A Golden Year for Our Women’s Programs

WNE Women’s Basketball Captures CCC Championship

The WNE women’s basketball team won the Commonwealth Coast Conference (CCC) championship for the first time since the 2018–2019 season. Grabbing a nail-biting 50–49 victory over the Nor’easters of the University of New England, Lilly Hedge (Guilford, Conn.) and Shaina Cooney (Montgomery, N.Y.), led the team offensively, helping to set the team up for the national tournament. The Golden Bears received an at-large, automatic qualifying bid into the National Collegiate Athletics Association (NCAA) Tournament and drew Bowdoin College, the NCAA’s eighth-ranked team in Division III. The Golden Bears hung close with the Polar Bears before bowing out of the tournament.

The regular season began with the Golden Bears conceding a 4-2 record before the start of conference play. WNE women’s basketball secured two CCC wins by the end of 2023 and rang in the new year with three more. The month of January saw WNE come away with an 8-2 record, while the Golden Bears closed out the regular season with five straight victories to claim the top seed in the CCC championship tournament. After picking up a bye in the quarterfinal round, the Golden Bears defeated Suffolk University 69-51, advancing to the conference championship game.

Following the conclusion of the season, Cooney and Tara Laugeni (Woodbridge, Conn.) picked up All-Conference honors from the CCC, while WNE women’s basketball Head Coach Nicole Chaszar was honored as the CCC’s Coach of the Year in her 19th season at the helm of the Golden Bears.

Women’s Wrestling Earns Three Bids to NCWWC Championships

In just the second year of the program’s existence, Linda Holeman (Preston, Conn.), Sabrina Sedor (Stafford, Conn.), and Dakota-Marie Dinielli (Plainville, Conn.) earned spots into the National Collegiate Women’s Wrestling Championships (NCWWC), becoming the first three Golden Bears to ever accomplish the feat.

Holeman was a qualifier in the 130-pound weight class, earning fourth place at the qualifying event and an automatic bid into the championships. A dominant force, Holeman recorded WNE’s first ever victory in the program’s history at the championship event, going 3-2 overall and finishing 24-8 overall for the season.

Sedor locked up an opening-round win at the championship event to grab WNE’s first ever victory in the 136-pound weight class. Sedor competed in 16 matches for the Golden Bears, winning 10 of them. The sophomore qualified for the championships after making it to the third-place match.

Dinielli won 17 of 21 matches this season and earned the qualifying bid into the championship event after placing third in the 143-pound weight class. The sophomore went 4-1 in the qualifying event and was the first Golden Bear in this weight class to qualify for the championships.

Women’s Ice Hockey Captures First CCC Title in Program History

After starting the season with just one win in their first four games, the Golden Bears closed out the 2023 portion of their schedule with a 4-1-1 record, defeating three conference opponents during that span. The Golden Bears welcomed January with a 7-0 triumph over Anna Maria College – the largest win in program history. WNE won their first three games that month while going 6-2 overall, including two CCC victories. They closed out the regular season with a win on the road against the University of New England (UNE), locking up the two seed in the CCC Tournament. WNE hosted a semifinal game to open the tournament and prepared to play their first playoff game on home ice.

After a rocky start to their first CCC championship game, the WNE women’s ice hockey team was crowned CCC champions for the first time in program history after defeating Curry College in the conference title game by a final score of 5-3.

The Golden Bears relied heavily on senior forward Alyssa Murphy (Plymouth, Mass.) during the conference championship game against Curry College, a fourth seed who upset top-seeded Endicott College in the semifinals. Curry netted the first two goals of the game, putting the home team behind, but Murphy started the comeback, scoring the first goal for WNE and giving them the momentum they needed to turn their 2-1 deficit around. Abby Hay (Plattsburgh, N.Y.), Jenna Lynch (Brookline, N.H.), Zoe Galanoudis (Massapequa, N.Y.), and Kelly Yorkey (Pittsford, N.Y.) scored four powerplay goals in the second and third periods with assists from Maddy Tucker (Clarkston, Mich.), sending the Golden Bears to their first CCC championship in the program’s history.

The Golden Bears earned their first at-large bid into the NCAA Tournament and hit the road to face Middlebury College, the sixth-ranked team in NCAA Division III women’s ice hockey. With their history-making season ultimately coming to an end in the first round of the NCAA tournament, the CCC honored five All-Conference members, including Murphy, Tucker, Rieley Jessie-Gerelli (Croton-on-Hudson, N.Y.), Maddie Pope (Plantation, Fla.), and Alexa Paoli (Steamboat Springs, Colo.).

Softball Collects Third CCC Title in Program History with 9-3 Win

The WNE softball team played in a winner-take-all contest to decide the champion of the 2024 CCC season. The Golden Bears, seeded second in the CCC tournament, defeated the fifth-seeded Hawks of Roger Williams University 9-3 and captured the title for the first time since 2018.

WNE softball was off to a slow start during the beginning of their campaign, falling short in the first five games at THE Spring Games event held yearly in Clermont, Fla. Following the early woes, the blue and gold picked up victories in their final six games of the trip, including a 15-0 win over Buffalo State. The Golden Bears found their stride when returning home, winning the next eight of 10 games, six of those in conference play. They witnessed graduate student Kailey Carrano (West Haven, Conn.) break the WNE softball career RBIs record, one that stood for nearly 20 years, during the final regular season series at Wentworth Institute of Technology.

The Golden Bears finished the regular season with a 24-12 record and took the two seed in the double elimination CCC tournament after finishing CCC play with an 11-5 record overall. WNE knocked Nichols College out in the tournament’s opening game, thanks to two more RBIs from Carrano, defeating the Bison 2-1. WNE moved on to the winner’s bracket and defeated Wentworth Institute of Technology 6-4, becoming one win away from the title.

While the Hawks came away with a win in a potential clinching game against the Golden Bears, WNE upped the ante in this winner-take-all match with 9-3 victory to capture the CCC championship for the third time in program history. Following the triumph, the Golden Bears were sent to Medford, Mass. for the regional NCAA tournament hosted by Tufts University, playing both the Tufts University Jumbos and the St. John Fisher University Cardinals during the two-game event. WNE wrapped up their 2024 campaign with a 27-15 record.