A Look Into the Winter Athletics Season

Michael Conway, Sports Columnist

The winter athletic season is in full swing at Misericordia.

Men and women’s basketball saw action from Jan. 13-23  and the men’s volleyball held the Cougar Kickoff Classic Jan. 18.


Men’s basketball came out with a record of 1-2 over the last two-week stretch with a win over Delaware Valley University on Jan. 16 before falling to Stevens Institute of Technology and Eastern University on Jan. 18 and Jan. 22, respectively.

The contest between Misericordia and Delaware Valley was originally scheduled to take place at James Work Gymnasium on the Delaware Valley University campus but, due to a shattered backboard, both the men’s and women’s games were rescheduled for the next day at Misericordia.

Once the game got underway nearly 24 hours later than originally scheduled, the Cougars took an early lead but fell behind, 36-28, at the end of the first half. In the second half, Misericordia went on a 32-6 run while shooting 50% from the 3-point area to take a commanding lead late in the game. The Cougars went on to win, 76-64, with four Cougars scoring in double figure. Jake Bartholomew led Misericordia with 15 points, while hitting three 3-point shots.

The men’s team dropped two in a row the following week, falling to Stevens and then dropping a heartbreaker by two points against Eastern.

Misericordia’s Noah Rivera had 17 points and 12 rebounds, while Tony Harding dropped 14 and Bartholomew had 12 points in the loss to Stevens. The Cougars took the lead in the middle part of the first half, but Stevens went on a 15-6 run into the half and came out with the win.

The Cougars tried to bounce back against Eastern, but a late comeback fell short. Although the Eagles took an early lead, the Cougars would not go away easily. Late in the game, Eastern had the lead, 60-44, but Misericordia went on a 10-0 run to cut the lead to 6. A last-minute Eagles turnover gave the Cougars an opportunity to take the lead, but they couldn’t capitalize.

Rivera led all scorers with 22 points and Nate Kreitzer added 10 points for Misericordia.

After this stretch, the men’s basketball team fell to 2-3 in MAC Conference play with nine games remaining.


The women’s basketball team went 3-0 over a three-game stretch with a big win over Delaware Valley and 15-point victories over both Stevens and Eastern.

The Lady Cougars women beat Delaware Valley, 77-36, at the Anderson Center. They came out of the gates hot and enjoyed a 29-8 lead just seven minutes into the game. The Cougars never looked back, keeping a comfortable lead throughout the entire game.

Four Cougars scored in double figures with Gianna Delfino and Tessa Zamolyi each hitting for 13 points, while Alyssa Bondi and Morgan Haefele both added 10 points. Zamolyi also added 13 rebounds for a double-double to help the Cougars win, 77-36.

A big third quarter helped the Cougars take down Stevens, 77-62, on Jan. 18. It was a tightly contested game until Misericordia outscored Stevens, 20-8, in the third period. Zamolyi and Jordan Barth both had double-doubles. Zamolyi had 20 points and 13 rebounds, while Barth had 16 points and 11 boards. Erica Haefele also added 12 points.

Later the next week, Misericordia pulled away in the second half again to beat Eastern, 74-59. The Cougars jumped out to a lead early in the game, but Eastern went on a 30-16 run to make it a two-point game going into the half. But the second half was all Misericordia as the Cougars outscored Eastern 44-31.

Delfino led the game in scoring with 19 and also added nine rebounds. Barth was just two assists away from a triple-double, scoring 18 points and grabbing 11 rebounds. Erica Haefele and Zamolyi also scored in double figures.

The women’s basketball team has a 15-1 record and 5-0 in MAC play with nine games remaining.

Head coach Jason Rhine said communication and players doing their jobs are key to the team’s winning ways.

“I believe we have a talented group, but we lack experience,” he said. “The easiest way to make up for that is talking on the court. Everyone has a job on this team and, as long as we do what we are supposed to do each day, we can’t fail.”


The men’s volleyball team’s third season got underway recently during the Cougar Kick-Off Classic as the team went 3-1 during the two-day tournament at the Anderson Center, falling only to the perennial NCAA Tournament qualifier St. Joseph’s College (Long Island).



“Sophomore middle blocker, Billy Murphy, winds up to send a spike flying over the net.”- Megan Oldak   

Head coach Robert Wingert thinks the team needs to be able to take what it learns in practice and translate it to the court.

“We were really pleased with our overall performance during the 2020 Cougar Kick-Off Classic, especially during our loss against St. Joseph’s (LI),” Wingert said. “We competed at a high level and executed very well offensively. We spent a lot of time during the pre-season working on our serve/pass game and it certainly showed during the weekend. I was really impressed with our increasing maturity on the floor. We saw that show through our comfort in late-match situations as well as our sustained energy and effort throughout the weekend.”

“Junior libero, Matt Churchill, sets up to serve the ball to the opposing team.”– Megan Oldak 

Other than the loss in the first match of the tournament, the Cougars were in control, winning two of the next three matches in three straight sets against The Sage Colleges and Randolph-Macon College, while dropping only one set to beat Lasell University, 3-1.

Throughout the tournament, Ryan Miller led Misericordia in kills with 57 and was awarded the tournament MVP. Dylan Sellitti had 136 assists, Connor Westerfield had 47 digs, Austin Cervasio had 11 blocks and Matt Lavin had 5 served aces.

Wingert is pleased with the energy his players have shown in the beginning of the season.

“We played with a great energy throughout the whole weekend which, in turn, generated a number of digs,” he said. “We would love to see that energy sustain against each and every opponent we face off with during the year. But we need to be much sharper in converting dig opportunities and allowing them to translate into points on the scoreboard or us. Making those plays in transition will allow us to continue competing against a number of the Top 15 and NCAA Tournament Caliber opponents who appear on our schedule.”

“Austin Cervasio, freshman middle hitter, winds up to spike the ball.”– Megan Oldak