CHARLESTON, S.C. – It was another superlative-filled week of athletics action for the College of Charleston Cougars as men’s soccer climbed the table, volleyball moved closer to a CAA championship, women’s tennis captured several flight championships at the Halloween Challenge and men’s and women’s basketball opened their 2013-14 campaign with home exhibition games.
It has been a difficult season thus far for the CofC men’s soccer team, who along with a myriad of injuries, have played one of the strongest schedules of any soccer team in the country. However, despite their slow start, it appears the Cougars may be peaking at just the right time. The Cougars (4-10-1) picked up a crucial 2-1 victory over James Madison at Patriots Point on Wednesday night before dispatching of Northeastern, 1-0, to enhance its Colonial Athletic Association standing and extend the Cougars’ chances at making the upcoming CAA Tournament. In recognition of their outstanding efforts freshman attacker Xavier Rajpaul was named the CAA Rookie of the Week and senior goalkeeper Kees Heemskerk was named the goalkeeper of the National Team of the Week by College Soccer News and TopDrawerSoccer, leading publications on collegiate soccer.
Volleyball (20-4, 10-0) continued to impress this past week as they inch their way closer to a conference championship. This time it was Delaware and Towson standing in their way, but led by CAA Offensive Player of the Week Darcy Dorton, the Cougars proved too strong as they swept the Blue Hens at home on Friday in front of a strong crowd before downing Towson on Sunday in four sets. The Cougars currently have a three-game lead in the CAA standings and can clinch the championship this weekend.
Women’s tennis hosted the Halloween Challenge this past weekend and put in an exceptional performance against some of the country’s best tennis programs. Playing in a round-robin, seven-flight format, the Cougars split the spoils with perennial power, Georgia, taking home two singles flight championships as well as one doubles title. On the singles side, it was Kelly Kambourelis and former CofC student-athlete of the week, Katherine Schofield, who battled through periodic inclement weather and cold temperatures to claim victory. In doubles, it was the talented tandem of Samantha Maddox and Jamie Harrell who won three straight matches to secure the title. The Cougars also released their 2014 spring schedule, which can be viewed here.
Men’s basketball opened their 2013-14 campaign on Saturday night, steamrolling over Newberry 102-87. The Cougars scored over 100 points for the first time since Jan. 10, 2009 and led by as many as 19 points in the second half. Led by Adjehi Baru, who had nine points and 15 rebounds, the Cougars showed off their athleticism in an end-to-end game that was capped off by a jaw-dropping And-1 dunk by Jonathan Burroughs-Cook. The Cougars open the season this Saturday at Louisville, taking on the defending national champions.
Women’s hoops also dominated play in their 81-54 exhibition victory against Lander University as Alyssa Frye and Erin Hall led all scorers with 19 and 18 points, respectively, while Jill Brown dictated the tempo of the game and a committee of Cougars controlled the paint. In a complete team performance, 15 players saw action and 11 found the score sheet. Notably, it was an impressive performance by the Cougars four freshman, who combined for 16 points and 19 rebounds.
College of Charleston swimming and diving traveled to the campus of George Mason to compete in the program’s first CAA competition of the year. Unfortunately, the men and women fell to tough teams in George Mason, Northeastern and Towson. Charleston returns home on Nov. 9 for a meet against East Carolina and Georgia Southern at the Stern Center.
CofC STUDENT-ATHLETES OF THE WEEK sponsored by HARRIS TEETER
Kees Heemskerk, Men’s Soccer, Sr., Zaandam, Netherlands. – A former Ajax youth academy member, Heemskerk played a huge role in the Cougars’ undefeated week after returning to the pitch from being sidelined by an eight-week back injury. He had six stops including several big saves in the Cougars’ 2-1 win over James Madison and had five saves to lead the College to a 1-0 win over Northeastern. His 11 saves were good for a .917 save percentage and 0.50 goals-against average on the week.
Kelly Kambourelis, Women’s Tennis, Sr., Melbourne, Fla. – Kambourelis won three-straight matches at the home-hosted Halloween Challenge this past weekend to claim a flight championship in what was an ultra-competitive tournament featuring student athletes from the University of Georgia, NC State, Marshall and Denver. With pressure mounting and the temperature dropping, Kambourelis took out Marshall junior Kai Bloomfield in straight sets on day three to take the title.
INSIDE THE LINES
This week’s Inside the Lines, presented by Hendrick Honda, crosses from fall sports to winter as host Jeff McCarragher breaks down the volleyball team’s Road to a Championship scenario, followed by looks at the season-opening exhibitions from the men’s and women’s basketball teams. We also go One-on-One with women’s basketball transfer player Erin Hall.
ROAD TO A CHAMPIONSHIP
College of Charleston volleyball has the opportunity to clinch its 13th-straight championship this weekend when the Cougars host Hofstra and Northeastern. CofC will clinch the title on Friday with a win and a Northeastern loss or could win it on Sunday with a win over Northeastern on Senior Day. If neither scenario happens, Charleston can clinch with one win or a Northeastern loss in the final weekend of the season next week at Towson and Delaware.
If CofC wins the regular season championship, the Cougars will host the 2013 CAA Championship on Nov. 22-24 from the North Charleston Convention Center.
COOK BLOWS UP THE INTERNET
Freshman Johnathan Burroughs-Cook brought down the house on Saturday with his massive dunk at the end of Charleston’s exhibition win over Newberry. Cook’s dunk generated over 6,500 views on YouTube and over 150 retweets on Twitter, making CofC the top trending topic in Charleston.
PHOTO OF THE WEEK
Various CofC teams have made an annual tradition of dressing up for Halloween. Last week, the track, volleyball and baseball teams all donned costumes on Oct. 31.