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Two former Eastern Connecticut Conference football stars played against each other for the first time on the collegiate level Saturday in a Big Ten Conference game.
Norwich Free Academy graduate Matt Shaughnessy walked away a winner, as Wisconsin beat Purdue with former Fitch all-state linebacker George Hall by a 31-20 margin.
Shaughnessy, a true freshman starting at defensive end, finished with six tackles and Hall had seven tackles.
On the University of Wisconsin sports Web site, head coach Barry Alvarez said of Shaughnessy:
“I think he must be advanced because we asked a lot of things of him and that position, you do have some strong responsibilities and things that you're asked to do that are difficult to do physically. Many times guys aren't disciplined enough to do and take care of your responsibilities, so he has enough discipline and intelligence.
“So if you want to call it football intelligence, maybe it is. That at a young age he can handle it and it's very unusual for that, for someone to play as well as he has and be as slight (in size). He's 225 pounds, but he's very angular. He plays in a good football position, so he doesn't allow someone to use their weight to disadvantage him. He keeps good leverage and uses his speed and his athletic ability. But, yeah, I would say he definitely has good football IQ.”
In eight games, Shaughnessy has 27 tackles, including 11 solo, along with 1.5 sacks and 4.5 tackles for a loss. The 15th-ranked Badgers are 7-1 overall, 4-1 in the conference.
Hall, a senior, is Purdue's leading tackler with 61, including 31 solo tackles. The Boilermakers are 2-5, 0-4.
During the spring season, Hall received the team's Pit Bull Award for Defense for exemplified and sustained tenacity and intense play. He also earned the Hammer Award for outstanding hitter for the second year in a row.
• Despite a 1-4 conference record, the Coast Guard Academy men's soccer team still has a chance to secure a first-round home game for the New England Women's and Men's Tournament. The Bears (4-9-1 overall) need to beat Springfield in the regular season home finale Saturday and WPI has to lose or tie MIT on Thursday.
“Right now it's not that far from us,” junior Scott Senkier said.
An offensive funk has contributed to an eight-game losing streak during which the Bears have scored two goals and allowed only 11. Freshman Nate Wojcik leads the team in scoring with four goals.
“If we're able to score, we'll be fine,” Senkier said. “That's been our problem. We're not doing a bad job defending.”
• It was a successful week for the women's soccer team. The Bears doubled their win total this season with 2-1 victories over Mt. Holyoke and Salve Regina, but fell short of qualifying for the NEWMAC Tournament. CGA (4-11) completes its season today at Babson. Freshman Mary Morganhas a team-high three goals and seven points.
• Could this be the year the Bears finally win the NEWMAC men's cross country championship? They've finished second for the seventh straight time last fall. Junior Mike Flint placed third in that meet. Seniors Jeremy Yandell and Gerald Newton hope to repeat last year's all-conference status.
• The women's cross country team also is competing the NEWMAC Championship Saturday at Smith College in Northampton, Mass. JoEllen Arons, the 2004 conference rookie-of-the-year, placed second last year.
• Senior strong safety Ben Leuthold received the Liberty League's co-defensive player-of-the-week and freshman inside linebacker John Gill was named the league's co-rookie-of-the-week Monday. Leuthold has a league-high tying four interceptions. He had 18 tackles, including 12 solo, two interceptions and broke up four passes in a 7-0 loss at Union, which has the conference's top offense, Saturday. Gill had 13 tackles, including seven solo, and two tackles for a loss.
• Make it 12 in a row for the surging volleyball team. The Bears (20-3, 6-1 NEWMAC) trail MIT )7-0) in the standings. The two programs meet Saturday in the regular-season finale. Springfield (6-1) also is still in the running to finish first. Freshman Nicole Gurr is first in the conference with 4.68 kills per game and junior Christine Rostowfske averages 10.8 assists per game, ranking her second in the conference.
• Two sophomores have emerged this season as key contributors for the Connecticut College women's soccer team. Jackie Wade and Rachael Schefrin have caught the attention of coach Ken Kline.
“Jackie Wade is really working hard,” Kline said. “We've had her playing in the midfield wide. Rachael Schefrin is playing well for us.”
Wade, who has three goals, also has seen time at forward. Schefrin has established herself in the midfield, scoring a team-high six goals. Add sophomore central back Claire Linden, a New England Small College Athletic Conference freshmen of the year last year, and the Camels have a solid foundation for the future.
• Big weekend coming up for the men's and women's cross country teams. The Camels will be running in the NESCAC Championship Saturday at Wesleyan University in Middletown. Sophomore Aaron Wheeler leads the men, who placed fourth last year. Sophomores Heather Stanish and Elizabeth Claise anchor the women, who are ranked seventh in New England.
• The field hockey team is on a roll, winning seven of its last nine game to improve to 7-5 overall, 3-4 in conference play. Junior Katie Williams is the top scorer with nine goals and 21 points, ranking fourth in the point production in the NESCAC at 1.33 points per game. Sophomore Jill Mauer has seven goals and 16 points and junior Sage Shanley of Westerly has a team-best six assists and 16 points. Senior Ashley Kenerson is second in the league in saves per game at 10.83 per game.
Conn plays its regular season home finale Saturday against Tufts. The NESCAC Tournament pairings will be released Saturday.
• Freshman goalie Ted Lane has been one of the bright spots for the men's soccer team, 4-9 overall. He notched his second shutout of the season Wednesday with a 1-0 win over Trinity College. He's second in the league with 5.73 saves per game. Freshman Matt Hula has eight points, including three goals.
• The volleyball team is preparing for its first appearance in the NESCAC Tournament, which is Nov. 4-6 at a site to be determined. Two freshmen have helped spark the Camels (15-8, 5-4). Caitlin Tomaskahas 256 kills, 223 digs and 26 blocks and Jenna Tjossem has 160 kills and 69 blocks.
Around the region
• Goalie Ashley Ferra, a NFA graduate, was honored Sunday during senior day festivities prior to the Central Connecticut State University women's soccer team match versus Robert Morris. CCSU won its school record eighth in a row and improved to 13-3 overall, 7-0 in the Northeast Conference. In 14 games, 13 as a starter, Ferra owns a 10-2 record and an 0.81 goals against average.
For the men's soccer program, Putnam's Chris Rybacki, a freshman goalie, has appeared in five games, making four starts. He has a 2-2-1 record and a 1.09 goals against average.
• The Big East Conference picked UConn's O'Brian White as the men's soccer rookie-of-the-week. He scored two goals and added an assist for the fourth-ranked Huskies in a 3-0 win over Pittsburgh Wednesday. He's tied for the team lead in scoring with 16 points on six goals and four assists.
• Golfweek magazine named UConn junior Jason Parajeckas its national men's player-of-the-week after winning the individual title at the 71st Annual New England Intercollegiate Golf Association Championship last week and taking first at the Hawks Invitational last weekend. It's the first time that a UConn golfer has captured that award.
• North Stonington's Maria Petrillo helped the Roger Williams University sailing team to a third place finish at the Lake Champlain Open in Burlington, Vt. Petrillo combined with Drew Hamilton to finish second in the ‘A' Division.
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