UMass Athletics:

May 2014 Archives

Coverage Of @UMassSportsNet Maiden Flight Of New Video Drone

Both the Springfield Republican and the Daily Hampshire Gazette have stories featuring the maiden flight of the UMass Sports Network video drone which shot aerial video footage of UMass football's new press box and performance center at McGuirk Stadium on Thursday.



Scott Coen of the Springfield Republican has a feature story on the Voice of UMass Josh Maurer who also provides play-by-play coverage for the Pawtucket Red Sox in the Spring and Summer. Coen says Maurer is really the Voice of New England with his round-the-year work and his preparation for broadcasts is matched by few.

Dan Malone of the Springfield Republican has a story on Chaz Williams who worked out for the Minnesota Timberwolves on Thursday and will head to work out for the Boston Celtics on Monday. One of Williams' best games of the year came in front of Celtics President of Basketball Operations Danny Ainge this year in a 31 point, 15 assist performance against BYU in Springfield.

Neal Coolong of SBNation's BehindTheSteelCurtain.com has a story on five questions about the Pittsburgh Steelers during the OTA session of the offseason. One of those questions addresses UMass tight end Rob Blanchflower and where he will fit into the Steelers offense.

Don't be shocked to see tight end Rob Blanchflower make a serious run at a roster spot over the next 12 weeks. He has decent athleticism, and this is a team that would have given David Johnson a serious look at fullback in 2012 had he not blown out his ACL in the team's first preseason game. Blanchflower is a similar kind of player. Using the team's seldom-used fullback as its third tight end frees up a roster spot for that sixth wide receiver, should they want to go that route.
As a rookie with the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins, recent UMass hockey alum has been enjoying a stellar postseason run as he currently boasts an eight-game point scoring streak and is tied for seventh in the AHL in postseason scoring with 11 points (6g, 5a) in 11 games. In advance of Game 3 of the Calder Cup Eastern Conference finals tonight, Jonathan Bombulie had this piece on Sheary in today's Scranton Times-Tribune:
  

Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins playoff sensation Conor Sheary has something in common with all-time NBA great Michael Jordan.

Each has turned in some scintillating postseason performances.

But that's not it.

They were both cut from their high school varsity teams.

Jordan famously used the demotion to the jayvees as motivation to fuel his legendary career. Sheary looks at it differently. If he had been the coach at Cushing Academy in the fall of 2006, he might have cut himself, too.

"I can't complain about that. I was 5 feet tall, 100 pounds," Sheary said after practice Tuesday. "I wasn't expecting much going in. I just knew I wanted to play there when I was older."

Play there he did, going from Cushing, an elite New England prep school program, to UMass-Amherst, a member of the powerful Hockey East Conference, to an amateur tryout with the Penguins this spring. During that time, he shot up to 5-8, 175 pounds.

Now he has 11 points in 11 playoff games with the Penguins, carrying an eight-game scoring streak into Game 3 of the Eastern Conference finals against the St. John's IceCaps tonight at Mohegan Sun Arena.

Read More: Penguins' Sheary rides postseason hot streak

Boston Globe: Bigelow blooms as a hurdler at UMass

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"Like his father, Stephen Bigelow was a late bloomer athletically.

Bob Bigelow (Winchester High, class of '71) played four years in the National Basketball Association after being drafted 13th overall out of the University of Pennsylvania in 1975.

His youngest son capped his hurdling career at the University of Massachusetts Amherst by being named the school's 2014 male spring scholar-athlete.

It was a startling turnaround from four years earlier.

"Stephen tried out for the team as a walk-on his freshman year and was cut," said David Jackson , who is in his fifth year as an assistant track coach at UMass. "He was a pretty good all-around athlete . . . but in high school he ran track as a training process for soccer.

Jackson added: "But he came back the next year a lot more determined . . . over the three years he competed for us he grew significantly. He dropped almost a full second off his competing time. In a sprinting event of 110 meters to drop almost a full second off of your hurdle time is pretty significant."

Read more: Bigelow blooms as a hurdler at UMass

A pair of UMass men's lacrosse alumni were active during the United States Intercollegiate Lacrosse Association North-South All Star Game on Monday, May 26, as James Fahey and Connor Mooney competed for the North Team in its narrow defeat, 17-16 at the hands of the South Team.

North Team struck to a 4-0 lead, with Mooney assisting on the second goal of the game. South Team answered with six consecutive goals, but the North responded with two to tie it at 6-6 as Fahey scored to even it.

After the South Team scored three of the following four goals to strike for a 9-7 lead, Mooney found the back of the cage for the first time on the day to pull his side within 9-8.

Mooney went on to tally back-to-back goals during the third quarter to help the North Team erase an 11-9 deficit. However, after the squads entered the break before the fourth quarter tied at 12-12, the South Team produced five goals while only allowing four to earn the victory.

Mooney finished with four points on three goals and an assist - tied for the most points on the squad. He also scooped up two groundballs, caused a turnover and won one faceoff.

Fahey nothced his goal along with one caused turnover and a groundball.

Complete statistics from the contest are available in a PDF here. More on UMass men's lacrosse can be found through UMassAthletics.com.

Matt Weinstein of the Press & Sun Bulletin spoke with University of Massachusetts and Whitney Point (NY) High School graduate Alesha Widdall about being named to the U.S. Field Hockey National Team for the 2014 World Cup.

"As she read the email announcing the United States' World Cup field hockey team last week, Alesha Widdall could not help getting emotional when she saw her name among the roster.

'It's just an overwhelming sense of pride and accomplishment,' the 2008 Whitney Point graduate said. 'It's been a lifelong dream of mine to be on the national team and finally going to prestigious tournaments, and it's fun to be part of the process.'

"The 18-member American squad departed for the Netherlands on Saturday for the 12-team Women's Hockey World Cup starting on May 31. The Americans are making their first appearance at the event since 2006 after failing to qualify in 2010..."

Read the remainder of Weinstein's story through the Press & Sun Bulletin's website here. More on UMass field hockey is available through UMassAthletics.com.

Matt Stewart of the Fitchburg Sentinel & Enterprise has a great feature story on Rob Blanchflower and his path to the NFL Draft. 

"Minicamp was an initiation by fire for me because I hadn't practiced in almost a year with my injury senior year of college," Blanchflower said. "Last year I only played on game day, and haven't really practiced since last August. Making it through it was tough, but also proved to me the level of fitness and mental discipline to make it in the league."

Rothstein: Five under-the-radar transfers to watch in 2014-15

Jon Rothstein (@JonRothstein) has been a busy guy lately, breaking out a number of top 5, top 10, underrated and overrated lists on the CBS Sports.com Eye On College Basketball site. Today's list is the top 5 Under the Radar Transfers to Watch in 2014-15... which is headlined by UMass rising junior Jabarie Hinds. He has this to say about the top-50 recruit from Mount Vernon, N.Y. who played two seasons at West Virginia before transferring to UMass last summer.

Jabarie HindsJabarie Hinds, UMass
A former Top 50 recruit out of high school, Hinds will be a perfect replacement for Chaz Williams in the Minutemen's high-octane attack. The 5-foot-11 point guard is made for open court basketball and that's just what Derek Kellogg implements on a daily basis. Hinds was somewhat confined during his two-year stretch at West Virginia and should give UMass a dynamic troika on the perimeter along with Derrick Gordon and Trey Davis. Hinds averaged 7.4 points in each of his two seasons in Morgantown.


Read the complete CBS Sports story on the other four under-the-radar transfers here...

Boston Herald: Local rowers fired up for NCAAs

John Connolly of the Boston Herald staff caught up with UMass rowing head coach Jim Dietz to speak with the veteran program leader about the team's upcoming appearance in the 2014 NCAA Championships alongside other New England region squads. The 2014 Minutewomen boast a large number of local competitors from within the boundaries of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.

"Legendary rower Jim Dietz has been a happy camper ever since UMass opened its state-of-the-art boathouse on the Connecticut River this year about six miles from its Amherst campus.

'Everything has been going great. UMass rowing has been on an upswing this year and the university has really been behind us and built us a new boathouse,' said Dietz, a 1972 Northeastern graduate, who rowed in the 1972 and 1976 Olympic Games. 'We have a great bunch of kids, who are committed to put in the hard work. We're so young, too. I have two freshmen in my varsity boat, five in my JV boat and one freshman in my fourth boat. They're making it so much fun for me.'

"There is another reason for the spring in his step these days. His women's program is off to the NCAA Division 1 championships May 30-June 1 in Indianapolis. Other local entrants in the 22-team field include Brown, Boston University, Harvard-Radcliffe and Northeastern..."

Check out what Connolly and Dietz had to say through the Boston Herald website. More on the Minutewomen is available through UMassAthletics.com.

UMass MBB Mentioned In CBS Sports.com Observations

Jon Rothstein (@JonRothsteinhas a good chunk of thoughts on the Atlantic 10 in his latest 'Observations' piece on CBSSports.com, including placing the Minutemen back into the underrated category.

He writes...
    4. Don't assume an Atlantic 10 downturn: Last summer, this conference was supposed to be down and forgotten. Instead it had a landmark season. The Atlantic 10 lost Temple, Butler, Xavier and Charlotte last year but managed six NCAA tournament teams after earning five spots in the 2013 field of 68. This league repeatedly has shown it can absorb defections, and don't be surprised if that's the case again next season.
    Programs like Saint Louis and Saint Joseph's will retool after losing the bulk of their cores from last year, but VCU, Dayton and others look primed to be a nuisance on a nightly basis. George Washington lost Maurice Creek and Isaiah Armwood to graduation but return a strong quartet of juniors in Joe McDonald, Kethan Savage, Patricio Garino and Kevin Larsen. McDonald and Savage never were healthy last season and it will be interesting to see how they respond after an off-season of rehab.
    Richmond has one of the country's more electrifying players in undersized combo guard Kendall Anthony, and Dan Hurley has Rhode Island primed to make a jump after big-time additions during the late signing period. The Rams looked like a 20-win team last summer but the loss of starting center Jordan Hare (personal reasons) before last season took away their main defensive anchor. Hare's impending return and the addition of a Top 75 recruit in combo guard Jared Terrell give Hurley two starting caliber players who could be difference makers.
    Two more underrated programs? UMass and La Salle. The Minutemen have the A-10's best big man in Cady Lalanne (11.3 points, 7.9 rebounds, 2.2 blocks last season), while the Explorers have arguably the league's best frontcourt combo: Jerrell Wright and Steve Zack.
    The Atlantic 10 isn't like some other leagues where there are "built-in wins." For the most part, every team is a tough out, and the 10th or 11th best team is this conference often is ahead of the 10th or 11th best team in another conference. Snagging six NCAA bids will be awfully hard to achieve, but history proves completely writing it off wouldn't be wise.

Check out the complete article which includes some scheduling info for Dayton...

"Holbrook native Katie Powers is breaking records on the UMass 4x800m relay team, and helping the quartet to be best in New England.

"Katie has been amazing at our track workouts and has been especially dedicated in the weight room and it shows, physically and mentally," UMass coach Julie LaFreniere said. "Katie has tremendous confidence because she knows she put the time and effort in all year, starting with cross-country in the fall."

The junior, who ran throughout her Cardinal Spellman High School career, has improved since she started running in college.

As a freshman, Powers clocked a 2:21 in the 800m. In two years, she has shaved eight seconds off that time in the individual races (2:13) and another three seconds running in the relay (2:10).

"Katie has worked the hardest this year - she is motivated to be an outstanding 800m runner in order have the best 4x800m relay team possible," LaFreniere said.

This past year's indoor track relay team, with Powers as third leg, beat UMass' 21-year-old school record by 11 seconds.

Powers also helped her team win the A-10 Championship 4x800m relay by lunging herself across the finish line to give the Minutemen the win by .01 seconds."

Read more: Holbrook native runs down collegiate competition for New England crown

UMass field hockey all-time great Judy Strong was named the head coach of the Western New England University Field Hockey program on Wednesday, as announced by WNEU Athletics.

At Massachusetts, Strong set the record for most points in a career at 202 on 88 goals and 26 assists. She also holds the record for most points in a single with 69 earned in 1980, while her 1979 and 1981 outputs are tied for the second-most accrued by a Minutewoman (58 points). Strong was the National Player of the Year in 1981 and earned three NFHCA All-America honors during her collegiate tenure. She simultaneously competed for the U.S. National Team during her time at UMass and made appearances at the 1980 and 1984 Olympic Games.

For the complete announcement, visit Western New England University's athletic website here. More on the Minutewomen is available through UMassAthletics.com.

Former UMass softball pitcher Bailey Sanders (1997-2000) delivers a terrific speech as part of the Penn State Medical School Commencement ceremonies this past Sunday. She graduated first in her class at Penn State and will begin her residency at the University of North Carolina this summer. Always a smart and witty person, this speech is Bailey at her finest!



Scott Brown of ESPN.com has a look at the Pittsburgh Steelers tight ends with several mentions of Rob Blanchflower and how he could impact the team.

Most significant addition: Blanchflower. The Steelers really like this under-the-radar prospect who set UMass' record for career receiving yards by a tight end (1,164). Blanchflower can block as well as catch passes, and tight ends coach James Daniels said, "He has a high level of aggression." 

Dan Ventura of the Boston Herald has a story on the inaugural Gridiron Showcase football camp hosted at Bishop Fenwick High School on June 28-29. The event's organizer, Pat Downey, says he hopes the camp and the series of guest speakers will help the players see football as a difference maker in their overall lives that helps them learn life skills.

In addition to the coaching, Downey has lined up a list of guest speakers. Among the current NFL players slated to appear are James Develin (Patriots), Michael Cox (Giants) and Emil Igwenagu (Eagles).  

"We wanted to have a local flavor with the speakers. Develin being with the Patriots, Cox is from Dorchester and Emil played at Holy Name and UMass," Downey said. "We feel like a lot of local coaches are getting excited about this. We're very appreciative of (Bishop Fenwick coach and AD) David Woods for hosting this event and all of his support.  

"What I really hope we can accomplish with this is to try to use football to make a difference in people's lives like it did for me. We want the kids who come here to learn football but also to learn life skills as well."

Minutemen In Major League Lacrosse (5.19)

Three former Minutemen were a part of the Boston-Charlotte Major League Lacrosse game on Saturday evening as Will Manny (2010-13) and Jack Reid (2003-06) helped the Cannons take a 14-6 game from Jake Smith (2010-13) and the Hounds.

Manny provided three points on two goals and an assist to go with one groundball on attack for Boston. He scored his first goal of the game with six seconds to play in the first quarter. Manny went on to add another goal during the second quarter before he assisted on one tally. Through four games of the 2014 season, Manny has 11 points on six goals and five assists.

Reid helped the Boston defense limit Charlotte to just six goals as the Cannons never trailed during the contest. Four contests into the season, Boston is only allowing 8.25 goals per game.

Smith was on close defense for Charlotte and scooped up two groundballs during the game. Smith has appeared in each of Charlotte's four games this season and has four groundballs so far in his second year playing in MLL.

More on Major League Lacrosse is available through the organization's official website. Keep up-to-date with UMass men's lacrosse through UMassAthletics.com.

VIDEO: Rowing Readies For NCAA Championships

The University of Massachusetts rowing program earned a spot in the upcoming NCAA Championships after the squad captured the 2014 Atlantic 10 Title. UMass Sports Network caught up with head coach Jim Dietz and team captains Taryn Wilson and Nicole Juul-Hindsgaul to find out how the squad is preparing for NCAAs. Check out the video below:

More on the rowing team is available through UMassAthletics.com.

Earlier this week, it was formally announced that Anthony Dima was one of 11 undrafted free agents signed by the NFL's Cleveland Browns. Dima played in 34 games for UMass making 31 career starts. He helped the Minutemen dramatically improve its pass protection in 2013 allowing just 16 sacks compared to 32 in 2012 - its first season at the FBS level.



Matt Vautour of the Daily Hampshire Gazette has a story on Rob Blanchflower who spent his first day with the Pittsburgh Steelers on Tuesday. Blanchflower was taken in the 7th round of the NFL Draft by the organization last Saturday becoming the third Minuteman since 2010 to be selected in the draft.

Minutemen In Major League Lacrosse (5.13)

Four former Minutemen were active for their respective Major League Lacrosse organizations over the weekend in Kevin Leveille (2000-03), Will Manny (2010-13), Jack Reid (2003-06) and Jake Smith (2010-13). Check out how they performed below:

Leveille helped Rochester earn a 15-9 victory over the New York Lizards with a goal and three groundballs. Leveille provided his tally to start scoring in the third quarter and push the Rattlers' lead to 8-6 in the process. With six points through three games this season, Leveille now owns 345 for his MLL career on 265 goals, including a pair of two-pointers, 78 assists.

Manny provided an assist on Boston's first goal against Denver and also picked up one groundball, but the Cannons fell to the Outlaws, 10-9 in overtime.

Jack Reid was also active for Boston during its OT loss to Denver on Saturday evening. Reid was a member of the close defense unit that limited the potent Rattlers attack to just 10 goals as the Cannons nearly ended Denver's now-23 game regular season win streak.

Jake Smith also saw time on close defense this weekend, helping Charlotte earn a 12-7 victory over Chesapeake. Neither Reid or Smith recorded individual statistics during their respective performances.

The most up-to-date information on Major League Lacrosse is available through the organization's official website. More on the Minutemen can be found through UMassAthletics.com.

The UMass rowing program took the overall women's title at the 2014 Dad Vail Regatta on Saturday afternoon. Row2k.com caught up with Minutewomen head coach Jim Dietz following the races to get his thoughts on the success of the Varsity 8+ boat. Check out what Dietz had to say below:

In the women's varsity eight, UMass took home another gold over Drexel and last year's champion Grand Valley. Having earned an automatic bid to NCAAs last week after winning the A-10 championships, the momentum continued this weekend in Philly for UMass.

"It was tough after the A-10 Championships last week" Dietz said after the race. "We didn't even bring our boats home because we knew how bad the river was going to be. When we did get out on the water, we only rowed in singles and pairs. On top of that, with exam week and graduation it was tough.

"This is our last stop before NCAA, and it's a great stop for us," Dietz continued. "We got in 3 really good races in some pretty challenging conditions, which will help us to prepare for Indianapolis. I am really pumped up, we are a young team and we are only graduating a few."

Coach Dietz's excitement was clearly evident as he walked with his rowers back to the trailer singing "if you are happy and you know it clap your hands."

Read the rest of the Row2k.com Dad Vail Regatta review here. More on the Minutewomen can be found through UMassAthletics.com.

Despite a tough exit in the NCAA Tournament to Amherst College, UMass alumna Holly Drown '09 guided Bridgewater State to a strong 2014 campaign in her first year as head coach.

Drown led the Bears to a 14-6 overall record despite returning just four starters from the 2013 squad that went 17-3 overall.

Gazette: Recaps Of Baseball's Wins Over VCU

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The Daily Hampshire Gazette had coverage of both of UMass baseball's wins over VCU this past weekend:

UMass baseball beats VCU on walk-off wild pitch in 10th

Weekend college recaps: UMass baseball coach Mike Stone gets 700th win

John Connolly from the Boston Herald headlined his college sports notebook over the weekend with a recap of UMass track & field freshman Heather MacLean's dominance at the Atlantic 10 Championship meet last weekend.

Read: Heather MacLean smashes UMass 800 mark

Fans, teammates and media outlets shared their thoughts on Twitter over the weekend after Rob Blanchflower was selected by the Pittsburgh Steelers in the 7th round of the NFL Draft on Saturday. Blanchflower is the third Minuteman since 2010 to be taken in the NFL Draft.

Here is just a small sampling of those tweets:














ABC40: A Day in the Life with former UMass TE Rob Blanchflower

Casey Viera of ABC40 in Springfield caught up with Rob Blanchflower prior to the 2014 NFL Draft to see what a day in his life was like leading up to his being selected in the 7th round by the Pittsburgh Steelers.

One of UMass' most popular players of the past two seasons had his dreams come true on Saturday afternoon as Rob Blanchflower was taken in the 7th round of the NFL Draft by the Pittsburgh Steelers. The tight end from Leominster was a fan favorite not just for his skill and football ability, but for his toughness and off-the-field personality.





Behind a strong defensive effort, the No. 12 Loyola women's lacrosse team defeated No. 14 UMass 10-4 last Friday in the first round of the NCAA Tournament at Boston College. The Minutewomen ended their season with an 18-2 overall record. Sam Rush broke her previous single-season scoring mark with a pair of goals in the game giving her 67 for the 2014 campaign.



UMass head coach Greg Cannella was inducted into the National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA) Men's Lacrosse Coaches Association Hall of Fame on the evening of Friday, May 9. Cannella was one of seven honored as part of the Class of 2014.

Click here for the full release through LaxPower.com or read below on how Cannella earned his entrance into the hall.

Greg Cannella
"An outstanding attackman who not only led Nassau Community College to the NJCAA national title in 1985 but was selected as an all-American and National Player of the Year.

Cannella then accepted a scholarship to the University of Massachusetts where he had 33 goals and 31 assists during his two years as a starter.

After working as an assistant coach at both Stony Brook and UMass, the Lynbrook native was named the Minutemen's head coach in 1995 and became one of the most successful Division I coaches in the country. As he enters his 20th season in Amherst, Greg has forged a record of 171-101, guided the team to eight NCAA tournament berths, including a runnerup finish in the 2006 playoffs. In 2012 guided UMass to its best regular season ever. The Minutemen finished with a perfect 15-0 regular season record and was ranked No. 1 in the country for the first time before entering the NCAA tournament.

Cannella has built a deserved reputation as a coach who exhibits integrity mixed with a sharp eye for talent and strategy. He has brought great credit to himself, his University and junior college lacrosse."

More on the University of Massachusetts men's lacrosse program is available through UMassAthletics.com.

John Connolly of the Boston Herald has a preview of the NCAA Tournament First Round games which are being held by Boston College this Friday and Saturday with UMass kicking things off against Loyola at 2 PM.

Matt Vautour of the Daily Hampshire Gazette has a preview of today's NCAA First Round match-up between UMass and Loyola at Boston College's Lacrosse Complex in Newton. While still being on the "road", UMass expects to have a sizable fan contingent with a roster of mostly Bay Staters.

UMass alum Brendan Hall (happy belated birthday) has a terrific profile of UMass tight end Rob Blanchflower who is expected to be picked in this weekend's NFL Draft. Hall chronicles Blanchflower's path to college including his initial decision to forego scholarship offers by taking out a $15,000 student loan to attend UMass.

Halley Quillinan of InsideLacrosse.com breaks down the Boston College pod of this year's NCAA Bracket with focus going to the intriguing match-up that is the UMass vs. Loyola game today at 2 PM. Quillinan highlights two of college lacrosse's most dynamic seniors in Loyola's Marlee Paton and UMass' Katie Ferris.
Dan Malone of the Springfield Republican looks at Rob Blanchflower's NFL Draft potential in this weekend's event and he takes a look at UMass football's history in the AFL/NFL Draft. The Minutemen have had three players drafted in the last four years.

UMass football draft history

1964 - HB Fred Lewis | Oakland Raiders (AFL), 17th round (135th overall)
1965 - FB Phil Vandersea | Green Bay Packers, 16th round (220th) & Denver Broncos (AFL), 9th round
1965 - QB Jerry Whelchel | San Diego Chargers (AFL), 9th round (70th)
1966 - TE Milt Morin | Cleveland Browns, 1st round (14th) & San Diego Chargers (AFL), 3rd round (24th)
1966 - TE Bob Meers | Minnesota Vikings, 7th round (106th)
1966 - DE/HB Bob Ellis | Cleveland Browns, 15th round (229th) & Boston Patriots (AFL), 10th round
1966 - DT Ed Toner | Baltimore Colts, 18th round (275th)
1968 - QB Greg Landry | Detroit Lions, 1st round (11th)
1970 WR Steve Parnell | Atlanta Falcons, 16th round (403rd)
1971 - G Bubba Pena | Cleveland Browns, 4th round (92nd)
1971 - TE Nick McGarry | Boston Patriots, 15th round (365th)
1972 - G John Hulecki | Pittsburgh Steelers, 15th round (368th)
1972 - DT Harold Parmenter | Denver Broncos, 15th round (370th)
1973 - DB Paul Metallo | Kansas City Chiefs, 13th round (329th)
1974 - QB Peil Pennington | Denver Broncos, 15th (379th)
1974 - WR Tim Berra | Baltimore Colts, 17th round (421st)
1975 - DE Bill Cooke | Green Bay Packers, 10th round (244th)
1976 - DT Ed McAleney | Pittsburgh Steelers, 8th round (237th)
1979 - G Bruce Kimball | Pittsburgh Steelers, 7th round (192nd)
1980 - K Sandro Vitiello | Cincinnati Bengals, 10th round (252nd)
1999 - LB Khari Samuel | Chicago Bears, 5th round (144th)
2010 - G Vladimir Ducasse | New York Jets, 2nd round (61st)
2013 - RB Michael Cox | New York Giants, 7th round (253rd)


SB Gameday Preview: Fordham (A-10 Tourney)

No. 4 seed Massachusetts will face No. 1 seed Fordham on Thursday at Bahoshy Field at Noon. The game may be delayed due to field conditions but be sure to stay tuned to UMassAthletics.com and UMass Athletics on social media for status updates.

No. 4 Massachusetts vs. No. 1 Fordham
 Date  Thursday, May 8 at Noon
 Location  Bronx, N.Y. | Bahoshy Field
 Directions  Google Maps Directions | GPS: 2853 Southern Blvd, Bronx, N.Y.
 Tickets   $3-$8 for a single day | $12 or $24 for a tournament book
 Parking  $11 per day in Fordham garage | Fordham parking info
 Audio (Free)   Listen Live (UMass broadcast) | Download Free A-10 Mobile App
 Video (Free)   Live Video (Neutral broadcast)
 Live Stats  gametracker GameTracker
 Social Media   @UMassAthletics | @UMassSoftball | JTAM News Blog
 A-10 Tourney Info  Championship Central | Championship BracketGet Acrobat Reader

SB Recaps From Wednesday's Win Over Dayton

Here are some recaps and highlights from Wednesday's opening round win over Dayton in the Atlantic 10 Softball Championship. The Minutewomen advanced to Thursday where they are scheduled to play No. 1 seed Fordham at Noon. Be sure to check UMassAthletics.com, along with the department Twitter and Facebook accounts for schedule updates since rain is in the forecast in New York today.



Boston Herald: Rob Blanchflower tries to catch on

John Connolly of the Boston Herald has a feature on Rob Blanchflower and the upcoming NFL Draft. Connolly focuses on Blanchflower's path to the draft and how the return of coach Mark Whipple has helped him.

"Coach Whipple has been great. Every scout and NFL coach that has come in here speaks so highly of him and tells me what a great guy he is. He's really helped me a lot," Blanchflower said. "He has reached out to me. He loves UMass. He loves it here. He is so passionate about the university."

Matt Vautour of the Daily Hampshire Gazette has a collection of quotes from various media outlets which cover the NFL regarding UMass tight end Rob Blanchflower, his strengths as an NFL player and predictions as to where he will be picked in this weekend's NFL Draft.


And in case your forgot, Rob Blanchflower did this...


SB Gameday Preview: Dayton (A-10 Tourney)

The second season begins today at Noon for the UMass softball program. We've got all of the pre game info to get you ready for the Minutewomen's attempt at championship No. 24.

No. 4 Massachusetts vs. No. 5 Dayton
 Date Wedensday, May 7 at Noon
 Location Bronx, N.Y. | Bahoshy Field
 Directions Google Maps Directions | GPS: 2853 Southern Blvd, Bronx, N.Y.
 Tickets  $3-$8 for a single day | $12 or $24 for a tournament book
 Parking $11 per day in Fordham garage | Fordham parking info
 Audio (Free)  Listen Live (UMass broadcast) | Download Free A-10 Mobile App
 Video (Free)  Live Video (Neutral broadcast)
 Live Stats gametracker GameTracker
 Social Media  @UMassAthletics | @UMassSoftball | JTAM News Blog
 A-10 Tourney Info Championship Central | Championship BracketGet Acrobat Reader


Over the weekend, John Connolly featured some of UMass men's track and field's talent from the Commonwealth:

There is certainly a homegrown flavor to the UMass men's track and field team as it heads into this weekend's Atlantic 10 Outdoor Track and Field Championships in Amherst. That comes as no surprise, considering there are more than 40 Bay State products dotting the Minutemen roster.

Longtime coach Ken O'Brien, a Foxboro native, who arrived as a student in 1959 and became coach in 1968, likes it that way.

"I didn't count them but I know there's a lot of them,'' said O'Brien with a laugh. "We've had a couple of good recruiting years, but, you know, Massachusetts has always had good cross country and track and field and I think that it's exploded since the Reggie Lewis Track was built and we've been one of the benefactors. I'm a Massachusetts guy myself that came out here and got involved in coaching. But the Massachusetts high school kids have always had some grit to them and good skills and academics and they take a real interest in the state university.''

Read more: UMass touts local interest

Dan Malone of the Springfield Republican takes a look at some of the possible teams who could sign UMass' Rob Blanchflower in the upcoming 2014 NFL Draft. Two possibilities are teams with local and current UMass ties in the New England Patriots and the New York Giants.

Minutemen In Major League Lacrosse (5.5)

Four UMass men's lacrosse alumni saw game action in Major League Lacrosse this weekend, including two who dueled in a Friday night ESPN3 contest. Check out how the former Minutemen standouts fared this weekend and take a look at highlights from the Boston-Rochester game below:

Kevin Leveille (2000-03) and Will Manny (2010-13) matched up on opposite sides as Boston fell on the road at Rochester, 8-7 Friday evening. Manny tallied two points (1 G, 1 A) and a groundball but Leveille answered with a pair of goals, an assist and two groundballs to help the Rattlers to their victory.

Leveille capped a 3-0 Rochester run with an extra-man goal during the second to put himself on the scoreboard before he assisted on the tally that put the Rattlers up for good, 5-4 in the third. The Delmar, N.Y., native then provided his second goal of the evening to push the lead to 6-4 with 10 minutes, 10 seconds left in the third.

Manny struck early for Boston as he provided the Cannons with their first goal of the game 4:02 into play. He added an assist on Boston's fourth goal of the night as the Cannons erased a 4-1 halftime deficit to even the game during the third quarter.

Another UMass grad, Diogo Godoi (2006-10) rotated into the defensive lineup for the Cannons to help Boston hold Rochester to just eight goals, but did not record statistics during competition.

Manny's classmate Jake Smith (2010-13) was on close defense for Charlotte when the Hounds fell to the Florida Launch, 11-8. Smith secured a pair of groundballs in the game.

More on MLL, including statistics, recaps and schedules for each team, is available through the organization's official website. The latest Minutemen lacrosse news can be found through UMassAthletics.com.

NE Lacrosse Journal: Hangin' out with ... Kelsey McGovern

Phil Shore of the New England Lacrosse Journal features Kelsey McGovern in the "Hangin' Out With..." section of the newest magazine edition. The piece talks about McGovern's career, playing through an ACL tear in the 2013 NCAA Tournament and what some of her favorite off the field things are.

The UMass women's lacrosse team used a late first half run to pull away from Richmond in Sunday's A-10 Championship Game en route to a 10-6 win and the Minutewomen's sixth consecutive Atlantic 10 title. UMass will next face Loyola (Md.) in the NCAA Tournament First Round on Friday at 2 PM at the BC Lacrosse Complex in Newton, Mass.






When the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins unpiled after winning in overtime Wednesday night, an unlikely hero emerged from the center of the huddle.

Conor Sheary, an unlikely hero for a whole host of reasons, set up the game-winning goal, giving the Penguins a 2-1 lead in a best-of-five first-round series against the Binghamton Senators. Game 4 is set for tonight at the Mohegan Sun Arena.

"It's something else," Sheary said, describing his first experience with an overtime playoff game. "The energy gets even higher. Guys are tired, but they're still working hard. It's a new intensity and it's a lot of fun. To come up with the game winner like that, it's awesome."

Read more: Unlikely hero puts Pens in series command

Matt Vautour of the Daily Hampshire Gazette has a feature story on UMass women's lacrosse senior Katie Ferris including her battle against Lyme disease over the past two seasons. Ferris states that the disease has actually made her more appreciative of her time on the field and has made her a better player overall.

Prior to being named the A-10 Player of the Year for the third straight year, Ferris was presented the first-ever Dr. James Ralph Award which is given to a UMass athlete who has overcome injury or illness to excel in sport.

Knowing that her playing career has, at most, weeks remaining, is liberating for Ferris, who plans to go into college coaching after graduating this month. She can play as hard as she can during the Atlantic 10 and NCAA tournaments. If she's worn out at the end, she can rest without worrying what she's missing.

"I just tell myself, 'Get through it. You can rest after. Push yourself as much as you can and then you get a break and the break is forever,'" Ferris said. "My body is exhausted, but lacrosse is my favorite thing in the entire world so I'm obviously going to miss playing, but I'm not going to miss the physical toll. I'm excited to get out on my own and see what's going to happen next."

Republican: Five questions with linebacker Kassan Messiah

Dan Malone of the Springfield Republican has a profile of rising junior linebacker Kassan Messiah who says he is excited about UMass' change to a 3-4 defense.

Dan Malone of the Springfield Republican has a story today on UMass lacrosse's postseason awards as released by the Atlantic 10 yesterday. Katie Ferris was named the league's Player of the Year award for the third consecutive year.

Hannah Christiansen of Inside Lacrosse has a preview of the Atlantic 10 Championship tournament which runs from Friday to Sunday in Richmond, Va.

Christiansen states that UMass looks strong and has veteran leadership at all positions as the Minutewomen look for their sixth straight conference championship title.


VIDEO: Feature Profile On Women's Lacrosse Sophomore Erika Eipp

The UMass Sports Network put together a feature on women's lacrosse attack Erika Eipp who transferred to UMass from Louisville prior to this season and has made an instant impact on the squad. The feature also looks at her relationship with her brother Dan who is an attack at Harvard.


Sheary Plays Role Of OT Hero For WBS Penguins

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Playing in his first professional postseason game, 2013-14 UMass co-captain Conor Sheary played the role of hero, setting up the game winner with his shot from the point that was redirected by Chuck Kobasew with 7:32 gone in overtime to give the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins a 3-2 win and a 2-1 series lead over the Binghamton Senators on Wednesday night.

AHL.com has the recap and video of the OT game winner.
The Highland Park Hockey blog has a recap, as well.

Also visit the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins playoff blog for postgame reaction from Sheary.


Quick Leads Los Angeles Kings Into Second Round

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Former UMass netminder Jonathan Quick was named the Second Star of the Game last night as he helped the Los Angeles Kings take game seven and advance to the second round of the Stanley Cup playoffs with a 5-1 win over the San Jose Sharks. Quick stopped 39 of 40 shots last night including this one to rob Patrick Marleau:

Over the past four games, Quick is 4-0 with a .963 save percentage and one shutout. The Kings open second round action against the Anaheim Ducks on Saturday, May 3, at 8 p.m.

Another former Minuteman, Matt Irwin, scored his first career postseason goal, San Jose's only goal of the night:


Irwin played 20:52 in the contest and had two shots. Teammate and fellow UMass hockey alum Justin Braun saw 17:36 of ice time.

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