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Dangleis making strides

Mark Dangelis always knew he belonged in Massachusetts. It just wasn’t until he left that he realized how much he wanted to be back in his home state.

The sophomore originally played collegiate soccer for Lehigh because of its strong academics, and he wanted to be somewhere else. Dangleis also liked what he heard from Lehigh coach Dean Kroski.

He had no comment on what exactly his former coach promised, but when he stepped onto the field his freshman year, he was surprised to find out that what Kroski told him during the recruiting process didn’t match up with what actually happened.

Dangleis started the first 10 games of the 2008 season before he was benched. After two games, Kroski did not play Dangleis in four of the last five games of the season before starting him in the last game of the season against Colgate.

“The coach and I didn’t really see eye-to-eye,” Dangleis said.

He finished with one assist and a shot on the season.

Between missing home and feeling angry about his situation with the Mountain Hawks, Dangleis decided he had had enough of being at Lehigh.

“I had a different outlook going into the season as a freshman, and we didn’t really get along,” Dangleis said. “We just butted heads.”

After deciding that he no longer had a future with the Mountain Hawks, he called UMass coach Sam Koch about the possibility of being a part of the Minutemen.

“I didn’t put a red carpet down and give him the best pasta meal he’s ever had,” Koch said of his decision to let Dangleis tryout for the Minutemen.

The interaction between Koch and Dangleis over the 2009 offseason didn’t resemble anything close to a recruiting process. Koch promised him nothing and said that his playing time would be decided by how he performed.

He knew nothing about the prospective sophomore and offered nothing besides an opportunity to prove himself. That was all Dangleis could ask for.

“He was pretty forward in what I was expected to do when I was here, rather than telling me something and then doing something else, like what happened at Lehigh,” Dangleis said.

Koch wanted Dangleis to become one of the starting backs in order for junior Stuart Amick to move up to the midfield. However, the UMass coach wasn’t initially ready to commit to giving Dangleis starting time.

He came off the bench the first five games of the 2009 season, but made an impact almost immediately. Dangleis had an assist in the Minutemen’s first goal of the season against Boston University.

His first start came in UMass’s 2-0 win over Siena, allowing Koch to not only have another strong defender in the back, but also allowing him to move Amick up to midfield as an offensive boost.

Since starting the past eight games, Dangleis’ role with the team has gradually increased into someone who can now play on both sides of the ball.

He is now the Minutemen’s main weapon on corner kicks, and is tied with midfielder Ben Arikian as the leader in assists. For someone who had no expectations coming in, Dangleis has already made a big impression on his new coach.

“He was an unknown coming in,” Koch said. “I didn’t know if he was going to play one minute or 90. We did not expect anything from him, so we’re happy with what he’s done.”

Now that Koch sees what his transfer is capable of, he is looking for Dangleis to improve even more to help the Minutemen improve their chances of making the Atlantic 10 Tournament.

But as far as Koch is concerned, Dangleis made the right decision coming to UMass, and sees him as an intricate part to the Minutemen program for the next two years.

Adam Miller can be reached at amiller@dailycollegian.com.

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