2017 FMCC Fall Sports Preview: Raiders Ready

PHOTOGRAPHER:
Fulton-Montgomery Community College’s Travis Geniti runs during the SUNY Poly Short Course invitational on Saturday in Utica. (Photo submitted)

JOHNSTOWN — The fall season kicked off last weekend at Fulton-Montgomery Community College.

The men’s soccer, women’s volleyball and men’s and women’s cross-country team all had solid starts to their 2017 campaigns.

The men’s soccer team posted a win over Onondaga Community College, the volleyball team was second at the Jefferson Invitational, and the cross-country teams began their second season at the SUNY Poly Short Course Invitational.

All three teams are looking to build on last season’s efforts.

Volleyball

After going 20-2 in 2016, the FMCC women’s volleyball team will look to replace several key contributors from a team that won the Mountain Valley Conference title and placed second in the Region III Tournament,

“We lost four players that will be very hard to replace,” said FMCC coach Rachael Salvione, who was named Region III coach of the Year in 2016.

That group included Jenna Putnam, Brittany Orminski, Emily Orminski and Miranda Nethaway.

Putnam was named first-team all-region last season, while Nethaway was named to the second team.

Looking to help fill the void will be Megan Ryder, Gabby Smith and Bri Eagan, who all were part of last year’s team.

“We have three returners that will lead our squad this year,” Salvione said.

Ryder, a sophomore outside hitter, had 95 kills last season, 152 digs and 33 blocks, while Smith, a sophomore setter, had 464 assists. Eagan, a sophomore middle hitter, had 182 kills and 77 blocks for the Lady Raiders last season.

New to the FMCC roster this season are freshmen Bri Port (middle hitter), Aspen Darling (outside hitter), Raina Danylak (outside hitter) and Kendall Sweeney (defensive specialist), as well as sophomore defensive specialist Julie Hampton.

“We have been working a lot on communication and building trust in each other.  We have a lot of new players and we are looking to the returners to lead the way,” Salvione said. “This is a rebuilding year for the Lady Raiders.

After placing second in its season-opening tournament, FMCC will travel to Erie Community College in Buffalo on Saturday for pod play.

“We are off to a great start this season; I am very pleased with their level of play this past weekend,” Salvione said. “It’s nice to see the hard work from three weeks of pre-season pay off. We will focus on our areas that need improvement and get ready for our next match.”

Men’s Soccer

Like the women’s volleyball team, the FMCC men’s soccer team qualified for postseason play in 2016.

The Raiders went 6-8-1 overall and earned a regional tournament spot.

“The boys have been working hard and as usual our region is going to be a difficult ride. We have been lucky enough to avoid major injuries, so I am hopeful we will start off the season a bit better than last year,” FMCC coach Cory Leggiero. “This year’s team as has a lot of first year players that we will be asking to take on major roles. We lost some key players from last year that helped turn this program around.”

Gone from last year’s team are Justin Marek (6 goals, 8 assists, Hugues Kouassi (7 goals, 5 assists), Justin Estramera (4 goals, 2 assists) and Joseph Perez, who was named Mountain Valley Conference Goalie of the Year.

Despite the losses, the Raiders also return several key players.

That group includes Aiden VanLoan, Austin Heroth and Yauza Aruza. VanLoan had 10 goals and two assists last year for FMCC, while Heroth had two goals and three assists.

Newcomers Jared Rubin, Brendan Gifford, Jefferson Jurado, Steven Asitimbay and Amir Avila also also expected to contribute this season.

Rounding out the Raiders’ roster are Robert Ward, Jack Albertin, Shane Smith, Michael Friguletto, Cameron Monks, Rami Issa, Bern Sannon, Matthew Smrtic, Andy Arias, Nick Washburn, Jared Albertin and Cameron Biche.

“Each year we have adjusted our system, Leggiero said.  We have been working on playing out of the back. That is the major difference between this year’s team compared to last. Last year we were unable to build out of our back four, but this year we are hoping to do that with some new experience.”   

 In its season opener against Onondaga, VanLoan scored twice, while Jack Albertin scored once in a 3-2 victory.

“Today may not have been the cleanest game we have played, but it says a lot when you don’t play your best and can still find a way to win,” Leggiero said. “This is a great win, but it’s just another step on the path of our goals.” 

The Raiders will travel to Hudson Valley Community College in Troy today for a 4 p.m. contest.

Cross Country

After fielding a small team in her first season as coach, Jen Hazzard had a nine-runner roster heading into the 2017 campaign.

The roster includes returnees Jonathan Knack and Jacob Mosher, who were part of the inaugural season in 2016.

“We have numbers and will actually be able to score this year instead of just participate. Jon Knack and Jake Mosher are two guys I am definitely happy to have back,” Hazzard said. “Honestly, every new member of this team will lead us to success. They all have strengths, and with some fine-tuning they will develop into great runners.”

The men’s roster also includes a group of five freshmen who are new to the program. They include Nick Ferrara, Travis Geniti, Antonio Natole, Clane Newcomer and Jay Pagayon.

The FMCC women’s roster includes freshmen Lyndsey Fiore and Mackenzie Labate.

“Our biggest strength is the heart of this team and their ability to hang on.  A coach once said to me, as a runner, ‘you have to be comfortable with being uncomfortable.’ And these guys are really good at that,” Hazzard said. “They push through the discomfort really well and you would never know it because they make it look so easy, no matter what I am super proud of my runners.”  

The men’s and women’s cross country teams opened up their 2017 season on Saturday at the SUNY Poly short course invitational. 

“Our first race went really well. We stayed in the mid-pack range, which I am happy with. Especially since it was the first race ever for a couple of them,” Hazzard said. “They now see that there is a strategy to racing; that you don’t just go out there and keep the same pace the entire time. They all see where they can improve now, and are ready to take it to the next level in practices. I see a lot of potential for growth in this team.”

FMCC’s next race will be the Wildcat Classic at SUNY Poly on Sept. 23.

FMCC Fall Sports Schedule

Tuesday, Sept. 5

Men’s Soccer

FMCC at HVCC, 4 p.m.

Saturday, Sept. 9

Men’s Soccer

FMCC at Herkimer, 1 p.m.

Women’s Volleyball

FMCC at Erie POD, 9 a.m.

Sunday, Sept. 10

Men’s Soccer

Clinton at FMCC, 1 p.m.

Wednesday, Sept. 13

Women’s Volleyball

Herkimer at FMCC, 7 p.m.

Saturday, Sept. 16

Men’s Soccer

Broome at FMCC, 3 p.m.

Women’s Volleyball

FMCC at Mohawk Valley POD

Sunday, Sept. 17

Men’s Soccer

FMCC at Jefferson, 1 p.m.

Wednesday, Sept. 20

Men’s Soccer

FMCC at TC3, 4 p.m.

Women’s Volleyball

FMCC at MVCC, 7 p.m.

Saturday, Sept. 23

Cross Country

FMCC at SUNY Poly, 10 a.m.

Women’s Volleyball

FMCC at Herkimer POD

Wednesday, Sept. 27

Men’s Soccer

MVCC at FMCC, 1 p.m.

Women’s Volleyball

Adirondack at FMCC, 7 p.m.

Saturday, Sept. 30

Cross Country

FMCC at Herkimer, 10 a.m.

Women’s Volleyball

FMCC POD, 9 a.m.

Wednesday, October 4

College Cross Country

FMCC at SUNY Delhi, 4 p.m.

Men’s Soccer

North Country at FMCC, 4 p.m.

Women’s Volleyball

North Country at FMCC, 7 p.m.

Saturday, October 7

Cross Country

FMCC at Hamilton, 11 a.m.

Men’s Soccer

FMCC at Jamestown, 2 p.m.

Sunday, October 8

Men’s Soccer

FMCC at Genesee, 1 p.m.

Wednesday, October 11

Men’s Soccer

Adirondack at FMCC, 1 p.m.

Women’s Volleyball

HVCC at FMCC, 7 p.m.

Saturday, October 14

Men’s Soccer

FMCC at Finger Lakes, 1 p.m.

Women’s Volleyball

FMCC at Niagara POD

Saturday, October 21

Cross Country

FMCC at Hamilton College, 11 a.m.

Friday, October 27

Women’s Volleyball

Region III Championships, TBA

Saturday, October 28

=Cross Country

FMCC at Region III

Championships

(Finger Lakes), TBA

Women’s Volleyball

Region III Championships

Sunday, October 29

Women’s Volleyball

Region III Championships

By Paul Wager

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