No Work Stoppages Here! Plenty of NEC Football Lies Ahead

 

Whether or not the NFL plays a 2011 season remains to be seen, but there’s definitely a place to where one can turn to satisfy his/her football fix this coming fall.

The buzz is building for the 16th season of Northeast Conference Football, which will kick off on September 3.

With preseason training camp fewer than two months away, the league has made its 2011 schedule official and released it on northeastconference.org.

The conference has plans to televise five games on NEC-TV with each of the league’s nine members guaranteed at least one exposure.  NEC-TV will partner with MSG and FCS in order to give the games a strong platform in the New York City market as well as nationally.  The five dates/times/games have not yet been determined, but when they are, Overtime! will have all of the info for you.

Also, Overtime! will break down each NEC team’s non-conference slate in the coming weeks as well as provide various updates from around the league.

 

 

Click Here to view the NEC’s Team-by-Team Web Schedule.

Year in the Rear-View (Installment 3 of 4) – 5 Bodies of [Great] Work

The third piece of Overtime!’s four-part series, Year in the Rear-View, focuses in on success sustained over a certain period of time. 

Careers and seasons are defined by more than just one shot or one game. 

When genuinely assessing one’s performance, it is necessary to examine the entire Body of Work.

Below, Overtime! runs through 5 Bodies of [Great] Work that have left us in awe over the past 12 months.

 

Kirill Kasyanov’s Senior Season – Sacred Heart Men’s Tennis

What a remarkable way to cap off a remarkable career.

Going full-speed ahead to his second consecutive NEC Player of the Year award, Kasyanov won 30 of 37 singles matches during his senior season.  His NCAA Tournament loss to the nation’s fifth-ranked player – Virginia’s Michael Shabaz – ended a string of 21 consecutive singles wins by Kasyanov and closed the book on a four-year career that is arguably the best in NEC history.

Kasyanov immediately stepped into the No. 1 singles spot upon arriving at Sacred Heart, and the Saddle Brook Prep product went on to average 25 wins per season. He graduated with a 100-37 overall singles mark and a pair of Northeast Conference championship rings. 

Kasyanov last lost to a league foe back in 2009 and went 10-0 against conference opponents this season, with all decisions coming in straight sets.  His sensational streak, the likes of which were unprecedented in NEC circles, included two wins over Bryant’s Juan-Martin Paredes and another pair over Quinnipiac’s Andrew Weeden.

 

Justin Rutty’s Four-year Career in Hamden – Quinnipiac Men’s Basketball

Every rebound in a one-point game is an important one, but this one carried additional meaning.  

With his team clinging to a 50-49 lead and 7:48 showing on the clock in the second half of a NEC Tournament semifinal contest, Justin Rutty pulled down his eighth rebound of the day.  RMU’s Lawrence Bridges could not convert on the potential go-ahead basket underneath, and Rutty was there to clean up the glass just as he had done 1,022 times before.  

The rebound marked a major milestone in a brilliant career for the 6-foot-7, 240-pound power forward.

As NEC-TV personality Paul Dottino enthusiastically shouted, the carom made Rutty the top-ranking rebounder in the 30-year history of Northeast Conference hoops.

Rutty would go onto grab another two rebounds in Quinnipiac’s 64-62, last-second loss to Robert Morris before pulling down seven boards in the Bobcats’ CIT Opening Round game.

The end result was a third consecutive NEC rebounding title and 1,032 career caroms.  Rutty, who fought through injury during his senior season to average 9.4 rebounds per contest, had no fewer than 101 offensive boards in each of the past three seasons.

His presence was of ultra-importance to the Bobcats as the team was just 3-4 with him sidelined this season.  In the 25 games that Rutty participated in, Quinnipiac won 19.

 

Watch Highlights from Rutty’s last appearnce vs. Merritt Parkway rival Sacred Heart…  

 

 

First-place Finishes Galore – 2010-11 Fairleigh Dickinson Women’s Bowling

It didn’t end with the jubilation of a national championship, but, in its entirety, Fairleigh Dickinson’s 2010-11 season is a Body of Work well worth admiring.

The Knights’ quest for a third NCAA title ended at the hands of eventual national champion Maryland-Eastern Shore in the semifinal round, but one best-of-seven baker match does not define an entire season, especially a 111-win season.

In all, the Knights posted a 111-22 record, winning 83.5 percent of the time.  They were the No. 1-ranked team in every edition of the National Tenpins Coaches Association Top 20 Poll but one.

Michael LoPresti’s Knights took first place at five different tournaments throughout the season, and finished second at two others. The run began with their triumph at the season-opening Jersey Jamboree and culminating with the NEC Tournament title.

In racking up the five meet crowns, Fairleigh Dickinson continually knocked off the top competition the nation had to offer.

The Knights twice defeated Maryland-Eastern Shore at the 18-team Jersey Jamboree with the second victory coming in the championship match.  FDU and UMES met again with the Kutztown University Invitational championship on the line.  After dropping the first two games in the best-of-seven baker title tilt, FDU stormed back for four straight wins and another win over a fellow national powerhouse.

UMES once again stood in the way of FDU’s title aspirations at the Delaware State Capital Classic, but could not deny the Knights their fifth Capital Classic crown in six years.  FDU outlasted Maryland-Eastern Shore in the semifinal round before besting eventual NCAA runner-up Vanderbilt in the final.

After capturing the 2011 ECAC crown, FDU rolled to a second-place finish at the talent-loaded Music City Classic.  Their other runner-up showing was at December’s Jeannette Lee Invitational.

FDU finished either with the best or tied for the best weekend record during each of the three Northeast Conference regular season meets.  They rolled through the toughest conference in America, one that housed six top-15 teams according to the final regular season edition of the NTCA Top 20 Poll, with a 22-5 record.

Even though they came up short in their national title defense, the Body of Work that FDU bowling turned in was, as a whole, just as impressive, if not more so, than the Knights’ 2009-10 campaign that ended with a 4-to-3 victory over Nebraska in the NCAA final.

 

Watch FDU capture the NEC Tournament title...

 

Robinson Fruchtl’s Red Revival – Saint Francis (PA) Women’s Basketball

 Three seasons. Three NEC Championship Game appearances. Two NEC Tournament titles.

It’s been quite an impressive three-year run for Red Flash women’s hoops under head coach Susan Robinson Fruchtl.

When placed into context, Saint Francis’ Body of Work appears even more magnificent.

Robinson Fruchtl, a former Wade Trophy winner (1992 – Penn State), moved down the road from State College, where she was serving as an assistant coach, to Loretto in 2007.  The Red Flash had posted an 11-46 record over the two seasons prior to Robinson-Fruchtl’s arrival, but a revival would soon be in order.

The first year wasn’t pretty as the Flash struggled to a 6-23 finish, but a nine-win improvement during the 2008-09 campaign had Saint Francis in the NEC Championship Game where they ran into the buzz saw that was Sacred Heart.

The setback was not nearly enough to deter the steady progression the program had been following under Robinson Fruchtl.Despite their No. 5 seed, the Flash returned to the NEC title tilt in 2010 and managed to take care of their unfinished business by topping Long Island for the conference crown.

The defending NEC champions proceeded to win 14 of 18 games on the 2010-11 NEC schedule and finish first in the league standings.  Only three years removed from the NEC basement, the Red Flash were dancing again.  

Overall, Saint Francis went 22-12 in 2010-11, building a resume that included key non-conference victories over Pitt and Kent State.

 

Watch the Red Flash clinch the 2011 NEC Tournament title…

 

 

Velton Jones at the NEC Tournament – Robert Morris Men’s Basketball

First, let’s make it perfectly clear that Long Island’s Jamal Olasewere was more-than deserving of the 2011 NEC Men’s Basketball Tournament MVP award.

It’s impossible to argue with 3 double-doubles, 3 wins, and a conference crown, all of which sum up Olasewere’s showing at the conference’s 30th annual men’s hoops championship tournament.

With that said, it is time to examine what Robert Morris sophomore guard Velton Jones did over a three-game sample at the 2011 NEC Tournament.

In the words of first-year head coach Andy Toole, “Velton willed us to the Championship Game.”

And the 6-foot guard from Philly nearly willed the Colonials to a title game triumph.

Playing with a tough-as-nails demeanor, Jones averaged 20.7 points and 5.7 assists per game over RMU’s three-game NEC Tournament run that resulted in the program’s third consecutive NEC Championship Game appearance.

He carried Robert Morris past Wagner with a 29-point performance in the quarterfinal round.

In the semis, it was Jones’ late running jumper that provided the difference in a 64-62 win over Quinnipiac.  He finished the game with 13 points and eight assists while not having committed a turnover.

The little guard with the big heart was at it again when LIU and RMU clashed for the conference crown in Brooklyn.  Two of his 20 points brought Robert Morris to within three points and set the stage for Russell Johnson’s overtime-forcing three-pointer.

Jones capped off his night with a jumper that gave the Colonials an 80-78 lead with 3:03 left in the extra session.

Had the final score been Robert Morris 85, Long Island 82, and not the other way around, I think we all know who the Tournament MVP would’ve been.

 

Watch Velton’s Big Shot Sink Quinnipiac…

 

 

 

Did we not mention a Body of Work that you found fascinating? If so, let us know and leave a comment.

 

 

 

Midday Chatter ā€“ NCAA Championship Update (Track & Field, Baseball) and Other Points of Interest

Monmouth sophomore Vincent DuVernois has quite a bit in common with the National Champion Javelin Thrower from the 2008 US Olympic Trials.

For those who have difficulty remembering what they ate for breakfast never mind remembering who the 2008 US javelin champ was, his name is Bobby Smith.

Smith, who was fondly featured in an ESPN.com story after claiming Gold at the Olympic Trials three years ago, competed collegiately at Monmouth where he earned a pair of NEC titles and an All-America selection.

In fact, Smith had been the last Hawk to claim NCAA Men’s Outdoor All-America honors until this week.

Fresh off his 2011 NEC crown and solid showing at the NCAA East Regional meet, DuVernois etched his name next to Smith in Monmouth’s record book.  It wasn’t his seasonal best, but DuVernois’ throw of 68.34m (224’ 2”) landed him in 16th place at the 2011 NCAA Outdoor Track & Field Championships in Des Moines, IA.

With the top-8 finishers scoring points and earning a spot on the All-American First Team, DuVernois’ 16th-place showing earned him the final spot on the Second Team.

DuVernois still has a long road ahead if he hopes to become the US National Champion, but earning collegiate All-American honors at Monmouth isn’t a bad place to start.  Just ask Bobby Smith.

Multi-Talented FitzSimons Also In Iowa
DuVernois wasn’t alone representing the NEC out in Des Moines.  Mount St. Mary’s decathlete Tom FitzSimons is still out in the Hawkeye State vying for a national title.  FitzSimons, who won the Penn Relays earlier this spring, headed into the NCAA Championship meet with a season best of 7,607 points, which seeded him 13th in the 26-entrant field.

The competition was slated to begin at 1:00 pm EST on June 9, but inclement weather pushed the start back to 2:15 pm.  For real-time results visit http://www.ncaa.com/content/di-outdoor-track-field-live-results.

Phenomenal Finish for Frosh Backstop
Sacred Heart came up short in its bid to break the NEC into the win column at the NCAA Regionals, but one Pioneer was able to walk away with some hardware.

After earning NEC All-Tournament Team honors back on May 22, SHU rookie catcher Derick Horn did it again. 

In two games, against Clemson and Connecticut, Horn went 4-for-6 at the plate with a run scored. As a result, the first-year Pioneer earned a spot on the NCAA Clemson Regional All-Tournament Team.

Not bad for a freshman!

In other news – The Northeast Conference Presidents’ Council held its annual spring summit on June 8.  Fairleigh Dickinson University and Dr. Michael Adams hosted the event, during which a number of new initiatives were approved for 2011-12.

Coming Next Week to Overtime!: NEC Year in The Rear-View (Installment 3 of 4) – 5 Bodies of [Great] Work

NEC Year In The Rear-View (Installment 2 of 4) – 5 Extraordinary Individual Performances

Well, you all have waited patiently, and alas Installment No. 2 is here.  This late-night Tuesday special will take you through five phenomenal individual performances that NEC athletes accounted for during the 2010-11 academic year.  Due to the fact we don’t have all summer to scour over individual performances, as we still have two more categories to broach, we had to limit ourselves to five.  Since we all know there were more than a handful of primetime performances, feel free to share yours below.

Francis Goes for 43
Alex Francis (Men’s Basketball) – Bryant at Long Island (February 27, 2011)

Alex Francis was no longer a secret at this point in the season, but no one could have expected what the 6-foot-6 freshman did to the eventual NEC champion LIU Blackbirds during the final weekend of the regular season.  Heading into Bryant’s two-game season-capping road swing through Brooklyn, Francis, a Harlem product, had already accumulated five Choice Hotels NEC Rookie of the Week awards.   In an earlier meeting with LIU, he posted a double-double of 18 points and 10 boards, but those numbers would be dwarfed on Thursday night, February 24 at Downtown Brooklyn’s Wellness Center. Coming off the bench, mind you, Francis poured in 43 points on 20-for-27 shooting.  He went 3-for-4 from the line, meaning he scored 43 the old-fashioned way ala Wilt the Stilt. 

His Bulldogs dropped a 94-85 decision to the Blackbirds, but there’s no taking away from the fact that Francis was flat-out dominant against a pretty formidable LIU frontcourt. The career-high 43 points, which set a conference freshman record, is the highest total by an NEC player in nine years. The superlatives don’t end there. It marked the most points scored by a freshman in the country this season (fifth overall) and the most by a rookie since Kansas State’s Michael Beasley hit for 44 against Baylor in 2008.

Francis also had a flare for the dramatic during his freshman campaign – watch him hit this game-winning buzzer-beater vs. Mount…

Russ Runs onto National Stage
Myles Russ (Football) – Robert Morris vs. Liberty (September 18, 2010)

Robert Morris running back Myles Russ grabbed national headlines in Week 3 when the 5-foot-8 Floridian carried the Colonials passed then-No. 15, and three-time defending Big South champion, Liberty.  On his way to earning the Sports Network/Fathead.com National Player of the Week award, Russ racked up 229 all-purpose yards and three touchdowns.  The man who would eventually become the all-time leading rusher in Robert Morris history ran for 153 yards and two touchdowns. He staked the Colonials to a 7-0 lead by taking a lob pass and dashing 67 yards to pay-dirt 2:06 into the game. 

Russ punctuated his prime performance by rushing 12 yards for the tie-breaking touchdown with 22 seconds left in the fourth quarter. 

The early-season showing was a sign of things to come for Russ and the eventual NEC champion Colonials.  The hard-running, and extremely humble, Russ totaled 1,363 rushing yards in 2010 and was chosen as the NEC Offensive Player of the Year.

Watch Russ become Robert Morris’ all-time leading rusher…

Moore Hangs Up a 7
Trevor Moore (Men’s Lacrosse) – Robert Morris at Canisius (April 13, 2011)

Trevor Moore 7, Canisius 5. 

Robert Morris’ senior attacker rattled the cage 50 times in 15 games during the inaugural season of Northeast Conference Men’s Lacrosse.  On this particular day in Buffalo, NY, he needed only nine shots to set the NEC single-game scoring high.  His 7-goal showing lifted the Colonials to a 14-5 win over the Griffs, Robert Morris’ third victory in three games against MAAC member. 

After the hosts grabbed a 2-0 lead, Moore answered by turning a natural hat trick within a 3:52 span. Moore scored his fourth goal only 1:08 before halftime, giving RMU a 7-4 lead at the break.  This was just a glimpse of what the inaugural NEC Player of the Year did against MAAC foes in 2011.  Moore scored the OT game-winner in a 14-13 triumph Detroit-Mercy after tallied two goals and two assists in a 9-7 win over Manhattan.

Gaines Gold Rush Goes on Year No. 3
Jessie Gaines (Women’s Track & Field) – Long Island, First Place at NEC Indoor Championships (February 12-13, 2011)

It’s become commonplace for Jessie Gaines at the Northeast Conference Indoor Track & Field Championships.  The fast-flying Blackbird has contested the title meet three times and has walked away with a trio of MVP awards.  Gaines’ 2011 showing was her most dominant yet. 

She single-handedly scored 48 of meet champion LIU’s 138 points. 

Gaines gathered 4 gold medals and one silver while setting three NEC meet records.

Torching the field on the way to her third consecutive NEC 60-meter hurdles crown, Gaines topped the meet-record time she turned in as a sophomore by clocking in at 8.34.  The three-time MVP also set meet records in the 60-meter dash (7.53) and triple jump (12.55m).  She came up short in her bid to win a second consecutive 200-meter titles, finishing second to Mount St. Mary’s Ashley DeCruise, but won the long jump, an event she took runner-up honors in last year.

Check out her post-meet reaction…

Ganjoin Defends Home Turf
Tracy Ganjoin (Bowling) – Fairleigh Dickinson, First Place at Jersey Jamboree (November 5-7, 2010)

Ganjoin made a statement right from the start of a senior campaign that would result in a NTCA All-American honor and another trip to the NCAA Championship.  Her three-day performance at the season-opening Jersey Jamboree was as impressive as any produced in the three-year history of Northeast Conference Bowling. 

With Fairleigh Dickinson beginning its national title defense at the 18-team tournament in Howell, NJ, the lefty leadoff, who hails from Jersey Shore-based Brick, averaged 21.30 pins/frame over a 13-match sample.  She struck on 59.5 percent of her attempts and was a driving force behind the Knight’s 12-1 opening weekend record.

Ganjoin averaged 226.8 during the five-game traditional team play portion of the meet and threw a near-perfect game in a win over Vanderbilt. The 5-foot-1 lefthander threw nine straight strikes against the eventual NCAA runner-up Commodores, but a solid 7-pin rap ended her string in the tenth on the way to a 277 game.  

Ganjoin was especially effective during the Knights’ 4-3 best-of-seven baker match victory over Maryland-Eastern Shore in the championship round. The senior southpaw opened the title tilt, which featured the No. 1 and No. 2 teams in the 2010-11 NTCA Preseason Top 20 Poll, by throwing four strikes and leaving no opens over her first eight frames.