This Week in Saint Michael's College Athletics: September 13

This Week in Saint Michael's College Athletics: September 13

Upcoming Schedule:

Monday, September 13
Men's Golf @ Franklin Pierce Fall Invitational @ Keene (N.H.) Country Club, 8 a.m.

Tuesday, September 14
Women's Tennis vs. Le Moyne, 3 p.m.*
Field Hockey vs. Franklin Pierce, 3:30 p.m.*

Wednesday, September 15
Men's Soccer vs. Maine-Fort Kent, 3:15 p.m.
Women's Soccer vs. Southern New Hampshire, 3:30 p.m.*

Friday, September 17
Men's Tennis @ Wheaton (Mass.), 2:30 p.m.
Women's Tennis @ Wheaton (Mass.), 2:30 p.m.

Saturday, September 18
Cross Country @ Aldrich Invitational (Middlebury), 10 a.m. (men), 11 a.m. (women)
Women's Soccer vs. American International, 12 p.m.*
Men's Soccer @ Southern Connecticut State, 2 p.m.*
Field Hockey vs. Assumption, 3 p.m.*

* Northeast-10 Conference Event


Cross Country Teams Open Season at Shacklette Invitational, Taracena Claims Seventh in College Debut

The Saint Michael's College men's and women's cross country teams opened their seasons at Saint Anselm College's Shacklette Invitational on Saturday, competing among a field heavy with regional powers. Sophomore Noah Taracena (Hampton, N.H./Winnacunnet) placed seventh in his college debut, as the men raced for the first time since Nov. 9, 2019, and the women entered their second event over the past two years. The meet marked the debut of Molly Peters as men's head coach. Peters is in her 16th year as women's cross country head coach and 10th season guiding Nordic skiing.

The Purple Knight women placed fifth among seven schools with 156 points, edging out two regionally-ranked squads: Bentley University (173), which was 10th in the latest U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA) East Region poll, and Adelphi University (179), which was ranked fourth. The men were sixth out of seven at 129 points, within 14 of Southern New Hampshire, which is seventh in the most recent USTFCCCA East Region poll.

Eight of the men's team's 12 competitors made their college debuts, including each of the top three. Taracena placed seventh among 68 runners in the 8K race (28:03.8), while juniors Will Coppola (Groveland, Mass./Pentucket Regional) and Alex Frank (Colchester, Vt./Colchester) placed 15th (28:43.6) and 31st (29:48.8), respectively, in their first college races. Senior Matt Gianni (Stowe, Vt./Stowe) was 39th (30:29.8), classmate Jake Donnelly (Londonderry, N.H./Londonderry) took 44th (30:45.3), and first-year Pat McGloine (Schuylerville, N.Y./Schuylerville) nabbed 52nd (31:28.6) in his college debut. Senior James Downs (Winchester, Mass./Winchester) rounded out his team's top seven in 53rd place (31:30.5).

Sophomore Katie Culliton (Glens Falls, N.Y./Glens Falls) led the women by taking 28th of 82 runners in the 6K race (25:57.9), followed closely by first-year Addy Dolley (Brunswick, Maine/Brunswick) in 29th (25:57.9) with virtually the same time. Junior Maggie Burnham (Holden, Mass./Wachusett Regional) was 35th (26:15.2), senior Rachel Smith (Old Forge, N.Y./Town of Webb) crossed the line in 38th (26:31.3), and junior Hallie Benton (Limerick, Maine/Massabesic) placed 40th (26:41.1) during her college debut. Sophomore Abby Kittler (Pittsfield, Mass./Pittsfield) took 42nd (26:43.8), ahead of senior Ingrid Boland (Old Saybrook, Conn./Old Saybrook Senior) in 47th (27:04.5).


Field Hockey (1-3, 0-1) Splits Road Pair, Downs Ninth-Ranked Southern New Hampshire, 5-2

The Saint Michael's College field hockey team went 1-1 on the road last week, opening play by defeating ninth-ranked Southern New Hampshire University, 5-2, on Wednesday before losing to the University of New Haven, 3-0, during its Northeast-10 Conference opener on Saturday. By downing the Penmen during a non-league affair between NE10 counterparts, the Purple Knights beat their first nationally-ranked foe since 2015, as the Penmen qualified for the 2019 NCAA Tournament and earned a ranking in the National Field Hockey Coaches Association (NFHCA) preseason poll.

Senior Jenna Puleo (Essex Junction, Vt./Essex/Providence) put together a seven-point day at Southern New Hampshire, scoring twice and handing out three assists to play a role in all five goals. Classmate Bonnie Gillis (Milford, N.H./Bishop Guertin) also scored, while junior Erickson Richard (Madison, Conn./Daniel Hand) and first-year Abby Farrington (Bennington, Vt./Burr and Burton Academy) each tallied their first college goals. First-year Riley O'Connor (Canton, Mass./Canton) made a career-high 14 saves, including 13 in the first half, and senior Erin Hammer (Clifton Park, N.Y./Shenendehowa) recorded a defensive save. Sophomore Bridgie Loughlin (Kingston, N.Y./Kingston) added an assist.

O'Connor made seven saves at New Haven. After Purple Knight first-year goalkeepers combined to start two games in the nearly 25 complete seasons between Oct. 7, 1995, and the 2019 campaign, O'Connor has already started three times this season.


Men's Soccer (2-1) Defeats Saint Anselm, 1-0, on McCaskill's Goal

The Saint Michael's College men's soccer team won its lone game last week, defeating Saint Anselm College, 1-0, on Saturday at home in a non-conference meeting between Northeast-10 Conference foes.

Senior Isaiah McCaskill (Springfield, Mass./Springfield Renaissance School/Becker) struck for the game's only goal in the 67th minute, tallying during his home debut after transferring to the College as a junior. Sophomore Ian Boudreau (Simsbury, Conn./Simsbury) made five saves during his first college start, recording his first win and shutout in the process. Senior Kyle Brady (Needham, Mass./Worcester Academy) and sophomore Gray Pierson (Framingham, Mass./Framingham) both handed out an assist. McCaskill's goal, his 16th in a 39-game career that included two years at Becker College, was the first allowed by Saint Anselm this fall. The Purple Knights won their fourth straight home opener, and sixth in seven years. Eighteen of the past 23 meetings between Saint Michael's and Saint Anselm were decided by one goal or less.


Women's Soccer (3-1, 1-0) Wins Pair of 1-0 Affairs, Downs Regionally-Ranked Pace in NE10 Opener

The Saint Michael's College women's soccer team went 2-0 last week, besting visiting Dominican (N.Y.) College, 1-0, in overtime on Wednesday before defeating regionally-ranked Pace University, 1-0, on Saturday during their Northeast-10 Conference opener. The Setters were 10th in last week's United Soccer Coaches East Region poll.

First-year back Elani Gikas (Peabody, Mass./Bishop Fenwick) buried a 92nd-minute free kick from 40 yards out against Dominican, scoring her first career goal in the process. Junior Katie Escobedo (New Rochelle, N.Y./Maria Regina) made a career-high-tying eight saves. The teams played for the first time, as Gikas became the initial Saint Michael's first-year to net an overtime winner since Liz Freiberger '11 on Oct. 13, 2007.

Saint Michael's was credited with a 57th-minute own goal at Pace for the contest's lone tally. Escobedo made five saves as the Purple Knights improved to 3-1 for the first time since 2008. The Purple and Gold had last won its NE10 opener in 2016 and had not claimed its NE10 road opener since 2001. Each of the Purple and Gold's last six games since 2019 has been decided by a goal or less, as all three of its wins this year are by 1-0 finals. Through just four games, Saint Michael's already has its most 1-0 wins since 2009. The Purple Knights snapped Pace's regular-season shutout streak at 510:06, a run that began on Nov. 2, 2019.


Women's Tennis (1-2, 0-1) Opens Season with Three-Match Week, Collins Lands First Coaching Victory

The Saint Michael's College women's tennis team opened the season by going 1-2 last week, losing to regional Division III power Colby-Sawyer-College, 5-2, on Monday before downing the State University of New York at Plattsburgh, 6-1, on Wednesday. The Purple Knights lost their Northeast-10 Conference opener at Assumption University, 6-1, on Sunday. Megan Collins picked up her first career head coaching victory during the week.

Against Colby-Sawyer, which qualified for seven NCAA Division III Tournaments since 2013, junior Ava Albis (Hamden, Conn./Hamden) registered two wins while seniors Elly McKenna (Lowell, Mass./Lowell Catholic) and Annie Serkes (Garden City, N.Y./Sacred Heart Academy) both notched a victory. Albis earned her first win since Oct. 5, 2019, and McKenna her first since Oct. 9, 2019, as neither competed during the 2020-21 school year. The duo lost 6-4 at No. 1 doubles; McKenna had never played higher than No. 3. Serkes, who also sat out last season, won for the first time since Oct. 5, 2019. Senior Abby Edelmann (Boxford, Mass./Masconomet Regional) and junior Bree Cotroneo (Middlebury, Vt./Middlebury Union) fell at No. 2 doubles, while Serkes and senior Sarah Knickerbocker (Essex Junction, Vt./Essex) lost a 6-4 decision in the third spot. Albis, who had never played higher than No. 3 singles, won a lengthy 6-2, 3-6, 10-1 contest in the top spot, appearing for the first time since Oct. 12, 2019, while Serkes won 6-2, 6-1 at No. 5. Edelmann, Cotroneo and McKenna lost at No. 2, 3 and 4, respectively, while first-year Emma Posada (Peru, N.Y./Peru) made her college debut in a loss at No. 6.

Albis, Cotroneo, Edelmann and McKenna all won twice against SUNY Plattsburgh, while Serkes added a victory. Cotroneo earned the first wins of her career, while McKenna claimed her initial singles win since Oct. 2, 2018, appearing in just her sixth singles match. Albis and McKenna sided for a 6-1 win at No. 1 doubles before Cotroneo and Edelmann completed a 6-2 triumph in the second spot. Knickerbocker and Serkes fell by a slim 6-4 count at No. 3. During singles play, Cotroneo (6-1, 6-2) and Albis (6-2, 6-1) downed their foes at No. 3 and 1, respectively, in succession to push the Purple Knights to a 3-0 lead. Edelmann secured Saint Michael's the team victory by outlasting her opponent in the second spot, 7-6 (8-6), 6-3. McKenna (6-0, 6-3) and Serkes (6-2, 6-3) followed with straight-set victories in the fourth and fifth positions, respectively. Knickerbocker put together a close opening set during an eventual 7-5, 6-1 loss at No. 6.

Serkes moved to 3-0 in singles this fall against Assumption during her first NE10 match since Oct. 12, 2019. The tandems of Albis/McKenna, Cotroneo/Edelmann and Knickerbocker/Serkes played at No. 1, 2 and 3 doubles, respectively, all losing. Serkes rallied for a 4-6, 7-5, 10-3 win at No. 5 singles to capture the Purple and Gold's point. Albis, Edelmann, Cotroneo, McKenna and Posada lost in straight sets at No. 1, 2, 3, 4 and 6, respectively.


Women's Volleyball (1-2) Plays Three Matches During Opening Week, Nauheimer Wins First as Head Coach

The Saint Michael's College women's volleyball team went 1-2 as it opened the season last week with three road matches. The Purple Knights lost at Middlebury College, 3-0, on Tuesday during their first match since Nov. 16, 2019, before losing to host Plymouth State University, 3-1, on Saturday but downing the University of New England, 3-1, later in the day at Plymouth State. Second-year head coach Jeanne Nauheimer '09, whose squad had its 2020 season canceled, earned her first career college head coaching victory.

At Middlebury, senior Abby Gallagher (Kingston, Mass./Silver Lake Regional) notched seven kills, three digs and an ace, while junior Beth Syverson (Huntington, Vt./Mount Mansfield Union/Emmanuel [Mass.]) posted four kills, three digs, two aces and a block in her first match wearing Purple and Gold. Classmate Brigid Heinrich (Syracuse, N.Y./Westhill) swung at a .600 clip for three kills with one block, and classmate Caroline Curley (Duxbury, Mass./Duxbury) and sophomore Haley Stanton (Nashua, N.H./Nashua North) also had three kills and one block apiece. First-year Aaliyah Huihui-Martinez (Salinas, Calif./Notre Dame) totaled nine digs, two assists and an ace, classmate Sydney Krause (Saginaw, Mich./Valley Lutheran) contributed nine assists, two kills and a block, while first-year Alexandra Báez Rentas (San Juan, Puerto Rico/New Dimensions) posted seven assists, six digs and an ace. Senior Jaeden Cruz (Makakilo, Hawaii/Saint Francis School) added five digs.

Against Plymouth State, Gallagher recorded eight kills, eight digs and three aces, while Heinrich turned in six kills. Syverson had five kills and two blocks, while Báez Rentas totaled 13 assists and 17 digs. Krause also had 13 assists, adding eight digs, while first-year Syrah Wright (Richmond, Vt./Mount Mansfield Union) and Huihui-Martinez turned in 11 and eight digs, respectively.

Gallagher had career highs of 14 kills and 15 digs against the University of New England, while Curley also reached career highs in kills (10) and digs (5). Sophomore Caitlin O'Connor (Bourne, Mass./Bourne) dropped eight kills, Syverson netted seven kills, and Krause handed out 25 assists. Báez Rentas contributed 13 assists, 15 digs and two aces, Huihui-Martinez totaled 27 digs and two aces, and Wright posted nine digs.