Matt Vautour of the Daily Hampshire Gazette has an update on basketball practice and some notebook items about the preseason. He has quotes from Chaz Williams and Freddie Riley about the excitement leading up to the season, along with info from coach Kellogg on scheduling and early games.
AMHERST -- Before his sophomore season, University of Massachusetts guard Freddie Riley was frustrated about everyone's lack of optimism surrounding the Minutemen. Preview magazines, newspaper articles and even fans had low expectations for the 2010-11 squad and Riley took it to heart.
Two years later, coming off the team's run to the National Invitation Tournament's semifinals, there's a positive vibe surrounding the Minutemen. The preview magazines that are already out and national websites are projecting UMass to finish among the top teams in the Atlantic 10 and perhaps reach the NCAA tournament for the first time since 1998. There's a buzz on campus among students greater than at any previous time.
National college basketball writer and television announcer Jon Rothstein offered up his thoughts on UMass as it prepares for the 2012-13 season. Leading off with a note on junior PG Chaz Williams' infectious energy that envelops the entire team.
Chaz Williams is a like a magnet. The undersized point guard has an infectious personality -- and it's easily noticeable if you're in the gym with him for even just a matter of moments. The 5-9 Williams was one of the best players in the Atlantic 10 a season ago and figures to be so again thanks to the biggest weapon he has -- his heart.
With a sizable break in the schedule before Atlantic 10 play begins next weekend at Rhode Island, the UMass men's soccer team will head to the Great White North to take on the University of Montreal in an exhibition game Sunday afternoon.
Daily Collegian writer Patrick Strohecker spoke with first-year assistant coach Devin O'Neill about the trip, including playing time during the game and evaluating the season to this point.
John Connolly of the Boston Herald has a feature on UMass wide receiver Deion Walker who transferred to Amherst as a graduate student after a four-year career at Notre Dame. Walker has become one of the top wide outs for the Minutemen especially over the course of the last two games.
Matt Vautour of the Daily Hampshire Gazette has a preview of UMass' game against Ohio on Saturday at Gillette Stadium. One focus of the story is UMass' ability to convert scoring chances in the red zone.
The website Soccer Banter recently conducted a Q&A with head men's soccer coach Sam Koch about his 30 years of coaching soccer and his current battle with sinus cancer.
Sometimes fate helps you meet great people. Sam Koch, the University of Massachusetts Head Men's Soccer Coach, is one of those great people that I've been fortunate to meet. Though I am finally officially interviewing him, it seems like over the past two years I have been interviewing him on a daily basis: whether it's in his office, or over lunch, or when we are really lucky with a pint in our hand. Sam can tell a story unlike many others, and he has plenty of stories to tell (sometimes you're real lucky and hear them for a 2nd or 3rd time). He has been coaching college soccer for over 30 years, serving as the head coach at Stanford for six years, and currently in his 22nd year at UMass. In August, Koch was diagnosed with sinus cancer. Not surprisingly, he's approaching this battle head on, and with the same resilient attitude he brings to work everyday.
UMass men's swimmer Hao Luong has had a long journey to the University of Massachusetts, but not much can compare to what the sophomore back/fly specialist will accomplish today in Boston.
Daily Hampshire Gazette writer Matt Vautour sat down with Luong and head men's coach Russ Yarworth and penned the following piece on his journey to U.S. citizenship.
Hao Luong already feels like an American. Today, he'll make it official.
The sophomore on the University of Massachusetts swim team will officially take the oath to become a naturalized citizen at a ceremony at John F. Kennedy Library in Boston.
"I'm just happy and excited to become a citizen here," said Luong, a sophomore whose name is pronounced "how long." "It was one of my goals. When I passed the test this summer, it felt like I accomplished something."
The ceremony will be the end of a long journey for Luong, who turns 20 next month.
With Hockey East Media Day taking place yesterday afternoon at the TD Garden in Boston, both the Daily Hampshire Gazette and the Springfield Republican had coverage of the event. The preseason coaches poll was also announced, with the Minutemen selected ninth.
Marc Bertrand of 98.5 The Sports Hub spoke with Charley Molnar on the positives to be taken away from the loss at Miami, the impact of Michael Cox and Kassan Messiah, and this weekend's opponent in undefeated Ohio.
There's no question that folks who follow UMass and the Atlantic 10 regularly are well aware of the type of game-changer Chaz Williams is on the court. Now, with more and more preseason publications touting the junior point guard among the top players nationally, folks are starting to take notice.
The men's soccer team suffered its first home loss on Tuesday, 2-0 at the hands of a very good Syracuse team. The Minutemen had four shots in the contest, including a close-in header by Matt Keys that went just high of the crossbar late in the second half.
The Minutemen will play an exhibition game at Montreal on Sunday before opening Atlantic 10 play next weekend at Rhode Island.
Ricky Harris, the third-leading scorer in UMass basketball history, will continue his professional career in Italy this season, signing with Biancoblu Bologna as reported by Court-Side.com. He played in the German Bundesliga for S.Oliver Warzburg a year ago where he averaged 9.8 points per game.
He began his career in 2010-11 in Lithuania with Siauliai before playing with the Petron Blaze of the Philipine Basketball Association prior to his stint in Germany.
With the fall sports season hitting the midway point, that means hoops and hockey are ratcheting up workouts in anticipation of their seasons. Here are a few preseason articles from area writers on last week's men's basketball practice.
Matt Vautour of the Daily Hampshire Gazette has a look at Ohio's quarterback situation with starter Tyler Tettleton's status uncertain for Saturday's game at Gillette Stadium. Tettleton missed Ohio's game against Norfolk State last weekend with an injury.
Michelle Brooks-Thompson, the wife of former UMass offensive lineman and current Amherst High School head football coach David Thompson, appeared on The Voice last night with an amazing performance. Michelle's singing caught the attention of three of the four judges in the nationally televised show.
Tuesday looks to be a big day at Rudd Field as the UMass men's soccer team (3-3-2) welcomes Syracuse (7-2) to Amherst for a 3:30 p.m. match. The game will mark the final regular-season game before Atlantic 10 play begins in 11 days at Rhode Island. Patrick Strohecker of the Daily Collegian offers up the following preview of the first-ever men's soccer meeting between the two schools.
the final horn to Friday's field hockey contest against Vermont sounded, the
Minutewomen cleared the field with a 10-1 blowout victory over the visiting
Catamounts. Nicole Cordero, Kim Young and Thando Zono totaled multi-goal performances against Vermont, with Zono adding a pair of a assists to lead the game with six points. Molly MacDonnell, Brooke Sabia, Alexa Sikalis and Renee Suter each added one goal during play. In addition to Zono, Hannah Prince, Sikalis and Callie Sweigart each recorded a pair of assists while Marisa Dunn, Kate Heineman and Noralie Weisthuis chipped in an assist each.
The show of offensive force by UMass is rarely seen at the
collegiate level and had only occurred in the history of the program on a few
occasions. Here is a look at how rare the feat of totaling double-digit goals
is in the history of the illustrious program...
Previously, the UMass Minutewomen field hockey program has recorded 10 or more
goals in only two contests in the 38 years the program has existed. Once on
Oct. 25, 1979 against Smith College (11-1 victory) and again on Oct. 25, 2009
at Saint Louis (10-1 victory).
After a 30-year span of not recording double-digit goals (1979-2009; 650
games), the Minutewomen went only 53 contests since routing Saint Louis in 2009
before matching the feat against Vermont.
Since the 11-1 win over Smith College pre-dates the modern collegiate
athletics era, the 10-goal outing against Vermont ranks as only the second such
double-digit goal effort against a NCAA Division-I opponent.
In all of Division-I field hockey this season there have only been seven
games where a team has scored more than 10 goals, with UMass' performance
against Vermont tying for the second-most this season behind Virginia's 14-goal
outing vs. Towson.
In tandem with the number of goals scored, UMass recorded a tie for the
second-most points notched in a single game with the win over Vermont. The 31
points by the Minutewomen has been equaled this year on four occasions across
Division-I, while only being eclipsed once (Virginia vs. Towson).
The Minutewomen return to action at Garber Field with a 2 p.m. contest against the University of Maine on Sunday, Sept. 30. Admission to all home field hockey contests is free.
Jonathan Feigen of the Houston Chronicle posted a nice piece in their Ultimate Rockets blog on former UMass hoops star Gary Forbes and how he handles the daily rigors of being a professional athlete who is living with diabetes.
Be sure to check out the Gary Forbes Foundation and see what the 2008 A-10 Player of the Year and current Houston Rocket is doing to help raise money for diabetes research and awareness.
The UMass Men's Soccer team improved to 3-3-2 overall and 3-0-1 at home with a 2-0 victory over Dartmouth on Saturday. They will be back in action on Tuesday when they play Syracuse at 3:30 p.m. at Rudd Field. This will be the first-ever meeting with the Orange.
Until then, you can check out a recap from the Daily Collegian, a photo gallery from Mass Live and the postgame interview from the weekend.
Jeff Thomas of the Springfield Republican has an in-depth article with longtime UMass men's soccer coach Sam Koch and his ongoing battle with sinus cancer, which has included daily trips to Boston for treatments.
Despite an improved showing on both sides of the ball, the UMass football team fell in its MAC opener at Miami on Saturday. The highlight of the game was Michael Cox who ran for a career-high 188 yards and scored a pair of touchdowns including an end-over-end front flip which was ESPN Sports Center's No. 5 Play of the Day. Here are the recaps of the game.
Harry Plumer of the Springfield Republican has a preview of Saturday's MAC opener when UMass heads to Miami (Ohio) for a Noon kick-off. Head coach Charley Molnar announced this week that Christian Birt (defense), Alan Williams (offense) and Jordan Broadnax (special teams) will serve as team captains. This is the first time this season UMass has had three game captains (normally two representing offense and defense).
Matt Vautour of the Daily Hampshire Gazette has a preview of the MAC opener between UMass and Miami (Ohio) on Saturday. In his story he says that UMass is hoping that the start of conference play will represent a new beginning for the season.
Stephen Hewitt of the Daily Collegian has a story on Christian Birt and his return to the starting line-up after being injured for the UConn game. Birt started at Michigan after being out the UConn game and seeing limited action against Indiana.
Frank Dell'Apa has a preview of tomorrow's MAC opener for UMass at Miami (Ohio). A centerpiece of the story is a focus on safety Christian Birt and his contributions this season. Birt had a 32-yard interception return for a touchdown at Michigan and will serve as a game captain this Saturday.
Matt Vautour of the Daily Hampshire Gazette has a preview of the Miami (Ohio) game focusing on the challenge the UMass secondary will have with Red Hawks quarterback Zac Dysert who is one of the top passers in the league.
Joe Reedy of Cincinnati.com has a story on the play of former UMass standout Jeromy Miles and his transition from a special teams player to a regular in the defensive secondary as he has played 70 of 129 possible plays this year.
UMass beat writers Matt Vautour (Daily Hampshire Gazette) and
Harry Plumer (Springfield Republican) were in attendance at basketball practice
Tuesday at the Cage and filed a pair of reports on what they saw.
The UMass men's soccer team travels west to New York to face Siena (2-4) this afternoon in its final contest of a four-game road stretch. The Minutemen
are 2-2-2 on the season and 0-2-1 on the trip this far, with both losses by one
The Baltimore Sun has been running a piece on the top
college basketball players from the area and UMass senior Terrell Vinson was
among their list. The Sun's college basketball writer Matt Bracken recently spoke with 'TV' and has the following
The signing of Terrell Vinson
with Massachusetts in the spring of 2009 was celebrated as a significant
recruiting coup for Derek Kellogg.
After all, the then-first-year Minutemen basketball coach
had just convinced ESPN.com's No. 46-ranked player in the 2009 class to join
his rebuilding mid-major-plus program instead of several high-major teams,
including Cincinnati, Georgetown and Louisville.
John Connolly of the Boston Herald has a follow-up piece on UMass' game at Michigan last Saturday. He highlights some of the improvements made by the Minutemen in the game and the focus of this week's practice as UMass gets ready for Miami (Ohio).
Harry Plumer of the Springfield Republican gives out his Week Three helmet stickers following the Michigan game. Christian Birt, Hafis Williams and Michael Cox were all on Plumer's list of players who had outstanding performances.
Congratulations to the women's soccer team on its pair of shutout victories over the weekend, which included a 1-0 defeat of perennial New England power Boston University on the road Friday night, followed by a 2-0 victory over New Hampshire yesterday on Rudd. The Minutewomen will be looking to push the streak to three when the squad plays at Brown on Thursday in a match that has been moved to 4 p.m. from 7 p.m.
The UMass field hockey team will be entering the heart of a six-game homestand in the coming days, the longest such stay at Garber Field on the season. After hosting No. 7 Northeastern on Friday evening, the Minutewomen will challenge No. 11 Boston University on Tuesday, Sept. 18 a 4 p.m.
Initially set to be an evening contest, the start time was moved up to 4 p.m. in accordance with the current university avoidance of nighttime activity due to concerns over mosquito-borne illnesses such as West Nile Virus. The contest against Vermont scheduled for Friday, Sept. 21 will also begin at 4 p.m.
For fans who are unable to make it to Garber Field at 4 p.m. for the contest with BU, the University of Massachusetts will offer live statistics and a web streaming of the game.
In its most recent contest, Thando Zono recorded a last-minute goal to extend the game into overtime, where UMass (3-4 overall) eventually fell to Northeastern (6-0), 4-3 in the 77th minute. Peter Cappiello of The Daily Collegian recapped the excitement of the contest.
Don't forget, you can reserve your season tickets right now by calling the UMass Ticket Office at 1-866-UMASS-TIX.
** 5 Game Packs go on sale beginning Monday, Oct. 1. ** Single-game tickets will go on sale Monday, Oct. 15. ** Group tickets of 15 or more may be purchased through the UMass Group Sales Office for as low as $8/ticket by contacting Jason Blanchette at 413-577-0340 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Matt Vautour of the Daily Hampshire Gazette has a touching piece on head softball coach Elaine Sortino's ongoing battle and recovery from cancer. He writes about Sortino's emotions in her returning to her office on a daily basis, working with the Minutewomen pitchers during the fall season and the "army of angels" who helped her over the past six months.
It wasn't just her staff picking up the slack. Her friends, her family and the community helped her with everything from simple tasks like driving, running errands or just passing along a get-well note to the extremely generous. Someone donated a van to drive Sortino to St. Louis for the Atlantic 10 tournament and then to Columbia, Mo. for the NCAA tournament because she wasn't allowed to fly.
"I was blessed with an army of angels. I couldn't ask for more other than not to have this happen," she said. "People would help and do whatever they could to help keep things going for me and my health and the team."
Harry Plumer of the Springfield Republican has a story today on the return home for Michael Cox and Mike Wegzyn when the Minutemen play Michigan this Saturday. Cox is a Michigan alum who is a graduate student at UMass. He played four years as a back-up tailback for the Wolverines before transferring to UMass for his fifth-year of eligibility. Wegzyn grew up in the Detroit area before moving to Tennessee prior to his senior year in college.
Matt Vautour of the Daily Hampshire Gazette has a story today on freshman Elijah Barrows, a Springfield native, whose task this week is to play the role of Denard Robinson on the scout team for UMass as the Minutemen prepare to face No. 17 Michigan this Saturday.
Matt Vautour of the Daily Hampshire Gazette has a notebook on the growth process of the UMass football transition. He takes a look at the win over Louisiana-Monroe over No. 8 Arkansas and how that example translates to the UMass football program.
Matt Vautour of the Daily Hampshire Gazette has a story on UMass running back Michael Cox who will face his former team, the Michigan Wolverines, this Saturday. Cox graduated from Michigan last spring and transferred to UMass as a graduate student.
The men's soccer team will open a four-game road trip on Saturday when it travels to New York to face Adelphi at 1:00 p.m. Daily Collegian writer Nick Canelas has a preview of the contest, while also writing on what has worked and what is a work-in-progress for the Minutemen during their 2-0-1 start.
It appears as if the Massachusetts men's
soccer team has enjoyed the friendly confines of Rudd Field so far this season.
Through three games, the Minutemen (2-0-1) have not only gone undefeated, but
they've already matched last year's win total at home and are halfway to last
season's overall mark. Much of UMass' early success can also be credited to senior goalkeeper
Brian Frame, who came into the season with two games of collegiate experience
under his belt after spending his first three years backing up Chris Piekos and
most recently Shane Curran-Hays.
The NFHCA noticed UMass' success and awarded the Minutewomen the No.19 spot in their national rankings this week. Senior midfielder Kim Young also received accolades following a pair of goals and an assist on the weekend, taking home UMass Athlete of the Week honors.
The Minutewomen will continue to face top-notch competition as the team heads to No. 3-ranked Maryland on Saturday, Sept. 8 for an 11 a.m. contest. Follow along with the game through live stats. The contest will also be streamed online as a radio broadcast hosted by Maryland's radio network, WMUC.
Matt Vautour of the Daily Hampshire Gazette caught up with UMass hockey head coach John Micheletto last week:
The University of Massachusetts hockey players had planned to return to campus early even before this summer's unexpected coaching change.
After two back-to-back difficult years, the Minutemen wanted to get an early start on the 2012-13 season and everyone agreed to show up early to begin preparing for what they hope will be a turn-around year.
But their mid-August arrival proved even more fortuitous for coach John Micheletto, the former Vermont assistant who was hired last month to replace Toot Cahoon, who retired this summer.
"It showed a real nice commitment and for me, rather than only knowing them from watching them from the opposing bench or talking to them on the phone, it's nice to have them around to develop a relationship that's a little more than just a phone call here and there," he said Wednesday. "Now the freshmen will start trickling in so it will be a smaller group that I have to develop a rapport with."
The rarity of a summer coaching change forced Micheletto to cram five months of tasks into less than two. But the first-time head coach is eagerly embracing the task.
And don't forget, this Saturday is the home-opener for football. Indiana of the Big Ten Conference will mark the first FBS program to visit Gillette Stadium. Kickoff is at 3:30 with lots of activities in MinuteFan Park beforehand.