DeSales doubles down on success

Sondrine Glovas leads DeSales with 18.1 points per game and recently passed 1,000 for her career.
DeSales athletics photo

DeSales is the only school in the Mid-Atlantic region to have both their men’s and women’s basketball teams win over 200 games in the past 10 years.

“You can’t win that many games, obviously, unless you have very good players. And we have had some really great players, as have the women’s team,” men’s coach Scott Coval said.

The men’s team has developed four MAC Freedom Players of the Year, as well as a All-American. The women’s team have also produced three Freedom Conference players of the year, and two players who earned All-America honors, a total of five times.

The men’s team is tied for the lead in wins over the past ten years in the region with Franklin and Marshall at 210 wins. The women rank in the top five behind only Messiah, Scranton, Kean, and Muhlenberg with 205 wins.

Together, Coval and women’s coach Fred Richter have developed a basketball powerhouse in Center Valley, Pa.

Only six other schools in all of Division III basketball have two programs that have won more than 200 games in the past 10 years: Hope, Maryville (Tenn.), Washington U., Randolph-Macon, UW-Stevens Point and Amherst.

Over that time period, the men’s basketball team at DeSales has produced eight 20-plus win seasons,  won a school-record 25 wins in 2008-2009, won two conference championships (2009 and 2010), one ECAC South Region championship (2007), and advanced to the Division III NCAA Tournament twice, reaching the Elite Eight in 2009.

The women’s team has done some damage too, especially when it has counted: four conference championships (2008, 2009, 2010, 2011), five Division III NCAA Tournament appearances (2003, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011) and two ECAC regional championships.

Brett Moyer is tough to stop, shooting 61 percent from the floor and 70 percent from the line.
DeSales athletics photo

This year, the men’s team is 15-3 overall, and 7-0 in the Freedom, on track for another championship season. But while the women’s team is 12-6 overall, they have not dominated conference play, with a record of 4-3.

“In many ways I’m disappointed about being 4-3,” Richter said. “There were some games where we didn’t give the consistent 40-minute effort to be as good as we can be.”

Richter, who is in his 23rd season coaching at DeSales, sees enough weapons on both ends of the floor to win, as long as they peak at the right time. “The way it is set up for all of us in D-III, it’s all about making the (conference) playoffs and then being the best team at the end of the year. We have done that in the past, and look forward to that challenge again,” he said.

“We have made the MAC playoffs 15 consecutive years, ever since we have joined. This is something we can hang our hat on. But it’s also something we need to take even more pride in and put some wins together to put ourselves in a good position for the playoffs.”

Consistency is going to have to be a trademark for the women the rest of this season. It’s been a staple at DeSales over the last decade. 

Coval has been in Center Valley for 20 years, and says the key to building a powerhouse like this starts with the support from the administration.

“Whether it is academic programs, programs in student life, or athletics, there has been a focus at DeSales to make all those programs excellent. Without that support, it would be very difficult to do what we have done.”

Skyline Conference battle

Old Westbury and Farmingdale State square off in a big Skyline Conference showdown Thursday night at 7 p.m. Old Westbury is currently undefeated in the conference and 13-3 overall, losing to only Cornell, NYU and Salisbury. 

Farmingdale State is 8-1 in the Skyline, their only loss coming on Nov. 29 against Old Westbury. Farmingdale played Old Westbury tough, taking the game into double overtime, but eventually falling 90-88.

“I think we are the one team in the conference that has the firepower to match up with them,” Farmingdale coach Eric Smiles said. “We have a lot of size inside, and we have to take advantage of that size. We are the one team that can take advantage of Old Westbury’s weakness.

“It’s a tough matchup for us. [AJ] Matthews (7-1) is a legitimate post guy. He can block shots and rebound,” Old Westbury coach Bernard Tomlin said. “We have a munchkin group and it’s hard work for us.”

In the first matchup, Farmingdale allowed Rashawn McCarthy to put up 26 points in, but they have a different plan to approach him tonight.

“Hopefully he doesn’t show up to the gym tonight,” Smiles joked.

“The last time they played us they played zone. Traditionally they have been a man to man team,” Tomlin said. Farmingdale might switch that up again tonight, as Smiles anticipates applying more pressure on McCarthy when he has the ball on the perimeter than in their first matchup.

“It’s just another game. We have to stay focused. Defend the three. The crowd is going to be very crazy, I just have to keep my team focused on winning the game,” said Christian Nunez, a senior guard for Farmingdale.

Ryan Scott

Ryan Scott is a long-time D-III basketball supporter and former player currently residing in Middletown, Del., where he serves as a work-at-home dad, doing freelance writing and editing projects. He has written for multiple publications across a wide spectrum of topics. Ryan is a graduate of Eastern Nazarene College and is immensely happy this is no longer a laugh line among the D-III basketball community.
2013-14 columnist: Rob Knox
2012-13 columnist: Pete Barrett
2011-12 columnist: Brian Lester