Purple Eagles look to dominate
An overtime loss and a 2-2 tie greeted the Purple Eagles, who got back to work on Sept. 1 at Duquesne. Senior net-minder John Fiutowski turned away 10-of-11 shots in the match, nearly tying his career-high game-total of 11.
Senior Stephen Kauble, who red-shirted in 2008, notched his first tally of the season against La Salle, Sophomore Carl Haworth, who was second on the team in scoring last season (9 goals + 13 assists) and grabbed the 2008 MAAC Rookie of the Year award, potted the other goal in the Purple Eagles' tie.
Key losses - 2008 scoring leader Matthew Durand and forward Eric Brodfuehrer were lost to graduation, leaving Haworth and junior Levi Tesch to run the offense. This is Fiutowski's last season, expect him to dominate in net.
Following a successful 12-6-1 (5-4-0 MAAC) 2008 campaign, the women's soccer team began this season with a 2-1 victory over Colgate. The offensive game belonged to the newcomers, seeing freshman Michaela DiFazio and Jamie Raepple each netting goals, the first of their collegiate careers.
Raepple, a scoring phenom from the local Grand Island soccer program, scored the lone goal in Niagara's match, a 2-1 loss to Robert Morris, and tallied two more scores in the Purple Eagles' 3-1 rout of Cornell, Chiara Greco tallied NU's third goal in the match.
Key losses - 2008 scoring leader Stephanie Gartley (12 goals+ 5 assists) was lost to graduation, but the club is doing fine in her absence, partly due to the acquisition of Raepple and the excellent play of net-minder Ashleigh Bowers.
Niagara, which has begun the season with a 5-2 record, has nearly as many wins already as it did in all of 2008. The Purple Eagles went 6-24 last season, and that fact may have stuck with the squad as they begin 2009 with three straight victories; the wins were all the more convincing because the club didn't lose a single set.
Powerhouse Syracuse and UNC-Wilmington proved to be the team's toughest opponents thus far, but the losses could have easily favored NU, Niagara went on to defeat UNC the following day.
Hannah Hedrick, Michelle James and Shannon Ryan have emerged as top players on the squad, which is no surprise to loyal NU volleyball fans, as the trio were top performers on the team last season.
The Little Three Tournament at Moonbrook Country Club (Jamestown, NY) was the kickoff for the 2009 fall season for Niagara. Junior Kelly Robinson, who shot a 77, finished in the Top 10, while the club finished third in the tournament. St. Bonaventure placed first with 301, while Canisius took second with 302 and Niagara took third with 328.
Key losses - 2008 team leader Chris Singleton won't be returning for the 2009 season.
The Purple Eagles open the season at Auburn on November 13. The home-opener is on Nov. 17 against Drexel - Gallagher Center, time TBA.
Season begins Nov. 13 vs. Buffalo - Gallagher Center, 7 p.m.
The Purple Eagles open the season Oct. 3 against York - Dwyer Arena, 1 p.m.
Season begins Oct. 2 at St. Cloud State (Minn.) - home-opener is Oct. 9 against RPI - Dwyer Arena, 2 p.m..
*Records as of 9/8
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