Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Post-Florida Blues

For those of you who don't know by now, the baseball team's annual trip to Florida was a huge success. Not only did we win four games and beat a team recognized as one of the best in the country, we got reintroduced to this weird thing called the sun. I even got a little (really little) bit tan, so people don't have to shield their eyes because of my pale winter glow anymore.

On a more serious note, the trip was a blast. We played competitive baseball all week, and easily could have come home with two or three more wins from the three one-run losses. The pitching staff was solid all week, from the starters to the penitentiary. Andrew Duprat threw a complete game shut out while simultaneously hitting the same player on the other team three times (he looked at Duprat the wrong way his first at-bat) and Andrew Kelley shoved his fastball in Palm Beach Atlantic's face as we played the most exciting game I've ever been a part of.

Our northern schedule kicks off this Sunday, with a double dip down at New Haven. We're hoping to knock of an NE-10 opponent for the first time this year, after coming close twice in Florida. Whether we get to play these games, however, is entirely up to Mother Nature and how long she intends to continue this sinister plan of overlapping winter and spring.

We open up our home schedule with two games against Southern New Hampshire on Friday, April 8th. So grab your parkas and bring your friends to see at least a few innings.

One last note: the Saint Mike's baseball program will celebrate a triumvirate of birthdays over the coming weekend, with Chad Estey (Friday), Tim McDonnell (Saturday), and Tony Bonvechio (Sunday) all moving one year closer to the real world.

"I usually take a two-hour nap from 1:00 to 4:00."
- Yogi Berra

This Week in SMC Athletics

The Purple Knights continue to gear up for the thick of the hectic spring season with both sets of lacrosse and tennis teams in action last week. Men’s lacrosse and women’s tennis both picked up crucial Northeast-10 Conference wins over the weekend, and baseball and softball are slated to open their Northern schedules this week.
Women’s tennis grabbed a key NE-10 win over Bentley on Sunday by a score of 8-1. Seniors Marybeth Ash (Westborough, Mass./Westborough), Deahna Giguere (Oakland, Maine/Messalonskee), Marran Ranks (Stratham, N.H./Exeter) and sophomore Emily Magee (Queensbury, N.Y./Queensbury) all secured wins in singles and doubles play in the pivotal win that moved Saint Michael’s ahead of the Falcons in the conference standings. The Purple Knights are poised for another big matchup at home on Friday against Stonehill, one of two remaining NE-10 teams who are undefeated in conference play.
Men’s tennis couldn’t shake off the rust in a 9-0 loss at Stonehill on Saturday in their first match in 20 days. Saint Michael’s falls to 1-4 with the setback, but will look for redemption in the spring home opener against Southern N.H. on Tuesday at 3:30 p.m.
Men’s lacrosse picked up a win in their NE-10 opener at Southern N.H. on Saturday to cap a 1-1 week. Saint Michael’s held the Penmen to five goals, marking the fewest goals allowed by the Purple Knights since beating Dominican (N.Y.) 13-1 on Mar. 7, 2009. Freshman goalie Theo Ferguson (Delmar, N.Y./Bethlehem Central)made 11 saves and allowed nine goals in two 30-minute stints in net, and sophomore Marty Vanzo (Westford, Vt./Essex (Univ. of Vermont)) had three goals and an assist during the week to extend his streak to five games with at least one goal. The Purple Knights play their first two home games this week, starting with Wednesday’s home opener against nationally-ranked Merrimack at 4 p.m.
Women’s lacrosse fell to nationally-ranked Le Moyne 19-3 in their only contest of the week. Senior Joan Colloton(Albany, N.Y./Academy of the Holy Names) scored twice and junior Eliza Scoba (Franklin, Mass./Franklin)chipped in a goal to bump her team-leading total to 15. Saint Michael’s plays its home opener on Tuesday against Franklin Pierce at 4 p.m.
Baseball and softball are scheduled to begin their Northern schedules this week after a brief layoff following their return from Florida. Softball’s home- and conference-opening doubleheader against Merrimack on Tuesday has been postponed with a makeup date yet to be determined, but the Purple Knights are still on for two NE-10 contests at Stonehill on Saturday. The baseball team will head to New Haven for a doubleheader on Sunday and attempt to knock off an NE-10 opponent for the first time since beating Stonehill on April 22, 2008.
This Week’s Schedule:
Day Date Event
Tue. Mar. 29 Men’s Tennis vs. Southern N.H.*, 3:30 p.m.
Women’s Lacrosse vs. Franklin Pierce*, 4 p.m.
Wed. Mar. 30 Men’s Lacrosse vs. Merrimack*, 4 p.m.
Fri. Apr. 1 Women’s Tennis vs. Stonehill*, 3:30 p.m.
Sat. Apr. 2 Women’s Lacrosse vs. Southern Conn.*, 12 p.m.
Softball at Stonehill (DH)*, 1 p.m.
Men’s Lacrosse vs. American Int’l*, 3 p.m.
Sun. Apr. 3 Baseball at New Haven (DH), 12 p.m.
Softball at Franklin Pierce (DH)*, 12 p.m.
Men’s Tennis at Adelphi*, 1 p.m.
*Northeast-10 Conference Game

Monday, March 21, 2011

This Week in SMC Athletics

The Purple Knights played a combined 31 games over Spring Break, with several teams heading South to warmer climates. Baseball earned a dramatic win over arguably the toughest opponent of the 2011 season, and women’s lacrosse picked up its first victory under first-year head coach Ashley Hughes.
Baseball completed the program’s best stint in Florida with a 4-7 record, highlighted by a 2-1 win over Palm Beach Atlantic University on Friday night. Sophomore pitcher Andrew Kelley (Lincoln, N.H./Lin-Wood) tossed 7.1 innings and struck out 11 against the Sailfish, and sophomore outfielder Jacob Begnoche (Essex Jct., Vt./Essex (Univ. of Vermont)) gunned out a runner attempting to tag from third base to end the game. Earlier in the week, sophomore Andrew Duprat (Fairfax, Vt./Bellows Free Academy-Fairfax) tossed a four-hit, complete game shutout to lead Saint Michael’s to a 5-0 win over C.W. Post. Senior Pete Estes (Bennington, Vt./Mount Anthony Union) led the offense with a .346 average and four stolen bases, and scored the game-winning run against Nyack on a sacrifice fly by freshman Nick Nelson (Spofford, N.H./Keene), who had three doubles, a home run and a team-best eight RBIs in Florida. Sophomore Collin Fishman (Bethesda, Md./Our Lady of Good Counsel) batted .314 with four doubles and a triple while posting a 3.00 ERA in 12 innings over two starts on the mound, and juniorBryan Geary (Milton, Vt./Milton) batted an even .300 and collected a career-best four hits against Caldwell. Freshman Corey Livingston (Harford, Conn./Arlington Catholic) emerged as the staff’s most reliable relief pitcher, making six appearances and throwing 6.2 innings without allowing an earned run. Sophomore closer Rob McCarty (Canton, Mass./Canton) earned saves in three of the team’s four wins and is one save away from tying the program record for saves in a career. The Purple Knights resume play with a double header at the University of New Haven on Apr. 3.
Men’s lacrosse posted a 1-2 opening week, earning an 11-8 win at Molloy on Wednesday. Sophomore Marty Vanzo (Westford, Vt./Essex (Univ. of Vermont)) led the way offensively, totaling seven goals and nine assists, and juniors Andrew Buccellato (Glen Rock, N.J./Don Bosco Prep) and Paul Tortora, Jr. (Fairfield, Conn.)each scored three goals against Molloy, with Tortora netting the game-winner. The Purple Knights travel to Plattsburgh State this Wednesday for a game postponed from Mar. 9, and open up Northeast-10 Conference play at So. New Hampshire on Saturday.
Women’s lacrosse picked up its first victory under first-year head coach Ashley Hughes with a 12-11 overtime win at Saint Andrews Presbyterian on Thursday to cap a 1-1 week. Junior Eliza Scoba (Franklin, Mass./Franklin)paced the offense with eight goals and four assists, while senior Joan Colloton (Albany, N.Y./Academy of the Holy Names) buried Thursday’s game-winner in overtime. Saint Michael’s will look to pick up its first NE-10 win of the season at Le Moyne on Saturday.
Softball concluded a tough 1-7 week in Clermont, Fla., with a 7-1 win over Franklin Pierce on Friday. FreshmanLaura McCormack (Natick, Mass./Natick) earned her first collegiate victory with a complete-game, nine-hit effort against the Ravens, and senior Meghan Colitti (Dover, N.H./Berwick Academy) went 4-for-4 with a home run and two stolen bases. Saint Michael’s sits at 2-8, and opens NE-10 play when the Purple Knights host Merrimack for a doubleheader on Mar. 29.
Women’s tennis saw its undefeated streak come to an end with a 2-2 week in Orlando, Fla. Saint Michael’s picked up wins over Tiffin and Illinois Wesleyan, but Adelphi handed the Purple Knights their first NE-10 loss of the season. Sophomore Emily Magee (Queensbury, N.Y./Queensbury) led the way with a 6-2 record over four matches that included three wins apiece at #1 doubles and #3 singles. Saint Michael’s returns to action up North with a home match against Bentley on Sunday.
Men’s tennis plays its first match in 20 days when they travel to Stonehill on Saturday. Saint Michael’s sits at 1-3 in NE-10 play and will look to snap a three-match losing skid when they take on the Skyhawks.
This Week’s Schedule:
Day Date Event
Sat. Mar. 26 Men’s Tennis at Stonehill, 12 p.m.
Women’s Lacrosse at Le Moyne, 12 p.m.
Men’s Lacrosse at So. New Hampshire, 4 p.m.
Sun. Mar. 27 Women’s Tennis vs. Bentley, 10 a.m.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

This Week In SMC Athletics

Despite what the weather indicates, the Saint Michael’s winter sports season is officially over. Men’s and women’s basketball and men’s ice hockey made valiant postseason runs last week, and spring sports are officially underway as men’s and women’s lacrosse and men’s and women’s tennis braved the elements over the weekend.

Men’s ice hockey fell one win short of a spotless Northeast-10 Conference record with a 7-4 loss against Saint Anselm in the NE-10 Championship game on Saturday. Top-seeded Saint Michael’s knocked off sixth-seeded Southern New Hampshire 5-3 on Wednesday, but surrendered four power play goals to the Hawks, who repeated as conference champions. The Purple Knights had never lost in the title game, winning all three of their previous appearances. Junior Reave MacKinnon (Winnipeg, Manitoba/Winnipeg Saints) powered the Saint Michael’s offense during the tournament with four goals and two assists and joined classmate Brady Earle (Columbia, Md./The Gunnery School) on the All-Tournament Team. Both skaters were among the league leaders in several offensive categories. MacKinnon tied for first in the NE-10 and third in the Eastern College Athletic Conference East with 18 goals, and Earle’s 24 assists were most in the NE-10 and tied for third in the ECAC East. Nine Purple Knights ended their careers on Saturday: Glenn Belmore (Corwall Ontario/Wellington Dukes (Univ. of Vermont)), Fran Briand (South Burlington, Vt./Loomis Chaffee School), Alex Higgins (Phoenix, Ariz./Kent School), Tully LaBelle-Hamer (Fairbanks, Alaska/Alaska Avalanche), MacKinnon, Brian McWade (Franklin, Mass./Xaverian Brothers), Matt Rigtrup (Montclair, N.J./Pickering Panthers), Brendan Rimmer (Newbury, Mass./Pingree School) and Nick Sheehan (Potsdam, N.Y./Cornwall Colts). The Purple Knights finish the season with an 11-15-1 record, including the team’s first-ever undefeated NE-10 regular season and third season with at least 11 wins in the last four years.

Men’s basketball finished its first season under head coach Michael Harding with a 67-54 Northeast-10 Quarterfinals loss at top-seeded Bentley on Monday. Saint Michael’s compiled a 13-15 overall record and a 10-12 mark in conference play for the best win total since the 2006-07 season. The Purple Knights collected several key wins along the way, including Harding’s first at the helm of Saint Michael’s (a 66-56 win over Caldwell at Stonehill College, where Harding served as an assistant coach), and regular season wins over nationally-ranked Bentley and eventual conference champs Adelphi. Freshman Michael Holton, Jr. (Portland, Ore./Sunset/The Winchendon School), an NE-10 All-Rookie selection, had a game-best 19 points in the Quarterfinal contest, and set the program record for points in a season by a rookie with 442. Several other Purple Knights had outstanding seasons. Sophomore Travis Warech (Pine Brook, N.J./Montclair) averaged 13.6 points per game (22nd in the NE-10), senior Nate Birr (Burnsville, Minn./Saint Thomas Academy) led the league with 5.93 assists per game, and Tyler Schilling (Excelsior, Minn./Minnetonka) was sixth in the NE-10 with 8.8 rebounds per game and seventh with a .549 field goal percentage. Along with Birr, the Purple Knights bid farewell to seniors Sebastian Brandstetter (Newport, Vt./North Country Union), Chris Hurley (Watertown, Mass./Boston College HS) and Matt Natoli (Fayetteville, N.Y./Jamesville-DeWitt).

Women’s basketball completed its best season in five years with an 82-57 Northeast-10 Quarterfinals loss at Franklin Pierce on Tuesday. Originally predicted to finish 15th in the league, Saint Michael’s assembled a 16-11 record (the best mark since the 2003-04 season) and made it past the first round of the tournament for the first time in 19 years. The Purple Knights finished first in the NE-10 and 19th in the nation in free throw percentage (.761), fourth in the league in steals per game (9.3) and seventh in scoring (63.2 points per game). Senior Logan Pintka (Schenectady, N.Y./Colonie Central), an All-Conference Third-Team selection, finished with 1,171 career points, placing her 11th in program history and making her the 17th Saint Michael’s 1,000-point scorer. Senior Marilyn Ferreira (New London, N.H/Kearsarge Regional) concluded her four years with a career-high 18 points against Franklin Pierce and finished with 328 assists, good for ninth in program history. Along with Pintka and Ferreira, seniors Mandy Scott (Vergennes, Vt./Vergennes Union) and Meghan McCormack (Barrie, Ontario/Saint Peter’s Secondary School) played in their final collegiate contest, with Scott chipping in 13 points off the bench and McCormack earning four points and three rebounds. This year’s 16 wins leaves head coach Jennifer Niebling just one win shy of 100 at the helm of the Purple Knights.

Women’s tennis maintained its perfect record with a 7-2 win at Pace on Sunday to begin the spring season. Saint Michael’s (6-0 in NE-10 play) was led by senior Marran Ranks (Stratham, N.H./Exeter), who earned wins at #2 singles and #2 doubles, and classmate Marybeth Ash (Westborough, Mass./Westborough), who didn’t lose a game in winning at #2 doubles and #4 singles. The Purple Knights head south in a week for four matches in Orlando, Fla., beginning with a non-conference match against Tiffin on Mar. 13.

Men’s tennis dropped its first spring contest 6-3 at Pace on Sunday. Freshmen Chris Allen (Springfield, Mass./Cathedral) and Tom Brahm (Marlborough, Conn./Xavier) combined for a victory at #3 doubles, while junior Sam Cieplicki (South Burlington, Vt./New Hampton (N.H.) School) and senior Ryan Magee (Queensbury, N.Y./Queensbury) won at #5 and #6 singles, respectively. Saint Michael’s returns to action on Mar. 26 at Stonehill.

Women’s lacrosse opened its season with a 15-5 loss at Keene State on Saturday. Junior Eliza Scoba (Franklin, Mass./Franklin) had a hand in every Saint Michael’s goal, scoring twice and assisting on the other three. Saint Michael’s, predicted to finish 11th in the league according to the Northeast-10 Conference preseason poll, will look for its first win under first-year head coach Ashley Hughes when the Purple Knights travel to Stonehill College for their conference opener on Tuesday at 4 p.m.

Men’s lacrosse, ranked fourth in the Division II New England Intercollegiate Lacrosse Association preseason poll and sixth in the Northeast-10 Conference preseason poll, kicked off the 2011 season with an exhibition game against Hamilton on Saturday. Senior defender Ryan Clunan (Woodstock, Vt./Woodstock Union) was named to the NEILA Preseason Team, and will lead the Purple Knights in their regular season home opener against Plattsburgh on Wednesday at 3:30 p.m.

Baseball begins its final season of independent competition when the Purple Knights head to West Palm Beach, Fla., this weekend for 11 games in seven days. Saint Michael’s opens its third season under head coach Paul Morgan against NE-10 regional power UMass Lowell on Sunday. The Purple Knights are slated to play six games in the Palm Beach Challenge as well as night games against Nova Southeastern and Palm Beach Atlantic. Saint Michael’s, led by seniors Pete Estes (Bennington, Vt./Mount Anthony Union), Mike McDonough (East Hampton, Conn./East Hampton (Stetson)) and Ben Yodzio (Hingham, Mass./Hingham), are poised to take on seven NE-10 opponents this season in preparation for the team’s return to league competition in 2012.

Softball heads to sunny Florida this weekend for 10 non-conference games. The Purple Knights hope to exceed the expectations of a predicted 16th-place finish according to the NE-10 preseason poll, and will look to senior captains Meghan Colitti (Dover, N.H./Berwick Academy), Kate Condon (Holliston, Mass./Holliston) and Kelly Rose Losi (Milton, Mass./Milton) to lead Saint Michael’s to success in head coach Robyn Newton’s 11th year at the helm. The Purple Knights open conference play on Mar. 29 when they host Merrimack in a doubleheader beginning at 3 p.m.

This Week’s Schedule:

Tue. Mar. 8 Women’s Lacrosse at Stonehill, 4 p.m.

Wed. Mar. 9 Men’s Lacrosse vs. Plattsburgh St., 3:30 p.m.

Sun. Mar. 13 Women’s Tennis vs. Tiffin, 8:30 a.m.
Baseball vs. UMass Lowell, 1:30 p.m.
Softball vs. Molloy, 3:30 p.m.
Women’s Lacrosse vs. Franklin Pierce, 4 p.m.
Softball vs. NYIT, 5:30 p.m.

Friday, March 4, 2011

Baseball Season is ALMOST Here

After two months of indoor workouts that can drive even the most devout baseball lover crazy, the best time of the whole year is almost here. It doesn't seem possible, but nine days from today, we will open our season in West Palm Beach, FL. I'm looking forward to this as much as the rest of the team, but I also like to look back on everything that happens indoors. It's really weird to play baseball indoors and sometimes, really strange things happen. So, here are the top 10 most interesting/weird/kind of gross moments of the indoor season.

10) The First Day -- The first day of practice after winter break is always exciting. We hadn't played baseball since October and everyone wants to get going. But this year there was an added bonus. Just like Coach Orion says in D3: The Mighty Ducks, "You gotta get up early if you wanna hunt goose eggs." And that's just what we did. Practice started at 5:45 a.m. and just like that baseball season began.

9) Walk-a-thon Delays Practice -- Saturday practices can sometimes be a pain in the butt. Like most people, baseball players enjoy sleeping in on the weekend. But because of our practice schedules, we're up and practicing on Saturday morning every week. On this particular weekend, we all arrived at Tarrant to an unexpected conflict -- a walk-a-thon. Instead of the quiet, empty Tarrant we usually see, there was music bumping and a ton of people. Needless to say, practice got delayed.

8) The First Day of Live Hitting -- Practice starts in January, but baseball season doesn't really start until we start hitting live pitching. About halfway through February, the pitchers have built themselves up enough so that we can hit off them like it's a game. And while this is plenty exciting, it also means likely getting hit by several stray fastball, looking like a fool because it's nearly impossible to see the baseball in Tarrant, and breaking that new bat your parents bought you for the season.

7) The Prowler Flu -- New strength and conditioning coach Tony Bonvechio had a few surprises for us this year. The most influential of them is the prowler. Basically, it's the ultimate training machine. You put weights on it, and then you push/pull/drag/fail. The first workout brought numerous cases of the Prowler Flu. Common symptoms are shortness of breath, numb legs, dizziness, sore throat, puking, general disorientation, and hulk-like strength. Did I mention how much I love prowler workouts? (Note: no SMC baseball players were harmed during the course of these workouts).

6) The Strongmen -- The prowler workouts simply built us up to the painful reality of the Strongman competition. On top of the prowler, we flip tractor tires (you know the massive one in Tarrant...yeah), we throw medicine balls, we carry bags full of heavy things and etc. This is where we separated the men from the boys (I'm a boy, for anyone wondering). Junior Chad Estey won the inaugural challenge, but sophomore Jake Begnoche has taken the last two. These are our Strongmen.

5) The Boys -- As I mentioned previously, when we separated the men from the boys in the strongmen competition, I was classified in the latter. See, I try real hard, but I'm just not a Strongman. But I'm not alone, that's for sure. Not everyone can be as manly as Chad, Jake and Ben Yodzio (keep reading to find out how awesome he is).

4) The Always Dangerous Game of...Team Handball? -- There's almost always one unfortunate injury during the course of our indoor season. But this year it came in one of the least expected fashions. We're a pretty competitive bunch, but you mention Team Handball, and we get out of control. I'm talking full-contact, fast break madness. As junior Pat Lawler broke up the right wing for a scoring chance, fellow junior Tim McDonnell, who was playing goalie, made a spectacular save, but also blew up Pat's ankle. The good news is that Pat is off crutches and should be back soon.

3) Vomit From Above -- Practice was just starting and we were starting to organize into our positional groups. Then, literally out of nowhere, an unfortunate species of liquid found it's way onto Tony. We weren't sure what happened at first, but when we saw the same soccer player puking on the other side of the track, it was pretty easy to connect the dots. To whoever that was -- maybe next time puke at the wall bro.

2) The Most Unlikely Concussion -- One of the things we do all the time is stand in the batters box and pretend we're going to hit when pitchers are throwing practice sessions (bullpens). It helps the hitters work on their timing. This is what freshman Pat Kelly was doing one day when a stray pitch bounced off home plate and hit him in the head. A few days later, we found out that he had a concussion. I've never heard of anything like it. Fortunately, Pat caught it early and is working his way back into action.

1) Ben Yodzio: More Manly Than You -- Senior Ben Yodzio is just generally awesome. He's funny, his hair is phenomenal, and he did the coolest thing we saw all winter. In the hardest Strongman competition we've had yet (prowler, tire, heavy bag, farmers walk, prowler) many people were feeling the effects after. During the tire flip, Ben started bleeding after the tire ripped off some of his skin. Then on the final prowler push, he threw up. Blood? Check. Vomit? Check. Finish a minute faster than I did? Check. He's cooler than you.