It is officially crossover season at RIT, with the winter sports hitting its crescendo and spring sports on the verge of starting their regular seasons. It is an exciting, but incredibly busy time in athletics, to say the least. Last weekend featured some top-notch individual and team performances.
The men’s hockey team (14-11-5, 12-8-4 Atlantic Hockey Association) earned a hard-fought tie against #20 Niagara in front of a packed house at the Ritter on Saturday. Brennan Sarazin’s tip-in goal with 1:04 left in regulation boosted RIT to the 3-3 tie.
It was RIT’s final non-conference regular season game. The Tigers were 2-3-1 in those games and with four of those games coming against teams who were ranked at the time of the game. At one point this season, five of the six teams were ranked in the top-20 nationally.
Now the fun begins, as the Tigers are back to the rigors of Atlantic Hockey, with two games at Mercyhurst on Friday and Saturday. Mercyhurst is right on the Tigers’ heels, one point back. RIT dropped from first to third in the standings this weekend, but they are just three points out of first. One win for RIT all but clinches a top-five berth in the standings and the right to host a first round series.
RIT’s women’s hockey team (17-6-0, 11-3-0 ECAC West), dropped to sixth in the nation, despite not allowing a goal in two wins this weekend and not having lost since the second of the month. RIT, fresh off of firing 156 shots on goal in the two wins at Chatham last weekend, managed a meager 120 shots in a sweep over SUNY Cortland. Senior Isabelle Richard achieved a milestone on Friday, while the Tigers recorded their 17th win of the season on Saturday.
This weekend, the Tigers close out their regular season with two games at Neumann. If RIT wins both games, they will clinch the #2 seed in the ECAC West Championships, which will be hosted by defending national-champion SUNY Plattsburgh.
RIT’s men’s basketball team (12-11, 6-8 Empire 8) closes out the week with their home finale aganst Alfred on Tuesday and a road contest at Elmira on Sunday. One win gives the Tigers its 17th consecutive season with at least a .500 record. Unfortunately, it will be the first time since the Empire 8 went to a playoff to determine its champion, that the Tigers will not be involved. RIT had made the first four Empire 8 Tournaments.
On the women’s side, the Tigers (11-11, 6-8 Empire 8) are on fire, having won four straight games. RIT is now within one game of the fourth and final playoff berth in the Empire 8. RIT can make the Empire 8 Tournament with wins over Alfred and Elmira, and a St. John Fisher loss to Utica. The 11 wins this season are the second most in school history, only behind last year’s mark of 15. The senior class of Joanna Dobeck and Jamie Snyder now has 39 victories in four years, most by a four-year group in school history. The Tigers have a chance to post their second winning record in school history. Dobeck and Brianna O’Dell were the Empire 8 Player and Rookie of the Week, respectively. On Friday, the Tigers nearly scored the most points in a game in the program’s history in an 85-69 win over Hartwick. The school record is 87.
Both the men’s and women’s track and field teams had good showings at the Kane Invitational at Cornell. On the men’s side, Mike Hardbarger earned RIT and Empire 8 Athlete of the Week honors by breaking a 23-year old record in the 3,000-meters.
Junior Luke Baum of the wrestling squad became the third wrestler in the history of the RIT wrestling program to reach 100 wins on Saturday at Case Western. This weekend, the Tigers conclude the regular season at the Empire Championships at SUNY Oneonta. The winner of each weight class and 10 wild cards make the NCAA Tournament. Last season, Baum and Mike McInally made the tournament.
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