Profiles of senior Muhlenberg athletes are published in game programs in the sports of field hockey, football, soccer, volleyball, basketball, wrestling, baseball, softball, lacrosse and tennis, usually on that sport’s Senior Day.
As part of the Year in Review, here are some of the best responses in the Q&A profiles from the winter and spring athletes.
Matt O’Hara, Men’s Basketball
If you could trade places with anyone for a day, who would it be? Truthfully, in a completely non-weird way, I’d love to be on the girls’ basketball team. They have the best team chemistry at this school and some of my best friends are on that team: Julie Kelly, Alita Zabrecky and Kate Clawson, plus the whole sophomore class. They are a great team with great girls who have a ton of fun together.
What was it like student teaching this past fall semester? Student teaching and playing basketball was an enjoyable hell. I would wake up every morning at six and hang out with a bunch of little prepubescent eighth graders. It was great because they would actually get my jokes and appreciate me acting like an idiot for their entertainment. After I was done yelling at those little whirling dervishes, and maybe teaching them a thing or two about the Mayan Empire, I would drive back to school, shove food down my throat and then get yelled at during practice. In the midst of all of this chaos, I would somehow do homework and sleep (sometimes during practice…) and I eventually became a master of the chaos. The worst part about all of this running around was that I loved every second of my time being Mr. Lags.
Alita Zabrecky, Women’s Basketball
What’s the most memorable game of your Muhlenberg career? My most memorable game was, by far, my freshman year at Gettysburg. For some reason Coach had both Kate Clawson and I on the floor late in the game, down by one, with just seconds to go. We had the ball on the sideline out of bounds and our play was designed to get either Kelly [McKeon] or Alex [Chili] the ball so they could shoot, but they were not able to get open so by default, they had to pass to me. I started dribbling toward the basket and the next thing I know I am dribbling the ball off of my foot, thankfully right in the direction of Kate who snatched it up off of the floor. Once Kate had secured the ball I figured my best bet was just to stay out of the way and run to the basket to grab a rebound if someone missed a shot. After almost turning the ball over, I figured I probably should not be taking the last shot of the game. Kate now throws the ball into Sheila Cook in the post, and as I am making my way to the basket, Sheila throws the ball to me, assuming I am making a cut and that I wanted the ball (which I did not). It bounced off my chest, and I caught it and laid it in for the game-winning bucket. This play was by far the most dysfunctional game-winning play I have ever been a part of. I am just thankful that I made the layup given my track record of missed layups.
Ted Albanese, Men’s Lacrosse
How did you get started playing lacrosse? I started playing lacrosse when I was 10 years old and in fourth grade. My career conveniently started when my baseball career ended (I didn’t make the travel team). It’s a funny story actually. The night I found out I didn’t make the baseball team, I also found out my pet hermit crab died, so that was a rough night.
What was it like playing with your brother at Muhlenberg? Since I was born, my brother was always right there at my side … By the time I was a senior in high school, … the only one I had in mind was Muhlenberg so I could play with my brother. When spring of my freshman year finally came, it felt like Christmas came early. As the team hit the field for the first time, I just saw my brother and I walking out to the backyard to have a catch. When lined up to guard him in practice, he’ll say he got the best of my every time, but he doesn’t want to admit his little brother came in as a freshman and put him on an island day in and day out. It was one thing to practice together, but to play in the games with each other made it even more special. Hearing, “Carpetto brothers you’re next on defense” was something that gave me chills every game.
Jack Reilly, Men’s Lacrosse
What’s one possession you couldn’t live without? The possession I can’t live without is the bond and relationships I have developed with my teammates. This outweighs any material possession I own and is something that will last a lifetime.
Angie Sisco, Softball
What’s one thing on your bucket list? To go to the Everglades and finally see and/or wrestle an alligator … I’d be okay with either.
Describe Coach DeStasio in one word. I would describe Coach DeStasio as a “non-hugger.” This year we divided our team into “huggers” and the “touch me and die” group, otherwise known as “non-huggers.” Having grown up with the president of the “huggers,” Angie Sisco, I am definitely part of the “non-hugging” group and it’s great to have a coach that shares my views on this matter.
Jessica Klein, Women’s Tennis
What off-the-court accomplishment are you most proud of? One off-the-court accomplishment I am proud of is getting into Muhlenberg. I worked hard to get here, and it has been a remarkable journey that I am so privileged to have had.
This is your second year as team captain. What has been the most rewarding part of leading the team for two years? The most rewarding part of being captain is being able to see all of my fellow teammates grow not only as tennis players, but as people – on and off the court. On the court especially, I have seen so many of my fellow teammates get more and more confident in their games and play some truly amazing tennis. Every one of them motivates me to be a better tennis player and even though I am captain, I think I look up to them for all that they do and their tennis skills. We spend so much time together during the season and I feel really lucky to have met such a smart, fun, loving group of girls … I am so honored to hold this position for my team.
Alexandra Franck, Women’s Lacrosse
Do you have any pregame rituals or superstitions? My teammates will call me the most superstitious person on the team, and I’d have to agree. I’ve been wearing the same bow in my hair for game day throughout my four years here. I have two main rituals – one is taking a shower before every game. I started doing this my freshman year and when I started having success on the field, I knew I had to keep it. It’s a way of thinking about the game and what I want to accomplish. The second ritual also started my freshman year – a senior at the time (Alyssa Bascelli) told me about her pregame ritual of eating a pint of Ben & Jerry’s ice cream the night before every game. She informed us that someone had to do it with her so that when she graduated, it would get passed down. I was the willing (and maybe not so intelligent) freshman who said, “Sure!” and proceeded to eat a pint of Ben & Jerry’s Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough ice cream the night before every game. I have for all four years and now that I am graduating, I have passed the ritual down to freshmen Rachel Pedersen and Casey Armstrong. You guys better not disappoint me!
Your middle name, Zoe, is pretty unique. Were you named after someone? I am named after my Greek grandmother (my Yiayia) whose name was Bessie Zoe Athanasiou. Zoe means “life” in Greek and was the perfect portrayal of my Yiayia who is sadly no longer with us. We also both had only one dimple on our left cheeks. This was something we shared and something she always loved about the two of us. I am honored to be named after my Yiayia, and her spirit lives on and will continue to live on through me as I share her name.
Molly Davin, Women’s Lacrosse
What’s it like having six siblings? Are you the youngest, oldest or in the middle? I am the third oldest of seven. My brother, Joey, is the oldest, then I have one older sister, Kelly, and four younger sisters, Erin, Mary Kate, Maggie and Tara. People generally feel sorry for my brother for being the only boy, but they shouldn’t because he is treated like a king (and acts like it). The biggest issue with having six siblings, and especially five sisters, is that you cannot leave any personal items unattended, especially clothing, because you will never get it back.
Ryan Rechten, Baseball
Do you have any pregame rituals or superstitions? I have way too many superstitions and rituals to even name them all – from the way I put on my cleats to the made-up gibberish language our catcher Brett Rosen and I use to communicate before I pitch. The most meaningful and consistent ritual I have revolves around the word “trust.” The importance of this word was instilled in me by my high school coach. Before the inning begins he would tell me to clear off the mound and envision the word trust printed on the rubber. This year I printed it on the brim of my hat. It has served as my anchor, allowing me to take all the emotion out of the situation and focus on doing my job for our team.
How is it being teammates with Ryan Rechten? As a player, Ryan is one of the more loose and goofy kids on the team – he always has something ridiculous to say. The best part about this is that it makes everyone around him relaxed and reminds us that baseball is just a game and that we must treat it that way if we want to be successful. What I commend him for is his ability to joke around and have fun in the bullpen for six innings of the game and then turn it on right around the sixth knowing that it is his job to come in late and shut the door against the opposing team. I couldn’t think of a better person to have in this role as I have all the confidence in the world that he will come in and get outs in a hurry.
Rob Shannon, Baseball
What’s it like having nine older siblings? Having nine older siblings is the most incredible thing in my life. It is something that I truly treasure. I am so blessed to have them because they have truly made me into the person I am today. They mean more to me than words can capture. I wear the number nine to represent them.
Robert Appleby, Baseball
How did you get started playing baseball and what’s your first memory of playing?I’m not really sure how I got started but when I did start playing at the age of 4, I was instantly obsessed. My first memory of actually playing baseball was my first year of tee ball. The league rules were that there were no outs and each team got to hit through the lineup every inning. I remember being at shortstop when this kid hit a line drive to me, which I caught and doubled off the runner at first base. Even though I made the play, he still got to stay on base. I remember how excited I was when I was old enough to play in the league where you could actually get people out. As a hitter now, I take back ever thinking that.