Canisius College women's basketball coach Mike Rappl will do his best to bring his team back down to earth by the time it meets Massachusetts tonight, but it may not be easy.
The Lady Griffs scored one of the big victories in their history Wednesday, defeating Syracuse, 72-63, at the Koessler Athletic Center.
It was the first Canisius win over the Orange in seven tries.
"We told them after the game this was one of the big ones of all time," Rappl said. "To tell you how big it was, nobody slept that night. Not the players or the coaches."
Great things are not expected this year of the Lady Griffs, who were 21-7 last season. Canisius was picked to be a respectable fifth in the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference in the preseason.
The Lady Griffs (4-1) are strong on the perimeter but very small now that center Alisa Robinson is gone.
"We just played hard," Rappl said. "In the past against Syracuse, we always looked over our shoulder and were intimidated. The most effective thing so far is our defense is pulling us through.
"On offense, we took the ball right at their big people and dished it off. We got a lot of 8- to 10-footers early that way and that opened things up. People take us lightly because we're not big."
Sophomore Anne Brocker, a 5-10 forward, scored 20 points for Canisius, while guard Jennifer McHugh added 18. Brocker, a member of the MAAC all-rookie team last year, was MAAC player of the week last week. She is averaging 16.8 points per game. Syracuse (3-3) is picked to finish sixth or seventh in the Big East this year.
Canisius meets Massachusetts in the first round of the Princeton Tournament tonight. The Lady Griffs play host to St. Bonaventure at 7 p.m. Tuesday.
Macarchuk to stay put
Fordham gave Nick Macarchuk a contract extension this week.
The former Canisius men's basketball coach, in his fourth year at Fordham, received a long-term deal, but specific terms were not disclosed.
"They extended it for another day," Macarchuk deadpanned. "I'm safe until the next game."
Asked if he expects to coach at Fordham the rest of his career, the 49-year-old Macarchuk said, "You never know what's going to happen in this business.
"All I know is I have a contract at Fordham for a long time. With the new changes in the league status and the loss of scholarships after this year, we decided to sit down and go over the contract. It's a contract my wife and I are very happy with. We love Fordham."
Macarchuk, 52-45 at Fordham, could have an excellent shot to make the NCAA Tournament the next few years. He has his best chance ever this season. The Rams upset Seton Hall last week and look like the class of the league. Because the Patriot League is one of the bottom four conferences, the Patriot champion will have to play the Northeast Conference champ for the right to make the 64-team NCAAs.
UB hosts tourney
The University at Buffalo (3-2) will try to win its third straight tonight against Daemen (3-5) in the first round of the Shooters Roundup Classic at Alumni Arena. The other first-round game (6 p.m.) pits St. Thomas of Florida against Mercyhurst. The consolation and final are at 6 and 8 p.m. Saturday.
The UB men's and women's swimming and diving teams will host 18 schools at the UB Invitational today and Saturday. Finals start at 6 p.m. today and at 5 p.m. Saturday.
Gridders on TV
O'Hara graduate Greg Mogavero will be wearing No. 62 for Army when the Cadets meet Navy Saturday (2 p.m., Ch. 4). The 6-foot-3, 265-pound Mogavero is starting defensive tackle for Army. Roy-Hart product Craig Romanowski (No. 61) has spent much of the season as backup center for the Cadets.
In the Division III championship game, the Amos Alonzo Stagg Bowl, Allegheny College of Meadville, Pa., meets Lycoming at Bradenton, Fla. (11:30 a.m., ESPN). Allegheny (12-0-1) has six Western New Yorkers. One, West Seneca East graduate Tony Bifulco, starts at cornerback and also returns punts. Playing reserve roles are quarterback Ben Cammarano (South Park), defensive end Kurt Eimiller (Jamestown), defensive back Trevor Rusert (Hamburg), tight end Todd Kahm (Dunkirk) and linebacker Jeff Damico (Clarence).
Canisius shooters No. 3
Canisius' rifle team is ranked No. 3 in the country in Division I. The Griff shooters are 9-0 and trail only West Virginia and Alaska-Fairbanks in the rankings.
The University at Buffalo wrestling team is ranked 17th in the nation in Division II. The Bulls beat Division I Wright State Wednesday. . . . UB men's soccer coach John Astudillo was named coach of the year for Division II of New York State.
St. Bonaventure has qualified two women's swim relay teams for the U.S. Senior National Championships in April. Both times were posted at the recent Pitt Invitational. The 400 medley relay team of Jeanne Kellachan, Jaci Wieland, Brandy Nettles and Beckie Okoniewski swam 3:59.56. The 400 freestyle relay team of Nettles, Okoniewski, Kellachan and Angela Washburn swam 3:35.16.
Around & About
Niagara County Community College plays host to Erie CC at 7 tonight in men's basketball. . . . Canisius' hockey team (3-7) plays Villanova at 3:15 p.m. Sunday at Nichols.
Springville graduate Eric Jantzi and Amherst graduate Joe Martin were second-team picks on the Patriot League all-star football squad. Jantzi was a senior defensive lineman for Bucknell. Martin, also a senior, starred at defensive back for Colgate. Martin also returned 73 punts for his career, a school record.
Canisius football players Scott Gellerson and Mike Ostempowski were named to the GTE Academic All-America team for District I (the Northeast). Both are juniors. Gellerson, a linebacker, has a 3.78 grade-point average in finance. Ostempowski, a safety, has a 3.6 GPA in biology.
Canisius tennis player Jon Udwadia was named to the MAAC All-Academic team for the fall semester. Udwadia, named the MAAC's outstanding individual performer after winning the conference's first singles title, has a 3.2 grade-point average. He was left off the original press release from the league. He went 11-6 at first singles and 11-3 at doubles.