Courtside

Your Guide to GW sports

Then-senior Owen Beightol hits in GW's win against George Mason last season. File Photo by Zach Montellaro | Hatchet Staff Photographer

Then-senior Owen Beightol hits in GW’s win against George Mason last season. File Photo by Zach Montellaro | Hatchet Staff Photographer

The Colonials will host the Atlantic 10 baseball championships at Barcroft Park for the first time in the team’s history next year.

The top seven teams from the regular season standings will compete in the double elimination tournament from May 20 to 23, the league announced this week. The winner will receive an automatic berth to the NCAA Division I Baseball Championship.

The Colonials narrowly missed last season’s tournament when they finished the season eighth in the standings, a single game behind No. 7-seeded Fordham. GW last qualified in 2013, when it was seeded fifth.

GW has won the A-10 championships four times – the first time in 1979 – but has never served as host.

The team has played at Barcroft Park in Arlington, Va. since 1993 and saw the venue undergo a $3 million renovation before the 2013 season. The project added bullpens, batting cages and artificial turf to a facility that Athletic Director Patrick Nero has joked GW no longer hides from recruits.

Barcroft Park holds 500 spectators in grandstand seating at 4200 South Four Mile Run Drive. The University operates a student shuttle bus for weekend home games during the conference season, though GW has not yet released information about a shuttle for the tournament.

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

Head coach Mike Lonergan talks to his bench during the Atlantic 10 Tournament. Hatchet File Photo

Updated: July 15, 2014 at 2:41 p.m.

Men’s basketball head coach Mike Lonergan, while head coach at the University of Vermont, made Tyler Cavanaugh his first-ever scholarship offer when Cavanaugh was a sophomore at Jamesville-Dewitt High School in DeWitt, N.Y. more than four years ago.

Cavanaugh wound up at Wake Forest and Lonergan at GW. But after electing to transfer from Wake Forest in mid-June, Lonergan found a rare second opportunity to recruit the 6-foot-9 forward.

Cavanaugh announced Thursday on Twitter that he will join the Colonials next season. In addition to GW, Cavanaugh visited Dayton and Butler before making his choice. He also drew interest from Colorado, Davidson, Providence and Oregon.

He will have to sit out the 2014-15 season per NCAA transfer guidelines, but Lonergan will get the remaining two years of eligibility from Cavanaugh, whose transfer availability transformed into a mini mid-major sweepstakes during the first part of the summer.

The forward, a true stretch four with good three-point range, averaged 8.8 points and 3.8 rebounds per game during his sophomore season at Wake Forest. He started 22 of 33 games after averaging 5.0 points and 2.5 rebounds per game as a freshman. Cavanaugh scored a career-high 20 points against No. 16 Duke on March 5.

His two best rebounding performances last season came against frequent opponents of the Colonials: Cavanaugh had a nine-rebound effort in a win against Richmond and an eight-rebound effort in a win against St. Bonaventure.

But as the Demon Deacons underwent a leadership change from head coach Jeff Bzdelik, who recruited Cavanaugh, to Danny Manning in the spring, combined with the loss of several key players, Cavanaugh decided to transfer.

Cavanaugh told the Syracuse Post Standard that he no longer felt he could accomplish his goals of making an NCAA tournament and winning a conference championship at Atlantic Coast Conference-member Wake Forest, and he wanted to find a school where those ambitions were a realistic possibility.

Lonergan is not the only GW coach who is familiar with Cavanaugh’s high school roots. Assistant coach Carmen Maciariello, who joined the staff in May, is a former coach of Cavanaugh’s Amateur Athletic Union team, Albany City Rocks, though he was the coach before Cavanaugh’s days with the team.

Cavanaugh is the second transfer to join the Colonials during this offseason, along with former Division III guard Matt Hart, who comes from Hamilton.

Since taking the reigns of the men’s basketball team in 2011, Lonergan also successfully recruited transfers Isaiah Armwood in 2011, Maurice Creek in 2013 and Ryan McCoy, who sat out last year.

This post was updated to reflect the following corrections:
The Hatchet incorrectly reported that head coach Mike Lonergan had courted Tyler Cavanaugh for four years. He only tried to recruit Cavanaugh four years ago and had a second chance when the now-junior decided to transfer this year. Due to an editing error, The Hatchet incorrectly reported that GW played Wake Forest last year. The Colonials did not play the Demon Deacons, though Wake Forest played frequent GW rivals Richmond and St. Bonaventure. Also due to an editing error, The Hatchet incorrectly reported the number of transfers that Lonergan has recruited. We regret these errors.

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Then-sophomore Kevin Larsen drives past UMass defenders in the Colonials A-10 quarterfinals victory. Hatchet File Photo

Then-sophomore Kevin Larsen drives past UMass defenders in the Colonials’ A-10 quarterfinals victory last season. Hatchet File Photo

Men’s basketball fans in the D.C. area will have the chance to catch a first glimpse of some of the newest Colonials this weekend.

The incoming class will join six returning players to compete in the annual Nike Pro-City Jabbo Kenner League, which holds all of its games at Georgetown’s McDonough Arena. Regular season play begins Saturday and wraps up August 2, with playoffs slated for August 3, 9 and 10.

Saturday will mark Kethan Savage’s return to the court. The junior guard has been recovering from a broken metatarsal in his left foot – an injury he sustained in a January game against St. Bonaventure.

Fellow junior guard Joe McDonald will not participate in the Kenner League as he continues to recover from surgery on his left hip.

Player rosters as well as the game schedule are tentative, but check out which Colonials are now listed to play together and for which teams:

Symonds All Stars

John Kopriva

Team Takeover

Nick Griffin

Kethan Savage

DCX

Darian Bryant

Kevin Larsen

Lincoln Park

Ryan McCoy

Team Ooohs and Aaahs

Patricio Garino

A. Wash Associates

Anthony Swan

Yuta Watanabe

Clyde’s

Matt Cimino

Paul Jorgenson

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Drexel assistant coach Melissa Dunne will join the women’s basketball team as an assistant to head coach Jonathan Tsipis, the athletics department announced Wednesday.

Dunne will fill the vacancy left by associate head coach and recruiting coordinator Megan Duffy, who stepped down after two years at GW to join the coaching staff at the University of Michigan.

“As a coach, I have always been impressed by how she has developed guards, especially point guards,” Tsipis said about Dunne in a release. “The Drexel teams she was a part of were always very detail-oriented and scouted opponents precisely.”

Dunne knows the Atlantic 10 league well from her four years as a point guard at Temple, where she earned an A-10 title as team captain in 2002. A point guard, Dunne was named the team’s most improved player in 1999.

“Coach Tsipis is a proven leader and I am committed to contributing to make GW not only the best team in the Atlantic 10 Conference but also among the best in the country,” Dunne said in the release.

While earning her master’s degree in public communication at Drexel, she joined the team’s staff as a graduate assistant coach in 2006. Dunne left for an assistant coaching job at Rhode Island for the 2006-07 season, and after a year with the Rams, she returned to Drexel as a recruiting coordinator.

Since her return, the Dragons have built up a 140-88 record and made the postseason five times. They secured an automatic berth to the NCAA tournament in 2009 as the Colonial Athletic Association champions. During her first year back at Drexel, the team posted an 8.5-game improvement over the previous season.

As a recruiter, Dunne boasted a class that was ranked No. 8 on ESPN’s list of the Top 20 Mid-Major Recruiting Classes and 13 CAA All-Conference team members.

She’ll look to build on a 2014-15 class of Colonials ranked the best in the A-10. Last season, GW improved its record by nine games.

“As the recruiting coordinator at Drexel, she is well-respected by the [Amateur Athletic Union] and high school coaching community for her hard work and dedication,” Tsipis said.

The Brigantine, N.J. native will specialize in coaching the team’s guards, and Tspis said she has a particular flair for developing talent at the point. Dunne’s Drexel teams led the CAA in assist-to-turnover ratio during three separate years and have ranked among the NCAA’s top-35 in that category every year she has coached them.

Dunne will be tasked with developing newcomers Brianna Cummings, Mia Farmer and Camila Tapias, while working with returning guards like Chakecia Miller and Hannah Schaible to fill the holes left by star guards Danni Jackson and Megan Nipe.

Dunne is also a defensive specialist, with a record of guiding the Dragons to the top of the CAA in points allowed. She led them to eighth best in the NCAA at 51.4 points per game in 2012-13. The Colonials will value her expertise after leaning on a defense-first strategy in 2013-14, though they relied more heavily on their 76.1 points scored per game than their 68.9 points allowed.

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Maurice Creek and Isaiah Armwood exit the Smith Center court after the Colonials defeat St. Joseph's. Hatchet File Photo

Maurice Creek and Isaiah Armwood exit the Smith Center court after the Colonials defeated St. Joseph’s last season. Hatchet File Photo

After leading the men’s basketball team through one of its most successful seasons in nearly a decade, alumni Maurice Creek and Isaiah Armwood wore the same colors one more time this week – but they weren’t buff and blue.

Armwood and Creek, known during the season as the “Zeke and Creek show,” both worked out for the Washington Wizards on Tuesday as part of their bids to make an NBA roster.

Armwood played in the workout’s first session, while Creek played in the second.

“I wish he was on my team. I think we would have had a little advantage,“ Armwood said after the workout. “But we were on separate teams. It was definitely nice to get out there with him.”

Creek and Armwood played with a handful of familiar faces: Halil Kanacevic of Saint Joseph’s, Devin Oliver of Dayton and Chaz Williams of Massachusetts, who all showed up to Tuesday’s workout. Armwood has already worked out for the Miami Heat, Sacramento Kings and most recently the Denver Nuggets.

 “[The Wizards] like to run a lot, that’s what I like to do,” Armwood said. “I could be like that three or four guy that rebounds the ball and be a lockdown defender. I think I could fit in real well. “

The 6-foot-9 forward averaged 12.7 points and 8.7 rebounds per game last season, making him one of the most impactful big men in the GW program’s history. Armwood earned Second Team All-Conference and Atlantic 10 All-Defensive team honors at the end of the season.

Meanwhile Creek, selling himself as a solid shooter and defender, received a couple pointers this week from members of his team as well as last season’s NBA Most Valuable Player.

“I talked to my trainers, I talked to a couple of guys and Kevin Durant,” Creek said. “They were just like, ‘You shoot the ball very well. Be mental and mindful of that. Just do what you do, don’t be shy, be confident, go in there and just take everything in.’”

Creek left his mark last season from beyond the arc, where he made the second-most 3-point shots in program history. He averaged a team-high 14.1 points per game and earned Third Team All-Conference honors.

With the NBA draft just a day away, Creek and Armwood had opposite plans for draft day. While Creek intends to watch the draft and “take it in,” Armwood said he “might not even watch it.” Both players are not predicted to hear their names called Thursday.

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This post was written by contributing sports editor Nora Priniciotti

Then-junior guard Chakecia Miller squeezes pass a George Mason defender for a layup in a January game. File Photo by Aly Kruse | Hatchet Photographer

Then-junior guard Chakecia Miller squeezes pass a George Mason defender for a layup during a January game. File photo by Aly Kruse | Hatchet Photographer

For the first time in more than a decade, the women’s basketball team will take a trip to Europe.

The squad will travel to England and France from Aug. 13 to 23 to see the sights and play in exhibition games against European teams, the athletic department announced Tuesday.

Women’s basketball has not traveled internationally since it took a tour of Italy and Switzerland in 2001, but will boast plenty of stamps on their passports by the end of the year, with a tournament in the Bahamas also scheduled for Thanksgiving break.

“[The trip will] greatly enhance our team chemistry by giving our returning players and incoming freshmen an early opportunity to bond while also playing strong international competition,” head coach Jonathan Tsipis said in a release.

The team will first head to London, where the women will go on guided tours of Big Ben, the Houses of Parliament, St. Paul’s Cathedral and Westminster Abbey, take a ride on the London Eye and sightsee on a cruise on the River Thames.

GW already took home top marks in the Revolutionary Rivalry with George Mason, but the Colonials will hope to stage a reenactment of the Battle at Yorktown in a game against Barking Abbey, a London-based team.

International tensions will ease, however, with a Colonials youth clinic for Barking Abbey’s younger players.

They will then travel to Paris to see the Eiffel Tower, the Arc de Triomphe, the Louvre, Notre Dame Cathedral, the Palace of Versailles and the River Seine before departing by train for Marseille and traveling along the French Riviera through Nice and the Principality of Monaco.

The port of Nice in France. Photo used under the Wikimedia Commons License

The port of Nice in France. Photo used under the Wikimedia Commons License

Athletic director Patrick Nero said in a release that giving student-athletes who can not study abroad the chance to travel internationally is a priority for his department.

“While we of course hope this trip allows the women’s basketball team to build on a successful season this past year, more importantly we hope that the experience our student-athletes will gain from an international tour broadens their horizons and enriches their lives,” Nero said.

After their final dinner in Nice, the Colonials will fly home and get to work stateside in preparation for the 2014-15 season, building off their first Atlantic 10 Championship semifinal appearance since 2008 and their nine-win improvement from last season.

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Star forward Jonquel Jones charges to the basket earlier this season. Hatchet File Photo

Star forward Jonquel Jones charges to the basket last season. Hatchet File Photo

This post was written by Hatchet staff writer Josh Solomon.

The women’s basketball team will play on the road over Thanksgiving break, but one Colonial should feel right at home.

Freeport, Bahamas, the hometown of star forward and rising junior Jonquel Jones, will host the annual two-round tournament, Junkanoo Jam.

It’ll be a working holiday for the Colonials, who will face NC State in the Freeport Division’s first round. The winner will play either Texas Tech or Purdue.

NC State was upset as a No. 5 seed in the first round of the NCAA tournament by No. 12 seed BYU, which ran all the way to the Sweet 16. Similar to the Colonials, the Wolfpack graduated two starters, including Academic All-American Kody Burke. But with the majority of their lineup expected back, NC State will not be easy to beat.

Texas Tech stopped short of the postseason after a first-round exit in the Big 12 championship, but will return all but one starter. Purdue, a No. 4 seed in last year’s big dance that lost in the second round, returns a majority of its team as well.

Both the Boilermakers and the Wolfpack could be nationally ranked heading into the tournament Nov. 27 to 29.

Last year’s Freeport Division featured Penn State, Florida and Oregon State, which would go on to earn seeds of No. 3, No. 11 and No. 9, respectively, in the NCAA tournament.

November’s trip will mark the third Junkanoo Jam for GW, the most by any team in the tournament’s history. The Colonials last appearance was during the 2009-10 season, when they fell to No. 25 Michigan State and again to Marist in the consolation game.

They previously appeared during the 2005-06 season, knocking off No. 19 Purdue then losing the championship game by five points to No. 18 Texas. That was the same year GW went to the NCAA tournament as a No. 7 seed and lost in the second round to Candace Parker and No. 2 Tennessee.

GW’s first appearance was in the 2003-04 season. The Colonials lost to Penn State but defeated Arizona State.

The tournament props up a schedule that already features a home game against Maryland, which was a Final Four team last season, and GW could see other high-profile programs added to the list soon. A strong non-conference schedule would help the Colonials’ NCAA tournament push this year after they made it to the third round of the WNIT last season.

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

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

This post was written by Hatchet staff writer Josh Solomon.

The Colonials will meet an old foe again in next year’s non-conference schedule.

Former Atlantic 10 rival and current Big Ten Conference member Penn State has agreed to a home-and-home series with GW over the next two seasons, head coach Mike Lonergan announced Monday. The Colonials will start the head-to-head series on the road at University Park on Dec. 14. GW will then host Penn State in the 2015-16 season.

The Nittany Lions are the latest to join the men’s basketball team’s increasingly high-profile list of non-conference opponents.

GW will face another member of the Big Ten in a home-and-home series, though officials have yet to announce the team. The Colonials are slated to face ACC champion Virginia on the road on Nov. 21 in the first game of a home-and-home and will travel in December to the 2014 Hawaiian Airlines Diamond Head Classic, which includes Colorado, Nebraska and Wichita State.

Athletic Director Patrick Nero said via Twitter that the full non-conference schedule will be announced soon.

Penn State went 16-18 last year but showed power at times, such as during both games of a season series sweep of Ohio State. The Nittany Lions saw their season end in the quarterfinals of the College Basketball Invitational against Siena.

The last time GW faced the Nittany Lions was 1991, in a 71-57 neutral-site non-conference game victory. The previous season, the Colonials fell to Penn State in the A-10 Championship game, 81-75. GW is 11-19 all time against the Nittany Lions.

Lonergan and Penn State head coach Patrick Chambers have also met before.

Lonergan repeatedly faced off against the former Boston University head coach during his six seasons at the helm in Vermont. In their final two seasons before moving to their current schools, Lonergan’s Catamounts swept all three games in the 2009-10 season, including the conference championship game.

Chambers’ Terriers came back and swept Vermont in the regular season, including a final game between the two head coaches – a 66-64 overtime thriller in favor of Boston University.

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Sophomore Joe McDonald struggles to get around a VCU defender in March. File Photo by Samuel Klein | Photo Editor

Then-sophomore Joe McDonald struggles to get around a VCU defender in March. File Photo by Samuel Klein | Photo Editor

The Colonials have leapt forward in early predictions polls after their breakout 2013-14 season, climbing the ranks by up to seven slots.

A pair of early Atlantic 10 prediction polls both picked GW to finish in the top five in the conference in 2014, a major improvement after GW was picked to finish 13th in the 2012 preseason coaches poll and 10th last season.

CBS Sports college basketball writer Matt Norlander released his “early guess at the top five in the league” on Monday. Norlander anticipated that GW would finish fifth in the conference behind Saint Joseph’s, Richmond, Dayton and VCU.

After the Colonials earned their first bid to the NCAA tournament since 2007, Norlander warned readers that they should not overlook GW come November.

“Expecting GW to slip back into generic mediocrity would be a mistake,” Norlander said.

SB Nation’s Mid-Major Madness predicted GW would finish third. Senior editor Parks Smith wrote that the Colonials will finish behind Massachusetts, which will come in second behind VCU.

Smith pegged conference newcomer Davidson to finish 12th. The Wildcats finished last season 20-13 overall and 15-1 in the Southern Conference.

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Forward Tyler Ranalli, who graduated in May, plays in a game last fall. Hatchet File Photo

Forward Tyler Ranalli, who graduated in May, plays in a game last fall. Hatchet File Photo

Men’s soccer will add five freshmen and one transfer to its roster for the 2014-15 season, head coach Craig Jones announced Friday.

The newcomers are a mix of international students and prospects from the D.C. area.

The team has added three center midfielders: Bowie, Md. native Koby Osei-Wusu, Alex Conning, from London, and Old Dominion University transfer Oliver De Thier, from Great Falls, Va.

San Pedro Garza Garcia native and IMG Academy graduate Santiago Ardila will play as a midfielder, and the team has also recruited Pembury, England’s Christian Lawal as a right back. Ismail Lapp-Kamara, from Silver Spring, Md., will play center back.

“All of our incoming guys have been successful at the youth level both on the field and off, fitting the mold for the type of student-athlete we want to bring to GW,” Jones said in a release. “On the field, as we continue to build the program, I feel our current recruiting class adds depth and healthy competition for our starting spots next fall in all areas on the field.”

Jones said each of the newcomers will vie for playing time, and Conning, Lapp-Kamara and Lawal are the top contenders for a starting spot. The midfielder-heavy roster may force some players to different positions if they want playing time.

Last fall, the Colonials missed out on the postseason for the second-straight year after losing their last four games to finish the season 5-10-2 (2-4-2 Atlantic-10), one game shy of the playoffs.

That disappointment came after draws in games against the league’s top teams, Dayton and Saint Louis, to open conference play, which turned the season into a story about a GW team that failed to reach its potential.

The team is looking to replace five seniors who graduated in May, including defensemen Abdul Shaban and Alex Sandland, midfielder Bailey Hinners and forwards Francisco Solorzano and Tyler Ranalli. Ranalli was the team’s leading scorer with six goals and Hinners’ was an explosive, often emotional, workhorse who led the team with 1,345 minutes played.

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