Marc My Words!

Marc Maturo’s official sports column

Dominican College building cross country foundation

Captain Anselmi
Sparks Hawks
Again in soccer

They seem poised to make a move.

Dominican College in Blauvelt is apparently determined to establish a strong program in cross country, despite fielding only a women’s team at this point in time.

Howie McNiff, takes charge at Dominican College
Howie McNiff, takes charge at Dominican College

Athletic director Joe Clinton of Pearl River brought two established runners into the fold to coach this season, to wit: Rockland County Sports Hall of Fame members Howie McNiff of Piermont, the head coach, and chief assistant Jamie Kempton of Nanuet, who has high school and collegiate coaching experience.

McNiff, a retired New York State court officer and a graduate of Fordham University where he also starred, was the first runner from Rockland to capture the scholastic triple crown of racing in a single year.

McNiff won a state cross country crown in the fall of 1972, then captured the state two-mile championship and the state mile championship outdoors in 1973.

“I also ran four years at Fordham, and when a lot of guys don’t continue I didn’t want to quit until I was too old,” laughed McNiff, who coached at Albertus Magnus HS three years and went on to run the Boston Marathon twice and the New York City Marathon once.

At Fordham McNiff clocked a 4:07 mile and 8:50 in the two mile, and was a member of a 4×1-mile relay team that placed third at the Penn Relays.

McNiff sounds confident that Dominican will rise in the sport, and is already hoping that the Chargers will one day field a winter track team, thus providing a bridge from the fall to the spring seasons.

“We’re trying to grow the team, that’s what we are trying to do,” McNiff said. “We’re Division II, which gives an opportunity for people who want to compete in DII. We have a banner in the gym that says, ‘We chose DII.’ ”

Emily Lopez, Chargers standout
Emily Lopez, Chargers standout

This season’s squad is led by Emily Lopez, a sophomore out of St. John Villa Academy in Staten Island, and veteran senior Renee Roncace of Valley Cottage.

Lopez is coming off a very-fine showing at the CCNY Invitational at Van Cortlandt Park in the Bronx.

Chargers, full steam ahead       Lopez ran the 6k course in a time of 25:52.8 to finish in fourth place overall and first for the Lady Chargers.

“I think she wants to get better, although I don’t want to put any pressure on her,” offers McNiff. “She works hard and takes pride in her running; she has a good attitude.”

Roncace, who is actually a half-miler, placed 24th.

Sophomore Mary Curatolo, also an alumna of St. John Villa, finished 53rd with a time of 31:39.0.

Felicia Walker of the Bronx clocked 33:37.7 to finish in 68th place, while Khadijah Cox of New Milford, N.J., was 69th in 33:38.2.

Rounding out the scoring was Pearl River and Rockland CC graduate Katie Duggan of West Nyack, who timed 43:32.8 to finish a deceiving 98th.

“Let me tell you,” McNiff told me. “Katie is a special person. She was a walk-on, and also was a swimmer her first year; this is her first year in cross country. She’s a nursing student, and would have finished much better, but stopped along the way to help another runner who had fallen; that’s her nursing mentality coming out.”

As a team, the Lady Chargers compiled a team score of 292 for 13th. One can reasonably expect the Lady Chargers to show continued improvement behind the trio of McNiff-Kempton-Clinton.

Eleni Anselmi, goal-getter
Eleni Anselmi, goal-getter

HAWKS FLYIN’ HIGH: Senior team captain Eleni Anselmi of Garnerville continued her goal-getting streak and freshman goalkeeper Katelyn Cordero of Airmont again barred the door as the New Paltz women’s soccer team blanked Potsdam, 1-0, at Alumni Field for the Hawks’ second-straight SUNYAC triumph. Anselmi, an alumna of North Rockland HS who was named athlete of the week, rocketed in a shot into the left side of the net in the 17th minute for her fifth goal of the season and 12th of her career. She has now scored in three consecutive matches. Cordero, a graduate of Suffern HS, made four saves to earn her eighth victory and fifth shutout of the season. New Paltz was coming off a 2-0 victory over Plattsburgh in which Cordero stopped eight shots and Anselmi converted a penalty kick. New Paltz visits Oneonta and freshman defender Laura Rolston of New City on Oct. 18 for a 1 p.m. contest.

CHARGERS CLICK: Goaltender Steven Hegner of Pomona posted his fourth shutout of the season as the Dominican College men’s soccer team improved to 7-3-1 overall and 5-2-1 in Central Atlantic Collegiate Conference (CACC) play after defeating Georgian Court University, 1-0, in Lakewood, N.J. The game was scoreless until the 61st minute when junior Ghrelle Francis of Trinidad and Tobago netted his first goal of the season, assisted by Mark Grant of Tokyo, Japan. The Chargers return to action on Oct/ 18 when they host Wilmington University at 2:30 pm on the DC Soccer Field in Orangeburg.

QUICK HITTERS: The Mercy College athletic department has joined the Eastern College Athletic Conference (ECAC). The Mavericks, based in Dobbs Ferry, will become one of 303 members of the ECAC, which is comprised of athletic institutions from Divisions I, II and III. The conference fields 15 men and 17 women sports. … Chris Carroll of New City, a graduate of Don Bosco Prep in Ramsey, N.J., is a sophomore forward on the hockey team at Drexel University in Philadelphia. … Sophomore linebacker Gavin Maher of Stony Point had two solo tackles and assisted on three others, while freshman linebacker Logan Vasquez, also of Stony Point, had two tackles as the Pace University football team was overwhelmed 52-0 by Northeast-10 Conference foe Assumption in Worcester, Mass. The Setters, still looking for their first win of the season, try again on Oct. 18 against Stonehill College in a NE-10 contest at Ann M. Dorner Middle School in Ossining. Kickoff is at noon. … Junior midfielder Brittany Cruz of Suffern shares the scoring lead on the Nyack College women’s soccer team. Cruz has five points, tied with freshman forward Rebakah Lawler of Forded River, N.J., and senior defender Diana Hernandez of Whittier, Calif. The Warriors are home for their next two games, hosting Chestnut Hill College of Philadelphia at noon on Oct. 18, which is senior day, and Caldwell (N.J.) College at 3 p.m. on Oct. 21. … Victoria Grix of Pearl River had 10 digs for the Cortland women’s volleyball team, which was outlasted by powerhouse Geneseo in a five-set State University of New York Athletic Conference (SUNYAC) match at Corey Gymnasium in Cortland. Geneseo improved to 16-3 overall and 3-1 in the league, while Cortland dropped to 2-2 in the conference and 8-15 overall. Kayla Pollock of Massapequa led Cortland with 12 kills and four blocks. … Clarkstown South HS alumna and senior midfielder Deirdre O’Neill of New City scored a first-half goal and the SUNY New Paltz field hockey team edged non-conference foe Kean University, 3-2, at Kean Alumni Stadium in Union, N.J. New Paltz lifted its record to 9-4 overall as it battles for the No. 2 seed in the SUNYAC tournament. … Clarkstown South HS graduate Shane Cronin of West Nyack booted a 35-yard field goal as the Cortland football team broken into the win column, defeating The College of New Jersey, 24-14, in Ewing, N.J. Cortland (1-4) hopes to continue its success on Oct. 18 when the Red Dragons host Southern Virginia University, a first-year member of New Jersey Athletic Conference, at 1 p.m. …The Dominican College women’s soccer team, coming off a 3-0 loss to Georgian Court University in Lakewood, N.J., returns home on Oct. 18 to meet Wilmington University at the DC Soccer Field at noon. … Meghan King of New City posted a team-high 10 kills and added 11 digs as the College of New Rochelle women’s volleyball team defeated Plymouth State University on the second day of the Kean Invitational in Union, N.J.  The Blue Angels, who then fell to Penn State Behrend to put their record at 19-7, host St. Joseph’s-Brooklyn at 7 p.m. on Oct. 18. … The Maritime football team bowed to Husson, 40-0, at Reinhart Field in Throggs Neck.  In defeat, senior Greg Caneparo of Nanuet caught four passes for 38 yards, and combined with classmate Chris Klass, also of Nanuet, for 126 yards on six kickoff returns. Maritime hopes to rebound on Oct. 18 when it travels to Paxton, Mass., to take on Anna Maria at 3 p.m. … The New Paltz women’s tennis team battled into the championship match of the SUNYAC Tournament before falling to undefeated Geneseo, 5-0, at the Binghamton Tennis Center. New Paltz finished the fall season at 9-3 while the Knights improved to 10-0 and earned the automatic bid into the NCAA Division III Women’s Tennis Tournament May 8-20 with the quarterfinals through the finals at Ohio Northern University in Mason, Ohio. In a tight No. 2 doubles match, sophomore Veronika Paikin of North Woodmere and freshman Sara O’Brien of Orangeburg, an Albertus Magnus HS graduate, fell 8-6 while at flight three, the freshman duo of Brittany Grandville of Tappan and Carol Tyson of Clinton Corners were beaten, 8-4. Grandville also played at flight two singles, losing in straight sets. … Kenneth Platt of Chestnut Ridge tied for 55th as the Dominican College golf team placed 10th at the St. Rose Fall Shootout at Pinehaven Country Club in Guilderland. The Chargers were led by Brian McGuigan of Hawthorne, who tied for 45th.