Marc My Words!

Marc Maturo’s official sports column

Rockets flying high on court and look to keep flying

The Rockland Rockets, with three tournament appearances already under their belt this year, are still on the move.

Members of the well-established Rockets, a 17-and-under travel basketball team, might be found throughout the county on a fund-raising mission to compete at a national tournament in July at Orlando, Fla.

Of more immediate concern, however, is an Island Garden Division II tournament May 10-11 in Hempstead. The Rockets, coached by North Rockland HS and Nyack College graduates and brothers Shanon and Stefan Martinez, are guaranteed three games, with the top teams advancing.

The Martinez brothers both played in high school and college, with Stefan earning player-of-the-year honors as a schoolboy in 2007. Shannon Martinez, a former coach with the Hudson River Hornets, another 17-and-under team,  is into his fifth year coaching the Rockets.

The head coach has the benefit of three standout players in the backcourt, namely shooting guards Devon Bright of DePaul Catholic HS in Wayne, N.J., and E. J. Smith of Nyack HS, and point guard Mike Arias of North Rockland HS.

Margaret Sharp, ECC selection
Margaret Sharp, ECC selection
Becky Torres, ECC choice
Becky Torres, ECC choice

QUICK HITTERS: Dominican College senior goaltender Matthew Quinones of Nanuet has earned all-East Coast Conference (ECC) men’s lacrosse honorable mention accolades. Quinones led the ECC for the second straight year in saves and finished third in the conference in save percentage.  He also led the nation in saves per game.  In a loss to Dowling College, Quinones recorded a career high with a single-game NCAA Division II record-tying 36 saves. The criminal justice major finished his career ranking third all-time in saves and fourth in save percentage. … Seniors Becky Torres of Nanuet and Margaret Sharp of Suffern, women’s lacrosse standouts at St. Thomas Aquinas College in Sparkill, were named to the all-ECC first team. Named to the second team were sophomore goalie Kaitlyn Lonergan of Stony Point, senior attack Samantha Lowney of Valley Cottage and junior midfielder Alexis Serras of Linderhust. … Don Bosco Prep alum Anthony Simon of Suffern went 3-for-4 with a run as Cortland defeated Oswego, 4-1, in the winner’s bracket game of the SUNYAC baseball tournament. Cortland (30-8), ranked sixth nationally and the top seed in the four-team tournament, then beat Brockport, 12-5, to win its fourth straight league crown and 32nd overall. The Red Dragons earned an automatic berth into the NCAA tournament and will make their 22nd consecutive NCAA appearance – the longest active streak nationally in Division III. Simon was named to the all-tournament team, along with Brockport’s Anthony Barbetto, a junior infielder from New City. …Spring Valley HS alum Winslow Dorsainvil of Monsey broke his own school standard in the 100 with a second-place time of 10.72 as the St. Thomas Aquinas College track and field team competed at the Angelo Booker Meet at Cheyney (Pa.) University. George Erazo of North Babylon broke his own school-record time and took second with a time of 47.56 in the 400 and then took third in the intermediate hurdles in 55.68.  Gabriela Sloezen of Westwood, N.J., broke her own school-record time in winning the 400 in 57.70 to cap a great sophomore Season.  Meaghan Ventarola of Monroe placed third in the 1,500 with a season-best time of 5:01.44.  Several Spartans will compete again on May 10 at the UAlbany Last Chance Meet. … Outfielder John Kukura of New City, an alum of Clarkstown South HS, finished his freshman season on the Pace University baseball team with a .271 batting average with seven RBI and three doubles. The Setters dropped a season-ending doubleheader to Southern Connecticut State to finish at 12-25 overall and 5-13 in the Northeast-10 Southwest Division. … North Rockland HS alumna Tara Monaghan of Stony Point scored three goals as the nationally top-ranked Cortland women’s lacrosse team overpowered eighth-ranked Geneseo, 14-3, to capture its 16th consecutive SUNYAC title and earn an automatic NCAA Division III playoff berth. The Red Dragons, who improved to 19-0 and won their 53rd straight home game, will host either the University of Mount Union (Ohio) or Keuka College in an NCAA Division III tournament second-round game on May 10, at the SUNY Cortland Stadium Complex. The winner will play in a four-team regional on May 17-18, at a site to be announced. The Division III national semifinals and finals will be held May 24-25 at Gettysburg College in Pennsylvania. The Red Dragons will be making their 16th straight NCAA appearance and 18th overall. … Sophomore

Kristyn Neroda, a champion
Kristyn Neroda, a champion
Lauren Kahn, leading scorer at  UConn
Lauren Kahn, leading scorer at UConn

Kristyn Neroda of Pearl River and junior Brianna Rivera of Pomona each went 2-for-3 with an RBI to help lead the SUNY Oneonta softball team to an 8-0 victory over rival SUNY Cortland and the SUNYAC championship. Oneonta completed its greatest one-season turnaround with a 29-9 record in a season in which the Red Dragons were picked to finished eighth in a preseason coaches poll. The title for Oneonta is its fourth conference championship in its history and first since 2004. The title also earned the Red Dragons an automatic berth into the NCAA tournament, which begins on May 9-10 at Ithaca with the Division III Regional Tournanent.  Rivera, a North Rockland HS graduate, leads the team with a .372 average, and has driven in 25 runs. Neroda, a left fielder, is batting .313 with 17 RBI. Junior pitcher Katie O’Flynn of Pearl River has posted a 4-0 record with a 1.81 ERA. . … Clarkstown South HS graduate Bryan Greig of New City, a junior pitcher on the Mercy College baseball team, was named to the East Coast Conference weekly honor roll after posting a 0.90 ERA with 10 strikeouts in a 10-inning, 2-1 win over Molloy. In a rematch on senior day, Molloy won, 12-6, with Nanuet HS alum Brendan Siegriest among the honorees for the Dobbs Ferry-based Mavericks. … Nyack HS alum Chris Haggerty of Valley Cottage is 2-1 with a 3.15 ERA in 16 mound appearances for the Villanova University baseball team. The Wildcats meet Manhattan College on May 10-11 in Plymouth Meeting, Pa., with both games scheduled to start at 1:15 p.m. … Lauren Kahn of Nanuet completed her senior season as the leading scorer on the women’s lacrosse team at the University of Connecticut. Kahn, a midfielder, recorded 60 points on 33 goals and 27 assists. UConn closed its season with a 16-8 loss to Georgetown in the semifinals of the Big East Tournament. … Tennis standout Pocholo Chavez of Stony Point is one of five athletes from Purchase College to be named to the Skyline Conference all-Sportsmanship team. The honorees are eligible to receive the 2013-14 Male & Female Sporting Awards, which will be voted on by the conference’s directors of athletics at the conclusion of the academic year.