Fighting Army falls to No. 5 Oregon in season, Allen’s head coaching debut

By Ken McMillan
Times Herald-Record

Jimmy Allen didn’t get a victory in his debut as Army men’s basketball coach but he discovered a fighting spirit with his young and inexperienced club.
The Black Knights gave No. 5 Oregon a bit of a scare late in the second half before dropping a 91-77 decision to the Ducks before 12,364 fans in Eugene.
Army went into halftime trailing 49-31 but used a 6-for-8 effort from 3-point range to open the second half and cut the margin to 73-64.
Oregon, the preseason favorite in the Pac 12 Conference, shot 52 percent from the field in the second half and used 13 blocks to keep Army at bay.
“I was happy with how our guys competed and how our guys responded to some adversity there in the first half,’’ said Allen, who served the last six seasons as assistant and associate head coach under former head coach Zach Spiker. “We had a stretch where we didn’t do things well. We were getting open shots so we were doing good things from an offensive standpoint but we weren’t knocking them down. In the second half … I was happy with how we responded with the limited experience that we have.’’
Kennedy Edwards had a foul-plagued first half and was limited to just four minutes. He scored 15 of his team-high 17 points after the break.
“He’s going to give me a headache,’’ Allen mused. “He is typically a slow starter. He was a little more than a slow starter .. he was starting backwards with a couple fouls. Some things he needed to do a little better. He is capable … once he kind of gets going he is a confident player.’’
Freshman Matt Wilson had 10 points in his collegiate debut. Jordan Fox and John Emezie each had nine. Nine Army players posted at least five points.
Tyler Dorsey scored 21 points to lead Oregon (1-0). Pritchard scored 15, Jordan Bell and Chris Boucher each had 14 and Roman Sorkin added 12. All-star Dillon Brooks did not play.
The Ducks shot 45 percent and Army 39 percent. Each team had nine 3-pointers, though Army started the game at 2-for-14 from beyond the arc.
The teams combined for 50 personal fouls (Army had 27), though no one was disqualified. Edwards, Thomas Funk, Jacob Kessler and Mac Hoffman finished with four fouls apiece.
Army will host NCAA Division III Mount Saint Mary on Tuesday at 7 p.m.
“We learned a lot about our team,’’ Allen said. “I think our guys got a bit of confidence. … I am excited to get back to work with these guys.’’

kmcmillan@th-record.com
Twitter: @KenMcMillanTHR

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Ulster wrestling opens with Nov. 5 scrimmage

The SUNY Ulster wrestling program, with first-year head coach Justin Signorelli, opens with a preseason home scrimmage on Saturday, Nov. 5. That should be a good prep for the following weekend when the school hosts the SUNY Ulster Duals.

The Senators’ roster
Sophomores (0)
Freshmen (11) – Patrick Carroll, 157 (Kingston); Javier Cortez, 174 (Ellenville); Catherine Devlin, 285 (Kingston); Matt Fusco, 197 (Kingston); Mohammed Khan, 125 (New Paltz); Lakell Martin, 174 (Kingston); Eliot Marzano, 197 (Kingston); Dominick Massaro, 149 (New Paltz); Alex Munoz, 184 (Saugerties); Josh Santiago, 149 (Rondout Valley); Miles Whitmore-Parr, 184 (New Paltz)

The Senators’ schedule:
November
Sat. 5 – Ulster preseason scrimmage; Sat. 12 – SUNY Ulster Duals; Sun. 20 – New York State tourney at Cornell
December
Sun. 4 – Cyclone Open at Centenary; Sat. 17 – Northeastern Duals at Nassau CC
January
Sat. 7 – at Williams Invitational; Sun. 22 – Tri-meet at Keystone
February
Sun. 12 – Northeast qualifier at Mercyhurst North East

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Ulster men’s basketball starts next week

The SUNY Ulster men’s basketball season gets underway next Tuesday at SUNY Sullivan. Justin Maxswell starts his second season as coach. There are players from seven Ulster County high schools and one from Orange County.

The Senators’ schedule:
November
Tues. 1 – at SUNY Sullivan*, 7 p.m.; Thur. 3 – at SUNY Dutchess*, 7 p.m.; Sun. 6 – Schenectady, 1 p.m.; Thur. 10 – at SUNY Rockland*, 7 p.m.; Tues. 15 – SUNY Orange*, 7 p.m.; Sat. 19 – Berkshire, 1 p.m.; Sun. 20 – at Albany Pharmacy, 4:30 p.m.; Tues. 22 – at Hudson Valley, 7 p.m.
December
Thur. 1 – Columbia-Greene, 7 p.m.; Sat. 3 – Queensborough, 1 p.m.; Sun. 4 – Culinary Institute, 1 p.m.; Thur. 8 – Niagara, 7 p.m.
January
Tues. 3 – at Union, 7 p.m.; Thur. 5 – SUNY Rockland*, 7 p.m.; Sat. 7 – Herkimer, 1 p.m.; Tues. 10 – at SUNY Orange*, 7 p.m.; Thur. 12 – at Sussex, 7 p.m.; Sat. 14 – at Queensborough, 1 p.m.; Tues. 17 – at Schenectady, 7 p.m.; Thur. 19 – SUNY Sullivan*, 7 p.m.; Tues. 24 – Johnson, 7 p.m.; Thur. 26 – SUNY Dutchess*, 7 p.m.
February
Wed. 8 – U.S. Military Academy Prep, 7 p.m.; Sat. 11 – Paul Smiths, 1 p.m.
Home games at Stone Ridge’s Senate Gym; * – indicates Mid-Hudson Conference game

The Senators’ roster:
Sophomores (3) – No. 2 Anthony Feliciano, G (Kingston); No. 21 Stephen Green, F (Kingston); No. 23 Devin Turrell, F (Cicero North Syracuse/Regis)
Freshmen (11) – No. 1 Matthew Vines, F (Onteora); No. 3 Shawn Jansen, G (Saugerties); No. 4 Daniel Fridriksson, G (Iceland); No. 5 Muhammad Ali Yousaf (Rondout Valley); No. 10 Dondre Francis, F (Saugerties); No. 11 Tyreik Johnson, G (Kingston/Herkimer); No. 14 Keith Karen, G (Monroe-Woodbury); No. 14 Dylan Clark, G (Onteora); No. 22 Eyzaiya Ortiz, F (Saugerties); No. 33 Jordan Childs, F (Wallkill); No. 44 Todd Abrams, F (Highland)
Head coach: Justin Maxwell
Assistants: Matt More; Kyle Richmond

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Hammer coach McGrath proud of his Olympic student

Local hammer throwing coach Paddy McGrath said he can’t believe it’s been 16 years since he competed at the 2000 Sydney Olympics for Ireland, and yet it still feels like it was yesterday, he said.
“I know what it’s like. I know the pressure,’’ said McGrath, who lives in Ossining and coaches track and field at Briarcliff High School. He is a special education teacher in the Bronx.
That’s why McGrath flew to Rio de Janeiro on Sunday so he could provide coaching and a calming influence for his student, Team USA thrower Rudy Winkler of upstate Averill Park.
“It’s a joy for me to go and see him compete,’’ McGrath said.
“I can’t believe it’s my second time going to the Olympics: my first time as an athlete and now as a coach. I never thought I would make it as a coach. Obviously, I found the right kid and I was lucky.’’
Winkler is one of about two dozen throwers who train with McGrath and Minisink Valley teacher Kevin Sullivan at the New York Hammer Throw Squad on weekends at a small facility in Middletown.
Winkler had a rough Olympics debut on Wednesday morning. He fouled on his first and third attempts in the qualifying round, and got off one solid throw of 71.89 meters.
“I told him just treat it like another meet,’’ McGrath said. “It’s the Olympics, I understand, but go out and do the best you can.’’
McGrath came to the United States from Dublin in 1990, and he graduated from Manhattan College in 1995. He was a two-time All-American selection.
McGrath watched with great pride as Winkler marched in to Olympic Stadium in Rio during the opening ceremonies, positioning himself smartly some four or five people away from flag bearer Michael Phelps, assuring some TV time.
“He called me from the stadium and I told him congratulations,’’ McGrath said. “I said you joined a very exclusive club. There’s not many people who can say they walked out for their country at the Olympic Games. It’s a lifetime achievement in itself. I know the pride that I had competing for Ireland and I know Rudy definitely was probably very nostalgic that he walked out with the U.S. Olympic Team. Words can’t describe that. I was happy for him.’’
McGrath retired not long after his Olympics competition, and he was encouraged to give coaching a try by American Harold “Hal” Connolly, who won the gold medal at the 1956 Melbourne Olympics. Connolly
passed away in 2010.
“You rise on the shoulders of the people who have come before you,’’ McGrath said. “I was very lucky there was a coach, Harold Connolly … he started USA Junior Hammer, and when I stopped throwing he encouraged me to start coaching and get the kids involved. I was like, ‘Yeah, yeah,’ and when I started to do it I drank the Kool-Aid and it’s great.’’
McGrath was also influenced by his coach, Soviet Union defector Roman Feldman. Now McGrath coaches Feldman’s sons, who placed third and eighth at high school nationals. McGrath has also coached the last two state indoor weight throw champs.
“It’s funny,’’ McGrath said, “I used to get a thrill from competing. Now I get a thrill if my kids do well, that’s the joy for me now.’’

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Women’s soccer: Heatley on favored FDU squad

Warwick graduate Tara Heatley is a junior midfielder for the Fairleigh Dickinson women’s soccer team. The Knights were voted as the preseason favorite to repeat as champion in the Northeast Conference.
Heatley has played 17 matches the past two seasons for the Knights.

Minisink Valley grad Jenn Peters is a red-shirt junior for LIU Brooklyn, which was picked eighth. Peters, the 2013 NEC rookie of the year, sat out last season.

The NEC poll (first-place votes in parenthesis):
1. Fairleigh Dickinson — 55 points (3)
2. Central Connecticut — 53 (4)
3. Robert Morris — 51
4. Saint Francis Pa. — 47 (1)
5. Bryant — 40 (1)
6. Sacred Heart — 23
7. Wagner — 22
8. LIU Brooklyn — 20
9 Mount St. Mary’s — 13

Fairleigh Dickinson will play at Army on Sept. 18 at 1 p.m.
O’Neill product Carly Tice just graduated from FDU. She had been an all-star striker and top point producer for the Knights (16-6 last year). Tice had 11 goals and 30 points in her senior season.

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Army men’s basketball: Schedule opens at Oregon

By Ken McMillan
Times Herald-Record

WEST POINT – Jimmy Allen will make his debut as Army’s men’s basketball coach against one of the toughest foes the Black Knights have ever faced.
Allen and his revamped lineup will open the 2016-17 season on Nov. 11 at the University of Oregon, the defending Pac-12 Conference champion and an NCAA Elite Eight participant. Some preseason polls have the Ducks (31-7 last season) as a top-10 team.
“With the exception of Duke two years ago, who ended up winning the national championship, this is the most talented team we’ve played in the last six years,’’ Allen said. “I probably would prefer not to play them in the very first game of the year. … It will be a unique experience for sure. We will have to be tough and go out there and see what we can do.’’
The rest of the non-league slate – scheduled long before Allen took over from new LaSalle coach Zach Spiker in the spring – is no easy task either. Conference regular-season champs Monmouth (Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference) and Saint Bonaventure (Atlantic 10) are scheduled, and potentially Chattanooga (Southern) in a West Point mini-tourney. Conference runner-ups include Fairleigh Dickinson and Saint Francis-Brooklyn (Northeast).
In all, there are five 20-win foes, six more with winning overall records and nine teams with 2016 postseason experience.
Newburgh’s Mount Saint Mary of the Skyline Conference will open the Army home schedule on Nov. 15. This is the eighth consecutive season an NCAA Division III team has made the Army schedule. The Black Knights have swept those outings, beating Mount Saint Vincent, Vassar, Marywood, Rosemont, Coast Guard (twice) and Ferrum.
Army-Oregon is an “opening game” of the Maui Invitational, but Army is not part of the championship bracket. The Black Knights will host a regional tournament as part of the invitational, with Chattanooga, Central Arkansas and a third team to be determined coming to West Point for a mini-tourney on the weekend of Nov. 19-20.
Fairleigh Dickinson (Nov. 30), Saint Francis-Brooklyn (Dec. 3), Air Force (Dec. 7) and Binghamton (Dec. 21) visit Christl Arena. Army travels to Columbia (Nov. 23), Fairfield (Nov. 26), Monmouth (Dec. 10) and Saint Bonaventure (Dec. 19). Monmouth features Kingston graduate Justin Robinson, an All-American candidate at guard.
The 27th season of Patriot League play opens Dec. 30 when Lehigh visits. The home rematch with surprise champion Holy Cross comes Jan. 18, followed by a visit by Navy on Jan. 21. Army travels to Annapolis, Md., on Feb. 18.
Allen said the Oregon and Saint Bonaventure games represent the on-going efforts to schedule schools from high-major conferences. Army faced Tennessee and George Washington last season, USC and Duke in 2014-15, Notre Dame and Rutgers in 2013-14 and Penn State and Texas A&M in 2012-13.
Army finished 19-14, after getting upset in the Patriot League semifinals by Holy Cross and losing to New Jersey Institute of Technology in the opening round of the CollegeInsider.com tournament – that was the Black Knights’ first postseason event since the 1978 National Invitation Tournament. Army graduated seven seniors who had the lion’s share of minutes and production for the past four seasons.
“Obviously, we’re striving to continue to have success in our program,’’ said Allen, who has been on Army’s staff for seven seasons. “We’re going to have some guys step up and do that but we’re excited about having the opportunity to do it and grow as a team.’’

kmcmillan@th-record.com
Twitter: @KenMcMillanTHR

2016-17 schedule
November
Fri. 11 – Maui Invitational opener, at Oregon (31-7, 14-4 Pac 12, first; NCAA elite eight)
Tues. 15 – Mount Saint Mary (8-17, 6-14 NCAA Div. III Skyline)
Sat. 19-Sun. 20 – Maui Invitational, at West Point: Chattanooga (29-6, 15-3 Southern, first), Central Arkansas (7-21, 6-12 Southland, tie-ninth) and TBD (fourth foe and schedule to be determined)
Wed. 23 – at Columbia (25-10, 10-4 Ivy, third; College Insider champion)
Sat. 26 – at Fairfield (19-14, 12-8 Metro Atlantic, tie-fourth; College Insider first round)
Wed. 30 – Fairleigh Dickinson (18-15, 11-7 Northeast, tie-second; NCAA first four)
December
Sat. 3 – Saint Francis, N.Y. (15-17, 11-7 Northeast, tie-second)
Wed. 7 – Air Force (14-18, 5-13 Mountain West, tenth)
Sat. 10 – at Monmouth (28-8, 17-3 Metro Atlantic, first; NIT second round)
Mon. 19 – at Saint Bonaventure (22-9, 14-4 Atlantic 10, tie-first; NIT first round)
Wed. 21 – Binghamton (8-22, 5-11 America East, sixth)
Fri. 30 – Lehigh* (17-15, 13-5 Patriot, second)
January
Mon. 2 – at Bucknell* (17-14, 14-4 Patriot, first; NIT first round)
Thur. 5 – at Lafayette* (6-24, 3-15 Patriot, tenth)
Sun. 8 – Loyola* (9-21, 8-10 Patriot, eighth)
Wed. 11 – Colgate* (13-17, 9-9, tie-fourth)
Sat. 14 – at American* (12-19, tie-fourth)
Wed. 18 – Holy Cross* (15-20, 5-13 Patriot, ninth; NCAA first round)
Sat. 21 – Navy* (19-14, 9-9 Patriot, tie-fourth)
Wed. 25 – at Boston* (19-15, 11-7 Patriot, third; College Insider second round)
Sat. 28 – Bucknell*
February
Wed. 1 – Lafayette*
Sat. 4 – at Loyola*
Wed. 8 – at Colgate*
Sat. 11 – American*
Wed. 15 – at Holy Cross*
Sat. 18 – at Navy*
Wed. 22 – Boston*
Sat. 25 – at Lehigh*
28-March 8 – Patriot League tourney
Asterisk indicates Patriot League game; all times still to be determined

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Source: Army offer baseball opening to Boston College assistant

Boston College assistant coach Jim Foster has been offered Army’s vacant head baseball coaching position, according to a source.

Foster, an associate head coach at Boston College since 2014, was the head coach at Rhode Island from 2006 to 2013.

Army fired Matt Reid on May 16 after three seasons. Reid took over for Joe Sottolano, who was fired in the fall of 2013.

Canisius coach Mike McRae was also considered for the position, according to sources. McRae opted to stay at Canisius.

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College softball action heating up

College softball is headed into second week of playoff action, with three local programs still playing.
Mount Saint Mary follows up its win in the Skyline Conference tourney with its second appearance in the NCAA Division III championships. The Knights are headed to Ithaca for a four-team, double-elimination regional. The Mount opens with host Ithaca at 3:30 p.m. Friday, with Moravian and Worcester State opening at 1 p.m. The Ithaca regional games will have live video and stats available at athletics.ithaca.edu and livestream.com.
Army is the second seed in the Patriot League tournament, hosted by Lehigh University in Bethlehem, Pa. The Black Knights will open play Thursday against Boston University at 2:30 p.m. Lehigh and Bucknell precede at 12 p.m. There will be three games Friday at 10:30 a.m., 1 p.m. and 3:30 p.m., and two games Saturday at 12 p.m. and 2:30 p.m. (if necessary). All Patriot tourney games can be viewed online at PatriotLeague.tv.
Vicky Lattanzio of nearby Fishkill plays for Lehigh.
Marist is the tourney host for the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference. The tourney got underway with two first-round games on Wednesday. On Thursday, Marist hosts Fairfield at 11:30 a.m., preceded by Manhattan and Quinnipiac at 9 a.m. There will be losers’ bracket games at 2 p.m. and 4:30 p.m. The games can be viewed online at MAAC.tv (subscription).

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Army’s Minato excited for tonight’s ESPN 3-point contest

By Ken McMillan
Times Herald-Record

Army’s Kelsey Minato didn’t travel all the way to Texas just to participate in a college 3-point shooting contest.
She wants to win.
“I am really competitive,’’ Minato said Wednesday night. “There are a lot of good shooters there for the girls. It will be tough but I think if I just shoot my shot, and stay down and square up and just let it go, I think I will be okay.’’
There are eight men and eight women selected for the 3-point contests, and eight men for the slam dunk competition. The show will be broadcast at 9 p.m. on ESPN.
Each female shooter will have 60 seconds to shoot 25 balls – five balls on five racks set up around the 3-point arc set at 20 feet, 9 inches. The fifth ball counts for two points as opposed to one. Two shooters will participate at a time, on opposite sides of the court. The top four scorers from the quarterfinal round advance to the semifinal round, and then the top two meet in the finals.
Joining Minato in the women’s contest are Rachel Banham of Minnesota; Katie Hempen of Arizona State; Maggie Lyon of Northwestern; Tiffany Mitchell of South Carolina; Lexi Eaton Rydalch of Brigham Young; Megan Podkowa of DePaul; and, Janee Thompson of Kentucky.
“I’m really excited,’’ Minato said. “I think it will be a lot of fun. There’s a lot of good shooters there so it will be good competition.’’
By season’s percentages, Minato is ranked highest at 47.8 percent (second in nation), followed by Banham (39.0 percent, 52nd) and Rydalch (37.8 percent, 63rd). By made 3-pointers per game, Banham ranks second in the nation (3.72), followed by Minato in fifth (3.38) and Rydalch in 47th (2.55).
The participants practiced at the Berry Center, located in the Houston suburb of Cypress, Texas, on Wednesday. Minato liked the arena to a familiar setting of Bucknell’s Sojka Pavilion.
“It wasn’t too bad,’’ Minato said of the recreation center setting with more than 8,000 seats. “I wasn’t sure what the court would be like, like if the backboard is going to be really far back from the bleachers. It felt pretty good. I got some shots up and my shot was feeling pretty good so hopefully I will be able to carry it over to (Thursday).’’
Minato has been practicing ever since Army was ousted in the first round of the NCAA tournament at Syracuse on March 18. With the help of coaches and teammates, they tried to simulate the contest conditions, only Army had only two ball racks, and neither could fit the required five basketballs. So there was a lot of rebounding, passing the ball, re-racking and movement of the racks, which made for chaotic conditions.
“It was tough trying to practice and trying to simulate how it’s going to be here,’’ Minato said. “There were a lot of things going on and it was really distracting. It was hard to focus when there’s things moving in front of me and balls flying everywhere.’’
“(Wednesday) was a lot easier because I got to practice with the actual ball, the actual rack and on the actual court,’’ she added. “I am glad I got some shots up at the actual competition (site).’’
Minato said she enjoyed spending time with her fellow competitors, comparing their collegiate experiences and discussing their post-graduate plans.
Minato said she hopes to be in contention by the end of the semifinal round.
“There’s a little bit more pressure because I am competing to win and I want to win,’’ Minato said, “but it’s also fun because it’s not like a game. It doesn’t count on our record or anything like that. I’m definitely out here to win. I didn’t just come here to shoot with other girls; I actually want to win.’’
Following the contest, Minato will make her way to Indianapolis to participate in two separate showcase camps on Saturday and Sunday in her bid to impress pro scouts.

kmcmillan@th-record.com
Twitter: @KenMcMillanTHR

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Spiker sad to leave Army, excited for opportunity at Drexel

By Ken McMillan
Times Herald-Record

WEST POINT – As a young, up-and-coming head basketball coach, Zach Spiker has been lured in the past with offers to leave his job at Army but nothing compares to his next assignment.
On Friday morning Spiker will be announced as the new coach at Drexel University, which plays in the Atlantic 10 Conference. He takes over for Bruiser Flint, who was let go after 15 seasons with the Dragons.
“It’s invigorating to be a part of Philadelphia basketball,’’ Spiker said late Thursday night. “Being there today, you could feel it.’’
Spiker leaves after seven seasons at West Point and an overall record of 102-112. During his tenure, Army put an end to a burdensome 27-year streak of losing seasons in 2012-13 and, this season, reached the national postseason for the first time since 1978. However, Spiker leaves with one big regret: not getting Army into the NCAA tournament for the first time.
There was raised hope when Patriot League top seed Bucknell was upset in the quarterfinal round, giving Army a rare semifinal home game but, like the Bison, the Black Knights also fell victim to Holy Cross in a rather forgettable outing. Army was granted a berth in the College Insider Tournament but lost at New Jersey Institute of Technology in an opening-round game, falling one victory short of 20 wins.
Army will be losing a heralded senior class that helped turn the program’s fortunes. Kyle Wilson, Tanner Plomb, Kevin Ferguson, Dylan Cox and Larry Toomey combined for 6,115 points over four seasons.
“I am excited for the future of West Point basketball,’’ Spiker said.
Spiker said the decision to leave West Point was not easy but this job was too good to refuse.
“I just haven’t had an opportunity like this,’’ Spiker said. “There have been other opportunities but not one as unique and special as one in the City of Philadelphia that has such a great tradition. … It’s an opportunity we’re very excited about and we’re jumping in with both feet very quickly.’’
Spiker said West Point will be hard to leave behind.
“That’s the one thing that I think people misanalyze, that just because you move on to another job, that it’s easy,’’ Spiker said while choking up. “West Point will always be a part of our lives, our kids’ lives. … It’s been a part of us. It’s the fabric of who our family is and that will never change.
“There’s parts that’s exciting (about leaving) and parts that’s really sad, because we’ve worked hard and built things the right way.’’

kmcmillan@th-record.com
Twitter: @KenMcMillanTHR

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    Ken McMillan has been covering sports since he got his first writing job in 1979. He has covered Section 9 athletics for the past 34 years. He reports on college sports, including Army and Marist College. He also writes on TV/radio sports news, ... Read Full
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