This season, the UMass men’s hockey team has taken UMass athletics and the college hockey world by storm with their phenomenal opening half of the season. As of Mon., Dec. 10, their record stands at an impressive 13-2, and they’re ranked second behind St. Cloud State in Minnesota. Their record looks even more impressive when you consider the mixed results that the team earned last season; they finished with a record of 17-20-2. So what changed this season to make the team more successful?
Three weeks ago, I flew down to Atlanta to visit a friend at the University of Georgia (UGA) and watch a football game. The UGA Bulldogs are one of the most high-profile teams in college football, with an enormous fan base and high rank. That weekend, the Bulldogs were slated to play the UMass Amherst Minutemen. Given the records of both teams, it was expected to be a blowout in favor of Georgia. The final score was 66-27 Georgia, but the UMass offense put up an admirable fight. Amongst UMass’s tenacious offense, one player stood out in particular — Andy Isabella. I could hear Georgia fans behind me talking about how fast and crafty he was, making him difficult to cover. An old man sitting to my right was cursing him every time he made a catch: “That damn Isabella.” His presence on the field was unmistakable, and everyone around me noticed. In that game, Isabella — a senior math major from Ohio — received over 200 yards and scored two touchdowns, including an impressive 75-yard touchdown.
This past weekend, Smith College ice hockey had a packed weekend with two competitions: the first doubleheader weekend of the season and the team’s second and third contest. The team faced off against Mount Holyoke’s club team Saturday at 2:30 p.m. at the Fitzpatrick Arena. In the past, Smith has had a strong game against Mount Holyoke and has won every game against their program for the past five years. This year’s matchup was no different. The starting line included goalie Anna Freund ’20, senior captain Raegan Stokes at center and wings, Shaia Bierman-Cow ’20 and Florence Zhang ’20, along with the defensive pair Eleanor Donaher ’20 and Elizabeth Muirhead ’20. The second line was sophomore captain Kate Ginder with Olivia Sheets ’22 and Sophia Foster ’20 and defensemen Rebecca Schaffer ’19 and Natalie Schindler ’19. The third line of the game included Meghan Johnson ’19 and Jocelin (Jojo) Ong ’22 on wing with Madeline Hubbard ’19 centering and Hannah Vogel ’21 and Sophie Guthrie ’20 on defense.
We’re approximately 12 weeks into the NFL season, and teams have played enough games to carve out their places in the league and assess their playoff prospects. NFL teams are broken up into two conferences: the American Football Conference (AFC) and the National Football Conference (NFC). At the end of the regular season, there are three rounds of playoffs before the Super Bowl. The first round is called the Wild Card Round. The top two seeds get an automatic bye; the 3rd seed plays the 6th seed, and the 4th and 5th seeds play each other. After those games, we move on to the Divisional Round, where the 1st seed team plays the lower-seed winner from the Wild Card Round, and the 2nd seed team plays the higher-seed team. After those two games, the two Divisional-Round winners move on to the conference championships. The winners of the AFC championship and the NFC championship compete in the Super Bowl.
Smith basketball has had a killer start to their season with a 4-1 record so far. The team is full of seasoned athletes, with seven seniors and 10 total returners out of 13 players. This experience should continue to give the team a competitive edge in their season.