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Eight RCC Athletes Earn All-Conference Citations for Fall 2018 Season

Eight RCC Athletes Earn All-Conference Citations for Fall 2018 Season

Top row (l-r): Elizabeth Minano (Volleyball), Ali Ali (Men's Soccer), Emily Schmidt (Volleyball), Rockine Henry (Men's Soccer), Bottom row (l-r): Matt Blair (Men's Soccer), Anjali Sebastian (Volleyball), Christopher Hearn (Men's Soccer), and Peter Mongan

Volleyball standout Emily Schmidt reaps All-Region XV honors as well

DATE: November 14, 2018

RAMAPO, NY –  Rockland Community College placed eight athletes on the All Mid-Hudson Conference team and two athletes on the All-Region XV squad for the 2018 fall season.

The men's soccer team wrapped up a successful campaign by reaching the regional semifinals for the second time in three years, while the women's volleyball team bowed out in the regional quarterfinals and conference semifinals. The men's and women's cross country teams, competing in their inaugural season, had the Region XV meet canceled due to a nor'easter on October 27.

Sophomore volleyball ace Emily Schmidt headlined the individual award winners for the Hawks, corralling first-team All-Region and All-Conference honors to lead RCC to a 14-8 overall record and a 5-3 conference mark. The 6-foot-1 middle blocker, a North Rockland High School graduate, had led all NJCAA Division III players in blocks and blocks per set at one point during the season.

Schmidt was joined on the All-Conference first team by sophomore Anjali Sebastian, a Clarkstown North alumna. Freshman Elizabeth Miñano, a setter from Tuxedo HS, earned second-team recognition, while serving specialist Leah Kusumalayam, a first-year player from Suffern HS, received the Region XV sportsmanship award.

The volleyball team, under Coach Erik Ellingsen, endured a rough season-ending patch, losing five straight including a 3-0 loss (25-18, 26-24, 25-20) to host Orange County CC in the regional quarterfinals on October 25. Schmidt paced the Hawks in that match with 10 kills and 5 blocks. RCC was eliminated by Westchester CC, 3-2, in the Mid-Hudson Conference tournament semifinals on October 23.

The men's soccer team was represented by five athletes on the All-Conference unit: freshman defender Rockine Henry (Ramapo HS), a second-team selection and Region XV honorable mention pick; first-team recipients Peter “P.J.” Mongan, a sophomore midfielder (Monroe-Woodbury HS); freshman midfielder Ali Ali (Spring Valley HS); and Christopher Hearn, a sophomore international student from Paraguay. Sophomore defender Matthew Blair (Freeport HS, Florida) was tabbed for second-team honors, while freshman Justin Pena (Clarkstown North HS) merited the Region XV sportsmanship award.

Under the direction of Soccer Coach Danny Samimi, the No. 7-seeded Hawks made it to the Region XV semifinals for the second time in his three-year tenure. After falling to Monroe College of the Bronx, 7-1, in the last game of the regular season, RCC rebounded to stun the No. 2-seeded Monroe College Express, 2-1, in the quarterfinals before absorbing a 4-0 defeat by host Suffolk CC in the semis. Hearn and freshman Steeve Cadet scored the goals in the quarterfinal victory, while freshman Patrick Krummack made 10 saves in goal.

“Our players put everything they had out there,” said Samimi. “We were the hungrier team, and our guys kept calm, which was a key factor.” In the semifinal loss, RCC trailed Suffolk by just 1-0 until about the 60th minute, when a red card left the Hawks a man down and derailed their comeback hopes. The Hawks' final record of 5-8-1 overall and 1-3-1 in the conference did not reflect the positive strides made during the season, Samimi said. “I am very pleased with the way things worked out. My goal was to have the players come together as a team, and we accomplished that.”

The men's and women's cross country teams had the misfortune of a cancellation of the Region XV meet because of the nor'easter storm that swept through the area on October 27. The meet was to be held at the Hudson Valley Sports Dome in Milton, N.Y. Region XV teams had the option of scoring the regional meet out of the NJCAA national championship race the following week, but RCC, being a first-year program, chose not to compete at the nationals.

“The team put a lot of time and effort into the last two months to make the season a success,” said Coach Mike Murphy. “With our first year completed, I am looking forward to developing the program in the years to come.” Murphy's men's harriers were led by freshman Patrick Bednarski (Suffern HS) and sophomores John Pimentel (Chester, N.Y.) and Vladimir Charles-Pierre (Spring Valley HS). The women's team was paced by a pair of freshmen: Chrysi Koulianou, an international student from Greece, and Monserrat Cortes (Suffern HS).

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