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April 15, 2004 • Volume 12 Number 15

Boston College goalie Matti Kaltiainen receives encouragement from his teammates during the Eagles' hard-fought 2-1 loss to Maine in last week's "Frozen Four" semi-final, ending BC's chances for a third national championship. (Photo by John Quackenbos)

Cold Ending to a Hot Winter Sports Season

Athletic Director Gene DeFilippo wants to lead a rousing cheer for Boston College's winter sports teams to celebrate the University's unprecedented accomplishments in the recently completed season.

For the first time in school history, the men's basketball team, the women's basketball team and the men's ice hockey team all qualified for NCAA championship playoffs, and each squad acquitted itself well in the post-season runs for national titles.

"Our coaches and student-athletes deserve a hearty round of applause for giving us so many reasons to celebrate," said DeFilippo. "We have just completed one of the most successful and exciting sports seasons in our history."

Coach Jerry York's men's hockey team reached the "Frozen Four" national championship rounds played at Boston's FleetCenter before losing a 2-1 heartbreaker to Maine in the semifinal game on April 8. "As disappointed as we were, it took a couple of days before we sat back and realized what we had accomplished over the year," said York, who finished the season with 697 career victories - the most of any Division I head coach.

"It was a great tribute to all of our players, especially our seniors, for what they did. I can't tell you how many alumni, subway alumni and fans have taken the time to call or e-mail to congratulate us for the way we played so hard right up until the end, and for all of the good things that we did accomplish through the course of the season."

The women's basketball team finished with their best overall record in history, 27-7, and won their first-ever Big East Tournament title. Seeded third in the NCAA Tournament's Columbus, Ohio, Regional - the Eagles' third consecutive tournament appearance - the BC women defeated Eastern Michigan and Ohio State before bowing to Minnesota, which went on to the Final Four.

Senior co-captain Amber Jacobs finished her outstanding career at BC by earning Honorable Mention Associated Press All-American and won the national collegiate women's three-point shooting contest during Final Four weekend.

"When this team met a year ago, I just listened to them, and they clearly knew what they had to do to be successful," said Head Coach Cathy Inglese. "They came together, they believed in what we were doing, and each one of them executed a role to perfection. I know it sounds elementary, but that's what every coach wants from their team.

"Throughout our preparation, and throughout the season, they had fun - and so did the coaching staff."

Inglese's counterpart, Al Skinner, also enjoyed a successful year - and an improbable one, in the eyes of more than a few college basketball prognosticators. Fielding a squad dominated by freshmen and sophomores, the men's team put together a 24-10 record and advanced to the Big East Tournament semifinal.

The Eagles then drew a sixth seed in the NCAA Tournament St. Louis Regional, their third tournament appearance in the last four years. After beating Utah in the first round, BC lost a close game to Georgia Tech, the region's eventual winner.

"Our women's team became the first team in Big East history - male or female - to win the Big East Tournament with wins on four consecutive days," DeFilippo said. "Our youthful men's basketball team exceeded all expectations: They won 90 games in the past four years, a record for BC basketball."

Complementing those achievements was another memorable campaign by the men's hockey team, which came within a game of playing for its third national title. The Eagles finished at 29-9-4 overall, won the Beanpot Tournament and the Hockey East regular-season title, and were at or near the top in national rankings throughout the year.

Four BC hockey players earned prestigious individual honors: Senior forward Tony Voce and junior defenseman Andrew Alberts were chosen as Division I first-team All-Americans, while junior Ryan Shannon and sophomore forward Patrick Eaves gained All-America second-team accolades.

Shannon and Voce also were selected for the Hockey East Conference first team, and Voce was runner-up for player of the year; Eaves, along with Alberts and junior goaltender Matti Kaltiainen were second-team honorees, and senior defenseman J.D. Forrest earned honorable mention all-league status. -Reid Oslin and Sean Smith

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