Muhlenberg College

Allentown, Pa.
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Tuesday, November 19, 2002
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WINTER SPORTS PREVIEWS
Basketball Teams Try to Reach Same Goal from Different Approaches

Although the Muhlenberg women’s and men’s basketball teams were both picked to repeat as Centennial Conference East Division champions (see Sunday’s MSD), they have very different makeups as they approach the 2002-03 season, which begins Friday with the 21st Scotty Wood Tournament.

The women, 21-4 a year ago and ranked 20th in the d3hoops.com preseason poll, return almost their entire lineup. The men (19-6) graduated four outstanding seniors, one of whom was the first first-team All-American in program history.

See Thursday’s MSD for a Scotty Wood Tournament preview.

• Women’s Basketball: Muhlenberg exploded onto the national scene last winter, winning its first 13 games, including two against teams that would reach the “Sweet 16,” to earn a top-10 national ranking for the first time ever.

The Mules set numerous records last season, but did not reach their ultimate goal – the NCAA Tournament. Muhlenberg suffered a one-point loss to Western Maryland in the CC semifinals and did not receive an at-large bid.

If they make it to the postseason this year, the Mules should be very well prepared. They are scheduled to play two preseason top-20 teams (Scranton and DeSales) on the road; they travel to fourth-ranked King’s and “Sweet 16” team Springfield for tournaments; and they welcome defending national runner-up St. Lawrence to their season-opening Scotty Wood Tournament.

The team lost only two seniors and adds a deep and talented freshman class to the mix. The 18-member roster will enable the Mules to play its running and pressing style all season, as they had to scale back when injuries hit last year.

Headlining the returnees is junior center Susan Marchiano, who had a phenomenal season in 2001-02, her first as a starter. A first-team All-CC selection and the Lehigh Valley Small College player of the year, she averaged 15.0 points and 9.2 rebounds and set a school record with a .574 field-goal percentage.

Joining her in the frontcourt are four other juniors who also made great strides as sophomores. Becky Richmond was the team's fourth-leading scorer, averaging 9.2 points, and second-leading rebounder, at 7.8 rebounds. Jill Friedman, who played in only four varsity games as a freshman, averaged 6.7 points and 5.0 rebounds and was second on the team with 17 blocked shots. Amber Nelson averaged 5.5 points and 5.3 boards, while Lindsay Tis contributed 3.0 points and 2.4 rebounds.

Senior co-captains Randi Baran and Meg Malatack lead the guards. Baran had a breakthrough season in 2001-02, earning All-CC honorable mention after averaging 7.4 points and 4.0 assists. Malatack showed a strong shooting touch, setting a school record with seven three-pointers in a game.

The Mules also welcome back junior Erin DeVaney, sidelined for most of last season with a knee injury, and sophomores Gwen Doyle and Aril Bryant, who played significant minutes as freshmen.

• Men’s Basketball: The 2002-03 season won’t be the first time the Muhlenberg men’s basketball program faces the challenge of replacing star players.

The Mules’ second all-time leading scorer graduated in 1994, and the team won its first Centennial Conference championship the next season. Since then, four other 1,000-point scorers finished their careers, and on all but one occasion Muhlenberg won at least 15 games the following season.

So even though the Mules lost a first-team All-American, as well as three other seniors, from last year’s team, a new set of stars is set to emerge as the team seeks its ninth CC East Division title in 10 years.

The team is both experienced and young, as three seniors who have been regulars throughout their careers will try to lead a talented group of sophomores.

Of the three senior captains, two had breakout seasons in 2001-02. Guard Toomey Anderson averaged a career-best 10.2 points and led the team with 36 three-pointers. He also was second on the Mules in assists (55) and third in blocked shots (19). Center Aaron Holden surpassed his previous career totals in scoring and rebounding, averaging 10.1 points and 5.9 rebounds. Both players have seen their numbers rise throughout their careers and will be expected to continue their improvement.

The third senior captain, Anthony Strachan, has been one of Muhlenberg’s steadiest and most reliable players for the last three seasons, with offensive and defensive contributions that go beyond the numbers. Strachan, a second-year captain who alternates between point guard and forward, averaged 6.6 points and 5.0 rebounds while leading the Mules with 65 assists in 2001-02.

Senior guard Raushan Person, who has seen occasional varsity playing time the last two years, could see a greater role this season. As for the sophomores, forward John Jemmott saw the most action as a freshman, playing in 23 games and averaging 4.4 points and 3.0 rebounds. Shooting guard Ryan Bonda also played key varsity minutes at times. The remaining second-year players – guards Donté Borden, Chase Licata and Dennis Severino and center Matt Effler – will look to translate their junior varsity success from 2001-02 onto the next level.

If that happens, it should translate into another successful season for Muhlenberg.

WRESTLERS HAVE HOME OPENER TOMORROW NIGHT

The Muhlenberg wrestling team jumps right into the fire of the 2002-03 Centennial Conference season, hosting three-time defending CC champion McDaniel in its first dual meet tomorrow night.

The Mules are coming off a season in which they tied the school record for wins (17, set the previous year), finished second at the CC championships and qualified four wrestlers for the NCAA Championships.

Three of those four NCAA qualifiers were seniors, however, so Muhlenberg has some holes to fill.

“We’ve got a new, strong group and we should compete for a top spot in the conference,” said senior Greg Jacobs. “We’re down a couple of guys right now because of injuries and McDaniel is going to be tough, but hopefully we can win like we did two years ago.”

Two years ago, the Mules knocked off McDaniel (then Western Maryland and ranked 22nd in Division III), 27-23, en route to their first 17-win season. The Green Terror enters tomorrow’s match ranked 25th and already has one CC win under its belt.

Nate Yeasted

Muhlenberg’s lone returning NCAA qualifier is senior 141-pounder Nate Yeasted (above), who entered the season with a record of 70-36. A two-time team captain, he went 31-9 last year to lead the team in wins.

Also returning at the lower weights are sophomores Brian Marcotulli (125) and Jeremy Hart (133), who placed fourth and third, respectively, at the 2002 CC Championships.

Senior co-captain Joe Salerno highlights the middle weights. He was 20-17 last winter, pushing his career record to 60-48, and finished third at 157 at the CC Championships.

The Mules’ top returnee at the upper weights is junior Josh Carter, who compiled a 19-6 record with eight pins while splitting time at heavyweight last season. He will compete for time with junior Brendan Barrett, who previously wrestled at 184. Barrett finished third at the King’s Monarch Invitational over the weekend.


Questions or comments? Send mail to falk@muhlenberg.edu
Last updated November 19, 2002