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Athlete of the week: Josh Powell ’18

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Swarthmore men’s tennis have had an excellent season this spring. The team won their first eight conference matches and currently sit at an 8-1 conference record and a 12-11 overall record. Key to the Garnet’s success has been Josh Powell ’18. The senior from Norwich, Conn., added to his career accomplishments by picking up Centennial Conference Player of the Week honors for the week of April 23 after going 4-0 in his matches during that week. The Garnet are currently ranked at 16th nationally as they enter the Centennial Conference tournament. They begin the tournament with a home match against Haverford on Saturday, May 5.

Jack Corkery: What is your major, and what led you to choose it?

Josh Powell: I am an engineering and computer science double major. I started taking engineering classes because I was interested in a technical major that puts a lot of focus on building tangible things. Later on, I took the introductory computer science classes and enjoyed them so continued taking them.

J.C.: How did you decide to attend Swarthmore?

J.P.: I was really interested in a liberal arts school where I could study engineering and play tennis. I also loved how close the tennis team was and the overall team dynamic.

J.C.: How did you begin playing tennis?

J.P.: My dad is a really big tennis fan and a former college player. We started playing tennis when I was very young.

J.C.: What was it like being named Centennial Conference Player of the Week?

JP: The team had two big wins that week against Mary Washington and Franklin and Marshall. I was happy to be a part of that and see the tennis team rise to no.16 in the national rankings as a result.

J.C.: How do you feel about the team’s chances in the Centennial Conference playoffs and the NCAA playoffs?

J.P.: The team is confident because we have had a strong season but we recognize that we will have to win two tough matches in the Centennial Conference playoffs. We are really just focused on the Conference playoffs this weekend right now and if we win, we will start thinking about the NCAA tournament.

J.C.: Do you have any post-graduation plans?

J.P.: I am planning on travelling after graduation and will start working at Uber ATG as a software engineer at the end of July.

J.C.: What is one thing that you would change about Swarthmore?

J.P.: I am lactose-intolerant, and I wish there was non-dairy ice cream in Sharples every night.

J.C.: What is your favorite Swarthmore tennis memory?

J.P.: My favorite memory was the tennis trip to Southern California this past spring break. We had some really good results. However, for me, the highlight was spending time with the team off court, from getting Korean BBQ to just relaxing after a match.

Athlete of the week: Lucy Decker ’21

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Lucy Decker ’21 has become a key contributor to the softball pitching staff in her first year at Swarthmore. The right-handed pitcher from Walnut Creek, Ca., has six wins on the year, a team high for the pitchers. Most notably, Decker threw a complete game shutout against Washington College this past week, leading the Garnet to a 2-0 win in the second half of the doubleheader. The Garnet concluded their season on Tuesday with losses against Haverford to miss out on the Centennial Conference playoffs, but finished with the highest number of wins in a season for the team since 2013.

Ping Promrat: What is your intended major? Why are you interested in it?

Lucy Decker: My intended major is Physics. This field contributes so much to our knowledge of the way the world works, and I find that the more that I learn the more questions that I have. That’s why I like physics so much; there is just so much to be discovered, which is really exciting.

PP: What got you into softball as a kid? How did you find out about Swarthmore in the recruiting process?

LD: I started playing softball as a natural next step after tee-ball when I was seven or eight. I played a lot of different sports as I was growing up, but softball was the one that I liked the most and the one that ultimately stuck for the long run. I’m from California, and I played on a travel-ball softball team through high school that was pretty intense with recruiting, and I had several teammates come play at elite liberal arts schools like Swarthmore. So I kind of got the idea of going to a school like Swat from them, and I followed their lead and eventually ended up here! The recruiting process was a little difficult, being from so far away, but after I came on my recruit visit, I knew that I wanted to come here.

PP: What’s been the hardest adjustment for you this year?

LD: I think that the hardest adjustment for me this year has been to learn to manage my time and my priorities. Especially in season, I don’t have a lot of free time, so it has been really important to figure out a way to get all of my work done as well and efficiently as possible while also finding time to enjoy myself. It has been a difficult balance to find, but with the year winding down, I think that I’ve figured out what works best for me.  

PP: Where is your favorite spot on campus and why?

LD: My favorite spot on campus is probably the Wharton Courtyard. We don’t get snow where I live in California, so I remember looking out of my window into the courtyard the first time that it snowed this year and being completely mesmerized. I think that it’s one of the most beautiful places on campus no matter the season, but especially in the winter.

PP: How did it feel to pitch a shutout? What goals do you have for the rest of the year individually and for the team?

LD: It was really exciting to pitch a shutout, especially against Washington College. It was a game that we really needed to win to keeps our hopes alive in making the Conference playoffs. I was really happy that I was able to give my team the best chance to win the game, which is all that you can hope for when you step into the circle. In terms of the rest of the season, we are looking to keep winning and make it to the Conference tournament. This has been a really pivotal season for us, and we hope that we can continue to build Swat softball into a winning program. I just hope to contribute as much as I can to help the team win.

Athlete of the week: Cam Marsh ’18

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The Swarthmore Garnet men’s lacrosse team have three games to go in their regular season, and they hope to make a playoff push. The Garnet are currently seventh in the Centennial Conference standings but are a strong finish away from moving up to fourth place. Key in this late-season push will be Cam Marsh 18. The attacker from Upper Arlington, Ohio, recently scored his hundredth career goal last Saturday against tenth-ranked Dickinson, becoming just the fifth Swarthmore men’s lacrosse player to join the 100 goals club. The Garnet return to action April 21 in an away matchup with McDaniel.

Jack Corkery: What is your major, and what made you choose it?

Cam Marsh: I am a computer science major and math minor. Math has always been my favorite subject in school, and I really enjoyed the first CS class I took in high school. Since they pair so well together, it was an easy decision for me.

JC: How does it feel to join the 100 goal club?

CM: Swarthmore has a historic lacrosse program with some great players, and to reach this milestone is pretty cool. I am really lucky to have played with a lot of great guys.

JC: What are your personal and team goals for the remainder of the season?

CM: As a team, our goal is to win the last three games of the regular season and make it as far as we can in the conference tournament. I hope that I can keep playing in a way that best helps the team and enjoy the rest of the season with my teammates.

JC: If you could change anything about Swat, what would it be?

CM: I wish time moved a little slower. It’s hard being a student-athlete and managing your time, and my four years feel like they have flown by. I have enjoyed my time at Swat so much that I wish I had more time to take it all in.

JC: Do you have any post-graduation plans?

CM: I am taking a software development job for a startup company after graduation. I don’t really have any long term plans though, I’m not thinking that far ahead.

Men’s and Women’s lacrosse fight to finish strong

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Spring is in the air (though the weather forecast might disagree), and that means it’s time for lacrosse here at Swarthmore.

The women’s lacrosse team has surged out to a 9-3 record behind a high-powered attack and stingy defense. It has been the junior class blazing the way for the Garnet this year. Tess Wild ’19 has scored 20 goals and 20 assists on the season, and broke the career century scoring mark during an 18-5 win over Widener in late March. Eliza Wainwright ’19 is the team leader in goals with 27, one year after a 51-goal campaign (60 points total), and is also over the 100 career points mark. Kathryn Restrepo ’19 has returned in fine form after spending a year abroad in Spain, which included a stint playing for the Spain Women’s National Lacrosse Team. She scored 60 goals during her first two years with the program and has chipped in 17 goals and 11 assists this year, leaving her just 3 points shy of 100.  

The Garnet have maintained a fairly democratic attack as no player has scored over 30 goals and 11 have scored at least 5 goals (with at least four games left to play). Last season, three players broke the 30-goal mark while only eight managed to score at least 5. Sophie Peipher ’20 and Bridget Silveira ’20 have been great beneficiaries of this expanded attack as Peipher has scored 15 times, after only 5 goals last year. She has especially picked up the pace of scoring in recent games, recording a hat trick against Bryn Mawr and Widener and a brace against Arcadia and Dickinson. Silveira has also seen her scoring blossom to 10 goals after last year’s five-goal campaign.

Some first-years have also had the chance to play important roles on the team. Midfielder Julia Ostrowski has tallied 5 goals and 5 assists, and has started all 11 games she’s played in. Mackenzie Frost has yet to start a game, but she has scored 15 goals, good for fourth on the team.

On defense, the seniors have helped to lead the way with Christina Labows ’18 and Emily Sokol ’18 providing a fearsome presence around the cage. Sophomores Sadie Camillierie ’20 and Sara Mongno ’20 have also figured prominently in the defense. Betsy Cohen has stood tall in net (in spite of her listed 5-foot-1 height) and sits third in the conference in goals against average. All of this has come together to lead the Garnet to their 9-3 record.

However, the Garnet still are on the outside looking in for the Centennial Conference playoff picture, as they currently sit one game back from Haverford and Dickinson for the fourth or fifth seed. All three of their defeats have come at the hands of Centennial Conference opponents, include top-10 ranked Franklin and Marshall and Gettysburg, the No. 1 team in the nation at the time, leaving them at 2-3 in the conference. However, should they maintain their electric attack and defensive prowess, they will surely compete for their first playoff berth since 2012. The home stretch begins Wednesday night at Muhlenberg College.

Men’s lacrosse has had a somewhat more disappointing season so far. One year after their second consecutive Centennial Conference playoff appearance, they have an overall winning record of 6-5, but a conference record of only 1-4, admittedly playing in one of the toughest conferences in the country. They have already played and lost to no.11 Franklin and Marshall, no.6 Gettysburg, and no.10 Dickinson, all in conference play. Perhaps their most shocking game was against Muhlenberg, where they lost 10-9 after falling behind 5-0 in the first quarter, providing Muhlenberg its first conference win since 2014 and snapping a 28-game conference losing streak.

One of the biggest potential holes for the Garnet coming into the season was replacing graduated faceoff man Stephen Ducey. Ducey maintained a .569 faceoff percentage through his four years at Swarthmore, including a monster .644 percentage performance during his senior season. So far, Ryan “Rhino” Izquierdo ’21 has done well to fill his shoes, winning 58 percent of his faceoffs through 11 games played.

Izquierdo said, “It’s been a really exciting freshman year. It’s been somewhat stressful trying to continue where he left off, but I think I’ve been doing a good job and giving all I’ve got out on the field.”

The Garnet have really lacked a dominating attackman this season, a role that Cam Marsh ’18 filled last year in scoring 36 goals and 24 assists. This year, he has been quieter, preferring to open opportunities for his teammates as he has tallied only 13 goals but 20 assists. Austin Chang ’20 has tried to fill that role, already nearly matching his 25-goal output from last season with 23 so far, but does not provide the same volume of assists that Marsh did. Jake Ross ’20 has chipped in 17 goals and 6 assists, while Zander Levitz ’20 rounds out the list of players scoring in double figures, as Levitz has netted 11 while assisting on an additional 9.

Mason Evarts ’21 has been a standout first-year with 6 goals and 6 assists in 11 games, while Andrew Estella ’21 leads all long-poles with 3 goals scored, including a ferocious shot during the Garnet’s loss to Dickinson this past Friday.

Although the Garnet have been mathematically eliminated from the playoffs, they still have an exciting home game remaining against arch-rival Haverford on April 28.

 

Athlete of the week: Daniel Altieri ’19

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Daniel Altieri ’19 has started the 2018 spring golf season off hot, winning a share of the Centennial Conference’s golfer of the week accolade for his strong performance at the Hershey Cup this past week. Altieri, a junior golfer from Skillman, N.J., finished tied for third place, shooting a 74 overall, and leading the team to a fifth-place finish out of 15 teams. Although the tournament was cut short due to the snow, the signs of life in the team were promising. Altieri and the Garnet are back in action on April 14 at the Rosemont Invitational.

Ping Promrat: What is your major, and what made you decide to choose it?

Daniel Altieri: I am an economics and environmental studies double major. I am really interested in learning about the intersections between societal development and environmental conservation, and how to tackle the perceived notion that economic progress and sustainability are mutually exclusive. The classes that I have taken in both departments have been fun, but the classes in environmental studies have been especially enjoyable. The professors are awesome.

PP: What got you into golf as a kid? How did you find out about Swarthmore in the recruiting process?

DA: I first started playing golf with my dad when I was pretty young. He started playing when he got out of college, so I learned from him. I also played basketball and ran cross country in high school, but I knew I wanted to play golf in college. My older brother played golf at Franklin and Marshall, so I learned about Swarthmore through his recruiting process and the tournaments he played against them. I talked with Coach Heller often, and after visiting the school my senior year of high school, I knew I wanted to come here.

PP: What were some of the highlights of the team’s spring break trip to Florida?

DA: The spring break trip is always one of the best times of the year. This year in Florida it was really fun just to spend time with the team, whether it was practicing during the day or hanging out at night. I would say going to the World Golf Hall of Fame was a highlight, getting to see the history and memorabilia from the greatest players and moments was really cool.

PP: What are the greatest challenges in being a student athlete?

DA: I think the greatest challenge is the same challenge that many students at Swat face, and that’s managing time. During our fall and spring seasons, we travel on the weekends, staying in hotels and coming back to campus late at night, and with practice during the week, it really makes you focus on schoolwork during your downtime. My time here at Swat has really helped me become more efficient at balancing multiple commitments.

PP: Talk a little bit about the tournament last weekend. How did it feel to be named Centennial Conference golfer of the week?

DA: The tournament at Hershey was a good sign for our team. Even though it was cut short to just one day, the way the guys and I played was really solid, beating four of the top 50 teams in the country. I really worked on my game over the winter, so having a good showing was a confidence boost. Being named golfer of the week is always a great thing; the other teams in the conference are strong so being able to stack up with them shows our work is paying off.

PP: If you could change one thing about Swarthmore, what would it be and why?

DA: I would probably want to upgrade some of the old facilities around campus. From the fieldhouse and tennis courts to rooms in dorms and, of course, Sharples, I think the overall student experience would be more positive if the infrastructure were up to date. It is good to know that there are long-term plans in place to work on this issue, so hopefully later class years will get to see the progress.

PP: If you could travel to one place in the world, where would it be and why?

DA: Either Normandy, France, or Istanbul, Turkey. Both those places were the settings for some of the biggest events in human history, so being able to put myself in those environments would be special. I actually have never been to California, so maybe I should try to check that out first. San Francisco would definitely be the first stop!

Swarthmore men’s golf travels to (not so) sunny Florida

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When someone brings up “spring break trip to Florida,” beaches, parties, and sunny weather tend to come to mind. Well, over spring break this year, the men’s golf team did exactly that, a spring break trip to Florida, but without the beaches, parties, and even, at times, without the sun.

Departing on Sunday, March 11, the Swarthmore golf team and their two coaches flew to 59-degree Jacksonville, and then drove an hour south to the World Golf Village (WGV), a golf resort in St. Johns County, Florida. Created by the PGA Tour in 1998, the WGV boasts the World Golf Hall of Fame, along with two 18-hole championship courses: the Slammer & Squire and the King & Bear.

The Slammer & Squire was built as a collaborative effort between Sam Snead and Gene Sarazen. The two former PGA Tour stars shared a desire to build a course that rewards good shots while preserving the area’s natural beauty.

The King & Bear, on the other hand, is the only course in the world that has been co-designed by golf legends Arnold Palmer and Jack Nicklaus. It offers a mixture of two different design styles. In Florida Golf Magazine, Palmer expressed his opinion of the course.

“The holes at The King & The Bear have a variety and blend of Jack’s and my ideas that resulted in an example of golf course architecture that may not be attempted again.”

The front nine sports an open, undulating layout that honors the heritage and history of St. Augustine. The back nine is more “traditional Florida,” with 200-year-old oaks and numerous water bodies in play.

In the six days that the men’s golf team was at the WGV, they played six rounds of 18 holes, alternating between both of these courses. The trip was aimed at having the team play a lot of golf before the season picks up in the spring.

The weather in the Northeast hasn’t been so favorable, and as a result, several golf courses in the area have delayed their opening dates. Traveling to Florida was a great way to get in rounds of golf in order to prepare the team for the abrupt season start shortly after spring break.

Besides just improving their games, the trip to Florida also provided a fantastic bonding experience for the entire team. Spring break was the first time that the new first-years on the team got a chance to meet Vamsi Damerla ’19, a captain who was abroad during the first semester.

Vice-captain Daniel Altieri ’19 expressed his opinion on the trip.

“Spring break is a great time for the whole team to spend quality time together. Between practicing during the day and hanging out at night, it was great for all of us to have this trip, especially since the intense nature of the spring season doesn’t allow for much downtime.”

Vice-captain Nick DiMaio ’19 also shared a similar attitude.

“When we were off the course, we had a great time watching March Madness together. As an upperclassman, it was great to get to know the young players a little better and build team chemistry.”

Towards the end of the trip, the team bonded at TopGolf, a golf range with a sports-bar vibe, which included food, drinks, and TV. It gives people the opportunity to have casual competitions, as several large, user-friendly target areas out on the range are able to register the microchipped balls hit by players.

On Friday, the team played a final round at the Slammer & Squire and headed back to the Jacksonville airport to fly back to Swarthmore. The trip to Florida was successful in improving the players’ games, bringing the team together, and preparing them for the upcoming season.

The first tournament of the spring will be held this weekend. Half of the team will travel to Hershey, Pa., to compete in the Hershey Cup, while the other half will be heading to Williamstown, N.J., to play at Arcadia Invitational.

The team seem to be in great shape for these tournaments and those to follow. Altieri gave his thoughts on the 2018 season.

“I believe that this team is something special. Last year, coming in second in the conference tournament showed us that we can compete with the other guys out there. Our solid play in the fall makes me excited for how we can play this spring, and come the end of April, the rest of the conference will see what we can do.”

DiMaio highlighted the talent he sees in the Juniors and first-years on the team.

“We are expecting big things for this season. With a solid core of junior players and the addition of some key freshmen, we have our eyes set on making NCAAs this year.”

All in all, the men’s golf team is optimistic for the coming season. Fresh off of six rounds of golf in Florida, the team feel prepared to bring out their best and bring the conference championship to Swarthmore.

Athlete of the week: Tess Wild ’19

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Swarthmore women’s lacrosse has been off to a hot start this season. The team’s record currently stands at 4-0 as their season’s pace kicks up, with conference play beginning next week. Tess Wild ʼ19 has been key to the Garnet’s success so far. The junior from Warminster, Pa. leads the team in both goals and assists, with nine apiece. Her five-goal performance against Lebanon Valley College on March 10 secured her Centennial Conference Offensive Player of the Week honors. Wild and the Garnet resume action Thursday with a home game against Arcadia.

Jack Corkery: What is your major, and how did you choose to pursue it?

Tess Wild: I am a psychology and economics double major. I was drawn to the social sciences because I’ve always been interested in people, and chose these two disciplines in particular because I’ve found they give me the tools to critically think about myself and my behavior, which I find useful.

JC: What made you decide to attend Swarthmore?

TW: I decided to attend Swarthmore because I believed it would challenge me in and out of the classroom, and give me the space/capability to engage with difficult ideas outside of my comfort zone. I also wanted the chance to contribute to such a great lacrosse program, and having grown up in the Philly suburbs, liked the idea of staying local.

JC: How does it feel to be named Centennial Conference Offensive Player of the Week?

TW: It’s nice to be recognized for hard work, but I have my teammates to thank for making me look good. Lacrosse is a team sport, and no one player can make offense happen on their own.

JC: How was the team’s spring break trip?

TW: It was definitely nice to escape the cold, if only for a week. Spring break is also always a good chance for us to get to know one another.

JC: Do you have any goals for the upcoming season, either as a team or an individual?

TW: As a team we are focused on consistently playing to our potential, and are working to learn and improve from each game. On the personal level, I want to end the season feeling satisfied I have done all I can to contribute to the team’s success.

Garnet fall to Hopkins in the conference final

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This past weekend saw the Garnet take to the Tarble Pavilion court for likely the last time this season as they played host to the Centennial Conference Championship tournament. They ultimately fell in a bitterly contested final at the hands of Johns Hopkins.

Action began on Friday evening as Johns Hopkins played Franklin and Marshall in the first of the semifinals, with Hopkins pulling out a tough 50-49 win over the Diplomats, the second one possession loss in a week for the Diplomats at the Tarble Pavilion. Swarthmore had beaten them 58-56 earlier in the week to secure the hosting rights for the Centennial Conference Tournament.

The second game of the night saw Swarthmore taking on the Ursinus College Bears, who had beaten Dickinson in the tournament play-in game earlier in the week. The drama in that game began even before the opening tip, as Zac O’Dell ’20 broke the rim with a thunderous two-handed slam during warm-ups. Thankfully, there were spare parts on hand and the rim was fixed in short order.

The Garnet surrendered the first basket of the game but never looked back after that, eventually breaking the game open in the latter part of the second half to secure a 68-49 win over the Bears. At some points the game turned into the Cam Wiley show as the junior guard showed off the speed and aggression that led to him being named an All-American and Centennial Conference MVP last season. Wiley scored 23 on 10-17 shooting, and he was able to effortlessly drive to the rim all night, in addition to showing off an indefensible floater. His performance put him just 32 points of crossing the 1,000-point threshold; impressive given how he had only played in 14 games off the bench as a freshman. He also grabbed six rebounds and dished out three assists in an impressive all-around performance. Chants of “MVP” rang out through a packed student section on every touch by Wiley.

Swarthmore’s trio of big men also performed admirably in the game, helping to hold Ursinus to only a 29.8 field goal percentage, and out-rebounding the Bears 44 to 32. Nate Shafer ’20 was in double figures for both points and rebounds as he recorded his fifth double-double of the season. O’Dell also added 11 points while Robbie Walsh ’18 chipped in with nine points and seven boards.

The one troubling statistic from the game was the Garnet’s cold shooting from the charity stripe, as they only converted eight of their 19 free throw attempts. This was a sign of things to come in the Conference Championship game against Johns Hopkins.

The Garnet faced off against the Blue Jays of Hopkins on Saturday night, looking to bring a second straight Centennial Conference Men’s Basketball Championship trophy to Tarble Pavilion, and likely secure the hosting rights to the first weekend of the NCAA tournament. Swarthmore had previously beaten Johns Hopkins at Tarble Pavilion during the regular season, but lost a double overtime heartbreaker in Baltimore only a few weeks prior to this game.

The game was a closely fought defensive battle throughout as both teams played deep into the shot clock. Near the end of the first half, it looked like the Garnet were beginning to break things open as they went on a 7-2 run to enter the half up nine in front of a boisterous home crowd of over 1,000 people. However, it was Hopkins that came out of the locker room firing. During one four-minute run early in the second, the Garnet were held without a field goal while the Blue Jays went on a 9-0 run, giving them their first lead of the game up 41-39. The teams traded baskets back and forth until Hopkins found themselves up by six with only three minutes left to play. The Garnet managed to claw back into it as a Shafer block and Wiley drive in transition cut the deficit to two with just over a minute to play.

The Garnet at that point were forced to start intentionally fouling and eventually sent Michael Gardner to the line, where he converted both shots of a one-on-one to push the lead to four. Wiley once again quickly drove to the basket and converted the lay-up, and the Garnet were again forced to foul on the inbounds, sending Gardner back to the line, where he once again hit both of his shots, and sent the lead back to four points. Wiley was fouled on his next drive, and managed to convert a pair of clutch free throws to once again cut the lead to two points. But again, it was Gardner to be fouled on the inbounds, and Gardner again to drive the dagger into the Garnet’s heart with his third straight converted one-and-one to put the Blue Jays up four with only eight seconds left. Wiley once again flew down the court and released an NBA-range three, only to see it fall just wide. Zack Yonda ’18 managed to grab the rebound, but couldn’t convert the shot from close range, and the Blue Jays managed to grab the loose ball to kill the clock, securing for themselves Centennial Conference’s automatic bid to the NCAA tournament. Gardner was named MVP of the tournament, likely helped by his clutch free throw shooting to help secure Hopkins the win. It was also the first win at Tarble Pavilion as a coach for Blue Jays head coach and Garnet basketball alum Josh Loeffler ’03.

Cam Wiley was once again impressive, scoring 20 points and showing his ability to score at will when it was needed. But it was the cold free throw shooting in part that doomed the Garnet, as they only connected on seven of their 13 attempts.

However, the Garnet still qualified for the NCAA tournament on the strength of their 22-5 record, and they will travel up I-95 on Friday to Wesleyan University to face off against New England College in the first round.

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