The Curry College men’s hockey team opens conference play tomorrow night when it travels to Worcester, Mass., to face Becker College. The Colonels and Hawks will have little time to rest after the game, with a rematch Saturday night at the Ulin Rink in Milton.
Curry freshman Vladimir Cibulka will get his first collegiate start in goal. The Colonels enter Friday’s contest 1-0-1, having won the Buffalo State Tournament in New York last weekend, with junior goalie Justin Ketola earning the tie and sophomore goalie Cody Murch getting the title-game win.
“We have three goalies that we are confident in, so that’s a strength for sure,” said Curry coach T.J. Manastersky.
Three seniors lead this year’s team, with Zach White serving as captain and Lionel Mauron and Mack Heisinger as assistant captains. White was among the team’s leading scorers last year, with 17 goals and 15 assists. Mauron added 30 points, including 20 assists, and Heisinger had 16 points as a defenseman.
The Colonels’ roster features a lot of diversity this year, with players from seven different countries. Manastersky said preseason captains’ practices and the recent trip to upstate New York definitely brought the players more together.
The diversity, “it’s incredibly positive. I think it’s fun,” said the coach, now in his seventh season at Curry. “It opens up everyone’s eyes and you learn about other people, cultures, countries, and ways of playing hockey. The challenges come back to the communication…You’ve gotta check for comprehension.”
Becker enters Friday’s game 0-2, including an 8-1 blowout against Assumption College. But even though the Hawks are predicted to finish last in the Commonwealth Coast Conference, according to the preseason coaches poll — Curry was ranked fifth out of eight teams — the Colonels aren’t planning for an easy few days.
“Any given night you can lose to anyone and you can beat anyone,” said Heisinger, “so it really doesn’t matter what their record is.”
“They’re aggressive, they’re fast, and they play up-tempo,” added Manastersky. “We have to stay disciplined, but we also have to be ready to match their intensity.”
Senior forward Corey Schafer leads Becker in goals thus far with two, while freshman forward Caleb Labrie and sophomore defenseman Christian Leon each have two assists on the young season. The Colonels should get plenty of chances to find the back of the net, as the Hawks defense has allowed a whopping 107 shots through just two games.
Curry’s offense has been well balanced thus far, with five different players scoring goals. Freshman center Michael Curran, who co-leads the team with two points (1 goal, 1 assist), was recently named conference rookie of the week.
Curry students in need of a ride to the Ulin Rink in Milton Saturday night can catch a free lift on the “fan-wagon.” It leaves the Student Center at 4 p.m., and the game begins at 4:50.
Friday night’s game at the Worcester Ice Arena begins at 7 p.m. The game can be watched online through a live video stream.
Curry finished last season 17-8-1 (11-6-1 CCC), while Becker finished 5-18-1 and came in last place in the CCC (3-15).
The Colonels found themselves in a physical, defensive battle on a chilly Wednesday night, that may serve as a prelude of what’s to come as Fall approaches and the second half of their season begins.
The Curry men’s soccer team were able to edge out non-conference Framingham State University at Walter M. Katz Field, 1-0, in a game that saw quite a number of stopped play and whistles.
The first half was played to a 0-0 tie, and the Rams actually out-shot the Colonels 15-7 in the period.
Just 10 minutes into the second half, Curry found their break as freshman Nico Sabbatini launched a missile that found the back of the net, with an assist from junior Brandon Rinaldi.
The Rams had their opportunities as they had six more shots on goal than the Colonels but they could not get through junior goalkeeper Paul DeMaio who posted 11 saves in the winning effort.
Late in the second half, there were frustration fouls for the Rams which resulted in two yellow cards after all the physical play and trash talk.
“Framingham State battled hard, we are pretty evenly matched we just made one more play then they did,” said junior Claudio Orsini.
Sabbatini made that one more play and now leads the team with three goals on the year.
“The team gives me the confidence to go out and play and take those shots from deep,” said Sabbatini.
The impressive freshman hails from Cape Elizabeth, M.E. but is originally from Italy.
“All the freshman have been solid and I feel great moving forward with this team as we move towards our bigger conference games,” said Rinaldi.
Rinaldi also mentioned that he doesn’t think that there’s one star player on the team.
“Different games different guys will make the big play and we need that. We have a chip on our shoulder being ranked last in the preseason polls but we just beat a good [Framingham] team and I think we are only going to get better moving forward,” added Rinaldi.
The Colonels improve to 6-2-1 halfway through the season while the Rams fall to 4-3-1 after the loss.
Curry will continue it’s four-game home stand as it hosts conference foe Wentworth (4-3-1) Saturday, Sept. 22, at 1:30 p.m.
The Curry College men’s basketball team fell to the Endicott College on Saturday, 72-62, in a hard-fought battle where free throws proved to be the difference.
The Gulls came out flocking as they raced out to an early 11-2 run. Such an adversity perhaps would have caused previous Colonel teams to give up, this year’s bunch battled back in the first half, entering halftime only down by seven.
As the second half began, both teams went back-and- forth. The Colonels were able to tie the game at 45, with 9:30 remaining in the game. However, Endicott did not go away as they pulled away late to beat Curry with a final score of 72-62.
The game should have been a bit closer with the two teams shooting nearly identically from the field with the Colonels actually shooting 11% better from the arc, and with the Gulls being out-rebounded, 42-41.
But the game was decided at the free throw line. The Gulls were sent to the line for 31 shots and converted 18 of those. The Colonels were only able to muster 10 shots from the line and made eight of them. The 10 point discrepancy in the free throws just so happened to be the amount the Colonels lost by.
Despite the result, Colonels coach Matt LeVangie was pleased with the team’s overall
“I think we played really… we could have packed it in, but our guys held their own,” said
LeVangie. “I take a lot of positives away from this game, I think we’re taking giant steps.”
Sophomore guard Jared Thorpe-Johnson led the Colonels with 15 points on 23 minutes.
But despite the Colonels’ defensive efforts, they couldn’t contain sophomore guard Keith Brown, who led the game in scoring with 21 points in 35 minutes while also contributing nine rebounds for the Gulls.
The loss marks their 17th consecutive loss and drops the Colonels to 1-18 on the year. Next up is a trip to Nichols on Tuesday, Jan. 30. Curry will have a lot of work to do as they take on the top-ranked Bison who enter Tuesday’s game with a 16-3 record.
One former division-three standout turned accredited public speaker came to the Katz Gymnasium to address student-athletes pursuing the dreams he once had.
Aaron Cooksey grew up not far from the Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton, Ohio, and soon grew fond of sports of all kinds.
By the time he got to high school he played football, basketball, and baseball; excelling at all three. His play caught the attention of colleges from all over the nation and from each level of competition.
A clipping from the Canton Newspaper
In his first three years at Hoover High School, Cooksey was never found at a party due to the strict guilty-by-association rules in the athletic department. He took it upon himself as a leader in both the athletic and academic arenas to set the example that you don’t need to party.
His senior year the rules were relaxed a bit but it still took until the wintertime for his teammates to coerce him to join in on the festivities that night. Go figure, the party got busted and police found him after the evacuation subsided.
Despite not even having a drink, he tried going right to his principal Monday morning to share his side of the story. He only expressed how disappointed he was in a role-model like Cooksey making such a decision.
From then on, his sights were straightened and he came to the decision that he wanted to be a two-sport athlete at the next level. One of the offers he had on the table was to nearby Mount Union College and he packed his bags for the 30-minute trek.
However, at the end of one of the last spring practices, Cooksey went out for a route and felt a pop in his knee. He said it was the worst pain he had ever experienced, for about 30 seconds. After he limped off, his knee didn’t swell the way a torn ACL would so he was under the assumption it was only cartilage damage.
That turned out not to be the case, and the torn ACL kept him out of the football season while putting the baseball season in doubt. In that initial defeat of the prognosis, Cooksey turned to his first alcoholic beverage.
While still being prescribed pain-killers from post-surgery, the addition of alcohol (and a lot of it) did not make for a positive concoction. He had his first taste, and he was hooked.
Cooksey pushed on, however, and beat the 6-month recovery target and made it to the diamond for the first practices.
Although that return would not be long-lived as he went to run out a bunt during a drill and re-tore the same ACL trying to take second base.
The second injury to the same knee within a year of each other devastated Cooksey and pushed him to the brink of his addiction. His grades slipped as they no longer determined his eligibility and he noted he spent more time in bars and at other colleges than he did on his own campus.
He rarely thought about the consequences of his driving under the influence and eventually built a tolerance and comfortability with it. However, it wasn’t after much longer that that all changed.
Cooksey met a friend early on in his time at Mount Union, sparking a conversation with Andrea Calderone while still stumbling around on crutches fresh off his first ACL tear. Over their time together, the pair became like family studying eating and hanging out together.
Fast forward to a 21-year old Cooksey and a 20-year old Calderone driving along after lunch. Cooksey had a couple beers but still got behind the wheel, initially making a few wrong turns leading to a small detour from their original destination.
Cooksey turned left onto a road and fell in behind another car going around the 35-MPH speed limit. Cooksey didn’t have much recollection of the conversation that eventually led him to take his eyes off the road to laugh at a joke.
While closing in on the lead car traveling closer to 65 miles per hour Cooksey was soon directly behind them, needing to make a decision. Fearing a child in the backseat, he swerved to the right, off the road, causing his car to flip three times before wrapping around a telephone pole.
Cooksey could remember the distinct noise of shattered glass falling and making contact with other glass or metal all around him. He thought he had been dreaming but soon came to and realized he had to find Andrea.
Cooksey’s car as a result of the crash // Photo from Dropyourpride.org
Cooksey owned up automatically, knowing the police were going to find alcohol and drugs in his system. He eventually blew a 0.16 BAC and soon had to face Calderone’s family in court.
Cooksey described the agony he could see in Mr. Calderone’s face that he still can envision in his head. After all was said and done, Cooksey was to serve four years in jail and lose his license for the rest of his life.
His dream of playing sports until he could become an elementary school teacher was gone as was his best friend from college.
Cooksey eventually left prison and went back to school to finish his degree, something no one can ever take away from him now. He also travels around the country to speak with different athletic programs, relaying his message to the same group he once made up.
The first coach to give him that platform was one who recruited him out of high school when he was at the helm of the Youngstown State football program. Then-Ohio State University Head Coach Jim Tressel reached back out and hooked Cooksey on something more positive.
Since then, he’s been to schools at each division within the NCAA spanning 11 years.
Curry College Athletic Director, Vinnie Eruzione, felt the need to have Cooksey come to Milton to speak to the Colonels. Coaches and players from every team were invited and Eruzione thinks they were quite responsive.
According to his count, approximately 400 student-athletes showed up to what they thought was going to be just another speech.
“What sets him apart, just like last year’s speaker Hudson Taylor, is that they are real-life experiences,” Eruzione noted. “It’s not someone telling you not to do something because they read it wasn’t good. He delivered a message that affects a lot of others, not just you.”
One senior captain of the basketball team, Barak Swarttz, mentioned that it was very important that student-athletes heard his message together.
“Being in the gym with the entire athletic body of the Curry Community was powerful,” Swarttz noted. “We are all leaders across campus and it was important for all of us to be in the room together to hear that story from someone who was once in all of our shoes.”
Junior Sophia Marchant of the softball team echoed Swarttz comments adding there was plenty of common ground.
“It was definitely easier to relate to; him just speaking to athletes since he was an athlete,” Marchant said. “He wasn’t standing behind the podium; he was up close to us and talked to us instead of at us.”
That response was exactly what Cooksey was looking for, and really what he was expecting coming in.
“I love coming up to the New England area, I love Boston, and I have friends up here,” Cooksey said after his speech. “When I’m in Massachusetts then you know what you’re going to get out of students wherever they’re at, there’s a certain level of respect so it’s always good to come into Massachusetts.”
The Colonels respected Cooksey and he gave it right back, sending the message that is still resonating with student-athletes not to get behind the wheel under the influence.
Swarttz, who is also a Resident Assistant on campus, has always been vigilant of friends and very against drunk driving.
“Being someone that is so against drinking and driving, hearing his story just made me want to always be on the lookout for others,” Swarttz explained. “I know there are people my age, younger and older that continue to do that. With that being said, I am going to continue to make as much of an effort to try and prevent and eliminate driving under the influence as much as I can.”
Cooksey ended his presentation dropping the same set of keys that took the life of his best friend. Now, he invites everyone to Drop Your Pride and not drive under the influence.
BY CHRIS ARNAUDO and COLE McNANNA // April 8, 2017 //
The long-awaited home opener at the Jack Vallely Diamond saw both of the top starters in the Colonels’ rotation start a conference doubleheader against Eastern Nazarene College.
Junior David Griffin picked up his second win and first complete-game shutout of the year in Curry’s 1-0 victory in game one. The win put them at 2-1 in the Commonwealth Coast Conference, and in good shape for the ladder half of their doubleheader.
“These doubleheaders are brutal,” Head Coach Dave Perdios said postgame. “If you don’t win the first one it puts the pressure on.”
Sure enough, it was the Lions who applied the pressure early on with Andrew Santora swinging at the game’s first pitch and connected for a lead-off double.
“It was a two-seamer that I left over half of the plate and he was expecting fastball,” said starting pitcher Dave Griffin.
He was able to eliminate the threat however, and went on to retire the next three batters to get out of the inning unscathed.
An inning later, with the bases empty and no one out, senior Vincent LoPriore provided the Colonels with the only run they needed.
LoPriore lifted one deep to left and took advantage of the howling wind which sent the ball flying to the bleachers to give Curry a 1-0 lead.
That was more than enough support for Griffin, who went seven full innings. He struck out four while only allowing four hits.
LoPriore, in his fourth and final year as a member of the Curry College baseball team, is in his first year as a position player. Formally a reliever, LoPriore has found a way to get his bat in the lineup as a first baseman.
Coach Perdios praised LoPriore for working hard in the offseason trying to find a new position. LoPriore currently leads the team with a .345 batting average.
It was seemingly a tale of two games as the final game of the two-game set saw fireworks from the Colonels’ bats and a parade of runs.
LoPriore was again in the mix, supplying a two-run single after junior Justin Cage delivered an RBI double to get things going in the bottom of the second.
An early lead for the sophomore stud Matt Fogarty was all he needed to start his day. Although surrendering a run in the following half inning, he was strong all day, finishing with four strikeouts over five innings.
The Curry bats came back to life and provided another three-run inning thanks to the bottom part of the lineup in sophomore Jack Kallinich, freshman Adam Duarte and senior Alex McLean. Fogarty went back to work for one more half inning and got the Colonels back to the dugout to get some more insurance.
Walks plagued Eastern Nazarene and Duarte grabbed another RBI after freshman Mitchell Carvalho was walked around the bases to make the score 8-1 with only two innings to play.
Junior Kevin Jones and senior Brian Burke came in from the bullpen after Fogarty and shut the game down, scattering two hits without allowing a run and fanning a pair to secure the sweep for Curry.
Both Fogarty and Griffin should have enough rest before Sunday’s non-conference doubleheader with Middlebury College, rescheduled from late March. The first pitch of those two games is scheduled for noon.