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Sports Fall Preview

By Naveen Boppana and Larry Napolitano

Football

The Holy Cross football program enters 2001 with a sense of optimism that has not been felt on Mount St. James since the 1991 season. The Crusaders return 38 letter winners, including 18 starters, with hopes of continuing the success they enjoyed last season. On offense, the team returns two quarterbacks with significant starting experience, its entire backfield and wide receiver corps. Holy Cross also returns eight starters on a defense that ranked third in the Patriot League.

Quarterback
One of the deepest skilled positions on the team was put to the test last season when the 1999 Patriot League Rookie of the Year, Brian Hall ’03, suffered a season-ending injury in the fifth game of the year. The team passed this test with flying colors, however, as classmate Erreick Stewart replaced the injured Hall and earned Second Team All-Patriot League honors. Hall and Stewart combined for 2,175 yards and 14 touchdowns through the air a year ago. Hall completed 64-of-113 passes for 677 yards and three touchdowns. He became the first Crusader in nine years to win the prestigious New England Sportswriters/Coca-Cola Gold Helmet award after leading Holy Cross to a 27-25 win over Harvard. On the season, Hall rushed for 342 yards on 75 carries, scoring five touchdowns. Stewart completed 138 passes for 1,498 yards and 11 touchdowns. He threw for the seventh highest single-game total in school history against Fordham in the season finale. Stewart completed 28 passes for 388 yards and two touchdowns in the game. He also became the first Crusader quarterback to earn All-League honors since Tom Ciaccio in 1991.

Running Back
Holy Cross returns its entire backfield from a year ago, after ranking fourth in the Patriot League in rushing. Calvin Souder ’02 leads a three-headed running attack for the Crusaders. Souder rushed for 497 yards on 130 carries and scored three touchdowns. He showed constant improvement throughout last season after making the transition from defensive back. Michael Gillis ’03 and Joe Uliano ’02 provide more of a straight ahead rushing style. Gillis led the team in rushing touchdowns with six and gained 326 yards on 103 carries. Uliano played in only seven games due to injury, but ranked second on the team in yards per carry (4.3). Uliano rushed for 233 yards on 54 carries.

Offensive Line
Jefferson Exil ’02 and Ross Sullivan ’02 will look to lead a young but talented offensive line that lost three all-league players a year ago. Exil started eight games last season including seven of the final eight games of the year. Sullivan started three games a year ago and will be counted to move into a more prominent role this season. Steve Fox ’04 also will play a bigger role this season. He played in 10 games in his first year and will have an edge for one of the remaining starting positions.

Wide Receiver
This is the deepest and most experienced part of the Holy Cross offense. The Crusaders return seven wide receivers from last season, including five with significant starting experience. Michael Coleman ’02, Steve Green ’02, Kendy Hall ’02 and David Thompson ’02 will lead the receiving corps. Speedster David Kasouf ’03 also returns to the lineup. Kasouf ranked third on the team in receptions (21) and fourth in receiving yards (246) last season.

Tight End
Hector Cordero-Reyes ’03 is the Crusaders’ lone returning tight end with experience. Clayton Lemmer ’02 will move from wide receiver to add depth and game experience to the tight end position. Liam Staunton ’03 and the three incoming first-year students also will be in the mix at tight end.

Defensive Line
The Crusader defensive line will have to make up for the loss of two-time First Team All-New England selection, David Puloka. Along with Puloka, four key members of the defensive line graduated last May. Tri-captain James Jenkins ’02, along with Taufa’asau Siaki ’02, Nick Soivilien ’02, and Travis Thompson ’02 will all try to step up their play to help offset the loss of the graduates. Bill Silvio ’02 and Michael Buckley ’03 and Kenneth Rogers ’03 also will need to be key contributors during the season.

Linebacker
Holy Cross returns two players with significant playing experience at this position. David Dugan ’03 really came into his own last season. He ranked third on the team in tackles with 64, including 42 unassisted stops. Mike Miller ’02 is the other Crusader with a lot of playing experience. Miller played in all 11 games notching 19 tackles, including one for a loss a year ago. Joel Lenzini ’02, Patrick Duff ’03, Adam Ackermann ’04 and Tom Hoover ’04 all will battle for playing time. Duff also plays on special teams as the long snapper.

Defensive Backs
Holy Cross returns three-quarters of its starting defensive backfield, but will have to overcome the loss of Second Team All-Patriot League performer Troy LaRose. Safety Michael Blake ’02 was a First Team All-Patriot League honoree after leading the Crusaders’ in tackles last season with 88. The Patriot League Preseason Defensive Player of the Year, Blake will try to have even a bigger impact this season from the Crusaders’ secondary. Co-captain Vernell Shaw ’02, Ryan Ciampa ’03, Gary Bordelon ’04 and Ben Koller ’04 also return. All four started at points during the season which makes the defensive backfield the most experienced part of the team’s defensive unit. James Conrow ’02 missed all of last season with a knee injury. He made the transition to defensive back in the spring after spending three seasons as a running back.

Kickers
Ryan Rolfert ’03 and Chris Vella ’04 will handle the kicking duties. Both saw action last season and will be called upon to help the Crusaders in close games this fall.

Women's Tennis

The 2001-02 women’s tennis team will rely on the experience of its veterans to improve on its sixth place finish in the Patriot League of a year ago. Third-year head coach, Mike Lucas, returns all of his players from last season. The Crusaders posted a record of 12-7 overall, marking the program’s highest win total since 1986. The 12 wins also tie the mark for the second highest win total in school history. Leading the returning players are top singles player, Amy Crump ’03, who finished with a record of 10-10 in singles play and posted a mark of 7-8 in doubles action with her younger sister, Missy Crump ’04. Missy Crump also recorded a mark of  9-8 at second singles. Sara Spain ’02, Erica Fugelsang ’03 and Illy Nagy ’03 will also help contribute to the effort. Spain played #6 singles and finished with a 12-1 record, while Fugelsang and Nagy played #3 and #5 singles respectively and finished with 14 wins each last season. Jianna Chew ’03 also will help the effort. Chew competed at fourth singles a year ago and will look to improve upon her 7-9 mark last season. Allison Levy ’04 and Melissa Levy ’04 led the Crusaders at second doubles posting a 13-2 record while Chew and Erin Hylka ’03 posted a 6-2 mark in doubles play.

Men's Tennis

The men’s tennis team will look to improve upon last season’s 6-11 record. Head coach, Marc Young, hopes to guide his squad to the next level and gain ground in the Patriot League. Leading the way will be Gerry Benedicto ’03, the #1 singles and doubles player for the Crusaders. Benedicto finished 2-15 as a singles player last season competing against some of the top #1 singles players in New England. Tim Carey ’03 spent most of last season in the #2 singles position where he posted a mark of 5-3. Kenton Allen ’04 notched a 4-5 record at # 3 singles while Mike Corey ’04 picked up three wins against five defeats at # 4 singles. All three will have to step up their levels of play if Holy Cross is to improve in league action. Rich Roberts ’02 posted 3-1 record as #5 singles player and 5-5 record as #6 singles player a year ago. He also will need to make the most of his final campaign while at the same time providing senior leadership if Holy Cross is to improve upon its six wins of last season.

Field Hockey

The 2000 Holy Cross field hockey team capped off an impressive season with its third Patriot League Championship in four years and first Patriot League regular season title with a perfect 6-0 record. This season marks a new challenge for head coach, Meg Galligan. The loss of five starters to graduation, including Patriot League Offensive Player of the Year, Colleen Schmitt, Defensive Player of the Year, Annie Lavigne and two All-League players, Kim Ferguson and Jes Gulino, opens the door for many to contribute right away. With three of the top four scorers and a host of young talent coming back, Holy Cross has its sights set on a return trip to the Patriot League Tournament in defense of its championship crown.

Forwards
Replacing Schmitt is the challenge for Coach Galligan. Mary Beth Clark ’02 exploded onto the scene midway through last season. She will join Liz Tutella ’03 and Julie Silva ’03 on Holy Cross’ front line, which combined for 54 points a year ago. Heather Yanusas ’04, who saw action in 19 games, will add depth along with talented newcomers, Cathleen Kerman and Christina Zorzi.

Midfielders
Lifon Huynh ’02 and Kristina Dodier ’04 will need to step up this season. “It is critical to have a strong mid-line,” Galligan says. “With only one returning player with experience we need others to step up in order to be successful.” Huynh earned Second Team All-Patriot League and Second Team Northeast Regional All-American honors a year ago. Dodier saw little action during her first year and will vie for more playing time. She may see play time on the front line as well. Newcomers Caitlin Moynihan, Laura Potts and Torrey Shillieto will add depth in the midfield.

Backs
Kelly Holmes ’02, who was part of last year’s backfield that finished second in the nation in scoring defense, returns, giving Coach Galligan an experienced leader in the backfield. Jillian LeClair ’04, one of two first-year students to start every game last season, tallied two goals and 102 interceptions in 2000. She may move up to the midfield or become a sweeper. Meg Barry ’03 missed most of last season due to illness. She will return with hopes of joining Holmes in the back field. Kristin Toomey ’04 and Julia Filip ’05 will provide depth.

Goalkeeper
Coach Galligan has the number one goalie in the Patriot League in Jennifer Corsilli ’04 returning in net this season. Corsilli, the 2000 Patriot League Co-Rookie of the Year, returns after posting a 0.83 goals against average, ranking second nationally last season. She finished with a 14-7 record, including nine shutouts (tying the school record). Melissa Ivers ’04 will fill the backup roll and may see playing time this season.

Volleyball

With the loss of only two players, Holy Cross returns a strong team with a lot of court experience. After a 12-16 season in 2000, the program’s best record in the last 10 years, the Crusaders are ready to compete for the Patriot League title.

Middle blockers
Holy Cross has two players to turn to in the middle this season. Carissa Bennett ’03 will be looked upon to provide both offense and defense out of the middle for the Crusaders. Cheryl Jakielo ’03 played in 86 games for the Crusaders in her second year. She will move to the middle from the right side after a very successful spring campaign.

Right side
Catherine Mulvihill ’04 will move to the right side from the middle blocker position. Mulvihill played in 93 of 97 games last season.

Outside hitters
The club of head coach, Peter Viteritti, returns two key veterans at the outside hitter position. Katie Snell ’04 and Kerri Blumenauer ’04 will provide the foundation for Holy Cross’ offense in 2001. Snell was a top offensive player while Blumenauer provided leadership and skill.

Setter
Jessica Ostlund ’03, a Second Team All-Patriot League honoree in 2000, will return as one of the top setters in the league. She played in 93 games, recording a single season school record, 846 assists.

Defensive Specialist
Nicole Smith ’04, who saw limited action last season, will serve as the Crusaders’ defensive specialist.

Newcomers
The list of newcomers includes Caitlin Agostinacchio, Michelle Leahy, Lauren Liesman, Diane Marzelli, Suzanna Guidone and Jessica Stonoha. Each one of them adds quality and depth to the squad and should make immediate contributions to Holy Cross’ overall success.

Women's Soccer

Last season was certainly one for the record books as Holy Cross claimed its first Patriot League Championship and hosted a NCAA first-round game against Boston University. With five of the top six leading scorers returning and a host of young talent waiting in the wings, Coach Curtis will look to capitalize on last year’s momentum, and will once again challenge for the league title.

Forwards
Curtis will put an experienced group of forwards on the field this fall, led by Emily Driscoll ’02, Brandy Ault ’03 and Sarah Comeaux ’04. Driscoll missed part of the season due to injury a year ago, while Ault has played in all 41 games in the last two years. Comeaux earned Second Team All-Patriot League honors. After sitting out a good portion of the first-half of the 2000 season due to illness, she tallied five goals in 11 games and finished second on the team in scoring. Alison Bodenheimer ’04 saw limited action last season. She also will compete for a spot in the front.

Midfielders
This year’s team will be strong at the midfield position, led by the team’s top scorer, Kate O’Shaughnessy ’02. O’Shaughnessy will be joined in the midfield by classmate Erin Patterson and Lee Hummer ’03. O’Shaughnessy earned First Team All-Patriot League honors. She needs two assists to break Holy Cross’ all time assists record of 17. Patterson, who moved from back to the midfield her second season, saw action in 36 games the last two years. Hummer has appeared in 38 career games and has tremendous potential. Coach Curtis also returns Caitlin Dwyer ’04, Heather Stanga ’04 and Carolyn Tschummi ’04. Dwyer appeared in 17 games her first year and will look for more playing time this season. Stanga and Tschummi saw limited action last year and will keep the midfield operating at a high level.

Backs
A strong group of experienced returnees will be welcomed back this season. Maria Lauring ’02 and Laura McSharry ’02 will join Caitlyn Lynch ’03 and Erica Backstrom ’04. Lauring, who finished fifth on the team in scoring will move to backfield from the midfield. McSharry is an experienced player who has seen action in 52 games in her career. Lynch was the team’s leader on defense for the last two years and will once again match up with the opposition’s top scorers. Backstrom played in 21 games in her first year and will be key factor on the defense. Jess DeFrancisco ’04 also will provide depth on defense.

Goalkeeper
Coach Curtis has two players battling for the starting goalkeeper job this fall. Christine Arsenault ’04 and Mary Dennehy ’05, both will have the opportunity to see action in the net this year as the Crusaders will need to find a replacement for Second Team All-Patriot League netminder Tiffany DeCoff, who graduated last season.

Men's Soccer

With just three upperclassmen on the team, last season looked as if it would be a rebuilding year for Coach Comrie and the Crusaders. However, this young team finished the season with an 8-10 record and Holy Cross’ sixth Patriot League Tournament appearance in the last seven years. With all 11 starters and 17 letter winners returning this year, the goal for this year’s team is to improve upon the success of last season, with the ultimate prize of a Patriot League championship a realistic possibility.

Forwards
Matt Ney ’04, a First Team All-Patriot League selection last season, returns up front as the Crusaders’ leading scorer (32 points on 14 goals and four assists). He already ranks fifth on the Holy Cross all-time scoring list with 52 points. Chris Napolitano ’04 burst onto the scene last year for the Crusaders and will be looked upon to continue that success this season. Paul Kitson ’04 and William Stewart ’04 will add depth up front while bringing playmaking ability to the front line. Britton Chan ’02 and Brian Weeks ’04 also should see playing time, bringing a strong knack for the ball to the goal area.

Midfield
Controlling the midfield play is a critical element to the Crusaders’ game plan and a key to any success that they will have. The battle for playing time at these positions may be the most heated of all. First Team All-Patriot League selection Pat Montgomery ’03 returns for Coach Comrie, as does classmate Oscar Cantu and Alex Wesner ’04, each of whom started at least 12 games last season. Ryan Supple ’04 and Michael Mills ’04 should both play major roles in a deep and talented midfield. Newcomers Geoffrey O’Connell ’05 and Ryan Atwood ’05 will enter the season as backups, but Coach Comrie will leave the door open for playing time.

Backs
The Crusaders will again bolster one of the top backfields in the Patriot League. Co-captain Rusty Giudici ’03, a First Team All-Patriot League selection a year ago and the team’s second leading scorer (13 points), will anchor the middle of the Holy Cross defensive line. Co-captain Matt Harvey ’02, who will quarterback the defensive effort, started all 18 games last season. Joe Foerster ’03 will again hold down a defensive position. Vernon McGeorge ’03 and Chris Ruggi ’04, who will also see time up front, will experience significant action. Miles Glover ’02, Michael Crean ’04 and Ryan Supple ’04 will seek to contribute to the defensive effort as well.

Goalkeeper
Kevin Baker ’04 will return to the net for Coach Comrie. Baker was enjoying a promising first-year campaign before a broken leg sidelined him for the rest of the season.

Cross Country

The men’s and women’s cross country teams enter the 2001 season looking to continue to show the improvement that they began to display last season. If youth is served, the Crusaders could have a very successful and productive fall season.

The men’s team, led by All-Patriot League performer Sean McCarthy ’03, finished eighth out of 26 teams at the National Catholic Cross Country Meet one year ago. McCarthy’s performance at the meet earned him Patriot League Cross Country Athlete of the Week honors. Peter Harris ’02 and Dan Kirchoff ’02 will serve as team co-captains and will try to lead the talented but young Crusaders. Matthew Karatkewicz ’03, Owen Speer ’03 and Michael Lucke ’04 also will be performers to watch this fall.

The women’s team, coming off of a fourth place finish at the Patriot League Championships last season, returns several key performers as they try to break into the top-three in league action. Ashley Boyle ’04 leads the way for the Crusaders. Her 12th place finish at the Murray Keatinge Invitational was the best ever for a Holy Cross female athlete at the meet. All-Patriot League performer Emily Hogan ’02, winner of the 10,000 meter run at the outdoor Patriot League Championships, will look to continue her success from the spring season. Marcia Flaherty ’02, who will also serve as a co-captain alongside Hogan, will try to lead the Crusaders against some of the best competition in New England.

Naveen Boppana is the assistant director of athletic media relations and Larry Napolitano is the coordinator of athletic media relations at Holy Cross.

 

   
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