Seniors leave Rudd for final time after OT loss

By Taylor C. Snow

Goalkeeper Brian Frame and defenseman Dominic Skrajewski walked off of Rudd Field after Sunday’s 1-0 overtime loss to Duquesne for the final time together — a little over four years after they first stepped on the fresh grass to join the Massachusetts men’s soccer team as freshmen.

The two seniors have been playing alongside each other since high school, and have the greatest longevity of any current member of the team.

“To come here and know someone on the team and know someone that’s going to be a great leader and is going to be with you through (it all) … it’s a great guy to go through this with,” Skrajewski said of Frame after Sunday’s game.

Taylor C. Snow/Collegian

Added Frame: “It’s helpful to have that guy to go to when things are going well, when things are going bad, you just know you have someone there that’s going to help you through it, and it’s good to have that familiar face through it all.”

With two (road) games left in the regular season, and a miracle needed to extend the Minutemen into the postseason, Frame and Skrajewski’s competitive soccer careers are coming to a close.

“It’s strange. It’s really strange,” Frame said in an interview on Saturday. “To walk away from playing at a really competitive level is hard and I think I’m really going to miss it.”

Skrajewski spoke for the two of them, saying that it’s finally time to hang it up as an athlete and enjoy their remaining days as undergraduate students.

“The athlete part drops from our student-athlete name, so we’re going to have some fun just being a student,” he said.

Skrajewski plans to go to graduate school after this year to continue his studies in architecture, while Frame aspires to go to law school.

They are two of four seniors on the team; also graduating will be Hellah Sidibe, a native of Mali, who walked onto the team his sophomore year as a forward, and Kellen Rauch, a former UMass Dartmouth goalie who transferred after his sophomore year.

Keys, Koch reflect on seniors

For the four aforementioned seniors, it was a forgettable Senior Day game on Sunday, as the Minutemen (5-9-2, 2-5 A-10) were outshot 21-10 (8-1 on goal) against Duquesne (6-10-1, 3-3-1 A-10) in an overtime loss, but the four leaving seniors have made their mark on the team’s underclassmen, which includes 14 freshmen.

Sophomore defenseman Matt Keys has emerged as a young leader for the team this year, and has taken away much from his older teammates.

“On and off the field they’ve been tremendous,” Keys said. “They’ve been really close to me just bringing me through.

“They (run) through extra things on and off the field for us — quick workouts, making sure we’re on time — and if someone steps out of line they’re on top of that,” he continued. “We’re definitely going to miss them and looking back I really wish we (could have) them for another year.”

Coach Sam Koch took the time to appreciate what each of the four seniors have meant to the team this year and in years past.

“Dominic, the captain, has been an unbelievable leader for four years,” Koch said. “He has done everything. Physically he’s been injured, this season he hasn’t played at 100 percent, yet he still gave everything he had.

“Frame has had a great year for us. He made some great saves (Sunday), he kept us in the game. He won us a couple of games earlier in the year. He’s got five shutouts in the first year he’s played.

“Hellah is always smiling (and) he’s an incredible athlete. He’s a great teammate and has been a really nice part of the program.

“And Kellen has been a great backup, and that’s a hard job. He has to train everyday and push the starter. Because of him, Frame has been much better. He’s been a great training partner.”

Frame, Sidibe, Skrajewski and Rauch will be playing their final regular season college games next weekend as they take on Dayton and Xavier on the road.

Taylor Snow can be reached at [email protected] and followed on Twitter @taylorcsnow.