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Peaks and Valleys Highlight First Semester of FPU Athletics

by Tyler Aragao ’20

The Fall of 2018 would see Rindge, New Hampshire become a title town once again. The Franklin Pierce women’s soccer team capped off the season winning their sixth NE-10 title and would compete into the early parts of November in pursuit of yet another National Title. The Ravens dominant run through the NE-10 was the peak of what was an intriguing fall season.

While women’s soccer found success, who started their season off 8-0, the men’s soccer team won just a single match through their first eight. However, despite a 1-7 record as well as injuries to key players, such as senior Noam Kolakofsky, the Ravens would reel off six straight wins to pull their record back to .500. The Ravens would finish the year 6-3-1 and although they were dispatched in the NE-10 Quarterfinal round, a team that won once to start the season and scored less than a goal per game managed to fight its way into the post season for yet another season.

Both soccer programs reeled in major accolades as well. On the men’s, Kolakofsky was named to the NE-10 All First Team, setting a career high of 7 goals scored, including four game winners. The NE-10 All Second Team featured junior, back Niklas Laudahn while the third team featured Yannik Felber, Jacob Maddox, and Jordan Barnett. Also, Bastian Thormier was named to the NE-10 All Rookie Team. The Ravens backline surrendered the fewest goals in the NE-10 with 20 and posted the conference’s third best goals against average at 1.09.

The women’s side would finish nationally ranked at number seven, clinched the top seed in the NE-10, and won the program’s eighth title, which is a league record. It didn’t stop there as junior Veronica Marques took home the Player of the Year award, senior Marta Turmo secured the Defensive Player of the Year, coach Jonathan Garbar was awarded Coach of the Year, and on top of that senior Natahlia Maria da Silva was named MVP of the NE-10 tournament. The Ravens would tack on six All Conference Selections. However, the Ravens’ season ended in the second round of the NCAA East Regional Tournament in what was a 3-1 loss to Long Island University Post.

For field hockey, the season was tumultuous. Wins early in the season, including a gusty 2-1 overtime win against number eight Kutztown, seemed to be indicators that the Ravens may be serious about pushing for a spot in the post season. However, offensive struggles and a seven-game losing streak to close the season affectively crushed their hopes of making playoffs. Regardless, there were positives throughout the season. This included the play of freshman Feline van Doorn, who recorded 10 points in 16 games, and also sophomore, goaltender Olivia Barnes. Barnes filled in the starting void left by Meg Williams and filled it admirably. She posted a 6-12-0 record, with a 2.07 goals against average, 92 saves, and one shutout. While it was a disappointing finish for the team, senior, midfielder Reagan Moulton concluded her career on a high note. She started all 18 games in the midfield for the Ravens in her senior season. She finished as the team’s scoring leader, with 11 points on three goals and five assists. She was named to the NE-10 All Second Team and finished her career with 43 points in 53 games. Furthermore, with a large core of seniors set to return for the 2019 season, coach Adkin’s squad will be a unique blend of experienced veterans, hungry second year players, and savvy incoming freshmen.

While field hockey was built around a strong core of seniors and juniors, the youth movement in volleyball was in full swing as seven freshman graced the Ravens’ lineup.

Unfortunately, the Ravens were just 1-13 against NE-10 opponents and boasted a combined home/road record of 2-20. Three of their five wins on the season came at a neutral site and overall the Ravens finished 5-25 on the season. It was the lowest win total in coach Dragan’s career at Pierce and her worst overall season since 2009, which was her first season when the Ravens went 8-22.

While short on veterans, the Ravens’ experienced players put in a valiant effort throughout a tough season. Senior Britney Carias recorded her 1,000th dig on September 18th against Merrimack, while junior Abigail Garnhart posted 21 kills in that same match. Carias is the eighth player in program history to reach the 1,000th dig milestone.

With young players pressed into action right away, there were some positive signs. Freshman, middle blocker Breanna Mineweaser strung together consecutive double-digit kill games, while fellow freshman Cierra Dolan posted five double-digit kill matches through the course of the season. Dolan finished second on the team in kills with 224.

Fortunately for coach Dragan, she will retain the services of Garnhart along with junior Sarah Roach. With those two experienced and skilled players, coupled with the growth of the current young core, the Ravens should be on the right track for a bounce back year in 2019.

Tumultuous. The only word that can truly justify this past season for Sprint Football. Coach Rashad Watson’s second season was a nightmare, a 45-7 home loss to Navy would turn out to not be the worst outcome the Ravens would suffer this past season. Although sloppy at times, the game against Post got the Ravens their one and only win of the season. A 1-1 record would be all the Ravens would finish at, because their season ended prematurely.

As the program transitioned itself from the Collegiate Sprint Football League to NCAA Division II Football in the NE-10, the Ravens got themselves in hot water for dressing players above the weight limit of the CSFL. This led to the Ravens dropping their original schedule and eventually the Ravens found themselves out of the league.

Watson would depart to return home to see family leading to Russell Gaskamp’s hiring as the program’s first division II head coach. Gaskamp comes to FPU after seven years of leading the football program at Oklahoma Panhandle State University, where he also earned the title of Associate Athletic Director. Over 73 games at the helm of the Aggies, he posted a 35-38 record. He’ll have a large roster chalk full of youth at his disposal and will need all the bodies he can muster as the Ravens enter NE-10 play for the first time in 2019.

Fall athletics is often catergorized by those “major” sports mentioned above. But many other programs would thrive under the radar.

Women’s Golf put together another solid season. The defending NE-10 champs finished second behind Merrimack just missing out on the chance of a repeat. Despite the setback, junior Zoe Yamamoto was named to the All-Championship team for their efforts finishing second in the field of golfers shooting a steady 76 (+5) both days totaling 152 (+10). The captain and former NE-10 Rookie of the Year formed a formidable trio along with junior Taylor Hartley and freshman Christine Songcuan.

Coach Bishop will lose seniors Sarah Daley and Shannon Slater however, with Yamamoto, Hartley, and a strong core of seniors’, women’s golf is poised to compete for NE-10 glory next fall.

Not to be forgotten, Men’s Golf put up a respectable campaign themselves, finishing fourth in the NE-10 tournament. Prior to that, junior Nathan Patterson was terrific as well as influential in securing the Ravens a first-place finish at the Saint Rose Fall Shootout. Patterson led all Raven golfers with a 146 (+3), which was good enough for a second-place finish. A strong showing at the 84thannual NEIGA Championship saw sophomore Dylan Plis named All New England for the second straight season.

One name would sum up Men’s Cross Country this fall: Riley Fenoff. The freshman was sensational piling up multiple weekly conference awards. Fenoff clinched the Kirsch Cup clocking in a time of 25:17 for his first career collegiate title.  With his eighth-place finish in a 151-runner field, Fenoff was the second freshman across the line and earned All-NE10 Second Team accolades in his NE10 Championship debut. Fenoff led the Ravens to a seventh-place finish in the 15-team meet. The freshman phenom will look to carry over his torrid pace into next season.

The women’s side dearly missed their own former freshman phenom. Sophomore Marissa Farago missed most of the season and the Ravens struggled placing 11that the NE-10 Championship and 13that the NCAA East Regional. The young group performed admirable despite the adversity. Junior Julia Cormier stepped up for her squad at NCAA’s finishing 54thin the 184-runner field, sophomore Daiia White finished 69th and shouldered the load for the Ravens who finished 13th out of 27 teams.

Photo by Hannah Cuzner ’21





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