While it may be quiet and calm around the Union College campus during break, such is not the case at the Alumni Gymnasium pool. Both the Union men's and women's swimming & diving teams returned from the Thanksgiving break to prep for the upcoming Liberty League Championships, slated for December 2 and 3 at Rensselaer. While the swimming events will be held at RPI, the diving competition will be hosted by Union, Friday at 4:30 p.m. and Saturday at 11:30 a.m.
The music pumps through the speakers as the student-athletes work in the water before this big meet. And the men's team has a veteran D.J. ready to produce some sweet sounds against some strong competition, senior D.J. Hogenkamp (East Aurora, NY/East Aurora).
“D.J. was the swimmer of the meet and an NCAA competitor last year for us,” said Head Coach Scott Felix. “We will look for another big meet from him, as well as from senior Aaron Phillips (West Hartford, CT/Conard) and junior Charles Kinnett (Chelmsford, MA/Chelmsford). Two freshmen who we will be counting on are Julio Vidal (Guilderland, NY/LaSalle Academy) and Kevin Kewin (Brockport, NY/Brockport). The key diver to watch for is Evan Kalman (Delmar, NY/Bethlehem Central).
“We are going up against a tough Rensselaer team, that program won it last year. Also, Hamilton has won the meet nine times.”
Hogenkamp won both the 200 back and 200 free events in a win at home over Rochester in the last meet, November 12. His 200 free time was 1:47.93 while he tapped at 2:00.56 to take the 200 back. Vidal won the 50 free with a time of 23.18 in that meet, and he also was first in the 100 free at 50.88.
“In the 11 year history of the women's meet, Hamilton has won 10 and we won in 1997,” said Felix. “We are going to have to perform very well in the events that we are the strongest in, in order to repeat that effort from eight years ago.”
Three freshmen have made impacts in their first year at Union, Christina Baldek (Easton, CT/Lauralton Hall) and Sara Callahan (Shelton, CT/Shelton). Other Dutchwomen Felix will look to include Mary Larkin (Conklin, NY/Susquehanna Valley), Christa White (Washington, DC/Choate Rosemary Hall), Sydnie Wells (Bolton Landing, NY/Bolton Central), Brianne Phillips (West Hartford, CT/Conard), Ashley Braniecki (Cheektowaga, NY/Cheektowaga) and Molly Freeman (Barrington, IL/Barrington).
White won the 50 freestyle and the 100 free in the home win over Rochester. Her time of 25.32 in the 50 won by over a minute, and she clocked at 55.91 in the 100 for a victory of nearly a minute as well. Larkin had a solid day for the Dutchwomen in that meet. Her time of 2:15.25 was first in the 200 individual medley, and she was seconnd in the 100 free to teammate White at 56.88.
“We have been in the top three the past four years, and we are looking to improve on that effort,” Felix said.
If they do, expect D.J. and company to pump that music for some Saturday Night Fever after the league championship meet.
The Union women's basketball team opened up the season at Williams Sunday, and has two road games on tap this week. Thursday features a game at Utica, while Saturday will feature a 1 p.m contest at Middlebury. The home season at the Viniar Athletic Center opens Friday, December 9 against Rochester at 6 p.m. Thursday's game will be carried live on the web from Utica's broadcast at: www.starsradionetwork.com.
In the opener, a 64-50 loss at Williams, Devon Ciliberto (New Paltz, NY/New Paltz), scored a game-high 17 points. Krystal Hammond (Clifton Park, NY/Shenendehowa) had 11 points and nine rebounds, and Erika Eisenhut (Mohawk, NY/Mohawk) had 10 points with four assists for the Dutchwomen.
Coach Mary Ellen Burt, who guided Union to 19 wins and a fourth consecutive post-season berth, commented after the pre-season camp concluded.
“I really like our team this year and the work ethic they have displayed so far in the pre-season,” said the coach now in her 11th season. We had several bumps in the road with injuries, but the players seem to keep working together through the obstacles, which is great to see.
“The team is young and will experience a very tough non-conference schedule. If we can weather the storm and keep improving, I think we will be very tough when it comes time for conference play. The freshmen will be fun to watch, they are all very talented and blend in to our system very well.”
Burt believes the strength of the squad is the guard play, and she wants the Dutchwomen to be known as a great defensive team in 2005-06. Senior co-captain Nicole Cerniglia (Ridgefield Park, NJ/Ridgefield Park) returns after knee surgery kept her on the sidelines last season. Senior guard Erika Eisenhut (Mohawk, NY/Mohawk) led the squad in assists (91), steals (73) and blocks (12) while scoring at a 10.5 clip last winter. Hammond will also be a veteran force on the court.
The Union men's basketball team comes off a 17-win season that featured a Liberty League tourney title and an NCAA first round victory. The home opener is Wed., November 30 against Utica and the Dutchmen had a strong season opener on November 27. Union defeated New York City College of Technology, 86-69, and was led by senior guard John Cagianello (Wethersfield, CT/Loomis Chaffee) with 30 points, including 5-7 from three-point land and 5-6 from the charity stripe. Junior guard Joseph Mackey (Flushing, NY/Archbishop Molloy) finished with 15 points (4-5 on three point field goals) off the bench. Senior guard Jim Rahill (Buffalo, NY/Canisius) and classmate Darcy Bonner (Chicago, IL/Loyola Academy) each chipped in with 11 points.
“The start of the year will be especially challenging,” said Head Coach Bob Montana. “New York City Tech won 22 games and is a two-time NCAA participant, so that was a big win for us. Middlebury, Williams, and Lehman on the road are tests, and we also have tough home games against Utica, Carnegie Mellon and Washington & Jefferson.
“Our non-league schedule is very challenging. Hopefully, this will force us to play at a high level and help us as we move on in the season. The Liberty League teams that return the most players are Hamilton, with everyone back, and Hobart, which lost one starter.”
Cagianello became the 14th Union player to score 1,000 career points, and needs jut 98 points to become the fourth player in school history to record 1,500 career points. He was a Second Team Liberty League All-Star last winter, averaging 16.7 points while recording 56 assists and 35 steals.
The memorable Union football season ended Saturday at snowy and chilly Bailey Field, yet over 2,400 diehard fans braved the elements to support one of the best gridiron squads in the school's history. This season's Union team posted the second most wins in school history (11, trailed only by the 13 by the 1989 Stagg Bowl team). It was the ninth undefeated regular season (10-0) in the program's history. The Dutchmen, finishing 11-1, advanced to the second round of the NCAA's for the first time since 1995. The Dutchmen held on to “The Shoes,” win a victory over RPI to end the season, and won the league title and automatic NCAA bid with that 49-42 home triumph. Union defeated Ithaca at home in the NCAA First Round, 55-41, before losing to Rowan at home in the Second Round, 28-24.
Junior RB Tom Arcidiacono (Castleton, NY/Columbia) finished the season with 1,954 yards, and his regular season total of 1,616 broke the Dutchmen's regular season rushing record. He will enter his senior year needing just 54 yards to break the Union career rushing record set by George Beebe in 2002 (3,615 yards). Junior WR Steve Angiletta (Plantsville, CT/Southington) finished with a record 1,612 yards for the 2005 season, and had over 100 yards in each of his last four games. Angiletta broke the single season yards and receptions (99) records. Junior QB Anthony Marotti (River Edge, NJ/River Dell) broke a 16 year old record with a single season total of 3,095 yards, becoming the first Union signal-caller to pass for 3,000 yards in a season. Sophomore linebacker Vito Pellerito (Ponte Verde Beach, FL/St. Thomas Aquinas) had 81 tackles to lead the defense.
The future bodes well, as each of those key football players will be back at Bailey Field in '06. Makes you want to turn on that D.J. and pump up that music.