Courtside

Your Guide to GW sports

This report was written by Hatchet staff writer Josh Solomon.

In the bottom of the sixth inning, junior Ryan Xepoloas roped a shot out to right center that hit off the top of the fence. He and one other Colonial would score – the first GW runs after 14 straight from George Mason over the course of the past two games.

In the fourth, the Patriots first baseman hit one toward that same spot in right center. This one went over the fence for a solo home run, leading to a three-run fourth inning.

A young GW team could not come back against a veteran-heavy George Mason team and lost 10-3, dropping the rubber match of the Atlantic 10 series.

Senior Aaron Weisberg delivers a pitch in Friday's series opener against George Mason. Zach Montellaro | Hatchet Staff Photographer

Senior Aaron Weisberg delivers a pitch in Zach Montellaro | Hatchet Staff Photographer

“It’s like the ugly head spins around and here comes Voldemort,” head coach Gregg Ritchie said. “We got [professor Quirrell’s purple turban] on and we play good and guys execute the right things. And all of a sudden, they forgot to put the turban back on – that’s the focus hat, the focus turban – and they expose Voldemort. He comes out the other side and just freaks out.”

The Patriots scored their first two runs in the third inning Sunday – the first on a string of hits and a stolen base, the second on a throwing error by freshman third baseman Bobby Campbell as he tried to turn a double play while looking a runner back. Instead, the rushed throw to second went wide and into the outfield.

Campbell came to the plate for redemption with runners on second and third and two outs, but he rolled over to the third baseman on a 2-2 fastball to end the inning.

The Patriots came back over the next two innings to tack on five more runs, putting GW in a tough seven-run hole.

“They haven’t been able to figure out how to put on the brake, put a foot down and kind of Flintstone it,” Ritchie said. “You got to put your foot down through that floorboard and say, ‘No, stop.’ And then when it’s ready you got to wear those feet out and pedal. They’re just young guys that are still going through an absolute evolution of their mentality at playing at this level.”

Sophomore Bobby LeWarne exited after four innings of work, giving up five runs – four earned – on six hits, two walks and three hit batsmen.

“He didn’t command,” Ritchie said. “The stuff was the same stuff. He fell behind a lot and then when he had to throw his changeup in a behind the count situation, he had to elevate it.”

Series Recap:

George Mason rolled into the series with a 4-1 conference record to GW’s 1-5 record. The A-10 newcomer was off to a strong start, but faced Colonial senior Aaron Weisberg in search of his first win of the season.

Thanks to seven innings and one run allowed by the big righty, GW won the first game 4-3. Mason jumped out to an early lead, getting their lone run against Weisberg in the first off three consecutive base hits. Freshman Collin Milon came in for relief in the ninth and ran into trouble, allowing two runs, but senior Luke Staub closed out the final two outs.

Freshman Collin Gibbons-Fly got the Colonials on the scoreboard with an RBI triple in the second inning. He then singled home the go-ahead run in the seventh, while GW tagged on an additional two runs in the eighth.

Saturday, GW put themselves in a comfortable spot thanks to three early runs in the second inning, but the Colonials would not score again, losing 7-3. In the fourth inning, George Mason scored four runs on four hits, including a two-run RBI triple off freshman Jacob Williams, who dropped to 2-3 on the season.

GW will remain home to play Coppin State Tuesday and Towson Wednesday, before travelling to Philadelphia for a weekend A-10 series against La Salle.

  • Permalink
  • Comments

This post was written by Hatchet reporter Mark Eisenhauer.

After sweeping Cornell Wednesday, the women’s softball team returned home for conference play against La Salle, splitting a double header Saturday. The Colonials shut out the Explorers 9-0 in the first game and dropped the afternoon matchup 7-3.

The player of the day was sophomore Meghan Rico, who pitched all 12 innings of both games for the Colonials. Despite the seven runs scored by La Salle in the second game, she gave up only six hits to the Explorers and recorded an impressive 11 combined strike-outs over the two games.

The day’s first game was all GW. After a hitless first inning with Rico on the mound, the Colonials offense came to life early. Freshman Megan Linn reached first on an error and proceeded to steal second and third before being brought home by a single to left field by junior Victoria Valos.

GW scored twice more in the inning, sparking an unstoppable offensive onslaught that would continue for the duration of the game.

Three more runs came across in both the second and third innings, putting La Salle in a 9-0 hole that they would never overcome – mostly due to Rico’s stellar pitching. Four strikeouts and only three walks held Rico’s shutout intact as the mercy rule ended the game after the fifth inning.

“My catcher has been working a lot with me this whole week,” Rico said. “I’m not used to throwing 14 innings every day, but she has really been keeping me focused every single inning and making sure we mix up the pitches so it keeps the other team off-balanced and not able to catch up with us.”

Rico has seemed to find her rhythm as the season progresses and is proving why she should be seen as the team’s ace.

“[Rico] was on,” head coach Stacey Schramm said. “She didn’t throw that many pitches in the first game and they weren’t hitting her at all. I mean she is our best option right now, so we were just trying to get two wins with her today.”

The second game held as a scoreless stalemate for the first three-and-a-half innings, until a double by sophomore Morgan Matetic and a single from freshman Jillian Galich in the bottom of the fourth inning put the Colonials on the board, 1-0. Rico maintained a no-hitter through five-and-two-thirds innings, but a three-run homer to center field by La Salle freshman Christina Bascara gave the Explorers the 3-1 edge.

GW cut the lead to one in the bottom half of the inning thanks to a solo home-run from Matetic, her fourth of the season. But the Colonials ran into a host of defensive problems in the top of the seventh as they tried to contain the bats of the Explorers.

GW would commit three errors in the seventh inning alone, and finish with five in the game. Those errors would cost the Colonials, as La Salle scored four runs off GW’s kicked grounders that should have been routine put-outs.

The now 7-2 lead for the Explorers would be too great for even the heart of the GW lineup to close and the Colonials tacked on their twentieth loss of the season.

GW continues conference play Wednesday at 4 p.m. against George Mason.

  • Permalink
  • Comments
Sophomore Joe McDonald passes the ball during GW's game against George Mason on Jan. 25. Hatchet File Photo

Sophomore Joe McDonald passes the ball during GW’s game against George Mason on Jan. 25. Hatchet File Photo

Sophomore Joe McDonald underwent surgery on his left hip Thursday, the athletic department announced today.

McDonald is expected to be ready to return for the 2014-15 season, but no word was given on when in the season his return is to be made, according to the release.

McDonald was forced to cope with his injured hip all season, while teammates and fans often held their breath whenever he would attack the rim and draw a hard foul.

McDonald had to sit out in the middle of games on multiple occasions due to discomfort and reaggravation.

On Dec. 4 against Rutgers, McDonald was fouled hard  on a fastbreak drive to the rim, on a play that was initally called a flagrant foul. McDonald would sit out the remainder of the game.

On Jan 29, after sustaining a hard fall in the first half of a home game against La Salle, McDonald would return in the second half wearing sweats. He missed GW’s following game against Dayton Jan 31.

But McDonald would only miss one game all year, and still managed to start in 32 games for the Colonials, while averaging  8.3 points, 4.6 rebounds, 4.1 assists and 1.6 steals per game.

  • Permalink
  • Comments
Thursday, April 3, 2014 12:56 a.m.

No. 1 Virginia shuts out Colonials

This post was written by Hatchet staff writer Josh Solomon.

Up against Virginia – the No. 1 team in the nation – and playing their second game in as many days, the odds were stacked against the baseball team Wednesday.

They came in, perhaps, as even bigger underdogs than if the men’s basketball team had advanced to face the Cavaliers in the NCAA Tournament.

Despite Virginia having played back-to-back games as well, they showed no signs of fatigue, overpowering GW and winning the afternoon game, 10-0.

“They all felt that we can play with people. It’s just a matter of putting the pieces together,” head coach Gregg Ritchie said. “You come out saying, ‘There are 12 of 18 losses that are one or two run ball games that if we learn how not to make those mistakes, we’ll end up with 10 wins.’ You can’t win all of the one run games, but there’s are a lot more wins out there if you just play cleaner baseball.”

The Cavaliers offense was kept in relative check by the Colonials pitching staff, until they scrapped across four final runs in the bottom of the eighth on three hits, one error and a hit batsman.

Until that point, freshman Jordan Sheinkop had been moving along smoothly, after entering in the third inning to replace sophomore Luke Olson, who gave up four runs in the second inning.

Sheinkop gave up one run on four hits in his five innings of relief before the eighth. Ritchie said his reliever started to leave the ball up in the zone, and the confident Cavalier hitter took advantage.

“When you watch Sheinkop go out and there and get ground balls and pitch really solid, the next guy should be able to see that and go, ‘You know what, I’m going to throw the ball over the plate,’” Ritchie said.

Freshman Andrew Piccin came on and allowed three runs to come cross, first by throwing the ball away on a pickoff play. He then intentionally walked a batter to load the bases for a force play, but instead of an out, gave up an RBI single. Piccin went on to allow one more run – his only earned run – while Sheinkop finished with a line of four runs on six hits in 5.1 innings.

GW recorded six hits on the afternoon, but the offense came too late as two of the six hits came in the ninth. The Colonials also left six men on base, including runners on first and third in the final frame.

In the third, freshman shortstop Eli Kashi reached base on a bunt up the left side. He advanced to second on a ball and moved to third on a ground out, but freshman Andrew Selby struck out swinging to end the threat. The same happened for Selby in the eighth inning with runners on the corners and two outs.

“There were about four times during the game that I thought if we got a big hit we could’ve scored three or four,” Ritchie said. “You just never know what happens if you come up with that quality hit.”

The loss comes on the heels of GW’s 6-2 loss to local-rival Georgetown Tuesday. After a road game in Charlottesville, the Colonials (7-18, 1-5) will host George Mason (15-8, 3-1) this weekend for an Atlantic 10 conference matchup.

Last year GW split two non-conference games against the Patriots, but this year, the game takes on ‘added’ importance, with the battle for the Revolutionary Rivalry’s Tri-Corner Hat Trophy all tied up at six wins apiece. Ritchie said he expects a sweep and hopes for bragging rights back home in a household in which both of his kids attend George Mason.

“I’m fully pushing the buttons to say, ‘Hey, I want to be able to go home and tell my kids to shut up,” Ritchie joked.

  • Permalink
  • Comments

This post was written by Hatchet staff writer Nora Princiotti.

Senior day is always bittersweet.

The Colonials got all their scoring from their seniors Saturday as they celebrated the final home game of their collegiate careers, but it wasn’t enough for the victory, falling to Harvard 10-8.

Senior Megan Brolley led the Colonials with three goals, followed by classmates Erin Dickson and Katherine Berry with two and Allison Littlejohn with one.

The Colonials, though, didn’t have an answer on defense for Harvard’s own senior, Yoshi Anderson, who scored a game-high six goals.

Having not played since March 12, head coach Scott Reed said his team looked “a little rusty,” but was able to keep at the fast pace they like to play at.

Harvard struck first, but as was necessary all day, GW quickly answered back. On the counterattack, Brolley pulled up in front of the net and arched the ball up and over the head of Crimson goalkeeper Ariel Dukes, who had seven saves on the day. All three of Brolley’s goals Saturday came off the counterattack.

“It’s all about trusting my teammates to pass it down the pool,” Brolley said. “I like to counter – and I can’t do that without a strong defense.”

Although the defense fed Brolley’s successful attacks, Reed said the aggressive play was also a liability at times. The Colonials had the ball stolen eight times in the game.

“We didn’t protect the ball very well. We had a lot of turnovers in that game,” he said. “A lot of times we got so cluttered that we weren’t able to identify those open players right away and that kind of hurt us a bit in the end.”

Down by one in the final minutes of the game, GW’s defense crashed in around Harvard’s center, catching up to prevent what should have been a one-on-one situation with GW goalkeeper, junior Chandler Vilander, who tallied four saves in the game.

The Crimson passing game appeared suffocated as the shot-clock wound down and the Colonials defense pushed Harvard’s ball-handlers further away from the net, but all of a sudden, GW missed a beat and a Harvard attacker got open with a clear line at the net. She rocketed a shot passed Vilander’s arms for the final goal of the game, undoing in an instant the strong play that could have led to a Colonials comeback.

“Our defense was really strong throughout the whole game but there were one or two moments where we kind of lapsed for a second,” Brolley said.

Senior Rachael Bentley, who comically sat on GW George’s knee for her senior day photo before the game, found herself sitting again when she was ejected in the third quarter of the game after getting into early foul trouble.

“It’s unfortunate,” Reed said. “[Bentley] getting in foul trouble in the first period created some issues throughout the game.”

The loss to the southern division foe is a setback for the Colonials in their quest for the Collegiate Water Polo Association Southern Division Championships beginning April 12. For the seniors who performed so well in their final home game, there’s extra motivation to bring that type of play on the road in order to go deep into the postseason.

“We’re trying to put ourselves in a good bracket for regional championships. This kind of sets us back a little bit. We’re trying for that 2-3 seed if possible,” Reed said. “We’re going to have to go and try and win at least two of the three upcoming games and hope for some upset losses in there as well.”

Three division road games still remain for the Colonials next week, the first coming against Mercyhurst at 1 p.m. on April 5.

  • Permalink
  • Comments

This post was written by Hatchet staff writer Josh Solomon.

Graduate student guard Danni Jackson drives towards the net during the Colonials first-round WNIT victory against Eastern Carolina University. Cameron Lancaster | Assistant Photo Editor

Graduate student guard Danni Jackson drives towards the net during the Colonials first-round WNIT victory against Eastern Carolina University. Cameron Lancaster | Assistant Photo Editor

Graduate student Megan Nipe remembers a time when getting just 10 wins would’ve been an accomplishment for her and the women’s basketball team.

A time when making it to the WNIT seemed like a dream.

Thursday night, with the Colonials three-game WNIT run and remarkable 2013-14 season coming to an end, she could say one thing for certain: times have changed.

“It’s hard to be sad because I’ve been at GW when we were hoping for double digit wins,” graduate student Megan Nipe said. “We never thought making a run in the postseason was possible.”

Shooting 31.9 percent from the field and getting out-rebounded 56-45, GW would close its season with a 74-59 loss to South Florida – one of the first four teams out of the NCAA Tournament.

GW cut it to a six-point game with just over four minutes to play, but the Bulls scored eight-straight points to solidify the win.

All season long a big ‘what if’ hung over a Colonials team stacked with talent and veteran leadership: Could they all play together healthy?

As they started their run in the WNIT, taking down East Carolina and Villanova, the answer was a ‘yes.’

With those tools all at the disposal of head coach Jonathan Tsipis against USF, it was supposed to be a tight matchup. But, it turns out that a completely healthy postseason run wasn’t the complete truth.

It was known that Nipe, who injured her knee back in December, had been playing through the injury while wearing a brace. After Thursday’s game, though, Tsipis announced that his sharp-shooting leader had not only been playing with a brace – but with a torn ACL.

Graduate student guard Megan Nipe gets tangled up with a Loyola defender earlier this season. Hatchet File Photo

Graduate student guard Megan Nipe gets tangled up with a Loyola defender earlier this season. Hatchet File Photo

“I’d be willing to say that nobody else in the country would be willing to wait three months and play it out,” Tsipis said. “She really built an unbelievable legacy with playing to finish her last year with that.”

Foul trouble plagued the Colonials early on as the Bulls went on a 14-1 run to pull away and go up 16 at the half – the lowest scoring half of the season for GW.

Sophomore Jonquel Jones picked up her second foul with over 10 minutes to play in the first half. With freshman Hannah Schaible also out with two fouls, Tsipis gambled to bring Jones back in. But eight seconds later, the Colonials offensive focal point had her third foul.

“You want to go fighting down to the end with everything you have and that’s what I felt like we did even with the foul trouble. Our kids didn’t back down,” Tsipis said.

Jones would come back to help fuel GW’s second half comeback, ending with 15 points and nine rebounds. Fellow post presence, freshman Caira Washington, had the better statistical night, with 14 points,15 rebounds and five blocks.

Sophomore Jonquel Jones fights off a defender earlier this season. Hatchet File Photo

Sophomore Jonquel Jones fights off a defender earlier this season. Hatchet File Photo

“Things just didn’t go our way,” Washington said. “We kept saying that we had to pick up all the little things, rebounding, boxing out and just communicating.”

In the first half, Nipe held the team afloat. She went 4-for-5 from behind the arc and provided the much-needed spark to keep the Colonials in the game.

Meanwhile, the Bulls did not had a tremendous game from the field, shooting 40.8 percent and going 2-8 for three. What they did do, though, was take care of the ball and have four players score in double digits.

USF sophomore guard Courtney Martin led all scorers with 24 points, dominating the first half. Meanwhile, sophomore forward Alisia Jenkins cleaned up the glass with 12 boards – seven offensive rebounds – and 11 points.

GW kept fifth-year senior, 6-foot-2 shooting guard Inga Orekhova, in check almost the entire game, until her shot finally started to fall late in the second half. With over five minutes to play, the Colonials cut the lead to seven points, but Orekhova hit her first 3-pointer of the game to answer.

“They continued to attack,” Tsipis said. “They put the ball in Orekohva and Williams hands late and those kids stepped up and made their free throws.”

Statistically, graduate student Danni Jackson had a rough night: 2-18 from the field and six turnovers. But she continued to push the tempo and look for her teammates as she had all season, en route to her 200th assist of the season. Jackson finished with 204 dimes, good for second all-time in a single season.

Nipe and her best friend Jackson walked back to the locker room with their arms around each other, just talking.

In all, the Colonials finished tied for second in the A-10, Washington won conference Rookie of the Year, Jones quickly became one of the most dynamic scoring threats that GW has had in a while, and Jackson continued to leave a legacy as one of the greatest point guards in GW history.

A season of accomplishments for a program who met their preseason goal – to raise a banner.

  • Permalink
  • Comments
Head coach Mike Lonergan talks to his bench during the A-10 Tournament earlier this season. Hatchet File Photo

Head coach Mike Lonergan talks to his bench during the A-10 Tournament earlier this season. Hatchet File Photo

Updated: Saturday, March 28 at 9:49 a.m.

After leading GW on an 11-game improvement and a trip to the NCAA Tournament for the first time in seven years, men’s basketball head coach Mike Lonergan is being rewarded.

The third-year head coach is set to have his contract renewed through the 2020-21 season, according to early reports from CBSSports.com’s Jon Rothstein. The news was officially announced by the University Friday morning.

“When I was hired at GW three years ago it fulfilled a career-long dream to coach at the highest level of college basketball,” Lonergan said in a press release. “Having had the opportunity to return to my roots and once again coach in the area where I grew up, it’s now my truest hope that this will be where I retire.

In his three years at GW, Lonergan has accumulated a 47-43 record, with the Colonials resurgence to recognition this year undoubtedly being the highlight. His 2013-14 squad finished third this season in the six-bid Atlantic 10, after being picked to finish 10th out of 13 teams in the preseason poll.

“As we continue to strengthen our athletic program, it is important to look well into the future. Securing strong, stable leadership for our men’s basketball program was a high priority. Mike has succeeded in bringing high quality young men to GW, and we are proud of how they have developed both on and off the court,” Director of Athletics and Recreation Patrick Nero said in a press release. “We want this past season to be the foundation for a basketball program that can continue to grow and flourish under Mike’s leadership for many years to come.”

No details of the contract were listed in the release.

  • Permalink
  • Comments
Freshman guard Miguel Cartagena looks to go around a VCU defender last season. Hatchet File Photo by Cameron Lancaster | Assistant Photo Editor

Freshman guard Miguel Cartagena looks to go around a VCU defender last season. Hatchet File Photo by Cameron Lancaster | Assistant Photo Editor

The men’s basketball program granted freshman point guard Miguel Cartagena his release, the athletics department announced Thursday.

Cartagena, who averaged 1.0 points, 1.0 assists and 6.5 minutes in 32 games last season, struggled to consistently produce for the Colonials after sophomore Kethan Savage went down with a broken foot in January. He racked up 23 turnovers, unable to log heavy minutes in the backcourt, despite the nagging injuries of sophomore Joe McDonald.

“We appreciate the contributions Miguel made to our team this past season and wish him well,” head coach Mike Lonergan said in a release.

The news comes just days after sophomore forward Paris Maragkos was granted his release from the team Monday. The departures open up two scholarship positions in the program and more chances for potential high-profile transfers.

  • Permalink
  • Comments
Monday, March 24, 2014 10:43 p.m.

Anna Porras named squash All-American

This post was written by Hatchet reporter Darius Kamshad.

For the second year in a row, women’s squash’s Anna Gabriela Porras is getting national attention.

Porras was named to the College Squash Association’s Second-Team All American, the organization announced Monday, after earning the No. 15 individual ranking in the country. The sophomore was already the first player in program history to be named an All-American, as she also earned the recognition last year.

Sophomore Anna Gabriela Porras goes to hit the ball at a practice earlier this season. Hatchet File Photo

Sophomore Anna Gabriela Porras goes to hit the ball at a practice earlier this season. Hatchet File Photo

The Colombian native led the Colonials all season at the No. 1 position, and has done so in every match through her two collegiate seasons. In that time, she has accumulated a career record of 31-6 – already fifth-best all-time at GW.

With her 15-2 record this season – against some of the top opponents in the country – Porras was an intricate part of GW’s 14-5 season and first-ever Kurtz Cup Championship at CSA Nationals.

The Colonials finished their season ranked No. 9 in the nation, their highest ranking in program history.

  • Permalink
  • Comments

This post was written by Hatchet reporter Aaron Esparza

In its first match since having it’s seven-game win streak snapped, the men’s tennis team not-so-surprisingly responded with a weekend of dominant play.

The Colonials took down Morgan State (1-8) and UMBC (9-7) by overwhelming scores of 7-0 and 6-1, respectively.

Despite starting out “a little sluggish” in the doubles match against UMBC, GW would find its rhythm midway through the match and turn up the intensity as play continued. The Colonials swept the matches, 8-4, 8-3 and 8-6 to take the first point.

During singles play, GW came out with the heightened energy and swept every match in straight sets. In the No. 1 matchup, junior Francisco Dias edged out Morgan State’s Duk-Young Park 6-4, 6-3. In the No. 2 through No. 6 matches, the most competitive result was a 6-2, 6-1 win from senior Nikita Fomin.

With Saturday’s dominating 7-0 sweep of the Bears, the team clearly looked to have rediscovered its confidence. Assistant coach Anthony Lee enthusiastically described the squad as “match tough, match ready, confidence ready, and ready to go to work tomorrow.”

Although Sunday’s matchup brought a much more formidable opponent in UMBC, it was the same story of dominance for the Colonials.

GW jumped out to an early win in doubles, with the three pairs comfortably handling the competition by scores of 8-6, 7-3 and 8-2.

In singles play, the No. 2 through No. 6 spots were once again convincingly won in straight sets. Senior Viktor Svensson, who was only serving at 50 percent according to head coach Greg Munoz, had an especially impressive win, considering the injury.

Freshman Julius Tverijonas had his first game-clinching point of the season, 7-5, 6-3, taking the weight off traditional upperclassmen closers, seniors Ulrik Thomsen and Svensson.

The only UMBC point of the day came from a determined Justin Carter against Fomin – 3-6, 7-6 and 10-8. But by then, the match was already out of reach at 6-0.

After this weekend’s success, the team has an almost two-week lull in competition before conference play. Munoz said the team will look to “sharpen up” doubles play in preparation for the approaching Atlantic 10 Tournament April 17.

Next on the schedule for the Colonials is a conference matchup against Fordham (3-9) at the Mount Vernon Tennis Center, Friday April 4th.

  • Permalink
  • Comments