Time to amp up the sport spirit

Basketball: Clark vs. MIT

Basketball: Clark vs. MIT

By Jonah Naghi

People say that Clark University is notorious for having a lack of sport spirit and talent. But last Wednesday night, January 23rd, Clark University’s Men’s Basketball team played an exciting game against MIT. MIT had played against Harvard University, a Division I school, in an exhibition game earlier in the year and lost only by five points. Of course, it was probably against Harvard’s practice squad since it was an exhibition game, but to come that close to a Division I team’s practice squad proved that MIT was no push-over coming to Clark. The Cougars proved they weren’t push-overs either as they put up a fight the whole night with their fellow Clarkie students supporting and encouraging them the whole way.

One of the people sitting next to me, a regular at Clark basketball games, said thatthe stands were relatively crowded. The side benches had a decent crowd and the stands facing the baskets were packed with Clarkies yelling and cheering from start to finish. They had good reason to cheer; after an exciting first half with charges, good defensive plays, and a big layup at the end the Cougars led 29-28 going into the half.

At halftime there was a great performance by the cheerleading squad followed by a raffle and a shooting contest. It was a peculiar raffle; if you were wearing a white shirt when you came to the game, you got a ticket and there was a raffle. If your number was chosen you got a set of shots to supposedly win a TV. One of the raffle winners, Freshman Mike Eglow, shot a bunch of threes, but he kept coming up short time and time again. The clock was ticking, but he didn’t break a sweat and with the Clark students facing him from the stands cheering him on, Mike drained his last shot from three point range at the buzzer and the crowd went wild.

However, to Mike’s dismay, he was awarded a coupon instead of the TV, but he would be the first one to tell you: the moment of making the shot was the real prize. I asked him what was going through his mind when he shot the ball, and he said “it felt like it was a moment in destiny.”

In the second half, MIT broke it open a little with some three point shots, but the Cougars kept chipping away to stay in the game with a couple of add ones. The Cougars trailed 49-46 with just under four minutes left. Though shaken up after the play, Captain Brian Vayda made a huge layup along with an add one to come within one point. He was still able to take the free throw, but it just went in and out of the basket as the crowd nearly leaped for joy. Speaking of the crowd, in the second half, Clark students were on MIT’s side of the court, so when they shot free throws the students were crazy, loud, and making annoying hand gestures to distract the shooter. It felt like a legitimate professional basketball game. Who says Clark doesn’t have sport spirit?

With about a minute and a half left, Clark was down by one point and had the ball. A fadeaway just went bounced out of the basket as the crowd was ready to explode. One could only imagine how loud it would have been had the ball gone in, but the Cougars weren’t thinking what could have been, they went right back on defense. MIT shot free throws with thirty-one seconds left. The crowd did everything it could with yelling and hand gestures, but both shots went in.

Clark then had the ball with less than thirty seconds left. The Cougars knew they needed a three-pointer. They got a good look, took it, but it just bounced off the rim. However, with great hustle, the Cougars got the offensive rebound, kicked it back out and took a desperate shot, but MIT played tough defense and it just fell short. The Cougars then went into the fouling situation and the crowd again yelled and waved their hands as much as they could, but MIT, a good and experienced team, showed why they put up a good fight against Harvard by making clutch free throws and pulled away 55-50.

Nevertheless, we cannot disregard how well the Cougars played and how much heart they showed out there. This is a good team. Again, MIT lost to Harvard in an exhibition game by only five points and the Cougars came just as close. This is a team that’s got potential, but they need your help to get to the next level. I got a chance to talk to senior Marcus Armstrong after the game and asked him how he felt about how the relatively large crowd helped them play. He said, “It definitely gave us energy…It’s good to have support when things are tough…you need to get the energy from somewhere.”

As I mentioned before, Clark seems to be notorious for a lack of sport spirit and talent, but that may not be the case anymore from what I witnessed one Wednesday night. But again, they need to your help, so please come to the Cougars’ basketball games to cheer them on. It’s time to amp up the sport spirit here at Clark University!

Cougar of the Week: Travis Durkin

By Mai Hayashi
Scarlet Staff

Photo by Mai Hayashi.

Name: Travis Durkin
Year: Senior
Home: Woonsocket, RI
Sport: Lacrosse
Position: Defense

Q. How long have you been playing lacrosse?

A. This is my eighth year.

Q. How is this season going so far?

A. We are in a slump right now. But the next few games are really important. We need to get out of this situation.

Q. What condition is the team currently in?

A. We have been working hard and practicing harder. But we have seen lots of injuries this season.

Q. You are about to finish your fourth year on the lacrosse team at Clark. How do you feel about it?

A. I will definitely miss it. I will probably stay and play lacrosse or help out as a coach.

Q. Have you had any memorable moments?

A. Last year, we won in double-overtime against Wheaton. Continue reading

Cougar of the Week: Andrew LeBlanc

By Mai Hayashi
Scarlet Staff

Photo by Mai Hayashi.

Name: Andrew LeBlanc
Year: Junior
Hometown: Farmington, CT
Sport: Baseball
Position: Pitcher

Q. How long have you been playing baseball and what made you start playing?

A. Since I was little. My parents got me into it. Being a fan of the Yankees helped.

Q. In the last three weeks, you have been named New England Women’s And Men’s Athletic Conference (NEWMAC) Pitcher of the Week twice. How do you feel about it?

A. I feel pretty good. I have great teammates here, and they always support me.

Q. How do you maintain your good condition and stay in shape?

A. I have just been working out in the gym.

Q. Do you notice any difference between this season and last season?

A. I had a really good year last season. Conditioning was great, and I was in good shape. But I feel a lot better and am more ready this year.

Q. Did you have any memorable moments?

A. I threw a no-hitter last year. I felt really good.

Q. How has baseball changed your life?

A. All of my best friends in high school and college are from a baseball team. We are growing up together. I have a really good relationship with them.

Q. What is your motivation?

A. I just think of getting better with my teammates and doing well. I have been improving every day.

Cougar of the Week: Dan Paradee

By Mai Hayashi
Scarlet Staff

Photo by Mai Hayashi

Name: Dan Paradee
Year: Junior
Home: Gardiner, Maine
Sport: Tennis

Q. How long have you been playing?

A. Since freshman year of high school.

Q. What made you start playing tennis?

A. I tried baseball and lacrosse but I didn’t like helmet, so I picked tennis.

Q. How is this season going so far?

A. It feels good to win and nice to get a conference win. This year we have five freshmen, which I am happy about. Personally, it’s been pretty good. I’ve lost only one match. It’s a lot of fun, and I have improved my game.

Q. Do you have any team or college that you are excited to play?

A. Babson College. We will play them this Saturday. We lost last year, so it’s going to be a good game. And Coast Guard Academy (on April 26th). They are a really good team. Continue reading

Private Johnson brings sense of duty to lacrosse field

National Guard soldier returns to Clark after tour in Afghanistan

By Claire Tierney
Scarlet Staff

Lacrosse team defenseman Samuel Johnson has recently returned from a tour in Afghanistan where he was stationed as a part of the U.S. Army National Guard. Private First Class Johnson gained

Private Johnson (left) and US Navy Commander Brad Brewer. Photo courtesy of The Boston Globe.

a lifetime of experience and knowledge when he was placed with Bravo Company, First Battalion, 182nd Infantry, and has since put his wealth of experience to good use for Clark University’s Varsity Lacrosse team.

A lacrosse star throughout high school, Johnson continued to play throughout his college career which has spanned Virginia Tech, Gettysburg College, and Clark University.

After participating in ROTC throughout college, Johnson realized that college might not be right for him and dropped out to enlist in the U.S. Army as an infantryman.

After his basic and specialized training in the spring of 2010, Johnson decided to once again pursue a bachelor’s degree while in the National Guard. That fall, he enrolled at Clark. Continue reading

Cougar of the Week: Maya Allen

By Mai Hayashi
Scarlet Staff

Photo by Kevin Anderson.

Name: Maya Allen
Year: Sophomore
Hometown: Concord, MA
Sport: Softball
Position: Shortstop

Q. How long have you been playing?

A. Since I was 8 years old. I started playing in the town rec league.

Q. What made you start?

A. I’ve always loved baseball. My dad used to take me to Red Sox games all the time. I started out playing baseball before softball.

Q. Last season, you appeared in all 33 games. How did you keep your good mindset through the season?

A. You have to stay focused to recognize what you need to work on without getting too down on yourself. There is always room for improvement.

Q. Starting at 8-4, how do you think the season is going so far?

A. Well. I think we have a good team and can go far in the tournament.

Q. How is the condition of your team?

A. It started off kind of rough in the fall after some players got injured, but they’re working on getting better. Our seniors are great and we all get along as a team. Continue reading

Cougars battle teams in Florida

Team members talk about DeSales and Catholic in Clearwater

By Joshua Tessler
Scarlet Staff

The Clark Cougars Lacrosse team opened up their 2012 regular season at the Joe DiMaggio Sports Complexin Clearwater, Florida. The Cougars played two games in Florida against

Senior Phil Winslow during Monday night’s game against Anna Maria. Photo by Liz Mattarazzo.

Catholic University and DeSales University.

In their first game against Catholic University, they fell short 10-9. It was a really close match that came down to the last goal scored. Jeffrey Wasson, Attacker, fueled the Cougars by scoring three goals on Patrick Pfaff, Catholic’s Goaltender.

Three days later, the Cougars battled DeSales University, and they won 12-2. The offensive power from Chris Johnson, Jeffrey Wasson, Jonah Bass, and Phil Winslow helped solidify the win. Combined, they scored ten goals.

“Our offensive threats, Chris Johnson and Phil Winslow, have been playing really well,” Sam McAdam Defenseman and Captain said.

Even though this trip to Florida was mainly for lacrosse, the Cougars had plenty of opportunities to bond in a highly appropriate manner as a team away from the field.

“In Florida, we decided it would be best to keep in the frame work. As Clark’s Athletic Director Sean Sullivan had addressed to us,” Wasson said.

The team was able to spend a couple of hours at the Tampa Bay Zoo and they also had countless opportunities to interact with their fellow teammates. Continue reading

Cougar of the Week: Aaron Chin

By Mai Hayashi
Scarlet Staff

Photo by Liz Mattarazzo.

Name: Aaron Chin
Year: 5th year
Home: Hong Kong
Sport: Tennis

Q. How long have you been playing tennis?

A. Since I was eight years old. I followed my two-year-old sister’s lessons and helped out. That was my first experience with tennis. I hated it when I started learning tennis on my own because I was really shy with other kids, but then I started and liked it again when I was a teenager.

Q. How has tennis changed your life?

A. I think tennis is an individual sport and I like playing singles. It shaped me to have a more independent personality because you have to think on your own and need to be a strong person.

Q. You already completed a four-year career at Clark, and you were named captain of the team your junior and senior years. Any memorable moments?

A. Even though our backgrounds, personalities, and mentalities are different, the team got together and learned from each other. And I convinced my roommate, Jason Lui, to join the tennis team. We have been best friends ever since. Continue reading

Clark hires new soccer coach

O’Toole brings high hopes and and offensive mindset to the team

By Joshua Tessler
Scarlet Staff

On February 21, 2012, Clark’s Director of Athletics and Recreation, Sean Sullivan announced that Matthew O’Toole, the Assistant Coach of Amherst College, will become the Cougars’ head coach for the 2012 Regular Season.

Coach Matthew O'Toole, Image courtesy of newmacsports.com

“We are thrilled to offer Coach O’Toole the opportunity to coach and lead our men’s soccer program. His understanding of how athletics can positively impact the health of an institution reveals an appreciation and desire to attain not only competitive success but support the holistic education of our students,” Sullivan stated in Clark’s press release.

Last season, which was O’Toole’s first season as the Assistant Coach of Amherst College, he led his squad to a 16-2-2 record. He also assisted in Amherst’s NCAA tournament run, as the team got to the third round.

Prior to Amherst, O’Toole was the head coach at Bridgewater College for the 2009 and 2010 regular seasons. He also held an Assistant Coach post at the University of Richmond from 2004-2008. Continue reading