November 27, 2014

Scrolling Headlines:

UMass basketball trounces Northeastern 79-54 -

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Students and staff discuss racial and social inequality following Ferguson decision -

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

UMass hockey falls to Vermont, 3-1 -

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

No indictment for Ferguson cop -

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Chancellor addresses campus regarding grand jury decision in death of Michael Brown -

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Northern Illinois hangs on against Ohio, Hunt carries Toledo to victory -

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

SGA passes 10 motions at meeting Monday night -

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Students and UMPD work together during the annual ‘Walk for Light’ -

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

‘Conscious Consumer’ talk promotes business sustainability -

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

UMass hockey looks to rebound against Vermont following Saturday’s blowout at home -

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

UMass women’s soccer’s Sverrisdóttir balances a soccer career between two different countries -

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

‘First Demo’ provides a fascinating glimpse of Fugazi in its infancy -

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

My mental illness does define me (to an extent) -

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

How to master multitasking -

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

One Direction hints at newfound sophistication on ‘Four’ -

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

TV on the Radio sounds rejuvenated on ‘Seeds’ -

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

UMass men’s club soccer fundraises its way to Memphis -

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

UMass hockey takes accountability and seeks redemption against Vermont on Tuesday -

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Large group of males tries to forcibly enter a Hobart apartment over the weekend -

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

UMass forward Zach Coleman excels in increased role against Florida State -

Monday, November 24, 2014

Midfield unit looks to lead UM in 2010

Matthew Harrison/Collegian

After going 7-7-3 last season for its worst mark since 2005, the  Massachusetts men’s soccer team knows that most important aspect of this season will be the play of its midfield.

The Minutemen aren’t coming off the best season of UMass coach Sam Koch’s tenure, but last season, Koch saw good performances out of the midfield – something he hopes will continue as he heads into his 20th season at the helm with the Minutemen.

Leading that strong midfield was Ben Arikian, who will be returning as a senior in 2010. Arikian sat second behind Mark DeSantis last season in goals scored, registering three goals and four assists with a team-high 36 shots on goal.

“He’s our leader; he’s very important,” Koch said. “We know Ben is going to do the job. The guys around him have to step their games up in order to make Ben more effective by being in better positions, by receiving balls on the ends of passes and crosses, by [creating] a dangerous situation and then getting the ball back to Ben to score goals.”

Still, Koch believes there’s room for his star midfielder, who is expected to be a leading scorer in 2010, to improve.

“Ben’s ability to improve will depend on the players around him and their improvement,” Koch said. “They all work off of each other. Ben makes other players better and other players make Ben better.”

Much of the Arikian’s success will depend on fellow senior Stuart Amick, who has started alongside Arikian since partway through 2007, when both were sophomores. Amick scored a goal and an assist last year, while using his speed and ability to get into scoring position to create chances for the Minutemen.

The third pillar of the UMass midfield will be junior Bryant Craft, whose consistency as a starter dates back to his freshman campaign in 2008, when he tallied a goal and an assist. Last year, Craft replicated those statistics, something both he and Koch would like to improve upon this year.

“Bryant Craft on the flank is dangerous going forward,” Koch said. “He’s worked hard all summer from what he’s told us, and he can have a huge impact on scoring goals for us. We need him to help us score goals. We’ve got players that can do that, and we’ll show up when they show up.”

With Arikian, Amick and Craft presumably starting in the midfield this season, the competition for the remaining starters has already begun. One candidate for the remaining starting job is junior Chris Stoker, who transferred from Providence this year.

“Stoker is a veteran player who will be another edition to the midfield, and he can help us in that area,” Koch said.

It’s obvious that the midfield will be the foundation for the  Minutemen this year, not only because of its talented midfielders, but also because of the midfield-heavy formations Koch plans to employ throughout the 2010 campaign.

“[We will use] a traditional 4-4-2,” Koch said. “We will also play a 4-5-1 and a 3-5-2. However, the way the game goes will determine what our formation is. Midfield will be in the attack.”

Steve Levine can be reached at slevine@student.umass.edu.

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