Marc Maturo’s official sports column
Jaspers turn the page, hope for better days
This year is next year for the Manhattan College women’s lacrosse team.
The Jaspers went 4-13 overall last season, going just 1-5 in the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference (MAAC). So, like the dedicated Brooklyn Dodgers fans of yore, Jaspers supporters could only cry “wait till next year.”
Next year is here, and first-year head coach Elizabeth Weber is hopeful of better things, despite a season-opening 6-3 setback in Piscataway, N.J., to Rutgers University. The Jaspers hope to improve on February 26 when they entertains the University at Albany at Gaelic Park in Riverdale at 3 p.m.
Albany, coming off a 12-5 season, is anchored in goal by senior Anna Berman of Garnerville. The North Rockland HS graduate started every game for the Great Danes, who open their season on February 21 in Smithfield, R.I., against Bryant.
Weber’s hopes at Manhattan begin with a crew of seasoned returnees, led by co-captain and high-scoring senior midfielder Carly Eskenazi of Kinnelon, N.J. Eskenazi started all 17 games last year and tied for team-high in points with 25, while leading the squad in goals with 22.
Other weapons include seniors Kelsey Rehain of Suffern , who plays attack and midfield, and Clare Kerrisk of Keansburg, N.J.
“They will be an integral part of the offensive game plan,” Weber was quoted as saying. “Clare has a very quick first step and Kelsey hustles all over the field.”
On defense, the Jaspers also appear stronger with junior Kaleigh Howe of Pearl River and Albertus Magnus alumna Casey Silvestri of Pomona complementing Caitlyn Hynes of Mahopac and Alex Rousseau of Wantagh on the back line.
“Caitlyn is tough and she works very hard, Alex is great at reading what the other team is going to do on attack and Casey plays a very aggressive, in-your-face style and she’s not afraid to pressure out,” adds Weber.
Carly Cappello of New City, another Albertus Magnus graduate, is expected to be a potent option on attack.
The Jaspers will play eight consecutive non-conference games to open the season.
“I think our non-conference schedule is a great way to prepare us for the conference games,” Weber was again quoted as saying. “We will focus on holding each other accountable on the field. Our goal is to make personal and team strides; with every game, we can’t take any steps backwards, only forwards.”
MIGHTY OWL: The Southern Connecticut State University men’s basketball team is enjoying its best season since 1999-2000, sparked in part by versatile junior guard Luke Houston of Pearl River.
Houston, a defensive ace with a team-leading (by far) 49 steals, is averaging 10 points and a second-best six rebounds per game. Houston’s 62 assists also rank second on the Owls, who are listed No. 11 in Division II with an overall mark of 20-2, including 14-2 in the Northeast-10 Conference.
The team’s tri-captain has recorded three double-doubles this season, and recently matched his career-high in points, scoring 20 against Le Moyne on February 8.
Houston, a former scholastic player of the year, ranks among the NCAA leaders in multiple stats. His 2.23 steals per game are 23rd in the nation, with his total ranking 19th.
The Pearl River HS alum also excels in the classroom, having been named to the fall 2013 Northeast-10 Conference Commissioner’s Honor Roll.
VICTORY ROW: Featuring members representing the South Orangetown, Pearl River, Nanuet, Clarkstown South and North, Nyack and North Rockland school districts, the Nyack-based River Rowing Association (RRA) collected three first-place trophies at the St. Valentines Massacre Ergatta in Pelham (the ergatta is won by erging a specific distance –usually 2K– in the fastest time). Camryn McGrath, a Clarkstown South junior, earned first place in the Girls Lightweight 2K with a time of 7:55.5. Milo Fraddiani, a Nyack High junior, won the Boys Heavyweight 2K with a time of 6:29.9, and the Boys 500M with a time of 1:28.6. An estimated 50 RRA rowers competed, taking a first or second place in four out of nine events. The RRA has a fund-raising “Pull for Purpose” event scheduled March 15 at the Nyack Center, this year’s beneficiary. Visit the RRA web site at www.riverrowing.org.
RECORD-BREAKER: Junior Luke Gavigan, a track standout at Tappan Zee HS, recently was named the national high school athlete of the week by Running Times magazine. Additionally, Gavigan qualified for the Millrose Games by clocking 4:15 in the mile. But more was yet to come as Gavigan won the event at the Millrose Games with a Rockland County-record-clocking of 4:08.96 at the New Balance Track & Field Center in upper Manhattan. Brian Cook of Pearl River placed sixth and Liam Purdy of North Rockland was seventh. In the girls mile, another Rockland record was established as Kelly Hayes of Pearl River won in 4:54.1.
SET TO STAR: Midfielder Tara Monaghan of Stony Point is set for her sophomore season on the highly regarded women’s lacrosse team at SUNY Cortland.
Monaghan, a graduate of North Rockland HS, enjoyed a very fine freshman season, finishing sixth on the team with 37 points on 32 goals and five assists as the Red Dragons compiled a sparkling 21-2 record.
This season, scheduled to begin on March 3 at Union College in Schenectady, the Red Dragons are ranked fourth nationally in the Intercollegiate Women’s Lacrosse Coaches Association’s (IWLCA) Division III preseason poll. Last spring, Cortland finished won its 15th straight State University of New York Athletic Conference (SUNYAC) title, and tied a school record for wins in a season before being eliminated by Trinity College (Conn.) in the Final Four.
QUICK HITTERS: The Army men’s hockey team, struggling this season with three victories, travels to Storrs, Conn., on February 21 to meet the University of Connecticut before welcoming the Huskies to Tate Rink in West Point the following night. Both games are set for 7:05 p.m. … Freshman Mike Cruz of West Haverstraw was one of three Red Dragons with ECAC-qualifying long jumps, leaping 22 feet, 2 ½ inches as the Cortland track and field team competed at the Ithaca Bomber Invitational. Sophomore Evan Greenberg of Suffern ran the third leg on the third-place 4x400-meter relay team. The Red Dragons will compete at the Cornell Deneault Invitational on February 22 at 10 a.m. … Spring Valley HS graduates Kervens Dorsainvil and Jah-Moul Gordon are members of the track and field team at Monroe College in New Rochelle. Gordon runs middle distances and Dorsainvil competes in sprints and jumps for the Mustangs, who compete on February 27 at the New Balance Track & Field Armory in upper Manhattan. This NYRR event will serve as a tune-up for the NJCAA National Tournament on March 7-8, also at the Armory. … Albertus Magnus HS graduate Ryan Brooksbank of New City is a forward on the men’s basketball team at Elmira College. The Soaring Eagles travel to Hoboken, N.J., on February 21 to meet Stevens Institute of Technology at 6 p.m., and then close the regular season on February 22 at Hartwick College in Oneonta. … Deidre McCluskey of Orangeburg is ready for her second season on the women’s lacrosse team at Elmira College, which hosts Buffalo State on March 1 at 1 p.m. McCluskey, at attack, had four points on three goals and one assist in nine games last season. … SUNY Geneseo swimmers Bryan Schaub, Yonghoon Jun and Caroline Russo, all of Blauvelt, are competing at the SUNYAC Championships that end on February 22 at Erie Community College. In their final tune-up, Schaub was a double winner in the 100 backstroke and 200 breaststroke while Jun doubled in the 100 and 200 butterfly at the Geneseo Swim Invitational. Russo placed fifth in the 100 freestyle. … The softball team at St. Thomas Aquinas College in Sparkill, featuring Samantha McDonald of New City, last year’s East Coast Conference rookie of the year, is gearing up for a five-day trip to Clermont, Fla., that begins March 8 against Nyack College and Georgian Court University at the NTC Softball Complex. Brittany Mangan of Pomona, an alumna of Paramus Catholic HS, is a sophomore infielder/outfielder for the Lady Spartans while Lauren Navarro of New City plays the outfield and Katie Meyers of Pearl River is another infielder/outfielder. McDonald, who hit .416 as a rookie for Coach Barbara Vano, with a team-high 13 doubles, also pitches. On the Nyack College roster, Meghan Richards of Nanuet is a junior infielder while Kim Yano of Blauvelt is a sophomore pitcher/infielder. … Nick Smith of Middletown scored 26 points and guard Joe Clinton of Pearl River contributed eight points and four assists as the Dominican College men’s basketball team improved to 15-7 overall and 11-4 in the Central Atlantic Collegiate Conference after defeating University of the Sciences 82-69, at Bobby Morgan Arena in Philadelphia. In the women’s game, KC Jentzen of Pearl River led three Lady Chargers in double figures with 14 points and added nine rebounds but Dominican bowed to the host, 78-69. Dominican, which was to host a men’s/women’s doubleheader against Post University on February 20 beginning at 5:30 p.m., travels to Wilmington, Del., on February 22 with the men’s game set at 3 p.m. following the women’s game at 1 p.m. Senior night is set on February 25 at the Hennessy Center in Orangeburg, with the women opening up play at 5:30 p.m. followed by the men at 7:30 p.m. … East Coast Conference track athlete of the week Winslow Dorsainvil of Monsey raced to victory in the 60 in the college division as the St. Thomas Aquinas College track and field team competed in the Lafayette/Rider Winter Games at the New Balance Track & Field Center in upper Manhattan. Dorsainvil, an alum of Spring Valley HS, was clocked in 6.83, and also took 18th in the 200 with a time of 22.99. George Erazo of North Babylon was third overall and second among college runners in the 400. For the women, Allison Borriello of Montgomery took third overall in the 800 in the College section with a time of 2:18.14 that established a school standard. Meaghan Jaskot of Blauvelt clocked 10:44.31 in her debut in the 3,000 which placed her sixth overall while veteran Keeley Bateman of Pearl River placed fourth in the 1,000 in 3:08.69.
THIS & THAT: Pearl River native Brian Gaine, who spent six years in the Miami Dolphins organization, rising as high as assistant general manager, has been hired to be the new director of pro personnel for the Houston Texans. Gaine was fired by the Dolphins three days after they hired Dennis Hickey to replace Jeff Ireland as the general manager. For the Texans, Gaines replaces Brian Gardner, who was fired after last season.