Category Archives: Sports

Horton’s Big Night Lifts CCSU Over The Mount

By Nick Rosa

Senior Ken Horton had a career night last Thursday at home with a personal high of 39-points to go along with 13 rebounds, five assists and six steals as the Blue Devils went on to overpower Mount Saint Mary’s 78-63.

CCSU is now 13-15 overall and 10-8 in the conference after their victory over Wagner on Senior Day Saturday at home.  They rank seventh going into the tournament next Thursday against Wagner.

Horton’s 39 points marks the fourth-best single game performance in school history along with surpassing 1,900 career points in the win.  He was 15-20 from the field, 4-8 from beyond the arc, and 5-7 from the free-throw line.

When asked if he knew he was on a record pace Horton simply said, “Records are cool, but I’d rather have a championship.”  His teammate, freshman Kyle Vinales set a freshman school record for most three-pointers in a single season with 69.

The only time in the game that CCSU trailed was when the Mount’s Julian Norfleet started the game with a three pointer.  Vinales answered back with a three of his own, which began the Blue Devils 9-0 run.  CCSU didn’t look back as they finished the high-scoring first half with a 41-33 lead.

Great offense and defense sparked one of CCSU’s best performances of the year.  They assisted on 24 of 30 baskets, which was their second-highest assist total this year.

The team also only turned the ball over seven times to 12 team steals, while Mount Saint Mary’s suffered due to their sloppiness and had 14 turnovers to only two steals.

Passing the ball was another key factor that seemed to throw the Mount Saint Mary’s players off guard, giving many open looks for Central’s shooters.

“One of the keys to the game tonight was executing on offense and making the extra pass and not forcing up shots, “ Horton said.  “Kyle was making good passes, Kyle, Robby [Ptacek] and Malcolm [McMillan], and they set it for us, and finding people.”

Head Coach Howie Dickenman was pleased with their performance. “Tonight you saw Central Connecticut at their best,” Dickenman said.  “We were very unselfish, we set good screens and I really don’t think there was one questionable shot by any of our players.  We were able to drive the ball up the court and thought our defense was pretty good,” he said.

CCSU shot 53.6 percent from the field (30-56) and 50 percent from the three-point line (8-16), while Mount Saint Mary’s shot 47.7 percent from the field (21-44) and 31.6 percent from the three-point line (6-19).

Coming into the second half, the Mount cut it to five points after shaking off an 8-2 run to make it 53-48 with 13:11 left on the game clock. This didn’t faze the Blue Devils as Horton took a deep three, missed, and hustled back in to grab the offensive rebound and put it in for two, which started another 9-0 run.  He was also fouled on the play but was unsuccessful for the three point play.  Horton scored seven of those nine points.

This put the Mountaineers in a hole too deep to climb out of as the Blue Devils had yet another big 8-0 run to close out the visiting team. Ptacek scored six of those eight points.  This was CCSU’s ninth home win of the season.

Horton led the team followed by Vinales with 13 points, 11 assists, and two steals for his first career double-double while Ptacek finished with 17 points, three rebounds, and three steals.

The Mountaineers were led by Norfleet with 20 pints and by junior Raven Barber with 14 points and nine rebounds.

“Kenny was the man tonight,” said Dickenman. He also mentioned what Head Coach Matt Henry from Mount Saint Mary’s said when they were shaking hands, “If Kenny Horton plays that way you’ll win the NEC tournament,” and Dickenman didn’t disagree with him.

With impressive double-digit victories their past two games, the Blue Devil’s will enter tournament as the seventh seed with momentum on their side as the NEC’s begin Thursday.

Women’s Lacross Battles For First Win Of Season

By Kenny Barto

The CCSU women’s lacrosse team got its first win of the season, first conference win, first win under their new head coach and their first ever win against Bryant with the 11-5 victory over the Bulldogs .

“It’s huge, it’s big for our girls because this year is different,” said head coach Kelly Nangle. “It’s huge for them to see it happen, and think it’s possible, because this is something they’ve never experienced before.”

In each of the last three seasons, the Blue Devils (1-1, 1-0 NEC) lost to Bryant (0-2, 0-1 NEC) by four goals in each game. On Sunday afternoon, there was no question that the entire team was firing on all cylinders.

“I think almost all of our goals were assisted, which is great,” Nangle said. “They’re all playing together, which is what we want.”

CCSU’s Mackenzy Ryan opened up the game with two goals at 27:27, and 26:15 of the first period, both assisted by Ashley Perkoski.

Bryant answered at 23:09 with a free position goal after a foul by CCSU. The Blue Devils added their third goal at 16:38 with a goal by Meaghan McCurry, assisted by Betsy Vendel, which was quickly answered by another free position goal by Bryant to make the score 3-2 at the 14:30 mark.

For the next twenty minutes of play, the Blue Devils simply dominated, with seven unanswered goals. Three of them were from Ashley Mara, two of them were from Ryan, with Perkoski and Vendel adding one each. Perkoski also added three more assists, which gave her one goal and five assists for the game.

“I think everyone is underestimating us a little,” Perkoski said. “We practiced a lot to get where we are right now. I mean, I was happy with my performance, but I was way more happy with the team effort.”

Bryant fought back in the final minutes, but goalie Erin Delancey and the CCSU defense secured the 11-5 victory. Delancey finished with nine saves, seven of them being in the second period.

“Our defense was great,” Nangle said. “I mean, five goals against, I can’t complain about that, I’m really proud of them.”

The Blue Devils get their first victory after suffering an 18-5 loss at Stony Brook, who is 4-0 this season.

“I think playing Stony Brook made us so much better,” Perkoski said. “To go and play a team that is as good as they are just helps us improve so much.”

The Blue Devils will travel to Iona on March 4 before their second home game of the season against Manhattan on March 7. CCSU then goes on a three game road trip in California, facing UC Davis, Fresno State, and St. Mary’s College. They will not play a Northeast Conference match until March 30 when they host Wagner.

“This year, we’ve got new techniques, which people can not break,” Perkoski said. “They can try to break them, they can watch film on us, but I know we’re going to be unstoppable in the NEC’s.”

Why Lin Should Have Been An All-Star

By Dan Wanat

By the time this article reaches the newsstand, the NBA All-Star game will have come and gone with little more than a ripple on the Richter scale.

Now with all the glory and prominence encompassing NBA All-Star weekend, comes the disappointment of isolated ostracism as the NBA’s most popular player is forced to watch the game next to Keanu Reeves. Jeremy Lin has taken the NBA by storm and it is just another reminder to why it should be mandatory for everybody in the world to love sports.

The storylines that sports produce are unpredictable and amazingly beautiful. No movie producer could have ever created a script in which a 6’3” Taiwanese point guard from Harvard, who was cut by two NBA teams already during the season, could statistically transcend Magic Johnson, Shaq and Michael Jordan but that’s what makes Jeremy Lin’s fable seem so impossible.

Lin has single-handedly made it “cool” to go to Harvard again; Lin’s made us think of Taiwan as more than just a place that has monopolized all the “Made in” tags on just about everything you own, and most importantly Lin is showing not only the Asian population, but everybody what it feels like to be an underdog and take the NBA by storm and its these ascending characteristics and popularity that entitle Jeremy Lin to be playing in the NBA All-Star game.

Now before I delve into the reasons why Jeremy Lin should be participating in the All-Star Game, I must digress with an opinionated disclosure on my overall views of fans voting for All-Star games. Plain and simple: I hate fan voting. Fan voting depreciates the statistical value of an individual’s season and turns an All-Star Game into nothing more than a popularity contest.

Letting fans decide these procedures meant that in 2011, Derek Jeter and his awful first half numbers were selected to promenade around the MLB All-Star game as if he actually deserved to be there. The list of these atrocious preferences can go on and on as fans painstakingly click on the most revered name on the all-star ballot rather than the players that actually deserve it.

The last reason I have an utter disdain for fan voting is that the Hall of Fame Selection Committee uses All-Star game appearances as a pillar of judgment unto which votes are cast. That would be like if an individual where applying to Harvard and fit all the educational and extra-curricular requirements needed but Harvard didn’t allow the student in because he didn’t win Prom King.

Phew! I feel a lot better now that that’s off my chest. Unfortunately, my rant cannot undo the current popularity based format of the All-Star game so whether I like it or not, the most popular players in the NBA are voted in. It’s safe to presume that Jeremy Lin is the most popular player in the NBA right now thus he needs to be in the All-Star game.

For this year’s All-Star game, fan voting ended on Feb. 1 while the game itself was not played until Feb. 26. In Jeremy Lin’s case, he didn’t even make his first career start until Feb. 6. With this being formulated, if the fan voting went until Feb. 14, for example, Linsanity would have been in full effect and Jeremy Lin would have absolutely been voted into the All-Star game.

Heck, it took the kid three NBA starts before his jersey was the highest selling jersey in the NBA. So I have no doubt the voters would have showed up in droves begging to make Lin a participant in the All-Star game.

His statistics through his first 11 career starts are all-star worthy. In Lin’s first five NBA starts, he broke Shaq’s all-time record for most points scored in his first five games by netting 136 points (27.2 ppg). In Lin’s last 12 games, which represents the only 12 games of his career in which he saw valuable minutes, Lin averaged 22.6 ppg and 8.7 apg.

From a “this season” standpoint and I know it’s a very small sample size in comparison, but just for argument’s sake, Derrick Rose is averaging 21.8 ppg and 7.7 apg on the season. In terms of the historical magnitude, Lin holds the record for most points and assists through a player’s first 12 career starts topping Magic Johnson, Isiah Thomas, and John Stockton.

I must re-emphasize that the NBA is a tough and rugged sport that is always evolving so a good 12 game stretch does not make or break a career, but if Jeremy Lin can continue producing at such a ridiculously high level than we may be witnessing a star in the making.

David Stern, David Stern, David Stern tsk tsk tsk. From a strictly marketing and business standpoint, it seems impossible not to have the inclusion of Jeremy Lin down in Orlando this weekend. Ever since David Stern has taken over as the commissioner of the NBA, his major goal has been the globalization of the game of basketball. What better ways to expand the probing tentacles of the NBA than to have Jeremy Lin play in the All-Star game?

The peaking interest of the NBA in Asia is at an apex that hasn’t been attained since Yao Ming entered the league.

Lin played in the Rookies versus Sophomore game and it received the highest rating in its history, and as I mentioned before Lin has had the highest selling jersey in the NBA for the past month. Why not take advantage of this popularity by thrusting Lin into the All-Star game and giving global fans even more incentive to watch and become enthralled not only with Lin but with all the other star players in the NBA?

At first, I was thinking that Stern was avoiding the inclusion of Lin because he would have to create an unprecedented extra roster spot which lays a crack-filled foundation down for future All-Star games. But Joe Johnson of the Atlanta Hawks got injured and could not play in the game leaving the decision to Stern on who to add to the Eastern Conference roster.

No need for any drumrolls or special effects with this decision because Stern picked Rajon Rondo of the Boston Celtics. Seriously David? How many more fans are going to watch the All-Star game because Rondo is in it? Now think about the global realm of millions that would have tuned into the game if you had selected Jeremy Lin instead. Fiscally, it just makes no sense.

Underdog stories have forever warmed the hearts of the American culture and that’s what makes Jeremy Lin’s story so attractive. He was told in high school he wasn’t good enough to play at the college level. After college, two NBA teams cut him from their roster. His job security was so porous that he didn’t even rent an apartment in NY choosing rather to sleep on teammates and family member’s couches.

Yet, with all this adversity cemented in Lin’s way he has persevered through it all to produce an impact that can be felt around the globe. He has turned himself into an emanating star that no longer walks the street in obscurity but is rather the focus of a whole segmentation of the mass media. All-Star weekend is an event created to let the stars shine, so why not let the brightest star of them all illuminate the basketball globe.

CCSU Hockey Drops Final Game To SCSU

By Brittany Burke

The final ranking period might have ended and regular season play may have come to a close last weekend for the CCSU hockey club, but with a gap in between their last away match against Boston University and the American Collegiate Hockey Association’s regionals the Blue Devils made sure to fit in one more game.

In order to avoid having a weekend completely free of hockey the team set up an inter-state match up with the Southern Connecticut State Owls. While CCSU competes in the DII tier of the ACHA, SCSU competes in DIII, where they topped the regular season rankings enough to get an autobid into the national tournament.

Despite the difference in divisions the Blue Devils couldn’t pull out a final win, dropping to the Owls 7-4.

“The problem tonight is we broke down defensively,” said Mike Joy. “Seven goals obviously against Southern is something we didn’t expect. We had some trouble getting it out of the zone defensively. We were too quick with the puck and we weren’t confident in ourselves. We took for granted the fact that they were Division III. We were looking forward to an easy game but they came out and surprised us.”

Again CCSU got into a second period slump, which SCSU took advantage of and turned into three goals.

“We have some periods where we’re not mentally focused and we certainly have to clean that up and that was addressed tonight in the locker room and hopefully they take a message from that and clean that up,” said Head Coach Ben Adams.

Headed into the first intermission the teams were tied at two apiece. It was CCSU who managed to strike first less than two minutes into the opening period with a power play goal coming from Jon Knobloch, but the Owls were quickly able to counter it with a goal of their own.

CCSU was getting good chances and skating hard in their offensive zone, which Matt Siracusa was able to turn into the team’s second goal of the period with the assist coming from Dustin Rider.

The game against the Owls counted toward the record, but not towards the team’s ranking. Due to that a lot of players who usually don’t suit up were given ice time. Because of that and the fact that the Owls were outscoring the Blue Devils, the top two lines were consistently on the ice, which could’ve attributed to the lull.

CCSU couldn’t capitalize on a major 5-on-3 power play early in the second, but in the same situation SCSU notched their fourth goal of the game.

Penalties again got to be an issue as CCSU tried to fight their way back into the game. The score got to be 2-6 in favor of the Owls before Conor Stanley cut the deficit to three on the power play. The gap was shortened to two, but a breakaway made by SCSU ended the game.

Despite allowing for seven goals Adams made the decision to keep goaltender Greg Coco in net in his first game back. While at an away game in the first half of the season Coco was hit out of the crease, which resulted in surgery and time away from the rink.

“I thought he played alright,” said Adams. “It’s certainly not the Coco we had first semester, but that’s to be expected, he’s had three months off. He’s getting over a pretty serious injury and the reason I kept him in all game is I wanted to see him battle, it was also more of a conditioning, give him some shots get him game action and see if he’ll be ready to go for us next week.”

CCSU will compete in the ACHA regionals in Danbury, CT., with hopes to gain a spot in the national tournament being held in Florida. The first game of next weekend’s tournament will be Saturday night at 8:30 p.m.

“…we know our ultimate goal and that’s to get to Florida and nothing’s gonna stop us,” said Siracusa. “… I really think at times in the game we looked better than we ever have, but we just didn’t finish when we had too but that happens. We just gotta realize that that game when we were playing it meant something but now means nothing. The rankings are over we know who we’re playing and that’s all we have to worry about.”

CCSU Softball Looking To Set Records

By Derek Turner

Coming off the best season in the program’s 26 year history, the Blue Devils are only hungrier for more. Jeff Franquet and his team know what they have the ability to do and are looking to make an impact.

“Obviously the expectations for this year are very high,” said Franquet, coming off CCSU’s winningest softball season ever.

The 2011 season saw many firsts for an up-and-coming Central Connecticut softball program; 29 wins overall, 11 in Northeast Conference play and the team’s first trip to the NEC tournament along with tying a NCAA record when they scored 17 runs in one inning against Princeton, but 2012 is all about the NEC title.

A solid core of players is returning this season, but the battery of Liz Montemurro and Kat Knowles is going to be tough to replace. Junior Jordan Tingley and sophomore Julie Marks look to anchor the rotation with help from a couple newcomers.

“We’re going to look to a freshman, Laura Messina on the mound, to really make a difference for us,” said Franquet.

Pitching is going to be key this season and if it holds up all year, Franquet thinks they can set a new win mark somewhere around 35.

The Blue Devils also return two-thirds of their outfield and the top of their lineup with senior Rebecca Mussatti and sophomore Ariel Bruno. Bruno led the NEC with 60 hits last season and paced the team with a .339 batting average while being rewarded with a Second Team All-NEC selection. Mussatti led the team in runs scored with 34 and stole 13 bases in 2011.

“We have a couple really key freshman; Kat Malcolm should have a fantastic year, Ashley Black should have a great year,” said Franquet.

Macy Stefanski will also look to keep improving as she has the previous two seasons, Franquet believes she hit somewhere in the .330 to .340-range this season and is described as the hardest worker on the team.

As preseason is finishing up and the regular season is set to begin, the team is ready to “rock and roll.”

“We have had a great preseason workout; we’re healthy and the kids are in great shape,” said Franquet. “Our pitchers are throwing six days a week, we’re in that range of four to five thousand swings a week, and they’re getting four to five thousand ground balls and fly balls a week … We’re ready to play.”

The Blue Devils leave this weekend for an opening series that will for sure get the players’ adrenaline pumping. CCSU travels to Tempe, Ariz., to take on the Sun Devils of Arizona State. The defending NCAA national champions will greet CCSU for four games in what Franquet describes as a learning experience for his team.

“I want the kids to get an idea of what it takes to get to that level,” said Franquet. “I want them to see Arizona State, I want them to see their workouts, I want them to see their pregame, I want them to see their postgame, and I want them to see that whole dynamic.”

With the season goal of winning a conference title and making the NCAA tournament, Franquet wants the scene of playing in front of thousands of fans to be a “been there, done that” type of thing.

“We are all just really excited to have an opportunity to play such great competition and we’d really like to challenge them a little bit,” said Mussatti, speaking from the team’s point of view.

As in all sports, having fun is the first order of business and that is what this season’s Blue Devils will look to do; with of course the NEC title always in the back of their mind.

“We have a lot of strengths on this team and as long as everybody does the right thing, stays mentally focused and tough, I think we should do well,” said Mussatti. “Have fun and not let the pressure of winning a title be the only thing we focus on.”