By Sheldon Gomes
Assistant Sports Editor
Welcome to the Equinox’s roundup and recap of all sporting events that took place during the spring semester.
The FDU Women set a standard of grit and determination to return to a winning culture with two seasons under coach Angelika Szumilo. This third season served to build on the standard with star Madison Stanley, who averaged 12.4 points and 6.8 rebounds leading the team to a 15-3 conference record, the most Northeast Conference wins in FDU history. The team would also rack up their fair share of accolades, bringing home the first NEC regular season title since 1993, an NEC Coach of the Year award for Coach Szumilo, an NEC Player of the Year award for Stanley, and three All-NEC honors claimed by Stanley, Chloe Wilson and Aniya Bell. If the Knights proved anything this season, it is that they are a force to be reckoned with.
For FDU Men’s Basketball, there were low expectations of success at the start of the 2021-2022 season after the squad lost notable names like Elijah Williams and Jahlil Jenkins to the transfer portal. The Knights would decline to be aggressive in the transfer portal market, opting to work with the promising young talent on the roster. FDU finished 4-22 and suffered a heartbreaking 67-66. loss to Central Connecticut State in the first round of the NEC Tournment. However there were bright spots to build off, including their televised end of the season victory over one of the best teams in the NEC, the Wagner Seahawks, as well as the play of their young stars including John Square Jr. and NEC Rookie of the Year Anquan Hill. The Knights will now look to start fresh under coach Greg Herenda and make improvements for the next season of play.
Although they were unable to achieve success in NEC postseason play, the Knights finished with a 71-37 overall record and 12-9 conference record. They also become just the ninth team in FDU program history, and the first since 2012, to advance to the Final Four in the NCAA postseason. The Knights pushed Vanderbilt to its limits in the Final Four matchup. They were tied at 957 in the 10th frame before ultimately falling in the modified Baker tiebreaker, 107-87.
FDU Baseball has surprised the NEC this year as one of the top teams in the conference. They hold a 12-9 record as of press time on May 11 and have already surpassed their eight-win total from last season. The 12 wins are also the most since 2016.
Knights Softball enjoyed the best regular-season conference win total in over a decade. At 14-10, as of press time on May 11, they were third in the NEC. They began the NEC tournament at St. Francis University in Pennsylvania looking to add post-season success to one of the best regular-seasons in the team’s history.
Men’s Tennis kept the winning culture alive this year as they secured their 14th NEC championship in the program’s history. The first half of the season did not look promising as the squad got off to a rough 4-11 start, but things quickly turned around as they went on a three-game-win-streak to close out the regular season, and powered through the competition in the postseason on their way to the NEC title. This season marked back-to-back championships for Men’s Tennis and the fourth in the last decade. They also made the first round of the NCAA Tournament, but lost to Virginia for a second-straight year.
FDU Women’s Tennis saw some success as well this season, advancing all the way to the NEC championship game but coming up just short in the final round against the Bryant Bulldogs. The NEC championship game appearance was the team’s sixth in the last decade. Freshman Namie Isago also showed some great flashes in both the regular and postseason, giving the Knights plenty to look forward to next season and in the years to follow.
Men’s Golf had an up and down 2021-22 season. Although they started off placing top three in their first two invitationals, they struggled to place top five in regular-season events for the remainder of the season. They would wrap up their season with a fourth-place finish in the NEC Championship. A highlight from the year was the play of Freshman Leon Heitz who was named a Team Knight by the squad, and who will certainly be a talent that they will develop.
The Knights had a solid year as they were able to stay competitive in most of the events they played. They finished first place in the Lehigh Invitational and also finished second out of eight teams competing in the NEC Championship Tournament Final. Junior Victoria Schroedl was a key player and took home the individual title in the NEC Championship. Schroedl, the team MVP will certainly be looking forward to next season, and hopefully bringing home another individual title and perhaps a team title along with it.
The Knights ended their inaugural season with a 7-16 record. Freshman outside hitter Jack Lydon led in total kills with 247 and total service aces with 23. The Knights will try to build off the foundation that they have set. FDU announces that they would be joining 23 other NCCA Division 1 institutions competing in men’s volleyball. With the addition, FDU increased its program sport total to 20. The Knights became just fourth NEC team to join the men’s volleyball lineup along with St. Francis Brooklyn, Sacred Heart and Saint Francis (Pa.).
Men’s and Women’s Track and Field
The men placed second in both the NEC Indoor Championships and the Metropolitan Championships for the year. The women finished first in the indoor championships. Shantelle Riley and Chloe Lucas were named Team MVP and Team Knight. On the men’s side, Salif Mane was honored as a recipient of the Walter Marusyn Male Athlete of the Year Award.
While the Knights had solid individual performances spread throughout the year they were unable to achieve much team success with their only winning performance coming in the FDU invitational.
Spring 2022 sports round up.
Art By Kayoneil Wilson