Juniors Aaron Galletta and C.J. Rodgers were both named to the All-Tournament team after leading the Dutchmen to a second-place finish in the season-opening Christopher Newport Tournament in Virginia.
Galletta's game-high 25 points led Union to a 103-82 victory over Neumann College in the opening round. Galletta, who is from Hyde Park, New York and a graduate of F. D. Roosevelt, scored a game-high 25 points in both games of the tournament. Against Neuman, Galletta connected on nine of 14 field goals, including seven of 11 from three-point range, and contributed six rebounds. In the championship against host Christopher Newport, Galletta hit nine of 19 from the field with a four of eight effort from three-point range in the Dutchmen's 73-68 defeat.
Rodgers, a native of Chicago, Illinois, and a gradute of St. Rita, scored 12 points each night and had a combined 11 rebounds. He finished the event by connecting on eight of 17 field goals, all eight of his free throw attemtps, 11 rebounds, five steals and four minutes.
The Dutchmen open the season with five-straight road games before making their Memorial Field House debut on January 5-6 in the annual Union Invitational. Besides their trip to Virginia, the Dutchmen will travel to Pennsylvania to play Haverford and Swarthmore the weekend of December 8 & 9.
The women's hockey team was rewarded for last weekend's non-league sweep of Cortland State as three players received the Eastern College Athletic Conference's highest weekly awards.
Senior forward Melissa Johnson (Glens Falls, NY/Glens Falls) was named the league's “Player of the Week,” freshman goaltender Victoria Elkins (Bernardsville, NY/Medham) was named the “Goalie of the Week” and freshman forward Emily Taylor (Toronto, Ont./Leasdale) was named “Rookie of the Week” as Union captured victories of 6-2 and 4-3 over the Red Dragons.
Johnson scored a goal in the Dutchwomen's 6-2 victory on Saturday and had two goals and an assist in Union's 4-3 victory on Sunday.
Elkins stopped 40 shots in Saturday's victory as Cortland held a commanding 42-29 shots on goal advantage.
Taylor had two goals and an assist on Saturday and one assist in the Sunday victory.
Last weekend's sweep evened Union's overall record at 2-2. The Dutchwomen are in their second season as a varsity sport.
Junior quarterback Ben Gilbert (Brattleboro, VT/Brattleboro) was rewarded for his outstanding season as he was voted the Upstate Collegiate Athletic Conference's “Offensive Player of the Year” by the league's coaches. Gilbert is one of 10 Dutchmen to be selected to the first team while five other players were named to the second team.
Also named to the first team were sophomore tailback George Beebe (Salem, NY/Salem), senior wide receiver Bryan Slekes (Rochester, NY/Gates Chili), junior right tackle Justin Forrester (Rochester, NY/Bridgeton), junior right guard Mike Visconti (Marion, MA/Northfield), junior defensive end Josh Stinehour (Rochester, NY/Pennfield), junior linebackers Mike Ranfone (Branford, CT/Hamden Hall) and Mike Rosenthal (Walpole, MA/Blair Academy), junior defensive back Radney Wood (Newport, NY/West Canada) and junior placekicker Andrew Ruffo (Conklin, NY/Susquehanna Valley).
Second team selections included junior fullback Matt Laporta (Rensselaer, NY/Columbia), senior tight end Dan Bamford (Rochester, NY/Greece Athena), sophomore offensive center Alan Fiore (Staten Island, NY/Susan Wagner), senior linebacker Adam Tyksinski (Clinton, NY/Clinton), senior strong safety Brian Vegliando (Wallkill, NY/Wallkill) and Wood, who was named as the return specialist.
Gilbert completed 168 of 298 passes (56.4) for 2,212 yards and a Union-record 24 touchdowns. Gilbert, who is now 24-7 as the Dutchmen's three-year starter, tied the college record for touchdowns in a game when he threw four against St. Lawrence in the season opener and four against nationally-ranked Springfield in the regular-season finale. He also had three games in which he threw three touchdown passes, including the NCAA showdown with Widener. He was selected as the UCCA's “Offensive Player of the Week” four times this season. Gilbert finished the regular-season ranked No. 23 nationally in pass efficiency with a rating of 139.9.
Gilbert, who was the UCAA and ECAC “Rookie of the Year” enters his final season with 5,871 yards (second all-time behind Brett Russ's 7,452) and 48 touchdown strikes (third all-time behind Dan Stewart's 55 and Russ's 52). His 454 career completions rank second behind Russ's 648.
While Gilbert will be among the 17 starters 35 letterwinners who are returning, he will be losing his favorite target from the last two years. Slekes is among the 13 seniors who have helped Union compile a four-year record of 31-9 (including an ECAC championship in 1999 and this year's NCAA invitation). Slekes, who has led the Dutchmen in receiving the last two years, set a school record with his 12 touchdown receptions this season (shattering the old mark of eight first set in 1965 and tied in both 1982 and 1983). The last three years have seen Slekes catch 94 passes for 1,360 yards and 14 touchdowns. His 722 yards this year just missed the mark of 735 set in 1967. Slekes, who also earned a spot on the UCAA All-Conference First Team, has also been Union's punter the last four years, averaging 33.7 yards a kick with 41 of those landing inside the opponent's 20 yard line.
Beebe, who was named the UCAA's “Offensive Player of the Week” three times, rushed for 1,238 yards (with a 6.3 per carry average) and set a single-season record with his 11 rushing touchdowns. Beebe just missed making the national top 30 with his rushing average of 117.0
Visconti, who was also a UCAA First-Team selection last year, Forrester and Fiore helped Union average 414 yards and 13.1 points during the 11-game overall season.
Defensively, Stinehour finished with a team-high 12 sacks and was third on the tackle chart with 66. Ranfone and Mike Rosenthal finished one-two on the tackle chart with 87 and 73 total tackles, respectively. Wood, who led the team with 15 pass deflections to go along with his team-high seven interceptions (which ranked him 14th among the nation's interceptions leaders) was sixth on the tackle chart with 52. He also picked up 206 yards on 29 punt returns.
Ruffo, who finished No. 6 in the country in field goal kicking with an average of 1.30 per game (13 three-pointers in 10 regular-season games), has missed just one of his 67 career PAT kicks and just missed the Union single-season record of 17 field goals (he had 16 overall). He is third all-time with his 27 career three-pointers.
Laporta finished with 146 yards and a 4.9 per carry average while Bamford enjoyed a career year with his 27 catches for 325 yards and a touchdown. Tyksinksi, who was a UCAA First-Team selection as a freshman, was in on 54 tackles this year (fifth on the team's chart) while Vegliando was fourth with 62 total tackles.
The Dutchmen, who finished the year with an overall record of 9-2, earned a share of their first Upstate Collegiate Athletic Association championship (with Hobart and Rochester) since 1996 (they also won the initial circuit title in 1995) and qualified for the NCAA Division III national playoffs for the first time since 1995.
As a team the Dutchmen were ranked 20th in the final regular-season American Football Coaches Association poll and second in the Upstate New York poll. Union's rushing offense was ranked 25th nationally with its per game average of 222.6 while the Garnet's total offensive production of 413.5 yards a game also finished No. 25 in the nation. Defensively, Union was No. 4 in pass efficiency defense (73.3), No. 6 in total defense (allowing 218.6 yards a game), No. 25 in scoring defense (13.8) and No. 27 in rushing defense (89.0).
The men's ice hockey team, which is leading the ECAC with its 3-0 circuit record, picked up its first national ranking this week. The Dutchmen were 14th ranked in the USA Today/American Hockey Magazine poll and 15th in the USCHO.com poll.
Union, which is celebrating its 10th year in the ECAC's Division I league, has never been in first place. The Dutchmen's 5-1 overall record ties the 5-1 start of the 1994-95 squad for the best overall start for Union since joining the ranks of Division I.
Junior forward Jeff Hutchins (Toronto, Ont./York Memorial) leads the ECAC's league scoring with six points (all assists) while classmate Jeff Wilson (London, Ont./A.B. Lucas School) is the league's leading goal scorer with four. Junior goaltender Brandon Snee (Philadelphia, PA/Hill School) is second in the league in both goals against average (1.33) and save percentage (.959).
The Dutchmen, who are off this week because of exams, host Mercyhurst on November 24 at 7 p.m.
Sophomore Anil Gupta (Williamsville, NY/Williamsville East) became the first Union College men's tennis player ever to gain a national ranking when he was ranked 27th in the NCAA Division III men's singles rankings.
Gupta earned the Dutchmen's Most Valuable Player honors last spring when he posted a 9-1 record out of the No. 1 singles position. He became the first Dutchman to defeat Skidmore's No. 1 player.
Gupta also posted a 6-3 doubles record out of the No. 1 spot.