Devils to face SUNY Canton in home opener

Men’s NCAA hockey returns to Steele Hall Ice Arena for the first time this fall when Fredonia State plays host to SUNY Canton at 7 p.m. tonight.

The Blue Devils (1-1) opened their season last weekend by splitting SUNYAC road games, yet not in what most would say was the expected order. They defeated No. 8 Oswego on opening night, 3-2 in overtime, before falling 4-2 to unranked Cortland.

“We did some good things (last weekend),” Blue Devil head coach Jeff Meredith said, “and (tonight) we have to do them even better. Areas we are looking to get better at are our forecheck and our neutral zone, offensively and defensively.”

The Fredonia State special teams were heard from last weekend. In addition to scoring a power-play goal in each game, the Blue Devils killed all five penalties against them.

“While you look at 5-for-5 as good,” Meredith said, “there are areas of that part of the game that we need to improve upon.”

Fourteen players – 13 freshmen and one sophomore – will be experiencing their first Steele Hall home game. Among the group is goaltender Christopher Eiserman, the starter in both games last weekend and the reigning SUNYAC Goaltender of the Week.

“It’s early in the season and we still are trying to figure out what our best line up is,” Meredith said. “We have lots of options and I think last weekend was a start to figuring it out, but we still have a ways to go.”

The teams have met just once before. The Kangaroos (0-2) visited Fredonia State last season and lost 5-2 on opening night. Fredonia State’s Mat Hehr had two goals in that game. He returns to Steele Hall tonight as a Canton assistant coach.

“It’ll be great but different to have him back on the visitor’s bench,” Meredith said.

The Steele Hall ticket office opens at 6 p.m. For those unable to attend, live in-game coverage will be available at www.fredoniabluedevils.com.

Women’s Volleyball

Cortland supplies

first-round SUNYAC opposition

NEW PALTZ – Six SUNYAC teams, including Fredonia State, will gather this weekend at SUNY New Paltz to decide the 2013 SUNYAC women’s volleyball championship.

The Blue Devils (25-8), coached by 15-year veteran Geoff Braun, will meet the Cortland Red Dragons at 3 p.m. today in the first match of the single-elimination tournament. Semifinals are Saturday and the championship match is at noon Sunday.

The Blue Devils enter the tournament on a 15-match winning streak, the program’s longest since the 2008 team won 20 straight. The same 2008 team won Fredonia State’s only SUNYAC title in the sport.

Fredonia State has reached the semifinals every year since then.

“The team is enjoying a winning streak,” Braun said, “but has remained grounded during that time. We know that if we want to compete for the SUNYAC title we have to keep improving. We are excited to compete this weekend. This tournament is what we have worked for all season.”

The Blue Devils are the No. 3 seed while Cortland, a team they defeated 3-0 on Oct. 12 at Brockport during conference pool play, is the No. 6 seed. The winner meets No. 2 seed Buffalo State at 3 p.m. Saturday.

On the other side of the bracket, No. 4 Plattsburgh meets No. 5 Potsdam for the right to face No. 1 New Paltz. That semifinal is scheduled for 6 p.m. Saturday.

Complete coverage of the entire tournament, including streaming video and live stats, will be available on the SUNYAC Tournament webpage, located at www.nphawks.com/.

Manning named CoSIDA

District III All-Academic

Fredonia State senior women’s volleyball player Hannah Manning has been chosen as a CoSIDA Capital One Academic All-District in District III, an award which recognizes both academics and athletics.

Manning, majoring in Biology with minors in Chemistry and Psychology, carries a 3.90 grade-point average over six semesters. She plans to attend veterinarian school following graduation next May.

In addition, she was recognized as a 2012 First Team All SUNYAC in her sport. Her GPA last fall was the highest among all members of the all-conference team, which earned her the SUNYAC Chancellor’s Award in women’s volleyball.

This fall, Manning – an outside hitter/middle blocker – leads the Blue Devils with 47 service aces and shares the team lead with 79 total blocks. She and her teammates will participate Friday in the SUNYAC Tournament at New Paltz.

She is the daughter of Tracy and Tim Manning and is a graduate of Owego High School.

“I have been extremely impressed,” Blue Devil head volleyball coach Geoff Braun said, “with Hannah’s diligence in seeking out experiences that will better prepare her for vet school and her professional career. She is a perfect role model and is always a positive influence on her teammates.”

As a District III recipient, Manning is eligible for the CoSIDA Academic All-American team, which will be announced later this month. District III, which covers most of New York State, is one of the eight districts across the country.

CoSIDA is the acronym for College Sports Information Directors of America.

Men’s Cross Country

Men’s XC advances in

region, earns national vote

The Fredonia State men’s cross country team earned its first national recognition of the season and improved its placement regionally, according to the United States Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association.

The Blue Devils received one vote in the USTFCCCA national poll for NCAA Division III released Wednesday. North Central (Ill.) tops the poll, having received all eight first-place votes.

In the Atlantic Regional poll released Tuesday, Fredonia State advanced to the No. 7 position – up two spots from the previous poll. They are coming off a third-place finish in the SUNYAC men’s championship race last Saturday.

Idle this weekend, the Blue Devils’ next meet is the Nov. 16 Atlantic Regional at Letchworth State Park.