The College Sports Notebook is compiled by veteran sports writer and columnist Marc Maturo, a lifetime member of the Baseball Writers Association of America (BBWAA). The notebook will be published every Thursday, and also can be visited at www.rocklandcountytimes.com. Please send items of interest to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Mustangs riding high
The rings have already been won and sized, but not fitted just yet.
“Maybe I’ll have mine by Christmas. It’ll be a nice present,” offers Matt Bonomolo of Pearl River, who earned a championship ring along with his Mount Ida College teammates following a 52-28 Eastern Collegiate Football Conference (ECFC) victory over host Castleton State (Vt.) College.
“We really came together as a team this year, a real brotherhood,” said Bonomolo, the Mustangs’ veteran senior center. “We came out of the gate and approached every game with a 1 and 0 motto; that’s how we attacked each game. We wound up with a lot of program firsts.”
The conference title, of course, is the biggest first, achieved under the direction of fifth-year coach Michael Landers.
Bonomolo, who graduates on December 12, is joined on the Mustangs by three promising freshmen in Ramapo HS graduates Kervina Ferdiulu of Pomona and Roosevens Cineus of Spring Valley, both on the offensive line, and tight end Axel Joseph of Spring Valley.
The Mustangs, making another first, gained an automatic bid into the 32-team NCAA postseason tournament against powerhouse Wesley University, with their 8-2 record representing the highest yearly total in program history.
The fifth-ranked Wesley College team (8-1) has been selected to compete in the NCAA Division III Football Championships for the eighth consecutive year and will host Mount Ida College at Scott D. Miller Stadium on Saturday at noon.
Wesley and Mount Ida have faced off just one time, with the Wolverine coming out on top, 43-6, on Sept. 18, 1999.
Wesley’s 18 NCAA postseason wins over the past six years are the third-most in Division III, trailing only Mount Union and Wisconsin-Whitewater over that timeframe. The winner of the Wesley/Mount Ida contest will face the winner of the SUNY Cortland/Framingham State matchup. On the other side of the bracket, Mary Hardin-Baylor hosts Louisiana College and Franklin travels to Adrian.
The Cortland Red Dragons’ defense is anchored by junior sacks leader Gabe Ostrow of Nanuet, with the help of backs Kenta Umezaki of Pearl River and Clarkstown South HS alum Frank Tucek of New City.
The winner of the bracket will face the winner of a bracket headlined by Mount Union in the national semifinals on December 8; the semifinal winners compete in the Stagg Bowl for the Division III National Championship in Salem, Va., on December 14.
“This will be a tough game, no doubt,” understated Bonomolo. “Wesley uses a spread offense, and a 4-3 defense. We faced the 4-3 a majority of the weeks — it’s nothing we haven’t seen before, but this is a different team. We’ll have to play our “A” game if we expect to win.”
Bonomolo, putting on his coach’s cap, says the Mustangs are a well-balanced outfit.
“We have a good rushing attack, and a quarterback with a top-three efficiency rating. We have a 1,000-yard receiver. We have a lot of weapons. We have a chance to go deeper (in the tournament).”
Chargers remember Sullivan
The Dominican College women’s and men’s basketball teams will host the inaugural Daniel Sullivan Memorial Tournament November 16-18 on Coach Baxter Court at the Hennessy Center in Orangeburg. The women’s portion of the tournament is set on Friday evening and Saturday afternoon, while the men will be in action Saturday evening and Sunday afternoon.
Daniel Sullivan, a 1976 graduate of Dominican College, was a four-year member of the men’s basketball team. He ranks eighth in the Chargers’ 1,000-point club with 1,492 career points and was inducted into the Dominican College Athletic Hall of Fame in 1995. He was a life-long county resident who tragically passed away on Oct. 31, 2011.
A key member of the women’s team is junior forward K.C. Jentzen of Pearl River, an alumna of Nanuet High School, while the men’s squad includes a pair of incoming all-county freshmen guards, Joe Clinton of Pearl River and John Brezovsky of Nanuet, who was also named all-county in football.
Memorial Tournament schedule:
Dec. 16: N.Y. Institute of Technology vs. Nyack College, 6 p.m.; Merrimack College vs. Dominican College, 8 p.m.; Dec. 17: Nyack vs. Merrimack, noon; NYIT vs. Dominican, 2 p.m.
Dec. 17: Assumption College vs. Caldwell College, 6 p.m.; University of Bridgeport vs. Dominican, 8 p.m.; Dec. 18: Bridgeport vs. Caldwell, 2 p.m.; Assumption vs. Dominican, 4 p.m.