2016/17 Hamilton sports year in review

By Levi Lorenzo ’19

Tags sports

The 2016-17 year has been, and continues to be, an exciting year for Hamilton sports. Several teams jumped into the top tier of the NESCAC and competed for titles. Individuals posted stand-out, and even record-breaking, performances. Throughout the fall, winter and spring seasons, Hamilton sports has thoroughly entertained followers. 

In the fall, the men’s soccer team posted its best season since joining the NESCAC. Men’s soccer registered a 5-4-1 conference record, its highest single-season conference win total since joining the conference. The Continentals hosted their first-ever NESCAC quarterfinal as they earned the fourth seed, the best seed in program history. A thrilling overtime winner by Mike Lubelczyk ’17 lifted Hamilton over Connecticut College in the quarterfinals. Eli Morris ’18 scored another exciting overtime game-winner against #19 Middlebury to send Hamilton to the NESCAC finals and earn the team praise from rapper, and Class and Charter Day performer, Lupe Fiasco. Head Coach Perry Nizzi was selected NESCAC Coach of the Year, and Luke Eckels ’20 was honored as the NESCAC Rookie of the Year.

The field hockey team also posted an impressive season highlighted by victories over defending national champion, and then-#3, Middlebury, second-ranked Bowdoin and a NESCAC quarterfinal victory over Amherst in the first playoff game Hamilton field hockey has hosted since joining the NESCAC. Field Hockey peaked at #11 nationally and finished at #13 overall. Eva Rosencrans ’17 set the program record with 51 goals and landed, along with Julia Booth ’19, on the All-Region, along with All-NESCAC, first team. Michaela Giuttari ’20 won NESCAC Rookie of the Year and the conference awarded Coach Gillian McDonald Coach of the Year. 

Hamilton Football won three games for the first time since 2011. Among the victories was a thrilling 26-25 victory at home over Bowdoin where Kenny Gray ’20 scored with 33.6 seconds remaining and Robert Morris ’17 nailed two clutch fourth quarter field goals to give Hamilton its first win on the season. The women’s soccer team registered a clutch 1-0 victory over Colby in their final NESCAC game to clinch a playoff spot. Henry Whipple ’18 of men’s cross country qualified for nationals.

Hamilton hockey highlighted the winter season with both the men and women’s teams hosting NESCAC playoff games. The women, who were the third seed in the NESCAC, fell in double overtime in the first round of the playoffs to Bowdoin but, nonetheless, posted a successful season and rose into the top 10 of both polls. Katie Parkman ’17 was NESCAC Player of the Year and goaltender Sam Walther ’18 was also placed on the NESCAC first team and made the All-America Team. The men’s hockey team won the NESCAC regular season title to secure the first seed. The Continentals defeated Bowdoin in the quarterfinals at Sage Rink to advance the semifinals which would also be held at Hamilton. In the semifinals against Wesleyan, Hamilton fell behind 3-1 and again 4-3 but Nick Ursitti ’20 scored two goals in the final five minutes to send Hamilton to the finals in one of the most exciting games of the year. Men’s hockey lost in a hard-fought final to Trinity on a fluke goal in overtime but still earned a bid to the NCAA Championships for the first time ever. Hamilton upset Oswego State in the first round, but, ultimately, lost to #1 Norwich University, the eventual national champions, in the quarterfinal. Hamilton finished seventh in both final hockey polls and received several individual honors. Goaltender Evan Buitenhuis ’18 won both the NESCAC and Division III Player of the Year, Coach Rob Haberbusch won NESCAC Coach of the Year and Brandon Willett ’18 made All-NESCAC First Team and Jon Carkeek ’17 made the All-NESCAC Second Team. A young men’s basketball team showed promise, including a stretch of six straight wins, highlighted by a victory over then-#9 Wesleyan. While the Continentals lost in the first round of the NESCAC playoffs, Kena Gilmour ’20 received NESCAC Rookie of the Year and Pete Hoffman ’19 made the All-NESCAC second team. 

While the baseball team did not have the season they wanted, they posted exciting walk-off wins over Amherst at Williams on their new field, while Sophia Cerreta ’20 lofted a thrilling walk-off home run to earn a victory for the softball team over Middlebury. Both men and women’s rowing have been posting promising seasons. Joe Tigani ’18 leads the men’s golf team, with several individual titles. Cat Berry ’19 and Eli Saucier ’18 have broken several school records each on the track. The highlight of the spring season has been the women’s lacrosse team. After stumbling out to a 1-3 start, the women’s lacrosse team has won 11 of their past 12 games, including last weekend’s quarterfinal against Bowdoin. Hamilton’s 8-2 NESCAC record tied for the best in the conference and earned them the second seed in the the NESCAC playoffs. Hamilton, ranked eighth in the Division III Women’s Lacrosse Coaches Poll, and first in the NCAA New England Region rankings, plays Trinity on Saturday in the NESCAC semifinals with a chance to advance to the finals. Winning the NESCAC championship would secure the women a berth in the NCAA Tournament, but the women are in a strong position to receive a berth regardless and figure to receive numerous individual awards after the season.

Hamilton sports has had a successful 2016-17 school year in which several teams showed great improvement. Some teams performed well, and others, who may not have performed as well as expected, demonstrated great promise. 2016-17 was a good year to be a Hamilton sports fan, and 2017-18 figures to excite as well.

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