UMass Athletics:

February 2012 Archives

College Softball Weekend Preview

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Graham Hays of has his weekly preview of softball around the country and has a couple of UMass mentions. He has Saturday's game at No. 1 Alabama listed in his Games to Watch This Weekend and in his Player of the Year sidebar, mentions UMass senior right-hander Sara Plourde. In saying her stock is rising, he references her strong game against No. 12 Michigan last weekend when she struck out 16 in leading the Minutewomen to a 1-0 victory. He goes on to mention her 16 Ks in his By the Numbers segment.

Alabama has already faced some good mid-major pitching this season, including North Dakota State's Whitney Johnson, Memphis' Carly Hummel and Lipscomb's Whitney Kiihnl, but UMass ace Sara Plourde is as good a power pitcher as they will face all season, in or out of conference.

Stock up: There were some special pitching performances in Cathedral City, but one of the best of the weekend came on the other side of the country in the NFCA Leadoff Classic in Florida. Pitching her second game of the day, Plourde allowed just two hits and struck out 16 in a 1-0 win against Michigan. The senior's overall numbers are still modest for a mid-major award hopeful (4-4, 2.17 ERA), but 83 strikeouts in 51.2 innings will keep her in the debate.

16: Massachusetts senior pitcher Sara Plourde struck out a season-high 16 batters in a 1-0 win against Michigan Friday, making it the first time the Wolverines had been shut out since a May 27, 2010 super regional loss to Tennessee. Plourde showed no letup in her next start, striking out 15 in a no-hitter against Georgia Tech.

Happy Birthday: Feb. 28 Maxie Esho

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Happy birthday to men's basketball redshirt freshman Maxie Esho ll!

Maxie Esho

Collegian: Hanley, Marcou key success over weekend

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Nick Canelas of the Daily Collegian has a sidebar on the roll defensemen Joel Hanley and Michael Marcou had in the weekend series against New Hampshire.

Recaps From Hockey's Split Weekend Vs. New Hampshire

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UMass split its weekend against New Hampshire taking a tough 4-3 loss on Friday night before bouncing back for a 4-2 win on Saturday. With the win and a Northeastern loss, UMass remains tied for 8th place in the league standings and holds a critical tie-breaker against the Huskies entering the final regular-season weekend.

Saturday Highlights:

Saturday Postgame Interview:

Friday Highlights:

Friday Postgame Interview:

UMass' next NFL star? Emil Igwenagu hopes so

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Prior to his workout at the NFL Combine over the weekend, UMass tightend/fullback Emil Igwenagu was featured on Yahoo Sports.

Recaps From Men's Lacrosse Win Over No. 11 Ohio State

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Colin Fleming and Kyle Smith each scored three goals, but it was the defense that stood tall allowing just one Buckeye goal in the final three quarters of play as No. 8 UMass won at No. 11 Ohio State on Saturday. Tim McCormack was outstanding in goal making a season-high 11 saves and allowing the season-low three goals. The Minutemen will return to action on Saturday afternoon at Brown.

Recaps From Women's Lacrosse Win Over Marist

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A early start and a balanced attack led the way as the UMass women's lacrosse team improved to 3-0 on Saturday with a 20-7 win over Marist. The Minutewomen will return to action on Wednesday against longtime New England rival New Hampshire.

Recaps From Saturday's MBB Loss at Dayton

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Here are a few articles recapping Saturday's tough loss at Dayton. But its a new day and the Minutemen still have two important games left in the regular season (Wed. at No. 22 Temple and Sat. at home against Rhode Island) as they battle for seeding in the upcoming Atlantic 10 Tournament. The top four teams in the standings will receive a bye into the quarterfinals, while Nos. 5-12 will play first round games on Tuesday, Mar. 6.

MassLive: Preview Of Hockey's Weekend Vs. UNH

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Dick Baker has a preview of this weekend's home series against New Hampshire this weekend on today:

Not only are these two home games against New Hampshire huge because of the playoff race, but it's about time the University of Massachusetts beat UNH.

In the last 14 meetings, UNH is 10-1-3.

Last year, the Wildcats won the series 2-0-1, and won the only other game this season, 7-3 Nov. 4 in Durham.

With only four games remaining in the regular season, UMass is tied for the eighth and final playoff spot with Northeastern, and is four points behind 7th-place New Hampshire with a game in hand.

UNH coach Dick Umile is 41-10-7 against UMass. Going back to the start of the series in 1926, UNH is 80-18-8 versus UMass.

The teams play both Friday and Saturday nights at 7 at the Mullins Center.


Coverage Of Women's Basketball's Win Over Rhode Island

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Congratulations to the women's basketball team on picking up its second straight win with a 68-57 victory over Rhode Island last night on Senior Day at the Mullins Center.

Several media outlets had coverage of the win:

Daily Hampshire Gazette: Megan Zullo lifts UMass women's basketball to key victory over Rhode Island
Daily Collegian: Minutewomen Notch A Win On Senior Night Photos: UMass women top URI, 68-57

Also, check out the highlights and postgame press conference:

UMass' pint-sized point guard brings relevance

| No Comments | No TrackBacks senior writer Jeff Goodman was among the national writers in attendance at Tuesday's 80-73 win over Xavier and was more than impressed with how the Minutemen program has progressed during the tenure of head coach Derek Kellogg. He writes in his column about the importance of Chaz Williams to the UMass program.

Recaps From Tuesday's 80-73 Win Over Xavier

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Recaps From Men's Lacrosse Win Over No. 12 Bucknell

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An all-around effort paced by Will Manny's three goals and career-high four assists gave the No. 11 UMass men's lacrosse team an 11-9 win over No. 12 Bucknell on Saturday in the Garber Field home opener.

CBS3 Highlights:

UMass Highlights:

Postgame Interviews:

Recaps From Basketball Loss To La Salle

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Recaps Of Hockey's 4-1 Win At Maine

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Derek Kellogg on Tim Brando Show at 11:10 am

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Watch UMass head basketball coach Derek Kellogg on the Tim Brando Show this morning at 11:10 am. The show is simulcast on CBS College Sports: DIRECTV Ch. 613; DISH Ch. 162; Comcast 261 & 856-HD.

Congratulations to UMass baseball alum Mike Donato on being named the head baseball coach at Springfield Central High School. The following is from the East Hartford Gazette:

East Hartford's Michael Donato was recently named head varsity baseball coach at Springfield Central High School in MA.

After graduating East Hartford High School in 2006 where he was a standout student/athlete for coach Mike McDermott's successful Hornet teams and captain for Dan Lawrence's football team, Michael went on to UMass where enjoyed success on and off the field. He was a four year starter and senior captain for coach Mike Stone's Minutemen. While at UMass he was named to the Atlantic 10 All conference first team, A-10 All- Academic team and Lowe's Senior Class All-American Team.

Michael received his bachelor's degree in history and a master's degree in education from UMass. He is currently employed as a social studies teacher at Springfield's South End Middle School.

Republican: UMass Hockey: A Baker's Dozen

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Dick Baker has his weekly column "UMass hockey: A Baker's Dozen of thoughts for the week" on today. Check it out.

The Fourth Period: Not A Quick Journey

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Check out this feature on former Minuteman Jonathan Quick from The Fourth Period Magazine:

Next time you're at a casino, here's a reason to play the long shot and put a few dollars down on 32 on the roulette wheel.

Emerging from the nuclear winter that was the NHL lockout, the league conducted their first Entry Draft a few weeks after returning to normalcy in Canada's national capital of Ottawa, Ontario.

Unlike the usual custom of showcasing the restocking of the NHL shelves, the draft was conducted out of the public's purview at the Westin Hotel; ironically the same venue where an international media gathering interviewed some of the same selections six and a half years later about their All Star weekend experience.

Though 2005 was the year Sidney Crosby matriculated to the NHL, other than his pre-determined selection there was zero fanfare that accompanied other first round selections like Bobby Ryan and Anze Kopitar. The latter was likely the finest selection of then-GM Dave Taylor's career, a wunderkind out of Slovenia, not Slovakia or Czechoslovakia.

Kopitar had the benefit of playing two seasons in the Swedish Elite League and although he came from a small country without a hockey legacy, he arrived on the Pacific shores already a man and showed it in his first rookie and then NHL training camp. Anze never spent a day in the North American minor leagues and has become a two time All Star and a vital cog in the Kings' championship hopes.

When one scrolls down the list of Los Angeles selections post-Kopitar that year, the record wasn't pretty. There's T.J. Fast and Dany Roussin, best known for scoring a bushel full of goals on Crosby's line for the Rimouski Quebec junior major team. Roussin's failure at the highest level of hockey is a minor footnote to number 87's greatness and furthers the argument that I could pot double digit markers on if placed on his flank.

With his fourth pick in the third round, Taylor selected a player that shows although the Kings Hall of Famer may have had challenges building an organization, his eye for talent is among the keenest in the game.

At the time, Jonathan Quick was a record setting prep goaltender for Old Avon Farms School in his native Connecticut. His record was a sterling 47-3 over two seasons with his senior season being the finest. He fashioned nine shutouts in combination with a 1.14 goals-against-average and .956 save percentage with the goose egg total still a New England prep record.

Quick declined to go the professional route, preferring to enroll at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst, at last check not one of the Boston area powerhouses among NCAA's sextet. Continuing the credo of low fanfare, high performance, Quick led the Minutemen to their first NCAA Ice Hockey Championship appearance in 2006 in his sophomore season. His first NCAA tournament appearance was a shutout victory over Clarkson, a 33 save affair and while a championship was too daunting a task given the lack of top talent on the team, Quick departed Amherst as the holder of numerous records that still stand.

While those numbers were impressive, to say that his future professional employers were impressed would be a bigger stretch than one of Quick's own acrobatic saves. Read the entire feature here.

Matt Vautour has a look at the season Sean Carter has put together finding success not only on the hardwood, but also in the classroom where he posted a 4.0 GPA last semester.

Anthony Biscardi Named to Tewaaraton Award Watch List

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The 2012 Men's Tewaaraton Award Watch List was announced yesterday with UMass' Anthony Biscardi among the initial names up for the award. In late April, the list will be narrowed to 25 players which will be the official group of nominees for college lacrosse's highest honor.

NELJ: Division I Men's Lacrosse Preview

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Chuck Jaffe of the New England Lacrosse Journal has a season-preview on several Division I lacrosse programs in the area including UMass. 

Matt Vautour of the Daily Hampshire Gazette has a feature on Ryan Carter who is donating bone marrow today in order to help save a young boy's life.

AMHERST - Ryan Carter doesn't know who the boy is, where he lives, or almost anything else about him. He knows only that the 5-year-old is sick and Carter, a third-year sophomore defensive back for the University of Massachusetts football team, today will do what he can to save his life.  

Like almost every member of the Minutemen, Carter is registered as a potential donor in the National Bone Marrow Registry. The Maryland native didn't think much about it when he swabbed the inside of his cheek two years ago as part of the annual drive by UMass to sign people to the registry.  

"At first I was shocked. Is this real? Did I really get chosen?" Carter said. "Then I started getting almost excited. I get to save somebody's life. I get to be a part of helping this young kid live. ... There's seven billion people in the world and this one person needs something that I have. It really opens your eyes that this person could live or die depending on me."

Dick Baker of the Springfield Republican has a look around Hockey East which includes a mention of Michael Pereira being named the Hockey East Player of the Week after scoring his second hat trick of the season against Providence after scoring a goal and an assist in the win over No. 1 Boston University.

Men's Basketball Recaps From Loss at Saint Joseph's

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Here are a few stories on Saturday's 73-62 setback at Saint Joseph's. The loss drops the Minutemen to 7-4 in Atlantic 10 play and a tie for third with Xavier in the standings. Both UMass and La Salle will be off until they meet at the Mullins Center Saturday night at 6 p.m.

Dick Baker has a feature story on softball freshman Quianna Diaz-Patterson and her adjustment to college softball.
'Q' had a solid opening weekend down in Florida where she hit .294 with three doubles, an RBI and started all five games at shortstop.

Highlights And Interview Following Hockey's Win Over BU

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Check out the highlights and postgame interview from the Mass Attack's win last night over the top-ranked BU Terriers.

Recaps Of Hockey's Win Over #1 Boston Unversity

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Congratulations to the hockey team on securing its second win over a No. 1 this season and first ever against a top-ranked squad on the road after defeating #1 BU last night in Agganis Arena, 3-2.

Here are recaps from various media outlets: - Massachusetts' 'great effort' upsets top-ranked Boston University
Boston Herald - UMass takes down BU
Boston Globe - Minutemen take it to Terriers
Republican - Aghast at Agganis: UMass hockey shocks No. 1 Boston University and wins its first road game of the season
Daily Hampshire Gazette - UMass hockey stuns No. 1 BU

MassLive: A Baker's Dozen

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Dick Baker has his weekly "UMass hockey: A Baker's Dozen of thoughts for the week" on today.

Among the mentions is that Toot Cahoon was a three-peat Beanpot winner as a player for Boston University. Cahoon appeared in three Beanpots, and the Terriers won all three. In 1970, they beat BC 5-4 to win the Beanpot final, and took Harvard by identical scores the next two years.

Read the entire UMass hockey: A Baker's Dozen of thoughts for the week Wellman A Long Way From California Roots

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Former UMass hockey standout Casey Wellman, who was traded by the Minnesota Wild last Thursday to the New York Rangers, is featured today by his new team, the Connecticut Whale, on the squad's web site,

Casey Wellman played several sports growing up in Brentwood, Calif., hardly a hotbed for hockey.

But Wellman got hooked on the game played on ice after his father, Brad, met several New Jersey Devils players who asked him to skate with them in Boston.

"Dad didn't know how to skate, so he was pretty upset about that," Wellman said with a smile.

But Brad, an infielder for 441 games for three major league teams over eight seasons who later managed in the Houston Astros organization, introduced Casey and his brother, Logan, to hockey, and 31/2-year-old Casey fell in love with his new endeavor.

"I have some vague memories (of his dad playing), but I was pretty young," said Wellman, whose uncle, Tom Candiotti, is a former major league pitcher known for his knuckleball. "Having pictures of a father-son game is pretty cool, but I haven't played baseball for a while. It's a great sport, but at the time, it was just a little slow, a little boring, so I stuck with hockey."

Despite his West Coast upbringing, Wellman is now surprisingly playing professionally with the Connecticut Whale, who are about 70 miles from where he competed collegiately on the East Coast. When Wellman was on his way to practice with the Houston Aeros last Thursday, he got "a pretty big surprise," a call that the Minnesota Wild had traded him to the New York Rangers.

"It was definitely pretty crazy, a bit of a shock," said Wellman, 24, acquired for center Erik Christensen, who had a two-week conditioning assignment with the Whale in mid-January, and a conditional seventh-round pick in 2013. "It was tough to say goodbye because I had some good friends (in Houston), but that's the business and that's what can happen and probably won't be the last time."

Wellman quickly returned home, packed and headed for Hershey, Pa., where he met his new teammates. Whale coach Ken Gernander put Wellman on a line with All-Star Jonathan Audy-Marchessault and rugged Andre Deveaux, and the trio helped produce a 4-1 victory over one of the AHL's top teams, including going 5-for-5 on the penalty kill against the league's top power play.

In his home debut Tuesday night, Wellman again helped on the penalty kill, played the power play and assisted on Blake Parlett's winning goal in a 3-1 victory over the Syracuse Crunch as the Whale won their third in a row after an 11-game winless streak (0-6-3-2) in January to reclaim first place in the Northeast Division from the idle Bridgeport Sound Tigers.

Continue reading on

Fox Sports West: Quick Once Again Among NHL's Best

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Two seasons ago, Jonathan Quick played a franchise-record 72 games for the Kings. Unless Quick plays every game for the rest of this season, he won't match that record, but he might get close.

Quick started his 45th game on Tuesday -- in the Kings' 54th game, a 3-1 victory over Tampa Bay -- and coach Darryl Sutter indicated that, as the Kings fight for a playoff spot, Quick will get a lot of work.

The Kings are in seventh place in the Western Conference, with their spot in the postseason far from secure with two months remaining in the regular season. Backup goalie Jonathan Benier has been reliable, for the most part, this season, but Quick has been stellar.

Quick has ranked in the top five in the NHL in goals-against average, save percentage and shutouts for almost the entire season.

The Kings have six sets of back-to-back games remaining this season, so Bernier is likely to get some work, but Sutter said he doesn't have a schedule, and Quick is likely to get the vast majority of the work.

"It's the age-old thing about coaches trying to decide when their goalies are going to play," said Sutter, whose team next faces Florida on Thursday. "It's easy to have a plan when you're 10 points free of a (playoff) spot or 10 points out of a spot. Then you can have a plan.

"When you've got a clear-cut No. 1 goalie, and he's fresh and sharp, then he's going to play. You'd like to be the New York Rangers. They have the best goalie in the league right now, the goalie with the best goals-against and save percentage, but he has played fewer minutes than our guy. That's the perfect situation."

Recaps Of Women's Basketball's Loss To #25 St. Bonaventure

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The UMass women's basketball team put forth a strong effort, but a late St. Bonaventure run helped the nationally-ranked #25 Bonnies hold off the Minutewomen, 69-54 at the Mullins Center on Wednesday.

Matt Vautour covered the matchup for the Daily Hampshire Gazette: UMass women's basketball falls to No. 25 St. Bonaventure
Jeffery Okerman has this recap in the Daily Collegian: Minutewomen drop clash with conference-leading Bonnies
Cameron McDonough also had this sidebar on the team's rebounding: Rebounds the difference in UM loss to Bonnies

Men's Basketball's Recaps From Win Over St. Bonaventure

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Behind Jesse Morgan's career-high 24 points on 6-of-7 from long range, the UMass basketball team benefitted from two big scoring runs to defeat St. Bonaventure, 76-67, at the Mullins Center on Wednesday night. The win kept the Minutemen near the top of the Atlantic 10 standings at 7-3, heading into Saturday's contest at Saint Joseph's.

Collegian Feature: Journey Of Jumps For Koncki

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Checkout this feature written by the Daily Collegian's Jeffrey Okerman on Zachary Koncki's school record breaking performance in the indoor long jump.

"I didn't know how to land, I didn't know how to do a run-through properly, I didn't know how to do a penultimate, the short step to get more height off the board. [With] the coaching here, I don't know if I would have learned all that somewhere else, but Jackson and [coach Ken O'Brien] helped me a great deal," says Koncki of his coaches.

Koncki now holds both the indoor and outdoor long jump records at UMass.
Kevin Goheen also contributed this story on James Ihedigbo's experience as he prepares for the Super Bowl and how his NFL career has unfolded over the last four seasons.

Gazette: Victor Cruz savors his Super Bowl experience

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Kevin Goheen contributes this story to the Daily Hampshire Gazette on how Victor Cruz is savoring the Super Bowl experience. He will face fellow alum James Ihedigbo of the New England Patriots on Sunday.

Matt Vautour of the Daily Hampshire Gazette has a preview this morning of tonight's men's basketball game at Rhode Island with both teams coming off big wins. UMass beat Saint Louis last Saturday at the Mullins Center, while the Rams took down Dayton on the road.

Collegian: Victor Cruz embracing Super Bowl spotlight

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Stephen Hewitt of the Daily Collegian has a look at Victor Cruz and his storybook season with the New York Giants.

Stephen Sellner has a preview of tonight's men's basketball game at Rhode Island with the Minutemen coming off a huge win against Saint Louis on Saturday.

Jackson Alexander of the Daily Collegian has a story focusing on the impact Raphiael Putney has made on the UMass basketball team and its success this season.

Peter Abraham of the Boston Globe has a feature today on how the success of James Ihedigbo and Victor Cruz has helped recruiting for Charley Molnar and the UMass football program.

Charley Molnar hasn't spent much time in the football offices at the University of Massachusetts since he became head coach in December.  

With the program moving up to the Football Bowl Subdivision next season and joining the Mid-American Conference, Molnar has been on the road recruiting. But he did find time to do a little interior decorating.  

Hang a left when you walk through the doors, and there on the wall are super-sized photographs of Patriots defensive back James Ihedigbo and Giants wide receiver Victor Cruz. 

The display is a reminder to the current players and recruits visiting campus that the Minutemen have two players in the Super Bowl.   

"I want every player who comes through our program to know they can do great things, just like Victor and James did,'' Molnar said. "They were on the same practice fields and in the same weight room and look where they are now.''

AFP: Global talent making impact at Super Bowl

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Jim Slater of the AFP has a story mentioning James Ihedigbo as Super Bowl 46 has a 'global array of talent'.