Four-Goal Run Sparks Colonels to 6-3 Win over Johnson & Wales

BY STEVEN SOUSA // Dec. 3, 2017 //
The Colonels rode a four-goal run to capture a 6-3 victory over Johnson & Wales University in the fourth annual Teddy Bear Toss.

As a tradition, after the first Curry goal, fans throw teddy bears onto the ice that later get donated to children for Christmas.  The idea originated from Jake Heisinger, a recent Curry alumnus, who wanted to do something for the kids in hospitals around the holiday season.

This year, all of the teddy bears collected will be donated to Christmas In The City, which is a non-profit organization that helps give families near or below the poverty line a holiday that they deserve.

“What makes ours different from a lot of the ones that you see is that it’s completely organized by our players, they don’t just show up and play in the game,” said Colonels’ head coach TJ Manastersky on why the event is so unique.

Six minutes into the opening period, freshman Kasper Kjellkvist buried the puck in the back of the net and the bears finally went flying. The goal seemed to curtail some nerves as well after Curry had given up a goal just two minutes prior to Wildcat forward Ryan Sete.

However, that goal did more than just send teddy bears over the glass; it started a run that changed the game.

Adam Valadao got credit for an assist on Kjellkvist’s goal and did not stop there. He went on to assist Brandon Zajicek and Shane Tracy, who both capitalized on their chances at the end of the first period and five minutes into the second.

Lionel Mauron added an unassisted goal to open the scoring in the middle period and the Colonels held a 4-1 advantage immediately following the bears’ decent to the ice.

Manastersky felt that his team was probably the better team, which was displayed on the scoreboard, but one area they could improve on is their penalties.  Curry racked up 10 penalty minutes on five infractions while giving up a short-handed goal.

“I think it’s just the discipline in playing the way we want to play for a full 60 minutes,” said Manastersky.  “I think we played well in spurts, but if we want to be a good team night in and night out then we need to have more discipline in how we want to play.”

Part of that includes closing out the game.

As Mike Emrick always says, “The cursed goals come in the first minute, and the last,” and that was put on display following a mid-ice turnover. Alan Boozer raced into the Colonels’ zone and put one passed Frank Cundiff with only 45 seconds showing on the clock.

However, by that point, Kjellkvist and Tracy had already lit the lamp again to register a season-high six goals for Curry for the second time this year.

Tracy finished with a pair of goals and a pair of assists, sitting atop the box score with Valadao, who racked up four assists. Those co-captains have also helped the freshman Kjellkvist, their line-mate, ease into this transition and it clearly has been effective.

The trio has registered the most amounts of points on the season with Valadao’s 16 and Tracy’s 15 leading the way before Kjellkvist’s 7 earns him a four-way tie for third.

“He’s a smart, skilled, big offensive player, and he’s going to be a really good Division III player,” said Manastersky.

Saturday’s win secures the season sweep of Johnson & Wales as a 4-2 decision from Thursday in Providence brought the Colonels to .500 in the Commonwealth Coast Conference at 3-3.

Now Curry sits at 5-4-1 overall and 4-3-1 in the CCC and will not return to action until Friday, Dec. 8 when they start their home-and-home series with the Nichols Bison before a three-week long holiday break.

The puck is scheduled to drop at 6:50 p.m. at the Max Ulin Memorial Rink.

Corvese Registers Five Touchdowns to Lift Colonels Over Nichols, 46-16

BY STEVEN SOUSA // Oct. 21, 2017 //

The Colonels rode quarterback Alex Corvese’s five-touchdown performance to a 46-16 win over conference foe Nichols College on Homecoming Weekend.

Saturday afternoon was the second game in a row where Curry put up at least 40 points amidst its recent three-game win streak.

Corvese tossed a pair of touchdowns in the first half, one to sophomore Nick Villanueva and another to junior Phil Lebel, giving the Colonels an 18-10 lead at the break. However, it was in the second half where Curry’s high-powered offense really took off.

The Colonels went on a 21-point run which started with an eight-yard touchdown run from Corvese with just over 11 minutes remaining in the 3rd. Lebel caught the next two on 12 and 10-yard throws to extend the Curry lead to 39-10 with almost all of the 4th left to play.

Corvese has been the key cog in the Colonels’ offense this year as he now has 17 total touchdowns on the year. The senior co-captain from Cranston, R.I. credited the offense’s big day to the coaching staff in getting the players prepared.

“We had a really good understanding of what they would be running defensively so we knew how to attack them,” said Corvese.

The defense also played exceptionally well, limiting the Bison to 16 points while forcing four turnovers.  After the game, Curry head coach Skip Bandini said that the key was stopping quarterback/receiver Tony Martignoli, who is an athlete that Nichols likes to move all over the field.

Junior Joe Patti and senior Dylan Gramuglia were able to do just that and get in Martignoli’s head by way of an intercepted pass, accounting for just half of the Colonels’ defensive turnovers.

Senior Stephen Grogan forced a fumble in the 3rd quarter and classmate Jack O’Rourke picked it up before freshman Aaron Brooks grabbed another interception from Cam Hamilton this time, to ice the game with under a minute left.

The win puts Curry in a three-way tie for first place atop the Commonwealth Coast Conference standings with Salve Regina and Western New England who also stand at 2-0 within the conference.  Their overall record climbs to 6-1, the Colonels’ best start to a season since 2009.

Coach Bandini recognized that this group of players is special but he speculated as to why there hasn’t been a remarkable start like this in eight years.

“One reason is the economy, we lost a lot of kids over the years that couldn’t afford the school anymore,” Bandini noted.  “But I think the merit money that they have at Curry College now sets kids up to be successful and stay here for four years.

“The administration addressed that issue because they want to win so I tip my hat to the athletic director, the president of the college, dean of admissions. When we win, it’s really a credit to all those folks that have worked behind the scenes,” Bandini explained.

Next Saturday, the Colonels will be traveling to Beverly, Mass. to take on Endicott College who is 1-6 on the season and 0-2 in conference play. The Gulls will be coming off a 41-14 defeat to the fellow first-place Salve Regina Seahawks.

Corvese Finds Pay Dirt Four Times to Fend Off UMass Dartmouth, 30-27

BY STEVEN SOUSA // Oct. 8, 2017 //

Senior quarterback Alex Corvese capped a 55-yard scoring drive with a one-yard sneak to give Curry the lead over UMass Dartmouth with just over six minutes left to play.

The Corsairs failed to cross midfield on the ensuing possession and the Colonels moved to a 4-1 mark to start their season, the best record through the first five weeks of play since the 2008 squad started 7-0.

Co-captain Corvese finished the game 29-of-44 with 378 yards and two scores through the air, both of which came in the first half.

Curry headed into the game averaging 217.8 rushing yards per game but UMass’ game plan forced the Colonels to adjust from their option attack into more of a passing offense.

After the game, 12th-year Head Coach Skip Bandini explained what forced their alterations.

“They had six guys in the box and were playing man-to-man coverage so they are playing against the run,” Bandini noted. “We were trying to read one of those guys but when they bring in a seventh, you can’t block him so we had to throw.”

In place of the running game, Curry relied on a different name to move the chains. Sophomore Nick Villanueva caught 11 passes and racked up 152 yards, developing chemistry with #12 under center.

Entering the game, the Hanson, Mass. native hadn’t caught more than two passes for 27 yards in a single game and didn’t really expect to be thrown at that much. However, as the game plan changed, he was ready.

“We knew they were going to man-up so we ran a lot of switch routes and worked in practice to get off that man press,” Villanueva said.

Corvese found senior Spencer Tyler and sophomore Andrew Allen in both quarters of the first half before junior Mark Mrozek nailed a field goal to put the Colonels up 17-7 with just over eight minutes left in the second.

The Corsairs’ freshman quarterback, Stephen Gacioch, was forced to leave the game due to injury after being sacked on only the third play from scrimmage. Sophomore Jace Pena checked in and was promptly greeted by sophomore Aiden Cawley who intercepted his first passing attempt to give the ball back to Curry and Corvese.

Pena bounced back, however, and helped UMass rattle off 10 unanswered points to make the halftime score 17-17.

Another Corsair field goal grabbed them the lead in the third quarter, although it was short lived.

Corvese led the Colonels down a short field and found Tyler again for a 34-yard hookup that brought them down to the UMass three-yard line. That’s all the room Corvese needed and he took the lead back for the Purple and White after three quarters of play.

The Corsairs’ first drive of the fourth quarter started just before midfield but a holding penalty brought them back 10 yards. UMass called a slant route for junior Abbi Bamgbose and Pena led him to the open field and he took it all 61 yards to display a 27-24 score in favor of the Corsairs with 12:41 left on the clock.

Despite giving up that long touchdown, Bandini still had immense confidence in his team.

“Our kids always battle,” Bandini said.  “That’s one thing we always know, they are going to battle no matter what.”

Both teams were forced to punt and junior Dylan Vieira-Owens called a fair catch for Curry on his own 45-yard line with 9 minutes remaining, still trailing by three.

Corvese started the drive with a pass to Villanueva (go figure) and went on to finish the drive 4-of-5 for 49 yards and sat with a 1st-and-goal at the one-yard line. Corvese’s 5’11” 190-pound frame snuck right through the trenches and fell into the end zone to put the Colonels up 30-27 with 6:06 remaining.

UMass started the drive on its own 15-yard line and again could not get over the 50 and were forced to return the ball to Curry.

Although the Colonels had trouble running the ball all game, the rushing attack came through with 31 yards and three first downs on the final drive to bleed out the clock and send the score final.

The close victory showcased the team’s mental toughness, something Bandini feels they pride themselves on.

“I’ve been here a long time, and there’s no tougher kids,” Bandini said simply.  “I was telling these kids on Wednesday and Thursday night; ‘You guys are the toughest SOBs I’ve been around in a long time.’”

Curry enjoyed a bye-week last week and had an extra week to hash out the mistakes from their first loss of the season two weeks ago.

Now, they move on to the Commonwealth Coast Conference portion of their schedule, starting with a road trip to Becker College next Saturday, Oct. 14, for a 2 p.m. kickoff.

Eric Miller’s Late Goal Secures Coach Mendel’s 100th Win

BY STEVEN SOUSA // Oct. 7, 2017 //

Giancarlo Orsini found Co-captain Eric Miller with just over 10 minutes to play to top conference-rival Eastern Nazarene for Head Coach Peter Mendel’s 100th career win.

Despite the Lions coming into Walter M. Katz Field 0-9 on the season, Mendel’s milestone did not come easy. Both teams finished the first half scoreless with quality opportunities coming few and far between.

Curry earned four corners but the Eastern Nazarene goalkeeper nabbed the ball out of the air on each attempt, not allowing the Colonels to take advantage of their opportunities.

After the first 45, Curry finished with zero shots on net while the Lions’ lone shot came on a free kick in the 43rd minute. Sophomore goalkeeper Paul DeMaio stepped up and protected his net from junior Nabil Chamoun’s shot.

Mendel felt that his team backed off a little bit in the first half but halftime adjustments called for the Colonels to turn up the pressure.

The Purple and White came out firing in the second half, racking up 20 shots in the period with 13 of them landing on net.

Those shots continued to pile up as the clock bore on, racing towards the 90-minute mark. However, Coach Mendel knew that some adjustments had to be made to get one behind freshman Tim Eddings.

“We knew we needed better service,” said Mendel.  “[Their] goalie played tremendously and he did a great job of catching everything in the air so we knew we had to drive balls a little more and keep him on his line.”

Senior Dave Stapleton used those adjustments as the second half went on but entering the 79th minute, he finally found some success. Setting the ball up in the offensive zone, classmate Giancarlo Orsini eventually found the foot of another senior, Eric Miller, who ripped one past Eddings with 79:32 showing on the clock.

Curry retained the score advantage and stymied any attempts from the Eastern Nazarene offense to improve to 7-5-1 overall and 2-2-0 in the Commonwealth Coast Conference, putting them right in the thick of things with the CCC schedule ramping up.

“We knew we needed this one and I think the guys didn’t panic,” Mendel said of his team. “They stayed within the game plan and I think we are right where we needed to be.”

Coach Mendel now reflects a 100-99-18 overall record after 11 years at the helm, already establishing records for both wins and years coaching. Three years ago, he surpassed the first Curry Men’s Soccer Coach, Jim Kaufman, who registered a 71-80-6 record over 10 years.

“It’s a testament to every player that’s ever been here,” Mendel noted. “Every player that’s put on a Curry uniform is a part of this and it’s a great honor, it’s something that I don’t take for granted.”

After all the dust settled, the Colonels regrouped and headed out to Williams College for a 3 p.m. start this afternoon. Mendel will look to move Curry to 8-5-1 while the Ephs kickoff with a 4-3-1 record.

Football Suffers First Loss at the Hands of Non-Conference Union College, 17-14

BY STEVEN SOUSA //

The Colonels suffered their first defeat of the season on Saturday by way of a 17-14 decision to the visiting Union College Dutchmen.

Traveling from Schenectady, N.Y., Union came well represented as its fans could be heard loud and clear at Walter M. Katz Field.

The Colonels’ first possession of the game ended with a turnover when Dutchman linebacker, sophomore Evan Gilland, intercepted Alex Corvese’s pass and ran it all the way back to Curry’s 31-yard line.

However, the Purple and White defense was able to hold Union to just a 25-yard field goal, putting them up 3-0 with seven minutes to play in the first quarter.

The Colonel offense couldn’t gain a whole lot of momentum throughout most of the game and especially in the first half.

Curry finished the half with two turnovers and a blocked field-goal attempt that would have tied the game with seconds to go in the second quarter.

The defense kept the Colonels in the game though, limiting the Dutchmen rushing attack until the fourth quarter.

“I think our defense played great, but the offense can’t leave the defense on the field all that time, it’s just not good football,” said Head Coach Skip Bandini after the game.

Curry finally found paydirt on its second drive of the third quarter when it started at the Union 43-yard line with 4:20 to play in the third quarter.

Corvese led a nine-play scoring drive that ended with an option play where he called his own number and barreled in from five yards out to give the Colonels a 7-3 edge after three quarters of play.

The Dutchmen wasted no time formulating their response, driving 63 yards in only five plays to take the lead back at 10-7 with just under a minute played in the final frame.

After a three-and-out on offense, mental mistakes started to catch up with the Purple and White.

Union converted on their first fourth-down opportunity of the ensuing drive but the Curry defense forced another on their own 18-yard line. However, an illegal touching penalty gave the Dutchmen another chance which they did not spoil.

Sophomore Brett Waller got all nine yards he needed to put his team up 17-7 with just over five minutes left in the game.

Bandini didn’t put any of the blame on his players for those errors.

“We did some stupid things, so that’s coaching, we gotta coach our kids better,” Bandini said.

Facing a 10-point deficit and only 5:06 left in his back pocket, Corvese again led the Purple and White onto the field. Starting on their own 11-yard line following an illegal block, #12 never wavered and relied on a balanced attack of aerial and ground forces to reach the Union Red Zone.

From eight yards out, Corvese found the 6-2 205-pound frame of senior Spencer Tyler to cut the score to 17-14 with 1:31 left to play.

Junior Mark Mrozek lined up for an onside kick following the score but the Colonels failed to retrieve the bouncing ball and all the Dutchmen had to do was bleed out the clock.

Waller ripped off a 67-yard run down to the Curry four but got flagged for unsportsmanlike conduct which brought the ball back to the 14. There the victory formation came out and the 17-14 score went final.

Corvese felt the offense should have executed a lot better but his focus turned to improving for the next game.

“We were moving the ball pretty well at times, then we came up short a couple times,” Corvese noted. “Couple mistakes here and there, but we need to sharpen up for UMass Dartmouth in two weeks,” the senior from Cranston, R.I. added.

The Colonels dropped to 3-1 on the season while Union improved to an identical 3-1.

As Corvese mentioned, Curry has their bye week coming up so they’ll have an extra week to prepare to return to Walter M. Katz field to square off against UMass Dartmouth for a 1 p.m. kickoff Saturday, Oct. 7.