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Adrienne Bender is one of the top goal scorers in Division III but she does more than just score points for the Colby-Sawyer womenâs soccer team.
Bender, from Wakefield (South Kingstown High), has three goals and an assist, including a game-winner, thus far for the 5-1 Chargers. She scored 28 goals the past two seasons and stands fourth on the schoolâs career list with 87 points. She was named North Atlantic Conference Player of the Week after scoring two goals in a 5-1 victory over Norwich and picking up an assist in a 3-0 triumph over Mount Holyoke.
âThe NAC award is given to a player that makes large contributions to their team,â coach Meghan Medbery said. âAdrienne is always one of those players who make a large contribution to our team. She is a tremendously hard worker and pushes herself harder each time she steps on the field.â
Bender came to preseason camp ready to play.
âShe came back in unbelievable shape and has put a lot of time in the gym during the season,â Medbery said. âShe is a tremendous athlete, but probably even more extraordinary is her personality and work ethic through all areas of her college career.â
Bender is also a key performer on the Colby-Sawyer womenâs lacrosse team in the spring.
LINK LEADS THE WAY
Senior Paul Link is a key performer with the Sacred Heart football team. Link, a 6-foot-3, 308-pounder from East Greenwich (Bishop Hendricken) plays left guard on offense for the Pioneers, who are 3-0 to start the season and have scored 108 points. They are averaging 456 yards in total offense with 306.0 coming from the running game.
âI couldnât be happier for Paul,â head coach Mark Nofri said. âHe is one of the hardest working players on the team. He was voted captain by his peers and he works hard on the field, in the weight room and in the class room.â
Kevin Bolis, the teamâs offensive coordinator and offensive line coach, feels that Link means a great deal to the team.
âHe is a true leader in every sense of the word,â Bolis said. âHe handles adversity incredibly well which is something the staff talks about all the time. Heâs improved tremendously not just since his freshman year but since last year as well. He understands the offense and has outstanding footwork in both the ground game and the passing attack.â
SILVA TRAINED WELL
Sophomore Jordan Silva is off to a great start running with the Wheaton, MA womenâs cross country team. Silva, from North Kingstown (North Kingstown High) was named New England Womenâs and Menâs Athletic Conference Female Runner of the Week after finishing third out of 131 runners in the Roger Williams Invitational with a 3.1 mile time of 20:00.12. She also captured the Fens Classic with a two mile time of 12:31.
âJordan is coming off a great summer of training,â coach Kim Spence said. âHer hard work and drive set her up for a very successful track season and she came to campus determined as ever to continue to improve. Her time at Roger Williams bettered her personal record at Colt State Park by 58 seconds.â
Last spring, Silva was named NEWMAC Runner of the Year for her efforts in the 10k.
Silva and the Lyons return to action at the UMass Dartmouth Invitational.
KELLEY DOING THE JOB
Senior Allison Kelley of Coventry (La Salle Academy) is performing at midfield for the Central Connecticut womenâs soccer team. She has started all six games for the 1-5 Blue Devils and picked up an assist on the first goal in a 2-1 victory over Siena. She entered the season with nine career goals and 11 career assists.
âAlly has developed into an outstanding attacking center midfielder,â coach Mick DâArcy said. âShe has tremendous vision on the ball and works tirelessly off the ball.â
The coach feels that Kelleyâs leadership skills have really come to the fore.
âAlly is a great role model for our younger players,â he said. âIâm excited to see what she can do in her senior year.â
GREAT START FOR FAZIO
Benjamin Fazio has kick-started his career competing with the Rensselaer Poly menâs cross country team this fall. Fazio, from East Greenwich (East Greenwich High), finished second in the season opener, the Hamilton Shootout, with a 6k time of 19:17.2. He came back to finish first in the RPI Invitational last weekend in Saratoga Springs, NY. His time was 15:43.5 over the 3.04 mile course.
âI asked Ben to take control of the freshmen on the team in our home opener since I was training our top returners,â coach John Lynch said. âIn the race, he took control early and steadily pulled away over the whole race. He looked smooth the whole time despite the high humidity and heat and he ran with the confidence of a senior.â
Lynch feels that Fazio has adjusted well with being on campus away from home and adjusting to RPIâs training system.
âI think Ben has a bright future ahead,â the coach said. âHis discipline and focus have been great so far and if that continues to drive him through the season he will continue to improve and help our team reach its goals.â
Fazio and the Engineers return to Saratoga Springs this Saturday to compete in the Skidmore Invitational.
NAHIGAN COMING ON
Sophomore Alyssa Nahigan of Coventry (Coventry High) is doing a solid job as a member of the Lasell womenâs volleyball team. The 5-foot-5 setter has a 176 assists to go along with 67 digs, 16 kills and nine blocks. She had 23 assists and 12 digs in a 3-0 victory over Wentworth and 26 assists and 10 digs in a 3-0 triumph over Regis.
âAlyssa is coming of age,â coach Mary Tom said. âShe was good last year but is even better this year. She is starting to grow as the primary setter and has really focused on the strategic aspect of the game.â
The coach feels that one part of Nahiganâs game goes unnoticed.
âAlyssaâs vertical (jump) is one of her strong points,â Tom said. âAt 5-feet-5, this makes her blocking formidable against some of the stronger outside hitters that we have encountered. And, she continues to amaze me with her work ethic. She is the first one on the court for every practice.â
TURNER MAKES TRANSITION
The Becker womenâs volleyball team is 0-7 to start the season but not because of the play of freshman Marissa Turner. Turner, from Coventry (Coventry High), leads the team in kills (41), blocks (25) and points scored (66.5) and has 34 digs and seven service aces.
âMarissa has transitioned well from high school to the college pace,â coach Rachel Pinak said. âShe gives a lot of heart and hustle â 100 percent in every game. She is a good role model for the other freshmen.â
The coach feels that Turner will not only be a standout player but a strong leader down the road.
âMarissa is aggressive, although soft spoken, and I could see her as being a stat leader in the league (Great Northeast Athletic Conference) and even make all conference.â
NEW JOB FOR DOLCE
Victoria Dolce is in her fourth season starting for the UMass Dartmouth field hockey team but the senior captain from Jamestown (North Kingstown High) is playing a new spot this season.
âOur sweeper graduated and after being a starter on defense weâve moved Tory to that spot this season,â coach Nicki Maher said. âTory is confident, reliable and surely the player you want with the ball when the game is on the line.â
The Corsairs are 2-2 in the early going and Dolce has a goal and two assists for four points. Sheâs also recorded a defensive save.
âTory is one of the smartest and most poised players I have ever coach and Iâm excited to see whatâs in store for her throughout her senior season,â Maher said.