Spring Sports Recaps

Baseball recap
By Bobby Olivier
Sports Editor

After a disappointing Arizona road trip, the Lions baseball team was able to bounce back on the East Coast and put together a respectable season.

The College finished their regular season this weekend, ending the year with a record of 20-16-1. Following a bumpy first half of the season, the Lions rattled off eight wins in a row to climb to the top of the New Jersey Athletic Conference (NJAC) before losing their final three games heading into the playoffs.

First year Lions head coach Dean Glus had several standout players this season but none were as consistent as senior shortstop Jeff Toth. Toth finished the season with an awe-inspiring batting average of .496 along with eight homeruns and 38 RBIs. Also standing out for the College was junior outfielder Chris Esperon whose .403 batting average, four homeruns and 25 RBIs helped the Lions through their early season struggles.

Sophomore Connor Henderson led the Lions’ pitching staff with a record of 5-1 and an ERA of 3.30.

The Lions look ahead to the NJAC playoffs beginning on Tuesday at William Paterson University.

Men’s Basketball recap
By James Queally
Copy Editor

In an up-and-down rebuilding year, rookie head coach Kelly Williams led the Lions to a 10-15 overall record, but the fast-paced squad managed to snag second place in a weakened New Jersey Athletic Conference (NJAC) South Division and earn a conference playoff berth before falling 77-66 against Rutgers-Newark in a first round playoff game. The Lions were led by juniors Jay Frank and and Aaron Syverstern, who averaged 15.7 and 12.8 points a game, respectively, and the inspired play of sophomore Stephen Siracusa, who averaged 7.3 points and led the team in rebounding. Inconsistent play saw the Lions nearly miss the playoffs, as they had to win two games down the stretch to clinch a playoff berth after a six game slide towards the end of the season, which included a loss to the Rutgers-Camden Scarlet Raptors. Jeff Molinelli, the senior captain who was the Lions’ main defensive presence, will head off for graduation as Williams looks to what should be a bright future for his run and gun Lions.

Lacrosse Recap
By Kristina L. Shemming
Staff Writer

The Lions have rolled this season with an impressive 13-2 record and a picture-perfect 9-0 mark on their home turf. After losing lead-scorer sophomore midfielder Leigh Mitchell to a season- ending knee injury, the Lions have all aggressively improved their offensive attack. Led by sophomore midfielder Alison Jaeger with 53 goals and 13 assists, the Lions held a No.-1 ranking after recording a huge win against Gettysburg College. After losing two consecutive games to ranked opponents, they bounced back to a record three straight dominating victories and a No. 5 National ranking.

Men’s Tennis Recap
By Josh Caulfield
Staff Writer

The men’s tennis team finished off their regular season with a dominant record of 10-2. Their strong performances throughout the year contributed to a perfect 4-0 record at home. The first two games of the season resulted in one win and one loss before the team caught fire by winning the next five matches. The only two losses this season came against Skidmore College and Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Junior captain Jeremy Eckardt and freshman Edgar Shanoyan both had strong seasons, giving the College a taste of good things to come next year. Despite an accomplished season, the hard work isn’t done. Starting May 8, the team will begin their first round of the NCAA Division III playoffs. Although no lone player made it to nationals as a singles competitor, the team will compete as a whole. “I feel confident that our team will be able to pull off some upsets because we never back down,” sophomore captain Jonathan Yu said. Judging by the preview the team portrayed throughout the season, the Lions have high hopes as they move forward.

Softball Recap
By Michael O’Donnell
Staff Writer

After beginning the season by losing six of 10 games in Florida, the Lions eventually found their groove, establishing their rightful place near the top of the New Jersey Athletic Conference (NJAC).

The College began to put a string of wins together, and after games of high-powered offense and power pitching, the team ended up clinching the No. 3 seed in the NJAC Tournament.

Led by junior flamethrower Ashley Minervini, the Lions pitching staff was solid the entire season. The veteran went 7-9 on the year with a 1.58 ERA and had 81 strikeouts.

“There’s no better feeling than knowing you are keeping the other team off-balance,” Minervini said.

Sophomore Alex Sietsma had a solid season as well, including pitching a near-perfect game against the Gothic Knights of New Jersey City University. The second-year pitcher ended the regular season with a 5-3 record, a 0.95 ERA and 26 Ks.

One surprising spot in the rotation was rookie Lauren Fitzsimmons, who gave the Lions a viable third option in the rotation.

The offense was very potent as well, including rookie Crystal Lee. The freshman led the team in batting average at .357 at the leadoff position. The power came from junior shortstop Ellen Seavers and senior outfielder Kelly Armstrong, as each had three home runs on the year. Seavers had 19 RBIs, while Armstrong had 17.

This powerful team begins their playoff run on Tuesday at 4 p.m., as they will play host to the Roadrunners of Ramapo College.

Swimming recap
By Garrett Rasko-Martinis
Sports Assistant

The men and women’s swimming and diving teams were dominant from their first meet at Montclair State University to the NCAA Division III Championships at Macalester College this season. Both teams ended their regular seasons in first place in the New Jersey Athletic Conference (NJAC), led by young talents freshmen Mike Vernoia and Laura Pierce. Both teams handedly took first place in the Metropolitan Conference Championships, and broke several school and conference records in the process. In the NCAA Division III Championships, the men’s team finished in tenth place for its second straight finish in the top 10 in the tournament.

Head coach Brian Bishop was satisfied with his team’s performance this season, and is looking forward to next season.

“We were obviously very pleased with how the season went,” Bishop said. “Throughout the season we broke 17 school records, which was a season high. We also sent 11 players to Nationals, which also another season high . We’re going to try and be even better. We only lost four seniors and we’re picking up 13 new recruits, so we don’t expect to fall back at all. We expect to keep moving forward and keep challenging other teams.”

Track Recap
by Julia Ireland
Staff Writer

In their indoor season, both the men’s and women’s track and field teams captured 12th consecutive New Jersey Athletic Conference Indoor Track and Field Championship titles in February. At the NCAA Division III Indoor Track and Field Championships in March both teams’ distance medley relays earned All-American Honors. To start off this outdoor spring season, the teams had solid performances at the Danny Curran Invitational at Widener University, University of Pennsylvania Invitational, Sam Howell Invitational at Princeton University, and the New Jersey Invitational hosted by the college, where the women won and the men placed second.

Women’s Basketball Recap
By Michael O’Donnell
Staff Writer

In one of the biggest Cinderella stories in NCAA Division III history, the College fought their way to the Final Four and a third-place finish in the 2009 NCAA Tournament.

Senior center Hillary Klimowicz, the 2009 Women’s Basketball Coaches’ Association Player of the Year, led the Lions on this historic run, averaging 20.2 points per game, 10.8 rebounds per game and 4.1 blocks per contest. The Lions’ top player also finished her College career second on both the all-time scoring list and rebounding list.

“It’s obviously a great accomplishment to have finished second in both rebounds and scoring,” Klimowicz said. “But I could not have done either without my teammates giving me the ball or putting pressure on a shooter and causing them to miss.”

The Lions finished the season 28-5 overall and 11-2 in the New Jersey Athletic Conference (NJAC). This record included a 13-game winning streak after a road loss to rival Kean University, and the impressive run ended in a defeat to No. 1 ranked George Fox Univesity in the Final Four.

With three key seniors graduating, including Klimowicz, guard Alyssa Michella and forward Lisa Koch, it will be a tough test for the Lions to continue the momentum into the 2009-2010 season.

Women’s Tennis Recap
By Josh Caulfield
Staff Writer

The College’s women’s tennis team had a stellar season this year. With a combined record of 15-3, and an undefeated 10-0 at home this season, the Lions have been nothing short of spectacular. The team came out of the gate this year on fire with eight consecutive wins to begin their season. The Lions felt quickly humbled up after two consecutive losses in Florida to both Flagler College and Coe College. Junior captain Jackie Shtemberg had a memorable season while she collected her 100th win of her career. Head coach Scott Dicheck had obvious reasons to be proud of his team. The team proceeded to win seven of their next eight games and, rightfully so, has high hopes for the upcoming national tournament. Like the men’s team, the women will begin their NCAA Division III journey on May 8. After winning their past four matches, the team intends to be the squad to beat heading into the postseason.

Wrestling recap
By Bobby Olivier
Sports Editor

After a season full of dual-meet dominance coupled with the eclipse of a team milestone, the Lions can look back at their 2009 season fondly.

The College’s grapplers finished their regular season with a stellar record of 16-1-1, with their lone loss delivered courtesy of the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater midway through their year.

With a 24-12 win over Williams College, the Lions recorded their 600th win as an NCAA program.

“To be part of a team that has 600 career wins is amazing,” senior Greg Osgoodby said. “To win 600 matches speaks volumes about the coaches and the student athletes that take pride in (the College) Wrestling tradition and it is an honor to be part of that tradition.”

Along with their historic milestone as a team, the Lions are also one win away from giving their head coach David Eisenhower another round number to hang his hat on. With his next win, Eisenhower will gain his 500th victory as a coach, a feat only accomplished by three other Division III coaches in history.

The Lions finished their season strong, placing second in the Metropolitan Conference Championships as a team and sending five wrestlers to nationals. Senior Dan DiColo was the only Lion to finish in the top ten, taking sixth place in Iowa and gaining All-America honors.