Crusaders Return To The Court At Sacred Heart On Sunday
Dec. 28, 2007
GAME DAY QUICK FACTS:
The Teams: Holy Cross (7-2, 0-0 PL) vs. Sacred Heart (4-7, 2-0 NEC)
Date: December 30, 2007
Time: 4:00 p.m.
Place: William H. Pitt Health & Recreation Center (2,000), Fairfield, Conn.
Live Video Streaming: www.sacredheartpioneers.com
Holy Cross Radio: Bob Fouracre, play-by-play; www.sportsjuice.com, internet
Sacred Heart Radio: Jeff Holtz, play-by-play; Gene Gumbs, color; WICC 600 AM, Bridgeport, Conn.
Series Record: Holy Cross leads, 2-1
Last Meeting: Sacred Heart 66, Holy Cross 61 (January 3, 2001, Fairfield, Conn.)
PROBABLE HOLY CROSS STARTERS: Pos. No. Name Ht. Wt. Cl. F 21 Alex Vander Baan 6-9 205 Jr. F 33 Colin Cunningham 6-6 210 Jr. C 00 Tim Clifford 6-11 260 Sr. G 2 Kyle Cruze 6-2 175 Sr. G 20 Pat Doherty 5-11 170 Jr.
THE SERIES WITH SACRED HEART: This will be just the fourth meeting between the Crusaders and the Pioneers on the hardwood, with Holy Cross leading the all-time series 2-1. The Crusaders won the first two games in the series with a pair of victories at the Hart Center, 55-52 on Jan. 3, 1999, and 63-48 on Jan. 6, 2000. Sacred Heart then came back to win in the last meeting between the schools, posting a 66-61 victory in Fairfield on Jan. 3, 2001.
SERIES QUICK FACTS:
Overall: Holy Cross leads, 2-1
In Fairfield: Sacred Heart leads, 1-0
At the William H. Pitt Center: Sacred Heart leads, 1-0
Ralph Willard vs. Sacred Heart: 1-1
Dave Bike vs. Holy Cross: 1-2
Current Win Streak: Sacred Heart, one game
THE ROAD WARRIORS: The Crusaders continue to have success in games played away from home, as shown by their 3-1 mark in road games this season. Holy Cross has posted victories at St. Joseph's (71-66), Hampton (60-52) and Fairfield (67-54) so far in 2007-2008. The Crusaders ability to win away from home is currently being tested, as they are in the middle of a stretch in which six of seven contests will come on the road. Holy Cross' next game comes at Sacred Heart (Dec. 30), before a home date against Boston University (Jan. 2). Three straight road games then follow for the Crusaders, against San Francisco (Jan. 5), Maryland (Jan. 8) and Lafayette (Jan. 12). Last season, Holy Cross posted a 10-6 record in true road games.
CLIFFORD PLAYS BIG ROLE IN THE MIDDLE: Senior center Tim Clifford (Walpole, Mass.) is once again among the top big men in the conference this season, after earning second team All-Patriot League honors in 2006-2007. In the first nine games of the season, he has averaged 16.7 points, 5.0 rebounds and 1.7 blocks per contest, while hitting 62.7 percent (64 of 102) of his field goal attempts. In the Siena game, Clifford scored a season-high 26 points on 11 of 16 shooting, including two three-pointers in the final 12 seconds of regulation to force overtime. During the previous contest at St. Joseph's, he recorded 16 points and seven rebounds, while hitting eight of 12 shots from the floor. Clifford also played well against Dayton, leading the team with 20 points, while hitting seven of 14 field goal attempts and two of four three-pointers. Some of Clifford's other top games this season have been against Yale (23 points, eight rebounds, six blocked shots and four assists), Harvard (22 points and four rebounds), Hampton (22 points and six rebounds) and Ohio (11 points on five of six shooting). In 34 games played last year, Clifford averaged 11.7 points, 4.6 rebounds and 1.9 blocks per contest. He was even more impressive in Patriot League regular season games, averaging 12.7 points, 5.1 rebounds and 1.7 blocks per contest. Clifford's biggest game last season came on Feb. 15, 2007, at Navy, when he scored a career-high 33 points to go along with four rebounds and four blocked shots (hitting 12 of 19 field goals and all eight of his free throws). Over the course of his career as a Crusader, Clifford has now totaled 875 points, 401 rebounds and 158 blocked shots. He currently needs 125 points to become Holy Cross' 44th 1,000-point scorer.
CRUSADERS HAVE FAST START: Holy Cross began the 2007-2008 season by winning its first six games, good for is best start during Ralph Willard's tenure as head coach. Previously, the best start by the Crusaders under Willard came in 2006-2007, when they began the year 5-0 with wins over Fairfield (67-65 in overtime), Hampton (62-47), Siena (65-57), Harvard (82-69) and William & Mary (66-57). This season's 6-0 start was the best by Holy Cross since the 1988-1989 team also opened the year at 6-0, defeating Mount St. Mary's (90-82), New Hampshire (89-73), Assumption (105-84), Harvard (91-74), Fordham (79-68) and Boston College (85-80). This year marked the ninth time in school history in which Holy Cross opened a season with at least six straight victories.
CRUSADERS REMAIN TOUGH ON DEFENSE: Holy Cross is once again among the top defensive teams in the nation in 2007-2008. In nine games played so far this season, the Crusaders have held their opponents to 58.4 points per contest, 40.1 percent shooting from the field and 35.5 percent shooting from three-point range. Holy Cross is also outrebounding the opposition by 7.6 boards per game, while forcing 15.2 turnovers per contest. Since the beginning of the 2001-2002 campaign, Holy Cross has held its opposition to only 58.6 points per contest. In addition, the Crusaders have ranked in the top 10 in the nation in scoring defense in five of the last six seasons (sixth in 2001-2002 at 59.6; third in 2002-2003 at 58.7; seventh in 2003-2004 at 58.6; fifth in 2004-2005 at 56.8; and eighth in 2006-2007 at 57.5). Here is a look at Holy Cross' defensive statistics under Ralph Willard.
Season PPG FG% 3FG% SPG BPG 1999-2000 63.3 39.6 31.3 6.5 3.8 2000-2001 62.3 38.2 35.2 6.3 5.2 2001-2002 59.6 42.0 38.5 7.8 3.1 2002-2003 58.7 40.6 33.2 7.9 4.5 2003-2004 58.6 40.3 32.9 10.7 4.5 2004-2005 56.8 38.9 36.3 10.3 5.0 2005-2006 60.5 40.2 30.3 9.1 3.5 2006-2007 57.5 41.4 37.8 9.5 3.6
CUNNINGHAM STARTS SEASON STRONG: Junior forward Colin Cunningham (Memphis, Tenn.) has taken over as the starting small forward for Holy Cross this year, and has been one of the Crusaders' top players. During the Siena game, Cunningham recorded 15 points, four assists, three rebounds and three steals. Previously against Yale, he posted his first career double-double with 13 points and a career-high 10 rebounds, while making all three of his three-point attempts. Cunningham also had a big game against Ohio, totaling 12 points and three rebounds. Some of Cunningham's other top performances this season have come against Fairfield (career-high 17 points, 10 of 10 on the free throw line), Harvard (13 points, eight rebounds, five assists and three steals) and Hampton (10 points, six rebounds and five assists). Overall this season, Cunningham is now averaging 10.1 points, 4.4 rebounds and 2.2 assists per game.
SIENA RECAP: Tim Clifford totaled 26 points and six rebounds, but it was not enough as Holy Cross was defeated by Siena 84-77 in overtime at the Times Union Center on Dec. 22, 2007. Clifford made 11 of 16 shots from the floor on the day, including two of four attempts from three-point range. Siena made its first four shots of the day, to jump out to a quick 10-4 lead. Colin Cunningham then scored five straight points to bring Holy Cross within one, 10-9. The Saints responded with a 13-4 run, to claim their biggest lead of the half, 23-13 with nine minutes left before the break. But the Crusaders came right back with a 7-0 spurt to get back into the game. Holy Cross would eventually claim a 30-29 lead with 1:30 left in the half, before Siena took a 34-31 advantage into the locker room. The Saints maintained a small lead early in the second half, before using a 6-0 spurt to build their lead back up to 10 points (50-40) with 11:44 left in regulation. The Crusaders would close to within one point two times in the closing minutes, before Josh Duell hit a three-pointer to bring Siena's lead back to seven points with one minute left. But the Saints made just four of seven free throw attempts in the final minute, and Clifford hit two three-pointers in the last 12 seconds, including one as time expired, to force overtime tied at 70-70. In the extra session, Holy Cross struggled on the offensive end of the court, missing its first six shots as Siena took a 75-70 lead. The Saints would also convert nine of their 10 free throws in overtime to secure the win.
VANDER BAAN PLAYS KEY ROLE ON FRONT LINE: Junior forward Alex Vander Baan (Uxbridge, Mass.) is once again a key member of the Holy Cross lineup this year. In eight games played so far this season, he has averaged 11.4 points and 7.5 rebounds per contest, while hitting 50.0 percent (11 of 22) of his three-point field goal attempts. During the Siena game, Vander Baan posted 13 points, six rebounds and two steals. In the previous contest at St. Joseph's, he totaled 16 points and seven rebounds, while making all four of his free throws in the final minute of play. Vander Baan also had a big night against Dayton, recording 11 points and seven rebounds, while hitting all three of his shots from the floor. Some of Vander Baan's other top performances this season have come against Harvard (18 points and eight rebounds), Hofstra (15 rebounds, 10 points, three assists and three blocks) and Fairfield (11 points and four rebounds). In 34 games played last year, Vander Baan averaged 6.4 points and 5.3 rebounds per contest, while making 36.2 percent of his three-point field goal attempts (17 of 47). His top performance of the 2006-2007 season came at Lehigh on Feb. 25, when he recorded 14 points and eight rebounds. Over the course of his career as a Crusader, Vander Baan has now totaled 505 points, 398 rebounds, 111 assists, 54 steals and 25 blocked shots.
CLIFFORD BREAKS BLOCKED SHOT RECORD: Senior center Tim Clifford broke the Holy Cross record for career blocked shots during the victory over Yale on Nov. 28, 2007. Clifford's record-breaking block came at the 5:15-mark of the second half, when he swatted away an attempted jump shot by the Bulldogs' Porter Braswell. That block moved him past Nate Lufkin (2001-2005), who had 153 blocked shots during his Holy Cross career. Clifford, who currently has 158 blocked shots during his career as a Crusader, also owns two of the top six spots on the school single season list for blocks (64 in 2006-2007; 48 in 2005-2006).
CRUZE PLAYS KEY MINUTES IN THE BACKCOURT: Senior guard Kyle Cruze (Knoxville, Tenn.) has developed into a strong player in the Holy Cross backcourt. Through the first nine games of the season, he has averaged 4.7 points, 2.9 assists, 2.8 rebounds and 1.7 steals per contest. During the St. Joseph's game, Cruze posted season-highs of 13 points and six assists, while hitting four of five field goal attempts (including three of four three-pointers). Previously against Ohio, he hit the game-winning shot with 2.6 seconds remaining, while totaling seven points, four assists and he rebounds. Earlier this season, Cruze recorded 10 points, two rebounds and two steals against Hofstra, while finishing with nine points, four rebounds, two assists and two steals in the win at Fairfield. During the 2006-2007 season, Cruze started 25 games for the Crusaders, averaging 2.1 points and 1.4 rebounds per contest.
THE LAST MEETING WITH SACRED HEART: Patrick Whearty came off the bench to total 23 points and eight rebounds, but it was not enough as Holy Cross fell to Sacred Heart 66-61 at the William H. Pitt Health & Recreation Center on Jan. 3, 2001. The game was close during the early parts of the first half, and the Pioneers held a 13-12 lead after eight minutes of play. The Crusaders then went on a 16-4 run to take an 11-point lead, with Whearty scoring six of his points during that spurt. Holy Cross eventually extended its lead to 12 points (35-23) at halftime. The Crusaders were still up by 12 points (45-33) with 12 minutes left in the game, before Sacred Heart went on a 23-2 run over the next seven minutes to take the lead for good. The Pioneers made nine straight field goal attempts during that spurt, as they turned a 12-point deficit into a nine-point lead. Holy Cross would get back to within three points (59-56) with 1:30 left to play, but Sacred Heart hit seven of 10 free throws down the stretch to hold on for the victory. Ryan Serravalle finished with 10 points and four rebounds for Holy Cross, while Jave Meade added eight points and three steals. The Pioneers were led by Andrew Hunter with 17 points and four steals, while Tim Welch added 11 points and eight rebounds.
DOHERTY TAKES OVER AT THE POINT: Junior guard Pat Doherty (Scranton, Pa.) has taken over as the starting point guard for the Crusaders this year, after serving as the first guard off the bench in 2006-2007. Through the first nine contests of the season, Doherty has averaged 8.8 points, 5.2 assists, 3.7 rebounds and 2.1 steals per game. During the Siena game, Doherty totaled 15 points, seven assists, five rebounds and two steals. Previously against Ohio, he recorded 12 points, six assists and three steals. Some of Doherty's other top performances this season have come against Hofstra (18 points, four assists and three rebounds) and Fairfield (11 points, seven rebounds, three assists and two steals). In 28 games played last season, Doherty averaged 5.3 points, 2.2 assists, 1.7 rebounds and 1.3 steals per contest. His top game last year came at Yale when he totaled 18 points, four assists and three steals, while hitting five of six shots from the field and all four of his three-point attempts. Doherty returned to the Holy Cross lineup last season, after missing the majority of the 2005-2006 campaign due to injury, and receiving a medical redshirt. As a freshman in 2004-2005, Doherty was honored as the Patriot League Rookie of the Year. Over the course of his career as a Crusader, he has now totaled 383 points, 187 assists, 124 rebounds and 86 steals.
CLIFFORD NAMED PATRIOT LEAGUE PRESEASON PLAYER OF THE YEAR: Senior center Tim Clifford was named the Patriot League Preseason Player of the Year, in voting by the conference's head coaches and sports information directors. Clifford was also one of five players selected to the preseason all-conference team. Along with Clifford, other selections to the squad were Army senior guard Jarell Brown, Bucknell senior guard John Griffin, Lehigh sophomore guard Marquis Hall and Navy senior guard Greg Sprink. Clifford, Brown and Sprink all earned second team all-conference honors at the conclusion of the 2006-2007 season, while Hall was last year's Patriot League Rookie of the Year.
CRUSADERS PICKED FIRST IN PRESEASON POLL: In the 2007-2008 Patriot League preseason poll, Holy Cross was picked to finish in first place in voting by the conference's head coaches and sports information directors. The Crusaders received 91 total points in the poll, and 10 out of 16 first place votes. Following Holy Cross in the poll were Bucknell (second, 85 points, five first place votes), Colgate (third, 62 points, one first place vote), Lehigh (fourth, 56 points), American (fifth, 49 points), Army (sixth, 42 points), Navy (seventh, 34 points) and Lafayette (eighth, 29 points).
WILLARD CONTINUES IMPRESSIVE RUN AT HOLY CROSS: Ralph Willard is now in his ninth season as the Crusaders' head coach, and currently owns a mark of 166-91 during his time in Worcester. He now stands in second place on the all-time school list for career victories, behind only George Blaney (357-276 / 1972-1994). Last season, Willard was selected as the Patriot League Coach of the Year for the third time in his career. He was previously named the conference's Coach of the Year during the 2000-2001 and 2004-2005 seasons, and in 2004-2005 he was also one of 10 finalists for the Jim Phelan National Coach of the Year Award. Willard has led the Crusaders to four Patriot League tournament titles and four trips to the NCAA Tournament, during the 2000-2001, 2001-2002, 2002-2003 and 2006-2007 seasons. He has also guided Holy Cross to four Patriot League regular season championships in 2000-2001, 2002-2003, 2004-2005 and 2006-2007, with the 2002-2003 squad posting an overall record of 26-5 to come up just one win shy of the school single season record for victories. Prior to his time at Holy Cross, Willard spent five seasons as the head coach at the University of Pittsburgh, and four years as head coach at Western Kentucky University. He led Western Kentucky to the NCAA Tournament during each of his final two seasons (advancing to the Sweet 16 in 1992-1993), and his overall career record stands at 310-215. Willard is a 1967 graduate of Holy Cross, and was a three-year letterwinner for the Crusaders.
HOLY CROSS HAS GOOD SUCCESS ON THE BOARDS: The Crusaders have once again shown themselves to be an outstanding rebounding team this year. Holy Cross has outrebounded each of its first nine opponents, while averaging 34.6 rebounds per game and outrebounding the opposition by 7.6 boards per contest. The rebounding load has been well balanced, with five different players averaging at least 3.7 rebounds per game. Junior forward Alex Vander Baan leads the team with an average of 7.5 rebounds per game, followed by senior center Tim Clifford with 5.0 boards per contest. Sophomore forward Eric Meister (Boalsburg, Pa.) has totaled 4.6 rebounds per game, while junior forward Colin Cunningham has added 4.4 boards per contest, and junior guard Pat Doherty has contributed 3.7 rebounds per game. Last season, the Crusaders averaged 32.1 rebounds per game, and outrebounded their opponents by an average of 4.3 boards per game. Holy Cross really stepped things up in Patriot League regular season play last year, outrebounding the opposition by 8.0 boards per game, while allowing opponents to average just 25.2 rebounds per contest. Five different players averaged at least 3.6 boards per contest for Holy Cross in 2006-2007.
MAY PLAYS KEY MINUTES OFF THE BENCH: Sophomore forward Adam May (Mentor, Ohio) has been the first Holy Cross player off the bench this season at the wing positions. In nine games played, he has averaged 7.0 points and 2.6 rebounds. May's top game so far this year came against Harvard, when he scored a career-high 16 points and pulled down six rebounds. He also had nine points and two rebounds at Fairfield, while scoring eight points against Ohio. Last season, May played in 18 games for the Crusaders, totaling 29 points and eight rebounds.
HOLY CROSS NAMES CAPTAINS: Senior center Tim Clifford and senior guard Kyle Cruze have been selected as the Crusaders' captains for the 2007-2008 season, while junior guard Pat Doherty and junior forward Alex Vander Baan will serve as co-captains. These four players will take over the leadership role from Keith Simmons and Torey Thomas, who served as the Crusaders' captains as seniors during the 2006-2007 season.
HOLY CROSS SHOWS BALANCE ON OFFENSE: The Crusaders graduated the top two scorers off of their 2006-2007 team in Keith Simmons and Torey Thomas, but a number of players have stepped up on the offensive end to make up for those losses. Holy Cross currently has five players averaging at least 7.0 points per game so far this season. Senior center Tim Clifford leads the team in scoring at 16.7 points per game, followed by junior forward Alex Vander Baan at 11.4 points per contest. Junior forward Colin Cunningham has averaged 10.1 points per game, junior guard Pat Doherty has added 8.8 points per contest, and sophomore forward Adam May is chipping in with 7.0 points per game.
HOLY CROSS IN THE NCAA STATISTICS: The Crusaders are currently ranked among the NCAA Division I leaders in five statistical categories, through games of December 16. In addition, senior center Tim Clifford is ranked among the national leaders in field goal percentage. The rankings:
Category Rank Player / Team Avg. Scoring Defense 8 Holy Cross 55.3 Rebound Margin 24 Holy Cross +8.1 Free Throw Percent 27 Holy Cross 75.0 Field Goal Percent 28 Tim Clifford 61.6 Winning Percent 33 Holy Cross 87.5 Field Goal Percent Defense 43 Holy Cross 38.5
HOLY CROSS IN THE RPI: Holy Cross is currently ranked 53rd in the nation in the Ratings Percentage Index, with a rating of .5836 through games of Dec. 27. The Crusaders are the highest ranked team in the Patriot League, with the second-highest ranking belonging to Lafayette (144th, .5120). In addition, Holy Cross' non-conference schedule ranks as the 127th best in the country, and the hardest in the Patriot League. The Crusaders concluded the 2006-2007 season ranked 59th in the country in the RPI with a rating of .5730. Holy Cross was also ranked 111th in the RPI in 2005-2006 (.5304) and 49th in 2004-2005 (.5657)
TRADITION OF EXCELLENCE: This year marks the 89th season of Holy Cross men's basketball. The Crusaders own an overall record of 1256-801 (.611), while making 24 postseason tournament appearances -- 12 trips to the NCAA Tournament and 12 to the National Invitation Tournament. In the history of collegiate basketball, Holy Cross is one of only 16 schools to have won the NCAA Tournament (1946-1947) as well as the National Invitational Tournament (1953-1954). Throughout its history, Holy Cross has had six first team All-America selections, sent 10 players to the National Basketball Association, had four players inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame, had 23 players drafted by professional teams, had three players go on to coach professionally, and had 15 players who have coached in college, including current Crusader coach Ralph Willard.
CRUSADERS EXTEND HART CENTER WINNING STREAK: Holy Cross currently owns a 22-game winning streak at the Hart Center, including a perfect 4-0 record so far this season. The Crusaders own the sixth longest current home court winning streak in the nation, behind only Brigham Young (38 games), Memphis (36 games), Notre Dame (26 games), Indiana (25 games) and Tennessee (23 games). In addition, the 22-game winning streak is the longest in the history of the Hart Center, which opened on December 1, 1975. Last season Holy Cross posted a perfect 14-0 mark at the Hart Center, setting a school record for the most home victories since it moved into the building. During the Hart Center's history, Holy Cross has posted a winning record at home in 28 out of 32 seasons, while recording double-figure home victories 15 times. The Crusaders stand 295-104 all-time at the Hart Center, including an 82-12 mark since the beginning of the 2000-2001 season. Here is a look at the longest winning streaks in Hart Center history.
Rank Streak Dates Ended By 1. 22 games 2/15/2006-present -- 2. 15 games 1/9/1993-1/12/1994 Lehigh (87-85) 3. 14 games 11/23/2002-11/25/2003 Williams (78-71) 14 games 12/22/1980-1/9/1982 Boston U. (96-82) 5. 11 games 12/28/2000-11/20/2001 Boston U. (61-49) 6. 10 games 1/5/2005-3/6/2005 Bucknell (67-51) 10 games 12/1/1975-1/22/1976 Connecticut (73-69)
SCOUTING THE PIONEERS: Sacred Heart stands 4-7 on the year, including a 2-0 mark in the Northeast Conference, prior to a game at Boston College on Dec. 28. The Pioneers have won four of their last five games, and have a 2-1 record at home so far this season. Senior guard Drew Shubik leads the team with averages of 11.6 points, 6.1 rebounds and 4.7 assists per game, while hitting 85.5 percent (47 of 55) of his free throws. Senior forward Brice Brooks has averaged 10.3 points and 5.5 rebounds per contest, while sophomore guard Chauncey Hardy has chipped in with 9.8 points per game. Sacred Heart is led by Dave Bike, who owns an overall record of 450-408 in 30 seasons as the Pioneers' head coach.
HOLY CROSS ON THE RADIO: Once again this season, a number of the Crusaders' basketball contests will be carried by WTAG 580 AM in Worcester. For the 19th straight season, Bob Fouracre will call the play-by-play for most of the games. In addition, Jeremy Lechan and Dick Lutsk are in their fourth year on the Holy Cross broadcast crew, and will handle either play-by-play or color commentary for selected games. WTAG is currently scheduled to air 17 of the Crusaders' 28 regular season games. All 28 regular season games will also be carried live over the internet at "www.sportsjuice.com". In addition, the Holy Cross student station, WCHC 88.1 FM, will carry a number of games this year.
CRUSADERS ON TELEVISION: Holy Cross is currently scheduled to have eight games shown on live television during the 2007-2008 season. The Crusaders had 13 television appearances last year, and 10 television games during both the 2005-2006 and 2004-2005 campaigns. Here is a look at Holy Cross' television schedule for the 2007-2008 season:
Date Opponent Television Outlet Jan. 2 Boston University WCTR-TV3 Jan. 8 Maryland Comcast SportsNet Mid-Atlantic Jan. 12 Lafayette Lafayette Sports Network Jan. 18 Bucknell ESPNU Feb. 2 Lehigh ESPNU Feb. 16 Bucknell ESPN2 Feb. 27 Colgate WCTR-TV3 Feb. 29 Lehigh ESPNU
CRUSADER ALL-ACCESS: Live video streaming of a number of Holy Cross basketball games will be available over the internet through Crusader All-Access. The package, done in association with College Sports Television Online, is available for a $9.95 monthly subscription. For details on how to sign up for Crusader All-Access, click here.
DRIBBLES: With the loss at Siena, Holy Cross had a seven-game overtime winning streak snapped. The Crusaders, who stand 10-3 in overtime contests under Ralph Willard, had not lost a game which went into extra time since Dec. 9, 2004, when they fell at Boston College 63-60 ... Holy Cross posted a perfect 6-0 record in the month of November ... With the victory over Hofstra on Nov. 10, the Crusaders improved to 64-25 all-time in their opening game of the season, including a 7-2 mark under Ralph Willard, Holy Cross also upped its record to 26-7 in home openers since moving into the Hart Center ... Last year, Tim Clifford and Alex Vander Baan both broke the all-time Holy Cross single season records for games played and games started. They both had 34 appearances and starts last year. Eric Meister also broke the record for games played, as he has appeared in all 34 contests last season ... The Crusaders are ranked seventh in the latest Mid-Major Top 25 Poll from CollegeInsider.com, released on December 24.