UMass Athletics:

July 2011 Archives

Koepplin Handling Kickoffs At Pats Practice

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At New England Patriots practice yesterday, newly signed former Minuteman Chris Koepplin was handling all of the kickoff duties. Pro Bowl kicker Stephen Gostkowski was held out of practice while recovering from a thigh injury. MassLive.com and the Boston Herald has coverage.

Griffin Passes Physical, Signs With Cincy

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Former UMass running back John Griffin was in Cincinnati yesterday, passed his physical and was signed by the Bengals. Cincinnati.com reports thats 17 players in all were signed as free agents by the Bengals on the same day they sent wide receiver Chad Ochocinco to the Patriots.

 

Syner Impresses At Capitals Development Camp

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Dick Baker of the Springfield Republican has a story on MassLive.com today about rising senior hockey player T.J. Syner impressing top brass at the Washington Capitals Development Camp. The Longmeadown native, who has not been drafted by a NHL team, took the opportunity to show off his terrific speed and skating ability to top executives.

Syner had 27 points on nine goals and 18 assists in 2010-11 and will serve as co-captain for the Minutemen in the 2011-12 season.

John McCutcheon Talks About FBS, MAC Move

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On Tuesday, UMass Athletic Director John McCutcheon attended Mid-American Conference Media Day at Ford Field in Detroit. The Minutemen begin the transition to the Bowl Subdivision this season, play a full FBS and MAC schedule in 2012, and will be eligible for post-season play in 2013.

The Springfield Republican has coverage of McCutcheon's Media Day.

UMass Football Media Day

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The Colonial Athletic Association held its annual Football Media Day on Wednesday at M&T Bank Stadium in Baltimore. UMass Head Coach Kevin Morris, senior linebacker Tyler Holmes, and senior wide receiver Julian Talley all took part in the festivities. Two hours of Media Day was broadcasted live online at ESPN3.com.

  • Springfield Republican: University of UMass Football Team Prepares For Transition Year
  • The Daily Hampshire Gazette: Moot Point: CAA Ranks Departing Minutemen 5th
  • CAASports.com: CAA Football 2011 Media Day Central
  • Happy Birthday: July 28- Sarah Barrett

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    Happy birthday to Sarah Barrett of women's cross country and track & field!

    Sarah Barrett

    Happy Belated Birthday: July 27- Lindsey Pfau

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    Happy belated birthday to Lindsey Pfau of women's track & field!

    Lindsey Pfau

    Former Kicker Koepplin Signed By Patriots

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    Former UMass kicker Chris Koepplin (2006-07) was signed as a free agent by the New England Patriots on Wednesday. He is the third former Minuteman to be signed since the free agent signing period opened this week, joining undrafted free agents Greg Niland (Cardinals) and John Griffin (Bengals).

    Koepplin, who transferred to UMass after two years at Nassau Community College, was a Honorable Mention All-American in both 2006 and 2007 with the Minutemen, while also earning All-Conference honors both years. He holds the UMass record for PAT percentage (98.0) on 99-of-101 and ranks second in field goal percentage (71.0) on 27-of-38.

    Koepplin's most memorable field goal was the 43-yarder he hit at No. 2 Montana on Dec. 8, 2006 in the NCAA Semifinals which proved to be the game-winner and send the Minutemen on to the Championship game for the first time since 1998.

    Koepplin played two seasons of arena football for the Manchester Wolves in 2008-09.


  • Hampshire Gazette: Koepplin signs with the Patriots
  • Boston Globe: Patriots sign 2 draft picks, 12 rookie free agents
  • NESN.com: Patriots make 16 roster transactions>br>
  • Videos From CAA Media Day

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    Both UMass and Indiana announced on Wednesday that the two football programs will meet on Sept. 8, 2012 in what will be the home opener for the Minutemen at Gillette Stadium that season. It will be UMass' first season of playing a full FBS and MAC schedule and be the first time it hosts a FBS team at Gillette. UMass will make a return trip to Bloomington in 2017.

  • Hampshire Gazette: Minutemen line up Indiana for first Bow Subdivision game at Gillette
  • Springfield Republican: UMass football will host Indiana Sept. 8, 2012 at Gillette Stadium
  • 1070 The Fan: Indiana releases football schedules through 2014
  • Griffin & Niland NFL SIgning Coverage

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    Former UMass football players John Griffin and Greg Niland benefitted quickly from the NFL lockout ending as both signed contracts as undrafted free agents on Tuesday. Griffin, a running back, signed with the Cincinnati Bengals, the same team former Minuteman Jeromy Miles plays for, while Niland, a guard, signed with the Arizona Cardinals. Below is coverage of their signings.

  • Hampshire Gazette: Lockout's end opens door for ex-Minutemen Niland, Griffin
  • MassLive.com: UMass football players Niland & Griffin signed by NFL teams
  • Worcester Telegram: Oakmont grad John Griffin signs with Bengals
  • Cincy Jungle: Bengals sign running back John Griffin
  • Gazette: Griffin & Niland Sign With NFL Teams

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    John GriffinGreg Niland
    Matt Vautour of the Hampshire Gazette reports that former UMass football players Greg Niland (pictured, right) has signed as an undrafted free agent with the Arizona Cardinals and John Griffin (left) has signed with the Cincinnati Bengals.

    Leigh Earns First Win With Everett

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    Former UMass right hander Bryan Leigh pitched last night as the Everett AquaSox closed out the first half of the season with a 4-2 win over the division champion Eugene Emeralds.

    Leigh (1-2) pitched 22/3 innings of scoreless relief to record his first win of the season for the Frogs. He currently holds a 2.92 earned run average in 12.1 innings over seven appearances with five walks and nine strikeouts and an opponent batting average of .205.

    Happy belated birthday to Bryson Craft of men's lacrosse, Tanner Guarino of women's lacrosse, and Shiyi Zan of women's cross country/track who all celebrated their birthday on July 21. Happy belated birthday to Jesse O'Donnell of women's lacrosse and Jenna Goodwinn of women's soccer, the two celebrated their birthday on July 22. Finally, happy belated birthday to Matthew Palasek of men's lacrosse and Jennifer Harkey of women's cross country/track who celebrated their birthday July 25.

    Bryson CraftTanner GuarinoShiyi ZanJesse O'DonnellJenna GoodwinMatthew PalasekJennifer Harkey

    MAC Football Media Day Today

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    The Mid-American Conference (MAC) will host 2011 Football Media Day today, beginning at 9:00 am to 11:30 am, from Ford Field in Detroit. UMass Athletic Director John McCutcheon is in attendance as the soon-to-be members of the MAC Minutemen begin their transition to FBS in 2011.

    All of MAC Media Day will be streamed live on the MAC website. McCutcheon is scheduled to address the media at 10:25 a.m.

    UMass Head Coach Kevin Morris, senior linebacker Tyler Holmes, and senior wide receiver Julian Talley will be at CAA Media Day on Wednesday in Baltimore. Stay tuned to UMassAthletics.com for more Media Day updates.

    Gary Forbes Interviewed In SLAM Online

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    Franklyn Calle of SLAM Online recently caught up with former UMass star and current Denver Nugget Gary Forbes for a feature and Q & A titled From D-League To The League. Calle focuses on the different obstacles Forbes has overcome on his journey to the NBA. The 2008 Atlantic 10 Player of the Year talks about various topics in the Q & A portion, including his rookie season with the Nuggets, the lockout, his work with the American Diabetes Association, and his plans for the future. When asked what his next step is, Forbes says:

    "I've taking a lot of time to focus on my body. I've been taking a lot of yoga classes and been doing stuff differently to try to get ahead of the curb and ahead of everybody. But I think my game is an all-around game. I want to obviously be the best player that I can be but I have a lot to prove and my aspirations are higher then people can imagine. I'm not going to stop until I reach there."

    Former UMass hurler Matt Torra will again be the host for the seventh annual Conor Dillon Memorial Golf Tournament this October 1 at the Waubeeka Golf Links in Williamstown, Mass., with proceeds benefitting Pittsfield Little Leagues and the Girls' Softball League.


    The tourney has donated over $40,000 in the past six years to fund the sandlot needs of local youth. Last fall, over $12,500 was raised and used to buy - among more traditional items like bats, balls and bases - a hot water heater and slush machine for the South Little League concession stand plus bullpen fencing, bleachers and a batting cage net for the West Little League. And, participants in the Girls Softball League this spring honed their batting eyes with the use of a new fast-pitch batting machine as well as a new soft toss system.


    Besides the lights, lawn mowers, tarps, scoreboards and other initiatives to improve the local playing fields over the years, the tournament has also established a scholarship fund for students of the culinary arts - a passion of Torra's childhood friend Conor Dillon for whom the tournament is named.


    Click here to register for the event and to view sponsorship opportunities.

    A pair of incoming freshmen, Brandon Gamblin and Zach Oliveri, from the men's lacrosse team were recently mentioned in a piece from Inside Lacrosse on 15 players who stood out at the ESPN Rise Games.

    Ninety-six high school All-Americans participated in the Champion Challenge at the ESPN Rise Games in Orlando. The athletes were separated into four teams and faced each other in pool play, with the two top teams squaring off in the finals.


    Brandon Gamblin - Sachem North HS 2011 - signed with UMass - midfield
    Gamblin was a whirling dervish at Disney World, exhibiting endless energy in his quest to get to the goal. He is a bouncy dodger who can slice and pop his way into the paint. He must learn to incorporate his teammates and play without the ball.


    Zach Oliveri - Connetquot HS, NY 2011 - signed with UMass - goalie
    The US Under-19 goalie showcased strong hands and leadership skills in Florida. Oliveri is 5-8 and 195 pounds and hopes to follow in the footsteps of Sal LoCascio and Doc Schneider, Long Island goalies who have become All-Americans in Amherst.

    Read Quint Kessenich's full article here.



    Jacovina Named Assistant At Rutgers

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    Inside Lacrosse reports that former UMass lacrosse player Brian Jacovina has been named an assistant coach at Rutgers. The former Minuteman middie was an assistant at St. John's for the last four seasons and joins new Scarlet Knights head coach Brian Brecht in Piscataway. Terry Foy's story says:
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    "Jacovina will handle offensive duties for Brecht. Brecht says he knows Jacovina after recruiting him as an assistant at Loyola and working summer camps with him while Jacovina was at UMass."

    Paronto Tosses Gem Against Quebec Capitales

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    Former UMass hurler Chad Paronto tossed a gem on Wednesday night, throwing all nine innings as the Pittsfield Colonials earned their first win of the second half with a 10-1 rout of the Quebec Capitales.

    Paronto, who is 5-4 on the year, set a career high with nine innings pitched. He scattered 10 hits allowing just one run and tied a career high with nine strikeouts in the contest.

    Read the entire recap on iberkshires.com.
    The text message received from Matt Torra Thursday morning was written with a sense of surprise.

    "Who would have thought Bateman and I on the same team. The Durham Bulls," is what the text message said.

    The Bateman in question is Joe Bateman, who has returned to Durham to join a Bulls' pitching staff that Torra is a member of.

    "Two kids from the same high school team pitching on the same [minor league] team -- that's crazy," Pittsfield High baseball coach Bob Moynihan said. "That's just unbelievable."

    Torra was traded to the Tampa Bay organization from the Arizona Diamondbacks, and was put into the starting rotation at Durham. He is still seeking his first win. Bateman, who spent the last two years with Durham, was released by Class AA Midland (Texas League) on Tuesday and signed with the Rays on Wednesday. Tampa Bay assigned him back in Durham.

    "It was a complete surprise" to see Bateman in the Bulls' clubhouse in Rochester, N.Y., Torra recalled. "We hadn't touched base yet.

    "I was starting so I came to the field later. I show up and he's in the locker room. It was pretty cool to see him and now to play with another Pittsfield guy, it doesn't happen too often."

    Read more of Howard Herman's Pittsfield High School graduates are members of the Durham Bulls pitching staff from the Berkshire Eagle.

    Happy Birthday: July 20- Em Chiu & Danielle Allocco

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    Happy birthday to Em Chiu of rowing and Danielle Allocco of women's cross country and track!

    Em ChiuDanielle Allocco

    The UMass basketball team headed over to take part in a team-building experience at the Amherst Ropes Course. UMass All-Access was there to show fans a bit of what they went through.

    MASSLIVE.COM: CAA media day to be aired on ESPN3

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    Jeff Thomas of the Springfield Republican has a story on the announcement of the football kick-off times for the upcoming season. He also has information sent out from the CAA about media day being televised live on ESPN3.com. The complete CAA release on the announcement can be found here.

    It appears gone are the days of UMass football home games at 1 p.m., or even noon when daylight savings time hits.

    The Minutemen released the times for most of their games for 2011 and just one of the four games at McGuirk Alumni Stadium is scheduled to begin at 1. The rest will put to use the lights.

    The home opener against Rhode Island (9/17) will be at 6:30 and Central Connecticut (10/8) will be at 6. The 3:30 start for the Villanova game on November 5 will need the lights on before it is settled.

    Fittingly, the final game of the Football Championship Subdivision for UMass will be at the 1 p.m. time slot against James Madison on Nov. 19.

    The only game time unscheduled is the September 24 game at Boston College.

    The Colonial Athletic Association media day next week will be broadcast live on ESPN3.

    The July 27 affair will be held at M&T Bank Stadium in Baltimore, Md. The CAA claims it is the first broadcast of its kind for FCS and will feature interviews with coaches and players over a two-hour period.

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    Dick Baker provides his perspective of the addition of Blaise MacDonald to the UMass hockey coaching staff with this blog entry on MassLive.com:

    The addition of MacDonald gives the Minutemen three coaches with collegiate head-coaching experience. Len Quesnelle, the other assistant coach, formerly was the head coach at Princeton. 

    Ironically, UMass head coach Don "Toot" Cahoon was responsible for bringing MacDonald in as an assistant coach at Boston University during the 1990-91 season when Cahoon was an assistant there. 

    They were there together one year, collaborating on a tremendous recruiting class that would go on to win a national championship a few years later. Cahoon then took over as the head coach at Princeton while MacDonald stayed on at BU through the 1995-96 campaign before leaving for Niagara.


    Matt Vautour also had a column last night covering the announcement of the UMass football kick-off times for the upcoming season. Every game with the exception of Boston College now has a start time. UMass will be on televisions five times so far as well.
    Matt Vautour of the Daily Hampshire Gazette has this story on the hiring of Blaise MacDonald as assistant coach of the UMass hockey team.

    To fill his new vacancy, University of Massachusetts hockey coach Toot Cahoon turned to an old friend.  

    The Minutemen announced the hiring of former UMass-Lowell head coach Blaise MacDonald to fill the assistant coach role that opened when Red Gendron left to become the associate head coach at Yale.  

    "It works out great for both of us. We have a working relationship and it should be seamless in terms of making the transition," Cahoon said. "He's a real fine teacher and coach."

    Conor Allen Featured On Washington Caps365

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    Conor Allen has been taking part in the Washington Capitals Prospect Camp and was recently featured Washington Caps365. He is interviewed on the process of being at the prospect camp, being a hockey player from Chicago and the benefits of playing college hockey.

    Happy Birthday: July 19- Danielle McNiff

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    Happy birthday to Danielle McNiff of women's cross country & track!

    Danielle McNiff

    Happy belated birthday to Joey Sbordon of men's swimming & diving who celebrated his birthday on July 15. Happy belated birthdays to football's Antoine Tharpe, and Tyler Major, Molly Papish of women's swimming & diving, Patrick Holmes of men's soccer, who all celebrated their birthday on July 16.  

    Joey SbordonAntoine TharpeTyler Major

    Molly PapishPatrick Holmes

    Jeff Thomas of the Springfield Republican has a nice piece on Tyler Holmes and the Buck Buchanan Award which is given to the nation's best defensive player in FCS football.

    UMass football has had many candidates for the big national awards sponsored by The Sports Network, but senior linebacker Tyler Holmes could be the first to bring one home.

    Holmes is on the Buck Buchananwatch list as the best defensive player in the nation in Football Championship Subdivision, which was announced on Monday.

    Since TSN started presenting these awards in 1987, no Minuteman has claimed a Buchanan or a Walter Payton for offense or the Eddie Robinson for coaching.

    Thomas expects that to change with Holmes this season.

    By DAVID DRIVER

    LAUREL, Md. - Ricky Harris, the former University of Massachusetts basketball standout, ran up and down the floor Tuesday afternoon on a day the temperature reached nearly 100 degrees in the Washington suburbs. 

    He spent nearly one hour going one-on-one in fullcourt workout sessions against such former Division I players as Reggie Holmes (Morgan State), Devin Sweetney (St. Francis, Pa.) and Mike Anderson (VCU). 

    Harris and his peers, several from the basketball-rich Baltimore-Washington corridor, worked out under the direction of trainer Joe Connelly, who has provided instruction to NBA players such as Roger Mason (New York Knicks), Hamady N'Diaye (Washington Wizards) and former Maryland star Juan Dixon. 

    READ THE COMPLETE STORY HERE:

    Bob Burke Teaching Football In Retirement

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    Former UMass football standout and AIC Director of Athletics Bob Burke is back coaching serving as an assistant at Port Charlotte High School in Florida according to Gary Brown of the Springfield Republican.

    FOOTBALL LIFER: Bob Burke, a Holyoke native who retired in 2006 from his duties as American International College's director of athletics, just can't stay away from his favorite sport - football. 

    He's back in the game as an assistant coach at Port Charlotte High School in Florida. He also does some substitute teaching. 

    "I wouldn't want to be a head coach again, but I've been doing this for a couple of years and enjoying it," he said. 

    Burke played at UMass and coached at Cathedral and AIC before moving into his athletic director's role. 

    He now lives in Rotunda West, Fla., "with golf courses all around." 

    Mike Marcou Returns to Islanders Prospect Camp

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    For the second straight year, UMass hockey rising senior Michael Marcou has earned an invite to the New York Islanders Prospect Camp.

    Mike Salerno of the Patch.com has an in-depth piece looking at the Kings Park, N.Y. natives development over the past three years.

    Marcou, who was recently named an assistant captain of the Minutemen heading into his senior season, has seen his game grow by leaps and bounds since arriving in 2008.  

    He was named the team's Co-Most Improved Player in his sophomore season in 2009-10, a campaign in which he tallied seven goals, including a pair on the power play, and 10 points in 36 games.  

    "I'm an assistant captain now, so I've got a leadership role," Marcou said of his new title. "We've got a lot of young kids coming in and they'll be looking up to me. I've got to show them the right ropes."

    Gedman Leading GCL Red Sox In Hits

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    A month into his professional career, UMass' Matt Gedman is among the top hitters for the Gulf Coast League Red Sox.

    Through 21 Games, Gedman is tied for the team lead with 18 hits, is tied for second in doubles (4) and is fourth in RBI (8) and on base percentage (.306).

    The second baseman is hitting .234 in 77 at bats. 
    Jonathan Quick was recently in Stamford, Conn., to take part in the Big Assist III - a fundraiser where local Connecticut hockey players gather to help the Harrington-Howes Foundation. 

    The foundation provides assistance to individuals with spinal-cord injuries and disease and has distributed over $2 million. It was founded after Harrington-Howes, a hockey and lacrosse coach in Darien, was paralyzed in a swimming accident 14 years ago this month. 

    He coached Darien's Ryan Shannon, who organizes the event, and Stratford's Jaime Sifers in youth hockey. 

    "I've known Obie since I was 4, 5 years old. He's a terrific guy," said Sifers, a six-year pro, who'll play in Germany next year. "Ryan Shannon and his family have done a terrific job organizing this event."


    Craig Haley ranked all the conferences in FCS determining that the Colonial Athletic Association is still the best in the country:

    When you start to make a case that the CAA isn't the best FCS conference, you can't. About seven of the 11 CAA teams warrant Top 25 consideration heading into the season, so the conference's depth is enough to keep it on top.

    Following is a conference-by-conference ranking across the FCS:

    1. CAA Football - Old Dominion would seem to be entering the conference at the right time - perhaps it's a down year? - but the reality is, there are few breathers in the CAA schedule in any season. William & Mary is back to being a national title contender after what it hopes was a hiccup in last year's playoffs, when they lost their first game at home as the No. 2 seed. Delaware suffered some big-time seniors, but it still has head coach K.C. Keeler, and that means a lot. Either Richmond, New Hampshire or Massachusetts (ineligible for the conference title or FCS playoffs as it gets set to move to the FBS next year) will likely give the conference a third outstanding team, and retooling Villanova, which probably lost the nation's best senior class, and an improved James Madison, with returning quarterback Justin Thorpe, will cause a lot of headaches and perhaps make the playoffs. Yes, it's foolish to doubt this conference.

    Former UMass hoops standout Micah Brand is featured in the Times-Herald Record for his amazing professional career which has spanned 10 different countries. This season, Brand is looking to slow things down to spend more time with his family.

    Micah Brand's daughter, Janiyah, thinks her daddy should be spending more time working out.

    Brand, a Middletown native, tells Janiyah, 8, that nothing beats running up and down the court to stay in shape; his toughest workouts this summer are in the Nike Pro City League at New York's Hunter College.  

    The court is Brand's home away from home. He's spent the last eight seasons playing in 10 different countries.




    Rashaun Freeman Signs With Israeli Team

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    פרימן. מצטרף לבקעה
    Former UMass basketball player Rashaun Freeman has signed a contract with Israeli pro team BC Habikaa. The former Minuteman center played last season in Belgium for VOO Verviers-Pepinster, averaging 15.9 and eight rebounds per game. He led the league in rebounding. At the conclusion of the season, Freeman played two games for Puerto Rican team Isabela in June.

    Here is coverage of his signing, and if you can read Hebrew, more coverage.

    "This is a player on the rise that fits the Israeli league," said Habikaa Assistant Coach Shay Sglovic, "He is very dominant and very mobile, and he would fit well with the players we currently have. This was really our goal."

    Mike Kostka Signs With Florida Panthers

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    Former UMass hockey defenseman Mike Kostka has signed a one-year two-way contract with the Florida Panthers. DurhamRegion.com has the story.

    Kostka led the Rochester Americans of the AHL in scoring last season with 55 points in 80 games. Kostka will be reunited with his former coach with the Portland Pirates, Kevin Dineen, who was recently named head coach of the Panthers.

    Kostka recorded 53 points on 15 goals and 38 assists in his four seasons for the Mass Attack.
    Christopher Spina of Giants101.com has a story on UMass alum Victor Cruz. The story focuses how the wide receiver overcame adversity to be successful at UMass, made the Giants as an undrafted rookie, dealt with injury in his rookie season, and now has the challenge of not only the NFL lockout, but once again proving himself to a team that drafted a wideout and has two others returning from injuries.

    "With the Giants drafting speedy Jerrel Jernigan in the third round of this year's draft, the returns of Ramses Barden and Domenik Hixon from injury, as well as the potential re-signing of possession receiver Steve Smith, Cruz will once again have to prove that he belongs on this team. After looking at all that he has overcome, though, I wouldn't bet against him."

    Happy Birthday: July 13- Cori Murray & Kevin Moore

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    Happy birthday to Cori Murray of women's lacrosse and Kevin Moore of men's hockey!

    Cori MurrayKevin Moore

    Gaffney Signs With German Team

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    Matt Vautour of the Daily Hampshire Gazette reports that UMass basketball alum Tony Gaffney has signed a professional contract with Telecom Baskets in Bonn, Germany.
     

    "After working out for several NBA teams prior to the lockout, former University of Massachusetts standout Tony Gaffney has signed a contract to play overseas next season, and former Minuteman teammate Gary Forbes could follow him."

    "With the lockout not expected to end quickly, many NBA hopefuls are signing contracts to play elsewhere in order to ensure themselves a paycheck."

    LaxMagazine.com Feature On Oliveri

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    Incoming UMass lacrosse freshman Zach Oliveri, who was just named to the US U-19 National Team, was recently featured on LaxMagazine.com in a piece on the tryouts:

    Oliveri is a vocal leader, often barking instructions to defensemen. He grunts when making saves. He talks to himself. Because he accidentally left his iPod at home this trip, he's been forced to sit in the dorms at UMBC in silence trying to focus before the day's games. (The tryout process is a series of evaluated scrimmages that will continue Saturday and Sunday. For the goalies, each have been given equal playing time.)

    Oliveri has been tutored by former Team USA and professional goaltender Brian Dougherty, so this type of show should come as no surprise. The outspoken Dougherty coached Oliveri on a seventh-grade travel team, and Oliveri said he tries to emulate Dougherty and Sal LoCascio, the three-time world champion U.S. goaltender and National Hall of Famer.

    "Both are great leaders. I really try to match that," Oliveri said. "If a defense doesn't have a leader behind them, it really doesn't complete the unit. I try to be very vocal and be there for the guys, and the saves will come. If I direct them where I want the ball to be shot from and make it easier for myself, it will help me out."

    Read the full LaxMagazine.com article.

    The Washington Post has a list of players attending the Capitals Prospect Camp this week including UMass' T.J. Syner and Conor Allen. Both are free agent invitee's.
    The Wall Street Journal has a story on the company Player Protect that provides security and transportation services for professional athletes when they are attending social events.

    Jets safety James Ihedigbo said ceding control has never been an issue. The Jets signed with Player Protect this past September, and Ihedigbo said he has used the service both as part of a large group of teammates going out after a game, and on his own. He has never been in a situation where his assigned officer indicated he was unsafe, but if he was, he said, "I wouldn't even hesitate to listen. It's what they're there for. Their ears can pick up things mine can't."

    The goal of the company is to not only keep the player physically safe but also for the agents to keep the player informed of anything that might come up during the event which could put him in harm.
    The Springfield Republican wrapped up its high school sports coverage for the academic year by naming its 2010-11 Athletes of the Year. Taking the Female Athlete of the Year honor is Amherst Regional High School star and soon-to-be UMass softball player Quianna Diaz-Patterson. 

    The shortstop and leadoff batter led the Hurricanes softball team to the Massachusetts Division 1 State Finals by batting .559 in her senior season with a .604 on-base percentage, eight homers, and 21 RBIs. She stole 105 bases in her three-year career without being thrown out a single time.

    Diaz-Patterson, one of five incoming freshmen for Elaine Sortino, was also a state champion in the swimming pool for Amherst, in addition to starring in field hockey.

    Kacey Schmitt, the Amherst Regional Head Coach had this to say about Diaz-Patterson: "Softball is her passion and it shows in the way she plays. Her athleticism is off the charts and that really stands out. She has quick hands and quick feet, and it's that kind of quickness that really sets her apart from any other player in Western Mass. And as a senior captain, she cared about everybody on the team. We're going to miss her on so many levels, but we look forward to seeing her play at UMass."
    Gary Forbes was on hand this morning for the ringing of the NASDAQ MarketSite Bell. Forbes was joining Gina Murdoch who is the Executive Director of the American Diabetes Association for the Greater New York City Area. Her and Stephanie Grant, CEO of Runway for a Cause, were today's guest bell ringers.

    Forbes posted a pick on his Twitter account today:
    nv0pn.jpg
    Tony Gaffney is featured in the Taunton Gazette after recently holding a basketball camp at Berkley Middle School.

    A Berkley native, Gaffney said he's always wanted to return to his hometown to give back, but faced several scheduling conflicts until this summer. 

    "I didn't have time last summer because I was with the Celtics, and I couldn't the summer before because I was with Lakers," he said. "I'm glad I got this opportunity. It's great to give back to the town and serve as a positive role model for the kids ... to get them out of the house and away from the computer and Xbox for a little while." 

    Gaffney, who served as an inactive member of the Celtics in 2010, just finished a season with the National Basketball Development League team, the Utah Flash. 

    Gaffney said he is close to signing a deal in Germany, but has looming professional options in France and Spain as well.   

    Tony Gaffney Celtic Berkley Middle School basketball camp 2
    Incoming women's lacrosse freshman Morgan Walker of Glastonbury High School was tabbed The Courant's Player of the Year over the weekend.

    ACCOMPLISHMENTS: After back-to-back losses in the semifinals the last two seasons, she helped lead Glastonbury (15-5) to the first state championship appearance in program history. The Tomahawks came up short to Greenwich, 12-10, in the Division L final. ... A tri-captain, she played all 20 games with 28 goals and 24 assists. Averaged 1.4 goals per game and 2.6 points per game. ... Scored three or more goals in a game five times. ... Had eight goals and one assist during Glastonbury's tournament run to the championship. ... A U.S. Lacrosse High School All American and All-CCC North selection. ... Four year letter-winner and three-year starter.

    WALKER SAID: "I just try to play the game like I know how to play it and practicing and working hard has always paid off for me. Stats are not on my priority list. I don't even know how many goals I had this year. I think being a leader on the team is just as important. Ever since we made to the semifinals as sophomores we wanted to make it the finals, so [this season] had been in the works for a while. ... My size [5 feet 2] has always been a thing; people have always said she is so small. But all the coaches I have talked to always said 'you've always made yourself big.'"

    Morgan Walker

    Former Minutemen In CFL Action

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    With the Canadian Football League regular season in full swing, it was a busy weekend of games north of the border with some former Minutemen in action.

    Wide receiver Brandon London made three catches for 47 yards in the Montreal Alouettes' 39-25 victory at the Saskatchewan Roughriders on Saturday.

    Defensive end Keron Williams started for the BC Lions and recorded one tackle in a 34-32 loss to the Calgary Stampeders on Friday.
    Incoming freshman Mia Rapolla was named the Portland Press Herald/Maine Sunday Telegram girls' lacrosse MVP. The midfielder scored 88 goals this season for Gorham High School.

    Double- and even triple-teamed in some games, Rapolla almost always found a way to power her way through and send a shot into the net.  

    She was also named the newspaper's Athlete of the Year, for her combined prowess in basketball, cross country and lacrosse.  

    "I try to be rugged. I always hear the other coaches yell "(No.) 24, 24!" They always just yell my name when I'm going into the eight," said Rapolla. "I just think 'turn and explode.'  

    "When I'm going in and three people close in, I know two others are open. Then I might retreat. Or if I see a weakness in their triple, I try and go through it."

    Greg Mauldin, Colorado Avalanche Renew Contract

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    The Colorado Avalanche and Greg Mauldin agreed to terms last week renewing the forward with a one year deal. Mauldin played in 29 games with Colorado last season where he had 5 goals, including 2 shorthanded and 1 game-winner, and 5 assists.

    In his blog on MassLive.com, Dick Baker writes that, "The Big Ten league is coming down the road, a new Division I team is forming, and Notre Dame is said to be considering a move to Hockey East. Wouldn't that be something? Notre Dame at UMass, Mullins Center, 7 p.m."
     

    The long-time Mass Attack beat writer is skeptical saying, "I don't see it happening. South Bend isn't exactly around the corner. Yes, Hockey East has been on NESN, and may be negotiating a new deal, but geographically, and cost wise, it wouldn't seem to make sense."

    The Minneosta Wild have their first episode of Becoming Wild available online. The video follows the journey of the Houston Aeros which made a run to the Calder Cup FInals this year. UMass' Casey Wellman is prominently featured throughout.

    "The Minnesota Wild's version of 24 / 7 or Oil Change is now available online for everyone outside the FSN viewing area. I watched the premiere episode last night, and I can tell yo without hesitation, you will not be disappointed. From the opening sequence to the final "cliffhanger" you will be riveted watching it. 

    Great lines abound as they talk with Colton GilliesCasey Wellman, Mike Yeo, and Aeros GM Jim Mill. Watch as Yeo lights up the boys in the Calder Cup playoffs and they actually... respond. Great stuff, with behind the scenes access that regular media can only dream of. "

    Happy belated birthday to Vance Walberg and Gary Correia of men's basketball and Michael DiMarco of men's swimming and diving!

    Vance WalbergGary CorreiaMichael DiMarco

    Happy Birthday: July 11- Lauren Terracciano

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    Happy birthday to Lauren Terracciano of UMass women's lacrosse!

    Lauren Terracciano

    Former UMass lefty Mitchell Clegg tossed two perfect innings of relief for the Potomac Nationals last night as the squad rallied from a 4-1 deficit to win 6-4 in 10 innings against the Frederick Keys.

    Clegg pitched the sixth and the seventh, striking out two in his 16th appearance of the season. He has thrown 55.0 innings to date and holds a 4.91 ERA with 22 walks and 22 strikeouts.
    NBC Miami has a feature story on how South Florida locals, including former UMass All-American punter C.J. Koegel, can launch successful careers following appearances on reality shows. Koegel appeared on MTV's The Real World: Cancun following graduation.

    Koegel doesn't consider himself a star, but the reality is, he gets treated like one.  

    "It's crazy to think that they (fans) do that," said Koegel, "but it's awesome to meet them. And still to this day I get messages that say, 'It was awesome to meet you, you're my favorite,' and that has value, that's what it's all about."  

    Like Mendez, Koegel does his share of modeling and club appearances, but his true passion is coaching high school football kickers.  

    At age 26, Koegel knows his reality fame will eventually fade, so he's preparing to enter a different kind of "real world."

    View more videos at: http://nbcmiami.com.

    Incoming women's lacrosse goalie Rachel Vallarelli has been named to the U.S. Lacrosse 2011 All-American Showcase which will take place at the ESPN Wide World Of Sports Complex at Walt Disney World Resorts from July 17-22.

    Vallarelli will be a freshman next season for the three-time defending Atlantic 10 Champion UMass women's lacrosse team. A native of Hartsdale, N.Y., Vallarelli has been a standout goalie at the School of the Holy Child and has also been a member of the U.S. Under-19 National Team. Heading into last season, she was listed among the ESPN RISE Top-10 Goalies.

    "Nearly 200 of the nation's top boys' and girls' high school lacrosse players have been selected by US Lacrosse to compete in the 2011 Champion All-American Showcase, a US Lacrosse event. The showcases will be held as part of the ESPN RISE Games July 17-22 at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex at Walt Disney World Resorts in suburban Orlando, Fla.

    The girls' event features an opening ceremony Saturday, July 16 with a four-team round robin starting July 17. Eighty players from 25 states have been selected to four teams that will compete in three pool-play games before championship and consolation games on Tuesday, July 19. The girls' championship game will stream live at 2 p.m. ET July 19 on www.espn3.com.

    Eight players in the girls' showcase are members of the U.S. under-19 women's national training team. The U.S. team will travel to Hannover, Germany, Aug. 3-13, to defend the world title at the Federation of International Lacrosse U19 Women's World Championships."


    Happy birthday to Brett Newgaard of the men's lacrosse team.

    Brett Newgaard
    Kansas City has a look at some of the team's position groups and where certain players will fit and where the Chiefs will need to add with free agents. UMass' Jeremy Horne is mentioned among the top-five receivers on the team.

    The Chiefs had hoped Jerheme Urban would be their possession-type receiver last year, but a preseason hand injury proved otherwise. Verran Tucker came out of seemingly nowhere to make some big plays and Jeremy Horne is a burner, but both are probably cut out best for roles on the outside and so is Urban.

    UMass alum and HockeyBuzz.com columnist Julie Robenhymer has been following the activities at the Philadelphia Flyers Development Camp this week and posted and update along with with player assessment's on her blog.

    Rising sophomore blueliner Adam Phillips is one of the collegiate invitees to the camp. Robenhymer had this to say:

    "Finally, I'm a big fan of Adam Phillips. I might be biased because he's a Minuteman and we all know how much I love my Beloved's from UMass, but if he could just eat all the protein shakes his body can handle and add some meat on his rather lanky bones, he could be one heck of a player. Right now, he's 6'6, but weighs just 195 pounds. He's a terrific skater and has a great shot...just needs to grow into his frame! Hope the trainers at UMass stocked up on protein bars this summer...."

    A few months back, there was speculation about Notre Dame joining Hockey East following the creation of the Big Ten Hockey Conference. Now, according to the Grand Forks Herald, the University of North Dakota will leave the Western Collegiate Hockey Association for a new start-up conference in 2013-14. Five other Western schools, Notre Dame and a possible eighth school are possible new members. This could mean the WCHA and CCHA will have to merge as each conference will have just five teams.
    Matt Vautour of the Daily Hampshire Gazette posted an idea on his blog yesterday about new uniforms for UMass in the football team's first year with the MAC. Part of the discussion was on helmets and several very talented fans have sent him some ideas.

    In Dick Baker's newest blog, he brings back the idea of UMass having a pep band for home hockey games.

    "Mark Coogan of the UMass hockey fan blog site "Fear the Triangle" has brought it up again, pushing for UMass to have a band presence at home games. I can't agree more. Having traveled to most of their road games last year, there is a big difference in the atmosphere when the Minutemen play on the road than at home ... This is big-time college hockey, and big-time college hockey teams all have pep bands."

    UMass hockey fans


    Happy Birthday: July 7- Cerie Mosgrove

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    Happy birthday to Cerie Mosgrove of UMass women's basketball!

    Cerie Mosgrove

    Torra Debuts With Durham Bulls

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    In his first outing since being traded to the Tampa Bay Rays' organization, Matt Torra started for the Durham Bulls last night against the Norfolk Tides.

    Torra threw five innings and allowed three runs on six hits, walked none and struck out four, but did not earn a decision in the Bulls' 11-5 win. All three runs came in the first as he followed up with four shutout frames.

    Following this five-games stint against Norfolk, the Bulls will be making a trip to New England to face the Pawtucket Red Sox, July 14-17.

    Torra Debuts With Durham Bulls

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    In his first outing since being traded to the Tampa Bay Rays' organization, Matt Torra started for the Durham Bulls last night against the Norfolk Tides.

    Torra threw five innings and allowed three runs on six hits, walked none and struck out four, but did not earn a decision in the Bulls' 11-5 win. All three runs came in the first as he followed up with four shutout frames.

    Following this five-games stint against Norfolk, the Bulls will be making a trip to New England to face the Pawtucket Red Sox, July 14-17.
    For the second straight summer, Long Island native Mike Marcou has been invited to the New York Islanders Prospect Camp. You can find his bio here

    Along with Marcou, Danny Hobbs (New York Rangers) and Adam Phillips (Philadelphia Flyers) have attended prospect camps this summer.



    Three of Ed Matz' incoming freshman recently helped FC Stars of Massachusetts capture the Region I championship and will now advance to the National Finals in Arizona the week of July 25.  Kristen Gargiulo, Becky Landers and Tori Sousa were all important components in the team advancing from its group with a 2-0-1 record and winning the championship over the Bethesda Dragons. Gargiulo, a graduate of Acton-Boxborough Regional, was a key defender while Landers, a graduate of Danvers High School played a pivotal role in the midfield. Sousa, a graduate of Nashua North High School in New Hampshire, provided creativity on the offensive side of the ball.  

    The three players will join the rest of Minutewomen squad on August 5 when preseason training officially kicks off for the 2011 campaign. UMass will open its season on August 23 at the University of New Hampshire at 4:00 pm.
    Three of Ed Matz' incoming freshman recently helped FC Stars of Massachusetts capture the Region I championship and will now advance to the National Finals in Arizona the week of July 25.  Kristen Gargiulo, Becky Landers and Tori Sousa were all important components in the team advancing from its group with a 2-0-1 record and winning the championship over the Bethesda Dragons. Gargiulo, a graduate of Acton-Boxborough Regional, was a key defender while Landers, a graduate of Danvers High School played a pivotal role in the midfield. Sousa, a graduate of Nashua North High School in New Hampshire, provided creativity on the offensive side of the ball.  

    The three players will join the rest of Minutewomen squad on August 5 when preseason training officially kicks off for the 2011 campaign. UMass will open its season  on August 23 at the University of New Hampshire at 4:00 pm.

    Happy Birthday: July 6- Sean Duncan

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    Happy birthday to Sean Duncan of UMass track & cross country!

    Sean Duncan

    New York Jets linebacker Bart Scott is quoted as saying the NFL lockout is actually helping some veteran players because they can focus on preparing their bodies better than they can during a normal offseason.

    Scott said one Jets veteran, second-year offensive lineman Vladimir Ducasse, is an example.

    "Vlad Ducasse is ripped up right now," Scott said of his sometime training partner in New Jersey. "I've watched Vlad on the inclines with almost 400 pounds and he's worked off all that baby fat. All gone. He's working ridiculous. He's lean. He's 345 pounds. If I can say a lean 345, he's a lean 345."   

    From MassLive.com:

    Kevin and David Johnson went to the 4th of July Road Race Monday gunning for a record.

    They got it.

    In a competitive field on a humid morning, the 22-year-old twins from Ludlow ran down the course record, with Kevin covering the flat 5K in 15 minutes 11 seconds, and David crossing two seconds later.

    The Johnsons said they were going after the course record of 15:15, which was set by former Ludlow High School teammate Brian Fuller in 2009.

    "We were joking with Fuller on the phone," David Johnson explained. "He's in Colorado right now, and we were going to take down his course record without him here to defend it. That's what our goal was going into the day.

    "With 250 meters to go, I knew we were running a good pace and I wanted to make sure both of us got under the course record. I yelled at Kevin to go and I saw him pick it up a little bit to the finish."

    Kevin Johnson said, "We talked to Brian beforehand. He's our friend but he didn't want us to break his record."

    David Johnson and Joe Czupryna grabbed the lead at the start before Kevin Johnson grabbed the top spot 1 mile into the fast course.

    "We were pretty close," said David Johnson of the early stages of the race. "Me and our other teammate, Joe Czupryna, went through the mile pretty quick - maybe 4:50 pace. I was feeling a little sluggish before the race so I told Kevin I would do a lot of work for him. That worked for about a mile and then I fell back a little bit to Kevin, and then Kevin was pulling the train from 1 mile to the finish."

    Even though he had the lead, Kevin Johnson knew he had to keep working. He stayed strong and topped the course record by four seconds.

    "It was great. Both Dave and Brian have won the race, but I've never won it," Kevin Johnson said. "We had a bunch of UMass guys come and it was great to run with them again.
    "

    Read the full article here.

    Matt Torra Traded To Tampa Bay

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    Former Minuteman Matt Torra was traded over the holiday weekend, going from the Arizona Diamondbacks' organization to the Tampa Bay Rays for cash considerations. Torra, who was 4-2 this season as a member of the Triple-A Reno Aces with a 6.07 earned run average in 15 games has been assigned to the Durham Bulls' (AAA).

    Locally, CBS 3 had coverage of the move: Howard Herman also had a nice piece on the Pittsfield native in Sunday's Berkshire Eagle.

    Happy Birthday: July 5- Emily Cota & Karen Roa

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    Happy birthday to Emily Cota of UMass Women's Soccer and Karen Roa of UMass Women's Cross Country/Track & Field!
    Emily CotaKaren Roa
    UMass alum and former media relations assistant director Ryan Nadeau grew up rooting for the Boston Bruins. Last months Stanley Cup Championship was a dream come true for the Taunton native who is in his 8th season with the Bruins and fifth as Director of Hockey Administration and scout.

    "It's hard to explain about the feeling of being a part of all this," Nadeau told the Taunton Gazette. "This is always something you dream of being a part of it working in the NHL. The goal is to win the Stanley Cup. To have that opportunity and to have that chance to be there for the team that does it."

    Ryan cup.jpg
    BleacherReport.com has a listing of the 100 Best College Basketball Players of all-time including UMass Hall of Famer Marcus Camby. Camby was named the college player of the year in 1996 when he led the Minutemen to the Final Four, just a year after carrying his team to the Elite Eight.

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    Merrimack's Dennehy Signs Extension Through 2019

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    Merrimack hockey head coach Mark Dennehy signed a contract extension through 2018-19 over the weekend according to the Eagle Tribune. Dennehy, a former assistant coach at UMass, had signed an extension through 2016 prior to last season's run to the NCAA Tournament.
    Rower Samantha Schnoerr was listed among several local student-athletes over the weekend in the Stamford Advocates collegiate honors round-up. Schnoerr was named the Atlantic 10 Rowing Student-Athlete of the Year.
    Ron Chimelis has a column on the response from local and professional sports franchises in the relief aid for the Springfield area following last months tornado destruction.

    Included in the story are quotes from Springfield native and UMass head basketball coach Derek Kellogg who took the Minutemen to the MassMutual Center to help victims there.
    Season tickets for the 2011 season are now on sale! As a special bonus, fans who are current season ticket holders or new season ticket purchasers will receive special benefits for the 2012 season when UMass begins play at Gillette Stadium.

    Packages start at $65 for this season. You can order online here or by calling 866-UMASS-TIX.

    To start of July we have a pair of birthdays today. Happy birthday to Rocco Carzo of the hockey team and Sarah Shapero of the rowing team!

    Rocco Carzo Sarah Shapero 

    Hobbs, Phillips Attending NHL Prospect Camps

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    Danny Hobbs and Adam Phillips will be getting in some extra ice time this summer as they attend NHL Prospect Camps. Hobbs, a 2007 pick of the Rangers in the NHL Draft, is currently attending the camp

    Phillips will take part in the Flyers camp from July 6-July 11 along side his brother Brad who is a former Notre Dame goalie and was also taken in the 2007 NHL Draft.


    Mike Kostka Signs With Florida Panthers

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    Former UMass standout Mike Kostka has signed a one-year, two-way deal with the Florida Panthers organization as announced by the team yesterday. Kostka had 55 points in 80 games last year with the Rochester Amerks as the team's top scoring defenseman. 

    Kostka began his pro career with the AHL Rochester Americans in 2007-08 before playing two years with the Portland Pirates and then last season back in Rochester.

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