Courtside

Your Guide to GW sports

This post was written by Hatchet staff writer Nora Princiotti

The women’s basketball team added a fifth piece to its highly touted recruiting class, signing Colombian guard Camila Tapias to a National Letter of Intent, the athletics department announced Friday.

Tapias, a 5-foot-6 combo guard and native of Bogotá, is a smooth-stroking lefty with deep range. Tapias led IMG Academy with 14.5 points, 5.4 assists and 2.0 steals per game, while shooting 40 percent from beyond the arc.

Tapias, who reportedly had offers from Georgetown, Auburn and San Diego State, will be added to a Colonials backcourt that has major shoes to fill with the graduations of Danni Jackson and Megan Nipe, who left gaps on the perimeter for the Colonials.

“[Tapias] is a talented left-handed player who will be able to score in a variety of ways in our high-scoring offense,” head coach Jonathan Tsipis said in a release. “With the graduation of [Jackson and Nipe], we are excited to add Cami to our talented core of perimeter players that will make up the 2014-15 roster.”

Tapias also has experience in the international circuit. She was the second best scorer in the world at the 2012 FIBA Americas Championships and led the Columbian U-18 National Team by averaging 15.0 points and three three-point field goals per game.

Tapias joins guards Brianna Cummings and Mia Farmer as well as post players Jada Matthews and Kelli Prange, who all signed letters of intent during the early signing period last November. The quartet had already been ranked as the Atlantic 10’s top recruiting class and the No. 41 recruiting class in the nation by Blue Star Report, prior to the addition of Tapias.

“[Tapias'] addition to our 2014 class gives us the ability to score the basketball from all over the floor,” Tsipis said. “[Tapias] joins [Matthews, Farmer, Prange and Cummings] as players who have been successful at a high level, and we are excited to coach them for the next four years.”

The new additions will join a Colonials squad that finished last season 23-11, a nine-win improvement from a year ago.

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Senior Viktor Svensson prepares to serve the ball in GW's 5-2 victory over Georgetown. Zach Montellaro | Hatchet Staff Photographer

This post was written by Hatchet reporter Aaron Esparza

The No. 57 men’s tennis team took care of business in the quarterfinals of the Atlantic 10 Championship, blanking Dayton 4-0 Friday.

The top-seeded Colonials started the match with a comfortable 8-3 doubles win from senior duo Ulrik Thomsen and Viktor Svensson. The team then clinched the doubles point after senior Nikita Fomin and sophomore Danil Zelenkov won defeated their opponents 8-5.

Tied 5-5 against the Dayton duo of Josh Maylon and Bernardo Sanson, the No. 62  ranked pair of junior Francisco Dias and freshman Julius Tverijonas saw play suspended once the doubles play point had been decided by their teammates’ respective wins.

​In singles, the team expanded its early lead with a quick win (6-0, 6-1) from Thomsen in the No. 6 slot. Tverijonas increased the lead to 3-0 with a win (6-1, 6-2) in the No. 4 slot. Svensson clinched the match for the Colonials against Dayton’s Andy Druffel (6-4, 6-1) out of the No. 5 position.

The dominant display by the Colonials prevented the top three slots from finishing their matches, highlighting GW’s deep roster.

The Colonials will continue play Saturday in a semifinals match against  No. 4 seeded Richmond. The Spiders defeated George Mason 4-1 Friday to advance to Saturday’s semifinal. GW topped the Spiders 6-1 at home in their last meeting on April 5.

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This post was written by Hatchet staff writer Nora Princiotti.

The men’s basketball team recruited two more highly-touted players, the athletics department announced Thursday, with Matt Cimino and Yuta Watanabe signing National Letters of Intent.

Cimino, the big man from Worcester Academy, posted 13.8 points, 8.2 rebounds and 1.6 blocks in his senior season as a Hilltopper. One of the top 25 centers in the 2014 recruiting class, the three-star recruit could make an immediate impact filling in for graduating senior Isaiah Armwood. With his 6-foot-10 frame and solid outside shooting skills, he will serve as a strong counterpart in the frontcourt alongside sophomore Kevin Larsen.

“Matt is a very skilled post player who can stretch the defense with his outside shooting,” head coach Mike Lonergan said in a release. “He has a nice inside-outside game and with continued hard work in the weight room he will become a very good player for us.”

Watanabe is another three-star recruit who will bring solid international experience and a smooth stroke to the Colonials lineup. Originally from Japan, Watanabe averaged 13 points and six rebounds in a 26-8 season at St. Thomas More Prep, making it to the National Prep Championship game, where he scored a team-high 25 points to cap off his first season in the U.S. Back in Japan last May, the 6-foot-8 forward played for the Japanese National Team in the FIBA East Asia Championships.

“Yuta is a very versatile player who can play several positions,” Lonergan said in the release. “He has the ball-handling and shooting abilities of a guard and the athleticism and height of a forward. We expect him to make an immediate impact for us because of his combination of skills.”

Both players will have opportunities to impact next year’s squad, though physical development is a must. Both Cimino and Watanabe are listed at only 200 lbs.

The recruits, which also includes NLI signees Darian Bryant, Paul Jorgensen and Anthony Swan, will join a team coming off a 24-9 season and trip to the NCAA tournament. The Colonials will strive to fill the holes left by the team’s leading scorer, graduate student guard Maurice Creek, and its captain, Armwood, who averaged 12.7 points and 8.4 rebounds per game.

“All five of our signees are very talented and driven, and we expect them to mesh well with our returning players to help us continue to build the program and capitalize on the success of the 2013-14 season,” Lonergan said.

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Tuesday, April 15, 2014 7:09 p.m.

NCAA votes to lift meal restrictions

Director of Athletics Patrick Nero

Athletic director Patrick Nero has spoken out against the NCAA’s rule on feeding athletes. Hatchet File Photo

Good news for hungry GW athletes.

The National Collegiate Athletic Association will likely allow student athletes to get access to unlimited meals and snacks from their universities – abolishing a rule that athletic director Patrick Nero had been advocating against.

Currently, student athletes receive three meals a day or a food stipend. Additionally, partial-scholarship athletes, walk-ons and commuters are not included in the meal plans and instead pay for their own food.

That’s been a big problem at universities like GW, which has a non-traditional dining plan and expensive on-campus options.

“We hear from our students that it runs out mid-semester,” Nero told the Wall Street Journal on Tuesday.

He added that the University had appealed the NCAA to establish its own cafeteria for athletes on campus, but was denied.

If the NCAA’s Legislative Council’s proposal is finalized by the Division I Board of Directors on April 24, athletes will be afforded unlimited meals as early as Aug. 1.

The pressure to change the bylaw was heightened when University of Connecticut point guard Shabazz Napier told reporters that he sometimes goes to bed “starving” because he doesn’t have enough to eat.

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This post was written by Hatchet staff writer Nora Princiotti.

The women’s water polo team may have shut the door on its chance to play in the postseason Sunday, completing a disappointing weekend of play at the Collegiate Water Polo Association Southern Division Championships in which they went 1-2.

GW placed fifth out of six teams in the tournament, falling to both Princeton and Harvard Saturday, while narrowly defeating sixth-seeded Mercyhurst in the fifth-place game Sunday morning.

The Colonials find out Monday if they will receive an at-large bid for the CWPA Championships, though head coach Scott Reed called the team’s chances “slim to none.”

“It was definitely not what we hoped to accomplish this weekend,” Reed said.

In some ways the weekend went as expected – GW was seeded fifth when play opened Saturday afternoon – but the lack of scoring was particularly disappointing.

The Colonials were plagued by a feeble offense which shot a dismal 18 percent through their three weekend games.

“It was really tough to overcome some poor shooting on our part,” Reed said. “It was just a bad, bad shooting weekend.”

The Colonials didn’t score until the fourth quarter in Saturday’s opener against top-seeded Princeton, eventually dropping the game 16-2. The two GW goals came from freshmen Ally Bakos and Maddy Johnson, but again, were far too late in the game to have any impact. Goalkeepers Chandler Vilander and Caterina Sesana combined for just five saves in the game, unable to stop the barrage of the Tiger offense.

Reed said his team struggled to shake off that loss going into the ensuing afternoon game against Harvard. They tightened up, he said, and let their offensive struggles continue, falling to the Crimson 12-3.

“When it becomes harder and harder to put those balls in the net, we tend to try harder and harder, and sometimes it creates some easy opportunities for the other team, especially in the transition game,” Reed said.

Johnson remained consistent for the Colonials, tallying a goal in the afternoon game, while sophomore Hannah Cox scored GW’s other two unnoticed goals. It was a blowout that Reed said came from a lack of focus on the tournament’s bigger stage.

“It’s a matter of focusing on what you need to do and how you shoot the ball, but it’s a big weekend, it’s really hard to do that and focus on those things,” Reed said.

In the final game, senior Megan Brolley led a Colonials surge after GW surrendered an early 6-4 lead to the Lakers and found themselves down 7-6 with two minutes to play. Brolley tied the score at seven with one-minute left to play and scored again with 14 seconds remaining to help her team avoid a last-place finish at the Championships.

“On the defensive side of things we had a lot of off opportunities and it was one of those things where we were still struggling offensively” Reed said. “But we were able to grind out the eight goals that we needed to win the game.”

Brolley, who added four steals against Mercyhurst, is part of a senior core of players who have led the team all season long.

“The seniors, as always, made some very good contributions,” Reed said. “It’s an emotional time without a doubt, but they’ve put everything that they could into it.”

It’s likely that group will have played their last collegiate games, especially after Bucknell – who the Colonials topped 8-7 during the regular season – upset Harvard to gain ground in the Southern Division standings.

The Colonials finish the regular season with a 12-15 overall record.

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This post was written by Hatchet staff writer Aaron Esparza.

For the No. 54 men’s tennis team, this weekend’s impressive pair of wins against local rivals, Georgetown and George Mason, weren’t unexpected, but they were important steps on the team’s journey for a top seed in the upcoming Atlantic-10 Tournament.

In Friday’s Senior Day matchup against Georgetown (7-11), the Colonials were propelled to an easy win by the mixture of emotions, clinching the meet early at the No. 2 singles spot. While the team collectively dominated in singles, freshman Julius Tverijonas and senior Ulrik Thomsen undoubtedly stood out with their straight sets wins.

Senior Nikita Fomin hits a serve during GW's 5-2 victory over Georgetown. Zach Montellaro | Hatchet Staff Photographer

Senior Nikita Fomin hits a serve during GW’s 5-2 victory over Georgetown. Zach Montellaro | Hatchet Staff Photographer

In doubles, with the match already won, the Colonials tested with new lineups – something they had been hesitant to do all season because of their lack of depth. The consistent No. 1 group of junior Francisco Dias and Tverijonas won, 8-4, but the experimental pairings of Thomsen and senior Sinan Ipeker, as well as Fomin and sophomore Azan Piperno proved to be less successful.

Overall, however, it was, “a really nice way to wrap it up,” said Svensson, describing his last ever home match at GW.

“It was a very special feeling to finish up the last match on the GW courts with a win and seeing my fellow seniors also winning,” Fomin said, “I was very happy to end on a good note. But to have the last match on the GW courts was a little bit sad so it was a mixed feeling.”

Senior Ulrik Thomsen serves the ball in GW's 5-2 victory over Georgetown. Zach Montellaro | Hatchet Staff Photographer

Senior Ulrik Thomsen serves the ball in GW’s 5-2 victory over Georgetown. Zach Montellaro | Hatchet Staff Photographer

The (5-2) victory put the team back in the win column after a ranked loss last week to Wake Forest last week.

Saturday’s win against George Mason (12-8) brought GW within one point of the Patriots in the tight Revolutionary Rivalry, 8-7.

In doubles play, the No. 1 duo of Dias and Tverijonas – No. 86 in the nation – were tested by George Mason’s Joe Hill and James Lange, but eventually took the win in a tiebreaker. Apart from that small hiccup, the Colonials easily took the doubles point with convincing wins at the No. 2 and No. 3 slots.

In singles, GW never faced any serious threat, with all six players winning in straight sets. In the end, the Colonials took the win 7-0 and moved to 14-6 on the season with a 3-0 record in conference play.

According to head coach Greg Munoz, the weekend’s wins will not raise the team’s position to a No. 1 seed in the A-10, but will help them solidify the No. 2 slot. These wins make the squad “mentally fresh,” he said, knowing that they are “playing our best tennis [of the season].”

If the Colonials maintain their No. 2 seeding, their first tournament match will be a Friday matchup at 1:00 p.m. in Charlottesville, VA next week.

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This post was written by Hatchet reporter Ellee Watson.

The Colonials offense proved to be aggressive, but unfortunately not deep enough against the Towson Tigers Wednesday.

Senior Owen Beightol hits in GW's win over George Mason earlier this season. The senior led the Colonials with three hits against Towson Wednesday. Zach Montellaro | Hatchet Staff Photographer

Senior Owen Beightol hits in GW’s win over George Mason earlier this season. The senior led the Colonials with three hits against Towson Wednesday. Zach Montellaro | Hatchet Staff Photographer

GW outhit the Tigers 12-10, but couldn’t get the big hit when it needed, leaving a total of nine runners on base and allowing Towson to grab the win, 5-3.

Towson got on the board first in the top of the second inning, with two runs off three hits.The Colonials quickly answered in the bottom half of the frame to take the lead 3-2. Senior Owen Beightol hit a double, and freshman Colin Gibbons-Fly singled to left field for an RBI. Sophomore Matthieu Robèrt followed with hit-by-pitch and later scored on a sacrifice fly from freshman Kevin Mahala. Fellow freshman Eli Kashi gave GW the early lead with a single up the middle that scored Gibbons-Fly for the final run of the inning.

The Colonials could not capitalize on their offense, though, over the next three innings and were left with their slim one-run advantage. They left two runners on base at the end of the third, fourth and seventh innings.

The Tigers, on the other hand, secured the win with some timely hitting: a solo home run from Brady Policelli in the top of the fourth inning and an RBI single from Pat Fitzgerald earned them back the lead.

Freshman righty Jordan Sheinkop started his first collegiate game for GW, staying in until the top of the sixth inning with a pitch count of 78. He allowed four earned runs off of six hits.

Senior Luke Staub stepped up to the mound to keep his team within scoring distance, and did, giving up four hits, but no runs in relief. GW couldn’t push any late runs across, though, and the score held at 5-3.

Freshman lead-off hitter Joey Bartosic and senior Owen Beightol led the Colonials’ offense with three hits each. Mahala, Kashi and Gibbons-Fly each had an RBI on the day.

Last season, the Colonials finished 17th in stolen bases in Division I baseball. They have continued to try and overcome their lack of power with speed this season, going 35-55 on stolen base attempts. In crucial moments down the stretch Wednesday, though, the aggressiveness didn’t pay off, with Beightol getting caught stealing in the seventh inning and Freshman Bobby Campbell getting caught in the ninth.

The Colonials travel to Philadelphia, Pa. this weekend for a three-game Atlantic 10 series against La Salle.

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This post was written by Hatchet staff writer Nora Princiotti.

Women’s water polo senior Rachael Bentley was named the Collegiate Water Polo Association Southern Division Player of the Week Wednesday, after her record-breaking week of clutch scoring.

The Colonials went 2-1 against three division rivals las week, which the award covers, topping Mercyhurst and Bucknell, while falling to league-heavyweight Princeton.

Women's water polo senior Rachael Bentley. Courtesy of GW Athletics.

Women’s water polo senior Rachael Bentley. Courtesy of GW Athletics.

Bentley scored nine goals Saturday, bumping her into first place on GW’s all time scorers list with 173 career goals. She also holds the program’s assist record, with 186 dimes, and total points record, with 359.

In the 13-5 win over Mercyhurst, she tallied nine points – tied for second most in a single game in team history. She scored five goals on perfect shooting, added four assists and grabbed a career-high four steals. Bentley was ruthlessly efficient all weekend, making 69 percent of her shots overall.

Against Bucknell – a perennial rival of the Colonials – she scored half of GW’s eight goals, including a game-winning goal with 51 seconds remaining to make it 8-7. She counted for all three of GW’s fourth quarter goals.

Bentley was relatively quiet in the Colonials 16-6 loss to No. 10 Princeton Sunday, though she did tally three assists. In all, she totaled 16 points on nine goals and seven assists through the three games.

The weekend as a whole gave GW a 2-3 record in the always-tough Southern Division and a five-seed in the upcoming CWPA Southern Division Championships.

GW will face the top-seeded Tigers and fourth-seeded Harvard Saturday in a round robin to determine the ranking they will compete for Sunday in Cambridge, Mass.

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This post was written by Hatchet reporter Rob Bartnichak.

Coming off two victories this past weekend, women’s tennis sophomore Lana Robins was named Atlantic 10 Women’s Tennis Co-Performer of the Week, the league announced yesterday.

The award is the third of the season for Robins, who was named Performer of the Week on April 4 and February 4.

Women's tennis sophomore Lana Robins. Courtesy of GW Athletics.

Women’s tennis sophomore Lana Robins. Courtesy of GW Athletics.

Robins was a crucial part of the Colonials’ unbeaten weekend, securing two singles victories at the No. 1 position that helped the team win in come-from-behind fashion against Xavier and conference rival Richmond. GW won both matches by a score of 4-3.

Against the Spiders, Robins secured the first singles point for her team after they dropped two doubles matches. Freshman Taylor Nederlander (6-2, 6-7, 6-4), sophomore Stephanie Wei (7-6, 6-4), and senior Isabella Escobar (7-5, 6-3) also added singles wins to earn the victory.

The Bellavue, Wash. native owns an overall record of 16-9 this season and a 5-4 record while playing at the No. 1 spot.

With the two wins this past weekend, the women’s tennis team improved to 7-5 overall and 4-2 in
the A-10.

The team is back in action on the road Saturday against Morgan State at 1 p.m. The Colonials next conference match is April 19 at home against George Mason at 11 a.m.

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GW had the first openly transgender athlete in Division I sports. Now, Massachusetts has the first openly gay men’s basketball player.

Sophomore guard Derrick Gordon, who plays for conference rival UMass, became the first openly gay male athlete in Division I basketball Wednesday, coming out in interviews with ESPN and Outsports.

Sophomore guard Derrick Gordon. Courtesy of UMass Athletics.

Sophomore guard Derrick Gordon. Courtesy of UMass Athletics.

Colonials fans will know Gordon as one of the Minutemen’s best starters. Against GW on Feb. 15, Gordon scored 11 points and grabbed three rebounds, as the Minutemen served the Colonials their only home loss of the season, 67-61.

In the Atlantic 10 Championship quarterfinals, Gordon scored eight points and pulled in four boards, as GW got revenge with a win and a trip to the semifinals.

As a starter for head coach Derek Kellogg this year, Gordon averaged 9.4 points and 3.5 rebounds.

Kevin Larsen drives past Derrick Gordon in GW's Atlantic 10 quarterfinals win in Brooklyn, N.Y. Cameron Lancaster | Assistant Photo Editor

Kevin Larsen drives past Derrick Gordon in GW’s Atlantic 10 quarterfinals win in Brooklyn, N.Y. Cameron Lancaster | Assistant Photo Editor

The announcement comes just a few months after NFL prospect and former Missouri defensive lineman, Michael Sam, became the first openly gay NFL draftee.

Gordon said it was not Sam, but Jason Collins – the NBA’s first actively gay player – who inspired him to come out to his teammates April 2. Collins, who announced he is gay last April, signed with the Brooklyn Nets in early March.

“When Jason came back to the league, that’s when I started to build a little more confidence about myself,” Gordon told ESPN. “If the NBA can accept him, then everything is going to be fine in my book.”

Gordon’s teammates were 100 percent supportive when he spoke to them in a team meeting, he said, and gave him words of encouragement like, “We got you,” “you’re our family,” and “this doesn’t change anything.”

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