A Page -- Oct 15, 2010

Brent Figueira motto: I'll drive 100 

miles to coach a hockey team

University of Toledo hockey program heads 

upward under Euclid native, Bay resident

Oct. 15, 2010

By Norm Weber

Student/Athlete-Cleveland Editor


TOLEDO – Hockey is the type of sport in that once someone gets hooked into it, one would “walk a mile” to get to a game and get that “ice fix.”

Others would drive thousands of miles within a week to stay close to the game. Such is the case for Brent Figueira, who is the head coach of the University of Toledo’s men’s ice hockey team.

Here is a glimpse of Figueira’s map: he lives in Bay Village, is a full-time police detective in Euclid and coaches the team over 100 miles away from both places in the Glass Capital. On top of that, the Rockets travel around the Midwest in a new league they are in this year, The Tri-State Collegiate Hockey League.

As he did last year when he took over, Figueira has the Rockets winning, posting a 5-3 record in their first six games.

The Rockets have also been invited to a few showcase tournaments and sport quite a few players who played their youth and high school hockey in the Cleveland area.

They are also getting fan and community sport. Remember, Toledo is a hockey town. Up until the mid-1990s or so, high school hockey in Ohio was predominantly centered in two pockets – Cleveland and Toledo. Also, Toledo is only a few miles from Michigan, which ranks about third or fourth in the nation among those known as “hockey states” (i.e. Minnesota, Massachusetts).

The city has also had a slew of minor league teams, including one, the GoalDiggers, whose star was Mike “Ritz” Eruzione, the leader of the 1980 “Miracle” US Olympic Hockey team and came out of the same Boston College program that produced Walsh Jesuit coach Billy Switaj.

Mike Eruzione had Toledo hockey ties

After playing high school hockey at Euclid High from 1974-78, Figueira began coaching youth hockey in Euclid as he was developing his law enforcement career to pay the bills. Among his player was current Euclid High coach Tony Verch. Figueira was one of those rare East Siders who eventually became a West Sider and his three sons played for Terry Chadwick at Bay High as well as juniors hockey.

After serving as the Avon Lake High coach for two seasons, Figueira moved on to college hockey. With the Shoremen, Figueira took the hockey “addiction” to the highest level, conducting “commitment days” prior to the start of the season in which the players spent more than 12 hours in one day, training with police dogs, detectives and martial arts trainers to hone their dry ice hockey skills.

His program for the UT Student/Athletes is a three-phased one – academics, athletics and citizenry outreach. All players are required to maintain a certain GPA (as required by the national governing body of college club hockey as well as UT and coach Figueira) and do volunteer work and other acts of citizenship.


The UT club team is almost run like a pro team. It also has a general manager, Greg Urig, who played his high school hockey at Midview.

The team also has a vice president, Greg Kanis, who played his high school hockey at North Olmsted for Tim Murphy.


Among the players on the Rockets are Kanis (in his last year of eligibility), former Elyria Catholic Panther Justin Saunders, former North Olmsted Eagle Kyle Swansegar, and former Midview Middie Jordan Szpak.

2 Swansegar.jpg (61942 bytes)


Kanis is the top goal scorer on the club with four and he also has one assist. Two of his goals are game winners.


Saunders is tied for second in goals with three and also has an assist.

The Rockets started the season by splitting a pair of games with Danny Holden’s Cleveland State team. The win over the Vikings began a three-game winning streak that included triumphs over Indiana University (PA). They also beat Youngstown State and Illinois State.

This weekend they have three games in Youngstown – today against Bowling Green, tomorrow against Southern Illinois and Sunday against Liberty.

Hudson' Taylor Reasoner (14) and Mike Lopez (25)

Mustangs, Explorers to close out the 

regular season in boys' soccer

Oct. 15, 2010

By Norm Weber

Student/Athlete-Cleveland Editor


HUDSON – After tough battles with two other high-level soccer schools in St. Ignatius and Medina, Strongsville’s boys soccer team will close out the regular season tomorrow on the pitch in Hudson’s Lavelli Field.

A win assures the Mustangs of another championship in the Valley Division of the Northeast Ohio Conference. The Explorers are 2-2 in NOC divisional play, but always play the Mustangs tough.

Strongsville holds an 8-6-4 lead in the all-time series against the Explorers, including the last three. The last two were by only 1-0 counts.

Hudson's Connor Noble (right)

They played to a 1-1 tie in 2006 and Hudson was a 3-1 winner in 2002. The two teams tied three times during the first decade of this century. Starting in 1985, Hudson won the first three and five of the first meetings between the two clubs. However, in 10 meetings in the ‘00s, Hudson won only once. In addition to the three ties in the ‘00s, four Strongsville wins were by one goal.


After losing to the No. 2 ranked team in the nation St. Ignatius Saturday, the Mustangs bounced back with a 2-1 win over Medina Wednesday.

“This match had playoff intensity,” Strongsville coach Tobey Cook said. “The tackles were hard and emotions high. We might be seeing them again.”

During the first decade of this century, the Mustangs and Bees met three times in the district semifinals and twice in the district finals. Medina won in the semis in ’07 and the Stangs in the semis in ’06. Medina won in the district finals in 2002 in a double-overtime/shootout.

Nate Langhals

Wednesday Nate Langhals gave Strongsville a 1-0 lead on a penalty kick after Vlad Lekarev was tripped up on the way to the goal. Andrew Stine tied it for Medina and then David Murrow sent home the game winner with a left-foot whack from just outside the 18-yard box.

David Murrow

Austin Earley registered his sixth win of the year in goal.

The Stangs lead the Valley Division with a 4-0 record while Twinsburg is 3-1, Solon and Hudson 2-2, Medina 1-3 and Stow 0-4.

Strongsville (10-1-2) is still ranked second in Greater Cleveland behind Ignatius, and sixth in the state behind (in correct order) Iggy, Lincoln, St. John, Centerville and Thomas Worthington.

The Mustangs played five of the 10 members of the current Top 10 in Greater Cleveland, posting a 3-1-1 record against them.

Sectional play begins Thursday for Strongsville with a sectional title game against the winner of Monday’ Nordonia-Midview semifinal match.

Eaton Named to the d3.football.com Team of the Week
Clay Eaton

Bookmark and Share
10/15/2010 12:59:10 PM
By Mike Mancini

Oberlin – After his career performance last week against Case Western Reserve, sophomore Clay Eaton was named to the d3football.com Team of the Week, the website announced earlier this week. 

Eaton, who also earned NCAC Defensive Player of the Week honors, had eight tackles (three for a loss), four sacks and a forced a fumble in Oberlin’s 48-36 loss to the Spartans. 

The four sacks in game tie Chris Pisani for second most all-time. On the season he has 27 tackles, 6.5 tackles for a loss and five sacks.

Eaton joins Danny Enright and C.J. Plyler as those who have been honored by the website.

Eaton and the Oberlin defense will have another tough task this Saturday as they travel to Wabash College for a 1 p.m. showdown. 

Where They Rank: Field Hockey
Story Reported by Mike Mancini
Bookmark and Share
10/15/2010 11:53:54 AM
Oberlin – Taking a look at the most recent NCAA rankings, it is no secret why the Oberlin College field hockey team is much-improved this season. 

The Yeowonen, who currently sit a 5-7 overall, have already won more games than they have the last two years combined and it is easy to see why. 

On defense it is netminder Kiran Puri who ranks 11th in the country with 11.45 saves per game. 

As a team, Oberlin has also made 13 defensive saves, which is good for 11th best in the country. First-year Marissa Blackwell has six of those stops and ranks 14th in the nation in individual defensive saves. 

Leading the country’s 42nd ranked scoring offense is junior Emily Whitaker. The native of Pelham, New York, ranks 16th in the NCAA with 1.18 goals per game and is 22nd with 2.73 points per contest. Through 12 games she has 14 goals and four assists. 

The Yeowomen have the weekend off, but return to action on Wednesday, October 20, at Kenyon College. 

Spartan Men’s Soccer Team Falls in 


By Nick Minerd

CLEVELAND, OH -- The Case Western Reserve University men’s soccer team dropped a tough 1-0 overtime decision to No. 11-ranked (NSCAA) Washington University (MO) on today, October 15 at Case Field.
With the loss, the Spartans fall to 6-4-3 overall and 1-2 in the University Athletic Association. Case is right back in action this Sunday, Oct. 17 at home versus another UAA-foe in the University of Chicago (IL) at 1:30 p.m. The Bears stay unbeaten at 10-0-3 and 2-0-1 in the UAA.

The two teams played to a scoreless first half with neither side able to generate much of a scoring threat. The second half was more of the same until several Washington shots late. The Bears came close to scoring the game-winner with just over three minutes left in regulation, but Case junior goalkeeper Ben Yabrow (Marietta, GA/George Walton Comprehensive) made a fine leaping save to keep the contest tied.

In the overtime period, Washington’s Cody Costakis sent a through ball to Dylan Roman who was able to beat charging Yabrow for the game-winner in the 92nd minute.

For the game, Washington outshot the Spartans, 16-2, and held a 13-2 advantage in corner kicks.
Following Sunday’s match versus UC, the Spartans return to action on Wednesday, Oct. 20 at the College of Wooster at 3:30 p.m.








Nick Sivillo runs all over Perry -- on 

offense, defense, special teams; 

Aurora's defense does it again, 

Greenmen moving to 7-1 with 

homecoming win over Pirates

Oct. 15, 2010

By Norm Weber

Student/Athlete-Cleveland Editor


AURORA – Aurora moved to 7-1 overall and remained atop the Chagrin Division of the Chagrin Valley Conference with a 37-7 win over the Perry Pirates tonight here in Veterans Stadium

Both teams have had four-game winning streaks this season, Aurora coming into the game with a current one and Perry one to start the season. The win extends the Greenmen’s unbeaten string to five.  The Pirates have now lost three of their last four games.

Watch a few short videos of tonight’s Aurora-Perry football game, filmed by Norm Weber, by clicking and downloading:

http://sites.google.com/a/studentathletecleveland.com/student-athlete-cleveland/videos-of-tonight-s-aurora-perry-football-gamePerry scored first, 15 minutes before its offense ever took the field. On third and 10, Aurora quarterback Blake Calcei dropped back to pass and threw to the right sidelines, but Ryan Phelps stepped in front of his intended receiver and returned it 48 yards for the score with 10:29 to go in the opening quarter. Brennan Sailors kicked the extra point to make it 7-0.

The Pirates were playing without the normal starting quarterback Mitch Hokavar, who has been out with mononucleosis, so they alternated between Anthony Kukwa and Austin Cooper-Cordova.

Twice the Pirates offense found itself in decent field position and moving the ball in Aurora territory in the first half, but twice the Aurora defense, which hasn’t given up more than 14 points in a game in five weeks, came through during the clutch, eventually leading to the Greenmen’s first points, a 35-yard field goal by Kevin Rahill with 7:35 to go in the half to make it 7-3.

That fired up the Greenmen as the defense turned in a stop and forced a weak punt that gave the offense good field position at its own 44, which set up their first TD drive.

Calcei started finding success, connecting with Anthony Melchiori for a 22-yard gain to put the hosts into Pirate territory. A few plays later he found Melchiori in the end zone for a 9-yard TD.


Listen to post-game interview with Aurora Student/Athlete Blake Calcei from tonight’s Greenmen-Perry football game, conducted by Norm Weber , by clicking and downloading


On the two-minute drill inside of a minute left in the half, Calcei hit Melchiori again for a 32-yard gain. Rahill attempted a 57-yard field goal in the waning seconds of the first half but came up short and the score stood 10-7 at the intermission.

Calcei completed five passes for 85 yards and Melchiori caught four for 75 yards in the first half.

In the first half defensively, Zach Smierciak, Anthony Opet, Homecoming King Danny McNamara, and Choe Samba had tackles for losses.

For the Pirates, Ryan Martin, Kukwa, Chad West had tackles for losses in the first half.

Aurora began busting open the game when Calcei hit Melchiori over the middle on a slant pattern at midfield. Melchiori took in the pass, shook off a would-be tackler and ran the rest of the way for a 64-yard TD reception with 5:21 to go. Mickey Parker blocked the extra point attempt, leaving the score 16-7. 


Listen to post-game interview with Aurora Student/Athlete Anthony Melchiori from tonight’s Greenmen-Perry football game, conducted by Norm Weber, by clicking and downloading


Then it was the special teams as Sivillo returned a punt 48 yards for a TD with 4:21 to go in the third quarter to make it 22-7 and Rahill added the extra point to make it a 16-point game. Sivillo got key blocks from Frank Colangelo and John Opet on the return, his third this year that has gone for a TD (two on punts and one on a kick off).


Listen to post-game interview with Aurora Student/Athlete Frank Colangelo from tonight’s Greenmen-Perry football game, conducted by Norm Weber, by clicking and downloading


On special teams, Nick Sivillo had a 40-yard kick return and also had 49 yards rushing on offense in the first half.


Listen to post-game interview with Aurora Student/Athlete Nick Sivillo from tonight’s Greenmen-Perry football game, conducted by Norm Weber, by clicking and downloading


 After displaying his speed on the opening kickoff, on offense running the ball and the punt run back, Sivillo went into interception return mode, picking a pass early in the fourth quarter to thwart a Pirates offensive series and returning it into Perry territory.

Then Sivillo ran 23 yards for the Greenmen’s fourth TD of the game, coming with 9:44 left in the fourth.

Zach Cole and Opet had sacks in the second half for Aurora. Jake Smierciak had a tackle for loss. Kukwa and Bill Miller had sacks for the Pirates.

Parker had a 74-yard punt for the Pirates in the second half.

McNamara scored on a short run during mop-up time for the final score

At halftime, the school made a special presentation to sophomore Maddie Gilley, who became only third girls’ tennis player in school history to qualify to the state tournament when she did so as a singles player at yesterday’s Division I Oberlin District.

Gilley made it to the semifinals yesterday and today played her final two rounds to finish third, which advanced her to state as a No. 3 seed. Already, she has been named the Chagrin Valley Conference season MVP twice with two seasons left to play.

Berg tops Mount in volleyball

Oct. 15, 2010

By Josh Reilly 

TIFFIN, Ohio -- The Mount Union volleyball team suffered a tough Ohio Athletic Conference loss at Heidelberg on Friday, dropping a five-set match to the Student Princesses, 22-25, 25-17, 25-23, 20-25, 15-13.

Beaumont alum Monica Hupertz

Monica Hupertz (Willoughby Hills/Beaumont) had 17 kills for the Purple Raiders while Roni Schroeder(Shelby/Shelby) contributed 14 kills.

Olmsted Falls grad Julie Radigan

Julie Radigan (Olmsted Falls/Olmsted Falls) added 42 assists and Sarah Dean (Strongsville/Walsh Jesuit) made 36 digs for Mount Union.

Walsh alumna Sarah Dean

Marian Bevington led a quartet of Heidelberg attackers in double-digits. She finished with 18 kills for the Princesses (24-3, 6-0).

North Olmsted High alumna Brittany Donelan

Defensively for the Berg, libero Brittany Donelan (North Olmsted, Ohio / North Olmsted) led the way with 32 of the teams 97 digs. Reinhart and Haase posted another double-double with 23 and 16 digs, respectively. Suzy Street (Grafton, Ohio / Midview) also contributed six.

Midview product Suzy Street

The Raiders (16-7, 3-2) will return to action on Saturday with two non-conference matches. They will take on both Mount Saint Joseph and Fredonia (N.Y.) in Mount Saint Joseph's gym.

Spartan Women’s Soccer Team Drops Overtime 

Heartbreaker to Washington

CLEVELAND, OH – The Case Western Reserve University women’s soccer team dropped a 1-0 overtime heartbreaker to Washington University (MO) in a key University Athletic Association match today, October 15 at Case Field.

With the loss, the Spartans fall to 8-4-1 overall and 1-2 in the UAA. Case is right back in action this Sunday, Oct. 17 at home versus another UAA-foe in the University of Chicago (IL) at 11:00 a.m. With its win, Washington improves to 7-5-1 and 2-0-1 in the UAA.

The Spartans entered ranked seventh in the Great Lakes Region of Division III, while the Bears were sixth in the Central Region.
The Spartans controlled the action for most of the first half, but neither side was able to generate a score.

In the second period, Case had a chance to move ahead in the 53rd minute but had a shot at an empty net deflected by a Washington defender. The Spartans had another threat with just over 10 minutes remaining in regulation, but a shot from sophomore midfielder Erica Sackett (Independence, OH/Walsh Jesuit) fluttered just high of the net. Washington took the next possession and had a threat of its own, but was turned away by a nice diving grab by Case junior goalkeeper Anna Kennedy (Evanston, IL/Evanston Township).

In the overtime period, the Bears scored the game-winner in the 97th minute when Lee Ann Felder finished a cross from five yards out.
In goal, Washington’s Clara Jaques recorded six saves for the win. Kennedy totaled three saves for the Spartans.

For the game, each team attempted 11 shots and Case held a 9-3 advantage in corner kicks.