Swartz proves stopper for Richmond field hockey


October 29, 2003|By Bill Free | Bill Free,SUN STAFF

Michelle Swartz walked on to the University of Richmond campus a little more than a year ago as the only field hockey goalkeeper the team had.

"It was a very rare situation," said Swartz, who has started all 41 games since arriving. "The other goalkeeper [Jennifer Alpert] was one year ahead of me, she had been injured, and when I was recruited, she decided it was in her best interests to quit the team."

No one, including coach Ange Bradley, seemed overly concerned about putting much of the team's fate in the hands of the freshman from Severna Park High.

After all, Severna Park and its coach, Lil Shelton, are giants in the sport of field hockey. And, Swartz was another in a storied line of highly decorated goalkeepers from that school.

Now 17 games into her sophomore season, Swartz has been the driving force behind Richmond's rise to No. 13 among Division I schools in the nation.

The Spiders (15-2 overall, 6-0 in Atlantic 10) are off to the best start in the field hockey program's history, with Swartz sporting an 0.99 goals-against average.

A second straight NCAA tournament appearance is a near certainty, following last season's 17-7 run.

"No team has really been able to get an edge on us all season," said Swartz, whose twin sister Emily has started five games this season for Towson University.

GW's Sample is key

George Washington freshman soccer forward Sarah Sample (St. Mary's) is second on the team in scoring with three goals and three assists (nine points), including one game-winning goal.

Sample has started 12 games and played in 15 for the Colonials, who are 10-5-2 overall and 4-4-1 in the Atlantic 10.

Crew paces No. 11 Brown

Senior soccer forward Adom Crew (River Hill) has been a force behind Brown University's climb to the No. 11 ranking in the nation this week among Division I schools.

Crew leads the Bears in scoring with eight goals and two assists for 18 points, with five of those goals game-winners for the Ivy League leaders.

Brown is 4-0 in the Ivy and 8-3-1 overall.

Lynchburg farewell

Lynchburg College senior volleyball standouts Leanne Costa (Dulaney) and Sarah Kirby (Northeast) will play their final home match Tuesday against Ferrum College.

Costa is third on the team in kills (131), has 150 digs and has a .205 hitting percentage. Kirby leads the team in blocks (62) and is second in kills (148) and hitting percentage (.262).

Sophomore Shannon Burton (Hammond) and freshman Terra Harman (Francis Scott Key) also have been key contributors at Lynchburg.

Et cetera

Ithaca College senior Mike Styczynski (River Hill) finished first in the Saratoga Cross Country Invitational at Rensselaer on Saturday in 25 minutes, 29 seconds.

Immaculata (Pa.) junior Lesley Dotson (Franklin) has posted a 10-3 overall record and 7-3 Pennsylvania Athletic Conference tennis record at No. 4 singles.

Senior Richmond soccer backs Chris Zuk and Vinnie Ciarpella (both former McDonogh standouts) have been key components in the team's current five-game winning streak. Zuk has started all 16 games for Richmond (8-4-4, 5-0-3 Atlantic 10) and has been a defensive standout. Ciarpella has started six games and played in 16, scoring two game-winning goals on just three shots.

Have a Postcard? Contact Bill Free by e-mail at bfree7066@hotmail.com or by phone at 410-833-5349.

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