North Branch, NJ – On Tuesday night the Lions honored their six sophomore players as they hosted the Monroe College Mustangs. The Mustangs would come away with the victory, but the night was still very special for the Lions.
Claudia Edralin, Rachel Knappenberger, Moira Phillips, Lauren Armellino, Olivia Nilsen, and Adrienne Amey were all presented with framed pictures before the game. The sophomores didn't disappoint as they took a 19-14 lead after the first quarter and only trailed by 2 at halftime. The speed and size of the Mustangs eventually wore the Lions defense down in the fourth quarter. However, the Lions still had reason to celebrate on the night as Sophomore Olivia Nilsen recorded her 1000thcareer point. Nilsen needed just 12 points on the night to reach the milestone and entered the third quarter with 7. She drilled a three midway through the third and with less than a minute left Nilsen found herself with the ball in her hands on a 2 on 1 fast break. Morenike Akinrefon took enough attention away from the defender to allow Nilsen a decent look at the basket. Nilsen made an athletic move, got the shot up to the rim, and as the ball went through the hoop the horn sounded to stop the game and her teammates rushed the floor to congratulate her. That would be the last bucket Nilsen would score on the night so she currently sits at exactly 1000 career points with at least 1 game left. Nilsen is the first women's basketball player in RVCC's history to score 1000 career points and the first player since Marvin Crawford achieved the feat in the 2014 season.
At halftime, Moira Phillips was presented with the Augie Eosso Legacy Scholarship. The award is given annually to the student athlete who best fits the character, dedication, and passion that Augie presided over the athletic department with for over 40 years. Phillips has been instrumental in the Lions success these past two seasons and has a cumulative GPA of 3.77. She will continue her academic and basketball careers at Eastern Nazarene College in Quincy, Massachusetts this fall.
Coach Phil Herro reflected on the class of 2019. "It's been an absolute pleasure to have gotten to know each and every one of these players over the last two years. We knew when we brought this class in they were going to do some great things, but they have exceeded our expectations in every way. All six of them are graduating on time and every single one of them has been named to the All-Region Academic Team. They've been unbelievable in the classroom and have accomplished some pretty amazing things on the court as well. They've won at least 20 games in each season, have made it to the playoffs twice, and have beaten teams that RVCC hasn't in decades. Their hard work and dedication to this program make us proud to call them family and they will always be remembered as the class that took us to new heights. They've set a standard here and I know that their character and pride will continue to be felt throughout this team after their departure. I feel honored to have gotten to coach these wonderful kids and look forward to what the future holds for each of them."
After RVCC's 80-70 victory over Rowan College at Burlington County this past Saturday they clinched home court for the first round of the playoffs. They will be hosting the Barons of RCBC in their third meeting of the season this Saturday at noon. The Lions currently sit at 22-8 on the season and are 12-5 in Region XIX play.