Kate Bowen Shines in Her Senior Year

 Kate Bowen has started in all 45 games so far this season. She leads the team with 54 hits, 13 doubles and a .331 batting average. In pitching, she sets the tempo with 10 wins and 3 shutouts. These are just a few of Bowen’s many accomplishments, on and off the field.

“When it’s game time, nothing else matters,” sophomore Zee Pierce said. “She’s a gamer and very competitive.”

She was named to the Capital One Academic All-District I softball team for a second straight time. The selection requires at least two semesters of competition and a cumulative GPA of 3.30 or higher. Bowen now can be nominated for the College Sports Information Directors of America(CoSIDA) Academic All-American ballot.

Bowen also earned a nomination for a Senior CLASS Award. This recognizes the top 30 Division I athletes in the nation. It focuses on character, community, athletics and academics for the distinguished athletes.

“That was one of the biggest awards I’ve received,” Bowen said. “It wasn’t just based on academics or athletics. It was truly everything. I was really honored to receive it.”

One important contribution she has made to her community was her organization of a dedication game for Sandy Hook, Connecticut after tragedy hit her hometown. Proceeds from the game and t-shirt sales benefitted the 26 Angels Foundation, which assists the Newtown community. Sandy Hook students and Newtown residents were in attendance. The students joined the Jaspers on the field.

“It was so awesome because the whole team wanted to do it too,” Bowen said. “It was such a nice day for them. The feedback from everyone who came was great. Softball wise, win or lose, go out and play your hardest.”

“To be able to come out and do something for the kids was really nice,” Pierce said. “You could tell she was happy doing it.”

After the Newtown tragedy, she had a new perspective on softball and life altogether. She was given motivation to honor her hometown. “You just want to go out and play your hardest everyday. You want to remember that it is just a game and that there is a bigger thing to life than just softball. If you’re having fun and playing hard, that’s kind of what it’s all about, not the wins and losses.”

She was also able to bring a Sandy Hook teacher here to Manhattan. At the Kappa Delta Pi honor society induction last year, the night was dedicated to Newtown. Teacher and survivor Natalie Hammond was there to represent Sandy Hook and Newtown. “It was a great night for her,” Bowen said, who also stated that everyone would stand up and clap whenever Hammond’s name was called.

One of Bowen’s goals for the rest of her final season as a Jasper is to make it to MAACs. The team hasn’t made it since 2011, her freshman year. After a hard loss in a tiebreaker last season to end their chances, Bowen hopes her senior year will be the year to return to MAACs. The team currently stands in 5th and the top six teams advance.

Another accomplishment of Bowen is being named valedictorian for her graduating class. “I’m really honored to represent the class of 2014,” Bowen said. “I hope everyone will enjoy my speech.”

As Bowen finishes her senior year at Manhattan and looks forward to her future, she will keep Newtown close to her. “When you play, you want to hold yourself in a way that Newtown would be proud of,” Bowen said.

Donald Sterling Scandal Remains an Issue

“It bothers me a lot that you want to broadcast that you’re associating with black people. Do you have to?”

Donald Sterling, owner of the Los Angeles Clippers, was at the center of controversy this week after these racial comments came out and brought some unwanted attention to the NBA.

The NBA responded to these remarks with a fine of $2.5 million and a lifetime ban, permanently prohibiting Sterling from any basketball activities. However, the ban did not remove his team ownership.

It is up to the league to pursue what is best for the Clippers and the 29 other teams, which is to remove Sterling from the NBA completely. This issue put the NBA in the spotlight, and not for good reasons. An absolute removal of Sterling will show players, young kids and people around the world, that racism is something that should not be tolerated by any means.

Sterling continued in the recording and said to the woman that she could do what she wants to and associate with whom she wants, just as long as she doesn’t publicize it.

“The little I ask is that you don’t promote it – and don’t bring them to my games,” he said.

Commissioner Adam Silver, who made the announcement of Sterling’s ban, still has more work to do. He urged the league’s Board of Governors to force a sale of the Clippers and fully remove Sterling from the league. Now all he has to do is make sure that happens. This can be done with a vote of approval from three quarters, or 22, of the 29 other team owners in the league. The committee has met and “unanimously agreed to move forward as expeditiously as possible.”

What makes matters worse is the fact that this isn’t the first time the NBA had tried to remove Sterling from his position in the league. In 1982, he was fined $10,000 by the league when he claimed that he would accept the Clippers finishing in last place. This would result in them being given the top draft pick before the upcoming season. In addition, Sterling moved the Clippers from San Diego to Los Angeles in 1984 and resulted in another fine by the NBA because the move wasn’t approved.

These previous incidents are even more of a reason to let Sterling go entirely. He has been referred to as a racist and “the worst owner in sports.” He hasn’t been a good influence on his players, who plan to boycott the league if they don’t remove him permanently. They had already made a statement and held a silent protest against Sterling before his ban was announced. They wore red shirts inside out to hide the Clippers team logo.

In the end, it is best for everyone if Sterling is removed completely from the NBA and his responsibilities as a team owner. No player will want to be a member of his team after these comments came out. The NBA needs to make the right move and show respect to the Clippers players, as well as in the league and in the sports world as a whole. As the team waits for the removal to happen, they will try to stick together and focus on achieving their goal of a championship win. However, if Sterling keeps his position as team owner, head coach Doc Rivers as well as multiple players plan to leave the organization.

“They’re young men,” Rivers said to ESPN. “It shouldn’t be African-American men. We have two white guys. It’s about being human. No one was happy about it. That’s the way it should be.”

Basketball is one of the most popular sports in the country, with players of various races. These comments affected and angered a lot of people. Whether they are in Los Angeles or New York, a kid or an adult, racism continues to have a harmful effect on people everyday. The NBA and Commissioner Silver showed no acceptance for racism with the ban of Sterling, but they need to make it complete and remove him from his ownership.

Women’s Lacrosse Looks to Finish Strong

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Midfielder Brianna Rickert is one of the five seniors set to play in their last game at Gaelic Park on Saturday April 19th. Photo courtesy of GoJaspers.com

 

After a 13-8 loss to the first-place Marist Red Foxes on Wednesday, the Jaspers are looking toward their last home game of the season for their first conference win. Manhattan is currently 2-12 on the season and 0-6 versus MAAC opponents. Giving the team even more momentum to come out with a win against Niagara on Saturday is that it is Senior Night.

The Jaspers will lose five players after the season ends. Maria Toscano, Clare Kerrisk, Brianna Rickert and co-captains Kelsey Rehain and Carly Eskenazi will be honored for their achievements at Manhattan before the start of Saturday’s game.

“It’s been great having our teammates all four years,” Rehain said. “It’s been a tough four years. We’ve had about nine to 11 coaches come in and out. Through the periods we don’t have coaches, that’s when the leaders have to step up and guide the team.”

Head coach Elizabeth Weber is almost through her first season at Manhattan. Along with a new head coach comes a new coaching system and that is not something to get used to overnight. This season has been one of learning and reconstruction.

“Though our record didn’t show how hard we tried all season and the improvements we’ve made on and off the field, we’ve come a long way, sophomore Casey Silvestri said. “We worked hard but we didn’t get the exact results that we wanted.”

“This year has been a rebuilding year,” said sophomore Megan Yarusso. “I think that next year we will be able to prove to everyone through our record that we are improving and we are ready to win.”

Despite their MAAC record, the team has had strong progress. This season, they have played teams and have a good chance against them when last year they would lose games by 10 goals or more. They’ve had close games brought into overtime, sometimes even double overtime, and have goal deficits of 5 or less.

“We do have our ups and downs but we learn from each mistake and we try not to take a step backwards,” Yarusso said.

Manhattan has some team goals for the rest of the season and one of them is getting a win in the MAAC. They have one more chance to obtain that goal at home. With it being Senior Night, it gives them extra momentum but it doesn’t change their attitude toward the game. In addition, they want to learn from each game and use it for the future.

“No matter what game it is, we all go out and play for each other. Senior Night just has a title on it and we will play even harder,” Yarusso said. “Playing with the seniors will be emotional. We look up to them and they have all made an impact on this team.”

“You’re never going to have an experience like Gaelic,” Rehain said. “There’s nothing like it. We have a little community here and it’s going to be hard to leave.”

 

Tennis Team Has Impressive Season

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Brianna Turano helped lead the team in her final season. Courtesy of GoJaspers.com

 

The Manhattan College women’s tennis team had a notable season. Beginning the season with two conference wins against MAAC opponents, they set the tone for what type of season they were going to have. There were some ups and downs but they made improvements throughout the season and continue to work toward a MAAC championship.

“As the season went on, there was a lot more camaraderie and support among my teammates,” senior Brianna Turano said. “There was much more determination on and off the court by the players.”

It was a fresh start for the Jaspers with a new head coach and a new program this season. Harder workouts meant being in better shape and competing at a higher level.

“I think that was our biggest improvement,” junior Caitlin Bricketto said. “The longer you can stay on the court without getting tired, the better chance you have to win the match.”

The Jaspers started their season off with a conference game against Rider and finished with a 5-2 win. They continued and had two 7-0 defeats, one over conference opponent Saint Peter’s. After this, they were holding on to a 5-3 record, 3-1 in the MAAC.

“The score didn’t always show how close we were with our competition in conference matches,” Bricketto said. “We were able to compete with every team.”

Senior Brianna Turano was honored before her last home game with the Jaspers on April 13. She brought out a victory at No. 1 singles against Niagara. Manhattan, however, finished the game with a 5-2 loss. Junior Catherine Clark was honored for the second time with a spot earned on the MAAC All-Academic team. She earned five single wins for the team and three victories in doubles with Rosello. All-Academic spots are earned with at least a year of competition and a cumulative GPA of 3.20 or higher.

“Our new coach really had a positive impact on the returning players,” Turano said. “We had two new freshmen who fit in really well. We had fun and worked hard. It was a really great last year for me.”

Following a tough losing streak for the latter part of the season, junior Alyssa Rosello gave the Jaspers a lift against Hartford in their matchup on April 17. Her match was even at three wins each and led to a critical third set. Rosello succeeded and secured the 4-3 victory for the Jaspers, giving them a needed energy boost for the remainder of the season.

“Our program is growing and improving,” Bricketto said. “That takes time but we are all excited for the future.”

The Jaspers finished the season with a conference record of 3-5. They placed sixth in the final standings for the MAAC. Three conference victories were the most for Manhattan since the 2007 season. The team was two wins away from making the top four of the MAACs this year, which would have clinched a spot in the tournament.

“While that’s upsetting, it’s also motivating,” Bricketto said. “We know if we give it everything we’ve got next year than we have a definite shot of making it.”

 

 

Masiello Controversy Leaves Students Uneasy

Steve Masiello, Manhattan’s head basketball coach, came on the map in the NCAA after his team nearly pulled off an upset against the defending champion Louisville Cardinals. He had turned the Manhattan program around with its first NCAA trip in a decade, quickly becoming one of the most sought-after coaches in college basketball.

Days after their Cinderella-story season came to a close, the Jaspers were without a coach. Masiello was bound for Tampa after he signed a contract with the University of South Florida. He met with his players to tell them he had accepted the job.

If Masiello decided to leave in the summer offseason, when various things are up in the air and teams usually make changes, that would be understandable. But it’s hard to believe that he would depart the program, and his players that he seemed to care about a lot, just four days after finishing such an exciting and remarkable season.

Masiello’s contract with USF was a five-year deal and worth more than $1 million per. He had two years remaining on his Manhattan contract. He was in talks with Manhattan for a new deal but they were only informal, not wanting to get too involved during the season.

“I feel very confident that I will be back at Manhattan College as the coach and I look forward to working with a great group of young men that are returning,” he said to the New York Post on Friday, the day after Manhattan’s season ended. “This is where I want to be. I want to be in New York. I want to be with these kids. I’m really excited about the future of this program.”

However, Masiello reportedly talked to his mentor Rick Pitino about USF after Louisville defeated Manhattan, meaning that he considering taking the job despite his season with M. According to the Tampa Tribune, Pitino called USF “a program on the rise” but so is Manhattan.

Manhattan is a program that is still working and progressing. It’s a program that doesn’t need to lose its head coach when things are starting to look so bright now and in the future. Most times, getting a new coach causes a halt in development while players adjust to the new coaching system. That is the last thing Manhattan needs right now, as it could possibly take them longer to adapt and progress than they took with the turnaround under Masiello.

“I was surprised by his decision but also angry,” sophomore Rachel Harrison said. “This season was about team over everything but it seemed like money came first to Masiello.”

MC was now left to find a new head coach for the Jaspers. A program that was finding its way up and just had a successful road to the NCAA’s was not going to be the same. After its great improvements under Masiello, there is no way of knowing for sure what the future holds for the Jaspers.

“He was a great coach. I thought he was very loyal and showed dedication to his team,” sophomore Kassandra Pujols said. “I thought he was here because he wanted to make the basketball team a big name, but I guess money was more of his motivation rather than continuing to help his team improve.”

Hours after the news first broke, Masiello lost the opportunity at USF. A false résumé claimed that he graduated from the University of Kentucky in 2000. When, in actuality, he never really earned his degree.  South Florida had to cut the deal with Masiello, but now his fate at Manhattan is in jeopardy as well and it is now Manhattan’s decision on whether or not to allow him back.

“I think it would look bad on their part,” Harrison said. “I don’t think the team would accept him as much because he left them for more money. That’s not what coaching is about.”

What’s important to look at is the team and how the players feel about the situation. A coach that has helped them so much wanted to go off to bigger and better things. If Manhattan does decide to let Masiello return, would the team want to continue to play for him? Different factors affect the outcome but, for the most part, respect is something Masiello would need to earn back and it might take some time for all players to be on his side again.

“He should be allowed back because he has helped improve the team,” Pujols said. “But, if you want to base it off character, than no, he shouldn’t come back. The players might be hurt by his first decision to leave; it would ruin the dynamic of the team. It would seem like returning was only his backup plan.”

On the other hand, becoming head coach at USF would change his career. As much as he was a success at Manhattan, he would earn a greater name for himself if he coached and helped turnaround South Florida’s program.

South Florida is part of the American Athletic Conference. A bigger conference means players with a higher degree of talent and harder teams to beat. This brings on a whole new level of difficulty but if Masiello would be able to pull it off, he would be one of the biggest coaching names in the NCAA.

In his three seasons, Masiello went 60-39 and brought his team to the NCAA after winning their conference and being named MAAC champions, their first tournament appearance since 2004. He changed the program in his first year with the Jaspers having the largest turnaround in the nation. They improved by 15 wins from their previous season, the biggest change in program history.

With impressive work like this in a short period of time, it’s understandable why he became one of the most talked-about coaches in the NCAA. Schools with coaching vacancies began to show interest. South Florida showed the most interest and found what they were looking for. They had fired head coach Stan Heath after finishing 12-20 this season, with a 3-15 record in the AAC and they needed a change.

Masiello is notable for his work ethic and recruitment skills, with the players and the talent he has brought to Manhattan. USF would get one of the top young coaches in college basketball. He would work with the Bulls to turnaround their program like he had done with Manhattan.

“It’s really hard to change a team,” Pujols said. “He has to get to know a whole group of new players. It doesn’t happen overnight. The only good thing I see out of it right now is the money.”

While most people at Manhattan won’t see the greater side of him leaving, it would benefit Masiello and his career by coaching at a bigger school.

“The money is good, but that’s about it,” Harrison said.

But now, the money is gone. Masiello lost what would have been a great opportunity due to his false résumé. Whether it was a legitimate lie or something happened and he really thought he had gotten his degree, his whole coaching career is in doubt now. With the choice left to MC, it will be interesting to see what unfolds in the future for Manhattan basketball. Either they will get a new coach and a new team system or Masiello returns and has the tough job of earning back respect from his team and the Manhattan College community.

Carly Eskenazi Helping Lead Women’s Lacrosse

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Senior Carly Eskenazi is leading the Jaspers in her second year as co-captain. Photo courtesy of gojaspers.com

In a Saturday afternoon game on March 15, the Manhattan College women’s lacrosse team came out strong against Delaware State to win their second straight game. The Jaspers scored the first three goals of the game. Two of those were from senior co-captain Carly Eskenazi, which set the tone for the Jaspers.

These two goals were Eskenazi’s first of the season, along with her three assists she had by the end of the game. She led the team with five points on the day. Manhattan won with a score of 18-2 over the Hornets.

“It was good to see her get on the board,” Elizabeth Weber, Manhattan head coach, said, “and the team followed. She was the spark that we needed.”

Eskenazi was named co-captain her junior year and is returning to her captaincy this year, along with senior Kelsey Rehain. The mid-fielder has been an important player for the team. She was tied her junior year with a team-high 25 points. She led the team with 22 goals and was a member of the MAAC All-Academic Team.

Playing for about 10 years, Eskenazi has had some good memories.

“We’ve had some close games here,” she said about her time at Manhattan. “Conference games, Marist and Siena are always good games to win.”

One personal goal of hers is to beat Iona, as the Jaspers haven’t in her four years.

“There are no different responsibilities,” she said on being captain. “Everyone is there to motivate each other. Everyone tries to be there for people.” Being a senior, she says that she tries to be someone to look up to, because she has been through it before.

With a new coaching staff this season, things look to be improving. The players have more motivation and they are playing like a team who wants to win, according to Eskenazi. She is setting some goals for the team this season.

“We are getting better and improving each game and day of practice,” she said. “Each non-MAAC game will help us prepare.”

“Definitely make it to MAACs since we haven’t made it in a while,”she said on what the team’s main goal is for the season, “and hopefully win. I think we have a lot of potential this season.”

Eskenazi and Rehain have been essential in helping the team and the new coaching staff this season. Coach Weber is in her first season at Manhattan, in addition to new assistant coach Carly DeVito.

“This coach cares more than any coach we’ve had,” Eskenazi said. “So it’s a really good change for our program.”

According to Weber, both captains have a distinctive style of leadership that they bring to the team. They were able to make the transition easier for the coaching staff and the players getting used to each other and the new system overall.

“Carly is a vocal leader,” Weber said. “She’s a returning captain and we were looking for her leadership. She filled the role.”