Scrolling Headlines:

UMass men’s basketball falters in the second half, falling to George Washington 83-67 Thursday -

February 24, 2017

UPDATE: SGA announces second and third artist for ‘Mullins Live!’ -

February 23, 2017

Divest UMass and STPEC host panel on building ‘solidarity economies’ in the Trump era -

February 23, 2017

UMass women’s basketball losing streak extends to 10 games after loss to URI -

February 23, 2017

Sixth annual Advocacy Day set to take place March 1 -

February 23, 2017

Panel discusses racial, sexual and psychological violence in response to art exhibit -

February 23, 2017

Judy Dixon enters final season with UMass tennis with simple message: One match at a time -

February 23, 2017

UMass baseball enduring early-season limitation in playing in New England -

February 23, 2017

Minutewomen softball begins season with cross-country travel, string of tournaments -

February 23, 2017

UMass baseball looks to bounce back from disappointing 2016 season -

February 23, 2017

UMass women’s lacrosse senior Hannah Murphy is Angela McMahon’s latest legend in the making -

February 23, 2017

UMass women’s lacrosse senior defenders accept leadership roles in quest for ninth consecutive Atlantic 10 Championship -

February 23, 2017

Kelsey McGovern rejoins UMass women’s lacrosse as an assistant coach after starring for Minutewomen -

February 23, 2017

UMass men’s lacrosse looks to continue improving throughout 2017 season -

February 23, 2017

Spring Sports Special Issue 2017 -

February 23, 2017

UMass men’s lacrosse defense relying on senior leadership with new faces in starting lineup -

February 23, 2017

UMass softball fills holes left by seniors with freshmen for 2017 -

February 23, 2017

The Hart of the Lineup -

February 23, 2017

UMass softball prepares for a long, busy season in 2017 -

February 23, 2017

UMass men’s lacrosse defenseman Tyler Weeks makes his way back from ACL injury -

February 23, 2017

Skrajewski a star starter

For most freshmen, playing collegiate soccer is an adjustment that takes time and energy in order for a player to develop. A lot of rookies hardly see the field their first year, sitting behind more experienced players in order to learn the system.

But for freshman Dominic Skrajewski of the Massachusetts soccer team, this is not the case, as the defender has been beneficial for the Minutemen on both sides of the ball in his first year in Amherst.

“It feels great, I mean, I came in here, not really expecting this, but I have been working hard, and glad to get the chance, and to take advantage of it,” Skrajewski said.

Skrajewski played in all seven games in 2009, starting in six, and has made his presence known even in a crowded backfield that is loaded with talent.

A little more than half of the Minutemen roster is filled with returning players, with eight, including Skrajewski, freshmen members. Four sophomores play defense, with three starting and one who contributes regularly.

The backfield is filled with loads of underclassmen talent that has put the Minutemen on their backs, especially when the team was not producing offensively earlier in the season.

Through its first four games, the Minutemen generated just two goals, while tying Boston University, New Hampshire and Vermont in double overtime.

UMass fell to Hartford, 2-0, on Sept. 5.

David Key, Mark Dangleis and Andrew Henshaw make up a consistent backfield that has shut out opponents in its past four contests, and with goalkeepers Chris Piekos and Shane Curran-Hays forming a sturdy tandem, the Minutemen are continuing to get better both offensively and defensively

Part of that comes with Skrajewski’s maturity and knack for the game, as he was named to the Delaware first team all-state while attending the Salesianum School.

In Tuesdays 3-0 win over Colgate, he scored his first collegiate goal against the Raiders, playing a major impact on both the offensive and defensive fronts.

“It feels awesome [to score my first career goal], because there was really no pressure to score,” Skrajewski said. “I am a defender, I go in for corners, but I just cleaned up the box, so it felt good.”

Skrajewski scored when forward Mark DeSantis laced a corner kick that was deflected by the Raiders goalkeeper, and went right to Andrew Henshaw. Henshaw collected the ball, drifting it to Skrajewski for the one-time score.

“He’s done a great job in the back for us, to come in as a freshman and start is not an easy thing to do, especially in the back,” UMass coach Sam Koch said. “It hasn’t fazed him, he has handled it very well, and when it’s a 50-50 ball, he’s going to win it, and he does it as well as anybody.”

Skrajewski had two shots against Northeastern back on Sept. 19, but it was midfielder Ben Arikian who scored the lone goal in the 1-0 victory. Since that game, the Minutemen have outscored opponents, 8-0, which shows how UMass has been developing its offensive game.

The win against Colgate was Koch’s 200th career win as the coach of the Minutemen, while UMass is currently riding a five-game unbeaten streak.

David Brinch can be reached at dbrinch@student.umass.edu.

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