Baseball: Sullivan-Dutchess series altered

The schedule for this weekend’s Mid-Hudson Conference Sullivan-Dutchess baseball series has been changed.
SUNY Sullivan will host games on Thursday (3:30 p.m.) and Saturday (noon). SUNY Dutchess will host a 5 p.m. Friday doubleheader at Dutchess Stadium in Fishkill.

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Army leads Navy 7-3 at halftime

Army leads Navy 7-3 at halftime. Black Knights are dominating play, having won nine of 12 faceoffs and scooping 12 of 21 groundballs. Army is putting lots of pressure on Navy defense, firing 21 shots to Navy’s eight.
Navy has benefited from seven Army turnovers, five coming in the second quarter, and the last leading to a transition goal by Sam Jones with 9.6 seconds left in half.
Army has seven different goal scorers: John Glesener, Connor Cook, Alex Newsome, Will Mazzone, Michael Larrabee, Shea Mullins and Will O’Donnell.
Navy’s Sam Jones has two goals and Alex Heneveld one.
Army’s Sam Somers has a lower body injury and did not make the start in nets. Senior Bobby Sincero played the entire fourth quarter of last Saturday’s game against Boston University, and got the start on Senior Day. He has stopped four of seven shots thus far. It is his first start of the year and second of his career.

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CBS’s Evan Washburn offers thoughts on Army-Navy lacrosse match

Evan Washburn is the color analyst for the CBS Sports Network’s schedule of lacrosse telecasts, including today’s Army-Navy game. Here are Washburn’s thoughts headed into the 2 p.m. game:
“This game is always going to be extremely emotional and physical. Coming into it, Army seems to be the more established team this season. They have senior leadership sprinkled across the field while Navy is young on defense and inexperienced on offense, their offense needs to pick up their production if they want to stay in this game with Army. It always seems to come down to two or three goals and a couple big plays in the middle of the field that really decides it.”

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Army lacrosse: Coach Joe Alberici pleased with what he’s seeing

The Army men’s lacrosse team has won three in a row and four of the last five heading into Saturday’s Patriot League showdown with Navy.
“I like the way we’re playing,’’ said Army coach Alberici. “We have a pretty good balance going. It’s just getting a little bit better offensive production and still finding ways to keep the score down defensively.’’
Army’s team defense is ranked No. 1 in the nation, allowing 5.7 goals per game – the Black Knights have not allowed 10 goals in a single game this season.
“Defensively we have been playing very well,’’ Alberici said. “We don’t take anything for granted. We’re doing a solid job there.’’
Offensively, Army has John Glesener leading the way with 26 goals but the Black Knights are finding other people, and other options to score. On the attack unit, Will Mazzone has 12 goals, Connor Cook has 10 and Cole Johnson has six.
Alberici is thrilled with the work he is getting out of his short-stick midfielders, a unit that was ravaged last season by injuries and other circumstances.
“We run two pairs and they have all had good years for us,’’ Alberici said. “Patrick Hart and Austin Schultz and John Burk have all been playing very well, and we are getting good play out of the pole, too, with Jimbo D’Aprile. It’s been solid in the six-on-six.’’
Army has cut down on its penalties this season, leading to fewer man-up situations for the opposition. Alberici credits better footwork and less stick-swinging as the chief reasons.
“We have gone a good job of taking away the other team’s transition and unsettled, so we’re forcing them to grind it out in the six-on-six,’’ Alberici said.
In nets, Sam Somers ranks No. 1 in the nation in goals against average (5.43) and No. 2 in saves percentage (.622), echoing his success from last season.

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Army-Navy lacrosse pre-game

It’s a gorgeous afternoon here at West Point’s Michie Stadium for today’s 2 p.m. Patriot League clash between two old rivals, Army and Navy. It is the 93rd meeting between the two schools.
Army is 7-3 overall and 5-1 in the Patriot League, good for second place – the 18th ranked Black Knights have already clinched a league tournament berth.
Navy is 4-6 overall and 3-4 in league play, positioned in sixth place. WIth the expansion of the league and the postseason tournament, the Midshipmen can clinch a playoff berth with a win, or a second scenario with Bucknell beating Lafayette and Colgate topping Holy Cross.
Army leads the nation in team defense, holding the opposition to 5.70 goals per match. The Black Knights have held all 10 opponents under 10 goals.\
Navy netminder John Connors, a sophomore out of Bellmore on Long Island, was the Patriot League goalkeeper of the week, making 14 stops in a 7-6 double-overtime loss to No. 1 Loyola (Md.).
Elsewhere today: Boston at Loyola (1 p.m.), Holy Cross at Colgate, 1 p.m.; Lehigh vs. Georgetown, 7 p.m.

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Mount Saint Mary turns to All-American for women’s soccer coach

Mount Saint Mary named BreLynn Nasypany as its new women’s soccer coach, replacing Frank Martini. Nasypany was a three-time All-American at William Smith, and was assistant coach as her alma mater captured the 2013 NCAA Division III title.
“We are elated to hire someone of BreLynn’s caliber and pedigree,’’ said Mount athletic director Dan Twomey. “I want to thank Coach Frank Martini for the outstanding job he did raising the level of play of our women’s soccer program here. With coach Nasypany having both played and coached at the highest level of Division III women’s soccer, I am very much looking forward to our program taking the next step up under her guidance.”
The Mount has not lost a regular-season Skyline Conference match in three years, but the Knights have fallen in the league finals each season.
Nasypany said she is ““eager to build upon the successes that the program has already seen while continuing to develop and foster growth in young women as both players and as people.”

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Magarity favors UConn women in a great final

Army coach Dave Magarity touted Maryland from the moment his Black Knights drew the Terrapins for their NCAA first-round matchup. He had a lot of respect for the Terps … and then he saw how Notre Dame dismantled them in Sunday’s NCAA semifinals, so Magarity has even more respect for the Fighting Irish.
“I don’t know if it was a case of them (Maryland) just running out of gas or Notre Dame being that good,’’ Magarity said. “I was stunned at how good they were without (Natalie Achonwa, who tore her ACL in the regional finals) … I can’t imagine how good they are WITH her.’’
Kayla McBride had a huge game for Notre Dame. “That was one of the best individual performancs I’ve seen in a game like that, at least on the women’s side,’’ Magarity said. “To me, that was Walton-esque.’’
Still, Magarity believes Connecticut should prevail in Tuesday night’s championship game.
“For Notre Dame to lose Skylar Diggins (to graduation following last season) and Achonwa getting hurt, I don’t know if they can sustain,’’ Magarity said. He believes Notre Dame played on emotion in the national semifinal, but sooner or later that runs out and the Fighting Irish will have to square off with the No. 1 ranked team in the nation.
“That will be exposed,’’ Magarity said.
Magarity said UConn is “deep and talented” at every position.
“On paper, it’s a great game,’’ Magarity said. “If it’s not a good game, I will be shocked.’’

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Army to send dozen to NCAA gymnastics meet

Sophomore Jesse Glenn leads a cast of 12 Army gymnasts (including three alternates) who have earned spots to compete at the NCAA men’s championships starting April 10.
Glenn won the ECAC title with a score of 86.775 points. Joe Pritts, Sam Kusnitz and Kip Webber earned spots in floor exercise with Ian Howard as an alternate. Connor Venrick qualified on pommel horse. Jeremy Cahill, Webber and Kusnitz earned spots in vaulting, with Pritts as an alternate. Chris Short and Jacob Davies qualified on parallel bars with Alex Ganz as an alternate. Leo Genders, Kusnitz and Cahill earned spots on horizontal bar with Michael York as an alternate.

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NCAA tourney: Iowa women’s press conference

The Iowa women’s basketball team held a press conference prior to its practice session for the NCAA tournament opener with Marist, set for Sunday.
Coach Lisa Bluder was joined by players Samantha Logic and Theairra Taylor in the press conference. Here are their comments:

COACH BLUDER: Just very excited to be here, as everybody is this time of year. When you’re playing this time of the year, it’s an unbelievable feeling. That’s the way our locker room has been the last couple of weeks, just very excited to be able to participate in the national tournament.Then it makes it more special to be on our home court. To be here in Carver Hawkeye Arena is extra special for us. We know that Marist is a great opponent. We’re excited about playing them. We know they’re kind of eerie similar to us in statistical categories. There has to be only a handful of teams in the United States that have five starters averaging double figures. Two of them going against each other head to head the first round of the NCAA tournament is quite unusual. A great opponent. They’ve obviously been seasoned in the NCAA, nine straight years. This is nothing unusual to them. Obviously a mid major, I’m very familiar with mid major having spent 10 years at Drake University. I know how special it is to make the NCAA tournament and take down a BCS type school. I know we’re going to get their best shot, I understand that. I guess it’s good we’re not playing against Idaho first because corn or potatoes, right? How many times do you get that mixed up. It’s really a good thing we’re not playing against them first (laughter).
THE MODERATOR: Questions for the student athletes.
Q. What has been the focal point? A couple weeks since you played your last game.
Samantha Logic: Well, since we had that time off of games, we took a lot of time just to work on ourselves, fix up some things that were hurting us a little bit before. Just trying to get a little bit better on ourselves before we found out who our opponent was going to be. That’s what we used last week and early this week before scouting out Marist.
Q. Marist has made their name in this tournament by scoring big upsets against the bigger schools. Is that a dangerous opponent knowing they’ve got nothing to lose tomorrow?
Theairra Taylor: I think any time you’re in the tournament, the name nor the number on the side of the name matters at this time. It’s just who comes to play their best basketball during that day. We know that, and I’m sure they know that. We’ll get up for the game just as much as they will.
Q. Sam, you talked about the benefit of kind of a home court advantage. With the different court and different sights and everything, what is different about playing in Carver for the tournament versus a home game?
Samantha Logic: I think just knowing it’s win or go home. It’s win or you’re not going to play anymore. Obviously that has a lot riding on every single game we could possibly play here. You just have to be ready to play for 40 minutes, otherwise you’re not going to get another 40 minutes. THE MODERATOR: Thank you, ladies. At this time we’ll take questions for Coach Bluder.
Q. Marist prides itself on its motion offense. What have you seen by the way they run the motion and how do you defend something like that?
COACH BLUDER: I’m extremely impressed with their motion offense. The way they read screens, and Brian (Giorgis) is able to get them to read screens, is amazing. That’s why I’m sure they’re a lot better team in March than they are in November because it has to take a lot of time and a lot of work in order to get your players to understand the different reads and counters to how you handle screens. They do as good a job as I’ve seen anybody do with that situation.
Q. The different court and everything, does this feel like a home venue with everything so different?
COACH BLUDER: It still feels like home. I mean, I was just cleaning my kitchen an hour ago so it definitely feels like home to me. Yeah, even though this is a different place than we usually hold our press conferences, it’s still our locker room, our court, our lighting. It’s very familiar. I think there’s absolutely an advantage to being able to play at home. How much, I don’t know. But we didn’t have to travel. We get the comfort of our own beds. We hopefully will have a few more fans in the stands than the other opponents. More than anything, it’s a comfort level.
Q. Going back to Marist having five players in double figures, at this time in the year when it comes down to who makes tough shots, how difficult is that challenge to know everybody they put on the floor can score?
COACH BLUDER: It’s very difficult. But I think we have the same threat. It kind of counters each other or negates each other. They’re in the same boat with us. We have five players that average over 12 points a game. They have five players that average over 10 points a game. I definitely think it’s a difficult situation for both coaches, but it probably negates each other.
Q. Facing a Marist team that’s used to upsetting teams or taking bigger teams down to the wire, what kind of a challenge is that for you as a coach and players?
COACH BLUDER: I know my players are really smart and they watch a lot of basketball. They have utmost respect for Marist, not just from this week or knowing who they are. They’ve watched them play the last couple years, they know about the upsets. Just watching the men’s tournament the last couple days, seeing all the upsets. If that doesn’t get your attention, nothing will. They understand Marist is a good team. I have told them, but they don’t need me telling them that over and over again.
Q. It’s been quite some time since you’ve played a game. With this layover, what are the challenges of having so much time off?
COACH BLUDER: Yeah, it’s been two weeks. It will be two weeks since we’ve played a game. That’s pretty unusual. We haven’t waited this long since we tipped off to begin the year. I’ve always believed the Big Ten Tournament should be moved back farther so we don’t have this big gap. We’re not going to do anything about that right now. We try to give the players a little bit of time off, let them heal up from playing four games in four days in the Big Ten Tournament, and like Sam said, work on a couple things we need to work on as a team. This week has been business as usual, finding out our opponent, getting ready for our game. Once we hit this week, it’s pretty normal. Last week is pretty unusual.

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NCAA tourney: Army press conference

The Army women’s basketball team met with the media before its practice session at the Comcast Center in College Park, Md. Coach Dave Magarity was joined on the dais by Kelsey Minato, Olivia Schretzman and Jen Hazlett. Here are some of their comments:
I am thrilled to be here. It’s pretty exciting to be hosted by your former boss here at the Univ. of Maryland. Kevin Anderson and I have a long history and it was a thrill, no. 1 to get to this point. It was a great journey these last couple years with this group, overcoming a tremendous disappointment last year after surprising everybody and winning a regular season championship and being the no. 1 seed and then having a devastating loss in the first around. This team has shown an incredible amount of resolve. In all my years doing this, and I have been doing this for quite a while, this team probably improved and learned from their mistakes more than any team I’ve coached. I am proud of what they did. I think it’s been a special year for us, and for us to be able to win the championship to secure an NCAA bid on our home floor was really special, in light of what happened eight years ago in 2006. It’s been a great run for us and a great ride.
Q. Maryland’s Alyssa Thomas is a future pro. What will it be like to face her?
A. I think that is an understatement, she is a special player. Three-time ACC Player of the year … just watching film has been an adventure for us, for me and my staff. She really is going to be a tough, tough cover for us. There’s no way around it. She is as versatile a player as I have ever seen. In my first trip on the women’s side back in ’06, we faced a pretty good player in Candace Parker of Tennessee, who coincidentally got her first collegiate dunk against us, which I have a pretty hard time getting that out of my mind. It was an adventure. But this young lady is different. She is different in the way she plays and the way that she controls the tempo of a game, and creates tough matchups is really going to be a challenge for us.
Q. Can you talk about your decision to stay with the Army team following Maggie Dixon’s death?
A. It’s a very emotional thing for me. It was a tough time. It was probably one of the toughest things I have ever lived through. Having that gift of spending six months, if that, less than that … how I got there was sort of an interesting story … more than anything it was a decision that I made to stay because I felt she gave me something back that I thought I had lost. I coached 32 years, I had gotten in the administration end of it. …I wasn’t really cut out for that, to be honest. I had a great job, as an assistant commissioner of a conference. I knew a lot of people at West Point and they .. I had coached against the men’s team for years as head coach at Marist College. It was a good fit at the time and everyone that I had known during my years competing against them just made me feel like I was needed. More than anything was Maggie and her brother Jamie. I certainly have no regrets. I am glad I stayed. He didn’t have to twist my arm to stay but he allowed me to do something really special and that was hire my daughter Maureen … I look back on the sequence of events … I have nothing but incredible, great memoires of Maggie. She is such a fabric of our history and these young ladies have bought into that. IT was a big deal in our run. I didn’t want to overdo it because it’s their time but I explained to them how impactful that was and what it meant to our program, her taking us to the first NCAA tournament in Division I history. It’s all good. … I am just so proud of what they did. They were able to handle that pressure a little bit. They have their own identity and they sort of made their own history … in a one bid league … our league just went from 8 to 10 teams, we jumped to the No. 11 conference in the country … our RPI is the highest it’s ever been. Quite frankly I am disappointed we are not a higher seed but more than that I was like, Why are they a four seed? I’m stunned because we’re talking about one of the top five teams in the country, in my opinion.
Q. How are you different as a coach now from when you started at West Point?
A. I am probably a little bit more – they may not agree with it – probably a little more calm than I was. The main reason I thought it was critical that Mr. Anderson allow me to hire my daughter was someone had to keep me in check. The joke was the year I spent with Maggie Dixon, I was the big teddy bear and it was great being an assistant again. I could go home after practice and not worry about all the headaches. I told them before I took the job and decided to stay, Hey, I am not going to be the same person … It was tough. Those first couple years were rough and if you spoke to some of those players they would probably confirm that.
The young lady all the way down to my left (Hazlett) can speak to that more than anybody. I don’t think I have been ever tougher on a player than I have on Jen Hazlett and the reason is because she is one for the most talented young athletes I have ever coached, male or female, and I have had some pretty good players. She has just stepped up big time this year, had a wonderful senior year and helped lead us to this point.

Q. How challenging will it be to stop Alyssa Thomas?
A. She does it all for them. She brings the ball up, she shoots, she rebounds, she passes. It will be a tough matchup for us. You probably really can’t stop her, you just to contain her. We are going to throw stuff at her and hopefully get her out of her game a bit. But it is a tough matchup for us.
Q. I imagine it will be your team’s desire to keep the game low scoring?
A. Definitely. Defense is what kind of propels us to win games and to be productive on offense. It really all starts on the defensive end. I think defense and our defensive toughness has been a big part of our success this year. … Maryland is obviously a really good team and one of the best rebounding teams, if not the best. That’s definitely a big part of our game plan, just controlling the boards, box them out on every possession and trying to keep them off the boards. When they get defensive rebounds, they go right into their transition break and that’s tough to cover also. So really defense is really the over-arching game plan for us.
I have never been around … to just go there and see the people in rehab and the people that are really fighting to get back and do what they love doing was just really humbling and it really put things back into perspective and showed us why we are playing basketball at West Point and who we are playing for. It was really special for me and everyone on the team to see that. I know it’s definitely a visit that I will remember for a long time

Q. It seems as though your team is hardly intimidated about facing Alyssa Thomas and Maryland.
A. We are not intimidated just based on who we are as a team and who we are as cadets and people. We have gotten here at this point but not individually. We are not going in looking at an individual. We work together; that’s how we have been successful, working together. Together, we’re not intimidated. Together, we fight. That’s our main game plan.
Q. What pieces came together to make this team a champion this year?
A. I think what brought us together at the end, we talked about defense and scoring, I think it’s our toughness. We had a rough patch later on in the season .. our only loss was to Holy Cross and we lost a tough one to Colgate. As captains and as leadership, we looked (and said), what are we fighting for? And our team really revolves around our veterans. We went to Walter Reed (military hospital) yesterday. That really encompasses who we are. We focus on what we are going to be and who we are going to be in the Army. That’s what makes us stronger and that’s what made us the best team in the Patriot League, was our toughness. I think tomorrow you will see a lot of that toughness come through. We’re not going to underestimate the enemy, but at the same time we’re going to come out and compete like we have for the last 27 games.
Q. Can you tell us about the hospital visit?
A. I am an army brat. I have seen a lot of my friends … my friend’s dad has lost both of his legs. I have been around it. To go and see these men and women fighting to recover and go back into the real world and what they want to do is be back on active duty, was very, very humbling. At the same time it was very motivating because that’s who we are going to lead. I know a former West Point women’s basketball player was a commander of one of the men, a double amputee. So we’re going to have that experience I in the future and to see that was a really good experience.

Q. How do you feel on the eve of your first NCAA game?
A. Everyone on the team is just excited to be at this point. Especially for me, it’s taken four years and everyone else a little bit less time than that. We’re here now and we’re going to enjoy this moment and cherish it because you don’t know the next time this will happen. Hopefully will this team the streak will continue to go on. I am just glad to have been a part of it my last two years.
Q. What will you be doing next in your military career?
A. Right after this I will stay and be a grad assistant for the team, kind of like an athletic intern for the team until next January. Then I go to my basic officer leadership course at Fort Lee, Va., for the Quartermaster branch, which is what I branched. Right after that I get stationed at Fort Stewart, Ga. I will be spending my time as a platoon leader.
Q. Do you think coach Magarity has mellowed?
A. He’s actually changed quite a bit. My freshman year it was a little rough, a big transition for me coming from high school. I had all male coaches anyways in high school so it wasn’t that bad. With coach, it’s a different ballgame in college. A lot more pressure is on. I understand why coaches get the way they do. He only does it because he cares and he wants us to play to the potential that he sees. … I have learned to trust him and what he has to say about my play, my game. I really learned a lot from him. I have changed completely since my freshman year to where I am now and it’s all because of him. He knows the trust that I have in him. He’s definitely mellowed out but he has his moments but it’s only because he cares.
Q. How have you changed as a person?
A. I was way too hard on myself and I still am. I was so critical of everything that I did wrong and that obviously didn’t help anybody and didn’t help my teammates. I learned a lot from those mistakes. Mostly this year I have been putting the focus on my teammates instead of myself and that’s really helped my game as well.
Q. Are you a better leader as a result?
A. Yeah, definitely. I think basketball has shaped my leadership style more than anything, more than West Point has ever developed me into. I think basketball will always be the one thing that has shaped me more than anything. Credit goes to the coaches as well because they put that pressure on me. Being the lone senior on this championship team, that’s also a lot of pressure. But I have great teammates and they made it a lot easier than it should have been.
Q. How do you feel about representing the Patriot League?
A. A lot of satisfaction. We deserve this. I almost went to Navy so that would have been a whole different ballgame. I am so grateful for my senior year to go out on top and to go out the way I am going out is something that everyone dreams about and I am so grateful. … We are going to represent the Patriot League well because we are one of the toughest teams that I have been a part of. Everyone is just ready to play and we are going to compete. We have some tough girls on this team. We are going into the Army so we’re pretty tough girls and we play like that on the court, too.

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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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