It’s a new season for Fordham Athletics and the Rams have returned from summer break refreshed and ready to go. Here is a short outlook for each of the fall sports.
There’s a new head coach and a new enthusiasm at Rose Hill for the Fordham University football program in 2006. After leading Central Connecticut State to the Northeast Conference championship in each of the past two years, first-year Fordham head coach Tom Masella is hoping to bring the Rams back into contention for the Patriot League title in 2006.
With the graduation of eleven starters from last year, Masella has his work cut out for him as he looks to fill the holes. But the good news for the new mentor is that three All-Patriot League selections return for the Rams in running back James Prydatko, linebacker Marcus Taylor, and placekicker Micah Clukey, the 2006 Patriot League Preseason Special Teams Player of the Year.
Prydatko and Taylor, who were Second Team All-Patriot League selections last year, are returning fifth-year seniors who will bring experience to the squad along with Jay Edwards, who led the league in sacks last year.
With most of the starters returning from 2005, things are looking up for the Fordham men’s soccer squad and head coach Jim McElderry.
Leading the returning players is junior goalkeeper Justin Burse, who was named to the 2005 New York All-Region Second Team as well as being an Honorable Mention All-Atlantic 10 pick. He started 15 games for the Rams in his sophomore campaign, registering a 7-5-3 record with a 0.77 GAA. He recorded 55 saves and compiled a .821 save percentage, while notching seven shutouts on the year. The seven shutouts were the third most in a single season for a Fordham keeper and ranked Burse second in the Atlantic 10 for most shutouts.
Also back for the Rams are sophomores Grant Kerr and John Pardini, who were both named to the Atlantic 10 All-Rookie Team.
The Fordham women’s soccer squad enters the 2006 season looking for its fourth straight winning season after going 9-8-1 in 2005.
Head coach Ness Selmani returns a talented group of upperclassmen, led by senior Haley Lentsch who was named Honorable Mention All-Atlantic 10 last fall along with sophomore Katie Sanchez, who was selected to the Atlantic 10 All-Rookie Team in 2005. Lentsch led the Rams with nine goals and four assists for 22 points this season. Her nine goals tied for fourth in the conference, while her 22 points tied for fifth in the Atlantic 10 this season.
Sanchez finished the regular season with six goals and four assists for 16 points. She ranked second on the Rams in scoring and finished tied for third in scoring among Atlantic 10 freshmen.
Head volleyball coach Peter Volkert has high hopes that this will be the year the Rams advance to the Atlantic 10 tournament. Leading the spikers is senior Marija Markovic, who was selected to the Atlantic 10 Volleyball All-Conference First Team last year, while seniors Jamee Stimson and Kealia Ieremia, who were named Honorable Mention All-Conference last year, also return.
Markovic put together one of the best statistical seasons in Fordham Volleyball history, leading the team in hitting percentage (.345), kills (411), kills per game (3.45), service aces (53), service aces per game (0.45), total blocks (172), and blocks per game (1.45). She also became the first Ram to record over 400 kills and 150 total blocks in the same season.
Stimson, a 2004 Atlantic 10 All-Conference selection, also had a career-year in 2005, notching career-highs with 354 kills, a .267 hitting percentage, 44 service aces, and 82 total blocks, as did Ieremia, who set the Fordham single-season mark for assists per game at 11.39, ranking sixth in the Atlantic 10, while her total of 1,230 assists was second on the single-season list.
The Fordham cross country programs are in solid shape for head coachTom Dewey with the return of juniorMatthew Flynn to the men’s team and the return of sophomoreJacqueline Prevete to the women’s squad.
Last year, Flynn made the Atlantic 10 All-Conference team by placing tenth overall in a time of 25:08.6, becoming Fordham’s first Cross Country All-Conference selection since joining the Atlantic 10 in 1995, while Prevete just finished outside the top 15, taking 16th in 18:46.0.
Head coach Bill Harris has helped the Fordham water polo team make great strides since taking over the program in 2004 and he hopes to keep the young Rams headed in the right direction in 2006.
Leading the Rams will be junior Paul Shrewsbury who was named Second Team All-Conference by The Collegiate Water Polo Association for the Northern Division in 2005. He was the first Fordham Water Polo player to receive postseason honors since the early 1990’s.
Shrewsbury tied for the team lead in scoring with sophomore Todd Conway last season with 32 goals, helping Fordham to a 9-13 record, the best for the team in recent memory.
Come on out and support the Rams in 2006-07. Updated schedules can be found on the
athletic web site at www.fordhamsports.com
– Joe DiBari