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Archive for May 2009

UMBC Athletics- Year in Review- Look to the Future

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After what the athletic program did last year there is no doubt that this year was a little disappointing. Only two conference championships and those were by the men’s swimming and diving team and the men’s lacrosse team, which were just about shoe ins for the titles. A lot of teams had high expectations for this season. The volleyball team, men’s soccer team, men’s basketball team, softball…the list goes on and on but none could capture a crown for UMBC. But this does not mean the year was a total bust. When looking at the silver lining of the season if was pretty good.

First congratulations for the men’s lacrosse team and swimming and diving team for winning again. For the swimming and diving that makes 12 straight league titles. Talk about a dynasty, that’s just unreal. Justin Bronson was phenomenal and surpassed all expectations for this season. He was expected to be a force but he just made it all look easy. He barely missed making the Canadian Olympic team over the summer but I’d like to bet that he’ll make it the next time around. But he’ll be gone next year and sorely missed but the team has plenty more talent, including super sophomore Brad Reitz who showed why he was named freshman of the year last year with an amazing season this year.

The men’s lacrosse team went through some ups and downs but once again failed to disappoint. Jeremy Blevins showed why he was the winningest active goalie in the country with a POY award but there was a lot more on the team than him. Ohio State transfer Peet Poillon just dominated and Alex Hopmann, what can I say about him. He is the all-time goal scorer at UMBC for a reason, and talk about clutch. He’s never scored less than two goals in a championship game. The lacrosse team is going to lose a lot of talent, but any time Don Zimmerman is coaching a team you know they will be in contention to a national championship.

In all honesty the best story was the men’s basketball team. Last year they made it to their first NCAA tournament. While they did miss it this year they just showed heart. Darryl Proctor and Jay Greene very well may be the two best players in UMBC basketball history and will be forever missed. The team did have a losing record this year and finished sixth in the conference, but it was still a great year. The team was riddled with injuries, three guys quit to limit the bench, but through it all when the games counted they got it done, sending them to their second straight conference championship game, coming up just short of the NCAA tournament. With Proctor and Greene gone there are serious voids, but Chauncey Gilliam shined light on the future. He has all the making of a POY in the conference and will be the go to guy on the team next year. He can dunk, he’s quick, he had good ball control, and his three point shot really came around last season. He has to work on his defense, but at this level nobody is perfect, plus he was just a freshman. Don’t think because Proctor and Greene are gone the team is going to be bad next year. Chris De La Rosa could have started at Siena if it wasn’t for Kenny Hasbrook. But he transferred to UMBC and should be fine at the point. Then there is Robbie Jackson, the AEC has never scene a guy 7’2″ 300+ that is any good. With size next to Fry’s defensive ability is going to be hard to score on next year.

Volleyball made great strides this year. A lot of people expected a championship but they did have some youth. But that youth was great, just not in the tournament. Alyssa Lang and Allie Spaay are the future and owned the rookie of the week awards, but most everybody is back next year and they could be in contention once again.

Women’s basketball very well may win the conference next year. Inexperience hurt them on the road but everybody return next year. Michelle Kurowski, Erin Brown, Katie Brooks, and Tope Obajolu are going to be great and with Michele Brokans, Carlee Cassidy, Megan Colabella, and Melissa Book all returning the experience, look out. The year worked wonders for everybody and while they struggled down the stretch, they showed a promising future.

Softball is another team that will return just about everybody. Stephanie Weigman had a monster season. Twenty wins for anybody is just insane, and she’s only a sophomore and owns the all-time strikeout record. They really made great strides this year and will once again be in contention next year. Look out.

Women’s lacrosse s another team that is going to be in contention next year. They were just one game away from making the conference tournament after a great season. They lose a lot but the younger players played well above a freshman level.

Men’s soccer was the most disappointing team this year. They were legitimate title contenders in the beginning of the year but finished in last place. It’s hard to tell is they will contend next year but the reason for the loosing was inexperience and injuries. No matter how good those seniors were it’s hard to win with that much inexperience. They will bring in a great freshman class that looks to be better than the guys on the team already, but once again, youth hurts.

I know I’m not going over all the teams but I will mention baseball. Much like soccer, inexperience killed them, but the future looks bright. Max Himmelstein, Jusitn Lamborn, Rich Conlon, Austin Drewyer, and David Divita will all be great players in the conference in two years, the only thing is they have to get their and get the rest of the team to be good or average.

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Written by Corey Johns

May 26, 2009 at 1:30 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

The UMBC Sports Blog Awards

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Fall Sports:

Men’s Soccer-
MVP: Andrew Bulls (8 goals, 2 assists)
Freshman of the Year: Andrew Bulls (8 goals,, 2 assists)

Women’s Soccer-
MVP: Morgan Warrington (5 Goals, 1 assist)
Freshman of the Year: Mo Van Vlerah (35 saves, 67.3%)

Volleyball-
MVP: Alyssa Lang (319 kills, 317 digs)
Freshman of the Year: Alyssa Lang (319 kills, 317 digs)

Men’s Cross Country-
MVP: Paul Zwama

Women’s Cross Country-
MVP: Sara Parkinson

Winter Sports:

Men’s Basketball-
MVP: Darryl Proctor (20.0ppg, 8.8rpg, 46.7 FG%)
Freshman of the Year: Chauncey Gilliam (10.9ppg, 4.4rpg, 51.4 FG%)

Women’s Basketball-
MVP: Carlee Cassidy (20.4ppg, 35.8 FG%, 32.1 3-pt%)
Freshman of the Year: Michelle Kurowski (13.7ppg, 4.6rpg, 40.6 FG%)

Men’s Swimming and Diving-
MVP: Justin Bronson

Women’s Swimming and Diving-
MVP: Samantha Maccherola

Men’s Indoor Track and Field-
MVP: Adrian Arthur

Women’s Track and Field-
MVP: Imani Colbert

Spring Sports:

Men’s Lacrosse-
MVP: Jeremy Blevins (151 saves, 54.5%)
Freshman of the Year: Rob Grimm (10 goals, 17 assists, 18 ground balls)

Women’s Lacrosse-
MVP: Kara Dorr (40 goals, 10 assists, 26 ground balls)
Freshman of the Year: Emily Coady (22 goals, 13 assists, 11 ground balls)

Baseball-
MVP: Shawn Retz (.380, 60 hits, 27 runs, .627 Slg%, 9 Home runs)
Freshman of the Year: Max Himmelstein (.303, 40 hits, 18 runs, .432 Slg%, 3 Home runs)

Softball-
MVP: Stephanie Weigman (2.20 ERA, 22-16, 245.0 Innings Pitched, 293 strikeouts)
Freshman of the Year: Keala Mason (.255, 13 hits, 5 runs, .353 SLG%, 1 HR)

Men’s Indoor Track and Field-
MVP: Victor Gilreath

Women’s Track and Field-
MVP: Britney Foreman

Men’s Tennis-
MVP: Fredi Voorman

Women’s Tennis-
MVP: Cornelia Carapcea

Final Awards

Men’s POY: Darryl Proctor
Women’s POY: Stephanie Weigman

Men’s ROY: Andrew Bulls
Women’s ROY: Michelle Kurowski

BREAKING NEWS: Kelly Berger to Replace Courtney Connor as women’s lacrosse coach

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In a surprising move women’s lacrosse coach Courtney Connor’s contract was not renewed for undisclosed reasons and her assistant Kelly Berger will replace her.

The fact that an assistant coach is taking over means that the athletic department made a coaching change for reasons other than poor performance. Actually the team had their best season in a while and we one win away from the conference tournament and look to be in perfect shape to be contenders next year or the following year. Connor probably left for personal reasons.

Kelly Berger served as Connor’s assistant for the last two years and was named the head coach today.

“I’m really excited,” Berger said. “I know I have a lot to learn, but I feel I’ve had wonderful mentors and believe they have prepared me very well. I’m excited for what the future will bring and I know I have a great administration behind me to support me.”

“Kelly did an outstanding job as our top assistant the last two seasons, and I believe she is ready to step up and coach our Retriever women’s lacrosse team,” Dr. Brown said. “She has been a success as both a player and an assistant coach, and I expect the same as a head coach and look forward to great things from our women’s lacrosse team.”

Written by Corey Johns

May 18, 2009 at 3:18 pm

Track and Field Competes in IC4A/ECAC Championships

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Antonio Thomas has been great all season and held his own in the IC4A Championship. He finished fourth in the 200-meter dash with a time of 21.66.

In the 4×100-meter relay Mohamed Koroma, Adrian Arthur, and Jason Powell placed sixth in 41.22.

Victor Gilreath finished 18th in the triple jump while Brian Pendleton finished 19th.

Finally, Britney Foreman finished 24th in the 100-meter dash in 12.22.

Written by Corey Johns

May 18, 2009 at 3:12 pm

Baseball Drops Finale to Georgetown, 10-3

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It was not a great season for UMBC. They only had nine wins and dropped the last game of the season. But seniors Shawn Retz and Tom Meaney went out on high notes as each homered.

But through the down season there is a lot to be happy about. They are the youngest team in the conference and will be much better next year and will likely be competitive again in two years. One year works wonders for a pitcher. When you see the improvement Austin Drewyer made from last year to this year you’ve got to be impresses, so just wait until next year and his senior year. The same goes for David Divita. He can be a great pitcher in the conference when he’s healthy. The only problem is he may not get to that point.

Hitting wise the foundation is there. Max Himmelstein is the future clean up guy and Justin Lamborn and Rich Conlon make a great defensive infield that can get a few hits a game. Brian Russo also has potential as a power hitter. So just because they had a down year, it means they are rebuilding, not regressing.

Written by Corey Johns

May 14, 2009 at 12:31 pm

Baseball Swept in Season Finale by Vermont

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GAME 1: Vermont 3, UMBC 0

Ed Bach pitched a decent game allowing three runs on five hits with five strikeouts, but Vermont completely shut down UMBC’s hitting as they recorded just four hits and no runs. And no matter how good your pitching is, when you don’t score you can’t win.

GAME 2: Vermont 5, UMBC 1

UMBC got an early lead as Brad Brainer crossed the plate in the top of the first inning, but Kevin Clark gave up five runs off seven hits for the eventual loss. The hitting was still bad for UMBC. They only recorded three hits and two of them came in the first inning.

Game 3: Vermont 12, UMBC 0

Austin Drewyer got shelled in game three. He gave up 11 runs off 12 hits in five innings of work. But once again it does not matter what your pitching does, or how bad they play, if the team cannot get runs they cannot win. UMBC got six hits but was unable to capitalize on any of chances as they were shutout.

Game 4: Vermont 7, UMBC 4

After a rain delay on sunday the game was rescheduled to Monday and the team played much better than the previous three outings. Brad Brainer and Rich Conlon both recorded multi-hit games while UMBC recorded four runs off eight hits. But the pitching still needs work. Travis Pearson gave up five runs and his help in Steve Miller gave up two more in the loss.

Written by Corey Johns

May 11, 2009 at 6:21 pm

Men’s Lacrosse Loses to North Carolina in the first round of the NCAA tournament, 15-13

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The men’s lacrosse team gave a valiant effort in the NCAA tournament, but sometimes a valiant effort is not enough. The men’s lacrosse team gave North Carolina a fit in the first round of the NCAA tournament. They were leading for the majority of the first period but a four goal run put UMBC down by three goals early in the second quarter. But UMMBC did not back down. They put together a six goal run to go up 9-6 just after the half.

But with 4:30 left in the third quarter, North Carolina grabbed the lead for good, but UMBC still did not back down. However it was not enough as they lost 15-13 in an expected high scoring battle.

The problem was UMBC could not find an answer for Billy Bitter. He scored eight goals of nine shots and had an assist. Other than Bitter, only four Tar Heels scored and only Bart Wagner recorded a multi-goal game.

Bitter has been praised as one of the top attacks in the country and showed why against UMBC. Despite great net play by Jeremy Blevins, who recorded 12 saves, and solid defense by Steve Settembrino, Kevin Goedeke, and Matt Kresse, he found a way to score and as the saying goes, “when you’re hot you’re hot,” and Bitter was hot.

With the season at an end there is still a lot to be excited about for next season. While UMBC does lose the most successful senior class in UMBC history, as the four year seniors are the only class to make it to the NCAA tournament all four years, the progression of the younger players is something to look forward too. Justin Radebaugh struggled at face-offs this year, but coach Don Zimmerman gave him the full time job and he will be better for it. Freshman very rarely are the full time face-off man on a lacrosse team, but Radebaugh took nearly every face-off since being names the face-off man before they played Maryland.

Aside from Radebaugh the progression of attacks Rob Grimm and Bobby Stockton leave cause for excitement in the future. Grimm was expected to be a key contributor as a freshman but seeing the progression Stockton made from last year to this year is impressive.

The young guys are going to have their hands full setting in for the current senior class. Hopmann lead the team in goals this year and became UMBC’s all time leading scorer. As the year moved on he got better and really became the anchor of the UMBC offense. Other seniors include Ryan Smith, who after suffering a slow start while coming back from an ACL tear a year ago still managed to score 24 goals on the season. Kevin Goedeke and Steve Settembrino have been great surprised this year on defense for the retrievers. Goedeke did not start the season but he battled back and earned his starting job back. Settembrino however is a great story. He spent his previous three seasons as purely a man who came in for man down situations, but after impressing Zimmerman after an injury to Bobby Atwell, Settembrino earned the starting sport and was the only retriever to start every game on defense this year.

The big addition for UMBC this year will be a short lived one. Poillon transferred from Ohio State in the off-season and immediately made his impact. He led UMBC with 45 points after taking over in the center midfield this season.

The big loss however will be Blevins. He has been a two time Tewarrton player of the year finalist and won the America East Conference Player of the year award this year after a phenomenal season in goal for UMBC. Blevins graduates as the winningest active goalie in the nation and arguably the best in UMBC history.

It will be a struggle to find guys to fill their spots next year, but Zimmerman is one of the best coaches in the nation for a reason and he gives opponents something to worry about every season.