Category Archives: Sports

Volleyball Escapes Bite from Bulldogs to Win NEC Opener

by Sean Begin

The Central Connecticut volleyball victory over the Bryant Bulldogs on Saturday wasn’t their most polished performance of the season. But, against a Northeast Conference opponent who came out firing, it’s a win the team will take.

“I gotta tell you, Bryant played their hearts out. They came with a lot more energy than we played today,” said head coach Linda Sagnelli after the match. “It’s a really important lesson learned that every single opponent is the same, it doesn’t matter who’s on the other side of the net.”

“It feels good [to get the win] because this whole preseason we’ve had pretty tough matches and we were just trying to figure things out with new people,” said junior Makenna Lommori. “It’s good to start with a win.”

While the Blue Devils (5-8, 1-1 NEC) may have opened Saturday’s match by taking the first set 25-18, they struggled to find a rhythm on offense early, something Bryant (3-16, 0-1 NEC) took advantage of.

The Bulldogs pushed hard in the second set, edging Central 25-23 to even things up. They kept that momentum going through the third set as well, playing point for point with the Blue Devils.

With the score knotted at 20, senior Rachel Dunlap gave away a point on a miss-timed swing. It didn’t take her long to get it right back. The very next point Dunlap slammed home the kill to tie the game once more and push Central through to a 25-22 third set win.

“We kind of we’re swimming in mud a little bit the first three sets of that match,” said Sagnelli. “We did things in that five point stretch after it was tied at 20 better than we had in the whole entire match. And I’m just glad that carried over into the final set.”

Everything finally clicked for Central in the fourth and final set, both offensively and defensively. After once again exchanging points with Bryant early, Central took a slim 6-5 lead. From there, they played like the team who has made the last two NEC championships.

The Blue Devils rattled off nine straight points from both well-executed blocks and efficient attacking to put the set out of reach, to secure the match.

“In that final set, our rhythm switched. What Bryant had,[we had]. All of a sudden we just settled into our game,” said Sagnelli.

Central faced a couple of issues that match to contribute to the slow start. Starting libero Rachel Fish was battling an illness coming into the game, but tried to play through it in the first set.

“Rachel wasn’t feeling well, at all,” said Sagnelli. “We gave her a chance to go ahead and try to play through it but she just wasn’t feeling well at all.’

Senior Brittany Schumacher took over at the libero for the rest of the game and filled in admirably. Sagnelli credits her for the play that turned the team around.

“She had a really phenomenal dig off one of their hardest hits of the day,” said Sagnelli. “She sat down right under it and from that point on, I told the team, that’s the turning point. It was the turning point of rhythm for us.”

And where Schumacher filled in well for Fish, junior Nicole Dean filled in well for freshman Nicole Celarek.

Celarek has quickly found a prominent role in her first season, ranking third on the team — with 94 kills. Though, on Saturday, she couldn’t seem to get anything going. Enter Dean: coming off an injury and playing in just her second match of the season.

“We have four people that can play [the opposite] position. The two strongest of those players would be the two Nicoles,” said Sagnelli. “And one got the start and just didn’t have a great day and the other just went right in and picked it up.”

With the team nearly at full health once again (Dean and sophomore Cassidy Stankowski are both back from injury), this depth is what helped them win on Saturday and is what will help them for the rest of the season.

“With Cassidy healthy, she really solidifies the whole offense,” said Sagnelli. “Heather [Trueman] out there taking a lot of swings is great. But having everybody healthy is nice.”

As well, having everyone cleared to play is helpful to Lommori, the team’s setter. It gives her multiple options to go to at any time during a game.

“It’s really nice because we’re so deep, even people coming in and out of the game [can contribute],” said Lommori. “Even if someone is having an off day or just needs a little break, we have other people that have the same level of trust on the court.”

Central was led on the attack by Stankowski and Trueman, who each had 14 kills. Both players led the team in digs with 15 each. Three other Blue Devils posted double digit digs: Lommori (12), Fish (11) and Schumacher (10). Dunlap was effective on both ends with 11 kills and 6 blocks.

Central takes the court again this weekend with games on Saturday and Sunday against Robert Morris and St. Francis (Pa.), respectively. Both games start at 1 p.m.

Men’s Soccer Edges Vermont in Physical Contest

by Dillon Meehan

The Central Connecticut men’s soccer team beat Vermont (5-3-1) 1-0 Sunday in a physical game that left both sides playing a man down. Ryan Taylor scored the lone goal in the 69th minute after Junior Cordeiro found him inside the six-yard box; it was Taylor’s second this season.

Both teams played with ten men after Blue Devils defender Dan Casey and Catamounts midfielder Carter Lincoln received red cards in the 44th minute for a heated exchange far away from game action. CCSU (4-3) had possession of the ball at midfield but play was stopped as several members of both teams began pushing and shoving each other. The referee called for both teams to go to their benches and then disciplined the players.

CCSU head coach Shaun Green spoke rather highly of Vermont after the game.

“Vermont is a big, strong, and very athletic team,” he said. “They are off to a fantastic start and just had a tough game against Brown. I wouldn’t consider them to be a dirty team, just physical.”

Throughout the first half, both teams were jostling for possession. There were few scoring chances, due to both teams playing tough defense. CCSU tailed Vermont in shots 5-3, and Catamounts goalkeeper Conor Leland only saw one shot on goal, which he saved. The Blue Devils goalkeeper, Josef Abele, made three saves in the first half. Late in the first half, a breakaway goal by CCSU’s Zach Zurita was negated after he was deemed offside.

Once the second half started, the fact that both teams were down to ten men had a major impact on the pace of the game. With the field more open there was plenty of space for the forwards to make their runs, which lead to five Central shots in the second half.

“Having to play the second half with 10 men really opened up the field, because we’re a very fast and athletic team, it was a great advantage,” said Green after the game.

CCSU nearly took the lead when Leland was caught out of position. However, a Catamount defender made a great save, heading the shot away from goal.

After the Catamounts turned the ball over, the Blue Devils took off down the right side of the field and crossed the ball into the box. Leland could only get a hand on the ball and it bounced directly to Cordeiro, who quickly found Taylor right in front of the net for the game-winning goal. Later in the second half Taylor nearly had his second of the game, off of a Cordeiro corner but an offside call once again negated the goal.

Catamounts defender Luke Salmon made several plays both offensively and defensively. Salmon picked up a yellow card in the 74th minute after a hard tackle on Cordeiro, who was making a run on the right side. However, the Blue Devils turned it over and the Catamounts found Salmon who tapped in the equalizer in the 75th minute, but the goal was disallowed due to an offside call.

CCSU took advantage of the open field in the second half to outshoot Vermont 5-4. Due to the pace of the Blue Devils and their attacking play in the second half, the physical Catamounts were called for nine second half fouls to CCSU’s five.

The Blue Devils play away for the next two weeks with games at Hartford on Oct. 1 and Dartmouth on Oct. 7. They open Northeast Conference play at LIU-Brooklyn on Oct. 10. Their next home game is Sunday, Oct. 12 against NEC foe Sacred Heart.

Hollomon Carries Blue Devils over Rams

by Sean Begin

After three straight losses following the opening week upset victory on the road of ranked Towson, Central Connecticut football needed something big to lift them up heading into the bye week.

They got that spark from senior running back Rob Hollomon.

Hollomon ran for a single-game career-high 238 yards (including two huge touchdown runs of 54- and 74-yards) in Central’s 38-14 drubbing of the University of Rhode Island on Saturday, en route to eclipsing 3,000 career rushing yards. He is the third Blue Devil of all time to reach that mark.

“It’s great for him because he’s been frustrated a little bit,” said head coach Pete Rossomando. “The great thing about Rob is he just keeps going and going and going. Whatever we want to do, he’ll do it. He’s been great with that stuff. It’s just a matter of making sure he stays calm.”

“I work hard just like everyone else on my team. My coaches put me in a great position to continue to have success,” said Hollomon after the game. “I’m proud, I’m happy. It’s a great feeling anytime you can move up in the record books. It shows your hard work paying off.”

The Blue Devil offense has struggled during the last three games, since the surprising upset of Towson to open the season. But, thanks to good offensive line play, Hollomon was able to find some holes to exploit against the URI defense.

“I love my offensive line. I talk with those guys every day on the little things,” said Hollomon. “I try to keep them motivated and let them know all I need is a little bit and I’ll make you guys the number one offensive line out there. We have fun with it.”

Hollomon had 74 yards rushing heading into the first half on 16 carries, a 4.6 per carry clip. The big rush of the first half, though, came from junior quarterback Nick SanGiacomo, who rushed for a 38-yard touchdown. It was the first time all season Central scored the first points of the game.

Hollomon finally broke through in the second half with his two TD runs. The scores came within 1:53 of each other, blowing the game wide open. Central added another couple scores on a SanGiacomo pass to junior wideout Aaron Berardino and a 7-yard rush by backup QB Quinn Fleeting, the first of his career.

Saturday’s contest was a far cry from the team’s first game at Arute Field this season, when they were shutout by Albany. It also marks the continued improvement of the offense since then; this was the second straight game scoring at least 25 points.

“I really think we’re getting better. Every week I thought we we’re making strides,” said Rossomando. “It wasn’t showing up really on the scoreboard but I thought we we’re getting better. We still are. We’ve got a lot of room for improvement, especially offensively but I think we’re getting there.”

Getting Hollomon past the first level of the defense and into open space was just one step to finding a smooth flowing offense. Getting junior quarterback Nick SanGiacomo acclimated to Rossomando’s system was another.

“He’s getting more comfortable with what we’re doing,” said Rossomando of his starting QB. “We’re shrinking the package a little bit. It’s in his comfort zone. He’s been doing a great job preparing each and every week. He didn’t do a great job in the red zone last week but he played well overall in the game.”

SanGiacomo finished the game 15-for-23 with 148 yards, with a touchdown and an interception. He also ran for 43 yards and a score.

With the offense clicking, pressure to perform was taken off the shoulders of the defense, which managed to hold URI to just 14 points and less than 300 total yards of offense. The Rams were limited to just 60 rushing yards all game.

“They [the defense] played great,” said Rossomando. “Even the last drive that was mostly our backups and third-string guys, just trying to get them some reps and rest some of our guys who have played a lot of snaps so far this year. Defense was outstanding I’m so proud of those guys.”

Central was led by senior Shawn Robinson and sophomore Julian Grant, who each had six tackles in the game. The Blue Devils sacked the URI quarterback three times, with solo sacks coming from sophomore Asia Bolling and freshman Shacor Privott. Central also had two turnovers: an interception by sophomore Ahmond Gomez and a forced fumble by Andrew Murdock.

The Blue Devils will return to action following their bye week, when they take on Duquesne on Saturday, October 11 in the annual Homecoming Game.

Farewell Captain

by Sean Begin

The very first time I watched baseball was in 1998. It was the first sport I ever got into. No one in my family had any interest in it, my curiosity was piqued by a family friend.

So when I decided to pick a team to root for, the decision was easy. It was ’98. The Yankees were the best team in baseball all season long. They couldn’t stop winning. As a nine-year-old, that was reason enough for me to root for them.

“Who roots for a loser?” said nine-year-old me.

Fast forward to Sunday, when Derek Jeter swung a bat for the last time: an infield chopper to third that resulted in a single and an RBI. Quite Jeter-ian, to borrow the phrase.

I have never known a Yankees team without Derek Jeter. I’ve been spoiled, really, getting to watch him play. I imagine it’s how people felt watching Ted Williams or Mickey Mantle retire.

It’s been a season filled with cheap gifts and donations to Jeter’s Turn 2 Foundation — a season-long love fest for Jeter that’s made me sort of sick. But, as he walked off the field Sunday afternoon, I understood why he did it.

The game is always bigger than the people who play it. But Jeter is one of those once-in-a-generation players that seems to elevate himself above it.

Yes, he was never the most defensively gifted shortstop. Yes, he struggled when ranging to his right. No, he didn’t win a major offensive award, although looking back, it’s pretty obvious he should have been named MVP on 1999.

A quick note about that season: Jeter finished sixth in MVP voting in ’99 behind Ivan Rodriguez, Pedro Martinez, Roberto Alomar, Manny Ramirez and Rafael Palmeiro. He had a better WAR than every player on that list except Pedro. He was also the only one to break 200 hits. But this did come at a time when the steroid-filled long ball dominated the sport.

So, no: Jeter was never exceptional on a year-to-year basis. Even during his prime, he probably wasn’t the best shortstop in the game. But, unlike his peers Alex Rodriguez and Nomar Garciaparra, Jeter managed longevity.

And, he managed to keep his image clean — often more important in New York than the play on the field. Yeah, he dated. A lot. If that’s the worst thing you can say about Jeter, I guess he did all right.

Where Jeter really stands above most of the former baseball greats, though, was the position he took as a leader on the team. He worked tirelessly year in and year out. And to kids growing up watching baseball in the 1990s, he was the player to look up to.

Just ask Xander Bogaerts, a young shortstop for the Red Sox who wears number two on his jersey in honor of Jeter. He was there with David Ortiz when the Red Sox presented Jeter with his going away gifts in his final game in Fenway Park.

And for me, a young kid who fell in love with one of America’s oldest sports, who picked a team because all they did was win, Jeter was the one who showed me what passion really is.

So thanks for the memories, Jeter. Thanks for great moments on the field and the funnier moments off of them. Thanks for caring more about the fans and the game than anything else.

How to Cause a Racquet

by Ariana D’Avanzo

The game of tennis is not just winning and losing, keeping score or having an amazing serve, but outsmarting your opponent. The fundamentals of tennis are extremely important; this sport is one of accuracy and being able to always think one step ahead of your rival.

There are many factors that play a role in a given match. In this column, the focus will be on the importance of the grip and head size to a player’s racquet.

First, the size of the racquet head must be determined; there are different sizes for different age groups.

Young adults and adults tend to play with a surface area of around 85 to 105 square inches. Beginners can play with a larger surface area of around 105 to 130 square inches, while children tend to play with a head size between 21 inches and 23 inches.

The smaller the head size, the more stability; however, with small heads comes a rise in the power a player must generate. The larger the head size, the larger the sweet spot, which results in less out-of-control hits.

When choosing a head size, you will also be choosing the overall length of your racquet. Standard tennis racquets are around 27 to 28 inches, but you can also get ones up to 29 inches in length. (These tend to be used more by professionals.) The length of the racquet allows for leverage on your swing, which will result in a more powerful, faster shot.

Along with choosing head size, grip size will also need to be chosen. The grip size is important; it determines how strong or weak your hits will be, along with their accuracy.

Grip sizes for adults and young adults rang from 4″ to 4 ⅝”. When gripping the handle, make sure the bottom of your palm (right before your wrist begins) is on the bottom of the handle. You always want to hold the racquet at the bottom of the grip; this is where you will get the most control.

One method of choosing your grip is to hold the racquet in your dominant hand and place the index finger of your other hand in between your palm and fingers: if there is not enough space for your finger to touch the grip of the racquet, then it is too small, and it is too large if there is enough room to fit two fingers.

When deciding between two different sizes, always go with the smaller one. This is because you can always enlarge the size of the grip with grip tape, which will add width and padding for comfort.

Your racquet is filled with many elements that contribute to your overall game and score. A great player needs a great racquet, and a great racquet needs a great player.

Alabama Wrongly Denies Player Transfer

by Sean Begin
College sports has once again shown why the “student-athlete” concept is a myth, at least when compared to the people who run the athletics programs.
The University of Alabama recently denied women’s basketball player Daisha Simmons a transfer to Seton Hall because it would leave Alabama without a scholarship.
For those unfamiliar with the story, Simmons was a stand-out prep player in New Jersey who spent her first year in college ball on the Rutgers teams. She then transferred to Alabama, where she finished out her undergraduate degree, graduating last December.
Simmons decided to pursue her MBA, but since Alabama didn’t accept her into it’s program, she transferred to Seton Hall, hoping to earn her master’s while playing her final year of eligibility for the Pirates.
There was also a deeper reason for this move. Simmons’ brother is the final stage of chronic kidney disease, known as end-stage renal disease. He requires constant dialysis treatment while he waits for a kidney transplant.
Simmons’ mother works two jobs, so she decided to move back close to home to help her family out while still going to school and playing basketball.
But Alabama’s women’s basketball head coach Kristy Curry and athletic director Bill Battle blocked Simmons’ transfer, meaning she could practice with and keep the scholarship she was given by Seton Hall, but she can’t compete in games with her team.
“This shouldn’t be happening,” Simmons said to the New York Daily News.
And she’s right.
It’s not like Simmons is still a student at Alabama. She’s graduated. And she was denied entry into the MBA program there. If she wants to continue her education somewhere else, she has every right. And if she wants to play basketball somewhere else, Alabama shouldn’t be allowed to stop her.
This, however, is not the first case of a women’s basketball player being denied transfer.
Earlier this year, Kansas State attempted to block the transfer of Leticia Romero. After public outrage, Kansas State relented and gave Romero her transfer. She now plays for Florida State. Before that was Sydney Moss and Florida.
After her freshman year at the University of Florida, Moss wanted to transfer somewhere closer to home. Florida denied her. Not only did they deny her from transferring to a rival school, they denied her from transferring to any Division I institution.
Again, after public outrage, Moss was allowed to transfer to any school except Kentucky. She chose a Division III school in Kentucky showing, as Mike Robinson writes on SB Nation, “that all she cared about was being happy and close to her mother.”
The unfairness of Simmons’ situation is cast in an even harsher light when looking at her coach.
Kristy Curry was able to leave Purdue University for Texas Tech in 2006, despite the fact that Purdue’s women’s basketball was under investigation for violations. Then, after seven years ar Texas Tech with little success, she was able to up and leave for Alabama.
Yet, a player who only wants to continue her education while playing a simple sport, is being denied by the same person (and her superiors) who have no problem jumping ship when necessary.
It speaks to the broken system college athletes exist in that Simmons isn’t being allowed to compete. The worst part is that the NCAA thinks it’s solved the problem by saying Simmons can play next year for Seton Hall.
These archaic and inane rules should be destroyed but until then, the NCAA should step in and just let Simmons play this year.

Central Volleyball Loses Two

by Sean Begin
The Central Connecticut volleyball team lost more than just two games over the weekend.
Junior Heather Trueman and sophomore Cassidy Stankowski both fell awkwardly during Saturday’s five-set loss to Robert Morris University. Neither has been officially diagnosed but both went down with left knee injuries that may sideline them for weeks if not the remainder of the season.
“It’s definitely a blow to the team,” said head coach Linda Sagnelli. “You never want to see anyone go down. In all my years, I’ve never had two players go down in a match. It’s rare to even have one player go down with a bad injury, it doesn’t happen that often.”
With Central up 8-7 in the first set against RMU, Trueman went up for an attack, twisting her knee on her landing. She stood under her own power but had to be helped from the court. And then in the fourth set, with Central coming back and the score tied 5-5, Stankowski went down in nearly the same manner.
“They’re going to go through all the medical stuff that they need to go through,” said Sagnelli. “They have to take the appropriate steps and get evaluated by [the team doctor] and get the diagnostic testing done.”
Central lost that first set against Robert Morris 27-25. With RMU (5-14, 4-0 NEC) sitting on game point, 24-20, Central rattled off four straight scores to tie it before the Colonials managed to finish the set off. RMU took the second set 25-16, putting the Blue Devils (5-10, 1-2 NEC) down 2-0.
“When [Heather went down and] we wound up losing a heartbreaker in that set by two points, that next set was tough to get through,” said Sagnelli. “We had to just say ‘Hey, look, we have to refocus.’ I brought Heather into the timeout and I said ‘Heather, what do you want,’ and she said ‘I want this team to win.’ I think that really helped.”
Central managed to climb back into it with wins of 25-17 and 25-23 in the third and fourth sets, forcing a decisive fifth. In that set, RMU quickly went up 7-2, holding off the Blue Devils for a 15-9 victory.
“We showed a lot of great fight and were able to take Robert Morris to five [sets] just on guts and hard work,” said Sagnelli.
With a game against Saint Francis (Pa.) the very next day, Central didn’t have much time to readjust their game plan with Trueman and Stankowski out. The Red Flash (7-11, 3-1 NEC) took that Sunday match 3-1, with Central winning only the second set.
“We had too many unforced errors, we gave way too many points away,” said Sagnelli of Sunday’s loss. “In one of the sets I think it was about 15 points we gave away on errors to them, where they didn’t have to do anything. So that loss a real frustrating kind of loss.”
Both Trueman and Stankowski have multiple roles on the team. Both serve as two of three primary passers in the back court, along with being top attackers at the net. Trueman leads the team with 178 kills this season.
Stankowski, who had just started seeing full game time after healing a previous knee injury, was one of the team’s leading scorers last season and had already fallen into that role in the few games she played after returning.
“We lost our two primary passers and we lost our two top scorers offensively,” said Sagnelli. “That’s a big void to fill. And we’re going to find a way to fill it. One way is to let Makenna [Lommori] do some hitting.”
Lommori, the team’s primary setter, saw a chance to hit earlier in the season, when Sagnelli installed and tested a new 6-2 offensive system, using junior Ashley Lenington as a secondary setter. Sagnelli had switched back to the familiar 5-1 heading into the Blue Devil Invitational, to take advantage of the team’s strength.
Now with Trueman and Stankowski out, Sagnelli is forced to go back to the 6-2 to free up Lommori to do some hitting.
“Makenna’s got to get into a hitting role a little more and work on controlling the ball a little bit and keeping it in bounds,” said Sagnelli. “She’s so strong, when she does get a hold of that ball she can overpower people. And she’s just got to refine that a little bit so that she puts a little more pressure on their defense.”
The good news for the Blue Devils is they are already familiar with the 6-2 offense they’ll run going forward. With such a quick turnaround between games, they weren’t afforded the time to shake off some of the rust. That’ll come this week in practice.
“We have the week of practice now to work on it,” said Sagnelli. “Even though we did go through some stuff on our pass and serve it’s just not enough time to adjust. So we do have the week to work out some kinks and put our players in the best position that they can be in to succeed.”
The loss of Trueman and Stankowski shakes up how Central will play going forward, but they still have potential weapons on the team. Nicole Dean has greatly improved her attack in her sophomore year and freshman Nicole Celarek has been given a big role since arriving in New Britain.
The 6-2 allows for both Dean and Celarek to find bigger offensive roles. It also means freshman Maddie Smith will see more playing time in the front court as a blocker when Lommori is in the back court coming forward to attack, something she will now have to do.
“We’re down two arms and we need somebody else who can put pressure on the other team and it looks going forward that Makenna can most certainly do that.”

In Second Year as Captain, Boden Takes the Lead

by Sean Begin

Sarah Boden was just 13 when the idea that she could come to America to pursue both of her loves first took root in the back of her mind.

Boden, now a junior at Central Connecticut, had been golfing for two years at that point – having asked for a set of golf clubs on her Christmas list when she was 11 – when she found out that a girl from her school and club, Danielle McVeigh, was heading to Texas A&M University on a scholarship.

“She was a fantastic golfer. I looked up to her,” said Boden. “And I thought, oh is this an option, to go to America on a golf scholarship. That was the first I even knew that that existed. And that was my goal in the back of my mind, work towards it.”

Four years later Boden was sending out copies of her golf resume and swing video to potential schools in America. While she wanted to continue playing golf, Boden’s other love of academics weighed just as heavily in her decision.

“I’m mature to the fact that you can’t just scrap academics and go for your sport,” said Boden. “You don’t know what’s going to happen in the future. I always really worked for academics.”

For Boden, Central Connecticut offered her everything she sought in a college. She could work towards the mechanical engineering degree she wanted while continuing to play the sport she loved. The road to New Britain wasn’t a simple one, though.

Boden’s father introduced her to golf. According to Boden, he picked up the sport when he was around 20 years old after giving up Gaelic football. “My dad, obviously, didn’t really have any expectations. When you’re a kid if the ball goes in the air, it’s like ‘whooo,’ [that’s great],’ said Boden.

But she took to the sport naturally, the only girl at her home club in Kilkeel, playing and practicing with the boys and spending day after day on the links.

“My mom used to drop me off at the golf club at 10 a.m. and she’d pick me up at 10 p.m. I would love it. I would not even think of the time,” Boden recalls. “My dad, I think he noticed that I was picking it up.”

Eventually, Boden was paired with Kevan Whitson, the golf professional at Royal County Down, one of the most prestigious clubs not only in Ireland but the world. Rory McIlroy, the top rated golfer in the world, has called Royal County Down his favorite course.

“He’s a really good professional,” said Boden of Whitson. “I started getting into competitions and he told me what competitions to enter.”

Entering those tournaments got her noticed and landed her on the under-15 team for her province of Ulster – one of four in Ireland – that won an All-Ireland title.

During this time, Boden talked to several players that had been recruited to play golf in America. Most of them were involved in programs or with recruiting agencies that made the process easier. But Boden didn’t have that luxury.

“I had no idea how to do anything like that. I was all on my own,” she said.

Her success and experience on both the provincial and national level, though, along with that long-term goal of attending school in America, led Boden to the internet.

“I Googled ‘college golf resumes’ and this site called ‘college golf resumes’ came up,” she said. “So I filled it out and I don’t know if that’s how Coach [Carly Ludwig] found me but I did get a lot of feedback after that from a lot of different coaches.”

Eventually, Ludwig did make contact with Boden and the two began exchanging emails, eventually talking face-to-face through Skype.

“I found out she was really cool, she’s young, they’re in Connecticut, which is great. I wanted to go the East Coast,” said Boden. “It’s a lot more comforting when you can just get one direct flight home. Like if anything was to happen, I wanted to not be too far away.”

Central Connecticut also offered Boden’s desired mechanical engineering major, a huge selling point that a lot of other school’s couldn’t offer her. She had found a place in Central that gave her everything she wanted.

“I got into a very good university at home and I turned it down to come here,” she said. “At home we don’t have the big athletics department that they do here. America… is the only place I can go to play golf and study. I can’t play competitively and study and practice and get training and coaching at home. It would all be on myself.”

Boden joined a team in 2012 and found success quickly. She was third on the team in scoring and played in all 20 rounds the team competed in her freshman year. Last season, as a sophomore on a team with three seniors and a junior, Boden was named captain.

“I think the girls, they had no problem with it that I know. But we were a very close team,” said Boden of last year’s squad. “We were all really good friends. From day one they respected my word. There was never any bother with it all.”

The girl’s on the team Boden joined made her transition from Ireland to Connecticut easier. It also helped that she found someone on campus who came from Ireland, too: current junior women’s soccer player Claire Walsh.

“She’s one of my best friends,,” said Boden. “So I already had one person to go and talk to and we’d let it all out with each other.”

Boden can now offer that some level of comfort to Tara Whelan, one of the two freshman who joined the team this year. Whelan is from Clonlara, Ireland. The two had met previously when the played a round together at the Irish Girls the summer before Boden came to New Britain.

“I’m glad [Tara] has me here as well to make it a little bit more comfortable,” said Boden. “It’s pretty daunting coming in and the culture is completely different to what you grew up with. It’s nice to have someone to bounce small things off and laugh and giggle.”

The independence Boden was raised to have, along with her focus to succeed have made coming to Connecticut easier for Boden, and made the role of captain a natural fit for her.

“I have a crazy need to fix and help everybody,” she said. “I really love to encourage. I genuinely get just as excited when one of my teammates plays well as when I play well. I love it. I love to motivate people and encourage people.”

As a junior, Boden is now the oldest player on the women’s golf team, with two sophomores and two freshman under her that she can help encourage and guide, something that hasn’t changed from last year.

“I don’t know if it’s any different really [from last year to this year],” said Boden. “Because I’m still enforcing encouragement and still trying to bring people up when they’re down.”

Boden has taken to the role so well that she potentially sees coaching in her future. For now, though, she’s concentrating on school, on improving her game and on helping her teammates succeed.

Donovan Finishes US Career in Connecticut

by Dillon Meehan

On Friday, Oct. 10, the U.S. Men’s National Team played at Rentschler Field in Hartford in a 1-1 draw against Ecuador.

The game, however, was so much more than just an international friendly: it was the last for Landon Donovan in a USA jersey. Donovan leads the USMNT in goals, assists and minutes played and was eight games away from being the most capped player in USMNT history, having appeared in 157 international matches.

In the 40 minutes Donovan played, he set up the lone goal for USA, crossing the ball to Jozy Altidore, who dished it to emerging star DeAndre Yedlin. Yedlin found Mix Diskerud at the top of the box who put the ball into the back of the net.

In the 25th minute Altidore held the ball and gave Donovan a perfect scoring chance after a back heel pass. Donovan rocketed a shot passed the goalkeeper, but it was slightly wide and hit the post.

The game was mostly back and forth with both Ecuador and the U.S. fighting for possession until the 88th minute when Enner Valencia rifled a shot from far outside the box and into the net to tie the game.

Apart from all of the USMNT and MLS records Donovan holds, it was his never-ending dream of soccer becoming prominent in the U.S. that made his career so special.

In 2002, a 20-year-old Donovan led the USMNT to the quarterfinals of the World Cup and was named the tournament’s best young player. After that, Donovan’s national career was just starting. He captained the men’s team in the 2009 Confederations Cup, where they upset top ranked Spain in the semifinals before losing to Brazil 3-2 in the final.

In the 2010 World Cup, Donovan had his shinning moment has a USMNT player. During stoppage time in a game against Algeria, Clint Dempsey’s point blank shot was blocked and the ball bounced to Donovan who punched it in and allowed the team to win their group for the first time in 80 years. To this day, it is considered to be one of the greatest moments in American soccer history.

Shortly after, Donovan took a sabbatical from the sport and withdrew from both the MLS and USMNT. He would miss the USMNT World Cup qualifiers and, because of that, was left off the 2014 squad. The shocking decision led many to question the tactics of new manager Jurgen Klinsmann who still managed to lead the USMNT to a surprisingly successful World Cup run.

Donovan was the first superstar for USMNT, a six time National Soccer Player of The Year and the all time leader of goals and assists in the MLS. During his fourteen year USMNT career, Donovan was a key component to the rising popularity of soccer  and a role model to all of U.S. soccer’s rising stars. While the future looks bright for USMNT, there is no doubt that Landon Donovan will always be missed as a member of the red, white and blue.

Blue Devils Come Up Short On Homecoming, Duquesne Wins Its First at Arute Field

by Dillon Meehan

Central Connecticut football struggled offensively for most of its rainy homecoming game Saturday against Duquesne. But two late fourth quarter drives saw the Blue Devils nearly mount a ferocious comeback before falling to the Dukes 28-20.

“We didn’t battle early enough,” said head coach Pete Rossomando. “If we’d battled in the third quarter we would have been in it instead of fighting from behind.”

With just under eight minutes left in the fourth, the Blue Devils trailed Duquesne (4-2, 1-0 NEC) 28-13. Blue Devil junior quarterback Nick SanGiacomo found sophomore tight end Matt Braddock for a career long 51-yard reception, setting up senior running back Rob Holloman to punch it in from 13 yards out to cut the lead to eight.

After a short kickoff return, the CCSU defense forced a three-and-out by Duquesne, highlighted by a sack from senior linebacker Josh Alaeze, forcing the Dukes to hand the ball back to the Blue Devils with five minutes left to play.

With the ball at the Duquesne 48-yard line, Central again began its comeback attempt.

On first down, Holloman broke free for a 23-yard run. SanGiacomo then found Braddock for a 15-yard gain. After a short Hollomon run to put the ball on the seven-yard line, the Blue Devils had three chances to score. But three straight incompletions from SanGiacomo to Tyrell Holmes forced CCSU to turn the ball over on downs, ending the hope of a comeback.

“We just continued to fight,” said Hollomon of the comeback effort. “The ball didn’t fall our way but we have to keep fighting to go in the right direction.”

The Dukes’ high-powered offense ended up being too much for the Blue Devils to handle. Duquesne quarterback Dillon Buechel threw for 333 yards and four touchdowns, three of which went to Chris King, who finished with nine catches for 147 yards.

Offensively, the Blue Devils were one-dimensional: SanGiacomo was just 9-for-22 for 125 yards with an interception. Despite the passing woes, Holloman ran for 131 yards and a touchdown on 28 carries. He finished with 198 all-purpose yards.

Holloman reached another milestone in the loss. Just two weeks after breaking 3,000 career-rushing yards, he crossed the 5,000 all-purpose yard mark for his career. He is now just 81 yards short of shy of Stan House’s CCSU record of 3,347 rushing yards.

Duquesne started off strong against CCSU after Devin Rahming made a leaping catch to save the drive on a third-and-six play; Buechel then hit Rahming again for another big gain of nearly 30 yards to the 21-yard line. Buechel, after a run fake, threw to a wide-open Chris King who made a nice double move for 21-yard touchdown.

However, CCSU immediately answered. SanGiacomo found Holloman on a short throw, which picked up over 25 yards after the catch for a 30-yard gain. Brenden Lytton came in to replace Holloman and took off 39 yards to tie the game at seven. It was Lytton’s first touchdown of his career.

The Dukes’ second score came after SanGiacomo had his pass intercepted by Malik Shegog. The Dukes drove down the field and Buechel found King on a slant from seven yards out for his second score of the game.

Down 14-7 with less than four minutes in the first half, the CCSU defense gave the offense a chance to tie it up. With the ball deep in their own zone, the Dukes handed the ball off to Rafiq Douglas who was instantly hit by senior safety Chris Abner and forced a fumble, which was recovered by CCSU at the 10-yard line. The Dukes defense was stout and held the Blue Devils to an Ed Groth field goal to make it 14-10 with just under a minute and a half left to play.

Duquesne made it a two score game in the third quarter after an 85-yard drive that included big throws to Dave Thomas and King for 23 and 39 yards, respectively. Buechel found Rahming in the end zone to make it 21-10.

Groth cut the deficit to eight after a 24-yard field goal; it was set up after Duquesne’s Trenton Cole was flagged for unsportsmanlike conduct for shoving Holmes to the ground. It marked the first time Groth has had two field goals in the same game this season.

Duquesne’s final score came after another long drive. Douglas had two first down runs, one going for 21 yards. Buechel then found Chris King who made an impressive leaping grab for a 20-yard touchdown — his third — making it 28-13.

Central will look to bounce back next Saturday on the road at Robert Morris (0-6, 0-1 NEC).