All posts by tyler roaix

Men’s Soccer Falls To Columbia, Loses Team Leader

by Patrick Gustavson

Central Connecticut’s men’s soccer team could not muster much offense as they fell to Columbia by a score of 2-0, falling to a record of 3-4-1 on the season.

However, the Blue Devils might have suffered a worse loss than the scoreboard indicated. They were forced to play the entire second half without goalkeeper Nick Velleca, who was injured with just minutes to play in the first half. The injury occurred when he aggressively left the goal on a corner kick and collided with a Columbia player, re-injuring his ACL, an injury which he had just returned from, per Green.

Following the game, it was feared that Velleca would be lost for the season. “It might have finished his college career today. I thought he had a great chance to go pro this year, too,” said Green.

Velleca, a fifth year graduate student, is a team leader both on and off the field. He had started three games prior to Friday night, most notably shutting out Florida Gulf Coast.

Seeing action in all four of his seasons with the team, perhaps his best was in 2016, when he led the conference in saves per game, in in-conference games and was second in total saves.

More importantly however, are his contributions off the field. “He’s the heart of the team: he’s our leader, he’s our motivator, he’s our captain, he’s our motivator in the locker room,” Green said. “We haven’t had a chance to take in how bad this is going to put us back.”

Velleca was replaced in the second half by junior Carson D’Ambrosio, who shut down the Columbia offense, saving all six shots on goal. He also received a vote of confidence from his coach for the rest of the way.

Both of Columbia’s goals were scored by forward Arthur Bosua, one on a pass from Danny Laranetto in minute 21, and with a header on a corner kick from Beto Carillo in minute 34.

Blue Devil’s head coach Shaun Green, sang Bosua’s praises following the game. “The number nine (Bosua) up top is a very intelligent player, and we had to shut him down, and that was the game plan,” he said. “The difference today was number nine; he is a top-class, quality player, and a professional quality player, for sure.”

The Blue Devils failed to capitalize on opportunities to score, including eight corner kicks and 14 shots on goal. After allowing the two first half goals, the defense tightened up, holding the Lions scoreless in the second half.

Despite the loss, Green was pleased with his team’s performance, particularly taking Columbia’s undefeated record into consideration: “It may sound a bit strange, but take away those two goals, those couple seconds in the game, and we matched them,” he said.

“We gave it as good as we’ve got today. We created opportunities, we matched them in possession time. I thought we were as good as Columbia tonight, regardless of the score line.”

 

9/20 The Hunt For October

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by Patrick Gustavson

With just under two weeks remaining in the hunt for the MLB Playoffs, over the half the league remains within striking distance of a playoff spot.

Though the Nationals are the only team to have clinched, it appears the division races are all but wrapped up, with only two divisions having a race within three games. The Indians, with the help of an American League record 22 game winning streak, appear to have a handle on the AL Central. Despite recent struggles, both the Dodgers and Astros have a big enough lead to where it seems they will win their respective divisions out west.

The tightest division race all season long has been the AL East. As of Thursday, Sept. 14, the Red Sox hold a three-game lead over the Yankees. While this seems like a manageable gap, the Yankees have been unable to capitalize on Red Sox losses, and have been chasing them since mid-June. Barring a late-season collapse, it appears Boston, carried by spectacular pitching, will take the AL East for the second year in a row.

The final remaining division race is the NL Central, currently paced by the defending World Series champion Chicago Cubs. However, their lead is only three games over the Brewers and Cardinals. The Brewers were in control throughout the first half, but have struggled to maintain their surprising level of play, but are still with a shot at making the postseason. They received a devastating blow, losing break-out starting pitcher Jimmy Nelson for the season. This will surely affect their aspirations.

Though in contention, this season could be viewed as a disappointment for the Cardinals. Injuries to key pitchers Adam Wainwright and Trevor Rosenthal, as well as major regression from former blossoming stars Stephen Piscotty and Aledmys Diaz, have left them on the outside looking in.

This division is more so up for grabs than the AL East. The Cubs play both the Brewers and Cardinals four times before season’s end, leaving the door wide open for a new king in the NL Central.

If either team is unable to capture the Central crown, they still have a shot at the second wild card. It seemed at one point that both wild cards had already been locked up. The Diamondbacks are currently five games in the good for the first spot, so it appears they will host the wild card game.

The Rockies still cling to the second spot. Once leading by five games, in July, their lead is now down to two and a half games. The team has relied on multiple young pitchers this year, such as Kyle Freeland and German Marquez. Innings limits are likely to affect the usage of these young players the rest of the way, so veterans Chad Bettis and Tyler Anderson will be relied on to carry the load. If the rotation can keep it together, they could be heading back to the postseason for the first time since 2009.

The AL wild card race remains the most compelling, with eight teams in contention for just two spots. The Yankees currently have a three-game cushion for the first spot, and are playing well, having gone 10-3 since being swept by the Indians. It would be a surprise to see them missed the postseason altogether.

However, all bets are off as to who captures the coveted second wild card. The Twins are currently in the driver’s seat, with a three-game lead over the Angels. These two teams have been perhaps the most surprising in the league, hardly expected to finish over .500. The Twins have been able to maintain their quality of play, despite losing all-star third baseman Miguel Sano, as well as trading starting pitcher Jaime Garcia and closer Brandon Kintzler at the July 31 trade deadline. The Angels should be commended for staying in the race while playing without superstar outfielder Mike Trout. It was the play of unsung heroes such as Andrelton Simmons and Blake Parker, that have kept them in the race. Now, with Trout back, the team can capitalize and snag a postseason berth.

It’s fair to say the next three teams in the hunt have all underachieved. The Mariners, under the guidance of second year General Manager Jerry DiPoto, made multiple acquisitions during the offseason, and it appeared this year would be their chance to break through. However, injuries have ravaged their starting rotation, being without their three best pitchers for portions of the season.

After a hideous start, the Royals returned to prominence just before the all-star break. They’ve cooled off a bit since then, and with five of their best players heading into free agency following the season, this is likely their last chance to contend.

The Rangers have been the biggest disappointment in the league. Massive let downs from typically reliable position players, and an unstable back end of the bullpen, have put them in position to miss the playoffs for the first time since 2014.

Though many playoffs spots are locked in, there are plenty of interesting races remaining, making for an intriguing final two weeks.

9/20 Week Three College Football Recap

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by Daniel Fappiano

On paper, not many would have expected college football’s third week to bring many fireworks. With just two matchups involving two top 25 teams, it seemed as if week three would be forgotten at the end of the year. However, the NCAA proved to be unpredictable once more, providing fans with hard hits, jaw dropping plays and another week of unforgettable college football.

The first of the two matchups came between #23 Tennessee and #24 Florida. Both teams struggled to move the ball on offense early in the game, mustering up just nine points through three quarters. Although, when the fourth quarter started those offense woes were thrown out the window, as the Gators and Volunteers racked up 37 points collectively.

The game was eventually won by Florida at a score of 26-20, following a 63 yard Hail Mary touchdown as time expired. Quarterback Feleipe Franks, rolled to his right and threw across his body to wide receiver Tyrie Cleveland, winning the game for Florida and seal Tennessee’s fate.

Tennessee may not have come out with the win, but the best player on the field was undoubtedly Volunteer running back, John Kelly. In a game that had sloppy offense from both teams, Kelly was able to rush 19 times for 141 yards a touchdown. Florida might have won the game, but Tennessee found themselves a keeper in Kelly.

The Gators will look to continue their winning ways against the Kentucky Wildcats, whereas the Volunteers will look to get back on track against the UMass minutemen in Week Four.

While many expected #3 Clemson versus #14 Louisville to be the game of the week, the Tigers were able to march into Kentucky and stomp their way to a decisive 47-21 victory.

Clemson quarterback Kelly Bryant did his best Deshaun Watson impersonation, completing 22/32 passes for 316 yards and a touchdown. He added 26 more yards and two more scores on the ground.

The Tigers’ running game as a whole was impressive, scoring two touchdown’s outside of Bryant’s, including an 81 yard score by Travis Etienne.

Of course when Louisville plays, all eyes will be on Heisman favorite Lamar Jackson. Jackson completed 21/42 passes for 317 yards and three touchdowns with one interception. He added 64 yards on the ground through 17 rushes.

Jackson’s stat line is impressive. However, most of it came in garbage time. Clemson’s defense headed by Christian Wilkins and Dexter Lawrence, were able to show down the Cardinal QB and made him look like a pedestrian for three quarters. Overall, the Tigers made their mark as arguably the best team in the nation.

Clemson will take this momentum into Week Four against ACC foe Boston College. Jackson will look to get back on track in a much easier matchup against Kent State.

As for the rest of the teams ranked inside the top 25, most were able to escape Week Three with a win. Some notable performances included #5 Penn State’s 56-0 win over Georgia State, #2 Oklahoma’s 56-14 win over Tulane and #10 Wisconsin’s 40-6 win over BYU.

But while most of the ranked teams survived, four top 25 programs suffered tough losses to unranked teams. It’s important to note that while #4 USC won their game, it took two overtimes to beat unranked Texas.

The biggest upset of the week came in the form of Mississippi State’s 37-7 win over #12 LSU. The Bulldogs’ defense came to play during the 30 point win, holding All-World running back Derrius Guice to just 76 yards on 15 carries. Overall, Mississippi State’s defense had the Tigers’ number all night, allowing just 270 yards total.

However, while the defense shined, the true story is the play of quarterback Nick Fitzgerald. The Bulldogs’ quarterback completed 15/23 passes for 180 yards and two touchdowns. He also ran 14 times for 88 yards and two more scores.

Fitzgerald isn’t the most talked about QB in the SEC, but his light shined bright on Sunday night as he proved to be one of the best dual threat quarterbacks in the NCAA. The true junior will have a chance to prove himself again in a tough matchup against #13 Georgia next week.

As for LSU, they’ll look to right the ship against Syracuse in Week Four.

Memphis was able to take down #25 UCLA by the score of 48-45. While most eyes were set on UCLA’s potential Heisman in Josh Rosen, it was Memphis QB Riley Ferguson who stole the show.

The true senior completed 23/38 passes for 398 yards and six touchdowns with just one interception. Ferguson went toe to toe with a quarterback many expected to go first overall in the 2018 NFL Draft, and won. He was able to limit mistakes while creating big plays in the victory.

Although Ferguson won the battle, Rosen looked strong in defeat. He completed 35/46 passes for 463 yards and four touchdowns with two interceptions. Rosen did make a few mistakes, including a pick six in the third quarter. But he proved why he is one of the best quarterbacks in the nation, keeping his team in the game until the very end.

The Bruins will need to have short memory as they take on #19 Stanford next week. Ferguson will have another chance for big numbers when the Tigers take on Southern Illinois.

Vanderbilt was able to take down #18 Kansas State 14-7. In a game dominated by defense, the Commodores were able to shut down the Wildcats for the win.

Kansas State outgained Vanderbilt 277-270; however, Vandy’s ability to shut down Wildcats’ quarterback Jesse Ertz through the air was the key factor. Ertz completed just 10/28 passes for 76 yards and two interceptions. He did impress on the ground although, rushing 24 times for 126 yards and a touchdown.

Vanderbilt’s quarterback Kyle Shurmer had a decent game, completing 14/23 passes for 205 yards and a touchdown while rushing for an additional touchdown. His stat line wasn’t flashy, but his ability to limit turnovers was crucial during the one score victory.

The Commodores will have their hands full as they look to keep up the defensive pressure against #1 Alabama next week. Kansas State will hope to rebound against Baylor.

In the last game of the week, San Diego State was able to down #19 Stanford 20-17. Following a 22 minute power outage, the Aztecs were able to march down the field and score with just 54 seconds remaining for the win.

San Diego State had strong defense all night, limiting Stanford to just 254 yards of total offense. Most of that offense came on the ground as the Aztecs completely shut down the passing game, forcing Stanford QB Keller Chryst to complete just 9/20 passes for 72 yards and two picks.

On the Aztecs’ side of the ball, running back Rashaad Penny had a coming out party, rushing 32 times for 175 times and one touchdown. After losing Donnel Pumphrey to the NFL Draft, many expected the Aztecs to take a step back in the run game. Penny proved he could be a difference maker, making a name for himself on the national stage.

Looking ahead, Week Four should provide college football fans with some more exciting matchups. Big 12 action begins with #6 Oklahoma State taking on #16 TCU. Mississippi State, who is now ranked #17 following their defeat of LSU, takes on #11 Georgia. And two Pac-12 powerhouses collide, as UCLA tries to redeem their loss to Memphis against Stanford.

Week Two NFL Recap

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by Humera Gul

The Houston Texans beat the Cincinnati Bengals 13-9. This was a slow game to say the least. No touchdowns were thrown by either team. It was a defensive game, with rookie Deshaun Watson rushed in for the only touchdown of the game.

The Arizona Cardinals beat the Indianapolis Colts, 16-13. Carson Palmer completed 19 of 36 passes for 332 yards, a touchdown and an interception. J.J. Nelson hauled in five passes for 120 yards and a touchdown. Jacoby Brissett looked shaky at best. He had one interception and no touchdowns.

The Kansas City Chiefs beat the Philadelphia Eagles 27-20. Alex Smith completed 21 of 28 passes for 251 yards, and a touchdown. Kareem Hunt had another great game for the Chiefs. He rushed the ball 13 times for 81 yards and two touchdowns. He also caught 3 passes for 28 yards. Travis Kelce caught 8 passes for 103 yards and a touchdown.

The New England Patriots beat the New Orleans Saints 36-20. Tom Brady completed 30 of 39 passes for 447 yards and three touchdowns. Rob Gronkowski caught six passes for 116 yards and a touchdown. Chris Hogan caught 5 balls for 78 yards a touchdown. Mike Gillislee rushed 18 times for 69 yards and a touchdown. It was surprising to see ex-Saints receiver Brandon Cooks under lockdown against his former team.

The Pittsburgh Steelers beat the Minnesota Vikings 26-9. Ben Roethlisberger completed 23 of 35 passes for 243 yards a touchdown. Martavis Bryant caught 3 passes for 91 yards and a touchdown. The Vikings were without Sam Bradford, and went with journeyman Casey Keenum. Keenum struggled to get the offense firing in a hostile environment.

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers beat the Chicago Bears 29-7. The Buccaneers owned the bears this game. They controlled the tempo all game long. Jamies Winston completed 18 of 30 passes for 204 yards and a touchdown. Mike Evans caught 7 balls for 93 yards and a touchdown.

The Tennessee Titans beat the Jacksonville Jaguars 37-16. Marcus Mariota completed 15 of 27 passes for 215 yards, a touchdown and an interception. Derrick Henry rushed the ball 14 times for 92 yards and a touchdown.

The Baltimore Ravens beat the Cleveland Browns 24-10. Joe Flacco completed 35 of 34 passes for 217 yards, two touchdowns, and one interception. Terrance West rushed the ball 8 times for just 22 yards but could rush in for a touchdown.

The Oakland Raiders beat the New York Jets 45-20. Derek Carr completed 23 of 28 passes for 230 yards and three touchdowns. Michael Crabtree caught 6 passes for 80 yards and three touchdowns. He had another monster week. Marshawn Lynch, aka “Beast Mode,” ran the ball 12 times for 45 yards and a touchdown.

The Miami Dolphins beat the San Diego Chargers 19-17. Jay Cutler completed 24 of 33 passes for 230 yards and a touchdown. Jay Ajayi rushed the ball 28 times for 122 yards. Jarvis Landry caught a season high 13 passes for 78 yards. Kenny Stills caught two passes for 37 yards and a touchdown.

The Denver Broncos beat the Dallas Cowboys 42-17. Trevor Siemian completed 22 of 32 passes for 231 yards, four touchdowns and one interception. C.J. Anderson rushed the ball 25 times for 118 yards and a touchdown. Anderson also caught 3 passes for 36 yards and a touchdown. Emmanuel Sanders hauled in 6 passes for 62 yards and two touchdowns.

The Washington Redskins beat the St. Louis Rams 27-20. Kirk Cousins compelted 18 of 27 passes for 179 yards and a touchdown. Mike Kelly rushed the ball 12 times for 78 yards. The Rams turned over the ball two times to help the Redskins seal the victory.

The Atlanta Falcons beat the Green Bay Packers 34-23. The Atlanta Falcons started off hot and never looked back. The Packers were plagued by injuries coming into the game and suffered five more injuries to key players on offense and defense. Green Bay did do a late surge that reminded Falcons of the Super Bowl, but the Falcons hung on to win. This was the opening game in the new Mercedes-Benz stadium.

Volleyball Picks Up Third Win In A Row

by Tyler Roaix

Fresh on the heals of a strong performance at the Hartford Invitational, the Central Connecticut volleyball team cruised to a 3-0 win over Iona College. The victory gives Central their third in a row, and sixth in their last seven matches.

The match against Iona was one of the strongest performances of the 2017 campaign for Central. They posted a .250 kill percentage, being their second highest of the year. Not only that, but a season-best 12 errors makes it one of their most efficient matches yet.

“We were just really steady all match,” said head coach Linda Sagnelli of her team. “We didn’t make a lot of mistakes. But even when we did, we let it go and rebounded.”

Freshman Sam McCreath had another strong match. She led the team with 10 kills and posted a .208 kill percentage, a solid mark considering her 24 kill attempts.

McCreath has been a student head coach Sagnelli has relied on all season long, despite this being her first year in college volleyball. “She has a lot of responsibility as an outside hitter who get a lot of kill opportunities. She struggled against Niagara but she has bounced back like a senior. It’s really impressive.”

Sophomore Madelyn Kaprelyan and junior Raquel Quirarte, also had a great match, adding seven and six kills, respectively. Quirarte added two service aces, tied for the match high.

Two days before the match, seniors Maddie Smith and Lindsey Massicotte were awarded the Northeastern Conference weekly honors, after their performances in the Hartford Invitational last week. Both players have had strong seasons thus far. Smith leads the NEC with a .413 kill percentage. Massicotte has been an anchor for Central’s defense so far. The Blue Devils top the NEC with 18.46 digs per set. Massicotte herself averages 5.19 per set, good for third among all NEC players, according to the conference website.

“They are so dedicated to this team,” Sagnelli said of Smith and Massicotte. “They get at it in every practice and every match. We have so many young players so, as captains; they have to set the tone. And they have done it so well so far.”

The win moves the Blue Devils to 7-3 on the year. But with over half the season remaining, Central still focuses on getting back to the postseason.

“I think we can win every match left on the schedule,” Sagnelli said. “But if we don’t play our game, we can get beaten. I also think we have a long way to go and a lot of room to grow. But I’m really happy with the start we have had.”

The Blue Devils begin NEC play this Friday, Sept. 22 at 7 p.m. when they take on defending conference champion LIU Brooklyn in the Kaiser Gym.