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Monday, April 9, 2007

EASTERN CONTINUES DOMINANCE WITH WEEKLY AWARDS

Four recognized in three sports, bringing spring total to 15 in three weeks

WILLIMANTIC, Conn. – Four Eastern Connecticut State University athletes in the sports of men’s and women’s lacrosse and softball have been recognized with weekly awards by the Little East Conference for the week ending April 8.

In women’s lacrosse, senior tri-captains Jenna Faiola (Billerica, MA/Billerica Memorial HS) and Erin Calkins (Stony Brook, NY/Ward Melville HS) were cited as Offensive and Defensive Player-of-the-Week, respectively. Junior Jon Snedeker (Southington, CT/Southington HS) was cited as Defensive Player-of-the-Week in men’s lacrosse, while freshman Kim Church (Farmington, CT/Farmington HS) was honored in softball as Rookie-of-the-Week.

They were  the first weekly honors this year for all four of this weeks’s recipients and brings Eastern’s  total to 15 this year through the season’s first three weeks. Women’s  lacrosse and baseball have each had four weekly honorees, while men’s lacrosse has received three and softball and outdoor track two each.

Faiola, Calkins and Snedeker helped their respective programs win both of their lacrosse matches this past week – all of the games in conference competition – while Church played a key part as the softball team split doubleheaders.

Faiola and Calkins orchestrated Saturday night’s 9-8 overtime conference win over Plymouth State University, inflicting the Panthers with their first loss after 29 regular-season conference wins (Plymouth’s only conference playoff loss has also come at the hands of Eastern, in the 2005 championshp match). Faiola scored all three of her goals late in the match, tying the match at 6-6 with ten minutes left in regulation, and scoring the first of the team’s two goals in overtime. Calkins made 12 saves in the victory, giving her the 27th win of her career and moving her to within one of second place all-time.

In two matches during the week for the 6-3 Warriors, Faiola had seven goals, two assists, seven ground balls, caused two turnovers and won two draws. Calkins, last year’s ECAC New England Division III Goalie-of-the-Year,  had a .600 save percentage and 5.71 goals-against average by stopping 18 of the 30 shots which she faced. Faiola leads Eastern this year in points (31) and is second in goals (24),  as has helped Eastern attain the No. 1 conference ranking in scoring. She has 28 ground balls, won 19 draws and forced 11 turnovers, all numbers which rate her among the team’s top three. Calkins has a .576 save percentage and 9.56 goals-against average, statistics which rank her among the top three in the Little East.

With a 3-0 record, the women’s lacrosse team sits atop the conference standings, a half-game ahead of Keene State College (2-0).

An ECAC All-New England All-Star last spring, Snedeker was a key player on the back line when the Warriors last week won a pair of conference matches -- each by one goal – to remain unbeaten (3-0) in the conference and even their overall record at 5-5. Snedeker had nine ground balls Saturday in a 12-11 win over visiting Plymouth State University – one shy of his career high. His defense also helped the Warriors limit their two opponents to a clear percentage of just .517.

This year, Snedeker leads the Warriors with 48 ground balls, moving him into sixth place all-time with 180 ground balls and within 20 of becoming the sixth player in program history with as many as 200 in a career.

Church, who also played goalkeeper with the soccer team last fall, batted .353 in a 2-3 week for the softball team. The team’s starting shortstop, Church was 6-for-17 with a team-high eight RBI. In a 6-5 loss to Plymouth State Saturday, she had a career-high three hits and three RBI and became only the fourth player in program history to belt as many as two home runs in a game. Her first home run boosted Eastern into a 3-0 lead and her second homer tied the game in the top of the seventh inning. Defensively, she was perfect on 16 chances, collecting 14 assists.

For the softball team, which is 12-7 overall and 3-1 in the conference, Church is batting .319 and has a .964 fielding average (two errors on 56 chances). She has 30 total bases on the strength of four doubles, three home runs and a triple, and has driven in 11 runs. She is one of two freshman starters on the team and one of six regulars batting over .300.

Previous conference weekly award-winners this spring include sophomore Shawn Gilblair (Windham,  CT/Windham HS), senior Randy Re (Danbury, CT/Danbury HS) and freshman Melvin Castillo (Danbury, CT/Danbury HS) in baseball; senior Dave Carpenter (Redding, CT/Joel Barlow HS ) in men’s lacrosse; freshman Samantha Vara (Boston, NY/Hamburg HS) in softball; senor Kara Bradley (North Haven, CT/Mercy HS), junior Lily Anderson (Portand, ME/Portland HS) and freshman Taylor MacDonald (Oak Bluffs, MA/Martha's Vineyard Regional HS) in women’s lacrosse, and freshmen Kelsey Watson (Bristol, NH/Newfound Regional HS) and Erika Barber (Portand, CT/Portland HS) in women’s outdoor track.

Gilblair was named Pitcher-of-the-Week once and co-Player-of-the-Week once, Re Player-of-the-Week and Castillo Rookie-of-the-Week; Carpenter was twice named Offensive Player-of-the-Week; Vara Rookie-of-the-Week once; Anderson Offensive and Bradley and MacDonald Defensive Player-of-the-Week; and Watson Track Athlete-of-the-Week and Barber Field Athlete-of-the-Week.