College Round-up: Bird helps UConn women to NCAA crown

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She has won titles at just about every level of basketball. From CYO to high school, Sue Bird knows what it feels like to be at the top. The former Christ the King star added another trophy to her mantle as the Syosset native and the University of Connecticut Huskies defeated archrival Tennessee, 71-52, in the NCAA championship game at the First Union Center in Philadelphia Sunday night.

The sophomore point guard, who missed the majority of last season with a torn anterior cruciate ligament, also suffered an injury in the title game-a jammed right index finger-but she would not leave the game, playing a team-high 35 minutes.

"I jammed it and I couldn't make a fist," said Bird, who scored four points and had four assists. "I wasn't able to get my shot, so I did what I could do. The team looks at me as a leader."

From the end of the game, Bird has been on a high. On Monday afternoon, Bird and the Huskies celebrated the national championship in front of a raucous crowd of 5,000 at Gampel Pavilion on the Storrs, Conn. campus. When it was Bird's time to address the crowd, she gave credit to her teammates.

"Everybody talks about how Svet [Abrosimova] and Shea [Ralph] changed their games, and they did," she said. "Tamika Williams and those guys, they could have gone anywhere in the country. They could have been All-American this, All-American that, but this is why you came here. We've been saying that all along, 'Let's go out and finish the job, let's finish off the championship.' This is why we came to Connecticut."

Bird started all 37 Huskies games this year, averaging 10.9 points and 4.3 assists per game.

SJU Baseball Inks Six Student-Athletes

The St. John's baseball team announced Dan Cronin, Kevin Cust, Anthony DeRosa, Jeff Ford, Mike Rhoads and Mike Rozema have committed to attend the school next year.

Cronin, a right handed pitcher from Levittown, went 9-1 last season with a 1.62 for Levittown Division. In 69 innings, he struck out 104 and walked 26. Levittown Division went 28-2 last season and won the Long Island Championship. He was named second team all-state.

Cust, from Sommerville, NJ, is a catcher/outfielder who batted .524 with 15 doubles, four triples and eight home runs for Immaculata High School. Cust, who's older brother Jack was a first-round draft pick by the Arizona Diamondbacks, received Collegiate Baseball All-American honors and was a first-team All-State selection.

DeRosa, an outfielder from Salem, N.H., was a former high school teammate of current St. John's pitcher Tom Klemm. Last year he hit .555 with five home runs and 25 RBIs as Salem High School reached the semifinals of the state tournament.

Ford, a southpaw from West Haven, Conn., went 7-4 and recorded four saves, while posting a 2.50 earned run average for Notre Dame High School. Ford played on Team Connecticut AAU during the summers and was a member of the team that won the 16-and-under national championship. He was named to the all-tournament team.

Rhoads is a power hitting first baseman/outfielder from Moorestown, NJ. He hit .496 with six home runs, 31 RBIs and posted an on-base percentage of .650 for Moorestown High School, which made it to the South Jersey semifinals.

Rozema, a shortstop from Fairlawn, NJ, led Fairlawn High School to a 19-7 record and advanced to the second round of the state tournament. He batted .390, hit two home runs and stole 17 bases. In addition, he was named all-league and third-team all-county.

Eight St. John's fencers earn All-American honors

Six Red Storm fencers earned first-team All-American honors and two were picked to the second team after the Red Storm finished tied for second place at the NCAA Championship last week at Stanford University.

On the men's side, junior Alex Roytblat, sophomore Doron Levit and freshman Ivan Lee, all earned first team honors. Roytblat, who finished in second place in the epee, earned first-team honors for the second straight year. He was the 1999 NCAA champion and lost in this year's gold medal bout. Joining him was Levit, who finished second in the epee.

Lee entered the final day of competition in the sabre in seventh place, but had an outstanding final day, advancing to the bronze medal match, where he beat Tim Morehouse of Brandeis.

On the women's side, freshman Megan Kates, sophomore Emese Takacs and sophomore Arlene Stevens all earned first team honors. Second team honorees included freshman Joseph Fisher, who tied for sixth place in the men's foil, and freshman Marisa Mustilli, who finished in ninth place in the sabre.


Molloy College 6, Queens College 1. Rocco Rotonoi went 2-for-5 and Mike Eddy was 2-for-4 for the Knights (8-10, 5-5 New York Collegiate Athletic Conference).

Queens 16, St. Thomas Aquinas 4. Carl Waldheim picked up the win in relief, pitching five innings of no-hit ball and striking out four. Mike Evers was 3-for-3 with four runs scored and had seven stolen bases. Carlos Cruz was 3-for-5 with a double and a triple and three RBIs.

Queens 1, 3, 7 St. Rose 2, 11, 0. The Knights dropped a three-game series to St. Rose. In the opening game, a 2-1 loss, Steve Moore allowed no earned runs in seven innings and struck out five.

In the 11-3 loss, Evers was 2-for-5 and Nat Tauber went 2-for-4 with a double and an RBI.

Jarod Harling allowed one hit in six innings of work and had seven strike outs for Queens in a 7-0 win over St. Rose. Pete Cavoto was 2-for-2 with two runs scored and a home run.


St. John's 2, 0, Villanova 3, 4. The St. John's softball team dropped a doubleheader at Villanova Sunday afternoon after sweeping a double dip Saturday at Rutgers.

In the opening game, the Widcats edged St. John's 3-2, scoring the winning run in the bottom of the seventh inning. Bellerose native Courtney Fitzgarald was the hard-luck loser for St. John's. The freshman lefty went 6.1 innings, allowed two earned runs on four hits and struck out two. Alesha Argeras scored both St. John's runs and Jessica Shephard had two of the Red Storm's three hits.

In the nightcap, Villanova's Keri Stoller pitched a no-hitter as the Red Storm fell, 4-0. Stoller went the distance for the Wildcats, striking out six and walking just one.

St. John's 6, 4. Rutgers 0, 2. The St. John's softball team swept a doubleheader from Rutgers in Piscataway, NJ, Saturday afternoon. In game one, the Red Storm defeated the Scarlet Knights, 6-0. Lisa Tropi was 3-for-5 with an RBI and Ann Raab was 3-for-4. Gina Calabrese picked up the win, going the distance for the Red Storm. She struck out nine, walked one and allowed just three hits.

Calabrese was also the winner in game two, pitching seven innings and allowing five hits as St. John's defeated Rutgers, 4-2.

Men's Volleyball

Queens College 15, 15, 14, 15, New Paltz 12, 8, 16, 12. Max Auguste had 21 kills and 11 digs and Luis Mendez had 25 kills and 14 digs for the Knights (17-7).

Springfield 15, 11, 15, 15, Queens 8, 15, 10,12. Mendez had 29 kills and Kevin Straker added 55 assists for the Knights.

Concordia 15, 10, 15, 15, Queens 1, 15, 2, 8. Eugene Sutherland had 13 kills and Mendez added 33 assists Queens.

SJU Tennis defeats Richmond, Rutgers

The St. John's men's tennis team (7-5, 4-0 Big East) defeated Richmond 5-2 Saturday at St. John's. The win followed a conference victory over Rutgers, 7-0, last Wednesday.

Against Richmond, junior Eric Scharf defeated Aljosa Pirie, winning 6-1, 6-1. The Red Storm's sole loss in singles came when Eric's younger brother, junior Brian Scharf, fell at No. 2 to Rob Flades, 6-3, 0-6, 6-4.

St. John's dropped No. 1 and No. 2 doubles, but returned with Cameron Lore and Jake Maxwell's impressive 8-1 victory.

The Red Storm dominated Rutgers, 7-0, at the Busch Tennis Bubble in Piscataway, NJ. Eric Scharf won at No. 1 singles, 7-5, 6-2. Senior Jaideep Shetty won the only three-set match of the day at No. 2 singles, beating Martijn Olthof, 6-3, 2-6, 6-4.

SJU Swimming post strong performance at Senior Nationals

Several members of the St. John's University men's and women's swiming teams competed in the Philips 66 National Swimming Championships, held at Weyerhaeuser/King County Aqatic Center in Federal Way, Washington last weekend.

Twelve indivisuals competed for the Red Storm, and five relay teams posted top-20 finishes.

"I thought we held our own," St. John's head coach John Skudin said. "It's tough to hold a taper for five weeks, but we had solid performances and I thought we did a good job."

Sophomore Danilo Perunovic, who became St. John's first indivisual champion since 1994, competed on three relay teams. Senior Christina Evans was on the 400 medley relay that posted a time of 4:40.96 and finished 27th.

Strolovitz, en fuego

The State University of New York at Albany sophomore Illissa Strolovitz is off to a successful start for the women's tennis team.

The Townsend Harris grad and Bayside native competes in Albany's fifth singles position and is 12-5 overall. Strolovitz has won nine of her last 10 matches dating back to last fall. During her two-year career, Strolovitz has totaled a record of 30-18 in singles and 16-9 in doubles.

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