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Weight Room Renovation Completed

weight room72_7464.jpg

weight_room72x_7440.jpgThe Eastern Connecticut State University Sports Center weight room underwent a facelift this past summer. The room, which is located on the bottom floor of the building and services the entire Eastern community, includes new rubberized flooring, new stereo system, signage, expanded mirror coverage, "Eastern Warrior" platform/power racks, new polyurethane dumbells, kettle bells, barbells, bands, free weights, assisted dip and pull-up machine, two fixed glute/hamstring machines, TRX suspension training packs, medicine balls, leather jump ropes, plyo boxes, bosu balls and jammer machines. Weight room hours are Monday-Thursday 7 a.m. to 10:30 p.m., Friday 7 a.m. to 7:30 p.m., Saturday, 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. and Sunday 11 a.m. to 9:30 p.m.

Eastern Announces Pet Policy


Hall of Fame: John Rubano Gets Nod

  Midfielder on early men's lax teams tabbed as Oct. 19 E-Club inductee


RubanoWeb72.jpgWILLIMANTIC, Conn. - The first player in men's lacrosse program history to gain  All-America honors both on the field and in the classroom, John Rubano has been selected to the Eastern Connecticut State University E-Club Hall of Fame, it has been announced by Hall of Fame chairman Scott Smith.

A freshman on the second team in program history in 1997, Rubano was named to the USILA All-America team and to the USILA Scholar All-America team as a senior captain in 2000 after piling up a record 48 assists and team-high 69 points in leading the Warriors to their first-ever post-season tournament win in the opening round of the ECAC New England Division III Tournament.

The 20th E-Club Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony and Reception is scheduled for Saturday, October 19  at the Betty R. Tipton Room in the Student Center. A reception will follow the 5 p.m. ceremony. Tickets are priced at $50 and must be reserved in advance by contacting Scott Smith at 860-465-4326 or at

rubano72_2550.jpgA 5-foot-7 inch, 160 pound midfielder, Rubano became the first of only three players in program history to record as many as 100 career assists. In a 64-match career, he totaled 80 goals and 100 assists for 180 points, marks which rank him 16th, third and eighth, respectively, in the program's 18-year history.

With the Bethpage, NY native in the fold, Eastern won 29 of 30 Pilgrim League matches. The Warriors were undefeated en route to four regular-season league titles and three league playoff championships and qualified for the first two post-season tournaments in their history. 

In all, Eastern won 55 of 65 matches between1997 and 2000, with its 2000 total of 15 triumphs remaining a season record (later equaled twice). Against New England opponents in the regular season, Eastern won 42 and lost only five during Rubano's career. Of the team's three overall losses in Rubano's senior year, two came in overtime in post-season play and one to four-time NCAA Division II national champion New York Tech.

Noted Rick McCarthy, Rubano's former college coach, "In many respects, John was the quintessential Eastern Connecticut lacrosse player --  an embodiment of the unique group of players who created the Warrior lacrosse program and made it a nationally-recognized program.  He was an intense competitor and a leader who made his teammates better," added McCarthy, a 2008 E-Club Hall of Fame inductee who averaged 13 wins per season through the program's first seven seasons of competition. "John understood and appreciated the responsibilities of being a member of a team and was a great representative on our campus."

As McCarthy's first high-profile recruit (as a senior, Rubano played on a New York State championship team which was rated No. 2 nationally), Rubano was named NEILA All-New England twice and All-Division in the Pilgrim League three times. In addition to being selected honorable mention All-America as a senior, he was picked as an alternate to the prestigious USILA/STX North-South Senior All-Star game, competed in the NEILA East-West Senior All-Star Game and earned recognition on the New England and national All-Academic teams.

As a senior, Rubano collected at least one point in every match but one. He began the season with six assists against Keene State and after being shut out against New York Tech, responded a week later with eight assists against Wheaton College (MA). The eight assists were a program record and today are just one shy of the match record.

As a business major concentrating in marketing, Rubano earned an E-Club Outstanding Scholar-Athlete Award in both years of eligibility. He was also a member of the National Leadership Honor Society, National Honor Society in Business, and Student Athlete Advisory Committee, and was a recipient of the Student Government Leadership Award as a senior.

Rubano becomes the second player from the program to gain E-Club induction, following two-time All-America defenseman and classmate Shannon Sligo (2011).

He joins two-sport athlete Kris Mach of Southington as an announced  member of the E-Club Hall of Fame Class of 2013.

Rubano holds a B.A. Degree in Business and is currently employed by BARRX Medical as a Northeast regional manager. Rubano and wife Jeanee reside in Glastonbury with their son Landon.



Nine Are 12/13 Major Award-Winners


Bonnie J. Edmondson Sr. Female SportsPerson-of-Year
Mackenzie MacLeod (Northfield)

Francis E. Geissler Sr. Male SportsPerson-of-Year
Nick Stoop (Crofton, MD)

Female Athlete-of-the-Year
Arielle Cooper (Mystic)

Male Athlete-of-the-Year
Chris Robitaille (Canton)

Individual Sport Athlete-of-the-Year
Lauren Hultzman (Putnam)
Michelle Schapp (Torrington)

Individual Sport Rookie-of-the-Year
Katie King (Barkhamsted)

Female Rookie-of-the-Year
Gia Karahalios (South Windsor)

Male Rookie-of-the-Year
Trachone Preston (Enfield)


awardwinners_72_1663.jpgBONNIE J. EDMONDSON
Named in honor of the Eastern alumnus  and  former track and field All-America and national champion and presented annually to a senior female athlete who displays the values of integrity, sportsmanship, spirit, and dedication to team, academics, and community service. An individual's athletic accomplishments do not  factor into the selection process for this prestigious award.

MACKENZIE MacLEOD    Northfield

macleod_head_award_720071.jpgMacLeod was a four-year member of the soccer program who served as the team's starting goalkeeper this season. Her resume of scholarship, volunteerism and awards was a lengthy one and includes the Holly Zimmerman Memorial Award, University Foundation Scholarship Award, Omicron Delta Kappa Leadership Honor Society, Outstanding Senior Award in the Physical Education Department, and President of the Health and Physical Education/Sport and Leisure Management Majors Club. She has received an E-Club Outstanding Scholar-Athlete Award the maximum two times and has earned a spot on the Little East Academic Honor Roll the maximum three times. MacLeod became the third member of the women's soccer program to win or share the award in the last three years. Said head women's soccer coach Chris D'Ambrosio: "Mackenzie embodies everything that a coach wants in a student-athlete here at Eastern. She has been a  positive role model for our program due to her outstanding academics, excellent citizenship and positive work ethic both on and off the field, and has been a great friend to her teammates." Last fall, Eastern shared first place in the Little East Conference with a 6-1-0 regular-season record, finishing 9-6-3 overall. MacLeod started 15 of the 16 matches in which she appeared with four full shutouts, a 1.11 goals-against average and a .781 save percentage. She posted full shutouts in her first three starts, then played the first half of a fourth straight shutout in her fourth start, holding opponents off the board for the first 355 minutes, 48 seconds of the season over a span of five matches.

Named in honor of the late athletic director and coach and presented annually to a senior male athlete who displays the values of integrity, sportsmanship, spirit, and dedication to team, academics, and community service. An individual's athletic accomplishments do not factor into the selection process for this prestigious award.

NICK STOOP     Crofton, MD

stoop_tie_award_72_9126.jpgStoop was a three-year member of the lacrosse program after transferring from the Division 1 level. He returned to active competition and was named a team captain this past spring after missing all of 2011 with a back injury. Off the field, he was an Eastern E-Club Outstanding Scholar-Athlete and Little East All-Academic qualifier as a high honors student as an Individualized Major concentrating in Exercise Science, Sports Nutrition, and Biology. He also served as a tutor in the area of exercise science and is a Certified Personal Trainer. Stoop became the third member of the program to win or share the award in the last five years. A close defenseman, Stoop was the only player on the lacrosse team to start all 18 matches this past spring for the Warriors, who won their second straight Little East Conference playoff championship and competed in the NCAA tournament, compiling a 6-1 regular-season LEC record and finishing 10-8 overall. With Stoop in the lineup,  Eastern allowed the least goals (43) in the conference in seven regular-season conference matches. Said head men's lacrosse coach Justin Axel:  "Nick embodies the definition of a student-athlete, and goes beyond the call of duty for his team and teammates. He  has impacted so many people around our program in a positive way, and spends endless hours giving back to the community. It has been a true honor to coach such a student-athlete who has the work ethic, integrity, and spirit of college athletics such as Nick Stoop.''




cooper_head_award_72_9824.jpgThis year marks the fourth straight season that a softball player has received the top vote for the award. This past spring, Cooper become the first third baseman in program history to earn first-team All-America honors when she repeated national honors at that position by the National Fastpitch Coaches' Association (NFCA). A second-team All-America selection at third base as a junior, Cooper becomes the program's first first-team All-America selection at third base in the program's 37-year history and is the first full-time position player to earn first-team honors  since outfielder Leanne Shoop in 1990. A four-year starter at third base, Cooper set numerous season and career records this season en route to first-team NFCA All-New England Region honors for the second straight season and  Little East Conference Player-of-the-Year plaudits. Batting primarily leadoff, Cooper put the finishing touches on a sterling career and brilliant final season. She led Eastern in virtually every offensive category, among them batting (.538), slugging (1.076), total bases (142), on-base percentage (.629), runs (61), hits (71), RBI (43), home runs (16), doubles (13), and walks (34). Her marks for batting, slugging, total bases, on-base percentage, runs, hits and home runs represented program season records, and her final season batting average was 99 points above her previous-season best, set in 2012. After setting the program's current consecutive game hitting streak of 33 as a junior, Cooper hit safely in 26 games this year. After failing to hit safely in one game that stopped her 33-game streak in 2012, Cooper had a hit in each of the team's final four games that year and in the first 26 this year, giving her at least one hit in 63 of 64 games in that stretch. Cooper finished as the program's all-time leader in career batting (.406) and slugging average (.739), on-base percentage (.474), hits (221), runs (176), doubles (40), home runs (40), and total bases (403), was second in games (177), at-bats (545), and assists (310), third in RBI (129), and fourth in walks (68). Her assist total was the highest among fulltime third baseman. Cooper ranked second nationally in Division III in on-base percentage, third in batting and slugging, fourth in home runs and home runs per game, sixth in runs per game and toughest to strike out, and seventh in walks. Cooper fanned twice in 170 plate appearances this season for the Warriors, who  won their fourth straight Little East regular-season title (they were 51-5 in the LEC regular season in Cooper's career) and finish 28-14 overall. The four-year starter appeared in all 177 games in her career, starting all 89 in each of her two All-America seasons and all but two in her career.  She helped the team average 36.5 wins per game and compile an overall record of 146-30-1 (83.0 percent), qualify for three NCAA tournaments, win two regional titles and compete in two national tournaments, capture four Little East Conference regular-season (51-5 record) and three LEC tournament championships.



robitaille_tie_awards_72_2791.jpgA 6-foot-5 inch post player, Robitaille became the first basketball player to win the award in the 14-year history of the award.  This year, Robitaille became the first player from the program in 11 years to earn ECAC New England Division III All-New England honors when he was named as a second-team choice after leading the third-seeded Warriors to their first ECAC championship this past March. A team captain and a first-team All-Little East Conference selection, Robitaille   led the conference in field goal percentage (.573) for the second straight year and was first in the LEC in minutes (33.0), tied for second in rebounding (8.4), tied for fourth in scoring (14.6), tied for fifth in blocks (1.1) and tied for ninth in assists (2.3), all of those marks except field goal percentage representing season-highs in his career.  Robitaille concluded his career with 1,003 points, reaching 1000 points in his final game in a 74-60 road victory over top-seeded Westfield State University in the ECAC title game. A four-year letterwinner, Robitaille led Eastern (22-8) to its first ECAC championship by averaging a double-double (20.0 points/10.3 rebounds) with a .614 shooting in three tournament victories. During the year, Robitaille had 12 double-doubles (27th nationally and the most in the conference), with five of them coming in the final seven games. Robitaille concluded his109-game career with a 9.2 scoring average and 638 rebounds (5.9), 93 blocks and 136 assists and a .573 field goal percentage, ranking among the program's all-time Top 10 in rebounds and blocks and third in field goal percentage. Robitaille and fellow seniors  Joe Ives and Tyler Hundley paced the Warriors to four consecutive 20-win seasons in their careers - the winningest four-year period in the program's 72-year history -- one LEC regular-season and tournament crown, a berth in the 2011/12 NCAA Sweet 16 and to the No. 1 seed in the ECAC tournament in consecutive seasons.


GIA KARAHALIOS   Fr.  South Windsor

karahalios_head_awards_72_0086.jpgKarahalios became the third member of the program in the last four years and fifth in the last eight to share or win this award outright. This past falls' Little East Conference Rookie-of-the-Year and first-team All-LEC pick, the center back started every match and led all Eastern players in minutes per game with an average of 83.0, and was named Little East Rookie-of-the-Week in the fifth week of the season. She was the only freshman to gain first-team All-LEC recognition and was one of only two freshmen among 24 first and second all-conference players. She became the program's fourth LEC Rookie-of-the-Year  and sixth first-team freshman all-conference pick in program history. During the season, opponents averaged only 1.1 goals per match.  In seven regular-season conference matches, Eastern ranked second in goals-against average (0.81), giving up only six in seven matches. Last fall, Eastern shared first place in the Little East Conference with a 6-1-0 regular-season record, finishing 9-6-3 overall.



preston_tie_awards_72_2796.jpgPreston became the third member of the program in the last six years to receive this rookie award. The 5-foot-9 inch left-handed combination guard was named Little East Conference Rookie-of-the-Year and second-team All-Conference this past winter when he helped the Warriors to their first ECAC tournament championship and the No. 2 seed in the Little East Tournament, the club winning 20 games for the fourth straight year (22-8) and 12 of 14 regular-season conference contests. No Little East rookie was recognized on a weekly basis more often than Preston, who was named the conference's weekly outstanding rookie three times over the course of the season. Preston appeared in all but one game, starting (the final) 24 games and averaging 10.8 points with a .459 three-point percentage, team-leading 2.5 assist average and 29.0 minutes per game.   Preston contributed at least one three-point field goal in all but four games in which he appeared (including the final ten) and in a 93-84 overtime LEC home victory over Keene State, posted season-highs of 20 points, six assists and 43 minutes. In the ECAC championship win over No. 1 seed Westfield State, Preston contributed 12 points. He was 6-for-6 from the stripe and 2-for-3 from three-point range in that 74-60 road victory. In all, he ranked second in the conference among freshmen in scoring average, was second overall in three-point field goal percentage , tied for seventh in assists,  and seventh in free throw percentage . He led all Little East rookies in a total of three statistical categories.




Women's Track & Field

hultzman_head_award_72_5958.jpgSet program records indoors and outdoors in the high jump and also set the indoor pentathlon and outdoor heptathlon program records... record-setting high jump mark of 5-5 ¾ outdoors was the third-best among New England Division III competitors during the season and shared 27th place overall in Division III... named All-New England outdoors in the high jump by repeating a
second-place finish in the New England Division III Championships (5-4 ¼) and finishing with a share of third place in the New England Open (5-5)...was fifth in the New England Division III outdoor heptathlon with her program-record 4,028 point that heptathlon, she won the high jump and was second in the long jump... repeated as both Little East Conference and New England Alliance champion in the high jump outdoors with her record-breaking mark of 5-5 ¾... in the ECAC Championships indoors, set program records with 2,885 points in the pentathlon (which earned her an eighth-place finish and All-ECAC honors), and a high jump height of 5-3 ¼   in the high jump pentathlon which earned her a tie for first in that event... also All-LEC and All-NEA indoors with a high jump of 4-11 ¾ which netted her a share of third place and fourth place, respectively... 

MICHELL SCHAPP     Jr.  Torrington
Women's Swimming

schapp_head_award_72_2316.jpgSchapp broke all three backstroke records during the season and swam a leg on three record-breaking relays at the NEISDA Division II-III Championships in February. She led the Warriors by collecting 75 points with a third-place finish and two sixth-place finishes at the NEISDA meet. In that meet, she set program backstroke records at 50 (28.56) and 200 (2:12.06) yards after setting the 100 record of 1:01.45 with a third-place finish among 27 competitors at the Little East Conference Championships in December. During the season, Schapp was named Little East Swimmer-of-the-Week once after winning two backstroke events and competing on two winning relays at University of Massachusetts Dartmouth Invitational. In the 100 backstroke, Schapp was undefeated in dual competition, winning that event at the Saint Joseph (CT) Pentathlon when she placed fifth overall among 34 pentathlon participants. A team captain, Michelle was voted team MVP.



KATIE KING    Fr.  Barkamsted
Women's Swimming

kingK_head_award_72_2317.jpgThe third member of the program to win this honor in the three-year history of the award, King  swam to All-New England honors in each of her three individual events and with two relays at the NEISDA Division II-III Championships this past February, and shared third place on the team by collecting 73 points in that meet (only two points behind the Eastern leader). The younger sister of  junior teammate Colleen, King broke the program's 50 (31.10) and 100 (1:08.95) yard breaststroke records in the NEISDA Championships - placing third and seventh, respectively --  and was part of  the record-setting 200 medley relay (1:52.52) - along with her sister -- in that meet. At NEISDA, King also placed seventh in the 100 individual medley in a time of 1:04.13. At the Little East Championships in December, King became the first freshman in eight years to win an individual event when she won the 100  breaststroke, and she was also named All-LEC with the second-place 200 medley relay. King was undefeated during the regular season in the 50 breaststroke and won the 100 breaststroke three times - at the Saint Joseph (CT) Pentathlon in her collegiate debut, the Little East meet and at Roger Williams - and was second in that event at the Massachusetts Dartmouth Invitational. At the Saint Joseph Pentathlon, King was second in a field of 34 only to teammate Erin McVeigh. She won the breaststroke and was second in the IM in that meet.












LEC: 25 from Eastern are All-Academic

Seven earn the honor for the maximum third time in their spring sport


All-Time Listing.doc.

In the spring, France (far left) and Labanara earned LEC All-Academic honors for the third time this year.

WILLIMANTIC, Conn. --  A total of 25 Eastern Connecticut State University student-athletes have been named to the Little East Conference All-Academic Team for the spring season.

Despite sponsoring only six of the LEC's seven championships in the spring, Eastern had the second-high total of All-Academic qualifiers among the eight member institutions. Coupled with 23 fall academic qualifiers  in five sports (sharing second place), and 18 in  five winter sports (placing third), Eastern  amassed 66 All-Academic achievers during the 2012-13 academic. Eastern's season total was the third-highest in the conference.

Seven players from Eastern's 2013 LEC playoff champion women's lacrosse team gained the honor - the most by any Eastern program this season.  The women's track, men's lacrosse and softball programs featured four selections each in the spring, with baseball and men's outdoor track recording three selections each. 

This year's total gives Eastern 441 qualifiers in the six-year history of the All-Academic program, an average of nearly 75 each academic year.

Student-athletes having reached sophomore academic and athletic status and showing a minimum cumulative grade-point average of 3.30 are eligible for the award each season.


Franklin (at left) was a seven-time LEC All-Academic selection in his career.

This spring, seven senior Eastern student-athletes attained the maximum third All-Academic honor in their spring sport: Health & Physical Education major Drew Accomando (Monroe) in baseball, Sport & Leisure Management major Christine Charpentier (Monroe) in women's track, SLM major Arielle Cooper (Mystic) and HPE major Katie Sokoloski (Eastford) in softball, HPE major Drew Deane (Vernon) and Psychology major Jordan Munsell (Waterford) in men's lacrosse, and Elementary Education major Daniela Marchitto (Orange) in women's lacrosse.

Last month, six of this spring's LEC All-Academic qualifiers earned an E-Club Outstanding Scholar-Athlete Award (minimum cumulative 3.50 GPA through last fall) for the maximum second time: Accomando, Charpentier, Deane, Marchitto, Munsell, and Sokoloski.

Junior Elementary Education major Katie France (Portland) and sophomore Accounting major Kelly Labanara (Chaplin) earned a spot on the LEC All-Academic team for the third time this year as cross country, indoor track & field, and outdoor track & field participants.

In his career, senior Political Science major Ryan Franklin (Glastonbury) reached LEC All-Academic status seven times in three sports (cross country, indoor and outdoor track), and Charpentier, France, Marchitto and Munsell six times each. Charpentier ran indoor and outdoor track, and Marchitto and Munsell played soccer in addition to lacrosse.marchitto_sru_72_5082.jpg

Marchitto (at right) was one of seven players from the 2013 LEC playoff championship women's lacrosse team to qualify for the LEC All-Academic team.

This past spring, Cooper was named first-team All-America at third base and LEC Player-of-the-Year, and Marchitto was selected first-team All-LEC in both sports and additionally honored as LEC Midfielder-of-the-Year in lacrosse.

Additional individuals gaining spots on the academic squad were women's lacrosse players Rachel Meotti (Glastonbury), a senior, Kelsea Burkhardt (Old Saybrook), a junior, and sister Amy Burkhardt (Old Saybrook), a sophomore, juniors Erin Conn (Moriches, NY) and Christine Lillis (Waterford), and sophomore Lauren Wells (Stratford); senior men's lacrosse players Merrick Smith (Stonington) and Nick Stoop (Crofton, MD), track and field athletes Alex Verrill (Hiram, ME), a senior, junior Lauren Hultzman (Putnam) and sophomore Dylan Kruppa (Torrington), junior baseball players Michael Pendergast (Farmington) and Greg Porter (Mystic); and junior softball players Mattie Brett (Waterford) and Stephanie Johnson (Southington).               

M-Lacrosse: Stoop is NEILA All-Star


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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








M-Lacrosse: Bonded by Brotherhood


brothers after mlax title72dpi.jpg

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

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


Freshmen were sold on program by older siblings

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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








































M-Lacrosse: Two named All-America

Junior middies Devine and Fresen named honorable mention

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

At left: Mike Devine

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

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

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

Below: Tyler Fresen

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Accomando Brothers: Diff'rent Strokes

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

By Jonathan Mizger/Sports Information Staff


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

M-Lacrosse: Bears Shut Down Warriors

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


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

At right: Tyler Fresen

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

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

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

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

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

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

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