Boston Globe correspondents Marvin Pave and Lorenzo Recupero caught up with UMass field hockey head coach Carla Tagliente and Minutewomen senior co-captain and Acton-Boxborough Regional High School graduate Alexa Sikalis for a story recently. Sikalis was a co-captain of the Acton-Boxborough team that won the 2009 Division I Massachusetts Title, along with current Babson field hockey standout Julia Pochini, and both have found success on the field since their high school graduation that year.
As senior captains, Julia Pochini and Alexa
Sikalis led the field hockey team at Acton-Boxborough Regional to the
Division 1 state title in 2009.
The two are captains once again, as starters
in the midfield -- Sikalis at the University of Masschusetts Amherst, the
14th-ranked program in Division 1, and Pochini at Babson College, the
defending regular-season champion in the NEWMAC.
Pochini, who has started every game since her
freshman year for the Division 3 program in Wellesley, enhanced her role
as a go-to player at center-mid with six goals and seven assists last
Sikalis, who set the career scoring mark at
A-B her senior season, started all 24 games at UMass last season,
finishing with three goals and six assists in a march to the NCAA
The full story is available to Boston Globe/Boston.com subscribers here. More information on UMass field hockey, including a 2013 season schedule and team statistics, can be found through UMassAthletics.com here.
UMass football head coach Charley Molnar
will be in Boston on Wednesday, May 22, for a chat with Boston Globe
sports editor Joe Sullivan and Boston.com sports editor Matt Pepin.
Molnar will sit down with Sullivan and Pepin at 1:30 p.m. to discuss the
Minutemen and the squad's approaching second season at the NCAA
Division-I Football Bowl Subdivision level.
Fans interested in following along and submitting questions can track the discussion through Boston.com here.
John Powers of the Boston Globe previews the Head of the Charles Regatta Weekend with a feature on decorated UMass rowing coach Jim Dietz. The Minutewomen will row alongside their famed coach this weekend at the prestigious regatta.
The men's basketball team improved to 2-0 on Monday night with a 83-67 win over Northeastern at the Mullins Center. Sophomore point guard Chaz Williams led the way again for the Minutemen, recording the first double-double of his career with 20 points and 10 assists, both tying career-highs. Terrell Vinson (14) and Sampson Carter (12) both reached double-figures for the second game in a row. Check out coverage of the game below.
Gary Washburn of the Boston Globe has a terrific feature in Wednesday's issue on redshirt-sophomore point guard Chaz Williams and what the transfer from Hofstra brings to the Minutemen going into the 2011-12 season. Washburn talks about how head coach Derek Kellogg needs a floor general to lead his new up-tempo attack with "fearlessness and heart that exemplified those 1990s teams."
"He may have found such a conductor in Chaz Williams, a 5-foot 9-inch sophomore transfer from Hofstra, whose Brooklyn upbringing is apparent from the moment he speaks. He brings a New York bravado to Amherst, and his leadership and passion are exactly what Kellogg believes will push the Minutemen back among the elite teams of the Atlantic 10."
Victor Cruz was center stage again for the New York Giants in their 36-25 loss to the Seattle Seahawks on Sunday. The former UMass wide receiver led the Giants with eight receptions for 161 yards, including a juggling one-handed 68-yard touchdown catch in the fourth quarter. Cruz was also involved in a pair of late turnovers by the Giants. All of that leads to lots of Cruz headlines today:
James Ighedibo made the first start of his career at safety for the New England Patriots, helping lead them to victory over his former team, the New York Jets, 30-20. The Amherst Regional High and UMass alum played the first four seasons of his career with the Jets, so Sunday's first start took on extra meaning. Ighedibo finished with six tackles on four solos and two assists.
Frank Dell'Apa of the Boston Globe has a preview of Saturday's game at Boston College focusing on the confidence built from past performances against FBS programs, including last year's narrow loss at Michigan.
But this is a new era for football at UMass, which will move up to the Bowl Subdivision next season and join the Mid-American Conference. Narrow defeats at Navy (21-20, in 2006), Kansas State (21-17, in 2009), and Michigan (42-37, in 2010) indicate UMass can compete at the next level.
"In the last two years, in particular those games against Kansas State and Michigan, we certainly had our chances in big-time atmospheres,'' Morris said. "Our players haven't played at Boston College but as a staff we have, and we know what to expect from Boston College football. We'll be ready to go. On paper, they are our best opponent, the strongest team we'll play.
"If you go by the Michigan, Kansas State, and Navy games, those are good indicators of where you are as a program. I think we're a very competitive program but we still haven't recruited a truly FBS recruiting class. We're going to go out and play and compete with anybody we play against and our goal is to win the game."
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.
It was a matchup of soon-to-be Minutewomen in the Massachusetts Division 1 State Softball Championship on Saturday as Anna Kelley (pictured, far left) and King Philip High School of Wrentham edged out Quianna Diaz-Patterson and Amherst Regional High School, 1-0 at Worcester State's Rockwood Field. The Warrriors, also the alma mater of current UMass player Maggie Quealy, finish the season with a perfect 26-0 record, while the Hurricanes finish 2011 with a 23-2 mark.
The terrific game received lots of media attention. Check out the coverage below, including a pair of features on Kelley.
Patriots' owner Robert Kraft deserves credit for bringing more big-time college football to New England when he struck a deal that allows the University of Massachusetts at Amherst to play all their home games rent-free at Gillette Stadium starting in 2012. Having the high-class Foxborough facility as a home field enables UMass to join the Division I Mid-American Conference and lure bowl-bound football powers onto its schedule.
The move is already building excitement among UMass graduates, for whom Saturdays in Foxborough could be a great bonding experience, and it could pay off for the university in some other respects, too. If Massachusetts residents come to see the UMass team as an expression of Bay State pride, it will help build greater political and community support for the state's leading public university.
Welcome as the UMass ascent to collegiate football's Mt. Olympus may be, policymakers should be aware that the costs in athletic scholarships and expanded coaching staffs will be considerable. UMass anticipates that its football expenditure will jump from $4.4 million in 2010 to $6.9 million for the 2013 season. Purely as an economic venture, or as a means of enhancing a university's national standing, a top-tier football program is no panacea -- and certainly no substitute for enhanced academic resources.
But pride doesn't come with a pricetag, and watching UMass match up against national powerhouses will provide an extra point of identity to fans of the sometimes neglected university -- that is, as long as the Minutemen make a good showing on the field.
Anthony Gurley fell in love with basketball as a 7-year-old, playing ball in the Pee Wee league at the Roxbury YMCA. "I've never looked back since then,'' said Gurley, a fifth-year senior at the University of Massachusetts Amherst who was recently honored with the George "Trigger'' Burke Award as the team's MVP. "There's always room for improvement, and I'm working hard every day to reach my dream . . . the NBA,'' he said. Read the full story in the Boston Globe: Newton North grad Gurley bids for NBA.
Here are various stories on the Pro Day that was held at Boston College on Wednesday as five former UMass football players took part. They included John Griffin, Kyle Havens, Mike Mele, Anthony Nelson and Greg Niland. The lineman Niland is quoted in many of these stories.
UMass basketball battled the three-time defending A-10 Champions, but lost 73-67 in overtime on Wednesday. Still, the Minutemen hold fate in their own hands when it comes to hosting a first-round A-10 Tournament game. A win on Saturday at Fordham OR several other scenarios would result in a home game to start the postseason. Read about the Temple game and the postseason situation here:
Considering UMass: I saw UMass in person Wednesday night as they pummeled St. Joe's. A reasonable goal for this team is to get a home game for the first round of the Atlantic 10 tournament, then win to advance to the quarterfinals in Atlantic City.
The record is better than last season, there is improvement, but what about the future?
I realize my observations come the day after UMass played well against a bad team but I think there's a reason for optimism. IT it revolves around four players, sophomores Javorn Farrell, Freddie Riley and Terrell Vinson and redshirt freshman Raphial Putney. Farrell has the makings of a excellent slashing scorer. Riley didn't play Wednesday night but he's a legit 3-point threat. Putney is really intriguing, a stick figure in basketball shorts who has 3-point range on his outside shot and long, long arms that can be used effectively at both ends of the court. I think he's got all sorts of potential. Vinson is a riddle. He has to become an assertive inside player and he can do it. Not sure he will though.
The obvious question here: where will the guard play come from? The answer was sitting on the bench in 5-foot-9-inch point guard Chazz Williams. Williams played at Hofstra in 2009-2010 and was all-rookie in the CAA after averaging 7.1 ppg and 4.2 apg. He's actually just what the other four players need, someone who can facilitate.
So I say, have hope, UMass fans. And how about showing up for the games? The Sign Man is getting lonely.
Interesting reflection: UMass absolutely pounded St. Joe's on the glass, 45-24. The Hawks need some inside players. Sitting out right now is another Hofstra transfer, 6-8 forward Halil Kanacevic, who was also on the All-CAA rookie team after averaging 8.6 ppg and 7.6 rpg. Phil Martelli will be ecstatic to have a player who will attack the glass on the defensive end. Both players left Hofstra when Tom Pecora moved over to coach Fordham. Pecora, winless in the Atlantic 10, could have used both players at Rose Hill.
Zoe Judd, one of UMass head coach Bob Newcomb's women's swimming NLI signees for the 2011-12 season was honored by being named Boston Globe All-Scholastic. The Acton-Boxborough High School senior is a repeat All-Scholastic honoree. Judd won both the 50 free and 100 free at the Division 1 state meet this fall and will be a freshman at UMass next season.
In his two-year journey to the NBA, former UMass swingman Gary Forbes soaked in the experience of being a basketball nomad. He traveled to Europe, Asia, and South America, playing with several teams, some stable, some near collapse. He returned to the United States to play in the NBA D-League, then headed back overseas for more résumé building.
His quest to reach the NBA was completed last month when he was a surprise addition to the Denver Nuggets, and the team's only rookie has seized the opportunity, averaging 6.2 points in 12.7 minutes per game.
Forbes will make his return to the Bay State Wednesday with the Nuggets, looking to show the region that UMass remains capable of producing NBA-caliber players.
Even with what was at stake, UMass men's basketball coach Derek Kellogg never had to think twice. Stay home while Boston College makes the 80-minute journey to Amherst for an early-season game, or brave the Mass Pike to play their in-state rival at the Celtics' pad.
The 2010 Boston Tip-Off Classic was announced yesterday at TD Garden, which will host the Dec. 4 doubleheader featuring three local teams. Northeastern will face Drexel, followed by UMass going up against BC. A portion of the event's proceeds will benefit Children's Hospital Boston.
The Boston Globe has an obituary on the passing of former UMass football player John Enos. A 40-year veteran reporter for the Gloucester Daily Times, Enos scared new reporters with his intensity in the Gloucester High School press box that is named in his honor.
Sports had always played a big role in Mr. Enos's life. Playing football as UMass, he held the record for the longest kickoff return for about 30 years, his son said. He also wrote two books on Gloucester High School football, "100 Years of Fishermen Football'' and "Nate,'' which was about Nate Ross, a longtime Gloucester football coach.
Marty Dobrow of the Boston Globe has a tremendous story on Marcus Camby and his induction to the UMass Hall of Fame on Friday night.
From ESPN's First Cup this morning, "Tonight, perhaps, the past will finally be reclaimed. John Calipari will be back in the house for a ceremony inducting Marcus DeWayne Camby into the UMass Athletic Hall of Fame. 'He deserves it,' said Calipari, now the coach at the University of Kentucky. 'We were a top 25 [team] before he got there. He took us to the next level. We became No. 1 in the country.' 'It's a great feeling,' said Camby, who is now playing for the Portland Trail Blazers, his fifth NBA team. 'I'm excited to be recognized for my contributions.'
How about living in 13 places in 21 years? Meet tailback John Griffin. Check out this great profile feature on Griffin in the Boston Globe. Here's a partial list... Germany. St. Louis. Nevada. New Mexico. Northern and Southern California. Texas. Maryland. Massachusetts.
The Boston Globe has a great feature story on UMass junior captain Emil Igwenagu. A preseason all-CAA selection, the 6-foot-1, 240-pound Igwenagu was recruited as a linebacker after a stellar career at Holy Name High School in Worcester, spent a year on the UMass scout team and was eventually switched to the H-back position (combining the duties of a receiver, blocker, and runner) last season, when he finished third on the team with 23 catches for 283 yards and a touchdown.
Check out this story in the Boston Globe on UMass freshman football player Mike Delaney, who joined UMass after a standout career at Foxborough High School.
The 6-foot-3, 220-pound Delaney only played one season with the Warriors after transferring from New Jersey, but rushed for 1,643 yards, the 13th-highest total in state history, and found the end zone 22 times in his team's 7-4 finish.
Delaney said his Minutemen coaches gave him a workout manual with lifting and running exercises alternated each day. UMass opened its camp Aug. 9, and it's already clear to Delaney the college game requires a rigorous workload.
"It's a big difference from the high school game,'' Delaney said. "There's competition at every position, and there is so much preparation that goes into it before you even step on the field.''
The Boston Globe has a softball story that, though centering on Cassidy Clayton, mentions other players from the Concord Raiders AAU softball team that will be playing at Division I schools. The story mentions UMass incoming freshman Paige Hansen. The 5-10 pitcher/outfielder from Concord, N.H. was the state's 2009 Gatorade Player of the Year. She is part of head coach Elaine Sortino's incoming class of seven.
Former UMass catcher Frank Curreri who is currently playing for the Braintree White Sox, was named the Cranberry league MVP after
hitting .400 with five home runs and 18 RBI, helping the squad to a league title. Curreri was
drafted by the Arizona Diamondbacks in the 41st round of the 2004 MLB Draft and spent six years in the Diamondbacks organization before joining Braintree.By winning the Cranberry League, the White Sox qualified for the Stan
Musial Tournament, a division of the American Amateur Baseball
Former field hockey player Deborah Jackson is featured in the Boston
Globe. Jackson, now 59 and serving as Salem's chief city assessor,
this past weekend pushed her physical limits even further as part of a
12-member team participating in The Jimmy Fund's Mass Dash, a 206-mile
running relay race across Massachusetts from the Berkshires to Boston.