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DelGiudice steps up for Messalonskee

Sport: Hockey (boys)  Posted: March 21st, 2008

DelGiudice steps up for Messalonskee
 
BY BILL STEWART
Staff Writer

Morning Sentinel staff photo
Morning Sentinel staff photo
HOCKEY’S BEST: Messalonskee High School’s Matt DelGiudice is the Morning Sentinel’s Hockey Player of the Year.

Messalonskee High School senior Matt DelGiudice led Eastern Maine Class A hockey with 61 points this season and matched a school record with six goals in a game.

So, naturally, one of his weaknesses is shooting. Wait, his shooting?

"Yeah," he said. "My weaknesses are strength and shooting. You can always improve."

True, but DelGiudice was good this season. Real good. DelGiudice, one of the more prolific scorers in high school hockey, is the Morning Sentinel Player of the Year. Forwards John Massey and Zach Jochem of Waterville and Sean Bourgeois and Ben Grant of Winslow were also considered.

DelGiudice, a Travis Roy Award finalist, doesn't think about his hockey legacy because he isn't sure he has one.

The numbers suggest he does. His 61 points gave him 154 for his career, which ranks him as the third leading scorer in Messalonskee history.

"I guess I won't know until later on," said DelGiudice, when asked about his legacy. "I was just a good motivator, a good leader on and off the ice. That's the only type of legacy that I feel is important."

DelGiudice entered the season in uncharted territory. For the first time in his career, he was the team's top scorer, the player who would be responsible for generating the bulk of the offense.

"In my first three years I wasn't really the go-to guy," he said. "I wasn't the guy everyone looked to. This year, we had a young team, had a lot of young players. I was the go-to player."

DelGiudice, who will attend Bridgton Academy in the fall, added it was an adjustment. He stayed in shape physically thanks to soccer, but mentally he needed to prepare for his new role as team leader.

"I took it upon myself to be one of the leaders on the ice, to step up my game," he said. "Mentally, it was just getting into the mindset of always looking to create your own shot. I figured I'd be the go-to guy this season. When we're down, I'd always get that extra jump."

Messalonskee coach Mike Latendresse said DelGiudice saved his best season in an Eagles uniform for his last.

"You could feel him take over games," he said.

"He became a real vocal leader for us this year. He was just able to take the team to a different level."

The Eagles, who won an Eastern A prelim game before losing to eventual regional champ Lewiston, struggled at times with their consistency. That can happen with a young and inexperienced team.

But through the ups and downs of the long season, DelGiudice stayed positive and worked with the younger players.

"It was frustrating, but we had a young team and you have to take the good with the bad," DelGiudice said.

"It was a little nerve-racking when we weren't winning. So I just decided to have some fun with it. I talked to Ted Fabian (former Messalonskee standout) and he said to just have fun. It was right before the Yarmouth game."

In that Yarmouth game, DelGiudice exploded for six goals to tie the school record. He didn't play the third period.

"I try not to keep track with stuff like that," he said. "But all my teammates were like, 'you scored five in that period.' The puck just bounced our way that night."

Bill Stewart -- 623-3811, ext. 515

bstewart@centralmaine.com

COLLEGE SOFTBALL: Mules look for upgrade in offense

Sport: Softball  Posted: March 21st, 2008

COLLEGE SOFTBALL: Mules look for upgrade in offense
 
From staff reports

Colby went 17-13 during the softball season last spring, but won only three of 12 games in the New England Small College Athletic Conference. Coach Dick Bailey is emphatic about what needs to change for the Mules to have a better record.

"To be in any of these games, you've got to score runs," Bailey said. "To win these conference games, you've got to be able to score more than two or three runs."

The Mules scored two runs or less in nine NESCAC games last season, and were 1-8 in those games. On the season, Colby beat its opponents by 18 points in batting average, two points in slugging percentage and 46 points in on-base percentage -- but still came out nine runs behind overall.

To bulk up the offense, Bailey brought in eight freshmen, including third baseman/outfielder Annie Wilson of San Juan Capistrano, Calif., who will step in as leadoff hitter. This means there are 19 players on the roster -- Bailey usually likes to have 14 to 16 -- and all will see playing time.

Three of those freshmen are catchers -- Lizzy Fort, Barbara Santos and Meryl Poulin. Junior Tory Starr (.292 batting average last season) can catch, but Bailey wants her at first base.

"I brought in three freshmen catchers, and all of them are pretty damn good," Bailey said. "And I told them, 'If you hit well, I'll bury you out in the outfield because I need more hitting in the lineup.' "

Starr will be backed up at first by freshman Alyssa Lepore, while senior Mollie Puskar (.286) will return at second. Freshman Gabi Kelly is recovering from ACL surgery, so Bailey will use her as a designated hitter and pinch hitter in the early going.

Shortstop will be held down by sophomore Christine Gillespie, with freshman Allyson Cheever of Augusta in reserve. Carlie Minichino played third base last year and hit a team-high .384, but will also DH and pitch this season. When she's not at third, that position will be manned by Wilson or sophomore Emily Pavelle.

The outfield spots will depend on which players at other positions are hitting well, but Bailey expects junior Christine Fitzgerald to see time in left, with sophomore Sarah Whitfield of Wiscasset in center and strong-armed freshman Alex Essman in right. Senior Alaina Clark, who hit .333 with a .481 on-base percentage in 28 plate appearances last season, will DH and pinch-hit.

Bailey likes to have four pitchers, and while he lost one when Randi Arsenault (5-3, 2.38 ERA) decided to concentrate on academics, Colby does have a strong quartet. The most intriguing of the four is Minichino, a junior who hasn't pitched since her high school days in Connecticut. Bailey told her in the offseason to try to get back to where she was in high school, and he was impressed with the results in preseason.

Junior Lyss Crowell (5-3, 2.82), sophomore lefthander Brittany Tasi (2-3, 3.29) and senior Amanda Roehn (1-3, 7.08) will also pitch for the Mules.

"There's experience there, and we should be fairly good on the mound," Bailey said.

The Mules begin their season with 10 games March 23-28 in Fort Myers, Fla. The rest of the season is squeezed in from April 4 to May 1.

"I think overall we're going to be fielding a better team," Bailey said. "Whether it's going to be strong enough to overcome some of these conference teams, time will tell. We'll have to wait and see."

Matt DiFilippo -- 861-9243

mdifilippo@centralmaine.com
 

Dostie successful in turning Cony around

Sport: Hockey (boys)  Posted: March 21st, 2008

Dostie successful in turning Cony around
 
By BILL STEWART Staff Writer


B.J. DOSTIE

When the game was over, well after two of his three seniors were tossed for their roles in an on-ice scuffle, B.J. Dostie walked off the ice and into the dark hallway by the Kennebec Ice Arena’s four locker rooms.

The first-year Cony coach was frustrated and disappointed after time expired in a 9-0 blowout loss to Gardiner. There are two things Dostie loathes: Losing and undisciplined play. His Rams were victims of both on this night. If Dostie could accomplish just one thing in his first year, other than perhaps a deeper run in the Eastern A tournament, it would be turning around the program’s image, which he said was less than flattering.

He did just that and led a young and inexperienced team to the Eastern A tournament. As a result, Dostie is the Kennebec Journal’s Coach of the Year.

Maranacook-Monmouth’s Ian Harger was also considered.

“I was pretty upset,” said Dostie, referring to the Gardiner game in which he apologized to anyone within earshot for his team’s meltdown.

“Everybody wants to be proud of the team. Penalties are part of the game, but don’t take the stupid ones, the ones that will affect the team. It wasn’t because you were working hard, but the ones after the whistle. I was a little devastated, but emotions do run high.”

For the most part, Dostie kept the youthful Rams in check. Cony finished 7-13-0 but skated just three seniors and started a freshman in goal for the entire season. Despite the inexperience, the Rams still qualified for the tournament, where they lost to Messalonskee in the prelims.

Junior Chris Logan, who is in line to be a captain next season, said Dostie revamped the team’s image.

“That was one of our biggest goals,” he said. “We had a bad reputation amongst the league for taking too many stupid penalties. He turned that around. We had to not let personal vendettas get us down. Mental toughness is one of his favorite things. At one point last year we were taking six penalties a game. This year, we had stretches where we were taking just one a game.”

Dostie coached under Norm Gagne in Waterville and last season was a volunteer goalie coach for the Rams.

“I was just a guy hanging around,” he said.

But he became much more than that after Chad Foye stepped down as head coach. Dostie was encouraged by fellow assistant Shawn Johnson to apply for the top coaching job, and he did. Now that he has the job, Dostie hopes to turn what was once an undisciplined team into a playoff contender.

“Cony has a huge history,” he said. “Discipline may have been overlooked, but there were some great teams at Cony. I want to bring that back.”

He’s close. Although the Rams will feature just three seniors next season, several underclassmen will see their roles expand. For starters, freshman Jon Dale anchored the team between the pipes this season and is poised to improve.

“I’m really excited about it,” Dostie said. “We lose three seniors: (Justin) Genest, Tade Brooks and Erik Johnson. They solidified us. When you lose those guys, you’re losing somebody. We’ll just continue to work hard and see what happens. We’re still going to be young, but we should be better.”

Bill Stewart — 623-3811, ext. 515

bstewart@centralmaine.com

Peckham let his play do the talking

Sport: Hockey (boys)  Posted: March 21st, 2008

Peckham let his play do the talking
 
BY BILL STEWART

Staff Writer

A quiet kid by nature, Klinton Peckham isn't afraid to step up and bring order when there is chaos. And in this year, his final one for Gardiner Area High School, there was chaos. More than he would like, but not so much he couldn't handle as captain of the Tigers.

"We had a few incidents with players and we worked through it pretty much," Peckham said. "I think we did pretty well with what happened. I have no regrets. I'm a pretty quiet guy, but if someone has a problem I'd go and fix it. I like to show myself on the ice. That's how I lead, by example."

Peckham, said coach Matt Dineen, is the perfect captain. He answers most questions with the word 'we,' and says winning trumps personal statistics. But Peckham still carried the team, particularly in the playoffs.

The senior leader scored 27 goals and 24 assists for 51 points this season. He eclipsed the 100-point barrier for his career and led the Tigers to the Eastern B final. As a result, Peckham is this year's Kennebec Journal Player of the Year. Linemate Mike Hersom, Gardiner goalie Chris Howe and Maranacook-Monmouth forward Corey Palmer were also considered.

"It was my best season," Peckham said. "I laid it all down on the ice. I gave it my all."

And that was enough.

Peckham finished his four-year career with 101 points and saved his best work for the bigger games. He scored four goals in Gardiner's two playoff games, including two short-handed strikes 23 seconds apart in a semifinal win over John Bapst.

"We all play better in the playoffs," Peckham said. "In bigger games, I step up my game, too. You have to."

Peckham said the two quick goals against Bapst stood out more than any other this season. However, his pair in the Eastern B final helped the Tigers claw back from a 2-0 deficit.

"When we got down 2-0 someone had to score," Peckham said. "I figured I'd go out and do it, I guess."

"As far as goals and assists, it took awhile for him to get warmed up," added Dineen. "But in the playoffs, he came to play. He's a big-game player. He can step up and take control if he needs to. He didn't worry about what he got for points. He punched his clock and went to work. He really stepped up this year."

Peckham was part of Dineen's first true freshman class at Gardiner. Dineen added that Peckham played a big role with the Tigers, beginning with his freshman season, when he skated on the second line.

"He grew up in my system and adapted to it well," Dineen said. "He has a lot of heart and determination. He stands up and comes to play. He's always playing for the team, not Klinton Peckham."

Peckham firmed up his future by enlisting with the U.S. Marine Corps. He leaves for basic training in South Carolina on Sept. 22.

"I plan to go into security forces and see how that goes," he said. "I've been planning a career in the military for a couple of years now. All my friends went into it, so I figured what the heck, I might as well. I'm looking forward to it."

"He's going to be a helluva Marine," Dineen said. "He's always calm, cool and collected. His characteristics will serve him well."

With his high school hockey career finished, Peckham said he will miss playing with his linemates, Cam Berthieume and Hersom, the most.

"I was pretty happy with how it turned out," he said. "It's kind of sad not to play with my linemates anymore, but it was a good run."

Bill Stewart -- 623-3811, ext. 515

bstewart@centralmaine.com

Hersoms to play at Husson

Sport: Football  Posted: March 21st, 2008

Hersoms to play at Husson
By Ernie Clark
Friday, March 21, 2008 - Bangor Daily News

Maine’s reigning Fitzpatrick Trophy winner is coming to Husson College.

Jack Hersom, a 5-foot-11, 165-pound quarterback who helped Lawrence High of Fairfield win the 2006 Class A football state championship and back-to-back Eastern Maine titles in 2006 and 2007, has decided to join coach Gabby Price’s Eagles this fall.

"The location and the coaching staff were big for me in my decision," said Hersom, who also plays hockey and baseball at Lawrence and is one of the top students in his senior class. "I wanted to stay in Maine, and coach Price and his staff were great to me when I visited. They were very welcoming and willing to do what they could to help me."

Hersom, the son of Lawrence coach John Hersom, guided his team to a 22-1 record in two years as the Bulldogs’ starting quarterback.

Lawrence went undefeated in 2006, finishing with an 11-0 record after defeating Bangor in the Eastern A final and then topping Gorham 14-13 to secure Lawrence’s first state championship since winning the Class B crown in 1984.

The Bulldogs returned to the state title game last fall, again defeating Bangor in the Eastern Maine final before falling to Bonny Eagle of Standish 34-14 to end their 22-game winning streak.

The mobile quarterback passed for 1,427 yards and 17 touchdowns as a senior, and also rushed for 545 yards and nine touchdowns.

He went on to become the first winner of the Fitzpatrick Trophy — symbolic of the state’s top high school senior football player — from Lawrence since tailback Kirk Matthieu won the award in 1988. Hersom edged fellow finalists Kyle Stilphen of Gardiner and Justin Villacci of Gorham in the balloting.

Hersom figures to be part of the competition for the Eagles’ starting quarterback job next season with the graduation of 2007 starter Jonah Chappell, who passed for 1,298 yards in helping Husson compile a 6-3 record last fall.

"The coaches made it clear that they weren’t going to hand out anything," said Hersom. "I’ll have to go out and work hard to try to earn the position."

And he won’t be the only Hersom on the Eagles’ roster, as twin brothers Tom and Mike Hersom, both key players in Lawrence’s 2006 state championship run, have transferred to Husson after spending their first semester of college at the University of Maine.

"It just fell into place," said Jack. "They decided they missed football and had to get back into it, and Husson was a good fit for them, too."

Jack Hersom plans to study education at Husson with an eye toward following a family tradition as a teacher and coach.

In addition to his father’s coaching success, uncle Jim — John’s twin brother — had a long career as a Maine high school coach with stops including Edward Little of Auburn and Livermore Falls.

And his grandfather, Lawrence R. "Doc" Hersom, spent nearly half of his 35-year football coaching career at Edward Little, where he guided the Red Eddies to three state championships — including back-to-back Class A crowns in 1976 and 1977 with teams led by his twin sons.

eclark@bangordailynews.net
990-8045

NABC Names Gilbride Northeast Coach of the Year

Sport: Basketball (boys)  Posted: March 20th, 2008

NABC Names Gilbride Northeast Coach of the Year

BRUNSWICK, Maine - Bowdoin College head men's basketball coach Tim Gilbride has been named the Northeast District Coach of the Year by the National Association of Basketball Coaches. It is the second prestigious honor of the year for Gilbride, who was named the New England Small College Athletic Conference Coach of the Year.

Gilbride led the Polar Bears to their best-ever season in 2007-08, accumulating a school-record 22 victories against seven losses and reaching the Second-Round of the NCAA Division III Tournament. Bowdoin made their first-ever appearance in the NESCAC Championship game and earned the program's first NCAA bid since 1998-99. Already the winningest coach in school history, Gilbride earned his 300th win on November 30, 2007 against the University of New England and just concluded his 23rd season at the helm of the squad.

The NABC Division III All-District honors recognize the best men's collegiate basketball performers in the division. Selected and voted on by member coaches of the NABC, the recipients of each of the eight districts are eligible for National Coach of the Year honors.

Bankrupt Lynn Spirit still spread joy to baseball fans on North Shore

Sport:   Posted: March 20th, 2008

Bankrupt Lynn Spirit still spread joy to baseball fans on North Shore
By John Shimer
Staff writer

Last fall when the Lynn Spirit finished their last season after going bankrupt, two River Rival schools received a surprise gift from Spirit owner Nick Lopardo, Newburyport and Georgetown.

A Newburyport resident four months of the year, Lopardo called up Newburyport High School athletic director John Daileanes to ask if the school could use any of the equipment the Spirit would not be auctioning off.

Daileanes passed on the invitation to Clippers' coach Bill Pettingell and he took assistant coach Steve Malenfant as well as several Clipper players and some extra helping hands over to Frasier Field in Lynn to check out the stock.

For a school with no baseball budget relying on fundraising for basic equipment, what awaited was a treasure chest-like find.

In all the Newburyport high school team received somewhere in the neighborhood of $20,000 worth of equipment (used price estimate).

Some of the more noteworthy items included a nearly 70 by 30 foot caterpillar style portable pull-out back stop, major league qualityHollywood bases that are inserted in the ground, former Red Sox pitcher and Lynn Spirit pitching coach Dick Raddatz's baseball pants along with four dozen other pairs of baseball pants, several screens, two tarps with spikes (one for the mound and one for home plate), portable painting machines for the lines and three coyote statues to scare geese and other large birds off the field.

"I think if the guy could have given us the field he would have," said Pettingell, who really appreciated Lopardo's generous donation. "Most of the stuff he gave us we never would be able to buy.

"You look at the essentials for the game like a bat, and those are going for $500 these days," explained Pettingell. "The stuff we got is high quality and we will get great use out of almost everything."

Pettingell was even able to use some of the equipment — namely the Raddatz pants — to pull a prank on one of his long time friends.

"The Raddatz pants were like size 60 and so I threw them in Steve Malenfant's mailbox," said Pettingell. "We all like to tease Steve a little about his waste size, and later I told him I had a pair of pants for him for practice. When he checked his mailbox he wasn't pleased, but we all got a kick out of it."

As for Georgetown and coach Mark Rowe, the Royals got a lot of clothing that was royal blue and did not have the Spirit logo on it.

"We got a bunch of helmets, two sets of catcher's gear, and some warm-up style button down jerseys that were all really professional grade gear," Rowe said. "My catchers are already loving their new stuff. It matches our colors and if we had to replace our old equipment we would never be able to buy equipment this nice."

The player most likely in line to get the most use out of the catching gear — sophomore catcher Chris Esposito — who said he wanted to thank the Spirit for their amazing donation.

"It is unbelievable equipment, and I am just happy a pro team could donate this stuff to us because we don't have a whole lot of money at our school, so that was really clutch," Esposito said. "Everything is definitely better than anything I have used before. The quality of the pads from the way they surround your leg for protection to their the comfort level is great, and if the pros used the equipment, it's obviously good enough for high school baseball."

Although both programs were disappointed when the Spirit folded a year ago, Lopardo's generous donation was a terrific hull for two programs that have been extremely restricted by user fees in the recent past.

Wading his time Georgetown's super-human student atlete doesn't miss a beat in the classroom or on the field

Sport:   Posted: March 20th, 2008

Wading his time Georgetown's super-human student atlete doesn't miss a beat in the classroom or on the field
By Evan Mugford
Staff writer

Georgetown High lacrosse player Brandon Wade
Bryan Eaton / Staff photo

GEORGETOWN — Multitasking is how human beings juggle their busy and occasionally chaotic lifestyles. Some folks multitask terribly — cutting corners, forgetting details, leaving goals unfinished. A select few do so with ease, deliberate finesse as it were; making the rounds, putting in the effort, managing time.

Dealing with stress is a common fixture among students and athletes, and the combination makes it even harder.

Georgetown's Brandon Wade, a tri-captain in football, basketball and lacrosse, as well as president of his senior class, is aware of the stress that accompanies a multitasking student-athlete.

Coming from an athletic family, Wade, son of Jeffrey and Elizabeth and brother to Corey and Tyler, is a person that puts effort into everything he does. He's the type that won't quit, won't accept failure and won't second guess what he believes to be most important: Making his family proud.

When others tip-toe, Wade's running, and when some are skipping, the senior with the astronomic 4.98 GPA, is leaping.

Mike Rowinski, Wade's basketball coach for the last three years, has only seen Wade give up in a game once.

"We were down by a lot and Brandon just gave up," Rowinski said. "I had never seen it before so it came to me as a shock. He looked frustrated when I asked him what the problem was, and he didn't answer.

"It was well after the game when someone came up to me with an explanation," said Rowinski. "He had a blister the size of half dollar on his toe. Even though he was in pain, he didn't want anybody to know."

Rowinski knows that the Royals program will be losing a special individual when Wade finally leaves.

"He's a winner," said Rowinski, who would've given Wade his third straight defensive player of the year award, but deemed it fitting to give him the Coach's Award instead. "A true competitor. For his size, he's as tough as it comes. If you're going to bet on someone to be successful, really, there's no other candidate."

Wade grew up dribbling a soccerball with his dad at an early age, and then not long after picked up baseball and basketball. Still Wade pressed on, looking for other sports to quell his competitive edge, and soon found them when his parents signed him up for Triton Pop Warner in the third grade and followed by youth lacrosse in the eighth grade.

Whereas most athletes are content with a single sport, Wade's motivation and need for something new has driven him to seek more than one outlet.

"It's hard to place," said Wade, who is also part of his high-school's National Honor Society. "I just have this drive to do well. I have something inside me that expects a lot and to push myself to reach those expectations in every sport. And not just in sports either, in school and in life as well."

With such a full plate of sports and scholastic obligations, making time is not always the simplest of endeavors.

"It's tough, I have a lot of late nights," explained Wade. "I try to manage my time the best I can, though I do occasionally get pretty bogged down.

"I still find time to be with my friends," said Wade, whose favorite athlete is Terrell Davis. "Since I'm involved with both spectrums, athletics and scholastics, I'm fortunate to have such a wide variety of friends."

Wade's competitive flame isn't designated to just fields or a court.

"I'm probably even more competitive with grades than sports," said Wade, who admits that it's not a great idea to be around him after a loss, though the experience is usually a constructive one. "If that's even possible."

Wade, who has expressed deep interest in studying pre-med once he goes to college, recently had a taste of being far from home. Last summer Wade left the familiar confines of Georgetown and visited Guatemala through a program called Partners In Development.

"I was there for eight days and in that time we built a house and I worked for a medical center," said Wade, who has also spent his last two summers working for an architecture firm in Boston called ADD Incorporated. "A few of my friends went as well and it was a really good time."

With a career over-flowing in great memories, from his basketball team's recent success to four dynamic football seasons, a certain flawed football memory seems to stand out above the rest. One that certainly shows Wade's character, even if it was less than perfect.

"We were playing Northeast," recalled Wade, "and our QB Joey Esposito had just scored something like a 60-yard touch down run and I was so happy for him that I sprinted over to congratulate him.

"I was about to jump on his back," said Wade, "when he ducked and I went sailing over him. I landed on my shoulder and dislocated my collar bone. It was just really strange, and funny, that I was so happy one moment and then hurt the next. I was back in a couple games though."

As Wade's high-school life begins to diminish, all his hard work and determination can be attributed to the constant advice and help his parents always offered.

"With all the stuff I have to do, there's a lot of things I just don't have time to do," Wade said. "Whatever I can't find to do, they step in and help me out. They push me in a subtle way that I think is key when you're trying to deal with someone like myself."

Although Wade has a soft spot for every sport he plays, lacrosse remains his favorite and with his final season beginning in another week and a half, Wade is looking forward to a memorable last season with a long run in the tournament.

"We have a new coach this year — Matt Bouchard — and he's bringing a lot of experience to our team that we didn't know about before," Wade said. "For me, I just want to learn as much as I can and improve my game. And for the team, I definitely want to get back to the play-offs and do some damage there."

Bouchard — Wade's new coach in lacrosse and old coach in football — holds the senior in his highest regard.

"Brandon is just a high character individual," said Bouchard. "He's the face of the program, and he seems to always do it right.

"He's broken eight school football records and is set to play in the Shriner's game," Bouchard said. "He's a dynamic player, and he'll fit nicely into all the schemes we'll be bringing this year."

Once lacrosse is over and Wade has either been named his school's Valedictorian or Salutatorian, Wade can look forward to one thing in particular, or at least, a bit more of it.

"Rest," laughed Wade. "I'm not looking to play any sports in college (though intramurals may be an exception). Really, I'm just looking to go out and experience something new. Going to a bigger school and discovering another part of the country is something I'm really eager for."

Harvard and Cornell set to clash again

Sport:   Posted: March 20th, 2008

Harvard and Cornell set to clash again
By Eric Mchugh
The Patriot Ledger
Posted Mar 19, 2008 @ 10:31 PM
CAMBRIDGE —

Meanwhile, in other Big Red news

The Cornell men’s and women’s basketball teams are the darlings of their respective NCAA tournaments. The men, Ivy League champs for the first time in 20 years, are seeded 14th in the South Region and will play No. 3 Stanford today in Anaheim, Calif. The women, seeded 16th, draw mighty UConn in Bridgeport, Conn., on Sunday.

Good luck with that.

The men’s hockey team, on the other hand, is less of a long shot, but Harvard hopes to send it packing anyway.

Before both teams were eliminated in the ECAC Hockey quarterfinals last season, Harvard and Cornell had met in the championship game four times in a five-year span with each team winning twice – Harvard in 2002 and ’06, Cornell in ’03 and ’05. Friday they will square off again, this time in the ECAC semifinals at the Times Union Center in Albany, N.Y. (7 p.m.). The final is Saturday at 7 p.m.

“There’s definitely a history with these two teams meeting up,” said Harvard coach Ted Donato, who lives in Scituate. “The rivalry is alive and well.”

So are the Crimson, who appeared to be on life support during an 0-7-2 drought that stretched from Dec. 4 to Jan. 12. That slump might end up costing third-seeded Harvard (16-12-4) an at-large bid to the NCAA tournament should it fail to win the ECAC crown and the automatic bid that goes with it. But Donato is proud that his guys have righted the ship to the tune of a 7-1-1 record since losing the Beanpot final (6-5 in overtime) to Boston College.

“It really was a great test of character for our guys to face that adversity and have that tough stretch during the year,” he said. “I really give a lot of credit to our senior leadership and our leadership on our team as a whole because things were not looking so good there for a little bit. Guys really dug deep and regrouped and decided what we needed to be as a team to be successful. To end up back in Albany is a tribute (to them).”

While No. 8 Colgate (18-16-6) tangles with No. 2 Princeton (19-13-0) in the other semifinal, Harvard will try to go 3-0 against fifth-seeded Cornell (18-13-3) this season. The Crimson won both regular-season meetings, 2-1 and 3-1 – scores befitting the two top defensive teams in the league.

“Both games were very close-to-the-vest, tight-checking affairs, very emotional,” Donato said. “We expect more of the same.”

Sophomore forward Colin Greening is Cornell’s leading scorer (13 goals, 19 assists, 32 points) and is on a seven-game points streak (5-6–11). Freshman forward Riley Nash (12-19–31) is right behind him. The Big Red even has a South Shore connection with the Devin brothers of Scituate. Mike, a freshman defenseman, is 4-10–14 in 33 games, and Joe, a freshman forward, is 3-0–3 in 22 games.

“Mike is one of their power-play defensemen. He’s had a very good year,” said Donato, who is friends with one of the Devins’ neighbors. “And Joe has had some big goals for them and been very solid.”

Senior Mike Taylor (12-20–32) is Harvard’s top scorer, one point ahead of sophomore Doug Rogers (13-18–31). Taylor and senior defenseman Dave Watters each was 3-5–8 in a wild, three-game win over Quinnipiac in the ECAC quarterfinals. Harvard won the first game, 11-0 – its biggest offensive output since a 12-1 drubbing of Yale on Dec. 11, 1993. Quinnipiac bounced back to take Game 2, 7-4, before Harvard closed out the series with a 3-1 victory last Sunday night.

With 18 goals in three games against Quinnipiac, Harvard hopes it has addressed its main weakness – a lack of firepower. During the nine-game winless streak, for example, the Crimson scored only 16 goals.

“We’ve done a better job of establishing our forecheck,” Donato said. “Our special teams have been much improved, and we’ve started games much better. We’ve put ourselves in a position of being ahead and controlling the tempo of the game and the style of the game. Our offense has been much improved throughout the season.”

BCs Gibbons has no fear

Sport:   Posted: March 20th, 2008

BC’s Gibbons has no fear
Braintree forward playing big for Eagles
By Eric Mchugh
The Patriot Ledger
Posted Mar 20, 2008 @ 03:21 AM
BOSTON —

Finally, Nathan Gerbe can see eye-to-eye with his center.

Gerbe, Boston College’s 5-foot-5 junior dynamo, spent much of last season paired with 6-7 giant Brian Boyle of Hingham (until Boyle switched back to defense for the playoffs). These days, Gerbe is skating with 5-8 Brian Gibbons of Braintree.

So, no more kinks in the neck if Gerbe wants to talk strategy with his linemate on the bench.

“There’s some size (difference) there,” Gerbe said with a laugh, “but Brian Gibbons plays a lot bigger than he is. He hits tremendously hard. He’s probably one of the hardest hitters on the team. And he’s not scared to get in the corners. I think that’s what will benefit him down the road.”

Gibbons’ fearlessness is part of the reason that his future is so bright at the Heights. Yet he’s already paying dividends. He was the Beanpot MVP in February, and although he’s not the Eagles’ highest-scoring freshman – that honor belongs to Joe Whitney, who is tied for second in Hockey East with 45 points (seven goals, 38 assists) – Gibbons (11-16–27) does lead all Hockey East skaters with a plus-25 rating.

“That’s a remarkable stat,” said BC coach Jerry York, whose fourth-seeded Eagles (19-11-8) will face No. 1 New Hampshire (25-8-3) in the first game of tomorrow’s Hockey East semifinal doubleheader at TD Banknorth Garden (5 p.m.). No. 2 Boston University (19-16-4) meets No. 3 Vermont (16-14-7) at 8 p.m.

Having good linemates – Gerbe (27-25–52) is the league’s top gun, and Ben Smith (19-21–40) is seventh in Hockey East in scoring – certainly has aided Gibbons’ cause. Yet the plus-minus number also is a testament to Gibbons’ commitment to defense, an approach he honed last season after transferring from Thayer Academy to Salisbury (Conn.) School for his senior year.

Gibbons had poured in 57 points in 30 games for Thayer as a sophomore (he committed to BC right after that breakout season) but his numbers were much more tame at Salisbury (27 points in 25 games). Former Salisbury coach Dan Donato (his brother, Ted, coaches Harvard) said some misinterpreted Gibbons’ decline in production.

“A lot of people assumed that he had just an OK year, but actually I think Brian had a terrific year and learned some things on the other side of the puck,” said Donato, now coaching at Dexter School in Brookline. “I think he became a more complete player, a two-zone player.”

Gibbons said he had a blast at Salisbury, centering Michael Biega (now at Harvard) and Weymouth’s Paul Carey, who is starring in the USHL and will play at BC next season. “At Thayer we weren’t as talented as we were at Salisbury,” Gibbons said. “I didn’t have to carry the team, but I had to put up a lot of points to try to help us win. Then when I went to Salisbury there were a lot more talented kids around. We had plenty of offense, so I worked hard on the defensive zone.

“I think Coach Donato taught me a lot. I wouldn’t say I was a liability (before on defense), but I think I was more of an offensive player at Thayer. At Salisbury I became more of a two-way player.”

Gerbe said he appreciates Gibbons’ defensive mindset, which he said brings balance to the line. And York raves about Gibbons’ on-ice IQ. “He’s got great defensive instincts,” the coach said. “He knows how to play without the puck, and that’s the hardest thing. As you get older, everybody’s pretty good with the puck, but he has a sense of who to cover, where the danger areas are.”

Gibbons, whose older brother Mike plays at Division 3 Skidmore College, has shown flashes of offensive potential, including in the Beanpot final when he scored twice in a 6-5 OT win over Harvard. York predicts big goal totals for him down the road but said Gibbons’ main job now is to be a “set-up guy” for Gerbe. Not a bad gig.

“It’s almost scary how good he is,” Gibbons said of his left wing.

BC will need all of Gerbe’s (and Gibbons’) skill against New Hampshire, which went 3-0 against BC during the regular season and allowed the Eagles only three goals.

“They’ve had our number this year,” Gibbons said. “This week in practice everyone has been real focused. It’s been pretty intense.”

Added Gerbe: “We were kind of laid back when we started the games, and they took it right to us. They’re a very good team. We can’t let them dictate the game. We have to go out there and play hard and get in their face.”

Eric McHugh may be reached at emchugh@ledger.com.

Stoughton star 2-sport athlete at Rhode Island University

Sport:   Posted: March 20th, 2008

Stoughton star 2-sport athlete at Rhode Island University
By Jared Sugerman
GateHouse News Service
Posted Mar 20, 2008 @ 03:39 AM
STOUGHTON —

If playing one sport as a Division 1 college student-athlete is a full-time commitment, then time must move more slowly for Shawn Leonard.

A 2005 graduate of Stoughton High School, Leonard is a member of both, the track and football teams at the University of Rhode Island.

In his leisure time, the junior works toward his degree in communications.

“The first year, it was a little overwhelming,” Leonard said. “The timing is tough, but you really get used to it. The times of day that they allot for you to get work done, you try to really take advantage of that.”

Of course, working through adversity is nothing out of the ordinary for Leonard.

In 2000, he was diagnosed with a disease known as Osteochondritis, which caused his femur bones to deteriorate due to a lack of sufficient blood flow to the knees.

To allow the blood to reach the bones, Leonard had holes drilled into each of his legs. The operation cured the Osteochondritis, but it left Shawn essentially immobilized.

“He had a wheelchair, but to move up and down in the house, his brothers and all of us would carry him,” said Shawn’s mother, Anne Marie.

Leonard’s brothers, Eric and Jason, shared Shawn’s athletic prowess and penchant for competition. Eric won three conference championships as an offensive tackle at Curry, and Jason helped the UMass football team to the Div. 1-AA national championship game in 2006.

“Our parents must have given us something,” quipped Leonard.

With his family’s assistance, Leonard was eventually allowed to move out of the wheelchair and on to crutches, which he had to learn to use without putting pressure on his legs.

After about six months of physical therapy, he was allowed to compete athletically.

“I keep thinking back to when we watched him to try to play, and he just couldn’t move right,” said Anne Marie. “He just didn’t have the strength to keep up.”

But eventually, Leonard not only regained his strength, also he found that he had some additional strength that had not been there prior to his surgery.

“Our joke around here was that Dr. Micheli put springs in Shawn’s knees,” Anne Marie said.

Leonard parlayed his new-found leaping ability into a spot on the Stoughton High track squad, and he later went on to become the state-champion in the high jump.

But college football coaches didn’t see what Leonard had to offer, in part because he missed most of his junior season with a broken collarbone.

So Leonard went to Rhode Island with only a partial track scholarship.

“It definitely put a chip on my shoulder,” said Leonard, who started his collegiate football career as a walk-on punter.

“I wanted to play the game, but not because they were paying me to be there. It made me have to be that much better than everyone else. Usually, they want to play the guys that are on scholarship, so to get the chance, you’ve got to make sure you’re putting forth that extra effort.”

After red-shirting his freshman year, Leonard got his chance, and it was one that he was prepared to seize.

“Playing backyard football, I’ve always been running around and catching the ball,” Leonard said. “Catching the ball, for me, is a natural thing, and that definitely helped me out going in.”

Leonard was the Rams’ leading receiver in 2006 and 2007, catching a total of 52 passes for 848 yards and five touchdowns.

He also helped the URI men’s track team win the indoor and outdoor Atlantic 10 Championships.

“It’s been a great experience to be able to play two sports in college,” Leonard said.

Gloucester's Hickey named All-Northeast Region

Sport:   Posted: March 20th, 2008

Gloucester's Hickey named All-Northeast Region
Staff Report

Gloucester native and Wheaton College women's basketball standout Krystin Hickey has been named to the D3hoops.com All-Northeast Region second team.

The 5-foot-9 junior forward is one of just 16 players from the region to earn an honor from the organization. D3hoops.com awards are voted upon by regional sports information directors.

Earlier this winter Hickey, who played her high school basketball at New Hampton School in Manchester, N.H., was named to the New England Women's and Men's Athletic Conference (NEWMAC) all-league first team. She became the first Lyon to draw a D3hoops.com accolade in the seven years the organization has honored student-athletes.

Hickey led Wheaton in scoring (13.6), and was fifth among all NEWMAC players. She also had an efficient year shooting the ball, hitting 51.7 percent from the floor and 46.7 percent on 3-pointers. She also connected on 77.3 percent of her free throws.

On January 30, she became the ninth Wheaton player, and the first junior, to reach 1,000 points for her career. She is currently sixth all-time with 1,168 points.

Perhaps most important, Hickey helped lead the Lyons back to the Division 3 NCAA tournament for the first time since 1995. Wheaton finished the season at 22-8 after falling to Tufts University, 71-67, in the first round of the tourney. She also helped Wheaton win its first league crown since 1994-1995.

Area Boys Basketball scoring leaders - Eagle Tribune

Sport:   Posted: March 20th, 2008

Area Boys Basketball scoring leaders - Eagle Tribune


Player%School%Games%Points%Avg.

Drew Smith%Timberlane%20%472%23.6

Romeo Diaz%Methuen%20%437%21.9

Justin Hojlo%Pelham%23%476%20.7

Alex Skinner%Brooks%24%459%19.1

Billy Marsden%Central%24%457%19.0

Jaymie Spears%Georgetown%22%412%18.7

Beau Cassidy%Pinkerton%23%400%17.4

Jordan Mickens%Brooks%23%397%17.3

Adrian Gonzalez%Central%23%388%16.9

Donald Celestin%Gr. Lawrence%18%291%16.2

Josh Jones%Salem%25%400%16.0

Kevin Lentini%North Reading%22%349%15.9

Steve Boudreau%North Andover%22%334%15.2

Mike Kimball%Salem%25%375%15.0

Matt Travalini%Londonderry%22%316%14.4

Ricky Costa%Pelham%20%278%13.9

Trevor Glines%Fellowship%16%219%13.7

Sean McManus%North Andover%20%268%13.4

Hayden Yeazel%North Andover%21%267%12.7

Bobby Wunsch%Londonderry%23%279%12.1

Edwin Gonzalez%Methuen%20%230%11.5

Zach Mathieu%Pinkerton%23%264%11.5

Robby Ficker%Sanborn%12%137%11.4

Tristian Shannon%Andover%23%258%11.2

Gerry Littles%Whittier%20%221%11.1

Carson Desrosiers%Central%27%298%11.0

Jordan Silva%Pentucket%19%206%10.8

Liam Crawford%Pentucket%20%214%10.7

Dante Perella%Whittier%14%148%10.6

Shawn Stoodley%Salem%25%252%10.1

Mike Gorman%Methuen%22%221%10.0

Julio Colon%Georgetown%22%213%9.7

Kelvin Correa%Gr. Lawrence%18%172%9.6

Kevin O'Leary%North Reading%21%198%9.4

Jamie Vaiknoras%Pelham%23%212%9.2

Colby Verge%Pinkerton%23%212%9.2

Derrick Beasley%Andover%23%206%9.0

Rob Verreault%Sanborn%21%189%9.0

Damian Colman%Whittier%20%179%9.0

Tim Holland%Georgetown%20%173%8.7

Dan Kinney%Salem%25%216%8.6

Ben Proulx%Pinkerton%23%194%8.4

Zach Burdeau%Andover%23%189%8.2

Brian Cabrera%Gr. Lawrence%20%161%8.1

Ryan Griffin%Londonderry%16%130%8.1

Jordan Johnson%Brooks%24%186%7.8

Mike Donovan%Timberlane%20%157%7.8

Desmond Lumpkins%Londonderry%23%176%7.7

Wilfredo Pagan%Central%27%208%7.7

John Finch%North Reading%22%169%7.7

Kevin Sledge%Salem%24%179%7.5

Dino Rizzo%North Reading%22%166%7.5

Brandon Sheehy%Whittier%20%139%7.0

Greg Cook%Andover%23%158%6.9

Erik Hatton%Timberlane%20%137%6.8

Leandro Vasquez%Gr. Lawrence%20%135%6.8

Nate Adames%Gr. Lawrence%17%115%6.8

Evan Williams%Timberlane%20%129%6.5

Joey Rivera%Gr. Lawrence%14%91%6.5

Grant Hebert%Pelham%20%123%6.2

Brian Lundquist%Fellowship%16%99%6.2

Hector Heredia%Gr. Lawrence%20%120%6.0

High Games

51 — Romeo Diaz, Methuen vs. Dracut

40 — Justin Nieves, Lawrence vs. Tewksbury

38 — Justin Nieves, Lawrence vs. Pinkerton

37 — Justin Hojlo, Pelham vs. Laconia

36 — Drew Smith, Timberlane (twice) vs. Memorial, North

35 — Justin Hojlo, Pelham vs. Kearsarge

34 — Alex Skinner, Brooks vs. Middlesex

33 — Billy Marsden, Central vs. Lawrence

32 — Drew Smith, Timberlane (three times) vs. Salem, Dover, Merrimack

31 — Jorge Escoto, Lawrence vs. Methuen

31 — Jordan Mickens, Brooks vs. St. Paul

31 — Adrian Gonzalez, Central vs. Lawrence

31 — Mike Kimball, Salem vs. Bishop Guertin

Total 3-pointers

Player%School%No.

Alex Skinner%Brooks%98

Beau Cassidy%Pinkerton%84

Sean McManus%North Andover%55

Billy Marsden%Central%53

Matt Travalini%Londonderry%53

Justin Hojlo%Pelham%53

Mike Gorman%Methuen%53

Jordan Mickens%Brooks%49

Greg Cook%Andover%36

Trevor Glines%Fellowship%35

Romeo Diaz%Methuen%32

Liam Crawford%Pentucket%32

Mike Kimball%Salem%30

Drew Smith%Timberlane%29

Edwin Gonzalez%Methuen%28

Mike Donovan%Timberlane%28

Jaymie Spears%Georgetown%27

Damian Colman%Whittier%27

Dante Perella%Whittier%26

Josh Jones%Salem%24

Jordan Silva%Pentucket%23

Kevin Sledge%Salem%23

Tom O'Connell%North Andover%22

Donald Celestin%Gr. Lawrence%22

John Finch%North Reading%21

3-pointers in a game

8 — Justin Nieves, Lawrence vs. Tewksbury

7 — Alex Skinner, Brooks (twice)

7 — Jordan Mickens, Brooks vs. St. Paul

7 — Justin Nieves, Lawrence vs. Pinkerton

7 — Beau Cassidy, Pinkerton vs. Timberlane

6 — Sean McManus, North Andover vs. Wilmington

6 — Javier Bristol, Haverhill vs. Central Catholic

6 — Jaymie Spears, Georgetown vs. Masco

6 — Alex Skinner, Brooks vs. Lawrence Academy

Eagle-Tribune Boys Basketball Fab 5

1. Central Catholic%25-2

2. Salem%24-1

3. Brooks%18-6

4. Pelham%19-4

5. North Andover%16-6

Honorable mention: Georgetown (14-8), Londonderry (15-8)

Fila hopes tourney berth is in English softball's future this season

Sport:   Posted: March 20th, 2008

Fila hopes tourney berth is in English softball's future this season

By Joyce Erekson / The Daily Item


English softball coach Alisa Fila looks on as Tiffany Drown makes a catch Wednesday at practice. (ITEM PHOTO / REBA M. SALDANHA)

LYNN -- English High softball coach Alisa Fila has high hopes that this year's team will have the horses to qualify for the state tournament.

The Bulldogs finished 8-12 last year. This year's numbers are good, with 55-56 girls showing up for tryouts earlier this week. Fila has some experienced players returning, including sophomore catcher Cara Crowley, who hit in the .400s to lead the team. Valerie Fiaccaprile, also a sophomore, patrols centerfield, and she gives the Bulldogs some speed in the leadoff spot.

English's returning contingent also includes junior first baseman Lauren Walsh, who started last year; junior Danielle Burke, a reserve outfielder; senior right fielder Aleasha Despres; and senior second baseman Kristi Rebidue. Junior Jackie Trapula also saw time at second. English could also get some help from junior Jenny Mageary, who transferred from St. Mary's this year.

Amanda Witunsky is back at third and she's available to pitch if she's needed. The Bulldogs lost their ace, Debbie Santos, to graduation. Santos is now playing at the University of Massachusetts at Lowell. English also lost its shortstop, Katie Gouthro, to graduation.

The good news for Fila is that she has several talented pitchers to try to fill the void, including Tiffany Drown, who bounced between junior varsity and varsity last year, and freshmen Cathia Hernandez and Stephanie Scherrer.

"We had a good amount of talent show up," Fila said, adding she saw some players from Marshall Middle School and Pickering who show some potential.


Lynn English softball player Kristi Rebidue, center, stretches before practice Wednesday. (ITEM PHOTO / REBA M. SALDANHA)

"We're planning on making the tournament," Fila said. "We're going to focus on being a team, working as a team, and hopefully it will come together. I think we're going to have a good year. If we can find a consistent pitcher, we have our No. 4 hitter back (Crowley)."

Fila said she also has some players who were on the junior varsity last year who could make an impact at the varsity level this year.

Classical, English join forces for Lynn lacrosse team

Sport:   Posted: March 20th, 2008

Classical, English join forces for Lynn lacrosse team

By Joyce Erekson / The Daily Item


Captain Dan Lucier gets his work in during Wednesday's practice. (ITEM PHOTO / REBA M. SALDANHA)

LYNN -- The imaginary line that separates East Lynn from West Lynn blurred a little this winter with merger of the English and Classical hockey teams, and it's even fuzzier this spring now that the rival schools have also joined forces in lacrosse.

The Lynn lacrosse team (there is no team nickname) hit the Manning Field turf running this week with 63 players (51 from Classical and 12 from English) showing up for tryouts. Coach Chris Simbliaris has since trimmed the list to 54.

Simbliaris is excited about the team's prospects this season, despite the fact neither Lynn team fared well last year. Classical finished 2-16, but Simbliaris said he knew it would be a rebuilding year. The team lost 11 seniors from the 2006 squad that qualified for the state tournament for the first time in the history of the program.

Simbliaris had many underclassmen playing last year, and he's hoping the year of experience, combined with the influx of players from English, will translate into some success this year.

"It's definitely going to be a good year for the program," he said, "I think it's a win-win situation for both teams."

Simbliaris said many of the players already knew each other through other sports, like hockey, baseball and soccer, so it hasn't been much of an adjustment.

"The kids really don't care (about the team being merged). They just want to play the game," he said.

Simbliaris is still sorting through the talent, but there are several players from both teams who he expects will be key in the team's success. He has three senior captains, defenseman Alex Lewis and midfielder Kris Murphy from Classical, and junior defender Dan Lucier from English. Senior defender Chris Voyiagis (Classical), attackman Tim Shirley (English) and goalie Chris D'Onofrio have also stood out in the pack.

When the Classical and English hockey teams merged for the 2007-08 season, one of the big questions involved team colors. Combining maroon and gray with green and gold was a challenge, so the hockey team went with a neutral color scheme in red, white and blue. The hockey team also went with a neutral nickname, the Jets.

The lacrosse team will forgo a nickname, according to Simbliaris. The team will wear green helmets and green gloves. The home jersey will be gray and the away shirt will be black; the shorts will also be black.

Lynn captain Al Lewis, left, and junior Tim Shirley work out at practice Wednesday at Manning Field. (ITEM PHOTO / REBA M. SALDANHA)

The one semi-casualty of the merger is the Lynn tournament, which featured all four teams (Classical, English, St. Mary's and Tech) last year. Tech coach Brad Tilley has opted to not have his team play in the tournament, leaving only the combined Lynn team and St. Mary's.

Simbliaris said the Lynn team will play the Spartans for the championship, and next year, there will be two new teams in the tournament to bring the total back to four. In addition to its Northeastern Conference schedule, the Lynn team will play non-league games against Bishop Fenwick, North Reading, Wakefield, Pentucket and St. Mary's. Lynn opens the season Thursday, April 3, at home against Fenwick.

Joining Simbliaris on the bench will be Ed Brandt, a former Waltham High varsity assistant coach. Peter Papagianopoulos, who teaches at Classical's 9th-grade academy, will also help out. The team will tune up for opening day with scrimmages against Manchester-Essex and Burlington.
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