News With Commentary by TSL Staff

Thursday, May 3, 2001
by Will Stewart,

Spring Sports Update

Tech's spring sports are closing out their regular seasons, and Bonnie Henrickson has squared up her coaching staff after the departure of two assistants.

Golf Wins Big East, Ready for NCAA's

Tech's nationally-ranked golf team, currently 19th in the ratings, won the Big East tournament last weekend, and with it an automatic bid to the NCAA golf tournament. The NCAA tournament begins May 18th at three sites.

The Hokies led after day one of the Big East championship and eventually finished first by nine strokes with an 875, beating out #2 St. John's at 884. Rutgers, Georgetown, Notre Dame, and Seton Hall finished far behind Tech and St. John's with scores of 897, 900, 902, and 904. Tech Coach Jay Hardwick noted that the Hokies were tied going into the last nine holes of the 54-hole tournament but finished strong for the win.

The victory is Tech's third straight and sixth overall (out of twelve tournaments) this season. The collegiate golf year is split into a fall season and a spring season, and the Hokies finished first in three of the six fall tournaments they competed in. Remarkably, they were second in the other three tournaments.

In the spring, Tech cooled off in their first three tournaments, finishing fourth, seventh, and third. Just when it appeared that they had lost the momentum from the fall season, the Hokies came on strong, winning the next two tournaments and taking the Big East championship.

Tech was led by Brendon de Jonge (a two-tournament winner) in the fall, but de Jonge became merely mortal in the spring, and Brian Krusoe picked up the slack. Krusoe was the highest Hokie finisher in four of the six spring tournaments, including the Big East championship, where he tied for first with Andrew Svoboda of St. Johnís and Steve Ratay of Notre Dame. All three golfers carded a 5-over 215.

Hardwick was named Big East Coach of the Year. The championship was Virginia Tech's first-ever non-football Big East championship. The Hokies return all of their top golfers next year (Tommy Graham of Blacksburg is the team's only senior).

Baseball Clinging to Fourth in the Big East

The Hokie baseball team has won six straight games and is currently hanging on to fourth place in the Big East, a half-game ahead of St. John's and one and a half games over UConn. A fourth-place finish is crucial, because only the top four teams in the Big East will go to the Big East Tournament on May 17-19.

Looking down the road, the Hokies, St. John's, and UConn all have just three more Big East games, all on the road. Tech plays three games at last-place Pittsburgh (16-21 overall, 4-14 Big East) on May 12-13, St. John's goes on the road to second-place Rutgers (37-13, 15-8) on May 12-13, and UConn travels to first-place and #1-ranked Notre Dame (41-7-1, 18-2).

Given that St. John's and UConn play the #1 and #2 Big East teams, while Tech gets #11 Pittsburgh, Tech appears to have the advantage there. But baseball is a funny sport, and anything can happen in a given weekend. On March 25th, the Hokies swept a double-header from Notre Dame, handing the Irish both of their Big East losses and 2 of their 7 losses overall. Since then, Notre Dame has gone 25-3.

Softball Picks up 200th Win

The Tech softball team picked up their 200th win of all time (and not coincidentally, Coach Scot Thomas's 200th win) when they swept a double-header against St. John's on Sunday.

The Hokies (34-23, 10-8 Big East) are in fifth place in the Big East, two games behind Seton Hall (22-11, 10-6) in the loss column. The Hokies are three games behind third-place UConn (30-18, 12-4), including four in the loss column.

As in baseball, only the top four teams make the Big East Tournament, and for the Hokies, it's coming down to the wire. Seton Hall has four Big East games remaining, two each against ninth-place Syracuse and third-place UConn. Tech has just two games left, both against last-place Providence.

It's unlikely that Tech will catch UConn, because the Huskies would have to lose all four of their remaining games. A more likely scenario is for Tech to win both games against Providence, finishing 12-8 in the league, and hope that Seton Hall drops at least 3 of their 4 remaining games to finish 11-9 or 10-10.

If the Hokies finish tied with Seton Hall, a Big East tie-breaking procedure will ensue, because Tech finished 2-2 against the Pirates this year.

Henrickson Staff Shakeup Concludes

Virginia Tech head women's basketball coach Bonnie Henrickson named former Iowa head coach Angie Lee as a new assistant coach for the Hokies Wednesday. The hiring is an interesting twist, because it was Lee, in her former position of head coach at Iowa, who hired Henrickson as an Iowa assistant in 1995.

Lee fills one of the assistant coaching jobs vacated by former Tech assistants Tisha Hill and Joe Mathews. Mathews was named head coach at Towson State last week, and according to Henrickson, Hill left last month to pursue head coaching possibilities.

Former Tech player and administrative assistant Katie O'Connor was promoted to assistant coach. Here's how the women's basketball coaching lineup now appears:

Position Former Coach New Coach
Head Coach Bonnie Henrickson Bonnie Henrickson
1st Assistant Joe Mathews Angie Lee
2nd Assistant Tisha Hill Karen Lange
3rd Assistant Karen Lange Katie O'Connor

It's also worth noting that Lange was recruited by Lee and played at Iowa from 1992-1996, which includes the time period that Henrickson was an assistant at Iowa.


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