The College at Brockport fall sports previews
They are in a new conference (Empire 8), but the hope is that the Golden Eagles can carry the success of last season into this one. The team won their final seven games, including in their first playoff game since 2008 the ECAC Northwest Bowl, and led the conference in scoring with 30.5 points per game.
But they will attempt a repeat performance with just one of their five offensive linemen back in senior Sean O’Mara. That leaves plenty of questions for the offense, which returns all but one of their weapons.
“Our offensive line as a whole needs to grow up fast,” second year head coach Jason Mangone said.“We feel we have the people to fill in, but they have to show us from Day 1.”
All three running backs return including NJAC Offensive Rookie of the Year Dan Andrews with seniors Tyrone Nichols and Shireem Cobb. Both quarterbacks are also back in juniors Wayne Bonsell and Tyler Stoldt with the former taking over for the stretch run last season after an injury to Stoldt.
And the receiving corp. is back minus the school’s record holder in Jake Spalik, with senior Andrew Mrozek, juniors Eric Malave and Eddie Krecisz with freshman eligibility Nate Wilkinson, who missed most of last season with an injury.
On a defense that improved by leaps and bounds last season to limit opponents to fewer than 20 points per game, Hilton grad Jake Brickler led the team in tackles during his rookie season at linebacker with classmate and conference First Team selection Cortland Haines third in tackles and first in sacks. Juniors Tarik Bennett and Jeff Scialo round out the core of the interior defense.
Senior Anthony Bianchi and Colby Morabito (Hilton) anchor the defensive backfield.
Newcomers who could impact the lineup right away include Julius Brunson at cornerback and Joe Foster III and Capen Burbank on the offensive line.
“We as a program are excited about joining the Empire 8 and continuing regional rivalries. It will be better for everyone involved from the administration, coaches, players’ families, alumni and fans and I believe it will also give a new sense of pride for our students as they will have friends at the other schools that we are playing.”
After opening at home with Oberlin September 6 and traveling to future conference opponent Cortland on the 13th, Brockport hosts St. John Fisher in the Courage Bowl during Homecoming Weekend benefitting Camp Good Days and Special Times on September 20 at 6 p.m. for the inaugural Empire 8 conference game.
The Golden Eagles were ranked as high as seventh nationally last season before suffering a mid-October loss and, after an upset loss to Cortland in the SUNYAC quarterfinals, failed to receive an at-large NCAA playoff bid despite an 11-2-5 record.
They lost several key components, including two of their top three scorers, but return a healthy mix of veterans in all areas of the field and will add several transfers to add depth.
Leading scorer Peter DiLorenzo returns after his best-in-SUNYAC 13-goal sophomore season. The team will need to find secondary scoring and it could come from Roberts Wesleyan transfer and Spencerport grad Brandon Bianchi, who was a Section V All-American his senior year and finished third in school history with 88 career points.
Goalkeeper Casey Sullivan is back for his junior year after leading the conference in goals against average, saves and shutouts while starting every game. Help on the back line comes from Matt Roorda, Chase Crawley, Collin Goettel (Spencerport), Mark Sylvia and Nick Cafarelli.
David Lapietra and Marco DeBole anchor the midfield along with senior Kevin Dorn, who started only nine games last season due to injury.
In addition to Bianchi, Charlie Cosentino transfers in from Canisius, Patrick Sprague (Spencerport) from Oswego and Max Egan is back after leaving one year ago for Monroe CC. Freshmen recruits include Spencerport grad and Second Team All-Greater Rochester selection Emre Serbetci, who finished second on the Rangers with seven goals and led with 13 assists last season, and Josh Hunt.
“I am looking forward to another successful season and our goals haven’t changed – winning the SUNYAC conference and receiving a bid to the NCAA’s,” head coach Gary Lapietra said. “We have a very young team, but many contributed last season so I am confident that they are ready to make a significant contribution.” Lapietra, the school’s winningest men’s soccer head coach, enters his 20th season four wins shy of becoming the 51st active NCAA Division III coach with 200 in his career.
The squad will launch their season with two games at a Salisbury, MD tournament before hosting St. John Fisher September 3. Their nine-game conference schedule begins at the end of September.
Their 12-win 2013 season ended in the SUNYAC quarterfinals and the Golden Eagles embark on 2014 looking to replace almost half of their goal scoring from last season as they try to extend their streak of advancing to the postseason to 18 consecutive seasons.
SUNYAC Rookie of the Year and Brockport High product Chelsea Stahl will again be the go-to offensively after her ten-goal campaign, but the team will need to identify secondary scoring so teams cannot over-commit.
Senior Cayli Carmona and junior Courtney Szczesniak are part of that answer with potentially sophomore Christina Leonardo.
On the back line, senior goalkeeper Laura Thompson has one last season of eligibility after playing every minute last season with a 1.02 goals against average and seven shutouts.
Holley’s Brianna Goodwin and Emily Boehm will anchor the defense.
Among the newcomers looking to break into the starting lineup right away is Leonardo former classmate at Athena, Stefanie Drago, who transferred in from Mercyhurst after registering two assists in 13 games. Gabby Racines transfers in from Siena where she was a former MAAC All-Rookie team selection.
“We have nice returning players who helped us have a very successful season last fall, and we have some talented newcomers joining the program,” head coach Joan Schockow said.
The team will travel for their first four games, including a two-game tournament at Centenary College in New Jersey, before their home opener September 13. The nine-game conference schedule begins against Buffalo State September 26 at home.
Their six wins was the most for the program since 2008 and head coach Ben Klempka can’t wait for the season and home opener August 29 against St. John Fisher.
“I am looking forward to the upcoming season,” Klempka said. “Since we are returning our entire starting line-up, we are looking to make great strides in the conference.”
Top singles player Lauren Bohman is back for her senior year as is Rachel Lamont, who was primarily slotted at fifth singles, but teamed with Bohman at first doubles.
Juniors Natasha Hale and Amy Kurmis teamed up most matches at second doubles and were also second and fourth singles respectively.
The team also expects two transfers and two freshmen newcomers ready to compete for playing time right away.
After the Fisher opener, the Golden Eagles play five of their next six matches on the road, including the conference opener at Fredonia September 6.
Second year head coach Steven Pike welcomes his first recruiting class and has his work cut out for him as the team won ten games last season, but were 0-9 in SUNYAC matches with just five games won.
“We are really excited about this coming year and the athletic talent that is on the roster in both our returners and new athletes,” Pike said.
Senior Jaime Snyder led last year’s squad in service aces and was second in digs while sophomore Amanda Riebe led the offense with 272 kills.
“Jess Dobson-Tufo, Hannah Sawicki, Kelsey Baker, Kristen Lansburg and Sydney Youngberg all have opportunities to contribute more.”
Noelle Poloncarz will attempt to step into the setter role vacated by departed senior Jessica Greiner. Three transfers arrive to bolster the unit in Ashley Capone from Jefferson CCC plus Kayla Barber and Cristen Davis via Herkimer CC.
Other freshmen include Californian Rachel Fiser, Brianna Richardson, Sara Thistle and Emily Flohr to compete for time right away.
The team will open with the Brockport Invitational August 29 and 30 with Lasall, Skidmore and Ithaca and will host Roberts Wesleyan September 3. Their SUNYAC conference begins at Oswego September 26.
The story for the women’s team has been and will continue to be, for one more season, three-time All-American Rachel Malone.
Malone finished fifth at the 2013 NCAA Division III Atlantic Regional Cross Country Championships last November 23 seconds behind first place to cap off her junior year.
Beth Merritt, Sarah Swertfeger and Heather LaVallee will also be called on to build the team results.
“We have had great individual success the past two years with Rachel Malone and this season we are aiming at bringing the entire team to the top of the SUNYAC Conference,” interim head coach Sarah Ritchie said.
In terms of recruits, “we have transformed Kristin Taylor from a Brockport high school soccer player to a full blown, year-round distance runner. She put in a lot of work this summer and we are excited to see what her first season of cross country will bring. Another local, Megan Trimer from Gates Chili, ran quite a bit of mileage over the summer to put her on a fast track to success this fall.”
The men’s squad begins a rebuilding process with very few returnees. Gary Messina, Shaun Kurcoba and Ben Seiderman are among few upperclassmen.
“Sam Prestigiacomo put in a lot of work over the summer to come into the season prepared for the jump from 5k to 8k races. His teammate, Ben Mertus, had an outstanding spring track season during his senior year of high school. Freshmen Ian Spera from Central Square High School and Pat Jacobsen from Northport High School, will also be relied on throughout the season.”
After initial invitationals at Buffalo State and Oswego to begin the season, the annual Golden Eagle Invitational is September 13 with the school hosting the SUNYAC Championships November 1.
The Golden Eagles return a very young unit for 2014 after their six-win 2013 that features strength on the defensive side of the field and offensive potential.
Captain and four-year defensive starter Alyssa Mills anchors the backline along with sophomore Kat Weyant, sweeper Autumn Swavely, Ryenn Sanger and second-year starting goalie Lindsey Farrell.
Senior captain Abby Eschen, who missed most of last season due to injury, will lead the offense with the help of freshmen Amy Masciale and Kaitlin Croghan.
Nickole Morgan headlines the midfield with freshmen Kelsey Devine and Margo Tremaine expected to compete for spots right away.
“We are a very young team with only two seniors, but are returning a big group of talented sophomores and the new freshmen that came in are looking like they can secure a few starting positions,” 14 year head coach Andrea Zurlo said.
The season begins with non-conference home games with regional rivals Nazareth (8/30) and St. John Fisher (9/3) with their six-game SUNYAC schedule beginning September 19 at Oswego.