A Year to Remember for the NYIT Bears

NYIT Athletic Department

NYIT Athletic Department

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Throughout the 2016-2017 seasons, NYIT has gotten to witness multiple team and individual accolades. It isn’t all about individual awards to these players and coaches, it’s all about winning. Individual accolades and the team’s success are achieved as a part of hard work, discipline, determination, confidence, dedication, passion and heart. This is what makes us NYIT.

Men’s Basketball– Coach Kevin Hamilton in his first season with the Bears went 8-18. Something him and his players may not be proud of, but the best part of his first year was he was given the chance to reunite with his son Kieran Hamilton. Kieran averaged 12.8 points per game for NYIT as a sophomore during the 2016-17 season, his first being coached by his father at NYIT. The best has yet to come for this father-son duo and they’ll both be put to the rest next season with a schedule that includes multiple Division I opponents. Forward Jon Feiler was also named to the second-team All-East Region by the Division II Conference Commissioners Association. Feiler led Division II nationally in rebounding at 14.6 per game. He also averaged 19.8 points per game and was also a 2017 second-team East Coast Conference selection. Jon Feiler was honored as first-team All-Met member while another five players were honored with an academic achievement for achieving at least a 3.2 GPA. These players included Josh Primus, Kieran Hamilton, James Goldrick Henrik Davidsen, and Walter King.

Women’s Basketball– It was quite a memorable season for the NYIT women’s basketball team. The girls finished their first season under Coach Kenny Parham with an 18-12 record. Seniors Shannon Duer and Shanice Allen both joined the 1,000 point club this season. The Bears also earned the East Regional’s eighth seed while reaching the final round of the East Coast Conference playoffs. NYIT won at Roberts Wesleyan for the first time in school history, then snapped Queens’ 16-game winning streak during that run. The Bears made it to the first round of the NCAA tournament but took a devastating loss to number one seeded Adelphi. Meg Knollmeyer, Shanice Allen, and Nina Vukosavljevic collected awards from the Eastern Collegiate Athletic Conference. Shanice Allen was awarded a third-team all-ECC selection. Knollmeyer was honored the ECAC Rookie of the Year Award, while Vukosavljevic was named an ECAC All-Star. Vukosavljevic and Knollmeyer were also named to the ECC all-tournament team after helping lead the Bears to finals. Knollmeyer received the league’s Rookie of the Week award five times during the regular season and ranked second in rebounding in the ECC. The Bears handed losses to four of the top five seeds in the East Regional to #1 Adelphi #2 Queens, #3 Bentley and #5 Molloy during their incredible season. Nina Vukosavljevic was honored as first-team All-Met, while Meg Knollmeyer will be honored as Rookie of the Year and second-team All-Met.

Cross Country– Both the NYIT men’s and women’s cross country teams competed at the East Coast Conference Championships, both getting fifth place. Senior Tom Ruppel and rookie Irene Chepleting both landed on the All-Conference Second Team for their 12th place finishes on the men’s and women’s 8k and 5k events. This season, the men’s team was slated to finish sixth while the women were selected fifth. The women also captured one first place vote. Sarah Jerotich came in first overall and was also selected as this year’s Preseason Runner of the Year after an 80th place finish at the NCAA Championships. Freshman Irene Chepleting took home four East Coast Conference Rookie of the Week Honors, probably because of her four top-five finishes including her title at the St. John’s Fall Festival, where she came in first amongst all Division II and III runners. For the men’s team, senior Tom Ruppel earned one ECC Runner of the Week for his first place finish at the SJU Fall Festival with a 5k time of 16:11.1. In his final season, he placed in the top-10 in four of six events and achieved his first collegiate first place finish at the York College Invitational.

Volleyball– The women’s volleyball accomplished so much this season. They won their first East Coast Conference contest since 1990, after defeating the Daemen College Wildcats! Junior Allison Fowler was named ECC Tournament MVP. This is the first ECC title under Head Coach Gail Wasmus who led the Bears to a 29-6 overall record. Wasmus also earned her 600th career victory at NYIT this season and that particular win also set a new program record for single season victories! Captains Rachel Guida and Allison Fowler were named to the All-East Region First Team ahead of the East Region Tournament and Karolina Moderova also earned an appearance on American Volleyball Coaches Association East Region team. Fowler also earned her second straight Setter of the Year honor after ranking second in the ECC with 955 assists.

Men’s Soccer– NYIT men’s soccer finished 10-4-4 earning them the #3 seed at the ECC Championship tournament. After a tough loss in penalty kicks to Molloy to cap of a great run for the Bears, five players were named to the East Coast All-Conference team. Senior captain Ben Wilson was the only Bear to represent NYIT on the First Team as Dan Babar and Martin Sundell were named to the Second Team and Krishen Patel and Jonathan Rico rounded out the awards on the Third Team. Wilson and Babar earned appearances on the All-Region Third Team as well. The men’s soccer team also had 12 players who earned an academic achievement.

Women’s Soccer– The NYIT women’s soccer program finished the 2016 and Head Coach Rachel Reeves’ first campaign at NYIT with a 6-7 overall record and 3-5 in conference action. Junior Dina Simonian was awarded with the East Coast Conference Co-Offensive Player of the Week, heading into the last week of regular season games. It was a sad goodbye after senior day when the team said their farewells to 11 seniors that were recognized prior to kick off against LIU Post. Alexis Panariello, Alexandra Liddiard, Diana Marquez, Fran Glenny, Kim Spiciarich, Jamie Chambers, Taylor Davide, Ashley Adams, Sia Dagrizikos, Christina Cottone and Katrina Capiello are all graduating. Thank you for your hard work and dedication girls! It won’t be forgotten.

Men’s Tennis– Rafal Charkiewicz and Francisco Caldas took home prestigious weekly honors from the East Coast Conference. Charkiewicz won Player of the Week twice during the season and Caldas won the ECC Rookie of the Week. The men’s team is coming off of four straight ECC Championships. The Bears had a 29-match league winning streak until it was ended at Queens, but still an outstanding accomplishment nonetheless. Rafal Charkiewicz, Jorge Gonzales Soler, David Jiang, Jaime Salvador and Matej Selecky received plaques recognizing their contributions to the program as all five will graduate this May. The men are 12-5 with a 4-1 ECC record and current competing in the NCAA Tournament.

Women’s Tennis– NYIT women’s tennis made it four straight ECC Regular Season titles with an 8-1 victory over previously unbeaten, Queens College. The Bears also clinched their fifth consecutive East Coast Conference Championship with a 5-0 sweep over Queens College. The Bears dominated this season going a perfect 15-0 record for the season with a 7-0 ECC record. NYIT pushed their ECC winning streak to 40 straight matches including championship play. Lena Dimmer was named the ECC Women’s Tennis Player of Year and Karolina Pondusova was selected as the league’s Rookie of the Year. The two earned spots on the First Team as their teammates Melanie Benyadi and Gabriela Siembab join them earning their own respective spots on the First Team. Dimmer was outstanding in her first season at NYIT, posting a regular season record of 12-2 in singles and 14-1 in doubles. In ECC play, she finished with a perfect 7-0 record in both singles and doubles play. Six of her conference singles wins came at the #1 position, while all of the doubles wins came at #2 Outside of ECC play, Dimmer also advanced to the semifinals of the ITA East Region Championship. The Bears won the East Coast Conference championship and are currently competing in the NCAA Tournament.

Men’s Lacrosse– The NYIT men’s lacrosse team is the undefeated regular-season champions of the East Coast Conference after defeating Mercy in the season finale. The seventh-ranked Bears finished the regular season 12-3 overall and 8-0 in ECC play. Alex Seltzer will be the NYIT men’s lacrosse team’s all-time saves leader when he graduates in May. Seltzer’s 11th save in a game vs. Tampa gave him 573 for his career, passing Matt Hunter, who had established the record from 2000 through 2003. He now has 577 as of April 11th. Seltzer was named ECC Defensive Player of the Week while teammate George Schultz earned Offensive Player of the Week honors. NYIT beat the Pioneers, 9-8 in overtime, on April 1.

Women’s Lacrosse– What a story for this team. After Dowling College closed its campus, 14 girls and a coach had no more lacrosse to play and coach. That’s when NYIT opened up a women’s lacrosse program and hired coach Kerri Handras and the dream lived on. It’s only gotten better for this team from there. NYIT has dominated their inaugural season as the No. 12 ranked Bears finished the regular season 15-2 overall and 7-1 in the East Coast Conference and a spot in the ECC Championship tournament. The team even swept the weekly East Coast Conference awards, with Karie Znaniecki named the top offensive performer, Erin Smith the top defensive performer and Shannon Donovan the top rookie. Things are looking bright for the new program not only for the rest of the season and playoffs, but for many years to come. The Bears ended Mercy’s nine-game season-opening winning streak with a 13-11 victory at Dobbs Ferry on April 4.

Softball– The Bears won 11 of its final 14 games and earned the third seed in the ECC championship tournament hosted by the top-seeded Mercy. The Bears finished the regular season with a 24-16 overall record and 14-10 mark in the ECC. Freshman Brooke Scherer was honored with the East Coast Conference’s Rookie of the Week honor in her first collegiate week. She owned a .375 average and seven RBIs through her first six career games. She went 4-for-7 in a season-opening doubleheader against Saint Rose and also produced her first collegiate home run a day later against Felician.

Baseball– With returning players such as Frank Valentino and Luis Mele, NYIT Baseball looked to have a bounce back season with Head Coach Bob Malvagna. White House staff assistant Tom Joannou got to share a special moment with the NYIT baseball team. Joannou played baseball at NYIT for three years but gave up his senior season in order to accept a position in the White House as he continues to take classes at NYIT while working in the West Wing in order to graduate. Since the Bears were heading to Washington D.C. area to face Georgetown for a 3 game series, coach Malvagna invited Joannou to play with the team for the weekend. He started in right field and got a single in his final at-bat as an NYIT athlete.

Win or lose, it takes a lot to be a college athlete for any sport, but it takes even more to be an NYIT Bear. Our fellow classmates and student-athletes… we tip our caps to every single one of you for taking us on another incredible and memorable journey of sports seasons! Until the fall 2017 season, GO BEARS!

For more information and updates on the conclusion of the spring sports season – visit nyitbears.com and follow the Bears on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram @nyitbears

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