The Bobcat Bulletin
Vol. 2, Issue 7 April 8, 2013
Presented by the Quinnipiac Bobcats Sports Network
‘We’re not done’ Bobcats head to the Frozen Four in Pittsburgh Frozen Four | Pages 2-7 Alex Alba | Page 10 Fabbri’s Squad | Page 12
Photo by Matt Eisenberg
Frozen Four gets a facelift
Quinnipiac, Frozen Four partners highlight change in college hockey
he Quinnipiac Bobcats Sports Network (QBSN) is the exclusive student-run sports organization at Quinnipiac University. Originally founded by Corey Hersch and Alex Birsh in the fall of 2010, QBSN offers students the unique opportunity to become active as a sports journalist at QU. QBSN’s primary function has been to broadcast most of the athletics at Quinnipiac – streaming live online at its website (www.theqbsn.com). Sports broadcast include: men’s and women’s basketball, men’s and women’s hockey, men’s and women’s soccer, men’s and women’s lacrosse, baseball, softball, acrobatics and tumbling, women’s rugby, volleyball and field hockey. Students offer play-by-play and color commentary for each game, along with Twitter updates and an in-game live blog on the website. In addition to the games being broadcast live, QBSN also offers game previews, recaps, feature articles and live podcasts through its website. Hockey Night in Hamden and Full Court Press are two podcasts broadcasted weekly that focus on the week that was for Quinnipiac ice hockey and basketball. The shows have become popular among both ECAC hockey and NEC basketball enthusiasts. Pregame shows are offered live twice a week as well, going out before the first athletics action of the weekend. QBSN is fueled by the passionate commitment that its members have demonstrated time and time again. Only two-and-a-half years into its existence, QBSN has gained noticeable recognition, earning the QU New Student Organization of the Year award in the 2010-11 scholastic year and the 2011-12 Quinnipiac Athletics Department Behind the Scenes Award. With a passion not only for sports journalism, but for Quinnipiac athletics as well, QBSN is proud and excited to present the exclusive Quinnipiac University athletics monthly bulletin.
Future Bulletin Date: May 6
Meet the Staff Co-Directors
Marc Schwartz, 2013 Matthias Gausz, 2013
Photo by Matt Eisenberg
Loren Barron, Zack Currie, Connor Jones, Kellen Jones and Matthew Peca celebrate after a goal against Canisius in the first round of the NCAA tournament.
By Brian Farrell Quinnipiac is making it clear that it wants more than just a Frozen Four berth. After a convincing 5-1 win Sunday over Union, Quinnipiac coaches and players echoed the same statement. “Our goal is not just to be here, it is to win,” senior goaltender and finalist for the Hobey Baker Award Eric Hartzell said. “We’re not done,” head coach Rand Pecknold said. “We’re not just happy to go; we want to win games.” Not done. Just two words that describe not only Quinnipiac’s season, but its mentality entering the biggest stage in college hockey. The Bobcats were picked in the preseason to finish fourth in the ECAC, a fine accomplishment for a team that, while its had regular season success, hadn’t done anything in the playoffs. This season, after an 11-year drought, and for the first time since
Quinnipiac has joined the ECAC, the Bobcats qualified for the NCAA tournament. They did so, as many former national champions, as the No. 1 overall seed. Quinnipiac will join rival Yale, UMass Lowell and St. Cloud State for the 2013 Frozen Four in Pittsburgh. It will be just the second time since 1993 that a team will win its first national championship. Lowell is the only other No. 1 seed to reach the Frozen Four while Yale and St. Cloud State are the only No. 4 seeds to advance. It is a brand new year in college hockey as shown by the only four teams remaining. For the last two decades the sport has been dominated by schools like Minnesota, Denver, Boston College, Maine and Boston University. Today things are different. Just a few years ago, teams like Yale, Quinnipiac and UMass Lowell were the butt end of jokes to the schools listed above. While Yale qualified for the national tournament
in the past, they were quickly ousted and criticized for playing in a league that is not the WCHA nor the Hockey East. This season, Yale struggled near the end and was on outside looking in thanks to two shutout losses in the ECAC Championship. Had either Boston University or Michigan won the conference tournament, the Bulldogs would be home watching the Frozen Four. “It’s pretty good for the New Haven-Hamden area,” Pecknold said, chuckling. “Yale had a tough weekend last week and I give them a lot of credit. They rebounded and beat Minnesota and North Dakota and that’s pretty impressive. It’s great for the state of Connecticut.” What could be even bigger for the state is if each team wins its semifinal game. If so, Quinnipiac would take on Yale for the national championship. The thought, while intriguing and exciting for fans and the media, does not mean nearly as much for the players and coaches. “I mean, honestly, we’re just focused on St. Cloud,” Pecknold said in a teleconference last week. “I’ll tell you what: I’ll be happy to play either [Lowell or Yale] on Saturday. But we’ll have our hands full with St. Cloud. You could have picked any three teams in the country, we’d be happy to be here.” “It’s funny how many times I’ve been asked that question already,” captain Zack Currie said. “And like I said, it doesn’t matter who I play or who we play. We want to win that national championship. That’s a huge goal we have here. And whoever gets put in front of us, that is who we’re going to focus on and that’s who we’re going to have to deal with. “It may be good for ECAC to have the two teams there, but we’re focused on our first game here against
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2013 Men’s Ice Hockey NCAA Tournament Bracket
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Thursday, April 11 Yale vs. UMass-Lowell 4:30 p.m., ESPN2 Quinnipiac vs. St. Cloud State 8 p.m., ESPN2
St. Cloud and whoever is in that second game, hopefully we can meet them there.” But Quinnipiac and Yale are not the only newcomers to the Frozen Four. Similarly, St. Cloud State and UMass Lowell have struggled at one point over the last couple of seasons. St. Cloud State has been mediocre over the last two seasons, mulling around a .500 record, but playing in one of the top leagues in the country. This year the Huskies earned themselves the WCHA regular-season title, but was a bubble team on the eve of the selection show. According to USCHO.com’s Jayson Moy, had Boston University and Michigan won its respective conference title, the Huskies would be sitting on the couch with Yale. “The first thing that always jumps out at me [about St. Cloud State] is Coach Motzko,” Pecknold said. “I think he’s a phenomenal coach. And he’s one of the great people in the game of hockey. I’ve always been impressed with him and how he handles himself; he’s sincere. In 2010-11, UMass Lowell won just five games going 5-25-4 before completely turning around the program last year improving its record to 24-13-1. UMass Lowell was ousted in the first round of the Hockey East tournament last season, but qualified for the national tournament. In its first game, the River Hawks took down Miami 4-3 in overtime before falling to Union 4-2. The Frozen Four is set for April, 11 and April, 13. UMass Lowell and Yale will face off at 4:30 p.m. on Thursday with the Bobcats and Huskies headlining at 8 p.m. Both games will be televised nationally on ESPN2. The winners will play for the national championship on Saturday at 7 p.m. on ESPN.
Kevin Bui, one word: clutch JST simplifies, finds production Fifth-year senior perseveres and notches historic goals
Photo by Matt Eisenberg
Fifth-year senior Kevin Bui celebrates with his teammates after a goal against Yale in the ECAC Hockey consolation game. The goal was Bui’s third of the year, and cemented Quinnipiac’s win over its Elm City rival.
By Mark Spillane As the No. 1 ranked Quinnipiac Bobcats prepare for the most important weekend of their college hockey careers, a new star has emerged among the blue and gold. That star is fifth-year senior, Kevin Bui, and with the pressure packed Frozen Four approaching, his time to shine might not be over just yet. A native of Edmonton, Alberta, Bui no longer spends Quinnipiac games watching in a suit from the stands. He spends them on the ice, in his uniform, with all of his teammates. Sure, number nine still plays on the fourth line, but when it comes to crunch time, lately, he has been the Bobcats’ best player. Of Bui’s four goals this season, three have come when the score was tied. He also scored perhaps the two most memorable goals of not only the Bobcats’ season, but also Quinnipiac history. The first was the double-overtime game-winner in game three of Quinnipiac’s ECAC Quarterfinal series against Cornell. The second, a go-ahead tally late in the third period against Canisius, gave the Bobcats their first ever NCAA Tournament victory. As always, Bui uses humble reasoning to explain his clutch play of late. “I take every shift one-by-one,” he said. “My goal is to play well defensively, and generate energy as a fourth-line player … we’re not out there to score goals. If we get a goal it’s a bonus.”
The Bobcats sure do enjoy those “bonuses” and may need a few more this coming weekend if they want to bring home college hockey’s grand prize. But head coach Rand Pecknold knows that Bui’s influence runs deeper than his game-winning tallies. “What a fantastic kid. He’s one of those things that’s great about college sports and college athletics,” Pecknold said of Bui. “He’s been awesome for us. Not just the
we have to cut our roster because of Title IX, and unfortunately, you’re the odd man out,’” Bui said, reflecting on the past. “But Coach said, ‘I want you to be here next year,’ and I got better because of it, working out five times a week, six times a week to get stronger,” Bui said. “It made me who I am today, so I’m glad I took that year off. If I didn’t I wouldn’t be here today.” Pecknold believes the team is better because of it as well. “He’s always been a great kid in the locker room,” Pecknold said. “If you look up his stats, he hasn’t played a ton of games in his time here, but he’s persevered and really been a huge positive influence for us on the team.” Bui, who will turn 26 exactly one week after the national championship game, also does not spend one second regretting his decision to stay at Quinnipiac, instead of transferring. “As a player you always want to play. It gets frustrating at times, but it builds character, and makes you better in the end,” Bui said. “If I could change anything, I don’t think I would change a thing.” And, what Bui lacks in experience, he makes up for in confidence. “I believe the team that showed up against Union will be there the next two games,” he said. “We’re not there to be in the Frozen Four. We’re there to win a national championship, and that’s what we’re going to go do.” Bobcat nation hopes that if the time comes, Bui will be there once again.
By Brian Farrell In college, the closest that a team can come to signing a free agent is accepting a transfer student-athlete. In some cases, these student-athletes are looking for a bigger program to get more attention, and in other cases they are searching for simply a place that will make them happier. For those that know college hockey, they know the success that Bowling Green State University enjoyed in the ‘80s, but recently the program has struggled. “I was committed there since the age of 17,” former Bowling Green forward Jordan Samuels-Thomas said. “I got to there and didn’t really like the school in the first place, and it just wasn’t the right place for me.” While he saw success on the ice, he simply wasn’t happy. “Although I led the team in scoring both years, I didn’t feel like I was developing as a player,” SamuelsThomas said. “I thought it was a time to go somewhere with more stability in terms of program and coaching. I opened a search to a bunch of schools out east, and Rand Pecknold was one of the first coaches I talked to.” The move made sense for the Connecticut native and the player that
was looking for a growing program instead of a declining one. “Pecknold talked about the team we would have the first year that I was active,” Samuels-Thomas said. “He pitched players like Matthew Peca and the Jones brothers who were already there with Jeremy Langlois and Eric Hartzell saying how when it was time to play that we were going to be a really strong team.” After sitting out a year per NCAA regulations, Samuels-Thomas prepared for his college hockey return. In his first game of the season, he scored the game winner in a 2-1 win over Maine. But from Oct. 6 to the holiday break in December, he found the back of the net just two more times. “After Christmas break I went home, and I was kind of down,” Samuels-Thomas said. “I knew I had a few choices where I could keep performing like an average player and think that is what my role is here, or I can be the player that they recruited me to be.” Pecknold credits part of Samuels-Thomas’s second half surge of 13 goals and seven assists as a result of line changes. “Early in the year [SamuelsThomas] was on a line with Langlois
… Both players possess the puck a lot and I said to my staff that there aren’t enough pucks to go around,” Pecknold said. “There is only one puck for the two of them. We weren’t winning so we split them. That was probably the best decision I made all year.” Pecknold elected to simplify Samuels-Thomas’s game and placed him on the line with bullish and hard working forwards Bryce Van Brabant and Ben Arnt. “The way they play is the foundation of my game,” Samuels-Thomas said. “Maybe before the season, I might try to make one or two extra moves when I should probably be leaving that to Peca or the Jones twins to do.” Pecknold couldn’t be happier with the hard working third line “I think Jordan along with Ben and Bryce on that third line have been awesome. There have been games this year where they’ve been our best line by far,” Pecknold said. So while the Peca-Jones-Jones line soaks in the attention, SamuelsThomas leads all Quinnipiac scorers with 16 goals. “The success has been a blessing to everything I prayed for in coming here,” Samuels-Thomas said. “I love this school.”
“If I could change anything, I don’t think I would change a thing.” -Kevin Bui big goals, but he’s definitely one of our leaders, and I think part of our success is our locker room culture, and how good those kids are at being ready to compete and battle every game and practice, and Bui is a big part of that.” Like Bui’s newfound scoring abilities, his ice time has not always been there. Playing every game was not always a guarantee this season, but Bui is no stranger to a lack of playing time. He played in just eleven games as a freshman during the 2008-09 season and did not see any ice time as a sophomore the following year. Then just before his junior year, the 2010-11 season, Bui was given some rough news. He was told he would have to sit out his entire junior season due to roster cuts resulting from Title IX regulations. But like everything else, Bui knew that it was all about perspective. “I remember that day when coach pulled me in and said ‘Kevin,
The Bobcat Bulletin 3
Hartzell ranked among nation’s top players By Rebecca Castagna
Photo by Matt Eisenberg
Senior goaltender Eric Hartzell watches the puck behind the net during Quinnipiac’s ECAC Hockey quarterfinals matchup against Cornell.
Raise your hand if you remember J.C. Wells, Jamie Holden or Bud Fisher. For those of you whose hands are still on your laps, raise your hand if you have heard of Eric Hartzell. For those of you without your hands in the air, pay close attention. As Quinnipiac moves on to the Frozen Four, Hartzell moves on to the Hobey Hat Trick, the final round for the 2013 Hobey Baker Memorial Award. It is the farthest a Bobcat has ever gotten since current assistant coach Reid Cashman made it to the top 10 in 2005. Head coach Rand Pecknold says Hartzell’s nomination is completely justified. “I would be shocked if he’s not in the final three,” Pecknold said, before the finalists were announced. “For us, we have a player at 99th in the nation scoring, that’s our leading scorer, but we’re the number one team in the country ... Eric Hartzell’s been our man.” With a record of 29-6-5, Hartzell has not only led the Bobcats to the Frozen Four, but has established himself as the top goaltender in the nation. “I think he’s the best player in the country, and he’s the most valuable player in terms of what he does for us,” Pecknold said. Still Hartzell focuses on the bigger picture and giving credit to his team. “It’s a great honor and it’s a prestigious award,” Hartzell said. “But the team’s done such a great job this year. It’d be impossible without them. “It’s a team game, so you can go
out there and be a stud and still lose and it’s just the way it is,” Hartzell said. “But all of the top 10 guys are very deserving and it’s gonna be a tight race.” Hartzell never imagined he would be finishing his senior season as the ECAC Player of the Year and Ken Dryden Goalie of the Year, but he always strived for a career in the NHL and says his accomplishments and honors are a result of hard work and team effort. Hartzell never saw himself making it to this point, but Pecknold did. He saw it the day he traveled to Sioux Falls, S.D. to see him play. “I watched him, and I loved him,” Pecknold said. “I was like, ‘This kid has NHL talent. He might not be ready right out of the gate for us, but he could be All-American one day.’” With Pecknold’s guidance, Hartzell soon became ready. “I think when he got here as a freshman he was, you know, at times a little too happy-go-lucky and kind of running around in circles a little bit at times,” Pecknold said. “We had to kind of reign him in a little bit, get him a little disciplined and he’s matured. He’s done a nice job for us.” Hartzell says learning to deal with certain situations has helped him mature. “I think a lot of it is just the way I’ve handled myself mentally and physically, taking care of my body, going to class, and doing the little things that have really helped me become a man,” Hartzell said. Pecknold says the amount of media attention Hartzell has gotten has been a distraction, but Hartzell
has dealt with it well. “It’s hard,” Pecknold said. “It’s hard to get that much attention and that much notoriety and you have to keep telling yourself like, ‘I need to stay the path and stay focused and I can’t think I’m better than I am.’ Because then you stop working hard.” Hartzell says his motivation and focus doesn’t stem from the Hobey Baker nomination or media, but rather from the lack of respect Quinnipiac has gotten throughout the year. Another motivator is his parents traveling with him for the past month. “The fact that they’re not only out here for my senior year but able to enjoy everything that we’re going through ... is just so special and it’s so fun,” Hartzell said. “I’m just glad that they can share the ride with us.” Though his ride is coming to an end, Hartzell will leave a legacy that reaches beyond his statistics. “I’ve been doing this for 22 years so I’ve [coached] all types, but Hartzy’s definitely a different character,” Pecknold said. “He’s a great person, he’s entertaining and the guys love him. He’s a great teammate.” For Hartzell, leaving his team after this season with NHL aspirations will be bittersweet. “I’ve been with these guys now for such a long time,” Hartzell said. “It’s pretty sad to move on, but that’s life and you gotta do what you gotta do and hopefully where I am next year is just the beginning of the rest of my life.” As the top free agent goalie on the market, the rest of his life could be in the NHL.
OPINION: Why this winter season was the best ever at QU By Jordan Katz It’s been a good winter to be a Bobcat. The Quinnipiac winter sports have had unparalleled success this season. To have a college basketball team and a college hockey team make the NCAA tournament is an incredible accomplishment. In fact, Quinnipiac joins Notre Dame, Minnesota and Wisconsin as the only four schools this year to have a team in the NCAA tournament for both college basketball and college hockey, men or women. The men’s ice hockey team has spent most of the season close to or at the No. 1 ranking in the country and is seeing its first ever trip to the Frozen Four. The men’s basketball team, despite being inconsistent for a large portion of the season, had a terrific chance to upset LIU-Brooklyn, who ultimately wound up winning the NEC championship. The women’s ice hockey team got on a monster roll towards the end The Bobcat Bulletin 4
of the season and, despite losing in the first round of the ECAC playoffs to St. Lawrence, was able to secure a top-four seed in the playoffs. Last but not least, the women’s basketball team secured its first NCAA berth in school history by dismantling the entire NEC all season long, going undefeated and eventually capturing the NEC championship over Saint Francis University. The men’s ice hockey team has had the best year in the history of Quinnipiac sports. It finished the season ranked No. 1 in the USCHO.com poll despite not winning the ECAC tournament championship. They have a terrific goaltender in Eric Hartzell, who is up for the Hobey Baker award - the “MVP” of the college hockey season. They went unbeaten in 21-straight games. To put that in perspective, in the Chicago Blackhawks 24-game point-streak, their best unbeaten streak was 11-straight games. In fact, if you look at the best unbeaten streaks in men’s college hockey and college basketball,
as well as the NHL and NBA, only the Miami Heat have a longer unbeaten streak this season than the Quinnipiac Bobcats. And all of this was before Kevin Bui’s game-winner over Canisius and Matthew Peca’s electric, first period natural-hat trick in which he scored all three goals in just three minutes and 12 seconds, good for the fastest hat trick in tournament history. Union never recovered, and Quinnipiac now represents a quarter of the Frozen Four. Despite a tough loss to Maryland in the first round of the NCAA tournament, in which Alyssa Thomas and Tianna Hawkins showed why they are two of the better players in the country, the Quinnipiac women’s basketball team had a season to remember. It went undefeated in conference play, a perfect 21-0 while holding a 30-3 record on the season. The Bobcats ranked in the top 30 in the country in points per game, scoring margin and 3-point field goal percentage. It had three players finish the year
with 10 points per game or more. They were terrific on defense as well. The Bobcats were second in the country in turnover margin. Second in the entire NCAA. They were so good as a team that they essentially had two lines. They had their starters and then the famous “Gold Rush.” They actually played their entire bench and they did it well. This was the best basketball team that has ever been on this campus. As Quinnipiac transitions from the Northeast Conference into the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference, it might be a couple of years, maybe even longer, before a conference title happens again. The schedules will get tougher, as will the talent of play in the conference. The Quinnipiac men’s basketball team is going into a conference that has had its teams play the likes of Bucknell, Notre Dame, LaSalle and Louisville. The Bobcats have never seen teams on this level or anywhere close. The Quinnipiac women’s basketball team will begin what is a
presumed rivalry with the Marist Red Foxes, who have dominated the MAAC for a long time. With Marist’s experience in the MAAC, it could take a couple of years for Quinnipiac to dethrone the Red Foxes. As far as hockey is concerned, the women’s team is losing strong seniors including goaltender Victoria Vigilanti, forward Brittany Lyons, who was second on the team in goals, and defensemen and captain Regan Boulton, who was third on the team in assists. The men’s ice hockey team after
this spectacular season is going to lose a lot of what helped them get here. Of the 20 players that played in 28 games or more, only 10 are eligible to return next season, and this list doesn’t include Jeremy Langlois, captain Zack Currie, and Hobey Baker finalist Eric Hartzell. It will be tough for the Bobcats to do even close to what they have done this year next season. Overall this was a phenomenal year for Quinnipiac winter sports, and it’s a season that doesn’t happen to schools often.
Photo by Matt Eisenberg
Men’s basketball head coach Tom Moore wills his team on from the bench.
The Bobcat Bulletin 5
Last stop: Pittsburgh 1 2 3 4
Oct. 6, 2012 | Orono, Maine | Quinnipiac 2, Maine 1
5 6 7 8
Feb. 2, 2013 | New Haven, Conn. | Quinnipiac 6, Yale 2
March 22-23 2013 | Atlantic City, NJ | Brown 4, Quinnipiac 0; Quinnipiac 3, Yale 0
March 30-31, 2013 | Providence, R.I. | Quinnipiac 4, Canisius 3; Quinnipiac 5, Union 1
Jordan Samuels-Thomas came up big in his Quinnipiac debut, tallying the game-winner with less than two minutes remaining in regulation. Freshman Travis St. Denis also registered his first career point with his equalizing goal early in the second period. Eric Hartzell racked up 31 saves in this first win of the season. (Quinnipiac 1-0-0)
Nov. 6, 2012 | Hamden, Conn. | American International 2, Quinnipiac 1 AIC’s Ben Meisner stood on his head in the non-conference clash between the Yellow Jackets and the Bobcats as he recorded 39 saves in the victory. Mike Dalhusien was the lone QU player to score as the Bobcats offense was held in check. Quinnipiac was unable to capitalize, going 0-for-5 on the power-play. (Quinnipiac 3-3-1)
Nov. 9-10, 2012 | Hamden, Conn. | Quinnipiac 3, Colgate 2 OT; Quinnipiac 4, Cornell 1 QU opened up conference play with a home series with Colgate and Cornell. Russell Goodman came up with two goals, including the game-winner in OT as QU rallied to defeat the Raiders. The next night, QU welcomed No. 4 Cornell and put up four goals upsetting the Big Red for the first time ever at the TD Bank Sports Center. (Quinnipiac 5-3-1, 2-0-0 ECAC)
Jan. 11-12, 2013| Hamden, Conn. | Quinnipiac 1, RPI 1 OT; Quinnipiac 3, Union 2
No. 5 Quinnipiac ran into RPI’s Bryce Merriam on Friday and was only able to get on the board once. On Saturday, it allowed Union to take a 2-0 lead into the third. To make things more difficult, QU had to kill off two five-minute major penalties at the start of the period. After rallying on the kill, the Bobcats responded with three unanswered goals to grab the come from behind win. (Quinnipiac 17-3-3, 11-0-1 ECAC) Quinnipiac’s unbeaten streak steamrolled to 18 games after a tie at Brown on Friday. Next up, it had its first encounter with rival Yale. The Bulldogs scored two power-play goals in the first six minutes, forcing Pecknold to call timeout. The Bobcats came out with a vengence as they scored six unanswered goals. Eleven different players tallied a point. (Quinnipiac 19-3-4, 12-0-2 ECAC)
Feb. 15, 2013 | Hamden, Conn. | St. Lawrence 2, Quinnipiac 1 After gaining the No. 1 ranking for the first time in program history, the Bobcats put their 21game unbeaten streak on the line. Greg Carey scored both goals for the Saints as they stunned the Bobcats with a 2-1 upset win. JST was the only Bobcat to scratch across a goal beating Matt Wenninger. It was QU’s first conference loss in 17 chances. (Quinnipiac 21-4-4, 14-1-2 ECAC)
Feb. 22, 2013 | Hamden, Conn. | Quinnipiac 4, Yale 1 Quinnipiac’s second matchup with Yale came on the grand stage as NBC Sports Network televised the rivalry nationally. Quinnipiac came out on fire as it scored three goals in the first period. The win gave QU its first season sweep of Yale since 2007-08, and Quinnipiac reclaimed the Heroes Hat. (Quinnipiac 23-4-4, 16-1-2 ECAC)
March 15-17, 2013 | Hamden, Conn. | Cornell 3, QU 2; QU 10, Cornell 0; QU 3, Cornell 2
Quinnipiac was ECAC’s top seed and played host to ninth-seeded Cornell. The Big Red scored three goals in the second period while goalie Andy Iles recorded 33 saves. The next night QU walloped Cornell scoring 10 goals including seven in the second period, a tournament record. In the winner-take-all third game, a Clay Harvey goal with 64 seconds remaining forced OT. Just over 14 minutes into the second overtime, Kevin Bui netted the game-winner. The win punched the Bobcats’ ticket to the ECAC Semifinals in Atlantic City. (Quinnipiac 26-6-5, 17-2-3 ECAC) Pecknold and his squad entered Atlantic City as the favorite to take home the Whitelaw Cup but faced the lone team in the ECAC they couldn’t beat - Brown. Goaltender Anthony Borelli and his defense were able to blank the Bobcats. For the third time this season, QU faced rival Yale in ECAC tournament third-place game. Hartzell passed Bud Fisher for career shutouts picking up his 10th in a 3-0 win. (Quinnipiac 27-7-5, 17-2-3 ECAC)
Quinnipiac earned the No. 1 overall seed in the NCAA tournament. QU faced No. 16 Canisius Golden Griffins, who blitzed the Bobcats with a 2-1 lead after two periods. Canisius added another early in the third, and QU responded by scoring three unanswered goals. With the win, QU moved on and faced Union. Peca turned in a career performance with a natural hat trick in three minutes and 12 seconds, an NCAA tournament record. QU chipped in two more goals for the 5-1 victory and its first trip to the Frozen Four. (Quinnipiac 29-7-5, 17-2-3 ECAC)
The Bobcat Bulletin 6
Content by Matthias Gausz Design by Rebecca Castagna and Kevin Noonan
A look at men’s ice hockey’s road to the Frozen Four
6 5 10
DUNKIN’ DONUTS CENTER
P R O V I D E N C E
The Bobcat Bulletin 7
Quinnipiac to host A & T championship
Photo by Matt Eisenberg
Montara Tomasetti runs to her teammates after an event against Oregon on March 25. The Bobcats fell 273.475-260.215 to the Ducks.
By Jordan Siegler What is the only thing better than winning a national championship? Winning a national championship at home. This year the Quinnipiac acrobatics and tumbling team will have that chance. From April 25 to April 27, Quinnipiac University will host the third National Collegiate Acrobatics and Tumbling Association (NCATA) national championship up
at the TD Bank Sports Center and the players are not only excited for an opportunity to win the national championship, but for an opportunity to win the national championship in their home arena in front of their fans. “Winning at home will definitely make the event more special,” sophomore base Stephanie Crosson said. “Knowing that we won in our own house would be priceless and I wouldn’t be able to explain how ex-
citing it would be.” Acrobatics and tumbling is one of the newest college sports, but it is also one of the fastest growing. While the sport has just five schools currently competing in the NCATA, it will be doubling its size for next season, adding five more teams to bring the total to 10 teams competing. The acrobatics and tumbling national championship is a single elimination tournament. The fourth
and fifth seeds compete against each other with the winner advancing to take on the number one seed. The winner of that game then matches up against the winner of the meet between the second and third seeds to decide who will be the NCATA national champion. To determine seeding for the championship, every team’s four highest scores in each event in a meet are used to determine the average. Those averages are then added up to find the Championship
Qualification Score. The team with the highest CQS earns a bye for the first round. Right now, it appears that the undefeated Oregon Ducks will earn that bye. The Quinnipiac Bobcats on the other hand, have home arena advantage. Coach Mary Ann Powers believes that her team will benefit from playing in its home arena, however, she tells it the opposite. “I would think having a little bit of a home-field advantage is great. However, what I tend to tell the team is they have to create the energy for the fan base, not the other way around. They have to give the fans something to be excited about,” Powers said. For the first two years of the sports existence, the national championship was held at the University of Oregon and Baylor University. “There has never been a [National Collegiate Acrobatics and Tumbling Association] national championship on the East Coast before so it is really exciting to be able to show this side of the country what this sport is about,” Crosson said. Powers also views the championship being at Quinnipiac as a positive. “I think it’s great that the administration has recognized the need to
show that this brand new sport has got to spread its wings and develop,” Powers said. “I know that Quinnipiac does everything top notch. I think our kids are excited that people are going to be able to see the arena and that beautiful facility up there, and they’re very proud of that logo they wear on their chest. I think it’s great for, not only our sport, but for the university in general.” During the season, Oregon has emerged as a favorite to win the championship. However, the team truly believes that it has what it takes to win it all. “I think they are that team that is closest to Oregon right now. I truly believe that,” Powers said. “I believe that between our strength and conditioning staff and our trainers and my assistant coaches and the kids’ inner philosophy within the team. They believe that they have trained really, really hard and really, really well for this, and they’re just not afraid.” Crosson has just as much confidence in herself and her teammates. “I strongly believe the team can win the national championship. The team is so determined and we have the talent to win,” Crosson said. “We just have to bring our A game and do what we know how to do, and most importantly, don’t let go.”
Connors anchors defense By Ben Dias Eric Fekete, head coach of the men’s lacrosse team, knows the value of a strong presence in the cage. “You realize the goalie is the quarterback of the operation now. I’ve said all along for the last three years, that your goalie is your quarterback,” Fekete said. With the 2013 season already underway, Gill Conners is now taking the metaphorical snaps for QU. “He’s the defensive leader. He’s the stalwart leader and after losing Chris Coppolecchia last year, we needed to find someone else,” said Fekete. Conners is a JUCO transfer and played two seasons for Onondaga Community College in Syracuse, N.Y. before transferring to Quinnipiac. The goaltender was the National Junior College Athletic Association National Goaltender of the Year and the Region Three Defensive Player of the Year in 2012. Additionally, Connors is familiar with winning, taking home two national titles in his only two seasons with the Lazers. He allowed only 30 goals last season, good for just 2.6 per game. Conners was also the Defensive MVP in the NJCAA Tournament. “I came in knowing that was my year. I had a really good defense in front of me, three guys that are all going Division I, and we played really well together.” Conners said he had many offers, but Fekete pushed hard for him. “I wasn’t too into Quinnipiac, The Bobcat Bulletin 8
and I honestly didn’t hear much about them before they were really in my ear, and they were the one team really getting after me,” Conners said. Conners has been instrumental in the Bobcats’ play this season stopping 10 or more shots in six of Quinnipiac’s seven games. Although the Bobcats started out 3-0 and were ranked No. 20 in the United States Intercollegiate Lacrosse Association poll for the first time in school history, the Bobcats have dropped three straight games. Conners is currently 16th in the country in save percentage with a .565 mark. “Our defense is pretty young, and we’re getting a lot of shots at us every game whether it’s the No. 1 team in the nation or the last team,” Conners said. “I am throwing my
body in front of every shot, trying to make the saves and it just so happens, I am getting them.” Conners was named NEC Defensive Player of the Week twice this season and posted 20 saves in the opening win against Brown, the most for a Quinnipiac goaltender since the 2004 season. “I am trying to do my best out there because we’re young at defense and young at midfield, and coach knows we’re going to get peppered with shots, and he expects me to make those saves,” Conners said. Fekete believes Conners helps the defense become more confident. “We build our defense around him making saves from the outside,” Fekete said. With Conners at the center of the defense, the Bobcats hope for a strong showing as NEC play heats up.
Photo by Matt Eisenberg
Onondoga Community College transfer Gill Connors calls out a play for his defense in a game against Hartford on Saturday, March 16.
Sometimes down, but never out Ochwat develops Garrett Lane shows his fight and leads Bobcats By Angelique Fiske Leadership comes in all different shapes and sizes, volumes and presences. The silent, yet strong. The encouraging and uplifting. Then there are those who challenge peers to push the boundaries they have set for themselves, even if that means playing the Bad Cop to a co-captain’s Good Cop. Enter Garrett Lane. “I think each of the captains has a job to do, and they overlap,” head coach Mike Quitko said. “[Lane is] not afraid to tell someone what they’re doing wrong, which a lot of the time the problem with captains is that they don’t want to leave the pack. Garrett, to his credit, isn’t afraid that they’re not going to like him.” Serving alongside Alex Lazerowich and Chris Nelson as senior captains of the men’s tennis team, Lane
knows his role for the Bobcats and fills it well. “I have no problem getting in people’s faces, you know, if need be,” Lane said. “I generally try to be a good leader, but if someone needs a talking to, [I have] no fear in doing that.” While it’s a role not many would take on willingly, Lane knows someone needs to do it. The balance between captain and teammate forces a change in attitude, but it is something that he has welcomed. “You can’t exactly act the way that you used to, so it’s like you almost have to take an extra step in being more of the bigger person in some situations, but usually if you’re a born leader it’s easy to just assume the role,” Lane said. As a leader for the rest of the team, the attitude Lane possesses reflects on the team. With this in mind,
Quitko and his staff hope their Bobcats are confident. At the same time, he hopes that the confidence does not transfer into conceit on the court. Lane carries out this belief in his day-to-day performance. “When we teach them to get a little confidence, we have to keep it within the bounds of good sportsmanship,” Quitko said. “Most of the time, Garrett had no problem with that.” Having known Lane dating back to his pre-collegiate days, Quitko witnessed first-hand his transformation as a player and person, crediting his progression to maturity. “He couldn’t do a lot of what he can do now, and he shows that. Maturity does that,” Quitko said. Such growth promises similar adjustments that rookies will make through their years. Younger players with experience in juniors are used
Photo by Matt Eisenberg
Senior Garrett Lane prepares for his backhand in a match last season. The Bobcats have an overall record of 4-10. Lane is a team best 3-0 in conference singles matches and 14-11 overall in singles competition.
to more individualistic training with few teammates. When players reach college tennis, there is a change from a focus on the individual to a focus on the team. “They don’t understand dealing with a coach on anything but a oneto-one basis,” Quitko said. “They don’t understand dealing with a team. They didn’t have a team, and the little things they had were next to nothing.” Even though only two freshmen, Alain Grullon and Luke Roser, occupy spots on the men’s roster, the captains still provide the first-timers with their first glimpse into veteran leadership at the collegiate level. This, according to Lane, is something that players use to shape themselves into their ideal leader. “Once you kind of get grounded with having captains leading you, you gradually become more humble, and once you have the opportunity, it’s like you know you’ve seen good captains, bad captains,” Lane said. “You try to morph yourself into what you believe is the best form of leadership for your guys.” Aside from Lane’s constructive encouragement, his mentality on the court only perpetuates the respect he has earned over his four years. The team’s “biggest fighter” is never out of a match, according to Quitko. “He could be getting crushed by a bulldozer and until it’s finished, he’s still fighting to get out of there,” Quitko said. “And you know what? Too many times I’ve seen him get out of there.” In a sport that infamous tempers like Johnny McEnroe call theirs, the Bobcats do everything they can to stifle anger on the court, using running and push-ups as punishment for thrown rackets during play. Getting down early in a match can lead to such bouts of frustration, but Lane sees opportunity where others see obstacles. “If I, for example, lose the first set, I realize, ‘Alright, new start,’” he said. “‘It’s equal playing field, so here’s a chance to get a fresh start, turn the page, and see if I can capitalize and find a weakness point.’” This resilience paid off in a conference match against Bryant on March 24 in which Lane fell in the first set 2-6. Exemplifying his ferocity, he rebounded quickly, taking the second and third sets 6-3 and 10-5 respectively. His win gave the Bobcats their only point in the 6-1 loss. Surrendering, white flag in hand, is not an option regardless of how many points or sets he may be behind. With the team’s interest in mind, Lane warriors on. “I have to try and be the best at everything I do,” Lane said. “Losing is one of the worst things. No one likes it, especially in a sport where your individual results affect the team, so I do whatever I can to win.” Because the individual’s results and efforts mean so much in tennis, Lane’s will to battle makes that much more of a difference for Quinnipiac.
new role as leader
Photo by Matt Eisenberg
Sophomore Kyra Ochwat craddles the ball in a game against UConn on March 2. Ochwat has filled the shoes left after the graduation of last year stars Devon Gibney and Marrisa Caroleo.
By Marty Joseph It’s no secret how key of a player Kyra Ochwat is offensively for the women’s lacrosse team. After a 31goal freshman campaign, she is once again on pace for a 30-goal season for the Bobcats. A native of Farmingdale, N.Y., Ochwat attended Farmingdale High School. There she was a three-sport athlete in tennis, basketball, and lacrosse. In lacrosse, she earned allconference and all-county honors as well as winning the New York State Lacrosse Championship twice. This type of athleticism and experience was something that stuck out to head coach Danie Caro when recruiting Ochwat. “[Ochwat will] be the first to admit she’s not the most athletic,” said Caro with a smile. “But athleticism in terms of game sense and awareness and being smooth with the ball was definitely something that was attractive when recruiting her.” Ochwat developed into an impact player on offense for the Bobcats from the start of her freshman year by netting a hat trick in the season opener at UConn. She went on to start in every game for the Bobcats and capped off her impressive rookie season by winning NEC Rookie of the Year honors at the NEC’s end-ofyear banquet. “We were definitely pleased with how Kyra played last year,” Caro said. “As a freshman, we try not to have too high of expectations, but it became very clear immediately that Kyra was somebody that could become an immediate impact player for us.” Now in her sophomore campaign, Ochwat has continued to be one of Quinnipiac’s most dangerous offensive players. Her consistency game in and game out is one of the most impressive parts of her offensive repertoire, but her focus is definitely on the betterment of the team. “I go into the game thinking of winning,” Ochwat said. “I don’t focus on [the goal-scoring] part of
it. I guess I look to other people to try and help them. I’m not really focused on myself; it’s more of a team thing.” This type of team-first mentality is something that Caro has noticed from Ochwat and preaches to her entire team, as any coach should. Caro wants all of her players focused on winning and looks at capability rather than holding any single player to expectations. “We know what she’s capable of but our expectations are not focused on individual achievements,” Caro said. “We have expectations for the team and certainly Kyra is a big part of the attack unit.” Ochwat’s leadership skills have also developed in her sophomore season as she was named one of the team’s Positive Play captains for the 2013 season. Caro has recognized this leadership and sees Ochwat as a leader and role model for the team, especially for the younger players. Both Caro and Ochwat agreed that the role that each player has in community service is an important part of being a student-athlete at Quinnipiac. “It’s cool to be a part of,” said Ochwat. “It’s not enough to just be an athlete here. You need to give back to the community. I never realized how lucky we are and then you get out into the community and see that they don’t have anything. Working with kids and seeing their faces light up, it’s just really rewarding.” Even for a player like Ochwat who has already enjoyed her fair share of personal success at the Division I level, knows how important it is to focus on the team before her personal achievements. Quinnipiac has enjoyed a lot of success in the past seasons, and it is definitely fueled by the team-first mentality of the Bobcats. “My personal goals don’t matter to me,” Ochwat said. “The team matters the most, and I really would give up my own accolades for the team.” The Bobcat Bulletin 9
OPINION: Say live and let score By Peter Rossi, Rebecca Castagna and Angelique Fiske Three minutes and 12 seconds. Three minutes. And 12 seconds. That’s how long it took Matthew Peca to score a natural hat trick against Union to lead the Bobcats to their first Frozen Four appearance. To put that into perspective, in the time “Live and Let Die” by Paul McCartney & Wings starts and finishes, Peca jumped up three goals on the stat sheet. Don’t blink twice because Peca is playing the best hockey of his Quinnipiac career, and you may miss it if you look away. At the NCAA East regional championship in Providence R.I., Peca put the Bobcats on his shoulders and made a personal statement to the college hockey world that Quinnipiac, and himself, would be a force to be reckoned with on their way to the Frozen Four. Before coming to Quinnipiac, head coach Rand Pecknold was struggling to find the perfect line mate for the Jones twins, then Matthew Peca came to town. Peca has been going through the motions for most of the season, making Bobcat nation feel as if a breakout, career defining game was still to be seen, which he found at the right time. On Saturday night, with the Bobcats trailing 3-1, it seemed as if Quinnipiac’s season would come to an abrupt end against the Canisius
Golden Griffins. But Peca had other plans, as he scored one of the prettiest goals of the year to make the game 3-2 with just less than 12 minutes left to play in the third. Peca took the puck out of the corner and fired a pass to line mate Connor Jones. Jones then flung the puck back to Peca who walked in untouched and roofed it over the right shoulder of Griffins goalie Tony Capobianco. Peca’s 12th of the season opened the floodgates for the Bobcats as they would go on to score two more goals, one from Jordan Samuels-Thomas and one from Kevin Bui to seal the win. Not to be outdone, Sunday’s three goal and one assist performance from Peca made history. His first-period hat trick is the fastest in NCAA tournament history. The previous record was set by Warren Miller in 1975 when he scored three goals in four minutes and 20 seconds. Peca notched his with 52 seconds to spare. Live and let score. Just about midway in the period, Kellen Jones attempted a shot on goal that was blocked by the Union defense but slid right to Peca who fired it home from his knees past a diving Troy Grosenick to give the Bobcats the 1-0 lead. Just about a minute later, Peca put his name on the score sheet again when he intercepted a neutral zone pass from a Union breakout, skated into the offensive end and fired a wrist shot past Grosenick’s glove. Just three minutes later on the power
play Peca took the puck out of the corner and deked past a pair of Union defenders, and fired it on the backhand to give Quinnipiac the 3-0 lead. The Bobcat faithful in attendance threw hats on the ice to show support of the effort. Peca was not done, as he also assisted on Kellen Jones’s goal in the second period for his fourth point of the night. Even after Peca’s astonishing acomplishment, his humble nature is still in the forefront. “Obviously it helped us win and that’s the biggest thing and it helped Quinnipiac make it to its first Frozen Four,” Peca said unselfishly. “That’s as much as I can take out of it.” At the end of the tournament, Peca was named the East Regional’s Most Valuable Player after totaling four goals and an assist on the weekend. The Bobcats know that their top line of Peca and the Jones boys will have to be stellar once again if they hope to silence critics once and for all and garner their first national championship. Peca has gained even more national recognition for Quinnipiac hockey as he was highlighted in ESPN’s Top Plays at No. 4 for his highlight reel goal against Canisius. On Sunday, Peca’s four-point performance was given the No. 1 play on ESPN’s SportsCenter, signaling a new era in Connecticut college hockey coverage on a national level. As McCartney wrote, “What does it matter to ya when you got a job to do. You gotta do it well. You gotta give the other fellow hell.”
Photo by Matt Eisenberg
Seniors Jeremy Langlois and Russell Goodman celebrate with Matthew Peca after a goal in Sunday’s 5-1 win over Union College. Peca’s hat trick was the fastest in NCAA tournament history, in three minutes and 12 seconds.
Alba follows softball to East Coast By Kevin Noonan
Photo by Matt Eisenberg
Senior Alex Alba watches her hit in a game last season. Alba batted .335 with a team-leading 32 RBI.
The Bobcat Bulletin 10
Growing up, softball had always been the focus of Alex Alba’s attention. Playing softball nearly yearround out on the West Coast had become something in which she looked forward to on a daily basis. “Softball has been my whole life,” Alba said. “I’ve always played it. Every single weekend it wasn’t about anything else, it was like, ‘What time is the game at?’ My life would pretty much revolve around softball.” But as a 7-year-old girl, Alex almost missed the opportunity to start the sport that would eventually become her passion. Her father played softball in the local Sunday league so her mother figured it would be a good idea to sign up Alex and her sister to play the game. He seemed to think differently about the decision. “My dad was like, ‘Oh, girls can’t play,’ and my mom went to go get a refund back for the league that she signed us up for,” Alba said. An entire year passed until Alba’s mom went back to the league and signed them up again, and the decision stood this time. Initially, it was her mother who
kept Alba playing softball because her dad would not attend games. Eventually, he came around and began to like this version of the sport. “He didn’t think that it would go far, girls that played softball, it wouldn’t be a big deal,” Alba said. As she got older, she played for more teams because it was fun for her. “I feel like I’m very competitive so I would like to go out and play, and I just liked the feeling you get when you play softball,” Alba said. Head coach Germaine Fairchild did not get to see Alba play very much, but it did not stop her from making a trip to California. “Honestly, I didn’t get to see Alex play as much as other recruits, mostly because she was on the West Coast … I took her on her summer coach’s recommendation and then went to see her based on his recommendation,” Fairchild said. On this trip, Alba only cemented Fairchild’s decision to recruit her by hitting a few home runs on the trip and showing her knowledge on the field by playing both in the infield and outfield. One of the teams she played for was the U-18 Firecrackers, which was coached by the father of former
Quinnipiac softball player Jacquie Ristow. Also on the Firecrackers was Quinnipiac outfielder and current teammate Lauren Salgado. All three ended up coming out to the East Coast to play for Fairchild at Quinnipiac and made each other’s transition to the Bobcats much easier. “I think it was key for her and key for them,” Fairchild said. “Coming all the way across the country to play school ball, for them I think it was huge that they were coming out as a couple of people that they already knew.” “When I knew that they were going, I felt that I had friends over here so I would be able to come and I could adjust,” Alba said. “I was close friends with them so I knew it would be a great fit for me ... We already had a connection together, we had trust.” Having friends on campus certainly seemed to help make Alba’s transition easier, as she was named Northeast Conference Rookie of the Year in 2010. She led the Bobcats with a .315 batting average, .411 slugging percentage and 46 hits. As just a freshman, not many coaches around the NEC expected the kind of production from a player
like Alex. “She has a big game in a smaller physical package, and I think a lot of people were surprised seeing her play for the first time, like ‘wow, she plays big,’” Fairchild said with a laugh. Besides winning NEC Rookie of the Year, she was also named to the NEC second team that year and in 2012 as a junior. As Alba’s senior season heads into its final run at conference play, she only wants to see the team make it back to the NEC championship game and win it for the first time in her career. “Hopefully it will all come together, and I’ll have a senior season that everybody typically wants at the end of their college career,” Alba said. After her college career ends, Alba plans to head back to her home in California to help her sister’s softball team. One thing Alba knows is for certain, and that is that softball will always be a part of her life. “I would never just step away from the game; I’d always want to pick it up again,” Alba said. “It’s been such a huge part of my life, you can’t just stop.”
The Bobcat Bulletin 11
Italy to Maryland, Fabbri’s squad dominates By Jon Alba Mountain MacGillivray stands outside the grand ballroom at the Bethesda Marriott in Bethesda, M.D. Inside the room, his 30-2 women’s basketball team is in the midst of a pep rally and excitingly awaits its first ever NCAA tournament game; a matchup with the No. 4-seeded Maryland Terrapins. Removed from the mayhem, he reflects. “I coached high school for 15 years, and this is definitely the best team I have ever coached,” he said. In any normal situation, for any normal team, such a statement would serve as an example of hyperbole. Any coach would most obviously think highly of his or her squad and credit it appropriately on any forum. But with this team, that’s not necessary. Because this team may not be just the best that MacGillivary has ever coached, but the best Quinnipiac may ever see. It is a journey that, while ending with a 72-52 first-round exit at the hands of the Terps, began in Italy. And it saw the Bobcats sport an undefeated run against foreign competition. “We had 15 members of the team, and we were able to get three groups of five,” Quinnipiac head coach Tricia Fabbri said. “We had three games, and we wanted equal opportunities for playing time in August. We just kept rotating the groups over the course of three games, and we immediately saw the benefits of a style of play we wanted to play anyway, and this enhanced it.” From this, the “Gold Rush” was formed, and Quinnipiac went on a tear that would land it national recognition. The Bobcats would finish 21-0 in the Northeast Conference, including a 72-33 blowout over the
Red Flash of Saint Francis to clinch the league title. Their in-conference margin of victory exceeded 17 points per game, and their national average ranked them in the top 30. They did not lose a single home game and had nine players average double-digits in terms of minutes per game. Felicia Barron, Jasmine Martin and Brittany McQuain led the way with 13.4, 12.9 and 11.2 points per game respectively, and Barron once again was among the top in the nation with 3.5 steals per contest. Yet, it is perhaps not what lay in the statistics that made this team special, but the foundations at its core instead. “This is the best group of girls I’ve ever played basketball with,” McQuain said, as she now turns to her senior season still hungry for a tournament win. “We joke around with each other all the time. There’s rarely any serious moments, but we’re serious when we need to be.” “They know everything about me and I know just about everything about them,” Martin said about her teammates. “When that happens, you get a good group of girls who know how to play together.” Maybe it was the loose atmosphere that kept this team in check all season long. Like before its final practice in Maryland, the team opened up by circling around center court and taking turns dancing in the middle. Or like in a game in February where Denmark-native Nikoline Ostergaard was called for a travel, and her teammate Samantha Guastella heckled the referee. “She’s from Denmark,” she shouted. “It’s the Euro-step!” But did the success stretch beyond the players? As the pep rally rolled on, the amount of Bobcat pride was unparalleled by any other event experienced by the team. Even some
Photo by Matt Eisenberg
Sophomore forward Sam Guastella runs back down the court after making a shot earlier this season. The Bobcats went 30-3 and made an appearance in the NCAA tournament.
300 miles away from campus, Quinnipiac found itself well represented in Maryland. Dozens of family members flooded the hotel as the players sported their “Gold Rush” t-shirts, embracing the fanfare as if they were gracing the Canyon of Heroes following a World Series victory. Sophomore guard Gillian “Boo” Abshire’s family, from the nearby D.C. area, took up a large portion of the ballroom alone. “It starts with the coach, it’s a family and you have to have someone at the top,” said Judy Abshire, Gillian’s mother. “She is an amazing woman. She’s the head of the Bobcat family, and all the parents are very close.” Fabbri, in her 18 seasons, had never been to the Big Dance. “It’s going to be really hard to beat the season we just had,” Fabbri said. “It was so historic on so many levels. All of the staff and personnel made it happen.” But for her, this team was much
more than her players. “Words were hard to come by in terms of what this year was for me,” she said with tears in her eyes. “It was a dream come true. The fun that we had with these ladies, I’m just really pleased that we all worked hard together to be at our best.” And how good was that best? “Our best was dominant,” she said. “And it was a championship season. It’s one I’ll never forget.” Thirty wins and three losses later, not many others will forget it either. Quinnipiac may eventually see teams with more talent. Quinnipiac may eventually see a team get further in March Madness. But no team will match the blend of players, personnel, belief and family that this squad did. It doesn’t matter how it was done and what brought them to that point, either. Simply put, Fabbri’s team will go down in Bobcats’ history: The best there is, the best there was and the best there ever will be.
Photo by Matt Eisenberg
Head coach Tricia Fabbri looks out to the crowd. For the first time in her 18 seasons, her team made it to the NCAA tournament.
Inside Quinnipiac Athletics: Geremy Grate By Nick Dench
Photo by Rebecca Castagna
Grate, left, has been working at Quinnipiac for the past six years.
The Bobcat Bulletin 12
We all know what happens with Quinnipiac athletes on the court, but they would not be able to play at the TD Bank Sports Center without the people behind the scenes making sure the games run smoothly. Geremy Grate is one of the game producers that handles music and the scoreboard during the game, as well as setting up halftime contests, awards ceremonies and coordinating when spirit groups will go on the court. “You have to sit down and look at how much time you have, and you have to look at what events you have,” Grate said. “Then you have to decide what events we can do where, based on how much time we have.” All of this planning goes on well before the game and continues on after the game. Grate, along with Executive Director of the TD Bank Sports Center Eric Grgurich, Direc-
tor of Athletics and Recreation Jack McDonald and Associate Athletic Director/Operations Andrew Castagnola, plan the next game’s activities after the previous one ends. “Our job is to put all the puzzle pieces together to make one full puzzle, being the whole game production,” Grate said of the stressfulness of the preparation. Grate, Grgurich, McDonald, and Castagnola put a lot of thought into piecing each game together. They work in timing for when the cheerleaders, dance teams, kickline perform and any other scheduled halftime games or contests. According to Grate, the more experienced personnel like Grgurich and Castagnola have made it easier to get accustomed to his first year as a game producer. “They’re probably some of the easiest guys to work with. Especially with Eric,” Grate said. “Eric and I think a lot alike, so if I have an idea I’ll run it by him, and he’ll be
excited about it and then we’ll execute on it.” Before Grate was a game producer he was still working for Quinnipiac, just underneath the head of Boomer the Bobcat. He was Boomer for five years prior to being promoted. “It definitely pays off once people are happy, smiling, laughing and enjoying the game. The mascot is definitely the sixth man, so you’re a part of the game. You’re a part of the team,” Grate said. Grate found the Boomer job through someone he knew working at Quinnipiac while he was the mascot for a team in New Haven. His contact with Quinnipiac told him they needed a substitute for Boomer one day, and after that game, Grate offered his services as Boomer whenever they were needed. Along with being Boomer, Grate also worked a part time job with the Bridgeport Bluefish in the Atlantic League of Professional Baseball and went to school at Southern Connecti-
cut State University for one year on a football scholarship. Grate was a running back and sprinter in high school and decided to continue with football in college. He never appeared in a college game due to a pre-existing track injury. “I decided that it’s better to stop now and be mobile later than to keep going and push myself, and then when I’m 35, not be able to walk or get around like I want to,” Grate said. After leaving SCSU, Grate started working full time for the Bluefish as a groundskeeper. This past summer Grate, was promoted to Head Groundskeeper and Operations Coordinator for the Bluefish, in addition to his promotion with Quinnipiac. As Head Groundskeeper, Grate has to make sure that the field is always in playable condition as well as making sure there is nothing going wrong in the stadium. He oversees the other groundskeepers and cleaning crew year round and says his
most stressful time of the year is the summer. “During the summer is crunch time because baseball season is crazy. We have 70 home games over the course of the summer. As well as Sacred Heart plays at my field, [the] University of Bridgeport plays at my field. Then we have a whole bunch of high school semifinals and finals games and baseball camps,” Grate said. He looks forward to the 35-minute commute from Bridgeport to Hamden every day because the job has the same routine day after day, as opposed to Bridgeport when anything can go wrong at any given time. “Being at Quinnipiac is definitely an exciting experience, and it’s obviously worth taking the 35 minute drive after a full day’s work,” Grate said. And each day, Quinnipiac welcomes him back, with or without the Boomer costume.