September 2013 Archives
In weekly program, freshman is honored after posting two shutouts
NORTH DARTMOUTH, Mass. - The No. 1 stitched to the front of goalkeeper Greg Walton's (Brunswick, ME) uniform represents one more than the number of goals that he has given up in his last four starts.
Monday, the 6-foot-1 inch, 170-pound Eastern Connecticut State University freshman was recognized as the Little East Conference Goalkeeper-of-the-Week, for the week ending Sept. 29.
Walton posted shutouts in a pair of 1-0 home wins during the week over Salem State University and Keene State College, extending his scoreless streak to 448 minutes and seven seconds (nearly five full matches). Walton made five saves against Keene State College as the Warriors extended their conference unbeaten streak to 13 matches (12-0-1) dating back to the 2011 LEC playoffs.
On the season, Walton has recorded five shutouts (currently four straight) in eight starts for a 0.63 goals-against average and .800 save percentage. He is unbeaten in his last seven starts and has given up more than one goal in only one of eight starts on the season.
In the conference, Walton ranks first in goals-against average and shutouts and is second in least goals allowed (5). Thanks to a staunch defense of seniors Mike Radlbeck (Westbrook), Christopher Giustina (Enfield), Carl Stensland (Storrs), and Luke Capezzone (Colchester), sophomore Cooper D'Ambrosio (Andover), and freshman Emmanuel Caicedo (Manchester), Walton ranks last in the conference among starting keepers by averaging only 2.62 saves per match. Earlier, he posted consecutive shutouts over Mitchell College and Western Connecticut without the need for a save.
Walton becomes the fourth Eastern player honored by the LEC with a weekly award. Stensland was named Defensive Player-of-the-Week last week and freshman midfielder Nicholas Warren (Southbury) has been tabbed Rookie-of-the-Week twice.
Ranked tenth in New England, Eastern hosts Saint Joseph's College (ME) Wednesday at 4 p.m. in a non-conference match.
By Brent Pelella / Sports Information Staff
WILLIMANTIC, Conn. - 'Adversity' is one of the most powerful forces a person must overcome in the course of life. In fact, virtually every opportunity presents such challenges, but those who triumph are the ones who embrace and vanquish them.
For Megan Godwin, resilience in the eye of darkness became a characteristic of hers the second she stepped foot on the Eastern Connecticut State University campus in 2010. As a two-sport athlete, Megan came in to a practically insurmountable feat. She faced the intimidating idea of starting college, alongside the difficult task of proving she could contribute as an athlete in both soccer and softball.
"At first, I was extremely nervous for soccer because I had to prove myself right away," confided the former Manchester High School soccer and softball standout. "On the other hand (because of soccer), I was also missing fall softball, which gave me a disadvantage going into the spring."
Her nerves were unfounded as she flourished in both sports in just her first season, starting 19 matches on defense and playing the third-most minutes on a soccer team which advanced without a loss all season through two rounds of the NCAA tournament, and starting 40 games and batting .339 as the starting shortstop on a regional championship team which advanced to the Division III national tournament.
Her impressive year sparked an unbelievably comfortable atmosphere for Godwin going into her second season, "My teammates and coaches aided me through that first season. Both of my coaches are so supportive and understanding, it's unbelievable."
Of course, in 2011-2012 Godwin didn't disappointed, logging the second most minutes on the soccer team and batting .272 playing the entire 44 game schedule. No one can fathom what would come next.
Godwin was bedridden with a devastating case of pneumonia early in her 2012 soccer campaign, "When I got sick, I was so sad. People were advising me to take a medical hardship waiver and salvage my year of eligibility, but I wanted to play so bad."
So play is what she did. After being in the hospital for four days, and recovering from a drained lung, she began the most rigorous process she has ever been through. It took months of rehab in the training room. It took day after day of treatment, progressing from the lightest stretching to finally touching a ball on the field.
Godwin exemplified a consistent desire only Rudy Ruettiger could appreciate, and her reward was 35 minutes of pure euphoria, as she fought alongside her teammates in a heartbreaking Little East Conference tournament loss to Western Connecticut, "The feeling of being on the field was so great I can't even describe it. Almost losing an entire season increased my work ethic so much."
The senior Communication major overflows with positive energy. Her close relationship with her family is one of the main reasons why she decided to attend Eastern, "My parents are the most amazing people I've ever met. They push to finish everything I start and without them I don't know where I'd be." She admitted. "My brothers (David and Peter) are a huge impact on my life as well. Together they provide me with such a strong drive to succeed."
Her success and competitiveness is only a few aspects of the persona that is Megan Godwin. She mentioned how easy it is to take college sports for granted, "It's so fun, and I think a lot of us don't realize what a great impact it has on our lives. You not only learn what its like to be a part of something bigger than yourself, but you also make friendships that stay with you the rest of your life."
The perception Godwin lives by cannot be taught by a coach and certainly can't be obtained half-heartedly. However, her inspiration should show that you shouldn't give up if you find yourself spinning out in a rut, because there's always another way to move forward in life. There's always another way to find everlasting bliss.
Warriors drop first two LEC games in a season for first time ever
KEENE, N.H. - Twice in the last four years, the Eastern Connecticut State University women's soccer team has shaken off a Little East Conference regular-season loss at Keene State College to defeat the top-seeded Owls on their home field in the conference playoff championship match.
At right in center: Hailey Lehning
If the Warriors hope to claim a fifth LEC title in 11 years, they may have to do it again.
Playing their sixth straight road match, Eastern (4-3-0, 0-2-0 LEC) lost its first two conference matches for the first time in 24 years of conference competition when Keene scored twice to break a tie and handed the Warriors their third straight loss, 3-1 at the Owl Athletic Complex Saturday afternoon.
Keene State (6-2-1, 2-0-0 LEC) extended its unbeaten streak to four games by downing Eastern for only the second time in the last six meetings between two of the circuit's top programs. Eastern and Keene have combined to reach the LEC playoff final 18 times in 14 seasons.
With the victory, Keene keeps pace in the LEC standings with Western Connecticut and 2012 champion Massachusetts Boston, all at 2-0-0. Eastern, Rhode Island College and Plymouth State have all lost their first two conference matches.
Trailing 1-0, Eastern tied the game six minutes later when freshman midfielder Hailey Lehning (Woodbury) deflected a pass from senior midfielder Kaitlyn Kennedy (Burlington) under the crossbar for her first career goal.
After providing Keene with its 1-0 lead in the 18th minutes, Bev Cole and Jessica Berthiaume hooked up again eight minutes after Lehning's strike to give Keene a 2-1 lead with 13 minutes left in the first half. Receiving a cross, Cole got a defender to commit, then laid the ball over to Berthiaume for her team-leading sixth goal of the season.
Cole set up Keene State's third goal that made it 3-1 at the 31:42 mark of the second half. The senior midfielder served the ball in to the box where classmate Brittany Boscarino knocked it into the net for her third goal of the season.
Senior Haley Kenyon had a chance to extend the Owls lead later in the half, but Eastern junior goalie Rachel Skelton (East Lyme) stopped her close-range shot.
Looking to cut into the Owls lead with 17:38 to go, Lehning got around the corner of the Owls' defense, but Keene junior goalie Torrie Crenson was able to get a hand on her shot, tipping it into the air before grabbing the ball.
Minutes, later, Crenson came up big once again, going airborne to knock a shot by junior midfielder Taylor Shannon (Waterford) from 22 yards out over the crossbar.
Making her fifth start in the last six games, Skelton made four saves.
Keene State and Eastern each finished with 11 shots, but the Warriors enjoyed a substantial advantage in corner kicks, allowing only one.
Eastern hosts Connecticut College Tuesday at 7 p.m.
Framingham can't recover from quick goal; Scavo blocks nine shots
FRAMINGHAM, Mass. - With half of its schedule still to play, the Eastern Connecticut State University field hockey team equaled its second-most victories in a season in eight years with a 2-0 Little East Conference victory over homestanding Framingham State University Saturday afternoon at Maple Street Field.
At left: Samantha Scavo
After exceeding its win total of a year ago a week ago against visiting University of Southern Maine, Eastern (5-4, 2-1 Little East) moved over the .500 mark by defeating Framingham (5-3, 0-3 Little East) by shutout for the third time in the last four years.
Sophomore forward Hannah Keiser (Danbury) drove a shot from the top of the circle past Framingham goalie Sarah Palace just 68 seconds into play Saturday, and the Warriors nursed that lead until freshman forward MaryKate Custer (South Windsor) gave freshman goalie Samantha Scavo (Redding) some breathing room with her second career goal five minutes into the second half. Keiser's team-leading seventh goal was set up by senior midfielder Finley Ahearn (Wallingford).
Scavo stopped nine shots - one shy of her season best - to record her third shutout in five starts. In the process, she dropped her goals-against average under 1.00 to 0.92 and elevated her save percentage to .879.
Eastern was last over the .500 mark after nine matches 13 years ago, when it won 11 of 20 matches, qualified for the ECAC tournament, and posted a program-best 7-3 mark in the conference.
Framingham's offense came alive late in the half as the Rams outshot the Warriors 8-1 in the frame, but Scavo came up with six of her saves to keep the hosts off the board.
With just over eight minutes on the clock, senior Brittany Goben blasted a shot from the top of the circle off an insertion on a penalty corner. Goben's shot was saved by Scavo, who then made a sprawling save to deny senior Cassandra Koegel's follow-up.
Eastern maintained its one-goal advantage until the 40th minute when Custer found the back of the cage. Keiser sent a shot on net that Palace was able to kick away, but Custer was right there to gather the loose ball and knock it home.
Needing two goals to pull even, the Rams had one final scoring chance down the stretch as sophomore Cady Kelly carried the ball through the defense and into the circle. Kelly was able to get a good shot off on net, but Scavo came up with her final save to keep Eastern's margin at two.
Eastern hosts Fitchburg State University in a conference match Tuesday at 4 p.m.
Arman Karbassioon (at left) and his teammates celebrate the go-ahead goal with 13 minutes left in the 1-0 Little East Conference win over Keene State College Saturday afternoon at Thomas Nevers Field. (Photo by Nick Aconfora)
Karbassioon's first career game-winner pushes Warriors past Keene
WILLIMANTIC, Conn. -- Sophomore midfielder Arman Karbassioon's (Cheshire) first career game-winning goal helped the Eastern Connecticut State University men's soccer team extend its Little East Conference unbeaten streak to 13 with a 1-0 victory over Keene State College Saturday afternoon at Thomas Nevers Field.
Eastern (6-1-1, 2-0-0 LEC) posted its fourth consecutive shutout this year when Karbassioon beat Keene State (2-7-0, 1-1-0 LEC) keeper Malcolm Cheney in the 76th minute with a shot from the right side of the box for the only goal of the match. Sophomore back Zane Lombardo (Portland) ignited the scoring play with a cross from the left side of the field into the box to freshman midfielder Ryan Pomroy (Ivoryton). Pomroy gave it off to senior midfielder Mitch Power (Douglas, MA), who set up Karbassioon's first goal of the season.
A week ago, Karbassioon set up the only goal of the match in Eastern's conference-opening overtime win here over Western Connecticut by blasting a 25 yard drive which rebounded to freshman Nicholas Warren (Southbury) for the game-ending score.
At left: Nevers' Nation was in full attendance Saturday celebrating the larger-than-life accomplishments of head coach Greg DeVito and the Warriors, who won their fifth home match without a loss. (Photo by Nick Aconfora)
Two-time conference champion Eastern, ranked No. 10 in New England, has gone 13 conference matches without a loss (12-0-1). In that stretch, Keene forged a 1-1 double overtime tie with the visiting Warriors in last year's regular season.
Making his second consecutive start, Karbassioon became the fifth different Eastern player to record a game-winning goal in the team's six triumphs.
Eastern freshman keeper Greg Walton (Brunswick, ME) posted his fifth shutout in eight starts - fourth in a row -- making five saves as the six-time LEC champion Owls were shut out for the fourth time this year but for the first time in the last five matches. Walton's last three shutouts have come at home and all by 1-0 scores. He lowered his goals-against average to 0.63 and has given up more than one goal only once this year.
In five home matches this year, Eastern has surrendered but one goal.
Eddie Mercer and Nick Godzyk combined for six of Keene's ten shots, each forcing Walton to come up with saves twice.
Following Karbassioon's goal, only Godzyk managed a shot by either team, with Walton coming up with his final save of the match on the bid.
Cheney also made five stops for Keene, which has lost fie times this season to regionally-ranked teams.
Eastern hosts Saint Joseph's College (ME) Wednesday at 4 p.m.
Owls defeat Warriors in LEC match; Eastern rebounds against ENC
Keene State Box.HTM
Eastern Nazarene Box.HTM
WILLIMANTIC, Conn. - The Eastern Connecticut State University women's volleyball team couldn't capitalize on four chances to earn set point in the important second set and Keene State College went on to a 25-14, 30-28, 25-21 Little East Conference victory Saturday afternoon at Francis E. Geissler Gymnasium.
At right: Bry Kelly reaches over Keene's Olivia Broderick for one of her nine kills Saturday afternoon in the Warriors' split of two matches. (Photo by Macaire Jones)
Keene State (10-6) went on to sweep Eastern Nazarene College (7-10) in the second match and Eastern (7-8) earned a split on the day with a sweep of Eastern Nazarene in the final match.
The Warriors led early in the first set but Keene went on a 12-3 run and coasted to the first-set victory. In the second set, Eastern couldn't put away set point four times, and the Owls finally scored three consecutive points for the two-point victory. A Keene block pulled them even at 28all, and Sammy Dormio and Madeline Nossif closed it out with kills.
In the third set, the Owls broke from a 16-all tie with four straight points, with Olivia Broderick contributing two kills in the run which put the visitors in command.
Angela Silveri had ten kills and attacked at .300 for Keene against Eastern, with Alexis Michal and Brooke Bell combining for 29 assists. Kaitlin boyer had 15 digs, Silveri 13 digs and Dormio 12 to pace Keene defensively.
The Warriors attacked at just .061. Freshman Adrianna Mihalek (Woodbury) recorded a third of Eastern's kills with ten but attacked at only .085. She also added nine digs. Junior Allie Henry (Middletown) had ten assists and nine digs, senior Erynn Miller (Stratford) eight digs, and junior Jess Patrizi (Beacon Falls) 11 assists.
Keene, which reached last year's Little East Conference final, has won six of seven.
Against Eastern Nazarene, senior Nicki Gasch (New Fairfield) topped the Warriors with 15 kills and a .312 attack percentage. Mihalek added 12 kills, sophomore libero Allie Luppi (Tewksbury, MA) 11 digs, Henry 15 assists, and Patrizi ten digs and 18 assists.
The Warriors snapped a 3-3 tie with three points in the first set against the Lions and never trailed. Eastern Nazarene battled in the second set and let 17-16 before the Warriors reeled off four straight to take the momentum. Miller served Eastern to a 6-0 lead in the third set and Eastern was not seriously threatened the rest of the way.
Lauryl Berger totaled 19 assists for Eastern Nazarene against Eastern, , Hannah Welsh collecting eight kills, Kortney Jenkins 11 digs and Vanessa Pascal ten.
In six sets on the afternoon, Gasch and Mihalek evently split 44 kills, Luppi registering a team-high 18 digs, Miller and Mihalek adding 15 and Patrizi 14. Miller handled 33 receptions with only three serves, and Mihalek was perfect on 26 reception tries. Patrizi had 29 assists, Henry 25.
For Keene, Silveri dominated with 25 kills and a .404 attack percentage Nossif adding 13 kills and attacking at .281 and Broderick adding 11 kils and a .364 attack percentage Michal and Bell combined for 49 assists, with Boyer leading all Keene players with 21 digs, Silveri adding 19.
For Eastern Nazarene, Welsh totaled 15 kills, Cayla Clinkscale and Jenkins chipping in with 11 each. Berger had 37 of her team's 42 assists, and Jenkins, Clinkscale and Pascle each had 16 digs.
Eastern hosts the 33rd Annual Crabtree Classic Saturday, facing Massachusetts Dartmouth in a conference match at noon, University of New England at 2 p.m. and Framingham State University at 4 p.m.
Keene State College 3, Eastern Conn. 0
Keene State (9-6, 1-1 Little East) 25 30 25
Eastern Conn. (6-8, 1-1 Little East) 14 28 21
Keene State College 3, Eastern Nazarene College 0
Eastern Nazarene (7-9) 15 16 17
Keene State (10-6) 25 25 25
Eastern Conn. 3, Eastern Nazarene College 0
Eastern Nazarene (7-10) 21 20 18
Eastern Conn. (7-8) 25 25 25
Watch the Eastern Connecticut State University men's soccer and women's volleyball teams live on LittleEast.tv
Saturday when they face Keene State College in early-season Little East Conference competition. The men's soccer team, unbeaten at Thomas Nevers Field this year, faces the Owls in a matchup of two of the conference's top-ranked teams. The match gets underway at 1 p.m. The women's volleyball team makes its first appearance of the year at the Francis E. Geissler Gymnasium when it hosts Keene in a match which kicks off at noon. The Warriors' match against Eastern Nazarene College at 4 p.m. will also be broadcast live.
Warriors contend in non-conference match but can't conquer Beavers
MANSFIELD, Conn. - Sophomore Elizabeth Holmes, freshman Kelsi McDougle and junior Caroline Malone scored goals and Babson College controlled the tempo throughout as it won its third straight match by shutout, 3-0, over Eastern Connecticut State University Thursday evening at the Mansfield Outdoor Complex.
At right: All-Conference sophomore Laura Chicorka controls the ball against Babson Thursday night in the 3-0 non-conference loss. (Photo by Matt Hicks)
The home loss is the first for Eastern (4-4) after three triumphs this year while Babson (5-4) recorded its third straight shutout, having outscored its opponents 14-0 in the process. The Beavers remained unbeaten (9-0) all-time in the series with Eastern.
Holmes broke through for Babson in the 18th minute when she stick-handled through the Eastern defense and around fallen junior goalie Olivia Mullen (Bethel) to deposit her third goal of the season. Nine minutes later, McDougle drove the ball from the top of the circle cleanly into the back of the cage to make it 2-0, and Malone added another insurance marker midway through the second half with her team-leading seventh goal of the season on a re-direct in front of Mullen.
Behind the play of starting defenders Kelly Gawron (Ramsey, NJ), Alexandra Steward (Old Saybrook), and Jessica Oliveira (Danbury), Eastern's defense was stout in front of Mullen and freshman Samantha Scavo (Redding), but the Warriors spent most of the evening trying to dig the ball out of their own end and counter-attack against a skilled Babson team. Malone and freshman Victoria Spofford combined for ten of their team's shots, with Spofford being credited with an assist on Holmes' opening goal.
Mullen made eight saves in playing the first 59 minutes in goal for Eastern, which was outshot 16-3. Babson also had an 11-5 advantage in penalty corners but was unable to score as a direct result of any of them.
Eastern visits Framingham State University Saturday at 2 p.m. in a Little East Conference match.
They are outshot 13-3 in non-conference loss at Salem State
SALEM, Mass. - Playing its fifth straight road game, the Eastern Connecticut State University women's soccer team took a lead into the final 11 minutes of the first half, but lost for the third time in its last four outings, 3-1, to Salem State University in a non-conference match Wednesday night at Alumni Field.
At left: Tamar Merheb
Eastern (4-3-0) scored first on senior midfielder Tamar Merheb's (Bethel) first goal of the season, but Salem (3-2-1) won its third straight, second in as many years over Eastern after the Warriors had captured three straight in the series.
Sophomore forward Kelly Birchmore tied the match for Salem with 10:30 left in the first half and the Vikings went ahead for good 11 minutes into the second half on the first senior forward Casey Connolly's first goal of the season. Freshman midfielder Victoria Clancy's first career goal iced the game when she laced in a shot from twenty yards out in the 78th minute.
The Vikings defense dominated play in the second half, limiting the Warriors to just one shot on net, while controlling play in their zone for most of the period. Birchmore almost set up another Salem State goal early in the second, on a corner, but Connolly's goal on a header was disallowed due to a foul. However, the captain made amends in the 56th minute when her first goal of the year gave the Vikings a 2-1 lead.
Making her fifth start of the year, Eastern junior Rachel Skelton (East Lyme) made two saves in sustaining her second straight loss after three wins. The Warriors were outshot 13-3.
Merheb had fought to corral a corner kick by sophomore back Maggie Sayers (Windsor Locks), and put it in the back of the net for Eastern's early 1-0 lead midway through the first half. Eleven minutes later, Birchmore chased down a ball from sophomore midfielder Amy Griffith and rocketed a shot past goalie Skelton to tie the match. Neither team could break the tie over the final 10:30 of the first half.
Since scoring six goals in two matches when they opened their season with two wins in the Warrior Classic, the Warriors have managed to total only three in their last five outings. In their four contests prior to Wednesday, Eastern had won two matches and lost two by scores of 1-0.
Eastern visits Keene State College Saturday at 1 p.m. in a Little East Conference match.
Above: Eastern's Arman Karbassioon (right) and Salem State's Bruno Comprido get tangled up in the second half of the Warriors' 1-0 victory Tuesday afternoon at Thomas Nevers Field. (Photo by Macaire Jones)
Power's goal stands up as Warriors post third straight shutout win
WILLIMANTIC, Conn. -- The Eastern Connecticut State University men's soccer team allowed an opponent to put a shot on net for the first time in over three full games, but it didn't prevent the Warriors from winning their third straight match by shutout, 1-0, over Salem State University Tuesday afternoon at Thomas Nevers Field.
Ranked tenth in New England for the fourth straight week, Eastern (5-1-1) lowered its team goals-against average to 0.94 by recording its fourth shutout in its last five matches. The Warriors have allowed only one goal in winning all four of their home starts this season.
At right: Eastern's Mitch Power gets a step on Salem State's Kevin Gallo in Tuesday's non-conference win at Thomas Nevers Field. (Photo by Macaire Jones)
Senior midfielder Mitch Power's (Douglas, MA) sixth career game-winning goal on a booming shot from the top of the box allowed Eastern to stretch its unbeaten streak to six (5-0-1) against Salem (0-6-0).
With 15:11 left against Salem, freshman keeper Greg Walton (Brunswick, ME) made his first save since early in overtime ten days ago against Ramapo College - a span of 271 minutes and 30 seconds -- in recording his fourth shutout in seven starts and lowering his goals-against average to 0.72. Walton easily handled a dribbler at the right post off the foot of Salem State senior forward Saimir Zepaj for his first save since stopping Ramapo's Abanoub Bestawros 2:34 into sudden death overtime at Nevers Field.
Power's drive under the crossbar late in the first half came in stride and was his second goal of the season. It was set up on a short cross from freshman forward Mark Richards (Springfield, MA), who was credited with his team-leading third assist on the play.
The Vikings had no less than three prime opportunities to tie the match in the second half: Eleven minutes into the half, sophomore forward Ralph Bertrand unloaded a blast which caromed off the crossbar and was cleared by the Eastern defense; nine minutes later senior midfielder Eryk Fernandez - who collected five of his team's nine shots - let fly with a left-footed one-timer on a cross from Zepaj that sailed high; with 14 minutes left, Fernandez found Zepaj alone in the box with room. Zepaj took one step to his left and the hesitation cost him as Eastern sophomore back Cooper D'Ambrosio (Andover) interjected to the deflect the shot wide.
Richards recorded four of Eastern's 16 shots and forced Salem junior keeper Nondas Kargakis to come up with three saves to keep him off the board. One of his best chances came with two minutes left, but Kargakis stretched out with a dive to his right on Richards' his low shot from the top of the box and deflected it wide of the left post.
Freshman forward Kyle Peterson (Ivoryton) also threatened several times for Eastern, with Kargakis turning away two of his four shots. With time at the top of the box, Peterson struck a hard shot which carried just over the crossbar in a scoreless game.
Two-time defending Little East Conference champion Eastern hosts Keene State College in a conference match Saturday at 1 p.m. at Thomas Nevers Field.
Eastern men's soccer players are honored in weekly awards program
NORTH DARTMOUTH, Mass. -- Senior back Carl Stensland (Storrs) and freshman midfielder Nicholas Warren (Southbury) of the Eastern Connecticut State University men's soccer team have been recognized with weekly honors by the Little East Conference for the week ending Sept. 22.
Stensland, a third-year transfer from the Division I level, was honored for the first time in his Eastern career with a weekly award when he was selected Defensive Player-of-the-Week, while Warren was named Rookie-of-the-Week for the second time in three weeks.
Stensland (far left), Warren
A 2013 team captain, Stensland played every minute at center back last week when the Warriors did not allow either opponent to put a shot on net in a 6-0 non-conference road win over Mitchell College and in a 1-0 overtime home victory over Western Connecticut State University in a conference-opening match.
A two-year starter at midfield and a 2013 second-team All-LEC selection for the two-time defending conference champions, Stensland recently moved to the defensive backfield following injuries to two defensive starters. In two shutout wins - including one in overtime against Western Connecticut in the conference opener for both teams - Eastern outshot its opponent 49-6.
The defense allowed freshman keeper Greg Walton to post shutouts without making a save. Since surrendering six goals in its first two contests this season against out-of-region opponents, the Warriors have held four opponents to a total of one goal.Ranked No. 10 in New England, Eastern has shut out its three New England foes this season, and Stensland has played every minute this season.
A starting midfielder, Warren has scored two goals this season and both have been game-winners and the only goals of the match. After his goal on his first career shot in the final two minutes in the team's home opener against Bridgewater State University two weeks ago, Warren ended the match Saturday 40 seconds into overtime in the conference-opening victory over visiting Western Connecticut State University.
Now 4-1-1 with a five-game unbeaten streak, Eastern looks for its fourth home win without a loss when it hosts Salem State University Tuesday at 4 p.m. at Thomas Nevers Field.
By Matt Sinkewicz / Sports Information Staff
WILLIMANTIC, Conn. -- After their third meet of the season Saturday at the University of Massachusetts Invitational, the Eastern Connecticut State University men and women's cross-country teams are in full swing.
Even though both teams were missing some of their top runners because of injury, second-year head coach Kathy Manizza was very proud of her squad. "A lot of the time, the team runs as individuals, but (Saturday) they really ran together as a team. The team chemistry is amazing this year," she said.
The men's team finished 18th out of 28, and the women finished 13th out of 29. Last year at the same meet, the teams finished 28th and 25th, respectively. For the third straight race, first-year sophomore transfer Taylor Flynn (Old Saybook) led the way for the men and junior Kelly Labanara (Chaplin) was first across the line for the women.
Injuries are a big storyline for the cross-country teams. The men's team is missing its top runner from last year. Also, freshman Dustin Plourde (Norwich) aggravated a stress fracture during the race. For the women, senior Katie France (Portland) has been out all season with an injury.
Coach Manizza hopes everyone will be healthy in time for Little East Conference Championship Nov. 2 at the University of Southern Maine. Eastern is idle this Saturday but returns to action Oct. 5 at the Community College of Rhode Island Tri-State Open.
Run over 8,000 meters
(Eastern finished 18th in a field of 28 teams)
78. (72) Taylor Flynn 28:22; 98. (91) Joe Rainville 28:51; 114. (107) Steven LaFlamme 29:09; 140. (127) Michael Dolde 30:13; 154. (139) Mike Underwood 30:44; 169. (152) Dustin Plourde 31:37; 180. (161) Chris Burkle 32:47; 182. (--) Chris Armstrong 32:51.
Run over 5,000 meters
(Eastern finished 13th in a field of 29 teams)
43. (42) Kelly Labanara 20:06; 55. (53) Sofia Amaral 20:21; 60. (58) Mariah McPhee 20:28; 95. (92) Julie Trifone 21:10; 101 (98) Alexa Palasky 21:19; 141. (136) Kelsey Nixon 22:20; 165. (157) Kailynn Violette 23:45.
Eastern edges USM in conference debut, also dumps MMA
Southern Maine box score.HTM
Maine Maritime box score.HTM
At left: Nicki Gasch
GORHAM, Maine -- Senior outside hitter Nicki Gasch (New Fairfield) had 21 kills and attacked at .234 and junior setter Jess Patrizi (Beacon Falls) contributed eight service aces and 37 assists as the Eastern Connecticut State University women's volleyball team won twice Saturday afternoon at the Warren Hill Gymnasium on the University of Southern Maine campus.
Eastern (6-7, 1-0 LEC) pounded host University of Southern Maine twice in the best-of-five but need five sets to subdue the Huskies (10-3, 0-1 LEC), 25-6, 18-25, 25-9, 22-25, 15-12 in the Little East Conference opener for both teams, then vanquished Maine Maritime Academy (6-5) in four sets, 19-25, 25-22, 25-9, 25-16 in a non-conference match.
In defeating Southern Maine for the 14th time in this 15-match series, Eastern struggled after attacking at .375 in the easy first-set victory. Against Maine Maritime, the Warriors improved noticeably after attacking at -.059 in the first-set loss. Eastern attacked at .179 in pulling out a three-point victory to even the match at 1-set all, then attacked at .273 in the third set and a blistering .387 in closing out the victory in the first meeting ever between the programs.
Among the team's top offensive players, only Gasch attacked at better than .200. Freshman outside hitter Adrianna Mihalek (Woodbury) led all Eastern players with 22 kills and also contributed 24 digs and four service aces. Freshman middle blocker Kay Mullen (Fairhaven, MA) added 15 kills and sophomore right side Bry Kelly (Dunbarton, NH) ten kills, seven blocks and five service aces.
Senior libero Erynn Miller (Stratford), the two-time LEC Defensive Player-of-the-Week, had 44 digs and junior setter Allie Henry (Middletown) 26 assists, four service aces and 15 digs.
Patrizi's eight service aces sparked Eastern, with eight players contributing at least one to the Warriors' total of 33 on the day. Sophomore back row player Allie Luppi (Tewksbury, MA) followed Patrizi with seven.
Eastern hosts Keene State College and Eastern Nazarene College Saturday beginning at noon at Geissler Gymnasium.
Playing fourth straight road match, Eastern surrenders late goal
DANBURY, Conn. - Western Connecticut State University freshman midfielder Joanna Weir scored the only goal of the afternoon with less than ten minutes left - the first goal allowed this year by Eastern Connecticut State University junior keeper Rachel Skelton (East Lyme) -- as the Colonials snapped a six-game winless streak against the Warriors in the Little East Conference women's soccer opener for both programs Saturday at the Westside Athletic Complex.
At left: Rachel Skelton
Selected third in the LEC pre-season poll and unranked in New England, Western (6-2-0, 1-0-0 LEC) won for the third time in as many home matches (all by one goal) this year and has now captured five of its last six overall. Picked for second in the conference and ranked in a tie for tenth in New England, Eastern (4-2-0, 0-1-0 LEC) played its fourth straight match decided by a 1-0 score. The Warriors are 2-2 in those games.
With just under 10 minutes remaining to play, Western broke the scoreless tie with a nicely executed corner kick from midfielder freshman Celia DeVoe, who delivered a long pass to Weir at the top of the box. Weir settled the ball quickly, and with Skelton still defending the left side of the cage, put the ball over a mass of defenders and teammates into the right side of the goal.
The goal was the first in the career of Weir but the team-leading fifth assist for DeVoe.
Skelton was tagged with her first loss against three wins, but stopped ten of 11 shots. The goal was the first she has allowed in 378 minutes over four starts, a goals-against average of 0.24.
Western opened the game with a strong scoring chance off a corner kick, but consecutive shots by junior Sarah Menta and freshman Meaghan Gustafson were both saved by Skelton. Western held an 8-2 advantage in shots during the first half, but settled for a scoreless tie at the break.
Eastern stepped up its intensity in search of the equalizer in the closing minutes when it forced Western freshman keeper Alison Rettenmeier to make three saves, including one diving save of a shot taken from five yards away from the goal.
Heading into the match, Eastern has won five and tied one (three 1-0 wins) in its last six contests with Western. The Warriors won 1-0 in two overtimes at home in last year's regular-season match. The teams played to a 1-1 two-overtime stalemate in last year's LEC semifinals at Eastern and the Colonials advanced on penalty kicks to lose the conference title game to Massachusetts Boston.
Eastern plays the fifth of six straight road matches Wednesday with a non-conference tilt at Salem State University at 7 p.m.
Eastern spots USM early goal, then shuts out the visitors for 3-1 win
MANSFIELD, Conn. -- Sophomore forward Hannah Keiser (Danbury) contributed her second two-goal game of the season and junior goalie Olivia Mullen (Bethel) turned back seven shots for her first win of the season as the Eastern Connecticut State University field hockey team downed the University of Southern Maine, 3-1, Saturday afternoon in a Little East Conference match at the Mansfield Outdoor Complex
At left: Hannah Keiser (10) celebrates her insurance goal with Elly Walker (6), much to the chagrin of USM keeper Amanda Kasbohm. (Photo by Liam Murphy).
The victory is the first for Eastern (4-3, 1-1 LEC) over Southern Maine (3-5, 0-2 LEC) since a 2-1 home triumph in 2006 - a span of six straight losses. Prior to losing to Southern Maine in last year's conference opener, 1-0, the Warriors had been outscored 17-3 in the three previous losses against the Huskies. The victory is the third for Eastern over the Huskies in this 17-game LEC series.
Both teams entered play with two-game losing streaks. After the visitors got on the board in the 15th minute on freshman forward Leanne Reichert's second goal of the year, the Warriors evened the score when Keiser connected on the team's first shot 6:30 later. With time running out in the half, senior midfielder Morgan Osiecki (Bethel) gave the Warriors the lead for good and a one-goal halftime advantage when she registered her first goal of the season on her only shot of the match. Keiser's team-leading sixth goal of the season soon after an Eastern penalty corner 14 minutes into the second half provided the Warriors with a two-goal advantage.
Freshman forward Elly Walker (Scarborough, ME) collected her team-leading third assist of the season when she fed Keiser on a two-on-one break that tied the match in the 22nd minute, and first-year sophomore forward Taylor Hawkins (Trumbull) recorded her second assist of the season when she found Osiecki at the far post on a crossing pass from the right in the 34th minute which proved to be the game-winner.
Making her third start of the season, Mullen made seven saves, none bigger on All-LEC junior Peyton Dostie's penalty stroke with 6:33 left which preserved Eastern's two-goal lead.
Dostie, last spring's LEC Track Athlete-of-the-Year, was her team's most dangerous and skilled player. She unloaded six of her team's 14 shots, forcing Mullen to come up with saves on four of them. Minutes before the stroke, Dostie had carried the ball through the Eastern defense and sent a shot from close range at Mullen, who came out to turn it aside.
Freshman goalie Amanda Kasbohm of Southern Maine made six saves and surrendered just one goal over the final 35 minutes after taking over for senior Kayla Kennedy to start the second half.
Eastern hosts Babson College Thursday at 6 p.m.
Warren, Karbassioon team for sudden-death goal in LEC opener
WILLIMANTIC, Conn. - Freshman midfielder Nicholas Warren (Southbury) scored on a rebound just 40 seconds into sudden-death overtime for the only goal as the Eastern Connecticut State University men's soccer team withstood upset-minded Western Connecticut State University in the Little East Conference opener for both programs Saturday afternoon at Thomas Nevers Field.
At left: Freshmen Nicholas Warren (12) and Ryan Pomroy (9) celebrate Warren's game-ending goal early in overtime Saturday. (Photo by Liam Murphy)
Two-time defending conference champion Eastern (4-1-1, 1-0-0 LEC) got the game-winner less than a minute into overtime to extend its unbeaten record against Western (2-5-0, 0-1-0 LEC) to eight (6-0-2) since a 1-0 home loss to the Colonials in 2005.
The winning play originated when freshman forward Kyle Peterson (Ivoryton) sent a crossing pass from the left to unmarked sophomore midfielder Arman Karbassioon (Cheshire) at the top of the box. Karbassioon rifled a booming shot directly at Western sophomore keeper Bobby Strevel. Strevel punched the shot away from the goal, where Warren cleaned it up from close range with his second game-winning goal in two weeks. Against visiting Bridgewater State University in the team's home-opener, Warren's first career goal with 2:13 left in regulation sent the Warriors to an identical 1-0 victory.
Following a scoreless first half, Eastern had the better of play - just missing on two prime bids -- but could not break through in the second stanza.
Warren nearly put the Warriors in front with 13 minutes left when a misdirected Western cross in its own zone landed at the foot of Warren, whose 18-yard ground ball shot was fired right at Strevel.
At left: Nicholas Warren chats with broadcasters Nick Aconfora (middle) and Damon Gray on the post-game show after scoring his second game-winning goal this year. (Photo by Liam Murphy)
Four minutes after Warren's chance, freshman back Emmanuel Caicedo (Manchester) got a head on the ball and re-directed it from the left of the box to senior midfielder Mitch Power (Douglas, MA). Power volleyed it to freshman midfielder Ryan Pomroy (Ivoryton), whose low drive in traffic headed toward the right post was turned aside by a diving Strevel to keep the game scoreless.
Freshman keeper Greg Walton (Brunswick, ME) recorded his third shutout (second straight) in his last four starts. Walton was protected by a strong Eastern starting backfield of Caicedo and senior starters Luke Capezzone (Colchester), Carl Stensland (Storrs) and Christopher Giustina (Enfield) in lowering his goals-against average to 0.84. Giustina, a team captain, made his first appearance this year since knee surgery.
Ranked tenth in New England, Eastern has not lost since a 3-0 verdict to Widener University in the 2013 opener. The Warriors are unbeaten (2-0-1) in overtime this year and have lost only four of 27 overtime tilts (12-4-11) under seventh year head coach Greg DeVito.
Eastern hosts Salem State University Tuesday at 4 p.m. in a non-conference match.
Above: At last Saturday's home cross country meet, junior Kelly Labanara (at far right) led the Warriors at the finish for the second straight race, placing second overall. (Photo by Liam Murphy)
By Brent Pelella / Sports Information Staff
"Your season starts way before the first event."
Every coach in America preaches this statement to their athletes, but it takes a truly inspired individual to follow through. It's a tedious process, but it's hard to deny the improvement it brings.
Kelly Labanara, a junior cross-country runner at Eastern, is a first-hand example of what it takes to be the best. Last season, as a sophomore, she hovered around the 22-minute mark in the 5k and as a result was the 5th best runner on her own team.
Three long summer months and 500 miles of running later and last year's Kelly is a faint shadow lagging behind. In turn, the new Labanara is stealing the show this season. In her first two events, she has finished first on the team both times and a career best 2nd overall in her last race.
To put her astounding summer running totals into perspective, it could be estimated that her efforts would have brought her from Eastern to Philadelphia and back (in case she's looking for an adventure next summer). Nonetheless, listening to her talk about her passion is envious.
"I am so proud of Kelly and what she has accomplished," noted second-year Eastern head coach Kathy Manizza. "Her summer training program set her up for a fantastic season and I know she will continue to improve. She takes running very seriously, but she also enjoys it and that is so important to being a lifelong runner."
Labanara runs until her legs waver, and then shakes it out and continues to trek, "It helps me clear my head," he proclaimed. "I fell in love with running at a young age, and never looked back."
Labanara grew up in nearby Chaplin and graduated from Parish Hill High School, where she ran cross country and track for four years under Richard Gogan. In cross country at Parish Hill, she also showed drastic improvement, earning the program's Most Improved Runner Award as a freshman and sophomore before being named team MVP as a junior and senior. As a junior in track in high school, she received the Coaches' Award, then proceeded to earn team MVP honors in that program as a senior, as well.
In addition to cross country, Labanara is a two-year indoor and outdoor letterwinner with the Eastern track and field programs, running distances from 800 to 3,000 meters.
However, the soft-spoken accounting major is not content with her most recent goals. She plans to get her 5k time under 20 minutes and continue to improve the other aspects of being a leader on the team.
Kelly understands with success comes not only higher expectations, but also more responsibilities, "We have some great senior leaders, but I also know younger girls might start looking up to me with what I've done. I have to continue to lead by example, and also motivate them vocally."
Her development into a forerunner will give her experience in not only athletics, but also situations that will impact her life after college. This is one of the most essential aspects of being on a team. Most athletes experience togetherness and sacrifice, but Kelly is getting one better.
"Kelly is very quiet, but she is leading by example and setting a great standard for the younger girls as well as for potential incoming athletes," said Manizza.
Running will always fill a vast abyss in her life, and her discreet competitive nature will continue to propagate on roads, and trails countrywide. Her immediate plan after college, aside from crunching numbers, is pretty predictable, "I intend on running throughout my life. My first goal after I graduate is to run a marathon. That would be pretty cool."
Eastern allows only one second-half goal, but is shut out in loss
PURCHASE, N.Y. - First-team All-America forward Amanda DeChent had a hand in all four of her team's goals by scoring three and assisting on the fourth to power Manhattanville College to a 4-0 non-conference victory over Eastern Connecticut State University Wednesday afternoon at GoValiants.com Field.
At right: Olivia Mullen
DeChent upped her career totals to 65 goals and 34 assists by scoring her 14th, 15th and 16th goals of 2013 in a span of ten minutes in the first half, then was credited with an assist on teammate Rylee McGuire's tenth goal of the season with four minutes left in the match.
DeChent, who played her freshman season at Southern Connecticut State University, took 12 of Manhattanville's (5-2) 18 shots. McGuire connected on her only recorded shot of the game, but also assisted on DeChent's third goal of the first half.
Sophomore midfielder Laura Chicorka ( Enfield) recorded five of the team's 14 shots for Eastern (3-3), which forced goalie Amy Hilton to come up with ten saves to preserve her first shutout of the season, which was her team's third in its last four matches.
Junior goalie Olivia Mullen (Bethel) made six saves and surrendered only one goal in the second half in relief of freshman starter Samantha Scavo (Redding).
The shutout was the first of the season for Eastern, which has dropped its last two on the road since winning three in a row. The Valiants have won six straight against the Warriors in this series.
Eastern opens its Little East Conference season Saturday, hosting the University of Southern Maine at the Mansfield Outdoor Complex.
Four-time long jump All-America also captured five NE titles in career
WILLIMANTIC, Conn. - The most accomplished athlete in Eastern Connecticut State University track and field history, Jason Edwards has been selected to the Eastern Connecticut State University E-Club Hall of Fame, it has been announced by Hall of Fame chairman Scott Smith.
The 6-foot-2 inch, 190 pound Edwards is the only member of the Eastern men's or women's track program to earn All-America honors as many as four times in a career which spanned the years between 1997 and 2002. The Old Saybrook native finished sixth or higher in NCAA Division III national long jump competition four times and also claimed five New England championships.
The 20th E-Club Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony and Reception is scheduled for Saturday, October 19 at the Betty R. Tipton Room in the Student Center. A 5 p.m. social will precede the 6 p.m. ceremony and a buffet will follow the two-hour program. Tickets are priced at $50 and must be reserved in advance by contacting Scott Smith at 860-465-4326 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.
In his career, Edwards gained All-New England or All-ECAC accolades a total of 21 times indoors and outdoors in the long jump and 100 and 200 meters. He additionally captured 30 Little East Conference and New England Alliance individual championships in the long jump and at distances between 55 and 400 meters, and was part of four relays which took LEC/NEA titles.
Eleven years removed from his four-year career, Edwards still holds the New England Alliance and Little East Conference indoor (23-8) and outdoor (24-9 ¼) and Eastern indoor (24-5 ¾) and outdoor (25-2 ½) long jump records, as well as current Eastern indoor (22.19) and outdoor (21.74) records at 200 meters and the indoor record of 3:52.68 in the sprint medley relay.
At the time of graduation, Edwards additionally held Eastern records at 55 meters (6.61) and 100 meters (10.84), as well as with the 4x400 meter relay (3:20.33). The time of 43.19 with the 4x100 meter relay and his 400 meter time of 51.43 were the second and third-fastest, respectively, all-time at the time of his graduation.
The former All-New England and All-State sprinter at Old Saybrook HS equaled or exceeded the NCAA national qualifying standard in the long jump in six of eight seasons -- three times indoors and three times outdoors -- and once also was a "just-miss" after initially qualifying on a provisional basis.
"Jason is one of those athletes that I was lucky to have coached and will remember for my entire life," said current head coach Kathy Manizza. "As an athlete, he had it all: incredible talent, positive attitude, great work ethic and focus. He knew how to work hard, but he also knew how to keep it fun and enjoy the sport."
In his freshman season in the long jump, Edwards won the New England Alliance Championship with a then-program record mark of 23-feet-4 inches, then captured the New England Division III title, and followed with a fourth-place finish at the New England Open (as the seventh seed, he finished only behind three Division I competitors). That year, he enjoyed competing at the national championship in New England for the only time in his career, taking ninth place at the Gosman Center on the campus of Brandeis University.
After failing to qualify nationally in the long jump in consecutive seasons (outdoor as a freshman and indoor as a sophomore), Edwards returned with a vengeance, qualifying in each of his last five seasons. As the No. 2 seed outdoor as a sophomore, Edwards was second only to 1998 national outdoor champion Shawn Watson of Mount Union College in the national meet at Baldwin-Wallace College. His mark of 25-2 ½ in that meet remains the best in Eastern program history. In the long jump, he was third indoors and sixth outdoors as a junior and as a senior was fourth indoors and ninth outdoors.
Edwards becomes only the third individual to gain E-Club Hall of Fame induction based exclusively on track and field merits, following 1977 All-America shot-putter Vin Pillari (1990 induction) and three-time All-America sprinter Judy Pemberton (2006).
Edwards rounds out the Class of 2013, joining previously-announced selections Victor Pereira of Fall River, MA - a former four-year basketball starter -- two-sport athlete Kris Mach of Southington, four-year basketball All-America Allison Coleman of Jewett City, and four-year lacrosse player John Rubano of Bethpage, NY.
Edwards resides in New London and is in his second year as an assistant track & field coach at Eastern under Manizza. He is employed as an Environmental Service Manager at Essex Meadows Independent Living Community in Essex.
They drop final two sets by nine points, lose fifth to a ranked team
NEW LONDON, Conn. - Playing its sixth regionally-ranked team this year, the Eastern Connecticut State University women's volleyball team was swept by Salve Regina University Tuesday night at the Rodgers Recreation Center. Set scores were 25-13, 25-22, 25-19.
At left: Kay Mullen
Having lost five straight decisions against teams ranked in New England since opening the season by defeating regionally-ranked U.S. Coast Guard Academy, Eastern (4-7) led only once in the match after scoring the first two points of the final set. In addition to the five losses to New England's top teams, another came at the hands of undefeated (12-0) Stevens Tech at the Coast Guard Invitational.
In a re-match of last year's ECAC first-round contest (won in five by Salve), 12th-ranked Salve (10-1) scored nine of the final 12 points of the first set to pull away from a four-point lead; in the second set, the Warriors used a late run to close an eight-point deficit to one, 23-22, on an ace by sophomore Melissa Godere (Norwich), but the Seahawks closed it out by the final two points on an Eastern serving error and a kill by Emily Lipinski.
The hosts finished off the sweep in the third set by responding with seven straight points after an Seahawk attack error and a service ace by freshman Amanda Tyler (Longmeadow, MA) had spotted the Warriors a 2-0 lead. Leading by four, Salve used a kill, service ace and Eastern attack error to push the advantage to 22-15 on the way to the six-point win.
Freshman middle hitter Kay Mullen (Fairhaven, MA) led Eastern with eight kills and a .263 attack percentage to go along with three blocks; junior setter Allie Henry (Middletown) contributed 12 assists and senior libero Erynn Miller (Stratford) - ranked 15th nationally in digs with a 5.90 average - led all players on both teams in that department with 14. Mullen leads Eastern this year with a .250 attack percentage and is the runaway leader with 20 blocks.
Jennifer Duggan, a 5-foot-7 inch senior, had 11 kills and a .346 attack percentage for the Seahawks, who attacked at .300 as a team.
Eastern opens Little East Conference play Saturday, visiting the University of Southern Maine at noon. The Warriors follow with a non-conference match against Maine Maritime Academy at 2 p.m. at USM.
Salve Regina U. 3, Eastern Conn. 0
Eastern Conn. (4-7) 13 22 19
Salve Regina (10-1) 25 25 25
Against Mitchell, three players record first goals, three their first assists
NEW LONDON, Conn. - Five Eastern Connecticut State University players recorded their first career points as the Warriors recorded their second shutout in three matches with a 6-0 non-conference victory over Mitchell College Tuesday afternoon.
At right: Emmanuel Caicedo
After struggling to a 1-0 overtime win over Mitchell (1-5-0) a year ago at Thomas Nevers Field in the first meeting between the programs, Eastern (3-1-1) had no such problems this time in stretching its unbeaten streak to four straight since an opening loss.
It took the Warriors more than 31 minutes to break through for their first goal, but they followed with three strikes in an 11-minute span late in the first half, then added three more in a stretch of 12 minutes midway through the second half. Freshmen Emmanuel Caicedo (Manchester) and Ryan Pomroy (Ivoryton) contributed the first goals of their careers in starting roles, and first-year sophomore Gavin Neuendorf (Norwich) came off the bench for his first collegiate point with a late second-half goal.
In his first career start, freshman Alejandro Tobon (West Hartford) chipped in his first collegiate points with a pair of assists in the final six minutes for Eastern, ranked tenth in New England this week for the third straight week. With assists, sophomore Zane Lombardo (Portland) and Kyle Peterson (Ivoryton) also recorded their first career points off the bench.
Little resistance stood between freshman keeper Greg Walton (Brunswick, ME) and his second career shutout in his last three starts. Walton was not called upon for a save in lowering his goals-against average to 1.01.
While sophomore starting defender Cooper D'Ambrosio (Andover) returned to the lineup after sitting out two matches with a broken nose, the Warriors were without senior defender Mike Radlbeck (Westbrook), who sustained a hip flexor in overtime of Saturday's 2-1 victory over Ramapo College.
Mitchell was coming off its first win Saturday, a 1-0 verdict over Western Connecticut State University. The Warriors host Western Saturday at 1 p.m. when they open defense of their last two Little East Conference championships.
The Eastern Connecticut State University Sports Center weight room underwent a facelift this past summer. The room, which is located on the bottom floor of the building and services the entire Eastern community, includes new rubberized flooring, new stereo system, signage, expanded mirror coverage, "Eastern Warrior" platform/power racks, new polyurethane dumbells, kettle bells, barbells, bands, free weights, assisted dip and pull-up machine, two fixed glute/hamstring machines, TRX suspension training packs, medicine balls, leather jump ropes, plyo boxes, bosu balls and jammer machines. Weight room hours are Monday-Thursday 7 a.m. to 10:30 p.m., Friday 7 a.m. to 7:30 p.m., Saturday, 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. and Sunday 11 a.m. to 9:30 p.m.
Sports of volleyball, soccer and cross country are represented
Karahalios (far left), Labanara
NORTH DARTMOUTH, Mass. - Four female athletes representing the sports of cross country, volleyball and soccer represent Eastern Connecticut State University in the second weekly Little East Conference awards program for the week of Sept. 9-15.
Junior Kelly Labanara (Chaplin) was named Runner-of-the-Week in cross country, sophomore defender Gia Karahalios (South Windsor) Defensive Player-of-the-Week in soccer and in volleyball, senior libero Erynn Miller (Stratford) repeated as Defensive Player-of the-Week and freshman outside hitter Adrianna Mihalek (Woodbury) Rookie-of-the-Week.
Labanara becomes the first-ever Eastern women's cross country runner named as the LEC's Runner-of-the-Week. After running as the team's No. 5 runner as a sophomore in 2012, the third-year competitor led the Warriors at the finish for the second time in as many meets when the Warriors defeated visiting Bridgewater State University and U. of Saint Joseph (CT) at Mansfield Hollow State Park this past Saturday. Over the 5,000 meter course, Labanara was second overall among 22 runners in a time of 20:36. In the first meet of the season Sept. 7 at the Trinity College Invitational, Labanara was 12th overall in a field of 93.
Only the sixth solo captain in the volleyball program's 39-year history, Miller successfully handled 33 of 35 reception attempts for a .943 percentage as the Warriors won two of three matches (by sweep) at the Trinity College Invitational this past weekend. Defensively, Miller led Eastern with 61 digs in nine sets for a 6.78 average.
Mihalek (left), Miller (below)
Against homestanding Wesleyan University in the tournament, Miller was perfect on 13 receptions and dug up a team-high 19 balls, and in three sets the next day against regionally-ranked Trinity College, had 23 digs for an
average of nearly eight per set. With 189 digs in 34 sets this year, Miller has totaled nearly 100 more digs than her closest teammate, averaging 5.56 digs per set. She also leads all players with 180 reception and has a .911 reception percentage.
The 5-foot-8 inch Miller leads the conference in total digs (189) and digs per set (5.56), averaging 1.24 digs per set more than her nearest conference competitor.
At 5-foot-8 inches tall, Mihalek had nearly twice as many kills (44) and averaged nearly twice as many points per set as any of her teammates when Eastern won two of three matches at Trinity. The former two-time All-State player at Holy Cross HS attacked at .258 in nine tournament sets, handled a team-high 42 receptions and was second on the team with 31 digs (3.44 per set).
In a sweep of Wesleyan University in the tournament-opener, Mihalek amassed 16 kills with just one error for a .517 attack percentage and also led Eastern with 18 reception attempts and was second on the team with 12 digs. She also served two service aces. In a sweep of Bridgewater State University, Mihalek had nine kills in her first 19 swings and did not commit an error on her first 26 attempts.
With an average of 3.53 kills per set, Mihalek leads the LEC in that category (0.62 more than her nearest conference competitor) and also tops the conference in points per set (3.88) and total points (139 ½).
Behind Miller and Mihalek, the Warriors (4-6 record) lead the LEC in kills (391) and kills per set (10.86) and are second in digs per set (15.14). The two also rank 1-2 on the team in reception attempts with 180 and 166, respectively. Miller has a success percentage of .911, Mihalek .904.
Last year's LEC Rookie-of-the-Year and the conference's only first-team All-LEC freshman selection, Karahalios helped the Warriors to a 1-0 road overtime shutout of 2012 NCAA qualifier Westfield State University in the team's only match of last week.
A center back, Karahalios is second on the team in minutes, having played all but 44 minutes for the 4-1-0 Warriors. Eastern has given up only one goal all season, none in four shutouts against New England opponents. Previously in her career, Karahalios was selected as LEC Rookie-of-the-Week once as a freshman.
The selections bring to seven the number of Eastern athletes honored this season by the conference. In addition to Miller last week, women's soccer senior defender Megan Godwin (Manchester) was cited as Defensive Player-of-the-Week (also gaining an identical honor with the ECAC) and freshman midfielder Nicholas Warren (Southbury) was tabbed as men's soccer Rookie-of-the-Week.
The volleyball team visits Salve Regina University for a non-conference match Tuesday at 4 p.m. On Saturday, the cross country team competes in the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth Invitational Saturday and the women's soccer team opens its Little East season with a 1 p.m. kickoff at Western Connecticut State University.
Far left: Kelly Labanara; near left: Steven LaFlamme (Photos by Liam Murphy and Nikki Chambers).
WILLIMANTIC, Conn. - Second-year head cross country coach Kathy Manizza knows that there's a lot of work ahead as her young men's and women's teams develop into post-season shape, but she was encouraged after the teams completed their only home race of the season this past Saturday at Mansfield Hollow State Park.
Featuring six newcomers among the eight Eastern competitors, the women's team eased past Bridgewater State University by 18 points, and downed the University of Saint Joseph (CT) by 50 points over the challenging 5,000 meter layout Saturday morning.
Similarly young with seven first-year runners among the nine which finished the 4.2 mile course, the men's team ran a strong second to Bridgewater State in the dual meet, falling a point shy when No. 3 Bears' runner Ben Dinobile was able to hold off the charge of Eastern's top runner, sophomore transfer Taylor Flynn (Old Saybrook), at the finish line.
Both Eastern teams ran for the second straight week without a key runner. For the men, it was No. 1 runner Lee Cattanach (New London), a junior, and for the women, it was senior Katie France (Portland). One of two three-year letterwinners on the team, France ran 1-2 a year ago but has been rehabilitating a stress fracture since the summer.
Saturday, the Eastern men were unable to break up Bridgewater's top three of individual winner Dallas O'Brien, Mark Waller and Ben Dinobile, but filled in the next seven spots. Needing to outrun Dinobile for Eastern to pull out the win, Flynn came out of the final loop hard but could not quite overtake his competitor over the final stretch of just under 200 meters.
"Our men really did run well," noted Manizza, "certainly gave it a really solid effort, and supported each other as a team. That's what was really impressive. They ran as a pack throughout the race and definitely were pushing each other, and that was what was exciting."
Scoring points for Eastern behind Flynn - who transferred from Southern Connecticut State University this fall -- were freshmen Dustin Plourde (Norwich) and Joe Rainville (Montville), sophomore Steven LaFlamme (Moosup), and first-year junior track competitor Michael Dolde (East Hampton).
As a bonus, Eastern's top four men ran as a unit, with only 37 seconds separating Flynn from LaFlamme at the tape.
"Taylor gave 100 percent effort once he turned out of the woods," praised Manizza. "He tried to outkick the Bridgewater kid, but our top guys just waited too long (to overcome Bridgewater's first three). They knew that they needed to break up those top three by making their move a little earlier. It's impossible to win a cross country race if the other school gets 1-2-3."
Manizza points to LaFlamme as one of the team's most improved runners, citing his exhaustive training regimen this past summer.
Led by junior Kelly Labanara (Chaplin) and freshman Sofia Amaral (New Milford), the five scoring runners for the women's team all finished among the first seven runners.
Labanara, named as the Little East Conference's Runner-of-the-Week Monday for her effort in the race, led the Warriors for the second straight race this season, with only nine seconds separating her from individual winner Danielle Poto of Bridgewater.
Amaral was third overall - 24 seconds behind Labanara - with senior three-year letterwinner Alexa Palasky (Griswold) fourth overall, freshman Mariah McPhee (Bristol) sixth and freshman Julie Trifone (Cheshire) rounding out Eastern's five scorers with a seventh-place overall showing.
Behind Labanara and Amaral, Palasky, McPhee and Trifone ran as a group, with only 39 seconds between the three.
"Our women ran as a pack, and they did a great job of pushing each other. Mariah is getting stronger and stronger every time out," said Manizza of McPhee, who was unable to put in maximum mileage this summer due to academic commitments. "I think that she will eventually catch up to Sofia (Amaral), then we'll really have a strong top three, and Alexa (Palasky) and Julie (Trifone) will be right there, as well. It's exciting that we have such a strong top seven."
Although Poto took the coveted top spot, her teammates could not submit similar results. All five Eastern scorers, as well as Kaneen Gomez-Hixson of Saint Joseph, crossed the tape before Natalya Riberdy managed to record an eight-place finish as Bridgewater's second finisher.
While injuries have sidelined Cattanach and France, Plourde has also been nursing stress fractures which sidelined during his senior season at Norwich Free Academy. He mixes an alternative running program with pool workouts this fall as he rehabs his injury. For the women, senior Wendy Bouton (Stratford), junior Alexandra Maciolek (Ellington) and freshman Ashley Skolozdra (Mount Laurel, NJ) all sat out Saturday's competition with injuries, according to Manizza.
Eastern closes out the month of September Saturday at the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth Invitational.
Run over 4.2 miles
Bridgewater State U. 29, Eastern Conn. 30
1. Dallas O'Brien (B) 24:05; 2. Mark Waller (B) 24:50; 3. Ben Dinobile (B) 25:04; 4. Taylor Flynn € 25:08; 5. Dustin Plourde € 25:21; 6. Joe Rainville € 25:32; 7. Steven LaFlamme € 25:45; 8. Michael Dolde € 26:16; 9. Chris Burkle € 26:18; 10. Mike Underwood € 26:26; 11. Andrew Single (B) 26:30; 12. Evan Glaude € 27:03; 13. John Whittemore (B) 27:22; 14. Chris Armstrong € 27:41; 15. Mike Gillis (B) 29:21.
Run over 5,000 meters
Eastern Conn. 23, Bridgewater State U. 41, U. of Saint Joseph (CT) 73
1. Danielle Poto (B) 20:27; 2. Kelly Labanara € 20:36; 3. Sofia Amaral € 21:00; 4. Kaneen Gomez-Hixson (S) 21:27; 5. 5. Alexa Palasky € 21:34; 6. Mariah McPhee € 21:57; 7. Julie Trifone € 22:13; 8. Natalya Riberdy (B) 22:19; 9. Brittany Reed (B) 22:21; 10. Kelsy Nixon € 22:30; 11. Rachel Ducharme (B) 22:37; 12. Emily Ducharme (B) 22:50; 13. Stephanie Ward-Smith (B) 24:27; 14. Kailynn Violette € 24:34; 15. Amber Trembley (S) 24:57; 16. Joyce Simon (B) 25:05; 17. Rachel Mauthe (S) 25:28; 18. Rachel Mezzoni € 26:25; 19. Anne Pitoniak (S) 26:46; 20. Bridget Saur (S) 27:45; 21. Serena Cochran (S) 37:02; 22. Lovely Jourdan (S) 37:47.
Eastern Conn. 2 3 5 6 7 -- 23
Bridgewater 1 8 9 11 12 -- 41
Saint Joseph, CT 4 15 17 18 19 -- 73
Warriors lose shootout verdict in LEC opener
WESTFIELD, Mass. - Westfield State University freshman forward Holly Brouillette scored the only goal in the eighth attempt of shootout competition as the Owls edged Eastern Connecticut State University, 2-1 in the Little East Conference opener for both programs Saturday afternoon at Alumni Field.
At right: Freshman Brianna Passero made her first career start Saturday. (Photo courtesy of Westfield State Sports Information)
After the teams had played to a 1-1 draw through 100 minutes of regulation and overtime, Westfield (3-0, 1-0 Little East) freshman goalie Megan Fountaine kept all five Eastern (3-2, 0-1 Little East) attempts out of the cage in the shootout session. Eastern freshman Samantha Scavo (Redding) had turned back Westfield in its first three tries before Brouillette broke through.
Eastern scored five minutes into the game on an unassisted goal by sophomore forward Hannah Keiser (Danbury), who recorded her team-leading fourth goal this season and the ninth in 23 career matches. Westfield evened the score ten minutes later on Courtney Araujo's goal off a penalty corner.
Eastern had the biggest scoring threat the remainder of the game with just over four minutes remaining in the first 15-minute sudden death OT sessions, but the Warriors hit the left post on a breakaway attempt.
The shootout/penalty stroke session was only the second in Eastern program history, following a 4-3 penalty stroke victory over Endicott College in 2004 at the Springfield College Invitational.
The Westfield win was the ninth straight for the Owls over Eastern in the all-time series.
Easternvisits Manhattanville College Wednesday at 4:30 p.m.
Westfield keeper Jess Habif (far right) can only watch as Eastern's Nicole Leonard (far left) deposits the game-ending goal in overtime in Saturday's 1-0 victory over the Owls. (Photo courtesy of Westield State Sports Information)
For second time in three matches, Nicole Leonard scores only goal
WESTFIELD, Mass. -For the second time in three games, senior midfielder Nicole Leonard (Rutherford, NJ) scored the only goal of the match - this time with 1:22 left in overtime -- and junior keeper Rachel Skelton (East Lyme) recorded her third shutout in as many starts this year as the Eastern Connecticut State University women's soccer team edged Westfield State University in a non-conference match Saturday afternoon.
Unranked in New England after losing its only match of the season last Saturday, Eastern (4-1-0) played its third straight 1-0 match this season, ending a two-game losing streak at the hands of Westfield (3-3-0) in this series. The Owls are ranked No. 6 in New England and are coming off last year's undefeated regular season and NCAA tournament appearance. Every match that Eastern has played this year has ended in shutout, while all three of Westfield's losses have come by 1-0 verdicts.
Saturday, Leonard contributed a goal or assist for the fifth time in as many matches this year, finishing off freshman midfielder Hailey Lehning's (Woodbury) feed with time running out in the second ten-minute sudden-death overtime session. The point was the first in the career of Lehning, who played 49 minutes off the bench.
Last Friday, Leonard had connected for the only goal of the match in a 1-0 win over Farmingdale State College in the first match of the Valiant Classic, hosted by Manhattanville College. Leonard had also assisted on the second goal in the team's 2-0 season-opening win over visiting University of Saint Joseph (CT) Aug. 30 and had also helped set up the final goal of a 4-0 win over visiting Fitchburg State University the next night.
Skelton made seven saves in net and has not allowed a goal this year in 288 minutes and 38 seconds this year.
HARTFORD, Conn. -- The Eastern Connecticut State University women's volleyball team moved ahead for good in the early moments of all three sets in sweeping Bridgewater State University Saturday morning at the Trinity College Invitational at Ray Oosting Gymnasium on the Trinity campus. Scores of all three sets were 25-16.
At left: Allie Luppi totalled seven of the team's 24 service aces in the tournament.
Later Saturday, Eastern (4-6) commited 11 reception errors and attacked at .160 but battled throughout before being and swept by regionally-ranked Trinity College, 25-20, 25-18, 25-16.
With Eastern leading the first set against Bridgewater (4-5) by a point, sophomore Allie Luppi (Tewksbury, MA) served four straight points and the Warriors were never headed; in the second set, the Warriors outscored the Bears 9-2 to erase an early deficit and move out to a 13-8 advantage; in the final set, Eastern never trailed, scoring four of the first five points - two coming on service aces by Luppi - en route to the sweep.
Freshman Adrianna Mihalek (Woodbury) took nearly half of the team's attack attempts, recording 14 kills and digging eight balls in the win. Senior Nicki Gasch (New Fairfield) helped the Warriors to a .298 attack percentage by collecting seven kills with a .400 attack percentage. Senior libero Erynn Miller (Stratford) led the way with 19 digs, with junior Allie Henry (Middletown) picking up ten assists and four service aces, junior Jess Patrizi (Beacons Falls) 17 assists.
Bridgewater attacked at only .029 in the match.
Against Trinity, Mihalek led the team with 14 kills again and added 11 digs, , Miller digging 23 balls, Luppi adding three more service aces and digging seven balls. Patrizi and Henry combined for 28 assists.
At left: Adrianna Mihalek (2) is supported by Erynn Miller (at left) and Allie Henry (8) as she attempts to put the ball away for the Warriors.
Trinity attacked at .277, led by Hannah Brickley and Kate Giddens, who were a combined 25-for- 60 with only six errors (.317). Brickley also dug 21 balls and the Bantams forced 11 reception errors with four players contributing service aces.
In three tournament matches (2-1 record), Mihalek totaled 44 kills with a .258 attack percentage and had 31 digs; Gasch contributed 24 kills, Henry 40 assists, six service aces, three blocks and 17 digs; Miller 61 digs and five service aces, Patrizi 45 assists and 14 digs and Luppi 18 digs and seven service aces.
Eastern visits regionally-ranked Salve Regina University Tuesday at 6 p.m.
Eastern Conn. 3, Bridgewater State U. 0
Eastern Conn. (4-5) 25 25 25
Bridgewater State (4-5) 16 16 16
Eastern Statistical Leaders:
Adrianna Mihalek 14 kills 8 digs
Nicki Gasch 7 kills
Bry Kelly 5 kills
Jess Patrizi 17 assists
Allie Henry 10 assists 4 service aces
Allie Luppi 3 service aces
Erynn Miller 19 digs
Trinity College 3, Eastern Conn. 0
Eastern Conn. (4-6) 20 18 16
Trinity College (5-2) 25 25 25
Eastern Statistical Leaders:
Adrianna Mihalek 14 kills 11 digs
Erynn Miller 23 digs
Nicki Gasch 7 kills
Allie Henry 12 assists 6 digs
Jess Patrizi 16 assists
Allie Luppi 7 digs
WILLIMANTIC, Conn. - Sophomore forward Timothy Jennison (Coventry) scored his first goal of the season with 85 seconds left in sudden death overtime to lift the Eastern Connecticut State University men's soccer team to a 2-1 double-overtime victory over Ramapo College of New Jersey Saturday afternoon at Thomas Nevers Field.
At left: Mitch Power gets physical with Ramapo's Rob Shalikar in the Warriors' overtime win Saturday at Nevers Field. (Photo by Jen Tamindzija)
Until Jennison's game-ending goal, neither team could score after Eastern (2-1-1) and Ramapo (2-2-1) traded goals 31 seconds apart midway through the first period. The winner was set up on passes from freshman forward Kyle Peterson (Ivoryton) and senior midfielder Mitch Power (Douglas, MA). Power sent a long pass from the left side into the box, where the ball bounced around and was knocked out by the Ramapo defense. Jennison chased it down from just outside the box on the right side and drove a shot into the box, where it deflected off a Ramapo defender and past Roadrunner senior keeper Steve Monaghan.
The win is the fourth straight in the series for Eastern over Ramapo, which has won eight and six against Eastern, with one tie.
Freshman forward Mark Richards (Springfield, MA) gave Eastern the lead in the 20th minute, but senior forward Dave Pryzybylo followed 31 seconds later with a 25-yard blast which sailed under the crossbar for his second goal of the year. Jennison set up Richards' goal with a cross from the right flank into the box, where freshman forward Eric Fiore (Newtown) re-directed it in the air to the foot of Richards, stationed in front of Monaghan.
Freshman keeper Greg Walton's (Brunswick ME) only save of overtime was a potential game-winner, and came when he smothered a dangerous shot by sophomore forward Abu Bestawros, who received a crossing pass from the left by Pryzybylo and came in alone on Walton. Walton went to the ground to smother the attempt, and senior back Mike Radlbeck (Westbrook) swept in to clear the ball out of danger as it rolled toward the vacated goal.
Minutes before Jennison's game-winner, Eastern senior back Luke Capezzone (Colchester) served a free kick from the left side into box, where Ramapo freshman back Nick Brancato leaped in traffic and sent the ball over just over the crossbar.
Both teams had six shots in the second half and each threatened to break the tie. Walton made a fine stop on an 18-yard shot by Bestawros 13 minutes into the second half, and Monaghan countered by robbing Jennison in the box on a serve by freshman midfielder Nicholas Warren (Southbury). Five minutes later, Warren served another ball to the far post. Ramapo senior back Anthony Pasciolla was unable to control it, but the ball bounced off of him and directly to Monaghan from close range.
Midway through the second half, Eastern freshman forward Alejandro Tobon (West Hartford) unloaded a low shot from box on a cross from freshman midfielder Ryan Pomroy (Ivoryton), but ball sailed just wide of the post.
Eastern played without starting midfielder Christopher Giustina (Enfield) and starting back Cooper D'Ambrosio (Andover) and also had several players leave the match due to injury, including Radlbeck, who missed the second overtime. Giustina has not played this season due to a knee injury and D'Ambrosio sat out his first game following surgery for a broken nose.
Each team was credited with 12 shots. Walton made four saves, Monaghan three. Eastern's defense held the Roadrunners without a corner kick.
Easten visits Mitchell College Tuesday at 4 p.m. in its only road match in a stretch of seven contests.
Freshman Mihalek has 16 kills, one error; Miller 19 digs and five aces
MIDDLETOWN, Conn. - Freshman Adrianna Mihalek (Woodbury) had 16 kills with a .517 attack percentage and senior Erynn Miller (Stratford) had 19 digs and five service aces as the Eastern Connecticut State University women's volleyball team swept Wesleyan University Friday night in the first round of the Trinity College Invitational at Silloway Gymnasium. Set scores were 25-16, 25-21, 25-22.
Eastern (3-5) ended a two-match losing streak with its third victory over Wesleyan (0-4) in the last four meetings.
At left: Adrianna Mihalek
Playing her first match of the season after recovering from a pre-season concussion, senior Nicki Gasch (New Fairfield) contributed ten kills and freshman Kay Mullen (Fairhaven, MA) added seven kills. Junior setters Allie Henry (Middletown) and Jess Patrizi (Beacon Falls) combined for 30 set assists. In addition to her .500+ attack percentage, the 5-foot-8 inch Mihalek joined Miller in double figures with 12 digs. She also contributed two of the team's ten service aces.
Running off to a 7-2 start in the first set, the Warriors extended the lead to 10-4, and eventually 20-10 en route in a set where they never trailed. Eastern took ahold of the momentum by scoring seven straight points to move out to that 20-10 advantage. Miller sparked the run with two service aces and Mihalek put down to attacked balls and consecutive Wesleyan errors on a long attacked ball and a net violation.
The second set was nip-and-tuck before the Warriors ripped off four straight on a pair of Mihalek kills and a Wesleyan two-hit miscue and attack error to turn a two-point deficit into a two-point, 18-16 lead. With the important second set tied at 21, Mihalek recorded two more key kills, and Gasch and sophomore Allie Luppi (Tewksbury, MA) chipped in one each as Eastern closed out with the final four points.
In similar fashion to the first set, Eastern started off strong in the third, racing to a 7-3 lead on a pair of kills by Mihalek, one by Gasch and service aces from Miller and Patrizi. Down 13-12, the Warriors recorded five straight points to open up a four-point lead, forcing the hosts to call a timeout in hopes of slowing them down. Eastern applied the daggar on Gasch's tenth and final kill which sealed the victory.
Wesleyan got eight kills without an error from senior Kim Farris, but the remainder of the team attacked at only .015 to drop the team's overall attack percentage to .099.Farris also had three blocks and three digs. Senior Kate Centofanti led the Cardinals with 11 digs while freshman Rachel Savage had ten. Sophomore Abby Southam also had three blocks. Coming off the bench, sophomore Brenna Tharnstrom dished off 15 assists.
In the nine-team tournament Saturday at Trinity College's Ray Oosting Gymnasium, Eastern faces Bridgewater State University at 11 a.m. and regionally-ranked Trinity College at 1 p.m.
A new era in Eastern Connecticut State University baseball history began Friday afternoon when first-year head coach Matt LaBranche conducted his first official practice at the Eastern Baseball Stadium. After 14 seasons developing Western New Engand University into a regional contender, LaBranche was selected as the sixth head coach in Eastern baseball history this past summer -- the program's first new head coach since 1969. LaBranche recently announced his entire staff, which is comprised of former Eastern assistants Scott Smith and Steve Cervizzi, Tim Mayo -- LaBranche's former pitching coach at Western New England -- and Marc Senia, a former player at Wheaton College (MA). The Warriors open the 2014 season Feb. 28 at Farmingdale State College and make their home debut a month later, hosting the University of Massachusetts Boston in a Little East Conference noon doubleheader March 29 at the Eastern Baseball Stadium.
Prior to the match, Eastern pauses to remember the 12th-year anniversary of 911. (Photo by Liam Murphy)
Warriors record first three-game winning streak in 12 seasons
MANSFIELD, Conn. - Eleven different players contributed a goal or assist as the Eastern Connecticut State University field hockey team eased to a 10-0 non-conference victory over Wheelock College Wednesday afternoon at the Mansfield Outdoor Complex.
At right: While freshman Darianne Mastricola (19) looks on, Jessica Oliveira unloads one of Eastern's 56 shots in Wednesday's victory. (Photo by Liam Murphy).
The win was the third straight for Eastern (3-1) after an opening overtime loss and gives the Warriors their first such winning streak in 12 years - since an identical streak in mid-September that propelled the Warriors to an 11-9 record in 2001 and their only post-season tournament berth in program history.
All 23 players in uniform saw action for Eastern, with freshmen MaryKate Custer (South Windsor), Darianne Mastricola (Jefferson, NJ) and Gabriela Meza (Norwalk) all recording their first collegiate goals. First-year sophomore Taylor Hawkins (Trumbull) contributed her first career point with an assist.
Freshman goalie Samantha Scavo (Redding) was not credited with a save in posting her second successive shutout. Senior goalie Michelle Greene of Wheelock made 30 saves on Eastern's 56 shots.
Eastern opens its Little East Conference season Saturday at Westfield State University at noon. The Warriors were picked to finish last (12th) in the LEC, Westfield fifth.
Eastern Connecticut State University is sponsoring a golf outing on Sunday, Sept. 22, 2013 at Blackledge Country Club in Hebron. Cost of the scramble tournament is $135 per golfer in advance and $150 per golf after Aug. 22 registsration. Registration deadline is Sept. 13. Entry fee and includes greens fees, cart, dinner, prizes and gift. Cost of the dinner only is $30. There will be a noon shotgun start, with the dinner and awards to follow at 5 p.m. The outing benefits the Eastern women's swimming, basketball and softball programs. For registration forms and more information, contact head women's basketball coach Denise Bierly at email@example.com or at 860-465-4586, head softball coach Diana Pepin at firstname.lastname@example.org or at 860-465-5182 or log onto http://www.easternct.edu/athletics/women_basketball/women_basketball.htm
By Brent Pelella
Sports Information Staff
The irony of student-athletics is that in some cases - especially at the Division I level -- the 'athlete' has become much more recognizable than the 'student'. The classroom has turned into a distraction for some, so it's nice to see a needle in the haystack every once in a while.
At left: Lauren Hultzman
Lauren Hultzman is just that.
The senior track & field sensation has performed on and off the field throughout her entire career. Last year, as a junior, she was acknowledged for her achievements both academically and athletically.
The accolade, presented by the National Collegiate Track and Field Association, requires the finalists to be in the top 30 nationally in their event and have a grade-point average of 3.5 or higher. Hultzman is appreciative of this prestigious opportunity, "It's always been a challenge to manage my time. I make a conscious effort to dedicate myself to both sports and academics."
At Eastern, the 5-foot-8 inch Hultzman holds indoor (5-3 1/4) and outdoor (5-5 3/4) program records in the high jump, as well as indoor pentathlon (2885 points) and outdoor (4028) heptathlon program marks.
As a junior in outdoor competition last spring, the Health and Physical Education major won her second straight Little East Conference and New England Alliance outdoor high jump championships and earned All-New England recognition by taking a share of third place in the New England Open (which includes Division I, II and III) and a second in the New England Division III Championships. In the heptathlon last spring, she was fifth in the Division III Championships.
For her achievements, Hultzman shared Eastern's award as the Individual Sport Athlete-of-the-Year last year. Academically, she earned an E-Club Scholar-Athlete Award and qualified for a spot on the Little East Academic Honor Roll both indoor and outdoor.
As a young girl, Hultzman realized how important time management would be as an athlete. She aspired to become a veterinarian, so growing up it was imperative to balance schoolwork and sports. Going into ninth grade, she decided to join the agricultural program at her local high school, which would add to her packed schedule.
In the next four years at Killingly High School, the Putnam native made her mark as an extraordinary high jumper while qualifying for the National Honor Society. Four years later, she has continued to develop and mature. Her track & field coach at Eastern, Kathy Manizza, touched on that topic as well, "Lauren is so close to reaching her goal of qualifying for the nationals (in the high jump), and has been working really hard toward it. On the other hand, she's also been a very good leader for the underclassmen."
Her experience as a captain this season will be another added challenge, but one well worth it, "I'm excited for the next chapter in my life. Right after I graduate I want to start coaching and working with my major, said Hultzman,
As a PE major, it looks as though Lauren will be working within sports for a long time to come. She's exemplified qualities that every athletic institution looks to instill in all their athletes. Manizza expressed what coaching Lauren has meant to her, "She is a great athlete and an even better competitor. She always wants to get better, and it has shown throughout her time here."
The correlation of some athletes' performance on the playing field and in the classroom is disturbingly conflicting, but cases such as Lauren Hultzman show that stability can be obtained on both ends. It comes down to two things, both of which can be highlighted in Lauren's character from just ten minutes talking to her: determination and motivation.
Miller, Godwin, Warren recognized in first weekly awards program
On Tuesday, Godwin also honored as ECAC Defensive Player-of-the-Week
From top: Godwin, Miller, Warren
WILLIMANTIC, Conn. - Three individuals from Eastern Connecticut State University have been recognized by the Little East Conference in its first weekly awards program of the fall, announced Monday.
Senior libero Erynn Miller (Stratford) in volleyball and senior defender Megan Godwin (Manchester) in women's soccer have been recognized with Defensive Player-of-the-Week citations, while freshman midfielder Nicholas Warren (Southbury) was singled out as men's soccer Rookie-of-the-Week.
In addition, Godwin was also selected Divison III Defensive Player-of-the-Week in New England by the ECAC in the first week of its awards program.
In 25 sets this year for the 2-5 volleyball team, the 5-foot-8 inch Miller averaged 5.12 digs and had a .938 reception percentage. In a season-opening sweep of Coast Guard, the team captain was successful on 27 of 28 reception attempts and was perfect on 22 tries in that tournament against Stevens Tech. In 11 sets at Coast Guard, she averaged 6.2 digs. This past weekend at the Springfield College Invitational, the fourth-year letterwinner represented Eastern on the all-tournament team. In 11 sets over two days, Miller led the Warriors with 42 digs.
A fourth-year player and two-sport athlete, Godwin anchored a defense which was not beaten over the first 335 minutes of the season en route to three straight season-opening shutout wins. After missing most of last year with injury, Godwin has started all four matches for the 3-1-0 Warriors, averaging 84.3 minutes per match. In four matches, opponents have scored one goal on an average of only 8.5 shots per match (four shots-on-goal per match).
In the second match of the season Aug. 31, Godwin scored her first collegiate goal late in the first half in the Warriors' 4-0 victory over Fitchburg State University on the second day of the Warrior Classic.
One of five newcomers in Eastern's starting lineup this past Saturday, Warren scored his first career goal with just over two minutes left - the only goal of the match - as the Warriors won their home-opener Saturday against Bridgewater State University. The freshman midfielder has started all three matches for 1-1-1 Eastern, averaging 76.0 minutes per match. The game-winning goal came on his third collegiate shot - the first which ended up on goal.
The women's volleyball team competes at Wesleyan University Friday at 7 p.m. On Saturday, the men's soccer team - ranked No. 10 in New England -- hosts Ramapo College of New Jersey at 2 p.m., while the No.8-ranked women's soccer team visits Westfield State University at 3 p.m.
At Wickham Park, Labanara leads women; two newcomers pace men
MANCHESTER, Conn. - Junior Kelly Labanara (Chaplin), the team's No. 5-6 runner a year ago, finished among the top 13 percent of the field as the team leader for Eastern Connecticut State University, when the women's cross country team opened the 2013 season at the Trinity College Invitational Saturday at Wickham Park.
At left: Kelly Labanara
On the men's side, newcomers comprised six of the team's nine finishers, with first-year sophomore transfer Taylor Flynn (Old Saybrook) placing among the top third finishers with an overall place of 28th in a field of 85.
The Eastern women totaled 124 points in a fifth-place finish among seven full teams, with the men checking in in seventh place among ten teams with 188 points.
Salve Regina won the women's event by pushing their five scoring runners among the first 11 for a 30-point win over host Trinity College. Division I Siena College placed its five scorers within the top nine for an easy victory in the men's race.
Labanara took 12th place in a field of 93 in a time of 18:03 over the 4,000 meter layout and was followed by freshmen Sofia Amaral (New Milford) and Julie Trifone (Cheshire), who placed 17th and 32nd overall, respectively. Rounding out the Eastern women's top five were senior Alexa Palasky (Griswold) and freshman Mariah McPhee (Bristol). Palasky was 42nd overall, McPhee 44th.
For the men, Flynn was timed in 18:08 over 5,000 meters and freshman Joe Rainville (Montville) placed 45th. Completing Eastern's scoring five were senior Evan Glaude (East Hampton) and freshmen Dustin Plourde (Norwich) and Michael Underwood (Farmington). Glaude was 50th, Plourde 52nd and Underwood 56th.
Eastern is home Saturday for a 10 a.m. meet at Mansfield Hollow State Park.
Run over 5,000 meters
1. Siena College 28; 2. Connecticut College 73; 3. Trinity College 94; 4. U. of New Haven 105; 5. Salve Regina U. 121; 6. Lesley College 137; 7. EASTERN CONN. 188; 9. Post U. 2015; 10. Mitchell College 274.
(85 total finishers)
28. (25) Taylor Flynn 18:08; 45. (36) Joe Rainville 18:56; 50. (40) Evan Glaude 19:10; 52. (42) Dustin Plourde 19:15; 55. (45) Michael Underwood 19:28; 59. (47) Chris Burkle 19:36; 60 (48) Steven LaFlamme 19:42; 62. (--) Michael Dolde 19:52; 65. (--) Chris Armstrong 20:08.
Run over 4,000 meters
1. Salve Regina U. 29; 2. Trinity College 59; 3. Siena College 68; 4. Lesley College 114; 5. EASTERN CONN. 124; 6. U. of New Haven 139; 7. Mitchell College 224.
(93 total finishers)
12. (12) Kelly Labanara 18:03; 17. (17) Sofia Amaral 18:20; 32. (28) Julie Trifone 18:49; 42. (33) Alexa Palasky 19:19; 44. (34) Mariah McPhee 19:25; 46. (35) Kelsey Nixon 19:29; 71. (43) Wendy Bouton 20:58; 85. (--) Kailynn Violette 22:15; 91 (--) Rachel Mezzoni 23:11.
Smith, Cervizzi, Mayo, Senia named assistants by first-year coach
WILLIMANTIC, Conn. -- Eastern Connecticut State University's Matt LaBranche - hired this past summer as the sixth head baseball coach in program history -- has announced his coaching staff for the 2013-14 season.
Scott Smith and Steve Cervizzi will return to the Eastern staff after both had previous assistant coaching tenures at Eastern and Trinity College, and will be joined by Tim Mayo and Marc Senia. Mayo served as pitching coach the last four years under LaBranche at Western New England University and will serve in a similar capacity at Eastern. Senia has coached at the AAU and American Legion levels and is a former four-year member of the Wheaton College (MA) baseball program.
A former catcher in the Eastern program, Smith will work with catchers and hitters. Cervizzi will work with outfielders and hitters, and Senia will work with infielders and be responsible in the area of baserunning. On game days, Smith and Cervizzi will serve as bench coaches and Senia will coach first base.
"I am very excited about how quickly the remainder of the staff has come together," said LaBranche. "It is a tremendously experienced and knowledgeable staff. These are outstanding baseball men that bring a great passion and enthusiasm for teaching the game of baseball."
A Rockville native and Eastern graduate, Smith brings 22 seasons of collegiate coaching experience to the program. Smith previously spent 17 seasons as an assistant coach at Eastern and three as an assistant coach at Trinity College, helping Eastern to national championships in 1990, 1998 and 2002 and Trinity to the 2008 championship. The only coach in the 38-year history of the NCAA Division III baseball tournament to be part of national championships with two institutions, Smith also served as field manager (2000) and assistant coach (2007) with the Manchester Silkworms of the New England Collegiate Baseball League (NECBL).
"I am thrilled that Smitty has agreed to rejoin the staff," stated LaBranche. "He has been such a vital member of not only the Eastern Connecticut baseball tradition but the entire university community. The student-athletes will benefit from his ability to coach, but more importantly, from his intense pride in this institution."
A long-time area resident and Springfield College graduate, Cervizzi previously spent 21 seasons as an assistant coach at Eastern and Trinity. In six years, Cervizzi helped Eastern to five NCAA tournament appearances, two of which resulted in regional championships and national tournament berths. As an assistant at Trinity for 15 years, Cervizzi helped the Bantams to two NCAA Division III regional championship, the first of which in 2008 resulted in a national championship.
"Steve is a versatile coach and a great teacher of the game," points out LaBranche. "We are really fortunate that a coach of his experience was available and able to join the staff. The program will benefit from his positive energy and his love of the game."
An Enfield native and resident, Mayo served as pitching coach at Western New England as the Golden Bears qualified the NCAA Division III tournament every season, winning the regional title in 2011, placing second in 2012 and third in 2013. WNE compiled a 148-49 record in that span, winning the Commonwealth Coast Conference regular-season and tournament titles seven times. The pitching staff's walks per game average ranked second nationally in 2011 and its earned run average rated o. 20 nationally in 2012.
For four years, Mayo was also on the staff of the Holyoke Giants of the NECBL and spent one season as pitching coach at Elms College prior to being appointed at WNEU. A left-handed pitcher, Mayo was a four-year member of the Springfield College baseball program. Mayo played high school baseball at Fermi High School under Eastern baseball graduate and left-handed pitcher Bob Cressotti '79 and spent ten years as head instructor at the Cressotti Baseball School in Enfield.
Says LaBranche of Mayo, "It was very much a priority for Tim to make this move with me. He has a proven track record of developing a pitching staff that will throw strikes and compete at a high level every day. The pitchers will benefit from his presence."
A South Windsor native, Senia has served as head coach at manager for the South Windsor American Legion program since 2003 and also is an assistant baseball and asketball coach at Watkinson School in Hartford and an instructor at the Dream Bat Baseball Club in Somers. Senia played from 1999 through 2002 as an infielder and outfielder at Wheaton, where the Lyons won four straight New England Women's and Men's Athletic Conference regular-season and tournament titles, and competed in three NCAA and one ECAC tournaments. He served as a senior captain.
"I have had the opportunity to watch Marc over the years as both a player and an aspiring coach," said LaBranche. "I have always been impressed with his energy and commitment to playing the game the right way. He will be a tremendous role model for our players."
Buffalo State nets only goal of match 19 minutes into second half
MANHATTANVILLE, N.Y. - Senior Shaunta Pyles scored her first goal of the season 19 minutes into the second half -- the first goal scored against the Eastern Connecticut State University women's soccer team in 335 minutes this year - as Buffalo State College nipped the Warriors, 1-0, on the second day of the Valiant Classic, hosted by Manhattanville College at GoValiants.com Field.
At left: Chelsea Santos
Ranked No. 8 in New England, Eastern (3-1-0) had shut out its first three opponents this year, including Farmingdale State (1-0) in Friday night's first match in the tournament. Coming off a sub-.500 season last year, Buffalo (2-1-1) was edged by Manhattanville, 1-0, Friday night.
Led by junior keeper Linda Banfield, the Bengals have given up only two goals this season. Banfield was credited with three saves in picking up her second shutout in four starts and lowering her goals-against average to 0.54.
Making her second start and appearance, Eastern freshman keeper Chelsea Santos (Windsor Locks) had shut out Fitchburg State, 4-0, in her collegiate debut last Friday at the Warrior Classic. She was given one save.
Eastern visits Westfield State University Saturday at 3 p.m.
After sweeping Westfield Friday night, they drop pair Saturday
SPRINGFIELD, Mass. -- The Eastern Connecticut State University women's volleybal team went 1-2 at the Springfield College Invitational Friday and Saturday, sweeping Westfield State University Friday night and dropping a 3-2 decision to Rivier College Saturday morning and and losing in three sets to host Springfield College Saturday afternoon in the tournament semifinals.
Far left: Erynn Miller
Senior libero Erynn Miller (Stratford) represented Eastern on the all-tournament team. In 11 sets over two days, Miller led the Warriors with 42 digs.
Other top players for Eastern included freshman outside hitter Adrianna Mihalek (Woodbury), who had a team-high 34 kills in 11 sets and 26 digs; freshman outside hitter Ashley Adams (Mystic) with 20 kills in 11 sets, freshman middle hitter Kay Mullen (Fairhaven, MA) with 19 kills and four blocks, and sophomore right-side hitter Bry Kelly (Dunbarton, NH) with 14 kills and four service aces in 11 sets.
Junior setter Jess Patrizi (Beacon Falls) led Eastern with 44 assists in 11 sets, junior setter Allie Henry (Middletown) with 41 in 11 sets. Sophomore defensive specialist Allie Luppi (Tewksbury, MA) followed Miller with 31 digs and three service aces in 11 sets.
Eastern collected 16 service aces and commited only nine reception errors in three matches, but was guilty of 22 service errors and attacked at only .115 (as compared to its opponent's .269).
Eastern competes at Wesleyan University Friday at 7 p.m.
Rivier College 3, Eastern Conn. 2
Eastern Conn. (2-4) 15 25 25 16 6
Rivier College (5-1) 25 15 29 25 15
Springfield College 3, Eastern Conn. 0
Eastern Conn. (2-5) 14 9 13
Springfield (3-0) 25 25 25
Freshmen Walker, Scavo play key roles as Eastern wins in first road match
NEWTON, Mass. - Freshman forward Elly Walker (Scarborough, ME) scored her first career goal on her only recorded shot of the match and freshman goalie Samantha Scavo (Redding) needed only two saves to record her first collegiate shutout in her first start as the Eastern Connecticut State University field hockey team won in its first road match of the year, 1-0, against Lasell College Saturday afternoon at Grellier Field.
At right: Elly Walker (Photo by Liam Murphy)
Eastern (2-1) avenged its only loss to Lasell (1-2) in this series, winning for the eighth time. The only loss came by a 1-0 score in 2010 when the teams met in Newton.
Sophomore forward Hannah Keiser (Danbury) and All-conference sophomore midfielder Laura Chicorka (Enfield) had three and two shots, respectively, on goal for Eastern, Scavo, who had recorded her first collegiate win Thursday in 35 shutout relief minutes of a 4-2 victory, got strong defensive play from starting backs senior Kelly Gawron (Ramsey, NJ) sophomores Mackenzie Brower (Granby) and Jessica Oliveira (Danbury) and freshman Alexandra Steward (Old Saybrook).
Walker, who helped her high school team last year to the Maine state finals, improved her season total to four points with her first career goal. The marker was set up when Lasell was unable to clear the zone. Walker's low shot glanced off the right post and settled into the back of the cage.
Cristina Wilson and Ashlee Pechulis each had scoring chances turned aside for Lasell, and the Lasers sophomore goalie Taylor Sheehan made six saves in the loss.
Eastern hosts Wheelock College Wednesday at 4:30 p.m.
Photos by Liam Murphy
Freshman pair gain first points in 1-0 victory over Bridgewater State
WILLIMANTIC, Conn. -- Freshmen Nicholas Warren (Southbury) and Ryan Pomroy (Ivoryton) - two of six newcomers in the Eastern Connecticut State University men's soccer starting lineup - connected for their first career points with 2:13 left to lift the Warriors to a 1-0 non-conference victory over Bridgewater State University in their home-opener Saturday afternoon at Thomas Nevers Field.
In the first meeting between the progams in five years, No. 10-New England ranked Eastern (1-1-1) held a 12-3 advantage in shots, surrendered only one corner kick, and threatened several times in the first half but could not break through until the final minutes in handing Bridgwater (0-2-0) its second 1-0 loss of the season.
With the clock heading toward two minutes in a scoreless match, Pomroy sent a low cross into the box. The pass was beyond the reach of diving Bridgewater senior keeper Matt Bagley and onto the foot of a charging Warren, who tapped it past the defeated keeper.
At right: Former Eastern soccer letterwinner Jon DeCasanova (far right) -- who missed his senior season last year while undergoing treatment for aplastic anemia -- returned to Nevers Field Saturday for the first time in more than a year. DeCasanova is interviewed during the Eastern post-game show by Director of Broadcasting Nick Aconfora. (Photo by Liam Murphy).
Eastern senior midfielder Mitch Power (Douglas, MA) and freshman forward Mark Richards (Springfield, MA) each created several scoring chances for themselves, but neither break the tie. Richards found Powers with a pass with two minutes left in the first half, but Power's header was just off target. Early in the second half, Power found but Bagley was equal to the task, diving to make one of his four saves. Three minutes later, Power sent a cross to Richards, but attempt sailed wide.
Bridgewater's counterattack produced a number of second-half bids, but Eastern starting defense of seniors Mike Radlbeck (Westbrook), Carl Stensland (Storrs), sophomore Cooper D'Ambrosio (Andover) and freshman Emmanel Caicedo (Manchester) prevented the visitors from finding significant space once within the box.
Eastern freshman keeper Greg Walton (Brunswick, ME) was active in the first half, coming off his line to take away Bridgewater opportunities. In his third start, Walton was credited with his first shutout, lowering his goals-against average to 1.47.
Eastern hosts Ramapo College of New Jersey Saturday at 2 p.m.
Eastern Connecticut State University freshman middle hitter Kay Mullen (14) beats the block of senior Lindsay Rescott (5) and junior Nicole Molleur (11) in the late stages of the Warriors' three-set sweep Westfield State University in the opening match of the Springfield College Invitational Friday afternoon at Dana Gymasium on the SC campus. Eastern won by scores of 25-13, 25-22, 25-22 to snap a three-match losing streak and improve its overall record at 2-3. Mullen had six kills and attacked at .357 to improve her season attack percentage to .302. Freshman Adrianna Mihalek led the Warriors with 11 kills and attacked at .292 and freshman Ashley Adams added eight kills. Juniors Allie Henry and Jess Patrizi each set for 14 assists and sophomore Allie Luppi collected a team-high 14 digs. Mullen added three blocks.After winning their first three matches by sweep, the Owls (3-2) were swept by a Little East Conference opponent for the second time in three days. Eastern continues tournament play Saturday at 10 a.m. against Rivier College.
At Valiant Classic, Farmingdale puts only two of its shots on goal
PURCHASE, N.Y. - Ranked No. 8 in New England, the Eastern Connecticut State University women's soccer team recorded its third straight season-opening shutout with a 1-0 victory over Farmingdale State College in the first game of the Valiant Classic, hosted by Manhattanville College Friday afternoon at Go Valiants.com Field.
At left: Whitney Mantel
Eastern (3-0) connected on one of its five shots in the match, with senior midfielder senior Nicole Leonard (Rutherford, NJ) scoring her first goal of the season midway through the first half. Junior keeper Rachel Skelton (East Lyme) posted her second shutout in as many stars this year. She was called upon for only two saves by the Warriors, who got stellar play from its defense for the third straight match.
The first great chance of the game came off the foot of Eastern Connecticut junior forward Whitney Mantel (Stamford) in the 12th minute. The Warriors' leading scorer had a 1v1 opportunity with Farmingdale State sophomore keeper Breanna Blair, but her shot from the right side of the box was stopped by Blair and her defense was able to clear out the rebound.
Ten minutes later, Leonard connected for her first goal of the year on her second shot. Sophomore back Maggie Sayers (Windsor Locks) served the ball into the box for Mantel, and she re-directed the ball to Leonard for the put-away.
Sayers teammed on the back line with senior Megan Godwin (Manchester) and sophomores Kaitlin Thibodeau (Tolland) and Gia Karahalios (South Windsor)
The meeting was the first ever between Eastern and Farmingdale, which won last year's Skyline Conference, then lost to No. 9 Williams College in the opening round of the NCAA tournament.
In three matches this season, the Warriors have allowed opponents to put only eight of their shots on net. In addition to Skelton's two shutouts, freshman Chelsea Santos (Windsor Locks) was called upon for only one save in recording a shutout in her first collegiate start last Saturday in a 4-0 shutout of Fitchburg State University on the second day of the Warrior Classic.
Eastern faces Buffalo State College Saturday at 4:30 p.m. on the second day of the Valiant Classic.
Senior contributes goal and two assists in Warriors' first victory
MANSFIELD, Conn. - Penalty corners set up three goals for the Eastern Connecticut State University field hockey team and the Warriors used a 25-9 advantage in shots to down Anna Maria College, 4-2, Thursday afternoon at the Mansfield Outdoor Complex.
At left: Hannah Keiser (10), Finley Ahearn (white headband) and their teammates celebrate Keiser's first goal in the opening minutes of Thursday's 4-2 victory. (Photo by Liam Murphy)
Trailing by a goal, Eastern (1-1) scored three goals in 14 minutes to record its sixth goal in this series without a loss to Anna Maria (1-2), which won a program-record 14 matches last year and the New England Collegiate Conference (NECC) championship and reached the ECAC New England Division III Tournament.
Each team started four freshmen and featured a combined total of 21 first-year players on their roster, with Eastern starting freshmen forwards Elly Walker (Scarborough, ME) and MaryKate Custer (South Windsor) each contributing assists. Walker's second assist in as many matches set up senior midfielder Finley Ahearn's (Wallingford) tying goal with less than four minutes left in the first half, and Custer's first career point led to sophomore forward Hannah Keiser's (Danbury) go-ahead goal - her second of the match - nine minutes into the second half.
At left: Finley Ahearn ties the match with her first career goal late in the first half. (Photo by Liam Murphy)
Ahearn equaled her entire career-high for points with her first career goal and two assists, all coming following penalty corners. Keiser scored the first goal of the match directly off Ahearn's corner, and Ahearn tied the match late in the first half when she sent in a penalty corner, and later took a return pass from Walker at the left post and beat Anna Maria sophomore goalie Mary Kate Breen. With Eastern leading 3-2, Ahearn sent in a another penalty corner and sophomore All-Little East Conference midfielder Laura Chicorka (Enfield) drilled a shot from the top of the circle which caromed off an Anna Maria defender to give Eastern a two-goal advantage ten minutes into the second half.
Making her collegiate debut freshman goalie Samantha Scavo (Redding) made three saves in the second half in place of junior starter Olivia Mullen (Bethel) to gain her first collegiate victory.
Sophomore forward Kylie Dalbec scored both of Anna Maria's goals. Dalbec, who has four of her team's six goals this season, tied the match in the 13th minute when she dribbled around Mullen to steer the ball into an open net, then gave the AMCATS their only lead ten minutes later when she converted on a 1v1 opportunity with Mullen.
Eastern dominated play with a 25-9 advantage in shots and recorded nine of its 14 penalty corners in the first half.
Eastern visits Lasell College Saturday at 1 p.m.
Capezzone (far left), Leonard
The Eastern Connecticut State University men's and women's soccer teams have been ranked among the Top 10 in the first NSCAA/Continental Tire NCAA Division III New England polls of the 2013 season, released today. After the first week of the regular season, the Eastern women opened at No. 8, while the men are rated No. 10 as the only Little East Conference institution to open in the regional rank. Among conference institutions, the University of Massachusetts Boston was rated No. 6 in the women's poll. The women won both of their contests by shutout in this past weekend's Warrior Classic, downing Saint Joseph (CT), 2-0, and Fitchburg State, 4-0. Under the direction of seventh-year head coach Greg DeVito, the men followed a 3-0 loss to Widener with a 3-3 overtime tie with Swarthmore at the Swartmore College Garnet Alumni Classic. The men have returned seven letterwinners from a record-breaking season a year ago which found them going unbeaten in their first 15 matches and finishing 17-2-1. The men were ranked either fourth or fifth in all ten New England polls last year and either 24th or 25th in the final sixth regular-season national polls. The women, coached by 14th-year head coach Chris D'Ambrosio, have returned 14 letterwinners from last year's 9-6-3 team which shared the Little East Conference regular-season title. The women were not ranked last season. The men, the pre-season LEC favorite, open their home season Saturday at 1 p.m. against Bridgewater State at Nevers Field. The women compete in the Manhattanville College Valiant Classic Friday and Saturday.
WILLIMANTIC, Conn. -- The Eastern Connecticut State University softball program will be offering a Warrior for a Day Clinic Saturday, Oct. 12 between 9:30 a.m. and 4 p.m.at the Eastern Softball Field.
High school players grades 9 through 12 are eligible to participate. Cost is $95, which includes lunch and tour.
Space is limited for the clinic, which is under the direction of 13th-year Eastern head softball coach Diana Pepin and assistant Molly Rathbun, a former four-time All-America pitcher at Eastern.
The clinic will provide youngsters with an opportunity to experience a college-level practice session through demanding, fast-paced drills. Youngsters will also have an opportunity to interact with current Eastern players.
More information is available by contacting Diana Pepin at 860-465-5182 or at email@example.com.
For closer, hard work paid dividends, culminated in national honors
By Brent Pelella
Sports Information Staff
WILLIMANTIC, Conn. -- It's 4 a.m. on Sunday morning. Your typical college undergraduate is nestling into his or her double-sized dorm room bed, after a long night of extracurricular activities.
However, one seeking individual is tucking his sheets back in and preparing for what lies ahead.
The motivation for his early departure is a simple yet interesting one. Matt Purnell, closer on the 2013 Eastern baseball team, started most of his Sundays this way. Gathering bait, prepping his pole and sailing out into one of the several bodies of water he has tackled over the years.
All puns aside, Matt helped explain his affection very simply; "My grandfather and dad raised me on the water. My town is so small there wasn't much else to do when I was young besides hunt and fish."
His town of Stafford Springs is exactly as he described. Located a half-hour drive from the Willimantic campus, Stafford Springs is at the crossroads of Rtes. 190 and 32. The Colonial settlement in Northeast Connecticut is best known for its famed speedway and numerous campsites. Stafford High School holds less than 400 students, and the town as a whole is reminiscent of a time prior to the industrialization of America.
However, one recollection of Matt's high school baseball career magnifies every miniscule thing about Stafford Springs, "Being a part of the state championship game is one of the most unforgettable memories I'll ever have. It brought the town together, and that in its own right is something special."
His passion and enjoyment isn't something exclusive to the game of baseball, but rather epitomizes his personality as a whole. Coming into college, Matt had to grasp at every opportunity to merely make the program. If it wasn't for considerable advocacy from his peers and coaches, he believes he wouldn't have been on the team that season.
"My freshman year was a great experience. Most freshmen were upset about being on the JV team, but I was grateful and just used every opportunity to work hard and get better." As a result, he made the jump from bottom-feeder to key bullpen reliever by the middle of his second season.
One of the highlighted moments in his sophomore campaign was a rivalry game against Keene State, where the 6-3 righty went five strong innings in an important game with championship implications. Aside from several durable outings, Matt credits his development to upperclassmen Wes Dutton and Travis Bass, "They were so helpful in my growth on and off the field. They both showed me how to improve on the field, in the weight room and as a person. "
Ironically, Matt cultivated into the epitome of his predecessors, and throughout his final two seasons, he was the one teaching and aiding his younger teammates. One teammate remarked, "Matt is one of the best leaders I've ever been around. He's tough on you, but he's also there to be a friend when you need one."
Nothing Matt went through, as a college baseball player was more humbling than the honor he received this past spring. His selection as a second team All-America was an exclamation point on a career which blossomed primarily due to hard work and commitment to improving. After playing exclusively on the sub-varsity level as a freshman, Purnell began to develop on the varsity level. He pitched middle relief as a sophomore and junior, appearing in 39 games with 55 strikeouts and 26 walks and a 3.44 ERA in 68.0 innings.
That set the stage for a brilliant final season as the team's closer in 2013, when he appeared in a school-record of 29 games, with a remarkable 51 strikeout against just five walks. He won six of seven decisions and had nine saves (equaling the fourth-most in a season in program history) and a 1.63 ERA.
In addition to second-team All-America honors, Purnell was selected New England Pitcher-of-the-Year, first-team All-Little East Conference, and was named to the New England All-Star Game.
"I'm extremely grateful to be present with such a great honor," Matt exclaims of his All-America certification. "Baseball has given me something to love throughout my whole life, and I'll never give it up."
After being considered as an afterthought as a freshman, Purnell left behind his senior season ranked fourth all-time in pitching appearances (68).
It's tough for any athlete to give up a game at the height of his or her ability, and for Matt it will be the same way leaving Eastern, "I'm going to miss Eastern baseball. The camaraderie is unlike anything I've ever experienced... we were a family." Matt solemnly remarked.
The journey won't completely stop, as Matt will fly to California in the winter to work out and prepare for professional tryouts. Whether we see him on the mound or not next spring is still in question, but one thing is for certain... If he gets the chance it won't be squandered.
He was adamant in his message when asked about what he would say to young ballplayers looking to follow in his footsteps, "If you work hard there are no limits. I know it sounds cliché, but you have to believe in it."
Matt, for the four years we've gotten the pleasure to watch you in an Eastern uniform... we thank you for believing in it.
Eastern can't maintain momentum in five-set setback to Cougars
Jess Patrizi (at left)
WORCESTER, Mass. - The Eastern Connecticut State University women's volleyball team could not maintain the momentum generated late in the third set and dropped a five-set decision to Clark University Tuesday night at the Kneller Center.
After the teams split the first two sets, Eastern (1-3) closed out the important third set by scoring the final eight points for a five-point victory, but fell behind for good early in losing the fourth set, and never led in the decisive fifth set.
In its home-opener, Clark (1-1) won by scores of 25-18, 16-25, 22-25, 25-20, 16-14.
Eastern, which will not play on its home court this season until September 28, tied the match by taking the second set against Clark behind the serving of junior setter Jess Patrizi (Beacons Falls). Patrizi served the first nine points of the set -- collecting four aces in that opening stretch - and the Warriors were never seriously threatened the rest of the way.
Patrizi served the first three points of the important third set but Eastern had to rally from a 22-17 deficit. Down by that five-point margin, the Warriors reeled off the final eight points in succession. Patrizi contributed her sixth and seventh service aces in that final run, freshman middle hitter Kay Mullen (Fairhaven, MA) a kill and block assist. Patrizi and freshman outside Ashley Adams (Mystic) combined for the final four points, Patrizi with two aces and Adams two kills.
Adams put the ball down in succession for the first two points of the fourth set, but the Cougars answered with the next five. Another kill by Adams provided Eastern with its final lead at 7-6, but the hosts later scored six of eight points to take command on the way to the five-point win.
Patrizi and senior libero Erynn Miller (Stratford) each had four digs and freshman outside hitter Adrianna Mihalek (Woodbury) three kills in the decisive fifth set. The Warriors trailed throughout but managed to tie the set twice in the late stages when Clark sent an attacked ball over the end line and Mullen collected a kill to pull Eastern even for the final time at 14-all. A successful attacked ball by Clark made it 15-14, and sophomore middle blocker Anne Read ended the two hour and six minute match with a kill.
Adams led Eastern with 17 kills, six coming in the opening set and eight in the fourth and fifth sets. Mullen added 15 kills and five blocks, Mihalek 13 kills and a team-high 23 digs, Miller 18 digs, sophomore Allie Luppi 14, junior setter Allie Henry (Middletown) 12 digs and 25 assists, and Patrizi ten digs,seven aces and 30 assists.
Eastern played again without senior outside hitter Nicki Gasch (New Fairfield), who is recovering from a concussion but is expected back within a week.
Eastern competes in the Springfield College Invitational this weekend, opening against Westfield State University Friday at 5 p.m.
Basketball point guard of mid-1980s set current assist record
WILLIMANTIC, Conn. - A point guard on two Eastern Connecticut State University post-season basketball teams in the mid-1980s, and a starter in the final 92 games of his career, Victor Pereira has been selected to the Eastern Connecticut State University E-Club Hall of Fame, it has been announced by Hall of Fame chairman Scott Smith.
Standing 5-foot-6 inches tall, Pereira led the Warriors to their first two post-season tournament berths under former head coach Dan Switchenko and graduated as the program's all-time leader in assists (a record he still owns) and steals during a career which spanned from 1984 through 1988. Given four years with the three-point shot rule (it was not instituted until his junior year), Pereira would have additionally finished his career as the all-time leader in that category.
The 20th E-Club Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony and Reception is scheduled for Saturday, October 19 at the Betty R. Tipton Room in the Student Center. A 5 p.m. social will precede the 6 p.m. ceremony and a buffet will follow the two-hour program. Tickets are priced at $50 and must be reserved in advance by contacting Scott Smith at 860-465-4326 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Pereira appeared in all possible 104 games in his career, taking over a starting position in the team's 12th game of his freshman year.
Honored earlier this year as the program's second inductee into the New England Basketball Hall of Fame, Pereira was the program's first All-Little East Conference selection as a junior in the first year of LEC play, and remained the program's only point guard to earn that honor for 20 years. The Fall River, MA native repeated All-LEC recognition as a senior, when he also gained distinction as a second-team Division III All-New England selection by the ECAC - one of only five such honorees in program history.
In his career, Pereira amassed a remarkable assist-to-turnover ratio of 2.44, totaling 589 helpers against only 241 turnovers. He currently holds two of the top three season marks for assists. On 131 three-point attempts in two years, Pereira shot a sterling 43.5 percent.
Born in St. Michael's Azores, Portugal, Pereira helped engineer seasons of 18 wins as a sophomore and 17 wins as a senior which produced ECAC New England Division III Tournament appearances each season. As a senior, Pereira averaged a career-high 7.9 points per game and had an assist-to-turnover ratio of 3-to-1. In mid-January of that year, he was named MVP when Eastern won the Liberty Bank Classic at Geissler Gymnasium, scoring a career-high 20 points in the final against Trinity College and handing out seven assists in the opening victory over Connecticut College.
"Vic was the best point guard that I ever coached", praised Switchenko, who served as a Division I assistant coach at three institutions before coaching at the Division III level for 15 years. "Vic's ability to apply constant full court defensive pressure, break pressure with ease, hit the standstill 3-pointer, and to dribble-penetrate and find the open man made him a truly outstanding player. But what made Vic a great point guard," added Switchenko, "was his total commitment to the team."
With Pereira, the Warriors' two ECAC-qualifying teams had a combined record of 35-18, with the 1985/86 squad winning the program's only ECAC Tournament game until 2009/10. As a sophomore, Pereira accumulated a program season-record 178 assists while shooting a career-best 51.9 percent from the floor. That team, which lost by one point in the ECAC Tournament semifinals and which was cited by Switchenko as his best combine in his 13 years at Eastern, won eight of nine games in one stretch, the loss coming to 1984/85 national runner-up Potsdam State.
Thirteen times in his career, Pereira handed out double-figure assists. He performed the feat six times as a sophomore and five times as a junior.
In late January of his freshman season, Pereira moved into a starting role, ringing up at least 100 assists (117) for the first of four straight seasons. Pereira becomes the third player from that squad to reach the E-Club Hall of Fame, following Kevin Barboza (2000) and two-sport star John McNally (2006).
Pereira came to Eastern after leading B.M.C. Durfee High School to an undefeated state championship as a senior, and upon graduation from Eastern, played five years of professional basketball in Europe.
Pereira joins two-sport athlete Kris Mach of Southington, four-year basketball starter Allison Coleman of Jewett City, and four-year lacrosse player John Rubano of Bethpage, NY as announced members of the E-Club Hall of Fame Class of 2013.
Pereira holds a B.S. Degree in Physical Education from Eastern and an M.S. Degree in School Administration from American International College and is employed as Director of Athletics at Durfee High School. He currently resides in Fall River, MA with his wife, Elizabeth.
Matt LaBranche (at left)
The Eastern Connecticut State University baseball program will be offering a Fall Futures Clinic Saturday, Oct. 12 between 1 and 6 p.m. at the Eastern Baseball Stadium.
High school players grades 9 through 12 are eligible to participate. Cost is $125.
Space is limited for the clinic, which is under the direction of first-year head coach Matt LaBranche nd his staff and will involve advanced instruction, position play, hitting technique, and instructional games with live at-bats.
More information is available by contacting Matt LaBranche at 860-465-4516 or at email@example.com.
Three players score their first career goals in 4-0 verdict over Fitchburg
MANSFIELD, Conn. - Junior midfielder Taylor Shannon (Waterford) scored in the 16th minute as the Eastern Connecticut State University women's soccer team won both of its matches in its own Warrior Classic for the second time in three seasons, rolling to a 4-0 victory over Fitchburg State University Saturday night at the Mansfield Outdoor Complex.
At left: Taylor Shannon rises up to give Eastern a 1-0 lead early in the match Saturday night against Fitchburg State. (Photo by Frank Poulin)
Coming off a first-round 2-0 win over the University of Saint Joseph (CT) Friday, Eastern (2-0) scored twice in the first half and twice in the second against Fitchburg (0-2), which had dropped a 1-0 decision to Manhattanville College Friday night.
The Falcons made a bid to score first but Kelsey Murphy's shot caromed off the left post, and the Falcons managed only one more shot the rest of the half. After senior back Megan Godwin's (Manchester) unassisted goal with eight minutes left in the first half gave the Warriors a 2-0 halftime lead, junior forward Whitney Mantel (Stamford) scored twice in a span of 2:32 midway through the second half to cushion Eastern's lead.
The goals were the first in the careers of all three Eastern scorers.
Shannon and Godwin both knocked in headers for their goals while Mantel tucked in a cross from freshman forward Janessa Soucy (Milford) for her first goal, then steered the ball in a 1 v. 1 opportunity around Fitchburg State keeper Jillian Kirouac before tucking it inside the left post from a difficult angle to make it 4-0.
Eastern freshman keeper Chelsea Santos (Windsor Locks) needed only one save in her collegiate debut to record the shutout.
The home appearance is the final one in a month for Eastern which begins a stretch of six straight September road matches this coming weekend at the Manhattanville College Valiant Classic. The Warriors face Farmingdale State in their tournament opener Friday at 3:30 p.m.
U. of Saint Joseph (CT) 4, Manhattanville College 0
Patricia Nolan had two goals and assist and Sara Barnick scored twice to lift the University of Saint Joseph (CT) to a 4-0 victory Saturday and a split of two matches at the Warrior Classic women's soccer tournament, hosted by Eastern Connecticut State University at the Mansfield Outdoor Complex.
Saint Joseph (1-1) dominated from the outset, threatening no less than five times in first 20 minutes before Nolan finally broke through, knocking in a header from in close off a cross from Emily Burke with 17 minutes left in the first half. The goal was the first of three in a ten minute stretch for the Blue Jays, who finished with a 23-6 advantage in shots.
Manhattanville (1-1), coming off a 1-0 win over Fitchburg State Friday, was held without a shot through the first 18 minutes as Melissa Dodge made two saves to record the shutout in her first start and appearance of the season.
The teams had traded 1-0 wins in the Warrior Classic each of the last two seasons.
The Eastern athletic season officially gets underway this weekend, with the women's soccer team hosting its third annual tournament and field hockey hosting Saint Joseph's (ME), women's volleyball competing in the U.S. Coast Guard Academy Invitational, and men's soccer travelling to the Swarthmore College Garnet Classic. Cross country participates in the Trinity College Invitatonal Sept. 7 at Wickham Park in Manchester.
Men's Soccer WATCH: Coach's Interview
At left: Mike Radlbeck
Head Coach: Greg DeVito (7th year, 88-28-12)
2012 Record (Little East): 17-2-1 (6-0-1)
2012 Honors: Second straight LEC regular-season and tournament titles
2013 Opener: Saturday/Sunday at the Swarthmore College Garnet Alumni Classic
Rank in 2013 LEC pre-season poll: 1st
Letterwinners Back/Lost: 7/11; Starters Back: 4
All-Little East Conference Players Back/Lost: 3/4
Top losses: Bradley Fletcher, B (All-Region, LEC Defensive Player-of-the-Year)
Matt Furman, F (All-Region, LEC Offensive Player-of-the-Year)
Jordan Munsell, K (All-Region, All-LEC)
Cory Tobler, F (All-LEC)
Roster makeup: 6 seniors, 5 sophomores, 11 freshmen
Top returnees: Mike Radlbeck, Sr., B
Mitch Power, Sr., MF (All-LEC, top returning scorer: 7-3-17 pts.)
Christopher Giustina, Sr., B (All-LEC)
Carl Stensland, Sr., MF (All-LEC)
Team captains: Giustina, Power, Radlbeck, Stensland
Top newcomers: Curtis Barnes, Fr., K (HS: All-Confernce)
Cooper D'Ambrosio, So. B (Transfer U. of Hartford)
Gavin Neuendorf, So., MF (All-State)
Ryan Pomroy, Fr., MF (All-NE, two-time All-State)
Mark Richards, Fr., F/B (HS: All-New England)
Greg Walton, Fr., K (HS: Conf. POY, All-State)
Nicholas Warren, Fr., MF (All-Conference)
At least half of the team's starting lineup will be new
from a year ago, when the team set a season record for wins (14-0-1 in its first 15 matches), posted its first unbeaten regular-season LEC record in 21 years and captured its second straight LEC regular-season and conference titles. A pre-season knee injury will keep Christopher Giustina out of the lineup for the first several weeks of the season. Freshmen Greg Walton and Curtis Barnes will contend for starting keeper honors in place of graduated Jordan Munsell, who was stellar in his only year as a starter last fall. Nine freshmen started in a 4-1 exhibition win over Castleton State this past Sunday.
Coach DeVito: "I like the makeup of this team. It's a nice blench of returnees with experience, and newcomers who have a lot of potential to get better over the next four year. We have some big holes to fill, for sure, but after the pre-season, I think we're headed in the right direction. This is potentionally one of the strongest classes (of freshmen) that we've brought in. We made an effort to bring in the players who could carry on the tradition of those who came before them."
Women's Soccer WATCH: Coach's Interview
At left: Tamar Merheb
Head Coach: Chris D'Ambrosio (14th year, 155-76-25)
2012 Record (Little East): 9-6-3 (6-1-0)
2012 Honors: Shared first place in the LEC regular season, the fifth time the Warriors have won or shared the title under the current head coach.
2013 Opener: Friday/Saturday hosting the 3rd Annual Warrior Classic
Rank in 2013 LEC pre-season poll: 2nd
Letterwinners Back/Lost: 14/6; Starters Back: 5
All-Little East Conference Players Back/Lost: 1/3
Top losses: Daniela Marchitto, F (All-Region, All-LEC)
Chelsea Downer, MF (All-LEC)
Kelly Wallace, MF (All-LEC)
Mackenzie MacLeod, K
Roster makeup: 5 seniors, 4 juniors, 7 sophomores, 4 freshmen
Top returnees: Blair Church, Sr., MF
Megan Godwin, Sr., B (Missed 14 matches due to injury in 2012)
Gia Karahalios, So., B (All-Region, LEC ROY, 1st team All-LEC)
Kaitlyn Kennedy, Sr., MF
Whitney Mantel, Jr., B/F
Tamar Merheb, Sr., MF
Kaitlin Thibodeau, So., B
Team captains: None
Top newcomers: Jamie Belden, Fr., B/MF (All-Division)
Hailey Lehning, Fr., MF (Three-time All-Conference)
Chelsea Santos, Fr., K (Two-time All-State)
Janessa Soucy, Fr., F
Outlook: The top three scorers are gone from a year ago - among them four-time All-LEC and two-time All-Region forward Daniela Marchitto and all-time assist leader Kelly Wallace - but a solid nucleus returns for a program which has lost more than one conference regular-season game only once in the last 12 years. Senior midfielder Nicole Leonard and senior back Megan Godwin return healthy after injuries limited them both to only a handful of matches in 2012. Junior Rachel Skelton and freshman Chelsea Santos were vie for goalie honors. The defense will be anchored by Godwin, All-Region sophomore back Gia Karahalios and sophomore Kaitlin Thibodeau, with veterans Leonard, Tamar Merheb, Kaitlyn Kennedy and Blair Church providing a strong presence at midfield and junior Taylor Shannon capable of playing either midfield or back. Junior Whitney Mantel and freshman Janessa Soucy will get a chance to help plug the holes up front left by graduation.
Coach D'Ambrosio: "The players are positive, and they come to work every day. They enjoy playing, and I think that the chemistry is pretty good. The seniors and junior all get along pretty well, and I think that filters down to the rest of the team. Injuries to key players hurt us last year, which is probably a big reason why we were inconsistent. But because of injuries, a lot of players were able to gain valuable experience. Will that help us this year? Absolutely. We had a lot of freshmen and sophomores who played last year, that if everyone was healthy, maybe they're not playing that much. They were able to play a ton of minutes and it shows already. They're fit, they're confident, they're strong, and they realize that if someone is not playing well or gets hurt, 'hey, I'm going to get a chance.'"
Women's Volleyball WATCH: Coach's Interview
At left: Erynn Miller
Head Coach: Peter Maneggia (3rd year, 39-24)
2012 Record (Little East):19-14 (4-3)
2012 Honors: Made first post-season appearance since 2007, qualifying for the ECAC NE Division III Tournament. Won 11 of 12 matches heading into the first round of the LEC tournament.
2013 Opener: Friday/Saturday at the U.S. Coast Guard Academy Invitational
Rank in 2013 LEC pre-season poll: 4th
Letterwinners Back/Lost: 7/6; Regulars Back: 6
All-Little East Conference Players Back/Lost: 0/1
Top losses: Katie Wilson, MB (All-NE first team, All-LEC first team)
Danielle Bourne, OH (Four-year player)
Roster makeup: 3 seniors, 2 juniors, 3 sophomores, 6 freshmen
Top returnees: Nicki Gasch (5-10), Sr., OH
Allie Henry (5-10), Jr., Setter
Erynn Miller (5-8), Sr., Libero
Jess Patrizi (5-6), Jr., Setter
Allie Luppi (5-7), So., Libero
Team captain: Erynn Miller
Top newcomers: Ashley Adams (5-7), Fr., OH (All-Conference)
Adrianna Mihalek (5-8), Fr., OH (Two-time All-State)
Kay Mullen (6-1), Fr., MB (Conference POY)
Amanda Tyler (5-8), Fr., OH (Team's Offensive MVP)
Outlook: The Warriors hope to be more versatile this year following the dominating all-around play of graduated Katie Wilson. Six regulars return to the lineup from a team which peaked in the second half of last season and qualified for the ECAC tournament. Eastern has beefed up this year's schedule, which does not provide for a home match until late September. In the pre-season, Coach Pete Maneggia was concerned with the team's serve-receive, much of which was handled by Wilson last year. Senior Erynn Miller and sophomore Allie Luppi may share the libero duties, while juniors Allie Henry and Jess Patrizi return as setters (Patrizi was limited through much of last year with injury). Senior Nicki Gasch returns at outside hitter, but newcomers could play a large role in that position in freshmen Adrianna Mihalek, Amanda Tyler, Ashley Adams and Danielle Robillard. Sophomore Bry Kelly and newcomers Kay Mullen a freshman, and senior Colleen King are among the candidates at middle blocker.
Coach Maneggia: "This is really the first big recruiting class that we've had. It's exciting. The players came in in great shape, so we were able to get right into practice. This year's team has a much better volleyball IQ. Even the kids who might be struggling to play right now, do know the game. Everyone has that IQ, and I think that's big. This year, I think we'll be spreading (the ball) around a little bit more (than last year). We'll have more of an outside presence. What's making us better is that the players realize that there are opportunities to be had. People are fighting for positions. It's a nice competitive environment. Our practices can be very intense, and hopefully, that intensity carries over to our matches."
Field Hockey WATCH: Coach's Interview
At left: Finley Ahearn (far left), Kelly Gawron
Head Coach: Christine Hutchison (8th year, 31-95)
2012 Record (Little East): 6-12 (2-9)
2012 Honors: Doubled their win total from the previous season
2013 Opener: Saturday hosting Saint Joseph's (ME) College
Rank in 2013 LEC pre-season poll: 12th (last)
Letterwinners Back/Lost: 11/4; Starters Back: 6
All-Little East Conference Players Back/Lost: 1/1
Top losses: Lauren DeLuca, B (All-LEC)
Deisy Naranjo, F (ACL injury)
Rochelle Normandin, M
Hannah Collier, F
Roster makeup: 4 seniors, 3 juniors, 8 sophomores, 10 freshmen
Top returnees: Finley Ahearn, Sr., M
Mackenzie Brower, So., B
Laura Chicorka, So., M
Kelly Gawron, Sr., B
Olivia Mullen, Jr., G
Team captains: Finley Ahearn, Kelly Gawron
Top newcomers: Jen Bischof, Fr., B (injured) (All-Conference)
MaryKate Custer, Fr., F (All-Conference)
Paige Schneider, Fr., M (All-State)
Samantha Scavo, Fr., G (Two-Time All-State)
Alexandra Steward, Fr., B (Two-Time All-State)
Elly Walker, Fr., F
Outlook: With one of the largest rosters in program history - which includes 11 returning letterwinners -- the Warriors look for a breakout season A large crop of young, talented newcomers look to provide the team with its second winning season in program history. The projected starting lineup should include at least eight freshmen and sophomores, who will join veterans Kelly Gawron at sweeper and Finley Ahearn at midfield and either juniors Morgan Osiecki (midfield) or Sam Rossetti (back) or sophomore Jessica Oliveira (back). Junior Olivia Mullen and freshman Samantha Scavo are the goalies. All-LEC midfielder Laura Chicorka and freshman Paige Schneider may join Ahearn in the starting midfield, with sophomore Hannah Keiser up front with freshmen Elly Walker and MaryKate Custer. Gawron, sophomore center back Mackenzie Brower and freshman Alexandra Steward will comprise three-quarters of the starting backfield. Freshman Jen Bischoff could also sweep once she returns from an Achilles injury, with sophomore forward Marinna Emond one of the first subs off the bench at forward and freshman Jenna Mango one of the first call-ins at midfield.
Coach Hutchison: "We have more talent this year than we've ever, ever, ever had. We have lots and lots of depth and can put lots of people in at different places, which means that we will have fresh legs. Last year, I didn't sub (very much) and we still did decently well until the last 15 minutes, when we died. There are so many more options this year. In the past, the learning curve (for the players) had been huge. Now, these athletes either know it, or only hae to be told once. They are field hockey athletes and not just players. They understand the basics. This year, we have the talent to get it done, and the players' mentality is that they're not going to lose without fighting to the last second. This year, we're going to have the talent to back up our hard play. We've brought in good athletes from good programs who are used to winning. They expect to win, and they're willing to work hard for it."
Coming off opening shutout loss, Warriors battle No. 15 Garnet, 3-3
SWARTHMORE, Pa. - It may have been fitting that two men's soccer programs coming off their finest seasons, qualifying for the NCAA tournament and earning the top ranking in their respective pre-season conference polls could not decide a winner in 110 minutes of competition.
At left: Mike Radlbeck
However, after scoring the first two goals of the match in the first 23 minutes after coming up empty in a first-round loss 24 hours earlier, unranked Eastern Connecticut State University was forced to settle for a 3-3 double overtime tie against No. 15 nationally-ranked Swarthmore College on the second day of the 15th Annual Swarthmore Garnet Alumni Classic at Clothier Field Sunday afternoon.
A 3-0 loser to unheralded Widener University in its season and tournament opener Saturday, Eastern (0-1-1) rebounded against Swarthmore (1-0-1), which was coming off a berth in last year's NCAA Division III Sweet 16 and a solid 6-0 rout of Penn State Altoona Saturday. While both programs set marks for season wins a year ago, Swarthmore's starting unit from a year ago has returned virtually intact in 2013, while the Warriors follow up on last year's record 17 victories with a roster comprised of 13 newcomers, seven of whom were among Sunday's starting 11.
Two minutes after Swarthmore senior midfielder Jack Momeyer pulled the Garnet even in the second half, Eastern senior back Mike Radlbeck (Westbrook) pushed the Warriors back into the lead when he scored his first goal of the season on senior midfielder Carl Stensland's (Storrs) free kick. With 19 minutes left, however, sophomore forward Devon Baughen forced overtime when he headed in his team-leading third goal of the year off junior back Michael Superdock's corner kick. The teams played 20 minutes of fruitless overtime.
In his first collegiate start in place of regular senior starter Mitch Power (Douglas, MA), freshman forward Eric Fiore (Newtown) scored his first career goal in the sixth minute, and freshman back Mark Richards (Springfield, MA) gave the Warriors a 2-0 lead with his first college goal 18 minutes later. Radlbeck's pass sprung Fiore for the first goal of the match.
Two of Swarthmore's goals came via head balls on re-starts.
In his second start in two days, Eastern freshman Greg Walton (Brunswick, ME) made nine saves - three coming in overtime - to help lift the Warriors into the tie in the first meeting ever between the programs. Radlbeck was the only returning defender from a year ago in the lineup. Senior back Christopher Giustina (Enfield) missed the weekend while recovering from a pre-season knee injury.
Eastern opens its home season Saturday, hosting Bridgewater State University at 1 p.m. at Nevers Field.