Women’s Rugby Kicks Off Third Season as NCAA Varsity Program

BY: HEATHER KELLER

Sports Editor

The Sacred Heart University women’s rugby team began its fall season with two wins against Castleton University and Molloy College, both played at Park Avenue Field on Sept. 1 and Sept. 9, respectively.

Park Avenue Field was built through a partnership with the Sacred Heart University and Notre Dame Catholic High School athletic departments. The turf field is regulation for soccer and rugby. The Sacred Heart University men’s and women’s soccer teams and women’s rugby team utilize this field as their home.

“As a program, we really enjoy the new field, it’s regulation size for rugby, meaning it’s wider than most fields we play on so we have an advantage of conditioning and being more fit when we play other programs,” said head women’s rugby coach, Michelle Reed. “It’s an actual lined rugby field so there is a sense of pride to be able to walk on that field and to know that it’s our home field and it looks good.”

Having a space of their own to build the rugby program is valuable to the team and has proven to be an advantage already as the team starts the season with a 2-0 record.

“It’s nice to get wins under your belt so that once we move on to more competitive teams we kind of have a confidence about us, and know we already have experience working together in a competitive setting and not just practice,” said sophomore, Allie Rinaldi.

Working together and creating a bond between the returning players and the freshmen recruits proved to be vital to the early success for the program. The program added seven new athletes to the roster this fall in hopes of continuing expansion of the team.

“Being our second year of bringing in our own recruits, it’s fun to watch our freshmen really mesh with our program so well. We only have three upperclassmen so the freshmen and sophomore classes in the past two years have come together,” said Reed. “The underclassmen have brought a lot to the table in terms of rugby knowledge and athleticism, and you can see it on the field.”

The athletes have accepted the responsibility of making the freshmen feel welcome since the beginning of preseason. Returning athletes understand that these new athletes are the future of the program. There are a lot of talented freshmen and that has made the team excited about the possibilities that lie ahead for them.

“It’s been very easy to bring the freshmen in and make them a part of the team immediately. We focused on a lot of team bonding and getting to know everybody during preseason,” said sophomore, Kaylee Hale. “Basically, half of our team is brand new to Sacred Heart so if we’re able to know one another and have trust we’ll hopefully be able to perform well together.”

The Pioneers are scheduled to face Castleton and Molloy once again later this season, but the athletes have their sights set on their match against Bowdoin College on Sept. 23. The Pioneers were defeated 99-0 by the Polar Bears in Oct. 2016. The Pioneers are looking forward to a better match this season and are hoping for a better outcome.

“After the game, we had against them last year, we’re excited to play them again and hopefully beat them this time,” said Hale.

The Pioneers have a variety of goals this season, but their main goal is to execute team values and characters as a program.

“We value each human being and we invite diversity onto the team. We want people from all backgrounds and we’re accepting of that,” said Reed. “We know if we do that and we have that character built into our team culture, winning will come, but first we have to start with a team foundation.”

Women’s Volleyball Caps Season With NEC Tournament Appearance

Sacred Heart University's women's Volleyball team makes an appearance at the NEC tournament. Photo by Sacred Heart Athletics.

Sacred Heart University’s women’s Volleyball team makes an appearance at the NEC tournament. Photo by Sacred Heart Athletics.

By Kendall Gregory

Staff Reporter

he Sacred Heart University’s women’s volleyball team finished their 2016 season with an NEC tournament appearance. The team captured the Northeast Conference (NEC) Regular Season Championship after a win over Bryant University on Nov. 12. They finished conference play with a 13-1 record. Sacred Heart was also given the number one seed, as well as hosting rights, for the playoff tournament.

The NEC Tournament was played on Nov. 19-20. In the finals matchup, Sacred Heart lost to number two Long Island University-Brooklyn in five sets. The team finished 22-8 overall.

“The women worked very hard this year in the weight room and on the court to become the best team they could be this year,” said Coach Rob Machan. “Because of our conditioning, and our commitment to finishing strong, we put together a very good second half of the season.”

Despite not winning the NEC title, players are happy with the team’s performance.

“I couldn’t be prouder of how this season went,” said senior Maddie Losure. “It was rough to end on a loss, but that’s how all seasons end except for one team in the nation. Overall, it was all we have been working for.”

Seniors Sarah Krufka and Ana Gonzalez were recognized for their season performances. Krufka was named NEC Women’s Volleyball Player of the Year for the second year in a row. Gonzalez was picked as the NEC Libero of the Year.

“I honestly couldn’t have gotten this award without all of my teammates and, for that, I thank them,” said Krufka. “But getting this award was probably one of my top goals coming into this season and I’m really excited about it.”

Machan was also recognized for his coaching performance this season. He was named NEC Coach of the Year for the third time in his coaching career.

Along with NEC honors, two players broke Sacred Heart records this season.

Krufka now holds the record for most career kills, passing Tricia Moore. She broke the record at the end of October. Moore, who previously held it with 1,447 kills, played for the Pioneers from 1996-99.

“Holding the career kills record is something I never thought would happen. I think it is pretty awesome that my name is up there in those record books and hopefully will stay there for a long time,” said Krufka.

Gonzalez broke the record for most career aces on Nov. 5 while playing Farleigh
Dickinson University.

Younger players on the team have learned a lot from playing everyday with their team leaders.

“Sarah is one of the reasons why I came to Sacred Heart,” said junior Makayla Dole. “I have been able to become a better player from her. She motivates and pushes me constantly in everything I do.”

Machan will build off of the programs foundation and the past season to get ready for next season. He believes that with the mix of returning players, incoming recruits, and their off-season workout plan, the team will have a successful 2017 season.

The team will graduate a handful of seniors in May, but it does not seem as though this will hinder the team’s success going forward.

“What we do is hard, so try to keep it light, stay together, and on that twentieth sprint of the morning, remember why you do it,” said Losure. “If you didn’t realize it already, you don’t just have a team, you have a family to support you and pick you up when you need it the most.”

Tom Brady Sets All-Time NFL Wins Record: Patriots QB passes Peyton Manning For Most Wins In NFL History

Patriot's role model, Tom Brady sets record for passing the most wins in NFL history. Photo by AP.

Patriot’s role model, Tom Brady sets record for passing the most wins in NFL history. Photo by AP.

By Associated Press

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. (AP) — Tom Brady now stands alone when it comes to career wins by an NFL quarterback.

Brady became the league’s leader in victories among QBs, earning his 201st by throwing for 269 yards and a touchdown to lead the New England Patriots past the struggling Los Angeles Rams 26-10 on Sunday.

Brady, who was 33 of 46, had tied Peyton Manning last week in a win over the New York Jets.

“It’s always been about winning, and I’ve been very fortunate to be on a lot of great teams,” Brady said of reaching the milestone. “I’m just really grateful.”

His lone touchdown pass came on a 14-yard pass to Chris Hogan in the first quarter. LeGarrette Blount scored the game’s first touchdown , rumbling for a 43-yard, ankle-breaking score in the first quarter while spinning around safety Maurice Alexander in the process. He finished with 88 yards on 18 carries.

The Patriots (10-2) have won seven of their last eight as they prepare for a tough stretch against three teams with winning records over their final four regular-season games.

On the same day that Los Angeles coach Jeff Fisher and general manager Les Snead were given contract extensions, the recently relocated Rams (4-8) proved they still have a long way to go after losing for the seventh time in eight outings.

The Rams entered the game ranked 31st in total offense, averaging just 295 yards per game. Those struggles continued Sunday. They managed just 25 yards in the first half, the fewest by a team in a game this season.

Los Angeles was outgained 402-162 for the game.

In his third career start, rookie Jared Goff was picked off twice, completing 14 of 32 passes for 161 yards.

QUOTABLE

“That’s a record that I don’t think will ever be broken. He’ll continue to build on it, I’m sure.” — Blount on Brady’s wins mark.

“I kind of made a point to watch his first drive.” — Goff on watching Brady, whom he congratulated postgame on setting the wins record.

RAMS FUTILITY: How bad was the Rams’ offense in the first half? The Patriots had more fourth-down conversions (two), than the Rams had total first downs (one). New England had 12 total first downs. Los Angeles also ran just 18 offensive plays, compared to 42 for the Patriots.

FORCING TURNOVERS: After not forcing a turnover for 44 straight possessions, with interceptions by cornerback Malcolm Butler in the first quarter and linebacker Kyle Van Noy in the third marked four takeaways for the Patriots’ defense over the past two games.

BIG FOOT: Rams P Johnny Hekker had a 76-yard punt in the fourth quarter. It was his third punt this season of 75 or more yards. He had boots of 75 and 78 yards last month against the Panthers and Jets.

INJURIES:

Rams: CB E.J. Gaines sustained quad injury in the second quarter.

Patriots: WR Danny Amendola left late in the third quarter with an ankle injury and did not return. He was later spotted walking on crutches in the tunnel underneath Gillette Stadium. CB Eric Rowe also did not return after leaving with a hamstring injury.

UP NEXT

Rams: Host the Falcons on Sunday.

Patriots: Host the Ravens next Monday night.

Sacred Heart Basketball Broadcasted On WSTC

By Roberto Rojas

Contributing Writer

he men’s and women’s Sacred Heart University basketball teams debuted their 2016-17 basketball season against Fairfield University on Nov. 11.

Both games were broadcasted live on the radio station WSTC 1400 AM, after it was announced that the school and the radio station had come to an agreement to broadcast all the home men’s and women’s basketball games on the dials of the Stamford-based station.

Despite the games against Fairfield not being at home, they were broadcasted because the location of the games and their proximity to campus. The first home games, which took place on Nov. 14, were against Brown for the women and Nov. 15 against Hofstra University for the men.

This is the first time that the station has broadcasted sporting events from the university live on AM radio, broadcasting the games with a frequency that spans across Fairfield County in the state of Connecticut as well as Westchester County, Queens and Long Island in the state of New York.

Chris O’Connor, Sacred Heart University’s Associate Athletic Director of External Affairs, is very excited about this partnership. O’Connor believes this partnership could not come at a better time and hopes that this is the beginning of something great on a communications standpoint with the school.

“There is definitely a difference between watching games online and on the radio,” said O’Connor. “Many people tune into the radio in their car, so this is definitely an avenue that we are trying to reach in, something that we haven’t as an athletic department.”

In addition to the games, there will be a weekly show featuring coaches that will consist of a panel featuring men’s basketball coach Anthony Latina and women’s basketball coach and NEC Coach of the Year, Jessica Mannetti.

The show, which will “showcase what the university is, interiorly and exteriorly from student athletes to listeners,” said O’Connor.

Bobby Valentine, Athletic Director at Sacred Heart, is also in discussion to broadcast other Division I sports such as hockey, football, baseball and soccer amongst others after the success of the basketball broadcasts.

Students are excited as radio has not been as vital to acquire sports games due to the recent takeover of games broadcasted on TV or on the Internet. For students, it will provide an alternative opportunity to get the word out of these basketball games.

“I think this is great for the basketball program and the school overall,” said sophomore Christian Rodriguez. “To get the name out there for SHU Athletics, especially like with such a big sport like basketball, will intrigue people and gain more attention.”

The entire season, for both teams will be aired on the radio waves to fans who can tune into all 27 home games on the radio station that is known as, “Fairfield County’s Favorite Radio.”

The Transition From Player To Coach: Experience Proves To Be Valuable

By Heather Keller

Staff Reporter

At Sacred Heart University, Division I athletics are ever-present on campus, represented by 18 women’s and 13 men’s teams. Coaches have seen the dedication that goes into being a Division I athlete from their players and have firsthand experience as college athletes themselves.

“You get a different perspective from being an athlete to being a coach,” said John Spadafina, head women’s swimming coach. “When you’re an athlete you’re doing all of the hard work that your coach is telling you to do. When you are the coach, there is a lot of preparation, but you get a lot of appreciation from the rewards your athletes end up getting. That’s the joy of why we do what we do.”

Several coaches at Sacred Heart have made their way through the ranks of the sport they love, from youth leagues to high school, and then to being athletes in college to finally settling into being collegiate coaches.

In fifth grade, Laura Cook, head women’s lacrosse coach, began playing the sport she would eventually play in college and go on to coach at Sacred Heart.

“Being from right outside of Philly, which is one of the hotbeds for lacrosse, I had opportunities early to pick up the sport,” said Cook.

Co-head softball coach, Elizabeth Luckie, did not have the same advantage with the sport she would eventually go on to coach.

“I didn’t start playing softball until I was 13. They really didn’t have softball where I grew up, so I played baseball until I made the varsity softball team in ninth grade,” said Luckie.

While length of time spent playing a sport does have an impact on one’s coaching ability, the dedication and passion of a coach is also an important and invaluable factor.

During Spadafina’s collegiate career as a swimmer at Central Connecticut State University, he had to endure the discontinuation of the men’s swimming and diving program.

“At conclusion of the 2001-02 season, I was a junior at the time which lead to coaching, because I still had a passion for the sport,” said Spadafina.

Cook was a four-year starter on the lacrosse team at the University of Massachusetts, and served as a captain. As she enters season 18 as a head coach, she reflected on her decision to coach.

“My intention was never to go into coaching but the opportunity presented itself to become the head coach at Sacred Heart when I graduated from University of Massachusetts in 1999,” said Cook. “I always had a high lacrosse IQ and a great understanding of the game so that was helpful in my transition from college player to head coach at such a young age.”

Luckie is a Sacred Heart alumna who played softball during her collegiate career as a Pioneer. She began coaching the Pioneers in 1989, although coaching was not in her original plan.

“The more I played I was intrigued by the strategy. I really thought I would be a basketball coach, which was actually my favorite sport,” said Luckie. “I guess I was destined to be a softball coach.”

As Spadafina joined the Pioneer coaching staff in 2014, he immediately put emphasis on academics, with the cumulative team GPA hovering around a 3.26 since his arrival.

“At our level, most of our kids will never say they are All-Americans in their sport, but they can always say they are Academic All-Americans,” said Spadafina.

To earn Team Academic All-American honors, the team must have a 3.0 cumulative average, which has not been an issue for the team to consistently secure.

“Coaching is not just the Xs and Os…it is so much more than that,” said Cook.

The Golf Channel’s Smiley Speaks At Sacred Heart

ESPN director for Gold, Andrew Smiley, speaks to Sacred Heart University students about his experience in the industry. Photo by Sabrina Garone/Spectrum.

ESPN director for Gold, Andrew Smiley, speaks to Sacred Heart University students about his experience in the industry. Photo by Sabrina Garone/Spectrum.

By Dan Marro

Staff Reporter

On Tuesday, Nov. 15 Andrew Smiley, former studio director at ESPN and current senior coordinating director for The Golf Channel, held an open forum for students and professors at Sacred Heart University.

Smiley spoke and answered questions regarding all of his past experiences and also provided some advice for students who are interested in following a career path similar to what he has done.

Smiley attended Berry College in Georgia and graduated with a Bachelor’s degree in Communication and Media Studies and attended graduate school at the University of Hartford where he received his masters degree in
Communication and Media Studies.

Professor Brian Thorne, a former colleague of his at NBC and current professor in the Sports Communication & Media department at Sacred Heart, introduced Smiley and guided the conversation.

Thorne praised Smiley and his directing skills as the two of them work at NBC Sports together.

“As far as directing goes, he was the best director I have ever worked with,” said Thorne. “He is consistently sharp, consistently accurate, serious when it’s time to be serious and funny when it’s time to be funny, but more than anything else he is great at what he does.”

During his time at ESPN, Smiley was a studio director, directing some of ESPN’s most popular shows such as “Monday Night Countdown,” “The NFL Draft,” “Super Bowl XLV” and “NFL Live.”

As he recalled his tenure at ESPN, he explained how he was not part of the big picture planning and said that was a key factor into his decision to depart from ESPN and go to The Golf Channel.

“At ESPN, I was just a studio director, so I wasn’t able to do the overreaching planning, it was strictly directing, which meant I wasn’t involved in any planning at all,” said Smiley. “So that is really why I made the move from ESPN to The Golf Channel.”

The transition was easy for Smiley, who saw this switch as an excellent opportunity to propel his career. Still, it was not a simple decision for Smiley.

“I was directing so many great shows at ESPN so I was definitely not looking to leave,” said Smiley. “A big part of it for me was getting over the ego aspect of the switch. I had to say to myself that I was no longer going to cover such great events such as the Super Bowl, but instead I was going to cover large tournaments such as the Masters, U.S. Open, British Open, the PGA Championship and the Ryder Cup every single year.”

This opportunity provided Smiley with the ability to not only direct but also oversee the business aspect of the channel.

“It was such a great opportunity to not just be in the chair and direct daily shows, but to set a bigger overview of the business and learn more of the technical side of things as well,” said Smiley.

Smiley spoke about the responsibilities at his current job as one of four senior coordinating directors at The Golf Channel.

“As one of the senior coordinating directors, my job is to manage not just the TV aspect of the channel, but also the business side of things,” said Smiley. “Pretty much you get a broad overview of the company and every detail of how everything works, and make sure everything comes together to make the TV magic happen.”

Smiley worked his way up from his first job as a director at a Comcast affiliate in northwest Georgia, to his position today as a senior coordinating director for The Golf Channel.

For Smiley, he said it was all about working hard and creating opportunities for himself to get to where he is today.

First Person Perspective To Men’s Rugby Tournament: The X-Men Finish Off Their Season in South Carolina

Rugby team fighting to finish off their phenomenal season on a high note. Photo courtesy of Anthony Mattariello.

Rugby team fighting to finish off their phenomenal season on a high note. Photo courtesy of Anthony Mattariello.

By Anthony Mattariello

Asst. Perspectives Editor

On Nov. 17, the Sacred Heart X-Men went to Greenville, S.C. for the Division II National Tournament.

The team needed to win both games in order to advance to the final eight bracket.

Some of you may, or most of you should know, that we finished our season as undefeated conference champions. Winning our Tri-State Conference earned us a spot in
Nationals.

So there we were, sitting in front of the William Pitt Center loading up our bus for the 14-hour ride. Most people were complaining, but, honestly, I enjoyed every minute of that bus ride.

I mean yeah, I was trapped in a bus for more than half the day while my head coach was sitting comfortably on an airplane, but I was trapped with 35 of my best friends.

Not to mention, we drove through many states I have never been in like Virginia, Maryland, and North Carolina.

The bus ride was filled with good movies, card games and, of course, the best Spotify playlists.

We arrived at our hotel around 3 a.m. Friday morning.  Knowing we would have practice at noon, going to sleep was an immediate necessity.

The next morning was a little rough in terms of getting out of bed. The promise of breakfast was really the only thing that motivated me to get up.

Our practice, and the tournament as well, were held at Furman University about 15 minutes away from the hotel.

With that 15 minute ride through Greenville, it was pretty interesting to see the southern culture. Fast food restaurants as far as the eye could see.

Burger King, Wendy’s, Chick-fil-A, Jack in the Box and Waffle House. You name the fast food chain and we saw it down there.

When we arrived at Furman our jaws dropped quite low.  We were on campus for no more than two minutes and we saw not one, not two, but three fountains.

Needless to say the campus was beautiful. The pitch had us thinking we were in rugby heaven. The rugby facility had us wishing we didn’t have to come back to practice at Veteran’s Park in Bridgeport.

Which brings me to our first game Saturday morning against Furman. Furman was ranked third in the nation this year, coming into Nationals with a 10-0 record.

Furman had a good history in this tournament placing second numerous times and even winning it a couple of years.

We would’ve had to play our best game to beat them.  Unfortunately we didn’t play the game we should have and with a few good try line stand by Furman we left the half down 34-7.

A good pep talk from our coach and we scored a quick two tries within the first 10 minutes of the second half.  Sadly, our effort wasn’t good enough.

The final score of our first game 68-31. The game wasn’t a blowout, but it still wasn’t what we expected.

In the end, our coach was happy with our effort. We played a highly ranked national team and put the most points up against them than any other teams this year.

Our next game was the day after, Sunday morning at 10 a.m. and it was against Southern Connecticut State University.

That’s right, two teams a half hour away had to drive 14 hours in order to play each other.

Both of us went into the game with a loss but nonetheless, we both wanted a victory.

The X-Men came out strong the first half scoring 48 points and only giving up seven. Our coach, Ray Peterson, decided that the game was over and started subbing out players.

Thankfully we were able to hold them off the rest of the game with a final score of 48-30.

Overall, it was a good weekend. We came out with a win and became the first team from Sacred Heart to win the Tri-State Conference and go to Nationals.

                  

Krufka Sets All-Time Kills Record

Senior, Sarah Krufka, who set the all-time kills record, serves the ball hoping to bring home a win. Photo by Sacred Heart Athletics.

Senior, Sarah Krufka, who set the all-time kills record, serves the ball hoping to bring home a win. Photo by Sacred Heart Athletics.

By William Callahan

Contributing Writer

It was only a matter of time for Sarah Krufka, a senior Division I volleyball captain and record breaker.

Krufka has eclipsed previous record holder Tricia Moore’s school record of 1,447 kills. Krufka now stands alone with 1,453 kills, and counting.

“I really didn’t think it was a possible goal until last year,” said Krufka. “My dad and I sat down and tallied up how many kills I got and we figured out how much I needed for this year, so it’s been in the back of my head all year long.”

Success and setting records are nothing new to Krufka, as she has emerged as one of the best players and leaders on the team.

“Sarah is a very dominant offensive player,” said head coach Rob Machan. “Other teams almost always focus their defense specifically on her but she still manages to put up incredible numbers.”

The opportunity to break records did not hinder the focus of Krufka.

“Even with all the attention on her this season in her pursuit to break the record, she continues to excel,” said Machan. “That also opens up other areas on the court for other players to make an impact.”

Krufka’s record chasing season has not slowed down the team as they have stormed to a 12-1 conference record, with their only loss occurring against Central Connecticut State. Overall, the team is 21-7 on the year so far.

“A lot of not only my success, but the team’s success, is due to everyone on the team,” said Krufka. “I wouldn’t be where I am today without the help of my teammates.”

Two of Krufka’s most important teammates who aided in her accomplishment are redshirt junior Kiki Robinson and senior Ana Gonzalez. Robinson plays setter and Gonzalez is the libero.

“Watching Sarah get the record was definitely cool for us to watch and be a part of,” said Robinson. “She’s worked extremely hard over the past four years to get to where she is.”

She’s going to be very important for us in order to win the NEC tournament this year for sure,” said Gonzalez.  “Each year she always puts us in a position to win.”

In her freshman campaign, Krufka was named NEC Rookie of the Year in 2013-14, as she finished with 323 kills in 31 matches, good for seventh in the conference.  She improved in her sophomore season finishing with 347 kills, good for third in the NEC.

Krufka’s junior season is her best one to date as she was last season’s NEC Player of the Year. She led the conference in kills with 466 and led the Pioneers to the NEC Tournament.

“There are so many reasons why Sarah is a great player,” said Machan. “She has a great attitude, she’s team-first and has tremendous foot speed for a right side hitter, along with great arm speed allowing her to hit the ball hard.”

With the record now intact, Krufka and the rest of the team are focused on winning the NEC tournament.

“It’s definitely a weight off my shoulders because now I can focus on playing my game,” said Krufka.

The women’s volleyball team’s last regular season game was on Nov. 13 in a rematch against Central Connecticut State. Sacred Heart won the match 3-2.

“I feel really confident in these next two weeks that we’re going to play really well,” said Gonzalez.

The women’s volleyball team will begin the first round of the NCAA tournament on Dec. 1.

Lacrosse Team Takes Part In Head Injury Study

By Kendall Gregory

Staff Reporter

The Sacred Heart University’s men’s lacrosse team and Dr. Theresa Miyashita, Program Director and Assistant Professor in the Sacred Heart Athletic Training Department, conducted a study on lacrosse head impacts. It began in the spring of 2014.

The goal of the study, which is still ongoing as dependent variables continue to be added, is to determine how head impacts affect neurocognitive function.

Bryce Jurk and Ryan O’Donoghue, both seniors on the team, believe this study will raise more awareness for head injuries that occur during lacrosse practices and games. Both Jurk and O’Donoghue have had concussions due to lacrosse.

“Everyone is getting bigger, faster and stronger, lots of people are getting hurt,” said Jurk. “I think the concussion study is interesting since it hasn’t been done for lacrosse.”

Before the season began, players took balance and vision tests. These tests were used as a baseline. Data collected during the season was then compared against the initial tests, which show how the impact from hits affects a player’s neurocognitive function. The baseline tests were also used to help determine if a player has a concussion.

The same balance and vision tests were done after the season in order to see if there was a change in the player’s balance and vision at the seasons end.

“Being a part of it was interesting,” said O’Donoghue. “You really don’t know that you are doing the study. It doesn’t affect the way you play.”

Players did not see their own results or the results of their teammates. Data was also taken during game activity.

During the season, sensors that measure head impact were placed in the player’s helmets. Dr. Miyashita analyzed the data from the sensors after every practice and game.

The sensors give the locations of where players were hit and the impact that occurred. The sensors picked up on all hits, including those coming from lacrosse sticks.

The locations of the impacts were color-coded while being analyzed. Green meant a safe hit, yellow meant warning and red meant dangerous, surpassing the force threshold.

“We were able to see that our goalkeepers are sustaining some pretty hard impacts as compared to some of the other players,” said Miyashita in a statement to Sportz Edge, an affiliate of WTNH News 8. “It depends on the player and the position, we’ve seen two to three hits, but we’ve also seen 30-40 impacts a game.”

There were a few difficulties that came up during the study. None of the difficulties impacted the results which showed change in neurocognitive function, but no major change to cause deficits.

“We are seeing a lot more research, focus and attention, [for example] boys and girls soccer, even cheerleading, because we are seeing a lot of injuries besides football players,” said Miyashita in a statement to Sportz Edge.

Yale University is now also conducting a study on concussions and head impacts as more universities realize that the study is vital to the health of athletes.

“I think a lot more people around the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA), and especially our conference, are more aware now,” said Jurk.

The study will help to accurately diagnose the difference between a concussion or a safe hit which will make collegiate sports safer.

“In sports people get hit all the time and don’t know if they have a concussion or not, they just play through it,” said O’Donoghue. “The sensors can help read concussions which I think will help keep the players safer.”

Giaquinto To Step Down Following 2017 Season

By Victoria Saporito

Contributing Writer

Sacred Heart University’s head baseball coach Nick Giaquinto has announced that the 2017 season will be his last after 29 years.

Throughout his career at Sacred Heart, he lead the Pioneers to seven consecutive Northeast Conference (NEC) Championship Games winning it all in 2015 totaling four championships during his coaching career. He also took the team to the NCAA Regional Tournament three times, finishing eighth in the country at the College World Series in 1992.          

“I think having an experienced coach is valuable,” said senior catcher and captain Jake Friar. “But possibly the most important thing is having a coach that understands his players. And coach G [Giaquinto] had both.”

Giaquinto began coaching the Pioneers in 1988 after his football careers with the Miami Dolphins and Washington Redskins came to a close. Giaquinto graduated from the University of Connecticut in 1979. He was drafted to the Miami Dolphins after a solid career. He currently holds the school’s all-time single-game rushing record with 277 yards in 1976. Giaquinto would go on to compete in four NFL seasons and two Super Bowls in 1982 and 1993.

Being a Bridgeport native and a Stratford High School standout player, Giaquinto has marked his legacy in both professional football and college baseball.

“The player-coach relationship is unique, especially in baseball, but I think coach understands his players better than most,” said Friar.

Giaquinto has sent four of his players off to their journey to minor league baseball. Those players include former shortstop Zack Short, along with pitchers Kody Kerski, Troy Scribner and Jason Foley.

“One of coach G’s greatest lessons is about preparation,”said Friar. “That includes physical and mental preparation. Coach gave us the necessary reps at the plate and in the field. He also had a unique set of mental drills that helped us better embrace the adversity we face game in and game out. In many ways this has helped me as a baseball player and it has also taught me valuable lessons for life.”

The Pioneers are expecting to finish this season successfully as Giaquinto hands the torch over to the current assistant coach Nick Restaino.

Restaino has been with the organization for two seasons and has been a tremendous asset to the team. He served as the hitting coach for Southern Connecticut State University’s baseball team in 2014 after being the head coach at Fordham University for seven seasons.

Restaino led Fordham to the Atlantic 10 Conference Tournament four times, with an overall count of 196 wins. During his coaching career, he has sent 13 of his players to the Majors and six more to sign professional contracts. He has coached 14 All-Conference players, seven Louisville Slugger All-Americans, and six ECAC All-Stars.

The Pioneers finished their season last year with a record of 30-28, consisting of 282 scored runs in 58 games with 23 home runs, an overall .265 batting average and .346 on base percentage.

The Pioneers hope to send coach Giaquinto off with another championship title while continuing to build their program legacy. After guiding the Pioneers to 608 wins and back-to-back ECAC Championships, Giaquinto will be a staple in the history of Pioneers baseball forever.

Giaquinto, Northeast Region and Northeast Conference Coach of the Year award winner, will tip his hat to Sacred Heart University’s baseball team one last time this year.

“Our expectations are the same as always,” said Friar. “One pitch at a time and compete as hard as we can. Coach wouldn’t want it any other way.”          

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