La Salle Men’s Basketball Week In Review 12/6/22

Sports

Nicholas Signoretta, Editor

Courtesy of doms.pov

La Salle University Men’s Basketball had a decent rebound week to kick off their post-Thanksgiving stretch.  After a tough trip two weeks ago in the Jamaica Classic, the Explorers got the benefit of staying home in the City Of Brotherly Love for all three of their most recent contests. 

The Explorers opened the week with a home contest at the ever-cozy Tom Gola Arena against the Binghamton Bearcats on Saturday, Nov. 26th.  A narrow 65-62 victory almost slipped through the Explorers’ grasp as the Bearcats rallied back from multiple second-half deficits to take a lead with just under five minutes to play.  Luckily, the boys from 20th and Olney rallied to bring home that sweet Thanksgiving break W. 

The next contest the Explorers played was at the pinnacle of all Philadelphia basketball venues, the Palestra.  In the first leg of a Philly Big 5 doubleheader, the Explorers tipped off against the second best university north of Market Street, the Temple Owls.  While Temple may be a subpar university off the court, the Owls were the dominant squad on the hardwood.  Temple guard Khalif Battle had a big night at the Cathedral of Basketball, leading all scorers with 22 points and guiding his squad to a 67-51 victory.  The Explorers had a lead with under nine minutes left in the game, but Fran Dunphy’s first game back against his former employer was spoiled as La Salle was outscored 28-7 down the stretch, and the Owls improved their record against the Explorers to 25-7 this millennium.

La Salle closed out the weekend with another game at the Palestra.  Their foe was a Big 5 team that also formerly employed Coach Dunphy, the Penn Quakers.  Despite the Quakers’ home court advantage, that subpar excuse for a basketball team was no match for the mighty Explorers, led by guards Anwar Gill and Jhamir Brickus, who dropped career highs of 26 and 25 points, respectively.  Penn guard Jordan Dingle(berry) scored a career high 37 points, including a three point heave at the buzzer to send the game to overtime, but the Quakers never had a chance to top the overpowering force of the Explorers.

Courtesy of shotsbycornely

With those three games in the books, La Salle now sits at a nice and even 4-4.  Home matchups against the Bucknell Bison (6-3) on Tuesday, Dec. 6th, and the Drexel Dragons (4-5) on Saturday, Dec.10th, await the Explorers.  With the rest of the out of conference slate looking rather winnable besides an away date with the Cincinnati Bearcats (6-3) on Saturday, Dec. 17th, La Salle has a solid chance to enter conference play with a winning record and a reason to exist come mid-February.  Quite the ask.

Women’s soccer team dehorns Fordham

Sports

Enrique Carrasco, Editor

Courtesy of La Salle Women’s Soccer

On Sun. Oct 9, the Lasalle Explorers women’s soccer team faced off against the Fordham Rams. The Explorers came into the game 6-6-1 in the season (1-4 in conference play), while the Rams came in with a record of 4-7-1 (3-1-1 in conference play). The Explorers’ early success in the season came to a halt midway through the season, grinding their momentum to a screeching halt. This is the first win over The Explorers fell into a mid-season slump, drawing and losing essential games. After a loss to Duquesne, the Explorers were put into a “do or die ” situation if they wanted any sort of shot at a postseason run. Luckily for the Explorers, that is just what they got with this win.

The game was off to a quick start, with both sides trading shots and attempts at goals. Despite this, no team was able to find the back of the net. It was not until the 34th minute that Junior midfielder Kelli McGroarty was able to get the ball past the goalkeeper from 25 yards out, putting the Explorers up 1-0. This goal sparked momentum within McGroarty, as 5 minutes after, she was able to take the ball from the Fordham defender and was able to find the back of the net in the 38th minute, putting the Explorers up 2-0. Not even 3 minutes later, McGroarty was able to complete her hat trick after a pass into the box came from Sophomore midfielder Sunni DiElmo which McGroarty was able to strike into the net, putting the Explorers up 3-0. McGroarty’s hat trick happened in a span of six minutes and 54 seconds. The Explorers outshot the Rams 11-4 in the first half. The Explorers went into halftime leading 3-0. 

The second half of the game was much slower than the first, with only a few shots being exchanged between both teams. In the 53rd minute,  Sophomore midfielder Gabby Picco drew a yellow card after a personal foul on the rams, and in the 72nd minute, a Fordham player drew the first yellow card for her team after a personal foul. The game continued like this until the 80th minute, after a Ram midfielder drew the first goal of the game for the Rams, putting them at a 3-1 disadvantage. The Explorer’s defense would continue to stop the Rams, only allowing them to get off 6 shots in the half, while the Explorers shot seven times. The Explorers outshot the Rams 18-10 in the game. 

Courtesy of Go Explorers

In a post-game interview, the player of the match, Kelli McGroarty, stated, “This win is definitely momentum. We dropped the ball halfway through the season. There were a couple of games early on that we probably should have won, but this game put us back on track. Unfortunately, we have to win out from now on, so this is definitely a helpful game to move us forward in the conference.” Regarding the fact that the team must win from here on out, McGroarty stated, “Our situation is what we call ‘do or die.’ It’s not the situation we want to be in because we’d rather have some wiggle room. We’re in an alright situation right now, we don’t have to rely on other teams [winning or losing], which is good. Also, if you look at the standings and the schedule we have left, we should win, and that should help boost us up in the ranking. This means we potentially have an excellent chance of making the playoffs.”

When asked about the playoffs and their chances of making a long playoff run, McGroarty stated, “We’ve been manifesting A-10s since last year; as soon as the season ended, we were saying it. I think that the chances of us winning are still high. I think our hardest game would be St. Louis, if we make it to the finals, it would probably be us against them, and the game would probably be away, which is good because we do better on the road. Essentially, we have very good hopes.” McGroarty’s hat trick during this game was her first-ever hat trick, and the excitement within McGroarty was palpable. When asked how this is going to influence her, McGroarty stated, “It was a pretty cool feeling. The first goal had fallen down, and when I saw it go in, I just put my head down, and I remember saying, ‘thank God. I have been in a sort of drought since the beginning of the season. I had a few early on, but then I kind of stopped, so it was a nice little pick-me-up. But also, it just proved that when we take shots, they go in, which is something we have been working on as a team [attacking overall]. So, we also did really well with that, we had 11 shots in the first half, and they only had four. That’s a big statement as to why we had so many goals this game.” When asked about the rest of the season, she stated, “the rest of the season looks good. The cards are on our table. We need to win. But you know, things can go south all the time, we had a game where we were up 1-0, and we lost 4-1 (referring to their loss against St. Louis), Everything can change in an instant, so we just have to keep rolling and keep putting balls in the back of the net and let them do it as much. We do that, and we’ll keep winning games.” McGroarty credits the team’s toughness, hard work, and determination to their success thus far and will work towards improving their standings. 

The Explorers will travel to Richmond for their next in-conference game of the season. 

Field Hockey defeats Rider at home

Sports

Enrique Carrasco, Editor


Courtesy of Sean Cornely

On Sunday, Sept. 11, the Explorers faced off against the Rider Broncs for their home opener game. The Explorers came into the game on a 3-game losing streak and were looking to end the streak with a win at home. The game was off to a slow start in the first quarter, where the defense stole the show on both sides of the ball. The quarter ended with only two shots, both of which came from the Explorers. The Explorers seemed to pick up the pace during the second quarter, where they not only doubled their shots but also managed to come away with their first goal of the contest at the 28th minute. The goal came after a corner pass from Junior forward Tatum Johnson to Sophomore Defender Sofia Pla, who then got the shot off, but the ball ricocheted off of the goal post. Freshman defender Malena Balduzzi then recovered the shot, but it was blocked by the goalkeeper. Johnson was able to scoop up the rebound and get the ball past the goalkeeper, putting the Explorers up 1-0 before the end of the half.
The Explorers seemed to carry the momentum through halftime as they came out of the break full of energy and drive.  The second goal of the contest came from yet another corner, where Johnson passed the ball to Pla, who was able to rip a shot and give the Explorers a two-goal advantage over the Broncs. It wasn’t until the end of the last quarter that Pla once again took a shot on goal after a pass from the corner, although the shot was saved by the Broncs’ goalkeeper, Junior Forward Paige Doyle was able to capture the rebound and put the ball past the keeper, putting the explorers up 3-0 at the end of the game. 

In an interview after the game, Sophomore Sofia Pla stated, “I was excited [after the win]; I felt like we needed that win more than anything.” The Explorers went on a 3-game losing streak prior to this win,  giving them a 2-3 record. Thanks to this win against the Broncs, the Explorers improved their record to 3-3. In regard to this, Pla stated, “Winning at home, having everyone staying despite the rain made it great… I feel like the team felt happy to see the hard work we had been putting into practice actually work. We came from three consecutive hard losses, so winning as we won on Sunday was a great way of ending the bad streak. The team felt good and comfortable at home, we managed to capitalize out of APC’s [Attack penalty corner], and we got our three goals out of it.”

The Explorer’s victory over the Broncs marks their first win over them since 2018. The Explorers advanced to a 5-win and 10-loss record against the Broncs, with this win being the highest margin of victory for the Explorers over the Broncs. Next up, the explorers will travel to Lock Haven for their first conference game of the season. 

The difference between $300 and $600k

Commentary

Elizabeth McLaughlin, Editor

Header image: collegeconsensus.com

La Salle’s highest-paid employee doesn’t even work here anymore. In the spring of 2018, La Salle fired Dr. John Giannini, the former head coach of the men’s basketball team. Still, thanks to the fine print in his contract, La Salle has been paying his salary each year since his dismissal. According to the university’s IRS 990 form from 2020, he was paid at least $603,217, not including “other compensation.”

And on Jan. 7 of this year, La Salle charged a late fee to my account, clocking in at $150. And, of course, they had to charge me interest on that late fee, to the tune of $10.88. Fast forward to Feb. 7 — I was charged yet another late fee (+ interest). Dear La Salle: if I wasn’t able to make the base payment without any late fees back in January, what makes you think I’m suddenly in the financial position to shell out an additional (and I believe arbitrarily-determined) $321.76?

For brevity and simplicity, let’s round that out to $300. $300 in my pocket goes toward groceries and bills and occasionally funding my small business. But my two main concerns as a college student right now are food and shelter. And La Salle’s biggest expense is… paying someone they fired four years ago? It doesn’t match up.

At this point, perhaps you’re thinking, “Liz, do you have a job?” Yes, I did, in admissions. And then the university laid me off at the start of my senior year. Something about “not having it in the budget.” I’m glad Giannini is in the budget, though! Especially given La Salle’s dwindling admissions numbers, it is of the utmost importance that we lay off our student recruiters, right? Wrong. It’s no secret that La Salle is struggling, from both a financial perspective as well as an admissions perspective. So this is my question to the university: how do you justify laying off your budget workers — all of whom are very effective recruiters — while still wasting money elsewhere? I’m not a lawyer, I can’t pretend that I know the terms of Giannini’s contract — but has the university even explored getting out of it somehow? Or, did the university maybe consider not firing him back in 2018…at least get some labor out of him if you’re going to have to pay him regardless? Or was the performance of the basketball team the most important criteria in their decision-making?

I don’t know how the university makes its decisions, but I can say that after nearly four years here, I do know that they prioritize two key areas: its men’s basketball team and its business school. Everything else, I’ve learned, isn’t nearly as important as those two stalwarts. This isn’t an article interested in slandering the business school. Given the high job placement rates that come out of Founders’ Hall, La Salle is getting a really high return on investment on that front. My qualms lie with the team whose record is 40-65 (.381) since coach Ashley Howard was brought on.

My motivation for writing this article didn’t grow out of my personal, unique frustration with the university’s financial decisions; it grew out of the collective. All of my peers are beyond frustrated with the manners in which La Salle goes about squeezing money out of its students, only to turn around and spend it in foolish ways. If the basketball program was better, maybe this would be a different article, or maybe it wouldn’t even be written at all.

But, the fact of the matter is this: Giannini gets $600k while La Salle’s own students struggle to make ends meet. A man who hasn’t worked here for four years gets a yearly salary while student workers get laid off. La Salle’s admission numbers continue to drop to alarmingly low levels while the university focuses its efforts on a team with a bad record. Perhaps the worst part? My peers reading this article lose more and more faith each day in their university to make sound financial decisions. I love La Salle; I always have and always will. But allowing students to lose confidence in the very institution to which they entrust not only their education but also the trajectories of their careers is bad policy. And it doesn’t take a finance major to know that paying Giannini without receiving any services from him is bad practice; it’s bad for the financial statements and even worse for student morale.

Luckily, Financial Aid was able to waive one of my two late fees. I’m still trying to come up with the extra $160 that would otherwise go toward PECO, PGW or rent. I’ll figure it out. I just hope La Salle does, too.

Women’s Basketball comes away with win during homecoming 

Sports

Alina Snopkowski, Editor

La Salle Women’s Basketball

On Saturday, Nov. 13, the La Salle women’s basketball team defeated Rider 67 – 58 in overtime. This Homecoming-weekend win is the first win for the women’s team this season after their close loss last week to Coppin State in their first game of the season. This was the seventh time that the Explorers faced the Broncs at Tom Gola Arena. This is the first time that the Explorers have beaten the Broncs at home since 2010.

The first quarter started off strong for the Explorers as they scored twice as many points as the Broncs, ending the quarter with a score of 20 – 10. Unlike the men’s team last week, the women’s team managed to sink nearly all of their free throws which put them at a significant advantage over the Broncs. Although Rider tried to catch up in the second quarter and managed to score another 10 points, the halftime score was 38 – 20 in favor of La Salle. After the third quarter, however, Rider had begun to catch up, closing the gap to just four points — 42 – 38. Rider still wasn’t done putting up a fight, and at the end of the fourth quarter, both teams had scored 50 points, and overtime began.

The Explorers began overtime with three consecutive three-pointers scored by juniors Jordon Lewis and Amy Jacobs and sophomore Jaye Haynes. Rider scored eight points, but La Salle scored more than double that, and the final score was 67 – 58.

Haynes scored 19 points throughout the game and senior Kayla Spruill scored 16 and earned 17 rebounds, her career record.

The women’s game wasn’t as full as the men’s game later in the day, but the Explorers’ community still showed up in full force to support their team.

The women’s team will be playing their next game against the Drexel dragons tonight, Wednesday, Nov. 17, at 7 p.m. at Drexel.

Save La Salle Baseball

Commentary

Commentary Staff

Header image: goexplorers.com

It was one of those “where were you?” moments.

I was in my living room, checking my email, when that message from President Colleen Hanycz popped up into the top of my inbox. It was paragraph upon paragraph of fluff, with the University doing their best to soften the blow that was buried further along in the email. But can you really sugarcoat announcing that seven of the university’s athletics programs would be terminated after this school year?

The most shocking program on that list, at least for myself, was baseball. To my knowledge, as someone who knows quite a bit about La Salle sports, baseball had always done fairly well. They seemed like one of the most popular sports at the University, their athletes some of the most well-known around campus. There were some sports on the list that were understandable…but baseball? Really?

None of the teams were given a chance to fundraise for themselves before the announcement came out, which is an issue in and of itself. This piece is not trying to suggest that baseball is somehow more deserving of being saved than any of the other sports that are being cut, but their performance this season is really leaving La Salle with egg on its face.

Let’s start with their record: 20-11 overall, 6-2 in the A10. It’s close to being the best record at this point in the season, and has included some truly spectacular games, comebacks that left fans on the edges of their seats, absolute dominance over opponents (e.g. the 22-2 victory over Penn earlier this month) and players wearing their hearts on their sleeves. They’ve been vocal about how hard they’re willing to fight to keep their program alive, but it’s not stated more loudly than in how they play.

Freshman pitcher Frank Elissalt could easily throw in the towel and not care about how he pitches. What’s the point, right? But he does the exact opposite. He’s now earned Atlantic 10 Rookie of the Week four times, along with earning Pitcher of the Week twice.

Junior catcher Tatem Levins has options outside of La Salle. He doesn’t need to show up in the batter’s box and behind the plate the way that he does, but he has not let up in his incredible and consistent performances.

There are plenty more individuals that could be named here (Elijah Dickerson, Ryan Guckin, Nick Di Vietro, Connor Coolahan, etc.) and that should tell you something. These players don’t have a certain future at La Salle. They chose to come here to play the sport they love and represent the University with everything they’ve got, only to be blindsided by a program slashing that was purely driven by financial interest with little to no regard for the welfare of the student-athletes it would be affecting. Shouldn’t it tell you something, President Hanycz, that even though you and the University turned your back on these players, they’ve still fought tooth and nail and put their blood, sweat and tears into ensuring that La Salle is currently sitting at the top of the A10?

Legendary soccer defender Tony Adams once said, “Play for the name on the front of the shirt and they’ll remember the name on the back.” That’s what this current La Salle baseball team is doing. The University’s name will be attached to whatever accolades they collect this season, but as a community, we’ll remember the individual players that didn’t let their team be taken away from them without an admirable fight. Whether or not the team is able to be saved, this particular team won’t be lost in the shuffle of decades of iconic baseball squads.

Forget Hank DeVincent. No matter what, the names of these current players will be the ones permanently etched in the earth between McCarthy Stadium and St. Basil’s.

La Salle TV’s SportsLine Picked Up On ESPN

Foolegian

Tyler Small, Staff

Well, folks, it’s finally happened! The only show worth watching on La Salle TV is moving to the big time. ESPN recently announced that SportsLine, which brings you all of your news regarding La Salle sports every Thursday (and sometimes Wednesdays) at around 8:00 p.m. on YouTube and the LTV Instagram, will be covering NCAA happenings in a national broadcasting slot.

SportsLine, hosted by the absolutely radiant, charismatic, and enchanting Siobhan Nolan and some guy named, like, Timothy or Theodore or Tobias or something, has been orchestrating this deal since the beginning of the semester. Studio manager Tonya Ellis revealed that ESPN expressed rampant interest after seeing the abundant broadcasting talents of Nolan, who made her debut as a fixture on SportsLine at the beginning of it’s 23rd season.

“They saw how engaging and captivating she was, and were amazed at how interesting she made the show even when we were completely remote,” Ellis said. “[ESPN CEO] James Pitaro called me personally and said, ‘We need to take this show to the next level. Every college sports fan needs to have SportsLine in their life.’”

Pitaro originally wanted Nolan to host the show by herself, but she refused to film the show without her counterpart.

“Tyler is just as important to the show as I am,” Nolan told The Collegian. “He talks about the boring, nerdy stuff like stats and numbers. It makes us sound more legit and like we don’t actually plagiarize our recaps from GoExplorers.com. He’s essential to this operation.”

The show’s other producers — the ethereal Jamie Smith, the steadfast Myles Williams, and big baller senior producer Isaiah Clark — will continue their work on the show, meaning that SportsLine, ever the innovators, will manage an elaborate national broadcast with literally just five people putting the show together.

The first episode of SportsLine will be airing this Thursday, with a projected audience of 328.2 million people tuning in.