Tuesday, February 19, 2013

2011-12 Hofstra Athletics Year in Review

Olivia Galati
The softball team’s run to an NCAA Super Regional and the record-breaking season by the Pride baseball team capped off the 2011-12 Hofstra athletic year. The year was also highlighted by postseason appearances from the wrestling and women’s basketball teams, six All-America selections, the hiring of a new vice president and director of athletics, the largest individual gift in department history, and the release of a book chronicling the history of Hofstra sports.

The Hofstra softball team captivated fans with a fantastic run in the postseason, led by junior pitcher Olivia Galati. The Pride, who won the Colonial Athletic Association (CAA) championship, were one win from advancing to the Women’s College World Series after winning the NCAA Los Angeles Regional with a perfect 3-0 record with wins over No. 12-seed UCLA and two wins over San Diego State before falling two games to one in the best-of-three Super Regional series against No. 19 South Florida. The Pride finished with a 42-15 record, and was ranked 16th in the final National Fastpitch Coaches Association (NFCA) Poll of the season. The ranking was Hofstra’s best-ever finish in the national poll.

Galati became Hofstra’s first softball first team All-American after compiling a 34-7 record, an NCAA-best 0.95 ERA and 378 strikeouts to go with a .345 batting average, four home runs and 37 RBIs. Her 34 wins are a school record, as are her 378 strikeouts. She also became Hofstra’s all-time leader in strikeouts with 1,018.

The baseball program won a school record 34 games (34-22) in 2012, finished second in the CAA and qualified for the CAA Championship for the first time since 2005. The team was one of the top offensive squads in the nation and set new team records for runs (447), hits (669), doubles (145) and stolen bases (157). The Pride pitching staff set new team marks for strikeouts (349) and ERA (5.37), while the defense turned a program-record 65 double plays.

Senior outfielder Danny Poma, who was selected by the Arizona Diamondbacks in the 10th round of the MLB Draft, became the first Pride player to win the CAA Player of the Year Award and also became the first baseball first team All-American in program history. Poma batted .430 with a team record 102 hits, 32 doubles and 78 runs scored. He led the nation in doubles and runs, was second in batting and fifth in hits.

The Pride wrestling team also turned in a stellar season in 2011-12, winning the CAA championship for the 10th time in 11 years, crowning four individual champions and sending six wrestlers to the NCAA Championships. Hofstra placed 23rd at the NCAA Championships and saw two wrestlers – juniors Justin Accordino and Steve Bonanno – earn All-America honors for the first time in their careers. Accordino placed sixth at 149 pounds, while Bonanno was eighth at the 125-pound weight class.

The women’s basketball team, led by junior All-American Shante Evans, posted a 19-12 record and went to the Women’s National Invitation Tournament for the fourth time in program history. Evans, a first team All-CAA selection, led Hofstra in scoring (19.2 ppg), rebounding (10.5 rpg), field goal percentage (48.9) and blocked shots (28) en route to her second consecutive All-America selection.

Senior Genna Kovar was Hofstra’s sixth All-American in 2011-12 as she led the field hockey team to a 13-9 record and rewrote the Hofstra record book in the process. She scored a single season record 28 goals and 18 assists for 74 points and left Hofstra as the program record holder in goals (57), assists (34) and points (148). Kovar led the country in points per game (3.36) and goals per game (1.27), and finished 10th in assists per game (0.82). A three-time All-CAA first team selection, the All-America selection was the second of Kovar’s career.

Hofstra student-athletes did not limit their accolades to athletics, as several earned recognition for their work in the classroom and the community. Candice Bellocchio of the women’s basketball team was the recipient of the 2012 Dean Ehlers Leadership Award, which is given to the women’s basketball student-athlete who “embodies the highest standards of leadership, integrity and sportsmanship in conjunction with her academic and athletic achievement.” It is named after former James Madison athletic director Dean Ehlers, who was a founding member of the conference, served as its first president, and was a recognized leader through his membership on numerous NCAA committees. Bellocchio was heavily involved in community service endeavors during her tenure at Hofstra, and, through her hard work and leadership, was able to make a difference in the lives of many people. Bellocchio was also selected as the Nassau County Sports Commission Female College Athlete of the Year based on her athletic, academic and community service achievements.

Steve Bonanno was the CAA Scholar-Athlete of the Year in wrestling and also earned National Wrestling Coaches Association (NWCA) All-Academic and CoSIDA Academic All-District honors as well. Andrew Gvozden was the CAA Scholar-Athlete of the Year in men’s lacrosse and a United States Intercollegiate Lacrosse Association (USILA) Scholar All-American. Jill Maier (women’s lacrosse) and Olivia Galati (softball) were named the CAA Scholar-Athlete of the Year in their respective sports, while Brittany Butts of the women’s soccer team was a third team regional All-Scholar selection by the National Soccer Coaches Association of America (NSCAA). Fifteen Hofstra field hockey players were named to the National Field Hockey Coaches Association National Academic (NFHCA) Squad, while Hofstra was the recipient of the National Academic Team Award for earning a cumulative 3.0 or higher team grade point average.

Jeffrey A. Hathaway
In May President Stuart Rabinowitz announced that Jeffrey A. Hathaway would be Hofstra’s new vice president and director of athletics. Hathaway replaces Jack Hayes, who resigned after eight years to become director of athletics at Brown University. Hathaway had served as director of athletics at the University of Connecticut from 2003 to 2011, and was also the NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball Committee chairman for the past two years.

Other exciting events of the 2011-12 athletic year included the largest individual commitment in Hofstra Athletics history, as men’s lacrosse alumnus James C. Metzger ’83, a former All-American, pledged $1.5 million to the department in December 2011. His contribution will establish a men’s lacrosse program endowment as well as support the capital improvement fund, which benefits all 17 sports.

In January 2012 author Chris Vaccaro ’07 released Hofstra Athletics, part of Arcadia Publishing’s Images of Sports series. The book captures nearly 200 images of student-athletes, coaches, administrators, facilities and many other aspects of the Hofstra community.

The men’s lacrosse team’s trip to Japan to compete at the International Lacrosse Friendship Games in Tokyo from May 30 to June 7 was another standout moment of 2011-12. Hofstra played five games, including an 11-10 win over the Japanese National Team, and conducted a lacrosse clinic for more than 200 budding lacrosse players during the tour.


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