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The Mass Media

The Mass Media

UMass Boston Athletics’ fall 2022 season was a success

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A compilation of fall sports photos. Photos by UMass Boston Athletics.

If somebody were to sum up this past fall season for UMass Boston athletics with a song, “We Are The Champions” by Queen or “All I Do Is Win” by DJ Khaled would definitely be top picks. The Beacons were lighting up the Little East Conference this past semester across all sports.
Some teams were leading their own Cinderella stories stemming from midseason turnarounds and stunned teams with major league upsets. Others illuminated their play from the get-go with jaw dropping performances that sank opponents’ records. With that in mind, here’s a recap of what went down in Beaconville this past fall, highlighting some moments you may have missed during a season that truly was one in a million.
Let’s start with men’s and women’s cross country. The Cannon brothers certainly do not have cannon balls weighing them down, but they sure run like they were shot out of cannons—hence the namesake. Freshman Jacqueline Earner lives up to her name too, as she rightfully earned both Runner of the Week and Rookie of the Week in the LEC weekly awards, after competing in the Rothenburg Cross Country run on Oct. 21 (1). Both Earner and the Cannon brothers swept the LEC weekly awards that week.
All three appeared in the subsequent LEC Championship meet alongside their teammates on Oct. 29, and many Beacons accomplished personal bests in the event hosted by UMass Boston. Earner finished with her personal best and crossed the finish line in 19th place, while freshmen Angelina Mazzone and Harleen Bassan followed suit by finishing in 43rd and 44th. Earner and Bassan were two of the four Beacons who finished with personal records in the 5k run for the women’s team.
As for the men’s team, Jimmy Cannon led the way with a fourth place finish in the 8k race, while Rob Cannon came in 22nd, followed by Zeph Alvarado, Christopher Druding and Sami Mezrouh. Jimmy’s finish earned him All-LEC first team honors (2). In their final meet at the NCAA Division III East Regional on Nov. 12, the men’s team came in 25th out of the 33 teams. The women’s team finished in 31st, with Earner once again taking the lead (3). With the potential both Earner and Rob Cannon flashed as freshmen, coinciding with both teams carrying a young roster that also shows promise, it’s no question that UMass Boston cross country will round the corner with their core runners in the coming years (4,5).
Of course, cross country was not the only team to make it to the NCAA tournament. Men’s soccer accomplished that same feat no more than a few weeks ago. Their massive win against undefeated Western Connecticut State will be one to remember for a long time, and their time at the top is just getting started, too. Just like cross country, men’s soccer was able to sweep the awards for LEC players of the week at one point, with Christian Suvak, Diego Gisholt, Qasim El-Ashkar and Ryan Luma taking home awards for their play (6).
The best part about these awards? All the players, aside from Suvak, are not seniors, which goes to show that their elite talent will likely improve in upcoming seasons. This sparks hopes of adding a fifth championship in the near future. Leading goal scorer and All-LEC second team selection, Josh DeAlmeida, will hope to provide the same spark in his senior season, and so will All-LEC first teamer, Annilson DePina, in next year’s campaign. DePina achieved the feat as a sophomore, so did Gisholt, who took home second team honors alongside Suvak and DeAlmeida (7). For the entire team, depth is key in promoting development, and they may have struck gold with their offensive presence and group of phenoms.
The Beacons scored 34 goals across 11 players, and if you subtract DeAlmeida’s goal count, 25 goals across 10 players gives a pure example of how talented the team is (8). Frankly, with men’s soccer having an abundance of potential returning players, it’s only a matter of time until they reach the LEC championship once again.
As for other outdoor sports, men’s soccer’s championship should not overshadow the historical season that women’s tennis had. With their win over Rhode Island College, the Beacons capped off an illustrious season with their first ever LEC championship win in their 27-year history. Not only that, but they did so in style, after finishing the year off wonderfully with a seven-game win streak, while tying a program record with five sweeps. As a result of their success, multiple players on the team, alongside head coach Harshana Godamanna, were selected to All-LEC teams for the accolades they accomplished throughout the year.
Godamanna was able to coach women’s tennis to an 11–1 record, with their only loss coming to a then-undefeated non-conference opponent, Roger Williams University. After coaching the team to a championship, while also knocking off Rhode Island College and ending their dynasty of five consecutive titles, Godamanna earned coach of the year. Many players cleaned house with selections too; freshman Ayra Shaikh took home Rookie of the Year honors after finishing her campaign as a four-time Rookie of the week winner and accumulating an eye popping 17–2 record. Juniors Yana Semerly and Lydia Chan took home All-LEC first team honors in singles and doubles, and their 6–0 record in doubles essentially sums up why they won these awards (9).
Elena Albano and Lia Vassiliadis were named to the All-LEC second team for singles. Albano was also named to the second team in doubles for her performance. Her partner, Ayonna Stuppard, was awarded the same selection (9). For Albano, her selection came not long after being awarded Player of the Week honors during the same week she helped propel the Beacons to a championship (10). The Beacons put on a show against each of their opponents, and if this season has shown anything, it’s that the program will be an exciting group to watch in the future, and having only one championship to their name likely won’t last.
With the years that men’s soccer and women’s tennis had, it’s hard to forget that, at one point or another, both teams could’ve been seen as underdogs trying to complete their Cinderella story. Men’s soccer was overshadowed by Western Connecticut, and women’s tennis competed against five-time reigning champs, Rhode Island College. However, the winning streaks that both teams had during stretches of their seasons helped them redefine their place in the conference. The same scenario arose for women’s soccer.
Women’s soccer began their season with a dismal 1–7–2 record, but after their loss to Southern Maine on Sept. 28, the Beacons had one of the best midseason turnarounds to date. The Beacons won nine of their last 11 games and outscored their opponents 20–11, after having offensive struggles prior to their resurgence. After winning seven of their final eight regular season games, the Beacons entered the LEC tournament as the third seeded team.
In their quarterfinals match against Keene State, the Beacons’ offense was electric, scoring four goals and maintaining a shutout against the Owls. However, their season came to a bitter end after dropping the semifinal game to Western Connecticut, 4–0, despite bombarding the Colonials 3–0 on Senior Day not long before (11). For their roles in pulling off a 180 on the season’s outcome, four Beacons were awarded All-LEC honors: Kaylee Haynes, Kelly McNeil, Maria Spylios and Dani Anderson (12).
For the seniors, it was a bittersweet moment in achieving these accolades, but women’s soccer should be more than proud of their efforts after performing as a top team in the LEC for the latter half of the season. Regarding their potential for next season and years beyond, the encore has yet to be played and it will be an exciting sight to witness the team put on a show like the one they had over their final 11 games.
Moving on to the only indoor sport during the fall season, women’s volleyball made some noise in the LEC tournament this past fall after finishing the season with a disappointing 8–18 season. However, their record does not reflect on their play against conference opponents, where they went a respectable 4–5. Their playoff game against UMass Dartmouth proved this exact point, as the Beacons prepared well for their game against the Corsairs and went on to defeat the three seed, 3–2, moving on to the conference semifinals (13).
Unfortunately, their bid for a second upset fell short when they lost to Keene State 3–1. The Beacons rallied to tie the game at 1–1, but the Owls were able to take the next two sets for the win (14). Although volleyball may have had a lackluster season, there were some positives that came to light: Senior Taryn Broughal earned a spot on the All-LEC second team (15), and freshman Amelia Devlin was named Rookie of the Week for two consecutive weeks to close out the regular season (16). The Beacons will hope to adjust over the next few months before returning to action in the fall, and it seems like they have the potential to do much better next year, especially with the rise of Devlin.
The fall 2022 season will go down in the books as one that was full of ups and downs, but it provided a lot of joy for UMass Boston athletes, as well as the Beacon faithful. The promise shown within all six sports can translate to a lot more success in upcoming seasons for the Beacons. With championships being won and magical seasons playing out in front of the eyes of students, the hope for the Beacons to come out of the LEC on top can very well manifest over the next few years across all fall sports. Here is to hoping winter sports provides the same entertainment and action-packed play that pulls on heartstrings, and that the Beacons have successful seasons in basketball and hockey.
1.     Men’s and Women’s Cross Country Sweeps Little East Conference Weekly Awards – UMass Boston (beaconsathletics.com)
2.      Men’s and Women’s Cross Country Compete in Little East Conference Championship Meet – UMass Boston (beaconsathletics.com)
3.     Men’s and Women’s Cross Country Compete at NCAA Division III East Regional – UMass Boston (beaconsathletics.com)
4.     2022 Men’s Cross Country Roster – UMass Boston (beaconsathletics.com)
5.     2022 Women’s Cross Country Roster – UMass Boston (beaconsathletics.com)
6.     Men’s Soccer Sweeps Weekly LEC Awards After Capturing Fourth Little East Conference Title – UMass Boston (beaconsathletics.com)
7.     Men’s Soccer Lands Four All-LEC Honors – UMass Boston (beaconsathletics.com)
8.     2022 Men’s Soccer Cumulative Statistics – UMass Boston (beaconsathletics.com)
9.     Godamanna Wins Coach of the Year, Shaikh Earns Rookie of the Year as Beacons Headline 2022 LEC Women’s Tennis All-Conference Awards – UMass Boston (beaconsathletics.com)
10.  Albano and Shaikh Sweep LEC Women’s Tennis Awards After Championship Winning Week – UMass Boston (beaconsathletics.com)
11.  2022 Women’s Soccer Schedule – UMass Boston (beaconsathletics.com)
12.  Four From Women’s Soccer Earn All-LEC Honors – UMass Boston (beaconsathletics.com)
13.  UPSET SECURED! Volleyball Downs Corsairs To Advance In LEC Tournament – UMass Boston (beaconsathletics.com)
14.  Volleyball Bows Out Of Little East Conference Tournament – UMass Boston (beaconsathletics.com)
15.  Broughal Earns Second Team All-LEC Honors – UMass Boston (beaconsathletics.com)
16.  Amelia Devlin Takes Second Consecutive Rookie of the Week – UMass Boston (beaconsathletics.com)

About the Contributor
Nick Collins, Sports Editor