Strong defense key for Union men’s lacrosse team

The Union College men’s lacrosse team, under head coach Paul Wehrum, would prefer to run-and-gun, bu
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The Union College men’s lacrosse team, under head coach Paul Wehrum, would prefer to run-and-gun, but the Dutchmen have morphed into a strong defensive team with extraordinary special teams.

That combination has helped Union to get off to a 6-1 start, despite a tough early schedule.

“I’m proud of the schedule we’re playing. With teams like Ithaca and Colby, we’re playing some quality opponents,” said Wehrum, the 2008 Liberty League coach of the year who won eight NJCAA national titles in 24 years at Herkimer County Community College and is a member of the U.S. Lacrosse hall of fame. “I’m more of an offensive-minded person, but we’ve had to adjust our style because of the competition in our league. Colby is more of an up-and-down team, so we played a certain type of style against them. But at this level, if you are not a strong defensive team, you are not going to make it to May. That’s our goal. Everybody plays in April, but you have to play well to be playing in May.”

The Dutchmen have scored 63 goals, and allowed just 36. Soph­omore goalie Sean Aaron ranks first in the nation with a .754 save percentage, and his 4.90 goals-against average is second. Union’s 4.57 goals-allowed average is second in the nation.

Even more impressive are Union’s numbers with special teams. They score nearly 30 percent of the time on man-up opportunities (12-for-41), and limit opponents to just 10.6 percent in man-down situations (5-for-47).

“One of the keys is Charles Hovsepian. He’s a great leader, on and off the field,” said Wehrum. “He’s an outstanding two-sport athlete between football and lacrosse, and he’s been a four-year starter for us in lacrosse. When we moved him to man-down situations, it really worked out for us.”

Wehrum also credits the defensive play of Aaron, along with defenders Rob Lord, junior captain Derek Witheford and sophomore Bob Sullivan.

Brendan Kinnane is Union’s top scorer with 10 goals and 14 assists for 24 points. Ted McKenna is next with 13 goals and five assists for 18 points, while Scott Garibaldi and Robert Young each have five goals and have combined for seven assists.

“Our goal every year is to make the league playoffs. We had never done that before until the last two years,” said Wehrum. “Our other goal is to have the most academic honors in our league, and that’s hard to do that with schools like Hamilton and Vassar in our league. We’ve been able to do that in three of the four years I’ve been here. We’re very proud of that.”

AROUND CAMPUS

Rensselaer Polytechnic Ins­titute’s field hockey team has been recognized by the Gladiator SGI/National Field Hockey Coaches Association as one of the top academic teams in NCAA Div­ision III. The Engineers posted a team grade-point average of 3.40 last fall.

Chris Curran has been named head men’s soccer coach at SUNY-Cobleskill. He succeeds Gregory Moss-Brown, who resigned last month after a 5-12 record in his first season. Curran is a University of New Hampshire graduate, and has coached at Mount Scenario College in Ladysmith, Wis., where he led the Fighting Saints to the Upper Midwest Athletic Conference championship and a berth in the NAIA tournament quarterfinals. He also coached at Mount Union College.

University at Albany’s men’s lacrosse team (2-5), which has won its last two games after an 0-5 start, travels to defending national champion Syracuse (6-1) for a 4 p.m. game today in the Carrier Dome. Syracuse is ranked second in the USILA national poll and third in the Nike/Inside Lacrosse poll. Chris Daniello leads the Big East in scoring with 12 goals and 12 assists.

The Sage College men’s volleyball team has three players listed among the NCAA Division III statistical leaders. Kyle Ray, a co-captain, is ranked fourth in the Skyline league and fifth nationally in digs per set (3.4). Rookie middle hitter Jed Kubisch (Bethlehem) is seventh in digs per set (3.38), while Anthony Gerace (Columbia), the team’s other co-captain, is 30th in assists (7.54 per set).

Bridget Delcoure (Shenendehowa) of SUNY-Cobleskill swept her singles and doubles matches in a pair of victories for the Fighting Tigers’ women’s tennis team.

SUNY-Cobleskill junior Nichole Soblosky (Colonie) set a school record in the 1,500 meters (4:51.87), and also finished second in the 800 (2:22.75) at the RPI Early Outdoor Invitational.

The no-hitter that senior pitcher Tiffany Ippoliti tossed against Mount Saint Mary at Alexander Field Wednesday was the first for the Union softball team since March 31, 2006, when Jackie Coffey tossed a no-hitter, also against Mount Saint Mary.

HONOR ROLL

UALBANY

Sophomore goalkeeper John Carroll was named the America East Conference men’s lacrosse player of the week after making six of his 14 saves in the fourth quarter during a 7-6 upset of 19th-ranked Bucknell.

Senior goalkeeper Ashley Ross was named the America East Conference defensive player of the week in women’s lacrosse after making a career-high 12 saves in Sunday’s 11-10 win over Denver.

HAMILTON

Carly Andrascik (Shenendehowa) was honored by the National Field Hockey Coaches Association for posting a GPA of 3.30 or higher. The Continentals won the NFHCA Division III National Academic Team Award for the seventh straight year.

RPI

Andrew Mondo was named the Liberty League pitcher of the week, and Steve Manning was named the conference’s rookie of the week in baseball. Mondo (Shenendehowa), a senior, earned the win in his only start of the week, going eight innings and allowing one run on five hits in a 12-1 victory over Clarkson. He struck out 11. Manning, a freshman, allowed one hit in 4.2 innings of relief, striking out five batters.

Mike Zampi, Justin Metzger and David Kastner were named the Liberty League track performer, field performer and rookie of the week, respectively, in men’s track. Zampi, a senior, won the 800 meters in 2:01.05 at the Engineers’ Early Outdoor Inv­itational. Metzger (Shenendehowa), also a senior, won the pole vault in 4.70 meters at the same meet, while Kastner, a freshman, was fourth in the 110 hurdles in a time of 16.16.

Rachel Guillot, Morgan Danner and Kirsten Orrell were named the Liberty League track performer, field performer and rookie of the week, respectively, in women’s track. Guillot, a senior captain, was second in the 100 meters (16.87) at the Early Outdoor Invitational and was also second in the 200-meter dash in 27.48. Danner, a soph­omore, won the pole vault in 2.99 meters and was third in the triple jump (10.03 meters), while Orrell, a freshman, was eighth or higher in four events, including second in the shot put (11.55).

UNION

Dylan Katz-Wicks was the Liberty League rookie of the week in baseball after going 14-for-22 with a double in seven games.

Nina Cervini (Mechanicville) was the Liberty League player of the week, Ginni Sack (Burnt Hills-Ballston Lake) was the pitcher of the week and Samantha Chev­alier (Columbia) was the rookie of the week in softball. Cervini hit .480 and drove in 13 runs during the spring trip to Florida. Sack won five games in six appearances with a 1.30 earned run average, and Chevalier hit .300 in six games.

Senior midfielder Scott Garibaldi was the Liberty League co-offensive player of the week in men’s lacrosse after scoring three goals in a 7-6 come-from-behind win over Colby.

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