Royal Review: February 26-March 5

Bridgette Mann saved the day for the Lady Royals on Friday night, hitting a game-winning 3-pointer in the first round of the NCAA Tournament.
Bridgette Mann saved the day for the Lady Royals on Friday night, hitting a game-winning 3-pointer in the first round of the NCAA Tournament.

Women's Basketball (26-3)

The University of Scranton women's basketball team is headed back to the Sweet 16 of the NCAA Division III Tournament, as the Lady Royals knocked off both University of New England (49-48) and SUNY-Poly (76-65) in the first and second rounds inside the John Long Center over the weekend.

For much of the first-round game on Friday night against University of New England, it appeared the Lady Royals could be sent out of the NCAA Tournament early, as the visiting Nor'easters held a lead for more than 39 minutes in the contest.

But, on the final possession of the game for Scranton, sophomore guard Bridgette Mann (Canadensis, Pa./Wallenpaupack) made her first 3-point shot of the night (in 11 attempts), giving Scranton not only its first lead of the entire game, but the thrilling one-point victory that was also the 1,000th victory in program history.

Senior forward Alexix Roman (Hawley, Pa./Wallenpaupack) led the Lady Royals in the scoring department, finishing with a double-double of 14 points and 11 rebounds. Mann finished with 12 points, while senior Sarah Payonk (Schwenksville, Pa./Spring-Ford) grabbed a game-high 14 rebounds in the victory.

On Saturday against SUNY Poly, it was the complete opposite for Scranton, as the Lady Royals held a lead for the majority of the contest, then pulled away late in the fourth quarter to notch an 11-point win and send the program back to the Sweet 16 for the third time in four seasons.

In the win, four players scored in double figures, paced by Mann's 19-point evening, as the sophomore knocked down a pair of critical shots down the stretch. She also dished out a game-high seven assists.

Payonk posted a double-double with 14 points and 11 rebounds, while Roman finished with 13 points and nine rebounds. Senior Denise Rizzo (Paramus, N.J./Holy Angels) had 11 points off the bench, leading a bench unit that outscored SUNY Poly's reserves, 24-8.

The University of Scranton women's basketball team now sets its sights on a third-round match-up with Tufts, which will be played on the campus of Washington University in St. Louis, Mo. on Friday at 6:30 p.m. EST. The game will be a rematch of last season's Elite Eight contest in Scranton, in which Tufts was victorious, 57-48.

Men's Basketball (22-7)

The University of Scranton men's basketball team reached the second round of the NCAA Division III Tournament over the weekend, the third time in the past six years the Royals have advanced past the first round.

The Royals reached the second round with a thrilling 82-77 overtime victory over Oswego State in a first-round matchup on Friday, March 3, at Williams College in Williamstown, Mass. Scranton trailed by 18 points early in the second half, but mounted a methodical comeback that eventually led to overtime, where the Royals took control en route to the memorable win.

Senior center John Vitkus (Mahopac, N.Y./Mahopac) finished with 26 points and seven rebounds despite playing the final seven minutes of regulation and all of overtime with four fouls. Junior guard Ethan Danzig (Clarks Green, Pa./Abington Heights) had 18 points and a career-high 13 rebounds for his first career double-double. Junior forward Drew Schankweiler (Mechanicsburg, Pa./Mechanicsburg) finished with 14 points and six rebounds, and junior guard Chris McCullough (Harborfields, N.Y./Greenlawn) added 12 points.

A night later, the Royals couldn't slow the host Williams College in an 80-53 loss in a second-round game. Vitkus finished with a team-high 15 points and Danzig had 14, including four 3-pointers. He finished the season with 81 made 3-pointers, which sets a new single-season school record.

The 22 wins this season mark the 24th time in program history the Royals have won 20 or more games. It's the third time in the past four seasons, the fifth in the past seven, and the ninth in head coach Carl Danzig's 16 seasons at the helm.

Baseball (3-3)

The University of Scranton baseball team went 1-2 over the weekend at the Charm City Classic at Stevenson University in Owings Mills, Md.

The Royals opened the event with a 9-5 victory over fourth-ranked Keystone on Saturday, March 3. Scranton scored eight times in the third inning and then rode a strong combined pitching performance from senior Sean McNamara (Scarsdale, N.Y./Fordham Prep) and freshman Kyle Bravin (Washington Township, N.J./Westwood). McNamara worked the first six innings for his second win of the season, and Bravin tossed the final three, allowing just an unearned run, for his first career save.

Junior infielder Justin Howell (Millington, N.J./Watchung Hills) went 3-for-3 with a walk, a run scored and an RBI. Senior outfielder Anthony Simone (Wayne, N.J./Wayne Valley Senior) had two hits, a run and an RBI, and junior outfielder Tommy Trotter (Cranford, N.J./Cranford) singled, doubled, scored a run and drove one in.

On Sunday, March 4, the Royals dropped a pair of games – 9-8 to Stevenson and 6-4 to Frostburg State. Against Stevenson, junior catcher Kevin Nolan (Ossining, N.Y./Fordham Prep) finished the game with two hits, three RBIs and a stolen base, senior designated hitter Sean Haveron (Old Tappan, N.J./Northern Valley Regional) singled, doubled and scored a run, and junior shortstop Brad Schneider (Ambler, Pa./La Salle College H.S.) singled, doubled, stole a base and scored twice.

In the loss to Frostburg State, freshman designated hitter Kevin Haag (Ossining, N.Y./Ossining/Bridgton Academy), singled, doubled and scored twice, and Simone had a solo home run.

Scranton will be back in action when the Royals travel to Fort Myers, Fla. for spring break. They will play eight games in five days, beginning with a single game against Lakeland on Saturday, March 11, at 3 p.m.

Men's Lacrosse (1-2)

The men's lacrosse team dropped a pair of games against nationally ranked opponents last week – 15-9 to #18 Cortland State and 14-3 to #2 Rochester Institute of Technology.

Against Cortland State on Wednesday, March 1, the Royals rallied to forge a 5-5 tie at halftime, but the Red Dragons used a 6-0 third period to take control. Scranton received two goals and three assists from junior attackman Matt Carfaro (Long Valley, N.J./West Morris), and two goals and an assist from junior midfielder Conor Carey (Long Beach, N.Y./Chaminade) and two goals from freshman attackman Connor Kirkwood (Millburn, N.J./St. Peter's Prep).

In the game on Sunday, March 5, against RIT, the Tigers raced out to a 7-1 lead at halftime and never looked back. The Royals received two goals from Kirkwood and a goal from Carfaro. Freshman defender Alex Dadourian (Summit, N.J./Summit) added his first career assist.

The men's lacrosse team will be back in action on Wednesday, March 8, when the Royals host King's at 5 p.m. at Fitzpatrick Field.

Women's Lacrosse (3-0)

The University of Scranton women's lacrosse team remained unbeaten on the young season this week, as the Royals knocked off Misericordia (12-4) on Thursday and Lebanon Valley (17-5) on Sunday.

Against Misericordia, senior Meghan Kerr (Warwick, N.Y./John S. Burke Catholic) and sophomore Katie Rogers (Huntington, N.Y./St. Anthony's) each recorded hat tricks, as Scranton opened an insurmountable 8-1 lead at halftime and never looked back in eight-goal victory.

Also in the win, juniors Kailyn Angelo (West Chester, Pa./Villa Maria Academy) and Dana Siepietowski (Boyertown, Pa./Boyertown Area) had two goals apiece, while freshman Erin Putnam (Doylestown, Pa./Central Bucks South) was victorious in her first career start in goal, making eight saves.

On Sunday against Lebanon Valley, Scranton put away the Dutchmen in the first half, scoring nine straight goals to end the period to take an insurmountable 11-2 lead at halftime.

In the win, Kerr scored six goals – four in the first half – while sophomore Kaitlyn Murphy (Somers, N.Y./North Salem) scored four goals, three of which came in a row to end the scoring barrage in the first period.

The University of Scranton women's lacrosse team returns to action on Saturday, traveling to Farmingdale State for their first road game of the season. Things get underway at 1 p.m.

This Week in University of Scranton Athletics

Wednesday, March 8
Men's lacrosse – vs. King's (5 p.m.)

Saturday, March 11
Softball – vs. Concordia, at Clermont, Fla. (9 a.m.)
Softball – vs. Oneonta State, at Clermont, Fla. (11 a.m.)
Men's lacrosse – at SUNY Geneseo (1 p.m.)
Women's lacrosse – at Farmingdale State (1 p.m.)
Men's tennis – vs. Wisc.-La Crosse, at Orlando, Fla. (1 p.m.)
Baseball – vs. Lakeland, at Fort Myers, Fla. (3 p.m.)

Sunday, March 12
Women's tennis – vs. Wisc.-La Crosse, at Orlando, Fla (8 a.m.)
Softball – vs. Rutgers-Newark, at Clermont, Fla. (10:30 a.m.)
Baseball – vs. Gallaudet, at Fort Myers, Fla. (12 p.m.)
Baseball – vs. North Park, at Fort Myers, Fla. (3 p.m.)
Men's tennis – vs. Hobart, at Orlando, Fla. (3 p.m.)
Softball – vs. Oswego State, at Clermont, Fla. (3:30 p.m.) 

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