Men’s basketball trades snow for sun

 

 

While most people on the East Coast were trying to stay warm the week after Christmas, the men’s basketball team had the opportunity to not only travel down south to warmer weather, but to also play against competitive teams.

The team visited Orlando, Fla. from Dec. 27 to Jan. 1. 

 

The Eagles competed in two contests at the Land of Magic Classic in Florida. Even though Eastern came out with two losses, it was a learning experience.

 

“Before our trip, our team was very close and we all got along, but I think after an experience in Florida where we traveled together it brought us even closer,” junior guard Derek Wright said. “It is similar to taking a trip with your family.”

 

The Eagles are now ready for the cold winter months that will hopefully lead to a MAC championship.

 

“The focus for the rest of the season is to gain each game,” senior guard Chris Myers said. “We feel we are coming together. We had a good time and are ready to make a run for a MAC championship.”

 

Down in Florida, the team attended an NBA game, which included going on the floor for a shoot-around.

 

“We were all able to gel as a team on and off the court and really refocus ourselves for the second semester,” Myers said.

 

Head Coach Matt Nadelhoffer knew this trip would benefit his troops, who are now in the midst of a MAC playoff run. 

 

“We learned a lot about our program and guys started to step into their new roles–it was a very positive trip,” Nadelhoffer said. “We wanted to give the players an opportunity to see a different part of the country to come closer together.”

 

While the main purpose of the trip was to compete, the players had opportunities to do more than just play the game.

 

“We were able to spend valuable time away from basketball to just hang out and enjoy each other, and I think that chemistry has translated to wins on the floor,” Myers said.

 

“This next semester our team will look a little different,” he said. “We used the experience to grow as a team and to formulate a new identity that seems to be going extremely well.”

 

Now, with the experience behind them, the team has one goal.

 

“We know what is at task in order for us to win,” Wright said. “As a program, we have improved because we all are dedicated to winning. We are willing to do whatever it takes.”

Men’s basketball captain dismissed

 

 

The men’s basketball team is without one of its top scorers this semester.

 

Senior Jason Reels was dismissed from Eastern for academic reasons.  Before Reels’ departure, the three-year starter was averaging 15 points a game this season.

 

Reels also helped the Eagles offensively as they averaged 72 points a game during his eight-game tenure this year. 

 

“I think we are going to be just fine,” Head Coach Matt Nadelhoffer said. “Losing a player is part of the game. We talked about it as a team. We are trying to get use to it. We have no choice but to move on. The guys have done that.”

Eastern is currently 3-6 without Reels, but the team has put up the same offensive numbers as they did before. 

 

Sophomore guard Martin Soaries now leads the team with scoring, posting 17.6 points a contest, as first-year forward Alex Nelson has emerged as a go-to guy for the team, averaging 11.9 points a game.

 

“We rely on us being a full team than just relying on a couple guys,” senior captain Chris Myers said. “We run more offense now. We are not going to score as many points, but the tempo suits the way we play better. The steps that we are making are positive. There is no way to go but up.”

 

“Jason was the most vocal guy on the team,” Myers said. “It is a huge loss. We can still accomplish what we need to do, unfortunately without him.”

 

Nadelhoffer has already seen his troops stepping up to the challenge of filling the void.

 

“I think at first it was a little demoralizing,” Nadelhoffer said. “It is part of the game. It is part of being on a team.  I just think Chris (Myers), Martin (Soaries), and Derek (Wright) have stepped up. It is not the end of our season. We have moved on.”

Upcoming Games (home, away)

Men’s Basketball vs.

Valley Forge Millitary 7 p.m.

 

11/16

 

Men’s Basketball @

Messiah College
 7 p.m.

 

11/18

 

Women’s Basketball

@ PSU-Hazelton TBD

&

Men’s Basketball

@ Montclair Tip-off Tournament

Women’s Basketball
Arcadia @ Cedar Crest Invitational

 

11/20-    11/21

 

 

Women’s Basketball @ PSU-Brandywine 

7 p.m.

&

Men’s Basketball

@ Valley Forge Christian College

7. p.m.

 

11/24

 

 

Basketball @ King’s

Women’s 6 p.m.

Men’s 8 p.m.

 

12/2

 

 

Basketball vs. 

Misericordia

Women’s 1 p.m.

Men’s 3 p.m.

 

12/5

Gallup wins with safety in final minutes of SuperBowl

 In its fourth season, PowderPuff can finally crown a new champion: Gallup. The ladies in pink defeated Gough in the SuperBowl, 2-0, dethroning three-time champion Kea-Guffin.

After winning in overtime against Gough during the regular season, Gallup’s defense took the spotlight in the SuperBowl, containing Gough’s strong run game. Fittingly, the defense was also responsible for the game’s only score when first-year Paige Quill tackled Gough’s runningback junior Abby Briggs in the endzone with less than two minutes left in the game. 

Gallup quarterback sophomore Jackie Frisch made the safety possible the drive before when she lead the offense to the one-yard line. Quill took advantage of the field position and was mobbed by teammates after pulling the flag.

MAC dominance

 With a championship atmosphere in the air, three Eastern teams advanced into the NCAA Division III national tournament by defending their 2008 MAC Freedom Conference titles on Nov. 7. Field hockey, volleyball, and women’s soccer all won their second MAC championships in Eastern’s second season in the conference. All three teams received key contributions from underclassmen during their stellar performances in the final matches. Field hockey and volleyball electrified the home crowd, while the women’s soccer team stunned its nationally-ranked opponent’s crowd with an upset.

 

Field Hockey

Known for their explosive offensive unit, the Lady Eagles’ defense came up huge on Saturday.  Eastern, ranked 20th in the nation, used two second half goals from first-year players to defeat King’s College, 2-0. The win was the second consecutive Freedom Conference Championship that the team has brought to Eastern. With this victory, the Eagles earned an automatic bid into the 2009 NCAA Division III national tournament. 

 

The game was far from easy, hower, because King’s refused to give up. Throughout the entire game, the Monarchs kept Eastern on its toes. Coming into the game, Eastern had averaged a little fewer than three goals per game. The team had put up three or more goals on the scoreboard 11 times during the season. When it came to the offensive department, the Lady Eagles could get the job done. 

 

King’s was able to keep The Lady Eagles’ offensive unit at bay, but not for long.  

 

Eastern finally found some room in the Monarchs’ defense with 12 minutes remaining in the game. Sophomore Yvonne Herbster was able to rip a shot, but the Kings’ defense was able to collect the save. First-year Kelby Bolton was at the right spot at the right time to hit the ball in the back of the cage to finally give the team its first score. 

 

Bolton’s goal may have put pressure on the Monarchs’ defense but, five minutes later, Eastern was able to put the game out of reach with another goal. This time, senior Elya Troup was able to find first-year Brittany Moyer for the score. 

 

The Eagles’ defense stood firm the entire game and allowed King’s only four shots in the entire game. Junior goalie Laura Ressler picked up her sixth shutout of the season. 

 

Senior back Leslie Messick earned Championship MVP Honors with her outstanding play in anchoring the back line for Eastern.  

 

Eastern takes a 10-game winning streak into the NCAA Division III tournament.

 

Women’s Soccer

 

Saturday found the Eastern women’s soccer team standing on a familar stage. Having won conference championships in 2007 and 2008 the Lady Eagles knew just what was needed to get the job done. With that said, the away match against Freedom Conference top-seed Manhattanville could have easily ended the streak–but it didn’t. Eastern was able to upset the Valiants, 1-0.

 

The win earned the team its third consecutive championship title–one from the PAC and two in the MAC. The team advanced to the NCAA quarterfinals last season, becoming the first Eastern team ever to reach the Elite 8 in the national tournament.

 

Revenge was on the agenda for Eastern after Manhattanville defeated the team, 3-0, during the regular season, which knocked Eastern into third in the conference standings. The Valiants had been red-hot, winning 13 consecutive games coming into the championship match. 

 

Minutes into the match, both teams missed chances to score the first goal. As the game went on, scoring opportunities started to fade.  In the 42nd minute of play, Eastern finally got on the board with sophomore Tess Beckwith’s eight goal of the year.  It looked to be one of the most important goals of Beckwith’s collegiate career, thus far as the Eastern defense was able to hold the Valiants’ offense scoreless the rest of the game.

 

First- year goalkeeper Alysia Goodman earned Championship MVP honors, recording six saves en route to the shutout. 

 

 

Volleyball

 

 

 

 

With the last match of the day, the women’s volleyball team continued their stellar play with a win over second-seeded DeSales to complete the Eastern championship sweep.

Eastern took the first set, 25-17. The team was able to produce 19 kills in the set, one more than the Bulldogs tallied in the entire match.

Sophomore Mary Poole helped Eastern make a statement early with her dominate play in the opening set. The middle blocker collected a match-best 13 kills on the day, eventually earning MVP honors.

The second set was no different for Eastern. The Lady Eagles’ defense stood strong to prevent any chance of a DeSales comeback. First-year Kelly Groff and sophomore Nikki Kummerer both stood out defensively for the Eagles in the second set and each reached double digits in digs in the match. The team cruised to a 25-12 win in game two.

In the third set DeSales did not stand a chance. Poole’s solid play, including four kills in a six-point span, helped Eastern win the set 25-14.

All-American sophomore Courtney Reinhold finished with a match-high 14 digs and 12 kills, while fellow All-American sophomore Maria Horning paced the Eastern attack, which finished with a .429 hitting percentage. Horning added 39 assists of her own.

Last season Eastern advanced to the Sweet 16. With the win on Saturday, the Eagles, ranked 23rd nationally, advanced to the NCAA tournament for the tenth time in the past 11 years.

 

 

 

 

 

 

The quest for the ring

AFC EAST
In the AFC EAST you have the New England Patriots looking to regain divisional dominance as the Jets have gone into a tailspin, as their bye week couldn’t have come soon enough. New England enters the real heart of their schedule to decide whether they are contenders or members of the elite. Tom Brady and company’s next five games consist of Miami, Indianapolis, New York(Jets), New Orleans, and Miami again. Three divisional rivalry games with two undefeated match-ups against the two best teams in football. Not to be overlooked Miami has come back from dropping its first three games by sweeping the Jets season series and is currently undefeated within the division (3-0).

AFC NORTH
The closest and most exciting divisional race that the NFL has offered so far this season. The Pittsburgh Steelers(5-2) seem to have regained their usual form despite some early bumps in the road, while the Baltimore Ravens(4-3) finally have found an offense to speak of, putting up 199 points which is good enough to be the most in the AFC. The Cincinnati Bengals(5-2) have decided to join the party tallying more wins at the half-point than their entire ’08 season. In a division that prides itself on defense, the Bengals have allowed 128 points, the fewest in the AFC NORTH. The Bengals have quietly risen to the top by beating both division rivals. With all the talent jam packed into the AFC NORTH it’s hard to see this race being anything but a photo finish.

AFC SOUTH
In what seems to be a bit of a run away the Indianapolis Colts(7-0) have remained undefeated, but that may be the only time you hear the word “run” positively when speaking of the Colts. Indianapolis has struggled trying to run the ball, with Joseph Addai unable to provide a 70+ rushing yards in a single game this season. The Tennessee Titans(1-6) have been banished from there previous high place coming off an ’08 season with the best record in football. Although they did show some spark with Vince Young at the reigns winning their first game against the inconsistent Jacksonville Jaguars(3-4). Indianapolis may have the division to lose, but with growing injuries on defense and a seemingly non-existent run offense, Indianapolis has a lot of holes to fill in order to keep their pace.

AFC WEST
The Denver Broncos(6-1) and first time head coach Josh McDaniels have forced there way into the spotlight. McDaniels who was the offensive coordinator for New England has faired well since his departure, unlike Matt Cassel quarterback for Kansas City(1-6). The San Diego Chargers(4-3) are still well in the race. Denver and San Diego will have a lot to prove as they head into grueling schedules ahead of them.

NFC EAST
The New York Giants are learning the hard way, the bigger you are the harder you fall. Losing the past three games straight has knocked New York and the NFC EAST into a frenzy. The Dallas Cowboys(5-2) have quietly rebounded and been picking up steam, thanks in part to the add from wide-receiver Miles Austin. The Philadelphia Eagles(5-2) routed New York showing that when they are playing to their potential they are the best in their division, but with consistency problems, like a lose to Oakland is keeping them from being clear front-runners.

NFC NORTH
Adrian Peterson remains the most dangerous player when holding a football, while Jared Allen has quickly become one of the most dangerous players if you are holding a football. The Minnesota Vikings(7-1) are looking like one of the best teams in the NFC. In their sole lose Favre attempted 50 passes, a mistake that should not happen again. The Green Bay Packers(4-3) have allowed Aaron Rodgers to be sacked 31 times in 7 games. This staggering statistic is a must fix if Green Bay wants to get back on track.

NFC SOUTH
The New Orleans Saints(7-0) lead by Drew Brees are the best team in football. Well-rounded and showing that they can get it done in clutch by coming back from being down 3-24 against Miami. The Atlanta Falcons(4-3) are a dangerous team especially now that Michael Turner is turning it on. My biggest concern is their disparity between home and road games Undefeated at home Atlanta is only 1-3 on the road.

NFC WEST
The Arizona Cardinals(4-3) are considered the best of the west with their high flying receivers, but look again carefully. The San Francisco 49er’s(3-4) have improved dramatically this year even if it hasn’t exactly translated into wins yet. Despite their record the 49er’s have won the important games to be undefeated in the division(3-0), while half of their losses are non-conference.

 

 

Basketball jumps into action

 

Get your popcorn ready, because the men’s basketball team is looking to bring its A-game for its fans. 

 

“I really like our team right now, and for me to say that (early in the season) is a good thing,” Head Coach Matt Nadelhoffer said. “I am very excited to see us battle throughout the year.”

 

The road to the MAC championship this year will be a battle for the Eagles’ slightly-altered roster.

 

“We aren’t as athletic as we were last season, but our chemistry is much better,” Nadelhoffer said. 

 

After making the playoffs last season, the Eagles’ expectations are even higher. 

 

“Our (players) have gone from wanting to win to expecting to win and (being) willing to put in the extra effort in the weight room and their individual skills to do so,” Nadelhoffer said. “Our commitment level is at an all-time program high–this is the tightest group of 14 players we’ve had here.”

 

Nadelhoffer’s troops are just as ready to win.

 

“Everyone is excited we have a good group here that is dedicated and ready to get after it,” sophomore guard Martin Soaries said.

 

One of the few things that the Eagles look to accomplish this season is  to advance further in the MAC tournament, which would result in an automatic bid into the NCAA Division III tournament. 

 

“Last year, we felt we let a great opportunity slip away in the semi-finals (of the MAC tournament), so that has given us motivation this year to do even bigger things,” senior point guard Chris Myers said.

 

With a sour taste in the mouths of last year’s players, the Eagles are more motivated then ever to get over the hump.

 

“We know we’re more than capable to improve on our results from last year, and we have the resources to accomplish that,” Soaries said. 

 

There will be some key games the team will need to win to reach the championship.

 

“Any MAC game is important,” Nadelhoffer said. “DeSales, who made the Elite 8 last season, will be tough, and we play them twice. 

 

“We also have Richard Stockton at our place, and they lost in the National Championship last season. Cabrini in the ‘Battle of Eagle Road’ is at our place this season, and we want that street sign back where it belongs.”

 

The team is hoping to prove that basketball belongs at Eastern.

 

“The main goal of the program is to change the culture of Eastern basketball and our guys are well on their way of doing this,” Nadelhoffer said. 

 

 “Our goal is to change the culture of Eastern Basketball for decades to come,” Soaries said. “We are a focused group and are taking it one game at a time.”

 

Every game that the Eagles go into may mean one game closer to the team’s goal of a championship. Can a championship be seen as soon as this year?

 

“We feel we have the necessary pieces in place to accomplish something great, so we decided to come up with a goal that would stretch us to our maximum potential,” Myers said. “So we’ll just have to wait and see.”

Basketball jumps into action

 

 

You saw them in uniform for the first time this semester during Hoops Mania on Oct. 23. Before long, you will be seeing them play together on the court. 

 

There is one clear message in the gymnasium: The women’s basketball team is ready to roll.

 

Katie Levis, the head coach for the women’s team, has conveyed a lot of excitement about and commitment to the upcoming basketball season.  

 

“I am really happy with the hard work my girls have been putting in,” Levis said. 

 

There are 11 girls on the team with a good mixture of players from first-years to seniors. 

 

“We have a few new players and they are doing very well in terms of practicing and fitting in with the team,” Levis said. 

 

This is coach Levis’s third season at Eastern. Her team posted a 7-16 overall record last season. 

 

This year Levis is ready to do all that it takes to bring the best out of her team.  

 

“We are trying to create an identity for Eastern University’s women’s basketball team and we will take it slowly, one game at a time,” Levis said.

 

Levis can already see her players’ eagerness to win.

 

 “Seeing how the girls came together toward a common goal and being able to observe their individual growth is rewarding,” she said.

 

Levis believes in team spirit and loves to see “the girls support each other, not just inside but outside the court, too.”

 

The team started its preparation for the season last month. Apart from practicing regularly, the team also got involved in other group activities.

 

“We engaged ourselves into some team-involvement service projects, like doing community services,” Levis said.

Levis is eagerly looking forward to the season’s first game against Penn State Hazelton, which will take place on Nov. 18. 

 

Hard work paying off for cross country

The men’s and women’s cross-country teams have thus far enjoyed their most successful seasons in five years.

Within the last two months, the teams have placed in the top three at two major meets.

The women’s team placed second at both Cedar Crest invitational on Sept. 19 and Goldie-Beacom Invitational on Oct. 3. The men placed third at Goldie-Beacom.

“We’ve never placed at any invitational until this year,” said junior Jenn Schifano, the women’s cross-country team captain.

The amount of dedication and talent found on the team has been exceptional this season.
Six members placed in the top 25 at the Goldie-Beacom Invitational.

Last week, the team held a bake sale to try to make some extra money.

This year has produced the largest cross-country team in a long time.

With seven men and 20 women, the team is sizable and has the same budget available to them as last year.

“It’s the same money and more people,” Schifano said. “We don’t even have warm-ups.”
Similar to last year, the team plans to host a 5k run in the spring. It will be another source of fundraising and will, hopefully, serve to raise awareness that there is indeed a cross-country team at Eastern.

Every Friday at 4:30 p.m., every Friday the team holds Fun-Runs for anyone interested. “It’s one of those things a lot of people don’t think they can do,” said first-year Martha Mackey. “You compete against yourself more than anyone else.”

For sophomore Jonathan Holbert, captain for the men’s team, cross-country is more than just a college sport.

“It’s like my family,” Holbert said.

Likewise, there is a feeling that the team doesn’t always get the recognition they deserve.

“I’d like to see newer runners get enough credit as other star players from Eastern,” Schifano said.

Regionally Ranked

Perfect: That is the word that can describe the Eastern field hockey team these past few weeks.

Eastern has not fallen since an Oct. 3 loss to #8 Rowan University. By winning seven straight games since then, the team has earned the third spot in the South Atlantic Region rankings this past week.

This marks the first time in program history that the team has reached regional rankings before the conclusion of the season. The team is undefeated in MAC play, winning all six of their conference games, and 14-4 overall.

“To be chosen third was thrilling,” Head Coach Camrin Azzarano said. “It is a huge honor. It motivates us even more to prove our ranking is right.”

Since the Rowan loss, the Eastern defense has only allowed five goals. Senior goalie Laura Ressler has anchored the defense between the pipes, recording five shutouts this year, three of them coming in the past two weeks.

“The girls are very committed,” Azzarano said. “We are working very hard as a team. When the girls go out there they get the job done, and it doesn’t matter who.”

As a team, Eastern has looked better than ever lately. The offense has recorded three or more goals five times in the past month.

Eastern started September with three losses, looking flustered at times, but lately it’s opponents who are getting flustered by the team’s scoring-frenzy offensive unit and shutout defense.

“We greatly understand what we did wrong in those losses,” Azzarano said. “We still feel the pain from those losses. “

Now the team is teaching a lesson to its opponents: Don’t take the Lady Eagles lightly.
“Even with our recent success, I think the girls are quite humble,” Azzarano said.

The next step for the team would be to crack into the national coaches poll, but the team is trying to not look too far into the future.

“This is a tough time of the year for us to come out every day with the same desire and discipline,” Azzarano said. “You have to take every game as it comes to you. You cannot look long term. We have to take one game at a time.”

 The team will look to do just that as it attempts to win  a second consecutive MAC Freedom conference championship title. Playoffs begin on Nov. 4, with the championship match taking place Nov. 7.

The volleyball team is also ranked third in the Mid-Atlantic Region and 23rd nationally after taking #1 Wisconsin-Oskkosh to five games on Oct. 16.