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Last updateWed, 19 Feb 2020 2pm

Sports

Volume 86 (Fall 2014 - Spring 2015)

Thanksgiving: You Say Turkey, I Say Surf

Thanksgiving break.  Food, family, and waves that will leave you smiling.

Not many people think of surfing when they are home stuffing their faces with turkey, mashed potatoes, and mom’s latest dessert.  As it occurred, the week of Thanksgiving was a week chock full of early-winter tubes.

Tuesday before Turkey Day was shaping up to be very promising. Monday yielded unorganized and choppy surf.  Those who went out found it to be a short and tiresome experience although the beating was lessened by an unseasonal 60-degree day.

Anyone who went out on Monday was experiencing full-fledged post-traumatic stress after their session.  For most, it was a short, maddening surf.  A disheartening Monday created high expetiations for Tuesday’s surf.

I woke awaiting the arrival of friends who were driving to Monmouth University that morning. Brendan had skinned his head since the last time I had seen him and Sean was shaking in his booties, too cold for all of our optimism.  Our band of ugly, frothing dudes pulled up to our first spot to analyze the waves. It turned out that our first stop also ended up being our last. It looked good… really good.  How could we resist?

Rather than drive around, we changed into our winter gear as fast as we could. Sean was in a 3/2 wetsuit and detachable hood, his neck skin screaming through the uncovered space where his suit met the hood.  He managed to crack a smile through his discomfort.

The paddle out to the lineup is always a nerve-racking one, completely silent and characterized by the hand that Mother Nature deals you as you enter the impact zone. For the lucky ones, it takes a few strong paddles and maybe a dive or two. For others, they may end up in the wash for a few minutes.  But of course, that is all part of the fun.

As surfers know, every takeoff is an investment. You have to be all-in; visualizing the grey, cloudy promise land at the end of the black hole you have found yourself tucked into. The idea is simple, yet every movement and thought is heightened to a new level of importance. Life in a barrel: slow, motionless bliss until the light is gone or you are at the end of the line, blinded by spray, but content.

For MU students, it is not much of a struggle getting to the beach.  When there is swell, we usually know, and if we do not like what we see, the ride back to campus is no more than ten minutes.

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SIDE LINES: 12/10/14

Sophomore point guard Justin Robinson was named the MAAC Player of the Week on Monday, Dec. 8. Robinson averaged 18.5 points per game to help lead the Hawks to back-to-back conference victories over Marist and Iona. In the win over Iona, Robinson scored a career high 25 points.

Robinson currently leads the team in assists, and is also second on the team in scoring with an average of 12.1 points per game this season.


After taking home the title in their first year as members of the MAAC, both the men’s and women’s indoor track and field teams were picked to finish first in the MAAC Preseason Poll.

The Hawks were dominant in last year’s championships as they won a total of 13 events. Because of these feats, the Hawks are expected to perform with high intensity in this upcoming season.

The Preseason Coaches’ Poll gave the men’s squad 46 total points while the women received 63 points.


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Return of Swim Team Makes a ‘Splash’ at University

The University announced that they will be adding swim teams for men and women beginning fall 2015. The additions were made official on Nov. 20.

“I can say that I am very excited about bringing swimming back to Monmouth,” said President Paul Brown.

Vice President and Director of Athletics Marilyn McNeil highlighted the reasons why swimming was reinstated at Monmouth. “Because we have the pool. Because we are on the shore. Because we’ve had a fabulous swimming program in the past, it just made sense that swimming was the sport that we should go back to. We need to pull our alumni back and pull our friends back,” said McNeil.

A central reason why the University decided to add more sports teams was the “core sports requirement” that the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference (MAAC) institutes. The MAAC requires that members of their conference have at least seven men’s and women’s teams.

Jeff Stapleton, Senior Associate Director of Athletics for Internal Operations, said, “One of the big reasons we’re adding swimming on the women’s side was we were missing a core sport on that side and one of the two core sports that we were missing, that we would have to add, was either volleyball or swimming.”

McNeil explained, “We actually did some due diligence, we studied it for over a year trying to figure out what would be the best thing that we could do. We also looked at the requirement and sort of thought about the sports that we were short of and what does it mean for the Jersey Shore. Swimming was the one that came forward and we really only had to add women’s swimming. It ended up that we wanted to add a sport.”

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Men’s Basketball Upset Attempt Falls Short

In one of their toughest stretches of schedule this season, the men’s basketball team suffered back-to-back hard fought losses to the University of Maryland Terrapins and Southern Methodist University Mustangs respectively.

Although the results weren’t there, the Hawks showed just how talented they are by nearly upsetting UM and hanging tough with SMU. Both teams are members of top tier conferences, as the Terrapins are now apart of The Big 10, after competing in the perennial power Atlantic Coast Conference for years, while the Mustangs are part of the relatively new American Athletic Conference that features last year’s National Champion UConn Huskies.

“I think this team is growing and we have to continue to get better every day,” said head coach King Rice after the Maryland loss. “I think great things are in the near future.”

The Hawks first fell to the Terrapins 61-56 on Friday, Nov. 28 at the XFINITY Center. Junior guard Deon Jones and fellow guard and senior Max DiLeo led the way for MU with 11 points apiece. Each also added a pair of assists. Sophomore point guard Justin Robinson chipped in with nine points, while also dishing out a team high five assists and grabbing a team high five rebounds.

UM’s star freshman and five-star recruit, Melo Trimble, had a game high 24 points, and also led his team with three assists. The freshman shot an impressive 13-14 from the free throw line for the game, while also going 3-5 from three point range.

Both young point guards made their presence felt early, as Trimble opened the scoring with his first three of the night just 30 seconds into the game, only to have Robinson answer right back seconds later with a triple of his own.

After a pair of free throws from MU sophomore center Zac Tillman tied the contest at five, the Terrapins took control of the game with a 23-9 run over the course of the next 12 plus minutes of play.

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Men’s Soccer Falls in Double Overtime

After winning the MAAC title, the University’s men’s soccer team concluded their season falling 2-1 in double overtime to Xavier University during the first round of the NCAA tournament on Thursday, Nov. 20 in Cincinnati.

MU beat Fairfield 2-1 in double overtime in the MAAC Championship to earn their spot in the NCAA Tournament this year. Upon the win, senior central defender and team captain Matt Jeffery told the Asbury Park Press, “It’s great to be going back, to finish my college career in the NCAA Tournament. It’s kind of a dream come true for me, having missed out the last two seasons and to be able to go back is a great feeling.”

The game marked MU’s fifth appearance in the NCAA Tournament in nine seasons.

Prior to the game, head coach Rob McCourt told the Asbury Park Press, “We believe. The one thing I kept saying to the guys when we had the injuries and a tough spell is that I believed in the group, and they believed in each other and just kept fighting. There’s no reason to think we can’t go get a result at Xavier.”

The Hawks (11-4-6) entered the game ready to fight for a win, only beaten one time in their last 13 games despite four starters being sidelined in late Sept. due to injuries. Xavier (14-5-2) had lost to Providence in the Big East final on Sunday, but came in determined as well.

In the 15th minute of the game, the blue and white lost the ball at the midfield, where Xavier took advantage and moved down the right side of the field towards goal.

A cross was sent to center field, where a Xavier forward collected the ball and sent a shot from ten yards out past MU’s sophomore goalie Eric Klenofsky to the left side of the net.

The Hawks did not let up and dominated possession of the ball, evening the game in the 39th minute. Junior defender Derek Luke shot a corner towards the left side of the goal, where Jeffery flicked the ball on with his left heel to senior central defender Emmanuel Agyemang, whose shot the ball low towards the right post and in to the back of the net for his third goal of the season.

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Women’s Basketball Gains Ground in MAAC

The University’s women’s basketball team picked up their third victory of the season as they defeated former conference foe, the Wagner Seahawks, 82-59 on Friday, Nov. 28 at the Spiro Sports Center. Sophomore guard Helena Kurt paved the way for the Hawks by scoring 14 points and earning the game-high assists with six. All 12 Hawks who made an appearance on the floor scored during the match up. With the win, the Hawks improved their record to 3-1 while the Seahawks fell to 0-4.

Wagner’s Ugo Nwaigwe led her team with 12 points and 10 rebounds while teammates Lyndsay Rowe and Tanasia Russell each contributed 10 points. Their collective effort, while impressive, did not stand par to MU’s individual efforts. Sophomore forward Christina Mitchell posted her second-career double-double game as she collected 11 points and 11 rebounds. Junior guard Jasmine Walker posted 13 points and nine rebounds for the Hawks while sophomore Jenny Horvatinovic had 12 points for the night.

The game’s scoring began when sophomore center Sophie Beaudry made a basket to put the Hawks ahead 2-0. Within the first four minutes of play, Mitchell and Horvatinovic each made a three pointer to further the Hawks lead. Less than five minutes into the game, the Hawks were up 12-4.

MU’s lead started to diminish after multiple opportunities were squandered. A missed layup from senior forward Sara English, a missed jumper from sophomore guard Mia Hopkins and missed three pointers from junior guard Sara Olson, Kurt, and Horvatinovic allowed Wagner to pull ahead, 17-16. Without securing a single point for two minutes of play, it looked as if MU’s momentum shifted in the Seahawks favor.

Although Wagner’s lead increased to four at a point, MU was able to chase their opponent and bring the game to an even 20-20 with eight minutes left in the first half. The Hawks tried to pull away with a layup from Mitchell, however, the Seahawks’s Nwaigwe evened the score with a layup of her own.

The teams exchanged two more points and the Hawks attempted to lead once again as Mitchell made another basket. Junior guard Jamiyah Bethune increased the lead to four via two free throws. Unfortunately for MU, a missed three pointer from Hopkins allowed Wagner to gain possession, a chance they utilized. With less than three minutes to play in the first half, Wagner was leading 30-28. Scoring halted for the following minute and thirty seconds until Kurt made a basket to tie the game. Heading into half, the score was an even 30-30. 

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SIDE LINES: 12/3/14

Senior forward Trish O’Dwyer was named to the 2014 Longstreth/NFHCA All-American Third Team this past Monday Dec, 1. O’Dwyer, who was also named the MAAC Player and Offensive Player of the year, is the first field hockey player to be named an All-American in MU history.

She led the Hawks in goals scored, assists, and total points on the season with 18, 17, and 53 respectively. Her efforts helped lead the team to its first ever NCAA tournament appearance.


Senior guard Andrew Nicholas surpassed the 1,000 point mark for his career in MU’s overtime loss to Towson on Sunday, Nov. 23. Nicholas led the team with 24 points for the contest, and tied a career high with six three point makes.

“Red” was the 20th Hawk to reach the 1,000 point mark at the Division I level. He currently has 1,020 points for his career, and is tenth on MU’s all time list for three pointers made with 136.


Freshman safety Mike Basile was named the Big South Freshman of the Year. Basile led MU with 59 solo tackles and four interceptions this past season. Basile was also named to the All-Big South First team for his efforts, along with senior wide receiver Neal Sterling who led Hawk receivers with 55 receptions, 905 yards, and six touchdowns.

Five other Hawks also earned All-Big South honors, with Lavon Chaney, Reece Johnston, Darnell Leslie, Ryan Mohr, and John Sieczkowski all being named to the Second Team.

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Athletics Moves Towards New ‘Brand Identity'

logoThe University's recent move to the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference (MAAC) and the Big South Conference for football, the announcement of a partnership with ESPN3, and revamped logos and letter marks are several of the actions that are intended to move the Monmouth University Athletic Department towards a new identity.

"I think things are happening for all the right reasons and it's not because there hasn't been a lot of hard work behind the scenes because there has been, but now you're starting to see the fruits of some of that labor. We have a lot more work to do though," said Marilyn McNeil, Vice President and Director of Athletics.

Monmouth's transfer from the Northeast Conference to the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference (MAAC) for the 2013-14 academic year was the first move towards an attempt for greater exposure of the University.

"Any time you make those jumps to a new league, you do it to better your visibility and your chances of competition," said Greg Viscomi, Assistant Athletics Director for Communication and New Media.

The added exposure is generated by an increase in televised sporting events, such as four or more broadcastings of the Monmouth men's basketball team on ESPN3 this season.

According to Eddy Occhipinti, Assistant Athletics Director, the ESPN3 broadcasts are a major way to boost visibility, as they will reach approximately 95 million homes. "Through our broadcast, we'll be able to publicize all of our teams and all of our student athletes and different things on campus too. The ESPN3 deal is definitely the most tangible way that we've expanded our brand and our identity across the country," said Occhipinti.

The ESPN3 programming will be produced by a collaboration of staff from the Department of Communication, Athletics Department staff, alumni, and students. Todd Myers, Director of Programming and Acquisitions at ESPN, said, "ESPN3 is excited to have Monmouth University join the school production initiative. Monmouth will be the first school from the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference to produce and deliver live events on their own for distribution on ESPN3. It's a tremendous opportunity to showcase Monmouth's athletic programs to college sports fans across the country."

Additionally, the transfer to the Big South Conference for football garners visibility from conference games aired on American Sports Network, one of the largest and most diversified TV broadcasting companies in the country.

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Men’s Soccer Win First MAAC Championship

Mens-SoccerThe men's soccer team won the MAAC Championship in comeback fashion this past Sunday, Nov. 16, with a 2-1 victory in a double-overtime thriller against Fairfield. It is the Hawks first MAAC Championship in only their second year as members of the conference after falling to Quinnipiac in last year's title game.

"It's absolutely special," said head coach Robert McCourt after the game. "We talked all year about sticking with the game plan and getting through these tough moments with the injuries we had, especially today. No matter who has to step in a get the job done for us, they will."

Before the final against Fairfield, MU still had to get by Iona in the tournaments semifinal, and they did just that. The Hawks came away with a 2-1 victory in a fast-paced contest where the two teams combined for 40 total shots.

After a scoreless first half, the blue and white finally pushed across the game's first goal off of a corner kick in the 47th minute of play. Junior defender Derek Luke took the corner for the Hawks, and delivered a beautiful ball into the box just about ten yards from the net. Fellow defender, and senior, Matt Jeffery found himself on the receiving end of the cross, and headed the ball just inside the post and past the Iona keeper to put the Hawks on top 1-0.

Over the next 20 minutes both teams saw legitimate scoring opportunities, but it was MU who again capitalized on one of these chances when freshman midfielder Andrew Gee took pass from senior midfielder Bryant Avalos and found the back of the net to increase the Hawks lead to two in the 65th minute.

Gee's goal ultimately proved to be the game winner, as the Gaels finally got on the scoreboard in the 78th minute when Iona's Teddy Forson rocketed a shot past MU sophomore goalie Eric Klenofsky. Things only got tougher for the Hawks from that point as Iona continued to put pressure on MU's defense. It appeared the Gaels pressure would pay off just seven minutes later when Forson had an open net after controlling the rebound from a Klenofsky save, but luck was on the Hawks side as Forson's shot sailed high over the crossbar. With just five minutes remaining that would be the last chance for Iona to get the equalizer, and the blue and white held on to advance to the championship final.

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Field Hockey Falls in NCAA Play-In Game

amanda-schoenfieldThe University's field hockey team concluded their season after the first round of the NCAA Field Hockey Tournament Play-In game, falling 4-3 to the Princeton University Tigers on Wednesday, Nov. 12. at So Sweet A Cat Field.

Head coach Carli Figlio said that a great challenge of this game was prepping the team mentally to play an NCAA game, especially because they only had two days to do so.

"Making it to the next level by winning the MAAC, we've never done that before. I think the biggest thing was being able to move the ball through the midfield, that would have helped us a lot," said Figlio. "But throughout the season the girls have been just absolutely brilliant. They're a tough, great group and it's sad that it's over because you can't replicate the same group that you have, but it was a really special year for us."

Within the first ten minutes of the game, Princeton worked for three corner opportunities, capitalizing on the final corner with a goal. The goal was a rebound after freshman goalkeeper Christen Piersanti, deflected the first shot.

MU persisted, holding Princeton at midfield and advancing into their half towards the goal. The Hawks tied up the game in the 21st minute when senior forward, Trish O'Dwyer, crossed a ball from the back line to the front of the goal where freshman forward Meg Donahue was able to shoot it past the Princeton goalkeeper, earning her 11th goal of the season.

MU obtained a penalty corner eight minutes later. O'Dwyer passed the ball to freshman defender Julie Laszlo, who secured another goal for the Hawks with an outside shot and brought them to a 2-1 advantage.

With less than two minutes left in the half, Princeton received another penalty corner and capitalized it with a goal from an outside shot.

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Football Loses Fourth Straight

The Hawks' football team fell victim of defeat by the hands of the Chanticleers of Coastal Carolina, the newly-crowned top team of FCS play in the country, by a score of 52-21. MU's record is now even at 5-5, 0-4 in Big South play, while Coastal Carolina improves to 11-0.

"We knew coming into the game that we were going to have to play mistake free and execute at a high level," said MU head coach Kevin Callahan. "Early on we had some breakdowns on the defensive side and spotted them a lead. That's a situation that we knew we did not want to get in, playing from behind. I thought our kids played hard and battled to get back in it but in the end, they were able to make a lot more plays than we were."

Coastal Carolina's explosive offense was on display after the opening kickoff, as the Chanticleers jumped out to a comfortable 14-0 lead at the end of the first quarter. It wasn't until early in the second quarter, after the Chanticleers added another score, that the Hawks showed any life. Fifth year senior Greg DePugh made his first collegiate start at quarterback since first string quarterback, senior Brandon Hill, was sidelined due to turf toe. DePugh tossed a deep strike to senior wide receiver Neal Sterling who outran a Coastal defender en route of a 73-yard touchdown. With that touchdown grab, Sterling surpassed Adam San Miguel as the all-time leader in receptions in the University's football program's history. Sterling, who finished the contest with eight receptions for 136-yards and two touchdowns, needs 302-yards to pass Miles Austin as the all-time leader in receiving yardage.

Facing a 28-7 deficit at halftime, the Hawks managed to march down the field on the opening second half possession when sophomore running back Lavon Chaney rumbled into the end zone for a two yard score. Chaney would finish the contest with 60-yards on 12-carries while adding 43-yards on 4-receptions. Despite throwing three interceptions, DePugh finished the day completing 22-of-38 pass attempts for 258-yards and 2-touchdowns, ending with a 7-yard throw to Sterling in the fourth quarter. The Hawks' offense also received contributions from senior tight end Hakeem Valles (24-yards on 3-catches), sophomore wide receiver Darren Ambush (20-yards on 3-catches), sophomore running back Zach Welch (2-catches for 17-yards), sophomore wide receiver Romeo Harris (a catch for 11-yards), and fifth year wide receiver Thaddeus Richards (a catch for 7-yards).

"I thought Greg did a good job for his first full collegiate football game stepping in for Brandon," Callahan said. "Coastal is a good defensive unit that comes with a lot of pressure and has a lot of speed. I thought he performed at a pretty good level, I was happy with his play but we weren't able to do a lot of things around him, enough to help him out."

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Contact Information

CAMPUS LOCATION
The Outlook
Jules L. Plangere Jr. Center for Communication
and Instructional Technology (CCIT)
Room 260, 2nd floor

MAILING ADDRESS
The Outlook
Monmouth University
400 Cedar Ave, West Long Branch, New Jersey
07764

Phone: (732) 571-3481 | Fax: (732) 263-5151
Email: outlook@monmouth.edu