Scrolling Headlines:

UMass women’s basketball handles Duquesne at home -

January 16, 2017

UMass men’s basketball’s late comeback falls short after blowing 15-point first-half lead -

January 15, 2017

UMass hockey outlasted at home against No. 6 UMass Lowell -

January 14, 2017

Hailey Leidel hits second buzzer beater of the season to give UMass women’s basketball win over Davidson -

January 13, 2017

UMass football hosts Maine at Fenway Park in 2017 -

January 12, 2017

UMass men’s basketball snaps losing streak and upsets Dayton Wednesday night at Mullins Center -

January 11, 2017

UMass women’s track and field takes second at Dartmouth Relays -

January 10, 2017

UMass hockey falls to No. 5 Boston University at Frozen Fenway -

January 8, 2017

UMass professor to make third appearance on ‘Jeopardy!’ -

January 8, 2017

UMass women’s basketball suffers brutal loss on road against Saint Joseph’s -

January 7, 2017

UMass men’s basketball drops thirds straight, falls to VCU 81-64 -

January 7, 2017

UMass men’s basketball drops tightly-contested conference matchup against George Mason Wednesday night -

January 4, 2017

Late-game defense preserves UMass women’s basketball’s win against rival Rhode Island -

January 4, 2017

AIC shuts out UMass hockey 3-0 at Mullins Center -

January 4, 2017

UMass professor to appear as contestant on ‘Jeopardy!’ Thursday night -

January 4, 2017

Penalties plague UMass hockey in Mariucci Classic championship game -

January 2, 2017

UMass men’s basketball falls in A-10 opener to St. Bonaventure and its veteran backcourt -

December 30, 2016

UMass woman’s basketball ends FIU Holiday Classic with 65-47 loss to Drexel -

December 29, 2016

UMass men’s basketball finishes non-conference schedule strong with win over Georgia State -

December 28, 2016

Brett Boeing joins UMass hockey for second half of season -

December 28, 2016

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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