Courtside

Your Guide to GW sports

Athletic director Patrick Nero has named James Winchester the new head coach for the swimming and diving program, the athletic department announced Thursday.

The two-time NCAA assistant coach of the year honorable mention recipient will take the helm of the program that announced the departure of former coach Dan Rhinehart in early March. After announcing that Rhinehart would not return to the program, the athletic department kicked off a national search for his replacement.

“I am truly excited by this opportunity,” Winchester said in a release. “I believe the vision and commitment to excellence here at GW carries across all aspects of the university, and am excited about the tremendous potential of our program. I look forward to developing championship teams that will represent GW at the highest levels in the classroom, the pool, and in the community.”

Winchester has spent 11 years as a swimming coach, including time as an assistant for Drury University’s NCAA Division II National Championship women’s team in 2007 and D-II Champion men’s teams in 2007 and 2008. He was also head of recruiting as well as the Stroke and I.M. coach at the University of Utah and a coach at the University of New Orleans. Winchester has coached more than 40 All-Americans, nine National Champions and five World Top 100 swimmers. He has also recruited two Top 25 recruiting classes as a coach.

“James’ proven track record of coaching, mentoring and developing some of the world’s best swimmers made him an attractive candidate for this position, and we are excited to see what he will do with our student-athletes,” Nero said in a release.

Winchester will be tasked with rebuilding a men’s program that finished seventh out of eight teams and a women’s program that finished 11th out of 11 teams at the A-10 Championships this year.

  • Permalink
  • Comments

Two transfer guards have committed to the GW men’s basketball program, according to reports from CBSSports’ Jon Rothstein Tuesday.

Dartmouth transfer Alex Mitola and Seton Hall transfer Jaren Sina are the newest additions to the Colonials’ squad, joining the team following the announced departure of shooting guards Darian Bryant, Nick Griffin and Kethan Savage last month.

Mitola, a 5-foot-11 guard from Florham Park, N.J., is immediately eligible to play in the upcoming 2015-2016 season.

The skilled shooter averaged 12.4 points, 2.7 rebounds and 2.7 assists in his junior year with the Big Green and will add much needed depth to the Colonials’ backcourt, supporting rising seniors Joe McDonald and Patricio Garino next year should he choose to play immediately. Mitola also shot 85 percent from the free throw line as a third-year, better than any Colonial last season.

Sina is ineligible for the team’s upcoming campaign but will have two years of eligibility remaining, starting with the 2016-2017 season.

The 6-foot-2, Lake Hopatcong, N.J. native averaged 7.0 points, 2.5 rebounds and 2.3 assists last season as a sophomore with the Pirates. Sina led his team with 35 minutes on the floor in Seton Hall’s narrow 58-54 victory over GW on Nov. 29, 2014, but scored zero points on five field goal attempts.

Mitola and Sina have been teammates before, as they both played for Gill St. Bernard’s school in high school.

  • Permalink
  • Comments

Freshman Yuta Watanabe releases a shot in a game against DePaul in December. Cameron Lancaster | Photo Editor

Freshman Yuta Watanabe releases a shot in a game against DePaul in December. Cameron Lancaster | Photo Editor

Men’s basketball freshman Yuta Watanabe has been invited to greet Shinzō Abe, the prime minister of Japan, at the White House next Tuesday, the athletic department announced Wednesday.

Watanabe was invited by the White House Office of Public Engagement to attend Prime Minister Abe’s offical arrival ceremony on the White House South Lawn. Watanabe will also attend a private luncheon at the State Department hosted by Vice President Joe Biden and Secretary of State John Kerry.

Watanabe is the fourth-ever Japanese born basketball player to play at the NCAA Division I level, and started 10 games for the Colonials this season. He will be joined by GW head coach Mike Lonergan and fellow international student athlete Kevin Larsen, who is from Denmark.

Watanabe’s rookie year was followed closely in his hometown of Kagawa, and around Japan where The Japan Times nicknamed him the country’s “Chosen One”. Watanabe has suited up for the Japanese National Team in the past and both his parents have played professional basketball there.

  • Permalink
  • Comments
Wednesday, April 22, 2015 1:03 a.m.

Recap: Baseball stages comeback win at Towson

This post was written by Hatchet staff writer Josh Solomon.

Midweek games have been tricky for the Colonials. Four of their 12 losses on the season have come courtesy of a Tuesday or Wednesday matchup.

Until the eighth inning Tuesday night at Towson, it seemed GW was bound for another midweek loss. But similar to their win Sunday against Fordham, the Colonials staged a late comeback. They scored six runs in the final two frames to defeat the Tigers 8-4 in their 24th win of the season.

Sophomore Eli Kashi played one of the best games of the day, going 2-3 with two runs scored, two RBI, one walk and one big home run. He led off the third inning with his first career dinger to score the first run of the game.

Kashi began the eighth inning with a seven pitch walk to leadoff the inning. Although the Colonials’ second baseman would be put out at third base, he started the inning with one of a pitcher’s worst fears: a leadoff walk.

GW tied it up in the eighth with the help of pinch-hitter sophomore Colin Gibbons-Fly. He singled in one run – hitting for sophomore Bobby Campbell – and then with runners on the corners, stole second, giving freshman Matt Cosentino the opportunity to steal home for the tie.

In the ninth, Kashi took the first pitch of his at bat and drove in the go-ahead run with an RBI single down the left field line. He would then steal second in a double steal while senior Xavier Parkmond headed to third. Later, they both scored insurance runs courtesy of a two RBI single up the middle from sophomore Joey Bartosic.

Bartosic, now batting a team-high .340 with 50 hits, went 3-5, drove in those two runs, scored three of his own and swiped two bags.

But some early pitching woes dug the Colonials’ hole. Freshman Brady Renner got the start, going three innings, giving up one run on three hits with 54 pitches. Sophomore Brandon Ritchie relieved him to start the fourth inning, giving up three runs, two earned, on three hits, one walk and one hit batsman. Freshman Tyler Swiggart came into the fifth inning with runners on first and second, only to balk them both into scoring position.

In the first five innings, just 41 percent of GW’s first pitches were thrown for strikes – 9 of 22.

The final four innings were pitched by juniors Randy Dalrymple and the eventual winner, Luke Olson – neither of whom allowed a run.

The Colonials will continue Atlantic 10 play on the road this weekend at George Mason. Last year, in the Patriots’ first season in the conference, they took two of three in Arlington. Mason would also go onto win the A-10 Championship and play two games in an NCAA Regional. This year they are 5-7 in conference play, looking to make a late move to qualify for the playoffs.

  • Permalink
  • Comments

Sophomore Paige Kovalsky hits the ball in a game over Coppin State earlier this season. The Colonials closed non-conference play Tuesday with a win over Georgetown. Dan Rich | Hatchet Photographer.

Sophomore Paige Kovalsky hits the ball in a game over Coppin State earlier this season. The Colonials closed non-conference play Tuesday with a win over Georgetown. Dan Rich | Hatchet Photographer.

Knotted at one in the bottom of the fourth, a hard line-drive rocketed up the middle, grazed a Georgetown glove and found its way into shallow center field to bring home two GW runs.

The base-hit from freshman right fielder Alana Anderson would prove to be the game-winner in softball’s non-conference finale against the Hoyas (13-28) Tuesday, as a hard-fought 4-2 victory marked the Colonials’ (22-20, 4-11 A-10) fourth consecutive win at home.

“[Anderson] has been really clutch for us,” head coach Stacey Schramm said. “She is just very light-hearted, takes everything with a grain of salt, and so that allows her to kind of relax at the plate.”

Anderson was not the only first-year who shined in the two-run win, as freshman starting pitcher Sarah Costlow (14-16) was charged with just one run on five hits, and matched a career-high five strikeouts en route to her 17th complete game of the season.

Costlow’s 14th win of the year also broke the program record for wins by a rookie, previously set at 13 by teammate Meghan Rico in 2013 and Amanda Gabriel in 2007.

“This season has been up-and-down, but it’s not about the records, I’m just proud of my team for getting another team win,” Costlow said.

Sophomore second baseman Megan Linn led off with a double to left center in the bottom of the first to provide GW with some early offensive momentum. Moving to third on a wild pitch later in the inning, Linn then scored on a sac fly from sophomore left fielder Bradleigh Breland to put GW on the board first.

After Costlow tossed two hitless innings, the Hoyas finally broke through in the top of the fourth when a runner scored on a Colonials’ error to even up the score at one a piece.

Senior shortstop Tori Valos got her team going in the bottom half of the frame by reaching base on a walk and ending up on third after a Georgetown error. Junior first baseman Carlee Gray was also walked and replaced by sophomore pinch runner Marissa Mangini who, along with Valos, was driven in by Anderson to give GW’s ace some breathing room.

“It’s so much easier to pitch with a lead. For one it kills the other team’s momentum and two it just pumps me up to keep us in the game,” Costlow said. “Today we just came out and played together more as a team, which is ultimately the thing that’s holding us back when we don’t do well.”

The Colonials would tack on one more run in the bottom of the fifth when freshman center fielder Rochelle Draper tagged up on a deep sac fly from Valos. Georgetown would respond with an RBI-double in the sixth to bring its deficit down to two, but GW’s steadfast defense would hold on for the win.

Tuesday’s triumph comes just days after the Colonials fell victim to a disheartening series sweep at the hands of first-place Dayton, which put them at a bleak 4-11 in Atlantic 10 play. But Schramm applauded her team’s defensive improvement in the victory over Georgetown that concluded a healthy, 18-9 non-conference campaign.

“We worked ahead on hitters and got the lead-off hitter out in every inning,” she said. “That’s the one thing I preached over the weekend and we didn’t do a good job of it, so this time we challenged the hitters, we used our defense and whenever you get the first hitter out of the inning, the advantage is in your favor.”

The Colonials look to get back on track in league play this weekend when they travel to Fordham to kick off a three-game series with the Rams beginning Saturday at noon.

  • Permalink
  • Comments

Sophomore Eddie Muhl throws a pitch in GW win over UMass earlier this season. Muhl leads the nation in saves with 14. Andrew Goodman | Hatchet Staff Photographer

Sophomore Eddie Muhl throws a pitch in GW win over UMass earlier this season. Muhl leads the nation in saves with 14. Andrew Goodman | Hatchet Staff Photographer

This post was written by Hatchet staff writer Josh Solomon.

The National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association announced Tuesday that sophomore Eddie Muhl was one of 39 players on its midseason watch list for the Stopper of the Year Award.

Muhl leads the nation with a total of 14 saves. Just over a week ago, Muhl set the GW all-time single season saves record with his 13th.

The five finalists will be announced June 3, before the NCAA Super Regional competition begins. The nation’s saves leader, plus four other outstanding closers will be nominated. The award will be handed out during the College World Series. No GW closer has ever won the award since its founding in 2005.

Muhl currently boasts a 0.47 ERA in 19.1 innings in 18 appearances. The 6-foot-4 righty out of Sherman Oaks, Calif. has struck out 17 and walked just four batters this season. He has thrown 12 straight scoreless innings dating back to March 14, his second-longest scoreless streak after he went 18.2 innings without giving up a run spanning the end of last season to the beginning of this one.

Muhl can enter further into Colonial lore by recording two more saves to tie Bryan Beggs, a 2001 alumnus who currently holds the career record for most saves with 17. Muhl would be in familiar company in the GW record books: His aunt Kas Allen, a 1988 alumna, is in the GW Athletic Hall of Fame as a former women’s basketball player.

  • Permalink
  • Comments

After sophomore Shea Cassidy scored the game-winning goal, teammates gathered around to celebrate the Colonials' come-from-behind, overtime victory on Friday. Andrew Goodman | Hatchet Staff Photographer

After sophomore Shea Cassidy scored the game-winning goal, teammates gathered around to celebrate the Colonials’ come-from-behind, overtime victory on Friday. Andrew Goodman | Hatchet Staff Photographer

This post was written by Hatchet staff writers Ellee Watson and Rob Bartnichak.

With major Atlantic 10 tournament implications on the line, lacrosse won back-to-back games for the first time this season, knocking off Duquesne and St. Bonaventure over the weekend to stay in the running for a playoff berth.

The Colonials are in a three-way tie for fourth place with La Salle and Duquesne in the A-10 conference. The top four make the playoffs, and GW has two more conference games left against No. 3 George Mason and No. 1 Massachusetts.

“I think we’re in a good position,” head coach Tracy Coyne said. “If we beat George Mason we control our destiny, we’re in. We won’t have to rely on anyone else.”

Sunday

The Colonials celebrated Senior Day in its last home game of the season Sunday, pulling out a crucial 16-10 win against St. Bonaventure.

GW honored eight seniors including co-captains Rachel Mia and Jamie Bumgardner who lead the A-10 in goals and assists, respectively. Mia scored five goals against St. Bonaventure for 43 goals. Bumgardner earned a goal and two assists to lead the conference with 27 assists this season.

In addition to the co-captains, the Colonials honored seniors Jacqui Stevens, Jenn Seitz, Rachel Quinn, Allie Rash, Casey Dell’Isola and Mackenzie Jones.

“These seniors, if we make the A-10 tournament, they’ll be the first class to make that three times in their career. I think that’s a great legacy,” Coyne said.

GW and St. Bonaventure played a well-matched game in the first half. Mia scored less than two minutes into the game, and the Bonnies answered 40 seconds later, setting the pattern for the first half when momentum shifted back and forth.

With three minutes left in the first half, the Colonials scored two quick goals to take the lead into halftime 8-6 and carried the momentum into the second half outscoring the Bonnies 7-4.

“I think in the first half we wanted it to be a little easier, we weren’t placing our shots,” Coyne said. “Defensively we were going for the big play instead of playing solid team D, so I think we cleaned those things up in the second half.”

Although the seniors lead the Colonials in points this season, the sophomores earned five goals against the Bonnies. Bailey Forcier scored four goals, and Michaela Lynch earned a goal and two assists for her service to Mia and junior Hallie Walker.

Freshman Jocelyn Donohue also scored her first career goal. Starting senior goalkeeper Mackenzie Jones made five saves against the Bonnies for 90 saves this season.

Friday

To get the weekend started, the Colonials beat Duquesne 14-13 in overtime Friday at the GW Lacrosse Field.

Sophomore Shea Cassidy scored the game winning goal with nine seconds remaining in overtime. Cassidy scored three goals in the game, bringing her season total to eight.

“We were running a play but they shut it down,” Cassidy said. “I cut to the middle, it wasn’t marked up so I just caught it and placed it.”

Cassidy’s three goals tied senior and leading goal scorer Rachel Mia for the team lead. Sophomore Michaela Lynch scored two goals and added two assists. Senior Jamie Bumgardner scored one goal and added two assists, which broke Sarah Phillips’ all-time program assist record of 101.

With 26 minutes left on the clock, the Colonials trailed Duquesne 6-11. GW went on to score four goals in a row to bring it within one and finally took a 13-12 lead with 4:58 left to play. However, Duquesne tied it with 31 seconds on the clock to force overtime.

“We just needed that little bit of something, little bit of intangibles to put us over the top,” Coyne said. “We know what it feels like to lose so I think we starting playing to win and it changed the dynamic.”

Coyne credited the second half offensive charge to an adjustment made when the team was down by five goals. She said GW started playing at a higher tempo, which led to higher percentage shots.

“It was a do or die game,” Cassidy said. “Coach called a timeout and we started winning the draw, and we went off and scored off most of them.”

  • Permalink
  • Comments
Chance Malek pitched a scoreless two-thirds of a frame in GW's loss to Fordham on Saturday. Zach Montellaro | Hatchet Staff Photographer

Chance Malek pitched a scoreless two-thirds of a frame in GW’s loss to Fordham on Saturday. Zach Montellaro | Hatchet Staff Photographer

This post was written by Hatchet reporter Peter Hoegler.

GW began its weekend series against Fordham with momentum.

The Colonials were winners of 12 of their last 14 games and stood atop the Atlantic 10 standings. But they lost steam against the Rams, losing two of three to fall to third in the league.

The Colonials got back on track Sunday, as junior Matthieu Robért came up with a pinch-hit RBI single in the bottom of the eighth to avoid a series sweep. The Colonials picked up their 10th conference win of the year, good for the most in the A-10.

“If you can find a way to scrap one out when you’re not playing your best, that’s the sign of a championship team,” head coach Gregg Ritchie said.

After a lead-off double, Fordham jumped out to a 1-0 lead in the top of the second on an RBI single. But starting pitcher Jacob Williams – who went seven innings, giving up one earned run on six hits – got out of his second straight jam and kept the game close for the Colonials early. Of the 88 pitches that Williams threw on the afternoon, 87 of them were fastballs.

“Williams did what he does best,” Ritchie said. “He is very tough out there. Williams is great at reading hitters on where to spot his fastball and utilizing his command.”

Fordham threatened to tack on another run in the seventh after a lead-off double, but senior center fielder Ryan Xepoleas came up big – throwing out a hustling Fordham base runner at the plate and ending the top of the inning.

In the bottom of the inning, GW got on the board after sophomore Andrew Selby singled to right, which scored Bobby Campbell. Fordham’s right fielder misplayed the ball, allowing Selby to advance to third. But GW’s bats came up cold yet again as sophomore Kevin Mahala and Xepoleas went down swinging, leaving Selby at third.

In the eighth, sophomore Eli Kashi hit a one-out single and advanced to second on an infield base hit by sophomore Joey Bartosic. Robert, who came into pinch hit for freshman Robbie Metz, then put the Colonials up for good with a game-winning RBI single. Robert has only 20 at-bats on the season but is batting .400.

“We figured out a way to win today,” Ritchie said. “It’s a sign of a resilient ball club.”

The Colonials will look to get back on a winning streak with a non-conference game at Towson on Tuesday afternoon.

Weekend Recap

Friday: 5-3 Fordham
Junior Bobby LeWarne kept Fordham scoreless through five innings, but then ran out of gas in the sixth and allowed three runs, two of which were earned. The Rams tacked on two from there to take game one, 5-3.

The GW bats came alive in the seventh inning as senior Ryan Xepoleas drove in sophomore Andrew Selby on a single to right center. Mahala, who came up with his sixth multiple-hit game of the season, scored later in the inning on a groundout to cut the Fordham lead to two.

In the bottom of the eighth, the Colonials had a runner on third but were unable to bring him home.

Saturday: 6-2 Fordham
GW posted two on the board early, but Fordham added six unanswered runs from the fifth inning on to take game two, 6-2.

Metz kept the Rams scoreless through four before giving a two-run shot in the fifth, tying the score at two. After adding a run in the sixth, Fordham added three insurance runs in the top of the ninth.

“Mentally, on the mound, we lost our focus of what the plan was,” Ritchie said. “We walked too many guys, and that got us into a lot of trouble.”

GW took a 1-0 lead in the first when Bartosic singled, stole second, advanced to third on a bunt and scored on a double steal. In the second, Mahala came up with a sacrifice fly, plating Campbell.

Freshmen Chance Malek and Tyler Swiggart and sophomore Jordan Sheinkop all pitched scoreless outings in relief for the Colonials.

  • Permalink
  • Comments

The Colonials out-dueled the Fordham Rams 2-1 to win the third game in their weekend series.

Barcroft Park also hosted a “Bark at Barcroft” event, where fans were invited to bring man’s best friend to the game.

The rescue agency Homeward Trails Animal Rescue had several ready-for-adoption dogs at the park.

Local Little Leaguers watching batting practice before the GW baseball game on April 19. Zach Montellaro | Hatchet Staff Photographer

Local Little Leaguers watch batting practice before the GW baseball game on April 19.

Rex the Boxer holds a baseball in his mouth before the GW game. Rex was at the game for the "Bark at Barcroft" event. Zach Montellaro | Hatchet Staff Photographer

Rex the Boxer holds a baseball in his mouth before the GW game. Rex was at the game for the “Bark at Barcroft” event.

Scruffy sits on the lap of a a Homeward Trails Animal Rescue volunteer. Homeward Trails finds foster homes for dogs until they are adopted. Zach Montellaro | Hatchet Staff Photographer

Scruffy sits on the lap of a a Homeward Trails Animal Rescue volunteer. Homeward Trails finds foster homes for dogs until they are adopted.

Fans play with Stella, a two month old rescue dog, before the game. Zach Montellaro | Hatchet Staff Photographer

Fans play with Stella, a two-month-old rescue dog, before the game.

Matt Cosentino (no. 7) greets teammates during the pregame introductions. Cosentino would go 1-3 at the plate. Zach Montellaro | Hatchet Staff Photographer

Matt Cosentino (No. 7) greets teammates during the pregame introductions. Cosentino would go 1-3 at the plate.

Junior Jacob Williams throws a pitch during GW's game against Fordham. Williams started the game and pitched 7 innings of one-run ball and got a no-decision. Zach Montellaro | Hatchet Staff Photographer

Junior Jacob Williams throws a pitch during GW’s game against Fordham. Williams started the game and pitched seven innings of one-run ball and had a no-decision.

Sophomore Eli Kashi tags out a Fordham runner trying to steal third base. The Colonials would defeat the Rams 2-1. Zach Montellaro | Hatchet Staff Photographer

Sophomore Eli Kashi tags out a Fordham runner trying to steal third base. The Colonials would defeat the Rams 2-1.

Sophomore Eli Kashi celebrates scoring the go-ahead run in the bottom on the eighth. GW won the third game in the series with Fordham. Zach Montellaro | Hatchet Staff Photographer

Sophomore Eli Kashi celebrates scoring the go-ahead run in the bottom on the eighth. GW won the third game in the series against Fordham.

Freshman Matt Cosentino fouls a ball off. Cosentino had one hit during the Colonials' 2-1 victory. Zach Montellaro | Hatchet Staff Photographer

Freshman Matt Cosentino fouls a ball off. Cosentino had one hit during the Colonials’ 2-1 victory.

The Colonials celebrate their 2-1 win over Fordham on Sunday. GW dropped the first two games in the series. Zach Montellaro | Hatchet Staff Photographer

The Colonials celebrate their 2-1 win over Fordham on Sunday. GW dropped the first two games in the series.

  • Permalink
  • Comments

Sophomore Paige Kovalsky throws the ball to first base for an out in the Colonials' victory over Coppin State. Kovalsky went 3 for 3 scoring 2 runs in the victory. Dan Rich | Hatchet Photographer.

Sophomore Paige Kovalsky throws the ball to first base for an out in the Colonials’ victory over Coppin State. Kovalsky went three for three, scoring two runs in the victory. Dan Rich | Hatchet Photographer.

This post was written by Hatchet reporter Marty Fenn.

The softball team resorted to playing small ball against Coppin State on Wednesday afternoon, but it brought the Colonials a 5-0 win on just six hits.

It was a good win for GW to grind out on the in-between plays on a day when the bats weren’t putting up big numbers. The Colonials now sit at 21-17 and have won three straight.

“Everyone was trying to swing for the fences,” head coach Stacey Schramm said. “We needed to put the ball on the ground and make them field it and [make plays].”

The GW offense was bolstered by Paige Kovalsky, who went three for three with three singles, and scored a crucial run in the fourth inning to put GW up 2-0.

Kovalsky was also aggressive on the base paths, advancing around the bases and scoring on three passed balls in the inning.

“I just tried to keep it simple,” said Kovalsky. “Everyone could see her – it was just a matter of not swinging too big.”

The Colonials took advantage of a number of passed balls, had three stolen bases courtesy of Megan Linn and two from Samantha Dos Santos, and added two sacrifice bunts that led to two runs.

While Kovalsky was taking care of the offense, freshman starter Sarah Costlow (13-14) handled things from the circle. She dominated the Coppin State lineup by pounding the strike zone despite striking out just three batters all game, throwing a complete-game shutout, giving up only five hits and surrendering two walks.

“She went right at them,” Schramm said. “She gave up the two doubles, but so what? She challenged them, and that’s exactly what we wanted.”

With her 13th win of the season, Costlow tied a rookie record previously held by Amanda Gabriel (’09) and junior Meghan Rico.

“I just look to use my defense,” Costlow said. “You never want to do too much. I just want to do whatever I can to get us back in the dugout.”

The biggest GW inning came in the bottom of the fourth. Dos Santos led off with a walk and stole second base, advancing to third on the errant throw. Alana Anderson followed with a sacrifice fly to put the Colonials on the board. Kovalsky then singled and would eventually come around to score after the three passed balls in the inning.

From there, the Colonials added one in the fifth and two in the sixth to polish off the Eagles.

The Colonials will travel to Dayton on Saturday for a three-game conference stand against the league-leading Flyers.

“We’re playing at a level right now where I’m really confident in the team,” Schramm said. “We know what we have to do, and it’s going to be tough, but when is it not?”

  • Permalink
  • Comments