Forget the temperatures and snow: as far as the collegiate sports world is concerned, spring just landed on our doorstep. Mitch Savoca opened the University of Richmond lacrosse season with a hat trick and University of New Haven softball catcher Jovanna Hillman played in four games in Florida over the weekend.

This week we also note streaking basketball teams from Adelphi, Roger Williams University and Western New England University and report on Karli Opalka’s 16-rebound performance…and a streaking Saint Michael’s College ice hockey team…plus freshman sprinter Carly Swierbut’s continuing record-setting season for William & Mary College track…and Seton Hall freshmen swimmers Tom Minar and Sierra Cripps and their explosive first seasons…and so much more.


In a five-day stretch in mid-January, the Adelphi University women’s basketball team lost two games, back-to-back, to Stonehill College and St. Anselm College. That was it. Those are the only two blemishes on the Panthers’ record.

College Notebook

Mali Klorczyk (Newtown) - Senior guard for 21-2 Adelphi University basketball.

Last Wednesday the Panthers won their fifth game in a row since that nasty week in January, 70-58 over American International College. It was the 21st win of the season for Adelphi. Senior guard Mali Klorczyk (Newtown) scored two points in the win over AIC.

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The Western New England University women have won three straight, knocking off Gordon College last Wednesday, 75-52, and taking down Curry College on Saturday, 60-52. 

Golden Bear senior forward Courtney Carlson (Nonnewaug) put in 10 points, pulled down four rebounds, had two assists and a block in the Gordon game. On Saturday, she dropped in a game-high 21 points and snagged seven rebounds to lead WNEU to its 18th win (11-2 Commonwealth Coast Conference).

Junior guard Ryan Johannes (Pomperaug) got the start for Utica College Saturday afternoon against Alfred University, and when the dust had cleared, the Pioneers had their 17th win of the season, 85-68. Ryan had chipped in a couple of points. Utica is 17-4 (8-2 Empire-8 Conference).

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The Roger Williams University women are on the longest win streak of their season (five games) after battling past Endicott College in a character-builder of a contest on Saturday afternoon, winning 60-57 in overtime. 

Sophomore starting center Karli Opalka (Pomperaug) swept the boards for a game-high 16 rebounds and scored nine points, blocked a shot, made two steals and an assist. The Hawk femmes are 14-8 (10-3 CCC).

Endicott College’s men were able to go on crucial scoring runs Saturday night, and when those added up, the Gulls were superior to the Roger Williams University guys, 76-66. 

RWU starting senior guard Rich Pugliese (Pomperaug) scored six points, made one assist and corralled two rebounds in the loss. The Hawks are now 14-8 (6-7 CCC) with three games left on their schedule.

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The Wesleyan University women outscored Williams College in three periods to walk off the Ephs’ court with a 61-52 win Friday night. Freshman guard Maggie Lee (Pomperaug) contributed three points and a rebound to the win for the 12-9 Cardinals (2-5 NESCAC).

Track & Field

Stonehill College senior thrower Jesica Litwa (Seymour) launched the shot 10.37 meters, good for 19th place, at the University of Rhode Island Coaches’ Tribute to Bill Falk Invitational Track & Field Meet on Saturday. She did better in the hammer throw later in the day – ninth place (14.73 meters).

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William & Mary College standout freshman Carly Swierbut (Newtown) set her third freshman track record in three weeks on Saturday in the 200-meter dash, finishing 11th in a time of 25.12 seconds, breaking a 12-year old freshman mark, and hers is the fourth-fastest W&M time in the event ever.

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Susquehanna University junior Alexa Pietrini (Pomperaug) finished 25th (1:08.48) in the 400-meter dash at the Alvernia University Plex Shootout on Friday but ran the second leg of the fourth-place 4-by-400 relay (4:23.31).

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Bentley University sophomore Christian Lestik (Newtown) finished fourth in the 800 meters (2:08.01) at the University of Maine Invitational on Saturday.

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Southern Connecticut State senior leaper Oghenefejiro Onakpoma (Naugatuck/Coginchaug) finished in third place in the triple jump (14.6 meters) at the New England Championships in Boston on Feb. 1. That was the longest distance by any Division II athlete at the event.

University of Connecticut junior Kelly Ward (Oxford) finished third in the pentathlon and set a new personal record of 3,487 points – she won the long jump (17-02.50), came in second in the high jump (5-06.00), was fourth in the 60-meter hurdles (9.43), sixth in the 800 meters (2:30.63) and seventh in the shot put (32-01.50).

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At the New York City Division III Invitational at the New York Armory on Jan. 31, U.S. Merchant Marine Academy sophomore David Roper (Southbury) came in sixth in the 60-meter hurdles (10:49).

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Navy junior Savada Robinson (Oxford) sprinted to a third-place finish in the 400-meter dash (57.94) at West Point on Saturday when the Middies won a satisfying, 93-80 dual meet over Army.


The William Smith College won its first two matches in the Patriot League Championships on Saturday in Geneva, N.Y., defeating St. Lawrence University, 6-3, and sweeping Vassar, 9-0.

Herons’ junior Jo Pacheco (Westover) plowed past Saints’ Kat Levia at third position, (11-8, 11-5 and 11-3). William Smith finished the conference championships on Sunday, past our deadline: we’ll have final results next week.

Ice Hockey

Babson College’s men had an up-and-down weekend, getting shut out by Norwich University, 4-0, on Friday, then coming back on Saturday to roadpave Johnson & Wales University, 11-2.

Senior defenseman Connor Dahlman (Gunnery) fired two of Babson’s 23 shots on Friday, not one of which found the back of the net. 

On Saturday, he fired two shots again and got two assists – the first on Ryan Black’s power-play goal at 12:50 of the first period, the next on Patrick Flynn’s second-period score. Those assists were Connor’s 10th and 11th of the season for the 17-4-2 Beavers (12-3-1 New England Hockey Conference).

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Saint Michael’s College has manufactured a sudden ice hockey surge, the Purple Knight men on a four-game win streak, with wins in five of their last six games. Over the weekend, the Knights smote Southern New Hampshire twice, 3-0 on Friday night and 6-2 on Saturday afternoon.

College Notebook

Connor Redden (Southbury/King’s-Edgehill), a freshman forward at Saint Michael’s College, posted his third goal of the season on Saturday as the Purple Knights continued their four-game win streak.

Freshman forward Connor Redden (Southbury/King’s-Edgehill) scored one of St. Mike’s five second-period goals on Saturday, getting a helper from Sam Johnson at 6:15. That was Connor’s third score of the season, and made it a 3-0 game at that point. St. Michael’s is now 14-8-2 (10-5-1 NE-10) with two games to play before conference playoffs begun in two weeks.

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The Williams College men had their worst weekend of the season, getting edged Friday by Wesleyan, 3-1, and on Saturday by Trinity College, 5-3. Ephs’ junior left winger Tyler Scott (Gunnery) launched three shots on Friday against the Cardinals and was 8-for-16 in face-offs; on Saturday, he got off four shots and was 10-for-19 in face-offs. Williams drops to 13-6-1 (10-4 NESCAC).


College Notebook

David Lawrence (Newtown) - Sophomore swimmer sets new Western Connecticut State record in the 1650 freestyle.

Western Connecticut State’s men finished third in the Little East Conference swimming and diving championships on Feb. 1, but sophomore David Lawrence (Newtown) had everybody’s attention as he knifed through the water in the 1650 free, setting a new school record of 17:49.67 and finishing third in the event.

David won the 500 free (5:03.88), swam the third leg of the third-place 200 medley relay (1:49.12) and came in second in the 100 free (50.29). 

Sophomore Danny Murphy (Masuk) swam the second leg of that third-place WestConn finish in the 200 medley relay, came in ninth in the 200 free (2:09.91) and the 500 free (5:43.57).

For the WestConn women, who finished fifth in the team standings, sophomore Sara Tomporowski (Pomperaug) swam the third leg of the fourth-place 400 free relay (4:15.57), was 13th in the 50 free (28.71) and 17th in the 100 backstroke (1:17.38). Freshman Maria Guimaraes (Naugatuck) claimed a seventh-place finish in the 200 breaststroke (2:51.48) and ninth-place finish in the 100 breast (1:18.73), came in 11th in the 200 individual medley (2:42.58), and anchored the fourth-place 400 free relay (4:15.27).

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The Seton Hall University swimmers took on Providence College and Georgetown at the Berkeley Tri-Meet on Jan. 31 and Feb. 1 in the last warm-up before the Big East Championships that start Feb. 26. 

The Pirate men lost to Georgetown, 196-155, but laid out Providence, 277-64.

Pirate freshman Tom Minar (Oxford) swam the opening segment of the winning 200 free relay (1:24.63), came in second in the 100 free (46.89) and 50 free (21.41), anchored the third-place 400 medley relay (3:29.17), brought home a fifth-place finish in the 200 free (1:44.79), and ended the meet by swimming the third leg of the second-place 400 free relay (3:06.42).

College Notebook

Sierra Cripps (Seymour) - Seton Hall freshman swimmer posts three first-place finishes.

In the women’s portion of the tri-meet, the Pirate femmes lost to Georgetown, 231.5-119.5, but lashed the Friars, 229-114. Freshman Sierra Cripps (Seymour) had a huge meet: she won the 100 butterfly (57.32) and the 200 fly (2:05.87), swam the second leg of the winning 200 free relay (1:39.39) and the third legs of the second-place 200 medley relay (1:48.66) and 400 medley relay (3:59.63), and came in 11th in the 50 free (25.47).

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The Sacred Heart University women wrapped up their dual-meet schedule on Feb. 2 with a 155-144 win over St. Francis College of Brooklyn. 

Pioneers’ junior Margaret Flaherty (Pomperaug) swam to third-place finishes in the 1000 free (11:11.86) and 500 free (5:29.05), and was second into the water in the fifth-place 200 free relay (1:47.39). 

Sacred Heart will contest the Northeast Conference Championships that begin next Wednesday.

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After the first three days of the Northeast-10 Conference Swimming and Diving Championships, the Southern Connecticut State women and men were in second place — the women just 18 points behind Assumption College, and the men 163 points back of Bentley University. The Owl women had led for the first two days of the event.

Seven local athletes were in the water for Southern.

For the men, freshman Colby Delia (Newtown) was first in the water in the Owls’ second-place finish in the 800 free relay (7:09.10, with junior Matt Widlar (Pomperaug) swimming the third leg. On Friday, Colby again swam the first leg, this time in the second-place 200 free relay (1:23.36); junior Hunter Cripps (Seymour) took the second leg in the Owl ‘B’ team 10th placement (1:28.29). Colby also scored a third-place finish in the 50 free (20.96).

Matt was seventh in the 200 individual medley on Friday (1:58.51) and he swam the second leg of the winning 400 medley relay (3:23.97). On Saturday, he took third in the 400 individual medley (4:10.58) and swam the second leg of the winning 200 medley relay with Colby anchoring the effort (1:33.30).

Junior Evan Bombery (Naugatuck) took second place in the 1000 free (9:40.92), 19 seconds lower than his seed time; junior Dominic Papiro (Pomperaug) was 14th (10:32.32). 

On Friday, Evan won the 500 free (4:40.62) in a very tight race with Bentley’s Daniel Sausto; Dominic swam the second leg of the 10th-place 400 medley relay (3:37.65).

Sophomore Emily Darroch (Oxford) came in 11th on Thursday in the 1000 free (10:58.01), 18 seconds lower than her seed time. On Friday, she began by swimming the second leg of the second-place 200 free relay (1:36.30) – last year, that mark would have set a new conference record; senior Emily Waehler (Oxford) anchored the 14th-place Owls’ ‘B’ team (1:38.74) in the event. 

Darroch finished Friday’s events by anchoring the 10th-place 400 medley relay (3:59.01). On Saturday, she anchored the Owls’ ninth-place finish in the 200 medley relay (1:49.21).

As for Assumption College’s women, junior Grace Gustinis (Masuk) began the event on Thursday by swimming the third leg of the third-place 800 free relay (7:39.15). 

On Friday, she started off by anchoring the 10th-place 200 free relay (1:38.89). She came in seventh in the 200 individual medley (2:10.65) on Friday and finished sixth in the 400 individual medley (4:37.25) on Saturday. 

She finished her Saturday by swimming the first leg of the Greyhounds’ 10th-place 200 medley relay (1:50.94).

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Springfield College finished its dual-meet season on Feb. 2 with a 166-110 loss to Amherst College. 

Senior Sean Harnish (Middlebury/Holy Cross) competed in four events for the Pride – he swam the first leg on the fourth-place 200 medley relay (1:40.88), took fourth in the 50 free (22.81) and the 100 free (49.52) and finished his portion of the meet by taking the third leg of the winning 200 free relay (1:29.80). Springfield contests the NEWMAC championships beginning Feb. 20.

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Trinity College senior Julia Albino (Pomperaug) was busy in the pool at the unusual Worcester Polytechnic Tech Sprints on Feb. 1. 

She swam the first legs of the 13th-place 200 medley relay (53.97) and the 15th-place 100 free relay (49.94). In individual events she finished sixth in the 25 butterfly (12.94) and came in 11th in the 25 backstroke (14.51).

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Roger Williams University sophomore Kaley Youngcourt (Masuk) had a good time at the meet – she won the 100 breaststroke (1:09.16) and the 100 individual medley (1:02.25), and was fourth in the 50 breast (32.02). Senior teammate Casey Klein (Newtown) finished third in the 50 backstroke (29.17) and swam the first leg of the fourth-place 200 medley relay (1:54.00) and the third leg of the fourth-place 100 medley relay (51.75).

Worcester Polytechnic Institute sophomore Peter Fagerholm (Newtown) was very busy at this meet. He anchored the Engineers’ winning 200 medley relay (1:34.38), finished 10th in the 25 free (10:56) and the 100 individual medley (56.63), swam the third leg of the winning 100 free relay (39.51), was sixth in the 25 backstroke (12.60), and swam the first leg of the sixth-place 100 medley relay (46.40). Whew!

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Western New England University sophomore Hannah Tricarico (Seymour) started off a dual meet with Mount Holyoke on Feb. 1 by winning the 200 free (2:15.26). From there she was second in the 50 free (28.00) and the 100 free (1:01.16), and swam the second leg of the third-place 200 free relay (1:55.79). Despite her efforts, the Golden Bears got stomped by the Lyons, 172-88.

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Boston College freshman Aleksej Cupic (Seymour) recorded an 11th-place finish in the 200 breaststroke (2:16.01) and came in 16th in the 100 breaststroke (1:01.13) at the Boston University Winter Open on Saturday.


College Notebook

Mitch Savoca (Newtown/Fairfield Prep) scored a hat trick as the University of Richmond opened its season Saturday by taking on fourth-ranked Maryland and extending the Terrapins into overtime before losing, 14-13.

University of Richmond junior lacrosse midfielder Mitch Savoca (Newtown/Fairfield Prep) scored three goals but it wasn’t enough for the Spiders, who dropped a double-overtime, 14-13 battle to fourth-ranked Maryland on Saturday in the season opener for Richmond.

Mitch scored the first goal of the season at 12:56 of the first period, unassisted, and did it again a minute later to give the Spiders a brief 2-0 lead. He got his third goal at 3:23 left in the half, with Todd Gallagher making the assist. At that point, Richmond still had a two-point lead, 7-5. The Terrapins outscored Richmond 6-2 in the final stanza to tie the game, winning with 2:12 remaining in the second overtime. Mitch took eight shots overall and picked up one ground ball.

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Villanova University picked up two wins in its first three games at the River City Leadoff Tournament in Jacksonville, Fla. over the weekend. The Wildcats survived a tight first game with San Diego State on Friday, 5-4, then lost to to the Aztecs Saturday morning, 8-4, and came back to claim a win over Jacksonville University, 10-2, in the afternoon.

Sophomore pitcher Sara Kennedy (Newtown) finished the second San Diego game, allowing four hits and two runs in the seventh inning, striking out one and walking none. She did not factor in the decision.


The University of New Haven Chargers split their first day of the 2020 softball season in Viera, Fla. on Friday, dropping an 8-0 decision to West Florida, then coming back to beat Palm Beach Atlantic, 6-3, at the Florida Tech Invitational, played on the USSSA Space Coast Complex.

Junior catcher Jovanna Hillman (Seymour/St. Joseph’s) batted 0-for-2 in the first game but came through with an RBI single in the sixth inning and scored twice.

On Saturday, the Charges split two more games, conquering Florida Southern, 3-1, but losing to West Georgia, 4-0. Jovanna batted 0-for-3 against West Georgia and was 0-for-2 against Florida Southern. New Haven is 2-2.


U.S. Merchant Marine Academy junior 165-pound wrestler Kieran Duggan (Nonnewaug) grabbed two wins in three bouts at the McDaniel College Centennial Quad meet on Saturday. He posted his first win over Washington and Lee’s Shane Conners, an 8-5 decision. The Mariners lost that match, 29-14.

USMMA also lost to Muhlenberg College, 37-10. Kieran was stopped by Dylan Schwartz by major decision, 10-2. The Mariners finally got a win, besting McDaniel, 25-20. Kieran decisioned Garret Vandervalk, 12-7.


Seton Hall University freshman Tom Minar (Oxford) earned Big East Conference Swimming Athlete of the Week on Jan. 21 after he guided his team to a 181-117 victory over Delaware with two individual victories and two relay wins.

He was first to touch the wall in the 50 free (21.54), followed up by a first place finish in the 100 free (47.36). The Pirates 400 free relay team took home a win, turning in the ninth best time in the BIG EAST this season with Tom posting a 47.11 split. He closed out the meet with a 20.8 split on the winning 200 medley relay.

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Have news about a local athlete who is competing in a spring college sport – baseball, softball, lacrosse? 

Our lacrosse and softball coverage began this week. Baseball is next. 

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