Sacred Heart nearly made it last at least one more day. The Pioneers pushed No. 11 Stanford to the brink in their NCAA Volleyball Tournament First Round match this past Saturday before falling and closing the book on the 2011 NEC fall sports season.
One week earlier, UAlbany football was the last NEC fall men’s team to compete. Like SHU volleyball, the Danes nearly had an NCAA road win. UAlbany built a 28-10 lead over Stony Brook before dropping a 31-28 decision.
While the Pioneers and Danes saw their fall seasons end, another race has just begun to heat up.
The race for the Brenda Weare Commissioner’s Cup has barely moved past the quarter pole. The NEC sponsors 23 championship sports and has crowned only seven champions thus far.
There’s still a ways to go until May, but Sacred Heart is out in front of the field once again.
Having won the overall Commissioner’s Cup in each of the past four academic years, the Pioneers’ “Drive for Five” already appears in high gear.
Click here for complete Commissioner’s Cup rankings
Sacred Heart only helped its quest for a fifth consecutive Cup by capturing a pair of regular season titles during the fall. In addition to volleyball’s outright crown, the Pioneers men’s soccer team finished in a three-way tie atop the league standings.
SHU women’s soccer also made it through to NEC Tournament play, finishing fourth in the regular season. The Pioneers also picked up points on the women’s side in field hockey, finishing in a tie for fourth place. A runner-up finish at the NEC Women’s Cross Country Championship also a contributed to Sacred Heart’s league-leading 45.52 points in the women’s Cup race.
Although the Pioneers lead the women’s and overall Cup standings, they aren’t in position for a clean sweep.
Monmouth, which has finished second in the overall Cup results in each of the past four years, currently leads the race for the men’s prize.
The Jersey Shore-based institution was home to the lone NEC team to advance past the NCAA First Round this fall. Rob McCourt’s men’s soccer team played to a scoreless draw against Stony Brook before advancing past the America East champions in penalty kicks. The Hawks proceeded to take on UConn in the NCAA Second Round and gave the Huskies quite the run. Monmouth eventually fell, 2-1, but the Hawks were able to walk away with something to hang their hats on. Monmouth accounted for what was only the ninth goal scored against UConn in 24 games.
The bottom line is the fall is history, and the action on the hardwood is heating up.
Will Sacred Heart hold its perch when the updated Commissioner’s Cup standings are released in March 2012?
The Commissioner’s Cup was named in honor of Brenda Weare (below middle) who passed away in June 2009.
Overtime! Tweet of the Day
@RADickey43 – first, in the words of yoda (or at least i think yoda would have said this), One man a team does not make.
@RebeccaLobo – Jimmy V week makes me think about my mom. And being a mom. espnW helped me share. tinyurl.com/cgx9nqq
Articles of Interest
Report on Chauncey Hardy’s death completed – Connecticut Post (AP)
NEC players putting up big games – Asbury Park Press (Tony Graham)
MU women’s hoops at SFPA Monday Game Day plus POLL, prediction, and Palmateer quotes from RMU game – Asbury Park Press (Hawks Nest)
SHU men’s, women’s game days – Connecticut Post
CCSU men found motivation from crowd – New Britain Herald (Matt Straub)
RMU women get early NEC start – Pittsburgh Tribune-Review (Karen Price)
Choice Hotels NEC MBB Player of Week Ken Horton speaks…
– Dec. 5, 2011 –