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2012 Empire 8 Tournament Page

Utica, NY (10/16/2012) – The Utica College volleyball team is set to host its “Dig Pink” campaign throughout the Empire 8 Crossover Tournament at the Harold T. Clark Athletic Center gymnasium on Saturday and Sunday.  The Pioneers have teamed up with the Empire 8 and the Utica College chapter of the Student Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC) to help spread awareness and raise funds to support the fight against breast cancer.

“This is shaping up to be our biggest ‘Dig Pink’ effort yet,” said Utica Head Coach Nicole Higgins.  “We’re excited to have all of the visiting teams and the Empire 8 on board and it all goes to a great cause.  The Side-Out Foundation is an inspiring organization and this is also a great team building experience for our student-athletes.”

The Pioneers will wear pink uniforms for all three of their contests, the coaches will dawn pink ribbons and fans are also encouraged to wear pink in support of breast cancer awareness.  The Clark Athletic Center will be decked out with pink balloons, pink streamers, pink game programs and pink signage listing breast cancer awareness facts.  Even the lines on the two-court, tournament style, set up will be pink.

SAAC will sell remembrance balloons, baked goods, 50/50 tickets, and several basket raffles will take place, with all proceeds being donated to the Side-out Foundation.  The basket raffles will range from a Halloween themed basket, Movie Night, Bath & Body, Gluten Free, Utica’s #1 Fan, and each visiting team was asked to bring a basket to donate as well.

The Hampton Inn & Suites in New Hartford is providing a popcorn machine and refreshments, and it was also generous enough to donate a free weekend stay which will be raffled off as well.

“This has really become a community event and I was thrilled to see that so many different organizations were willing to help,” said Higgins. “It should be a great weekend of volleyball.”
Last season the Pioneers rallied from a 2-1 deficit on ‘Dig Pink’ night to defeat Morrisville, 3-2.  At the end of last year’s event, Utica was able to donate nearly $1,000 to the Side-Out Foundation.

The Side-Out Foundation was created in 2004 to unite volleyball players and coaches in promoting breast cancer awareness. The organization allows teams to get involved and provides educational materials on how to promote breast cancer awareness. The Side-Out Foundation hopes to eventually raise $2,500,000 and it has currently collected over $350,000 towards its cause. To donate fans can go online to Utica’s Dig Pink Homepage.

The Pioneers are currently 6-18 overall and they are coming off a 1-3 weekend at the Hartwick Invitational.  Utica is led by sophomores Madison Bayer and Cassandra Manzer.  Bayer has a team-high 147 kills and 16 service aces, while Manzer has 145 kills and 130 digs.

For more information about the Pioneers’ Dig Pink event, fans can contact Head Coach Nicole Higgins at nahiggin@utica.edu or by phone at 315-223-2540.









Box Score

Utica, NY (10/10/12)- The Utica College field hockey team continued its non-conference dominance as it downed nationally-ranked No. 11 Skidmore College, 2-1, Wednesday.  Sophomore Louise Steele-Norton scored both goals, while freshman Kells Casey made a season-high 16 saves for the Pioneers.

The game featured two of the top six scorers nationally in Steele-Norton and Skidmore’s Kelly Blackhurst.  Blackhurst entered the game ranked fourth nationally in points per game (4.17) and fifth in goals per game (1.58), while Steele-Norton was sixth in the country averaging 1.55 goals per game.  Each player scored her team’s goals this afternoon.

After a scoreless first half, Steele-Norton broke the deadlock just under a minute into the second frame as she ran down the left side.  Just before the goal line, she cut towards the middle and tried to center a pass to classmate Hannah Mackey.  The pass was deflected before it got to Mackey and ended up in the back of the net for her team-leading 18th tally of the season.

Skidmore battled back however, as less than six minutes later Blackhurst was awarded a penalty stroke.  Blackhurst fired two shots on the Utica goal, Casey was able to make the first save and got help from defender Amanda Vitro who came up with a big defensive save, however Blackhurst was granted the penalty.  She showed no nerves as she stepped to the line and put a ball in the left side of the goal to even the score.

Steele Norton again gave Utica the lead in the 57th minute off an assist from classmate Alaina Stojkovski.  Stojkovski ran to the 25-yard line before playing a ball into the arc to Steele-Norton.  As Skidmore goalie Haley McDougall came out to challenge, Steele-Norton slid the ball through her legs from ten yards out.

Despite sustained Thoroughbred pressure for the rest of the game, Utica was able to hang on for the win.

Steele-Norton’s 19th tally surpassed Katie Kutas ’08 and Danielle Fiore ’04 for first on the College’s all-time single-season goal scoring list.  She also moved into third place on the single-season point scoring list, just two points behind Kutas and three behind Fiore.

Utica goalkeeper Kells Casey had 16 saves, including a number from close range in her third win of the season.  McDougall had five saves in the loss.  Skidmore falls to 9-4 on the season, while the Pioneers improve to 8-4.

Utica returns to action Saturday as it hosts St. John Fisher College for an Empire 8 match up as part of the College’s homecoming festivities.  Game time is scheduled for 11 a.m.









Box Score

Utica, NY (10/9/2012) – The Utica College men’s soccer team jumped out to a 2-0 lead early in the second half and despite a late goal by visiting Wells College, the Pioneers were able to come away with a 2-1 victory over the Express in non-conference action on the turf at Charles A. Gaetano Stadium Tuesday night.

 Junior forward Kevin McAllisterregistered his team-best eighth goal of the season, while sophomore Shane Ruffing added his first of the year, to help the Pioneers (5-7-1) snap a seven game winless streak.  UC also improved its record to 4-1-1 on its home turf this year.

The Express (7-5) registered a late goal in the 85th minute via a break away from Alejandro Vargas, but it proved to be too late, as the Pioneers secured possession in the final four minutes and earned the one goal victory.

Senior captain DJ Ilebani registered an assist on the Pioneers first goal of the contest with ten seconds left in the first half, while junior Jonathan Peterson added an assist on UC’s final goal early in the 55th minute.

The Pioneers outshot the visitors 29-3 and handled the majority of possession throughout the contest.

UC goalie Anthony Caruso registered two saves in his third shutout of the season.  Wells goalie C.J. Bayly stopped 11 shots in net for the Express.

The Pioneers, who are in the midst of a four game home stand, return to the turf on Saturday when they host Ithaca College in an Empire 8 Conference match up at 7 p.m.  The contest is a part of the College’s homecoming festivities.









Utica, NY (10/3/2012) – Sophomore stand-out Louise Steele-Norton, who entered the week ranked tenth in the nation in goals per game, caged three more goals to help the Utica College field hockey team earn its second consecutive win Wednesday night, 6-2, over visiting RPI.  The Pioneers (7-3, 1-2 Empire 8) netted five unanswered goals in the final 52 minutes of the contest to earn the convincing four goal victory over the Engineers (5-4, 1-1 Liberty League).

Louise Steele-Norton

Steele-Norton entered the week ranked 10th nationally in goals per game

Steele-Norton’s three goal performance led the way as she has 16 on the year, while classmate Hannah Mackey chipped in with one goal and two assists. Freshman Olivia Plaisted added her first collegiate assist on Steele-Norton’s first goal of the afternoon, while Angela Charles and Alaina Stojkovski also added late goals.

It was a back and forth battle over the course of the first 23 minutes of play, with each team netting two goals, before the Pioneers exploded for four second half tallies to run away with the contest.

Liana Viaggio opened the contest with her fifth goal of the year to give the visitors a 1-0 advantage in the 11th minute, but the Pioneers responded quickly (under two minutes later) to knot the score at 1-1, 13 minutes into the contest.  UC’s first goal was scored by Mackey, her eighth of the season.

RPI’s Kierstan Ryan scored her first of the year, off of her own rebound, to give the Engineers a 2-1 lead in the 19th minute – but the Pioneers had the answer again – as Steele-Norton scored her first of three in the 23rd minute.

Steele-Norton went on to score three in a row, in a span of 27:08, to seal the non-conference victory for Utica.  Stojkovski and Charles each caged an insurance goal, just one minute a part, in the second half.

UC freshman tender Kells Casey stopped six shots in her second straight win.

The Pioneers return to the field on Saturday when they travel to defending Empire 8 Conference champion Washington & Jefferson.  The pivotal E8 contest is set to begin at 12 p.m. RPI remains on the road on Saturday when it heads to Liberty League foe Union for an 11 a.m. match.









Utica, NY (10/2/12)- The Utica College men’s soccer team snapped its five-game losing streak, Tuesday as it tied non-conference opponent, Clarkson University, 0-0.

Junior Jeffrey Cupka, sophomore Shane Ruffing, and freshman Kyle Cupka led the way for the Pioneers with two shots on goal apiece, while junior goal keeper, Anthony Caruso made six saves in 110 minutes of work.

Utica’s best scoring opportunity came in the first overtime period as junior Kevin McAllister headed a ball that just caught the crossbar and rolled over the top of the net.

Despite exchanging chances, neither team could find the back of the net as the game ended in a stalemate.
Utica returns to action Saturday as it travels to Hoboken, NJ to take on Empire 8 Opponent, Stevens Institute of Technology.  Game time is scheduled for 4 p.m.









Utica, NY (9/26/12)- The Utica College defensive unit allowed just one goal for the eighth time in nine games, but it was not enough, as the Elmira College women’s soccer team topped the host Pioneers’ 1-0 in an Empire 8 Conference match up on the wet turf at Charles A. Gaetano Stadium Wednesday night.

Elmira’s Janine Swanson netted the game-winner for the visitors in the 65th minute to lift the Soaring Eagles to a 3-5-1 overall record, including a 2-1 ledger in conference player.

Utica (6-3, 0-2 Empire 8) received 11 saves from junior goalie Caitlyn Smith, but Elmira outshot the home team 21-10, to earn the key conference victory.

Swanson’s second half game-winner was a rocket from 18 yards out into the top right corner of the goal past the out stretched hands of Smith. The goal came after an incredible defensive save on the goal line by UC’s Emily Brien.  EC also earned a 7-2 advantage in corner kick opportunities.

Senior stand out Samantha Spohler led the Pioneers’ offensive unit with six shots.

The Pioneers return to the pitch on the road Saturday when they travel to Houghton College to take on the Highlanders for the first time in program history.  The contest is scheduled to begin at 2 p.m.









Utica, NY (9/25/12)- The Utica College women’s soccer team looks to bounce back, Wednesday as it hosts Elmira College for an Empire 8 Conference match up.  Kick off is scheduled for 7 p.m.

Last Time Out: The Pioneers are coming off a heartbreaking 1-0, double-overtime loss to Alfred on Saturday… Caitlyn Smith had six saves, while Sarah Southwell,Samantha Spohler, and Courtney Wheeler each had two shots on goal for UC.

Follow the Pioneers all Year Long: Don’t forget to like the Pioneers on Facebook and follow UC on Twitter all season long …  You can catch every home contest on the turf streaming live on Empire8.tv and you can also view live stats at www.ucpioneers.com.

Where We Sit: Utica is currently 6-2 overall and 0-1 in the Empire 8… There are seven conference and two non-conference games left… The Pioneers have averaged 1.88 goals per game, while allowing just one goal per game.

Spohler’s a Winner: Senior Samantha Spohler leads the team and is tied for second in the conference with six goals… All six of her scores have been game-winners… She is also second in the E8 with 38 shots.

Sharing the Wealth: Nine different Pioneers have scored at least one goal on the season… Junior Sarah Southwell is second on the team with eight points (two goals, four assists)…  Samantha Matthews, Alexandria Newton, Krystine Alvear, Marissa Hotaling, Jaime Hillman, Quinn Freeman-Roche, and Kati Stolz have also scored for the Pioneers, while Deanna Didio has tallied one assist.

Smith Shutting the Door: Junior Caitlyn Smith has been rock solid in net for the Pioneers… The Waterville, NY native ranks among the top three in the conference in save percentage (.875), saves (56), and goals against average (.97)… She also has four shutouts on the year.

Scouting Elmira: The Soaring Eagles are 2-5-1 overall and 1-1 in the E8… They are coming off a 3-1 loss to RPI on Sunday… Elmira has scored eight goals on the season… Junior Emily Karpinski leads the team with three goals and one assist.

Against EC: Elmira holds a 6-4 advantage over UC in heads up play… The last time the Pioneers defeated EC was 2009, when Utica captured a 3-2 victory at home.

Looking Ahead: Following this, the Pioneers travel to Houghton to take on new Empire 8 member, Houghton Highlanders… Game time is scheduled for 2 p.m. on Saturday.








Rochester, NY (9/22/12) – The Utica College field hockey team snapped a two game slide on Saturday as it topped Nazareth College 4-2 in a key Empire 8 Conference road contest. 

Marissa Davendonis netted the eventual game-winner for the Pioneers

The Pioneers turned up the heat in the second half, outscoring the Golden Flyers 3-1 in the final 35 minutes, to improve their record to 5-2 overall and 1-1 in the E8.

The contest marked the first road game of the year for the Pioneers, who seem to have the Golden Flyers’ (1-6, 0-4 Empire 8) number after defeating them in five consecutive meetings dating back to 2007.

After playing to a 1-1 tie after 35 minutes in the first half, the Pioneers were able to pick it up in the second half to seal the victory.

Sophomore Louise Steele-Norton caged her conference-best ninth goal of the year in the first half, while classmate Hannah Mackey started the second half scoring with her seventh tally of the year.

Sophomore Alaina Stojovksi recorded two assists setting up both Steele-Norton and Mackey on their scores.

Within 20 seconds of Mackey’s goal the Golden Flyers knotted the score at 2-2 after Tessa Knapped tallied her first goal of the season.

In the 43rd minute sophomore Marissa Davendonis scored the eventual game-winner, her first of the year, to put the Pioneers on top 3-2.

Freshman Colleen Dowling added an insurance goal in the 55th minute for the Pioneers to seal the victory.

Nazareth has now lost six consecutive contests.

The Pioneers return home on Wednesday, Sept.26 at 4 p.m. when they take on the Soaring Eagles of Elmira College at Charles A. Gaetano Stadium.









Utica, NY (Sept. 19, 2012) – The Utica College defensive unit registered its fourth shutout of the season, as the Pioneers improved to 6-1 overall, after a 1-0 victory over visiting D’Youville College Wednesday night on the turf at Charles A. Gaetano Stadium.  Junior goalie Caitlyn Smith stopped eight shots while the Pioneers defensive unit comprised of Taylor GiglioDeanna DidioEmily LefebvreEmily BrienQuinn Freeman-RocheMaddison Melley and Jaime Hillman played excellent all afternoon.

The Pioneers lone goal of the evening came in the 34th minute when Samantha Spohler drilled home her team-best sixth goal of the year into the top left corner of the goal, with her left foot from 17 yards out, to put the Pioneers on top 1-0.  Junior forward Sarah Southwell delivered the helper on the eventual game-winner.

The Spartans outshot Utica 9-7 in the second half but the UC defense stood strong in the victory.

Christina Ventresca made seven saves in net for the visiting Spartans (4-2). Utica outshot D’Youville 15-14 on the evening and the Spartans took a 5-3 advantage in corner kick opportunities (four in the second half).

The Pioneers return to the pitch on Saturday when they open up Empire 8 Conference play against Alfred University at 7 p.m.  The contest will be a part of the program’s effort to “Kick Cancer”.  T-shirts will be sold throughout the men’s and women’s contests and all proceeds from the event will benefit cancer awareness.









Box Score 

Utica 7, Hamilton 0 – Field Hockey Final

Utica, NY (Sept. 12, 2012) – The Utica College field hockey team came out firing and never looked back as it downed cross-town rival Hamilton College 7-0 in non-conference play on the turf at Charles A. Gaetano Stadium Wednesday night.  The Pioneers remained unbeaten as they moved their record to 4-0 this season and they also snapped a three game losing streak against the Continentals that dated back to 2008.  The Pioneers have now won two consecutive games by a seven goal margin.

The Pioneers will use their much needed momentum, headed into arguably the biggest game of the season, as

Ally Sanders

Junior Ally Sanders netted a goal for the Pioneers

they open up Empire 8 Conference play against visiting Stevens Institute of Technology (2-3) on Saturday at 1 p.m. UC has won two straight against Stevens, but the Pioneers are 2-3 all-time against the Ducks dating back to 2007.

Sophomore Hannah Mackey netted two goals and assisted on three others, while classmate Louise Steele-Norton found the back of the cage three times.  Mackey, the reigning Empire 8 Rookie of the Year, leads the team with 16 points on six goals and four assists, while Steele-Norton now has five goals.

Sophomore goalie Olivia Cunningham needed just one save to earn her second shutout of the season.  ClassmateAlaina Stojkovski chipped in with one goal and two assists, while defender Angela Charles tipped home her first goal of the year off a penalty corner.  Junior Ally Sanders also added a tally of her own early in the contest.

The Pioneers, who outshot the visitors by a convincing margin of 27-1, earned a 3-0 lead at the half and poured in four more goals in the final 35 minutes to seal the victory.

Hamilton, who was coming off a tight 3-2 loss to nationally-ranked No. 15 Trinity, moved its record to 0-2 on the young season.

Follow the Pioneers all year long: Don’t forget to Like the Pioneers on Facebook and follow UC on Twitter all season long.  You can catch every home contest on the turf streaming live on Empire8.tv and you can also view live stats right here at www.ucpioneers.com.










Box Score

Cazenovia 3, Utica 2 (OT) – Final

Cazenovia, NY (Sept. 5, 2012) – The Utica College men’s soccer team jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the first 50 minutes of play but host Cazenovia charged back with three unanswered goals to top the Pioneers 3-2 in overtime on Wednesday night.  Cazenovia’s Kyle Severance netted an unassisted goal just 2:13 into the extra time to help lift the Wildcats to their first win of the season and their first win over the Pioneers in program-history.

UC (2-1) dropped its first contest of the season and they will look to rebound on Saturday when they host Medgar Evers on day one of the Utica College Men’s Soccer Tournament at Charles A. Gaetano Stadium.  The contest is scheduled to begin at 2 p.m. and those who cannot make it out to the game can follow all of the action live online through live video at www.empire8.tv or live stats right here at www.ucpioneers.com.

The Pioneers opened up play with an unassisted goal from Jonathan Peterson in the sixth minute to put the visitors on top 1-0 early.  Peterson is tied with Alex Sheridan and Kevin McAllister for the team lead with seven points this season.

UC pushed its lead to 2-0 when Sheridan scored early in the second half off an assist from McAllister.  That’s when the Wildcats (1-2) decided to turn it up a notch.  Ryan Hanahan netted the home team’s first goal of the game in the 55th minute off an assist from Gregorie Ducasse.

It appeared that the Pioneers might be able to come out with a win until Caz’s Cory Leggiero netted the equalizer with 3:13 left in regulation.

Severance’s overtime goal just 2:13 into the stanza sealed the Wildcats first-ever win over Utica.  Cazenovia lost to Union 3-1 in their season-opener and nearly edged RPI, but fell 2-1 in overtime, to the Engineers over the weekend.

The Pioneers outshot the home team 12-8 on the day and they also earned a 4-2 advantage in corner kick opportunities.  Junior goalie Anthony Caruso, the conference’s reigning goalie of the week, stopped two shots in his first loss of the season.  Caz’s Rile Battaglini stopped six shots in his first win of the year.










Box Score
Utica 1, Old Westbury 0 – Final

Oneonta, NY – Senior forward Samantha Spohler scored her second goal in as many days to help lift the Utica College women’s soccer team to a 1-0 victory over Old Westbury in the Pioneers final game at the Erinn K. Brozman Tournament hosted by Hartwick College on Sunday.

Samantha Spohler

The Pioneers improved to 2-0 for the first time since 2006 when they finished the year with a 12-6 overall record and advanced to the ECAC Championships.  UC returns to the pitch on Wednesday night when it travels to SUNYIT to take on the Wildcats at 7 p.m.

Samantha Matthews registered the assist on Spohler’s game-winner, while junior goalie Caitlyn Smith recorded three saves in her second consecutive shutout. Smith now has two shut outs in her first two starts as a Pioneer.  Matthews currently ranks second on the team with three points on one goal and one assist through two games.

UC out shot Old Westbury 15-7 on the afternoon and the Pioneers earned a 7-1 advantage on corner kick chances.  Spohler totaled a team-high four shots on goal, while Sarah Southwell added two shots on goal.

Follow the Pioneers all year long: Don’t forget to Like the Pioneers on Facebook and follow UC on Twitter all season long.  You can catch every home contest on the turf streaming live on Empire8.tv and you can also view live stats right here at www.ucpioneers.com.









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