Women’s Basketball Opens New Season with Exciting Youth

BY COLE McNANNA // Nov. 11, 2016 //

With the amount of youth on the court this winter for the Colonels, returners with minor experience will be heavily relied upon to return the team to a Conference Championship.

It is head coach Fran Elms’ 13th year at the helm of the Curry College Women’s Basketball program and with a crop of six new freshmen to add to his seven returners, 2016 and 2017 looks to be the start of even bigger things to come.

“We’re young but they’re scrappy,” said Coach Elms, who is assisted by Stacey Cotter for the fifth year, her eighth total year with the team.

She went on to add that they’ve graduated 11 seniors over the last two years but have tried to combat that by adding these six new freshmen, two of which will be thrust into the starting lineup.

Sam Bamford from Easton, Massachusetts’ Oliver Ames High School will join reigning Commonwealth Coast Conference Rookie of the Year Emily Irwin, returning for her sophomore campaign.

Paige Senatore, the recent graduate of Parker Charter School, fills one of the forward positions alongside another sophomore in Molly Plunkett, who finished last year averaging ten minutes a game.

Junior Nicole Rice will provide the post presence with all 6 feet and 3 inches of her guarding the rim. The lone senior on the squad, Amanda Gresian will provide depth at the forward position while also serving as the upperclassman voice serving as Captain along with Rice.

womens-bball
Photo from Curry College Athletics

 

The coaching staff will look to take advantage of their group of youngsters by implementing their full system one step at a time, breeding these early Colonels to run their game for years to come. Elms noted that, “They show a tremendous amount of ambition to learn, they’re absorbing everything we’re saying.”

Cotter echoed his thoughts adding that “They want it.” It’s been on them to put the work in and they work hard at everything even though they may not end up doing it all right.

Rice and Irwin’s experience is “instrumental,” to the coaches, having the two of them serve as extensions of the staff understanding the playbook but also how to get things done.

Elms said of Rice; “Being a veteran, she knows it’s not just about the plays, it’s about the chemistry. It’s all about them getting along and striving every single practice to get better. It’s understanding that you have to work hard to achieve the goals we want to achieve here and she’s pushing them just as hard as we are.”

Those goals around here include that Conference Finals trip of two years ago, marking the best finish in program’s history. It was their first and only taste of the Finals, and Elms and Cotter could be again embarking on that journey soon again.

“It may seem a little farfetched right now,” Cotter explained, “but who knows? 15 practices from now someone could get better, and away they go.”

The pair is excited for this newest chapter of Curry College Women’s Basketball, starting Tuesday, Nov. 15th in the confines of the Eleanor Meyerhoff Gymnasium as Framingham State makes the trip to Milton.

Volleyball Drops Conference Match-up with Visiting Gordon College

BY COLE MCNANNA // SEPT. 22 2016 //

The women’s volleyball team slipped under .500 with a 3-0 loss to Commonwealth Coast Conference foe Gordon College last night.

The result brought the Fighting Scots to an even 6-6 overall and an early 1-0 in the conference as the Colonels dropped to 4-5 on the season and 0-2 in conference play.

From even before the beginning of the game, Curry had to continue without sophomore Grace Stafford, who was forced to sit due to concussion symptoms.  The outside hitter currently leads the team in kills (68), and points recorded (83.5) while adding a team second-best 14 aces, and third-best 52 digs.

The first set started out more competitive than it finished, with the Colonels achieving an early 6-4 lead. However, Gordon responded with a 9-2 run to take a 13-8 lead which would be evident of more to come. The Fighting Scots doubled Curry over the final stretch and finished the first set 25-14.

The second set was one of streaks, with points being awarded in ones only six times throughout the set. Gordon’s stretch of three was responded with a five-point run, only to be evened out with pairs of consecutive points going to both teams. The Fighting Scots pushed to a 23-16 score and had a 2-0 lead in their sights.

With freshman Shea Mathews (one of the younger players rotating in to fill Stafford’s hole) serving, she helped deliver a six point streak to force a Gordon timeout after the score was made 23-22. However, the Scots were able to bear down and grab the final two points to take that 2-0 lead into the third set.

The final set was much like the first, with the Colonels jumping out to an early 4-2 lead, only to inflate it to 10-7. Multiple strings of consecutive points fell for Gordon over the rest of the set and they finished on an 18-4 run to complete the sweep.

Senior Alyssa Keeney finished the night with six total kills, tying a second-best in the game. Classmate Makayla Hughes delivered a team-high 11 assists and junior Courtney Carroll racked up a game second-best 15 digs.

After the game, Keeney noted that the defensive front of the Fighting Scots was strong as “they picked up most of our kills.” She went on to note that moving forward, “We’ve got to control our balls, control what we can control, and hope our offensive line stays strong.”

Coach Elizabeth Morris noted the weakness her lineup experienced without Stafford, but added “I had some freshmen who really stepped up… [They] did a great job so I’m looking forward to seeing more from them.”

She will have two opportunities to see more of those freshmen Saturday as Curry will host a tournament with games at 11 a.m. and 3 p.m. Before then, however, Morris added that “Defense, transitioning to the hit and covering our hitters,” will be the focus to prepare.

Killer Keeney: With Stafford’s injury, Keeney also stepped up on the offensive side of the ball and led the team in points recorded, with nine. She sits in fourth on the team with 37 total points so far.

Freshman Frenzy: As of now, freshmen have accounted for 66.5 points between Caroline Kilduff (30.5), Erika Costa (27) and Shea Mathews (9). That number will likely increase over the next handful of games.

Tournament Time: The Colonels will host Suffolk University at 11 a.m. and Pine Manor College at 3 p.m. on Saturday, September 24 for a non-conference, three-match set with all teams playing each other.

 

Bruce Almighty

BY ANDREW BLOM // NOV. 8, 2012 //

Everyone knows the term “dumb jocks.” You know, athletes who emphasize their sport over their academics. Brawn over brains. Bench pressing over book reading.

Bruce Weckworth has been Curry’s softball coach since 1996. // PHOTO COURTESY OF CURRY ATHLETICS //

Sure, it’s a stereotype. But here at Curry, there’s little evidence of its truth.

Bruce Weckworth takes great pride in that fact.

As the college’s student-athlete recruitment and welfare coordinator for the past nine years, Weckworth has worked to help raise the academic bar among those who play sports at Curry. He began serving the broader college community in 1982, when he joined the Admissions Department after graduating from Curry. Weckworth spent the next 21 years in Admissions, rising through the ranks before eventually becoming its director.

But it’s his work in Athletics that has made Weckworth something of an institution on campus.

“I freakin’ love Bruce!” said Lynn Zlotkowski, the college’s academic success coordinator. “He would do anything he can for a student to have the best academic and athletic experience they can have. He has an amazing responsibility and he works so hard for student-athletes, and I hope they appreciate it.”

In his later years in Admissions, Weckworth began coaching softball, first at Mount Ida College in Newton, Mass., and then at Curry. In 2003, he moved into the athletic department full time thanks to a new position—under then Athletic Director Steve Nelson—that married his two great interests: student recruitment and athletics.

“Because there was no standards set prior, you just had to work as hard as you could to create what you thought would be the better of the (Athletic) Department, the student and the coaches,” said Weckworth, who became head softball coach in ’96. He has amassed a record of 397-283-5, making him the winningest coach in Curry softball history. “I love the contact with the student and making sure they go to class and [are] being responsible. Just being their day-to-day guardian, I love.”

Weckworth, who has no children of his own, said he has come to care for the student-athletes of Curry—past and present—as if they were his sons and daughters.

His job responsibilities in Athletics are many. Weckworth assists the college’s coaches with student recruitment and student retention, as well as handling the day-to-day little things, like coordinating study halls, making sure students don’t miss assignment deadlines, and serving as a liaison of sorts between faculty and student-athletes. Study halls, which take place Monday and Wednesday nights for an hour and a half, is mandatory for all first-year athletes as well as any returning athlete whose GPA is below 2.5. It’s a necessary step, Weckworth said, to get their attention.

“They realize ‘I have to get my act together. I’m wasting my time and my parents’ money,’ ” he said. “Curry athletes are hearing loud and clear just how important academics are to the athletic department. Even though it would be great to just practice all day, that is just a small part of their college experience.”

According to statistics provided by the Athletic Department, along with Zlotkowski, there were 335 student-athletes at Curry at the end of last spring. Of those, only 14 (13 males, one female) were on academic probation. A student is placed on academic probation for a number of reasons, most notably for having a GPA of less than 2.0.

Weckworth is quick to point out that the student-athletes do the real hard work. He and others on campus provide the support, but the students must follow through.

Nonetheless, some students are equally fast to acknowledge the role Weckworth has played in their academic lives. Garrick Vermeal, a senior criminal justice major who plays on the football team, said his relationship with Weckworth is a huge reason for his success
at Curry.

“Every time I see him on campus he asks how I’m doing in class,” said Vermeal. “I don’t want to lie to him, so to prevent that I do my school work so when he presents questions like that I have an honest, truthful answer.

“When you talk to Bruce,” Vermeal added, “it’s like talking to a very close friend that you have known all your life.”

And like a good friend, Weckworth wants what’s best for them.

“I want to win games, but I want to make sure they graduate,” said Weckworth. “If they’re winning in the classroom, those are championships that mean the most.”