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Contact: Tony Bonvechio - Phone: (802) 654-2929
COLCHESTER, Vt. – 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.
*Northeast-10 Conference Game
^Lake Cane – Orlando, Fla.
#Palm Beach (Fla.) Challenge
%Laurinburg, N.C. (Saint Andrews Presbyterian)