Your Guide to GW sports


Atlantic 10

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.

  • Permalink
  • Comments
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.

  • Permalink
  • Comments

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.

  • Permalink
  • Comments
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.

  • Permalink
  • Comments

After concluding her final season with women’s rowing, alumna Sarah Pickus was named to the Atlantic 10 All-Academic team, the league announced Thursday.

Pickus received the same honor last season. She was also named to the A-10 All-Conference Second Team following GW’s fourth-place finish at the A-10 Championships earlier this month.

Pickus, who graduated May 18, finished her academic career with a 3.79 GPA. The biomedical engineering major appeared on the A-10 Commissioner’s Honor Roll five out of eight semesters and on the athletics department’s dean’s list four times.

Pickus helped the Colonials’ Varsity 8 boat win the 2013 A-10 Varsity 8 Championship, the George’s Cup and the Class of 1998 Cup during her time at the University.

  • Permalink
  • Comments
Wednesday, May 21, 2014 10:48 a.m.

Baseball earns four postseason awards

The Colonials celebrate a win earlier this season. Hatchet File Photo

The Colonials celebrate a win earlier this season. Hatchet File Photo

This post was written by Hatchet staff writer Josh Solomon.

After missing out on the Atlantic 10 playoffs, the baseball team received consolation from the conference in the form of four postseason awards.

Freshmen Bobby Campbell and Joey Bartosic were two of the 13 rookies selected for the A-10 All-Rookie team, while seniors Colin Milon and Owen Beightol were chosen for the A-10 All-Academic team.

Campbell started all 50 games for GW at third base, and repeatedly demonstrated stellar defense with deep range and a strong arm. He finished fourth on the roster with a .272 batting average and had seven doubles, 20 RBI and six stolen bases.

Used primarily as head coach Gregg Ritchie’s leadoff hitter, Bartosic started the season off hot, stringing together a 14-game hit streak that ranked third-longest in the conference. He finished the season with a .298 batting average, though he did not start or play every game of the season like Campbell. The outfielder also finished the year with 20 steals – tied for third-best in conference.

At the other end of the experience spectrum, the Colonials were grounded by the play of their senior core.

Beightol, the only senior bat in the lineup, steadied the Colonials with a team-high .337 batting average, tied with junior Ryan Xepoleas. Beightol finished the season with 65 hits, which ranked seventh in the A-10, as well as 14 doubles.

Beightol ended his career tied for second all-time with 213 games played. He was also third all-time with 797 at-bats and ninth all-time with 234 career hits.

After senior closer Craig LeJeune went down with a season-ending earlier this year, Milon stepped into the closer role almost seamlessly. He recorded six saves, which was tied for second-best in the conference, and finished with a team-best 2.94 ERA.

After a slow start to conference play with a rookie-heavy team, the Colonials will look to build off of this season’s 12-15 conference record. With freshmen Campbell and Bartosic returning and strong senior leadership from players like Xepoleas, GW will aim to have a turnaround season next winter.

  • Permalink
  • Comments
Patricio Garino, Kevin Larsen and Joe McDonald celebrate in GW's win in the A-10 quarterfinals. Samuel Klein | Photo Editor

Patricio Garino, Kevin Larsen and Joe McDonald celebrate GW’s win in the A-10 quarterfinals. Hatchet File Photo

The men’s basketball team will host last season’s Atlantic 10 conference heavyweights Virginia Commonwealth, Massachusetts, Saint Louis and Dayton next season as a part of its nine-game conference home schedule, the league announced Thursday.

Neither Saint Louis nor Dayton made appearances at the Smith Center last season.

GW will play nine home and nine away games in an expanded 18-conference game schedule for the 2014-15 season.

“To be the best, you have to play the best, and the Atlantic 10 is one of the premier leagues with some of the best teams in college basketball,” head coach Mike Lonergan said in a release

Lonergan, who came to GW three years go, coached the Colonials to a 14-1 home record last season. In addition to the predicted conference favorites, the Colonials will host A-10 newcomer Davidson along with George Mason, Richmond and Saint Bonaventure.

“Next year’s A-10 home schedule features high-profile opponents and rivalry games which will be attractive to our students, alumni and fans, and the entire league schedule will challenge and prepare our team for the A-10 Championship and a goal of another trip to the NCAA Tournament,” Lonergan said.

 GW, which finished last season with an away record of 6-5, will play road matchups at Rhode Island, La Salle, Saint Joseph’s, Davidson, Duquesne, George Mason, Richmond and VCU.

The official schedule, including dates and times, has not yet been released.

  • Permalink
  • Comments

This post was written by Hatchet reporter Mark Eisenhauer.

After seven straight losses, the softball team finished its final home stand on a high note Sunday, defeating Dayton 3-0.

But the win, on a day that honored the teams graduating seniors Chelsea Curcio, Alexandra Del Prete and Courtney Martin, came on the heels of a disappointing weekend.

GW dropped two games against conference foe Saint Louis. The Colonials fell to the Billikens 7-4 on Friday and 5-4 Saturday. GW would also lose the first of two games against Dayton on Sunday, dropping game one 8-2.

The three losses highlighted the team’s recurring problem with failing to hold leads, compounded by sub-par pitching and defensive performances. But in the final game of the weekend, the Colonials were able to shut out the same Dayton team that scored eight runs on them just hours earlier.

Sophomore Meghan Rico, the team’s go-to starter, struggled with control Friday, allowing eight walks in 5.2 innings of work. While Rico allowed seven runs, only two of those runs were earned as two costly defensive errors would result in scoring opportunities for the Billikens. The Colonials outhit Saint Louis by six but paid for defensive miscues and dropped the game.

Freshman Paige Kovalsky, the Colonials’ third pitcher, had not seen much action this season until last weekend. Kovalsky was called on to make her first-ever start in Saturday’s game and held her own for the first five innings.

“I was planning on Rico just throwing 28 innings this weekend. I thought she was our best option,” head coach Stacey Schramm said. “Then on Friday, we gave up too many free bases with walks or hit batters. So at that point it was, ‘Who’s going to force the opponents to put the ball in play?’ And Paige did a good job.”

Once again this season, the Colonials squandered a big lead late in the game. Up 4-0 in the top of the sixth inning, GW let the Billikens score three runs in the inning and another two runs in the top of the seventh inning.

The day after her first complete game, Kovalsky got the call once again on Sunday. But after giving up a run in the first and three consecutive walks in the third, she was replaced by Martin in what would be the senior’s final innings on the mound at the Mount Vernon field.

Martin was charged with four runs in a disappointing end to her senior season, but her teammates said Martin’s performance will not overshadow her career, with Rico calling her a “role model.”

The Colonials turned to Martin’s “protege” to start the final game of the weekend, hoping to pull off one win in their final home stand.

GW maintained a consistent offense, scoring runs off hits by freshman Megan Linn, junior Samantha Dos Santos and sophomore Maura Murphy. Rico also had an outstanding performance, recording nine strikeouts in seven innings while only allowing three hits.

“There was a difference in confidence. It’s been a struggle all year. It has just been a really tough season,” Rico said. “I think I came in today with a whole different attitude. I tried to just go out there and play for the seniors and play the best I could.”

In the top of the fifth, an all too familiar scene began to unfold. Up by three, the Flyers had runners on the corners with only one out. It looked like the beginning of an offensive snowball.

But after a team huddle with Schramm, Rico settled in and made sure Dayton could not steal this final home win. Two pop ups off well-placed pitches by Rico got the Colonials out of the inning and preserved their lead.

Though tournament hopes are all but lost, the Colonials broke through their frustration Sunday and walked off their home turf with a win.

“It’s a shame because we had one of our worst years since I’ve been here,” Schramm said. “[The seniors] have been part of all the building parts, so we need to look at the big picture and realize exactly how much they meant. It’s frustrating we couldn’t give them a better year, but it was a great day. We ended on a really good note.”

The Colonials, now 17-30-1, have just two games left – both against Rhode Island this weekend.

Game note: Between Sunday’s double header, GW retired the number of softball alumna Elana Meyers. Meyers visited the field to throw the game’s first pitch.

  • Permalink
  • Comments

This post was written by Hatchet staff writer Nora Princiotti

For the first time in over 20 years, the men’s basketball team will play the University of Virginia during the regular season.

Announced Monday by head coach Mike Lonergan, the two teams have agreed to play against each other in a home-and-home deal during out of conference play over the next two seasons.

The Colonials will travel to Charlottesville, Va. next season to face the Cavaliers on Nov. 21. The following season, Virginia will pay a visit to the Smith Center in a matchup scheduled for Nov. 16, 2015.

Sophomores Kevin Larsen and Patricio Garino walk off the court after GW's A-10 Championship loss. They'll need to bring their best next season to take down Virginia. Hatchet File Photo

Sophomores Kevin Larsen and Patricio Garino walk off the court after GW’s A-10 Championship loss. They’ll need to bring their best next season to take down Virginia. Hatchet File Photo

The Smith Center has hosted just seven Atlantic Coast Conference opponents since it opened in 1975, the latest being Georgia Tech in 1988.

The addition of Virginia to GW’s non-conference schedule next season will undoubtedly bolster their strength of schedule and marks the team’s second-straight matchup against the previous season’s ACC champions. GW defeated 2013 ACC champion Miami in the Wooden Legacy Tournament last November

“Our goal is to play a schedule that is challenging and puts us in a position for a berth to the NCAA Tournament every season,” Lonergan said in a press release. “It’s going to be an exciting regional rivalry for our players, students, alumni and fans.”

The two programs have not faced each other in the regular season since 1984, with the most recent matchup being a 79-66 Virginia win in the first round of the 2004 NIT. History puts the Colonials and Cavaliers relatively on par, with GW having taken 23 out of 48 matchups between the two schools.

Virginia, like GW, is coming off a banner year in which it won both the ACC regular season title and championship title – the first time since 1976. Virginia made it to the Sweet 16 of the NCAA tournament and finished the season ranked No. 10 in the USA Today Coaches Poll. The Cavaliers have been ranked as high as No. 7 ESPN’s early preseason poll for 2014-2015, meaning it will be a tough test even for a GW team that equaled its second-most wins – 24 – in program history last year and earned an at-large bid to the NCAA Tournament.

The deal shows the growing respect the Atlantic-10 conference is gaining after sending six teams to the big dance this past season. The conference has had its fair share of skeptics in recent months. In March, Duke head coach Mike Krzyzewski made headlines when he said that the A-10 was getting more credit than it deserved, adding that the competition within the A-10 was weaker than the ACC.

  • Permalink
  • Comments
Sunday, April 20, 2014 10:26 p.m.

Baseball takes UMass series on late inning walk-off

This post was written by Hatchet staff writer Josh Solomon

After Friday’s loss against Massachusetts, in which the baseball team blew a three-run lead and ruined a strong start from senior Aaron Weisberg, head coach Gregg Ritchie remained optimistic for the final two games of an important series.

“I told the guys, ‘Hey, the game throws some mad twists at you man. It comes at you at different angles and sometimes it’s like ooh, you can’t even believe that happened,’” Ritchie said.

On Saturday, the Colonials came out and shut down the Minutemen in a 3-1 win, scoring all three runs in the eighth inning.

Sunday, GW fully redeemed its Friday meltdown, beating UMass on a walk-off single by senior Owen Beightol – part of a three-run ninth inning – to take the series. The win marked the team’s second-straight Atlantic 10 series win.

The Colonials discuss strategy in Saturday's game against UMass | Photo by Zach Montellaro | Hatchet staff photographer

The Colonials discuss strategy in Saturday’s game against UMass | Photo by Zach Montellaro | Hatchet staff photographer

Confidence grew throughout the weekend series, but on Easter Sunday – in front of a packed crowd – it looked like the Colonials were going to lay an egg.

GW had a 2-0 lead after three innings thanks to a towering shot from junior Ryan Xepoleas that hit the right-center field scoreboard.

But the Minutemen started to creep back into the game, as sophomore Bobby LeWarne gave up four unanswered runs: two in the fourth, one in the fifth and one in the sixth. By the top of the sevenths, UMass had jumped ahead of GW 4-2.

With the offense unable to string together consecutive hits and score runs late in the game, Ritchie described the dugout feeling as a “lull,” adding that it felt “almost like deflation.” The second-year head coach tried talking to his ballclub in an effort to remind his players to settle down and have fun playing the game.

“I said, ‘Hey look, the game throws some funny twists at you. It’s going to be the team that stays the most mentally tough down the stretch,’” Ritchie said. “‘What I want you to do, come hell or high water, no matter how this game ends, that the self pity stops and the focus and the fun of playing the finish to this game begins.’”

In the ninth, every member of the team played their part to spark a rally. Players hung over the railing at the top step of the dugout to heckle the UMass pitcher. At the plate, patient hitters were told to take pitches until their counts drew two strikes, helping to load the bases and eventually walk in one run with one out.

The only player without the take sign, however, was freshman Bobby Campbell.

The young third baseman had been working all week, preparing for the breaking ball opposing teams once threw to get ahead of him in the count. With the count at 3-1 in Campbell’s ninth-inning at-bat, the right-hander slammed a breaking ball into left field, scoring the game-tying run.

Following Campbell was Beightol: GW’s cleanup hitter. Beightol fell behind in the count early 0-2, but eventually worked the count even and lined the next pitch right to the third baseman.

“I knew I hit it really hard but I hit it right to him, so I thought it was going to be a double play,” Beightol said. “But then when it hit him in the chest I knew we were going to win.”

The winning run came across and the team mobbed Beightol over at first base to celebrate the win – and more importantly – the chance to be back in the mix for a playoff hunt.

Series Recap:

Friday saw a 4-1 GW lead squandered to a 5-4 loss, under an uncharacteristic blown save by senior Colin Milon. Molin, who received the Warren Fulton award before Sunday’s game, gave up three runs and was tagged with the loss. Weisberg, who started Friday’s game, finished with a line of 7.1 innings, five strikeouts and three earned runs on 10 hits. Beightol led the Colonials going 3-4 at the plate with two runs scored. Freshman Kevin Mahala drove in two runs on the day.

Saturday, the Colonials rebounded with a 3-1 win. Sophomore Jacob Williams earned his fourth win of the season, throwing eight innings, while allowing two runs on eight hits. He was efficient with 95 pitches, one strikeout and two walks. Campbell came up with the big hit in the eighth to score two of his fellow freshman teammates, Joey Bartosic and Maahla.

In Sunday’s 5-4 win, LeWarne didn’t have his best stuff, but worked through 5.1 innings. He gave up 11 hits and allowed four runs on 93 pitches. LeWarne’s toughest stretch came in the fourth inning when he gave up two runs and was hit with a come-backer on the heel of his glove hand.

“My change up wasn’t on today but [I] just [just kept] battling,” LeWarne said. “As long as you’re in the zone it usually works out. I’m just glad Eddie [Muhl] saved my ass and got a ‘W’ for us.”

Muhl came in and finished the game, earning both the win and recognition from his coach, who said it was a “big moment of growth.”

  • Permalink
  • Comments