October 2013 Archives
Manhattanville breaks through after 345 scoreless minutes vs. Eastern
PURCHASE, N.Y. - The Eastern Connecticut State University women's soccer team surrendered its first goal to Manhattanville College in four matches, but the Warriors managed to extend their unbeaten streak against to four against the Valiants with a 1-1 double-overtime draw its final non-conference match of the year Wednesday night at GoValiants.com Field.
At right: Kaitlin Thibodeau
Eastern (8-7-1), which has now gone 11 consecutive seasons with at least one tie on its record, scored first on junior back Whitney Mantel's (Stamford) third goal of the season, but Manhattanville (4-11-3) answered 11:31 later on Rebecca Breve's third goal of the year.
In their final regular-season home match, the Valiants' managed their first goal against Eastern in 344 minutes and 58 seconds - since completing a 2-0 shutout of the visiting Warriors with 5:09 left in the match in 2009. The Warriors had shut out Manhattanville by a combined total of 12-0 the past three seasons.
In her ninth start of the season (seventh straight), freshman Chelsea Santos (Windsor Locks) made four saves for the Warriors in limiting the opponent to one or less goals eight times. Half of the eight goals allowed by Santos this year have come in one start three weeks ago.
The first half was mostly a possession battle between the two squads, as the ball remained in the midfield for a majority of the frame. Eastern had a 3-1 edge in total shots and put the only shot of the scoreless first half on target.
The match started to open up considerably at the start of the second stanza, with both teams getting some decent chances toward goal. Coming off the bench, sophomore Kaitlin Thibodeau (Tolland) nearly got Eastern on the board in the 51st minute, but her header off a corner kick was cleared off the line by sophomore Christie Freer, who was manning the right post.
The scoreless tie remained for eight more minutes before the visitors got on the board first, when Thibodeau played a square ball to the top of the box to a waiting Mantel, who took one touch before slotting the ball into the low left corner.
But the Valiants did not go away, getting the equalizer in the 70th minute to knot the score at one. Breve and classmate Christie DeMarco played a nice give-and-go to free Breve at the left side of the box, and she managed to chip the ball over the head of Santos from a very tough angle for her third score of the year.
The Valiants had a few other chances in the remainder of regulation, including an adept give-and-go between DeMarco and junior Tori Lettieri that resulted in a Lettieri shot creeping just over the crossbar in the 80th minute. But neither team could find a second goal, sending the game into extra time.
Twenty minutes of extra time saw very few chances for either side. For the match, Eastern held a 15-8 edge in total shots, with shots on goal even at five apiece.
Manhattanville is under the direction of ninth-year head coach Matt Paton, who spent six seasons as Eastern's head coach (1994-1999) and left as the program's all-time winningest head coach. Current Eastern 14th-year head coach Chris D'Ambrosio served two years as Paton's assistant coach before assuming the head spot in 2000.
Eastern closes out the regular season Saturday at home against Plymouth State University in a Little East Conference match. Unofficially, a 15th straight win against the Panthers gives Eastern the No. 4 seed and a first-round LEC playoff home match Tuesday.
Manhattanville College Sports Information contributed to this game account.
In epic match, Eastern erases two-set deficit but is edged by Conn
WILLIMANTIC, Conn. - The Eastern Connecticut State University women's volleyball team fell short in a bid to erase a two-set deficit, as Connecticut College prevailed in a fifth set which featured 16 ties and seven lead changes.
At left: Adrianna Mihalek (Photo by Haley Heslin)
Conn (12-11), coming off last year's NCAA tournament bid, defeated Eastern (13-14) for the fourth straight time in the series, this time by scores of 25-22, 26-24, 20-25, 19-25, 20-18.
After losing the first two sets, Eastern roared back to tie the match by taking the next two before Conn broke the 16th and final tie of the fifth set on a pair of kills from sophomore Gabi Taylor.
With the exception of the Camel's 9-7 lead, neither team led by more than a point in the deciding set until Taylor's two final kills which came off sets from sophomore Kaitlin Cunningham.
Taylor had five of the team's kills in the final set and did not commit an error on nine tries in the deciding set for Conn, which started a junior, four sophomores and two freshmen. The Warriors took their final lead in the final set at 16-15 on a kill from freshman Adrianna Mihalek (Woodbury). Eastern broke match point on a Conn service error that tied the match at 16-all. The Warriors survived match point twice before Taylor's winning kills on Mihalek kills that pulled the hosts even at 17-all, and then again at 18-all. Her tying kill at 18 was a cross-court attack from the left side that landed just inside the right sideline.
Taylor led a balanced Conn attack with 15 kills, sophomore Caroline Martin adding 14, freshman Chloe Ainley 11, junior Anelise Hohl nine and freshman Ella Johnson eight.
Sophomore libero Jamie Balkin handled 37 receptions with only two errors and led all players with 30 digs. Martin collected 21 digs and senior Erin Barker 15. Ainley also had three blocks and Johnson two. Cunningham had 55 assists.
Mihalek led all players in the match with 21 kills, six coming in the final set. Freshman Kay Mullen (Fairhaven, MA) followed with 13 kills and senior Nicki Gasch (New Fairfield) had 12. Sophomore libero Allie Luppi (Tewksbury, MA) received 37 serves with just two errors and led all players in the match with 31 digs. Mihalek dug up 23 balls and senior Erynn Miller (Stratford) had 20 digs and was perfect on 19 reception attempts. Junior Jess Patrizi (Beacon Falls) added 13 digs and recorded 46 assists. Freshman Amanda Tyler (Longmeadow, MA) chipped in six kills and 11 digs and commited only one reception error on 15 attempts.
Facing extinction after dropping the first two sets by a total of five points, the Warriors never trailed after the opening point in the third set, racing to a 12-4 lead and holding off the visitors' attempt at the sweep by scoring the final four points in a five-point victory. Sophomore Bry Kelly (Dunbarton, NH) stopped Conn's momentum with a kill on an overpass to make it 22-20, Eastern, and Mihalek closed it out with three straight kills.
The Warriors tied the match with the six-point triumph in the fourth set.Eastern never trailed after an attack error by Ainley knotted the set at 13-13 and Mullen's kill gave the Warriors the lead for good, 16-15. As it did in the third-set win, Eastern closed with a flourish, recording the final five points after the guests had pulled to within one, 20-19. Gasch and Patrizi accounted for two of those final five points with kills, a Conn attack moved Eastern another point closer, as did block assists from Kelly and Tyler. Tyler put away a Patrizi set to wrap up the win and force the deciding set.
Eastern hosts the University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh Friday at 7 p.m.
Connecticut College 3, Eastern Conn. 2
Conn College (12-11) 25 26 20 19 20
Eastern Conn. (13-14) 22 24 25 25 18
Eastern battles Bridgewater into final minutes in key LEC loss
BRIDGEWATER, Mass. -- Senior forward Carissa Vizakis notched the game's only goal with 1:58 left in play to lift the Bridgewater State University field hockey team to a 1-0 Little East Conference victory over Eastern Connecticut State University Saturday night at Swenson Field.
Bridgewater (14-2, 9-1 LEC) extended its winning streak to a program-best 11 games. The Bears are tied for second place in the conference with UMass Dartmouth, which edged Plymouth State, 4-3, Saturday.
Eastern's (8-9, 4-6 LEC) sixth straight loss at the hands of Bridgewater muddies the conference post-season picture. Eastern entered play in a three-way tie for fifth place in the conference, but falls to seventh after both Salem State and the University of Southern Maine won their matches Saturday. The top eight teams in the 12-team conference qualify for the playoffs, which get underway with first-round games Nov. 5.
The Warriors enter the final weekend of the regular season one game ahead of Westfield State University and Worcester State University as the three times vie for the final two playoff spots. Westfield hosts Western Connecticut this Friday night, while Eastern visits Worcester State Saturday at 2 p.m.
Unofficially, an Eastern win or Westfield loss guarantees Eastern a playoff spot, but a Westfield victory Friday night and an Eastern loss Saturday would create a three-way tie for the final two spots. Losses to both Westfield and Worcester would unofficially eliminate Eastern from playoff contention.
Bridgewater scored the only goal Saturday night off a penalty corner. With the clock ticking down to two minutes, junior midfielder Jaclyn Holahan sent in a shot in from the top of the circle. The ball was deflected into the air by senior defender Olivia Galvin and Vizakis batted the ball out of the air and into the back of the net.
For Vizakis, the goal marked her team leading 15th the season and 29th of her career.
Senior Kacie Sturgeon recorded three saves to post her conference leading ninth shut out of the season and 14th of her career. Sturgeon entered the game ranked second in Division III in save percentage and eighth in goals against average.
Eastern freshman goaltender Samantha Scavo (Redding) turned aside two shots as the Warriors dropped their fifth conference match in the last six tries.
Eastern trio goes 1-2-3 for second straight year at SJC Pentathlon
WEST HARTFORD, Conn. - Eastern Connecticut State University senior Erin McVeigh (Windsor) repeated her individual title at the Saint Joseph College (CT) Blue Jay Pentathlon and was followed for the second straight year by sophomore Katie King (Barkamsted) and Macaire Jones (Danbury) Saturday at the Bruyette Natatorium.
At right: Erin McVeigh
Of the five 100 yard events, McVeigh won the butterfly (1:05.41) and freestyle (57.87), and was third in the individual medley (1:09.13) in recording the fastest composite time (5:39.56) in the five events for the second straight year. King won the breaststroke (1:11.25) and repeated in second place overall with a composite time of 5:46.28, with Jones taking third overall for the second straight year (5:46.57).
Eastern swimmers dominated by taking the top four and nine of the top 11 places in the pentathlon. First-year junior transfer Shannen Barnard (Niantic) was fourth overall (5:48.78), junior Kayla Smoragiewicz (Norwalk) sixth (5:58.67), first-year sophomore transfer Rebecca Stewart (Niantic) seventh (5:59.54), senior Michelle Schapp (Torrington) ninth (6:01.6), freshman Jessica Charron (Baltic) tenth (6:03.58) and freshaen Natalie Stepniewski (East Haven) 11th (6:05.04). Schapp, Eastern's recordholder in all three backstroke distances, captured the backstroke in a time of 1:05.34, edging Smoragiewicz by .48 seconds.
McVeigh becomes the third Eastern swimmer to claim the Blue Jay Pentathlon title as many as two times, following Sarah Barber (2006 and 2007) and Amy Arisco (2008 and 2009). Nadine Menard of Eastern captured the 2011 pentathlon championship.
A total of 40 swimmers from four institutions competed in the meet, with 26 entering all five events. Team scores were not calculated.
Eastern hosts Western Connecticut State University Nov. 9 at noon in its home-opener.
Eastern drops four-set decision to Plymouth, bounces Bates in four
PLYMOUTH, N.H. - The Eastern Connecticut State University women's volleyball team wound up its Little East Conference season with its fifth loss against Plymouth State in the last six outings Saturday afternoon at Foley Gymnasium, but rebounded for a non-conference victory over Bates College.
At right: Kay Mullen
The Warriors, unofficially, will be the No. 5 seed in the LEC playoffs which get underway Nov. 5 and would visit the No. 4 seed in the first round. Plymouth maintained a share of second place in the conference behind unbeaten leader UMass Boston.
Plymouth attacked at .312 against Eastern and the Warriors commited ten service errors in the Panthers' 25-15, 24-26, 25-22, 25-21 wins. Senior Nicki Gasch (New Fairfield) and freshman Adrianna Mihalek (Woodbury) combined for half (26) of Eastern's kills and both attacked at .278. Sophomore Allie Luppi (Tewksbury, MA) had 16 digs and Mihalek 11 and Gasch contributed two block assists.
Kaitie Sylvia had 13 kills and a .417 attack percentage for Plymouth, Jana Nieman adding ten kills. Mikki Taffe had nine kills and a .300 attack percentage and Kaitlyn Tedeschi seven kills and a .389 attack percentage.
The Warriors followed the LEC loss to Plymouth with a four-set victory (8-25, 25-18, 25-22, 25-21) over Bates College, which then rebounded to take Plymouth in four. Against Bates, freshman Kay Mullen (Fairhaven, MA) had ten kills with a .318 attack percentage, Mihalek led the way with 12 kills, junior Jess Patrizi (Beacon Falls) 30 assists and Luppi 15 digs.
On the afternoon, Mullen had 19 kills and a .441 attack percentage, Mihalek 24 kills, and Gasch 22. Luppi collected 31 digs, Mihalek 17 and Patrizi 14 digs and 56 assists.
Eastern hosts Connecticut College Tuesday at 7 p.m. The Camels are ranked 12th in New England.
Plymouth State U. 3, Eastern Conn. 1
Eastern Conn. (12-13, 3-4 Little East) 15 26 22 21
Plymouth State (14-13, 4-1 Little East) 25 24 25 25
Eastern Conn. 3, Bates College 1
Eastern Conn. (13-13) 8 25 25 25
Bates (10-15) 25 18 22 21
For second time in three years, UMD spoils bid for unbeaten LEC season
NORTH DARTMOUTH, Mass. - For the second time in three years, the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth has spoiled Eastern Connecticut State University's bid for an unbeaten Little East Conference men's soccer season.
Saturday, junior Josh Chao delivered the decisive strike off a free kick in the 54th minute to lead UMass (10-5-0, 5-1-0 LEC) to a 1-0 victory over Eastern (9-3-4, 4-1-1) at Cressy Field that vaulted the Corsairs ahead of the Warriors into first place in the conference with one regular-season conference contest remaining.
In the final regular-season conference match in 2011, homestanding UMass pinned an identical 1-0 loss on Eastern, which was attempting to finish its conference season with a perfect 7-0 record. Until Saturday, that loss had been the last one sustained by Eastern in conference regular-season or playoff competition. The Warriors had gone 16 matches unbeaten in the conference until Saturday en route to two LEC regular-season and playoff championships.
Next Saturday, Eastern visits Plymouth State University (1-3-2 in the LEC) and UMass Dartmouth visits Western Connecticut (1-3-2 in the LEC) in the final regular-season conference matches. Eastern has won or shared the conference regular-season title four times in the last six years. UMass is searching for its first-ever regular-season championship and has lost in the LEC playoff finals to the Warriors both last year and in 2009.
Senior Adam Philbin generated the eventual game-winning rush with a strong push down the left flank, forcing a Warrior defender to earn a caution to prevent a breakaway. On the ensuing free kick, Chao bent his attempt around the visitors' wall and into the left corner of the net to provide the hosts with a lead they would not relinquish. It was Chao's third game-winning goal of the season and eighth overall.
Eastern created its best scoring chance in the eighth minute as senior Mitch Power (Douglas, MA) fired a shot that forced the UMass Dartmouth keeper to make a diving save towards his right to keep the match scoreless. Senior Victor Ferreira nearly sent the Corsairs into the halftime intermission with a one-marker advantage, when he struck the right post in the 21st minute.
Eastern appeared to have tied the match in the final minutes after scoring off a throw-in, but the Warriors were ruled to be offside on the play.
The UMass Dartmouth defensive quartet of Chao, freshman Georges Tenie, sophomore Karim Fernandes and junior John Macaroco held the Warriors to eight total shots, including just four on net. The Corsairs did not allow their visitors to attempt a shot for the first 29 minutes of the second stanza.
The top four teams in the final regular-season standings qualify for the LEC playoffs. The semifinals are scheduled for Nov. 6. Eastern, UMass Dartmouth and Keene State College are guaranteed playoff slots, with UMass Boston and Rhode Island College contending for the final spot. Those two teams meet Saturday in Providence, RI, with Rhode Island College needing a victory to make the playoffs.
The shutout was the third in the last four contests for Eastern, which was outshot 19-8 by the Corsairs in dropping to 2-2-3 away from home this fall. Eastern freshman Greg Walton (Brunswick, ME) made six saves. Freshman Luis Carranza of UMass, who has split time this year with freshman Andrew Deane in goal, made four saves for his first full career shutout, seventh this season by the team.
Warriors catch UMass Dartmouth for fourth place in conference with 1-0 victory
MANSFIELD, Conn. - Senior midfielder Tamar Merheb (Bethel) scored her first goal in a month and senior back Megan Godwin (Manchester) contributed her first assist since her freshman season to lift the Eastern Connecticut State University women's soccer team to a 1-0 Little East Conference verdict over the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth Saturday afternoon at the Mansfield Outdoor Complex.
At right: Senior back Megan Godwin contends with UMass midfielder Tori Pierce Saturday in the Warriors' 1-0 LEC win. (Photo by Haley Heslin).
In a match which featured minimal scoring chances by either team, Eastern (8-7-0, 3-3 LEC) gained a share of fourth place in the conference standings with UMass Dartmouth (10-6-1, 3-3 LEC) by extending its unbeaten streak against the Corsairs to 18 (17-0-1) since 1995.
The Warriors close out the conference regular season Saturday by hosting Plymouth State University (1-5 in the LEC), while UMass Dartmouth hosts Western Connecticut State University (currently 4-1 in the LEC prior to Saturday afternoon's home contest with Keene State College) Saturday.
The top six teams in the final conference standings qualify for the LEC playoffs which get underway Nov. 5. The top two seeds gain first-round byes, while the No. 3 seed hosts the No. 6 seed and the No. 4 seed hosts the No. 5 seed.
Less than three minutes after sending a prime scoring chance over the crossbar from 12 yards, Merheb recorded her first goal of the year since Sept. 25 when she corralled Godwin's short volley from the middle of the box, and sent a high shot over the head of UMass senior keeper Michelle Miller inside the right post in the 29th minute.
The 1-0 decision is the fourth straight and ninth this season for Eastern, which has won five times by that score. UMass Dartmouth has been shut out in its last five losses, four of those matches ending in a 1-0 decision.
Eastern freshman Chelsea Santos (Windsor Locks) was not tested in recording her fifth shutout in nine starts. She lowered her goals-against average to 0.87. Santos' only save was an easy one and came seven minutes after Merheb's go-ahead goal on a bouncing shot by junior forward Maura Gonsalves - the Corsair's second-leading scorer.
Eastern's starting defense of Godwin, junior Whitney Mantel (Stamford) and sophomores Alyssa Valenti (Tolland) and Gia Karahalios (South Windsor) limited the Corsairs' three double-digit scorers to four shots, only one of which was on goal. UMass was also limited to one corner kick in each half.
Other than Merheb's two chances, Eastern's only legitimate chance at scoring came midway through the first half on a play off a corner kick by senior midfielder Nicole Leonard (Rutherford, NJ). Freshman Hailey Lehning (Woodbury), who shares the Eastern scoring lead with Leonard, had the ball on her foot at the right post, but it was cleared out of danger by the UMass defense before she could get a shot off.
The Corsair's most dangerous scoring bid came with ten minutes left in the first half when senior midfielder Jillian Van Ness took the ball away from an Eastern defender in the Warriors' defensive third. She then made a crossing pass to junior forward Shelby Friedland - who had entered the match just minutes early. Alone in the middle of the box, Friedland had an open goal with Santos on the left post, but she slid the shot just wide of the right post.
Despite substantial losses, Warriors aiming high again in 2013-14
At left: Michelle Schapp
WILLIMANTIC, Conn. - Many of the faces which propelled the Eastern Connecticut State University women's swim team to its highest New England finish ever last year have changed, but the goals remain the same as the Warriors approach their 18th intercollegiate season Saturday at the Saint Joseph (CT) Pentathlon.
Last year, Eastern capped an impressive season with its highest finish ever (second) at the New England Intercollegiate Swimming and Diving Association (NEISDA) Championships, where 11 individuals combined to earn All-New England honors 42 times.
For the second straight regular season, the Warriors won eight of nine dual meets and matched their highest finish ever (second) at the Little East Conference Championships in early December.
The individual losses from last season were extensive and include 13 of last year's 21 letterwinners who had combined to contribute 18 of those 42 All-New England medals.
At right: Erin McVeigh
However, the cupboard is not bare for 18th-year head coach Maureen Fahey (127-71-2 record) and long-time assistants Amy Golas and Bill Hassell. A strong nucleus of ten individuals - nine of them letterwinners -- returns and includes senior fourth-year participants Michelle Schapp (Torrington) and Erin McVeigh (Windsor), as well as junior Kayla Smoragiewicz (Norwalk) and sophomores Katie King (Barkhamsted) and Macaire Jones (Danbury).
That quintet will be supported by five additional returnees: senior Vic San Pietro (Stratford), juniors Abby Arisco (Wallingford), Shannon Coleman (Plantsville) and Katie Dulz (Windsor), and sophomore Sarah Froehlich (Woodstock).
Dedication of part-time coaches makes program special
By Brent Pelella / Sports Information Staff
Maureen Fahey (at left) didn't know that when she took the opportunity to start the Eastern swim team in 1996 that she would be walking into a life-changing relationship. Not as just a coach, but as a teacher, friend and mentor to so many student athletes.
Fahey left the incalescent climate of the University of Tampa, where she was a reigning All-America, to come back to her home state of Connecticut at Connecticut College. Four years later she began a program that presented her with two people - her current long-time assistant coaches - who have had such an impact here they still haven't left.
Amy Golas came to Eastern as a swimmer in 1999 and graduated as one of the most celebrated performers in the program's 18-history, "Amy was the best swimmer to go through here, and hopefully a future (Eastern) Hall of Famer," Fahey remarked. "Having her go through that experience, and then wanting to be an assistant afterwards meant the world to me."
At left: Assistant coaches Amy Golas and Bill Hassell.
Their bond has developed over the last ten years along with a resilient notion of trust and companionship. Their third wheel comes in the form of ninth-year head coach Bill Hassell, who graduated from UConn where he was remarkable in his own right. As a former New England champion, "CB" (Coach Bill) brings decades of education as a classroom instructor and swimming expert.
As a staff, these three storied athletes run the pool as one, "We all carry the same amount of responsibility," Golas said. "We trust Maureen's leadership, but she also gives us the utmost freedom to express how we feel."
Incredibly, each member of the coaching staff is employed on only a part-time basis at Eastern. While Hassell has retired from his fulltime duties as a teach and coach, Fahey works fulltime in the private sector in Hartford, and Golas is a fulltime middle school english teacher in Hebron.
With much respect to Fahey, it's hard to consider her the sole head coach and she attests to that as well, "Amy and Bill are just as much head coaches as I am... I just get the blame when negative situations happen," she joked.
The dedication they portray to get their unit ready for the season is uncanny. Their preparation requires different aspects to be covered by each individual. Hassell generally covers morning workouts, where as practice the other two usually devises practice plans.
As a result, their teams have escalated their level of devotion and expectations to an elite platform, "To be a part of this program, teaching Coach Fahey's philosophies is a dream come true," remarked Golas. "Every year our team gets better and its so satisfying to see the records on the wall being broken year in and year out."
The dedication of the staff is not lost on the program's current or former swimmers, however.
"All three of the coaches are very commited to us," says current junior Kayla Smoragiewicz. "They're all very dedicated and they all want the best for us. They get super excited when they see us beat our times. They develop such a close connection with us throughout the years, and that's why they love it when they see us coming back every year," she added. "Coach Fahey makes it clear to us from the beginning that she wants to be someone that we can go to, not only for swimming, but for school and in our personal lives. She has a busy schedule, but she still dedicates all of her time to us and makes herself available, which all of us are very grateful for."
"We've gotten a lot closer as a team (recently)," noted Smoragiewicz as she surveys a 2013-14 roster which is devoid of many of last year's marquee names. "We feel like we're going to have a great season. We've been working really hard, and we're excited for (the season-opener).
In addition to swimming to All-New England honors a total of seven times last year, Schapp holds all three backstroke records, is a member of all five record-setting relays and shared last year's award as Eastern's Individual Sport Athlete-of-the-Year; McVeigh was a six-time All-New England performer in the freestyle and relays last winter, and Smoragiewicz achieved All-New England status as a sophomore five times in the backstroke and relays.
King attained All-New England distinction five times as a freshman in the breaststroke, individual medley and relays, set two breaststroke records, won the 100 breaststroke at the conference meet and was selected Eastern's Individual Sport Rookie-of-the-Year; and Jones gained All-New England status with the 400 medley relay, and posted the fastest time last year in the 50 free, the second-best mark in the 100 freestyle, and third-best time in the 200 freestyle.
In addition to the returnees, the roster will be bolstered by two transfers among the eight newcomers: junior Shannen Barnard (Niantic) and sophomore Rebecca Stewart (Niantic). Barnard swam two seasons on conference championship teams at Division II Southern Connecticut State University and Stewart spent last year at Keene State College, where she helped the Owls to the Little East and NEISDA championships. Both transfers swim the individual medley. Barnard will also contribute in the breaststroke and Stewart in the distance freestyle.
"The girls that we lost were very good, but we're fortunate for the new girls that we got," said Smoragiewicz. "They all do really well in numerous events and seem to fit in really well. They have been working really hard in practice," she adds. "They're definitely going to be an important addition to the team."
Among the newcomers this season are four true freshmen of whom Smoragiewicz and her teammates are expecting great things.
"All of the freshmen have come in with swimming experience and all of them will contribute in some aspect and will win points for the team," she says.
In all, the Warriors return their top two swimmers from a year ago in the 50 freestyle and 50 backstroke, three of their top four in the 100 and 200 freestyle and 200 butterfly, five of their best six in the 50 butterfly, the top four and five of the top six in the 100 butterfly, and four of their most accomplished six in last year's 100 individual medley.
This year's seniors have experienced only four dual-meet losses in three years: three to Keene State and one to Bridgewater State University.
Without Keene on the regular-season schedule for the first time in 17 seasons, Eastern has set an undefeated season an attainable - albeit difficult - goal, along with a fifth consecutive Top 5 finish in the NEISDA meet in mid-February.
"As a team, we'll be trying for an undefeated (dual meet) season, so we'll see how that goes," states Smoragiewicz. "It's definitely going to be difficult with a (20 percent) smaller roster than last year, but we still think that we can do it. We'll also be trying to place as high as we can in the New England meet. Last year, we did a really great job with that, and we're trying to do just as well this year."
At last year's Saint Joseph Pentathlon title, McVeigh, King and Jones placed 1-2-3 in the competition, where Eastern swimmers captured eight of the top ten spots. Two weeks after the opener, Eastern hosts Western Connecticut State University in the first of only three home dual meets. The conference championships are slated for December 7 at UMass Dartmouth, and the NEISDA Championships - hosted by the University of Rhode Island Feb. 14-16, close out the season.
Men and women rounding into shape as Little East meet approaches
By Matt Sinkewicz / Sports Information Staff
Eastern Connecticut State University's men and women's cross-country teams ran at the Western New England University Invitational Saturday. Both teams ran extremely well, the women placing sixth in a field of 22 and the men ninth out of 18 teams.
The five scoring runners for the women were junior Kelly Labanara (Chaplin) - who has led the team at the finish in each race this season and placed in the top five percent Saturday -- freshmen Mariah McPhee (Bristol), Sofia Amaral (New Milford), and Julie Trifone (Cheshire), and junior Alexandra Maciolek (Ellington).
The top five runners for the men were first-year sophomore transfer Taylor Flynn (Old Saybrook) - the team's pace-setter once again -- freshman Joe Rainville (Montville), senior Evan Glaude (East Hampton), freshman Chris Burkle (Guilford), and first-year cross country runner Michael Dolde (East Hampton), a second-year junior transfer.
Second-year head coach Kathy Manizza believes that the team is hitting its peak at the perfect time. 'I think they're all peaking just in time for (Little East Conference Championships Nov. 2). I'm excited. I think we'll have a good day (at the LEC Championships)."
Injuries have plagued both the men's and the women's team all season. Two of the top five women, senior fourth-year participants Katie France (Portland) and Alexa Palasky (Griswold) -- were both out on Saturday. France has not competed this season, while Palasky was sideline for the second consecutive meet.
While injuries have been an obstacle, this year's schedule has been favorable. The team has had a week off between meets for the past month, and it will be another two weeks before the conference championship meet. Manizza, a long distance runner herself, planned the schedule in order to rest the team members for the most important races of the season. She believes that the weeks between races allow the team ample time to rest, but still allows the runners to train hard enough to prepare for the next race.
"Hopefully this gives everyone a chance to recover," Manizza stated, "If everyone is healthy for the conference championship, it will be the first time this season that the entire women's team runs."
McPhee, a four-year cross country and indoor and outdoor track & field letterwinner Bristol Eastern, is one individual in particular who has shown steady improvement throughout the entire season. McPhee wasn't able to train as frequently as she would have liked over the summer because of her busy work schedule. However, since the semester began, she has rounded into top shape. She started the season as the fifth runner, but has worked her way up all the way to No. 2 behind Labanara, whom she pushing for the No. spot. On Saturday, Labanara was tenth overall in a field of 190 in a time of 20:10 over the 5,000 meter course, with McPhee right behind in 16th place overall in a time of 20:27. Amaral checked in in 27th place overall, Trifone 44th and Maciolek 79th.
"I thought the whole team worked very hard (Saturday)," McPhee stated. "We all ran really well."
Flynn and Rainville ran a strong 1-2 over the 8,000 meter course, Flynn placing 32nd overall in a time of 28:21, while Rainville was 25 seconds and seven spots back. Glaude was 58th overall, Burkle 73rd and Dolde 86th.
Eastern closes in on LEC playoffs by clipping Western in OT
MANSFIELD, Conn. - Sophomore Hannah Keiser (Danbury) set a season record with her 13th goal of the season 22:33 into sudden-death overtime and freshman goalie Samantha Scavo (Redding) broke the season record for shutouts in lifting the Eastern Connecticut State University field hockey team to a crucial 1-0 Little East Conference victory over Western Connecticut State University Tuesday night in its final regular-season home match at the Mansfield Outdoor Complex.
At right: Hannah Keiser
Keiser scored an unassisted goal midway through the second 15-minute overtime session - outplaying Western freshman keeper Kristy Trotta for possession - and hitting the back of the open cage as Eastern (8-8, 4-5 LEC) posted to its second 1-0 win over Western (4-11, 1-8 LEC) in as many years. The Warriors and Colonials have played five overtime matches in this eight-game series, Eastern moving ahead, 3-2, in those contests.
With the win, Eastern took a giant step toward qualifying for the Little East Conference playoffs for the first time in nine years. The Warriors entered the day in sixth place in the 12-team conference and moved into a tie for fifth with Salem State University, which surrendered the only goal of the match in the final four minutes of a home loss to Bridgewater State University Tuesday.
The top eight teams in the final standings qualify for the playoffs, which get underway Nov. 5. Eastern closes out the season at Bridgewater State (8-1 in the LEC) Saturday and Worcester State University (2-7) Saturday, Nov. 2. Unofficially, Eastern will clinch a berth with one victory in its final two matches.
The team's eight wins represent its second-most in a season in the program's 16-year history, behind only the 2001 team which won 11 of 20 matches and qualified for the program's only post-season tournament (ECAC).
Keiser took six of Eastern's eight shots, finally connecting for her team-leading 13th goal to break Sharon Kilpatrick's 2001 record which she had equaled in scoring the game's only goal in last Wedneday's non-conference victory here over Connecticut College. The game-winning marker was the fourth this year for Keiser, who has recorded over 40 percent of the team's season total of 32 goals.
Western outshot Eastern, 7-1 in overtime, but Keiser made Eastern's only one count.
Scavo made seven saves to record her fifth shutout in 12 starts, while Trotta made three saves. The program's previous record for full shutouts in a season was four, set by Jennifer Makwana in 2001.
The Colonials held a slim 10-8 advantage in penalty corners.
Eastern provides challenge to four-time LEC champs in three-set loss
WILLIMANTIC, Conn. -- Patsy Boland and Kirsten Morrison combined for 20 kills and only one attack error to power the University of Massachusetts Boston women's volleyball team to a 25-13, 25-18, 25-18 Little East Conference sweep of Eastern Connecticut State University Tuesday night at Francis E. Geissler Gymnasium.
At left: Adrianna Mihalek
Since slipping past Keene State College in five sets in its LEC opener in a re-match of last year's LEC championship match, four-time LEC champion UMass Boston (15-13, 5-0 LEC), has swept its last four conference opponents. UMass defeated Eastern (12-12, 3-3 LEC) for the seventh straight time, all by sweep.
Morrison, a 6-foot-2 inch junior middle hitter, attacked at .588 with ten kills and no errors, while Boland, a freshman outside hitter, attacked at .450 with ten kills and only one error to spark UMass to a .385 attack percentage. Senior Megan Pollock collected 34 assists.
The Beacons scored the first three points of the first set and were never seriously in jeopardy. Eastern made a modest run after falling back by five early in the second set, cutting the margin to two before a service error gave the ball back to the visitors, who scored five of the final seven points. UMass scored three straight points to break an early tie and again later scored five of the final seven points.
Freshman libero Elizabeth Glavan was credited with 18 digs for the winners and sophomore middle Bri Sousa chipped in six kills and a .385 attack percentage.
A winner of three of its previous four entering action, Eastern got 11 kills and a .310 attack percentage from freshman outside Adrianna Mihalek (Woodbury), but the rest of the squad attacked at .000 (14 kills and 14 errors). Sophomore libero Allie Luppi (Tewksbury, MA) handled 21 receptions with just one error, while senior defensive specialist Erynn Miller (Stratford), junior setter Jess Patrizi (Beacon Falls) and Luppi all had ten digs.
Eastern visits Plymouth State University Saturday at noon for a Little East Conference match, also facing Bates College in a non-conference contest at 1:30 p.m.
Above: Eastern's six seniors were honored prior to the final regular-season home match of their careers Tuesday: From left, Carl Stensland, Mitch Power, Luke Capezzone, assistant coach Josh Tremblay, head coach Greg DeVito, Christopher Giustina, Dan Eisenmann, and Mike Radlbeck. (Photo by Liam Murphy)
In match full of opportunities, keepers come up big in overtime draw
WILLIMANTIC, Conn. -- Eastern Connecticut State University freshman keeper Greg Walton (Brunswick, ME) made six saves to record his seventh shutout of the season and he was helped by a defensive save midway through the second half as the Warriors played the U.S. Coast Guard Academy to a scoreless double-overtime men's soccer draw Tuesday afternoon at Thomas Nevers Field.
At left: Senior midfielder Carl Stensland
Both teams had numerous chances to break through, combining on 37 shots and 11 corner kicks. Walton of Eastern (9-2-4) was matched by Coast Guard (6-6-3) junior Richie Burns, who made ten saves to record his sixth save.
In their final regular-season home match of the season, the Warriors outshot the Bears 6-3 in overtime but could not break through, although they were able to shut out Coast Guard for the fourth straight season and improved their home record this year to 7-1-1 with their seventh home shutout.
All three of Eastern's shots in the first overtime period were on target, two by senior Carl Stensland (Storrs) and one by senior Mitch Power (Douglas, MA). Stensland, a midfielder, had two prime opportunities when he had his foot on the ball in the middle of the box. The first midway through the first OT came on a serve from senior Mike Radlbeck (Westbrook) and the second three minutes later was a low shot through traffic on a pass from sophomore Timothy Jennison (Coventry). Power, who had cleared a ball off the line in the second quarter on a shot by junior John Tarzian off a corner from senior John Rendon, nailed a sinking liner from 20 yards with 3:30 left but Burns made a clutch stop.
With five minutes left in regulation, Walton stretched flat out to his right on a shot from the right side of the box by senior Robert Copeland and got his fingertips on the ball to knock it just wide.
Eastern's best chance to get a ball by Burns came midway through the first overtime, when freshman Mark Richards (Springfield, MA) sprung Power on the left wing. Power carried a long distance - beating Copeland to open up space - but his hard drive from 18 yards sailed over the crossbar.
Eastern closes out the regular season with Little East Conference road matches at UMass Dartmouth Saturday at 1 p.m. and at Plymouth State Saturday, Nov. 2 at 1 p.m. The Warriors lead the conference with a 4-0-1 record and are in search of their third straight regular-season and playoff championships
Rhode Island College gains rare victory over Warriors, 1-0
PROVIDENCE, R.I. - Playing its eighth match this season decided by a 1-0 score, the Eastern Connecticut State University women's soccer team was beaten by Rhode Island College for only the second time in the last 13 meetings in a Little East Conference match Saturday afternoon at the RIC Soccer Field.
At left: Tamar Merheb
Now 4-4 this year in games finishing 1-0, Eastern (7-7-0, 2-3-0 LEC) has absorbed as many as three regular-season conference losses for the first time in 13 years. The Warriors had lost one or no conference matches 11 times in the previous 12 season.
Led by sophomore forward Gabrielle Turner's header in the 85th minute, and junior goalkeeper Audrey Maia's second straight shutout, Rhode Island College (5-8-1, 1-4-0 LEC) won for the first time in five conference games this year. The Anchorwomen also stopped a five-game losing streak at the hands of Eastern and won for only the second time over the Warriors since 2001. Eastern had won its five previous matches against RIC by a combined score of 30-3.
The loss drops Eastern from a share of fourth place in the conference into fifth place. With two regular-season conference matches remaining, Massachusetts Dartmouth took over sole possession of the fourth spot by pasting host Plymouth State University, 4-1 Saturday afternoon.
The top six finishers in the eight-team loop qualify for the conference playoffs, which get underway Nov. 5. Keene State College, UMass Boston and Western Connecticut State University currently share the top spot at 4-1-0, the trio vying for the two first-round playoff byes accorded the top two finishers.
The teams were relatively quiet on offense until the final minutes of the second half, when Eastern' nearly took the lead on a goal from sophomore forward Brianna Curcio (Southbury) in the 77th minute. However, the Warriors were called offside, their eighth offside call of the afternoon, leaving the two squads deadlocked with roughly 13 minutes left to play.
After nearly breaking the scoreless tie on an opportunity set up by a corner kick in the 84th minute, the Anchorwomen finally found the back of the net a minute later to jump ahead of the Warriors by a goal. Following a foul on the visitors, junior midfielder Lauren Maisano lined for a free kick from inside the midfield line and sent a towering blast into the box toward the Eastern freshman keeper Chelsea Santos (Windsor Locks).
However, as Santos came out of her post to corral Maisano's ball, she collided with Rhode Island junior midfielder Danielle Peloquin, sending both players to the turf. With the net momentarily empty as Santos struggled to get to her feet, Turner headed the loose ball into the goal from just outside the left post for her seventh score of the season.
Eastern came within inches of tying the game minutes later, when senior midfielder Tamar Merheb (Bethel) fired an uncontested shot from the top of the box that slammed into the crossbar and bounced away.
Both keepers made seven saves, Maia recording her third shutout.
Eastern hosts Massachusetts Dartmouth Saturday at 1 p.m. in a Little East Conference match.
Hoping to improve playoff position, they sustain 2-0 loss to Keene
At right: Samantha Scavo
KEENE, N.H. - Hoping to improve its playoff status as the Little East Conference field hockey season heads into the final weeks, Eastern Connecticut State University was unable to upset conference co-leader Keene State College, falling for the 12th straight time to the Owls, 2-0, Saturday afternoon at the Owl Athletic Complex.
While Keene (13-3, 8-0 LEC) took over sole possession of first place with its win over Eastern (7-8, 3-5 LEC) and defending LEC playoff champion UMass Dartmouth's shootout loss to homestanding Bridgewater State University, the Warriors dropped from sole possession of sixth place in the 12-team standings into a three-way tie for sixth with Westfield State University (which was idle) and the University of Southern Maine (2-0 winner over visiting Framingham State University).
Searching for its first conference playoff berth since 2004, Eastern hosts Western Connecticut State University Tuesday at 6 p.m. before closing on the road at Bridgewater State and Worcester State University. The top eight teams in the final standings compete in the playoffs, which begin Nov. 5.
Eastern Conn. (7-8, 3-5 LEC) has dropped four of its last five games, all of the setbacks coming in conference play following a 3-1 conference start.
Sophomore Haylie Dolan and freshman Sami Smith found the back of the net for the Owls. Dolan scored her sixth goal of the season with 11 minutes left in the first half, and Smith's ninth of the campaign gave the hosts insurance with nine minutes left.
Freshman Kayla Renaud, who shares the Keene scoring lead of ten goals with sophomore Lyndsie Rabenius, was limited to only one shot. Rabenius did not play. "It was a more physical game than we expected," said Keene veteran coach Amy Watson afterward. "We had a lot of opportunities, but their defense is pretty solid and their goalie had a great game."
Eastern freshman goalie Samantha Scavo (Redding) kept it a two goal-game with several big saves later in the half, finishing with a career-tying 11 saves.
Keene State had a wide advantage in shots (20-3) and corners (15-1).
First-year players power Warriors past Johnson & Wales in five
At right: Amanda Tyler
PROVIDENCE, R.I. - Freshmen Amanda Tyler (Longmeadow, MA) and Ashley Adams (Mystic) combined for five kills in the decisive set as the Eastern Connecticut State University women's volleyball team downed Johnson & Wales University in five sets in a non-conference match Saturday afternoon at the Wildcat Center. Set scores were 25-19, 22-25, 25-23, 22-25, 15-10.
The thrilling contest saw back and forth action with the teams splitting the first four games. In the fifth and decisive set, Johnson & Wales (8-18) raced to the early 4-1 lead, but committed six errors thereafter --- including four in a row -- with sophomore Allie Luppi (Tewksbury, MA) serving that carried the Warriors into the lead for good, 8-5.
With Eastern (12-11) leading 9-7 in the fifth set, sophomore Bry Kelly (Dunbarton, NH) put away two balls on sets from junior Allie Henry (Middletown) and soon after, Adams sandwiched kills around one by Kelly to move the Warriors to within match point, where freshman Kay Mullen (Fairhaven, MA) sealed it with her ninth kill of the match.
In defeating the Wildcats for the third time in the last five meetings, the Warriors never trailed in the first set on the way to the six-point win.With the match tied one-set each, Eastern appeared headed to an easy victory in the third set after junior setter Jess Patrizi (Beacon Falls) served the team to an 8-2 lead. The hosts chipped away, however, finally pulling even at 21-all. With the score tied at 23, Kelly put away a set from Henry and freshman Adrianna Mihalek (Woodbury) served the deciding point that was the result of a Wildcat attack error.
Johnson & Wales forced the deciding fifth set with the three-point victory in the fourth set. The hosts outscored Eastern 8-1 to erase a late four-point deficit and extend the match.
Senior Nicki Gasch (New Fairfield) paced Eastern with 16 kills while Mihalek had a double-double with 14 kills and 17 digs. Kelly had 12 kills, a .286 attack percentage and four blocks, and Mullen nine kills and a .368 attack percentage. Patrizi and Henry combined for 49 set assists. Luppi and senior Erynn Miller (Stratford) combined for 31 digs.
Johnson & Wales was paced by junior Alyssa Drapeau with 13 kills and nine digs while senior Ashley Rey tallied 13 kills. Senior Casey Higgins and sophomore Kellen Tensen combined for 44 set assists while senior Giselle Cram had 23 digs.
Eastern hosts defending Little East Conference champion Massachusetts Boston Tuesday at 7 p.m.
They extend conference unbeaten streak to 16 on Power's late goal
At left: Eastern celebrates Mitch Power's go-ahead goal which came with 17 seconds left Saturday.
WILLIMANTIC, Conn. - Senior forward Mitch Power (Douglas, MA) scored with 17 seconds left as the Eastern Connecticut State University men's soccer team extended its Little East Conference unbeaten streak to 16 with a 1-0 victory over Rhode Island College Saturday afternoon at Thomas Nevers Field.
With its fifth 1-0 home win this year, two-time defending conference champion Eastern (9-2-3, 4-0-1 LEC) remains atop the conference with 13 points, one point ahead of Massachusetts Dartmouth. The Corsairs kept pace by silencing visiting Plymouth State University, 3-0, Saturday.
Rhode Island (5-5-4, 1-2-2 LEC) is 0-4-2 in its last six matches and is 0-3-2 against Eastern in the last five meetings with the Warriors.
Power finally netted his team-leading eighth goal of the season on his eighth and final shot of the match. Power settled a long head pass from senior midfielder Carl Stensland (Storrs), gained a step on Rhode Island junior back David Ricci while carrying into the box, and unloaded a drive from the right side of the box which cleanly settled into the upper left-hand side of the goal.
At left: Kyle Peterson
The Warriors, who returned to the winning track at home after losing their only home match this year Monday, outshot the Anchormen 14-8 and amassed a 10-2 advantage in corner kicks, but could not break through until Power recorded his second game-winning goal of the year.
Power had at least three excellent scoring chances in the final 27 minutes before knocking in the game-winning. With 27 minutes left, his 19-yard free kick from inside the circle was saved at the left post by Rhode Island freshman keeper Christopher Moura; thirteen minutes later, the 6-foot-1 inch team captain found space beyond the top of the box, but his 30-yard drive sailed high; and from close range with just over a minute left, he headed a perfect corner kick by freshman midfielder Nicholas Warren (Southbury) directly at the Rhode Island keeper.
Several of Eastern's second-half bids came off Warren's corner kicks. Sophomore forward Timothy Jennison's (Coventry) volley attempt went wide of the left post off Warren's corner with 17 minutes left and with 2:30 remaining, Jennison targeted Stensland at the right post off another corner, but Moura was there to stuff Stensland and keep the game scoreless.
Rhode Island's best opportunities came in the first half, although freshman midfielder Anderson Monteiro and freshman back Devin Lambert hooked up on near-identical plays in the second half that nearly gave the Anchormen the lead. On both, Monteiro sent perfect free kicks to Lambert at the left post. Lambert's diving header on the first midway through the second half sailed wide left and his second with seven minutes left in the match was volleyed wide.
With four saves, Eastern freshman keeper Greg Walton (Brunwick, ME) posted his sixth shutout in 14 starts, lowering his goals-against average to 0.65. In eight home starts, Walton is 7-1-0 with five shutouts, a 0.37 GAA and .889 save percentage. Moura made seven stops.
Eastern hosts the U.S. Coast Guard Academy Tuesday at 3 p.m.
The Eastern Connecticut State University field hockey program is selling mums to benefit the National Foundation for Cancer Research (NFCR).
The team will be selling mums on Tuesday, Oct. 22 beginning at 6 p.m. during its final regular-season home match against Western Connecticut State University.
at the Mansfield Outdoor Complex.
Mums are $5 and come in white, red, and bronze for a presale. More colors will be available at the turf field during the game.
If you are interested in preordering mums or T-shirts ($15) please contact head coach Christine Hutchison at firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you are not able to pick up pre-ordered mums during the game on the 22nd they will be available for pickup on Wednesday, Oct. 23 in office 243 in the Sports Center.
All profits will be donated to cancer research.
WATCH: Highlights of the Eastern Connecticut State University women's soccer non-conference match against Trinity College Wednesday, Oct. 16 at the Mansfield Outdoor Complex. Segment filmed and produced by Sports Information intern Patrick Boyne and narrated by Nick Aconfora.
Keiser's early goal is enough for team's first win ever over Conn, 1-0
WATCH: Captains Kelly Gawron and Finley Ahearn review the win (7:03)
At left: The scoreboard told the story as the Warriors celebrate their first win over Conn College Wednesday.
MANSFIELD, Conn. -- Sophomore forward Hannah Keiser (Danbury) tied the Eastern Connecticut State University season record with her 12th goal of the year in powering the Warriors to a 1-0 non-conference victory over Connecticut College Wednesday afternoon at the Mansfield Outdoor Complex.
Keiser scored from in close with 5:30 gone in the match following a penalty corner by senior midfielder Finley Ahearn (Wallingford), who recorded her team-leading sixth assist of the season.
The win is the first for Eastern (7-7) over Conn (3-7) in this seven-game series and snaps a three-game Eastern losing streak. Conn has dropped its last six.
Eastern controlled play throughout most of the match, with the Camels managing only two shots in the second half. On a second-half shot by Conn sophomore midfielder Maggie Schroeder ten minutes into the second half, Eastern sophomore back Jessica Oliveira (Danbury) kept Conn off the board with a defensive save. With eight minutes left and trailing by a goal, Conn sent the ball into the circle, but junior forward Maggie Rakovic fanned twice on shots while directly in front of Eastern freshman keeper Samanta Scavo (Redding).
At left: Eastern's defense moves in to defend against Conn's Shaelin Gottlick in the first half Wednesday.
Eastern senior defender Kelly Gawron (Ramsey, NJ) led the game with a leg injury with Eastern leading with 18 minutes left in the first half and was replaced by freshman Shannon Connors (Westport), but returned several minutes later. In her absence, Conn junior forward Jen Morgan made a bid to tie the score but she was stuffed by Scavo. A minute after Gawron's return, Keiser broke free for a 1v1 opportunity but was denied by Napolitano. Four minutes later, Eastern made another attempt to double its lead when sophomore midfielder Laura Chicorka (Enfield) received a cross on the right side, but Napolitano was there again to make a sprawling stop.
Throughout the match, Eastern's starting defense of Oliveira, Gawron, sophomore Mackenzie Brower (Granby) and freshman Alexandra Steward (Old Saybrook) kept the visitors from mounting consistent offensive threats.
Both teams had six shots and Scavo and Conn junior Becca Napolitano were both credited with four saves. Scavo recorded her fourth shutout in ten starts, lowering her goals-against average to 1.46 and raising her save percentage to .824.
The Camels maintained a 7-4 advantage in penalty corners and could not take advantage of any of the five which they were awarded in the second half.
Eastern returns to Little East Conference play Saturday at Keene State College at 1:30 p.m.
by Brent Pelella / Sports Information Staff
WILLIMANTIC, Conn. -- Chris D'Ambrosio hasn't lost a step as the Eastern Connecticut State University women's soccer coach since he took the helm at the start of the century. His consistent production season in and season out has been a reliable niche in the athletic program.
At left: Women's soccer coach Chris D'Ambosio (left) has been joined at Eastern this year by his oldest son, Cooper, a sophomore member of the men's soccer team.
However, things around the coach are changing.
Fourteen years into his tenure as the program's winningest head coach, it's fair to say that he has made this school part of his family, and as recently as this fall, his family is creating less of a distinction.
Nineteen-year-old Cooper D'Ambrosio, the second of Chris and Gina's two sons, grew up on the sidelines next to his father, watching a good percentage of his 162 wins.
Now the son of the women's soccer coach is wearing Warrior colors as a member of the men's squad, "I'm excited to be at Eastern. I grew up around this school, and it feels like it was just meant to happen," says Cooper, who stepped into a starting spot in head coach Greg DeVito's starting backfield this fall.
Cooper, who recently returned to the lineup after sitting out two matches with a broken nose, began his career as a freshman at Division I University of Hartford. The experience was rigorous, but has helped him understand what it takes to be successful, "Everyone (at Division I) has an excellent skill set, and so it comes down to who works the hardest," noted the Andover native. "It would have been a challenging opportunity for me (to remain at UH), but financially and sentimentally, Eastern just made more sense."
The passion that Cooper expresses about the game of soccer is so strong it led this writer into a whirlwind of questioning. It was poetic to see such strong emotion for something created and developed by the nurturing of his parents.
At left: Chris D'Ambrosio
It may be taken for granted at times, but in many instances the tables are turned. In fact, Andre Agassi once talked about the result of his father's influence, "I told a lot of people that I hated tennis -- seriously and strongly hated it -- and they all tried to talk me out of it... But they didn't know my father."
Coach D'Ambrosio knows how influential a father can be, and he's done his best to let his eldest son write his own path, "Cooper is his own person, and he's very confident in his own skin. I'm happy he's found a place, in Eastern, that makes him comfortable."
Despite his free spirit, Cooper exemplifies the same competitiveness and devotion that his father had as a soccer player at St. Thomas in Miami in the mid-1980s. The father and son mirror each other off the pitch with loquacious personalities that radiate with every word.
It's evident that the family tradition of sports passion has carried from the former UConn gymnast mother and the star soccer goalkeeper father to the next generation of D'Ambrosios: Cooper and younger brother Carson, a senior at RHAM High School in Hebron whose list of potential college programs includes Eastern.
At right: Cooper D'Ambrosio
While Cooper is passionate about the game of soccer, his future aspirations revolve not around the pitch, but around the broadcast booth.
"I look forward to continuing my degree in communications, and working toward being a broadcaster, said Cooper, who looks to get his feet wet this winter and spring as a member of the Eastern student broadcasting team."When I was younger I loved (broadcasting) so much I used to mute the TV and announce sporting events myself."
The long-time women's soccer coach has raised his son to be an independent, self-sufficient young man. Cooper's dreams aren't parallel to his father's, but it's easy to draw the palpable comparisons. Of course, those who know Chris D'Ambrosio would just chalk it up to another soccer player who's been positively affected by the truly genuine, compassionate coach.
With decisive advantage in shots, visitors finally break through
At left: Eastern's defense is all eyes early in the second half of Wednesday night's overtime loss to Trinity College. (Photo by Liam Murphy)
MANSFIELD, Conn. -- After dominating player with a 20-2 advantage in shots, Trinity College finally came away with the women's soccer victory when junior midfielder Elisa Dolan sent a 22-yard free kick from the top of the box over the wall and under the crossbar with just over seven minutes gone in overtime in a 1-0 win over Eastern Connecticut State University Wednesday night at the Mansfield Outdoor Complex.
Ranked in a tie for sixth in New England, Trinity (9-2-0) returned to the win column after consecutive losses to regionally-ranked teams. Eastern (7-6-0) lost its first home match after five home wins in as many contests and has now beaten Trinity only once (1-3-4) in the last eight meetings between the programs.
The Warriors did not have a shot after the first period, but had survived numerous Trinity bids which included a pair of shots early in overtime which bounced off the crossbar and off the left post, respectively, minutes before the winning goal.
Trinity was able to keep constant pressure on the Eastern net by putting 13 of its 20 shots on cage, finally breaking through on the free kick.
Eastern freshman keeper Chelsea Santos (Windsor Locks) made a career-high 12 saves in the loss but by giving up only one goal in 97 minutes, was able to lower her goals-against average to just under 1.00 at 0.99 and raise her save percentage from .821 to .854.
Santos made eight saves in the second half alone on 12 Trinity shots. In the second half, Santos kept the match scoreless with eight minutes gone when she drove to her left on a volley off the foot of Dolan, then one-handed a drive by sophomore forward Abbey Lake over the crossbar midway through the half.
Eastern visits Rhode Island College Saturday at 1 p.m. in a Little East Conference match.
Warriors move over .500 in Little East with sweep of Rhode Island
WILLIMANTIC, Conn. - The Eastern Connecticut State University women's volleyball team raced to an 8-1 lead in the first set and trailed only once the entire evening in posting a 25-14, 25-16, 25-16 Little East Conference victory over Rhode Island College Tuesday evening at Francis E. Geissler Gymnasium.
At left: Nicki Gasch
After easing to the first-set victory, Eastern (11-11, 3-2 LEC) scored five straight points to pull away from a one-point lead midway through the second set, then scored four straight points after allowing the first point of the third set in defeating Rhode Island (2-20, 0-4 LEC) for the fifth time in the last six meetings.
Behind the serving of sophomore Emma Cajthaml, Rhode Island bounced back from an early four-point Eastern lead in the second set to tie the match at 11-all on an Eastern service error. Soon after, the hosts put together a string of five straight points to pull away. Freshman Kay Mullen (Fairhaven, MA) had a kill and block assists in that stretch, junior Jess Patrizi (Beacon Falls) two service aces, senior Nicki Gasch (New Fairfield) a kill, and freshman Amanda Tyler (Longmeadow, MA) a block assist.
Led by Gasch and freshman Adrianna Mihalek (Woodbury), Eastern attacked at .263. Gasch had a team-high nine kills and .368 attack percentage, Mihalek eight kills and a .421 percentage. Patrizi served five of the Warriors' ten service aces and picked up 14 assists, and senior Erynn Miller (Stratford) recorded nearly half of the team's digs by collecting 24 - her third-highest total of the year and most in a three-set match this season.
Eastern's attack percentage was its second-best of the season and best since attacking a .298 in sweep of Bridgewater State University a month ago at the Trinity College Invitational.
Rhode Island attacked at only .052 and was guilty of eight ball-handling errors. Sophomore Michelle Malboeuf led the Anchorwomen with five kills, with junior Karla Santizo and freshman Nicole Thibodeau combining for 17 digs.
Eastern visits Johnson & Wales University Saturday at noon.
Miller's record on and off court warranted unique status by coach
By Matt Sinkewicz / Sports Information Staff
WILLIMANTIC, Conn. -- Eastern Connecticut State University senior Erynn Miller of Stratford is an excellent example of what student athletes should strive to be. She is the captain and only four-year player on the women's volleyball team. Even with all the time and effort that she puts towards volleyball, she is still able to be an exceptional student.
Prior to this fall, head coach Pete Maneggia hadn't named a captain for any of the teams he has coached in nearly 20 years -- since a high school softball team in 1996. Maneggia stated, "I'm a big believer in everybody should be there own captain. Sometimes it turns into a popularity contest, and there are multiple other reasons why I don't like naming captains. However with such a young team this year, I felt like we needed a strong leadership role, and Erynn was the obvious choice."
Miller was excited to become captain, but she also realized that new responsibilities come with the territory. "It's an honor to be named captain, but there is a little bit of pressure. Luckily my team has made it so easy on me," explained Miller, "it's a really good group of girls, and everyone gets along."
Miller graduated from Bunnell High School as a two-time All-State volleyball player who was appointed team captain a total of four years in three sports. She chose to attend Eastern because it was relatively close to home, and also because it offered a good balance between academics and athletics.
Before her freshman year, however, the Eastern coaching staff was in flux. With Maneggia serving as an assistant, Miller played under former head coach Fran Vandermeer before Maneggia was named head coach prior to her sophomore season. "It was a little frustrating knowing that there was no consistency (previously) in the coaching position, but Coach Pete has taken over and the program has improved so much," said Miller.
On the court, Miller never takes a play off. She came to Eastern as an outside hitter in high school but has moved into a primary passing role the last two years. In consecutive weeks last month, she was voted the Little East Conference's Defensive Player-of-the-Week. Heading into Tuesday night's LEC home contest against Rhode Island College, Miller had a .921 reception percentage on a team-high 303 attempts and also topped all players by averaging 4.39 digs per set - third-best in the conference.
She practices hard every day, and is a great example to the younger players. Off the court, she is a model student as a member of the Little East All-Academic Team and as an E-Club Outstanding Scholar-Athlete Award recipient. With a major in Business Administration and a minor in Communication, Miller wants to attend graduate school and eventually get a job in marketing.
Warriors can't get untracked in 2-0 non-conference loss to Babson
At left: Senior back Luke Capezzone (Photo by Liam Murphy)
WILLIMANTIC, Conn. -- The Babson College men's soccer team scored the only goal it would need 61 seconds into the second half, limiting Eastern Connecticut State University to three shots in the match in handing the Warriors their first home loss of the year, 2-0, Monday afternoon at Thomas Nevers Field.
Babson (8-5-1) controlled the tempo and flow of the match throughout, finally getting on the board when sophomore back Andre Gonzalez headed in sophomore midfielder Tyler Carlos' corner kick in the opening minute of the second half. That margin stood until the final minutes, when sophomore midfielder Justin Laurenzo deposited a rebound past Eastern freshman keeper Greg Walton (Brunswick, ME) to add insurance.
The win is the third straight over Eastern for Babson, which ties up the six-game series with the Warriors. Eastern entered play with a 6-0 home record, allowing only one goal in those games. The loss is the first for Eastern after an 11-game unbeaten streak (8-0-3) dating back to the second match of the season.
At right: Sophomore back Zane Lombardo (Photo by Liam Murphy)
Babson spent most of the first half in its offensive end but could not get on the board. Its best opportunity came with 16 minutes left in the half when Carlos took a feed from Laurenzo on the left side of the box and cut in before unloading a blast that Walton denied at the left post.
Ranked seventh in New England, Eastern (8-2-3) had only two shots in the first half, but probably had the best chance when sophomore reserve back Zane Lombardo (Portland) found senior forward Mitch Power (Douglas, MA) in the middle of the box with six minutes left. Power, held without a point for the first time in seven matches, unleashed a low shot as Babson senior keeper Jackson Klein was diving to his right. With Klein on the ground, the ball deflected to the left, but Klein was still able to grab it.
The Beavers came right out in the second half and produced the only goal it would need. Taking Babson's only corner kick of the half, Carlos sent a perfectly-place ball to the front of the goal, where the six-foot Gonzalez timed his leap perfectly and beat an overmatched Walton with his only shot of the match.
With just under three minutes left, Ventura collected a deflected ball in Eastern's defense, and raced untouched toward Walton. As he carried into the box, Ventura hesitated for a second, allowing Walton to station himself near the right and punch away the point-blank shot. Trailing the play, an unmarked Laurenzo was positioned on the right side of the box and cleaned up the play with a shot over the fallen Walton.
Babson outshot Eastern, 12-3, and held a 6-3 advantage in corners.
Despite absorbing his first loss since the season-opener, Walton made several remarkable saves -- his final total of five equalling his most since the second match of the season -- in keeping the Warriors within striking distance until the final minute.
Eastern hosts Rhode Island College in a Little East Conference match Saturday at 1 p.m.
They sweep Saint Joseph's (ME), drop four-set verdict to Wheaton
Saint Joseph's Box.HTM
NORTON, Mass. - Sophomore Bry Kelly (Dunbarton, NH) had three kills and a block in a final 13-1 run that sparked the Eastern Connecticut State University women's volleyball team to an opening-set win on the way to a sweep of Saint Joseph's College (ME) Saturday at Emerson Gymnasium on the Wheaton College campus.
At right: Bry Kelly
Meeting Saint Joseph's (15-6) for the first time in nine years, Eastern (10-11) erased the Monks in three sets for the third time in three meetings in the series. Set scores were 25-7, 25-16, 26-24.
Later Saturday, the Warriors came away with a 32-30 first-set conquest of Wheaton College (12-10) in one of the most thrilling sets of the season, but the Lyons rallied to capture the match in four. Set scores were 32-30, 22-25, 17-25, 22-25.
Against Saint Joseph's, freshman Kay Mullen (Fairhaven, MA) had nine kills with a .438 attack percentage, sophomore Allie Luppi (Tewksbury, MA) 18 digs, three service aces and 17 reception attempts with no errors, freshman Amanda Tyler (Longmeadow, MA) six kills and a .500 attack percentage, senior Erynn Miller (Stratford) nine digs, senior Nicki Gasch (New Fairfield) seven kills, and junior Jess Patrizi (Beacon Falls) 21 assists and four service aces.
In the 13-1 run that capped the first set against SJC, junior Allie Henry (Middletown) added a kill and service ace and Tyler a kill, and the Monks hurt themselves with six attack errors.
The Warriors broke from a tie in the second set with eight straight points en route to the nine-point win, with freshman Adrianna Mihalek (Woodbury) killing three balls, Mullen contributing one kill and Patrizi a service ace. The Monks had three attack errors in the run.
The Warriors wrapped up the sweep with the overtime win in the third set. Gasch spoiled set point for the Monks with her seventh kill of the match to tie it at 24, and Luppi served the go-ahead and winning points. Her service ace gave the Warriors the lead, and a SJC attack error sealed the match win.
There were 21 ties in the remarkable first set against Wheaton. After Mullen's kill and Luppi's service ace pulled the Warriors to within one point, neither team led by more than a point until the Warriors scored the final two points on a Wheaton attack error and Henry's set-clinching kill.
Wheaton evened the match, however, by scoring six straight points that erased the Warriors' quick 7-2 lead in the second set and went on to the tight three-point victory. The Lyons, who snapped a four-match losing streak at the hands of Eastern, grabbed the all-important third set by breaking from an early tie to outscore Eastern, 7-2, en route to a 14-9 lead. The Warriors never led in the set after Wheaton chalked up the first three points on an Eastern service error and two quick kills.
The teams traded the early lead in the fourth set before the Lyons scored five of six points to take a 19-16 advantage.
Against Wheaton, Luppi had 18 digs and 20 receptions with one error; Henry
32 assists, Tyler six kills and a .250 attack percentage, 23 receptions with one error, two blocks, ten digs, and four service aces; Mihalek ten kills, 15 digs, and two blocks, Miller 14 digs and 18 receptions without an error; and
Mullen nine kills and five blocks.
Eastern hosts Rhode Island College Tuesday at 7 p.m. in a Little East Conference match.
Eastern Conn. 3, Saint Joseph's College (ME) 0
Saint Joseph's (15-6) 7 16 24
Eastern Conn. (10-10) 25 25 26
Wheaton College (MA) 3, Eastern Conn. 1
Eastern Conn. (10-11) 32 22 17 22
Wheaton (12-10) 30 25 25 25
After surrendering early goal, Warriors motor past So. Maine, 4-1
GORHAM, Maine -- Senior Mitch Power (Douglas, MA) scored a pair of goals to help Eastern Connecticut State University overcome an early deficit and post a 4-1 victory over the University of Southern Maine in a Little East Conference men's soccer match Saturday afternoon at Hannaford Field.
At left: Mitch Power's two goals Saturday give him five in the last four matches.
With the win, the Warriors extended their unbeaten streak to 11 games (8-0-3) since dropping their season opener to Widener University. Ranked seventh in New England, Eastern (8-1-3, 3-0-1 LEC) remains atop the LEC standings with 10 points, one better than UMass Dartmouth (3-1-0). The Corsairs dumped visiting Keene State College, 4-2, Saturday, to keep pace with Eastern.
Still searching for its first win of the season, Southern Maine (0-13-1, 0-4-0 LEC) dropped its sixth straight in this series to Eastern. The two-time defending LEC playoff champion Warriors extended their conference winning streak to 15 (14-0-1) dating back to 2011.
The Huskies threw a scare into the Warriors by grabbing a 1-0 lead in the tenth minute of play. After Power tied the match late in the first half for Eastern on a penalty kick, Eastern senior Carl Stensland (Storrs) gave the Warriors the lead for good early in the second half, and Power and freshman Nicholas Warren (Southbury) followed with insurance goals in the final 11 minutes.
In the opening minutes, junior Nat LeBlanc crossed a ball from the right wing that found its way to classmate Caleb Leinoon at the back post to boost the hosts into the early lead. Leino bounced his six-yard shot off the left post into the right side-netting for his second marker of the season.
The lead stood until the 41st minute when Power deposited a penalty kick into the right side of the net (awarded for a hand ball), past USM senior goalkeeper Stephen Sweatt. The goal was the third straight - and third tying one -- in three matches for Power, whose penalty kick last Saturday gave the Warriors a 1-1 LEC overtime draw with UMass Boston. His goal Tuesday also lifted the Warriors into a 1-1 overtime draw with Wesleyan.
Stensland gave the Warriors the lead for good early in the second half as he intercepted an errant clearing pass, took a couple of dribbles and rocketed an 18-yard shot into the left top corner of the net The goal was the first for Stensland since 2011.
Power put the game away in the 79th minute when he took a feed from sophomore Tim Jennison (Coventry) and faked Sweatt out of position for an easy tap-in - his team-leading seventh goal of the year, fifth in the last four matches. It was the team-leading fourth assist of the season for Jennison. Warren's third goal of the year made it 4-1 in the 84th minute.
Freshman goalkeeper Greg Walton (Brunswick, ME) recorded one save to earn his eighth win of the season against three ties and a single loss. Sweatt finished a commendable performance with three saves. Sweat was pressed into emergency duty in goal as both of USM's regular keepers were out with injuries.
Eastern hosts Babson College Monday at 3 p.m. The Beavers handed Eastern its only loss of the regular season last year with a 1-0, double-overtime triumph at Wellesley after the Warriors had won 14 and tied one of their first 15 matches.
Defense neutralizes Southern Maine in 1-0 Little East win
MANSFIELD, Conn. -- Brianna Curcio's (Southbury) first goal of the season midway through the first half was enough for the Eastern Connecticut State University women's soccer team to remain undefeated at home this year with a 1-0 Little East Conference victory over the University of Southern Maine Saturday afternoon at the Mansfield Outdoor Complex.
At right: Brianna Curcio shields the ball from Southern Maine's Becca Tanous in Saturday's 1-0 win over the Huskies. (Photo by Matt Hicks)
Making only her fourth straight of the season, Eastern's (7-5-0, 2-2-0 LEC) Curcio one-timed Nicole Leonard's (Rutherford, NJ) corner kick (Eastern's first of the match) past Southern Mine (4-8-1, 1-3-0 LEC) at the near post to break a scoreless tie. Freshman keeper Chelsea Santos (Windsor Locks), last week's conference Goalkeeper-of-the-Week made two routine saves in recording her third shutout in five career starts.
With its fifth victory at home in as many contests this year, Eastern moves from a tie for fifth in the conference standings into a tie for fourth. With three regular-season conference games left, Keene State College is unbeaten (4-0-0), with Western Connecticut and UMass Boston a game back at 3-1-0. Keene edged homestanding UMass Dartmouth Saturday, 1-0, and defending playoff champion UMass Boston pounded visiting Western, 4-0, in a re-match of last year's LEC title match.
Curcio's third career goal was one of only a few real threats by either squad. Leonard, who took over the team lead with her third assist, had space in the box four minutes into the second half but couldn't give the Warriors an insurance goal as she one-timed Tamar Merheb's (Bethel) cross from the right wide of the post.
Freshman Hailey Lehning (Woodbury), who played only the first 16 minutes of the first half, returned in the second half and threatened 15 minutes later. Lehning received a pass from Kaitlyn Kennedy (Burlington) on the end line and carried to goal, where she left-footed an uncosted shot from close range over the far post with 11 minutes left.
Southern Maine's best chance to tie the match came in the final minutes, when Nicole Bordeau carried a pass from CC Pelletier on the right flank down to the end line, but her try at a bad angle sailed over the crossbar.
Southern Maine was held without a corner kick by Eastern and managed only five shots. Keeper Katie Cobb was not called upon for a save.
The win is the 14th straight for Eastern over Southern Maine in this series. The Warriors have won three of their last four this season while the Huskies are 1-7-1 in their last nine after opening with three consecutive victories.
Eastern hosts Trinity College Wednesday at 7 p.m.
Eastern's four seniors and their families were recognized prior to the final regular-season Saturday home match of the season. From left, Nicole Vitetllo, Morgan Osiecki, Finley Ahearn, and Kelly Gawron. (Photo by Vanessa Cioe).
Eastern's offense can't get untracked in 2-0 Little East loss to Vikes
MANSFIELD, Conn. -- Lauren Pazdziorny and Paige McNickol scored less than five minutes apart early in the second period and freshman Carolyn Woodin made six saves to carry the Salem State University field hockey team to a 2-0 Little East Conference victory over Eastern Connecticut State University on Seniors' Day Saturday afternoon at the Mansfield Outdoor Complex.
With its sixth consecutive victory over Eastern, Salem (6-5, 4-3 LEC) takes over fifth place in the conference, knocking Eastern ( 6-7, 3-4 LEC) into sixth place. Four teams are a game behind the Warriors and tied for the final two LEC playoff spots.
At right: Freshman goalie Samantha Scavo (Photo by Mike Gillotti)
Pazdziorny scored her team-leading tenth goal of the season with just under four minutes gone in the second half to snap a scoreless duel, and McNickol followed less than five minutes later with her second strike of the season.
Pazdziorny was credited with the goal which began with a hit-in from Kathleen Clark to Erin Botticelli. Botticelli slammed a shot from the top of the circle which was re-directed by Pazdziorny past Eastern freshman goalie Samantha Scavo (Redding). McNickol added insurance when she was able to get a stick on a rebound and poke it past a sprawled Scavo.
Salem could not muster its first shot of the match until 11 minutes remained in the first half and was held without a penalty corner until seven minutes were left in the first half The Vikings had a scoring chance with two minutes left in the first half when freshman Natalie Bourne and Scavo battled to control a loose ball, which was finally cleared by Eastern's Jessica Oliveira (Danbury).
Early in the second half, Salem freshman Katie Pietrini stick-handled through the Eastern defense and unloaded a shot, which was stopped by Scavo. However, minutes later Pazdziorny put the Vikings in front with a goal on her only shot of the day which reached the cage.
With Eastern trailing 1-0 early in the second half, Nicole Vitello (Wallingford) took a cross from the left, but her one-timer attempting to tie the score was stopped by Woodin. Salem answered almost immediately with McNickol's goal that pushed the Salem lead to 2-0.
Down two goals with 15 minutes left, freshman Gabriela Meza (Norwalk) got off a strong shot off a penalty corner, but Woodin kicked it out. In the final minutes, Morgan Osiecki (Bethel) and team scoring leader Hannah Keiser (Danbury) had opportunities to slice the deficit. With room in the circle after receiving a shot pass from the left, Osiecki's bid went wide of the left post. Woodin made her sixth save of the match at the left post with three minutes left on Keiser's team-leading fourth shot of the match.
The loss is the third straight in the conference for Eastern, which had lost its previous conference decisions by a single goal. Eastern played without starting All-LEC midfielder Laura Chicorka (Enfield), who missed the first start of her two-year career due to personal obligations.
Eastern hosts Connecticut College Wednesday at 4 p.m.
By Matt Sinkewicz / Sports Information Staff
WILLIMANTIC, Conn. -- Move over Robert Downey Jr... There's a new Ironman in town: Eastern Connecticut State University cross country and track and field coach Kathy Manizza is training to compete in next year's World Ironman 70.3 Championship at Mont-Tremblant, Quebec.
This past summer, 59 Ironman competitions were held around the world, and the winners from each age group qualified to compete at Mont-Tremblant, which is located about 80 miles north-west of Montreal in the Laurentian mountains. Manizza qualified by winning her age group (55-60 years old) in an Ironman competition in Gilford, NH on Aug. 18.
An Ironman 70.3 competition consists of a 1.2-mile swim, a 56-mile bike ride, and a 13.1-mile run. Manizza's time for the qualifying event was five hours, 29 minutes, 54 seconds. To put that time in perspective, the average time for a woman in her age group is about 7 hours. Her incredible performance was over an hour and a half faster than the average competitor.
This type of performance obviously demands a strict training regime. Manizza trains about 15-20 hours per week. She bikes about 180 miles, and runs about 30 miles every week. When asked about her swimming, she admitted to hating it. However she still pushes herself to swim three or four days every week. She has a strict vegan diet, and she does not eat any processed foods. When asked how she stays motivated, she responded, "My husband Ken is a competitor too. I enjoy training with him because he is always pushing me to do my best."
Manizza is in her second stint on the Eastern coaching staff. Born in Hawaii, and a graduate of Cal State Fresno, Manizza coached cross-country and track at Eastern in the mid-1990s before spending 13 seasons at the University of Hartford.
Manizza has been active her entire life. She first became involve in triathlons about 30 years ago. Since that time, she has run in seven marathons, many more half-marathons, and countless 5K and 10K races. She was also a member of the U.S. Canoe and Kayak team, which won the world championship three times.
Manizza is the kind of person that wants to be the best. She does marathons and triathlons because she loves being fit and active, and she truly believes that leading an active lifestyle leads to happiness. Also, she wants to be a role model for her cross country and track teams. She trains hard, and her hard work pays off. She is an inspiration to everyone.
In second straight Little East match, Warriors move out to early lead
NORTH DARTMOUTH, Mass. - Sophomore forward Hannah Keiser (Danbury) moved within two of establishing an Eastern Connecticut State University field hockey record for goals in a season with her 11th, but the Warriors couldn't protect an early one-goal lead in dropping a 2-1 Little East Conference decision to 2012 conference playoff champion University of Masschusetts Dartmouth Wednesday night at Cressy Field.
Keiser converted a penalty shot with nine minutes gone in the match for Eastern (6-6, 3-3 LEC), but three-time conference playoff champion UMass (9-3, 6-0 LEC) got the equalizer three minutes later and maintained a share of the top spot in the conference with the game-winning with just over ten minutes left. Senior forward Eleanor Taylor was credited with both unassisted goals for the Corsairs, which defeated Eastern for the eighth consecutive time and in the process, improved its conference winning streak to 17.
The match - which kicked off the second half of the LEC regular season -- marked the second near-upset of a traditional LEC power for Eastern, which scored the first two goals this past Saturday but was overtaken by Plymouth State University, 3-2. Eastern's three conference losses have each come by one goal, one in a shootout.
Freshman goalie Samantha Scavo (Redding) made nine saves for Eastern, which was outshot 21-5 by the hosts, who also amassed a 10-2 advantage in penalty corners. UMass senior goalie Lauren O'Brien, a second-team All-LEC selection as a junior, kicked out four shots, holding the Warriors off the board after Keiser's early strike.
UMass was picked for second in the conference pre-season coaches' poll, Eastern last.
Eastern hosts Salem State University (5-5, 3-3 LEC) Saturday at noon in an LEC match on Seniors' Day. With five regular-season LEC matches remaining, the Warriors and Vikings share fifth place in the 12-team loop. The top eight teams qualify for the conference playoffs, which get underway Nov. 5 with first-round contests.
WILLIMANTIC, Conn. -- The Eastern Connecticut State University field hockey program is holding a FREE high school clinic on Wednesday, Oct. 23rd on the Mansfield Outdoor Complex turf field located at 56 Mansfield City Road, Mansfield.
The clinic will run from 3p.m. to 4:30 p.m. Please email head coach Christine Hutchison at email@example.com if your team or athletes are interested in attending. If you have specific areas that you would like to see emphasized, please let us know.
The women's lacrosse program is holding high school clinics on Monday, Oct. 21st and Wednesday, Oct. 23rd on the Mansfield Outdoor Complex turf field located at 56 Mansfield City Road, Mansfield.
The clinics are scheduled to be held from 6p.m. to 7:30 p.m. each night. No need to pre-register, just bring a check (made out to ECSU Foundation, Inc.) or cash of $15 to the field when you arrive at each clinic. The clinics start at 6p.m. but you are welcome to arrive at 5:30 p.m if you would like to interact with this year's team members.
Men and women's teams show depth with impressive finishes at CCRI
By Matt Sinkewicz / Sports Information Staff
LINCOLN, R.I. -- Eastern Connecticut State University's men's and women's cross country teams raced this weekend at the Community College of Rhode Island Tri-State Open, competing at the college's Lincoln campus.
The Eastern women's team finished third out of seven teams, and the men tied for second in a field of ten teams.
At right: Mariah McPhee
However, the scoreboard doesn't always tell the full story.
Four of the girls -- junior Kelly Labanara (Chaplin) and freshmen Mariah McPhee (Bristol), Sofia Amaral (New Milford), and Julie Trifone (Cheshire) -- all finished in the top 15. Three of the men - senior Evan Glaude (East Hampton), first-year sophomore Taylor Flynn (Old Saybrook), and freshman Joe Rainville (Montville) also finished in the top 15. Even more amazing is that five of the women and two of the men did not run because they were ill.
Head coach Kathy Manizza credits this success to the tough practices the week leading up to the meet. "Since we didn't have a meet last week, we had 10 and 12 mile runs in practice to try to prepare as best we could for this meet."
Labanara (5th overall) and Flynn (11th) were first across the line Saturday for their respective programs for the fourth straight race. Rainville and Glaude followed by checking in at 12th and 15th, respectively (just 13 seconds apart) over the 8,000 meter course, to provide the Warriors with a solid top three. Sophomore Steven LaFlamme (Moosup) ignited the second wave of Eastern men's runners by finishing 23rd, with freshmen Mike Underwood (Farmington) and Chris Burkle (Guilford) engaged in a battle as the team's fifth and final scorer in 25th and 26th place, respectively.
At right: Joe Rainville
McPhee and Amaral supported Labanara by steaming in two seconds apart in eighth and ninth place, respectively, giving the Warriors three of the top nine finishers. Trifone was Eastern's fourth finisher in 15th place overall. Bridgewater, however, won the duel for second place in the team standings. The Bears' No. 5 runner, freshman Brittany Reed, took 13th place to secure second place for Bridgewater behind team winner Wheaton College (MA), eight points better than Eastern. First-year sophomore Kelsey Nixon (Ledyard) rounded out Eastern's five scorers with an overall finish of 30th, scoring 25 points, to allow the Warriors to ease to a 45-point victory over fourth-place finisher Roger Williams University.
Manizza is excited for the future of the program because of the development of the underclassmen, as seven of the women are newcomers to the program, as are eight of the men. The two teams have a combined total of 11 freshmen.
Eastern will be idle again this Saturday before competing at the Western New England University Invitational Oct. 19, then will have another two-week layoff in preparation for the Little East Conference/New England Alliance Championship Nov. 2.
Western remains unbeaten in Little East with four-set decision
DANBURY, Conn. - Eastern Connecticut State University's last visit to Feldman Arena produced a rousing five-set victory against higher-seeded Western Connecticut State University in the first round of the 2011 Little East Conference tournament.
At right: Allie Luppi
As it did in 2011, Eastern (9-10, 2-2 Little East) lost two of the first three sets Tuesday, but this time could not find its way back in a four-set loss to Western (17-4, 3-0 Little East) that kept the Colonials with a share of the top spot in the conference with four-time LEC tournament champion UMass Boston. Eastern entered play in fourth place in the conference and drops one spot to fifth, a half-game back of Plymouth State University and Keene State College.
Western won by scores of 25-23, 25-15, 20-25, 25-20.
Freshman Adrianna Mihalek (Woodbury) led Eastern with 12 kills and was second on the team with 18 digs; senior Nicki Gasch (New Fairfield) and freshman Kay Mullen (Fairhaven, MA) combined for 14 kills, with Mullen attacking at .267; sophomore libero Allie Luppi (Tewksbury, MA) topped Eastern with 20 digs and juniors Allie Henry (Middletown) and Jess Patrizi (Beacon Falls) combined for 36 assists.
Western All-LEC junior Nina Wojtkiewicz collected ten kills and 17 digs for Western, with All-LEC setter Jenny Hogan handing out 30 assists.
A winner of nine of its last ten matches, Western has won six of the last seven matches against Eastern, the one Warrior victory in that stretch coming two years ago in the first round of the LEC tournament.
Saturday at Wheaton College (MA), Eastern faces Saint Joseph's College (ME) at 3 p.m. and host Wheaton at 5 p.m. in two non-conference matches.
For second straight match, Power scores tying goal in 1-1 OT draw
At left: Mitch Power
MIDDLETOWN, Conn. - Senior forward Mitch Power (Douglas, MA) scored the game-tying goal for the second straight match to help the Eastern Connecticut State University men's soccer team extend its unbeaten streak to ten with a 1-1 double-overtime draw with Wesleyan University Tuesday afternoon.
Power took over the team lead with his fifth goal - his third goal in as many matches and fourth goal in the last five - when he beat Wesleyan (5-3-1) junior keeper Emmett McConnell on an assist from senior midfielder Carl Stensland (Storrs) with 12 minutes left in regulation. Stensland had begun the match on defense but was moved up later in the contest. On Saturday, Power's penalty kick early in the second half had lifted Eastern into an identical 1-1 double overtime Little East Conference draw at Massachusetts Boston.
Wesleyan had taken a 1-0 lead 13 minutes earlier on freshman Charlie Gruner scored his second goal of the season.
The teams played 20 minutes of scoreless sudden death overtime in recording the first tie in this 14-game series.
Eastern (7-1-3) freshman keeper Greg Walton (Brunswick, ME) lowered his goals-against average to 0.56 by playing 65 shutout minutes. Walton, last week's Little East Conference Goalkeeper and Rookie-of-the-Week, blanked Wesleyan over the first 45 minutes, then returned to record four saves in overtime to preserve the tie. Walton has allowed only one goal in his last seven starts and appearances.
Wesleyan had at least four good scoring opportunities come up empty as Walton made a pair of good saves, one in the first half and another in the second overtime, to thwart the Cardinal attack. On the other two occasions, a first-half shot went wide left and a second-half try after a corner kick hit the right post. Eastern's best additional scoring chances came with about six minutes left in regulation on a series of three shots, one saved by McConnell and two other attempts blocked by the Wesleyan defense.
Freshman Curtis Barnes (Amherst, MA) was touched for Wesleyan's goal in playing the second half, but came up with five saves when the Cardinals unloaded 14 of their 24 games shots in that second half.
All 17 players in uniform saw action, including senior back Mike Radlbeck (Westbrook), who came off the bench in his first appearance in three weeks.
Since dropping an season-opening 3-0 decision, Eastern is unbeaten, having won seven and tied three. The Warriors repeated as New England's No.7-ranked team in the most recent NSCAA ratings, released today.
Eastern visits the University of Southern Maine in a Little East conference match Saturday at 3 p.m.
Hosts end this match quickly with three goals midway through first half
AMHERST, Mass. - The Eastern Connecticut State University women's soccer team continues to struggle offensively, managing its only goal inside the final two minutes in dropping a 4-1 non-conference decision to Amherst College Tuesday afternoon at Hitchcock Field.
At right: Gia Karahalios' heads-up play helped the Warriors avoid a shutout.
Eastern (6-5-0) was coming off a pair of home victories, but Amherst (6-1-2) unloaded 30 shots in the match, scoring three times by the midway point of the first half in running its record against Eastern to 8-1-3 in the last 12 contests between the programs. Amherst is ranked in a tie for fifth in New England. The Lord Jeffs have won four straight and allowed only three goals all season.
Eastern avoided its third shutout of the season with two minutes left when sophomore back Gia Karahalios (South Windsor) got a head on a corner kick by senior midfielder Blair Church (New London) to keep it in the box. The ball then bounced off an Amherst defender on the way to the goal and was ruled to be an "own" goal.
The goal total is the highest by an Eastern opponent since Amherst totaled five in last year's victory over Eastern at the Mansfield Outdoor Complex. Since winning their opening two games this year by a margin of 6-0, the Warriors have scored more than once in a match only once.
Sophomore Megan Kim scored two goals for Amherst to improve her team-leading total to seven.
Eastern hosts the University of Southern Maine Saturday at 3 p.m. in a Little East Conference match.
VIEW LATEST HIGHLIGHT VIDEOS:
Women's Volleyball vs. Keene State (Sept. 28)
Field Hockey vs. Southern Maine (Sept. 21)
Gasch, Luppi, Santos and Walton cited during week ending Oct. 6
NORTH DARTMOUTH, Mass. - Four Eastern Connecticut State University athletes - three of them defensive players representing three programs -- were recognized with individual awards as part of the fifth weekly Little East Conference awards program, announced Monday.
Freshman men's soccer goalie Greg Walton (Brunswick, ME) repeated as Goalkeeper-of-the-Week and was additionally cited as Rookie-of-the-Week; senior outside hitter Nicki Gasch (New Fairfield) and sophomore libero Allie Luppi (Tewksbury, MA) were recognized with volleyball's Offensive and Defensive Player-of-the-Week awards, and freshman Chelsea Santos (Windsor Locks) was named women's soccer Goalkeeper-of-the-Week.
The honor is the first in the careers of all but Walton.
Walton extended his streak to 551 minutes and 16 seconds without allowing a goal by playing the first 80 minutes in the team's fifth straight shutout and seventh straight win in a midweek victory over Saint Joseph's College (ME) and the first 21 minutes of a 1-1 double overtime road victory with Massachusetts Boston. Walton lowered his goals-against average to a season-best 0.57 with four saves in his fifth shutout in his ninth start against Saint Joseph's and raised his season's save percentage to a season-high of .829 with five saves against UMass Boston.
Eastern men's soccer players have been honored a total of six times this year. Freshman midfielder Nicholas Warren (Southbury) was named Rookie-of-the-Week twice and senior back/midfielder Carl Stensland (Storrs) Defensive Player-of-the-Week once.
Gasch led Eastern with 39 kills and 45.5 points in 12 sets and represented Eastern on the all-tournament team when the Warriors won two of three matches at its own Crabtree Classic. Gasch accumulated nearly one-third of the team's attack attempts and averaged 3.25 kills. In a Little East Conference three-set sweep of UMass Dartmouth in the tournament, Gasch had ten kills and a .259 attack percentage, and in a four-set victory over the University of New England, had a season-high 16 kills and attacked at .302.
Luppi averaged 5.45 digs and commited only three errors on 54 serve reception attempts for a percentage of .944. Sharing libero duties recently, Luppi set personal highs with 23 digs twice at this past Saturday's Crabree Classic hosted by Eastern, and with 21 digs twice in two of the tournament matches. In a four-set victory over University of New England in the tournament , Luppi had 23 reception attempts with only one error, and 21 digs. In 63 sets this year, Luppi averages 2.75 digs and has a .951 reception percentage.
Prior to this week, senior libero Erynn Miller (Stratford) was named Defensive Player-of-the-Week twice and freshman outside hitter Adrianna Mihalek (Woodbury) Rookie-of-the-Week once.
Back in the starting lineup after missing nearly a month with an injury, Santos made eight saves to shut out 2012 Little East Conference playoff champion Massachusetts Boston Saturday at home. The shutout was the second in three career starts for Santos, who held the Beacons scoreless for the first time this year.Santos has a 0.33 goals-against average and .909 save percentage this year.
Previously this year, senior back Megan Godwin (Manchester) and sophomore back Gia Karahalios (South Windsor) were honored with weekly awards as Defensive Player-of-the-Week.
All three teams return to action on the road Tuesday. Men's soccer (7-1-2) takes on Wesleyan University at 4 p.m., women's soccer (6-4-0) meets Amherst College (ranked No. 6 in New England) at 4 p.m., and women's volleyball (9-9) plays Western Connecticut State University in a Little East Conference match at 6 p.m.
WILLIMANTIC, Conn. - The Eastern Connecticut State University men's soccer program will sponsor an ID Clinic for boys and girls' high school students on Sunday, Dec. 8 on the Eastern campus.
The clinic is under the direction of Eastern head coach Greg DeVito and his staff and will run from 11:30 a.m. (registration) through 5 p.m. at a cost of $100.
The clinic will afford student-athletes an opportunity to receive instruction from college coaches and will encompass training, instructional matches, a campus tour and admissions information. Lunch will be provided.
Space is limited to 40 participants. Individuals can register on line at www.ecsuyouthsoccercamp.com. For additional information or questions, please contact Greg DeVito at 860-465-4334.
Seeking its first win ever over Panthers, Warriors can't protect lead
MANSFIELD, Conn. - Three-time Little East Conference field hockey champion Plymouth State University erased a two-goal deficit to defeat upset-minded Eastern Connecticut State University, 3-2, Saturday afternoon at the Mansfield Outdoor Complex.
At right: Elly Walker (Photo by Liam Murphy)
Looking for its first win ever over Plymouth (5-4, 4-1 LEC) in this 18-game series, Eastern (6-5, 3-2 LEC) scored the first two goals before Plymouth roared back. The Panthers, last year's ECAC New England champions, cut the lead in half inside the final minute of the first half, then scored twice in just over three minutes to hand the Warriors their first conference loss in their last three four contests.
Plymouth and Eastern entered action in a four-way tie for third place. Plymouth remains a game back of undefeated co-leaders Keene State College and UMass Dartmouth - all three winning - and sharing third place with Bridgewater State University. Eastern and Salem State both lost and share fifth place.
Eastern sophomore forward Hannah Keiser (Danbury) and freshman forward Elly Walker (Scarborough, ME) teammed up to provide Eastern with its 2-0 lead, with freshmen Paige Schneider (East Lyme) and MaryKate Custer (South Windsor) gaining assists.
Conference scoring leader Nikki Garvey of Plymouth, a junior forward, knocked in her 12th goal of the season with just 38 seconds left in the first half to put the visitors on the board. After senior midfielder Jackie Morin pulled the Panthers even with 12 minutes left with her seventh goal of the year, Garvey set up junior forward Kristen Morris's first goal of the season less than three minutes later to give Plymouth its first lead.
By scoring, Keiser became only the fifth player in program history with at least ten goals, her total leaving her only two shy of the season record. Keiser has scored in three straight matches and in seven of 11 in 2013. The goal was the third of the season for Walker.
Eastern freshman Samantha Scavo (Redding) stopped a career-high 11 shots to match Plymouth senior Hilary Lemelin as the teams traded shots and penalty corners. The Panthers managed a slim 19-17 edge in the former category and a 10-7 advantage in the latter.
Eastern visits Massachusetts Dartmouth Wednesdsay at 7 p.m. The Corsairs are the defending LEC playoff champions and winners of three of the last four playoff titles.
Power's penalty kick lifts Warriors into Little East Conference tie
BOSTON, Mass. - Playing its first match away from home in nearly three weeks, the Eastern Connecticut State University men's soccer team may not have come away with a win following its Little East Conference match at the University of Massachusetts Boston, but the Warriors were able to extend three lengthy unbeaten streaks.
At right: Mitch Power (Photo by Liam Murphy)
On the strength of senior midfielder Mitch Power's (Douglas, MA) game-tying penalty kick goal in the opening 30 seconds of the second half, Eastern (7-1-2, 2-0-1 LEC) came away with a 1-1 double-overtime draw at the Clark Athletic Field.
With the tie, Eastern extended its unbeaten streak to nine (7-0-2) dating back to the second match of this year, its Little East unbeaten streak to 14 (13-0-1) dating back to 2011, and its unbeaten streak against UMass Boston (7-4-1, 1-1-1 LEC) to 14 (13-0-1), dating back to1999.
The tie gives the Warriors their seventh point in the conference standings, one ahead of Keene State College and Massachusetts Dartmouth, both of whom cut two points off the Warriors' conference lead with wins over Rhode Island College and the University of Southern Maine, respectively.
UMass dominated the play in the first 45 minutes, with Edmilson Barros scoring the first goal in the 26th minute. After receiving a pass right outside the Warriors box, the dangerous back took the Warriors defense on one-on-one. With a quick flick of the ball, Barros was able to get around the first defender. As he began to take on the second, the ball shot up in the air. He then made a great move around the final defender and just as the ball came down he would blast it to the near post.
The goal, which was unassisted, marked the team-leading eighth of the year for the freshman and was the first allowed by Eastern freshman keeper Greg Walton (Brunswick, ME) in 551 minutes and 16 seconds (more than six full games). Since giving up a goal in an overtime win over Ramapo College nearly three weeks ago, the Warriors had posted five straight shutouts
The Beacons had actually found the back of the net earlier in the first half, but that goal was called back after Barros was flagged for the offside.
After the break, Eastern, ranked seventh in New England, tied match on Power's penalty kick goal -- his team-tying fourth of the year. The Beacons were whistled for a clear takedown in the box on the play.
As time continued to wind down, the Warriors got their best chance of the half called back due to an offside. A laser of a shot from about 12 yards out nearly gave Eastern the advantage on the scoreboard, unfortunately for the Warriors they were flagged by the sideline official, ending the celebration abruptly.
In the first ten-minute OT session, UMass Boston recorded the only two shots, one of which went wide, the other blocked by an Eastern defender. In the second OT, the Warriors nearly walked away with a victory had it not been for a huge save by Rosales in the opening minutes. The Warriors would get off just one more shot before Marcus Pizzetti was able to return the favor with a pair of shots of his own, both of which were saved by Walton.
On the day, the Beacons outshot Eastern 19-7 and held a 6-2 advantage in corner kicks.
Eastern visits Wesleyan University in a non-conference match Tuesday at 4 p.m.
Kennedy's goal in opening minutes stands up in win over 2012 champs
MANSFIELD, Conn. - The defense of the Eastern Connecticut State University women's soccer team made an early goal by senior midfielder Kaitlyn Kennedy (Burlington) stand up as the Warriors won their first Little East Conference match of the season by turning back the University of Massachusetts, 1-0, Saturday afternoon at the Mansfield Outdoor Complex.
At left: Kaitlyn Kennedy
The victory ended the four-game winning streak of UMass Boston's (6-4-0, 2-1-0 LEC), which had captured its first LEC playoff title a year ago after sharing first place in the conference with Eastern (6-4-0, 1-2-0 LEC). The Beacons and Warriorrs were ranked 1-2 in the Little East pre-season coaches' poll. UMass is ranked in a tie for 10th in New England.
Eastern won its fourth home game in as many tries when Kennedy scored her second goal of the season with just over a minute gone in the match after the Beacons were unable to clear an Eastern corner kick out of the box. Making her first start in nearly month due to injury, freshman keeper Chelsea Santos (Windsor Locks) posted her second shutout in three career starts. She made eight saves, five in the second to gain the decision over UMass junior Kristen Spain.
With 19 minutes left in the first half, senior midfielder Nicole Leonard (Rutherford, NJ) had a prime chance to double Eastern's lead, but her uncontested shot from inside 12 yards sailed high, and sophomore midfielder Samantha Bottaro (Southington) came off the bench for another Eastern scoring bid with six minutes left that ran wide of the left post.
Freshman midfielder Hannah Lear and senior midfielder Sam Cristoforo forced Santos to come up with saves on their combined total of five shots. UMass All-America junior forward Krista Ledin and senior forward Tayla Andrews - who have combined for 19 goals and seven assists this year - combined for three shots, making Santos come up with one save.
UMass, shut out for the first time this year, was held without a corner kick until through the first 50 minutes of the contest but finished with an 11-6 advantage in shots.
Eastern visits Amherst College Tuesday at 4 p.m.
Eastern senior outside hitter Nicki Gasch represented the Warriors on the Crabtree Classic all-tournament team.
In winning two matches, however, Warriors capture LEC decision
WILLIMANTIC, Conn. - The Eastern Connecticut State University women's volleyball team forced a decisive fifth set with a five-point win in the fourth, but an early lead dissolved as the Warriors lost to Framingham State University and finished second in the 33rd Annual Crabtree Classic at Francis E. Geissler Gymnasium.
At right: Freshmen Kay Mullen (14) and Adrianna Mihalek attempt a block in the fifth set against Framingham State Saturday at the Crabtree Classic.
Coming off an NCAA appearance last year, Framingham (15-4) survived its fourth-set loss to Eastern (9-9) to defeat the Warriors for the first time ever in this six-match series.
In the decisive set - played to 15 points - Eastern scored four of the first five points but the Rams broke an 8-8 tie, scoring two points to take the lead for good. Kills by freshmen Adrianna Mihalek (Woodbury) and Kay Mullen (Fairhaven, MA) twice pulled Eastern to within a point, but Framingham closed out the victory by totaling the final three points. Annie DeLoid and Alycia Rackliffe teamed for a block for one of those final points, and an ace by tournament MVP Danielle Girard sealed the win.
While Eastern was denied its third Crabtree title in the last four years, it was able to secure its second Little East Conference victory against one loss with a sweep of Massachusetts Dartmouth in its opening tournament match. Eastern followed with a four-set victory over the University of New England.
Senior Nicki Gasch (New Fairfield) - who represented Eastern on the all-tournament team - led the Warriors to their 39th win over UMass (4-13, 0-3 LEC) in this 42-match series. Gasch had ten of the team's 33 kills to go along with three blocks, while sophomore Allie Luppi (Tewksbury, MA) dug up 21 balls and senior captain Erynn Miller (Stratford) 15, and juniors Jess Patrizi (Beacons Falls) and Allie Henry (Middletown) combined for 27 assists.
Gasch topped all Eastern players in the tournament with 39 kills and attacked at .248, with Mihalek adding 30 kills, Mullen 22 kills and a .457 attack percentage, and sophomore Bry Kelly (Dunbarton, NH) 16 kills.
Henry finished the tournament with 58 assists and Patrizi 46. Patrizi also added ten of the team's 29 tournament service aces. Kelly, Mullen and Gasch combined for 40 blocks, while Luppi collected 60 digs and Miller 31. Miller also received 38 opposing serves with only two errors for a .947 perentage.
Eastern returns to conference action Tuesday at Western Connecticut State University at 6 p.m.
at Willimantic, Conn.
Framingham State U. 3, Eastern Conn. 2
(25-19, 17-25, 25-13, 20-25, 15-11)
Framingham State U. 3, U. of New England 2
(25-20, 17-25, 25-19, 21-25, 15-7)
Framingham State U. 3, UMass Dartmouth 0
(25-17, 25-14, 25-20)
Eastern Conn. 3, UMass Dartmouth 0
(25-10, 25-21, 27-25)
Eastern Conn. 3, U. of New England 1
(22-25, 25-12, 25-19, 25-22)
U. of New England 3, UMass Dartmouth 0
(25-18, 25-23, 25-15)
Danielle Girard, Framingham (MVP)
Andressa Fernandes, Framingham
Nicki Gasch, Eastern Conn.
Maria Kuehl, U. of New England
Jasmine Burris, UMass Dartmouth
With 6-4 record, field hockey program on verge of breakthrough season
By Brent Pelella / Sports Information Staff
WILLIMANTIC, Conn. -- Last fall, Eastern Connecticut State University's field hockey team recorded its sixth and final win on October 25 -- the second-to-last game of the season. That win is a nostalgic reminder of the hardships that came throughout the 2012 campaign.
At left: Celebrations such as these have become more of a common occurance for the Warriors in 2013. (Photo by Liam Murphy)
However, despite a final 6-12 record, the Warriors had gained a valuable asset: hope. The gradual improvement that was being achieved over the past four years had finally reached second gear. In conclusion, what the season also provided head coach Christine Hutchison's team was a new opportunity to progress.
The development carried over into the next summer and into the preseason. Morgan Osiecki had volumes to say about the offseason workouts her and her teammates performed this past summer. "The intensity we brought day in and day out is indescribable", noted Osiecki, one of four seniors in 2013. " It's carried us to a new level."
As this season proceeds, it seems as though the returning players have not taken that opportunity to heighten their program for granted. With the season having recently reached the halfway point, Eastern has improved to 6-4 on the season after a 5-1 dismantling of Fitchburg State this Tuesday - one of the team's most prolific display of offense ever against a conference opponent.
The win marked the program's second streak of at least two victories this season. Perhaps a somewhat modest accomplishment by some standards, but a feat that had not been reached since 2008. In fact, Eastern's next victory ensures that only one other team in the program's 16-year history will have managed more than those seven triumphs.
These players know that the first ten contests have been no fluke. Said one player, "There's no doubt in my mind that the only way this program can go is up. Our goals are elevating and they won't be completed until we win the LEC championship."
Before they can set their sights on a first-ever conference title, the Warriors must first return to the LEC playoffs - something that has eluded them the last eight years. The top eight teams participate in a single-elimination playoff the first week of November.
The team's stock has risen this year, thanks in large part to the contributions of newcomers such as defender Alexandra Steward (at right). (Photo by Liam Murphy)
Heading into Saturday's LEC home tilt with former three-time conference playoff champion Plymouth State with a 3-1 LEC mark, Eastern had already attained its most conference victories since going 4-7 in 2007. The team has finished with a winning conference record only once when it qualified for its only post-season tournament (ECAC) in 2001.
Good health has played a prominent role in the team's success in 2013, with seven position players having started every match.
Through ten matches, the Warriors have already score more goals that in any of the last three seasons, and are allowing an average of only 1.4 per match. Having been overwhelmed in the area of penalty corners in most seasons, they have accumulated 22 more than their opponents thus far.
Joining Osiecki in their final seasons in an Eastern uniform are classmates Nicole Vitello, Finley Ahearn, and Kelly Gawron. While goalie Olivia Mullen is the team's only returning junior from a year ago, the freshman and sophomore classes provide a solid, talented nucleus. Sophomore Hannah Keiser ranks among the LEC leaders with nine goals - one-third of the team's total -- and she is joined in the starting lineup by sophomores Laura Chicorka and Jessica Oliveira, and freshmen MaryKate Custer, Elly Walker, Paige Schneider, and Alexandra Steward.
Mullen has split time in goal with freshman Samantha Scavo, the latter having totaled three shutouts in six starts. Only twice this year, have the Warriors surrendered more than two goals. Moreover, two of the team's losses have come in either overtime or in a shootout.
However, the real story in this is not where Eastern field hockey has been, but rather where it is going. First-year players make up 42 percent of this year's squad, which only shows the expansion that Hutchinson and assistants Erika Profenno (a former Eastern All-LEC player) and Erin Norris are achieving. In an understated way, Hutchison has also been the main catalyst in creating a strong team camaraderie, with practices focused on psyche and togetherness coupled with regular team bonding activities.
Some may label this year's performance as an aberration, yet every piece of evidence indicates otherwise. It may instead simply be a case of a program whose time is rapidly approaching.
All three of Eastern Connecticut State University's matches in Saturday's Crabtree Classic at Geissler Gymnasium will be webcast live on Littleeast.tv, as will Saturday's Little East Conference field hockey match against visiting Plymouth State University and Saturday's LEC women's soccer match against Massachusetts Boston from the Mansfield Athletic Complex. The volleyball team faces UMass Dartmouth in an LEC match at noon, University of New England at 2 p.m. and Framingham State University at 4 p.m. The field hockey match gets underway at noon and the women's soccer match is scheduled for a 3 p.m. kickoff. All of Eastern's webcasts are produced and broadcast by the Sports Information student staff.
All youngsters planning to attend the Eastern Connecticut State University baseball Fall Futures Clinic October 12 at the Eastern Baseball Stadium must contact Eastern head coach Matt LaBranche at firstname.lastname@example.org prior to completing and returning a registration form.
He scores first goal and assists on final two in non-conference win
WILLIMANTIC, Conn. - Sophomore forward Timothy Jennison (Coventry) celebrated his return to the lineup by scoring the first goal and assisting on the second and third as the Eastern Connecticut State University men's soccer team chalked up its fifth straight shutout, 3-0, over Saint Joseph's College (ME) in a non-conference match Wednesday afternoon at Thomas Nevers Field.
At right: Timothy Jennison (Photo by Nikki Chambers)
After missing two games with injury, Jennison scored his team-leading fourth goal of the season on a hard shot at the near post in the 20th minute, then set up senior forward Mitch Power's (Douglas, MA) third goal of the year five minutes into the second half following a goalie punt by freshman Greg Walton (Brunswick, ME), then initiated the final goal of the match with six minutes left when sophomore back Zane Lombardo (Portland) took his short pass and sent it to freshman forward Alejando Tobon (West Hartford), who drilled his first career goal from 16 yards inside the right post.
The run of five straight shutouts equals the longest for Eastern (7-1-1) under seventh-year head coach Greg DeVito. In DeVito's first season in 2007, the Warriors posted shutouts in their final three regular-season matches, then blanked Rhode Island College and Keene State College to capture their first LEC post-season tournament title.
At left: Mitch Power gets a step on Saint Joseph's keeper Scott Benner and scores the team's second goal in Wednesday's 3-0 win at Nevers Field (Photo by Nikki Chambers)
Walton, last week's LEC Goalkeeper-of-the-Week, extended his scoreless streak to 527 minutes and 55 seconds by keeping Saint Joseph's (7-3-1) off the board for the first 80 minutes as the Warriors stopped the Monks' seven-game winning streak. Saint Joseph's had given up a total of only two goals during that winning streak. Making his first appearance since the season-opener, freshman Curtis Barnes (Amherst, MA) completed Eastern's sixth shutout of the year over the final ten minutes.
Walton stopped four shots in lowering his goals-against average to 0.57 and raising his save percentage to .828. His most difficult save came in the 12th minute when he turned aside senior midfielder Kyle Shangraw's blast at the right post.
Having moved up three spots into seventh place in this week's NSCAA New England Rankings, Eastern could not capitalize on several prime scoring chances - at least two coming off corner kicks - to expand its first-half lead until Power connected in the 49th minute. Walton's long punt over midfield set up the play. Jennison gained control and quickly slid it to Power, who converted from the left side of the cage.
With his team trailing 2-0, Saint Joseph's sophomore keeper Scott Benner made a pair saves on rapid-fire, point-blank shots midway through the second half. Benner first batted down a drive by Eastern sophomore midfielder Arman Karbassioon (Cheshire), then recovered to stymie freshman forward Nicholas Warren's (Southbury) rebound bid.
Benner made six saves for Saint Joseph's, which was outshot 17-9 in losing the first match in this series between the two programs. The road match was the first for the Monks in two weeks.
After playing six of its first nine matches at home, Eastern plays the first of three straight road contests Saturday with a Little East Conference match at the University of Massachusetts Boston.
They disregard injuries to dismiss Connecticut College, 2-1
MANSFIELD, Conn. - In her third career start - first at forward - freshman Hailey Lehning (Woodbury) scored her second and third career goals as the Eastern Connecticut State University women's soccer team ended a three-game losing streak with a 2-1 non-conference victory over Connecticut College Tuesday night at the Mansfield Outdoor Complex.
At left: All-conference sophomore defender Gia Karahalios (white jersey, center) makes certain that Connecticut College's Leeah Salituro is not going to score the tying goal in the final minute of the Warriors' 2-1 win Tuesday night at the Mansfield Outdoor Complex. (Photo by Heather Avery)
After scoring her first career goal three days ago in a 3-1 Little East Conference loss at Keene State, Lehning gave Eastern (5-4-0) a lead in the ninth minute, then broke a tie and scored the game-winner with 18 minutes left on a feed from sophomore midfielder Samantha Bottaro (Southington). The point was the first in the career of Bottaro.
The home match was the first for Eastern in over a month, the Warriors losing four of six after winning twice at their season-opening Warrior Classic Aug. 30-31.
The goal which gave the Warriors the early lead against Conn (2-3-1) materialized in the back when sophomore back Alyssa Valenti (Tolland) -- making her first appearance at Eastern -- gained control send the ball ahead to senior midfielder Kaitlyn Kennedy (Burlington). Kennedy carried it into the offensive end before dishing on the right to Lehning, streaking down the right side. In full stride, Lehning veered toward goal and beat Conn freshman keeper Bella Hall with a low shot at the near post. The goal came on the first shot of the game and was the only one of the half for Eastern.
Freshman forward Annie Higgins had the Camels' first legitimate attempt at the tying goal 15 minutes into the game, but her drive from the right side after taking a pass from junior midfielder Astrid Kempainen sailed over the crossbar. With three minutes left in the first half, senior back Rebecca Raymond sent a free kick into the box and, in a crowd, past Eastern junior keeper Rachel Skelton (East Lyme). The ball travelled just wide of the left post, however.
Winless (0-3-1) on the road this year, Conn got the equalizer 13 minutes into the second half on a nifty header by Higgins at the left post. The cross came on a line from freshman forward Katelyn Murray and was perfectly placed where Higgins' flick drove it under the reach of Skelton.
Bottaro's pass on the game-winning goal led Lehning perfectly. Lehning took several touches and drove a low, hard shot from a difficult angle inside the near post.
Eighteen minutes prior to Lehning's go-ahead goal, the Warriors threatened on senior back Megan Godwin's (Manchester) header from just in front of Hall off a corner kick by Kennedy. The ball was heading inside the left post but caromed off a Conn defender.
Eastern downed Conn despite being down four starters, among them injured senior All-Little East Conference midfielder Tamar Merheb (Bethel).
Eastern hosts the University of Massachusetts Boston in a Little East Conference match Saturday at 3 p.m.
With 5-1 win, they equal their most goals ever in an LEC contest
MANSFIELD, Conn. -- The Eastern Connecticut State University field hockey team spotted Fitchburg State University an early goal before roaring back to post a 5-1 Little East Conference victory Tuesday afternoon at the Mansfield Outdoor Complex.
At right: Hannah Keiser unleashes the game-tying goal early in the first half of Tuesday's 5-1 Little East victory over Fitchburg State University at the Mansfield Outdoor Complex (Photo by Liam Murphy)
The victory for Eastern (6-4, 3-1 Little East) snaps a five-game losing streak at the hands of Fitchburg State (4-5, 0-4 Little East) and moves the Warriors from a two-way tie for fifth place entering the day into a four-way tie for third.
It is the third straight conference victory for Eastern, which finished last (12th) in the conference a year ago and, with seven regular-season conference matches remaining, has exceeded its entire conference win total from a year ago. The Falcons had won two of three entering play and had previously allowed the Warriors more than two goals in a match only once in the 13-game series.
Eastern's goal total equals its largest ever in 16 seasons of LEC competition, matching its output against Salem State University in 2002 and its total against Westfield State University the following year. The four-goal margin of victory in a conference match was exceeded only in the 5-0 triumph over Westfield in 2003.
It took Eastern only 26 seconds to tie the match after Fitchburg had struck first on the second goal of the season from junior forward Kaitlyn Silva less than nine minutes into the match. Twenty-six seconds later, sophomore forward Hannah Keiser (Danbury) tied the match with her first of two goals, giving her a team-leading nine on the season.
The Warriors went ahead for good four minutes into the second half on senior forward Morgan Osiecki's (Bethel) second goal of the season on the first career point from freshman midfielder Paige Schneider (East Lyme). Keiser made it 3-1 just over a minute later on the first of two assists in the match from senior midfielder Finley Ahearn (Wallingford). Ahearn tops the club with five assists.
Eastern chased starting goalie Lucy Holewa on freshman forward MaryKate Custer's (South Windsor) third goal of the year on an assist from Keiser to make it 4-1.
Holewa made six saves over the first 21 minutes, with sophomore Judith Valentin stopped four. Eastern freshman Samantha Scavo (Redding) needed just one save to record her fifth win against two losses.
Eastern played the match without injured freshman starting forward Elly Walker (Scarborough, ME)
Eastern hosts Plymouth State University Saturday at noon in a conference match.