Kingston’s Justin Robinson to visit West Point; Army hoop schedule announced

The Army men’s basketball team will play seven non-conference road games and host five, including a mini tournament over Thanksgiving weekend and Marist on Dec. 20.
Army will host NCAA Division III Ferrum College, coached by former player and West Point 1996 graduate Bill Tharp, on Nov. 13 in its season opener. The Black Knights will participate in the Barclays Center Classic, playing road games at George Washington (Nov. 22) and Tennessee (Nov. 24) before hosting Arkansas-Pine Bluff on Nov. 27 and either Southeastern Louisiana or Gardner-Webb on Nov. 28.
Monmouth, featuring Kingston’s Justin Robinson, visits Christl Arena on Dec. 28.
Army will travel to Binghamton (Nov. 15), Fairleigh Dickinson (Nov. 18), Maine (Dec. 2), Bryant (Dec. 8th) and Air Force (Dec. 12).
Last season Army beat Air Force, Marist, Binghamton and Maine but lost to Bryant. Army hasn’t faced FDU in 12 years and Monmouth in 20 years.
“We have a challenging nonconference schedule that will prepare us for the Patriot League season,’’ said coach Zach Spiker.
The Patriot League portion of the schedule will be announced later. Last season the newly expanded league schedule opened on New Year’s Eve.

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Army hockey to host B.C., bring in 9 freshmen

A visit by NCAA tourney participant Boston College highlights three visits by Hockey East squads to West Point’s Tate Rink for 2015-16. Plus, Army will play a Sunday morning contest against Bentley at the Islanders’ new home, the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, on Nov. 1.
Army also announced nine incoming freshmen, including a Boston University transfer. Five underclassmen from last season are no longer on the roster, notably forwards Joe Llaurado and Andy Faust.
The Black Knights will open their season on Oct. 9 against Boston College, the runner-up in the Hockey East and a 5-2 loser to Denver in the NCAA East Regional. It will be B.C.’s first visit to West Point since Oct. 22, 1994. Army lost at Boston College, 11-0, in Nov. 2013.
Former Army head coach Rob Riley played for the Eagles and graduated in 1978.
Army will host Merrimack on Dec. 29 and Massachusetts on Jan. 2. Merrimack finished 11th in Hockey East and UMass was 12th. Army visits Connecticut, which placed ninth, on Nov. 10.
The only other non-league game will be a visit to Canada’s Royal Military College on Jan. 23.
The start of the schedule is not exactly kind for Army with a tough row of opponents. The Black Knights play Atlantic Hockey finalist Mercyhurst, featuring all-rookie team selection Jack Riley of West Point, on Oct. 23-24, and the Lakers visit Tate Rink on Feb. 19-20. Playoff champion and NCAA Elite Eight team Rochester Institute of Technology visits on Nov. 6-7. Regular-season champ Robert Morris visits Nov. 20-21.
Dalton MacAfee played 31 games for Boston University in 2013-14 and produced 20 points in 40 games as captain for the South Shore Kings of the United States Premier Hockey League last season. Tommy Besinger also played for South Shore, posting 79 points over two all-star seasons. Trevor Fidler played for South Shore in 2013-14, recording 28 points in 33 games. He split last season between Vernon of the British Columbia Hockey League (BCHL), with 20 points in 30 games, and 15 points in 12 games with South Shore. Defenseman Nash Worden played three seasons for the Omaha Lancers in the U.S. Hockey League, recording eight goals and 19 assists.
Tipper Higgins had 11 goals and five assists in 12 playoff games with the Chilliwack Chiefs of the BCHL. He had 37 points in 58 regular-season games. Taylor Maruya was the rookie of the year for the BCHL’s Salmon Arm Silverbacks in 2013-14, scoring eight goals and adding 16 assists.
Ian Mansfield won the Robertson Cup with the Minnesota Wilderness of the North American Hockey League, where he produced 14 goals and 20 assists over 43 regular-season and playoff games.
Matt Penta played 36 games in goal for the Kingston Voyageurs of the Ontario Junior Hockey League and was a 2012 all-star in the Eastern Junior Hockey League. Ian Murdoch played two seasons for Culver Military Academy in Indiana.
Llaurado had three goals and two assists in 29 games for Army last season. Faust had two assists in 12 contests. Kyle Vogel last saw action in 2013-14 with 12 games and one tally. Little-used forward James McNulty is gone, as is goaltender Dan Curran, who played 32 seconds.

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West Point’s Brendan Riley headed to Mercyhurst for hockey

The West Point-Erie hockey pipeline is alive and well.
Brendan Riley, the youngest son of Army coach Brian Riley, has accepted a scholarship to play for Mercyhurst College. Older brother, Jack, posted 24 points and made the Atlantic Hockey All-Rookie team this past season.
Before joining the Lakers, Brendan Riley will play one season with Chilliwack of the British Columbia Hockey League.
Brendan played the last two seasons with Kimball Union, a prep school in Meriden, N.H. He had 12 goals and 12 assists in 2013-14 and eight goals and 15 assists this past season.

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Short, Sacred Heart open NCAA regional play

Zack Short’s second season at Sacred Heart began with a sophomore slump.

Short, 2013 Kingston graduate, had just five hits in 35 at-bats over his first 10 games.

The shortstop started finding his freshman all-American form in April with back-to-back, three-hit games against Richmond.

Short heated up in May with a 6-for-6 game against Wagner on May 10.

Last week, Short helped Sacred Heart to the Northeast Conference championship and the school’s first NCAA Division I tournament berth, hitting .375 with two home runs and seven RBI.

Short and Sacred Heart (23-30-1) play host and seventh-ranked TCU (43-11) in an opening-round game of the Fort Worth (Texas) Regional at 8 p.m. tonight.

“I’m just expecting to have fun,” Short said on the Sacred Heart athletics website. “It’s a national stage, a lot of fans. Going down to Texas and TCU, it’s going to be awesome. You just got to live in the moment, don’t get caught up in anything, have fun and play the game.”

North Carolina State (34-21), the second seed, and Stony Brook (34-14-1), the third seed, meet in the other opening-round game in the double-elimination regional.

Delaware Valley (Pa.) graduate Tim Knesnik is a junior pitcher for Stony Brook.

Short leads Sacred Heart, the fourth seed in the region, in home runs (9), RBI (38), doubles (14) and runs scored (38). A first-team Northeast Conference pick, Short is the only Pioneer to play in all 54 games this season. He became the 15th player in conference history to hit two home runs in a tournament game against Fairleigh Dickinson on May 22.

Sacred Heart is making its fourth trip to the NCAA tournament. The Pioneers are 0-6 in their previous three appearances (2006, 2011, 2012).

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College track and field: NCAA regionals – Hehir, Clark advance

Washingtonville’s Martin Hehir advanced to the NCAA track and field championships with his third-place finish in the 10,000-meter run on Thursday night in Jacksonville, Fla. The Syracuse senior finished in 29 minutes, 53.89 seconds, only six seconds out of first place in the NCAA East Regional.
Former O’Neill High School student and state pole vault champion Megan Clark advanced to NCAAs as well. The junior at Duke tied for first place at 13 feet, 8 ½ inches.
Onteora’s Emily Waligurski, a sophomore at Yale, placed ninth in her heat and 39th overall at 4:28.72. She did not advance.
Warwick’s Paddy Grandinalli, a junior at High Point, placed 27th in the men’s 10,000 (30:50.94) and did not advance.
Former MHAL champ Darnell (D.J.) Cummings of Millbrook, a senior at Connecticut, placed fifth in his heat and 26th overall in the 100 dash (10.568 seconds) and did not advance.
Junior Michelle Gaye, Marist’s first NCAA qualifier, placed 25th in the women’s 10,000 (35:13.64) and did not advance.
Army freshman Briyah Brown placed 46th in the shot put (44-1 ½) and did not advance.
Army has three athletes competing on Friday evening. Freshman Lee Bares is the No. 10 seed in the men’s pole vault (5.31 meters). Junior Taylor Andrews is the No. 45 seed in the 110 hurdles (14.27 seconds). Freshman Dawson Hillis is the No. 47 seed in the discus (52.65m).
At the NCAA West Regional in Austin, Texas, Warwick’s Jacqueline Kasal, a senior at DePaul, placed eighth in her heat and 44th overall in the 800 (2:13.32) and did not advance.
Minisink Valley’s Alec Faldermeyer, a senior at UCLA, is the No. 7 seed in Friday afternoon’s hammer throw (66.54m).

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Marist’s Lewis chosen for Portsmouth tourney

Marist all-time leading scorer Chavaughn Lewis was chosen as a replacement to compete in the Portsmouth (Va.) Invitational Tournament, a four-day showcase event played before NBA and foreign scouts. Lewis will play for Mike Duman Auto Sales in the event that started Wednesday evening.
Lewis averaged 20.8 points per game, ranked 10th in the nation. His 2.31 steals average ranked him No. 13 in the country.
Marist standout Sean Kennedy participated in the 2002 PIT but future Clippers draft pick Jared Jordan skipped the 2007 event.
AP All-Americans Seth Tuttle of Northern Iowa, Karl Cochran of Wofford, LaDontae Henton of Providence, Darrun Hilliard of Villanova, Tyler Kalinoski of Davidson, David Laury of Iona, Mikh McKinney of Sacramento State, Saah Nimley of Charleston Southern and Marcus Thornton of Georgia are also taking part.
The games can be viewed for free at There are games at 7 p.m. and 9 p.m. on Wednesday, plus 3:15, 7 and 9 p.m. on Thursday and Friday. Saturday’s schedule has games at 12, 2, 6 and 8 p.m.

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Baseball: Region XV tourney pushed back a week

The 2014-15 winter season is one that most Hudson Valley residents would like to forget, especially athletic directors and scheduling coordinators.
Winter’s late grip has prompted numerous postponements of outdoor events, and Region XV baseball is no exception. Last week the tournament committee decided to push back its annual spring championships by a week to accommodate a later start to the league season.
SUNY Orange and SUNY Ulster had to shift its weekend series to April 30 and May 1 at Orange and May 2 at Ulster, which was the original weekend for regionals.
The Region XV tournament will now be held May 8-10 at Cantine Field in Saugerties.

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Five Questions: Zach Rufer

Lafayette junior guard Zach Rufer isn’t 100 percent, coach Fran O’Hanlon says.

Rufer said the discomfort in his left foot has gotten better since he suffered a Lisfranc injury (torn ligament) on Feb. 9.

“I played in pain for about two or three weeks,” said Rufer, a 2012 John S. Burke Catholic graduate.”

Rufer was feeling good enough to help Lafayette to first NCAA appearance since 2000 with a clutch 3-pointer in a 65-63 win over Bucknell in the Patriot League championship last Wednesday.

Next up is No. 1 seed Villanova in an East Regional opening-round game Thursday night in Pittsburgh.

Lafayette (20-12), the 16th seed in the East,  opened the 2013-14 season against Villanova. Rufer’s 3-pointer gave Lafayette its biggest lead (38-32) early in the second half. Villanova’s talent eventually won out over Lafayette in a 75-59 win.

What was your favorite moment of the season? “Definitely winning the Patriot League Championship. At this level, you really try to win your conference. It’s the biggest thing that you can do. If you win some games in the NCAA tournament, it’s kind of the icing on the cake. Winning that was just unbelievable and the support from all the fans. You walk around the campus and everyone is congratulating you. It was just a crazy experience.”

What was the turning point of the season? “Beating Bucknell at Bucknell. In Lafayette’s history, we had never won at Sojka Pavilion in the playoffs before. After we won that, we knew going into the championship game that we had all of the confidence in the world, especially having a home playoff game.”

What makes Lafayette a dangerous team in the NCAA tournament? “Offensively, we are dangerous. We have Nick (Lindner), Dan (Trist), Seth (Hinrichs) and Joey (Ptasinski), they are all very good scorers. They can knock down shots. Coach (Fran O’Hanlon’s) offense have gotten us a lot of wins. Obviously, defense is our weakness a little bit and hopefully we can score some points and see what happens.”

What’s it like playing for Coach O’Hanlon? “It’s been a great experience. There’s always a little bit of a learning curve freshman and sophomore year trying to get use to the system. Our system is not an easy one to play in because there’s a lot to learn. Coach O has an unlimited amount of year of experience. He’s a guard himself so he knows the game better than anyone.”

What kind of challenge does Villanova present? “We played with them last year (and had a six-point lead early in the second half, 75-59 loss). I’m sure they are going to want to take us out of the game early. They are obviously superior athletically so they are going to try and kill us on the boards. They just have good players Archie (Ryan Arcidiacono) and (Daniel) Ochefu. They have a lot of talent on their team and it’s going to be a real project to deal with.”

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WNIT Thursday: Army to St. John’s; Marist hosts Temple

Patriot League runner-up Army (23-7) will travel to Queens on Thursday to take on Big East semifinalist St. John’s (21-10) in the opening round of the Women’s National Invitation Tournament.
Marist (21-11), the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference runner-up, received a bit of a gift by drawing American Athletic Conference quarterfinalist Temple (16-16) for its home game on Thursday at the McCann Arena.
At 143 in the Women’s Ratings Percentage Index, Temple is one of the lowest-rated seeds in the 64-team draw, and the Owls are only 6-5 since February 1. Marist is 117.  Army is 99 and St. John’s is 85.
Marist opened its home schedule with a 49-48 loss to St. John’s.
St. John’s features junior guard Aliyyah Handford, a first-team All-Big East selection, plus second-teamer Danaehah Grant and honorable mention pick Amber Thompson. Army coach Dave Magarity watched the Red Storm lose to Seton Hall in the Big East semis, and he says St. John’s is very athletic and rebounds extremely well, one aspect Army has struggled with.
St. John’s was a No. 8 seed in the 2014 NCAA tournament. The Red Storm beat No. 9 USC, 71-68, before losing to No. 1 Tennessee, 67-51. Army was a No. 13 seed and lost to No. 4 Maryland, 90-52. Marist was a No. 11 seed and lost to No. 6 Iowa, 87-65.
Army played in the 2013 WNIT, losing at Fordham in the first round. This will be Marist’s first trip to the WNIT. The Red Foxes have been to the NCAA tournament 10 times between 2004-14, with the exception of 2005.
For potential second-round matchups. Army would play either Fordham (20-11) or Central Connecticut State (19-12) and Marist would play either Penn (20-8) or Hofstra (20-12). Second-round games will be played Saturday, Sunday or Monday.

Other matchups featuring teams from the Northeast include Duquesne (21-10) at Youngstown State, Buffalo (19-12) at West Virginia, Hampton at Drexel (20-10) and Maine (23-8) at Villanova (19-13). Magarity, with his Philadelphia ties, said he was hoping to draw Drexel, and he’s glad he didn’t have to travel to Maine, which is about 480 miles from West Point.

Some big-name schools are in the WNIT draw. Georgia Tech hosts Elon, Virginia travels to Old Dominion, Washington State hosts Eastern Washington, Hawaii plays at Saint Mary’s, UCLA hosts Cal Bakersfield, Michigan hosts Cleveland State, Kansas State hosts Akron, Missouri travels to Northern Iowa, Southern Mississippi hosts Texas Southern and TCU hosts Stephen F. Austin.

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Who will Army, Marist face in WNIT field? Check out these capsules

The Women’s National Invitation Tournament field will be released Monday evening, with brackets coming out close to midnight ET.
Here’s what we know: Army and Marist are in the field of 64 teams, the result of finishing second in their respective leagues but not qualifying for the NCAA tournament, which was released early Monday evening.
The WNIT likes to regionalize its four corners of the bracket so the Black Knights and Red Foxes would likely face teams based in the Northeast. Plus, the WNIT won’t pair teams that have faced one another for first-round contests.
Here is a list of 11 potential WNIT opponents for Army and Marist, which could face one another in Poughkeepsie in one scenario.

Army Black Knights
Conference: Patriot
Record: 23-7 (14-4, second place)
How they got here: Black Knights were upset in Patriot semifinals by Lehigh. Army had won 14 of 15 before semifinal loss. Army beat Central Connecticut in December.
Who to watch: Kelsey Minato is a two-time player of the year, and arguably should have won a third

Marist Red Foxes
Conference: Metro Atlantic
Record: 21-11 (15-5, second place)
How they got here: Red Foxes lost to Quinnipiac in MAAC finals, snapping string of nine consecutive playoff titles and NCAA tourney berths
Who to watch: Tori Jarosz and Madeline Blais provide strong 1-2 punch and Sydney Coffey (nursing a bad ankle) is a strong postseason performer

Penn Quakers
Conference: Ivy League
Record: 20-8 (11-3, second place)
How they got here: Penn finished three games behind Princeton. Quakers won nine in a row before falling to unbeaten Princeton in season finale.
Who to watch: Sophomore center Sydney Stipanovich is the Ivy League defensive player of the year and Michelle Nwokedi was the rookie of the year.

Drexel Dragons
Conference: Colonial Athletic
Record: 20-10 (14-4, second place)
How they got here: Dragons won six in a row before falling to Delaware in Colonial quarterfinal.
Who to watch: Sophomore Sarah Curran was a first-team pick and Rachel Pearson was a second-team choice in the Colonial.

Fordham Rams
Conference: Atlantic 10
Record: 20-11 (11-5, fourth place)
How they got here: Rams lost to George Washington in A-10 semifinals. Rams split their final 12 games.
Who to watch: Emily Tapio was a third-team A-10 all-star.

Villanova Wildcats
Conference: Big East
Record: 19-13 (12-6, third place)
How they got here: Wildcats lost 58-55 to DePaul in Big East semifinals. Villanova won five of six before splitting last six contests.
Who to watch: Taylor Holeman was the Big East Sixth-Woman award winner. Caroline Coyer was named first-team and Emily Leer second-team.

St. John’s Red Storm
Conference: Big East
Record: 21-10 (11-7, fourth place)
How they got here: Red Storm lost to No. 24 Seton Hall in Big East semifinals. Red Storm won six of last nine games. St. John’s nipped Marist 49-48 in November.
Who to watch: Junior guard Aliyyah Handford was a first-team Big East all-star, Danaehah Grant made the second team and Amber Thompson was honorable mention.

Maine Black Bears
Conference: America East
Record: 23-8 (14-4, tied for first)
How they got here: The Black Bears lost to Hartford in the AE semifinals. Maine had won 14 in a row before losing two of its last three.
Who to watch: Junior forward Liz Wood was named the AE co-defensive player of the year and joined sophomore Sigi Koizar on the first team.

Hofstra Pride
Conference: Colonial Athletic
Record: 20-12 (11-7, tied for third)
How they got here: The Pride ran off five consecutive wins before losing three of their last five, losing to James Madison in the CAA finals.
Who to watch: Kelly Loftus leads the Pride with 12 points per game and Ashunae Durant averages 11.

Central Connecticut State Blue Devils

Conference: Northeast
Record: 19-12 (14-4, tied for first)
How they got here: Central Connecticut lost to Saint Francis-Brooklyn, 71-63, in double overtime semifinal. Blue Devils lost four of their last eight. Lost to Army in December.
Who to watch: Junior forward TeJahne Malone was a second-team All-NEC selection. Guard Camden Musgrave made the all-rookie team. Beryl Piper was the NEC coach of the year.

Buffalo Bulls
Conference: Mid-American
Record: 19-12 (11-7, third place in MAC East Division)
How they got here: Bulls won four in a row before losing to Ohio in MAC tourney.
Who to watch:

Duquesne Dukes
Conference: Atlantic 10
Record: 21-10 (12-4, third place)
How they got here: Dukes lost to Dayton in A-10 semifinals. Duquesne won eight in a row before splitting its last four games.
Who to watch:

Temple Owls
Conference: American Athletic
Record: 16-16 (12-6, fourth place)
How they got here: Owls lost to East Carolina in AAC quarterfinals. Temple is 6-5 since Feb. 1.
Who to watch:

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    Ken McMillan

    Ken McMillan has been covering sports since he got his first writing job in 1979. He has covered Section 9 athletics for most of the past 28 years. He reports on college sports, including Army and Marist College. He also writes on TV/radio sports ... Read Full
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