-game streak in 2012, Cooper had a hit in each of the team's final four games that year and in the first 26 this year, giving her at least one hit in 63 of 64

games in that stretch.

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Cooper finished as the program's all-time leader in career batting (.406) and slugging average (.739), on-base percentage (.474), hits (221), runs (176), doubles (40), home runs (40), and total bases (403), was second in games (177), at-bats (545), and assists (310), third in RBI (129), and fourth in walks (68). Her assist total is the highest among fulltime third baseman.

 

Through regional tournament competition, Cooper is ranked second nationally in Division III in on-base percentage, third in slugging, fourth in home runs, home runs per game and batting, sixth in runs per game and seventh in walks and toughest to strike out. Cooper fanned twice in 170 plate appearances this season.

The four-year starter appeared in all 177 games in her career, starting all 89 in each of her two All-America seasons and all but two in her career.  She helped the team average 36.5 wins per game and compile an overall record of 146-30-1 (83.0 percent), qualify for three NCAA tournaments, win two regional titles and compete in two national tournaments, capture four Little East Conference regular-season (51-5 record) and three LEC tournament championships.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


 

Baseball: Purnell NE's Premier Pitcher

Senior closer voted New England's No. 1 pitcher for 2013

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purnell_jersey_72_1236.jpgWELLESLEY, Mass. - Eastern Connecticut State University senior right-handed relief pitcher Matt Purnell (Stafford Springs) has been voted Division III Pitcher-of-the-Year by the New England Intercollegiate Baseball Association (NEIBA), it has been announced today.

The selection helps cap a steady climb through a four-year career which began with exclusive work on the sub-varsity pitcher as a freshman to his selection as Division III New England's  No. 1 pitcher. As a first-team selection, Purnell is eligible for ABCA All-America consideration when that team is released next Thursday, May 23. Purnell is also eligible to compete in the annual New England All-Star Game in June.

A total of 52 players were voted to the All-New England team: 15 on the first team, 18 on the second, and 19 on the third. Purnell was one of four pitchers named to the first team, which included seven players from the Little East Conference.

Previously named as the relief pitcher on the All-LEC first team, Purnell appeared in 29 of the team's 44 contests this year. His appearance total established season records for both appearances and relief appearances in a season. The 6-foot-2 inch, 200-pounder was 6-1 with a 1.63 ERA and nine saves (third-most in New England) and 51 strikeouts and only five walks in 38.2 innings. He shared the staff lead in wins and topped all pitchers in ERA and saves, the latter category one shy of the season record.

This season marked the first as the team's fulltime closer for Purnell, who did not have a save in 37 relief appearances throughout his sophomore and junior seasons. He was 1-0 with a 3.30 ERA in 30.0 innings over 20 relief appearances as a sophomore, and 1-3 with a 3.97 ERA in 34.0 innings over 19 appearances (17 in relief) as a junior.

This year,  Purnell gave up earned runs in only six appearances, surrendering more than one in a game only once. He struck out 17 batters before issuing his first walk in his ninth appearance and recorded saves in three consecutive games in mid-April in conference victories over Western Connecticut State University and in both ends of road sweep at Rhode Island College.

In his career, Purnell appeared in 68 games - fourth-most among pitchers in program-history - with an 8-4 record, nine saves, a 2.89 ERA, 106 strikeouts and 31 walks in 102 2/3 innings.

Purnell becomes the program's third NEIBA Pitcher-of-the-Year, following Ryan DiPietro in 2004 and 2005.

In 2013, Eastern won 30 games for the 29th time since 1973, finishing 30-13-1. Ranked fourth in New England, Eastern won two and lost two as the No. 2 seed in last week's Little East Conference tournament.

 

 

Accomando Brothers: Diff'rent Strokes

Though contrasting in style, Monroe natives remain 'blood brothers'

By Jonathan Mizger/Sports Information Staff


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Editor's Note: This question-and-answer is with brothers Drew and Dean Accomando. Drew played four years of baseball - serving as a team captain this past spring - before graduating with honors last night (Tuesday, May 14) with a degree in Health and Physical Education. A Sport & Leisure Management major, Dean recently completed his second season with the lacrosse program and has been part of Little East Conference championships each year. The Accomandos, born 28 months apart (Dean turns 20 next week), played a variety of sports together while growing up in Monroe (the family has since moved to Shelton) and were football teammates at Masuk High School.  While both consider football to be among their favorite activities while growing up, Drew settled on baseball in college. Dean followed his brother to Eastern two years later, choosing lacrosse.

While the theory of  'sibling rivalry'  may have its genesis with the Accomandos - the debate as to which is  the better all-around athlete rages on - the brothers are in undeniable agreement that their college experience was enhanced and enriched by daily interaction for the past two years.

This is the third of a four-part series focusing upon sibling athletes at Eastern,  following previous installments documenting swimming sisters Colleen and Katie King of Barkhamsted, and lacrosse sisters Kelsea and Amy Burkhardt of Old Saybrook. The final installment will be a story about the unique situation in the men's lacrosse program, which included three sets of brothers this year: Drew and Angus Deane, Kevin and Sean Fechtmann (the second and third Fechtmanns to play lacrosse at Eastern), and Mike and Brendan Gillotti.

Were you two inseparable growing up?
Dean:
"No, we weren't really good friends until high school. He used to beat me up a little bit.
Drew: "I mean, we had our ups and downs but  if we ever needed to go to the backyard and play a couple of sports, he was my guy. When we'd go ride a go-cart around,  he was in the passenger seat all the time. We were best friends, but enemies."

Did you two share a bedroom while growing up?
Dean:
"Our entire lives."
Drew: "Yeah, we were the only two out of our family to ever have to share a bedroom.  It isn't easy sleeping on the top bunk over somebody you know. He steps on you when he comes down and he's waking me up."
Dean: "I like the TV on and he likes it off."

What kind of things do you both like to do together?
Dean:
"We like to work out."
Drew: "We exercise together; we go fishing together."
Dean: "Video games."
Drew: "Yeah and we go to the supermarket together because we live together so we got to go shopping and get the food. Maybe like a drive to go somewhere if someone needs something."
Dean: "We party together."
Drew: "Yeah we go out together and meet new people."

What kind of things do you both have in common?
Dean:
"We both played football our entire lives, and I used to play baseball up until about high school and switched to lacrosse."
Drew: "Football was probably both of our favorite sports growing up. That's what really kind of brought us together and separated us from my other brother and sister, because all we ever wanted to do was to go outside and tackle one another. In common, I'd say watch each other play sports because I would never want to miss one of his hockey games or football games in high school and  he'd never want to miss one of my games when I played."
Dean: "Yeah I try to get to every single one of his baseball games I can. It's hard, because we practice at the same time but I usually make it to the last few innings that I can."
Drew: "For things together, pretty much everything, anything I do, I can do with him, too."

accomandoDrew72_4420.jpgIn what ways are you alike and in what ways are you different?
Dean
: "One: the hair."
Drew: "He's got long hair and a beard and I'm clean cut and shave."
Dean: "I've always had the longer hair and the beard. Also, I'm the only one to play hockey and lacrosse in the family and I also have the tattoos."
Drew: "Yeah he's got tattoos, long hair and a beard and I don't have any tattoos and I have short hair. I play baseball and he plays lacrosse, kind of the opposite. I played basketball and he played hockey."
Dean: "I grew up in a big baseball family where my oldest brother went to play at Division I UConn and I wanted to take my own path."

In what ways would your parents or friends say you both are alike and what ways would they say you are different?
Drew: "Well he's napping on the couch and I'm in the gym, that's what they say. Nah, he's getting better now. I'd say that we're so passionate about sports and life like bettering yourself everyday like we both wake up with a mission. Whether it's we've got to get bigger, faster, stronger today or I got to go to the library to get x, y, and z done, definitely work ethic, determination, perseverance."
Dean: "Our difference I think would be academically, though."
Drew: "Yeah, academics."
Dean: "He's been blowing it out of the water."
Drew: "Yeah, I want to get straight A's and he's fine with getting B's and C's."
Dean: "It took me a little longer to get adjusted to college, so I'm figuring it out now and steadily improving."

When you both were in high school or junior high, did you both ever talk of maybe playing the same sport or just attending the same college?
Drew:
"I would say football for a while. We always wanted to play on the same football team."
Dean: "The only time that was ever going to happen was high school because he's two years older than me, two grades above me."
Drew: "I got hurt a little bit in high school in football so I couldn't play anymore so that kind of shot that out of the water but I think that all along we always talked about one of us being a running back, one being a linebacker on the other team. I think we wanted to play football together but we took our own paths."
Dean: "College-wise, I ended up making a decision one, basically (Eastern) was close (to home)and two, it helped me having Drew  here because I wasn't that great in school and I knew that if I needed help or had a question on my classes, he would be there for me. And now we live in the same building off campus."

Do you think that your parents wanted the two of you to go to the same college or did they leave it entirely up to you two?
Drew:
"They definitely left it to us, for sure. I think it just influenced him a little bit that the adjustments at college would be easier with his older brother there. I had a bunch of friends on campus, I knew the ins and outs of Eastern, I would be a junior so I've been here for two years, so I think it was comforting for them to know that he was going to go to Eastern so they sort of pushed him in that aspect and once that he showed that he wanted to go, they gave us the option 100 percent."
Dean: "And also it makes it easier for (our parents). Now they can come to one school to see one of our games. Last weekend I had a lacrosse game and he had two baseball games and they were able to watch our games."

Why did the two of you choose Eastern?
Drew: "I chose Eastern a while ago because it was a good fit for me to play baseball, go to school to get a good academic degree, and play at a very competitive program."
Dean: "I think it was fitting for me because he was here. I got in a few schools but this was 1. economically better, cheaper, in-state, got some good financial aid, and 2. He was here, it was close, I had the ability to play a Division III sport and compete. That was also good it was at a high level and it's a pretty good team."

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What do you guys do to each other that get you angry at one another?
Drew
: "Tell the other one..."
Dean "... to do something."
Drew: "If I say 'Dean clean the dishes', I might have a plate flying at the back of my head. Pretty much if he tells me something to do or if I tell him something to do, it's like stepping on each other's toes. It doesn't work very well."
Dean: "Yeah, we got to work on our own clocks."
Drew: "Exactly."

Who is the better all-around athlete?
Drew
: "I am."
Dean: "No way."
Dean: "He's definitely bigger and stronger (but) I don't know about faster anymore."
Drew: "He played more sports and he was a three-sport athlete in high school and I only played two sports in high school. I played baseball, football and he played football, hockey and lacrosse."

Dean: Yeah, and I played baseball that covered up my whole life."
Drew: "He played more sports, but when it comes down to the little guy throwing the Frisbee or bean bag toss I have, but he played three sports in high school and he has more sport experience under his belt I'd say."

What do you do better than Dean?
Drew
: "What do I do better than Dean?...I have consistent time-managing schedules."
Dean: "That's for dang sure."
Drew: "I think that comes with being older. I can wake up every day and know what I'm going to get done, what time I'm going to the gym, and what time I got to study. I think he wakes up and he's still got to figure it out."

What do you do better than Drew?
Dean:
"Probably the best napper in the family. No."
Drew: "I think you're better with your friends, like caring about your friends."
Dean: "I care about hanging with my friends more, keeping in touch and keeping close relationships and stuff like that. I'm kind of more free-going like whatever comes up or if I think of it I'll do it. I usually don't have a set schedule and I do as I please."

How much contact do the two of you have in an ordinary day at school?
Drew: "Since we live together, a lot of contact. But say we didn't live together, because we didn't live together last year, almost every single day. We had to talk every day. Maybe there'd be a day or two where we wouldn't. I would say like one to two times a day saying 'what are you doing', 'you got any food', 'what are you doing later', 'you have work to do', 'what time's this game', 'what time's that game', talk about the family a little bit with what's going on."
Dean: "This year it's multiple times a day. Whether it's texting, phone calls, seeing each other..."
Drew: "...if he's locked out of the house."
Dean: "Or 'Yo, make me food? No'"

What do you guys both like best about Eastern?
Drew:
"I like the ability to see my friends every day, play a sport and still get a good degree. It allows me to manage all areas of my life. If we had a bigger school, I'd be too consumed with the friends and what-not and wouldn't be able to focus on my sport. It's just a smaller together community so it allows you to have friends, play a sport, and go to school."
Dean: "I definitely like the fact that the size of the classes at Eastern, some aren't too big and you can actually get one-on-one help with teachers in your class if you needed it. That's helpful sometimes because I need that one-on-one help. Also,  I like the fact that I have so many friends here and I get to see them all the time, where as in a big school you'd have to call them to hang out. Here, I can be walking in the student center or walking to class or walking home and I can say "what up' to them. It's a lot closer, it's more down to earth, the campus is pretty nice and I like that."

What are your plans for next year? As Drew will be graduating and you'll be the only one here, how do you feel about that?
Dean
: "It's going to be different. I'm not going to have too many people to turn to if I've got something to talk to. There is always phones but it's a lot easier if I could just walk upstairs and go talk to him. It's going to be definitely different because I'm going to be the only one coming back to the house because all my roommates are seniors. I'm going to have a fresh group of friends, they're on the lacrosse team and stuff, but it's going to be different not being able to go upstairs and talk to him or having him to go to the grocery store or something like that. It's going to be different, I think it's going to be good, but at the same time I'm probably going to miss him leaving."

Baseball: Four are LEC All-Conference

 

baseballgalleryheads.jpgDarby, Purnell, Vaccarelli and Lynch are all first-time honorees

NORTH DARTMOUTH, Mass. --   Senior pitchers Tom Darby (Middletown, RI) and Matt Purnell (Stafford Springs) of Eastern Connecticut State University  have been selected to the Little East Conference all-conference first team and have been joined by second-team infielders Brendan Lynch (Wethersfield) and Mike Vaccarelli (Wolcott), both juniors, it was announced today.

Darby, a lefty, was one of two starting pitchers named to the first team, while Purnell, a righty, was tabbed as the first-team relief pitcher. Lynch was selected as one of two shortstops on the second team ,while Vaccarelli was the second-team all-conference third base.

All four are first-time all-conference honorees.

Darby and Purnell shared the staff lead in wins, with six, with both pitchers losing one decision. Darby led all starters with a 2.97 ERA, while Purnell's 1.63 ERA topped all pitchers on the staff. Darby also led the staff with 67 strikeouts (against just 16 walks) and shared the team lead with 11 starts. Purenll collected nine saves - one shy of the season record -- setting program records for appearances in a season and relief appearances in a season, with 29.

Among hitters with at least 100 at-bats, Vaccarelli led all players with a .347 batting average. He started all 44 games, all of them at third bases, and batted second in the order behind Lynch in 42 games.  Defensively, Vaccarelli was second to Lynch with 67 assists.

Lynch started all 42 games in which he appeared, 41 of those starts coming at shortstop. He was the team's starting leadoff hitter in 28 games, but also spent time at six other positions in the order.  Lynch batted .315 with a team-high 14 doubles. He drove in 28 runs and was the team leader with 134 assists.

Eastern won 30 games for the 29th time since 1973, finishing 30-13-1. Ranked fourth in New England, Eastern won two and lost two as the No. 2 seed in last week's Little East Conference tournament.

Softball: Five Are NFCA All-NE Region

 

sb allregion gallery.jpgCooper named to NFCA regional team for third time in her career

LOUISVILLE, Ky. - The Eastern Connecticut State University softball program was well-represented with five selections - the most of any institution - on the 2013 National Fastpitch Coaches' Association (NFCA) All-New England Region Team.

Senior All-America third baseman Arielle Cooper (Mystic) was named to the all-region team for the third time and was joined on the first team by sophomore DP Sam Rossetti (Shelton) and third-team picks  Kelly Paterson (Southington), a senior, and juniors Mattie Brett (Waterford), and Megan Godwin (Manchester). All third-team picks are selected on an "at-large" basis. Paterson played primarily first and second base this season and Godwin second base and outfield. Brett started all but one game in center field.

Fifteen players were named to each of the first, second and third teams, with first-team honorees eligible for NFCA Division III All-America consideration. That team will be announced Thursday.

Cooper was a first-team repeater, while Godwin was voted to the third team for the second time in three years. As a freshman in 2011, Godwin was the team's starting shortstop.

All five selections were earlier named first-team All-Little East Conference, with Cooper additionally recognized as LEC Player-of-the-Year.

All except Rossetti started all 42 games for Eastern (28-14), which claimed its fourth straight LEC regular-season title and finished third in the LEC tournament.

Batting primarily leadoff, Cooper put the finishing touches on a sterling career and brilliant final season. She led Eastern in virtually every offensive category, among them batting (.538), slugging (1.076), total bases (142), on-base percentage (.629),  runs (61), hits (71), RBI (43), home runs (16), doubles (13), and walks (34). Her marks for batting, slugging, total bases, on-base percentage, runs, hits and home runs represented program season records, and her final season batting average was 99 points above her previous-season best, set last year.

Through post-season conference tournament competition, Cooper is ranked second nationally in on-base percentage, third in slugging, fourth in home runs, home runs per game and batting, and seventh in walks and runs per game.

Paterson batted a career-high .356 this season to push her career average over .300 to .309. She was second to Cooper with 42 RBI - more than twice as many as her previous high total in a season. Playing primarily first base, but also second, she completed her career ranked fifth all-time with 642 putouts and tied for sixth with a .984 fielding average.

Brett was second to Cooper in most offensive categories, batting .378 (73 percentage points better than her sophomore season) with 41 runs, 51 hits and 12 stolen bases (in 12 attempts).

In her first season as a starter, Rossetti also played first base and right field and batted .368 - third best on the squad - with five home runs and 35 RBI. Godwin started 20 games in the middle infield and 16 in left field. She posted career-highs in batting (.344), hits (42), RBI (26), runs (28) and on-base percentage (.434).

In the last six years, 22 Eastern players have been named to the all-region team, with this year's total of five equaling the most since six were tabbed in 1993.

A total of 21 institutions were represented with at least one all-region pick, with regional champion Tufts University, as well as Wellesley College and Springfield College all garnering four. The Little East Conference was also represented by first-team pitcher Mariah Crisp of Keene State, second-team second baseman Sue Killilea of UMass Boston, second-team selection Julia Bocek (at-large/1b) of Western Connecticut, and third-teamer Allie Sabith (pitcher/at-large) of Western Connecticut.


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


 

Baseball:UMD Out Early,Ousts Warriors

                  In LEC baseball tournament, Corsairs hold on for 7-6 victory

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NCAA Tournament Field 

Although it was ranked No. 5 in the final NCAA New England regional rankings (through the regular season), Eastern was not one of the 56 teams chosen to the 2013 tournament. The Harwich, Mass. regional was comprised of six automatic qualifiers (Southern Maine, Wheaton, Endicott, Saint Joseph's, ME, Salem State and Daniel Webster), and two at-large selections (MIT and Western New England). A ninth New England team -- automatic qualifier Amherst  -- was moved to the Ithaca, NY regional. Of those nine New England teams, Eastern won two (vs. Amherst) and lost five (three vs. Southern Maine and one each to Western NE and Wheaton).

GORHAM, Maine - Three Eastern  Connecticut State University pitchers held the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth to one run over the final six innings but the Warriors were unable to complete a comeback from six runs down in a 7-6 loss in the losers' bracket final of the  2013 Little East Conference Baseball Tournament  Saturday morning at the USM Baseball Stadium.

At right: First-year junior catcher Nik Ververis (19) led Eastern with a .500 tournament average, ending the season with 19 RBI on only 23 hits.

Top-seeded University of Southern Maine (37-7) completed a four-game tournament sweep with a 4-2 win over UMass Dartmouth (18-23) in the first game of the championship round which gives the Huskies their second straight tourney title, fourth overall. USM had gone 12 years without a tournament championship before surviving a first-game loss to win four straight and down Plymouth State University in the 2012 title tilt.

Seeded second, Eastern (30-13-1) won its first two tournament games - 10-9 over UMass Dartmouth Wednesday and completed a 9-1 victory over fourth-seeded Massachusetts Boston which began Thursday and concluded Friday. In Friday's winners' bracket final, Southern Maine hammered Eastern, 22-9, sending the Warriors into Saturday's losers' bracket final against UMass Dartmouth Saturday morning. Prior to the Eastern game, UMD completed a 21-5 victory over UMass Dartmouth which was suspended due to darkness in the top of the eighth inning.

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At right: Senior centerfielder Mike Riemer had three hits and two RBI and scored three runs Saturday.

Making his first start in his 27th  career appearance Saturday, junior righty Pat Barnett (Windsor) was raked for six runs on seven hits in the first two innings, but settled down to give up only a two-out fourth-inning solo home run until giving way to freshman righty Sam Kosterich (Stamford) with one out and one on in the seventh.

Down 6-0, the Warriors bounced back with four runs on six hits and a sacrifice fly in the fourth, chasing  UMD starter George Bent. Trailing 7-4, Eastern pulled to within one with two runs in the seventh on a leadoff double by junior shortstop Brendan Lynch (Wethersfield), singles by junior third baseman Mike Vaccarelli (Wolcott) and senior centerfield Mike Riemer (Ellington) and a ground ball by senior first baseman Joe Balowski (Berlin), which scored the second run despite resulting in a double play.

In the four-run fourth, Balowski and No. 8 hitter Nik Ververis (Plainfield) doubled, Ververis' sending home two runs, and Riemer, junior DH Gavin Lavallee (New Milford), junior leftfielder Tommy McKenna (Lexington, MA), and No. 9 hitter Tyler Caserta (Stratford) singled. Senior second baseman Drew Accomando (Monroe) drove in the first run of the inning with a sacrifice fly, with McKenna's single also plating a run.

With Eastern looking to even the game in the top of the ninth, Riemer walked with one out, but  junior righty Karney Boff earned his second save of the year by getting a 4-6-3 game-ending double play.

Each team recorded three double plays in the game. The Warriors got a difficult 3-6-3 twin killing started and ended by Balowski at first base in the third, snuffed out a UMD rally with an inning-ending DP started by Lynch in the seventh, and upon entering right field as a late-inning defensive replacement in the eighth, sophomore Adam Roderick (West Hartford), caught a fly ball and doubled UMD's Corey Allison off first to end the inning.

Every Eastern starter had at least one hit in the 15-hit Eastern attack, with Lynch, Riemer, Balowski, Accomando, Lavallee and Ververis all collecting two. Riemer's RBI single in the seventh was the 98th hit of his four-year career.

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At right: Senior reliever Matt Purnell established a season record with his 29th appearance of the year in Saturday's loss to UMass Dartmouth

Senior righty Matt Purnell (Stafford Springs) broke the 12-year-old season record for appearances when he entered the game for the 29th time this season, recording the final five outs of the game. Purnell, who fanned one and allowed one hit, had

earlier this year set the season record for relief appearances, breaking the previous mark of 26. He has nine saves, one shy of the season mark.

Eastern and UMass Dartmouth split four games this year, each winning by a run in the LEC tournament, and splitting  an April 27 doubleheader at the Eastern Baseball Stadium, the Warriors winning the first game by a run.

In four games in the tournament, Eastern batted .338  -- above its regular-season average of .292  -- but had an 8.49 earned-run average (inflated largely by Southern Maine's 19 earned runs in Game 3). Ververis batted .500 (5-for-10) with six RBI, Riemer .467 (7-for-15) with five RBI and Accomando and McKenna .385 (both were 5-for-13). Lavallee reached nine times with four hits, four walks and a hit-by-pitch, and scored a team-high six runs. Caserta matched Ververis with six RBI.  Senior righty Evan Chamberlain (Amston), Purnell and sophomore righty Tyler Cyr (Bristol) combined to pitch 11 1/3 innings, giving up one earned run on eight hits with eight strikeouts.

Ranked fifth in the most recent NCAA Division III regional ratings, Eastern will be considered for an at-large berth to its 33rd NCAA tournament when announcements are made Monday.


 

Track: Hultzman All-NE in High Jump

 

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Above: Lauren Hultzman clears an opening height at Saturday's New England Open en route to All-New England honors for the fourth time in the event in her career.

On final day of NE Open, women's 4x400 smashes program record

EASTON, Mass. - Eastern Connecticut State University junior Lauren Hultzman (Putnam) earned All-New England honors for the fourth time in her career in the high jump when she finished in a tie for third at the New England Open Championships which concluded Saturday at W.B. Mason Stadium on the campus of Stonehill College.

Hultzman, the program outdoor record-holder in the high jump and pentathlon, posted a mark of 5-5 (3/4 inches off her program record set two weeks ago when winning at the New England Alliance/Little East Conference championships). Laura Pomphrey of WPI (5-7) won the event and Shannon Meehan of  University of Rhode Island (5-5) was second.

The meet features New England teams from all three divisions.

In three outdoor seasons, Hultzman has won two NEA/LEC championships and placed in a tie for third in the Open this year and was sixth in 2012 and has been second twice in the New England Division III Championships.

Additionally on Saturday, the Eastern women's 4x400 relay broke the school record by five seconds with a time of 4:03.71, which placed it 24th overall. Running the relay were  juniors Akaya McElveen (New Haven) and Tacia Bryant (Guilford), senior Christine Charpentier (Monroe) and sophomore Nikki Chambers (East Hampton).

Chambers just missed All-New England recognition when she placed ninth in the 800 in a time of 2:15.66 (.13 off her program record).

Senior Cora Gingras (East Hampton) was tenth in the high jump (5-3) - equaling her personal record - and 18th in the triple jump (33-9 ¼), and the 4x100 relay was 20th in a time of 51.12. Runners were Bryant, freshman Sherry Gilronan (Darien), McElveen, and Charpentier.

For the Eastern men Saturday, the 4x400 relay placed 15th in a time of 3:21.31. Competitors were junior Fredrick Hewett (New London), sophomore D'Vonte Chambers (West Haven), freshman John Boisette (East Hartford), and sophomore Dylan Kruppa (Torrington).

Eastern competes in the two-day ECAC Championships beginning Thursday at 11 a.m.

Track:Rosado Record-Setter at NE Open

 

rosado72_1707.jpgSophomore Luisantonio Rosado (above) clears the final hurdle on his way to establishing a program record of 56.07 in the trials of the 400 meter hurdles Friday afternoon at the New England Open at W.B. Mason Stadium on the campus of Stonehill College. Rosado broke the ten-year mark of 56.13, set by Peter Kellogg at the ECAC Championships in 2003. Rosado placed fifth in his heat in the meet which included athletes from Division I, II and III. Also competing Friday were junior Frederick Hewett in the 200 and 400 meter trials, and sophomore Andre Reynolds in the 110 high hurdles trials. Reynolds set a personal-best time of 15.39 in taking third place in his heat. Hewett was third in his heat in the 400 in a time of 49.04 and fifth in his heat in the 200 with a time of 22.81. None of the three advanced to Saturday's finals.

Competing from Eastern Saturday on the final day of the Open are senior Cora Gingras in the triple jump and high jump, junior Lauren Hultzman in the high jump, sophomore Nikki Chambers in the 800, the women's 4x100 and 4x400 relays and the men's 4x400 relay.

LEC Baseball: Eastern Wins, Loses

After completing victory over UMB Friday, they are pounded by USM
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LEC LOGO PARE72dpi.jpgGORHAM, Maine - It took second-seeded Eastern Connecticut State University one hour and 20 minutes Friday morning to complete the job that it started Thursday afternoon as the Warriors moved into the winners' bracket final of the 2013 Little East Conference Baseball Tournament with a 9-1 victory over fourth-seeded University of Massachusetts Boston, 9-0 at the USM Baseball Stadium.
At right: Evan Chamberlain
 
A winner of 30 or more games for the 30th time in the last 41 season, Eastern (30-11-1) moves into the winners' bracket final today at noon against top-seeded University of Southern Maine (35-7), which shut out third-seeded Keene State College, 4-0, in Thursday's second game.
 
The winner of that game advances to the championship round Saturday, needing only one win to capture the LEC title and gain the automatic bid to the NCAA tournament.
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Southern Maine 22, Eastern Conn. 9
 
In the second game of the day, top-seeded University of Southern Maine (36-7) dropped Eastern (30-12-1) into the losers' bracket by crushing the Warriors, 22-9 in the all-important winners' bracket final. The Huskies are the only remaining undefeated team and need one win to capture their second straight LEC tournament title.
 
Saturday morning in an elimination game, Eastern will face the winner of a suspended game which began Friday afternoon between No. 5 seed Massachusetts Dartmouth and No. 4 seed Massachusetts Boston. The visiting team, UMass Dartmouth led that game 20-5, while batting with two out and nine runs in in the eighth, before it was suspended due to darkness. The UMB-UMD game will resume Saturday at 9 a.m. and the Warriors will play the loser 45 minutes following it's completion. The remainder of the tournament schedule has not been released.
 
The Eastern-UMass Dartmouth winner must defeat undefeated Southern Maine twice to claim the championship.
 
Ranked No. 1 in New England and No. 9 nationally, Southern Maine sent 11 batters to the plate in the first inning against Eastern, scoring six runs on eight hits, with the first six batters coming around to score on the way to their third straight tournament victory and 11th win in their last 12 outings.  The Huskies battered four Eastern pitchers for 25 hits (seven for extra bases) and led 22-0 after six innings before the Warriors scored nine runs in their final at-bats on eight hits.
 
Forrest Chadwick was 5-for-5 with four runs scored for the Huskies, Nick Grady 4-for-4 with five RBI and three runs scored and Tucker White 3-for-4 witih four runs scored and three RBI.
 
Junior third baseman Mike Vaccarelli (Wolcott) paced Eastern's ten-hit attack with three hits and two RBI while sophomore catcher Cory DeMedeiros (Fall River, MA) came off the bench with two hits and senior rightfielder Tyler Caserta (Straford) drove in two runs and scored two.
 
Eastern's tournament victories have come against UMass Dartmouth and UMass Boston. The Warriors outslugged UMass Dartmouth, 10-9, in Wednesday's opener and routed UMass Boston, 9-1, in a game which began Thursday afternoon and was completed Friday morning.
 
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As the visiting team, Eastern led UMass (16-22) 9-0 when Thursday's game was suspended due to darkness after four-and-one-half innings Thursday UMass faces  fifth-seeded University of Massachusetts Dartmouth in an elimination game today at 3 p.m.
 
Eastern, which had shut out UMass Boston twice during the regular season, scored a run in the first, two in the second, four in the fourth and had just completed a two-run fifth when the game was suspended. It had earlier been delayed for 75 minutes due to rain.
 
Junior catcher Nik Ververis (Plainville) drove in three runs with a ground ball, double and single. Senior centerfielder Mike Riemer (Ellington) has two RBI singles, and junior third baseman Mike Vaccarelli (Wolcott) a two-run triple. Senior rightfielder Tyler Caserta (Stratford) and sophomore rightfielder Adam Roderick (West Hartford) have both driven in one run.
 
Senior righty Evan Chamberlain (Amston) allowed three hits over four innings with two strikeouts, a walk, and hit by pitch, but did not figure in the win because he did not pitch the minimum five innings. Chamberlain was credited with the first-game regular-season win over UMass Boston April 13, fanning ten and walking one and allowing only three hits over the first seven innings en route to his fifth win of the year against a loss. Since that regular-season victory over UMass, Chamberlain had struggled in his previous three starts prior to Thursday.
 
Eastern had opened the tournament by surviving a 10-9 slugfest with UMass Dartmouth, while Southern Maine routed  No. 6 Western Connecticut, 13-2 in the first round before shutting out Keene State Thursday.
 
The two winningest programs in LEC baseball history, Eastern (three tournament titles) and Southern Maine (three) will be meeting in the conference tournament for the 17th time. The Warriors have won ten of the last 13 since the Huskies won the first three. The Warriors had won six titles since Southern Maine won its first championship since 1999 last year, defeating Plymouth State University in the title game at home.
 
The Huskies, who swept Eastern in the regular season for the second straight season in 2013, are ranked among the national top five in 12 team cateories. They lead Division III in scoring and runs, are second in hits, home runs per game, home runs, and slugging and third in triples.
 
Leftfielder Tucker White and third baseman Nick Grady -- batting 3-4 in the Southern Maine order -- are among the national leaders in several categories. White is first in triples, second in runs and third in runs per game, and Grady is third in hits.
 
When the teams met in the regular season, the Huskies collected 27 hits (nine for extra bases) off nine Eastern pitchers. Three of Chris Bernard's five hits were doubles, and Bernard and Matt Verrier each drove in four runs.
 
Eastern's pitchers surrendered 17 earned runs in the two losses, with no batter managing more than two hits. Starters Chamberlain and senior lefty Tom Darby (Middletown, RI) absorbed the losses. Chamerlain gave up five earned runs in 6 2/3 innings and Darby three earned runs in three innings.
 

W-Lacrosse Drops NCAA Opener

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wlaxseniors72dpi_8901.jpgEWING, N.J. -- Thirteen-time national champion College of New Jersey raced to a 12-1 halftime lead and eased to a 20-1 victory over Eastern Connecticut State University Wednesday night in the opening round of the 2013 NCAA Division III women's lacrosse tournament at Lions' Stadium.

At left: Eastern's five seniors concluded their careers with their first appearance in the NCAA tournament. From left: Head coach Christine Hutchison, Taylor Buchanan, Sam Barone, Daniela Marchitto, Rachel Meotti, Christina Rully.

Eastern (7-12) had qualified for its fourth NCAA tournament by winning the Little East Conference tournament, which concluded Sunday. Ranked No. 10 nationally, TCNJ (14-4) received an at-large bid to the tournament. The Lions, ranked eighth nationally in scoring margin, won their fifth straight aned advance to the Round of 16  Saturday against No. 7 Colby College at 2:30 p.m.


M-Lacrosse: Bears Shut Down Warriors

 Western New England breaks free to post 16-10 win in NCAA opener

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Img9.gifSPRINGFIELD, Mass. - The Western New England University men's lacrosse team scored seven consecutive goals spanning the first and second halves and went on to a 16-10 victory over Eastern Connecticut State University in a first-round game of the 2013 NCAA Division III Tournament Wednesday afternoon at Golden Bear Stadium.

At right: Tyler Fresen

Less than two minutes after Eastern (10-8)  took its only lead of the match midway through the second quarter, the Golden Bears (12-6) held the Warriors scoreless for 23 minutes and scored seven unanswered goals to build a six-goal, 11-5 lead with two minutes left in the third quarter. On 14 possessions during that scoreless stretch, Eastern turned the ball over nine times, shot wide twice and hit the post once and had two attempts saved.

Sean Lawton and George Knapp scored three times each for Western New England, and Brandon Body made seven stops for the winners in net.

Sophomore attack Tyler Fresen (Newington) led Eastern with three goals and two assists, and junior All-America Mike Devine (Cheshire) followed with three goals. Freshman Blake Smaldone (Hamilton, MA) and senior Drew Deane (Vernon) combined for ten saves in net. Fresen finished the season with 14 goals and 15 assists in the team's final seven matches.

Eastern season scoring leader Mike Jordan (Cheshire) was limited to one goal and one assist.

Close defenders Nick Stoop (Crofton, MD), Chris Brown (Cohasset, MA) and Travis Tiger (Ridgefield) combined for nine ground ball for the Warriors, who turned the ball over 27 times -- equaling their third highest total this year. Senior midfielder Josh Dubinsky (Woodstock) won 16 of 27 faceoffs against three WNEU opponents.

Both teams had qualified for the NCAA tournament after winning their second straight conference playoff championships, Eastern in the Little East Conference and Western New England in the Commonwealth Coast Conference.

Baseball: Warriors Survive Opener, 10-9

Video     Live Stats

In game featuring five lead changes, two-run eighth decisive in LECs

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LEC LOGO PARE72dpi.jpgGORHAM, Maine - Senior centerfielder Mike Riemer (Ellington) and senior second baseman Drew Accomando (Monroe) stroked consecutive run-scoring singles with two out in the bottom of the eighth inning to lift the Eastern Connecticut State University baseball team to a 10-9 win over the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth in the opening game of the 2013 Little East Conference tournament at the USM Baseball Field.

Above: Tyler Caserta

A winner of its last six, second-seeded Eastern (29-11-1) advances in the winners' bracket Thursday at 3:30 p.m. against No. 4 Massachusetts Boston (16-21), which came from three runs down to score four runs in the sixth and upend No. 3 Keene State College (18-22) in the third of three games on the first day. UMass Dartmouth (15-22) plays No. 6 Western Connecticut State University (17-23) in an elimination game Thursday at 9:30 a.m. Western fell to No. 1 seed University of Southern Maine (34-7), 13-2, in Wednesday morning's tournament opener. USM meets Keene State Thursday at 12:30 p.m.

UMass wiped out a three-run Eastern lead with five runs in the top of the fifth inning on two doubles and a triple and six hits in all to move out to a 7-5 lead. Later trailing 9-8, Eastern scored the tying and go-ahead runs in the eighth to make for the fifth lead change in the contest.With one out, junior shortstop Brendan Lynch (Wethersfield) singled and stole his team-leading 18th base of the season. With two out, Riemer sent in the tying run with a single to left-center. An error allowed Riemer to move into scoring position, and Accomando singled up the middle to score Riemer with the go-ahead run.

Making his 28th appearance of the season - tying the season record -- senior righty Matt Purnell (Stafford Springs) got the final five outs of the game to earn his sixth win in seven decisions. Purnell surrendered the tying and go-ahead runs in the top of the eighth on a double by No. 3 batter George Aggostini, but got a pair of strikeouts to prevent further damage, then left the tying run at first in the ninth with a game-ending ground ball to Lynch.

Riemer and Accomando each had three hits and scored three runs, with Accomando also reaching with a walk. Junior leftfielder Tommy McKenna (Lexington, MA) had a two-run single in a three-run fourth inning that gave Eastern a 5-2 cushion.

Senior rightfielder Tyler Caserta (Stratford)  was credited with three RBI on a two-out single that tied the game in the second, an infield ground ball in the three-run fourth, and a two-out  single in the seventh that gave the Warriors an 8-7 lead in the seventh.

UMass ripped four Eastern pitchers for 17 hits, but were given only one walk, and the Corsairs stranded nine runners and hit into a double play. Junior righty Pat Barnett (Windsor) allowed only one run on five hits with three strikeouts over three innings after taking over for senior lefty starter Tom Darby (Middletown, RI) after the first four UMass batters reached safely in the Corsairs' five-run fifth.

Caserta is batting .393 (11-for-28) on a current eight-game hitting streak which has raised his batting average to a season-high .250. Accomando, batting cleanup for only the second time this year, has hit safely in his last seven.

Eastern swept UMass Boston when the teams met April 13 at Campanelli Stadium in Brockton, MA, 2-0, and 4-0.


 

Lax: In Tough Times, They Kept Faith

Buoyed by LEC titles, the men and women open in NCAAs today

wlaxlineup72_9272.jpgWILLIMANTIC, Conn. -- In 2013, it took losing to bring out the winning in the Eastern Connecticut State University lacrosse teams, which went on to capture Little East Conference championships for the first time in the same season and qualify for the NCAA tournament.

In the midst of their worst season in program history, the women (7-11) overhauled their offense and defense after bottoming out in a frustrating 17-8 home loss in the regular-season finale to Western Connecticut State University two weeks ago. These adjustments, in concert with a resolve which prevailed while losses mounted, propelled the club to an improbable three-game run through the Little East Conference playoffs.

Less than a week later - after reviewing tape and making major changes to their offensive and defensive schemes -- the No. 5-seeded Warriors  turned around to stun No. 4 Western, dispatching the Colonials (15-7) as efficiently as they themselves had been vanquished in the regular-season finale. Three days later,  top-seeded Plymouth State fell in a hotly-contested match (8-6) - an outcome which stopped the Panthers' eight-game winning streak. In the final at the University of Southern Maine - team which had tripped up the homestanding Warriors by a goal in the 2010 championship game as the No. 5 seed - Eastern scored four straight goals after the Huskies struck first - and went on to their fourth conference championship, 10-7.

ECSU Celebrate_72.jpgThe conference title was the first for the senior class, which had previously lost twice in the final and once in the semifinals.

"Coming from the bottom made it so much more unbelievable," noted senior Daniela Marchitto, the LEC Midfielder-of-the-Year. "Every single person on the team contributed to this win. After every conference loss this year, we knew that we could have won, so going into the conference tournament, we knew that we could play with them. Since it was 'do-or-die' in the tournament, it got us to turn it on."

The team had hit rock-bottom after the regular-season loss to Western, which penetrated the Eastern defense at will to score on nearly half of its shots to defeat Eastern for the first time ever. The Colonials scored six of the game's first seven goals and were never headed. On their offensive end, the Warriors were bottled up, forced to take low-percentage, hurried shots and failing on two-third of just 17 tries.

The loss to Western was Eastern's third in a row and seventh in their last eight games and dropped them to a program-lowest No. 5 seed in the playoffs. Although the only conference wins had come to two of the losing LEC teams, wins had been attainable in all three LEC losses prior to Western.

CONN_ncaapreview728288.jpg"We had potential and were talented, but we were not winning. There was a lot of frustration," admitted Marchitto. "But the coaches made crucial changes (after the Western loss). We adjusted our defense and set specific goals for the offense. The coaches realized what we needed. Our defense was so poor against Western, that it was easy to see what we needed to fix. After that, it felt like a new team. It was the same players, but a new team."

After seeing how effective the changes were in the LEC opener against Western, the team was excited to see if they would be as productive against Plymouth, the top seed. They were. "We came out on fire," said Marchitto. "It was a fight, but there was never a moment of doubt."

For the seniors, the first two trips to the LEC final in 2010 and 2011 resulted in disappointing losses. This time, losing was not an option. "Everyone knew we could win this," said Marchitto. "It was pure desire, there was no stopping us. Southern Maine overlooked us. They were praying that we would beat (top-seeded) Plymouth, and we used that (to our advantage)."

Even in the dark moments of the season, Marchitto says that the bench players kept everyone's spirits up, and wanted only for the seniors to go out as winners.

"The role the bench played was so big," she said. "Everyone came to practice with a great attitude and enthusiasm. It was a real team atmosphere. Everyone knew and accepted their role, and that helped. In the playoffs, Haley (junior goalie Heslin) really stepped it up. The season was hard for her because we weren't helping her out. But her attitude in the tournament was inspiring. Her confidence was different in the tournament. She wanted it so bad. She said it was for the seniors."

In their fourth NCAA appearance, the women were scheduled to face No. 10 nationally-ranked College of New Jersey Wednesday night at Ewing, NJ at 7 p.m.

The Eastern men (10-7) overcame a 3-7 start - including a 7-6 regular-season conference loss at Keene State college April 6 - to successfully defend their 2012 LEC championship with a 9-8 victory on top-seeded Keene's home field Sunday.

Regardless of who wins the regular-season match in this rivalry, however, the teams, more often than not, met again in the final.

axel_raw_8043.JPG"I told (Keene head coach Mark Theriault)  after they beat us, that we'd see them again in three weeks (in the final)," remembers junior All-America midfielder Mike Devine, who scored the tying and winning goals late in the championship game. "He looked at me and said, 'yup.'"

In nine previous championship games between Eastern and Keene,  the top-seeded team - the one which had prevailed in the regular-season showdown - had emerged with the LEC gold medal at its home venue.

The championship trophy was the eighth for the Warriors in the 13-year history of the LEC championships - twice as many as Keene.

In previous years, losing the regular-season matchup had been a death blow for that team. This time, it was not. After losing that match to Keene and another four days later to nationally-ranked Wesleyan University (13-9), Eastern ran the table through the regular season and the LEC playoffs in order to qualify for their eighth NCAA tournament, third in five years.

In similar response to the women's loss to Western Connecticut in the regular-season finale, sixth-year men's coach Justin Axel was quite certain that, given a few tweaks, his team was capable of winning the title on Keene's home field, if they were, in fact, capable to getting to that point.

After crushing UMass Boston at home in the regular-season finale, 20-0, Eastern never eased off the gas peddle, routing Western Connecticut, 23-4, at home in the conference semifinals. Coming off a four-overtime road win over UMass Dartmouth in the first round, Western was overwhelmed by the Warriors, who scored all 15 goals of the first half en route to the easy victory.

To the surpise of absolutely no one, the Keene re-match at the Owl Athletic Complex  lived up to its billing. As has become common in this rivalry, Eastern fell behind early (4-1), but answered with four straight goals and never trailed through the early minutes of the fourth quarter until Tyler McKelvie and JT Gallow struck ten seconds apart to give the hosts their final lead, 8-7, with 12 minutes left.

Still trailing by that margin with six minutes left, Devine broke through for his first goal since late in the first half to knot the game. A minute later, he beat Keene goalie Alex Sharp with his 33rd goal of the season. "I hadn't really been getting my hands free very much in the game," admitted Devine. "But I just turned around and just shot it. I'm a shooter, I'm a muscle guy, I'm not real quick. I just shot it far third (of the net), and it went in... thank God." The Eastern defense, which successfully killed all six of the Owls' man-up opportunities in the game, did the rest.

Since the emotional game was characterized by short stretches of dominance by each team, Devine wasn't completely sure that the lead would necessarily hold up over the final five minutes, but he had faith in the defense. "I felt that our defense would step up," he pointed out. "Blake (freshman goalie Smaldone) played outstanding, and top to bottom, (defensemen) Stoop (Nick), Brown (Chris) and Tiger (Travis) all played great. They should get most of the credit. They kept us in the game. We kinda struggled early (offensively), but our defense is just a bunch of solid guys who we trust."

Everyone wearing Keene's color was stunned by the final outcome - only Keene's second home loss all year --which touched off a celebration by the Eastern players and its fans.

"There was not a word coming out of the stands," recalled Devine of the minutes after the final horn sounded. "They're wild up there, but once that buzzer hit zero, I think everyone was in shock... except for the 45 guys in our locker room. From the start, no one thought that we would repeat as LEC champions, because of the way we started the regular season. But the only thing that mattered was us 45 guys believing it."

The men bring a seven-game winning streak into their NCAA opener at Western New England University Wednesday at 4 p.m. at Golden Bear Stadium. The Golden Bears are ranked No. 8 in New England and earned the automatic bid as the Commonwealth Coast Conference champion for the second straight season.

No player on either Eastern or Western New England had been involved when the teams last met in 2007 in a 17-6 WNEU victory.


 

 

 

Three from Eastern are Major Awardees

Fifteen are recognized with season-ending LEC awards in three sports

cooper72_8440.jpgNORTH DARTMOUTH, Mass - Eastern Connecticut State University softball senior Arielle Cooper (Mystic) and head coach Diana Pepin and women's lacrosse senior Daniela Marchitto (Orange) were recognized with major awards in the Little East Conference season-ending awards program in the sports of softball, women's and men's lacrosse, with a total of 15 individuals in three sports being honored.

At left: Arielle Cooper

Cooper became the softball program's second straight Player-of-the-Year recipient (third overall) and 12th-year head coach Pepin was awarded Coach-of-the-Year honors for the fifth time in the last eight years, while Marchitto was selected women's lacrosse Midfielder-of-the-Year - an award instituted in 2011.

All-America junior midfielder Mike Devine (Cheshire) and senior faceoff specialist Josh Dubinsky (Woodstock) were named to the All-LEC first team, headlining a collection of six all-conference selections for the men's lacrosse team, with senior defenseman Nick Stoop (Crofton, MD) and junior attacks Mike Jordan (Cheshire) and Trevor Morrissette (Bedford, NH) and junior midfielder Tyler Fresen (Newington) garnering second-team All-LEC accolades.

marchitto_program300_4575.jpgAll six of the softball teams All-LEC picks received first-team recognition. Cooper was named to the  team for the third time in her career (second straight season to the first team), and was joined by senior first baseman Kelly Paterson (Southington), junior centerfielder Mattie Brett (Waterford), junior utility player Megan Godwin (Manchester) and sophomore DP Sam Rossetti (Shelton).

At left: Daniela Marchitto

Paterson was a second-team pick at the utility position as a junior while Brett and Rossetti were first-time honorees. Godwin was recognized as LEC Rookie-of-the-Year as a freshman. As a freshman at Endicott College in 2011, Brett was an honorable mention all-conference pick at shortstop. All except Rossetti started all 42 games for Eastern (28-14), which claimed its fourth straight LEC regular-season title and finished third in the LEC tournament.

Marchitto, a four-time all-conference pick and former Offensive Player-of-the-Year and Rookie-of-the-Year in soccer, earned first-team recognition in lacrosse for the third straight year. She was joined on the first team by senior defender Rachel Meotti (Glastonbury) and senior midfielder Christina Rully (Orange), her former high school teammate. Marchitto was preceded by seven former LEC Player-of-the-Year selections since 2005, four on defense and three on offense.

After transferring from the Division II level, Meotti earned All-LEC laurels in each of her three seasons with the Warriors. She was voted to the second team as a sophomore and junior.
Rully was cited for the first time in her four-year career.

Batting primarily leadoff, Cooper put the finishing touches on a sterling career and brilliant final season. She currently leads all conference players in virtually every offensive category, among them batting (.538), slugging (1.076), total bases (142), on-base percentage (.629),  runs (61), hits (71), RBI (43), home runs (16), doubles (13), and walks (34). Her marks for batting, slugging, total bases, on-base percentage, runs, hits and home runs represented program season records, and her final season batting average was 99 points above her previous-season best, set last year.

Below: Diana Pepin

pepin_head_72_9831.jpgThrough post-season tournament competition, Cooper is ranked second nationally in on-base percentage, third in slugging, fourth in home runs, home runs per game and batting, and seventh in walks and runs per game.

Paterson batted a career-high .356 this season to push her career average over .300 to .309. She was second to Cooper with 42 RBI - more than twice as many as her previous high total in a season. Playing primarily first base, but also second, she completed her career ranked fifth all-time with 642 putouts and tied for sixth with a .984 fielding average.

Brett was second to Cooper in most offensive categories, batting .378 (73 percentage points better than her sophomore season) with 41 runs, 51 hits and 12 stolen bases (in 12 attempts).

In her first season as a starter, Rossetti also played first base and right field and batted .368 - third best on the squad - with five home runs and 35 RBI. Godwin started 20 games in the middle infield and 16 in left field. She posted career-highs in batting (.344), hits (42), RBI (26), runs (28) and on-base percentage (.434).

Marchitto is tied for fourth in the conference in goals (55) and is fourth in points (66) and leads the club in scoring for the second straight year. With Marchitto, Eastern (7-11) became only the second No. 5 seed to win the LEC playoffs, with road victories over three higher-seeded teams: No. 4 seed Western Connecticut, top-seeded Plymouth State University, and No. 2 University of Southern Maine.  Marchitto needs two goals to become the third 200-goal career scorer in program history and her 252 points ranks her second.

Meotti ranks fourth in the conference with  57 ground balls and also leads Eastern with 36 caused turnovers and is second with 45 draw controls - all season-bests. In the LEC playoffs, Meotti led Eastern with 13 ground balls and ten caused turnovers, won four draws and chipped in two assists.

Rully has contributed six goals, six assists, 35 ground balls and 19 caused turnovers.

The women's lacrosse team faces 13-time national champion College of New Jersey Wednesday at 7 p.m. in the first round of the NCAA tournament at Ewing, NJ.

As the No. 2 seed, the men's lacrosse team (10-7) defended its 2012 Little East playoff title with a 9-8 victory at top-seeded Keene State College Sunday - its seventh straight victory since a 3-7 start.

Devine was named to the All-LEC first team for the second straight season, third time in all, while Dubinsky repeated as a first-team pick at the specialist position. Fresen repeated second-team mention and Morrissette and Jordan gained recognition for the first time.

Devine has 33 goals and 16 assists and is one of 11 100-goal scorers in program history. Dubinsky has won 52.6 percent of his faceoffs (173-329) with a team-high 102 ground balls, recording more than 100 for the second straight season. Ranking second all-time with 328 ground balls, Dubinsky is third all-time in faceoffs won, with 469.

After managing only 14 goals and 23 points in his first two season combineds, Jordan leads the LEC in points (66) and goals (46) this year, with seven of his goals and four assists coming in two LEC playoff victories. Morrissette shares second on the team with Devine with 33 points and has 47 points, while Fresen leads all Eastern players with 24 assists and is second to Jordan with 52 points.

While Eastern never allowed a conference opponent to score double-digit goals, Stoop was the team's only All-LEC defenseman chose to the all-star squad. Playing on his first LEC playoff champion this year after missing all of 2012 with a back injury, Stoop picked up 21 ground balls and caused 12 turnovers this year. Stoop is in his second year as an active player after transferring from the Division I level.

The Warriors visit Western New England University in the NCAA first round Wednesday at 4 p.m.

The LEC baseball awards will be announced next Tuesday following the completion of this week's conference tournament.


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


 

By Jonathan Mizger/Sports Information Staff

serious72_4971.jpgEditor's Note: This question-and-answer session with lacrosse sisters Kelsea and Amy Burkhardt of Old Saybrook is the second in a four-part series devoted to sibling athletes at Eastern. The third installment is a question-and-answer with Monroe natives Drew Accomando of the baseball team and sophomore brother Dean of the lacrosse team. The final installment profiles the unique situation in the men's lacrosse program, which includes three sets of brothers this year: Drew and Angus Deane, Kevin and Sean Fechtmann, and Mike and Brendan Gillotti.

Above and below: Amy (2) and Kelsea (22) Burkhardt

goofUSE72_USE4966.jpg

The Burkhardts are 18 months apart in age, Kelsey celebrating her 21st birthday yesterday (May 6).A junior attack, Kelsea is wrapping up her third year in the lacrosse program, while Amy, a sophomore, is in her second season with the club. Amy's move to defense this year has made for some very, uh, 'competitive'  1 v. 1 bouts in practice this season. While they have their own personalities, they are more similar than different, according to head coach Christine Hutchison, who describes them as hard-working on the field and in the classroom, and as individuals who are willing to accept whatever role best helps the team.

 

Were you two inseparable growing up?
Kelsea:
"No, we did a lot together."
Amy: "We were always together."
Kelsea: "Yeah, we were always together, like we did everything together but we were kind of forced to."

Did you two share a bedroom while growing up?
Amy: "Yes."

What kinds of things do you like to do together?
Amy
: "We always went to the beach, family vacations, always went to the beach."
Kelsea: "We played outside a lot, when we grew up we played sports together."
What kinds of things do you have in common?
Kelsea: "We both play lacrosse and soccer."
Amy: "Same senses of humor, we both like the same kinds of things."
Kelsea: "We have different friends because we're different ages, but she's only a grade younger than me."
Amy: "We get along with each other's friends."
Kelsea: "We both babysit the same families."

In what ways are you alike, and in what ways are you different?
Kelsea:
"I know  I know exactly what I want to do, I'm more serious about school and you're like a wild child. She's definitely more outgoing."
Amy: "Kelsea's more tense and needs to get things done, while I'm like more relaxed."
Kelsea: "Yeah that's true."

How did you guys both get involved in lacrosse and soccer?
Amy:
"We started at the same time. You started in the seventh grade and I started in sixth grade."
Kelsea: "Oh yeah, but we both didn't play lacrosse until high school, so I started my freshman year and when she was a freshman she started, too, but I think it's because we just liked doing that kind of stuff together. So then when she could play in high school because we didn't have a middle school team, I would talk about it so much and how much fun it was and how in high school it was a way to make your own group of friends. It was a totally different activity that you could do. We both just ended up loving the sport. And same in college."

Do you guys compete against each other a lot in sports and school?
Kelsea:
"Yeah, we get competitive with each other."
Amy: "Yeah I think I'm definitely harder on Kelsea than anyone else on the team."
Kelsea: "We know that we can challenge each other and  it won't be taken personally at all."
Amy: "Exactly, and be honest with each other."

In what ways would your parents or friends say you are alike or in what ways would they say you are different?
Kelsea
: "People say that we are completely opposite. All of our teammates obviously know us both so well and they say 'you guys are polar opposites'."
Amy: "Not that Kelsea is quiet but I think you're more...  I'm definitely louder and 'out there' and you're more conservative and sheltered."
Kelsea: "I don't know. I don't know why it seems like we're so different."
Amy:" I don't think we're different, but everyone else thinks that we are."

Do you think that your parents wanted the two of you to go to the same college, or did they leave it entirely up to you both?
Kelsea:
"They definitely left it up to us, but they really love that we both go to the same school and they love that we play lacrosse together. They never persuaded us at all to do the same thing."
Amy: "They were always having tried to allow us to go in whatever direction we wanted to."
Kelsea: "I'm surprised she went to Eastern."
Amy: "Following in your footsteps."

Why did you both choose Eastern?
Kelsea
: "Well I came here because I wanted to teach and it's best to get your teacher's certificate in Connecticut and so I could play lacrosse."
Amy: "I just ended up liking it here,  among the schools that I applied to; Eastern had the best of what I wanted for the atmosphere. From the other schools I applied to, none of them really stood out as much as Eastern."

What do you guys do to each other that makes you angry?
Amy:
"We just like to mess with each other."
Kelsea: "Yeah, she takes it too far sometimes. Sometimes it gets a little physical. I play attack and she plays defense so,  if she's defending me she'll  take me down; I have scars, literally, on my knee, right there."
Amy: "I just go harder on you. The way that I go play against Kelsea is the way that I would play against other teams."
Kelsea: "But you kind of back off with our teammates."
Amy: "When we have disagreements on things."
Kelsea: "Well, you like your space so when you are in a bad mood and I  come over to you, you just like 'back off,' like you get mad at that sometimes."

Who is the better all-around athlete?
Kelsea
: "Amy. She's definitely more athletic than I am. She just is. She is more naturally athletic than I am."

How much contact do the two of you have on an ordinary day at school?
Kelsea
: "Everyday."
Amy: "Other than lacrosse, when it's the fall semester, we don't really talk a lot. We have less contact. Lacrosse definitely forces us to be around each other."

What motivates you both to play sports or do well in the classroom?
Kelsea:
"For sports, my team and having Amy on the team motivates me. From her competitive part, I always want to play at her level and so we can always play sports together. In the classroom, I want to be a teacher and you have to get a teacher's certificate to be a teacher."
Amy: "I guess I would have to say on the field definitely my team and Kelsea definitely drive me to work my hardest and play up to her level, as well."
Kelsea: "We're competitive with each other,  so we like to raise the standards for each other."
Amy: I agree. In the classroom, definitely making my parents happy and I know that I can do it and putting everything into it."

Track: Four from Eastern are All-NE

Hultzman and Chambers break records; Hewett All-NE in 200 and 400

hultzmanDIINE2013FRANK72.jpgHewett_raw_8635.JPG

Hultzman, Hewett (Photo by Frank Poulin)

WATERVILLE, Maine - Two Eastern Connecticut State University men and two women attained All-New England honors and broke records this past weekend at the New England Division III Outdoor Track & Field Championships, hosted by Colby College.

Junior Lauren Hultzman (Putnam) broke the program's heptathlon record with 4028 points en route to a fifth-place finish in a field of 13, and also achieved All-New England recognition in the high jump with a mark of 5-4 ¼ which netted her second place. Sophomore Nikki Chambers (East Hampton), hindered by shin splints this year, clocked a record 2:15.53 in the 800 which gave her fifth place and a program record. The time was more than there seconds that a week ago at the New England Alliance/Little East Conference Championships.

For the men, junior Fredrick Hewett (New London) posted a PR of 48.75 (.54 off the program record) in placing fourth in the 400, and was timed in 22.34 in a seventh-place finish in the 200.Sophomore Andre Reynolds (Hartford) squeezed into eighth place in the 110 hurdles with a time of 15.53 in the final.

The top eight individuals and relays are accorded All-New England honors.

The men's 4x100 missed All-New England recognition by .03 in a ninth-place finish of 43.18 (.31 seconds off the program record). Running the relay were Hewett, sophomore D'Vonte Chambers (West Haven), junior Andrew Prince (Orange) and freshman John Boisette (East Hartford).

Eighth a year ago in the heptathlon in this meet with 3639 points, Hultzman won the high jump, was second in the long jump, fourth in the 100 hurdles and javelin, eighth in the shot, ninth in the 200 and 12th in the 800. She stood in second place after the first day of competiton, when four events were completed.

Senior Cora Gingras (East Hampton), who had set the previous program heptathlon record at last year's New England meet with 3859 points, totaled 3741 this year. She was third in the 100 hurdles and high jump, sixth in the 800, eighth in the long jump, 11th in the 200 and javelin, and 13th in the shot.

Gingras was also tied for 15th in the high jump with freshman Erica Andrasi (Trumbull) and 22nd in the triple jump, and junior Akaya McElveen (New Haven) ran to a 19th-place finish in the 400. The 4x400 relay of McElveen, junior Tacia Bryant (Guilford), senior Christine Charpentier (Monroe) and Chambers was 15th, and the 4x100 relay of Bryant, Charpentier, McElveen and Chambers placed 16th.

For the men, sophomore Dylan Kruppa (Torrington) placed 23rd in the 400, as did sophomore Luisantonio Rosado (Ponce, PR) in the 400 hurdles, and Boisette and Prince both competed in the preliminaries of the 100. The 4x400 relay of Hewett, Kruppa, senior Ryan Franklin (Glastonbury) and Boisette registered a 14th-place finish.

In 2012, Hultzman also gained All-New England honors in the high jump by taking second in the Division III Championships and sixth in the New England Open. Last year, Hewett was sixth in the 400 in the Open and fourth in the 200 at the Division III meet.

Eastern competes in the New England Open  this weekend at Stonehill College.


 

For Lacrosses, On Deck are NCAAs

The men visit WNEU at 4 p.m., and the women travel to TCNJ at 7 p.m.

Img9.gifwlaxncaapreview72_7961.jpgmlaxncaapreview72_8991.jpgWILLIMANTIC, Conn. - For the first time, the Eastern Connecticut State University men's and women's lacrosse teams will compete in the NCAA Division III Tournament in the same year, and both will open up on the road on Wednesday.

The women (7-11) face 13-time national champion College of New Jersey (13-4) at 7 p.m. at Lion's Stadium in their fourth NCAA appearance - first since 2008. The men (10-7), who moved into the New England poll today at No. 8, bring a season-high seven-game winning streak into their eighth NCAA tournament and face Western New England University (11-6) at 4 p.m. at Golden Bear Stadium. The Golden Bears are ranked in a tie for No. 4 in New England.

Both the Eastern women and men qualified as the representatives from the Little East Conference by winning the LEC playoff final Sunday on their opponent's home field. Seeded No. 5, the women eliminated three higher-ranked teams on the road, culminating in a 10-7 victory over No. 2 seed University of Southern Maine. Seeded No. 2, the men upended No. 1 Keene State College, 9-8. Eastern and Keene were meeting in the final for the tenth time and it was the first time that the visiting team won the title.

Ranked ninth nationally, New Jersey is making its 29th straight NCAA appearance, having reached the title match 17 times. Since winning back-to-back titles in 2005 and 2006, TCNJ has compiled an 11-6 NCAA record, winning its opener every season. Eastern has lost its NCAA opener every year.

Western New England will be competing in the NCAA tournament for the seventh time, having won its opening game a year ago in double overtime at Conn College before being eliminated at RIT, 15-9. Eastern is 1-7 in seven NCAA showings. Eastern and Western New England have met six times previously, the Golden Bears having won the first in 1996 and the most recent (17-6) in 2007 at Springfield, MA.

 

ECSU's King Sisters:Similar Differences

By Jonathan Mizger/Sports Information Staff

Editor's Note: This question-and-answer with swimming sisters Colleen and Katie King of Barkhamsted is the first  in a four-part series devoted to sibling athletes at Eastern. The second installment is a question-and-answer with lacrosse sisters Kelsea and Amy Burkhardt of Old Saybrook, and the third is with Monroe natives Drew Accomando of the baseball team and sophomore brother Dean of the lacrosse team. The final installment will be a story about the unique situation in the men's lacrosse program, which includes three sets of brothers this year: Drew and Angus Deane, Kevin and Sean Fechtmann, and Mike and Brendan Gillotti.

kingsUSE72dpi_4858.jpgA junior on this past season's swimming team, Colleen King  (at right in photo) is a junior three-year letterwinner who was joined this season by her freshman sister Katie.  Both are high honors students, Colleen majoring in Graphic Design and Katie in Math. While they have somewhat different personalities, they are similar in the respect that they are both devoted to their family, their academics, and their teammates.

Despite nursing a shoulder injury throughout the season, Colleen posted the fastest time on the team this year in the 50 yard butterfly, while Katie set program records in the 50 and 100 breaststroke. Both were All-New England at the NEISDA Championships in February. In the 50 breaststroke at the New England meet,  the two were separated by only .55 seconds and both were also members of the record-setting 200 medley relay which placed third and reaped All-New England honors.

Were you two inseparable growing up?
Colleen
: I wouldn't say inseparable. We would have our fights every now and then.
Katie: We didn't start getting along until middle school. That's when we start getting closer.

Did you two share a bedroom while growing up?
Colleen:
Yeah,  for what, probably ten years?
Katie: We shared a bedroom (when the family lived) in Winsted, in the condo, until I was ten, so nine or ten years.

What kinds of things do you like to do together?
Katie: Shop, go to the beach, anything. We go to games here together, go eat, anything.
Colleen: If one of us is bored, we'll always call up the other one.

What kind of things do you have in common?
Katie
: Our personalities, sense of humor.
Colleen: We both like to do things outdoors.

Did you both compete with each other in a lot of different things?
Colleen:
Well,l I started swimming when I was seven and Kate started two years later, I think, when she was seven, and, in the most part growing up we were in different age groups, so we didn't necessarily race each other until high school.
Katie: We have never raced one-on-one until this year at New England's in the same race, the 50 breast. I got third and Colleen got fifth.

Did that make you angry that she beat you?
Colleen:
No. Everyone always asks me that and it doesn't bother me at all.

In what ways would your parents or friends say you are alike or in what ways would they say you are different?
Colleen:
Katie has more of an attitude than I do, more competitive, more aggressive.
Katie: I'm a lot more driven.
Colleen: Everyone says that I'm nice, that I'm too nice.
Katie: She needs a fire to be lit under her, by somebody else.

When you both were in high school or junior high, did you ever talk about maybe playing sports or at least attending the same college?
Colleen:
Well, we did play the same sports. We both played volleyball in high school, and we swam together for two years, and then Kate stopped swimming for the high school.
Katie: The year she graduated. We never talked about going to the same school, it just kind of happened. I mean, she wanted to come here all along. This wasn't my top choice,  but things just happened the way they did.

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At right: At the season-ending awards banquet May 5, Colleen (at left in photo)  received an E-Club Outstanding Scholar-Athlete Award, while Katie was voted Individual Sport Rookie-of-the-Year.

Do you think that your parents wanted the two of you to go to the same college, or did they leave it entirely up to you both?
Colleen:
I don't think they necessarily pushed her to go to the same school as they did me.
Katie: No, not at all.
Colleen: I mean, it was convenient
Katie: I had it in my head that I did not want to go to the same school as Colleen, because I didn't want to follow in her footsteps and be copying her. I didn't want to feel like I had already some friends made for me and stuff because that's the way it happened in high school;  I would just get along with her friends, too. It wasn't ideal in my head at first, but I like it now.

What do you do to each other thats get you angry?
Colleen
: Taking my stuff, that's probably the number one thing.
Katie: She wears my clothes without asking sometimes, that's pretty much it.

Who is the better all-around athlete?
Katie
: Colleen was a three-sport athlete in high school, with something like 11 letters, and I swam for four years, played volleyball for four years, and I did track for a year.
Colleen: She's more focused on swimming, that's her thing. 
Katie: She was better than me in volleyball and track, obviously, but I'm better at swimming, I guess.

Colleen, what do you do better than Katie?
I don't know. I have a more optimistic view on life; she gets more stressed out easily.

Katie, what do you do better than Colleen?
Plan things out probably.  I think about things ahead of time, I swim better, I study harder, and that's about it.

How much contact do you have on an ordinary day at school?
Colleen
: Kind of depends, like there will be days where we text each other a lot and there are times where we don't hear from each other.
Katie: When we're bored, we text each other. When she's at work, I always know when she is at work I'll have like a hundred texts rolling in. (Editor's Note: In Colleen's best interest, we will not divulge the name of her employer).

Do you have less contact when you are out of season?
Katie:
Yeah, I mean I don't see her as much, I see her about once a week, rather than every day.

 

 

W-Lax: Warriors Complete Run, 10-7

 

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Fifth-seeded Eastern crowned Little East champ for fourth time 

With men also winning, programs nets titles for first time in same season

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At left: Erin Conn, playoff MVP

GORHAM, Maine -- You could argue that the Eastern Connecticut State University women's lacrosse team did not have one of its best regular seasons in program history in 2013. But you can't argue that, come post-season tournament time, their timing was impeccable.

In a development thought by many to be impossible ten short days ago, the fifth-seeded Warriors avenged three regular-season conference losses with road victories over higher-seeded opponent in the 2013 Little East Conference playoffs, capping their run with a 10-7 triumph over second-seeded University of Southern Maine Sunday afternoon.

NCAA First Round: Wednesday at College of NJ, 7 p.m.

Later Sunday, the second-seeded Eastern men erased an early three-goal deficit, getting consecutive goals a minute apart from junior All-America Mike Devine (Cheshire) inside the final six minutes to upend No. 1 seed Keene State College, 9-8, at Keene, NH. The title is the second straight for the men and eighth overall. Although the men and women have combined for 12 LEC championships, this season marks the first time that they have accomplished it in the same season. It is the tenth time in 13 years that either the Eastern women or men have attained the LEC playoff championship.

The championship game was a re-match of the 2010 final, when Southern Maine (12-7) completed a sweep of the No. 4, No. 1 and No. 2 seeds with a 15-14 conquest of Eastern on its home field. This year, Eastern (7-11) atoned for regular-season losses in the playoffs with  victories over No. 4 Western Connecticut (15-7) and No. 1 Plymouth State University (8-6) before completing its work by upending Southern Maine Sunday. Eastern had lost at Plymouth, 11-7 on Apriil 13, at Southern Maine a week later, 16-10, and at home to Western Connecticut, 15-7, six days prior to eliminating the Colonials on their home field.

The championship makes Eastern the conference's representative to the NCAA Division III tournament. The Warriors will open the tournament Wednesday at 12-time national champion College of New Jersey at 7 p.m.  It will be the fourth NCAA qualification for the program -- all coming in the last eight seasons -- and third for the Warriors under seventh-year head coach Christine Hutchison. Ranked No. 9 nationally, TCNJ (13-4), a 17-time national finalist, is making its 29th straight NCAA tournament appearance, having claimed its most recent national championships in 2005 and 2006.

By winning its fourth title, Eastern pulls even with Plymouth State for total championships won in LEC competition. The championship game appearance was the tenth in 12 years for the Warriors, who have failed to advance to the ultimate game in only 2004 and last year, when the third-seeded team was eliminated in the semifinals by second-seeded and eventual champion Keene State College by one goal. Since winning the 2008 championship, Eastern had been beaten as the No. 1 seed in the 2009 and 2011 title games.

The three-game winning streak is the longest of the season for Eastern, which had lost five of six road contests through the end of the regular season.

It marks the third time in four years that the No. 5 seed has advanced to the title game, following Southern Maine in 2010 and Western Connecticut (which lost to Keene State) last year.

Sunday, junior attack Erin Conn (Moriches, NY) -- the tournament's Most Outstanding Player -- scored twice in three minutes after the Huskies had scored 17 seconds into action. junior Ashley Wolk (Barrington, RI) and senior Taylor Buchanan (Ellington) converted their first goals 32 seconds apart minutes later to propel the Warriors to a 4-1 advantage midway through the first half. Eastern's defense never allowed the Huskies closer than two goals the rest of the way.

After her two early goals, Conn was kept quiet by Southern Maine, which also prevented team scoring leader Daniela Marchitto (Orange) from taking a shot. Buchanan, however, stepped up by equalling her season-high with four goals -- on four shots -- and adding an assist. Buchanan, playing this season with a brace due to ACL surgery, had managed only two total goals in the last four matches. Following her early goal, Buchanan netted her second late in the first half to give the Warriors a 6-3 halftime cushion, made it 8-3 five minutes into the second half, and 10-6 with nine minutes left.

Senior defender Rachel Meotti (Glastonbury) -- the team leader in ground balls this season -- picked up seven Sunday, also won three draws and caused three turnovers, while junior Haley Heslin (Hartford) made four stops in net.

Sarah Pelligrinelli, Rosie Forster and Jacki Kelly -- Southern Maine's top three goal-scorers this season with a combined total of 111 -- were limited to  a total of four Sunday. The Huskies had won five of their last seven prior to Sunday, with a 13-12 LEC playoff win over Keene State in Friday's semifinals.

 

 

M-Lax Gets Defensive, Defends Title

 

group_with_sign_72.jpgThanks to Devine's intervention in final minutes, they become first visiting team to prevail in this Little East Conference title matchup with top-seeded Keene State College

devine_72dpi_program_9101.jpgKEENE, N.H. -  In the previous ten seasons prior to 2013, Eastern Connecticut State University and Keene State College had squared off in the championship game of the Little East Conference playoffs nine times. Each time, the top-seeded team (and host) came out on top.

At left: Mike Devine. playoff MVP

That all changed Sunday, when the second-seeded Eastern men erased an early three-goal deficit, getting consecutive goals a minute apart from junior All-America and playoff MVP Mike Devine (Cheshire) inside the final six minutes, to upend No. 1 seed Keene State, 9-8, at the Owl Athletic Complex.

NCAA: Wednesday at Western New England, time TBA

Keene's (14-3) one-goal victory over Eastern (10-7)  in the LEC regular-season opener for both schools a month ago tomorrow provided the Owls with the coveted home field advantage, but the Warriors  instead won their seventh straight game after a 3-7 start, stopping Keene's eight-game victory skein and handing the Owls their first loss to a conference opponent in nine games this year.

The Eastern men will compete in their 11th post-season tournament as the conference's automatic representative to the NCAA tournament, visiting Western New England University in a first-round match Wednsday at a time not yet announced.  It will be the Warriors' eighth appearance in the NCAA tourney,  third in sixth years under head coach Justin Axel. WNEU (11-6) is the automatic qualifier from the Commonwealth Coast Conference and is making its seventh NCAA appearance in the last 12 years.

The title is the second straight and eighth overall, and follows by a mere two hours the fifth-seeded Eastern's women's 10-7 upset at second-seeded University of Southern Maine in that lacrosse championship final.  Although the Eastern men and women have combined for 12 LEC championships, this season marks the first time that they have accomplished it in the same season. It is the tenth time in 13 years that either the Eastern women or men have attained the LEC playoff championship.

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At right: Defenseman Nick Stoop (31) is among nine Eastern seniors headed to the NCAA tournament for the second consecutive season.

A marked man this year by opponents, Devine had struggled at times this year coming off his All-America sophomore season, and was limited to just one goal (albeit an important one) as the Warriors trailed by a goal heading into the final minutes of regulation.  After Keene scored consecutive goals by freshman attack Tyler McKelvie and sophomore midfielder JT Galloway ten seconds apart to took over the lead with 12 minutes left, Devine unleashed consecutive unassisted scoring strikes one minute apart to decide the outcome.

Freshman goalie Blake Smaldone (Hamilton) posted his second LEC playoff win in three days, making a14 stops, and the Warriors' man-down unit did its part by killing off all six of the hosts' extra-man opportunities.

Although the Warriors trailed early by three goals, they answered with four straight - one each by junior attack and leading scorer Mike Jordan (Cheshire), Devine, freshman midfielder Ryan Scott (Norwalk), and junior attack Tyler Fresen (Newington) - and never trailed again until McKelvie and Galloway scored ten seconds apart.

Three times in the second half, Keene answered Eastern's go-ahead goal with the tying one.

While every Eastern-Keene championship match has been hotly-contested since 2004 (five previous ones decided by four goals or less), this year's was the first to be determined by one goal.

Student-Athletes Honored at Banquet

Athletic Awards Banquet

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From left: Michelle Schapp, Jaymie Sommers, David Geissler (son of Francis E. Geissler), Katie King, Nick Stoop, Trachone Preston, Mackenzie MacLeod, Chris Robitaille, Bonnie Edmondson, Arielle Cooper. Missing: Gia Karahalios.

Edmondson Female SportsPerson-of-the-Year

Mackenzie MacLeod (soccer)

 

 Geissler Male SportsPerson-of-the-Year

Nick Stoop (lacrosse)

 

Female Rookie-of-the-Year

Gia Karahalios (soccer)

 

Male Rookie-of-the-Year

Trachone Preston (basketball)

 

Female Athlete-of-the-Year

Arielle Cooper (softball)

 

Male Athlete-of-the-Year

Chris Robitaille (basketball)

 

Individual Sport Rookie-of-the-Year

Katie King (swimming)

 

Individual Sport Athlete-of-the-Year

Michelle Schapp (swimming)

 

Morrell Service Award

Jaymie Sommers (Recreation staff)

 

Faculty Athletic Representative Academic Award

Men's Soccer

 

Scholar-Athlete Award Recipients (43)scholarathletegroupUSE72_1641.jpgDrew Accomando, Finley Ahearn, Danielle Bourne, Kelsea Burkhardt, Christine Charpentier, Marissa Colley, Hannah Collier, Erin Conn,            Arielle Cooper, Drew Deane, Christine DeFilippo, Katie France,                 Ryan Franklin, Kelly Gawron, Lauren Hultzman, Joe Ives, Stephanie Johnson, Kaitlyn Kennedy, Colleen King, Nicole Leonard, Christine Lillis,          Mackenzie MacLeod, Daniela Marchitto, Rachel Meotti, Erynn Miller,      Brittany Miskell, Jordan Munsell, Rochelle Normandin, Alexa Palasky,          Kelly Paterson, Greg Porter, Mike Radlbeck, Mackenzie Russo,             Michelle Schapp, Merrick Smith, Katie Sokoloski, Nick Stoop, Cory Tobler, Jacqueline Tromp, Alex Verrill, Nicole Vitello, Kelly Wallace, Katie Wilson

 

 

 

 

Softball Third at LEC Tournament

Three-time defending champion Warriors bounced after one-run losses

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MANSFIELD, Conn. --  Behind the complete-game four-hit pitching of junior Michelle Sylvestre, fifth-seeded Rhode Island College avenged two regular-season losses with a 2-1 victory over top-seeded Eastern Connecticut State University that eliminated the Warriors from the 2013 Little East Conference Softball Tournament at the Eastern Softball Field Saturday.

At right: Christine Akcer

After outscoring its first two tournament opponents by a 12-4 margin, Eastern (28-14) was handcuffed by third-seeded Western Connecticut State University freshman Alexandra Sabith in a 1-0 loss - only its second shutout loss this year -- in the winners' bracket final Friday night, then was shut down by Sylvestre Saturday afternoon and eliminated from the tournament after three consecutive championships.

Western went on to its first LEC title in nine years with a 1-0 victory over Rhode Island (23-23)  Saturday afternoon after the Anchorwomen had forced a deciding game with a 6-0 triumph earlier Saturday.

Eastern senior Christine Akcer (Milford) threw a complete-game five-hitter in the loss. Akcer (7-5) did not allow an earned run and walked only one, but a two-out error in the first inning opened the door to both of Rhode Island's runs and the Warriors played catchup the rest of the day.

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At left: Alyssa Hancock

Freshman shortstop Alyssa Hancock (Waterford) slugged her third home run of the year with one out in the first for the Warriors, who threatened several times thereafter but could not break through again. After allowing Hancock's home run, Sylvestre gave up a two-out single to junior second baseman Jen Tamindzija (Malden, MA) in the second, a leadoff single by No. 9 batter Stephanie Johnson (Southington) in the third and senior first baseman Kelly Paterson's (Southington) one-out single in the seventh. An infield throwing error in the seventh moved Eastern junior leftfielder Megan Godwin (Manchester) to third base, but Sylvestre got an infield ground out to end the game.

While Eastern  was able to tee off on Keene State College freshman ace Mariah Crisp in a second-game win on Friday, it couldn't produce against Sabith or Sylvestre. Sabith had thrown a complete-game four-hitter in Western's 7-4 victory over Eastern and a split of the regular-season doubleheader.  Although the Warriors had soundly beaten Rhode Island twice during the regular season, they faced Sylvestre only briefly in a two-inning relief appearance in the first game.

While Akcer and sophomores Shannon Martin (Wethersfield) and Erin Miller (Waterford) were effective pitchers in the tournament for Eastern, the Warriors batted just .250 in four games after compiling a .343 batting average in the regular season.

Senior third baseman Arielle Cooper (Mystic), Martin and Johnson were the only starters to bat .300, and the Warriors were limited to only four extra-base hits after averaging nearly three per game during the regular season.

Western will be awarded the automatic bid granted the LEC tournament champion, and Eastern will await word on an at-large selection when the bids are extended Monday.


 

 

M-Lax: Warriors Overwhelming in LECs

Defending champs will meet Keene in title game for tenth time

fresen72WCSU_1176.jpgMANSFIELD, Conn. - Based upon the events of ten days ago, few could have predicted Eastern Connecticut State University's Little East Conference semifinal-round onslaught against Western Connecticut State University Friday night at the Mansfield Outdoor Complex.

At left: Eastern's Tyler Fresen (37) draws attention from Western defenseman Zach Bartlett in the first half of Friday's Little East victory. (Photo by Courtney Weber).

After struggling to a 12-9 triumph over Western in the final regular-season road match of the year April 23, second-seeded Eastern unloaded both barrels Friday, scoring 15 unanswered goals in the first half and waltzing to a 23-4 victory over the sixth-seeded Colonials (9-9).

With its fifth straight victory, defending tournament champion Eastern (9-7) moves into its annual LEC championship confrontation with top-rated Keene State College Sunday at the Owl Athletic Complex at 3 p.m.. Keene (14-2) won its eighth straight in Friday's other semifinal, dispatching fourth-seeded Plymouth State University, 19-9  for its seventh home victory in eight outings. Eastern has lost five of nine road contests this year, but is 3-1 away from home against LEC opponents, the one loss a 7-6 decision at Keene State a month ago.

Eastern and Keene have met in the title game nine times in the last ten years, Eastern having captured five. In each game, the home team has won.

All six Eastern goalies saw time, with freshman starter Blake Smaldone (Hamilton, MA) winning his fifth match in seven decisions. Smaldone made five saves without giving up a goal in the first half, and departed after the Colonials got on the board 32 seconds into the second half.

Thirteen different players contributed a goal or assist, led by junior attacks Mike Jordan (Cheshire) and Trevor Morrissette (Bedford, NH). Jordan had five goals and four assists and Morrissette five goals, with junior midfielder Tyler Fresen (Newington) adding two goals and three assists and sophomore midfielder Dean Accomando (Monroe) a goal and three helpers.

Senior midfielder Josh Dubinsky (Woodstock) won ten of 14 faceoffs and picked up nine ground balls.

With the victory, Eastern improved to 14-0 all-time in this series, four of the contests coming in the LEC playoffs.

 

W-Lax: Warriors Stun Plymouth, 8-6

They upend higher-seeded foe again, move into final for tenth time

PLYMOUTH, N.H. - Juniors Christine Lillis (Waterford) and Erin Conn (Moriches, NY) scored goals 12 seconds apart midway through the second half Friday afternoon, breaking a 6-6 tie and fifth-seeded Eastern Connecticut State University held on for a stunning 8-6 victory over top-seeded Plymouth State University in a Little East Conference women's lacrosse tournament semifinal game at PSU's Arold Field.

The goals by Lillis and Conn gave the Warriors the lead back with 13:36 remaining after PSU had rallied from a 6-3 halftime deficit to tie the game.  Both teams' defenses held their ground the rest of the way as Eastern pulled off the upset, avenging an 11-7 setback to PSU earlier this season.

The Warriors (6-11) advance to the LEC championship game Sunday at second-seeded University of Southern Maine (12-6) at 1 p.m.; the Huskies edged third-seeded Keene State College in Friday's other semifinal,13-12.  Eastern will be making its 10th LEC championship game appearance, seeking its fourth title (first since 2008). The Huskies edged the top-seeded Warriors, 15-14, in the 2010 final at Mansfield, Conn., and posted a 16-10 win over Eastern at Gorham two weeks ago.

The road win against a higher-seeded opponent in the playoffs is Eastern's second this week, following Tuesday's 15-7 first-round verdict at Western Connecticut State University.

Plymouth State had its eight-game winning streak snapped and winds up its season at 12-3 overall.  The Panthers were upset in the LEC semifinals for the second year in a row after capturing the regular season title with a 6-0 mark.

Conn and junior Taylor Shannon (Waterford) led the Warriors with three goals apiece, while senior Daniela Marchitto (Orange) and Lillis tallied one each. Conn also assisted on the game-winning goal by Lillis.

Sophomore Meghan McNabb scored two goals to lead the home team, while senior Caitlin Swanson, sophomores Amy MacDonald and Molly Gleason and freshman Emily Tilton added one each.

Junior Haley Heslin (Hartford) recorded the victory in goal for Eastern, making seven saves.  Junior Lorin Field also made seven saves in the Panther goal.

The teams traded goals in the first three minutes of the game, Shannon scoring the first goal for Eastern and Tilton answering for Plymouth.  The Warriors rattled off the next three goals, two by Conn and one by Shannon, to take a 4-1 lead with just under 12 minutes to play in the first half.  The teams alternated goals in the final six minutes and Eastern took a 6-3 margin into the break.

Plymouth came out of halftime and scored three goals in the first 10 minutes to deadlock the score.  Swanson tallied her 38th of the season with 27:23 on the clock, McNabb followed with her 32nd with 23:51 showing, and MacDonald scored the tying goal, her 36th, on a free position shot with 20:05 to play.

Eastern pulled ahead with 13:48 on the clock when Conn set up Lillis for what turned out to be the game-winner, and Conn added her own goal 12 seconds later, with an assist by senior Rachel Meotti (Glastonbury).

Plymouth State University Sports Information Office contributed to this game account.

Baseball: Eastern Sweeps, 13-11, 6-3

 Warriors will be No. 2 seed in upcoming Little East tournament

KEENE, N.H. -- Eastern Connecticut State University posted a pair of come-from-behind wins against  Keene State College in a Little East Conference baseball doubleheader played at Owl Athletic Complex Friday.

Trailing 10-8 going in the top of the ninth inning, The Warriors (28-11-1, 10-4 LEC) scored five runs to take the first game 13-11.  ECSU rallied for  a 6-3 victory in the night cap.

With the sweep, Eastern Conn. will be the second seed and face fifth seed UMass Dartmouth in its opening round game at noon. With the two losses, Keene State (18-21, 7-7 LEC) will be the third seed in the LEC six-team double-elimination tournament that begins Wednesday at Southern Maine. 

The Owls will face fourth seed UMass Boston in their opening-round game (3:30 p.m.).  Keene State couldn't hold on to several leads in a wild first game.  Trailing 3-0, the Owls scored four runs in the bottom of the second to go up 4-3.  Sophomore Tanner Luopa  and senior Greg Bates had RBI hits and freshman Cody Dube had a two-run double in the inning.

KSC added two more runs in the third to extend its lead to 6-3.  Luopa had a RBI single in the inning.

Without the benefit of a hit, the Owls plated two more runs in the sixth to make it an 8-5 game.

The Warriors scored two runs in the top of the eighth inning, tying the score at eight-all.  Seniors Mike Riemer (Ellington) and Drew Accomando (Monroe) had key RBI hits for Eastern.

 The Owls got the runs back in the bottom of the inning to retake the lead 10-8.  Sophomore Ian Seawards brought in both run on an infield grounder when two Warrior fielders collided.

KSC couldn't hold the lead in the ninth.  Junior Brendan Lynch (Wethersfield) and Accomando each two-run RBI hits in the ninth inning rally.

Junior Nick Vita, sophomore Tyler Estevez, Bates, Dube, and Luopa each had two hits for the Owls.  Seawards and Luopa each knocked in three runs.

Lynch and Accomando each had three hits and three RBIs for Eastern.  Junior Mike Vaccarelli (Wolcott) also had three hits in the game.

Junior Vinnie Mangiagli, the fourth of five Owl pitchers took the loss for KSC.

Senior Matt Purnell (Stafford Springs) picked up the win for Eastern.

 In the second game, KSC took a 1-0 lead in the third inning on a RBI double by Bates.  After ECSU tied the game in the top of the fourth, KSC go the run back in the bottom of the inning on an infield throwing error.

 The Warriors scored three runs in the fifth to go up 4-2.  Lynch and Riemer had RBI hits in the inning. 

 KSC made it a one run game (4-3) in the bottom of the sixth when freshman Billy Hartmann led off with a single and came around to score on an error.

The Warriors scored two insurance runs in the ninth.  Riemer had an RBI single and senior Joe Balowski (Berlin) had an RBI double.

Vita had two more hits in the second game for the Owls.

Riemer had four hits and two RBIs to lead the Warriors.

Game account courtesy of Keene State College Sports Information

Softball in LEC Losers' Bracket

Warriors split on second day of tournament, must win three Saturday

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MANSFIELD, Conn. - Western Connecticut State University freshman pitcher Alexandra Sabith  threw a complete-game shutout to lift the third-seeded Colonials past top-seeded Eastern Connecticut State University, 1-0, in the winners' bracket final of the 2013 Little East softball championship tournament Friday afternoon at the Eastern Softball Field. Western scored its lone run of the ballgame in the first inning, while Sabith kept the Warriors' offense scoreless as the Colonials ended Eastern's streak of 14 consecutive LEC tournament victories.

At right: Junior centerfielder Mattie Brett ranges to her right to haul in this fly ball in the third inning of Friday's 7-3 win over Keene State College. Brett had four outfield putouts in the game. (Photo by Courtney Weber).

The Colonials (22-21) will advance to the championship round at 2 p.m.  Saturday, while Eastern  (28-13) will square off against fifth-seeded Rhode Island College (21-22) in an elimination game at noon. 

If the Warriors stay alive against Rhode Island, they must defeat Western twice later Saturday in order to annex their fourth consecutive championship. Western has won three titles, most recently in 2004.

Since 2001, Eastern Connecticut, Rhode Island College, and Western Connecticut have combined to capture 10 of the past 12 conference softball championships.

The 1-0 shutout was the second in three tournament games for Western, the first coming in its tournament opener Thursday against Keene. Sabith gained that victory as well, pitching the final 2 1/3 innings. Earlier Friday, the Colonials eliminated second-seeded Plymouth State, 8-2. 

Western sophomore third baseman Nina Wojtkiewicz  laced a line drive to left field and advanced to second on a defensive miscue. With one out, the Colonials pushed Wojtkiewicz to third with a ground out to first base.  The small-ball strategy paid off, when Eastern starting pitcher sophomore Erin Miller (Waterford.) uncorked a wild pitch that allowed Wojtkiewicz to score from third. The Colonials strung consecutive hits together to chase Miller after just two-thirds of an inning.

That was be all the offense needed as Sabith hurled a complete-game gem, sending the Warriors to only their second shutout loss this year, both coming in the last five games. The rookie held the Warriors to just five hits without issuing a walk, while striking out five.  She retired the first eight batters she faced, while setting retiring Eastern in order in the fifth and sixth.

Facing their first loss of the double-elimination tournament, the Warriors mounted a charge against Sabith in the bottom of the seventh.  Junior leftfielder Megan Godwin (Manchester, Conn.) ripped a single into right-centerfield to start the frame.  She was pushed over with a sacrifice bunt to place Eastern's first runner in scoring position.  With two outs, freshman shortstop Alyssa Hancock (Waterford) hit a single through the box, but Western centerfielder Ashlie Morris threw a strike to the plate.  The strong threw caused Godwin to slam on the brakes halfway down the threw baseline.  Freshman catcher Erin Weber made an accurate throw to Wojtkiewicz to tag out a retreating Godwin for the final out of the game.

Eastern sophomore Shannon Martin (Wethersfield, Conn.) kept the Warriors within striking distance, throwing four and a third innings of scoreless relief.  Senior Christine Akcer (Milford) retired six of the seven batters she faced.

After opening the tournament Thursday with a 5-1 win over sixth-seeded UMass Boston, Eastern rallied late to eliminate Keene State, 7-3, earlier Friday.

Eastern 7, Keene State 3 
 
 Eastern scored all of its runs in its final two at-bats - batting around in each frame -- to wipe out a one-run deficit and went on to its 14th consecutive Little East Conference softball tournament victory, 7-3, over fourth-seeded Keene.

Keene State (21-16) is eliminated in two straight tournament games for the second time in three years. The Owls dropped a 1-0 opening decision to Western Connecticut Thursday.

Batting 4-5-6 in the order, junior leftfielder Megan Godwin (Manchester), senior second baseman Kelly Paterson (Southington) and sophomore DP Shannon Martin (Wethersfield) each drove in runs in both the sixth and seventh innings.

Keene freshman pitcher Mariah Crisp  carried a one-hit shutout into the sixth before the first six batters reached safely in a three-run Eastern inning. Godwin tied the game with a bases-loaded bloop single down the left field line on an 0-2 pitch, Paterson put the Warriors ahead for good with a solid single to left, and Martin was walked with the bases loaded to make it 3-1.

The Warriors tacked on four more in the top of the seventh on five hits, a suicide squeeze and walk to move out to a 7-1 lead. Senior third baseman Arielle Cooper (Mystic) and junior centerfielder Mattie Brett (Waterford) began the rally with singles, Godwin plated the first with a suicide squeeze, Paterson another with a double on an 0-2 pitch, and Martin  followed with a run-scoring single. Junior catcher Megan Bondy (Mystic) knocked in the final run of the inning with a single.

Eastern sophomore Erin Miller (Waterford.) won her seventh straight decision. Miller (13-2) pitched into the seventh inning and was charged with all three Keene runs on five hits. She fanned two and walked one.

Cooper broke the program's season hit record that she shared with Trish Wodatch with her 70th career hit leading off the sixth.  Cooper reached safely four times with three hits and a walk. Paterson also had two hits.

Two of Keene's runs came on leadoff home runs. Freshman rightfielder Anna Glassman provided Crisp with a 1-0 lead with her shot in the third and senior catcher Nicole Dupuis knocked in the Owls' second run of the game in a two-run seventh inning that chased Miller in favor of Martin. No Keene batter had more than one hit.


 

Softball: Eastern Among 3 Unbeatens

Little East Conference Softball Tournament

Game 1: Eastern Conn. 5, Massachusetts Boston 1

teepee72dpi_0733.jpgMANSFIELD, Conn. - Three-time defending Little East Conference softball tournament champion and No. 1 seed Eastern Connecticut State University got RBIs from five different people in opening the 2013 LEC tournament with a 5-1 victory over sixth-seeded University of Massachusetts Boston Thursday afternoon at the Eastern Softball Field.

Sophomore righty Erin Miller (Waterford, Conn.) pitched into the seventh inning to gain her sixth straight decision and send Eastern (27-12) into a winners' bracket game Friday at noon against No. 4 Keene State College (21-15), which lost a 1-0 first-round game to No. 3 Western Connecticut State University (20-21) later Thursday.

UMass Boston (15-27) was eliminated from the tournament later Thursday in a 2-0 loss to No. 5 Rhode Island College (20-22).

Eastern has won 13 straight LEC tournament games since being swept in 2009 in losses to Western Connecticut and Rhode Island College.

Eastern, which swept UMass Boston in its northern opener at Mansfield March 30, moved out to a 5-0 lead before the Beacons finally broke through against Miller with two out in the seventh on an RBI double by junior rightfielder Lyndsey Capra (Lowell, MA). Miller spaced four hits and didn't walk a batter while fanning four.

Freshman shortstop Alyssa Hancock's (Waterford) two-out RBI single plated sophomore DP Shannon Martin (Wethersfield) for the first run of the game in the second after Martin had doubled. Sophomore first baseman Sam Rossetti's (Shelton) ground ball and junior cleanup hitter Megan Godwin's (Manchester) single pushed the lead to 3-0 in the third and an opening infield error helped Eastern add two more in the fifth, with senior centerfielder Arielle Cooper's (Mystic) RBI triple and junior centerfielder Mattie Brett's (Waterford) sacrifice fly completing the scoring against complete-game sophomore loser Michelle Zullo (Everett, MA).

Martin, who was summoned to record the final out in place of Miller, was Eastern's only player with more than one hit, with two. Miller and Martin did not allow a UMass player to record more than one hit.

Game 2: Plymouth State U. 6, Rhode Island College 4

Junior shortstop Bekah Jackson (Nashua, N.H.) drove in runs with a home run and triple and second-seeded Plymouth State University led from start to finish in a 6-4 victory over fifth-seeded Rhode Island College.

By avenging two regular-season losses to Rhode Island (19-22) and defeating the Anchorwomen in the first round for the second straight season, Plymouth (25-15) advanced in the winners' bracket Friday at 2 p.m. against  Western. 

Five of Plymouth's 13 hits off two Rhode Island pitchers went for extra bases. In addition to Jackson's run-producing home run and triple, junior catcher Sam Hebert (Manchester, N.H.) unloaded a two-run home run in the first to give the Panthers the early two-run lead, and junior first baseman Jackie Digman (Burlington, Mass.) belted a leadoff home run in the third to make it 3-1. Sophomore centerfielder Cynthia Barata (New Fairfield, Conn.) also opened the fourth inning with a double and raced home on Jackson's triple. The triple was the 13th of the season for Jackson, who leads Division III in that category.

Batting cleanup, Hebert reached safely four times for Plymouth with three hits and a walk.

Trailing 5-2, Rhode Island rallied in the sixth against sophomore reliever Whitney Roberts (Chocorua, N.H.), scoring twice on four hits, with senior second baseman Marisa Jandreau (Plainville, Conn.) plating one with a single and junior cleanup hitter Stacy Pokora (Wilton, Conn.) driving in the second with a sacrifice fly. Jackson's  eighth home run leading off the sixth, however, re-stored a two-run lead for Plymouth.

Roberts gained her first save of the year for Plymouth in support of junior starter Nora Galvin (Windham, N.H). Galvin carried a 5-1 lead into the fifth but leadoff singles by Pokora and  sophomore third baseman Justina Thoma (Canterbury, Conn.) chased Galvin.

Thoma collected four of Rhode Island's hits, with senior leadoff hitter Jessica Borden (Lincoln, R.I.) registering three. The Anchorwomen stranded 12 batters, two or more in four innings.

Game 3: Western Conn. 1, Keene State College  0

Senior catcher Alison Russo (Danbury, Conn.) drove in the only run of the game with a one-out double in the bottom of the seventh inning to lift third-seeded Western Connecticut State University to victory over fourth-seeded Keene State.

 With the win, Western advanced to play Plymouth State Friday at 2 p.m. in a winners' bracket game, while Keene State plays an elimination game Friday at noon against top-seeded Eastern Connecticut.

Western managed only two hits through six innings against Keene freshman pitcher Mariah Crisp (Greenald, N.H.) before breaking through with the winning runs in the seventh. No. 3 hitter Michaela Roche (Bristol, Conn.) and sophomore first baseman and cleanup hitter Julia Bocek (Southington, Conn.) singled to open the inning before Russo drilled a 1-2 pitch to center to score Roche easily from second.

Freshmen Emily Cintorino (Bristol, Conn.) and Alexandra Sabith (Meriden, Conn.) combined on a four-hitter for Western. Sabith took over with two out in the fifth and got a ground ball to third to leave runners at the corners in a scoreless game. Sabith (10-7) retired the final seven batters in order to earn her third straight win.

Crisp (17-4), who had won her previous 11 decisions, allowed only five hits without a walk and struck out eight. Keene had baserunners in each of the first five innings but couldn't push across a run. Western threw out an attempted base-stealer in the third and got 5-4-3 double play to end the fourth. In the fifth, Keene put runners on the corners on a one-out single by Sophomore DP Samantha Nitso (Londonderry, N.H.) and a two-out single by freshman No. 9 hitter Anna Glassman (East Granby, Conn.), but Sabith came on to induce an inning-ending ground ball.

Game 4: Rhode Island College 2, Massachusetts Boston 0

Rhode Island College scored the only two runs of the game in the bottom of the fifth in to survive the  losers' bracket game and advance and eliminate UMass Boston.

After dropping a 6-4 decision in its first-round game to second-seeded Plymouth State University earlier in the day, Rhode Island  remained alive with the win over UMass Boston, which had lost a 5-1 decision earlier Thursday to top-seeded Eastern Connecticut.

Rhode Island was limited to one hit through the first three innings by UMass Boston freshman Emily Gray (New Bedford, Mass.), but got two-out singles in the fourth, then broke through in the fifth on an RBI single by senior No. 3 hitter Marisa Jandreau (Plainville, Conn.) and a run-scoring ground ball by junior cleanup hitter Stacy Pokora (Wilton, Conn.)

Junior Michelle Sylvestre (Warwick, R.I.) shut out UMass Boston for the second time in five days - her only two shutouts of the year -- giving up only six hits and no walks and striking out two. Sylvestre never gave up more than one hit or allowed more than one baserunner until the sixth, when the Beacons got a leadoff single by senior second baseman Sue Killilea (Abington, Mass.) on the first pitch of the frame and a two-out single by senior cleanup hitter Kelsey Souza (Braintree, Mass.). Sylvestre got a hard line drive to senior Emily Johnson (West Kingston, R.I.) at first to end the threat.

Six hitters had one hit each for the Anchorwomen, while Killilea and No. 8 hitter Kelsey Svenson (Oxford, Conn.) each had two hits for UMass.

 

 

 

 

 


 

  


 

Baseball: Home Finale Produces Sweep

 

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Recognized on Seniors' Day prior to the start of Wednesday's second game were (from left): Tyler Caserta, Joe Balowski, Tom Darby, Matt Purnell, Drew Accomando, Mike Riemer, Evan Chamberlain, Andrew Merritt. (Photo by David Santerre)

Vaccarelli drives in five runs, Vogt notches two saves vs. Amherst

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MANSFIELD, Conn. - Junior third baseman Mike Vaccarelli (Wolcott) drove in five runs and senior rightfielder Tyler Caserta (Stratford) collected four hits and scored five runs as the Eastern Connecticut State University baseball team closes its 2013 home season with a 13-7, 6-3 non-conference sweep over Amherst College in a game featuring two of New England's top-ranked teams.

At right: Senior Tyler Caserta (7) made his final home at-bat a memorable one when he belted a solo home run leading off the bottom of the sixth inning in Wednesday's second-game win over Amherst College (Photo by David Santerre).

A winner of 13 of its last 16, No. 4-ranked Eastern (26-11-1)  wiped out an early 4-0 deficit in the opener with four runs in the second, four more in the fourth and five in the sixth to make a winner of junior righty reliever Pat Barnett (Windsor). In the second game, Eastern scored two runs in each of its first two at-bats, and sophomore righty starter Brent Pelella (Southbury), freshman righty Sam Kosterich (Stamford) and sophomore righty Chuck Vogt (Windsor Locks) combined on a six-hitter.

Vogt gained his first two saves of the season. He recording the final four outs of the first game after a two-run, two-out triple by Bob Cook chased Barnett (4-0) and cut Eastern's lead to 8-7 in the sixth (both games were seven innings). Barnett got a swinging strike to strand the tying run at third and Eastern responded with five runs in the bottom of the inning when they sent ten batters to the plate. Batting eighth, junior catcher Nik Ververis (Plainfield) drove in two runs with a double to center and after junior shortstop Brendan Lynch (Wethersfield) was hit by a pitch, Vaccarelli laced a two-out, two-run single through the left side.

vogt72_0710.jpgVogt picked up the final five outs of the nightcap as Eastern improved to 10-1-1 against Amherst (20-11) -- ranked sixth in New England -- in the last 12 meetings. Pelella carried a 5-0 lead into the fifth before giving way to Kosterich after the first three batters reached safely, accounting for the visitors' first run. Kosterich walked two in the inning but got a 4-6-3 double play to lessen the damage. Vogt was summoned with one out and two on the sixth and Eastern leading 5-3. He gave up an RBI single to Taiki Kasuga but forced an infield pop, then pitched a 1-2-3 seventh.

At left: Chuck Vogt sealed both wins Wednesday against Amherst with his first two saves of the season. Vogt pitched three scoreless innings, allowing only two hits and a walk.(Photo by David Santerre).

Batting ninth in the order in each game, Caserta reached five times in the doubleheader with four hits - including his  second home run of the season leading off the sixth inning of the nightcap - and one walk and scored five runs. Senior second baseman Drew Accomando (Monroe), junior DH Gavin Lavallee (New Milford) and senior centerfielder Mike Riemer (Ellington) all had three hits, and junior leftfielder Tommy McKenna (Lexington, MA) reaching three times and scoring three runs.

Eastern closes out the regular season Friday with a noon doubleheader at Keene State College in Little East Conference competition.

 

 

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