Matt Rogers, Co-Editor-in-Chief
It was a record breaking season for women’s hockey, while a young men’s hockey team managed to reach the conference final. Both basketball teams lost some close games and finished towards the bottom of the conference standings. Here’s a recap of how each team did.
The Utica College women’s ice hockey team put together its best season in school history, notching wins over the No. 1 and No. 2 ranked teams in the country throughout the season. The Pioneers, who finished 19-8-1, earned a school record for wins, and advanced to the ECAC West final after soundly defeating No. 2 nationally ranked Elmira 5-1. UC was led by a potent top line, and a strong defense. Senior Morgan Reed, who last week was named a Second-Team All-American, led the Pioneers with 22 goals, while junior Gabrielle Schnepp added 14 goals of her own to go with her team-high 29 assists. Freshman Lauren Patterson added 35 points for UC, and was named ECAC West Rookie of the Year. Junior Keira Goin was strong in net all season long, notching seven shutouts, and making 620 saves. The Pioneers finished the season ranked No. 10 nationally.
Head Coach Dave Clausen
Overall thoughts on the season: “It was a great season chock-full of first time accomplishments, like winning 19 games and 13 conference games. Some of the highest points of the season were knocking off No. 1 Plattsburgh during the regular season and No. 2 Elmira in the playoffs.”
It was a season filled with ups and downs for a team that featured just three seniors, but the UC men’s hockey team finished the season strong, advancing to the ECAC West Conference tournament final before falling to Hobart. The Pioneers finished 14-10-4, a marked improvement over last season’s 11-10-5 campaign. UC finished third in the conference. In the playoffs, the Pioneers rallied to take down Elmira at home before storming to a comeback win on the road over Manhattanville in the semifinals. Two freshmen were instrumental in the Pioneers’ success. Forward Hayden Dawes was named the conference’s Rookie of the Year, as he led the Pioneers with seven goals. Goalie Michael Frederick was also named to the league’s All-Rookie team. Seniors Joel Wetmore and Nick Miglio came on strong late in the season. The duo combined for 31 points on the season.
Head Coach Gary Heenan
Overall thoughts on the season: “This team made significant progress from last year. Finishing second in this league is very difficult. With that, we return and we are confident we will continue our climb.”
After a start that saw the UC women’s basketball team win two of its first three games, the Pioneers struggled the rest of the way, and finished with an 8-17 record. The Pioneers placed eighth out of nine Empire 8 teams with a 3-13 conference record. Senior Mary Miceli, who eclipsed the 1,000-point mark for her career during the season, led the Pioneers as she scored 13.9 points per game. Sophomore guards Ashelyne Babb and Ashley Mayo also played key roles, as the duo combined to score over 20 points per game, and Babb led the team in assists. The Pioneers were relatively young this season, as they graduate just three seniors.
Head Coach Michele Davis
Overall thoughts on the season: “We competed. Our record does not reflect the effort that our players put into the season. We have a very talented team returning. Sadly we said goodbye to three upperclassman who are graduating. We appreciate all that they have done for the program.”
Like the women, the men’s basketball team struggled, finishing 7-17 overall and 4-12 in league play. However, the season was not without high notes. In the Pioneers’ 75-74 win over Elmira on Feb. 5, senior Rob Tutein caught a full-court pass from sophomore Mike Cannizzo before hitting a wild, off-balance three-pointer at the buzzer. The game-winner earned national attention, and was featured on SportsCenter’s Top 10 plays for that night. One of two seniors on the team, Tutein carried UC and provided leadership as his 17.5 points per game paced the Pioneers. Sophomore Ivan Iton matured into a strong presence down low, as he finished the season averaging 10.3 points per game to go with 7.8 rebounds per game. Senior Jawan Simmons ended his career by averaging 9.9 points per game. On March 17, UC Athletic Director Dave Fontaine announced that head coach Chris Connolly, after eight seasons as head coach, would not return next season. For this article, The Tangerine spoke with Connolly prior to it being announced he would not return.
Head coach Chris Connolly
Overall thoughts on the season: “We had a tough year, losing games early on and just coming up short. With such a young team, that was expected. We did improve, but so did the competition with league play starting in January. I think we have room for improvement and need to rededicate ourselves to improving both as a team and as individual players.”
Photos taken by Jeff Pexton