The College Sports Notebook is compiled by veteran sports writer and columnist Marc Maturo, a lifetime member of the Baseball Writers Association of America (BBWAA). The notebook will be published every Thursday. Please send items of interest to [email protected].

Pucci “iced” by concussion, plans return


Luke Houston is making an impact at Southern Connecticut State.

        This might have been the winter of discontent for Josephine Pucci of Pearl River, a world-class women’s ice hockey defenseman, but the Harvard University stalwart is staying positive during a concussion-related layoff.

“I’m taking it one day at a time,” said Pucci, who has been sidelined and out of college since August 19 after being injured while playing for a U-22 team against Canada in Calgary. “Concussions are scary, for sure, and they are getting more attention now, which is good. It’s one of those injuries you can’t tough out, but I’ve been seeing some amazing doctors. One of them is Dr. Carrick, a neurologist who is working with (NHL Penguins star) Sydney Crosby. I’ve seen him two times in Atlanta the last few months.”

Pucci has two semesters left at Harvard, but is hopeful of recovering in time to participate in the U.S. Olympic Trials in June.

“If I make the Olympic team I’ll take another semester off but still retain (collegiate) eligibility,” Pucci continued.

One benefit of not playing organized hockey for the first time in more than 16 years, notes Pucci — other than the time she broke her tibia as an eighth-grader – is the obvious change of pace, and the chance to see her sisters playing competitive hockey in college (Victoria is a freshman at Connecticut College in New London; Samantha is a sophomore at Utica).

The three sisters are, you might have guessed it, defensemen but Pucci the Senior kindly dodges the question of which one mans the position best, saying, “We all have fun playing.”

As for the path to recovery and getting back on the ice, Pucci said she is pushing the pace and exercising more, at Vision Sports Club in Pearl River.

“It feels good to feel normal, but I’m trying to get to 100 percent, spending my time focusing on getting healthy,” the former Ramapo Saints youth hockey player said. “I want to be able to work out again, and each week I’ve been able to do more. This is a huge change for me, but I have to be patient with the process. I don’t want to rush it; I want to make smart decisions. My plan is to head to Boston at the end of (this month), take a class and see how I do, get back to my old environment.”

Matt Dyer mans the rear guard at St. Lawrence University

Pucci has seen Harvard, and her sisters play a few times, but not as often as she would prefer due to a restricted travel schedule.

For anyone so inclined, Harvard puts its 11-1-1 record on the line against Princeton at 7 p.m. on Jan. 11, and then Quinnipiac at 4 p.m. on Jan. 12. Both games are at Harvard’s Alexander H. Bright Hockey Center in Boston.

Connecticut College (4-5-1) host Colby for a two-game series on Jan. 11 at 7 p.m. and Jan. 12 at 3 p.m., while Utica (5-6) meets SUNY Potsdam in a home-and-home set on Jan. 12 at Utica Memorial Auditorium and Jan. 13 in Potsdam.

Mortarboard musings

  • Senior Taylor Wilson of Pearl River poured in 17 points to match her team-leading season average as the Manhattanville College women’s basketball team defeated visiting Old Westbury, 79-66, at Kennedy Gymnasium in Purchase. The Valiants (7-4) meet Wilkes University in Wilkes-Barre, Pa., at 1 p.m. on Jan 12, and then host Delaware Valley College (6-6) at 6 p.m. on Jan. 16.
  • The Dominican College men’s basketball team (12-2), which stayed unbeaten in the Central Atlantic Collegiate Conference (CACC) following a 72-68 overtime win against Wilmington University in New Castle, Del., visits Bloomfield (N.J.) College on Jan. 15 at 8 p.m.
  • Sophomore LaShonda Hathorne  of Queens led three Lady Chargers in double figures with 17 points and KC Jentzen of Pearl River netted 13 points and six rebounds as the Dominican College women’s basketball team defeated the visiting Deacons of Bloomfield College, 59-52, in a Central Atlantic Collegiate Conference (CACC) game at the Hennessy Center in Orangeburg. Dominican, which improved to 8-5 overall and 5-1 in the conference, has a rematch with Bloomfield in New Jersey on Jan. 15 at 6 p.m.
  • Alaina Walker of Pomona was sidelined with an injury as the St. Bonaventure University women’s basketball team fell to 7-8 following a 61-42 loss to the powerful Green Bay Phoenix (10-2) in Green Bay, Wis. The Bonnies return home on Jan. 13 to host Temple in their Atlantic 10 opener. Tip-off is set for 1 p.m. as St. Bonaventure begins defense of its regular-season championship.
  • Sophomore forward Matt Willows of Congers has three assists in eight games for the University of New Hampshire hockey team. The Wildcats, riding high at 13-3-2, visit equally impressive Boston College (12-3-2) at 7 p.m. on Jan. 11, and then host the Eagles at 7 p.m. on Jan. 12.
  • The team of freshman Scott Mader of Suffern, Scott Matchett of Rochester, and Ryan Brennan and Scott Farrell, both of Buffalo, placed fourth in the 400 medley relay in a time of 3:41.31 as the Rochester Institute of Technology finished fourth out of eight teams at the Liberty League Swimming and Diving Championships hosted by RIT at Judson Pool. The Tigers, unbeaten in five dual meets, host SUNY Geneseo on Jan. 18-19 at Judson Pool. Competition starts at 6 p.m. on Jan. 18, with action picking up on Jan. 19 at 10 a.m.
  • The U.S. Military Academy men’s hockey team, coming off a split at home against nationally ranked Robert Morris, will be in Colorado Springs, Colo., on Jan. 11 and 12 to take on Air Force. The game on Jan. 12  will be broadcast live on CBS Sports Network and will face-off at 3 p.m. Eastern Time. The Cadets defeated Robert Morris, 5-0, in a game televised live on the CBS Sports Network, with freshman forward R.J. Burns of Pearl River registering his fourth and fifth assists of the season. Robert Morris rebounded the next night with a 4-1 victory.
Russell Vignali, center, holds championship trophy

· Distance specialists Evan Ward of Suffern, a freshman, and Russell Vignali of Congers, a senior, are expected to be in action on Jan. 12 when the Lehigh University track and field team visits West Point for a Quad Meet against host Army, Monmouth and Rider. On Jan. 19, Lehigh hosts the Angry Birds Invitational at the Rauch Fieldhouse in Bethlehem, Pa. Competition starts at 10 a.m. Vignali, a 2010 graduate of Clarkstwon North HS, is coming off an outstanding cross-country season in which he helped lead the Mountain Hawks to the program’s first Patriot League title. Vignali, a member of the dean’s list and the Patriot League’s academic honor roll, has competed in cross country and track since his freshman year.

· Senior defenseman Matt Dyer of Suffern has played in 10 games for the hockey team at St. Lawrence University, which hosts Yale University on Jan. 11 at 7 p.m. at Appleton Arena in Canton. St. Lawrence stays home on Jan. 12, meeting Brown at 7 p.m., and then visits Clarkson in Potsdam at 7 p.m. on Jan. 19.

· Sophomore Greg Hazell of Airmont is a multiple threat in jumps, hurdles and decathlon for the Sacred Heart University track and field team. The Big Red, based in Fairfield, Conn., will compete at the 31st. Yale University Intercollegiate Classic at 9 a.m. on Jan. 12 in New Haven, Conn. Sacred Heart then visits Boston University on Jan. 17 at 5 p.m. for a Quad Meet that also includes Boston College and UMass.

· Rider University visits West Point on Jan. 12 to compete in a Quad Track and Field Meet with host Army, Monmouth and Lehigh. Nick Weiss of Nanuet and Nicole Tassello of Suffern compete for the Broncs. Weiss, a junior, is a thrower while Tassello, a senior, is a distance specialist.

· Sophomore guard Tavon Sledge of Spring Valley dished off a game-high eight assists, and scored six points as the Iona College men’s basketball team defeated visiting Manhattan College, 78-70. The Gaels (9-6, 3-1 MAAC) visit Marist College in Poughkeepsie at 7 p.m. on Jan. 10, and then return home to New Rochelle at 2 p.m. on Jan. 13 to host Canisius

· The Nyack College men’s and women’s basketball teams hope to bounce back from losses when they visit Concordia College in Bronxville on Jan. 12 for a doubleheader that opens with the women’s game at 1 p.m. The Warriors again take part in a twinbill on Jan. 15 at Felician College in Lodi, N.J., with the opening game set for 6 p.m.

· Luke Houstonof Pearl River, a sophomore guard, is leading the University of Southern Connecticut basketball team with 19 steals, while scoring eight points a game and handing out 20 assists. The Owls (7-4) visit UMass in Lowell at 4 p.m. on Jan. 12, and then travel to Colchester, Vt., on Jan. 15 to challenge Saint Michael’s College.

Josephine Pucci of Pearl River is on the road to recovery

This & That

  • With sincere thanks to Tom Doherty, a longtime county sports historian, we learn that legendary North Rockland HS football coach Ralph Cordisco celebrated his 94th birthday at the Sunrise Senior Living Center in New City. Born and raised in Haverstraw, Cordisco was a member of Haverstraw’s first football team in 1933, and later graduated from Syracuse University after earning three varsity letters. A World War II, Coast Guard veteran, Cordisco compiled a record of 123 wins, 50 losses and 8 ties, while winning five outright Rockland titles and two co-championships. Doherty notes that Cordisco can be reached 845-826-2108.
  • The annual Rockland Community College Sports Hall of Fame banquet is scheduled Jan. 19 at the Italian-American Club in West Haverstraw beginning at 7 p.m.  $50 per person. Inductees include Coach Emil Willis, Tim O’Brien and Chris Lemonis. In addition, Fred Greenberg will be receiving the Service Award. Cost is $50 per person. For information contact the athletic office at 845-574-4452.
  • Business and community leaders will convene at a Sparkill Community Meeting on Jan. 22 at 7 p.m. at the Union Arts Center at 2 Union Avenue in Sparkill. It is hoped that a priority list will be forged regarding a variety of issues affecting the local community.
  • The Rockland Boulders of the Can-Am League will be holding a job and internship fair on Jan. 10 from 6 p.m. until 9 p.m. and  also on Jan. 13 from 11 a.m. until 2 p.m. at Provident Bank  Park in Pomona. Members of the Boulders front office will be accepting resumes and applications for spring and summer positions, as well as, holding short introductory interviews. Full-time positions available include Account Executives for selling tickets, a Corporate Sales position, Retail Merchandise Coordinator, and In-Game Entertainment Coordinator. Details are at
  • McEwan rolls into World Cup
  • Danielle McEwan of Stony Point is bound for the QubicaAMF World Cup in South Africa in November.
  • McEwan, a North Rockland HS alumna, advanced by defeating top-
    seeded Diandra Asbaty, 267-194, in the in the championship match of the Team USA Trials in Henderson, Nev.
  • McEwan, the No. 2 seed, opened the game with seven consecutive strikes in winning the title for the second straight year.
  • Tappan Zee graduate Jackie Carbonetto of Blauvelt, who was second going into the final qualifying round, struggled at the start and places seventh out of 85 of the top female bowlers in the country.
  • McEwan has qualified for Team USA, and Carbonetto remains in the running to be selected.

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