April 28, 2008

This Week In Saint Michael's College Athletics

COLCHESTER, Vt.-- An historic run to the Northeast-10 Conference championship for the women's tennis team this week put them in position for a bid to the NCAA tournament, while the men made history of their own with a quarterfinal victory. The men's and women's lacrosse teams also look to make a run in the Conference playoffs, claiming the four- and five-seed, respectively, after wins this week. On the diamond, the baseball team knocked off a pair of Northeast-10 opponents and a first-year on the softball field bombed away on the road as the regular season comes to a close.

Tennis (#2 Women: 15-6, 10-2 NE-10; #4 Men: 9-8, 7-3 NE-10)

Powered by the freshman trio of Deahna Giguere (Oakland, Maine/Messalonskee), Marran Ranks (Stratham, N.H./Exeter) and Marybeth Ash (Westborough, Mass./Westborough), the women's tennis team advance to the Northeast-10 Conference championship with a 5-4 win over Southern New Hampshire on Friday. All three first-years won their singles matches in straight sets, while Giguere and Ash teamed up to win No. 2 Doubles, 8-5. With the team's 15th win of the season, the 2007-08 Purple Knights etched their names in the history books, eclipsing the 14-win mark set just one year ago.

Ranks and Ash also earned a spot on the Northeast-10 All-Conference Second Team with their season marks at No. 5 and No. 6 Singles play. Head Coach Greg Cluff was also honored as Coach of the Year for guiding Saint Michael's to their second straight conference championship appearance and highest win total in the program's 28-year history.

The men's tennis team also fell at the hands of undefeated Bryant University in the conference playoffs, but not before recording a 5-3 quarterfinal win over Bentley on Tuesday. Paced by junior Sean Steigerwald (North Andover, Mass./North Andover) winning his No. 2 Singles and No. 2 Doubles matches, the Purple Knights earned the right to play top-seeded Bryant on Thursday. The men fell 5-0 in Smithfield, Rhode Island to the perennial powerhouse, but would end the season with a winning record for the first time since 2000-01 (9-7).

#4 Men's Lacrosse (7-6, 6-4 NE-10)

The Saint Michael's College men's lacrosse team ended their 2008 regular season on a winning note with a 10-6 win over Pace on Wednesday at Duffy Field. Led by senior attacker Greg Lazarus (Evanston, Ill./Evanston) and his four goals, the Purple Knights jumped out to a 5-2 halftime lead and played sound defense with two shutout quarters from senior keeper Jeff Hannon (Wilbraham, Mass./Wilbraham).

In the win on Wednesday, Lazarus scored his 29th goal on the season and 103rd of his career to rank third all-time behind Rick Saba '92 (109) and Ray Roch '87 (107). Earning the four-seed and a home playoff match on Tuesday, April 29, the Purple Knights would clinch their fourth straight season above .500 with a win over Saint Anselm. On March 15 in a back and forth game that was never more than a two-goal differential Saint Michael's knocked off the Hawks 11-10 in overtime in Manchester.

#5 Women's Lacrosse (7-5, 5-3 NE-10)

Following a 60-minute bout with reigning National Champion C.W. Post, the women's lacrosse schedule did not get any easier on Thursday when fifth-ranked and conference-undefeated Stonehill College came to Colchester. The Skyhawks jumped out to a 7-0 first-half lead and never let up as the Purple Knights dropped their second straight to the Northaest-10 Regular Season Champion. Senior Brynne Curran (Cape Elizabeth, Maine/Cape Elizabeth) and junior Kim Berlo (Scituate, Mass./Scituate) led the Saint Michael's offense with two goals and one assist each.

On Saturday, the Purple Knights bounced back from the two-game skid to secure the five-seed with a 16-10 win over Southern Connecticut in New Haven, Connecticut. Curran continued her quest to set a third program milestone this season with nine points on the afternoon. With five scores, the senior is now one goal shy of Amanda Lohin's ('03) program mark of 60 goals in 2002. In the win, senior captain Amanda Soule (Hartland, Vt./Woodstock Union) tallied five goals and senior goalkeeper Courtney Wakem (Tiverton, R.I./Tiverton) stopped 13 shots, including 11 in the second frame.

Playing in the #4/#5 match-up on Wednesday, April 30, the Purple Knights visit Merrimack for a 4 p.m. re-match of April 12 when Saint Michael's scored 10 second half goals, but fell 14-13 in Colchester.

Baseball (9-24)

On the week, the Saint Michael's College baseball team took down their second and third Northeast-10 Conference opponents of the year in Stonehill and Merrimack. The Purple Knights also trounced the Mountaineers of Southern Vermont and made an extra-inning attempt at knocking off Amherst.

In a 9-4 win over Stonehill, sophomore Mike McDonough (East Hampton, Conn./Stetson Univ.) served up a 114-pitch outing while fanning three batters and allowing eight hits. Saint Michael's took the lead for good in the third with four runs, sparked by freshman catcher Jeff Dukette's (Northfield, Vt./Northfield) two-run triple. Senior Evan Grenier (Bridgeport, Conn./Notre Dame Fairfield) also singled three times to tally his 100th career hit.

After dropping game two to Stonehill, 14-0, the Purple Knights bounced back against Southern Vermont to score 13 runs in the final three innings to run away, 14-4, at Doc Jacobs Field. Senior John Kunkel (Loudonville, N.Y./Christian Brothers Acad.) led the charge with four RBIs on a pair of singles and a double. Senior Kyle Gingras (Pittsfield, N.H./Pittsfield) earned his second win of the year on the hill, fanning four batters and walking none in six innings.

In a homecoming for junior captain Joe Gil (Andover, Mass./Andover) against Merrimack on Saturday, the catcher went 4-for-8 on the afternoon to help Saint Michael's earn a split with the Warriors. In an 8-6 game two win, Gil drove in three runs to support sophomore Mike Robert (Wellesley, Mass./Babson) in a complete game effort consisting of four strikeouts and one walk.

Playing their eighth and ninth games in six days, the baseball team looked to stir up some Senior Day magic against the Lord Jeffs of Amherst College. The eight seniors did all they could to stave off the sweep after dropping game one, 11-0. Junior Jake Chadwick (Hampton, N.H./Winnacunnet) drove in the game-tying run in the seventh to knot things at five before Grenier appeared to have a walk-off single, but a laser from Amherst's centerfielder dashed the hopes of a Senior Day celebration. The Lord Jeffs scored a pair of runs in the eighth and walked about with the 7-5 win.

Softball (7-28, 1-25 NE-10):

The Softball team's struggles continued on the road this week as they dropped five conference doubleheaders, but forced extra innings at Stonehill with clutch hitting from freshman Kelly Rose Losi (Milton, Mass./Milton). The third-baseman registered seven RBIs in the doubleheader with the Skyhawks, including two round-trippers on the afternoon. Junior pitcher Megan O'Connor (Georgetown, Mass./Georgetown) would pitch four solid innings of relief in game two and sophomore Kelly Egan (Milford, Mass./Milford) would launch a two-run homer to tie things in the seventh, but a costly error led to a run for Stonehill to complete the sweep.

On Sunday versus Bryant, Saint Michael's dropped a 4-2 heart-breaker before being swept with a 10-3 loss in game two. In game one, five Purple Knights accounted for the five hits and Losi batted in the team's only two runs. O'Connor went the distance, allowing 11 hits, and four runs and struck out five. In game two, eight players in purple tallied a hit with sophomore Katie Wry (Underhill, Vt./Mount Mansfield Union) knocking a pair of hits and batting in a run. Classmate Katelyn Billings (Saint Albans, Vt./BFA-St. Albans) drove home a pair of runs in the third as well for the Purple Knights.

The softball team closes out their 2008 season in Rindge, New Hampshire on Wednesday at 3:00 p.m. against Franklin Pierce University.

This Week's Schedule:

Tue. Apr. 29 Men's Lacrosse vs. Saint Anselm & 4:00 p.m.

Wed. Apr. 30 Baseball at Lyndon State (DH) 3:00 p.m.

Wed. Apr. 30 Softball @ Franklin Pierce (DH)* 3:00 p.m.

Wed. Apr. 30 Women's Lacrosse @ Merrimack & 4:00 p.m.

Thu. May 1 Block 'M' Varsity Dinner 5:45 p.m.

Fri. May 2 Men's Lacrosse @ Le Moyne ^ TBA

Fri. May 2 Women's Lacrosse @ Stonehill ^ TBA

Sun. May 4 Men's Lacrosse @ TBD % TBA

Sun. May 4 Women's Lacrosse @ TBD % TBA

Bold indicates home contests

denotes Northeast-10 Conference contest

& Northeast-10 Quarterfinal

^ Northeast-10 Semifinal

% Northeast-10 Championship