UMass January Recap

Hockey

Brianna Repetto (Cover photo from The Daily Collegian)

Welcome back students! It is officially the start of spring semester and your UMass Minutemen are still battling hard and holding on to the #1 spot in the Hockey East. The team also climbed to #7 in the rankings.

Let’s start by highlighting UMass’s not one, but two Hobey Baker Nominees, John Leonard and captain Mitchell Chaffee. Last year, I am sure you heard of Cale Makar, who was the first to win the award under Greg Carvel’s coaching. I say we should have back-to-back winners, and to vote for either of them, you can go to www.hobeybaker.com. Click on their picture and hit submit; it’s that simple. Don’t forget to tell everyone you know, your parents, siblings, roommates, random strangers, doesn’t matter; anyone and everyone is eligible to vote! 

Now for the games. The Minutemen defeated Maine back-to-back in the beginning of December and then shut out Brown 4-0 with two goals by Oliver Chau, a goal by John Leonard, and another by Reed Lebester. The Minutemen went on to beat Rensselaer 5-3 in late December, with Matt Murray saving 20 shots throughout the night, increasing his record to 8-1-0 in his games played. The Minutemen had some trouble in Denver, but came back to Massachusetts determined to win. Unfortunately for Boston College, that meant they were going to fall victim in a 3-1 loss. UMass then faced Boston College a second night and fell to BC 6-3 after a hard fought game. Not letting this loss discourage them, the Minutemen went back on the road a few days later to Vermont, where they absolutely destroyed their opponent in back-to-back games. The first game was a 4-0 shutout, including Mitchell Chaffee’s first career hat trick, scoring in every period. The following night, the Minutemen won again by a score of 3-1 with goals by John Leonard, Jake McLaughin, and Matthew Kessel. Safe to assume Vermont fans didn’t show up to the second game after they lost so bad the first time. 

Despite a huge turnout Friday night against New Hampshire, the Minutemen struggled to get on the board and fell 1-0. Nevertheless, I don’t think the New Hampshire goalie, Mike Robinson, will ever be the same after the chants that were thrown his way. From “Robinson breaks into preschools and tells little kids that Santa isn’t real” to “Robinson doesn’t respect women,” he was obliterated by the UMass faithful despite keeping the Minutemen off the board. The Minutemen did somewhat avenge their loss on Saturday and tied New Hampshire 1-1. Be at Mullins this Friday night when UMass takes on #5 Boston College for the third highly anticipated game at 7 pm! Welcome back and GO UMASS! 

Women’s Basketball

By: Freeman Alfano

Thom Kendall, UMass Athletics

The UMass Women’s basketball team has been on fire as of late, as highlighted by an 11-game winning streak from the end of November through mid-January. During this streak, the team let up just over 55 points per game, which would be good for 24th in the country if stretched over the course of the season. 

The biggest key to the team’s recent success has been Penn State transfer Sam Breen. The Minutewomen’s newest frontcourt addition has averaged over 16 points per game on 45 percent shooting from beyond the arc while starting just once (yesterday’s game against Richmond). UMass is 5-1 when Breen scores in double-digits, with the team’s only loss in those games coming by just three points.

The team’s best and most consistent scorer this season has been Hailey Leidel. The Minutewomen wing is leading the team in scoring at 16.6 points per game, and the team is 13-1 when she scores over 15 points. She has scored in single digits just three times this season, and her season-low in scoring was just seven points in the team’s opener against Merrimack. 

Senior guard and captain Vashnie Perry has been a huge reason for the team’s solid play on both ends of the floor. She leads the team in assists and is tied for the team lead in steals with 35 on the season. When Perry has five or more assists in a game, the Minutewomen have a record of 5-1.  

One of the biggest factors to the team’s overall play has been their affinity for forcing turnovers. Leidel, Perry, Destine Philoxy, and Bre Hampton-Bey have each had over 29 steals this season, combining for an average of 1.68 steals per game each. 

Despite their recent success, however, the Minutewomen are just fourth in the A-10 Conference because of VCU and Dayton’s undefeated conference play. The team recently lost to VCU, but has yet to play Dayton and Davidson, both of whom are above UMass in the conference standings.

Up next for the Minutewomen is a road matchup against conference foe Davidson on Sunday, and a win could be pivotal for the UMass’s standing in the A10. That game will be followed by a trip to George Mason next Wednesday until UMass returns home on Saturday to take on Fordham. 

Men’s Basketball

By: Freeman Alfano

J. Anthony Roberts, The Republican

The months of December and January were not kind to the Massachusetts Men’s Basketball team. In the last two months, the Minutemen are 4-9 with five of those losses coming by double-digits. However, they let two games slip away, as they were 0-2 in overtime games in December and January. They also just beat Saint Joseph’s yesterday by scoring a season-high 91 points, including a season-high of 24 from sophomore transfer Dibaji Walker.

One of the biggest blows for the team was losing freshman bench standout TJ Weeks, who was ruled out for the remainder of the season on December 12 after undergoing abdominal surgery. Despite not starting a game for the Minutemen, Weeks was averaging just below 15 points per game at the time of his injury while hitting over 48% of his threes.

Another dent on the team’s depth was forward Sy Chatman’s decision to enter the transfer portal in mid-December. Despite missing the first few games of the season due to personal reasons, Chatman was a projected starting forward for the Minutemen who could provide versatility at the offensive and defensive ends of the floor. We wish him the best wherever he ends up playing next season and beyond. 

Despite the team’s losses both on and off the court, there were some positives to take away from this rough patch. The biggest of those has been the ever-improving play of freshman center Tre Mitchell, who is currently fifth in Atlantic 10 Conference in scoring at 15.8 points per game. Over his last 10 games, Mitchell has averaged 19.3 points, which would be tied for third in the A-10 conference if done over the course of the season. This recent stretch by Mitchell was highlighted by a stellar performance against Saint Bonaventure when he scored a career-high 28 points on 58% shooting.

After Weeks went down, junior guard Carl Pierre has picked up the team’s scoring output as a solid second option. Pierre has four 20-point games over his last 10 contests and just one in single digits while shooting 42% from beyond the arc. In the overtime loss against Yale, the top Minuteman guard recorded a season-high 26 points while making eight threes in the process.

Over his last seven games, Samba Diallo has three double-doubles (with points and rebounds) despite never recording a double-double before in his collegiate career. The Minutemen are 2-1 in Diallo’s double-double performances and the only loss was by three points to Saint Louis in overtime.

Freshman guard Preston Santos replaced Sean East in the starting lineup on Saturday against Duquesne, and he did not disappoint. Santos more than doubled his previous career-high and finished the contest with 15 points en route to a much-needed UMass victory. The freshman made 75% of his shots in the game and recorded a career-high 12 rebounds, as well. 

Up next is a road matchup against A-10 opponent Davidson on Saturday followed by a trip to Rhode Island next Tuesday. UMass then returns to Mullins to take on George Mason next Saturday and build off their momentum at home.

UMass Militia November Wrap-Up

By: Freeman Alfano, Brianna Repetto

UMass Hockey

Thom Kendall, UMass Athletics

Going back to the beginning of November, the UMass Minutemen began the month with a big win over Northeastern 6-3. With a tough loss against them only a few weeks prior, the Minutemen came back with a determination to win. I was there to see Northeastern’s home arena populated by students, parents, alum, and overall fans, none of which can organize a proper chant. While attending, their so called “Dog House” failed to reach the level of intensity as the Militia. This played into Northeastern’s game play as they failed to hold their two-goal lead that they asserted in the very start of the game. With goals by Bobby Trivigno and a second by John Leonard, UMass caught up and evened the score 2-2. With the momentum rolling, the Minutemen continued to push hard and scored a phenomenal four goals in the second period alone. The other goals of the period were scored by Matthew Kessel and Mitchell Chaffee. By the end of the second period, Reed Lebester scored his fourth of the season and John Leonard got a hat trick during the night by scoring an empty net goal. By the end of the game, Northeastern’s once preppy and slightly unorganized student section was a little more sad and subdued, while the few traveling UMass fans were jumping for joy over a big 6-3 win. 

The following day Northeastern came to Mullins to face the Minutemen at home. With a first period that seemed to hold a scoreless game, John Leonard got a huge breakaway and put the puck in the back of the net with 9.6 seconds remaining, putting the Minutemen up 1-0. The UMass student section lit up with the advantage going into the second, and as the new goal song got tons of use, the entirety of Mullins was full of eager fans determined to hold this lead. The Minutemen pushed their lead higher with a goal in the second by Jeremy Davidson, but Northeastern came back to tie 2-2 by the end of the period. With tension now rising, the chants and enthusiasm never wavered as the beginning of the third was reached and the journey to the end of the game was coming closer. One minute and fifty-four seconds into the third, John Leonard added another goal onto the board and put the Minutemen back in the lead! At the end of the game, Mitchell Chaffee put UMass up 4-2 with an empty net goal and Matt Murray got a rare assist. Murray also finished the game with 16 saves as UMass yet again outshot the opposing team 34-18. 

The week after, the Minutemen faced the University of New Hampshire away and lost 3-1.  The game started out scoreless until the second period, when a goal by Mitchell Chaffee put UMass in the lead. However, with a dismal seven penalties, UNH managed to get two goals of their own and finished the game with one more to give them a two-goal advantage win. However, the game was fairly close in shots on goal with it being 29-28 UMass and both teams getting one goal each on the powerplay. 

Another week went by and the Minutemen yet again faced a tough opponent when they traveled back to Boston to play Boston University. Between the first and second period, BU managed to prevail with a 4-0 lead. It wasn’t until the third period that the Minutemen began putting pucks into the net, they managed to get three goals to make the game 4-3 which were scored  by Gianfranco Cassaro, Oliver Chau, and Zac Jones

With tension high from the night before, the Minutemen were not looking to repeat a loss against BU. As the game began, BU piled into the sin bin to give the Minutemen a 5-on-3 powerplay which set up the first goal by Mitchell Chaffee. In the second period BU managed to get a goal of their own to tie the game 1-1. The Mullins Center quickly picked up the “Let’s Go UMass” cheers and helped cheer on our team as best as they could. When entering into the third, it seemed as if the whole arena was ready for a big win, one happily achieved when three additional goals were scored by UMass to give the Minutemen their 4-1 victory. The goals were scored by Mitchell Chaffee (his second of the night), Matthew Kessel, and Colin Felix, who got his first of the season. The game ended with a huge shot difference of 47-17 shots on goal and 16 saves by Filip Lindberg. To top it all off, the coach of BU, Albie O’Connell, got suspended one game for “post game behavior.” Now, not a lot is said about what that behavior was, but I guess losing 4-1 was substantial enough that he did something to miss their next game against Vermont.

November 22 was when the Minutemen took on their next opponent, Merrimack College. The Mullins Center was underpopulated due to the fact that break had begun and everyone was traveling home. A few fans stuck around, however, and kept the student section as alive as possible to cheer on the Minutemen as they fought hard for another week. Merrimack placed themselves on the board first only to be matched twelve seconds later by a big goal from Mitchell Chaffee. Mullins Center lit up with hope by coming back from being down and got right into the cheers and banter. The second period stretched on with neither teams being able to score, but later into the third Bobby Trivingo scored to make it 2-1 UMass! However, Merrimack came back to tie and once again the arena was filled with tension as we await the outcome. The third period ended and the game went into overtime. One minute in, Bobby Trivingo scored and it seemed as if the Minutemen had come out victorious. However, the referees reviewed the play and called back the goal with the assumption that it was “kicked in.” It wasn’t a loss, but the Minutemen were definitely not happy about how the game ended. Luckily for UMass, they got a chance to redeem themselves the following night.

Coming off a tie against Merrimack, UMass was determined for a big win. The Minutemen faced them away and played hard, despite two goals by Merrimack in the second. However, at 15:08 in the second, Cal Kiefiuk put the puck in the back of the net, getting UMass on the board. The game wasn’t over yet as the third period began and Merrimack desperately tried to hold onto their lead. To their dismay, Ty Farmer scored late into the third, tying the game. It was a repeat from the night before: tied game in the third, both teams fighting to win. At 19:08 in the third, Cal Kiefiuk scored his second of the night, putting UMass up 3-2 with 42 seconds remaining. Your UMass Minutemen got their well-deserved victory and went home yet again as winners. 

During the break, the Minutemen faced Quinnipiac University away. The game started off scoreless and it seemed to be a fairly-matched game between the two teams. However, the Minutemen battled hard and Cal Kiefiuk redirected the puck into the back of the net, putting UMass up 1-0 in the second. This of course angered Quinnipiac fans, but in their minds they had the rest of the game to go; unfortunately for them, they didn’t ever get a goal. The game continued into the third and things got way out of hand. Fights broke out due to Quinnipiac’s frustration that they couldn’t get on the board. When Quinnipiac was hoping to come back to tie 1-1, Bobby Trivingo scored to make it 2-0 and the crowd was not too happy about that one, except for the traveling UMass fans who were more than ecstatic. Mitchell Chaffee finished the game with an empty netter in the third making it 3-0, scoring his eleventh of the season. Chaffee’s goal also cleaned out the arena as all the Quinnipiac fans were tired of watching their team lose and they did the walk of shame out to their cars. Matt Murrary got his sixth career shutout as he saved all 24 shots on goal.

The Minutemen face Quinnipiac again at home on Saturday November 30. Be there at 7 pm to cheer on your UMass Minutemen! Go UMass! 

Men’s Basketball

Parker Peters, UMass Daily Collegian

After a tumultuous 2018-19 season under Head Coach Matt McCall, the Minutemen Men’s Basketball team started out the season red hot. They won their first five games, including a 46-point drubbing of Central Connecticut State and a nine-point win over a tournament team last year in Northeastern.

However, UMass followed up this impressive streak with losses against seventh-ranked Virginia, Saint John’s, and Rutgers. Despite the loss, the game against last year’s NCAA champion showed just how competitive they can be, as they cut the lead to just three points in the second half before the Cavaliers pulled away. 

The Minutemen currently have four players averaging double digit scoring with TJ Weeks, Carl Pierre, Tre Mitchell, and Sean East. Weeks leads the way with 15 points per game off the bench, and has shot over 54 percent this season from beyond the arc. His best game came against Rider last week when the freshman went six-for-six on his three-point attempts en route to  a 21 point performance.

In addition to their solid scoring output, Mitchell and Pierre have provided consistency getting buckets and an edge on the defensive end. Mitchell has averaged over six defensive rebounds per game this season and a steal and a block per game, while Pierre has shot 91% from the free throw line.

East has acted as the team’s best playmaker this season, both as a scorer and a passer. He has shot an incredibly efficient 50% from the field, 42% from three, and averaged almost seven assists per game during the team’s five-game winning streak. While this team is full of bucket-getters, East seems like the guy who can feed them the ball and still score on his own.

Up next for the Minutemen is a return to Mullins to take on South Carolina next Wednesday, who are currently 4-3 on the season. Although the schedule is tougher than the start of the season, this team has shown they can hang with some of the top teams in the country, and now they get a chance to prove it.

Women’s Basketball

Thom Kendall, UMass Athletics

The Minutewomen Basketball team is off to an up-and-down start to the 2019-20 season, as they currently sit at 4-3. While they beat Vermont on Friday night and destroyed Brown by more than 50 points, they have lost some of their marquee matchups, such as Providence and St. John’s.

The game against Brown exhibited just how cohesive this team can be when they are on. The Minutewomen combined for 25 assists in the victory, including five from Vashnie Perry and seven from Bre Hampton-Bay. Additionally, Hailey Leidel, Paige McCormick, and Destiny Philoxy all scored more than 15 in the route, with Leidel leading the way with 20. 

Philoxy, the two-way sophomore guard, has paced the team this season with averages of 14 points, 4 rebounds, and 4 assists per game. Her presence as a ball hawk has also proved her defensive mindset, as her 13 steals leads the team, as well.

In addition to Philoxy, Leidel, McCormick, and Hampton-Bey have all averaged double-digit scoring, and Leidel is the only other to average 14 per game. Perry has been the main distributor for the offense outside of Philoxy, as exhibited by her 4.5 assist per game average.

On the boards, the Minutewomen have found some contributors in surprising places. Two of the three leading rebounders on the team are freshmen in center Maev Donnely (5.2 per game) and forward Angelique Ngalakulondi (6.0 per game), while Donnely also defends the rim with over two blocks per game. The third leader is the 5”11 guard McCormick, who is just the eight-tallest person on the team.

Up next for UMass are two home games next week against New Hampshire on Thursday and Holy Cross on Sunday. This is a team that clearly has all the pieces to compete under Head Coach Tory Verdi, and it’s up to them to keep the wins coming.

Football

Thom Kendall, UMass Athletics

Although Head Coach Walt Bell knew that there might be some growing pains with this team, he probably never imagined an outcome like this season. The Minutemen finished the year 1-11 with their only win coming over Akron behind an excellent performance by third string quarterback Michael Curtis.

The season ended with a sense of pride for Coach Bell and his squad, however. After BYU put six unanswered touchdowns on the Minutemen during the second quarter of their Senior Day with legendary receiver Andy Isabella in attendance, UMass managed to outscore the 6-4 Wildcats 24-7 in the second half behind solid play from Randall West, Bilal Ally, and the Minutemen defense as a whole. It seemed as if the team was playing with a purpose for Isaiah Rodgers, a senior and arguably the team’s best player, who was stretchered off the field after a late hit in the second quarter.

Ally was the star on offense last Saturday, finishing with 127 rushing yards and a 46 yard score. Not only did Ally lead the team in rushing this year with 853 yards on the ground, but he also had the most rushing touchdowns on the team (seven) and averaged an impressive 5.1 yards per carry.

After replacing Andrew Brito halfway through the second quarter, Randall West threw two touchdowns in relief to give an extra spark to the Minutemen offense. Despite starting just three games this season, West led the team in passing yards with 864 and threw six scores.

Although his collegiate career ended in heartbreaking fashion, the aforementioned Rodgers had a stellar season. The senior cornerback led the nation in kickoff return yards with 1,295, including an 87 yard return against Louisiana Tech earlier this year. Rodgers also recorded an interception return touchdown and a punt return touchdown, showcasing his immense versatility as a playmaker. 

The stellar play from Rodgers and Ally were some of the silver linings of an otherwise disappointing season. The good news for Coach Bell and the rest of his returning squad is that things can only get better from here.

UMass Sports Recap – End of October 

By: Freeman Alfano

Men’s Basketball

Katherine Mayo, The Daily Collegian

While the Massachusetts’ Men’s basketball season has not officially begun, the squad has already recorded a win this season. On Tuesday, the Minutemen defeated Western New England by a score of 83-47 as freshman guard TJ Weeks led the team with 18 points, including four makes from beyond the arc. While UMass started out slow in this one, the team consistently ramped up the pace throughout the game and let up just 18 points in the second half as they had more than double WNE’s points. 

Sy Chatman and top recruit Tre Mitchell added 13 points apiece in the blowout, with Chatman grabbing nine boards in the contest as well. Mitchell flashed his offensive versatility in this one, as he scored in multiple areas within the offense, including two threes. 

The only surprising disappointment during the team’s unofficial opener was the scoring impact on the game by Carl Pierre (or lack thereof). While the team’s leading scorer from last year had a team-high four steals, he had just five points on three shots during his 21 minutes of action. For the Minutemen offense to operate at its full potential, Pierre has to be an integral part of the attack night in and night out. 

Coach Matt McCall’s squad begins their season next Tuesday against UMass Lowell. Last season, the Minutemen defeated Lowell by a score of 83-75 as Pierre had a team-high 21 points. The game will be at 7:30 in the Mullins as part of the back-to-back night after Women’s Basketball.

Hockey

Umass.edu

Over the past few weeks, the UMass Minutemen have increased in the rankings by their hard game play and amazing three wins at home. However, they had one 3-1 loss away at Northeastern on Oct. 15. The Huskies had managed to get two goals during the first period. Then in the second, the Minutemen got on the board by a goal by Matthew Kessel from Jeremy Davidson to make the game 2-1. However, Northeastern’s Zach Solow ended the game 3-1 with an empty netter and unfortunately Northeastern managed to come out on top. 

The week after, the Minutemen gained two big wins over Union College, first a 6-1 victory followed by a huge shutout game, 5-0, the next night. In the first game against Union, it was a slow start with no goals in the first. However, the game picked up with a goal by Bobby Trivigno which he quickly added with an exciting power play goal to get the Minutemen up 2-0. The game intensified when Union got their only goal of the game and brought the score to 2-1. However, the Mullins Center fired up again when Reed Lebester closed the period by redirecting a shot from Zac Jones to get back UMass’s two goal lead. When going into the third, UMass got two back-to-back goals, one from John Leonard and another by Zac Jones bringing UMass way ahead of Union College, 5-1. To finish out the game, a great effort by Reed Lebester gave him his second goal of the night to give the Minutemen their 6-1 win. 

UMass faced Union College again the next night with strong hopes for a big victory. Finishing the game 5-0, they started off the first period with an electrifying goal by Anthony Del Gaizo, which was his first of the season. Also in the first, Cal Kiefiuk brought the score to 2-0 with a tip in from Zac Jones. About half-way through the second period, the Minutemen were given a power-play, during which Mitchell Chaffee scored his first of two goals on the night with a big drive to the net. Bobby Trivigno followed up his scoring from the night before with another goal to bring UMass up 4-0. By the end of the game, UMass greatly overpowered Union with an impressive 38-15 shots on goal margin. The 5-0 win also gave Filip Lindberg his fifth career shutout. 

The Minutemen then faced AIC the following week and increased their record to 3-1 with a huge 4-1 win at home. The Minutemen were quick to start the game with a goal by Anthony Del Gaizo in the first, but AIC managed to put themselves on the board with 50 seconds left in the period. The second period stretched on, as neither team could get a second goal in and UMass got the disadvantage of a five minute major, which became a 5-on-3 for a full two minutes. They played the penalty strong despite this and held off AIC from scoring. Even though UMass faced many penalty kills that caused them to have to undergo 17 minutes of penalty kill, they came out on top with two big goals from John Leonard, one being an empty netter, and a goal from Cal Kiefiuk, which ended the game 4-1. In net was Matt Murray, who made 15 saves for the night. UMass again dominated in shots 29-16 over AIC. 

Currently, the Minutemen have moved up in the rankings to the #3 spot with three wins and one loss. This weekend they take on #10 Northeastern away for the second time on Nov. 1 and then again the next night at home. Be there for puck drop at 8 pm on Nov. 2 to cheer them on! Go UMass!

By: Bri Repetto

Women’s Basketball

Eric Schelkun

Women’s Basketball also had a scrimmage earlier this week, as they defeated UMass Dartmouth by a score of 89-39. Sophomore guard Destiny Philoxy had a team-high 23 points to go with seven assists, and her and senior guard Vashnie Perry combined for an absurd 15 steals. The Minutewomen finished with a total of 27 steals (20 more than Dartmouth) as seven players recorded at least two swipes in the contest.

Perry also added 20 points of her own to go with four rebounds and six assists for a well-rounded game to prepare herself for her final season. Sydney Taylor and Paige McCormack also had double figures in this one, with McCormack finishing the contest with 11 rebounds, as well.

The Minutewomen will play the first of two basketball games at Mullins next Tuesday against Merrimack. Tip-off for the season opener is scheduled for 4:30 PM.

Field Hockey

Thom Kendall, UMass Athletics

After a small rough patch during the middle of the season, the Minutewomen Field Hockey team is back to firing on all cylinders. Now 9-8, the team has won five of its last six games as they try to make a late-season push and potentially make the A-10 Tournament next weekend.

The key to the Minutewomen’s late-season run has been their airtight defense. UMass has not given up more than two goals in a game in over a month and gave up two goals just twice during the month of October. 

One of the main contributors to this stretch has been captain Lucy Cooper. During the team’s three-game road winning streak, Cooper had a goal and three assists. She now has a team-high six goals and 17 points, the latter of which is five more than the next closest player. 

For the final home game of the season, the Minutewomen will face VCU on Friday afternoon for their Senior Night game. Following that is possibly the hardest matchup of the season in a road game against #3 UConn on Sunday, who has lost just once at home this year. Make sure to come out and support the Minutewomen at Gladchuk at 3 PM in what could be their last home game of the season.

Women’s Soccer

Thom Kendall, UMass Athletics

Like field hockey, the Minutewomen Soccer team had a stellar finish to their regular season. The team went 4-1-1 over their last six games and finished with an overall record of 9-5-3. 

Although the team lost their regular season finale against VCU, they exhibited their dominance in their last home game against LaSalle. In a 4-2 victory, freshman Serena Ahmed finished with a goal and an assist, including a beauty in the 64th minute under the crossbar, while junior Jenny Hipp added a pair of assists. 

One of the biggest factors for the Minutewomen’s success this season has been graduate goalkeeper Peyton Ryan. The nifty netminder has started all 17 games for UMass this season, posting an 8-4-3 record and just a 1.63 goals against average. 

Up ahead for the Minutemen Soccer team is their biggest test yet: a matchup with Fordham to start off the A-10 Soccer Championship on Sunday at Rudd. While Fordham finished the regular season five games below .500, the tournament certainly isn’t the time to start overlooking opponents. 

The winner of Sunday’s game will face either George Washington or Saint Joseph’s in the semifinals. Kickoff at Rudd is scheduled for 1 PM.

Football

Jon Krispin

While UMass displayed some of their promise in the Walt Bell Era a few weeks ago against Akron, the success from that game has not continued, especially on the defensive end. Since that energetic win, the Minutemen have let up 169 points over three games, including 69 to Louisiana Tech two weeks ago. The team’s porous run defense was the biggest contributor to the loss in that one, as 385 of Louisiana’s 689 total yards came on the ground – more than three times the number of yards rushing UMass had. 

However, the offense played one of its best games of the season against UConn, as their 35 points was the second-most they’ve scored this year. Bilal Ally, who now has over 1,000 career rushing yards at UMass, led the offensive charge with 159 yards on the ground a two touchdowns. Also contributing to the scoring output was receiver Jermaine Johnson, who had four catches for 92 yards, including a 40-yard touchdown reception. 

Another player who has continued to star in multiple phases of the game for the Minutemen is cornerback Isaiah Rodgers. Against Louisiana Tech, Rodgers had 187 total yards on kickoff returns, including a career-long 87 yard return. Rodgers has made a name for himself at this school with dynamic plays, and he’s been creating that at a consistent pace this season.

Up next for the Minutemen is a matchup with Liberty this Saturday at noon, who come in to this one with a 5-3 record. Last season, UMass won a high-scoring thriller against the Flames, as Cooper Garcia kicked the game-winning field goal in triple overtime to go out on top 62-59. We’ll be hoping for a game like that one tomorrow at McGuirk as Coach Bell looks to pick up his second win on the year.

UMass Sports Recap/Preview – End of September/Early October

By: Freeman Alfano

Football

Caroline O’Connor, UMass Athletics

Two weeks ago, the Minutemen defeated the Akron Zips 37-29 in Amherst for their first win of 2019 and Walt Bell’s head coaching career. That has been one of the only bright spots this season, as the team followed up that dramatic W with a 44-0 shutout loss to the FIU Panthers. 

The victory against Akron was fun and exciting, especially considering the encouraging play from third-string quarterback Michael Curtis. Although he battled through cramps late in the game, he helped the Minutemen throw for over 200 yards and tossed two touchdowns, including a dime on fourth and three on the goal line to Sadiq Palmer. Also showing out in this one was Isaiah Rodgers, who returned an interception 58 yards to the house. The do-it-all cornerback is now tied for fourth in the FBS in interceptions this season with three on the year.

Despite the big win, the Minutemen still have a lot of work to do on both sides of the ball. Massachusetts has the fourth-worst yards per pass attempt in the FBS this season with 5.2, which is actually an improvement from a couple of weeks ago. On the other end, the Minutemen have let up 244 rushing yards per game, which is also good for fourth-worst in the FBS. This was the main reason they weren’t able to compete against FIU, as the Panthers out-rushed Massachusetts by 240 yards. 

The team will take on Louisiana Tech this Saturday at 7 p.m. looking to get their second win in three games and their first win on the road. The Bulldogs’ balanced offense has carried them to a 4-1 record so far with their only loss being against #10 Texas in their season opener. 

Hockey

The Militia 2019 Hockey Open Practice

At the end of their 2018-2019 season, the Massachusetts Men’s Hockey team comes out as reigning Conference Champions and NCAA Finalists. They made history as the first Minutemen team to make it to the Frozen Four, an achievement well deserved by their amazing play throughout the season. Having stayed in the top of the rankings all year, they finished second in the NCAA Men’s Hockey Rankings with a record of 31-10-0 and just one home loss. 

This year, they hope to keep the momentum going by extending coach Greg Carvel’s contract through the 2023-2024 season as well as extending assistant coaches Jared DeMichiel and Brett Barr and appointing new captains Mitchell Chaffee, who finished last season with 79 career points, and Niko Hildenbrand, who finished last season with 105 career points. The Minutemen also added nine new freshmen, including Zac Jones and Reed Lebster, to help push the team going forward. As of right now, Massachusetts is ranked number four in the NCAA Men’s Hockey Rankings, and will look to prove their status as an elite team in the post Cale Makar era.

This Friday October 11 is the team’s home opener against Rensselaer at 7 pm in the Mullins Center. Last season, UMass achieved victory over them both times they played RPI; winning their first matchup 6-1 and the second by a score of 3-1. Friday night should be an exciting game, and we’re expecting a great turnout to keep the Mullins Center rocking in 2019. Next week, the Minutemen take on #15 Northeastern on the road, followed by two home matchups against Union College next Friday and Saturday. Go UMass! 

-Brianna Repetto

Men’s Soccer

UMass Athletics

After a dominant start to the season in which they outscored their opponents 12-1, the Minutemen are in a bit of a slump. Massachusetts has lost their last six games, including four matches by just one goal. This run has been marked by tough losses to rivals UMass Lowell and Boston College, along with their last three defeats against Atlantic 10 opponents. 

The biggest issue for Massachusetts since the start of their losing streak has been their scoring (or lack thereof). Since September 17, when their losing streak started, the Minutemen have scored just one goal and have not scored in their last five games. Turning around the offense and developing a consistent attack will be key to this team getting back on track to how they started off.

Up next, the Minutemen will take on Fordham on Saturday at Rudd, followed by a second straight home matchup against Yale on Tuesday. Each matchup will present an entirely different level of competition, as Fordham comes into the game with a 3-8-1 overall record, while the Bulldogs are undefeated this season with two ties.

Women’s Soccer

Thom Kendall, UMass Athletics

The Minutewomen soccer team has fared better recently than their male counterparts. Heading into Columbus Day weekend, Massachusetts is two games above .500 with a notable tie against #21 Tennessee a couple of weeks ago. Their last two games have gone to overtime, with the Minutewomen recording a 1-1 record in these extra time matchups. All of their last five games have been against Atlantic 10 opponents, during which the team has a respectable 3-2 record. 

The key for the Minutewomen’s success this season has been their ability to come up clutch and score timely goals. In addition to the overtime winner by Sini Laaksonen against Rhode Island last Sunday, Massachusetts scored three straight, including the eighth and ninth goals of the season by Melissa Kossler, against Saint Joseph’s to secure a come-from-behind 4-3 victory. Additionally, the Minutewomen scored those three goals between the 70th and 80th minutes, and the game tying and winning goals came just 40 seconds apart from one another.

Massachusetts will conclude their season with five more Atlantic 10 games, including two straight starting this Sunday at Rudd. The Minutewomen will take on Dayton on Sunday and Davidson next Thursday. While Dayton has been mediocre this season, the Wildcats will present more of a challenge, as they are currently four games above .500 and have a 3-1-1 Atlantic 10 Conference record this season.

Field Hockey

Thom Kendall, UMass Athletics

While the Minutewomen have been struggling as of late, they recently had their most important win of the season. Last Friday, Massachusetts defeated #25 Northeastern 2-0 for the team’s first win against a ranked opponent this season. Interestingly enough, the game featured goals by the Minutewomen in the first and last minutes of the matchup, but none in between from either side. 

Outside of the dramatic Northeastern victory, however, Massachusetts has lost three of their last four games and five of their last seven. While three of these losses have come against ranked opponents, this stretch certainly isn’t what the team envisioned after defeating Yale 4-1 and Dartmouth 1-0 in an overtime thriller. 

Luckily for the Minutewomen, they have just one ranked opponent left on their schedule after facing six to start the season. They will look to change their losing ways starting this Friday on the road against Davidson, followed by two more road matchups against Lock Haven and Francis next weekend. 

Review of the first half of September for Umass Athletics!