Royal Review: February 13-19

The University inducted the Wall of Fame Class of 2016 during a ceremony in the Long Center on Saturday. The inductees are, seated from left, Phil Johnson '78, Kelly Herlihy '06, Marta (DeLong) Cookson '05, and Erin (Michalisin) Beirne '03. Standing are athletics director Dave Martin and Rev. Kevin P. Quinn, president of the University.
The University inducted the Wall of Fame Class of 2016 during a ceremony in the Long Center on Saturday. The inductees are, seated from left, Phil Johnson '78, Kelly Herlihy '06, Marta (DeLong) Cookson '05, and Erin (Michalisin) Beirne '03. Standing are athletics director Dave Martin and Rev. Kevin P. Quinn, president of the University.

Wall of Fame Class of 2016

The University of Scranton inducted the Wall of Fame Class of 2016 in a ceremony on Saturday, Feb. 18, between games of a basketball doubleheader in the Long Center.

The Class of 2016 includes Erin (Beirne) Michalisin '03 of women's tennis, Marta (DeLong) Cookson '05 of women's volleyball, Kelly Herlihy '06 of women's lacrosse, and Phil Johnson '78 of men's basketball.

For more information on the Wall of Fame Class of 2016, click here.

Men's Swimming & Diving

For the first time since 2012, The University of Scranton men's swimming & diving team finished second at the Landmark Conference Championships, as the Royals recorded 584.5 total points on the weekend at the Germantown Swimming Center to finish runners-up to Catholic.

On the weekend, Scranton was led by freshman diver Michael Diana (Somerset, N.J./Immaculata-Somerville), who swept the diving events on the weekend, taking the three-meter dive (369.65 points) and the one-meter dive (389.05). For his efforts, Diana was named the Diver of the Meet for the Landmark Championships on the men's side.

Scranton had a successful night on Saturday, as Diana and two other swimmers captured events. Sophomore Alexander Rigione (Fairfield, Conn./Saint Joseph) was victorious in the 200-freestyle with a time of 1:44.82, while junior Patrick Blaser (Doylestown, Pa./Central Bucks West) won the 100-breaststroke in 58.46. Blaser also was second in the 200-breaststroke in 1:59.68.

The finish in the Landmark Championships also capped off a successful first season for head coach Mark Yonkovich, who coached the Royals to four dual meet victories during the regular season, as well.

Women's Swimming & Diving

For the fifth time in program history, and first since 2014, The University of Scranton women's swimming & diving team finished second at the Landmark Conference Championships, which were held all weekend at the Germantown Swimming Center in Boyds, Md.

Junior Raquel Wasserman (Pound Ridge, N.Y./The Fox Lane) had a big weekend, capturing both the 100 freestyle (52.95) and the 50 freestyle (24.40). Wasserman also swam the anchor and fastest leg on two victorious relay teams – the 200-freestyle relay (1:38.15) and 400-freestyle relay (3:34.74). The time set by the 400 freestyle relay team not only smashed a program record in the event, but was also a new Landmark Conference championship meet record, as well.

Elsewhere, sophomore Claire Mason (Livingston, N.J./Mt. St. Dominic Academy) was the other individual winner on the weekend for Scranton, taking the 400 IM in a time of 4:45.14. Fellow sophomore Emma Ilseman (Naperville, Ill./Naperville Central) also broke the school record in the 200 freestyle with a time of 1:56.87, finishing fourth overall in that event.

The finish in the Landmark Championships also capped off a successful first season for head coach Mark Yonkovich, who led the Royals to an 8-2 dual meet record throughout the regular season.

Men's Basketball (19-6, 11-3 Landmark)

The University of Scranton men's basketball team finished the regular season with a pair of victories in the Long Center, securing the top seed in this week's Landmark Conference playoffs in the process.

The Royals began the week by defeating 15th-ranked Susquehanna, 75-66, on Wednesday, Feb. 15, in the Long Center for their second victory over the nationally ranked River Hawks this season. Senior center John Vitkus (Mahopac, N.Y./Mahopac) finished with 24 points and 10 rebounds to lead the way. Before the game, he was presented with the John "Les" Dickman Award as the team's most valuable player this season.

Junior guard Ethan Danzig (Clarks Green, Pa./Abington Heights) added 12 points and fellow junior guard Chris McCullough (Harborfields, N.Y./Greenlawn) had 11 in the victory.

On Saturday, Feb. 18, the Royals secured the top seed in the playoffs with an 85-70 win over Goucher in the Long Center. Danzig had 24 points in eight 3-pointers and added nine rebounds, three assists and two steals. Vitkus had another double-double, his 11th of the season, by finishing with 21 points and 11 rebounds, and junior forward Drew Schankweiler (Mechanicsburg, Pa./Mechanicsburg) had 10 points.

Prior to tip-off on Saturday, the University honored Vitkus and fellow senior P.J. Kelly (Blue Bell, Pa./St. Joseph's Prep) as part of Senior Day.

The Royals will open the Landmark Conference playoffs when they host fourth-seeded Catholic in a semifinal on Wednesday, Feb. 22, at 7:30 p.m. in the Long Center.

Women's Basketball (22-3, 11-3 Landmark)

The University of Scranton women's basketball team – ranked 21st in the D3hoops.com Top 25 and 17th in the WBCA Coaches' Top 25 – extended its winning streak to five games last week, defeating Susquehanna on the road on Wednesday (70-60), and Goucher (82-52) in the regular season finale in the Long Center on Saturday to lock up the second seed in the upcoming Landmark Conference playoffs.

On Wednesday at Susquehanna, Scranton was led yet again by senior forward Alexix Roman (Hawley, Pa./Wallenpaupack), who finished with a game-high 25 points on 11-for-14 shooting from the floor. Fellow senior forward Sarah Payonk (Schwenksville, Pa./Spring-Ford) had 12 points (on 6-of-8 shooting) while dishing out eight assists and pulling down six rebounds. In the final two minutes of the ballgame, Payonk and Roman scored the final 10 points, as well.

It was Senior Day for Roman, Payonk and Denise Rizzo (Paramus, N.J./Holy Angels) on Saturday against Goucher, and the trio came up big in Scranton's dominating 30-point victory.

Overall, it was an historic day for Payonk, who recorded the fourth triple-double of her career in the dominating victory, finishing with 12 points, 16 rebounds and 10 assists. With her 16-rebound afternoon, Payonk shattered the all-time total rebound record in program history, and enters the final games of her career with 1,043 total rebounds.

Meanwhile, Roman led all scorers yet again, finishing with 23 points on 9-of-11 shooting from the floor. Roman has now scored at least 20 points in four the last six games, and has hit the mark 10 times throughout the season. She has also scored in double-figures in seven straight games and in double figures on 22 of 25 games on the year.

Rizzo rounded out the top performers on the day with nine points, while recording four steals and pulling down four rebounds.

Prior to tip-off on Saturday, Payonk and Roman were honored with the Dr. Harold Davis Award, which is presented annually to the team's senior most valuable player.

The Lady Royals will open the Landmark Conference playoffs at home on Wednesday evening against third-seeded Moravian. Tip-off in the Long Center is set for 5:30 p.m.

This Week in University of Scranton Athletics

Wednesday, Feb. 22
Women's basketball – vs. Moravian, Landmark Conference semifinal (5:30 p.m.)
Men's basketball – vs. Catholic, Landmark Conference semifinal (7:30 p.m.)

Saturday, Feb. 25
Women's basketball – Landmark Conference championship (TBA)
Men's basketball – Landmark Conference championship (TBA)
Wrestling – NCAA East Regionals, at York College, York, Pa. (11 a.m.)
Men's lacrosse – vs. Muhlenberg (12 p.m.)
Baseball – vs. Albright, at Diamond Nation, Flemington, N.J. (DH, 12 p.m.)
Women's lacrosse – vs. Shenandoah (3 p.m.) 

Sunday, Feb. 26
Wrestling – NCAA East Regionals, at York College, York, Pa. (10 a.m.)
Baseball – vs. Widener, at University of Delaware (1 p.m.)

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