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Daily Times assistant sports editor Terry Toohey covers the college sports beat like no other reporter. Catch his latest updates here.

Monday, February 28, 2011

Villanova falls to 19 in both polls

Villanova is still in the top 20, barely.
The Wildcats (21-8 overall, 9-7 Big East) fell to 19th in both the Associated Press and USA Today/ESPN Coaches Polls following back-to-back losses to Syracuse and St. John's.
Notre Dame, Villanova's opponent tonight in South Bend, moved up to No. 8 in the A.P poll and No. 7 in the Coaches poll.
The Big East has eight teams ranked in the top 20.
Temple fell out of A.P. poll.

Cabrini at home in Division III Tournament

The NCAA Division III men's basketball tournament selection committee finally showed a little love to Cabrini College and the Colonial States Athletic Conference.
The Cavaliers will be at home for the opening weekend of the D-III Tournament and the CSAC received two bids to the small college version of the Big Dance. League runnerup Gwynedd-Mercy received an at-large bid, or Pool C as it is known in Division III circles, to the tournament.
It is Cabrini's second straight trip to the D-III tourney and 11th in program history. The Cavaliers qualified by winning the CSAC title for the second year in a row.
The Cavaliers (22-5) will host NJAC champion New Jersey City (19-9) in the second game of a doubleheader Friday night at the Dixon Center. Tipoff is 8 p.m. Skyline Conference champion SUNY-Purchase (23-4) takes on Empire Eight champ Hartwick (17-10) in the opener at 5:30. The winners play Saturday night (7 o'clock) to advance to the Sweet 16.
New Jersey City won the NJAC title for a record 12th time. This is the Gothic Knights' 18th trip to the Division III Tournament and first since 2004-05. NJCU has won 16 of its last 19 games after a 3-6 start.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Brennan, Stitzel honored by MAC

Jack Brennan has been rewarded for his efforts to lead Widener to a berth in the MAC Commonwealth Conference playoffs.
The 6-7 junior forward was named to the Commonwealth Conference second-team in a vote of the league's coaches. Alvernia's Tad Gillis, a senior from Upper Darby, also was named to the second team.
Also, former Widener standout Casey Stitzel was named Coach of the Year in the Freedom Conference.
Brennan averaged 13.6 points, 7.4 rebounds and shot 56.5 percent from the field to lead the Pride (13-12, 8-6) to the conference playoffs for the first time since 2009. Widener had to win its last four games to qualify for the playoffs. The Pride visit Lebanon Valley Wednesday night in the first round of the conference tournament.
Gillis, a 5-10 senior, averaged 11.3 points and 4.5 assists per game to lead the Crusaders (16-5, 11-3) to the Commonwealth regular-season title. Alvernia is the No. 1 seed for the conference tournament.
In three seasons, Stitzel took a Delaware Valley team that did not win a Freedom Conference game in 2007-08 to the regular-season champion this season. Under Stitzel, who graduated from Widener in 2005, the Aggies went 15-10 overall to tie the school record for wins in a season, and 9-5 in the conference. In three seasons, he has a 40-36 overall record and a 22-22 mark in the conference.
The complete Commonwealth and Freedom Conference teams are listed below.

MAC Commonwealth Conference
First Team All-Conference
Player Team Position Year Hometown/High School
Matt Ashcraft Albright Guard Senior Reading, PA/Reading Central Catholic
Corey Boone Alvernia Center Junior Howard, PA/Bald Eagle Area
Will Kelly Lycoming Forward Senior Williamsport, PA/Loyalsock Township
Joe Meehan Lebanon Valley Guard Junior Harleysville, PA/St. Joseph’s Prep
Anthony Trautman Lebanon Valley Guard Senior Lebanon, PA/Lebanon
Second Team All-Conference
Player Team Position Year Hometown/High School
Jack Brennan Widener Forward Junior Stratford, NJ/Sterling
Joe Flanagan Elizabethtown Guard Senior Lancaster, PA/Lancaster Mennonite
Keith Fogel Elizabethtown Guard Senior Mifflinburg, PA/Mifflinburg
Tad Gillis Alvernia Guard Senior Upper Darby, PA/Upper Darby
Zac Shaeffer Albright Guard Senior Lampeter, PA/Lampeter Strasburg
Player of the Year: Anthony Trautman, Lebanon Valley
Rookie of the Year: Kevin Anthony, Lycoming
Coach of the Year: Brad McAlester, Lebanon Valley

MAC Freedom Conference
First Team All-Conference
Player Team Position Year Hometown/High School
Kevin Conroy King’s Center Senior Chatham, NJ/Chatham
Chris DeRojas Wilkes Guard Senior Dallas, PA/Bishop O’Reilly
Ethan Eichhorst Misericordia Forward Junior Drums, PA/Hazleton Area
Brian Hunter DeSales Guard Senior Allentown, PA/Emmaus
James Jones Delaware Valley Guard Senior Philadelphia, PA/Edward Bok Tech
Second Team All-Conference
Player Team Position Year Hometown/High School
Jeremy Beckett Delaware Valley Forward Sophomore Reading, PA/Holy Name
Brett Moyer DeSales Forward Sophomore Souderton, PA/Christopher Dock
Robbie Johnson Misericordia Guard Senior Jackson, PA/Mountain View
Adam Katz FDU-Florham Guard Junior Wharton, NJ/Morris Hills
Trevoy Pointer Manhattanville Guard Junior Dallas, TX/Skyline
Player of the Year: James Jones, Delaware Valley
Rookie of the Year: Kyle Hammonds, King’s
Coach of the Year: Casey Stitzel, Delaware Valley

Young, Farnese honored by CSAC

Neumann's Katie Young and head coach Frank Farnese have picked up a little hardware.
Young, a senior guard, was named CSAC Player of the Year in women's basketball, while Farnese earned Coach of the Year honors for the second straight season. Kacee Rava of Baptist Bible was named Rookie of the Year.
Young is second in Division III with 21 double-doubles. She is second in the conference in scoring (16.1) and second in rebounding (12.8).
Farnese guided the Knights (18-7 overall, 15-1 CSAC) to the best record in the conference for the second straight season. Along the way, the Monsignor Bonner graduate earned the 100th victory of his coaching career with a win over Philadelphia Biblical. In six seasons, Farnese has compiled a 101-60 overall record and a 71-24 mark in the conference.
Woodlyn native and Archmere Academy grad Brittany Neill of Gwynedd-Mercy earned second-team all-conference honors.
Here is the complete all-conference team.

Player of the Year: Katie Young, Neumann University
Rookie of the Year: Kacee Rava, Baptist Bible College
Coach of the Year: Frank Farnese, Neumann University

First Team All-Conference
Kristy McGrath, Gwynedd-Mercy College (Sr., Forward, West Chester, PA/Bishop Shanahan)
*Chelsea McTigue, Immaculata University, (Sr., Forward, West Chester, PA/Villa Maria Academy)
Mariah Schaeffer, Marywood University (Jr., Guard, Bainbridge, NY/Bainbridge-Guilford)
*Jen Vasta, Centenary College, (Jr., Guard, Boonton, N.J. / Boonton)
Katie Young, Neumann University (Sr., Guard, Wilmington, DE/Padua Academy)

Second Team All-Conference
Ruth Butts, Baptist Bible College (Fr., Guard, Scott Twp., PA/Homeschool-Lakeland)
Chrissy Esbensen, Immaculata University (So.,Guard, Royersford, PA / St. Pius X)
Brittany Neill, Gwynedd-Mercy College (Jr., Guard, Woodlyn, PA/Archmere Academy (DE))
Kacee Rava, Baptist Bible College (Sr., F, Plains, PA/Coughlin)
*Lizzy Sunderhaus, Cedar Crest College (Center, Hamilton, OH/ Stephen T. Badin)

Honorable Mention
Allison Bruet, Marywood University (Jr., Guard, Binghampton, NY/Chenango Forks)
Krista DiRomualdo, Neumann University (Sr., Guard, Eddystone, PA/Archbishop Prendergast)
Bethany Humenik, Neumann University (So., G/F, Woodstown, NJ/Woodstown)
Brittany Sandone, Cabrini College (Fr., Guard, Harleysville, PA/Souderton)
Marielle Thorsen, Marywood University (Jr., Guard, Belvidere, NJ/Belvidere)

*Repeat Selection

CSAC Sportsmanship Award Recipients
Caryn Depue, Baptist Bible College
Melissa Kudzmas, Cabrini College
Kelley Cipriani, Cedar Crest College
Marissa DiStasio, Centenary College
Bryn Cotteta, Gwynedd-Mercy College
Katie Durkin, Immaculata University
Alexandra Thomas, Keystone College
Marilee Sobrinski, Marywood University
Cecily Scavicchio, Neumann University
Amanda Brenner, College of Notre Dame
Sara Poole, Philadelphia Biblical University
Karen Boyle, Rosemont College

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Stokes to play against Syracuse

Senior Corey Stokes will play when 15th-ranked Villanova takes on No. 17 Syracuse Monday night at the Wells Fargo Center.
The 6-5 senior guard has missed the last three games with turf toe on his left foot.
"It feels good," Stokes said at practice Sunday. "I'll be able to go."
Stokes will come off the bench. How much he plays depends on the injury.
“We can’t prepare to go in with him as a starter, then have something happen in warmups where he can’t go,” Wright said. “It’s not just running or jumping off it. You have to worry about him getting stepped on or kicked. So he won’t start, but then we’ll bring him in, give him a shot and see how he responds.”
Villanova has gone 2-1 in the three games Stokes has missed and has struggled from the perimeter, especially from 3-point range. The Wildcats are 64-for-156 overall (41 percent) and 14-for-43 from 3-point range (32.5 percent) in the last three games.
Freshman James "Tahj" Bell came up with a career-high 21 points to lead the Wildcats to a 60-67 victory over Seton Hall. Corey Fisher tallied a career-high 34 points Saturday as Villanova got past DePaul in overtime, 77-75.
The return of Stokes gives Villanova another shooter it desperately needs. The 6-5 senior leads the team in 3-point field goals made (68) a 3-point field goal percentage (41.5), and is second on the team in scoring (14.6).
“It’s not only his ability to stretch the defense, but what he does for our defense,” Wright said. “He’s the smartest defensive player we have. He knows what he’s supposed to do and what everyone else is supposed to do so when he’s on the floor he’s talking to everybody. He’s the quarterback of our defense.
“Having his leadership and intelligence on the floor means a lot. Even if he’s not making shots, they’re guarding him. If someone else on our team isn’t making shots, they’re backing off of him, but not Corey. If he’s not making shots they’re still guarding him and it opens up the floor for everybody.”

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Temple's Eric out for season

Temple will have to do without forward Michael Eric for the rest of the season.
The 6-11 junior fractured the patella tendon in his right knee in practice Tuesday.
Eric is one of only three players to start all 24 games for the No. 23 Owls (19-5). Eric is second on the team in rebounding (5.9 per game) and blocked shots (1.6). He was averaging 7.1 points per game.
The Church Farm School grad and native of Lagos, Nigeria had his best offensive game of the season with 16 points in Temple's 82-47 victory over Akron Dec. 12, 2010. He posted the first double-double of his career with 14 points and 11 rebounds against Fordham Jan. 5.

Savage to Arizona

Springfield native and Cardinal O'Hara grad Tom Savage is headed out west. The former Rutgers quarterback has decided to transfer to Arizona.
Is this a good move for the 6-5, 230-pound sophomore?
It could be.
Savage has to sit out the 2011 season under NCAA transfer rules and Arizona's top two quarterbacks, starter Nick Foles and backup Matt Scott, will be seniors next fall. Scott could sit out as a redshirt, Arizona coach Mike Stoops said, which would give the Wildcats two veteran quarterbacks when Savage becomes eligible in 2012. He will have two years of eligibility remaining.
Savage could have gone the I-AA, like Joe Flacco and Pat Devlin and played right away, but he wanted to play at the BCS level.
If Scott does redshirt, Savage will have to beat out five other quarterbacks for the starting job. In addition to Scott, the Wildcats also have Bryson Beirne, John Cardona, Cam Allerheilgen and Daxx Garmen on the roster. Beirne and Cardona were sophomores last season. Allerheilgen was a freshman and Garmen is a freshman who came in this semester.
Savage certainly has the talent to win the job. He was a freshman All-American at Rutgers two seasons ago. But this is the PAC-10, not the Big East so there are no guarantees that he will win the starting job.
Savage is expected to enroll in classes in the summer.

Monday, February 7, 2011

Race for Big East double bye will be interesting

The Big East is more than halfway through its 18-game schedule and one thing is abundantly clear: The race for the double bye in the Big East Tournament will be interesting.
Going into tonight's action, second place and 11th place are separated by two losses. The race is so tight that one loss can cost a team three or four spots in the league standings.
The battle for those top four spots, and the double bye that goes with it, will go down to the wire.
Villanova has its work cut out. The ninth-ranked Wildcats play five of their last eight games on the road including season-ending trips to Notre Dame and Syracuse, which occupy the top two spots in the conference. The Irish are 14-0 at home. The Panthers are 14-1 at the Petersen Events Center.
So what will it take for Villanova to earn one of the four double byes? Five wins. If the Wildcats can go 5-3 in their last eight games, that would give them a 12-6 record in the league and be good enough for a double bye.
Five wins is doable. If the Wildcats can beat Rutgers, Seton Hall and DePaul, all on the road, they would only have to win one of the four remaining games with Pitt (twice), Syracuse and St. John's. But winning on the road in the Big East is never easy. The RAC at Rutgers is one of the toughest places to play and Mike Rice has the Scarlet Knights playing better. Seton Hall gives Villanova trouble in North Jersey.
But if the Wildcats can get five more wins, that should be good enough for a double bye.

Villanova moves up in both polls

Two straight wins has Villanova has back in the top 10 in both The Associated Press and USA Today/ESPN coaches poll, which where released earlier today.
The Wildcats are ninth in the AP Top 25 and 10th in the coaches poll.
It's the 10th time in 14 weeks that the Wildcats have been ranked in the top 10 Villanova opened the season sixth in both polls, but fell to 12th following losses to Providence and Georgetown.
The Wildcats have spent 52 consecutive weeks in the AP Top 25.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Savage situation signifies a need for change

When Cardinal O'Hara grad Tom Savage decided he was going to leave Rutgers, he found himself in a world where football coaches, coaches in general, had the final say.
First, he had to be released from his scholarship obligation, but even when he did, Savage was not free to go wherever he wanted.
Rutgers coach Greg Schiano could and did block Savage from talking to some of the schools on his wish list, notably Florida and Miami.
It's time to end this practice. No one should have that kind of power. Once an athlete decides he or she wants to transfer, they should be allowed to go wherever they want.
It doesn't make sense for a coach to follow this practice. Why would you want to tick off an athlete who doesn't want to be part of your program anyway? Isn't it best to take the high road, cut ties and move on?
It certainly is from a recruiting standpoint. Athletes have friends, among them their high school coaches. Someone on your staff may have to go back to that school in the future and you want that high school coach to be a friend, not an enemy.
Here's another thing that has to change. Coaches have to treat verbal commitments like letters of intent. Once a player makes a verbal commitment, the recruiting process ends.
And the athletes have to share some of that burden, too. Don't be in a rush to commit. Take your time. But once you do decide, stay true to your word.