Feb. 3, 2010
FAIRFIELD, CT - The Sacred Heart men's golf team has been picked to "three-peat" as Northeast Conference champions in the 2010 pre-season coaches poll releaased today. The Pioneers received eight of the ten possible first-place votes.
Central Connecticut State came in second with two first-place nods. Robert Morris was picked third, followed by Monmouth in fourth. Taking the fifth spot was Long Island as Saint Francis (PA) and Fairleigh Dickinson claimed sixth and seventh, respectively. The eighth-place slot is filled by Mount St. Mary's, while Wagner and St. Francis (NY) round out the 10-team field.
Coming off its second straight NEC tournament title, Sacred Heart seeks to three-peat under the direction of the 2008 and 2009 NEC Coach of the Year Ed Connolly. Now in his third year at the helm, Connolly returns 2009 NEC Rookie of the Year Leo Garcia (Guaynabo, Puerto Rico), who shot a three-day total of 220, which was good for 20th overall at last year's NEC Championship. Junior David Renski (North Stonington, CT) is also back this season after carding a 227 at the Conference Championships in 2009, placing him in a tie for 13th.
With only two seniors on the team, the Pioneers will look to freshman Josh Salah (Gloucester, MA), who proved to be a valuable asset in the fall after posting the low score for SHU at two different tournaments.
Each of these individuals, along with sophomore Joseph Serrentino (Cromwell, CT) and junior Andrew Strom (Endwell, NY) will have to step up in a big way after the loss of seniors Matt Belizze (North Salem, NY/North Salem) - an All-Tournament team selection at the 2009 Championship as well as the second-place overall finisher - and 2009 NEC Golfer of the Year - Pat Fillian (Tinton Falls, NJ/St. Rose), who tallied a 222 at the NECs last season, good for eighth overall.
The spring schedules starts on March 27 when the Pioneers compete at the Monmouth Hawk Invitational in Lakewood, NJ.