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College Beat: Surprising St. Francis challenging for first place in Northeast Conference

Brooklyn Daily Eagle

While two-time defending Northeast Conference champion LIU-Brooklyn received most of the attention entering this Downtown college basketball campaign, it's the under-the-radar St. Francis Brooklyn Terriers who are challenging for the league title during the early season.

The St. Francis Brooklyn Terriers picked up a statement victory at Wagner, defeating the Seahawks, 71-52, at the Spiro Sports Center on Saturday afternoon.  The Terriers have now won five of their last six contests and improved to 7-8 overall and 3-1 in the Northeast Conference.  Wagner fell to 9-6 and 3-1 in the conference.

“This a tough place to play,” said Terriers' head coach Glenn Braica, whose team snapped the Seahawks' seven-game home winning streak. “Wagner is a good team that is playing great right now, and anytime you can come into someone's building and win a game like this it's definitely important.”

Senior forward Travis Nichols paced the Terriers with 20 points and sophomore forward Jalen Cannon added 15 points and six rebounds.  Sophomore guard Brent Jones chipped in with 10 points.

St. Francis, who held their opponent under 60 points for the second consecutive outing, trailed the hosts by a 19-18 margin with 8:56 remaining in the opening half. But the Terriers never trailed again after senior guard Dre Calloway sank a pair of free-throws at the 8:34 mark.  The visitors dominated the remainder of the half, holding the Seahawks to just one field goal, and outscoring them by a 15-4 count to take a 35-22 lead at the halftime break.

Sophomore reserve Lowell Ulmer provided a huge spark during the run, scoring a career-high five points, including his first three-point field goal during the closing minutes of the stanza.  The Staten Island native also added a couple of hustle plays that energized the team during the spurt. Coach Braica was happy to see Ulmer perform well. Braica said, "I was so happy for him. He played great. I love when a guy comes back home and plays like that. He did a great job."

St. Francis Brooklyn continued to apply the pressure by scoring the first four points in the second-half, building a 39-23 advantage at the 18:08 mark after buckets by senior forward Akeeem Johnson and Jones.

Wagner made a run to try and get back in the game, outscoring the Terriers by an 8-0 margin to close within 43-35 with 12:42 left.  Dwaun Anderson forced Braica to call a timeout after he slammed home a miss by Mario Moody.

Nichols stopped the bleeding with a layup but the Seahawks scored the next four points to close within 45-39 after a jumper by Moody at the 10:27 mark. But Nichols answered with a left-wing trifecta and junior guard Ben Mockford added a long-range bomb from the same spot to put the Terriers on top, 51-39, with 9:47 to play.

Wagner managed to close within nine points on a couple of occasions, the final time coming with 6:31 left after a layup by Kenneth Ortiz.  However, St. Francis rattled off eight straight point to widen their lead to 64-46 with just 3:30 remaining.  Nichols provided the Terriers with a dagger three-pointer from the left-corner to cap the run.

St. Francis, playing mostly in a tight zone, held the hosts to just 38.3 percent  (23-of-60) shooting and the Seahawks were even worse from long-distance, hitting just 2-of-11 attempts (18.2 percent).  In addition, they hit just 4-of-9 free-throws.

The Terriers shot 41.8 percent overall (23-of-55) but made 8-of-19 (42.1 percent) from behind the arc and were 17-for-21 (81 percent) from the charity-stripe.  It was their best performance of the season from the line.

The 19-point margin was the largest of the season for St. Francis Brooklyn.

St. Francis will Monmouth next Thursday at 7:00 p.m.

***

Freshman E.J. Reed came off the bench to score a career-high 21 points, and senior C.J. Garner registered 19 points and seven rebounds as the LIU Brooklyn men's basketball team (6-10, 1-3 NEC) picked up its first Northeast Conference victory of the year over Mount St. Mary's, 86-72, at Barclays Center on Saturday afternoon.

The Blackbirds shot 58.5 percent from the floor for the contest and had four players score in double figures. In addition to Reed and Garner, senior Jamal Olasewere had 16 points and 11 rebounds, classmate Brandon Thompson added 14 points and junior Jason Brickman dished out 10 assists in the win.

LIU came out on fire offensively, hitting nine of its first 10 shots to push out to a 21-12 lead with 11:59 to go in the first half. Thompson led the way, connecting on a pair of three-pointers over the first eight minutes and his third trifecta of the opening period pushed the Blackbirds' advantage to double figures at 26-15 with 9:20 remaining.

A layup from Olasewere at the 7:14 mark capped a 9-0 spurt to bump the cushion to 30-15 before Mount whittled the lead back to nine following a layup by Kristijan Krajina with 3:14 on the clock. Consecutive layups from Olasewere and Garner extended the lead back to 13 before a three-ball from Sam Prescott closed out the scoring in the first half with LIU up 43-33.

Seven straight points over a 1:45 span, including a three-pointer from Olasewere and a three-point play from Garner, gave the Blackbirds their largest lead of the game at 54-37 with 16:22 remaining. But Mount St. Mary's would respond with a 19-6 run in the next seven minutes to cut the margin to just four, 60-56, with 9:28 to go.

On LIU's next possession, Garner drained a big three-pointer and another trey from Brickman nudged the Blackbirds back in front by double digits at 68-58 with 7:58 left.

Julian Norfleet pulled the Mountaineers back to within seven with a three-pointer at the 7:07 mark, but five straight from Garner including another three-pointer pushed LIU back out in front by 12, 73-61, with 5:51 remaining. The LIU lead remained in double digits the rest of the contest, with Reed scoring five points down the stretch to seal the win.

Rashad Whack led Mount (6-9, 1-3 NEC) with 18 points, while Raven Barber added 10 off the bench.

LIU returns to action on Thursday, Jan. 17 at Fairleigh Dickinson. Tipoff is set for 7:00 p.m.

NOTES: LIU outrebounded Mount 40-27 and had a 24-16 advantage in free-throws attempted... Brickman had double-figure assists for the fourth time this season, and now has 562 for his career... Olasewere is two rebounds shy of becoming just the seventh player in LIU history to record 800 rebounds in a career... Garner is 6-for-7 from three-point range in his last two games... Reed has been to the free-throw line 29 times over his last four games (20-29).

LIU Brooklyn freshman E.J. Reed was named the Choice Hotels/Northeast Conference Men's Basketball Co-Rookie of the Week on Monday, marking the third straight week that Reed has been recognized by the league for his standout play. With the honor, Reed becomes the first player in LIU history to earn three consecutive NEC Rookie of the Week awards.

Reed had another big week for the Blackbirds, averaging 17.5 points and 4.5 rebounds and helped LIU earn its first NEC win  Against Mount St. Mary’s on Saturday, he scored a career-high 21 points and pulled down seven rebounds in an 86-72 victory at the Barclays Center.

The 6-6 forward shot 7-of-13 from the field and also blocked a pair of shot in 28 minutes worth of action off the bench. Two days earlier he shot 5-for-9 from the floor and piled up 14 points in a setback to Wagner.

Reed, a Mesquite, TX native, has now averaged 15.6 points over his last five games - including 16.0 ppg in NEC play - to raise his season average to 7.1 ppg.

LIU Brooklyn (6-10, 1-3 NEC) returns to action on Thursday, Jan. 17 at Fairleigh Dickinson at 7:00 p.m.

***

Wayne, NJ --- The Brooklyn College Men's Basketball team dropped an overtime thriller, 86-79, on the road against the Pioneers of William Patterson University on Monday night. With the loss, BC falls to 3-9 overall on the season, while William Patterson improves to 10-5 overall on the year.

Senior Kavon Baker played all 45 minutes on the night, while netting a game-high 32 points on 10-for-20 shooting from the field, including going 11-13 from the free throw line. He also added six assists. Baker's 32 points is also a career-high.

Freshman Egzon Gjonbalaj posted his first-career double-double with 16 points and 10 rebounds. Both are career-high's. Senior Jeffrey Noel added 12 points, while classmate Steven Grant chipped in with 11 points and six rebounds coming off the bench.

William Patterson's Lance Brown scored a team-high 19 points to go with seven rebounds, while Terik Bridgeman finished the night with a double-double with 18 points and a game-high 17 rebounds, to help the Pioneers out-rebound the Bulldogs 44-36 for the game. Jaques Conceicao added 12 points off the bench, while Rick DeStefano ended the night with 11 points.

The Bulldogs would take control of the game early on jumping out to a 10-point advantage, 17-7, with 14:18 remaining in the first half. The lead would vanish fairly quickly, as William Patterson answered with a 13-1 run to take a 20-18 advantage at the 11:05 mark. The run included three straight three-pointers by the home team.

From there on out the teams would exchange baskets until the Pioneers took control and built a lead to as many as seven on two occasions. William Patterson would eventually take a five point cushion, 38-33, into the halftime break.

William Patterson continued to push its advantage in the second half and would lead by as many as 11; however, the Bulldogs would not go down lightly and began to chip away at its deficit.

Trailing 46-35 with 16:27 left in the game, BC used a 23-11 to regain the lead, 58-57, with 8:56 remaining. The teams would once again trade baskets and leads as the game would head into overtime. Down by three, 69-66, with just 2:35 left in the game, Baker drilled a three to knot the game at 69 all with 2:04 remaining before the final buzzer. However, the offenses would go cold as neither team would score for the remainder of the period, as the game headed into OT.

William Patterson opened the extra period on an 11-1 run and never looked back as the Pioneers would take the hard fought 86-79 win.

In all, the game featured 10 lead changes and seven ties.

For the game, BC shot 47.4% (27-57) from the field, but struggled from three converting 22.7% (5-22) from beyond the arc. The Bulldogs also shot 80.0% (20-25) from the free throw line.

William Patterson shot 42.5% (31-73) from the field, including going 11-for-28 (39.3%) from downtown. The Pioneers also shot 61.9% (13-21) from the charity stripe.

Brooklyn returns to action this Wednesday, January 16th, as the Bulldogs will be on the road to take on the Hawks of Hunter College in a vital CUNY Athletic Conference tilt. Tip-off is scheduled for 7:00 pm.

***

The NYU-Poly Basketball team took on the Skyline Conference top team in undefeated Old Westbury Monday night.  Fourteen minutes through the first half, the Jays seemed primed for an upset as they held a one point lead. But, the Panthers went on a 19-4 run to end the half and take a 10-point lead into the half, which expanded in the second half - leading to a 103-74 victory.

The Jays fall to 2-8 overall and 1-5 in the Skyline, while Old Westbury remains perfect in the conference at 6-0 and 11-3 overall.

Freshmen Brendan Gallagher (Long Island, NY) continued his hot streak on offense, pouring in a career-high 19 points, which included a sizzling 6-for-12 from behind the arc.  He added eight boards and three assists. Freshmen Ed Klementowicz (Freehold, NJ) added nine points and nine boards, while sophomore Stefan Stoyanovich (Raleigh, NC) added eight points and nine boards.

The Jays ended the night being outrebounded 50-38 and made a few more turnovers then Old Westbury, 24 to 16. Old Westbury held a huge advantage from the line, going 28-for-33 while NYU-Poly only was awarded the charity stripe 14 times, converting only half.

NYU-Poly returns to action on Thursday when they host St. Joseph's College (BK) at 7:00pm, which is the start of a six game home streak.

***

Despite scoring a season-high 70 points, including a career-high 21 points from senior Tamika Guz, the LIU Brooklyn women's basketball team dropped a heartbreaker to Wagner in the Wellness Center Monday night, 74-70.

 
The game was a close one throughout, as neither team led by more than eight points at any given time, and the lead changed hands 14 times throughout the matchup.
 
Wagner led in the opening minutes, scoring four points in the first 30 seconds. Senior Tamika Guz hit a jumper at 19:15 to put LIU on the board, and 20 seconds later; sophomore Letava Whippy had a fast break layup to tie the score at 4-4. 
 
LIU took a four-point lead at 16:58 with a jumper from Whippy, but as was the case for the duration of the game, Wagner was able to rally back and retake the lead. Later in the half, a layup by Wagner's Jordyn Peck gave the Seahawks their widest lead of the game, 25-17 with 8:57 left to play.
 
A layup from Guz, followed by a jumper from senior Krystal Wells, and LIU was back in it, 25-21 at 7:42. From there, the Blackbirds were able to retake the lead with a layup from Honor Duvall at 4:16, and junior Fanny Cavallo hit a jumper with four seconds left in the half to let the Blackbirds take a 34-33 lead into the break.
 
Coming out of the half, Guz scored four straight points to widen LIU's lead to five, 38-33 at 19:03. But Wagner began to chip away at the lead, and again the two teams traded the advantage back and fourth.
 
LIU used a layup from Duvall at 9:16 to take the lead again, 57-56, and the Blackbirds held on to the lead for over seven minutes. With 2:35 left to play in the game, Wagner staged a furious rally, and used two free throws from Marie-Laurence Archambault to go up, 64-63.
 
Despite LIU's best efforts in the final minutes of the game, Wagner would not relinquish the lead again, and the Seahawks earned their first NEC win of the year, 74-70.
 
Guz led the Blackbirds with a career-high 21 points, while Wells chipped in 17 points, and Duvall had 10. Sophomore Letava Whippy had six assists and seven rebounds in the loss, while junior Genise Presley led all rebounders with eight boards, including five offensive.
 
With the loss, LIU drops its seventh-straight, 3-12 overall, and 0-4 in NEC play. Up next for the Blackbirds are two Garden State teams. LIU will host Monmouth, Saturday, January 19 at 2 p.m., and follow that up with a trip to Fairleigh Dickinson, Monday, January 21 at 2 p.m.
 
NOTES:
Wagner's Stephanie Blais led all scorers with 24 points, while Jordyn Peck had 22 points and Marie-Laurence Archambault had 16 points... LIU outrebounded the Seahawks 44-31, and had 20 second chance points to Wagner's six… the 70 points is the most points the Blackbirds have scored so far this season.  

***

After two late attempts went off the mark, the St. Francis Brooklyn Terriers couldn't complete the comeback attempt, as they fell to the Mount St. Mary's Mountaineers, 49-45, in the Terriers' Northeast Conference home opener on Monday night.

St. Francis Brooklyn fell to 5-10 overall and 2-2 in the Northeast Conference while the Mountaineers improves to 7-8 and 3-1 in conference games.  St. Francis Brooklyn dropped their ninth straight against the Mount dating back to the 2008 season. 

The Terriers had two players in double-figures with Jaymee Veney and Sarah Benedetti each recording ten points.  Veney came within two rebounds of a double-double as she finished with a team-high eight caroms in defeat. Classmate Eilidh Simpson posted seven points while teammate Katie Fox dished out five assists.

Jessie Kaufman of Mount St. Mary's led all scorers on the evening with 17 points on 6-of-9 shooting from the field, including a blistering 5-of-8 from beyond the arc in her 28 minutes of action.  Tara Lonergan scored 10 points, including the eventual game-winner in 34 minutes of play.  Sydney Henderson finished with a game-high nine rebounds while Ashely Christie ended the game with five assists. 

Both teams traded baskets as they tried to find their rhythm early in the contest.  The Mountaineers jumped out to an 11-5 lead after Jessie Kaufman was able to convert a layup opportunity.  The Terriers chipped into the lead after Katie Fox hit on a running layup at the 13:34 mark, as Mount held onto a 13-11 lead.

Over an eleven minute stretch, both teams played to an even stalemate before St. Francis Brooklyn was able to take a 23-22 lead after Benedetti hit her conference leading 45th three-pointer of the season from the top of the key with 2:53 left before the break.  The Mount concluded the stanza on an 8-2 run to grab a 29-24 lead. 

For the half the Mount was able shoot 60 percent from the field while holding the home team to just 37.0 percent from field and 1-of-8 from beyond the arc.  St. Francis Brooklyn out-rebounded the Mountaineers 14-11 in the stanza while the Mount converted 14 points off nine Terrier mishaps.

With just 1:27 remaining, Mount St. Mary's Henderson was charged with a technical foul.  The Terriers' Simpson was able to connect on both free-throw attempts to knot the game for the fifth time, at 45. On the ensuing Terrier possession, freshman Leah Fechko found herself on the wing with a chance to give the Terriers the lead but her attempt was off the mark and corralled by Henderson with 1:01 to go. 

The Mount was able to move the ball effectively around the wing with Christie spotting Lonergan in the post, wide-open
for the easy deuce to give the Mountaineers a 47-45 edge. St. Francis Brooklyn drove the length of the court with Fox throwing up a runner but it rimmed out and was brought in by Henderson. She was immediately fouled by Terrier forward Jessica Kaufman.

In an attempt to make the steal, the Terries recorded back-to-back fouls and sent Mount's Selina Mann to the charity
stripe.  Mann was able to hit on both attempts as the Mountaineers escaped Brooklyn Heights with a four-point victory.

For the game, St. Francis Brooklyn was held to just 31.5 percent and a season-low 15.0 percent from beyond the arc (3-of-20).  The Terriers out-rebounded their opponents for the second straight game as they took a 34-31 edge in the department.  The game saw the lead change nine time and had five ties.

St. Francis Brooklyn will be back in action on Saturday, January 19th as they welcome Fairleigh Dickinson to the Pope Physical Education Center. Tip-off is slated for 2:00 pm as Jaden Daly and Megan Hughes bring you the action on NEC Front Row (www.necfrontrow.com)

***

Brooklyn, NY --- The Brooklyn College Women's Basketball team suffered a heartbreaking, 56-55, loss on Monday night at the West Quad Center against non-conference rival Rutgers-Newark. With the loss, BC drops to 9-5 overall on season; while Rutgers-Newark moves to 11-5 overall on the year.

Following a pair of free throws from sophomore Nicole Francomano that put the Bulldogs ahead by three, 55-52, with just 16 seconds left in the game; the Scarlet Raiders answered with two big baskets in the closing seconds from Jade Howard and Shaquanna Marshall, respectively, to squeak out the 56-55 victory.

After Howard's bucket to cut Rutgers-Newark's deficit to one, 55-54, the Scarlet Raiders forced a BC turnover to set up Marshall's eventual game-winner. Brooklyn would have a chance to answer with a potential game-winner of its own; however, the shot would be off mark.

The first half featured two lead changes and a tie, as the visitors controlled much of the ballgame. Brooklyn's largest lead of the opening half was three, 7-4, at the 14:10 mark, while Rutgers-Newark led by as many as nine, 32-23, which was the score heading into the halftime break.

After a three-pointer from Vanessa D'Ambrosi cut BC's deficit to one, 24-23, with 3:10 left in the half, the Scarlet Raiders would close out the period on an 8-0 run to take their nine point halftime lead.

Rutgers-Newark would continue to push its lead in the second half and lead by as many as 11 on a number of occasions. However, the Bulldogs would not go down without a fight, as the home team would stage a furious comeback.

Down 11, 48-37, with 11:41 remaining in the game, Brooklyn would go on a 16-4 run to go up 53-52 with 1:19 left in the game; setting the stage for the thrilling finish. Charnelle Saint Laurent scored eight of BC's 16 points in the run to help fuel the Bulldogs' rally, including nailing the three-pointer to put the home team ahead.

For Brooklyn, Saint Laurent scored a team-high 16 points, while Tiffany Thompson added eight points and a game-high 11 rebounds. D'Ambrosi chipped in with 10 rebounds as well, as BC won the battle of the glass, out-rebounding Rutgers-Newark, 50-42. Asia Foster added seven points and four rebounds coming off the bench, while Francomano finished with seven points.

Rutgers-Newark was led by Howard's double-double with a game-high 18 points, to go along with 10 rebounds. Maria Simmons had a well all-around game, finishing the night with 11 points, seven assists, five rebounds and five steals; while Marshall added eight points, six steals, five assists and five rebounds, including accounting for the eventual game-winning bucket.

For the game, Brooklyn shot 30.6% (19-62) from the field, including going 5-for-19 (26.3%) from beyond the arc. The Bulldogs also shot 63.2% (12-19) from the line.

The Scarlet Raiders shot 39.0% (23-59) from the field and just 14.3% (1-7) from three. Rutgers-Newark also shot 45.0% (9-20) from the charity stripe.

Brooklyn returns to the court on Wednesday, January 16th, as the Bulldogs will be on the road for a crucial CUNY Athletic Conference contest against the Hawks of Hunter College. Tip-off is scheduled for 5:00 pm.

***

The NYU-Poly Women's Basketball team faced off against Old Westbury Monday night in a pivotal Skyline Conference contest.  Despite rallying to erase a 12-point first-half deficit, the Lady Jays couldn't do it twice, as they fell behind by double-digits again midway through the second and watched as the Lady Panthers cruised to a 68-55 win.

NYU-Poly falls to 4-8 overall and 1-3 in the Skyline, while Old Westbury improves to 3-2 in the league and creeps above the .500 mark at 7-6.

NYU-Poly would take the early lead in the first minute of play, but watch Old Westbury stay on top for the rest of the game - except for a brief moment in the first half when the Lady Jays tied the contest.

After Old Westbury built a 12-point lead with 11:25 to play, NYU-Poly went on a run and tied the game 27-27 at the 5:25 mark on senior Shelby Bruns (Elko, NV) jump shot. Unfortunately, NYU-Poly couldn't convert another shot during the half and Old Westbury regained a lead six point lead, 33-27 at intermission.

The Lady Jays spent much of the second half trying to cut the Old Westbury lead, every time NYU-Poly closed it to within two possessions, Old Westbury would go on a small run to expand the lead to double digits. For the Lady Jays they would run out of time and gas, as Old Westbury's lead blossomed to as much as 15 before ending up at the 13-point margin of victory.

Freshmen Alyssa D'Apice (Carmel, NY) scored 19 points, which included three trifectas, but did make an uncharacteristic 13 turnovers at the point. Sophomore Tabitha Larsen (Ramsey, NJ) added 14 points and four assists, while going 2-for-3 from behind the arc.

Old Westbury's Deandra Scott led all players with 23 points and nine boards.

NYU-Poly resumes action on Wednesday when they host the College of New Rochelle in a non-conference game at 7:00pm.

***

Director of Athletics John Suarez announced the 2013 inductees for the LIU Brooklyn Athletics Hall of Fame on Monday. A total of six former student-athletes have been honored for their achievements and contributions to the Blackbirds. The 14th Hall of Fame class will be recognized at halftime of the men’s basketball game against Robert Morris on Saturday, Feb. 2.

“We are very excited to be inducting a class of extraordinary individuals into the LIU Athletics Hall of Fame,” Suarez said. “This group of inductees embodies the great athletics tradition of LIU Brooklyn and it is a pleasure to honor their accomplishments and contributions.”

The members of this year’s class were chosen by a committee of current and former administrators, faculty and staff. This year’s group of inductees includes Dave Masciale (Men’s Basketball), Nick Megaloudis (Men’s Soccer), Leo Merson (Men’s Basketball), Fred Munsch (Swimming), James Ruocchio (Baseball) and Ivana Vasiljevic (Volleyball).

Dave Masciale was the heart and soul of LIU’s men’s basketball team from 1993-97, and helped the Blackbirds to the NCAA Tournament in 1996-97. One of only six players in NEC history to record 1,000 points, 500 assists and 250 rebounds in a career, he finished his four years in downtown Brooklyn as the fifth-leading scorer in LIU history with 1,501 points. His assist total of 504 ranked second in the LIU record book following his tenure, as did his 219 three-pointers made and his 202 steals.

Nick Megaloudis was a two-time All-American and captain for the Blackbirds’ storied men’s soccer program. His standout play as a two-way player in the midfield also earned New York State and All-Met honors. He scored five goals and registered three assists in 1976, helping LIU Brooklyn to a 10-win season and an ECAC Tournament title. In 1977, Megaloudis captained the Blackbirds to an NCAA Tournament berth and a 13-2-2 overall record. Megaloudis would go on to play professionally for a number of years in the United States.

Leo Merson was an integral part of LIU’s unparalleled success in men’s basketball in the 1930s. Merson helped the Blackbirds to a 77-5 record over his three seasons, including a perfect 25-0 year in 1935-36 that culminated in a mythical Eastern Championship. During that season, Merson ranked second on the team in scoring and earned All-Metropolitan honors. Merson was a member of the Blackbirds squad that compiles 43 straight victories – which still ranks as the sixth-longest streak in NCAA history. Merson, who was a member of the LIU team that boycotted the 1936 Olympic Trials, would go on to play and coach professionally in the American Basketball League.

Fred Munsch was one of the top swimmers in the nation from 1959-62. As a sophomore in 1959, he competed in the Pan American Games and a year later missed a spot on the 1960 Rome Olympics team by one-tenth of a second, finishing third at the U.S. trials. Munsch earned All-America honors in 1960 after setting the All-American 100-meter breaststroke record, and during his career broke three records at the Metropolitan Championships. As a senior, he captained the LIU swimming team to an impressive 10-1 record.

James Ruocchio was an extra-base hit machine during his three seasons with the LIU Brooklyn baseball team. A three-time First Team All-NEC pick, 21 of Ruocchio’s 41 hits as a sophomore went for extra bases, including 12 home runs. Ruocchio led the nation with 21 doubles as a junior, and is .424 batting average ranked 16th in the country as the Blackbirds offense scored 8.27 runs per game. All told, the sweet-swinging third baseman concluded his career with the Blackbirds with the third-highest batting average (.394) and home-run total (27) in LIU history. Ruocchio was selected in the 24th round of the 1991 MLB Amateur Draft by the California Angels.

Ivana Vasiljevic helped propel LIU Brooklyn’s volleyball program into elite status, directing the Blackbirds to back-to-back NEC titles as a junior and senior from her setter position. The all-time leader in assists at LIU with 5,826, she holds the top four single-season assists marks, including the single-season record of 1,594 in 2002. The NEC Rookie of the Year in 2002, she was a four-time All-NEC selection and a three-time All-NEC First Team honoree. Vasiljevic holds the single-match record for assists with 70 and also recorded the first triple-double in LIU history, finishing her career with three.

The latest class of inductees joins 84 individuals and three teams that are permanently enshrined in the LIU Athletics Hall of Fame on display at the entrance to the Wellness, Recreation and Athletics Center.

***

January 15, 2013 - 9:42am


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