Trio of Saint Michael's teams learn postseason draws, prepare for tournaments

COLCHESTER, Vt. - A trio of Saint Michael's College teams learned their postseason draws on Wednesday, including women's basketball and men's ice hockey, which are set to compete in the Northeast-10 Conference Tournament this weekend. Women's ice hockey takes part in the annual Eastern College Athletic Conference (ECAC) Open Tournament.

By virtue of its 72-60 victory over Southern New Hampshire University on Tuesday and additional action around the league, women's basketball claimed the 10th and final seed for the NE-10 Tournament. The Purple Knights will head to the No. 7 College of Saint Rose in Albany, N.Y., on Friday for a first-round contest at 7 p.m., as the teams' sole postseason meeting came in 2009, with the squads holding the same seeds.

During the regular season, Saint Michael's lost just before the buzzer to the Golden Knights, 62-61, on Jan. 21. Tickets for the contest will be $7 for adults, $4 for children and seniors, and $1 for students with a valid ID. A victory would propel Saint Michael's into Sunday's quarterfinal round and a 1 p.m. contest at No. 2 Southern Connecticut State University. The Owls grabbed a 60-55 win when the schools met on Jan. 11.

The Purple Knights are 12-14 overall after finishing 9-13 in the league. Junior Nicole Adach (Schenectady, N.Y./Mohonasen), who hails from just outside Albany, leads the team in scoring (13.7) and rebounding (6.8), while senior Coreen Hennessy (Chatham, N.H./Fryeburg Academy) provides 12.3 points on 88.4 percent free throw shooting. Junior Megan Olsen (Glenmont, N.Y./Bethlehem Central) will be playing just down the road from home, and she averages 8.7 points and 1.7 assists, shooting 85.7 percent on freebies.

For the eighth straight year, women's ice hockey heads to the ECAC Open Tournament, a four-team competition comprised of four Division I and II schools that are unable to take part in league tournaments. Division I Sacred Heart University is an independent, while Division I College of the Holy Cross and Division II Saint Michael's and Saint Anselm College play in the ECAC East, whose tournament champion gains an automatic berth into the NCAA Division III Tournament.

In a tournament that will occur over the weekend in Manchester, N.H., at Saint Anselm, the Purple Knights take on Holy Cross in a semifinal on Saturday at 1 p.m., with the winner advancing to Sunday's championship at 4 p.m. The consolation contest will also occur on Sunday, at 1 p.m. The Crusaders took both regular-season meetings. Tickets cost $5 for adults and $3 for students and children older than 12. Children 12 and young will not be charged admission.

The 3-20-1 Purple Knights received a team-leading 17 points apiece from senior Madelena Santore (Millington, N.J./New Jersey Rockets) and freshman Kristen Spulecki (Orchard Park, N.Y./Buffalo Bison). Santore's 10 goals pace the squad, as do Spulecki's 11 assists. Junior Erin Stevens (Watertown, Conn./Connecticut Polar Bears) has a school-record 807 saves, stopping at least 30 shots 18 times.

Men's ice hockey has nailed down the fourth seed in the four-team NE-10 Tournament, as it heads to No. 1 Saint Anselm College for a semifinal on Saturday at 7 p.m. Tickets cost $5 for adults, $3 for youths and seniors, and $1 for students with a valid college ID. The contest is a rematch of last year's title game, won by the Hawks, 7-4. This season, the squads drew, 2-2, on Nov. 18 in an NE-10 game before Saint Anselm won a Feb. 4 match-up that counted only in the ECAC East standings. The Purple Knights have advanced to the final four times, winning three crowns.

At 6-17-2 after going 2-2-1 in the NE-10, Saint Michael's is paced by junior Josh Geary's (Wellesley, Mass./Phillips Andover Academy) 20 points and 12 assists, while freshman A.J. Pieprzak (Barrie, Ontario/Ridley College) had a team-best nine goals. Junior Mike Dizgun (Kirkland, Quebec/OCN Blizzard) made at least 30 saves 11 times in 20 starts.