While students at Sacred Heart University (SHU) headed home in December for the month-long winter break, student-athletes from 13 of Sacred Heart’s athletic programs stayed in Fairfield to represent the Pioneers competitively.
After beginning the season 3-7, going into the holiday season the men’s basketball team was able to pick up three conference wins over the break. Their leading scorer has been junior Tyler Thomas with 18 points per game, while the Pioneer’s lead passer has been senior Aaron Clarke with 2.9 assists per game and 61 total in the season.
“Since classes ended in December, I feel like we have had our ups and downs, ” said Clarke. “I feel like our goal was to grow as a team and we did that in many ways.”
Currently tied for third place in the Northeast Conference (NEC), the women’s basketball team sits at 4-4. Junior Sonia Smith has led in both scoring and passing for the Pioneers as she is also top five in the NEC for both categories.
On the mat, senior Nick Palumbo from men’s wrestling won all five matches he competed in this season, including wins by decisions against junior Trevor Tarsi from Harvard University on Jan. 15 and sophomore Nick Delp from Bucknell University on Jan. 22.
The women’s wrestling had unfortunate luck in January as their duals against Delaware Valley University (DVU) and New Jersey City University (NJCU) were postponed, and their dual against East Stroudsburg was canceled.
Both women’s and men’s ice hockey sit at fourth in their respective conferences at the midway point of the season. For the men’s team, senior Ryan Steele and junior Braeden Tuck have led in scoring with eight goals apiece, while senior Anna Klein leads the women’s team with 12 goals.
So far men’s and women’s fencing have one win apiece in 2022 with just two meets left in the season, including a match at Wellesley College on Feb. 5 and at Columbia University on Feb. 16. Senior Sophie Witek is fresh off a winning effort in the saber against University of Pennsylvania (UPenn) on Jan. 22.
“Since this is my first year as captain, I have put a big emphasis on team bonding and support,” said Witek.
The men’s and women’s track and field team was off to the races as they competed in the Yale Season Opener, the West Point Open, the Lehigh Angry Birds Challenge, and the New York City Gotham Cup.
Women’s bowling is neck and neck with Mount St. Mary’s (MSM) for first place in the NEC at 6-1. It was a quiet January as the team did not hold a match until Jan. 21-23 at the Northeast Classic. The Pioneers placed 12th out of 18 teams.
The Sacred Heart women’s swimming and diving program also fell victim to cancellations due to Covid issues as their meets against Monmouth University and Merrimack College were not able to be held. However, junior Casey Barrett and senior Nicole Tingley took individual wins in the 100-yard backstroke and the 200-yard butterfly in the team’s loss to Central Connecticut State University (CCSU).
Ife Loverton put together nine kills and six blocks in the men’s volleyball season home opener victory against Daemen College on Jan. 22. Their next match was also at home at the Pitt Center on Jan. 28, as sophomore Patrick Mucherino rallied the Pioneers to a win over Lasell University with 17 kills.
Sacred Heart Athletics and the Northeast Conference website contributed to this article.