On December 1 the Middlebury College “Panthers” came into Achilles Rink to play the Skating Dutchwomen in an Eastern College Athletic Conference Game.
The Panthers, who are the defending national champions, have never been beaten in ECAC play, bringing a 94-0 record into Achilles (the record has since been improved to 96-0).
Junior defensewoman Catherine Elkins has scored 21 goals, 43 assists and 61 points in her two years at Middlebury, earning All-American honors both seasons. On the night of December 1 she went against her little sister, Union freshman goaltender Victoria Elkins, who is part of a Skating Dutchwomen program that is in just its second year as a varsity sport. Victoria came into the game with a 1-1 record, a goals against average of 1.47 and a save percentage of .962.
While Victoria did record a save on her sister on a breakaway early in the second period, Catherine got a measure of revenge with an assist on Middlebury's fourth goal. Victoria finished with 48 saves in a game in which Middlebury outshot Union by a 54-7 margin.
Five members of Union's 9-2 football team were selected to the prestigious Eastern College Athletic Conference's Northwest Football All-Star squad. Junior offensive linemen Mike Visconti (Marion, MA/Northfield) and Justin Forrester (Rochester, NY/Bridgeton) joined sophomore tailback George Beebe (Salem, NY/Salem) on the offense while junior defensive back Radney Wood (Newport, NY/West Canada) was a First-Team selection on defense. Junior Andrew Ruffo (Conklin, NY/Susquehanna Valley) was selected as the team's placekicker.
Visconti, a three-year starter, and Forrester, a two-year letterwinner and starter this season, helped the Dutchmen average 414.1 yards in total offense while averaging 31.9 points. Union's line gave up just 16 sacks this year.
Beebe, meanwhile, rushed for a team-high 1,238 yards and 11 touchdowns. He averaged 117.0 yards a game and 6.3 yards a carry and set the Union single-game rushing record when he gained 272 yards against a Rochester team that went into the contest allowing an average of 96. Beebe had five carries of 40-yards or better, including a school-record 96-yarder against the Yellowjackets.
Wood was among the national leaders with his seven interceptions and also led the Dutchmen with his 15 pass deflections. He finished sixth on the tackle chart with 33 first hits and 52 total tackles.
Ruffo was among the national leaders as he connected on 16 of 23 field goals and 39 of 40 extra point attempts. He led the Dutchmen in scoring his his 87 points.
Never in the 26-year history of women's basketball at Union College have the Dutchwomen ever boasted a 4-0 record. The 2000-01 Garnet not only owns the best start in the history of the program, they own one of just four wins over Williams, which came into last Saturday's game (December 2) with a 3-1 record, an 11-game win streak over Union, and a 19-3 advantage in the all-time series.
All that came to an end as the Dutchwomen posted a 74-58 victory in a game that saw Union lead by as many as 17 points (34-17) in the first half. Williams closed the gap to nine at the break (39-30), but was never able to break the Dutchwomen's spirit.
The victory was particularly sweet for Union's four senior captains, Beth Perry (Bliss, NY/Lechworth), Sara D'Arcangelo (Clarksburg, MA/Drury), Erin McNamara (N. Providence, RI/LaSalle Academy) and Kathleen Furlong (Lackawanna, NY/Holy Angels). As freshmen, those four had to endure a 100-48 loss at the hands of the homestanding Ephs.
“We are a veteran team now,” said sixth-year head coach Mary Ellen Burt. “We took our lumps over the last couple of years, and the seniors still remember what happened to them as freshmen. This definitely was a sweet payback.”
The Dutchwomen received quality minutes from all nine players who got into the game. Junior guard Katie Smith (Delmar, NY/Bethlehem) led all scorers with 24 points and was a perfect nine-for-nine from the free throw line. Smith also handed out six assists. Junior forward Heather Bennett (Westwood, MA/Westwood) helped Union control the boards as she pulled down a career-high 21 rebounds while scoring 21 points, her best offensive game in two seasons.
D'Arcangelo came off the bench and hit her her first three shots from three-point range to finish with 14 markers while McNamara ran the show from her point guard position and Perry contributed seven rebounds, three points, three steals and three assists.
Burt also had the luxury of going to what looks to be a talented bench. Junior forward Meredith Chace (Westwood, MA/Westwood) contributed 15 strong minutes, sophomore guard Jill Ring (Brewster, MA/Nauset Regional) had four points, an assist and some solid defensive work in eight minutes while rookie guards Vicky Kuzman (Altamont, NY/Guilderland) and Taryn Scinto (Westwood, NJ/Immaculate Heart) helped Union control the tempo of the game while contributing strong defensive efforts.
“I think the Willams game secured our confidence,” said Burt. “We needed a Williams-type game. We always talk about believing in yourself and believing that you can win. We're not satisfied any longer with just being competitive.”
The only down side to the young season has been the injury to Furlong, who was hurt in the 65-44 win at Manhattanville. She is expected to return to action in January.
Junior forwards Heather Bennett (Westwood, MA/Westwood) and Aaron Galletta (Hyde Park, NY/F.D. Roosevelt) were both named as the Upstate Collegiate Athletic Association's “Forward of the Week” for their respective women's and men's basketball teams. Both players were also named to the Eastern College Athletic Conference's weekly “Honor Roll.”
Through the first four games of the season Bennett is averaging 14.5 points and 15.0 rebounds while helping the Dutchwomen to their best start ever at 4-0 (please see story below). She has hit the 20-point plateau twice so far, netting 20 points in a victory at Manhattanville and 22 points in a win over visiting Williams. Bennett has pulled down double digit rebounds in each of her last three games, including back-to-back backs in which she has 20 or more (20 versus Utica and 21 against Williams).
Bennett, who leads the Dutchwomen in both scoring and rebounding, is showing balance on the boards as she had pulled down 28 offensive rebounds and 32 defensive ones.
Bennett, who averaged 11 points and eight rebounds last year, came into her junior campaign having scored 503 points (an average of 10.6) with 383 rebounds (an average of 7.7). She also had 33 blocks, 23 assists and 71 steals in 50 career games.
Galletta, meanwhile, has been a one-man wrecking crew for the 1-2 Dutchmen. Union's leading scorer with his 23.0-point average, Galletta is shooting 59.1% from the field (26 of 44) including a solid 47.8% from three-point range (11 of 23).
The 6'7, 175 pounder opened the season with back-to-back 25-point games as the Dutchmen finished second in the Christopher Newport Tournament (beating Neumann, 103-82, before losing to the hosts, 73-8). He followed those performances with a 19-point effort at Utica College in a 62-58 setback.
Galletta, who came into the year with 863 points (an average of 16.0) is looking to become just the 13th member of Union's 1,000-point club. He has also contributed 254 rebounds (an average of 4.7), 83 assists, 50 steals and 29 blocked shots in 54 career games coming into the 2000-2001 season.
The men's ice hockey team, which is 6-1-1 overall and 3-0 in the ECAC, is moving up the national rankings ladder. The Skating Dutchmen, who picked up their first national ranking (14th) two weeks ago, were 13th last week and have moved to 11th this week. The Dutchmen were 11th ranked in both the USA Today/American Hockey Magazine poll and in the USCHO.com poll. They are the highest ranked ECAC team in either poll.