Pictured: Members of the women’s basketball team pose in front of La Sagrada Familia in Barcelona.
The New York Institute of Technology women’s basketball team had just a few hours to rest before heading to the first of three exhibition games in Spain.
From August 8 through 15, the Bears played against two sports clubs from Madrid—Distrito Olímpico and Olímpico 64—and one from Barcelona, Lima Horta.
The team got off to a challenging start. After landing in Madrid in the morning, they headed to their first game in the afternoon on August 8 where they fell to Distrito Olímpico, 70-64. The reigning East Coast Conference champions gave it their all and overcame a 13-point halftime deficit to take the lead but ultimately were defeated.
After a good night’s rest and a chance to get over their jet lag, the women went on to defeat Olímpico 64, 71-56. The Bears showed their skills during the August 9 match with Meg Knollmeyer scoring a team-high 18 points and contributing nine rebounds, and Ketsia Athias scoring 16 points and eight rebounds. Carol Arfinengo scored 12 points and Shalie Frierson had 11 points.
It was a homecoming for Carol Arfinengo who comes from Madrid. She scored 12 points against Olímpico 64, helping lead the Bears to victory.
“They played hard. They battled through it,” said Head Coach Kenneth Parham. “They got a little better from the first game.”
The Bears’ final game was on August 14 where they defeated Lima Horta 61-42. Athias scored a team high 17 points.
“We played really well together and I feel like we came out stronger than we ever have,” said guard/forward Emily Novick. “I’m really excited to see how this season is going to turn out because we looked really good today.”
The exhibition opener marked the debuts of freshman Janae Queen Carter and transfer student Arfinengo, who hails from Madrid. It was a homecoming for the guard/forward who had the opportunity to visit her parents and introduce them to her coach and teammates.
The Bears take in the sights of Madrid.
“It was very exciting to see them again,” said Arfinengo, who comes to New York Institute of Technology from Monmouth University in New Jersey. “I’m so glad they got to meet my coaches and my new team.”
Her parents, Paloma del Carpio and Gerard Arfinengo, hosted the group at their home for traditional local cuisine. “Every year. I want you every year here!” said del Carpio.
In between games, the student-athletes visited historic sites in Madrid including the international soccer juggernaut Real Madrid’s stadium, Museo del Prado, and the Royal Palace of Madrid, as well as trips to FC Barcelona’s stadium, La Sagrada Familia, and the famed La Rambla in Barcelona.
The Bears’ formal season will begin with road exhibition games on October 31 at Fordham University and St. Peter’s University on November 2.
Cheer on the Bears at the regular season opener on November 9 against Adelphi University.
By Adam Rubin