Category Archives: Club Sports

Ultimate Frisbee Offers Another Option

by Navindra Persaud

CCSU’s club sports program continuously gives students the chance to participate in a sport outside of the university’s athletic department. Sometimes this can be one outside the mainstream sports the casual fan is aware of: like Central’s ultimate Frisbee club team.

Ultimate Frisbee is a non-contact sport played by two teams of seven players. The field is approximately 70 yards long and 40 yards wide with two 20-yard end zones. A goal is scored when a player catches any legal pass in the end zone that the player is attacking.

A player must remain stationary while holding the disc, which is advanced by passing it to other players. Any time a pass is incomplete a turnover occurs, resulting in an immediate change of possession.

Through RECentral, CCSU supports its own ultimate Frisbee team, which travels around New England and the northeast to other schools to compete in the sport.

“We mainly compete in organized tournaments, usually hosted by other college teams or organizations,” said club president Eric Renkewith. “This year we will be travelling to New Jersey for two tournaments and to another tournament just north of Boston.”

Tournament sizes range anywhere from 16 to 64 teams. Teams will often play three to four full games a day; from six to eight over a tournament weekend. Games are played until the first team scores 15 goals and usually last about 90 minutes. Renkewith stated that most teams will get a bye for one of the rounds on Saturday, but it is not uncommon for teams to play all four of their Saturday games in a row.

“I think the sport represents the spirit of CCSU because you learn a lot and grow a lot as a person from playing,” said Renkewith. “Sportsmanship is very important and you are responsible for your own actions and you have to be willing to listen to and negotiate with others. The same qualities and actions you learn and apply in the game can be used as a student and as a part of society.”

Teamwork is one of the most important elements of ultimate Frisbee. Offensively, a team can only move the disc and score by passing it to teammate, meaning it is a complete team effort in order to win. On defense, players must have trust in their teammates on the field.

“For example, if a team is running a zone defense, every one of those seven players will have their own specific responsibility, and if one person is out of position then the whole thing can fall apart and result in the other team scoring with relative ease,” said Renkewith.

There is also communication from the players who are on the sideline to players on the field to help so even when players are not on the field they are constantly helping out their defense or keeping players on the field motivated.

Ultimate Frisbee differs from other club sports mainly because of the lack of referees. Players call fouls and settle disputes amongst themselves. All participants are expected to play within the rules and sportsmanship and mutual respect amongst competitors are valued higher than winning at all costs, an idea which is scarcely seen in any of the major sports watched on television or in person.

CCSU is part of the Hudson Valley Conference, which is part of the Metro East Region. The Hudson Valley Conference includes CCSU, Yale, SUNY-Albany, SUNY-New Paltz and UConn.

The team was founded about five years ago by a few friends. They started out only playing pick-up games on Vance Lawn but soon saw numbers grow and began traveling to tournaments. The club has grown to include both a men’s and women’s team who are highly competitive within the region.

Renkewith believes that fun, fitness, teamwork, competition and respect for your opponents are all important for both the club and for ultimate Frisbee as a whole.

“I really enjoy being part of a team working towards a shared goal. It’s an awesome sport that gives you an opportunity to meet people from your school and to travel and get to know people from other schools,” said Renkewith.

The men’s team is coached by Alex Morrone. Morrone volunteers a good amount of his time to help the team develop skills on the field. According to Renkewith, Morrone has played on several elite level teams and is very involved in the ultimate Frisbee community in Connecticut.

The sport does not cost much to play for students interested. The budget covers tournament fees and hotels so the only cost to players is for their own jerseys. Team members are also expected to pay for their own food and gas money on tournament weekends. Other than those costs, the only equipment really required is a disc and a pair of cleats.

“I think our team is a very important community within CCSU and we have a very diverse group of people who make up our team,” said Renkewith.

Club Hockey Serves the Students

by Navindra Persaud

Blue Devil pride at Central Connecticut State University is always well represented by its athletic department and the various teams that compete.

However, RECentral, the department which promotes recreational activities and fitness, has also provided students who want to compete at a collegiate level with their Club Sports program, which features a more diverse range of sports for students to choose from.

Rather than competing within the university like the intramural program, these club sports teams are able to compete on an intercollegiate level, to give the players a chance to showcase their ability in sports that don’t receive funding through the athletic department; sports such as CCSU’s ice hockey club team.

“CCSU hockey has cemented itself as a premier American Collegiate Hockey Association hockey club for over 30 years,” said ice hockey club president Evan Mink by email. “It was founded like any other club: by a group of students with a common interest.”

The American Collegiate Hockey Association (ACHA) is the governing body within which the ice hockey club team competes. The ACHA is broken up into four geographic regions, each of which is competing for bids to the regional tournament and, ultimately, the national championship.

The ice hockey club team competes in the ACHA Division II Super East conference, consisting of other colleges and universities from around the Northeast.

Conference opponents such as Marist College, Siena College, William Paterson University, Montclair State University and New York University come from the New York/New Jersey area. The team also competes in-conference against other New England schools represented by the University of New Hampshire and Western Connecticut State University.

Mink stated that CCSU often competes in out-of-conference games as well and has developed recent rivalries against both UConn and the University of New Haven and even competed against Trinity College’s NCAA Division III men’s hockey team last year.

The team has seen success in recent years. The Blue Devils made it to the ACHA Division II national championship game in 2009-10 where they fell to then two-time defending champions Davenport.

The team was also the 2011 Governors’ Cup Champions, defeating defending champion UConn. The Governor’s Cup is a yearly two-day tournament featuring club hockey teams from four Connecticut schools

Within the ACHA, teams are ranked by committees comprised of coaches, with the various schools ranked according to wins and losses along with strength of schedule and other factors similar to the NCAA standards and regulations of competition.

The team generally has two games per week with the majority of them being on Friday or Saturday nights. Mink added that this allows the players ample time for education and team obligations, similar to the student-athletes competing on standard collegiate athletic teams like football and basketball.

“We will also practice two to three times per week,” added Mink, “with off-ice physical training mixed in occasionally as our coaching staff sees fit.”

The team is currently coached by second-year man Ben Adams, who has been part of the coaching team for the last four seasons. Adams is also the head coach of Kingswood-Oxford Prep School in west Hartford.

The ice hockey club has built a respectable name in the state of Connecticut, which has created a buzz for the team and the school itself. The club hopes to promote the game of college hockey in the central Connecticut region as well as promoting the CCSU Blue Devils.

“I’d say our club differs from other clubs simply due to the high level at which we compete and the level of exposure the club brings to the university,” said Mink, “We’re able to compete against other universities in an effort to represent Central Connecticut State University across the Northeast and beyond.”

Unlike most other club sports, ice hockey requires participating players to pay a yearly fee of $1,700 to participate. The fee covers costs that include all aspects of a college hockey season—from ice time at Newington Arena (where the team hosts home games) for games and practices to travel expenses to equipment such as uniforms and team warm-up suits.

According to Mink, the club is always open to new members as it looks to promote both the sport of hockey as well as Central Connecticut. The club team allows Central to have a presence in a sport played widely around the Northeast.

“Hockey is important because it promotes physical activity, competition, teamwork, resilience, and a lot of hard work,” said Mink. “With no team competing at the NCAA level for CCSU, this club is all that the university has in the very crucial New England college hockey market. The club represents everything that is the spirit of the Blue Devils and CCSU: hard work, sportsmanship, and learning. We love representing CCSU.”

The team’s current overall record is 11-12-3, with their next home game scheduled for Feb. 7 at 9 p.m. against Bryant University. The ice hockey team is only one of the over 20 club sports that CCSU has to offer and serves as another outlet for talented athletes to get involved, not only with sports but to become closer to the CCSU community as well.

 

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Blue Devils Attract Enthusiastic Fans Despite Losing Effort

By Brittany Burke

Despite dropping both home games this past weekend, the CCSU Club Hockey team still drew a loud and impressive crowd to the Newington Arena to watch them play against UConn and William Patterson.

With the stands littered with Blue Devil IRC pitchforks (thanks to the IRC skate that took place the same night), the fans shouted, egged on the WPU Pioneers and jeered the refs, all while keeping the CCSU spirit up as the Blue Devils fell 7-2.

“We gotta thank the fans too, they’re awesome,” said team veteran Greg Coco. “…I give them a lot of credit and they make us feel kind of important.”

The five point deficit doesn’t show the true story of how well Coco played in net against CCSU’s SECHL rivals. With the majority of the game played close to the goal’s crease, Coco saved 47 of the 54 shots taken against him, with a final save percentage of 87.

“I thought he played great,” said Head Coach Ben Adams. “That score is not indicative of the battle [and] those last three he was hung out to dry and the guys, I don’t want to say quit on him, but they weren’t battling as hard as they should be.”

WPU took the early lead, shutting out CCSU in the first period while gaining two goals of their own. CCSU answered back in the second with goals from Ross Burton and Rob Ribino getting the assists from Evan Mink, Conor Stanley, Brian Fay and Jack Johnson.

Toward the end of the period WPU notched a short-handed goal while CCSU couldn’t capitalize on the Pioneer penalties. As WPU came out more aggressive in the final period, the Blue Devils couldn’t keep up. A steady stream of goals put the visitors up by three with only three minutes left to play.

“I’ve just been trying to focus on watching the pucks and worrying about my angles because that’s pretty much all I can control at the end of the day. I think until the end of the third period I hadn’t given up an even strength goal in the last two and a half games, so that’s frustrating,” said Coco.

One thing CCSU doesn’t lack is emotion for the game. However, over the course of the season they’ve let those emotions get the best of them and get them sent into the penalty box. That pattern showed again as two late penalties by Andrew Mazurkiewicz and Johnson gave the Pioneers a final opportunity to score.

The last two goals were scored by the Pioneers with 45 and seven seconds left.

“We fell short in the third, but it’s more mental mistakes than physical mistakes,” said Adams. “We did okay breaking pucks out, I thought we did too much with the pucks at time, the support wasn’t always there, but it’s just those kind of mental break downs that hurt us and they don’t really hurt us that bad. It was technically a 4-2 score and then it fell apart.”

The team’s temper reared the night before in a 5-2 loss to its in-state rivals, the UConn Huskies.

With 1:48 left to play in the game a bad roughing call was made against Johnson, sending him to the box and eventually the locker room for the remainder of the game while UConn’s Ryan Doherty was given four minutes.

“The emotion shows that they have the heart there, which is good,” said Adams. “As far as the refing, they call what they call and it is what it is but we have to do a better job of controlling the emotion and playing hockey.”

UConn took more penalties than CCSU, but the Huskies managed 48 shot attempts on goal while the Blue Devils had 20 less.

It was CCSU who struck early with two goals from Burton and Johnson in the first, but they were kept off the board for the rest of the game as UConn tallied two in the second and three in the third.

“We looked pretty good in the first. We were blocking shots and Goose [Zach Gosselin] stood on his head to keep us in it and defense played really well tonight. In the second we had a little let down and in the third period we took too many penalties,” said Kevin San Angelo.

CCSU will play its final home game Feb. 9 against Siena at 9 p.m.