2010 Flat Hat Sports Awards: Best of the Best

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April 30, 2010

1:30 AM

Our Favorite Moments

2010 NIT Basketball First Round: W&M 72, UNC 80

When William and Mary made its way onto the court at Carmichael Arena in the first round of the National Invitation Tournament, not a single UNC fan in the building gave it a chance to win. The Tribe, in its first postseason appearance in 27 years, was facing one of college basketball’s most storied programs in North Carolina.

The Tar Heels, the 2009 NCAA Tournament defending champions, had fallen on hard times and lost a number of its best players to the NBA — but there was no way that they were going to lose to a little known mid-major Cinderella.

The College was outmatched, undermanned and inexperienced, but put on one of the gutsiest performances in recent memory.

After falling behind early, senior guard David Schneider and the Tribe simply refused to falter — nailing three-pointers at crucial junctures. The College slowly cut into the Tar Heel lead when suddenly, with 13:16 left in the second half, senior forward Steven Hess knotted the game with a timely dunk.

At that point, the atmosphere in the sold-out arena turned electric. The Tribe put on a dazzling display from behind the arc, punctuated by several clutch three-pointers by sophomore forward JohnMark Ludwick. With 11:53 left, senior forward Danny Sumner executed the most memorable play of the game — a soaring alley-oop dunk that no Tribe fan will soon forget.

The College held the lead until about five minutes left, and eventually lost 80-72. But those 40 minutes, and the few minutes the College led provided a perfect ending to a memorable season.
— Sports Editor Mike Barnes

Football Opening Game: W&M 26, U.VA 14

Going on the road to start the season against ACC-powerhouse Virginia, nobody gave the Tribe much of a chance. After all, the Tribe had not beaten its in-state rival in 23 years.

Initially, it didn’t seem like anyone would be surprised. The College went three-and-out on its opening possession. Utilizing a short field, Virginia quarterback Vic Hall scored on a 34-yard touchdown run on their third offensive play of the game. Everything was going along as expected — to the dismay of Tribe fans.

But playing in his hometown of Charlottesville, Tribe quarterback R.J. Archer would not be denied a victory so easily. The senior overcame his jitters, confidently led the College down the field and answered with a five-yard touchdown to his tight-end.

After senior place kicker Brian Pate missed a 42-yard field goal, Virginia jumped ahead again on an eight-yard touchdown run by quarterback Jameel Sewell midway through the second quarter.

From this point, however, the Tribe defense took control of the game. Capitalizing on two U. Va. fumbles, Pate notched a pair of field goals to cut the deficit to 14-13 at the half. The stands began buzzing — could the College pull off the surprising early season upset?

After another field goal, redshirt freshman B.W. Webb sealed the improbable win by intercepting his third pass of the game, returning it 50 yards to give the Tribe a 26-14 lead.

The memorable win in front of 55,000 fans at Scott Stadium was more than just another ‘W,’ it set the tone for one of the most successful Tribe football seasons in College history.

— Assoc. Sports Editor Wesley Stukenbroeker

Men’s Basketball: W&M 73, Drexel 48

When reflecting on the magical men’s basketball run, the match-up with Drexel may not stick out as the most memorable, but for many reasons it was very important.

The game against the Dragons was the first win for the College against a CAA opponent by more than one point. It was the Tribe’s seventh win on the road, at the time ranking second nationally. Incredible shooting and staunch defense helped the Tribe grow a four-point halftime edge into a 73-48 demolition of Drexel.

The home team ended up shooting a measly 24 percent from the floor, as the College shot over 52 percent.
The squad’s 12th win in 13 opportunities cemented the team’s ability to build on a second half margin, instead of battle for close victories. The 25-point spread was the second largest for the College all season.

In the postgame press conference, multiple reporters from New York to Williamsburg asked Head Coach Tony Shaver and senior guard David Schneider to explain where this team’s magic had come from.

As usual, the reference to “balanced scoring” was elicited while comparisons to Cinderella NCAA squads of the past found their way into nearly every question. The College was just starting to play its best ball of the year, and Drexel got to see it first hand.
— Staff Writer Chris Weidman

Baseball: W&M 5, Delaware 4

Maybe 50 people were in attendance at Plumeri Park that night.

A biting wind and frigid temperatures had driven out most of the spectators by the second game of the doubleheader against Delaware. Sophomore pitcher Matt Davenport had thrown three-and-one-third innings, 66 or so pitches, in the day’s first game. Yet there he was, toeing the rubber for the Tribe in the second game of the series, trying to save the College’s fledgling season.

Lacking his best fastball, Davenport went off-speed. The lanky righthander would never completely shut out the Blue Hens on his best day, and today certainly wasn’t his best. But, over six innings and 188 total pitches, Davenport willed his slider over the plate and threw his changeup from every arm angle imaginable to limit the Blue Hens and give the Tribe a chance to win.

The College eventually won the game, but that doesn’t matter. Davenport’s performance that day transcended sports. He knew he didn’t have his best stuff, but he asked for the ball anyway, which is all one can do in life.

And on that day, even without his best stuff, no one was better than Matt Davenport.
— Sports Editor Jack Lambert

Women’s Tennis: W&M 6, Marshall 1

The Tribe had a rollercoaster of a season during which it suffered heartbreak and was struck by injury, but the College’s core players always seemed to persevere and pull through.

One of the more triumphant moments came at the end of a late-season six-match home stand, when the underdog Tribe squared off against then-No. 58 Marshall.

The match seemed to start in favor of the Thundering Herd as the College’s first-team All-CAA No. 2 pair of senior Carmen Pop, who was returning from injury, and freshman Anik Cepeda and No. 3 duo of junior Lauren Sabacinski and first-team All-CAA freshman Marlen Mesgarzadeh both started off in a hole, down 7-6.

But, as the Tribe did so many times throughout the season, both pairs persevered and came back to win, clinching the doubles point for the College.

The Tribe kept up the momentum with singles straight-set wins from Mesgarzadeh, Pop and Acharya, who after defeating Marshall’s then-No. 35 Michaela Kissell, tossed her racket in celebration.

Following the match, the Tribe finished the regular season strong, eventually losing 4-3 to No. 1 seeded Virginia Commonwealth.
— Staff Writer Travis Triggs

Men’s Basketball: W&M 59, VCU 81

In a year that witnessed the College’s results elevate it to previously unseen relevance on a national scale, it was a blowout loss 40 minutes up the road in Richmond that drove home the inimitability of the 2010 season. The Tribe entered a sold-out Siegel Center at 14-3 and second in the national RPI, sitting atop the CAA at 6-1 in conference. Waiting for it was Virginia Commonwealth, and it was the Rams and their home fans that were nervous.

VCU needed the win badly, and it got it. Beyond a barrage of three-pointers, the Rams sprinted away from the Tribe in the second half, posting an 81-59 victory. But along the way, the College experienced something it has been granted few times before in its inauspicious history — respect.

VCU fans and players were energized, enraptured by a win that most years would have been a gimme. With about five minutes remaining, VCU’s center, Larry Sanders, walked to midcourt and began waving his arms, whipping the crowd into a frenzy.

That image of Sanders affording the Tribe the utmost deference is one that any Tribe fans in attendance that evening will remember for a long time to come.
— Managing Editor Matt Poms

MALE ATHLETE OF THE YEAR: ANDREW HOXIE
Senior, Men’s soccer
After being inactive for the majority of his junior season, senior Andrew Hoxie returned to the field for the Tribe and made up for lost time.

Hoxie paced the CAA in goals (10), assists (12) and points (32). He also ranked third nationally in assists per game and 11th in points per game, and scored at least one point in 12 of the Tribe’s 19 contests. Hoxie was named the CAA Player of the Year, and a Third-Team All-American.

Hoxie currently plays for the Rochester Rhinos of the USSF Division II Pro League.

All Flat Hat Men’s Team
Adrian Tracy (Senior, Football)
Patterson Wilhelm (Senior, Track)
Derek Gygax (Senior, Gymnastics)
Jon Grey (Senior, Track)

FEMALE ATHLETE OF THE YEAR: GRACE GOLDEN
Junior, Lacrosse
After a spectacular sophomore season, junior Grace Golden returned to the Tribe lineup poised to help the squad reach its second consecutive CAA Tournament Final.

This year, as one of the team’s core members, Golden has continued her strong play. She has led the team in scoring on numerous occasions, and is one of the College’s most consistent scoring threats. Most recently, Golden added two goals in the Tribe’s win against Old Dominion Wednesday.

Golden and the Tribe will face No. 1 James Madison in the CAA tournament May 6.

All Flat Hat Women’s Team
Tayshia Pye (Sophomore, Basketball)
Katie Radloff (Senior, Swimming)
Emily Anderson (Senior, Track)
Wesley Drew (Senior, Field Hockey)

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