SFC’s Simpson going international
Terrier Star Selected to GB National Team for 2015 EuroBasket Tourney
Eilidh Simpson has already helped to make history once this year.
The 5-foot-7 senior guard played a pivotal role in St. Francis College’s first-ever trip to the women’s NCAA Tournament back in March, scoring 14 points and grabbing five rebounds in the Terriers’ stunning upset win over Robert Morris in the Northeast Conference Championship Game.
Now, the sharp-shooting Melbourne, Australia native will take her game global, having been selected to one of 12 coveted spots on the Great Britain National Team for the upcoming EuroBasket 2015 Tournament in Hungary.
“It is an honor to be selected into the final 12,” Simpson said as she and her new teammates prepared for Friday’s opening game against Team Russia in Szombathely.
“The last five weeks have been a lot of fun,” she added of competing for her position on the team. “Traveling to Spain and France was an unbelievable experience. I am extremely excited to be representing Great Britain in this year’s EuroBasket in Hungary.”
Simpson, a co-captain for Terriers head coach John Thurston this past season, was a four-year standout with the Terriers, amassing 1,082 points to rank 12th all-time on SFC’s scoring list.
“To win with these guys is the best feeling in the world,” she exclaimed after the Terriers completed their unexpected Cinderella-like run to March Madness, becoming the first-ever NEC team to win three straight postseason games on the road en route to the title.
Simpson, who began playing with the National Team following a standout junior season in Downtown Brooklyn, has always impressed her coaches, not only for her on-the-floor acumen but her undying team spirit.
“We are very excited for Eilidh as this has been a career goal for her,” Thurston said. “She has worked very hard in and out of season and overcome many obstacles. This selection is a fitting conclusion to an outstanding career at SFC.”
“Eilidh has been a valuable team member for the past two years,” added GB head coach Peter Buckle. “She has proven to be a great teammate and has earned her position on the GB team through hard work, consistent shooting and relentless persistence towards the task at hand.”
Great Britain will play four games in the first phase of EuroBasket 2015, which is on the path to the 2016 Rio Olympics.
“I am excited to get the opportunity to keep playing basketball post-college,” Simpson noted. “I will be playing against some of the best teams in the world fighting for Olympic qualification spots.”
LIU-Brooklyn head men’s soccer coach TJ Kostecky, fresh off leading the Blackbirds to their first NEC Tournament appearance since 2004, announced Monday that seven student-athletes have committed to be part of the Downtown school’s program for the upcoming 2015 campaign.
Christoffer Bjarre Solbakken (Oslo, Norway), Romario Guscott (Bronx, N.Y.), Rasmus Hansen (Copenhagen, Denmark), Michael Maldonado (New York, N.Y.), Chaney Nash-Gibney (Burlington, Vt.), Filip Nordstrom (Stockholm, Sweden) and Erik Wahlin (Stockholm, Sweden) will begin their careers as Blackbirds this coming fall.
“I am thrilled to welcome these outstanding young men into our program,” Kostecky said. “They all bring with them an abundance of character, passion and a work ethic that will help us continue to move our program forward. I am excited to know they will be representing LIU-Brooklyn.”
The seven newcomers hope to bolster a team that went 5-12 overall last year, including 4-3 in Northeast Conference play, before bowing out to St. Francis (Pa.) with a 1-0 loss in the opening round of the NEC Tournament.
Solbakken played his club soccer at Staebek IF, where he was named captain of the Under-19 team and has played for the U-21 team.
The midfielder trains regularly with the first team, which is coached by former United States National Team manager Bob Bradley.
In 2013, Bjarre Solbakken was voted the player in the league with the most progress, and in 2014 he was selected by the Staebek coaches as one of five players ready to represent the first team.
“Christoffer has the grittiness and quickness of a fighter on the field,” Kostecky said. “Even though he plays attacking midfield and has an eye for goal, he is constantly hunting the ball on defense, playing central defense when asked to do so by his coaches. He is a strong character person who will go far in soccer and in life.”
The Blackbirds kick off their new campaign with four exhibition matches in August, beginning with an Aug. 15 visit to Stony Brook. LIU’s regular-season opener is Sept. 4 vs. St. Bonaventure in the opening game of the Brooklyn Bridge Cup at LIU Field.
The Blackbirds’ track and field team, which captured the IC4A Championships team title in Princeton, N.J., last month, will have a busy weekend in Eugene, Ore., as it sends a record number of athletes to the 2015 NCAA Championships.
Senior Brendon Rodney, who was recently named the Northeast Region Track Athlete of the Year by the US Track and Field Cross Country Coaches, and junior Mica-Jonathan Petit-Homme will compete as individuals in the 200-meter dash and the 400-meter hurdles, respectively.
The top two finishers in the three heats of each event, along with the next two best times, will advance to the NCAA Championship final rounds, scheduled for Friday.
LIU’s men’s 4×100-meter and 4×400-meter relay teams also earned the right to compete against the top athletes in the country.
Coverage of the event can be seen on ESPNU & ESPN3, beginning on Wednesday, June 10 at 7:00 p.m. ET.
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