Marc Maturo’s official sports column
Stony Point goalkeeper McNicholas a first-class reserve
There are stars galore across the collegiate landscape who hail from Rockland County, but there is another star of another fashion in Brian McNicholas of Stony Point.
McNicholas, who started three years in goal at North Rockland High School, is a senior goalkeeper for an outstanding team at SUNY Cortland.
Unlike his scholastic days or his summer seasons with Cornwall FC, however, McNicholas is now filling a backup role, sitting behind team captain Tim Beauvais of Hilton, whom many consider the finest goalie in the State University of New York Athletic Conference (SUNYAC).
McNicholas, whose sister Kaitlyn plays rugby at Sacred Heart University in Fairfield, Conn., accepts his role with the stoic comfort of a true team player.
“This is my fourth year and I hope it’s a big one. I think we’re going to win the conference,” McNicholas said. “We’re the team to beat this year. Last year we lost in the SUNYAC final, to Plattsburgh.”
McNicholas started in the sport as a 10-year-old at the North Rockland Soccer Association Fields and quickly rose to join a travel team. His time with the Red Dragons has not been exactly what he envisioned, especially after appearing in nine games as a freshman, but knowing one’s role is perhaps as important as anything for team success.
“I’m the backup keeper if Tim ever goes down,” McNicholas said, adding with considerable candor “It’s been a long three years; it’s been tough. But I go to practice every day and try to keep getting better.”
McNicholas and Beauvais are blessed with experienced goalkeeping mentors, led by head coach Steve Axtell, a former player for the Red Dragons. Also on hand is Patrick Pidgeon, who followed Axtell to Cortland as a player and later joined the staff
The irony of all this might be that McNicholas and Beauvais, who push each other on the field, happen not only to be close friends but are also housemates.
Beauvais, who also played summer ball at a high-level league in Texas, is also a sports management major like McNicholas.
“He’s one of my best friends and since we have the same major, we have a lot of the same classes,” offers McNicholas, who hopes to join a U23 team after graduation and again play in a winter league at Cortland.
The Red Dragons (4-2) face a big test on Sept. 20, visiting the University of Scranton (4-1) for a night game at 7 o’clock.
“We’re a good team, honestly, probably the favorite. We recently beat Montclair State, which was ranked No. 13 in the nation, so it’s looks pretty good,” McNicholas continued. “It’s a good atmosphere; it’s good.”
In McNicholas’ mind it probably could be better, but it’s still good and that’s good to know for a star in his own right.
PRIVATEERS PREVAIL: Senior team captain Greg Capenaro of Nanuet rushed for 116 yards and a touchdown as the SUNY Maritime football team outlasted Massachusetts Maritime, 31-30, at Reinhart Field in Throggs Neck. Standout defensive back Chris Klass, another senior from Nanuet, had an eventful night with a pair of interceptions, a blocked kick and two tackles. The win was the sixth victory in seven all-time meetings for the Privateers, as the team returned the “Chowder Bowl” to New York. The Privateers return to action on Sept. 20 at 1 p.m., visiting local rival Kings Point.
MULLINGS SCORES TKO: Spring Valley High School alum Sakima Mullings scored a second-round TKO over local favorite Derek Richmond in Georgetown, Guyana, lifting his professional record to 17-1 with 12 knockouts. Mullings, who was fighting for the final time at 160 pounds, next meets Clive Atwell, ranked No. 12 in the welterweight class by the World Boxing Council. Atwell recently dropped a close decision to world champion Johnny Gonzalez in Mexico. “It’s a good fight for me,” said Mullins, noting that his management team is just waiting for Atwell to sign. “When I win, I’ll be rated in the top-10 or top-12.”
QUICK HITTERS: North Rockland HS alum Blaise Panepinto of Stony Point is a freshman defender on the men’s soccer team at Iona College in New Rochelle. The Gaels visit UConn in Storrs, Conn., at 7 p.m. on Sept. 19 and host Columbia University at 4 p.m. on Sept. 27. … The Gaels’ women’s team, including freshman forward Marisa Bentley of Blauvelt, host NJIT at 4 p.m. on Sept. 19. … Caitlin Bravo of Pearl River and Julie Gavin of Tappan are members of the women’s cross country team at Iona College, which hosts the Meet of Champions at Van Cortlandt Park in the Bronx at 9:30 a.m. on Sept. 20. The men’s race is set to start at 10:15 a.m., and will include Iona College freshman Brian Cook of Pearl River. … Elie Cadet of Spring Valley is a senior offensive lineman on the football team at Western Connecticut State University in Danbury. The Colonials host Plymouth State at 3 p.m. on Sept. 20. … Clarkstown South HS graduate Frank Morgera of West Nyack is a senior member on the cross country team at SUNY Maritime, which competes at the Bard College Invitational in Annandale-on-Hudson on Sept. 20 at noon. … Sophomore outside hitter McKenzie John of Lafayette, La., led all attackers with 13 kills and had nine defensive digs as the Dominican College women’s volleyball team defeated Central Atlantic Collegiate Conference rival Concordia, 3-0, at the Meyer Athletic Center in Bronxville. The Lady Chargers are home for their next two matches, hosting Southern Connecticut State University on Sept. 20 at 1 p.m., and Caldwell (N.J.) College on Sept. 24 at 7 p.m. … The women’s soccer team at St. Thomas Aquinas College in Sparkill went 3-0-1 to start the season, led by Mae Comerford of Greenwood Lake with 11 points. Comerford, a graduate of Tuxedo HS, was named offensive player of the week by the East Coast Conference (ECC). Kathryn Kerrigan of West Haverstraw, Danielle Stam of Florida and Vicky Saravia of Haverstraw each have two points while Nisha Flinn of Pearl River has three points. The Lady Spartans visit LIU-Post on Sept. 20 for a contest at noon. … In cross country, the ECC named North Rockland HS alum Assad Jeffrey of Haverstraw as rookie of the week. … Senior outside hitter Meghan King of New City had 14 kills as the College of New Rochelle volleyball team extended its winning streak to eight by sweeping The King’s College and Bay Path College at the Blue Angels’ Wellness Center. … Emily Lopez of Staten Island ran seventh and Renee Roncace of Valley Cottage was 12th as the Dominican College women’s cross country team finished fourth at the NJIT Classic, hosted by New Jersey Institute of Technology at Branch Brook Park in Newark, N.J. The Lady Chargers travel to the 3rd annual Roadrunner Invitational to be hosted by Ramapo College of New Jersey on Sept. 20 at Garret Mountain Reservation in Woodland Park, N.J. Competition is scheduled to begin at 11:15 a.m. … North Rochland HS alumna Taylor Marcialis of Stony Point is a freshman goalkeeper on the women’s soccer team at Ramapo College of New Jersey. The Roadrunners visit Stockton College in Galloway, N.J., at 3 p.m. on Sept. 20. … The Mercy College men’s soccer team, coming off a second straight East Coast Conference Championship, is still looking for its first win after four losses to open the season. The Mavericks’ second-leading scorer is senior forward Alex Cruz of Suffern with one goal and one assist for three points. Gonzalo Prando of Jefferson Valley has four points for the Mavericks, who visit Molloy College in Rockville Centre, L.I., on Sept 20 at noon and then welcome Philadelphia University to Dobbs Ferry on Sept. 24 at 4 p.m. … Junior Kyle Collins of Suffern is a member of the cross country team at Fredonia State. The Blue Devils will compete at the University of Rochester Yellowjacket Invitational at 11 a.m. on Sept. 20 at Genesee Valley Park. … Senior defensive end Gabe Ostrow of Nanuet had six solo tackles as Cortland fell to visiting Brockport, 17-14, in a non-league football game. Cortland’s final drive ended on a penalty at the Brockport 1-yard line as time expired. Sophomore Peter Smith, also of Nanuet, ran one kickoff back for 41 yards for the Red Dragons, who have a week off before beginning NJAC play on Sept. 27 at Morrisville State at 1 p.m. … Senior co-captain Devin Tracy of Great River and freshman Sara O’Brien of Orangeburg won at doubles as the SUNY New Paltz women’s tennis team defeated visiting Brockport, 9-0. Newcomer Brittany Grandville of Tappan, who also posted a straight-sets victory in singles, teamed with junior Allie Starke of Binghamton to win a doubles match.