Even though a snowstorm is in the forecast and the mercury will be well below freezing, the first home spring event is schedule for Saturday, as men’s lacrosse hosts the Gordon Fighting Scots. Get out the hot chocolate and hand warmers, and maybe, just maybe, we will enjoy a winter wonderland on the turf field, like the season opener against Stevens two years ago. We had about four inches of snow fall during that game and had delays in order to clear off the field. A handful of winter sports wrapped up over the weekend, with a few others just getting warm. It was another typical weekend of fine performances.
The men’s hockey team (15-11-6, 13-8-5 Atlantic Hockey Association) clinched home-ice advantage for the first round of the Atlantic Hockey Tournament after earning three out of a possible four points at Mercyhurst over the weekend. On Friday, the Tigers used a furious rally to earn a 3-3 tie. The following night, RIT almost squandered a three-goal lead, but were able to hang on for a gutty 4-2 win.
After seeing the sparse crowds at Mercyhurst over the weekend (students on Spring Break, I was told), I wonder how some of the teams in our conference survive without fan support. There are quite a few leagues in the arena that have a “capacity” of under 1,000, and a few of the places I have traveled to this season have had crowds below 200 fans. Compared to many of these schools, our fan support is tremendous.
This weekend, the Tigers wrap-up the regular season with a pair of home contests against Bentley. RIT can earn the top-seed in the Atlantic Hockey Tournament and second straight regular season crown with a sweep and two losses or a loss and a tie by Army to Sacred Heart. If tied, Army holds the tiebreaker on the Tigers, by virtue of fewest goals allowed in league play. RIT is 1-0-1 against Bentley this season, having played the Falcons on Nov. 30 and Dec. 1.
RIT’s women’s hockey team (19-6-0, 13-3-0 ECAC West), wrapped up the #2 seed and a bye in the ECAC West Tournament with a weekend sweep at Neumann this weekend. On Friday, the Tigers rallied from a late deficit on a goal in an improbable situation. The following day, the Tigers had no problem finding the back of the net. RIT, ranked #6 nationally, heads into the ECAC West Tournament having won seven straight and 10-of-11.
Sophomore Mike McInally coasted to his second consecutive NCAA Tournament berth after winning Empire Conference Wrestling title at 125 lbs., for the second straight time. Senior Nate Bachmann did the same at 157 lbs. McInally has now won 11 straight matches and is 32-3 this season. Bachmann won all three of his matches as the #2 seed, improving to 33-10 on the season. He also became the fourth member in the history of the RIT wrestling program to eclipse 100 career wins on Saturday. Both men will compete at the 2008 NCAA Championships on March 7-8 at the U.S. Cellular Center in Cedar Rapids, Iowa.
RIT’s men’s basketball team (14-11, 6-8 Empire 8) closed out the 2007-08 season with wins over Alfred and Elmira. The Tigers had at least a .500 record for the 17th straight season. Mark Carson averaged a double-double, scoring 16.1 points and averaging 10.4 boards per game. He is the first Tiger to average a double-double since Craig Jones did so three straight times from 1994-95 to 1996-97. Carson had 13 double-doubles this season and his 259 rebounds are the 11th most in one season at RIT. His .618 field goal percentage is the second best in one season at RIT. Kenny Gethers scored 731 career points in just 52 games. The two-year Tiger averaged 14.2 points per game for his RIT career.
On the women’s side, the Tigers (12-12, 7-9 Empire 8) had its dreams of an Empire 8 playoff berth denied in a loss to Elmira on Sunday. Freshman Elli Vandegrift earned an Empire 8 weekly honor. RIT’s 12 wins this season are the second most in school history. Senior Joanna Dobeck recorded two double-doubles on the week, giving her 13 on the year. Her 229 rebounds are the sixth most in one season at RIT. Tiger leading scorer Brianna O’Dell missed the final game against Elmira due to injury. O’Dell’s 357 points are the fifth most in one season at RIT. The 57 made 3-pointers tied a school record.
Mike Hardbarger of the track and field squad broke a school record for the second straight week.
Junior Kristen Curtze and sophomores Caitlyn Burr and Ellen McCooe broke seven individual records between the three of them at the New York State Championships last weekend. Curtze was named the RIT Female Athlete of the Week. Both women earned All-Empire 8 honors.
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