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Framingham native stands tall in goal for Springfield College

Soccer stalwarts Erin Greenstein of Framingham (left) and Drew Vanasse of Concord both received conference defensive player of the week honors at Springfield College.

Soccer stalwarts Erin Greenstein of Framingham (left) and Drew Vanasse of Concord both received conference defensive player of the week honors at Springfield College.

Greenstein standing tall at Springfield

Springfield College women’s soccer coach John Gibson said he admires the attributes his record-setting senior goalie, Erin Greenstein, brings to the position.

He noted her jumping ability, quick hands, positioning and composure, then quipped, “but if you had told me my starting keeper would be 5-foot-3, my hair would have turned gray and I wouldn’t have slept for a week.

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“Seriously, she’s a great competitor who usually beats me to the punch in the huddle, especially before an overtime, inspiring our team.’’

Greenstein, who starred at Framingham High, has stood tall for the Pride, in net and as a captain.

She was selected Eastern Collegiate Athletic Conference and New England Women’s and Men’s Athletic Conference Defensive Player of the Week after posting her program-record 26th shutout Oct. 13, a 1-0 win over Massachusetts Institute of Technology. She added another, her seventh of the season, in a 1-0 double-overtime win over the Coast Guard Academy on Tuesday.

Springfield junior defender Drew Vanasse  of Concord received similar honors for the men’s squad.

“If you do what you’re supposed to do, your height really doesn’t matter,’’ said Greenstein, an all-conference and All-New England selection last season, when her 0.50 goals-against average ranked 19th in Division 3.

“I’ve always worked hard on not getting shots chipped over my head and holding my line.’’

Greenstein played in only two games as a freshman, but showed she was ready for prime time the following season when she was named Most Outstanding Player of the NEWMAC tournament, won by Springfield.

“The record and being a captain mean a lot, that you’re a vital part of your team,’’ said Greenstein, who has backstopped Springfield (9-4-1, 6-1 conference) to consecutive appearances in the NCAA Division 3 tournament.

A two-time captain at Framingham High and a four-year starter, Greenstein was coached as a 5-year-old in the town’s youth program by her father, Gary.

“I wasn’t aware of the record until my dad told me how many more I needed before the season,’’ said Greenstein. “He said, ‘you’re close’ and I said ‘oh,cool.’ ”

Playing in goal, she said, is “both fun and intense,’’ and although she shakes off a loss pretty quickly, Greenstein said a 1-0 defeat with five seconds to play against conference opponent Wheaton really stung.

“It bothered me. It was our biggest game of the season at that point. But we realized we had to step it up and we’ve played stronger since then,’’ said Greenstein.

She is joined on the roster by backup keeper Holly Ouellette, a sophomore from Shrewsbury, and freshman forward Nicole Fowler  of Maynard, the team’s second-leading scorer (4-2-10), who has three-game winning goals, including the clincher over MIT.

That same day, Fowler’s brother, Michael, a junior on the Springfield men’s soccer team, also scored the game-winning goal when the Pride defeated MIT, 3-1. Unfortunately, he’s suffered a potentially season-ending foot injury.

“Nicole is quick, strong, and smart and is adjusting well to the college game,’’ said Gibson. “And Holly has had to battle through injuries, but she’s also a talented keeper and a great addition to our team.’’

Springfield men’s coach Steffen Siebert  said Vanasse, a graduate of Concord-Carlisle Regional High, is “our commander on the back line. We count on him to win the battles in the air and we’ll move him up front on corner kicks and free kicks.’’

He said Fowler has been invaluable at striker because of his speed, physicality, and ability to control the ball. Prior to his injury he had a goal and four assists.

Ezinicki excelled
at hockey and golf

Bill Ezinicki  loved hockey, but his passion was golf.

Head professional and professional emeritus at The International Golf Club in Bolton since 1974, “Ezzie’’ was a feisty winger and fierce bodychecker who played on three consecutive Stanley Cup championship (1947-49) teams with the Toronto Maple Leafs.

He also played two seasons with the Bruins during his 11-year professional career.

When he turned to golf full time, the Winnipeg, Manitoba, native, who died at age 88 on Oct. 11, competed in nine US Opens and won two New England PGA titles and three New England Senior PGA championships.

A three-time NEPGA Player of the Year, he is enshrined in four athletic halls of fames.

“He was a great golfer, but so shy and quiet at times you’d never know he was one of the toughest players in the NHL,’’ said Ed Whalley, a longtime friend and former club pro at Charles River and Woodland.  

“We played as partners many times. I was the fastest player on the course and he was the slowest, but it was always fun.’’

Always searching for the perfect putter, Ezinicki, who lived across the street from The International until last year, started every lesson the same way — learn how to hit the wedge.

“I enjoyed many conversations about the golf swing with him,’’ said Chris Kasheta , director of golf at The International. “When he gave a lesson it could become a two- or three-hour personal clinic.’’

Ruffing starts fast at Franklin Pierce

After graduating from Duke University, Westborough High grad Ryan Ruffing  enrolled at Franklin Pierce University. Still eligible to play soccer as a graduate student, he has given the Ravens a boost offensively.

Through 12 games, the 6-foot-1 Ruffing had scored four goals, including a pair of game-winners.

“Ryan has brought a great deal of athleticism to the central forward spot,’’ said head coach Ian Clerihew, whose team was 9-3 overall and 7-2 in the Northeast-10 Conference prior to last Wednesday’s game vs. St.Michael’s.

“His determination to score goals has elevated our team’s capabilities in the offensive zone.’’ Ruffing, the 2008 all-state 100-meter dash champion, started his collegiate career at George Washington University before transferring to Duke as a sophomore.

Marvin Pave can be reached at marvin.pave@rcn.com.
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