February 25, 2008

This Week In Saint Michael's College Athletics


COLCHESTER, Vt.- With the winter sports season winding down and three Senior-Day ceremonies on tap, the women's ice hockey team made history with a pair of wins at home while the men's ice hockey team traveled to Maine for a clash with Bowdoin and Colby over the weekend. Also on the week, the men's and women's basketball teams fell to nationally-ranked opponents, including the men of Bentley, ranked No. 1 in Division-II basketball. The men's swimming and diving teams took part in the NEISDA Championship at Roger Williams to close out their season as the ski team concluded their season at the EISA Championships at Middlebury.

Women's Ice Hockey (8-14-1, 8-10-1 ECAC East)

In the final weekend of the regular season, the women's ice hockey team completed a season-sweep of Plymouth State in record-setting fashion, and finished the flawless weekend with a win over Castleton State. In their second-to-last home game as a Purple Knight, seniors Leslie Pomponi (Belmont, Mass.), Gabrielle Bourgeois (New Haven, Vt.) and Brittany O'Brien (Stowe, Vt.) each scored a goal in a record-setting 10-0 win over the Panthers of Plymouth State. Not only did the Purple Knights break the school's single-game scoring mark, but with the win surpassed the eight-year program record of wins in a season with seven. In the contest, junior assistant captain Jess Tourville (Baltimore, Vt.) recorded her first career hat-trick while sophomore Meghan Sweezey (Lynnfield, Mass.) tallied three points on two goals and one assist.

Capping off the 2-0 weekend, Saint Michael's carried momentum from Friday night to Saturday afternoon with a 3-1 win over Castleton State on 'Senior Day' at Cairns Arena. Sophomore Desiree Biron (Bow, N.H.) shouldered the offensive load with a goal and two assists for the Purple Knights. Junior goaltender Melanie Cullen (Derry, N.H.) improved her record to .500 (8-8-1), keeping the Spartans at bay for the win with 38 saves, despite the Purple Knights deficit in the shot-department, 39-34. Playing her 100th career game in a Purple Knights uniform on Saturday, Bourgeois ended the weekend second all-time in assists (40) and third all-time in points (70) with the upcoming ECAC East open tournament commencing on March 1.

Men's Ice Hockey (10-13-1, 5-13-1 ECAC East, 4-0-0 Northeast-10)

Facing the arduous task of taking on the NESCAC's top two teams on the road, Saint Michael's returned home empty-handed with a pair of losses at Bowdoin (17-6-0) and Colby (14-8-1) on Friday and Saturday. Junior Ryan Mero (Peekskill, N.Y.), the leading goal-scorer (17) in the Northeast-10, and third-leading goal-scorer in the ECAC East, tallied the team's only three goals, including two against the Polar Bears in Friday night's 8-2 loss. Senior Erik Caron (Kanata, Ont.) assisted on two of Mero's goals with one versus Bowdoin and the other in the 5-1 loss to Colby on Saturday.

With an 8-2-1 record at home, the Purple Knights will look to reach the 11-win plateau on Tuesday against Stonehill for the first time since the 2003-04 season. With a win over the Skyhawks, the Purple Knights would clinch the Northeast-10 regular season championship, earn a first-round bye and host a semi-final contest at Cairns Arena on Wednesday, March 5.

Women's Basketball (13-13, 9-12 Northeast-10)

Matching up with nationally-ranked Franklin Pierce and always competitive Bentley, the women dropped back-to-back home contests as part of a three-game home stand to close out the regular season. On Tuesday, Saint Michael's failed to recover from a 47-18 halftime deficit to drop the 81-55 decision, despite 14 points from both sophomore Michelle Otey (Southborough, Mass.) and freshman Logan Pintka (Niskayuna, N.Y.). The Purple Knights out-rebounded the Ravens, 32-28, but 57-percent shooting from the field and 67-percent from beyond the arc from Franklin Pierce was too much for Saint Michael's to overcome.

Over the weekend, the women hosted Bentley on 'Senior Day', honoring Adrienne Carpenter (Princeton, Mass.), Allison Dunn (Whippany, N.J.) and Amy Pitchers (Oxford Mills, Ont.) for their career achievements as Purple Knights. Saint Michael's hung tough with the Falcons through the first half, trailing by two at the break. Bentley opened up a 20-8 run to open the second half and ran away, 63-40, on a night Pintka was the only Purple Knight in double-figures with 12.

Suffering their fourth straight setback, Saint Michael's enters the final week of the regular season with a loose grip on the nine-seed in the Northeast-10. Their only remaining contest is against 12th-seeded Southern New Hampshire University, sitting only one game back of the Purple Knights.

Men's Basketball (7-18, 5-16 Northeast-10)

With a pair of home losses to Franklin Pierce and No. 1 nationally-ranked Bentley, the Purple Knights fell out of playoff contention, finding themselves ranked 14th in the Northeast-10 entering the final week of the regular season.

On Tuesday, an off-target three-pointer in the waning seconds of the second half was the only thing keeping Saint Michael's from forcing overtime with Franklin Pierce in a 74-71 defeat. Although four Purple Knights recorded double-figures on the night, the Ravens' five in double-figures and 48-34 rebounding advantage proved to be the difference in the end. Junior Jon Zylstra (Uxbridge, Mass.) came off the bench to score a game-high 19 points on 7-of-8 shooting and a perfect 4-of-4 from the line while freshman Nate Birr (Burnsville, Minn.) tallied 15 points, seven boards, six assists and two steals, going the distance in 40 minutes of play.

Honoring seniors Brian Monahan (Kinderhook, N.Y.), James Sorrentine (Pawtucket, R.I.) and Craig Carey (Franklin, Mass.) on 'Senior Day' at the Ross Sports Center, Saint Michael's became part of Division-II history, falling to the top-ranked Falcons of Bentley, 85-65, on Saturday. The 53rd-straight regular season win for Bentley marked a new Division-II record, set back in 1945-46 by Langston University (Okla.). Clawing back from a 43-31 halftime difference, the Purple Knights cut the lead to five midway through the second half, but could not withstand the ensuing 13-0 run by the Falcons. Seniors Sorrentine and Monahan--who will both graduate as 1,400-point scorers-combined for 40 of the teams 65 points on the night. Thirty-six-percent shooting by Saint Michael's was no match for Bentley's 50-percent clip from the field, as the Purple Knights dropped their fourth straight and second straight at home. Saint Michael's will look to close out the season on a winning note at home on Tuesday versus Southern New Hampshire University.

Swimming & Diving

Concluding the 2007-08 swimming and diving season at the New England Intercollegiate Swimming and Diving Association (NEISDA) Championships, hosted by Roger Williams University, senior Ed Fennessey (Wilton, Conn.) placed sixth, while sophomore Jacob Stamis (Andover, Mass.) finished 10th, in the one-meter dive on Saturday.

Skiing

The Saint Michael's College ski team concluded its season on Saturday with a 10th-place finish at the two-day Eastern Intercollegiate Skiing Association (EISA) Championships, hosted by Middlebury College. Sophomore Lauren Fereshetian (Turner, Maine) had her best finish of the season for the Purple Knights, placing 23rd in the women's 10-kilometer classic.

This Week's Schedule:

Tues.-------Feb. 26-------Women's Basketball vs. Southern N.H.*-------5:30 p.m.

Tues.-------Feb. 26-------Men's Ice Hockey vs. Stonehill*-------6:00 p.m.

Tues.-------Feb. 26-------Men's Basketball vs. Southern N.H.*-------7:30 p.m.

Sat.-------Mar. 1-------Men's Lacrosse vs. New York Tech-------1:00 p.m.

Sat.-------Mar. 1-------Women's Lacrosse @ Middlebury (scrimmage)-------2:00 p.m.

Sun.-------Mar. 2-------Women's Lacrosse vs. Norwich (scrimmage)-------1:30 p.m.

Sun.-------Mar. 2-------Women's Basketball @ TBD#-------TBA

Bold denotes home contest

(* denotes Northeast-10 contest)

(# denotes Northeast-10 playoff first-round)

###PURPLE KNIGHTS###