Once again we go Off the Post, and with all the local press being given to Holy Cross football for winning their seventh Patriot League championship and earning an automatic bid to the 2019 NCAA football championship subdivision playoffs, we’ll instead focus on sending congratulations to WPI for having their best season in program history by defeating Western Connecticut, 35-6 in a New England Bowl Series game.
The Engineers finish their 2019 campaign with a program-best 10 wins, surpassing the nine wins from 2017, a year in which they also won the New England Bowl Series game, and 1992. With a 3-yard rush late in the first quarter McAllen surpassed Jason Wooley, who amassed 3,766 yards in his four-year career, as the all-time leading rusher in WPI’s 130-year history. McAllen closes his illustrious career with 3,878 ground yards.
One thing we like to do here on Off the Post is talk about some of the college student-athletes and sports that don’t get a lot of coverage, and Anna Maria College’s equestrian team fits the bill. They competed at the University of Rhode Island (URI) and Assumption College shows the past two weeks, and had strong showings at each. Isabelle Smith (Shrewsbury) paced the Amcats as she qualified for regionals in 2020. At the URI Show Gina Houghton (Bay Path Regional) led Anna Maria with two third-place finishes in the flat and fences events. Smith also tied Houghton for third in on the flat, and Gina Carbone was right behind them in fourth place. Other notable finishes on the day for Anna Maria included Katie Barnes (West Brookfield) and Grace Bond tying for sixth place finishes in the on the flat event.
At the Assumption College Show, Jocelyn Trifiro (Mahar Regional) led the day for the squad with a first-place finish in on the flat event. Several other Amcats rounded out the placing for on the flat: Smith (second), Bond (third), Carbone (third), and Houghton (reserve). Trifiro also saw a fifth-place finish in the over fences event. The Amcats’ equestrian fall season comes to an end, and they will begin their spring season Saturday, Feb. 29 when they travel to the Community Show at the Mystic Valley Hunt Club in Gales Ferry, Connecticut.
In other local college sports, on Tuesday, Nov. 19 in men’s basketball, Clark University notched its second win of the season as the Cougars erased a 13-point deficit before withstanding a fiery comeback attempt to defeat Regis College, 78-76. For the fourth consecutive game, junior Tyler Davern (Bartlett High) paced the Cougars in points, posting a game-high 25 to lead the offense. He recorded his third consecutive double-double collecting a game-high 13 rebounds. Biko Gayman shot six-of-eight from the field for 15 points, while dishing out six assists. Joel Arteaga added a season-high 12 points to go with six assists and seven rebounds. Antonio Lapeyrolerie logged a season-high 12 points off the bench. WPI saw four players record double figures, including a career-high 21 points from Dakota Wheeler, as the Engineers ran away with a 91-50 victory over Salem State University. Colin McNamara (16), Kahleb Downing (14), and Jake Wisniewski (12) were the other WPI players with double digit points. WPI shot 54 percent from the floor in the game including 45 percent from behind the arc, while Salem shot just 35 percent and 21 percent from behind the arc.
In women’s basketball, four different Amcats scored in double figures as Anna Maria topped the Lesley Lynx, 66-25. Sienna Johnson led all Anna Maria scorers with 18 points to go along with two rebounds, and three steals. Alexis Levels also contributed 15 points and eight boards with three steals. Ashley Rufo and Sierra Johnson also produced double figures in the scoring column with 13 and 12 points, respectively.
In men’s ice hockey, Anna Maria improved their record to 4-1-2 after a 2-1 win against Southern Maine University. The Amcats started the scoring off with just 3:45 left in the first period when Will McGoughran forced a Huskie turnover and found an open Gavin Proeh, who passed the puck to a streaking Sam Cyr-Ledoux for the finish. The Huskies then tied it with 2:51 left in the first. With 13:50 left to play in the third Jack Sitzman stole the puck away and got a one on one with the Husky tender. Sitzman made a few puck handling moves to then sneak the puck past his outstretched skate to the left for the game winner. Julius Huset (W, 2-0-1) saved 26 of the 27 shots that he faced.
On Wednesday, Nov. 20 in men’s basketball, Worcester State defeated Dean College, 87-63. A D’Caran Anderson bucket gave the Bulldogs a 7-1 lead just 1:37 into the contest, but it would be all Lancers from there. Worcester State went on a 16-4 run over the next three minutes to take a 17-11 lead. By the half, Worcester State had extended its lead to 48-22. Senior Tyler Dion (Wachusett Regional) led all scorers with 13 first half points, while junior Erik Bjorn (Wachusett Regional), sophomore Corey Olivier and junior Chris Cardoso all scored eight. For the game Dion scored 21 points to lead all players, while Bjorn had an impressive 14-point, 15-board double-double. Cardoso knocked down 18 points in the victory.
Thursday, November 21st saw WPI’s Spencer Vinson posting a double-double of 14 points and a career-high 15 rebounds as the Engineers knocked off host Fitchburg State 62-41 in Women’s basketball. Vinson was 7-for-14 from the field while 10 of her boards were on the defensive side. The senior was joined in double figures in scoring by Lisa Cristiano and Melanie Presseau, who registered 16 and 12 points, respectively. Bailey Savage (Shepherd Hill Regional) aided the effort by sharing for the game-high in assists with three and adding seven points while Maddie Blake grabbed six boards. In a dominant team game where every Anna Maria player scored, the Amcats defeated the Bay Path University Wildcats, 78-42. Amber Wilson led all scorers with 16 points, Sierra Johnson and Ashley Rufo rounded out the double-digit scorers with 14 and 13 points, respectively. Hailey Moore (Wachusett Regional) season-high 10 rebounds as she helped Anna Maria out-rebound Bay Path, 42-28.
In men’s soccer on Friday, Nov. 22, Assumption College’s Kevin Hernandez scored the game-winning goal on a rocketed shot from inside the box as the Greyhounds defeated the West Chester Golden Rams, 2-1, in the second overtime to claim the program’s first ever NCAA tournament win in its first-ever NCAA tournament game. Hernandez, who scored both goals for the Hounds, scored with just 4:41 left in overtime. Hernandez had also put his team up, 1-0, just 9:46 into the contest. Sebastian Jimenez made four saves and improved to 13-7-0 on the year. The win moves Jimenez into sole possession of third-place in most wins in a career in program history. He also holds first-place in wins in one season, minutes in one season and games in one season.
In men’s basketball, WPI big man Garrett Stephenson was scorching hot from the field, scoring a career-high 26 points as the Engineers led Eastern Nazarene wire-to-wire in an 83-69 victory in the semifinals of the Paula Titus Memorial Tournament. Stephenson shot 10-for-13 overall, but carried the load for the Engineers in the second half, hitting all six of his field goal attempts and going six-of-seven from the line to score 18 points after the break and prevent a Lions comeback. Dakota Wheeler went three-for-four from beyond the arc as he chipped in 11 points and a team-high seven rebounds. Jake Wisniewski (West Brookfield) matched him with seven boards, including four on the offensive glass, while Logan O’Donnell reeled in six rebounds in just nine minutes.
In men’s ice, hockey Becker College picked up their first Commonwealth Coast Conference (CCC) win of the season with a resounding 4-1 victory over visiting Western New England University at the Fidelity Bank Worcester Ice Center in Worcester. Jason Diamond had a natural hat trick for the Hawks, scoring the final three goals of the contest. Freshman forward Ian Zaleski tied the game, 1-1, for Becker with a second-period strike. Goalkeeper Zach Skop got the start between the pipes, recording 26 stops on the day for the win.
In women’s ice hockey, after a tightly-contested match all night, Sophia Zimmerman gave Anna Maria their first win of the season over the King’s College Monarchs, 1-0, at the New England Sports Center. Neither side was able to find the back of the net despite several scoring opportunities. Anna Maria peppered Monarch’s goalie, Kiva Sierra Stoltz with 11 shots, while Julia Smith saw nine shots. Just 4:53 into the third, Zimmerman netted her first goal of the season after she received a great lead pass from Grace Dodge for a shorthanded goal. With the triumph, Smith earned her first collegiate win and shutout.
In men’s basketball Saturday, WPI, led by tournament MVP Garrett Stephenson, earned a 68-62 win over UMass-Boston in the championship game of the second annual Paula Titus Memorial Invitational. Stephenson’s MVP performance consisted of 18 points and eight rebounds, as the Engineers big-man dominated in the paint all afternoon. The Engineers Colin McNamara led all scorers with 21 points on six-of-eight shooting, nine-of-10 from the line.Behind a combined 11 three-pointers coming from Joel Arteaga and Anthony Grzembski (Bartlett High) Clark was able to outlast Connecticut College 78-77 in a double overtime thriller. In the second overtime the Cougars took over for good as Biko Gayman drained his first three-pointer of the contest with 4:14 to go for a 69-66 lead. Antonio Lapeyrolerie made it a four-point advantage with 2:08 on the clock. The Cougars went onto convert six-of-eight from the charity stripe to seal the 78-77 victory. Tyler Davern (Bartlett High) led Clark with nine rebounds. Assumption held off Southern New Hampshire University (SNHU) in a Northeast-10 Conference battle. In a game that saw 10 ties and 24 lead changes the Greyhounds captured the 87-86 victory with just seconds to play. The Penmen pulled ahead by as many as six with just over a minute to play before Assumption closed out the game on a 3-0 run with a layup by Malik Brown, a clutch three by senior Branislav Vujadinovic, and a game-winning layup by Matthew Kelly. Brown led the Greyhounds with 20 points and seven rebounds on the day. Patrick Fleming added 13 points, four assists and two steals. Kani Glover came off the bench with 12 points as he went four-for-six from three-point range. Cal Connelly, Vujadinovic, and Saxon Thompson all finished with 11 points as six Greyhounds put up double figures in the victory. Kelly finished with a game-leading five assists. Becker junior forward Guney Kilitcioglu buried two free throws with two seconds left to lead the Hawks to a 71-70 victory over the host Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts (MCLA). Kilitcioglu led Becker with a career-high 18 points, shooting four-of-five from the floor and nine-of-nine from the free throw line. The junior-transfer also pulled down five rebounds and added two steals in the effort. Mateus Ribeiro posted 15 points and 11 rebounds on the day. It was Ribeiro’s fourth double-double through just seven games this season.
In women’s basketball, Assumption took down SNHU by 10 points to start their season off 1-0 in the Northeast-10 Conference with a 61-51 win. Brianna Cappachione led the Greyhounds with 16 points and seven rebounds, while Monica Spain recorded 14 points and six rebounds. Temi Falayi had eight points and eight rebounds in the win while Meghan Reen added four points, seven rebounds and five assists. Assumption shot 41.1 percent from the floor, 36.4 percent from three and 56.3 percent from the foul line while earning 40 rebounds, 16 assists and nine steals. Worcester State rallied from 13 points down with under a minute to play in the third quarter to shock Keene State College, 66-61. Erin Gallella and Catherine Sweeney were Worcester State’s leading scorers on the afternoon, each finishing with 13 points. Sweeney was just one rebound shy of a double-double with nine boards, matching a team-high with Sarah Blomgren. Junior Colleen Cutting (Auburn High) hit double figures in points with 10 on the day, while freshman Charlotte MacMillan scored nine points on a trio of three-pointers.
In men’s ice hockey, Assumption and Worcester State battled to a 5-5 tie at the Worcester Ice Center. Dante Maribito, Elliott McGuire, William Smith, Brendan Philippon and John McDonagh all scored for the Greyhounds, who trailed, 4-2, entering the third period. Assumption had the next three, and led, 5-4, until the Lancers Matthew Manning notched his second of the game to tie it. Tim Drevitch, Gunther Stange and Mark Revniaga had the other Worcester State goals. McDonagh and McGuire added two assists for the Greyhounds, while Drevitch and Sean Gavin had two helpers each for Worcester State.
On Sunday an otherwise great and unexpected season came to an end on Sunday afternoon for the Assumption Greyhounds men’s soccer team, losing, 5-0, to the second-seeded Gannon Golden Knights in the second round of the NCAA tournament. The Greyhounds end their season after accomplishing many new records. They set the program’s consecutive win streak of six games, won their first Northeast-10 playoff game and NE10 Championship in the same season, then went on to win their first NCAA tournament game in their first appearance in program history. Assumption also tied the program record of most wins in a season by winning 13 games this year.
YUP, IT’S THE WOOSOX
This is usually the point where I wax on about some subject I’ve been thinking about for the last couple days. But this time it’s a bit different as I get a chance to instantly react to the news released at the “reveal party” at the Mercantile Center in Worcester last night that was so big it was broadcast on NESN.
You know, the news that when the Pawtucket Red Sox move here they’ll be called what everyone has been calling them from day one?
I mean seriously folks, there wasn’t a snowball’s chance in you-know-where they were going to be called anything else. And yet everyone was sitting on the edge of their seats waiting for the official word that they’ll be the WooSox.
Surprise! Or, you know, not.
One of the many things the Red Sox organization is good at is marketing. The proof of that was the event itself to announce a name that they themselves were already using. Surem they say it was the fans that decided. But of course it wasn’t. It was all marketing.
Now somebody get me a hat.