Monthly Archives: July 2011

Northeast Conference Campus Tour (Jul. 28, 2011) – A quick trip across the campuses of the NEC’s 12 member institutions

Bryant – The 2010 Northeast Conference Baseball Rookie of the Year is a 2011 NECBL All-Star.  Outfielder Kevin Brown, who had 59 hits in 53 games for Bryant as a sophomore this past spring, was one of seven members of his summer league team – the Keene Swamp Bats – to participate in the 18th annual New England Collegiate Baseball League All-Star Game.  Read more.

Central Connecticut – After completing his collegiate career at Central this past fall, two-time all-NEC wide receiver Josue Paul will give the pros a try.  Paul, who was a key offensive weapon on back-to-back NEC championship teams, signed an undrafted free agent contract with the Kansas City Chiefs shortly after the NFL lockout was lifted.  Read more.

Fairleigh Dickinson – Head softball coach Dale Martin added a fifth Californian to the Knights’ roster for the upcoming 2012 season with the signing of Bryana Dorado (Oxnard, CA).  The first baseman will join a Knights team that posted a single-season program-best 26 wins in 2011.  Read more.

Long Island – The men’s soccer team found out its 3.39 team grade-point average ranked atop the NEC.  The Blackbirds received the conference’s Team GPA award for the sport of men’s soccer thanks to their performance in the classroom.  Read more.

MonmouthKing Rice (men’s basketball) will make his head coaching debut at the NIT Preseason Tip-off tournament.  The Hawks were announced as part of the 16-team field last week and will face No. 4 seed Virginia Tech in the First Round.  Read more.

Mount St. Mary’s – The 2008 Washington state girls’ singles champion is headed to Emmitsburg.  Head women’s tennis coach Phil Hammond announced the signing of Jennifer Smith (Davenport, WA) to a National Letter of Intent for the 2011-12 academic year.  Read more.

Quinnipiac – It’s been a busy July for women’s basketball head coach Tricia Fabbri.  After spending 10 days out on the recruiting trail early in the month, she spent a weekend at the NCAA “Mock” Selection exercise in Indianapolis, but things were just getting started.  Upon her return home from Indy, Fabbri and Quinnipiac finalized a contract extension that will keep the one of the all-time NEC wins leaders in Hamden through 2016.  One day after the contract announcement, Fabbri unveiled the Bobcats’ 2011-12 schedule.  Read more.

Robert Morris – Reigning NEC Rookie of the Year Artemis Spanou (women’s basketball) saw her sparkling run at the U20 European Championship end with a bronze medal and another individual accolade.  Representing her native Greece, the 6-foot forward led the tournament in scoring (19.4 ppg) and received the Most Valuable Player award in the B Division.  Read more.

Sacred Heart – Seniors Samantha Kee (Haskell, NJ) and Heather Quevillion (Dayville, CT) along with juniors Jen Mulvey (Manalapan, NJ) and Elizabeth Stewart (Seaford, NY) have earned team captain status for the 2011 women’s soccer season.  The Pioneers will open the season at Albany on August 26.  Read more.

St. Francis (NY) – The school’s athletic department partnered with the Brooklyn Cyclones, the New York-Penn League baseball affiliate of the New York Mets, to raise scholarship money earlier this month.  The Brooklyn-based Terriers and Cyclones hosted a night of baseball to help raise funds for the “Terriers of Today and Tomorrow.”  Read more.

Saint Francis (PA) – Head coach Brenda van Stralen (women’s soccer) has signed a half-dozen incoming freshmen to join the defending NEC champion Red Flash for the 2011 fall season.  Having already signed five student-athletes, the Dutch-born van Stralen added Jessica Andrew, a native of the United Kingdom, to the roster earlier this month.

Wagner — Mark Sowa resigned his position as head swimming and diving coach to take the same position at Idaho.  On July 20, Wagner announced it had found a replacement for Sowa as Walt Hameline, the Wagner athletics director, tabbed Colin Shannahan to take the reigns of Seahawk swimming and diving.  Read more.

With August Approaching, Fall Preseason Polls and Predictions Start to Surface

Football will kick off the Northeast Conference’s annual summer series of preseason fall coaches’ polls on August 3 when the league is set to host a media teleconference that will preview its 16th season on the gridiron.  As football camp opens and student-athletes flock back to campuses in the days after, the NEC will release poll results and preview for all seven fall sports the conference sponsors.  Below is a rundown of what to look for on come August.


Men’s Soccer
2011 preseason poll:
  August 17

2011 championship: November 11 & 13 at high seed host site
2010 tournament champion:  Monmouth (def. Saint Francis [PA], 1-0)
2010 regular season winner:  Monmouth
2010 preseason favorite:  Monmouth (unanimous) 

Overtime! Preseason Synopsis:  Monmouth has finished atop the regular season each of the last six years while emerging as a national power under head coach Rob McCourt.  The Hawks, who were ranked as high as No. 4 in the NSCAA/ National Top 25 last year, won their second straight NEC Tournament title when they edged Saint Francis (PA) 1-nil.   The Hawks will certainly miss former All-Americans Bryan Meredith and Ryan Kinne, who were both selected in the 2011 MLS Superdraft, but are fortunate enough to return All-American RJ Allen to the back line.   Monmouth will look to make it seven regular season titles in a row, but its road won’t be an easy one. … Sacred Heart finished second in the 2010 NEC standings and the Pioneers return All-American defense this season in the form of junior back Marcello Castro.  … Under head coach Mike Casper, Saint Francis (PA) has made two NEC final appearances since 2007 but has fallen by a 1-0 margin on each occasion.  … The highly-respected Seth Roland always has Fairleigh Dickinson in the title mix.  The Knights suffered a 1-0 defeat to Garden State rival Monmouth in the 2010 NEC semifinal and last took the tournament crown in 2008. … Central Connecticut had one-win last season, but is not that far removed from a 2007 run to the NCAA Sweet 16.

NEC members who play men’s soccer: Bryant, Central Connecticut, Fairleigh Dickinson, Long Island, Monmouth, Mount St. Mary’s, Quinnipiac, Robert Morris, Sacred Heart, St. Francis (NY), Saint Francis (PA), Wagner

Women’s Soccer

2011 preseason poll:  August 18
2011 championship:  November 4 & 6 at high seed host site
2010 tournament champion:  Saint Francis (PA) (def. Long Island, 1-0)
2010 regular season winner:  Long Island
2010 preseason favorite:  Monmouth

Overtime! Preseason Synopsis:  Last year’s preseason poll favorite – Monmouth – was not even one of the four teams to qualify for the NEC Tournament.  Falling victim to the increasingly-competitive landscape of NEC women’s soccer, Krissy Turner’s Hawks, who won their fourth conference crown in 2009, lost out to Central Connecticut for the fourth, and final, berth into the 2010 NEC Tournament by virtue of a head-to-head tiebreaker.  … Central’s run ended in the NEC semifinal at the hand of regular season champion Long Island.  The tournament title wound up going to a Saint Francis (PA) team that went onto play a double-overtime affair against Ohio State in the NCAA First Round.  The Red Flash escaped the NEC semifinal round by outlasting Quinnipiac in penalty kicks before topping LIU, 1-0, in the final.  Saint Francis returns all three of its all-region players from last year’s team and appears to have a promising future under Dutch-born head coach Brenda van Stralen.  The Flash will look to become the first team to win a repeat title since Central Connecticut accomplished the feat in 2005. … Quinnipiac has made back-to-back NEC Tournament appearances, but hasn’t won it all since 2000.  The Bobcats are just one of the tough tests Saint Francis will face in a conference that may be as balanced as ever.

NEC members who play women’s soccer: Bryant, Central Connecticut, Fairleigh Dickinson, Long Island, Monmouth, Mount St. Mary’s, Quinnipiac, Robert Morris, Sacred Heart, Saint Francis (PA), Wagner

Field Hockey

2011 preseason poll release: August 11
2011 championship:  November 4-5 at high seed host site
2010 tournament champion:  Rider (defeated Monmouth, 1-0)
2010 regular season winner:  Rider
2010 preseason favorite:  Rider

Overtime! Preseason Synopsis:   Rider and Monmouth, who have played a pair of down-to-the-wire thrillers in NEC Tournament play over the past two seasons, are sure to be near the top of the coaches’ list when the poll results come out on August 11.  Bryant’s stock is bullish under head coach Shaunessy Saucier who had the Bulldogs in the four-team NEC postseason bracket in their first season of eligibility.  Senior leaders Courtney Landi and Katherine Andrusin are back for the Bulldogs who won five of seven league games last year.  … The always-steady Quinnipiac has qualified for the NEC Tournament each of the last four years and Becca Kohli’s Bobcats will look to end an eight-year title drought.  

NEC members who play field hockey: Bryant, Monmouth, Quinnipiac, Rider (associate), Robert Morris, Sacred Heart, Saint Francis (PA), Siena (associate)

2011 preseason poll release: August 16
2011 championship:  November 19-20 at high seed host site
2010 tournament champion:  Sacred Heart (defeated Robert Morris, 3-0)
2010 regular season winner:  Sacred Heart
2010 preseason favorite:  Long Island

Overtime! Preseason Synopsis:   The last dozen years of NEC volleyball has been a story of dynasties.  First, Robert Morris captured the NEC Tournament crown in 1999 and held it until 2004 when Long Island begin its unprecedented run under head coach Toby Rens.  The Blackbirds rattled off four straight titles before Rens left for Pittsburgh, but were left in good hands as former US National Team member Kyle Robinson took the reins and LIU won it all again in 2008 and 2009.  … Robert Morris ended Long Island’s quest for NEC title No. 7 in the 2010 NEC semifinal round, but Dale Starr’s Colonials had no answer for a potent Sacred Heart attack in the final. … Sacred Heart won the NEC regular season and tournament crowns last year, with both feats marking program firsts.  Could reigning NEC Coach of the Year Rob Machan be putting together the league’s next dynasty in Fairfield?  It’s obviously way too early to tell, not to mention there are eight other NEC members who have other ideas.

NEC members who play volleyball: Bryant, Central Connecticut, Fairleigh Dickinson, Long Island, Quinnipiac, Robert Morris, Sacred Heart, St. Francis (NY), Saint Francis (PA)

Men’s Cross Country
2011 preseason poll release:  August 9
2011 championship:   October 29 at Holmdel Park (Holmdel, NJ)
2010 champion: Central Connecticut
2010 preseason favorite: Central Connecticut

Overtime! Preseason Synopsis:  The NEC title hasn’t left the state of Connecticut since 2005, but it no longer permanently resides in Hamden.  Quinnipiac won four conference crowns in five years (2004-08), including three in a row, but cross-state rival Central Connecticut has bumped the Bobcats from their spot atop the NEC.  An accomplished harrier himself, Eric Blake has coached the Blue Devils to back-to-back team titles.  … Central lost one part of last year’s podium sweep with the graduation of Ry Sanderson, but its roster has enough depth to minimize the impact.  … CCSU’s Craig Hunt, the 2010 NEC bronze medalist, was one of five sophomores to finish in the top-15 at the NEC championship meet.  The group also included second-year Wagner Seahawk Zachary Spector and a pair of Saint Francis (PA) harriers – Shaun Foley and Sean Kirby – who will make the Red Flash a contender once again.

NEC members who compete in men’s cross country:  Bryant, Central Connecticut, Fairleigh Dickinson, Long Island, Monmouth, Mount St. Mary’s, Quinnipiac, Robert Morris, Sacred Heart, St. Francis (NY), Saint Francis (PA), Wagner

Women’s Cross Country
2011 preseason poll release:  August 10
2011 championship:   October 29 at Holmdel Park (Holmdel, NJ)
2010 champion: Quinnipiac
2010 preseason favorite:  Quinnipiac

Overtime! Preseason Synopsis:   Quinnipiac will take aim at an unprecedented seventh consecutive NEC team title when the conference’s 12 teams ascend upon Holmdel Park come late October.  The Bobcats will certainly miss Kristin Stevens, a two-time individual NEC champion who overcame injury and posted a top-5 finish as a fifth-year senior at last year’s meet.  Even without Stevens, Carolyn Martin’s enters 2011 with a first-class collection of talent.  Four of the Bobcats’ five scorers at the 2010 NEC Championship were underclassmen. … With juniors Jennifer Nelson and Kelsey Maher, Monmouth, the 2010 NEC runner-up, will be in the title mix once again under reigning NEC Coach of the Year Joe Compagni. … Sacred Heart has been a top-3 team finisher every year since 2005, but the Pioneers lost their lone all-NEC performer from last year’s squad – Kimberly DeLoreto — to graduation.

NEC members who compete in women’s cross country:  Bryant, Central Connecticut, Fairleigh Dickinson, Long Island, Monmouth, Mount St. Mary’s, Quinnipiac, Robert Morris, Sacred Heart, St. Francis (NY), Saint Francis (PA), Wagner

NEC Football Preseason Teleconference Slated for Aug. 3; Ask Your Favorite Coach a Question About Upcoming Campaign

The Northeast Conference has finalized the details for its annual preseason football media teleconference. 

With the 16th season of NEC Football on the horizon, the league will administer a two-hour teleconference for all interested media members on Wednesday, August 3 beginning at 11:00 am.

The call will start with the announcement of the 25-member 2011 Preseason All-Northeast Conference Team as well as the release of the Preseason Coaches’ Poll, which will attempt to predict the order of finish for the upcoming campaign.

Central Connecticut was the 2010 NEC preseason favorite and wound up tied with Robert Morris atop the league standings come season’s end.  As a result of its head-to-head victory over CCSU, the latter claimed the conference’s inaugural bid to the NCAA FCS playoffs

Both the Colonials and the Blue Devils will find out where they rank in the 2011 predicted order-of-finish prior to the coaches’ question and answer portion of the upcoming media teleconference.

All nine of the conference’s head coaches will be available to take questions from the media, and all interested media members should contact Ralph Ventre for a full schedule and log-in information.

Fans will also have the opportunity to submit a question for their favorite NEC coach by e-mailing an inquiry to Due to time constraints only select questions will be asked during the teleconference, the entirety of which will be archived on the NEC’s official website shortly after its completion.

Any fan who submits a question will automatically be entered into a random drawing to win official NEC merchandise.  Please provide your name, hometown, and favorite NEC team when e-mailing your question.

Also don’t forget to pick your preseason favorite in our Facebook survey

NEC’s Ralph Ventre Spends Summer Weekend Taking Crash Course on NCAA ‘Bracketology’ in Indy

Ralph Ventre, the Northeast Conference’s public relations contact for women’s basketball, was part of a select group of head coaches and conference administrators who ascended upon Indianapolis this past weekend for the NCAA Mock Selection Exercise.  Quinnipiac head coach Tricia Fabbri, who ranks second on the all-time NEC wins list, was also part of the two-day program.  In the Overtime! exclusive below, Ralph shares his thoughts on the weekend and the selection process.


Summer weekends are usually synonymous with the beach, barbequing, baseball, and a number of other outdoor activities. 

For a group of 30 NCAA women’s basketball coaches and administrators, however, this past weekend had nothing to do with fun in the sun.

Instead, this collection of men and women convened in Indianapolis where they participated in the NCAA Mock Selection Exercise.

Just as the 10-member NCAA women’s basketball committee does for four days every March, these folks bunkered down in a conference room and attempted to piece together a 64-team championship bracket.  Along the way, the eclectic mix of coaches and administrators, representing schools and conference from all across America, learned a great deal about the not-so-mysterious Selection Process.

Only seconds after the NCAA releases the basketball championship bracket via its annual Monday night Selection Show on ESPN, the questions and comments emerge at a rapid rate.

How did this team get in?  How did this team not get in?  Team A is really only a No. 4 seed?  How could that be?

Nearly every fan and college hoops reporter feels the need to chime in.

Some go as far as throwing around accusations of hidden agendas and conspiracy.

If only these folks knew the amount of work and time that the selection process entails, then maybe their cynicism would be tempered.

To be honest, there is really nothing to be cynical about.  Take my word for it as I was fortunate enough to be there in Indy this past weekend.

The amount of thought and research that goes into the process is rather remarkable.

An easy task it is not, but the Selection Process is one of integrity.  Although critics may disagree with the end results, aka the final bracket, they can assure themselves it was concocted through fair and honest means.

A combination of factual information and actual eyewitness accounts of teams’ play is used to determine the top-33 at-large teams. 

Contrary to the conspiracy contingent that exists amongst public opinion, the process is about finding the 33 teams most deserving of selection regardless of conference affiliation or geographic location.

It all begins back in November when the 10 committee members start watching games.  On average, each of the members will see around 150 contests throughout the season.

After spending five months eating, drinking, and sleeping college basketball, these folks come together in March to hammer out the bracket in what is a three-phase process.

The proceedings begin with each committee member submitting an “initial ballot” of no more than 33 teams who, in the committee members’ eyes, are deserving of at-large qualification.  Committee members are also allowed to designate any number of additional teams who they believe should at least receive some sort of consideration for a berth (note that any regular season conference champion is automatically considered in the at-large conversation).

Phase No. 1 continues with committee members comparing teams within groups and ranking them.  After hours and hours of deliberation, ranking, and voting, a list of 33 at-large qualifiers emerges.

It is not until this point that Phase No. 2 of the process – Seeding – begins.  After the 33 at-large teams and 31 auto qualifiers are seeded from 1 through 64, bracketing (Phase No. 3) begins.

No phase begins until its predecessor is complete.  It goes selections, seeding, and then bracketing.  The order of the process helps to ensure that only the best 33 at-large teams will be selected regardless of what conference a team may be from or if a team is slated as a pre-determined host site.

No human process is perfect, and not everyone will agree with the committee’s selections from year to year.

With that said, you can be assured that there are 10 different basketball people with 10 different perspectives working tirelessly for five straight months in an attempt to ensure the integrity of the NCAA Women’s Basketball Championship Bracket.

This past weekend, I was privileged enough to walk in the shoes of a committee member and take part in a process that was more about intricacy and nothing about conspiracy.

Northeast Conference Campus Tour (Jul. 14, 2011) – A quick trip across the campuses of the NEC’s 12 member institutions

Bryant – Sophomore guard Corey Maynard (Men’s Basketball) is set to represent his native Australia at the 26th World University Games set for August 13-23 in Shenzhen, China.  The 6-foot-3 Aussie appeared in all 30 of Bryant’s games as a freshman, averaging 4.7 points per outing.  He earned a spot on Australia’s final 12-member roster by virtue of his performance at a national selection camp earlier this month.  Read More.

Central Connecticut – Season tickets for Blue Devils’ football are now on sale through the school’s website.  Having earned at least a share of the NEC crown in each of the past two seasons, Central will play five home games as it vies for the league’s automatic berth into the NCAA FCS Playoffs.  Jeff McInerney’s Blue Devils open the season at Arute Field on Sept. 3 against Southern Connecticut.  Read More

Fairleigh Dickinson – FDU men’s basketball will open its 2011-12 season against Big East member Providence.  The Knights released a tentative schedule on their official athletics website ( this week. The slate includes another Big East opponent in the form of Rick Pitino’s Louisville Cardinals as well as non-conference matchups against a number of local rivals, including Columbia and Saint Peter’s.  Read More.

Long Island – Forty-four of the 874 student-athletes named to the NEC Spring Academic Honor Roll hail from Long Island.  Blackbirds women’s lacrosse and baseball each placed a department-high eight representatives on the prestigious list, which features student-athletes who maintain at least a 3.20 cumulative grade-point average.  Read More.

Monmouth – Captain Christie Rampone and the U.S. Women’s World Cup Team tripled up France, 3-1, in the semifinal round on July 13 and advanced to the tournament’s title match, which is set for Sunday, July 18.  Eight months ago, Rampone, who is currently contesting her fourth World Cup, earned her way into the Northeast Conference Hall of Fame as a member of the inaugural class. Arguably the best NEC soccer player to ever step onto the pitch, Rampone graduated from Monmouth in 1997.  Read More

Mount St. Mary’s – The Mountaineers have been counting down the top-20 moments from the past year in Mount St. Mary’s Athletics as part of an end-of-year wrap-up series on the athletic department’s official website (  Moment No. 14 was unveiled on July 13, celebrating a pair of performances in the pool.  Sophomore Courtney Griffith and freshman Patricia Yam became the first two women in Mount history to earn a spot on the medal stand at the Northeast Conference Swimming & Diving Championships, which were held this past February in Boston.  Read More.

Quinnipiac – Women’s basketball head coach Tricia Fabbri is headed to Indianapolis this upcoming weekend to take part in the NCAA’s “mock” selection exercise.  One of 30 participants from around the nation, Fabbri will join fellow coaches and conference administrators in what promises to be an enlightening and educational experience. The exercise is aimed at creating a greater understanding of each phase of the process for the NCAA Division I Women’s Basketball Championship.  NEC women’s basketball public relations contact Ralph Ventre will also participate in the proceedings.  Read More.

Robert Morris – NEC Women’s Basketball Rookie of the Year Artemis Spanou is spending her summer competing for her native Greece at the 2011 U20 Women’s European Championships.  The 6-foot forward averaged 19.7 points per contest as Greece jumped out to a 3-0 record in the B Division.  Team Greece, which defeated Austria, Belgium, and Estonia, round out preliminary round play this week against Israel and Czech Republic.  Read More.

Sacred Heart – Men’s basketball players Femi Akinpetide and Nick Greenbacker were named to the National Association of Basketball Coaches (NABC) Honor Court.  The NABC Honors Court recognizes student-athletes who excelled in academics during the 2010-11 season.  Read More.

St. Francis (NY) – The Terriers recently made headlines in the Catholic Sports Journal for the helping hand they extended to those devastated by tornadoes in Joplin, MO.  SFNY administrator Meghan O’Brien spearheaded the effort, which sent a number of sporting goods along with clothing down to the children affected by the natural disaster.  Read More.

Saint Francis (PA) – The Saint Francis University Red Flash BBQ – a Red Flash Futures event – will be held on Saturday, July 16 in Warren, NJ. Saint Francis University President, Father Gabriel Zeis; Director of Athletics, Bob Krimmel; as well as numerous Red Flash coaches will be in attendance.  Read More.

Wagner – Three Wagner alumni are excelling on professional baseball diamonds across America. Oakland A’s relief pitcher, and two-time AL All-Star, Andrew Bailey has rebounded from a Spring Training injury and is back in the bullpen.  Joe Testa is currently undefeated in relief for the Potomac Nationals and Jon Lucas, who graduated this past May, was perfect through his first 7.0 innings of pro ball with the Bluefield Blue Jays. Read More.

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