It’s Most Certainly Not Called Gym-NICE-stics

By Alexa Brisson

Photography Editor

According to Sporteology.com, gymnastics is one of the hardest sports in the world. The strength that it demands, both physically and mentally give gymnastics the title of one of the most challenging sports. While gymnasts complain about their absence of a social life, excruciating injuries, and abnormal bodies, gymnastics still seems to steal our hearts every single time.

I began gymnastics when I was two years old. My grandma enrolled me in the hope that I would come out of my shell. Yes, I was that shy awkward child, but my grandma’s plan proved to be very successful.

As I continued, coaches noticed how naturally strong and flexible I was. I also proved to have the mindset of a competitive gymnast, which entails determination, focus, and most importantly passion.

I began performing at a competitive level when I was eight years old. From then on I was hooked. I practiced four hours a day, five days a week. I gave up school dances, hanging out with my friends, football games and all of the other fun things that a typical child gets to experience, but my passion to excel in this sport was way too strong to stop me.

Gymnastics challenges both your body and your mind. I pushed my body to do things that probably should be illegal. Running until being sick, conditioning so hard you could barely walk the next day, and lift sessions that push you to your limits was all done to ensure that I would be in the best shape in order to improve my skills, and that wasn’t even the worst part.

The interesting thing about gymnastics is that your biggest opponent is not even the opposing team member, but yourself. For example, coaches tell you that you must flip six feet over a four-inch beam or you will never move to the next level. Yeah, I’d like to see my linebackers do that. Even though you are scared stiff because you could possibly smash your face on the beam, you have to find it somewhere in you to push yourself past your mind full of fear in order to complete the skill.

That is why I love gymnastics. It is the only thing that can challenge me more than I challenge myself. I am completely in control of the outcome. I can’t depend on my team members to force me to complete a skill, even though they always encourage me to do so. You can’t blame anyone if you don’t do well at a meet; you simply realize that you have to put in more gym time. Consistency is key in the sport of gymnastics.

If you ask anyone to describe me in one word, almost everybody would say consistent. I am consistent with every single part of my life from gymnastics, to schoolwork and extracurricular activities. I am one of the most dependable people I think I know and I have gymnastics to thank for that.

As I approach my final meet, I think about all that this sport has given me such as a good work ethic, dependability, some of my best friends, time management skills and responsibility. Gymnastics has truly shaped me into the person I am today. I gave up many things that I will never have the opportunity to get back, but I gained so much more in the long run.

So, thank you gymnastics for being there for me when no one else was. Thank you for challenging me and pushing me past my limits. Thank you for letting me take my anger out on you, and finally thank you for giving the strength to do what people say is impossible.

Everyone Gets A Trophy

By Heather Keller

Asst. Sports & Asst. Arts & Entertainment Editor

During years of playing recreational youth league sports, I had racked up just about every design, size and color of team trophies that were available in my town trophy shop.

At the age of four, I began playing two seasons of soccer a year, which eventually turned into three seasons of sports when I began to play basketball. In seventh grade I finally decided to try softball after years of telling my dad I wouldn’t play because I only wanted to play baseball.

With softball now added to the mix, I had acquired over 25 participation trophies as I prepared to go to high school.

The feeling of excitement I once had when receiving a trophy had slowly deteriorated and it was now just something I expected when the season’s award banquet was held. Trophies had overtaken my room and the ones that I didn’t like to look at anymore strategically found their way to the garbage.

The hunk of cheap plastic and metal held no sentimental value as everyone on the team was called up at the banquet to claim their identical trophy.

The idea behind giving kids trophies is that if we tell them they’re wonderful and special, they’ll develop a sense of fearlessness and then hopefully become more willing to do difficult things.

As a child, I had no sense of purpose built from those numerous trophies. My dedication to play would continue into high school. However, once competition began to intensify and coaches were not required to put every player into the game, I eventually became more aware of myself.

This realization was something that would not have come from admiring awards that everyone had in their homes. It was not about whether I was a mediocre player, or a stand-out star. It was about the false sense of security that those participation trophies had instilled into me. Even if I did not comprehend that at the time of receiving each trophy.

Children learn about life from their surroundings and what is introduced to them. I am thankful that sports were presented to me from an early age and their impact on my life has been tremendous.

As cliché as these lessons are, playing sports taught me the value of teamwork, persistence and dedication.

However, the most important aspect of sports in my eyes is the overall value of hard work finally paying off.

I don’t think that being handed trophies throughout my years of recreational sports stunted my personal growth. I also don’t think it would have shaped me into someone who believed that everything in life would be handed to me if I just showed up. Yet, that’s not a universal finding.

Parents play a huge role in the lives of young athletes. Having people I respected and looked up to tell me that playing and developing my skills in sports was what the trophy represented. For me, that was important to my personal growth.

I think that starting children in sports at a young age is good for the mind and body. It promotes a healthy lifestyle and opportunity to learn a great deal of lessons, whether they are immediately apparent or not.

As for obligatory participation trophies, I do not think they are necessary for those lessons to be learned.

The Fear of Change

By Shawn Sailer

Co-Sports Editor

Change can be a good thing and a bad thing. Personally, I do not like change.

When something changes, that makes people adjust and adapt. There is the cliché of “if it’s not broken, don’t fix it,” and I totally agree with that.

However, people have differing opinions sometimes if something is “broken” or not.

There are changes we can control and other times they are out of our control. Sometimes change is a decision we make and sometimes it is not.

With change, you don’t know what to expect. You hope for the best for yourself and everyone involved in the change, but sometimes it doesn’t work out like you thought it might.

Sometimes it does, and change is good for all the parties involved.

With change, oftentimes any situation seems better than the situation you are currently in. There is however, the unknown. The “unknown” is a scary thing. What if you regret your decision because your new situation is worse than what your bad previous one was.

In sports, change happens often, leagues are always trying to make their sport better. However, they go overboard and make changes that are too drastic.

Recently, Major League Baseball made some changes. This comes on the heels of a great 2016 season that was capped with a fantastic World Series.

I am a huge baseball fan but people consider baseball to be too long and boring. One change made this season to speed up the game was to make it so that an intentional walk can be called from the dugout and the pitcher does not have to throw the four pitches.

Major League Baseball has been played since 1869 so, in my opinion, there is no need for change now.

People who think that the game is too long don’t appreciate the game. There is a lot of strategy that goes into it. All sports take strategy and there have been changes made but I don’t think this is a change that needs to be made.

I expect baseball to stay a certain way. I like knowing what is happening in advance and I like doing things the way I know how to do them.

But like I said before, some people like change. These people like the surprise of the unknown.

Not everything is going to be perfect all of the time. Although we’d like to, we can’t control how everything will work out. To me, change is scary.

I enjoy consistency and believe that if there isn’t a big issue, nothing needs to be fixed.

Sarah DeNisco: NESN’s “Next Producer” Finalist

By Victoria Mescall

Circulation Manager & Staff Reporter

Senior Media Arts major Sarah DeNisco is representing Sacred Heart University in a contest to be the New England Sports Network (NESN) “Next Producer.”

NESN is a sports network located in Boston in its second season of a collegiate contest to offer a post-graduate job to the New England based student who wins.

“I first heard about it through my friend, Kieran McGirl, who actually won the contest in 2015 and is now working at NESN as a producer,” said DeNisco. “Kieran and I were on a Habitat for Humanity trip to Chicago when he was in the middle of the competition, so he told me about the amazing experience it was.”

In October 2016, DeNisco saw that NESN was coming to Sacred Heart to present the contest to some of the media arts students, and that was when she decided to enter it as part of her senior project.

“The minute I sat down in the presentation, I knew I was supposed to do this,” said DeNisco. “From that point, I only had about three weeks to hand in my first draft of the film.”

She has had support from other students, as well as recent alum, who saw her passion for producing early on.

“I’m so happy that Sarah decided to take part in the competition. We were actually good friends while I was at Sacred Heart,” said alumnus Kieran McGirl, class of 2015. “It’s been incredible to watch her do the work for NESN.”

The second season premiered on NESN on Feb. 4 featuring DeNisco’s film, “Worth the Fight”, about a local Muay Thai fighter named Noemie Dos Santos.

“In the School of Communication and Media Arts, we are committed to both theory and practice,” said Dr. Andrew Miller, associate professor. “By moving through an educational program that focuses on how media works in contemporary culture, our students are able to produce compelling multimedia stories that resonate with audiences.”

When searching for her story, DeNisco said that when she told her dad that she needed an interesting athlete to do a documentary on, he immediately told her about one of his co-workers from France.

That is when DeNisco reached out to Noemie Dos Santos.

Dos Santos was a former model and bodybuilder in France and then the United States. Now, she is a Muay Thai fighter and works as the Director of Internal Medicine at the Southwest Community Health Center in Bridgeport, Conn.

“In my intro, I stated that my film wasn’t the typical sports story, meaning that Noemie had to overcome more mental obstacles than physical,” said DeNisco. “She had to convince herself that she was good enough, strong enough, and could break the barriers of sex and gender in order to be a successful Muay Thai athlete.”

Muay Thai is a sport and an art that combines boxing, kick boxing, Taekwondo and clinching technique.

“I wanted to show how these two elements can blend together,” said DeNisco. “Through my film subject, I was able to show the internal obstacles people face in their lives and how the sport can help them overcome it.”

Regarding her future, DeNisco said that even though she’s a New Yorker at heart, she can see herself working in Boston sports and finding inspiring and unique stories through athletics.

“The second portion of the contest is strictly determined by the two judges, Tom and Brad,” said DeNisco. “My first film got me to the finalist round, but now it depends on what I make for my second video, which is a 60 second promotional video for the Red Sox’s upcoming season.”

You can vote for DeNisco’s film online at http://nesn.com/nesnnext/ by March 15 and by watching “NESN Next Producer” every Saturday on NESN.

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.”

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.”

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.

                  

Women’s Bowling Hoping For Successful Season

Senior Sarah Rhodes was the Pioneers' highest individual finisher averaging 189.80 per game. The team finished second at the FDU Jamboree. Photo by Sacred Heart Athletics.

Senior Sarah Rhodes was the Pioneers’ highest individual finisher averaging 189.80 per game. The team finished second at the FDU Jamboree. Photo by Sacred Heart Athletics.

By Kendall Gregory

Staff Reporter

The Sacred Heart University’s women’s bowling team has begun this season the same way they ended last year, by winning.

The team finished the 2015-16 season by winning the Northeast Conference (NEC) Championship against Long Island University-Brooklyn. Expectations for this season remain high.

Senior captain Amanda Tyrell wants to get back to that championship game.

“Being able to keep our position as NEC Champions for the second year in a row would be amazing,” said Tyrrell.

The team started this season on a 10-0 run. They finished first and second at their first two tournaments. After suffering their first loss to Caldwell University, they currently hold a record of 14-4.

Coach Rebecca Kregling is happy with how her team has performed so far.

“We have played well and consistently in the first two tournaments. Both tournament finishes were the highest in the last three years,” said Kregling. “I feel we are working well together and the students-athletes are playing at a much higher level than last year.”

Kregling has made some changes in practice since last season. Individual and small group practices were added to focus on each player.

“Last year we focused more on players who had major things to change. This year we focused on every player, including our best, to make sure their physical games were solid and ready for the season,” said Kregling.

The returning players practiced and competed over the summer. Senior Lauren Hoffman, NEC Championship Most Valuable Player (MVP), believes the team is on the way to a successful season.

“The biggest factor that is going to help us have another successful season is to communicate and bond with each other on and off the lanes,” said Hoffman. “Being able to be unified as one group no matter what, will lead to our success on the lanes.”

Senior Sarah Rhodes, named to the All-NEC First Team last season, believes the team’s bond is very strong this season.

“We are all like family. We always have a great time when we’re all together but no one pushes you more than your family,” said Rhodes. “Whether it be on the lanes, in the classroom, or in the gym, I know the team has my back not only to support me, but to push me to be the best version of myself as both an athlete and a person.”

The team agrees that their two biggest matches this season were against Fairleigh Dickinson University and University of Wisconsin-Whitewater. Wins over both teams were huge.

Both are ranked higher than Sacred Heart.

Goals for the remainder of the season include another NEC Championship, but also a run at Nationals. Kregling’s goals include working to improve each individual’s game and finish in the top of major tournaments to improve the team’s national ranking to the Top 10.

“If the team can keep that drive going all season long, we may be able to be a contender for Nationals, which would be the icing on our favorite chocolate cake,” said Tyrrell.

The women’s next tournament is the University of Maryland, Baltimore County Hawk Classic on Nov. 18.

X-Men Rugby Win Tri-State Conference Championship

By Tom Peticca

Assistant Features Editor

On Nov. 6, the Sacred Heart men’s rugby team, also known as the X-Men, won their first ever Tri-State Conference Championship with a 32-12 victory over William Patterson University.

“Today is the greatest day of my life,” said senior Michael Kiesel, after winning the championship game on Sunday.

The win not only brought the X-Men their first conference title, but also capped off the first undefeated season in the program’s history.

“In the Sacred Heart spirit, I feel like a pioneer for the sport of rugby,” said senior and captain Jason Libertelli. “It’s been a long four year journey, but we’re finishing off as conference champs.”

Senior and team president Chris Coyne said that winning the championship is huge for the team as a whole. The win will be beneficial to every player, coach and advisor of the team.

This win was especially big for the seniors who went 1-7 during their freshmen season.

“We’ve made huge strides over the last 4 years,” said Coyne. “As a senior to go undefeated and win the conference, it’s truly an awesome feeling to have accomplished this for the team and the university as a whole.”

The X-Men had to make some moves going into the championship game after losing two of their starting players, Matt Calton and Pat Walpole, to injuries. Calton suffered from a concussion while Walpole tore his anterior cruciate ligament (ACL).

“We had two key injuries with Pat and Matt going down,” said Libertelli. “Matt’s been playing the game a long time and his expertise is needed, and Pat is the heart of this team. If everyone played like him we would be national champions, we had to win it for those guys.”

One of the many players that stepped up for the X-Men was junior Ellis Badger, who switched positions for the championship game. He played scrum half for the first time.

“I didn’t know what to expect going into it but about five minutes into the game I found my routine and it became second nature from there,” said Badger, who normally plays fullback. “It’s much different, much more in the action, touching the ball a lot more”

Despite Ellis’s inexperience at scrumhalf, he thrived throughout the game.

“Ellis stepped up and played Matt’s position very well,” said Libertelli. “He was among a bunch of the young guys that stepped up for us in a big way”

The 32-12 win in the Tri-State Conference finals gives the X-Men an opportunity that no team in their history has had at a division two national championship. The team travels down to South Carolina in two weekends for a game against Furman University in the first round of the national playoffs.

“Oh man, South Carolina is going to be exciting, playing some of the best teams on the east coast,” said Libertelli. “It’s going to be over a 10 hour bus ride, but I don’t even care. I’m so excited. It’s going to be a great challenge for the X-Men rugby squad.”

No Tri-State Conference champion has ever made it past the first round in the national playoffs. The X-Men are looking forward to their shot at changing that.

“I’m really excited to play some top tier rugby,” said Coyne.“The teams that are left are the 16 best division two teams in the country. I can’t wait to play against them.”

The X-Men take their shot at nationals on Nov. 19.

Men’s and Women’s Hoops Gearing Up For Season: Basketball Teams Excited For The Road Ahead

Sacred Heart University women's basketball preparing for a very anticipated season. Photo by Sacred Heart Athletics.

Sacred Heart University women’s basketball preparing for a very anticipated season. Photo by Heather Keller/Spectrum.

By Carolyn Eckel

Staff Reporter

The Sacred Heart University’s men’s and women’s basketball teams are looking to start their 2016-17 season strong.

For the women’s team, head coach Jessica Mannetti has been with the women for four seasons now. The men’s coach, Anthony Latina, has been with the men’s basketball team as the head coach for four seasons, but has been with the team for a total of eight years.

Both the women’s and men’s basketball team claim that their biggest rival game coming up will be against Fairfield University.

“Obviously Fairfield is a rivalry because we open up with them, and they are down the street, familiar with one another,” said Anthony Latina. “Conference play I would say Central Connecticut, geographically they are our rival.”

With the 2016-17 season coming up, senior guard Adaysha Williams who has been with the women’s team since her freshman year is looking forward to showing the younger girls the ropes.

“From the older players, and those who have been here, it is important to just carry over from last season. I think we did a really good job making conference, being able to adjust to what is going on,” said Williams.

As for the men’s team, they have a lot of new players on the team. They are working together to be joined unit. Latina led the team in their progress from tenth place in the NEC, to fifth, to the most recent place of second.

“We hope that the next natural progression is to be first, once we get to first or remain in second, we hope to stay there for a little bit and build a consistent win, that’s always the goal,” said Latina.

As for the women, the upcoming season is crucial for their record, after their last
season, when the Pioneers lost in the conference finals by five points.

“My goal is to get back to the championship game to really be a presence in the NEC, obviously finish in the top of our conference, carry over winning potentially another regular season championship and getting that banner for the NEC tournament,” said Mannetti.

In order to get there, the women have set short term goals which include practicing and conditioning every day and to prepare for the tournament.

“We have a great group of young women and coaching staff, but I definitely hope to see more student participation at more games, for both the men’s and women’s team,” said Williams.

With the opener being less than a week away, both teams are practicing hard and working towards their goal.

“The goal for me as a coach here at a university that is a special place is to build the program that the university and the people will be proud of. That’s always been my biggest goal,” said Latina.

Both the men and women have their opening game at the Webster Bank Arena against Fairfield University on Nov. 11. The women’s game tips off at 5 p.m. with the men’s game scheduled to start at 7 p.m.

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