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.

 

 

 

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