Tag Archives: Knights

Holy Cross hockey cruises past Iona

| lguerre@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photos by Liam La Guerre

Holy Cross forward Steven Cacchioli knew that his team needed to be more aggressive.

Having dropped two consecutive games, the team was desperate to get back on the winning side, and Cacchioli, a captain, blamed the team’s recent losses on a lack of aggression.

So, he stepped up and drilled two goals to lead the Knights to a 3-1 win over Iona Prep on Jan. 11. The Knights (CHSHL 5-4-0) were dominant through the game, resulting in a 33-23 shots-on-goal advantage.

“We wanted to get to a quick start. We didn’t want them getting momentum,” Cacchioli said. “We knew we were the better team and we wanted to take it to them.”

At the end of the first period, the Knights were in a tough position, but Cacchioli’s aggressive shot selection paid off.
Tied at 1-1, the Knights Vincent Cennamo was sent to the penalty box and Iona Prep (CHSHL 1-10-1) was on a 5-on-4 power play.

Despite the disadvantage, Cacchioli was able to steal the puck, stick handle through defenders and net a goal with 59 seconds remaining in the first period, giving the Knights a 2-1 lead.

“He (Cacchioli) played fantastic today,” coach Kevin Leonard said. “He played really well and took some good shots.”

The Knights stayed aggressive and with just 18 seconds into the second period, forward Joe DeMarco scored a goal, expanding the lead to 3-1.

“We wanted to dictate the pace, we did a good job ending the period and starting off strong,” Cacchioli said.

The Knights controlled the puck through the rest of the game and didn’t allow Iona to score again.




QC’s Outstanding Frosh ready for year 2

By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of Carla Pennolino


Reggie Miller enjoyed a Hall of Fame basketball career with the Indiana Pacers after altering his shot at a young age because his older sister, Cheryl — also a Hall of Famer — would always block it.

Abe Akanmu of the Queens College men’s basketball team can relate to the star’s beginnings.

“I got into basketball because my older sister used to play and I wanted to do everything just like her,” Akanmu said. “I fell in love with the game and the rest is history.”

The standout sophomore started playing basketball at age five and the experience has shown throughout his hard work, dedication and leadership inside Fitzgerald Gym, QC’s home court.

Akanmu received East Coast Conference All-Rookie honors as well as a QC Outstanding Freshman award last year. The point guard averaged 8.0 points per game and dished out 35 assists in only 13 games played; he missed much of the early and middle portions of the season due to a knee injury. He received East Coast Conference Rookie of the Week honors on November 14, 2011 and later scored a season-high 25 points against St. Thomas Aquinas on February 1.

Last year, explained Akanmu, was an up and down season not only for him, but for the entire squad. After starting off the season strong with a winning record, the team faltered and ended with a 4-22 mark. A torn PCL in his left knee robbed the Staten Island-native of 13 games but he plans on coming back and helping lead the team toward a much better ending this time around.

“The goal is always to win the championship,” said Akanmu. “The key is to take it step by step. This year, we need to focus on getting into the playoffs and then we will take it from there.”

The guard loves the game for its competitive nature, which fuels his drive toward greatness.

“I hate losing, but love the game. It’s what I care about,” he said.

As a junior at Xaverian High School, the political science major knew he wanted to be a QC Knight.

“Head coach Kyrk Peponakis recruited me to be a big part of the team,” said Akanmu. “I like being a leader and always want to be.”

Peponakis recognized Akanmu’s potential in high school and wanted the 5’11” guard to be an integral part of the Knights’ future.

“He is a solid all-around guard who can not only shoot but defend,” said Peponakis. “He knows the game very well and he is a leader on the court.”

Akanmu’s most memorable basketball achievement, in fact, occurred in that same junior year. The Xaverian squad beat three nationally ranked high schools — Christ the King, Bishop Loughlin and Rice — during the 2009-10 season.

“We beat top teams in the nation,” said Akanmu. “That was big for me.”

A similar scenario can play out for Akanmu and the Knights this season as LIU-Post was predicted to repeat as ECC champions in a preseason poll.

In the future, he can’t see himself abandoning his love of the sport, instead he envisions himself as a coach or running a camp or clinic. He cannot let his passion go.

“Basketball teaches you a lot about life,” he explained. “It teaches you to work as a team, work ethic, responsibility, discipline and how to listen.”

When the Knights’ conference season tips off Saturday, December 1 at Mercy College, Akanmu will be sporting a symbolic jersey number.

“I chose number one because I want to be the best,” Akanmu said.

Queens College senior to Coach Across America

| smosco@queenscourier.com

Photo Courtesy of Up2Us

This Floral Park resident and Queens College student is a star on the soccer field. A forward on the school’s women’s soccer team, the Knights, Andrea Slavin is a gamer with the accolades and skill to carry her to the next level.

For now, “the next level” is an opportunity to introduce the benefits of sports to the next generation of athletes. Slavin was recently chosen to coach soccer in a program focusing on positive youth development through sports. Up2Us, a national nonprofit coalition, plucked Slavin from the soccer field to serve as a Coach Across America at America SCORES NY in Summer 2012.

Born out of its partnership with the East Coast Conference (ECC), Up2Us places 260 coaches and is the only program of its kind to provide AmeriCorps coaches in over 100 disadvantaged communities across the country. These coaches serve kids through a wide range of traditional and nontraditional sports, inspiring academic success, healthy lifestyles and self-esteem among boys and girls and showing young people that sports can be a turning point in their lives — physically and emotionally.

“I’m passionate about sports, because it’s been a constant variable in my life that has given me great self-confidence,” said Slavin. “As a child, and even now, sports were a way for me to feel as if I had a purpose and gave me importance.”

Slavin will be working with young people through America SCORES New York, a nonprofit organization that strives to empower students in urban communities using soccer, writing, creative expression and service-learning. With teamwork as the unifying value, America SCORES New York inspires youth to lead healthy lifestyles, be engaged students and become agents of change in their communities.

In 2010, Slavin was named to the NSCAA/Adidas NCAA Division II Women All-East Region third team. This followed her selection as a 2009 second team all-East Coast Conference all-star. Andrea led the East Coast Conference in goals scored with 15 and finished second in the league with 35 points. In her 38 games as a Knight, Andrea has 33 goals and 74 points.

“I am so passionate simply because I am my happiest when I am active and playing sports,” she said. “Plain and simple, sports make me smile, and I believe every child deserves the chance to smile.”

Up2Us supports a national network of close to 500 member organizations in all 50 states. These organizations serve 20 million youth through sports. Members share best practices, advance initiatives that extend opportunities to new players and deliver quality programs in underserved communities where there is a tremendous need for constructive outlets for youth. For more information, log on to www.up2us.org.

“We are thrilled to welcome Andrea to our Coach Across America team in Summer 2012 and hope she is the first coach of many as a result of a partnership with the ECC and Up2Us,” said Paul Caccamo, executive director of Up2Us.

Queens College hits community homerun

| smosco@queenscourier.com

Baseball players often kick up dirt and tear up grass with their cleats – so one area team saw fit to make amends with the ground and give something back.

The Queens College baseball team continued its community efforts recently, as it helped with a beautification project at the nearby Queens Botanical Garden. The team cleaned up many of the garden beds throughout the complex, and also planted over 2,000 tulips at the site on November 28.

“(The event) was a fun way to give back to the community,” said Knights’ junior outfielder Warren Kelly. “We had a great time meeting people and working hard.”

Besides beautifying the community, the project had the double benefit of bringing the team together during the offseason, something their head coach recognizes as highly important.

“It was a rewarding experience to watch our team perform this volunteer work, in that they gained a sense of accomplishment and goodwill,” said third-year head coach Tom Sowinski. “They really enjoyed themselves and bonded together.”