The Saint Joseph’s College Monks don’t have fond memories of their last NCAA Division III New England Regional appearance.
Two years ago, the Monks bowed out in two games. This year, they are determined to redeem themselves even though they will be the eighth seed for the eight-team, double-elimination affair at Eastern Connecticut State University.
Saint Joseph’s (32-11) meets top seed Tufts (31-5) of Medford, Mass., today at 1:15 p.m..
In other first-round matchups, No. 2 Wheaton (32-8) plays No. 7 UMass Boston (27-15), No. 3 Western New England (33-10) faces No. 6 Westfield State (30-9) and No. 4 Eastern Connecticut State (30-13) tangles with No. 5 Worcester State (31-9-1).
“We feel we have as good a chance as anyone,” said Monks junior left fielder-designated hitter Ian Lee of Hampden. “Just because we’re the eighth seed doesn’t mean we’re a weak team. There are a lot of good teams here but no one is a powerhouse.”
He added that several players gained experience from playing in the regional two years ago and that should be advantageous.
“So we all know what to expect. We practiced [Tuesday] and everybody was relaxed,” added Lee.
The Monks haven’t played since they split a season-ending doubleheader with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology on May 6.
“We played a bunch of intra-squad games and we had morning workouts as well,” said Lee. “Coach [Will Sanborn] did a good job keeping us in game shape. It was good.”
He also said the layoff was beneficial in some ways “because we have a lot of guys who are beat up and they were able to spend some time in the training room.”
He said the biggest issue was anticipation.
“Everyone is really excited. We couldn’t wait to get down here,” said Lee.
He said this team is definitely better than the 2008 Saint Joseph’s team in all areas.
“And we have depth as well. We have a lot of kids who can come off the bench and make an important impact on the game,” said Lee who feels the Monks are going to have to “execute” to be successful.
“We can compete with anyone but we can’t afford to give teams extra outs because they’ll come back and beat us. If we play our style of hard-nosed baseball, we’ll have a good shot to win the tournament,” said Lee.
The Monks are led offensively by right fielder Todd Keneborus (.456-4 homers-61 RBIs), shortstop Chris Campbell (.431-0-19), 2B Mike Burdin (.415-2-33), 1B Ben Grant-Roy (.391-5-45) and Lee (.389-2-27). Winterport’s Pat Moran (.321-8-37), Lee’s former Hampden Academy teammate, leads the team in homers. Moran is a DH/pitcher.
Sam Murray (7-1, 1.77 earned run average) and Moran (7-1, 3.83) anchor the pitching staff.
Clancy named interim coach
Christine Clancy, who was an assistant coach at Colby College in Waterville and helped head coach Lori Gear McBride lead the Mules to their best season in school history (24-5), will replace McBride on an interim basis.
McBride was recently named the head coach at the University of Vermont.
Yarmouth’s Clancy assisted McBride for two years and the Mules went 37-17.
This past season, Colby reached the New England Small College Athletic Conference title game and earned its first ever berth in the NCAA Division III Tournament.
“I’m really excited for this opportunity,” said Clancy in a press release. “It’s really a dream job for me. It’s going to be great to lead this group of players. They are so much fun to work with and they work so hard.”
Clancy earned a bachelor’s degree from Brandeis University in 2006 where she was a two-time All-University Athletic Association (UAA) choice.
The Mules will return nine of their 11 players.
Colby’s Deveau Rookie of Year
Colby College’s Ian Deveau was named the NESCAC’s Rookie of the Year in lacrosse and teammates Craig Bunker and Whit McCarthy were first-team selections along with Bowdoin College’s Owen Smith.
Bowdoin’s Russ Halliday, Adam Tracy and Henry Andrews were second-team picks.
Deveau had 14 goals and a team-high 21 assists and ranked fifth in the league in assists per game (1.31) and 14th in scoring (2.19).