Go Lions! Fall Sports Preview
Compiled by Columbia Athletic Communications
As the fall athletic season dawns at Columbia, so does a new fall sport.
Women's field hockey makes its debut as a full-fledged varsity this year, after
a season as a club varsity. They will play a partial Ivy schedule this year,
including national power Penn.
Coach Susan Eichner, who also coached the club varsity, and previously was the
head coach at Kenyon, has the task of combining her best athletes from last
season with 15 first-year students she recruited.
Her top returnees include seniors Carrie Franklin (B) and Jessica Brewer (E);
the most-promising newcomers include Antoinette Allen (C) and Whitney Weems
|All-East Linebacker Rory Wilfork.|
Ray Tellier's squad was hit hard by graduation, losing 14 starters, but the
Lions' eighth-year coach has more than 30 letter winners returning as he
continues the Lions' march up the Ivy League ladder. He hopes to bounce back
from last season's 3-6-1 record, and knows Dartmouth is the team to beat in
Hanover Nov. 9.
Their first home game is Sept. 21 against Harvard.
The defense boasts several impressive returnees, including All-East linebacker
and co-captain Rory Wilfork, the first Columbia player to serve as captain in
two straight seasons since Walter Koppisch in 1923.
Fellow senior Brian Gillen returns at middle linebacker, and a trio of senior
defensive ends -- co-captain Marcellus Wiley, Mike Jennings, and Charlie
Bettinelli -- buttress the line. Juniors Roy Hanks and Joe Cormier are other
veterans, both in the defensive backfield.
The offense will be led by two other senior captains, tight end Ryan Gabriele
and tackle Randy Murff. Murff and senior center Austin Milliken provide the
experience on a young offensive line. Senior David Ramirez, who had 47
receptions last season, returns to lead the wide receivers, while sophomore
tailback Jason Bivens and junior quarterback Bobby Thomason highlight the
|Defender Jeff Traola (Right).|
Coach Dieter Ficken describes this year's team as one of the most
closely-knit he's seen in his 18 years as a head coach. Even in the Ivy
League, which is competitive in soccer, Columbia should emerge as a top team
among Brown, Prince-ton, Harvard and Cornell.
The Lions will rely on one of the nation's top defensive units in goalkeepers
Matt Napoleon (Soccer America pre-season All-Ivy; 0.91 goals against average in
1995) and Steve Viscovich, and backs Dennis Bohn and Jeff Traola (Soccer
America pre-season All-Ivy;1994 Ivy Rookie of the Year).
This crew (minus senior captain Bohn, who was injured) shut out opponents for
the final 516 minutes of the 1995 season en route to a 9-8 record. Midfielders
Greg Smalling and Rino Matarazzo are excellent playmakers, and senior Michael
Payne has twice earned honorable mention All-Ivy at striker.
|All-Time Single Season Scoring Leader Dana Cassara.|
With the return of 12 letterwinners and the addition of first-rate
freshmen, this could be the breakthrough year for Head Coach Kevin McCarthy's
team, which equalled its highest ever number of victories last year (6) and
allowed the fewest goals.
"This could be the most talented team ever to take the field for Columbia,"
McCarthy notes. The toughest match should be against Harvard, undefeated in the
league for two years.
Junior Dana Cassara (C), the Lions' all-time single-season scoring leader,
sophomore Imma Mazzella (C) and freshman Kriszen Williams (C) give the Lions a
potent scoring threat. At midfield, sophomore Tosh Forde (C) was honorable
mention All-Ivy as a freshman and will be the machine that makes the team go,
according to McCarthy.
In the backfield, junior Liz Cheung (C) was an All-Ivy selection in 1995, and
sophomore Katie Gifford (C) showed all-league potential.
In the goal, the Lions will rely on freshman Ali Ahearn, who was one of the top
goalkeeper prospects in the East.
Men's Cross Country
Naturally, a team losing an athlete of the caliber of All-America and
Olympic Trials semi-finalist Casey O'Shea `96 has cause for some concern.
However, a very good freshman class coupled with a solid corps of returning
runners could mean success for the Lions, who look to ascend the Heptag-onal
ranks after finishing 8th last year.
Senior Anthony Anderson one of Columbia athletics' most-improved
student-athletes last year, and Tom Kloos and Amerigo Rossi lead a group of
talented sophomores. Fresh-men Ray Biersbach and Jason Gibbons could crack into
the varsity seven immediately.
Women's Cross Country
The `96 Light Blue harriers may be the surprise of the Heptagonal
conference. They hope to finish as high as 6th, with the addition of several
very good first-year runners. Senior Martina Brosnahan (B), the school
record-holder at 5,000 meters indoors, could rank among the elite distance
runners in the Ivy League if she remains healthy. Senior Rebecca Begley (B)
and junior Abby Lorge (C) bring experience to the squad. Sarika Doshi (C),
Marissa Hurwitz (C) and Tanya Yokum (C) each have varsity potential as
|Volleyball Standouts Cheryl Bucci & Kristi Overton.|
"Loaded with potential" is one way to describe this season's volleyball
team. An incoming class of five joins a nucleus of two seniors, one junior and
They expect to improve last year's record of 8-19 with the Lions middle blocker
Kristie Overton (C) and Cheryl Bucci (C), one of the top setters in the league
last year. Bucci led the team in assists last season (867) and assists per
"The attitude of our returning players is very intense, and they are fired up,"
says Head Coach Carolyn Elwood. "They believe they can be a top contender in
Columbia University Record -- September 13, 1996 -- Vol. 22,
Record Photo of Bucci & Overton By Arthur Frank.
Record Photos of Traola, Cassara and Wilfork By Tomasso DeRosa.