Scrolling Headlines:

Report: UMass football’s Todd Stafford arrested Saturday morning in Stamford, Connecticut -

Monday, July 20, 2015

UMass names Molly O’Mara newly-created associate director of athletics for communications and PR -

Monday, July 20, 2015

Baker approves state budget, UMass to receive $5.25 million less than legislature’s proposed figure -

Friday, July 17, 2015

UMass bathroom policy to provide comfort, safety for transgender and non-gender conforming students -

Thursday, July 16, 2015

Long-time UMass professor Normand Berlin, 83, dies -

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

UMass professor and poet James Tate dies at 71 -

Thursday, July 9, 2015

State legislators propose budget, UMass could receive almost $532 million -

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Cause of death determined for UMass student Chloe Malast -

Monday, July 6, 2015

Nick Mariano, Zach Oliveri transferring from UMass men’s lacrosse program -

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Four months after banning Iranian students from certain graduate programs, UMass announces new measures to ensure compliance with U.S. law -

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Justin King sentenced to eight to 12 years in prison -

Monday, June 29, 2015

Two future UMass hockey players selected in 2015 NHL Draft -

Saturday, June 27, 2015

Supreme Court ruling clears way for same-sex marriage nationwide -

Friday, June 26, 2015

Former UMass center Cady Lalanne taken 55th overall by Spurs in 2015 NBA Draft -

Friday, June 26, 2015

Second of four men found guilty on three counts of aggravated rape in 2012 UMass gang rape case -

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Boston bomber speaks out for first time: ‘I am sorry for the lives I have taken’ -

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

King claims sex with woman was consensual during alleged 2012 gang rape -

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Wrongful death suit filed in death of UMass student -

Thursday, June 18, 2015

Ryan Bamford uses online Q&A session to discuss UMass football conference search, renovation plans, cost of attendance -

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Opening statements delivered, first witnesses called in second trial for alleged 2012 gang rape at UMass -

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Craft gets off to hot start to begin season

Jeff Bernstein/Collegian

Bryant Craft is making good on a promise he made earlier this summer when he said he was going to elevate his game.

The junior forward from Worcester, Mass. has two goals in the Minutemen’s first two games. His first came in the season opener against Boston University, which resulted in a 1-1 tie. His second goal came Monday in a tense, 3-2 loss against Harvard. Craft’s quick scores ended the mild trepidation on how he would adapt to his new position as a forward instead of a midfielder, the position he played primarily during his first two seasons.

“Coach [Koch] switched me from outside midfielder to forward which was a big change,” Craft said. “But I think he had the confidence [in me] and knew I could adjust – I guess it’s paying off.”

Koch has confidence in his veteran forward, citing his speed and desire to attack the goal as the two strongest parts of Kraft’s game.

“He is so good at going forward,” Koch said. “He wants to score a lot of goals and he’s great at going straight for the goal.”

Craft is well on his way to having a career-year, already eclipsing his one goal, one assist campaigns in his freshman and sophomore years, respectively. He credits his early success to the hard work he did over the summer when he played alongside teammate Ben Arikian and even some former Major League Soccer players on Long Island, N.Y.

“This summer was a good experience for me,” Craft said. “I just went down there with the mentality to try and get better and improve.”

Improve he did.

Even with one goal per game average on the young season, Craft remains humble and knows he’s not the only offensive threat the Minutemen have. Arikian carries much of the offensive workload along with junior forward Chris Roswess, who Koch believes is a more dangerous player when he plays alongside Craft.

“I just work hard,” Craft said. “I go out there and give everything I have every game. I’m not going to say I’m the fastest guy or the most skillful guy – my goal is just to outwork you every game.”

Craft’s tenacious play has drawn rave reviews from the UMass coaches, who struggled to come up with weaknesses in the talented forward’s game.

“He’s not really that funny,” Koch joked. “His jokes are really bad.”

Craft, on a more serious note, understands there are parts of his game that actually need improvement.

“My left foot is definitely one area I need to improve,” Craft said. “I’d also say the [mental aspect] like being able to stay tuned and being effective for the full 90 minutes.”

Koch wants Craft to continue his hot start so that UMass can find more balanced scoring after netting just 15 goals in 17 games last season on its way to a 7-7-3 record.

UMass looks for its first victory on the year when they travel to Connecticut for a 1 p.m. game against Fairfield University.

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

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