Kean’s Fall Sports Recap
By: Mak Ojutiku
The season for Kean’s fall sports has finally come to a close. Overall, it was a pretty interesting season. Some teams had surprisingly strong runs this year while others were unexpectedly disappointing. Some teams brought home some hardware this season while others struggled to get a few wins. Here’s a recap of everything went down this season.
Going into the season the women’s soccer team was coming off one of the best performances in their program’s history. Last year, the team went 13-5-4 and won the ECAC Metro Championship, which was the first title win in the program’s 30 year history. Because of that, there might have been some added pressure to duplicate their historic performance. If there was, the team definitely didn’t let it get to them.
The team started their year with alternating wins and losses. They found their stride though in the middle of the season. The Cougars went on a five game winning streak that saw them outscore their opponents 16-2. One of the reasons for the offensive burst was Sophomore Angie Lopez. Lopez tallied 6 goals during the streak and 10 in the season, making her the team leader in scoring. Lopez’s efforts lead to her being named an NJAC player of the week and gave her a place on the NJAC All-Conference team.
With a 5-3-1 record against teams in their conference, the team secured a berth in the NJAC tournament. The team fell short though, losing in the opening round to Stockton College by a 0-4 margin.The team saw Stockton again a few weeks later, this time in the ECAC Metro Championship. The game was a hard one but the Cougars eventually prevailed, beating Stockton 3-2 and retaining their ECAC Metro title. With that win, the team finished their season with a 12-6-3 overall record. Head coach Brian Doherty was pleased with the result. “I was happy with the way the season went” he said. “Very few teams get to end their season with a win and we were one of them”
One of the more unexpected stories of this year was the women’s field hockey team. Despite having a losing record last year, this year’s field hockey team put together a very impressive season. The team started off with eight straight wins. 2012’s team had eight wins in their entire season. The Cougars went on to a 15-5 overall record (2-4 in NJAC) and made an appearance in the semi finals of the ECAC tournament. Coach Leslie Lafronz spoke highly of her team. “As a coach, I could not be more proud of a group of individuals” said Lafronz. “They played with heart, exemplified sportsmanship, trained with desire and competed with passion.”
The team’s defense showed some excellent play throughout the season. At one point Sophomore goalkeeper Katie DiCarlo lead the nation in save percentage and goals-against average. DiCarlo had a record eight shut outs this year and was named the NJAC Goalkeeper of the year.
On the offensive side of the field, the two biggest producers were Seniors Stephanie Soares and Korri Thompson. Both athletes lead the team in individual points with 32 . Soares lead the team in goals with 13 while Thompson lead the team and the conference in assists with 10. Both were named to All-NJAC first team.
Coming off their best season in fifteen years, the women’s volleyball had to know they needed to do a lot to top their 2012 season. Despite, the loftiness of that goal, the team in some ways actually accomplished it. They started off in a very strong fashion, winning 14 of their first 17 games. The X-factor for the team was Senior Kaitlyn Hansen. During the team’s win over New Jersey City University, Hansen broke the school’s record for service aces with 249. Hansen lead the conference in hitting percentage with.352. Hansen’s efforts were rewarded with many awards. Multiple time NJAC Player of the Week, All- NJAC first team, All-Region by the American Volleyball Coaches Association and ECAC MVP were just some of the titles Hansen picked up this year.
Women’s volleyball ended their season on a very strong note. In their final game they won the ECAC Metro-Championship, which was their first title since 2001. They closed the season with a 21-14 overall record and a 5-3 record in their conference.
For the Kean football team, this fall season was a long and difficult time. The team started off with a tough loss to Albright College and they never seemed to fully bounce back from it. One of the few bright spots of their season was their 47-21 home win over Morrisville State College. The victory gave Head Coach Dan Garrett his 50th career win with the Cougars. It was also the only home win of the season. The team did come very close to recording a victory in their homecoming game against William Paterson University. The Cougars controlled the field for most of the game but unfortunately a blocked field goal in the last 5 minutes caused the game to end 21-20 in favor of William Paterson. The team ended their season with a 2-8 record, their first losing record under Coach Garrett.
The men’s soccer team started off their season on a high note. The team had an 8-2 record going into the second half of the season. These games featured high offensive outputs from Senior Dominick DeLello and Freshman Akwasi Adu. DeLello scored five goals in the first five games of the season. Unfortunately, DeLello sat out for much of the second half of season due to an injury. In his absence Adu became the leader in points with 16 and goals with 7. Senior Gordon Lyng lead the team’s defense and his play lead to him being named to the All-NJAC second team.
The second half of the season was decidedly rough. The team went 1-7-1 in October and five of the losses were to fellow NJAC teams..
Head Coach Tony Ochrimenko plans on working on certain aspects of the team like creating scoring opportunities and finishing goals. Despite their setbacks this year, Ochrimenko is looking at the 2014 season in an optimistic light. “I am sure that our luck will get better” he says. “ The wins will come”.
It was a back and forth year for the women’s tennis team. They lost six of their first nine games underneath new head coach Jodi Valenti. The team had some success in the middle of the season, in the form of a 3-game winning streak. Senior Debra Dress saw some individual success and was named an NJAC All Star. Dress is the first Cougar to receive this title since 2005. The team finished their season with a 6-8 record.