ON CAMPUS A look at the area college sports scene

Friday, March 30, 2007

Softball and the spring

Are you ready?

The spring high school season starts on Wednesday and we still haven’t ran all the Winter All-Area teams yet.
Look for the hockey teams in the Register on Saturday and Sunday.

As for the spring season, we’ll preview softball, baseball and lacrosse early this week.

The softball scene looks to be strong again for area teams.

Remember Seymour’s Danielle Liska?

Here’s a brief item on her first win in college:

Liska (Seymour, Conn.) notched her first collegiate win on Friday, as the Babson College softball team defeated 12th-ranked Plattsburgh State, 4-1, at the NFCA Leadoff Classic. It was the second win of the day for the Beavers (2-0), who will complete preliminary-round play with a game against sixth ranked St. Thomas (MN) on Saturday.
Coming off a legendary high school career at Seymour in which she went 50-0, Liska turned in a brilliant performance in her collegiate debut, allowing just one run on two hits while walking four and striking out nine in seven innings of work. The only run for Plattsburgh came on a walk, stolen base, and single with two outs in the second. From that point on, Liska retired seven straight and 16 of the next 19 to complete the victory.

Sounds like she’s picked right up where she left off.
Anyway, Liska’s absence will leave a hole for the Wildcats to fill. I’m sure they’re ready but my No. 1 vote in the poll left with Liska and long list of stars who graduated.
I’m still voting the Wildcats high in our poll -- but not No. 1.
Who’s the best?
Well, expect Mercy and pitcher Tory Satagaj to be dominant and Amity, of course, will be in the hunt as always.
Masuk and sophomore pitcher Rachel Fico should be exciting as well as a trio of CCC teams (Bristol Central, Bristol Eastern and Southington).
The word around the NVL is that Watertown and Holy Cross will be good. State-wide, Coginchaug, Stamford and Griswold are also expected to be solid and you always have to keep an eye on Lauralton Hall.
It’s going to be another big season for area teams.

Let me know who you like?

Tuesday, March 13, 2007


Just some things to think about while pondering your CIAC and NCAA brackets.


Hillhouse meets Torrington tonight at CCSU at 7:30 p.m.
The Red Raiders have one of the state's top coaches in Tony Turina. He is a veteran coach and led Torrington to the Division II state title last year.While Turina is well-regarded behind the bench, you have to give a lot of credit to Hillhouse coach Kermit Carolina.
Remember he lost four starters from last year's team and has lost just one game this year.
While Carolina was the Register's coach of the year last year, he's probably done a better job this year, considering all the talent that graduated. The Academics still have two major hurdles to climb to defend their title.
In the Class L, Maloney is still on a roll and a true threat to claim the No. 1 spot in the final poll.
In Class M, the winner of Weston-Sacred Heart game looks like the eventual champion.
In Class S, I picked Canton to claim the title and they haven't been tested throughout the tourney so far, so I'll stick with them. Coginchaug, the No. 1 seed, is still alive.

NCAA women

Just one quick thought on the brackets.
Who sits in on the selection process?
All the powerhouses are in Tennessee's bracket and it looks like smooth sailing for the Huskies to reach the Final Four.
It always seems like the NCAA women's tournament is prearranged to get the Huskies and their large following the easiest road possible. Some say it's because ESPN wants it that way as UConn attracts the most television viewers.
If you don't believe that sit down at the Register one night when the Huskies aren't on CPTV field the calls from irate fans.
It's madness.
UConn will be tested by NC State but should reach the finals.
My pick to win it all is Duke. North Carolina is the most talented team but you have to play some defense.

NCAA men

When the CIAC completes it action I'll check in from time to time to step on Brett Orzechowski's shoes and give some insight to the men's tournament.
My champion pick is North Carolina. They're deep and talented and if you watched the game against NC State last weekend you saw that they do one of the most important things you can do in tourney action and that is shoot free throws.
They made their first 20 from the line in the ACC final.
My sleeper pick is Virginia Tech. Watch out for this one Kansas.

Thursday, March 8, 2007

Hillhouse-Crosby: Get there early

Get ready for the biggest game of the year.
On Friday night the Hillhouse basketball team will meet Crosby-Waterbury in the Class LL quarterfinals.
This is a matchup that could very well have come in the finals but with the brackets jam-packed with talented teams, several early-round games feature two teams with the potential to win it all.
It is a classic contest featuring Hillhouse's Mike Moore and a surging talent in Kwamaine McCarter against Crosby superstar B.J. Monteiro.
Monteiro is one of the most consistent scorers in the state. Even when you feel he didn't play his best game, you look at the scorebook and he's got 20 points.He glides to the hoop with grace and pulls up on jumpers like Kobe Bryant. He will be a college standout.
Crosby has a young team which has been bolstered by the early-season transfer of Lavar Moore, who scored 20 points in the Bulldogs' second-round win against a tough Bridgeport Central team.
If you're going I have two words for you: Good, and luck.
The game will be held at New Britain High School which fire officials say holds around 1,600 people. The two schools will be allotted 300 tickets apiece.
I know Crosby will sell those out immediately and Hillhouse will also sell them all. That means that there will be only around 1,000 seats available for the rest of the public and I've said for several years now that no team brings as many fans as Crosby.
Plus the game is also a high school basketball fan's dream matchup and will attract fans from around the state.
In other words it will be very hard to get a ticket for the game.
It starts at 7 p.m. but other such matchups have seen lines of fans forming to get tickets as early as 3:30 p.m.
It will be a madhouse, just like it's supposed to be.

Thursday, March 1, 2007

A look at the CIAC boys' tournament

After a week of action my picks in the girls’ basketball tournament are faring very well. So here’s a look at the boys' brackets and I fully expect not to do as well here. This tournament, although not typically loaded with upsets, is very balanced. Even the top teams in the state could be knocked out.
Class LL
You’ve got to love some of the potential matchups here. Trinity Catholic could meet Harding in the quarterfinals and Hillhouse could face Crosby-Watertown on the same night. Is there anyway to see both games?
I doubt it.

If you have to pick a game that night, assuming they all make it that far, you’d have to see the Hillhouse-Crosby game with the Acs’ Mike Moore matching game with the Bulldogs’ B.J. Montiero, clearly two of the best players in the state.
Cross your fingers that these two face off and get your tickets early.
Crosby fans come out in droves to see their team. Overall I’m picking Hillhouse to meet Trinity in the finals with the Acs repeating as state champs.
Their defense is awesome and should be the difference. Hillhouse must be consistent offensively throughout the tourney to defend its title.
But again, this bracket features no less than eight teams that could realistically win it all: Trinity, Harding, East Catholic, Holy Cross, NFA, Wilbur Cross, Hillhouse and Crosby. You can’t say that in any other tournament in this state.
Class L
Maloney-Meriden is the top-heavy choice. I only wish the Spartans were in the Class LL fray. Still, they will be challenged by the likes of Bulkeley, Farmington, Weaver and a red-hot Bassick-Bridgeport team.
But Maloney is the most athletic team in the state and if they get any type of consistent offensive game they won’t lose. It would be Howie Hewitt’s first state title and he’s had several contenders.
Class M
One really has to question why Kolbe Cathedral did not petition to play in a higher division. Kolbe is undefeated and has been relatively untested much of the season.
They are very good but most people will never know how good they because fans will skip their tourney games to see the Class LL affairs.
If John Pfohl knew how good his team was going to be he may have made the jump to the Class LL.
Last year I said that the CIAC should change its tournament format and it did.
One detail the CIAC left out of my suggestion was to give schools until the beginning of the new year to decide if they wanted to petition to play in the Class LL.
Maybe Kolbe would made the leap and maybe it wouldn’t, but at least it would have had the choice. That being said, like Maloney, I wouldn’t vote Kolbe No. 1 in the final poll for winning the Class M state title.
Nothing against either of these schools but it won’t get anything near the test of the Class LL winner. Still, Kolbe has to watch out for teams like Sacred Heart, Weston, Old Saybrook, to claim the title. And its first game against Hartford Public will be a test.
One it’ll pass it with flying colors I expect.
Class S
Only 21 teams qualified for these brackets and many are true longshots.
Coginchaug has been strong during the season and should be the favorite to win this tournament dominated by CSC and Shoreline Conference teams.
Watch out for Jeff Robinson and Granby to advance.
Cromwell is also strong and Canton has been receiving plenty of accolades. I’ll go with Canton here but excuse me if I miss the final. I’ll be heading to Storrs for the big one. You can find the brackets here: