Sept. 2, 2009

By Amy Farnum

‘CATS POUNCE: Wilmington University vaulted into the first regular season NSCAA Division II poll of the season at No. 9 after opening the season with a pair of victories that included an upset of then-No. 19 East Stroudsburg.

The national ranking is the highest in program history for the Wildcats since becoming members of the NCAA in 2004.  They are also the top team in the East Region rankings.  

Goaltender Ethan Kavanagh combined for nine saves on the week, allowing only a penalty kick goal against ESU, and then holding NYIT to a 2-1 score as the ‘Cats claimed the Wilmington University Invitational last weekend.  The native of Woodstown, N.J., was selected Central Atlantic Collegiate Conference Player of the Week for his contributions.

The ‘Cats will put their lofty national ranking on the line at St. Anselm College on Sept. 3, and then face their second nationally-ranked foe of the season – No. 20 Southern New Hampshire – on Sept. 5.

The University of Tampa was only able to get one of its two scheduled games in last weekend, but the Spartans still got credit for their victory over Florida Memorial on Aug. 27, and moved into the top spot in the NSCAA Division II poll for the first time since winning the NCAA title in 2001.

The Spartans were delayed two hours by weather against FMU, but it did not bother National Player of the Year candidate Pascal Milien, who netted two unassisted goals in the 2-1 win.  

Both preseason No. 1 Cal State Dominguez Hills and No. 2 Dowling lost in their opening weekends of play, giving the Spartans a chance to move up.  It is the second time since 1996 that the Spartans have been ranked first. Tampa looks to continue its winning ways at Clayton State on Sept. 4.

  Grand Canyon University freshman forward Kyle Ciliento will probably not forget his collegiate debut any time soon.  The native of Phoenix, Ariz., played a key role in the Antelopes’ 2-1 upset of defending Division II champion and top-ranked Cal State Dominguez Hills on Aug. 29.

Ciliento tallied the first goal of the game on a penalty kick, and then followed it up with the game-winner, garnering Pacific West Conference Player of the Week honors for his performance.

The victory knocked CSDH out of the NSCAA Division II poll, but the Antelopes soared to No. 22 nationally and No. 3 in the West Regional after starting the season unranked.

GCU travels to the Seawolf Classic this weekend, taking on host No. 12 Sonoma State on Sept. 5, and UC San Diego on Labor Day.

FLYING HIGH: Ashland University started the season with a pair of shutouts for the first time since 1998, while senior James Livingston provided an offensive spark for the Eagles as they swept the Shippensburg Invitational last weekend.

The Eagles downed Shippensburg, 2-0, and followed it up with a 1-0 defeat of then-No. 18 Slippery Rock, and Livingston was named Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference Player of the Week for his outstanding play.

Ashland climbed five spots to No. 19 in the latest national poll, but the Eagles’ schedule does not get any easier in the coming weeks.  The Eagles will host No. 5 Tusculum on Sept. 4, and then welcomes Notre Dame (Ohio), which is the seventh-ranked squad in the NAIA.  On Sept. 17, Northern Kentucky will visit the Eagles.