ON CAMPUS A look at the area college sports scene

Thursday, April 26, 2007

Boys' volleyball rankings, and a Soprano ending

Register volleyball rankings.

As you'll notice there are 4 CCC teams in the top 10, 2 FCIAC and 2 SCC teams. Lewis Mills and Barlow are basically independent schools in volleyball.

Register Top 10 volleyball rankings
Team Record Last week
1. Lewis Mills-Burlington (6-0) 1
Bottom line: The Spartans passed another SCC test vs. Shelton
2. Staples-Westport (10-0) 2
Bottom line: Topped Trumbull 3-1 to preserve streak
3. Amity-Woodbridge (4-1) 4
Bottom line: Round One vs. conference heavyweight Shelton is tonight
4. Trumbull (6-1) 3
Bottom line: Missed chance to climb rankings vs. Staples
5. Shelton (7-1) 5
Bottom line: Would have liked to win one game vs. Mills
6. Glastonbury (6-0) 7
Bottom line: Has tough spots on the horizon
7. Enfield (5-1) 10
Bottom line: Win over Maloney is last time it will play top 10 team this year
8. Maloney (6-1) 8
Bottom line: Dropped fifth game vs. Enfield 15-13.
9. Southington (3-2) 9
Bottom line: Poised to go on a run
10. Joel Barlow (5-2) 6
Bottom line: Only losses came to top-ranked Mills and No. 5 Shelton
SCC rankings
1. Amity (4-1)
The Spartans play host to Shelton in a crucial early-season conference battle. Both teams realize that one loss in the conference could cost them an outright title.
2. Shelton (7-1)
Schedule eases up a bit after Amity. This week has been a good prep for the state tournament.
3. Hand-Madison (4-3)
The Tigers should ease their way into both the SCC and state tournaments but coach Tom Brady will be looking for some quality wins.
4. Cheshire (2-2)
Its early but the Rams need to turn it on to reach the state tournament. Cheshire must have the toughest schedule in the state.
5. Xavier-Middletown (3-5)
The three wins are only a bonus for the Falcons, who have legitimately turned the corner on the court.
- Poll and SCC rankings by Bill Cloutier
Sopranos update

You had to love last week's Sopranos. Uncle June was amazing.
I've got to believe that his friend, who beat him up pretty badly last week, will be eliminated in the first 15 minutes next week.
Chip says that last week's episode may be Junior's farewell performance. I hope not. He's been fantastic since the Alzheimer's kicked in.
My pick for the finale is that Tony thinks that Christopher is coming for him but it is Christopher who ends up taking a bullet to save Tony.
The shooter .... ?
I'm still mulling that one over.
Let me know what you think.

Monday, April 23, 2007

For the love of hockey

Last week I wrote about East Haven's Joe Lucibello and his quest to continue hockey after his high school career ended.
Joe will try to play for Junior hockey while attending college. He wants to play for a year and then hopes to land a spot on a college team.
Joe's plight is not that different from that of Nicole Provencher, a goalie for the Guilford High hockey team.
Nicole, too, hopes to play in college and hopes to gain a spot by playng for the Connecticut Polar Bears, a state travel team.
Nicole's mom dropped me this note:

Dear Mr. Cloutier,
Today's article about Joe Lucibello's college dreams was very interesting to our family.
My daughter, Nicole Provencher, is a hockey goalie for the Guilford High School girl hockey team. As this sport is just becoming more popular, the competition is not at the level of boys ice hockey.
However, with the girls the competition to get into a school to play hockey has become more and more difficult.
Nicole plays also for the Connecticut Polar Bears and has been with them for 5 years. The Polar Bears have two levels of teams for each age bracket.
All of the tier 1 players are in prep schools. The prep school girls seem to have a direct path into colleges which host hockey teams. During the Polar Bear tournament in December the U19 Tier 1 teams have quite an audience of recruiters following the girls.
Nicole's high school team was defeated in the state championship game against New Caanan in overtime. She had 10 shutouts and a save percentage of 93%.
She also was the goalie during the Regional Tournament in which the Polar Bears won against Rhode Island for the championship.
Nicole was recruited by Cheshire Academy as they were planning to have a girls hockey team this fall. She was accepted but the hockey team plans were put on hold. So, Nicole must work twice as hard to be recognized as a potential college hockey player.
All this seems to be wrong place - wrong time. We really understand Joe Lucibello's frustration but if he plans a course and works very hard (a lot harder than the prep school boys) he should be OK.

That's all well said.
Basically, if you really want something you have to work for it.
I wish Nicole and Joe the best of luck.

Saturday, April 21, 2007

Serving up the boys' volleyball

Boys' volleyball is sort of a cult sport.

Some of the best athletes around play the sport but many do so in anonymity. Played well, it is a thrilling sport by both the boys and the girls but, I feel that because it is played inside when most of us want to finally head to the outdoors after the long winter, it draws few fans.
Our area always features some of the best volleyball teams. Bunnell was the best girls' team in the state last season and several area teams were amongst the top 10.
Who's the best boys' team?
Well, a couple area teams are staking their claim to be the state's best.
Shelton is still undefeated and Amity battled Lewis Mills tooth-and-nail last week.

I've seen a few matches this year and watched a 12-team jamboree at Southington at the beginning of the season. I also saw plenty of matches last year so I know which teams have the most talent coming back.
Still, this is a sport where teams can improve in a hurry and teams that send the bulk of their rosters to the Junior programs usually fare the best.

Here's a look at the my top 10.
Records are through Wednesday's games.

1. Lewis Mills-Burlington (3-0)
Bottom line: The Spartans are defending Class M champions
2. Staples-Westport (3-0)
Bottom line: Class L favorite has yet to be challenged
3. Trumbull (3-0)
Bottom line: Schedule has been favorable thus far.
4. Amity-Woodbridge (3-1)
Bottom line: Impressive in loss to No. 1 Lewis Mills
5. Shelton (5-0)
Bottom line: Adapting well to new coach
6. Joel Barlow (4-1)
Bottom line: Perennial Class M power
7. Glastonbury (4-0)
Bottom line: Win over Southington impressive
8. Maloney (5-0)
Bottom line: 2005 Class M champs have rebuilt
9. Southington (1-2)
Bottom line: Slow start could be an aberration
10. Enfield (3-1)
Bottom line: One of state’s tallest teams.
SCC rankings
1. Amity (3-1)
The Spartans proved they could play with anyone after pushing Lewis Mills to four games Wednesday. It looked like Amity ran out of gas in the fourth game but the first three were very tight.
2. Shelton (5-0)
Coach Ryan Woodcock couldn’t have asked for a better start but the Gaels’ schedule is extremely difficult over the next 10 days. We’ll see how good they really after a stretch against Hand, Lewis Mills, Joel Barlow and Amity.
3. Hand-Madison (2-2)
The Tigers dropped a pair against two top-10 teams. They are still a major player in the SCC.
4. Cheshire (1-2)
The Rams have been hit hard by graduation lately but coach Sue Bavone likes her team’s passing.
5. Xavier-Middletown (1-3)
Coach Todd Krasnitski called the Falcons’ sweep of Norwich Free Academy the team’s best performance in two years.

Check out this link for the latest CIAC standings.

Saturday, April 14, 2007

Rain, rain go away, we've got games to play

The biggest story of the high school season so far has been the rain.

But there are some other notable things to check out.

Here’s a few.


Fitch-Groton’s Matt Harvey is the No. 1 ranked baseball player in the country according to some sources.
The right-handed pitcher is 6-4 and 190 pounds and a senior who is sure to be a high draft choice in the major league draft in a couple months.
Harvey will have the same decision to make that former Hamden Hall star Josh Zeid debated a couple of years ago. Zeid opted for Vanderbilt but was not a potential No. 1 pick like Harvey.
If Harvey is picked No. 1, look for him to enter the majors and take the money. After all, super agent Scott Boras is his "advisor."
Our baseball writer Joe Morelli will feature him in an upcoming story soon.


On the softball field the season is off to a wild start. Mercy had hopes of running the table this season with superstar pitcher Tory Satagaj but the Tigers have already lost two games.
Mercy fell to Amity and Cheshire. On Friday, Amity topped Cheshire to seize control of the top rung of the SCC ladder. Now the bull’s-eye is on the Spartans’ back.
Let’s see how long Lauren Bespuda and the girls from Woodbridge can stay there.
The SCC also announced that it would implement a tie-breaking system in the postseason tournament. If the game is tied after eight innings, a runner will be placed at second base to start the ninth inning.
Man, does that cheapen the integrity of the game.
If were worried about endless games dominated by pitchers then just move the mound back. Already we’ve seen plenty of no-hitters and perfect games this year.
Move the mound back 3 feet and then you bring a unique concept of the game into play. It’s called defense.
If you’re going to change the rules why not go all the way?
Check out Mike Pucci’s take on the softball scene every Monday in the Register, which also features a weekly journal from Amity standout Katie Yanagisawa.
Katie is a blazing second baseman for the Spartans whose writing is every bit as good as her game. She’s already been accepted to Yale University and will play softball for the Bulldogs.
She told me she's been working on her power game and homered against Cheshire Friday. Katie moved to second base this year because Bespuda overpowers many hitters. Coach Mike Scanlon figured she'd get more action at second than at shortstop.