USM winter sports preview

Sports

By: Eli Canfield, Staff Writer

Men’s Basketball
The Men’s Basketball Team graduated four out of their five top scorers last season, but leading scorer Jayvon Pitts-Young (Senior, Athletic Training) is back. Pitts-Young, named to the First Team All-Conference in his first year at USM, averaged just under 20 PPG last season. Other key returners include Derek Haney, (Senior, Exercise Science) Evan Christansen, (Sophomore, Exercise Science) Kylani Lafleur, (Junior, Finance) and Keenan Hendricks (Senior, Business Management).
Coach Karl Henrikson returns for his 16th season as head coach. The team is looking for a better outcome than last season, when it went 6-19, 3-13 in the Little East Conference (LEC) and failed to make the postseason tournament. Pitts-Young could be one of the top players in the LEC and will likely lead the Huskies in scoring.

Women’s Basketball
Coming off a conference semifinals appearance last season, expectations are high for the Huskies women’s basketball team. Last year’s squad only had three seniors, so the Huskies core will be returning pretty much intact. The second leading scorer, guard Jackie Luckhardt, (Senior, Athletic Training) returns after averaging just under 10 PPG and 3.5 SPG while starting 27 games last season. Other returning players who saw time last year include Kristina Blais, (Senior, Business Management) Chantel Eells, (Senior, Social Work) Kristen Curley, (Junior, Health Science) Victoria Harris, (Sophomore, Athletic Training) and Morgan Eliasen (Junior, Nursing).
Under coach Samantha Allen, back this year for her fifth season, the team had an impressive run last season, going 16-11 overall and 11-5 in the conference before losing in the semifinals to Eastern Connecticut.

Men’s Ice Hockey
The men’s ice hockey team opens their season Nov. 8, when they travel to Castleton University in Vermont to take on the Spartans. Coming off a disappointing campaign last year, in which the Huskies went 5-18-3 overall with a conference record of 4-13-1, the team looks to bounce back and compete in the LEC.
Assistant captain Mark Tomaschek (Senior, Economics) returns and figures to lead the Huskies’ first line. Also returning is Adam Withers, (Sophomore, Accounting) who led the team in points last year as a freshman, and leading goal scorer Cody Braga. (Senior, Recreation and Leader Studies) Coach Ed Harding returns for his fifth full year as head coach, and assistant coach Mike Beveridge returns for his eighth season. The Huskies should show a marked improvement and could be a factor in conference playoffs in late February.

Women’s Ice Hockey
Coming off of a loss in the LEC quarterfinals to Johnson & Wales last season, the women’s ice hockey team is looking for a better outcome this season. The team lost three seniors, including starting goalie Britney Evangelista, who started 15 games last season and had 490 saves. Jill Hannigan, (Senior, Finance) who tied for the team high in points last year, returns for her final season this year, as does leading scorer Rylie Binette (Junior, Health Sciences) after scoring eight goals last season. Coach John Lauziere returns for his 14th season.
The team went 9-11-6 overall last year, boasting a 6-6-4 LEC record. With practically the whole roster returning, the Huskies will be a competitive team this season.

Men’s Indoor Track & Field
The Huskies men’s Indoor Track & Field team is looking for their sixth consecutive LEC championship. The team graduated nine seniors last spring, but returning are CJ Moody (Senior, Nursing) and Zach Hoyle (Junior, History) both of whom earned All-America honors at the D3 Championships last March in Boston. Coach Ryan Harkleroad is back for his sixth season as coach, and assistant coach Mike Drummey is back for his 19th.
With Moody and Hoyle, the Huskies are the likely favorite once again repeat and win the LEC, and look for those two at the National Championships in March.

Women’s Indoor Track & Field
For the first time since 2001, the Women’s Indoor Track & Field team did not win the LEC championship last season. After a run of 18 consecutive championships and 22 seasons as head coach, George Towle called it a career. On Sept. 23, USM announced the hiring of coach Rob Whitten, who most recently and for 11 seasons was the assistant men’s track and field coach at the University of Rhode Island. Whitten was chosen by his peers as the NCAA Division I Outdoor Track and Field Men’s Assistant Coach of the Year for the Northeast Region in 2018.
With only five seniors on last years’ squad, most of the team is back, including Adela Kalilwa, (Senior, Health Science) who placed 12th in the Triple Jump at the D3 championships last season. This team is young and has a new coach, but the Huskies should be back on track to competing for a conference championship this season.

Wrestling
With only two wrestlers graduating from last years’ team, which finished 7th in the NCAA Division III Northeast Tournament, USM still will be a top team this time around. Peter Del Gallo, (Senior, Exercise Science) who went 26-4 overall last season, returns for his senior season. Dal Gallo has been ranked No. 1 in the 125-pound weight class on D3wrestle.com since November 2018. He finished second in the 2018 season at the Division III Northeast Regional Championship, and has a career record of 100-9.
Mike Morin is back for his fifth season as coach. The team has gotten better each year during his tenure, and should be competing for a Northeast Regional Championship in early March.

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