2017 Fall Previews / Coast Guard Academy
• Coast Guard welcomes back 10 players, including eight who played in 70 or more sets last season. The Bears finished 17-12 overall and 6-4 in the New England Women’s and Men’s Athletic Conference and advanced to the NEWMAC tournament for the 19th straight season.
“We return a trio of seniors that I have been able to work with for three years and we have created a great environment for new faces entering the program,” said coach Mike Bynon, who enters his third season. “We are really happy with the culture that we have built as a program. Our players have made a commitment to becoming the best cadets, teammates and people they can possibly be.”
Sophomore Angelou Dunton, who earned American Volleyball Coaches Association (AVCA) honorable mention all-region as well as second team all-conference honors, is the Bears' top returner. She led the team with 284 kills and 47 aces and was second with 208 digs. She ranked fourth in the NEWMAC with 3.26 kills per set and was third in the conference with 0.54 aces per set.
Dunton was one of seven freshmen on the team last season, six of whom return.
Rounding out this year’s sophomore class are middle blockers Alexi Deane (125 kills, 41 blocks), Alex Kempf (109 kills, 43 blocks) and Ariel Hall, along with setters Makenna Martin, who led the team with 784 assists last year, and Kassidy Whitney.
“It was crazy last year, we started three freshmen in the first match of the season and at one point in mid-October we have six freshmen on the court,” Bynon said. “To have six of those seven back who are all going to play big roles allows us to keep building on the things we worked on last year.”
The Bears also return seniors Michelle McGill, Emma Saunders and Madison Scott along with junior setter and defensive specialist Mackenzie Everett. McGill, a defensive specialist, is the starting libero. She led the team with 356 digs and was second on the team with 44 aces a year ago. Saunders, a right side hitter, was second on the team with 53 blocks to go with her 161 kills while Scott led the team with 83 kills and was third on the team with 179 kills.
It won’t take long for Bynon to see how the team meshes as the Bears will play almost a third of their schedule, nine matches in nine days, to start the season to prepare for the challenging NEWMAC schedule.
Coast Guard opens with four matches at the Cortland Red Dragon Classic on Friday and Saturday before hosting Trinity from the NESCAC on Sept. 6 and then four more home matches as part of the Coast Guard/Conn College Tournament on Sept. 8-9.
• Coast Guard is looking to build on last year’s run to the NEWMAC tournament. With 22 players returning, the Bears will look to experienced upper classmen, who will benefit from valuable minutes early on in their career to compete in an always competitive New England region. Coach Chris Parsons returns for his 16th season.
The strength of the team will be found in the defense as the entire back four returns. Last year the Bears recorded eight shutouts and were third in the conference in fewest goals allowed (18).
The back line will be led by senior captain Austin Read, who has started 53 games in his career. He was second team All-NEWMAC, third team NSCAA All-New England and became the first CoSIDA Academic All-American from the academy since 2014.
“AJ (Read) is a returning two-time captain," Parsons said. “In my opinion he is one of the top center backs in the region. I would like to see him get forward more out of the back and take a few risks. He is the lynch pin of our back four.”
Also returning for the defense are juniors Noah Harper and Greg Burnham and sophomore Brock Hassett. Creating depth for the defense are senior Bennett Aneralla, sophomore Wilson Nichols and freshman Dan Taglianetti.
In goal will be senior Jake Sorenson and sophomore Dakota Harich who split time last season. Sorenson, from Montville, started 11 games, allowing 11 goals with a .99 goals-against average and a .711 save percentage. Harich started six games, allowing seven goals with an 1.02 goals-against average and a .708 save percentage.
In the midfield, the Bears will have to replace first team All-NEWMAC member Alex Lane, who led the team with seven goals and added five assists. Sliding into his role in the center will be junior Patrick Palermo-Re (2 goals, 4 assists) and senior Ryan Dandan (2 goals, 2 assists).
In the holding center midfield position will be both junior Garrett Magill and sophomore Pryor Miller, who have combined to start 41 games.
The wing players will be led by senior captain Luke Telang, who has scored 26 points in his career with 10 goals and six assists. Also on the wing will be sophomore Taka Lendon, who played well in the spring and during preseason and will give the Bears valuable minutes out wide. Sophomore Gio Ottomanelli and freshmen Seth Anderson and Noa Pagatpatan will push for minutes in that role as well.
Up top, the team returns junior Alex Hall, while Griffin Klages has made meaningful strides during the spring and fall. The Bears also have the ability to push Dandan up top if warranted.
“In my opinion the team will be very competitive,” Parsons said. “If we can score goals when we need to and keep some goals out we could have a very good season. There is a fine line, but this is a pretty good team.”
The Bears have a strong nonconference schedule once again, highlighted by games against Williams, Johnson & Wales, Salve Regina and UMass Dartmouth. The Bears start their season Friday at the Husky Fall Classic, meeting Westfield State.
• The Coast Guard women’s soccer team returns 17 players from last season's team which went 6-8-4 overall and 2-6-2 in the NEWMAC. With the addition of eight freshmen, the Bears will look to return to the NEWMAC tournament for the first time since 2014. Coach Susan Grant returns for her 11th season.
Returning in goal will be junior Rachel Boohar, who has started 35 games in her first two years. She finished last season with six wins, a 1.55 goals-against average and a .787 save percentage.
The back four will be a strength, with tri-captain junior Riley Cassidy on the outside and sophomore Lizzie Miller in the middle. Joining the defense will be junior Janissa Arzie, sophomore Valerie Hines and freshmen Kat Retz, Sabrina Robertson and Karina Jensen.
In the midfield, sophomores Rachel Samotis, Lydia VanWinkle and Madeleine Khoilian have performed well in preseason. The midfield will also feature freshman Kylee Ballard, who has played well early on and will compete for playing time.
Coast Guard returns its points-leader from last season in sophomore Claire Hurley of Waterford, who finished with 12 points on five goals and two assists. Senior tri-captain Gabrielle Auzenbergs will join Hurley up top, making the two an effective combination. Auzenbergs led the team with three assists and was third on the team with two goals and seven points.
Joining Auzenbergs and Hurley in the attacking third will be junior Kali Borden and freshman Felicia Lombardi, who will help give Coast Guard a wealth of speed.
The team will once again open the season on the road, with the Bears traveling to Hackettstown, N.J., for the Centenary Cyclone Kickoff Classic. Coast Guard meets Drew in the season opener Friday.
“This early-season trip always helps with team camaraderie,” Grant said. “It gets the team off campus together and the two competitive games will get our season off to a good start. ... Our nonconference schedule is challenging once again this season, which will prepare us for our always difficult NEWMAC games.
“We feel that we can be an aggressive team and return to the NEWMAC tournament. We need to be competitive every time we step on the field to make sure we are prepared for postseason play.”
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