Preview: Winter NYU Sports

With their fifth straight UAA title from last season, the wrestling team prepares for their first match on November 5.

The beginning of the NYU winter sports schedule is just weeks away, as several squads prepare to return to action as the calendar turns to November. Can senior Nathan Pike cement himself as the best wrestler in NYU history? Can the men’s and women’s basketball teams return to the NCAA Tournament? Will a new class of freshman propel the fencing team to another UAA Championship? Check out WSN’s preview of NYU winter sports below.

Men’s Basketball

Last Season: 21-6, NCAA Second Round

Departed Seniors: Seven

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First Game: Nov. 18 against Marywood University at the Rose City Classic hosted by Drew University in Madison, New Jersey.

The men’s basketball squad experienced a resurgent season last year, going 21-6 and reaching the second round of the NCAA Division III Tournament. Highlights from the season include an 11-game winning streak to start the season, as well as the excellent play of departed senior forward Evan Kupferberg, who finished his collegiate career with UAA Player of the Year honors.

Unfortunately for Head Coach Joe Nesci’s bunch, seven seniors, including Kupferberg and big man Costis Gontikas, have finished their careers, leaving a fresh recruiting class responsible for filling the gap. But players like junior Ross Udine, a heady lead guard who averaged about 13 points per game last year, will look to lead the newcomers this season.

The Violets have also picked up Michael McSloy as an assistant coach. McSloy served as an assistant at Vassar College last year and coached at the NYU Elite Camp in 2015. He’s a SUNY Maritime graduate, where he played on the basketball team for two seasons.

Women’s Basketball

Last Season: 19-8, NCAA Second Round

Departed Seniors: Four

First Game: Nov. 15 against Stevens Institute of Technology in Hoboken.

Coach Lauren Hall-Gregory’s bunch returned to the NCAA Tournament last season, reaching the second round. The Violets finished 19-8, in a season that included a 13-game winning streak to open the season, but struggled in conference play. Kaitlyn Read, who’s entering her senior year as a Violet, and graduated forward Megan Dawe led the team, combined for 32 points and nearly 14 rebounds per game.

Though Dawe and three other seniors have left the team, Read and her stellar production remains. Senior guard Amy Harioka also returns for her final season after averaging about 11 points last season. This year’s recruiting class is comprised of six new freshman players from six different states as far away as Texas.

The Violets added two assistant coaches to the team over the offseason. After two years at Dickinson, Mary Kate Tierney joins the Violets, as well as Patrina Blow, who served as an assistant at Pace University for over a decade.

Wrestling

Last Season: Fifth straight UAA title, Nathan Pike runner up at the NCAA Championships

Departed Seniors: Six

First Event: Nov. 5 at the Monarch Tournament at King’s College in Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania.

Nathan Pike’s captivating season anchored the Grapplers on their way to a fifth consecutive UAA Championship. Pike, who was ousted in the semifinals at the NCAA Championships as a sophomore, worked his way back to the tournament as a junior 133-pounder. He reached the finals and finished runner up — the best result for a wrestler in NYU’s history. Pike returns for one final season as the Grapplers look to capture another UAA crown.

In the coaching department, Anthony Dattolo joins head coach Bruce Haberli as an assistant in lower weight classes after a two-year stint at Wilkes University. Joe Narvaez has also joined the department for recruiting and workout purposes following a year assisting at Centenary University.

Fencing

Last Season: 13th at Nationals

Departed Seniors: 12

First Event: Oct. 30 at the Temple Collegiate Open in Philly.

In Steve Mormando’s 30th year as coach, the fencing team sent five members of the men’s squad to Nationals. The Violets finished 13th at the event, the best finish for NYU in over a decade and the best finish for any competing Division III squad.

The top moment for the women’s side came from sophomore sabre Jacqueline Tubbs, who finished 11th at the NCAA Northeast Regional Championships in her freshman season. Similar to many of the other teams soon to be beginning their seasons, a number of seniors have left the team, leaving the door open for more young talent like Tubbs to ascend the ranks.

Stay tuned to catch these teams as they begin their seasons in the coming weeks.

Email Michael Thompson at [email protected]

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