UMass Athletics:

June 2011 Archives

Johnson Brothers Mentioned On MassLive

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Recent UMass graduates David and Kevin Johnson were both mentioned in Bill Wells' column on MassLive.com today:

JOHNSON MAKES ALL-ACADEMIC TEAM: Ludlow's Kevin Johnson, who graduated from the University of Massachusetts in May, was selected to the Capital One All-Academic second team for the second year in a row.

In the spring, Johnson ran the fifth-fastest time in the history of the UMass men's track program in the 10K.

Johnson graduated with a 4.0 GPA. During his career, he was selected to 11 academic-based teams, and was also named the UMass Male Fall Scholar-Athlete in 2009. He'll attend the Dartmouth College Medical School in Hanover, N.H., in September.

Kevin Johnson (17:34) finished two seconds ahead of his twin brother, David, at the Summerfest 3.5 Mile Cross Country Race in Holyoke Sunday.

Read the full column on MassLive.com.

Happy Birthday Kyle Multner!

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Happy birthday to Kyle Multner of UMass baseball!

Kyle Multner


The Telegram & Gazette has a look at last night's Together We're One Tour stop in Worcester at the Banner Bar & Grille.

As with the other tour stops, coach Morris spoke to the fans about the move to FBS, the joining of the MAC in 2012, and playing in Gillette Stadium.

"Can you imagine Penn State's Joe Paterno or Alabama's Nick Saban going out to rub elbows with the little people? The UMass tour is definitely unique.

Among those who were on hand or stopped by to say hello were Steven Gentilucci, who played at WPI under Morris; former Auburn High football coach Paul Fenton; ex-WPI head coach Ed Zaloom; former record-breaking WPI quarterback Mike Riccio, and Mike Wynn of Grafton, an offensive lineman on UMass' 1998 national championship team.

Also in the crowd was ex-UMass kicker Matt Goldstein, now the color commentator for the Minutemen's radio broadcasts. He is also manager of the Walgreen's store on Park Avenue.

"I'm ecstatic about (joining the BCS)," said Goldstein, who is also P.A. announcer for UMass basketball and hockey. "It's a great opportunity. UMass is the state university of Massachusetts, and this is a step in the right direction." 
The summer series of game previews continues as we take a look at the fourth game of the season - a road trip to CAA newcomer Old Dominion in Norfolk, Va.

ODU brings back a lot of talent players in key positions on both sides of the ball so this will be a very entertaining game.  

Click here to check out the preview page which includes a break-down of the top returning players for both teams; links to stats, rosters, schedules; and tons of travel information for the fans looking to make the trip - Viriginia is beautiful in October.

VIDEO: Catching Up With Gary Forbes

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Gary Forbes stopped by campus last week and we found him cruising through the Boyden Gym halls catching up with members of the athletic department. Naturally, we had to do an interview with him to see how his pro career has been going.

Installment No. 5 of the Daily Hampshire Gazette's summer series "Where Are They Now" is standout basketball big man Harper Williams.

 

"Jim McCoy scored more points and Marcus Camby and Lou Roe certainly got more acclaim nationally, but there weren't many UMass players more beloved than Harper Williams. A center at 6-foot-7, his work ethic defined the early days of UMass' success. He's the latest ex-UMass athlete to take our survey."

Tony Gaffney Hosting Basketball Camp in Berkley

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Berkley native Tony Gaffney will be returning home to host a basketball camp on July 5 through July 8 at the Berkley Middle School. The camp is open to boys and girls entering grades 2 through 8.


Berkshire Eagle: Paronto Powers Colonials To Victory

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Chad Paronto lost his first three starts for the Pittsfield Colonials, but kept on saying that things would get better. This must be what he meant.

The right-hander (3-3) won his third straight start to even his record as the Colonials rallied to beat the Newark Bears 5-3 on Tuesday.

Paronto went six innings Tuesday, giving up three runs (two earned) on six hits. T.J. Wink, the fourth Pittsfield pitcher, threw a 1-2-3 ninth for his first professional save.

In his last three starts, Paronto has pitched 20 2/3 innings and has given up four earned runs on 18 hits, for an earned-run average of 1.75. That compares most favorably with the righty's first three starts, where he gave up 14 earned runs in 16 innings and had an ERA of 7.88.

On Tuesday, Paronto walked only two and struck out seven. He threw 112 pitches, 72 for strikes.

Read more from the Berkshire Eagle.

Happy Birthday: June 29 - Torrey Esalomi

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Happy birthday to Torrey Esalomi who was UMass' top kickoff return man last season as a redshirt senior.

Torrey Esalomi
The Vancouver Sun has capsules on the Canadian Football League's East Division Teams. Focusing on the Montreal Alouettes, the paper lists Brandon London as one of the newcomers on the team to keep an eye on this year.

"Newcomer to watch: At six-foot-four and 210 pounds, Brandon London will make an inviting target for quarterback Anthony Calvillo. After stops in the NFL with the New York Giants, Miami Dolphins and Pittsburgh Steelers, London is eager to play and welcomes the opportunity the Als have provided."

On the other side of ball, Sean Smalls is projected to start at corner back for the Toronto Argonauts this year.

"Strengths: The defensive unit, which allowed the fewest points in the league last season, will only have one new starter as Wroten takes over at tackle. Sean Smalls, who did a good job replacing the injured Willie Middlebrooks late last year, will start at the boundary corner spot."

New York Jets saftey and former UMass All-American James Ihedigbo was a guest on the B&C Morning Show in New York yesterday. In the interview, Ihedigbo talked about how players are dealing with the current lockout situation, his future with the Jets and the leadership of Mark Sanchez.

Forbes Leads X-Men To NYC Fireball Crown

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Former UMass star and current Denver Nugget Gary Forbes was in action in New York City over the weekend, leading the X-Men to a 127-126 overtime victory over Bingo's All-Stars to win the Fireball Championship at Baruch College. Forbes poured in a game-high 45 points and was named MVP. The New York native, who recently resigned with the Nuggets, hit several key free throws down the stretch and made a sensational steal and reverse layup with 19.2 seconds to go to help seal the victory. The event kicked off a busy summer in NYC's many streetball leagues.

Also representing the Atlantic 10 was former Fordham star and Los Angeles Lakers guard Smush Parker, who hit the winning shot for Forbes' X-Men.

The New York Post has coverage of the event.

Join us on Wednesday night in Worcester for another stop of the Together We're One Tour. The event begins at 6 PM at the Banner Bar & Grill on Green Street. It is a free event with a cocktail hour followed by comments and a question-and-answer session from head coach Kevin Morris about the football program.




Installment No. 4 of the Daily Hampshire Gazette's summer series "Where Are They Now" is standout women's basketball point guard Kathy Coyner. 

Anyone that saw her play knew Kathy Coyner had a high hoop IQ. But she's put her brain to even better use off the court. UMass' former standout point guard is now a surgeon and the latest addition to the summer's "Where Are They No?" feature on this blog.

  

Happy Birthday To Stephanie Lawrence!

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UMass Athletics wishes a happy birthday to recently graduated hoopster Stephanie Lawrence!

Stephanie Lawrence

Together We're One Tour Hits Providence Tonight

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The UMass football Together We're One Tour hits Providence tonight with an alumni get-together at Bo's Bar & Billiards starting at 5:30 PM.

This is a free event where you can meet up with fellow alums and hear all the news about UMass' move up to the FBS and the MAC.


TAKE A LOOK AT THE TOUR STOP FROM LAST THURSDAY IN BOSTON.
Tom Sabiel has a nice piece on iamagm.com featuring the journey Dante Milligan has taken following college as he follows his dream of playing professional basketball. That journey has taken the New York native to Israel and China among other locales within the United States.

Gaffney, Lasme To Work Out With Charlotte Bobcats

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Tony Gaffney and Stephane Lasme will take part in a free agent workout with the Charlotte Bobcats this week - capping what has been a busy month for the pair. The duo have reportedly travelled to several others free agent workouts including Utah and Denver looking to earn a spot with an NBA team with the Las Vegas Summer League being cancelled this year.
On Saturday, CFL teams had to trim the preseason rosters of training camp as the regular-season begins this week. Brandon London made the cut and will be seeing action this Thursday in the Montreal Alouettes' season-opener. An injury to Kerry Watkins, one of the Alouettes' top receivers, will allow London to further his case as one of the team's top wideouts.

"After four years of hearing 'no', . . . I'm thankful," London said. "I can't wait until Thursday. I'll bring a hard attitude and work ethic. I'm going to work and play my ass off." 

Coverage Of Michael Pereira And The NHL Draft

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Speculation abounded last week about the possibility of UMass rising sophomore Michael Pereira being selected in the NHL Draft last Friday and Saturday. Unfortunately, that didn't come to pass despite Pereira being one of the top rated college draft-eligible players and having been ranked by the Central Scouting Services agency over the last two years.

NHL dream still lives for Mike Kostka

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Former UMass standout blueliner and captain Mike Kostka is featured in the Durham Region. The story looks at his hockey career so far and that despite putting up solid numbers for a defenseman, his pro career has taken several twists and turns.

OSHAWA -- The dream of playing in the NHL one day still lives on for Mike Kostka.  

Even if the process trying to get there has been a bit of a nightmare.  

The Oshawa resident is coming off his best season as a pro, leading the Rochester Americans in scoring, the first time in the 55-year history of the franchise that a defenceman has held that honour. He also led the AHL in power-play goals for a defenceman with 11.  

But he's wondering where his next stop will be. Without a contract and deemed an unrestricted free agent, he is facing an uncertain time. But it's a position he's been in before, not drafted into the OHL after playing minor hockey in the Ajax-Pickering Raiders system as well as junior with the Ajax Axemen, and he was passed over in the NHL draft after four years on scholarship at the University of Massachusetts.  

He faced this same situation last summer before finally signing a one-way contract with Rochester. It's the nature of the business for a minor leaguer trying to make his way to the top.

The Daily Hampshire Gazette and Springfield Republican both have stories today on the announcement that the season-opener between UMass and Holy Cross will be televised live on the CBS Sports Network (formerly CBS College Sports). Kick-off is slated for 8 PM.

Additionally, Jordan Jarry was announced yesterday as the new Director of Football Operations.


UMass alum Taurus Londono has an article on Yahoo Sports on fans' reaction to Gary Forbes receiving an extended contract offer from the Denver Nuggets.

"Recent news that the NBA's Denver Nuggets have extended a qualifying offer to Gary Forbes(notes) should come as little surprise to UMass alumni like me. The Nuggets were impressed enough with Forbes's time on the court as a rookie this past season that they've decided to make him a restricted free agent, meaning that the team could match any offer Forbes receives in free agency. As Forbes's NBA career continues on track, fans on the other side of the country who saw him play in maroon and white for the Minutemen have never stopped rooting for him."

Of the 92 draft picks by the L.A. Kings over the last decade, UMass' Jonathan Quick is listed among several of the top draftees. 

"Jonathan Quick (third round, 2005): Quick was USA's third goalie at last year's Olympics, and he has done well as the Kings' starting goaltender. He has back-to-back 30-win seasons, and this year he went 35-22-3 with six shutouts to go with a 2.24 GAA and .918 save percentage. He was ninth in wins, sixth in GAA and sixth in shutouts."

The NHL Draft begins tonight and will finish up on Saturday. Mike Pereira has continued to gain attention as one of the top NCAA Players likely to be taken. Last week he was listed as one of the top-10 NCAA Players eligible for the Draft. Today he is listed as one of the top New England talents - a region that has seen several notable players taken in the first round.

"I think (NHL teams) would be smart to take him. He's a very noticeable offensive player whose skating is obviously better than a lot of the players on the ice. He has very good balance agility and a real good stick." -- Central Scouting's New England Regional Scout Gary Eggleston

Bob Newcomb In Pan Mass Challenge Again

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UMass women's swimming coach Bob Newcomb is once again riding in the Pan Mass Challenge, the annual bike ride across the state of Massachusetts. The event is the single largest fundraiser for the Jimmy Fund at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute. Newcomb is riding for the fourth time, and has so far raised nearly $19,000 for the Jimmy Fund in his previous PMC appearances. This year he needs to raise at least another $4,200.

Matt Vautour of the Daily Hampshire Gazette has always done a great job of helping spread the word on Newcomb reaching his goals, and this year he covers it once again.

Below is Newcomb's letter to potential sponsors:

Why I ride

If you look deeply into the palm of your hand, you will see your parents and all generations of your ancestors. All of them are alive in this moment. Each is present in your body. You are the continuation of each of these people- Thich Nhat Hanh

My 2011 Pan Mass Challenge ride is motivated by family. I dedicate this ride to my parents while my wife, Judi, and daughter, Olivia, volunteer during the event. The family is working together so that someday we might be able to help find a cure for cancer.

The PMC is the single largest contributor to the Jimmy Fund at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute. Last year, the PMC raised over $30,000,000. This year on the weekend of August 6th and 7th, I will be one of over 5000 riders who will be making our way across Massachusetts to raise money for cancer research.

I ride as a member of the Patriot Platelet Pedalers (try saying that three times fast). The PPP is committed to increasing team fundraising and blood platelet donations. Platelets have been a big concern in our family. Olivia, my second daughter, had ITP (a platelet disorder) and responded well to treatment. This just increases my family's connection to the PMC!

This is my fourth year riding and over the years we have raised nearly $19,000. In order for me to participate again, I need to raise at least another $4200. As always, ONE HUNDRED PERCENT of the money I raise goes directly to the Jimmy Fund. I hope you can help me with this project. Any size contribution will be greatly appreciated.

Your tax-deductible donation can be made in several ways. A check made out to "PMC/Jimmy Fund" can be sent directly to me in the enclosed envelope or I can come and pick it up. You can also make a credit card donation on the internet at www.PMC.org. Click on the egift button in the upper left corner and use my egift code- BN0032.

I ride with the names of my parents on my jersey. Fifteen years ago cancer took my father and presently, my mother's lymphoma is under control. If you would like to dedicate your donation to someone you know that has been affected by cancer I would be happy to put their name(s) on my shirt also. Just send me the name(s) along with your contribution and they can make the ride with me.

You can see a picture from my 2008 shirt on the back of this letter or on my PMC profile. Go to www.PMC.org and click on PMC Profiles in the left column and follow the links to my gallery.

Feel free to call or email me if you have any questions. So many have helped us accomplish this over the years. Thank you for any support you can provide.

Yours,
Bob Newcomb

Together We're One Tour Hits Boston Tonight!

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The Together We're One Tour will head to Boston tonight for a free event at the UMass Club from 5:30 to 7:30 PM. We hope to see you all out there. Matt Vautour had some insight on the event in today's Daily Hampshire Gazette.

MARKETING FOR THE FUTURE - Morris will be a featured guest as part of Maroon Night tonight at the UMass Club, 225 Franklin St. in Boston.

Anyone interested in attending may register online athttps://secure.www.alumniconnections.com/olc/pub/UMS/events/UMS2314494.h...

It's the fourth of five "Together We're One" events designed to help promote the upgraded football program.

"The outpouring of support has been outstanding. We expect more of the same Thursday," Morris said.

UMass athletic director John McCutcheon said the summer event tour is just the beginning of increased marketing efforts by the department in connection with the football upgrade.

"We'll start to gear up the campaign to make people aware and increase season tickets. We have a lot of work ahead of us for sure. We need to get people excited and get down to the business of preparing for 2012," McCutcheon said. "We'll be doing a number of different things. We're looking at anything and everything. We're looking at advertising campaigns, special market campaigns. We're out meeting with various groups around the state and the response has been very positive."

Anthony Gurley Has High Hopes For NBA Draft Night

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The NBA Draft will be tonight and UMass' Anthony Gurley has high hopes according to the Newton Tab. Gurley worked out with the Celtics just over a week ago. Last season heading into his senior season, the Newton native declared himself eligible for the draft so he could get experience working out for NBA teams. If he is not drafted, Gurley could also find success catching on with a team as a free agent.

Derek Kellogg, Gurley's coach the past three years at UMass, believes whichever team does will be very happy it did. 

"He has a unique ability to score that few players in the draft have," Kellogg said this week. "You never know where those players will end up in the draft. He is a physically mature player who can score in a lot of different ways. He has also improved defensively and has become a leader on the court." 

The Stanford Times has a good story on Vladimir Ducasse and his journey so far with the New York Jets. The article looks at his transition to the NFL along with how the lock out has affected the players so far this summer.

UMass received news that transfers Kellen Pagel (Bowling Green), Chris Burns (Pittsburgh) and Ryan Campbell (Ole Miss) will be eligible to play for the 2011 season. The question initially arose due to UMass' move up from FCS to FBS football. NCAA rules allow a player to play immediately when transferring from an FBS school to and FCS school. A player would have to sit out a year, however, when transferring between FBS schools. Because the trio transferred prior to the announced move up to FBS, it was ruled they would be eligible.

The Daily Hampshire Gazette and the Springfield Republican both have stories.
Four UMass field hockey players are suiting up for the New England team at the USA Field Hockey Women's Junior National Championship in Virginia Beach, Va. this week. After three days of competition, Mika Black, Hannah Prince, Alexa Sikalis, and Kim Young have led New England to a 1-1-1 record.

On Monday against Pennsylvania, Young tallied a goal and an assist, while Prince got on the score sheet with a goal as the Minutewomen led New England to a 4-3 victory.

On Tuesday against the Midwest, Young accounted for New England's lone goal with a penalty stroke in a 1-1 tie.

The New England squad faces the South on Wednesday at 4:30 p.m. and takes on the Mid-Atlantic on Thursday at 4:30 p.m. before the medal round is played on Saturday to conclude the tournament. Live match information can be found on Twitter @USAFieldHockey.

Jeff Thomas of the Springfield Republican has a great story on Mike Hodges who will be retiring from UMass football after 33 years with the program including six as the head coach.

"It's been a fun ride but it's time to step aside and let someone else do it,'' Hodges said Tuesday.

Matt Vautour has an extended look at some of UMass' future scheduling of non-conference opponents for Gillette in 2012 and beyond. He also has a piece on the hiring of Malik Hall, a 2003 alum, as the new defensive line coach.

Matt Vautour's third installment of his Where Are They Now series features former hockey captain Tim Turner who helped the Minutemen reach the Hockey East Semifinals for the first time ever in 2004.


Happy Birthday Danny Hobbs!

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Happy Birthday to UMass hockey's Danny Hobbs!

Danny Hobbs

Happy Birthday Danny Hobbs!

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Happy Birthday to UMass hockey's Danny Hobbs!

Danny Hobbs

Denver Nuggets Make Contract Offer To Forbes

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On Monday, the Denver Nuggets made qualifying offers to restricted free agents Arron Afflalo, Wilson Chandler and Gary Forbes. That offer gives Denver the right to match any offer made to these players by other teams as reported in the Denver Post.

As a rookie, Forbes was a pleasant surprise, an undrafted head-turner in training camp who made the roster and averaged 5.2 points.

HockeysFuture.com has assembled a top-10 list of NHL Draft Eligible NCAA Prospects with UMass forward Mike Pereira coming in at seventh overall. The NHL Entry Draft will be this Friday and Saturday. Pereira was the runner-up for the Hockey East Rookie of the Year and was a unanimous All-Rookie Team selection.

Pereira is a dynamic winger that possesses excellent speed, vision and hockey sense. He is a player that can make things happen every time he's on the ice. Pereira's best attribute is his skating and what makes him so dangerous is how he utilizes his speed. He has excellent acceleration and a great first gear. Pereira has the ability to make plays at high speeds and can do so in any type of situation. He also has good balance and is remarkably strong on his skates.


It was a matchup of soon-to-be Minutewomen in the Massachusetts Division 1 State Softball Championship on Saturday as Anna Kelley (pictured, far left) and King Philip High School of Wrentham edged out Quianna Diaz-Patterson and Amherst Regional High School, 1-0 at Worcester State's Rockwood Field. The Warrriors, also the alma mater of current UMass player Maggie Quealy, finish the season with a perfect 26-0 record, while the Hurricanes finish 2011 with a 23-2 mark.

The terrific game received lots of media attention. Check out the coverage below, including a pair of features on Kelley.

  • ESPN Boston (with video): King Philip Takes 2nd Straight D1 State Title
  • CBS 3 Springfield (with video): Amherst Loses 1-0 Heartbreaker
  • Boston Globe: King Philip Wears Crown
  • Daily Hampshire Gazette: Amherst Regional Softball Falls Just Short
  • Springfield Republican: Amherst Loses State Division 1 Title Game
  • Wrentham Patch: KP Wins State Softball Championship Again
  • The Sun Chronicle: Another Title For KP
  • Kelley Feature in Sun Chronicle: Kelley On Fire At Hot Corner
  • Kelley's Class in Sun Chronicle: Three Cheers For King Philip Trio
  • Father's Day Feature On Matt Torra

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    The Reno Gazette-Journal ran a nice Father's Day piece yesterday, featuring former Minuteman Matt Torra.

    Torra, who took the mound in Las Vegas for the Aces against the 51s yesterday, celebrated his first Father's Day. Torra and his wife Jessica welcomed their daughter Isabel into the world nine months ago.

    "Having a kid now has really put a lot of things in perspective for me," Torra said. "After a good game you go up and see your family and my daughter's like, 'Hey, let's go play. I don't care what you did on the field.' And it goes the other way, too. If you have a bad outing and you go up after the game and you see her, she smiles at you and it makes you just forget about it."

    In his outing yesterday, Torra went four innings and allowed eight runs on 14 hits and struck out two. Reno rallied late, though, as the Aces went on to win 12-9 after scoring five runs in the eighth.

    Happy Birthday Lindsey DiOrio & Derek Kellogg!

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    Happy birthday wishes to Lindsey DiOrio of the women's soccer team and head basketball coach Derek Kellogg!

    Lindsey DiOrioDerek Kellogg
    Jack Reid scored a goal against his former team helping Boston get past Rochester 16-14 on Saturday night to put the Cannons in a tie with Denver for the MLL top spot.

    Reid is in his third season with the Cannons after spending his first three professional seasons with Rochester.

    Former UMass defensive standout Diogo Godoi collected a pair of groundballs for the Rattlers.



    Together We're One Tour Hits Boston This Thursday

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    We invite you to come join coach Kevin Morris this Thursday night at the UMass Club in Boston as the Together We're One Tour will be a part of Maroon Night. The fantastic evening will feature music, trivia, and raffles along with plenty of football talk.

    There will also be a beer tasting provided by the Berkshire Brewing Company.

    Chris Fiore scored a pair of goals and added two groundballs to help the Long Island Lizards down the Chesapeake Bayhawks and Jake Deane 14-11 last night on ESPN2. Deane finished the game with a pair of groundballs and was 2-of-4 on the faceoff.

    On Saturday night, Jack Reid and Jim Connolly will lead the Boston Cannons to New York to face the Rochester Rattlers and Brett Garber at 7 PM. UMass fans can watch the game live on several outlets including ESPN3.com and The Comcast Network.


    Brandon London has made a serious bid for a regular receiving job with the Montreal Alouettes.  

    The second-year wide receiver caught six passes for 145 yards and a touchdown as the Grey Cup champion Alouettes downed the Winnipeg Blue Bombers 27-15 in CFL pre-season action on Thursday night.  

    And while the six-foot-four London shone, so did five-foot-nine newcomer Bo Bowling with seven catches for 67 yards and a TD as three Alouettes quarterbacks went to the air in the first exhibition test for both teams.

    CONTINUE READING ON TSN.COM   |   WATCH HIGHLIGHTS HERE

    Mike Yeo is expected to be named the new head coach of the Minnesota Wild at a news conference today at 11 AM. Yeo has been the coach of the AHL Houston Aeros which made it to the Calder Cup Finals before falling to the Binghamton Senators.

    This could bode well for Casey Wellman as he spent most of the past season in Houston with Yeo.

    Fox Sports North and the Minneapolis Star Tribune both have stories today.

    Paronto Tosses First Career Complete Game Shutout

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    Chad Paronto pitched the first complete game shutout of his 16-year professional career in game one of a doubleheader as the Pittsfield Colonials defeated the New Jersey Jackals 9-0 on Wednesday.

    He threw 87 pitches, on the night, 63 of them strikes. He did not walk a batter and struck out four for the win. Paronto (1-3) allowed six hits, with no walks and six strikeouts in his first complete game since July 9, 2000.

    Read more of the recap from the Berkshire Eagle.
    Anton McKenzie had two tackles to help the BC Lions blank Calgary 24-0 in the Canadian Football Preseason Opener on Wednesday night.

    Brandon London and the Montreal Alouettes will be in action tonight, while Sean Smalls and the Toronto Argonauts hit the field on Saturday afternoon.


    Jeff Thomas of the Springfield Republican has a recruiting update on MassLive.com this morning about how the move to the MAC and the FBS has influenced UMass' recruiting.

    Thomas' story also has a link to the complete fall schedule for the MAC.

    Jonathan Quick Joins Twitter

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    According to Rich Hammond of the L.A. Kings Insider, Jonathan Quick has now joined Twitter. Quick can be found @JonathanQuick32.

    Globe: Gedman Set To Sign

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    Framingham's Matt Gedman, the Red Sox' 45th-round draft pick out of the University of Massachusetts and son of former Sox catcher Rich Gedman, reported to the team's minor league complex in Fort Myers yesterday and is expecting to sign today after taking his physical. Gedman, who can play several infield positions, had a .334 career average in four seasons at UMass. He was a starting third baseman in the recent New England Intercollegiate Baseball Association All-Star Game. "It's definitely exciting and now it's time to hopefully take advantage of my opportunity,'' said Gedman, who most likely will be assigned to the Sox' Gulf Coast Rookie League team.

    Read the full Red Sox Notebook on Boston.com

    Bryan Leigh Assigned To Everett AquaSox

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    Former UMass hurler Bryan Leigh is about to begin his second season in professional baseball and will be pitching for the Everett AquaSox this summer, the short season A affiliate of the Seattle Mariners, who announced their opening day roster yesterday. He is joined by three more former Atlantic 10 pitchers: Cameron Hobson (Dayton), Cody Weiss (La Salle) and Max Krakowiak (Fordham).

    Leigh, who signed with the Seattle Mariners' organization last summer as a free agent, was 2-0 with a 1.71 earned run average over 21.0 innings with the Pulaski Mariners in 2010. He registered three saves in his 12 appearances, as well, with 19 strikeouts to just six walks and an opponent batting average of .203.

    The AquaSox open their season this Friday, Jun. 17, on the road against the Tri-City Dust Devils.

    Gazette: Where Are They Now: Rebecca Myers

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    Matt Vautour of the Daily Hampshire Gazette recently caught up with former UMass women's soccer standout Rebecca Myers.

    As a Minutewoman, she was a member of four Atlantic 10 Conference championship teams as well as three NCAA Sweet 16 squads and one Final Four team (1993). She garnered numerous accolades over her career including Soccer America All-America honors three times. Myers was selected Atlantic 10 Conference Rookie of the Year in 1993, and earned All-Conference honors four straight years.

    Read more of Where are they now: Rebecca Myers

    Happy Birthday Aaron Zaleznik and Joe Popielarczyk

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    Happy birthday to UMass Baseball's Aaron Zaleznik and Joe Popielarczyk!

    Aaron ZaleznikJoe Popielarczyk

    New York Jets' James Ihedigbo celebrates a tackle

    Another story on James Ihedigbo out of Newsday.com today. This one looks at his contract status as a restricted free agent under the terms of the old collective bargaining agreement. Because of the NFL lockout many players similar to Ihedigbo are uncertain as to what the future will hold.

    James Ihedigbo can't bear to sit back and do nothing, watching those in need struggle to cope and slowly begin the process of rebuilding their lives. 

    Tornadoes ripped through central and western Massachusetts earlier this month, leaving extensive damage, taking the lives of at least four people and injuring several others.

    Dick Baker of the Springfield Republican has a nice piece on the alumni turnout at the UMass Hockey Pond Club Golf Tournament this past Monday. He focuses on Greg Mauldin and Justin Braun looking at their NHL experiences this past season.

    NESN.com has a story up on Derek Kellogg's involvement with the recovery efforts in Springfield.

    There was never a doubt in Kellogg's mind that he had a responsibility to help his community. So the Springfield native immediately went to American Red Cross executive director Rick Lee looking to help in any way he could. 

    "Usually, I have to go after guys like him," Lee said. "They usually don't come after me. But with Derek, he was the one who kept asking."

    Jeromy Miles was one of 17 defensive players to get together yesterday for a player-only practice as the NFL lockout continues.

    The Bleacher Report looks ahead to next year's NHL season to figure out the top 10 teams who are in a position to compete for the Stanley Cup.

    No. 10 on that list is Jonathan Quick and the L.A. Kings.

    As a relatively young team, the Kings can only improve upon last season's performance, which saw them put up a good fight against San Jose in the quarterfinals, despite having to deal with injury problems. Doughty, Anze Kopitar, Jack Johnson and Dustin Brown are all entering their prime, so if goaltender Jonathan Quick can play with more consistency, Los Angeles will be a dangerous team next year.

    UMass alum Taurus Londono has a piece on Yahoo.com today looking at the potential of Anthony Gurley as a member of the Boston Celtics. Gurley was among five players who worked out with Boston last Saturday.

    "My fellow UMass alum Anthony Gurley was among a group of five players who worked out with the Boston Celtics this past Saturday. The potential draftees included no less than Doc Rivers' son Jeremiah, as well as Malcolm Lee, the PG out of UCLA who arguably has a better chance than most of wearing green and white when draft day comes. Gurley's name hasn't exactly been a common sight in mock drafts as a Celtics' pick, but the UMass guard is a local star who already has history with the team.

    Minutemen fans will remember that Gurley actually declared for the draft last year at the end of the 2009-10 season. Though Gurley ultimately decided to return to UMass to finish his senior year, he managed to work out with the Cs, apparently getting tips on how to improve his game. It isn't clear just how serious Gurley was about entering the draft or whether he planned on coming back to the Minutemen all along. Gurley said at the time that he "got good feedback" at the 2010 workout and that he was "excited about our season coming up at UMass."


    Keron Williams and the BC Lions will head to the Calgary Stampeders on Wednesday, while Sean Smalls and the Toronto Argonauts will host the Hamilton Tiger-Cats on Saturday to kick-off the Canadian Football League's pre-season schedule.

    Smalls was also mentioned in the Toronto Sun yesterday in an article highlighting the depth of the Argos secondary.


    The NHL signing deadline is approaching and The Hockey Writers has a piece covering the free agent status of the Colorado Avalanche including UMass' Greg Mauldin. Mauldin is an unrestricted free agent this year after producing the best AHL/NHL season of his pro career.

    According to author Mike Verminski, "There is, of course, no way of knowing who the organization plans on re-signing by July 1st, but Tomas Fleischmann, Greg Mauldin, David Van Der Gulik, David Liffiton, and Bacashihua are guys that should be signed to new contracts before the July first deadline."

    Fran Sypek of the Springfield Republican has an update on Derek Kellogg's visit to his hometown of Springfield over the weekend with the men's basketball team:

    University of Massachusetts basketball coach Derek Kellogg, who was born and raised in Springfield, saw a tornado damage his hometown and leave the future of the high school he attended, Cathedral, in doubt,.CBS Sports Jeff Goodman writes about Kellogg's reaction to the tornado.

    Both the men's and women's basketball teams visited Springfield over the weekend looking to bring some cheer to children affected by the recent tornado damage. Ezra Broder of CBS3 had a story on the men's team visiting on Saturday, while the women visited on Sunday.


    The Boston Celtics worked out five players Saturday, including UCLA point guard Malcolm Lee, a potential first-round pick the team could eye at No. 25. 

    Also in town for the backcourt-heavy workout were UMass guard Anthony Gurley, Morehead State guard Demonte Harper, Georgetown guard Chris Wright and Indiana guard Jeremiah Rivers, the son of Celtics coach Doc Rivers. 

    UMass soccer alum Jonathan Gruber was inducted into the Norwich Sports Hall of Fame over the weekend. Gruber was a goalkeeper for UMass from 1989-91 earning Atlantic 10 All-Conference and All-New England honors.

    Jonathan Gruber

    He was an NFA soccer team captain, and earned all-conference and all-area honors in the sport in addition to shining in basketball and baseball. He was first-team All-Atlantic Conference and first-team All-New England for UMass soccer.

    lC6gruberCOL061211.JPG

    CONTINUE READING AT THE NORWICH BULLETIN:

    Of all the places he could be - Hawaii, the Bahamas, Miami, Mexico - Gary Forbes has chosen to frequent the one spot many players avoid like the plague this time of year.

    The gym.

    He's a regular at the Nuggets practice facility these days, showing up so much in fact you'd think it was the middle of the season. But it isn't. Most NBA players have been idle for nearly two months now, as the regular season ended in mid-April. The Nuggets season concluded on April 27 after a first round playoff loss to Oklahoma City.

    After that Forbes took two weeks off, just two, and then got back to work. Big time. 


    If you had the chance to ask a professional football player one question, what would it be? The 100 kids who met Vladimir Ducasse and Alex Joseph at the Stamford YMCA on Friday afternoon asked the athletes for their opinion on Justin Bieber's music and whether they knew LeBron James.
      

    It was impossible to miss the close friendship between the two Stamford High School graduates. They constantly made jokes at the other's expense and playfully shoved each other around.

    "Vladdy was my little brother," Joseph, a linebacker with the San Francisco 49ers, said of the two back in high school. This got the kids to laugh because even at 6-foot-2 and 240 pounds, Joseph looks tiny next to the 6-foot-5 Ducasse, who weighs in at 325 pounds.

    The two explained the importance of having good friends and told how it helped them reach their goals on and off the football field.

    James Ihedigbo can't wait for "Beast Mode" time again.

    The Jets' safety is spending the offseason much like the rest of his teammates, training without coaches' supervision as they wait for the lockout to be lifted. Ihedigbo is also waiting for the second coming of "Beast Mode," the term he uses to describe the mentality of the Jets' top-notch secondary in 2010.

    "Our mentality is that we hit you because in this game, it is you hit them or they're going to hit you," Ihedigbo told Metro. "That's what 'Beast Mode' is and I know that whoever is back there with me in the secondary, that guy has my back and I've got his back."

    Marcel Shipp To Hold 4th Annual Football Camp

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    Marcel Shipp, a Paterson native and a former NFL running back, will be holding his 4th annual football camp at the Totowa Oval starting July 9.
     
    This year, Shipp is expanding the program to include the first cheerleading camp.
     
    The camp, which is free, will have morning sessions from 9 am to noon for elementary school students and afternoon sessions from 12:15 pm to 2:30 pm for high school players.
     
    It will feature the New York Giants' Victor Cruz and Tampa Bay Bucaneers' Kareem Huggins. The New York Jets' Flight Crew cheerleaders will be featured in the cheerleading camp.
     
    The camp is sponsored by Paterson Recreation and Paterson Assembly of God. For more information about registration, contact Emmanuel Capers at 973-862-3124 or at emmanuelcapers2002@yahoo.com.
    UMass Athletics wishes a happy birthday to Jeff Hill, (men's cross country/track), Brianna Concialdi (women's lacrosse), Greg Anderson (men's lacrosse) and Therese Smith (women's soccer).

    Jeff and Brianna celebrated their birthdays on Sunday, while Greg and Therese are our Monday birthdays.

    Jeff HillBrianna ConcialdiGreg AndersonTherese Smith

    ESPN Boston: Another Gedman With The Red Sox

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    Marty Dobrow has a great piece on ESPNBoston.com about the Red Sox signing UMass' Matt Gedman. Dobrow mentions the possibility of Gedman being placed with the Lowell Spinners where his father, Rich, is the hitting coach. Rich also played for the Red Sox where he was a two-time All-Star catcher.
    The Malaya Business Insight is reporting that Ricky Harris has joined the Petron Blaze of the Philippine Basketball Association. Harris is replacing the injured Mike Taylor.

    The Blaze will begin their PBA Governors Cup campaign on Sunday against the Meralco Bolts.


    Happy Birthday Trevor Ziegler!

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    Happy birthday to Trevor Ziegler of the men's swim team - A Friday birthday taking you into the weekend is always a good thing!

    Trevor Ziegler

    The New England Collegiate baseball league opened last night with current UMass catcher Tom Conley helping the Keene Swamp Bats to a 7-0 win in a rain-shortened contest against the Vermont Mountaineers. Conley hit fifth in the order and was 1-for-3 with a walk and an RBI.

    On the day his younger brother was drafted, former Minuteman hurler Mike Gedman unfortunately took the loss for the Worcester Tornadoes after walking the leadoff hitter on a 3-2 pitch in the eighth inning vs. Chad Paronto's Pittsfield Colonials. The Colonials rallied for a 6-4 win.

    Finally, Matt Torra will be on the bump tonight as the Reno Aces open a four-game series against the Colorado Springs Sky Sox. Torra will put his 4-0 record on the line against Sky Sox RHP Esmil Rogers (0-0, No ERA), who is on a Major League rehab assignment.

    Happy Birthday to Football's Julian Talley, Women's Track & Field's Katherine Finnegan, and Women's Lacrosse's Sarah Mullen!

    Julian TalleyKatherine FinneganSarah Mullen

    Coverage Of Matt Gedman's Draft Selection

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    "Matt Gedman still had hope on Wednesday, when the First-Year Player Draft shifted to its final day.

    The Framingham, Mass., native and senior at University of Massachusetts  thought there was a chance his name might get called somewhere toward the end of the Draft. He was incredibly nervous, so he traveled down to Cape Cod with some buddies to relieve stress the best way he knew how -- playing baseball.

     When Gedman got to his car and saw all the missed calls on his cell phone, he figured something had happened.

    Gedman -- a 6-foot-2, 205-pound infielder -- became the 45th-round pick of the Boston Red Sox, his favorite team growing up, and one of the clubs for which his father Rich played during his Major League career." Continue Reading on MLB.com.

    Matt Vautour also caught up with Gedman: Red Sox draft UMass third baseman Matt Gedman

    Ron Chimelis had this piece on Masslive.com, as well.

    Gedman's draft selection was mentioned by many other media outlets, including these:
    NESN: Rich Gedman's Son Among Those Selected by Red Sox on Final Day of MLB Draft

    CSN: Sox take three locals on day three of the draft

    Portland Press Herald: Exposito called up to Boston; Sox draft a Gedman

    Providence Journal 

    Boston Globe


    Travel Packages are now available for the Battle 4 Atlantis Tournament on November 23-27 at the Atlantis Resort in the Bahamas. After having traveled with the team the last time we played in the Bahamas, I can only imagine that the weather during that time will be much better there than here! Certainly a delightful way to spend Thanksgiving!


    The Tournament features some great basketball teams including UMass and defending national champion Connecticut. Florida State, Harvard, UCF, Utah, the College of Charleston, and UNC Asheville round out the tourney field.


    That page also has a pretty cool video showing how they turned a Ball Room at the Resort into a basketball court.

    To see more of the amazing resort, I would suggest visiting the Atlantis YouTube Page.
    Brandon London continues to impress the coaching staff of the CFL Montreal Alouettes during the start of Training Camp. In the Day 4 Camp Report, London is mentioned for "steadily improving and taking advantage of his height and frame to make big catches."

    Another receiver who has been steadily improving and taking advantage of his height and frame to make big catches is Brandon London. Having played on the Montreal Alouettes' practice roster last season, London appears determined to have a greater impact in 2011. 

    "If I do what I'm supposed to do and make the team, we could line-up on some plays and be 6'4"-6'5" across the board. With the small corners in this league, we could be dangerous. When practicing, I like it when the quarterbacks throw me the ball high up in the air," said London who has also played with the New York Giants.

    Last year, he joined the Alouettes in the middle of the season, without having truly mastered the playbook. Now he appears much more comfortable in his role and knows what to expect.

    "My body hates that I came in early for rookie camp, but my mind loves it. I was able to learn the plays and it's helping me get a better understanding regarding what we are doing," he added.

    The Mid-American Conference announced that Dr. Jon Steinbrecher's contract as League Commissioner will be extended for two additional years through 2015-16.

    Steinbrecher began as Commissioner in May of 2009 with an original five-year contract meaning the league Council of Presidents have voted to extend him just two years into his original agreement.

    Charlotte Looking To Join CAA As Football Member

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    The Charlotte 49ers are currently seeking a home for its new football program which will officially hold its first season in 2013. Athletics Director Judy Rose told the Charlotte Observer that talks with the Southern Conference and Big South did not pan out, but that the CAA was certainly an option following UMass' move to the MAC and Villanova's desire to join the Big East.

    Geographically, with the addition of Georgia State and Old Dominion to the league, Charlotte seems like a good fit.

    With the New England Collegiate Baseball League kicking off its season tonight, summer ball is getting underway. Several of the Minutemen will be starting action over the next few days.

    In the NECBL, junior catcher Tom Conley will be returning for a second stint with the Keene Swamp Bats. They open tonight vs. the Vermont Mountaineers in Keene, N.H., at 6:30 p.m.

    Freshman shortstop Josh Messier is also playing in the NECBL for the New Bedford Bay Sox. New Bedford begins its season this Friday, June 10, on the road against the Sanford Mainers.

    Freshman outfielder Kyle Adie will be a part of the inaugural season of the Futures League, playing for the the Nashua Silver Knights, who open up on Friday on the road vs. the Torrington Titans.

    Sophomore Aaron Zaleznik is beginning his second season with the Elmira Pioneers of the newly-formed Perfect Game Collegiate Baseball League. The right hander will begin his summer with the Pioneers tomorrow night, Thursday, Jun. 9, as the squad hosts the Cooperstown Hawkeyes.
    UMass softball NLI signee Quianna Diaz-Patterson, a hometown product and senior shortstop at Amherst Regional High School led the Hurricanes to a 4-0 victory over West Springfield on Tuesday in the Western Mass. Division 1 semifinals at Elms College.

    The speedy left-handed leadoff batter needed just one at-bat to turn the game in Amherst's favor, driving a ball down the right field line and circling the bases, diving into home ahead of the catcher's tag for an inside-the-park home run.

    The Daily Hampshire Gazette has a great recap of the game, including Amherst's coach giving Diaz-Patterson some high praise:

    "Her hands are so quick," Hurricanes coach Kacey Schmitt said. "I've been watching a lot of the Women's College World Series. They talk about it a lot, 'this girl's quick hands,' and I watch it thinking that Quianna can do that. There aren't many high school coaches that can say that when they are watching Florida and Alabama, both offensively and defensively.

    "She's got the raw talent that is so rare and she's got the smarts. She's played a lot of softball and she's worked very hard to get as good as she is and she's used the talent that she was given."

    Amherst (21-1) will face Agawam (18-4) in the Western Mass. Division 1 Championship game at Diaz-Patterson's future home field - the UMass Softball Complex - on Saturday at 5 p.m.

    The UMass Football Together We're One Tour has added another date and venue to the schedule. Fans in the Worcester area will now have a chance to meet and greet with head coach Kevin Morris to discuss the upcoming season and the move to FBS and the MAC. 

    Be sure to come out to the Banner Bar and Grille on June 29 from 6-8 PM. There will will be a light appetizer buffet and a cash bar.

    OTHER TOGETHER WE'RE ONE TOUR STOPS:

    June 17 - Cape Cod (Yarmouthport, Mass.)
    16th Annual UMass Scholarship Golf Tournament, starts at 8:30 a.m.

    June 23 - Boston, UMass Club
    Maroon Night at The University of Massachusetts Club from 5:30-7:30 p.m.

    June 27 - Providence, R.I.
    Alumni Meet-Up at Bo's Bar & Billiards from 5:30-8:30 p.m.

    June 29 - Worcester, Mass.
    Banner Bar & Grille from 6:00-8:00 PM

    Spots Still Open For Two UMass Golf Tournaments

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    If you would like to hit the links with some of UMass' finest coaches, administrators, and fans, then be sure to sign up for one of the two upcoming golf tournaments.

    First up is Friday's Sports Medicine Golf Outing (June 10) at the Ledges Golf Club in South Hadley. Click here for info on how to register.

    Next on the docket will be the UMass Hockey Pond Club Golf Tournament on Monday (June 13) at The Orchards Golf Club in South Hadley. Click here for info on how to register.

    Aside from a great outing of golf, proceeds from these golf tournaments go to each program to help improve the student-athlete experience at UMass. 

    Lots Of Wednesday Birthdays!

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    Five Minutemen celebrate birthdays today: Rob Blanchflower from football, Kyle Jennings from swimming, Conor Sheary and Joel Hanley from hockey, and Sean Carter from men's basketball. Happy birthday guys - hope you have a great day!

    Rob BlanchflowerKyle JenningsSean Carter
    Joel HanleyConor Sheary

    Victor Cruz One Of 39 Giants At Player Practice

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    As the NFL lockout continues, players continue to organize their own practices in anticipation of the upcoming season.

    Victor Cruz was one of 39 New York Giants who assembled at Bergen Catholic on Tuesday in Oradell, N.J.

    New York Post: Kiwanuka Joins Giants
    The Toronto Star has a brief update from yesterday's Toronto Argonauts training camp session giving praise to Sean Smalls for several great plays on defense.

    The Argos have a photo gallery up on their site from the practices. Smalls is No. 25 in white.
    Sean Gordon of The Globe And Mail has a piece on the Montreal Alouettes wide receivers and offense as CFL training camps enter their third day of work. Along with London, the Alouettes feature WR's Dallas Baker (formerly of the Steelers) and Jerry Porter (who played in a Super Bowl for the Raiders). The group is also among the biggest in the league.

    The first and most obvious thing is that these guys are big - really big.

    The worse news for CFL pass defences is that they're also fast, strong, and have all logged time on pro football's biggest stage, the NFL.

    In a case of the rich getting richer, the reigning Grey Cup champion Montreal Alouettes have brought in a cadre of imposing, experienced receivers to fill the considerable void left by future Hall of Famer Ben Cahoon, who retired after last season.

    Brandon London, formerly of the New York Giants, Miami Dolphins and Pittsburgh Steelers, is listed at 6 foot 4, 210 pounds; Dallas Baker, another former Steeler, is 6 foot 3, 210; Prechae Rodriguez, who most recently played for the Saskatchewan Roughriders, is 6 foot 5, 208, and Jerry Porter, who played in a Super Bowl for the Oakland Raiders, is 6 foot 2, 220.


    The Binghamton Senators scored two unanswered goals in the third period to defeat the Houston Aeros 3-2 to win the American Hockey League's Calder Cup championship four games to two.


    Former UMass hockey standout Casey Wellman did not register a point in this game, but scored six goals and added five assists in 21 post-season games for the Aeros. In the regular season with Houston, Wellman was 14-21-35 in 42 games.

    CONTINUE READING DICK BAKER'S STORY IN THE SPRINGFIELD REPUBLICAN:

    Great Story On A Nice Gesture From Paul Dainton

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    Dave \'81 and Kortney \'15 HixsonThe value of social networks at Isenberg and UMass Amherst took center stage at the campus's 2011 Undergraduate Commencement Ceremony on May 13 when Chancellor Holub recounted the story of David Hixson's high school class ring. Before the ring's recent rediscovery, Hixson '81, an Isenberg parent and senior manager with EMC in Franklin, had not seen it since 1977, when he lost it as a freshman at UMass Amherst. 

     

    In April, Hixson received a Facebook message from a current UMass Amherst senior--Paul Dainton, a psychology major.  Dainton had stumbled upon the ring earlier this spring, after parking his auto on Sunset Avenue in Amherst. That's when he noticed a shiny object on the ground: a Marlboro High School 1977 class ring with the initials DH.  Dainton turned to Facebook, where he tracked down its once and future wearer. 

     

    "Both my father and I attended and graduated UMass Amherst; my daughter, Kortney Hixson, will start at Isenberg in the fall," remarks Hixson. "I am happy to say there are still a lot of people of great integrity in this world-especially at UMass Amherst and Isenberg."


    FIND THE STORY HERE:

    Dale Grdnic of FootballNewsNow.com has a piece on the impact of undrafted free agents on the Cincinnati Bengals. He makes mention of former UMass standout Jeromy Miles who moved into the game-day lineup last season for the final six games.

    This coming season, the Bengals are expected to have a handful of former undrafted free agents in starting spots. Nate Livings (2006) from LSU has started 31 games at left guard the past three seasons, while Cosby (2009) is the top punt returner and backup wideout.

    Linebacker Dan Skuta (2009) from Grand Valley State should start on the strong side after leading the Bengals in special teams tackles last year. Second-year safety Jeromy Miles from Massachusetts came off the practice squad for final six games last season with five special teams tackles as a gunner on the punt-coverage unit that led the NFL last season.


    CONTINUE READING HERE:
    Tony Gaffney and Stephane Lasme will workout today and tomorrow with the NBA's Oklahoma City Thunder was the team hosts a Free Agent Workout.

    Another NBA blog, Ridiculous Upside, has a break down of each player:

    The three players left to talk about -- Gaffney, Kurz and Lasme -- have NBA talent, just not NBA contracts. Lasme and Gaffney have both made NBA rosters in the past (Gaffney with the Boston Celtics, Lasme with theGolden State Warriors and Miami Heat) with their stingy defense and lengthy wingspans while Kurz earned a spot on the Warriors his rookie season as a sweet-shooting stretch-four and then was called up to end the season with the Chicago Bulls in 2009-10 (for more on Kurz, who spent a season in the D-League and then Germany following the Warriors, click here.

    The blog Welcome To Loud City currently has a photo of Lasme on its website with this story on the mini camp.

    One of the invitees, Stephane Lasme, has seen time with two NBA teams and played on the pre-season roster of two others. He is known as an excellent defender and shot-blocker, although he is a bit undersized.
    One of the invitees, Stephane Lasme, has seen time with two NBA teams and played on the pre-season roster of two others. He is known as an excellent defender and shot-blocker, although he is a bit undersized.
    We have a couple of stories on Sean Smalls who returns this season to the Toronto Argonauts in the CFL.

    Smalls started the last three games of the season last year and is in the mix as one of the top cornerback's on the squad.

    The Toronto Star takes a look at five key battles during training camp including Smalls on the edge. 

    The Calgary Sun also has a feature looking back at what the end of last season has meant for Smalls heading into 2011.

    SEAN SMALL
    No lockout in the CFL means things are already underway in Training Camps to the North. Brandon London earned some praise after yesterday's practice for the Montreal Alouettes.

    Although the heat was overwhelming at times, it didn't stop receivers Jamel Richardson, Dallas Baker and Tim Maypray from making a number of spectacular catches throughout the day. Brandon London also took advantage of the opportunity and made several highlight-reel receptions of his own.

    CBS 3's Ezra Broder recently interviewed UMass baseball head coach Mike Stone for a feature on the use of metal bats vs. wood bats.

    Watch the piece here:

    Incoming Softball Player Updates

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    It is a busy time of year for high school softball as playoffs across the country are now in full swing. UMass Head Coach Elaine Sortino's signing class of five for next season is no exception. Check out below what each is up to with their respective high school team.

  • Quianna Diaz-Patterson continues her assault of Western Mass. pitching, leading Amherst High School with an over-.500 batting average. The Hurricanes defeated Pittsfield, 8-1, in the Western Mass. Division I softball quarterfinals on Saturday and will face West Springfield in the semifinals on Tuesday at 5:30 p.m. at Elms College in a rematch of last year's sectional final. The senior shortstop has led her club to a 20-1 record this season.

  • Allison Kearney and her Douglas High School team fell to Oxford last week, 4-2. Oxford advanced to take on the top seed, Narragansett on Sunday. Kearney did all she could in the game for the Tigers, going 4-for-4 with a run scored.

  • Anna Kelley of Norfolk, Mass. and her powerful King Philip High School squad defeated Taunton, 2-0, in a first round MIAA Division 1 South Tournament game over the weekend. Kelley and the Warriors will host Dighton-Rehoboth in Plainville at 5 p.m. on Monday in a quarterfinal matchup.

  • Bridget Lemire of Worcester, Mass. and her St. Peter-Marian team (17-3) received the No. 2 seed and a first round bye in the Central Mass. Division 1 tournament. They were to face No. 7 Quabbin (13-8) on Sunday at 1 p.m.

  • Mikayla Panko leads Richards High School in Oak Lawn, Illinois into the Super Sectionals against Benet High School on Monday at 4:30 p.m. CT for the right to go to the state finals. The No. 1 ranked Bulldogs are 32-2 on the season, after starting the year 28-0 and defeated St. Ignatius to reach the Super Sectionals with the UMass-bound senior centerfielder leading the way.
  • Torra Tosses Gem In 3-2 Aces Win, Now 4-0

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    Former Minuteman Matt Torra had a great outing over the weekend as he pitched the Reno Aces to a 3-2 win over the Salt Lake Bees on Saturday.

    Torra (4-0) scattered just seven hits and struck out four en route to his third quality start in his last four outings. The right-hander surrendered just one base on balls.

    The game was covered by kolotv.com and AZ Snakepit, as well.

    Through 11 starts, Torra holds a 4.64 earned run average with one complete game. In 64.0 innings pitched, he has fanned 29 batters, while walking 16.
    In his Local College Notebook for the Springfield Republican and MassLive.com, Dick Baker covers field hockey goalie Alesha Widdall being selected to the USA Women's Development Team, the feeder program for the National Team. He also gives a look ahead at the Minutewomen's 2011 schedule, including hosting National Champion Maryland at Garber Field.

    Notre Dame Considering Joining Hockey East

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    With the addition of Penn State and the announced forming of the Big Ten Hockey Conference in 2013-14, speculation on college hockey conference reshuffling has been on the minds of many.

    Larry Mahoney of the Bangor Daily News has piece on the idea of Notre Dame joining Hockey East.

    With the reshuffling of NCAA Division I college hockey prompted by the addition of Penn State and the Big Ten Conference in the 2013-2014 season, Hockey East could find itself adding one of the nation's most prominent institutions: Notre Dame.

    "It's a possibility," acknowledged Notre Dame head coach Jeff Jackson. "I know our athletic director and associate athletic director are doing their due diligence in looking at all of the alternatives."

    "I have a lot of respect for the programs and coaches in Hockey East," said Jackson, the former Lake Superior State head coach. "That has been one of the premier leagues in the country over the last 15 years."

    CeltsHub Update On Tony Gaffney

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    CeltsHub has a blog up looking back at the 2010 Summer League Team to see what those players have been up to since playing for Boston. The blog has a nice update on Tony Gaffney.

    Tony Gaffney - The Atlantic 10 Defensive Player of the Year for 2008-2009 at UMass was the last player cut by the Lakers in 2009. After spending time with Israel's Hapoel Gilboa Galil, he returned to the U.S. to treat an injured foot. The Celtics took a flyer on him as a roster filler towards the end of the season, but cut him just before the first game. He signed with Türk Telekom B.K., but negotiated a buy-out when the team went with new management and a new coach. He signed with the Utah Flash of the D-League, scoring 10.5 ppg while earning a spot on the D-League's All-Defensive team.

    New York Jets: Workouts All Over The Country

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    SB Nation: New York has an update on the New York Jets and Vladimir Ducasse as the players continue to hold informal player workouts during the NFL Lockout.

    First it was "Jets West" which featured the quarterbacks, running backs and receivers led byMark Sanchez in California.

    Then it was "Jets Southwest" which was Jets cornerbacks Darrelle Revis and Kyle Wilsonworking out in Arizona.

    Then you had "Jets East" with players like Bart ScottVladimir DucasseJerricho CotcheryJamaal Westerman, and more working out in Martinsville, New Jersey and then a few of them going to Miami to train with other AFC East players.

    After one of the most successful season's in the past 25 years, the UMass women's lacrosse team closed out 2011 with a No. 14 national ranking. The Minutewomen were ranked throughout the bulk of the year including a season's best No. 11 ranking on April 4. The Minutewomen finished the season with a 17-3 overall record, were a perfect 7-0 in the Atlantic 10, won their third straight Atlantic 10 Tournament title and made their second appearance in the NCAA Tournament in the last three years. Click here to view the entire deBeer Women's Media Poll - 06/03/2011.
    The Binghamton Senators won both Games 4 and 5 of the AHL Calder Cup Finals over the weekend to take a 3-2 lead in the series over Casey Wellman's Houston Aeros. The Series will move back to Houston for Game 6 (Tuesday night) and Game 7 (Thursday night).

    Press & Sun Bulletin: B-Sens blank Aeros, even series
    Jeff Thomas of the Springfield Republican filed a story on the addition of Andrew Dees as the running backs coach and recruiting coordinator for the football team. A 15-year coaching veteran, Dees spent the last five years with Temple and before that at Buffalo - both members of the MAC.

    The University of Massachusetts appears to have filled all its coaching vacancies with the hiring orAndrew Dees as the running backs coach and recruiting coordinator.

    Dees comes to Amherst after five years coaching under Al Golden at Temple and before that he was at the University at Buffalo.

    He replaces Guido Falbo, who held the same positions at UMass before leaving to be the offensive coordinator at RPI.

    While Dees job coaching the running backs is important, his experience coaching at the FBS level should be a a real positive as the recruiting coordinator for a future FBS team.

    CONTINUE READING JEFF THOMAS' STORY HERE:

    Dick Baker has a piece in the Springfield Republican highlighting the UMass Hockey Pond Club Golf Tournament which will be held June 13 at The Orchards Golf Club in South Hadley, Mass.

    It's the small things that can make a big difference in a Division I hockey program, so the University of Massachusetts hockey team and its supporters in the Pond Club will be hitting the small ball at the 11th annual UMass Hockey Pond Club Golf Tournament to be held June 13 at the Orchards Golf Course in South Hadley.


    While the hockey program is funded by UMass, there are budget limitations. The money raised from the golf outing is key in helping the team purchase state of the art technology for video, improving the locker room space to keep pace with other programs, and providing additional academic support for the players. The event also gives the entire UMass hockey community a chance to get together for a day-full of activities.


    Matt Vautour's Where Are They Now: Todd Bankhead

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    Daily Hampshire Gazette sports writer Matt Vautour has started a feature called "Where Are They Now." In his first installment, Matt was able to catch up with Todd Bankhead - the quarterback for the 1998 NCAA Championship team.

      

    Todd Bankhead then and now- He barely looks like he's aged

    Todd Bankhead wasn't highly recruited when he arrived at UMass as Mark Whipple's first quarterback recruit, but the quarterback from California was a perfect fit for Whipple's offense and helped lead the Minutemen to the 1998 Division I-AA Championship.

    THEN

    What years were you at UMass? 1998-2000

    What did you major in at UMass?
     Sports Managment

    Favorite class? Any of my Sport Managment classes

    Favorite professor? Professor Wong

    CONTINUE READING VAUTOUR'S WHERE ARE THEY NOW:

    Happy Birthday All Around!

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    Lots of UMass birthdays from the weekend and today! Jasmine Watson of the women's basketball team celebrated on Saturday, while Erika Unger of the track team enjoyed her day yesterday.

    On Monday, make sure to say happy birthday to Mike Lee of the football team, Ryan Hollenbaugh of the men's lacrosse team and Christine Cutry of the field hockey team.

    Jasmine WatsonErika UngerMike LeeRyan HollenbaughChristine Cutry
    The 37th Annual New England Intercollegiate Baseball Association (NEIBA) All-Star Game was held Thursday night at LeLacheur Park in Lowell, Mass. UMass' Peter Copa was instrumental in helping the University Division come back from a 3-0 deficit to tie the game in the bottom of the eighth, 3-3. The game ended in a tie after the scheduled nine innings were completed.

    Copa entered in the sixth inning, replacing Rhode Island's Tom Coulombe at first base and was 2-for-2 with a double. Part of the University Division's two-run rally in the eighth, Copa's double moved Garret Smith of Boston College to third, setting up a sacrifice fly by Quinnipiac's Kyle Nisson. Copa then came home for the game-tying third run on an RBI double by URI's Greg Annarummo.

    Matt Gedman started for the University Division team at third base and was 0-for-2 with a walk.

    Happy Birthday Galen Clemons!

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    Happy birthday Galen Clemons of the football team!

    Galen Clemons
    While the NFL may be dealing with lockout issues, the Canadian Football League (CFL) is scheduled to start training camps on Sunday. Brandon London will be among the Montreal Allouettes in camp as they prepare to defend back-to-back Grey Cup Championships.

    Herb Zurkowsky of the Montreal Gazette has a couple of items to keep in mind during the preseason.

    7. But can they play basketball?: If the Als' objective was to get taller at receiver, they've succeeded. S.J. Green, technically, will be in Ben Cahoon's old position on the field - and Green's 6-foot-3. So, too, is Jamel Richardson. And the Als have added 6-foot-5 Prechae Rodriguez, 6-foot-3 Dallas Baker and 6-foot-2 Jerry Porter. Returning from the practice roster is 6-foot-4 Brandon London. Calvillo should be able to simply throw the ball up and let his receivers go after it, airborne.

    The University of Massachusetts men's basketball program will become involved with tornado relief in Springfield, coach Derek Kellogg said on Thursday.

    A native of Springfield and 1991 graduate of Cathedral High School, Kellogg has stayed in close touch with his hometown since returning as UMass coach in 2008. His players have frequently visited community centers, clubs and the Basketball Hall of Fame.

    Now, UMass is preparing to help with relief efforts after Wednesday's tornado devastation. The effort will likely be coordinated with the Hall of Fame, he said.

    CONTINUE READING RON CHIMELIS' ARTICLE ON MASSLIVE.COM:

    Football Ranked No. 12 In Athlon Preseason Poll

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    In Athlon's 2011 Preseason Poll, UMass was ranked 12th - one spot ahead of CAA rival New Hampshire.

    Georgia Southern took the top spot followed by William & Mary. Delaware (6), Richmond (7), and Villanova (17) round out the top 25.

    1. Georgia Southern 
    2. William & Mary
    3. Eastern Washington
    4. Montana State
    5. Appalachian State 
    6. Delaware
    7. Richmond
    8. Wofford 
    9. Jacksonville State 
    10. Northern Iowa
    11. North Dakota State
    12. U Mass
    13. New Hampshire
    14. Lehigh
    15. Sacramento State
    16. Chattanooga
    17. Villanova
    18. Southern Illinois
    19. Montana
    20. Liberty
    21. Northwestern State
    22. Eastern Kentucky
    23. Indiana State
    24. Central Arkansas
    25. Jacksonville
    With the NFL lockout still continuing, articles pop up everywhere about groups of players gathering to hold informal summer workouts. Tania Ganguli of The Florida Times-Union has a story on several Jacksonville Jaguars, including UMass' Jeremy Cain, and how their player workouts have been going.

    Cain missed this particular practice, however, because he was out of town.

    Normally, long snapper Jeremy Cain drives up from Fort Lauderdale to practice with them on Tuesdays and Thursdays, but this week Cain is on his honeymoon in Hawaii.

    Seniors Peter Copa and Matt Gedman will be representing UMass in the New England Intercollegiate Baseball Association's (NEIBA) 37th annual All-Star Game tonight at LeLacheur Park in Lowell, Mass., at 7 p.m.

    Division I players from across the region will make up the University Division Team, while The College Division Team is made up of 13 Division II standouts and 16 Division III seniors all-stars.

    Tickets will cost $5 and can be purchased when the gates open at 6 p.m.

    Clegg Mentioned In SteepleCats Pro Alumni Update

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    Former UMass hurler Mitchell Clegg is mentioned in this piece from iberkshires.com on the North Adams SteepleCats of the New England Collegiate Baseball League and the team's 74 alumni who have gone on to play professionally.

    Clegg, who played for the SteepleCats in the Summer of 2008, is 2-3 in eight starts for the Potomac Nationals of the Carolina League.

    Clegg Mentioned In SteepleCats Pro Alumni Update

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    Former UMass hurler Mitchell Clegg is mentioned in this piece from iberkshires.com on the North Adams SteepleCats of the New England Collegiate Baseball League and the team's 74 alumni who have gone on to play professionally.

    Clegg, who played for the SteepleCats in the Summer of 2008, is 2-3 in eight starts for the Potomac Nationals of the Carolina League.

    Happy Birthday Amanda Doolin

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    Happy birthday to rowing's Amanda Doolin!

    Amanda Doolin

    Tyler Holmes Named Preseason All-American

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    The Sporting News and Lindy's named their 2011 FCS Preseason All-American Teams will Tyler Holmes penciled in at linebacker on the First-Team Defense of both lists.

    The senior is joined by Matt Evans of New Hampshire and Kadarron Anderson of Furman at the LB position on the TSN All-America Team. Evans, Holmes and Derek Rose of Northwestern State are the LB's on the Lindy's defensive first team.

    Craig Haley of The Sports Network (TSN) listed 25 FBS-FCS match-ups that intrigued him for the upcoming season. One of those is the UMass/Boston College game on Sept. 24 in Chestnut Hill.

    Massachusetts at Boston College - Think this game will draw some interest in the Boston area? UMass will become New England's third FBS program next year. 

    NFL Lockout Could Hurt Ducasse Starting For Jets

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    Several reports today on the New York Jets have them bringing back Damien Woody to play right tackle because the coaching staff has not been able to work with Vladimir Ducasse during the offseason due to the lockout.


    John Eisenberg of Ravens Insider looks at the running back situation for Baltimore heading into 2011. An uncertain future for Willis McGahee could provide an opportunity for Matt Lawrence once a new collective bargaining agreement is reached.

    + Who backs up Rice if McGahee goes? The candidates on the roster include Jalen Parmele, Matt Lawrence, Curtis Steele and seventh-round pick Anthony Allen. The first three have been around for a couple of years without making inroads as ball carriers, leaving Allen as the likeliest option, at least for now. But as a locked-out rookie who hasn't gone through OTAs, he might not be able to contribute much right away. 
    Casey Wellman and the AHL Houston Aeros won 2-1 at Binghamton last night taking a 2-1 lead in the AHL Calder Cup Finals. Games 4 and 5 are set for Friday and Saturday at Binghamton.


    Wednesday night's Premier Development League match between the Western Mass. Pioneers and the Vermont Voltage was suspended because of lightning and will be made up at a date and time to be determined. 

    The game was stopped in the 27th minute, the game scoreless at the time. Team officials and the referee decided the field was playable after the first couple of heavy downpours, but the game started 30 minutes late. 

    It was quickly stopped in the 27th minute when flashes of lightning came a little too close for comfort. 

    As for the U.S. Open Cup, which the Pioneers qualified for when they defeated MPS Portland 1-0 Friday, Western Mass. has been matched up against FC New York of the United Soccer Leagues Pro League. 

    The game will be played at Adelphi University in Garden City, N.Y., June 14. 

    It was announced Sunday that Panama will be without Chris Warren in the upcoming FIBA Americas Championship. The short release also mentions that former UMass standout Gary Forbes, currently with the NBA's Denver Nuggets, may also miss the tournament.

    Forbes played in 63 games this year with the Nuggets making 11 starts. He averaged 5.2 points and 12.6 minutes per game. Here is a profile video of Forbes from the Nuggets.


    San Jose Sharks GM Doug Wilson is interviewed in a Q&A on FoxNews.com recently. In the Q&A he is asked about what the future of Justin Braun will be with the team.

    Q: How much do you think Justin Braun will be able to contribute next year?

    A: I think Justin Braun will be a very important player on this team. His age, his experience. He's a very good hockey player. He's got to work hard this summer and come in and do what he's capable of doing.

    The Western Mass Pioneers will host the Vermont Voltage tonight at Lusitano Stadium. The Pioneers are coming off a win at Portland, 1-0, thanks to a Chris Roswess goal. The win gave the PDL squad a berth in the U.S. Open Cup.

    Along with Roswess, UMass standouts Bryant Craft, Andrew Henshaw and Tyler Cleverdon are members of the Pioneers this summer.

    With the 2011 NCAA Women's Lacrosse Season officially in the books, here is a statistical look at some of the accomplishments from the historic year that was for the UMass Minutewomen.

    UMass' 17 wins this year were the fourth most of any team during 2011 in the entire country. Only Northwestern (21), Maryland (21), Albany (18) had more. Loyola tied UMass with 17. UMass' three losses came to the NCAA National Champion (Northwestern) and to a pair of Elite Eight teams (Albany, Loyola).

    UMass finished the year ranked in the top 10 of every team statistic: Points (7th), Scoring Offense (5th), Scoring Defense (10th), Scoring Margin (4th), Win Percentage (4th), Caused Turnovers (8th), Draw Controls (7th), and Ground Balls (9th).

    Jackie Lyons Spotlighted In North Shore Sun

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    Coming off being named to three different All-America teams, UMass women's lacrosse senior Jackie Lyons was spotlighted in the North Shore Sun. The Long Island native leaves UMass as the all-time leader in career points, games played, and games started.

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