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    Surprise basketball showing highlights Eckerd's season

    By RODNEY PAGE

    © St. Petersburg Times,
    published June 3, 2001


    With its lack of scholarships, its young players and its past history, this was supposed to be another mediocre season for Eckerd College's men's basketball team.

    Instead, the Tritons started hot and got hotter to record one of its best seasons in recent history.

    The team made the tiny St. Petersburg campus take notice. It was one highlight in the school's recently completed 2000-2001 season, though not the only one. The men's tennis team and women's soccer team both had their best years.

    The basketball team made the Sunshine State Conference take notice, with a 22-8 season, 10-4 in the conference, just one game behind perennial power Tampa. The Tritons advanced to the Division II regional tournament before losing to Tampa in the second round.

    Coach Tom Ryan was the conference's Coach of the Year. Dwayne Smith, Clevon Dunbar and Cerwin Thompson were the top players.

    "It was a fun season," Ryan said. "It was the kind of season we'd hope to have."

    Another highlight came in the spring when men's tennis advanced to the Division II national tournament for the first time in history. The Tritons advanced to the final eight before losing to Brigham Young-Hawaii in the quarterfinals.

    Top player Marton Balla was a first-team All-Conference selection.

    The women's soccer team, in just its third year, finished 10-6-1, 4-2 and had a slew of players on the conference's first and second team. Midfielder Cady Dolan and defender Jane Byers were both first-team selections.

    Men's soccer didn't fare as well, going 7-12, 3-4. Andree Bitterer was a second-team all-conference choice.

    Eckerd's volleyball team continues to claw its way up from the basement. Coach Hollie Miller's team was 25-12, 7-7 and fourth in the eight-team conference. Erin Johnson and Emily King were honorable mention all-conference selections.

    In the spring, the baseball team struggled to a 21-30 season, 5-16 and seventh in the SSC. The softball team was 17-36, 4-24 in the conference.

    ST. PETERSBURG JUNIOR COLLEGE: The Trojans' baseball squad has emerged as one of the top teams in the state.

    SPJC won the Suncoast Conference championship after a 36-9 season and qualified for the junior college state tournament for a fourth straight season.

    The Trojans finished third at the state tournament after ending the regular season ranked first.

    The team won a bevy of honors, the highest of which went to pitcher Maximo "Paco" Reyes.

    Reyes was 11-1 with a 2.49 ERA and was named the Florida Community College Athletic Association's state Pitcher of the Year. He was also named to the National Junior College Athletic Association All-American Second Team.

    Mike Cox was named to the All-State second team after hitting .340 with 12 home runs and 58 RBI. Cox earned a scholarship to Florida Atlantic and should be drafted in the top 20 rounds in baseball's June draft.

    Shortstop Erick Monzon was the Suncoast Conference's Defensive Player of the Year. Dave Pano was the conference's Coach of the Year.

    Monzon and pitchers Carrington Fisk and Ryan Smith have earned scholarships to the University of Tampa. Catcher Steve Harshman received a scholarship to Palm Beach Atlantic and outfielder Mike Liberatore earned a scholarship to Embry Riddle.

    Still other players, including former Pinellas Park pitcher Nick Masset, who may sign with the Texas Rangers, could turn professional or earn scholarships.

    The softball team had equal success.

    The Trojans were 46-17 and Suncoast Conference champions. SPJC qualified for the state tournament a sixth straight year and finished the season ranked sixth in the state.

    Pitcher Amy Marlowe was an all-state first-team selection and also won Florida's scholar-athlete award. She was the Suncoast Conference Pitcher of the Year. Coach Lance Lamport was the conference's Coach of the Year.

    Eleven players have received scholarships to Division I teams.

    SPJC's volleyball team was 27-9 and conference runner-up. Susan Adcock was an All-State/All-Region selection and will play next season at the University of West Alabama.

    The basketball teams did not fare as well.

    The men's team was 14-15 and finished fourth the conference. Kyle Schueller and Lonnell West were All-Suncoast first team players.

    Schueller will attend Georgetown College in Kentucky. West will play at the University of Indianapolis. Trevis Allen received a scholarship to Warner Southern.

    The women's team was 9-18. Sarah Reed was an All-Conference selection. She will attend Webber college.

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