2015 Albertus Magnus Fall Athletic Season Preview

2015 Albertus Magnus Fall Athletic Season Preview

New Haven, Conn. – Although the weather is still hot and humid in the Elm City, the fall athletic season is already underway at Albertus Magnus College. Earlier this week, the men’s soccer team, the women’s soccer team and the women’s volleyball team all played their first regular season contests. Later this month, the women’s tennis team will take to the courts in its first action and the men’s golf team hits the links for their first competitive action as well.

“We are ready for an exciting and eventful fall athletic season,” Albertus Magnus College Director of Athletics Jim Abromaitis said. “We are looking forward to our teams competing for GNAC Championships this autumn. It will be an especially exciting time as our men’s golf team will now be competing at the varsity level.”

Women’s Soccer
This year’s women’s soccer team is loaded with talent and looks to advance deep in post-season play. In the season opener, the Falcons played to a 1-1 draw on the road versus in-state rival Eastern Connecticut State. In the tilt, sophomore Victoria Lavery (West Haven, Conn.) scored her first career goal for Albertus.

The team returns four of its top-five scorers from last fall led by junior midfielder Danielle Polvan (East Haven, Conn.). In 2014, Polvan was a First Team All-GNAC selection and led the team with 25 points thanks to 11 goals and a trio of assists. Other returning scoring threats for the Falcons are junior Kaitlyn Fedumenti (Statford, Conn.), senior Acacia Nelson (Bridgeport, Conn.) and classmate Kelly Kennedy (North Branford, Conn).

On the back end, sophomore Nikki Kern (Wallingford, Conn.) anchors a strong defense. An experienced group will contribute and compete for playing time in front of senior goalkeeper Maria Case (West Haven, Conn.). Case, a three-year starter and two-time All-GNAC performer, has recorded 13 shutouts and won 23 games during her stellar career.

The team was picked to finish fourth in the GNAC Preseason Poll.

“Coach Adams and I are excited about this team heading into our season,” Albertus Magnus women’s soccer Head Coach Nick Wajnowski said. “Our goal every year is to go win the GNAC, and this year is no different.  We will look to our seven seniors to lead us through this season as we look to secure a top seed in the conference tourney.  From there we will look to make a run at a title."

Men’s Soccer
The Albertus Magnus men’s soccer team opened the 2015 season with a 2-1 road victory versus Newbury in non-conference action. With the score tied at one late in regulation junior Alex Zapata (Hamden, Conn.) sent the ball into the box and sophomore midfielder Justyn Broderick (Orange, Conn.) headed it past the Nighthawks keeper. Earlier in the contest, Zapata opened the scoring with his 14th career goal.

Just like the women’s team, the men return four of their top-five scorers from last fall as well. Zapata, Alexis Garcia-Romero (West Haven, Conn.) and Austin Tomin (Hamden, Conn.) all were named to the All-GNAC Second Team in 2014. Garcia-Romero had a team-high 14 goals, five game-winning goals and 33 points a year ago, while Zapata led the squad with 11 assists.

Defensively, sophomore Alex Perez (Hamden, Conn.) anchors a young but experienced back line. Junior Earl McCoy (Hamden, Conn.), sophomore Ben Colter (Guilford, Conn.) and Tomin will add depth to the defense as well. In goal, sophomore Griffin Volta (Orange, Conn.) was stellar in the season opener and will look to build on his highly successful freshman campaign. As a first-year, he went 9-7-2 with five shutouts, 74 saves and a 1.30 goals-against average.

The team was picked to finish third in the conference in the GNAC Preseason Poll.

“This year's team has a good mix of returning players and newcomers that are extremely talented,” men’s soccer Head Coach Jim Bernardo said. “They are working hard and pushing each other every day to get to our ultimate goal of a GNAC Championship and an NCAA Tournament bid.”

Women’s Volleyball
The Albertus women’s volleyball team opened the year with a 3-2 victory on the road against York on Wednesday. With the score knotted at two games apiece, the visitors took the final game to score a 25-11, 20-25, 25-20, 11-25, 15-11 triumph. In the contest, Albertus had 30 kills, 26 assists, 20 service aces and 46 digs.

Leading the charge in the victory against the Cardinals was freshman middle hitter Megan Gritz (Milford, Conn.) with 11 kills and four aces. Also in the win, sophomore defensive specialist Marielis Muriel (New Haven, Conn.) did a good job distributing the ball, dishing out 24 assists. Muriel also was a force on the defensive end, recording 10 digs to register a double-double.

Other players looking to contribute in 2015 are sophomore middle hitter Ana Gomez (New Haven, Conn.), senior right side Amber Cohens (West Haven, Conn.) and classmate Ramona Onofrio (East Haven, Conn.). All three players saw significant time in the season opener and each will look to lead a young team through the ups and down of GNAC play.

“My expectations for this season is for my team to be selfless, dedicated, hard-working, committed and to both encourage and inspire one another,” first-year women’s volleyball Head Coach Vanessa Rosario said. “My philosophy is best effort over performance.”

Golf
This fall, the Albertus Magnus College men’s golf team will compete as a varsity team in the GNAC for the first time. New Head Coach Ryan Quinn looks to take his professional teaching skills and build the program into a contender.

With the season just on the horizon, the team will look to a bevy a two-sport athletes and lone freshman recruit Elijah Thomas to field a strong scoring contingent of five players. Junior Aaron Macchiahas stood out in early sessions and shows a great deal of promise for the Falcons in his first year with program. Other golfers looking to land in the starting lineup are Zach Schatz, Anthony Pellegrino, Tom Moore and Tyler Donnan.

“Our goals this year are to be competitive, drop our scoring average and help get these student-athletes to achieve their personal goals that they have all set,” Quinn said.

Women’s Tennis
With a strong core of experienced and new student-athletes, the women’s tennis team is poised to make a leap up the league standing in 2015. A year ago, the Falcons won a trio of home contests, highlighted by back-to-back victories versus Vaughn and St. Joseph (Brooklyn) in late September.

The top returners on the courts this season for Albertus will be junior Zaida Velazco (Dominican Republic) and sophomore Kelsea Wildman (Hamden, Conn.). Both players each won four singles matches. Velazco competed for most of the year at No. 1, while Wildman earned all of her triumphs at No. 3. Although they didn’t partner with each other, the two combined to win five doubles matches. Shamain McAllister (Irvington, N.J) along with some promising first-year players will add depth for the Falcons and look to crack the starting lineup.