Red & Black Spring 2018

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Red Black.



THE WAIT IS OVER Adam Gaudette hoists the Beanpot as

teammates look on in celebration of Northeastern’s first tournament win since 1988

BEASTS OF THE EAST Women win first Hockey East championship

PETER JEFF ROBY KONYA The legacy and future of Athletics leadership

SHAWN OCCEUS Point guard steals DPOY honors



LETTER FROM THE EDITORS Sports are unpredictable, featuring twists and turns in a script that only reality can write. They give you something to cheer for, something to hope for, a group to believe in.

They can serve as an escape from the real world – a safe haven from the monotony of weekly classes and the grind of co-op. But they can also serve as a destination. Seats lie empty as our Husky athletes give their all on the field, court or ice. It’s been a year worth remembering in another chapter of the Northeastern legacy, but those memories were too often witnessed by too small an audience. And that’s what we’re trying to change with the Red & Black. We’re giving a voice to our student-athletes, providing them with a podium to project the passion that drives them. We want to unearth the deepest corridors of Northeastern Athletics, offering students a rare glimpse of beyond the curtain. If we can fill one more seat, add one more cheer to the crowd, then we’ve done our job. Thank you for reading, and we’ll see you at the game.


Jenna Ciccotelli | Jake Sauberman

Chief of Design Isaac Milley

Photo Director Brian Bae

Contributing Writers

Grant Elgin | Brian Fields | Adam Gostomelsky | Noah Greany Madison Kelly | Bailey Knecht | Kerri Zerfoss


Alex Melagrano | Dan Munch | Lauren Scornavacca | Masayuki Tamura

Faculty Advisor

Chuck Fountain The Red & Black would also like to thank Jim Pierce and Northeastern Athletics for their support.



After leading the conference with 64 steals, Shawn Occeus was named the CAA Defensive Player of the Year.



The Northeastern Athletics facilities team shares the process of turning Matthews around from hardwood to ice.



Hockey alumna Kendall Coyne is fresh off of a gold medal in the 2018 Winter Olympics.





Devon Begley and Tomas Murphy shed light on the habits of CAA Coach of the Year Bill Coen.



How an unlikely trio of forwards banded together to break a 30-year curse and bring the Beanpot back to Huntington.



Led by a core of seniors, women’s hockey won their first-ever Hockey East Championship.



Jeff Konya takes over the reins of the Athletics department armed with fresh ideas and an unafraid determination.

Northeastern alumnus Carlos Peña’s journey from a teen in a new country to a major player in a World Series run.




Infielder Nolan Lang stepped up to help train a service dog for his youngest teammate.



Matt Lengel was there when Northeastern disbanded the football program. Then he won a Super Bowl.



Kerri Zerfoss shares an intimate look into the women’s soccer team’s spring break trip to France and Spain.


Nestled in the heart of campus is a nod to modern baseball’s humble beginnings.



Grant Elgin recalls the soccer team’s trip to the mountains of New Hampshire to train with a former U.S. Ranger.



Looking back on the Huskies’ historic 2017-18 season.



It’s time to put a name to the iconic announcer.



After nearly quitting the game altogether, goalie Patrick Jordan got the call-up from club to varsity.



Former Athletic Director Peter Roby stamped his legacy with an emphasis on the student in student-athlete.



Fresh off the heels of a season ended too soon, coach Mike Glavine looks to right the ship with a new scheduling strategy.



Club softball president Madison Kelly explains why her team is flying under the radar.



The all-time leader in assists, senior Kayla Cappuzzo made her impact on and off the soccer field.

LOCKDOWN IT’S THE CAA Championship game, Northeastern Univer-

sity versus the College of Charleston. 47 seconds left in the first half, and the Cougars are looking to go two for one. Senior guard Joe Chealey takes down the ball with a sense of urgency, looking for any path to the basket. One step, two steps, three steps, he’s past his defender. Eyes locked on the rim, he rises up and gives a quick hesitation before releasing the ball, thinking he’s thrown off his defender’s timing. The ball goes up… And flies off of the backboard. Shawn Occeus was right with Chealey every step of the way. He timed each step, the jump, the hesitation, every movement perfectly syncing up for a mammoth block. The defensive highlight was one of 18 blocks on the season for the sophomore guard, good for second on the Northeastern team. His superior length for his six-foot-four-inch frame allowed him to develop into a stalwart both in the post and on the perimeter, tallying a CAA-leading 64 steals including four games with at least five thefts. It all culminated into a CAA Defensive Player of the Year award, Occeus becoming the first Northeastern guard to take home the honor. “It’s a cool moment to get recognized by your fellow athletes and the coaches,” Occeus said. “They’re kind of rewarding you for what you've done this year, but for me it’s just a testament to my hard work. At the same time winning individual awards doesn’t really mean anything to me. At the end of the day if you don’t win then it doesn’t really mean anything.” The Huskies would go on to lose the CAA Championship in a thriller, but the season was a monumental one for the lanky guard nonetheless. Starting the season off the bench, Occeus weaseled his way into the starting lineup with hustle and grit. With more playing time came more opportunities on both ends, but Occeus claims his mindset never wavered. “For me it’s just about basketball,” he said. “It doesn’t matter if you’re starting, if you’re off the bench or if you’re the last person on the bench. It’s just about how you can impact your team and what can you do in that role for your team [...] For me, it was just about keeping it basketball and just letting my love for the game determine how hard I played.” That work ethic, paired with instincts and raw physical tools, was evident before he ever donned a Huskies jersey. “A couple things in the recruitment process stuck 02. RED & BLACK




out; obviously from a physical standpoint he had great size and length and athleticism,” head coach Bill Coen said. “And then as you got to know Shawn and you got to know his coaches’ opinion of him, everybody across the board had glowing recommendations for him – his work ethic and his determination to be as good as he could possibly be.” As a freshman, Occeus had a front row seat to the best player in the conference: guard T.J. Williams. A senior at the time, Williams registered 21.4 points per game for the Huskies, leading the CAA by a wide margin. The ball was almost always in his hands during his average of 38.2 minutes on the court. “I was able to learn a lot because he was a very good mentor to a lot of us young g u y s , ” Occeus said. “At first it was tough because you are used to being a main guy on your team coming out of high school, but seeing him handle the ball especially in college is a relief at certain points. I think it’s just seeing him in practice; guarding him in practice helped us this year.” Occeus took the mantle of the team’s primary ball handler in the 2017-18 season but stayed within his abilities rather than trying to replicate his predecessor. His 10.8 points per game doubled from his freshman campaign, and he saw increases in shooting efficiency from both the field and the line. With the sophomore on the floor for 28.9 minutes per game, the Huskies ranked third in the nation in opponent three-point percentage at 29.9 percent. “Everyday in practice we were doing our drills to close out and all that type of stuff,” Occeus said. “It all boils down to playing hard and with effort, and that’s two things Coach [Coen] preaches about before every game and we really take that to heart. We don’t

want teams to get easy looks on the offensive end so we got out there and played hard.” The downside of being the conference’s best defensive player? Always matching up against the other team’s best player. “Every game we played, my matchup always had a great game the game before us,” Occeus said. “I always took [defense] personally to make sure to make it hard for [my matchup] on the offensive end. I think that me taking it personally just really led to that aggression on the court to play even harder and playing for my teammates.” Case in point: Occeus held his opponent, UNCW guard Jordon Talley, to a 2-12 shooting night in the second round of the CAA tournament. The game before that, Talley had tied a tournament record with a 37-point explosion. A constant mitigator of the most threatening opposing scorer, Occeus, tireless defensive work is a coach’s dream. “I can't say enough good things about [Occeus’] serious mindedness, the way he approaches the game, the way he approaches his dream,” Coen said. “I have pretty high expectations for him so I don’t know if he’s surpassed them yet. My vision for him is to become one of the best players in this league by the time he’s finished.” Occeus certainly isn’t done developing as an elite two-way guard. The soon-to-be junior is planning his offseason improvement around one word: “Everything,” he said. “Everything.”











FIVE years ago, Bill Coen spent a night in the hospital.

Devon Begley was on his official visit with the Northeastern team, when his mother, Nicole, fell ill. Over 1,800 miles from their hometown of Pearland, Texas, the best place for Nicole was the emergency room. Naturally, Devon went along to accompany her. So did Coen. “He sat with her at the hospital until like two or three in the morning,” remembered Begley. “I feel like that’s really huge. You can just tell he just cares about who you are. That’s what he likes in his program.” Sure, Bill Coen, who has been charged with leading the Huskies for the past 12 seasons, also cares about his team’s ability to play basketball. But with the crew he has assembled as of late, he need not worry. The Huskies finished 14-4 in Colonial Athletic Association play. Four of his Huskies earned conference honors – Shawn Occeus, who led the CAA in steals (64), was named Defensive Player of the Year, Bolden Brace was honored as the Sixth Man of the Year, Vasa Pusica earned a spot on the All-CAA First Team and Tomas Murphy appeared on the conference All-Rookie Team. This Northeastern team, chosen to finish sixth in the CAA preseason poll – where they finished in the conference standings for the past two seasons – earned a share of the regular season title and made a CAA Championship appearance for the first time since the 2014-15 season. Coen transformed his middle-of-the-pack Huskies into a squad that went 21-9 in the regular season to become the winningest Northeastern team since 1986-87. “Throughout the season or in conference play he talked a lot to us about having a goal,” Begley said of Coen. “We started out with a goal to begin with, but he talked about it often to help us keep our hope alive and make sure we tried to believe in ourselves as a team, and make sure that he tried to help us believe in each other, to make sure that we were there for each other.” On paper, it’s easy to see why the CAA honored Coen as the 2017-18 Coach of the Year and the National Association of Basketball Coaches pegged him as their All-District Coach of the Year for District 10 last month, the first such honors of his career. But Begley, the team’s lone senior, and Murphy, a standout freshman who has known Coen since his own rec league basketball days in Rhode Island, knew the recognition was long overdue. “He understands what we are, what he wants us to be, what everybody here wants us to be,” Murphy said. “I 04. RED & BLACK



think that his vision and picture of that is what keeps us getting better every year.” During his eight-year stint as a graduate assistant then assistant coach at Rhode Island, where he landed after leading the Hamilton College Continentals to a national ranking as a basketball captain, Coen formed a close relationship with Murphy’s father, Jay. He was a constant presence in the lives of the Murphy brothers – the oldest, Erik, and the middle son, Alex, who played a graduate season at Northeastern last year, in addition to Tomas. “When you get here and he’s your coach, it’s different expectations,” Murphy said. “It changes the relationship a little bit, but there’s always that sense and that feeling of a connection that you’ve had for a long time. I think that’s important, too.” In a study room in Cabot Center, Begley and Murphy offered up words to describe their head coach. Murphy suggested “witty.” Begley cracked a grin and countered with “jokester.” Old-school, suggested Begley, and the pair laughed. “Basketball in this generation is changing, but I feel like he’s used to his ways and that’s what he wants,” he explained. “I don’t know if he really knows how to adapt to it.” “He knows that the game is changing, and he’s done a good job of adapting to that,” countered Murphy. “But he’s still old-school in the sense, the way he’s going to go about things and the way he’s going to teach things.” Begley nodded, and it was settled. Coen is old-school. The coach spent countless hours in his office working on his computer, Begley shared, scouting opponents, watching film and discovering new strategies. He’s self-aware. He’s even a little bit superstitious. Nervous. Excited. The players rid themselves of their anxieties the moment they step out onto the court, Murphy explained. Coen didn’t have that luxury. He spends all week preparing, Begley said, but even as the ball is tipped, he’s focused on every detail “so he can try to be as close to perfect as he can.” To Begley and Murphy and the rest of the Huskies, Bill Coen is a lot of things, on and off the court. Calm. Passionate. Good-hearted. “When he first brought me here he said this is a family, and no matter what I’ll always be able to call this a home,” Begley said. “We had our exit meeting from coach to player and he told me the same exact thing. ‘This is your family, you always have a home here.’”

TO HIS LEFT was a bag overflowing with Ricola cough drops. To his right were the rosters of the Northeastern University and College of William & Mary men’s basketball teams. As Charlie Bame-Aldred sat at the scorer’s table for an afternoon matchup at Matthews Arena, he thought back on his time as a public address announcer. “I’m happy to do it, because I’d be sitting there [in the stands] if I wasn't sitting here announcing,” he said. “Why not at least be part of the action and be able to participate and help make it an exciting environment, not that it really needs it? It’s already exciting, but I just try to add as much as I can.” Bame-Aldred, 55, is an avid sports fan, so when he was hired to teach accounting at Washington State University in 2002, he went on a mission to get involved with the athletic department. Despite never having announced a sporting event before, after months of persuading the sports information director to give him a chance, he got his first assignment – a women’s volleyball game. “I went and did a lot of research on volleyball terms,” Bame-Aldred said with a smile. “The first game I did, I was uncertain about what I could or could not do.” He developed confidence as he continued announcing, and he expanded his range to track and field, baseball and other sports (though he revealed that volleyball remains his favorite sport to announce). In 2007, Bame-Aldred decided to head back east to the school he once attended as an engineering major for a short period of time. “When the opportunity to come back here became available, I jumped at it,” the Franklin, Mass. native said. “In 1980, I needed someone to grab me by the ear and tell me I was screwing up my opportunity. I came to Northeastern to help those students understand the importance of the Northeastern experience.” So he arrived back at Northeastern – this time as a professor – and it was only right for him to bring his passion for sports and his booming PA voice with him. An executive professor of accounting, Bame-Aldred now spends his evenings and weekends announcing Northeastern sports, from field hockey to basketball to ice hockey. Bame-Aldred is well-known across campus, and he waves and smiles at everyone from the students to the arena security staff before the game. “You can feel Charlie’s energy in the whole building, and it translates up into the DogHouse,” said Ashley Demirali, one of the leaders of Northeastern’s student section. “He gets us excited at the start of the game, letting his personality through in his announcing.” Bame-Aldred brings that same passion to his classroom, although he did mention he has gone to class with a strained voice on the days after particularly dramatic games. “My classroom is not subdued,” he said. “I have a

basic educational philosophy. Unconscious people do not learn. My goal is to entertain and educate. I call [it] ‘edutainment.’ Each week I put on a variety of shows.” From the classroom to the arena, Bame-Aldred believes his jovial spirit is part of what keeps everyone engaged. “I still mess things up a lot, but no one really cares,” he said. “It’s really not the words that I’m saying or the pronunciation. It’s the intonation and the excitement. People really aren't focused on the little details. They’re focused on the bigger picture that somebody, at least, is enthusiastic about what just happened.” His greatest gratification comes from contributing an atmosphere that leaves an impact on students during their time at Northeastern, as well as after they graduate. “[Alumni] can walk in and smell all the smells from Matthews Arena and see the environment…but then they also hear the voice boom out, and it brings them back to when they were students,” he says. “However meaningless or meaningful it is, having that connection for alumni to come back and just feel like, ‘I remember what it was like as a kid.’” Northeastern’s 69-67 win over William & Mary turned out to be thrilling in itself that afternoon, but the vigor with which Bame-Aldred announced the game was evidence of his love for the Northeastern community. And as the clock ran out, along with his supply of Ricola cough drops, the crazy bald guy at the scorer’s table signed off with his go-to exclamation that has come to define the conclusion of Northeastern sporting events. “Please drive home safely, and as always, GO HUSKIES!”









Changing the hardwood basketball court over to ice for hockey games is a four-hour process, said Athletic Facilities Supervisor Bill Smith, who has worked at Northeastern for 21 years – 19 of which have been at Matthews Arena. “Smitty”’s staff has been able to accomplish the feat in as little as one hour and 45 minutes.

Jake Negrotti has been associated with Northeastern for 42 years – working full-time for 38 of them. His time at Northeastern has been segmented by military service

A full staffed changeover team is made up of eight workers from Olympic Movers, eight from Northeastern facilities, four from athletic facilities and six part-time student workers.

“I like the challenge of having the best ice in the country - not just for men’s or women’s hockey, but to anybody that puts on a pair of skates… it’s a great old barn.” REPORTING BY ADAM GOSTOMELSKY









*** Nolan Stevens watched as the puck sailed into Northeastern’s net 50 seconds into overtime of the 2015 Beanpot championship against Boston University. He was just a freshman, but he was on the ice for the penalty kill that proved fatal. He lost a puck battle on the boards, and the puck found the stick of now-Boston Bruins defenseman Matt Grzelcyk, who made no mistake from the point. BY NOAH GREANY Stevens witnessed the Beanpot torment continue for Northeastern as the Terriers celebrated on the still-smooth ice of the TD Garden. He was the only one of the Huskies’ now-famed trio to be on the ice, with Sikura on the bench and Gaudette still playing in the IT’S A TRIO that doesn’t make too much sense: a big burly USHL for the Cedar Rapids Roughriders. But they all senior from New Jersey with hockey in his blood, a felt it, even Gaudette, tattooed hometown kid from 1,200 miles away. with everything to prove “I’ve been going to and an undersized, Beanpot games with my former healthy scratch SIKURA STEVENS GAUDETTE dad ever since I could from the home of remember,” Gaudette hockey. Sure, they were told GoNU. “I always all NHL draft picks, but wanted to go to a Beannone of them were pot school. It’s definitely selected prior to the fifth something special.” round. GOALS: 30 GOALS: 22 GOALS: 24 When the three of So how did they ASSISTS: 30 ASSISTS: 32 ASSISTS: 18 them stepped on the ice become the best line in POINTS: 1ST IN NATION POINTS: 3RD IN NATION POINTS: 23RD IN NATION for the first time together all of college hockey, the next year, they all had and cement their legacy the same goal: win as as three of the best GRAPHIC BY ISAAC MILLEY much as possible, no matter what it took to get there. players to ever don a Northeastern sweater? If you ask “We knew that it would take a year or so for some of any of them, they’ll probably give all the credit to the them to develop,” head coach Jim Madigan said. “Nolan other two. But the truth is, these three had the chemistry Stevens came to us as an 18-year-old, and he had to all hockey players dream of, and three play styles that develop. Dylan Sikura came to us as a 19-year-old, but meshed together perfectly. he was still physically immature at 150 pounds.” “Sikky and I have been playing together for three The three, along with Hobey Baker candidate Zach years, and have just been clicking,” Gaudette said. Aston-Reese, led the Huskies to a Hockey East champi“Noles was on our powerplay and just switched to our onship in March 2016, capping a magical second-half line this year. We’re real comfortable out there together run that ended in a raised banner in Matthews Arena. and real confident.” Ask any player, coach or fan: this was the turning point. Stevens was the power forward who was never afraid There was finally some silverware being brought back to to mix it up around the net. Gaudette was the sniper who Huntington Avenue, and a winning culture was being goalies across the country feared. Sikura was the slickcreated inside that Husky locker room. With the nation’s skating playmaker with some of the best hands in the leading scorer graduated in Aston-Reese , it was up to NCAA. With so many different ways to score, it almost those still on campus to carry that momentum into the became a certainty that opposing teams would be following years. swiping the puck out of their own net when these three It had been 30 years since Northeastern University marauded the ice. last won a Beanpot championship. They had been close; In their careers wearing the Red and Black, the in fact, they had been as close as you can get, losing in dynamic trio combined for 183 goals and 223 assists for the championship game nine times since 1988. a total of 406 points. Though they didn’t all play on the However, from the very beginning of the 2017-2018 same line until this year, each dominated no matter who season, there was a different feel with this Northeastern he played with. It certainly didn’t hurt putting them on team. The team had the skill, they had the fight and they the same line, however. had the leadership. A trophy-less season wouldn’t be Each wrote his own chapter, but together they creatacceptable. This team was too good, and everybody ed a story that would change the landscape of hockey on knew it. Huntington Avenue.





“It’s a new year and we’re a different team this year,” Sikura said. *** With 30.1 seconds left on the clock, the puck was flipped out of the Huskies’ defensive zone, squeezing past Boston University defenseman Chad Krys. Gaudette raced down the length of the ice, beating the two Terrier defensemen to the puck. He lifted the stick of Krys, and in one motion swiped the puck into the Terriers’ vacated net. The goal horn sounded, and Gaudette into his teammates arms. At that point, everybody in the TD Garden knew it: the Beanpot was on its way to Huntington Avenue. “He’s tenacious, he’s gritty, and he just never gives up. That empty net goal really personified the type of player Adam Gaudette is,” head coach Jim Madigan said. Their gloves, helmets and sticks went flying, and the Huskies piled onto freshman goaltender Cayden Primeau. Northeastern had won the Beanpot for the first time since 1988, and it meant everything to the guys on the ice and the fans and alumni occupying the TD Garden. “Winning a championship does a whole lot for your team,” Stevens said. “Coach said before the game, ‘Win

a championship and you walk together forever.’” *** The Huskies would receive an at-large bid to the NCAA tournament, squaring off against the University of Michigan in the regional semifinals in Worcester. Though the game didn’t go the way they wanted it to, it capped off a season that transformed the program. “It just goes to show how Northeastern is compared to other teams now,” Gaudette said. The team was special, and almost felt destined to accomplish something special. Led by the trio of Stevens, Sikura and the first Hobey Baker Award winner in program history, Gaudette, they accomplished something no Huskies team in 30 years had. The big burly power forward, the slick skating undersized playmaker and the sniper from Braintree, Mass. will all go down in the history books at a school they called home, in a city they called home. They will all go on to play in the NHL, the pinnacle of the sport they have played all their lives. If they happen to forget all they did during their time on Huntington Avenue, all it takes is a simple visit to Matthews Arena and a long glance up to see the banners they helped hang.


A NINE-YEAR old boy leaned over the railing of the TD Garden in 2005 and watched as player after player wearing a red and black sweater slowly walked back into the locker room. Some were in tears, some were angry, some were silent. Donning a hat with a silhouette of a goaltender on it, he watched as Northeastern goalie Keni Gibson made eye contact with him and reached up to give him his stick. From then on, Patrick Jordan was a Northeastern Husky fan, with the stick still hanging in his room today.


Little did he know that night marked 17 years since Northeastern University last won a Beanpot. Little did he also know that he would be on the ice when they lifted it 13 years later. Patrick Jordan began his college hockey career at Division III Becker College in Worcester, Mass. He didn’t get the ice time he wanted, and almost as soon as his stint at Becker started, it ended. He transferred to Northeastern, where he joined the club hockey team, more so to get his hockey fix in than face any real competition. Or so he thought. “When I first transferred here I thought [club hockey] was a joke,” Jordan said. “I learned real quick when I started losing games and getting sniped on all the time that it wasn’t a joke at all.” Although he struggled at first, Jordan got a call-up to the varsity team last year, which put things in perspective. “When Coach Madigan called me up, it changed everything,“ Jordan said. “Before that, I didn't really care about hockey anymore. Once he called me up it all 16. RED & BLACK




changed, something in me changed – a spark. I was sad to go back down to the club team last year because I was loving it so much at the varsity level, all I wanted to do was come back.” Though he did have to be sent back down last year, that little time he did spend living his dream was all the motivation he needed. Jordan posted his first career shutout with the club team – and added two more in the pair of games that followed. Jordan continued to work in the spring and summer, spending time with Northeastern goaltending coach Ed Walsh. On the outside, it may have looked like Jordan was preparing for another campaign with the club team. But he knew inside that he was working for another chance at the varsity level. Jordan returned to campus in the fall and picked up right where he left off on the club team. He posted a 5-1-1 record, including a shutout of Florida Gulf Coast University, the eventual club hockey national champions. It was the first time Florida Gulf Coast had been


shutout in their history, and for Jordan, proof that he was ready. Jordan got the call he craved from Madigan in January, and never looked back. If you peered into the tunnel before any Northeastern men’s hockey game this year, you would see junior Adam Gaudette standing on the side of it, fist-bumping every Husky as they made their way out onto the ice. As the third-string goalie making his season debut, Patrick

Jordan was the last one to fist bump Gaudette, perhaps an honor if not for what happened next. “My first game, I went onto the ice and was getting ready to go against the University of Maine and I'm nervous,” Jordan said. “It’s my first time going out for warm-ups and I’m all antsy. I’m the last person to go on and Gauds stands right on the corner and he went to give me a high five and all of a sudden, I step on the ice and I feel something pull my leg back, and I fall flat on my face. I’m looking at Gauds who is dying laughing. I’m like ‘Oh my god, I just fell.’ All of the Maine players are chirping me saying ‘good job buddy’, the ref comes over to me and he says ‘welcome to the show’ - you can hear the Doghouse cheering for me.” Despite the slippery start, Jordan continued to work hard in practice every day, both to make himself better, and help out everybody else on the team. “We prepared on the ice, and when we would do goalie skills I would try to sit out some so [Cayden Primeau] and [Jake Theut] could get more,” Jordan said. “I let them take any reps they wanted even if it meant I didn't get any that drill. Whenever I needed to go I would. I was just trying to show I knew my role and establish it.” Watching and playing with an elite goaltender like Primeau every day certainly motivated Jordan to improve his own game. “Seeing the way Cayden competes motivated me,” Jordan said. “He'll be on one side of the net, the puck will be on the opposite side and somehow Cayden gets there. It’s incredible, and that just motivates me to want to compete like that.” Jordan was officially called up on January 11, less than a month before the opening round of the 2018 Beanpot. Nobody needed to explain to him the importance of the Beanpot to a school like Northeastern. Growing up in Waltham, a suburb 25 miles west of Boston, Jordan knew exactly what this tournament meant to the city and to the hockey players in it. Sporting the Northeastern uniform with his pads strapped on tight, Jordan walked down the tunnel of the TD Garden on the first Monday night in February to take on the Boston College Eagles. He had seen countless goalies over the years take that same exact walk, leaning over the railing trying to get as many high-fives as possible. Now, it was his turn. “It was surreal. I could see so many kids trying to get a high-five and I remembered that feeling as a kid,” Jordan said. “I tried to get pucks to hand up to them, just trying to imagine being there again. Stepping on the ice, seeing that fanbase, the Doghouse, it was unbelievable. I'd never seen something like that. The whole time in warmups I shook, I was still shaking when we got off.”

Jordan had the best seat in the house as he watched this team of destiny win those two Monday night games to capture the school’s first Beanpot in 30 years. As the final horn blew on Monday, February 12th, Jordan leapt onto the ice and joined his teammates as they piled on top of one another. It was a dream come true for everybody wearing red and black in that building. But for Patrick Jordan, it was more than that. It was years of hard work. It was years of not being good enough. It was years of wanting to quit the sport he loved so much. But it was also 13 years in the making. As he walks into his room every day and peers up at his wall, he’ll still see Keni Gibson’s stick hanging there, the stick he was given at his first Beanpot 13 years ago. As grateful as he is for that moment in 2005, he knew he had to write his own story on that ice, in those colors, for those fans. What a story it turned out to be.








WENTY YEARS AGO, Cammi Granato led the United States’ women’s hockey team to its first appearance at the Olympic Games. On the ice in Nagano, Japan, Granato scored the initial goal of the first-ever gold medal game to allow the U.S. to jump out to an early lead over their forever-rivals from the north. And as they placed a gold medal – the first Olympic gold medal to be rung around the neck of a female hockey player – around Granato’s neck, Kendall Coyne knew the top of the podium was where she was meant to be. After a heartbreaking overtime loss in her first Olympic appearance in Sochi in 2014 – the gold medal game against Canada – Coyne registered one goal and three assists in 2018 Olympic play to help the United States to its first women’s hockey gold since the first two decades prior. Against Canada. In overtime.

“It’s an honor and it’s a platform that has been established with a lot of work, but it’s also a platform that I don’t take for granted and I take very seriously,” Coyne said. “If I can be that role model for that girl someday, then I’m honored.”

“The bench energy was really excited,” remembered Coyne after returning to the United States in March. “As soon as Jocelyne [Lamoureux] scored her [game-winning] goal, it was a rush. There was a rush through my body when we won I had never felt before. It was so exciting and it’s hard to put into words, but it was definitely the best moment of my athletic career.” And with a career mirroring a highlight reel, a gold medal was an inevitable exclamation point.










After Sochi, the Palos Heights, Illinois native returned to Boston to channel her energy into her final years in the Red and Black. The Northeastern record-holder in career goals (141) and points (249) racked up a hefty set of hardware during her senior year, collecting numerous Northeastern and Hockey East honors in addition to the presti-gious Patty Kazmaier Memorial Award, presented annually to the top player in Division I women’s hockey. “I knew what I was getting when I got her,” said Northeastern head coach Dave Flint, who was an assistant coach with the 2010 women’s Olympic team. “It doesn’t surprise me how successful she’s been. She’s exciting to watch; she usually makes things happen. Every time she’s on the ice, she’s creating.” Coyne grew up skating on boys’ hockey teams, simply because there were no girls’ hockey programs. This year’s women’s hockey gold medal game was watched by 3.2 million people across the United States, despite a live start of 11:10 p.m. EST on a Wednesday. NBC Sports reported it was the network’s most-watched late-night program ever. “A gold medal game at the Olympic games, you’re competing for the highest honor in our sport,” Coyne said. “I also think the way that the game has grown over the years, people are starting to want to watch women’s hockey. They’re recognizing women’s hockey is a phenomenal sport.” To Flint, Coyne serves as more than a motivator for his present-day team – that just won its first Hockey East championship in program history – but as a figurehead for the future of the sport at all levels. “It shows not only our team that they can achieve anything, it shows young girls who are just starting out or thinking about playing hockey what’s possible,” Flint said. “It gets kids excited about women’s hockey.” Coyne, then seven years old, came face-to-face with her future when she met Granato after the U.S. team paraded around the country on a first-of-its-kind victory tour. Readying for a tour of her own, Coyne let out an excited laugh at the idea of being someone else’s “Cammi Granato.” “It’s an honor and it’s a platform that has been established with a lot of work, but it’s also a platform that I don’t take for granted and I take very seriously,” Coyne said. “If I can be that role model for that girl someday, then I’m honored and I hope I can be the best role model I can be for them.”







1 PHOTO BY JIM PIERCE/ Northeastern Athletics


Hockey East Hardware Has New Home on Huntington





would take was a spark to get the fire ignited. they were one goal away “I think [the turning point was] that first full series from history. One goal against [the University of New Hampshire],” Flint said, away from taking down the seemingly unbeatable referring to the team’s first December games that it split Boston College Eagles for the elusive Hockey East with the Wildcats. “There were some tough games that Championship, a piece of hardware the program had yet we grinded out with good goaltending, and I think our to bring back to Huntington Avenue. team got some good confidence from that.” Fate was not on their side that night, however, as The emergence of Frankel into an unlikely two-netnearly six minutes into overtime, the Eagles netted the minder system proved a catalyst in leading the Huskies, golden goal and soared to yet another Hockey East a team hanging onto its season by a thread, to a shot at championship with a 2-1 victory. salvation. A high-profile 4-2 victory over No. 2 Boston While the ladies of Chestnut Hill celebrated a feat College proved that the Huskies had the talent to win, that has become commonplace for one of the most but a stumble to the end of the season, featuring a storied programs in college hockey, the Huskies experilast-place finish in the annual Beanpot tournament, enced the all-too-familiar taste of disappointment, their opened the floodgates to the same doubts plaguing the season having been cut short by the Eagles for the team since the first half of the season. second consecutive year. As Kelly described, failure was the last thing on the What’s the best way to bounce back from such a mind of the seniors, with only one more shot to give it heartbreaking defeat? Recruiting a strong freshman class their all. From this point on, it was win or go home. and training hard in the offseason. The Huskies did just “We didn’t want to leave without winning somethat, welcoming seven youngsters to the pack, including thing,” she declared. “We all worked too hard to leave freshman goalie Aerin Frankel, a young prodigy itching empty-handed.” to learn from star junior goaltender Brittany Bugalski. The Huskies gained momentum through each of the “We had a good group of girls both on and off the ice, first two rounds, continuing their string of strong perforso it made it easy for the freshmen to feel welcomed mances against the University of New Hampshire with right away,” boasted senior defender Lauren Kelly. “It two solid victories (with scores of 3-2 and 2-1, respecwas just one big team the second they stepped onto tively) and overcoming a late deficit to win 2-1 against a campus, and I’m sure the freshmen would say that too.” No. 10 Maine team. To achieve the improbable, the Expectations were high for the seven returning Huskies had just one opponent to beat: the Huskies from seniors. Led by a dynamic duo of forwards, captain the University of Connecticut. Shelby Herrington and alternate captain McKenna In a dogfight under Brand, the senior class was the bright lights of historic poised to take a shot at Matthews Arena, the Red redemption. and Black, anchored by “We were all kinds of Brand and Frankel, took hopeful,” remembered down the Blue and Black Kelly. “We were all looking 2-1 , and in doing so became at BC.” the first team in program The Huskies had their history to be crowned prey in sight. They were Hockey East champions. ready to pick up where they Brand capped off left off. her season for the ages, Except they weren’t. PHOTO BY scoring not once, but twice After stumbling to a BRIAN BAE in the first period, bringing 6-6-1 start, it appeared as HUSKIES DOGPILE AFTER CLINCHING THE her point total on the season though the 2017-2018 to 34 – nearly double her season had been over just as HOCKEY EAST CHAMPIONSHIP OVER UCONN 18-point performance from quickly as it started. For a her freshman year. team with such high hopes “I knew that I could heading into the season, the grow into that role and we all knew it was going totake a Huskies showed no signs of following the path they’d bit of time,” explained Brand in describing her transition paved as a dominant contender in Hockey East each of into an offensive force. “I just kept patient, worked hard the past two seasons. and everything kind of fell into place.” However, as head coach Dave Flint noted, all it




“[THIS LEVEL OF PERFORMANCE] IS GOING TO BECOME THE NEW STANDARD FOR NORTHEASTERN HOCKEY,” BRAND CLAIMED. “I THINK THE NEXT STEP IS GOING TO BE NOT ONLY MAKING IT TO THE NCAA TOURNAMENT, BUT MAKING IT TO THE FROZEN FOUR.” “They’ve accomplished a lot,” lauded Flint. “Between the seven [seniors], they played 950 games, notched 192 goals, 294 assists, 83 wins, and they’ve won the first-ever Hockey East Championship for Northeastern.” Unfortunately, the Huskies ultimately fell short of accumulating more hardware on the season, falling to No. 3 Colgate in the opening round of the NCAA tournament. While the future holds bright things, Brand also believes the best is still yet to come for the rapidly-improving program. “[This level of performance] is going to become the new standard for Northeastern hockey,” she claimed. “I think the next step is going to be not only making it to the NCAA tournament, but making it to the Frozen Four.” These ladies proved that the high-profile men’s team isn’t the only noteworthy ice hockey program at North

eastern. While the story of the 2017-2018 team is forever contained within the walls of Matthews, the program’s potential knows no boundaries. Though they understand the importance of such a monumental victory, these players know that the future is where history will be made. The Huskies have unfinished business to prepare for, and their sights have been set on bigger things.



TUCKED AWAY in the second floor of the administrative wing of International Village is the office of one of the most influential figures in college athletics. Peter Roby, all 6 feet, 9 inches of him, sits down in his leather chair with a warm smile, seemingly enjoying the weight of carrying an entire athletic department having been removed from his shoulders. When Roby, one of college athletics’ biggest individuals, both figuratively and literally, starts talking, people tend to listen. The Newton, Mass. native is built through an accumulation of vastly different experiences – player, coach, business executive, non-profit leader and athletic director, he has done it all. Roby’s philosophy was built during his time as a player on the Dartmouth men’s basketball team. He credits his coach, Gary Walters, for his inspiration behind what he views as one of Northeastern’s core values: “Coach as Educator.” “We wanted everybody to understand that we were in the education business and that our role was to enhance the education of the students that were here,” Roby said. “This isn’t just about winning games, it’s a lot more than that, and that’s what it’s supposed to be about.” He’s proud of the fact that he’s tried to keep that ever-so-precarious balance of results on the field versus results in the classroom in place during his time as AD. He mentions it whenever he can, how proud he is. He points to the 93-percent graduate success rate, he points to the integration of co-op, he points to the student-athlete GPA average of 3.226, which has increased every year, and he mentions how everything they’ve done hasn’t come at the expense, but rather on the behalf, of the student-athlete. And perhaps the most popular program in the athletic department, the Northeastern Athletics’ Global Experience Fund, is a prime example. “You talk to the players on the hockey team that went to Belfast; that was a memorable trip. You talk to baseball and volleyball that went to Cuba; they’ll never forget that. You talk to women’s soccer after they get back from Barcelona and Montpellier; they won’t forget that,” he said. Roby is a throwback to a time when college athletics wasn’t the billion dollar industry it is today. After all, he was the leader of Northeastern’s Center for the Study of Sport in Society from 2002-2007, using the popularity of sports to influence positive social progress. He berates the fact that college athletics has become more about the business than the education involved, citing the FBI investigation into the recruitment strategies of top college basketball teams and what he calls the “mockery” that the University of North Carolina made of the system through offering fake, or paper, classes for their athletes. “What bothers me now is that people think that the system’s broken,” Roby said. “The system’s not broken; you have bad people in collegiate athletics that need to be weeded out. If people want to pay players, they should go to the NBA, they should go to the G-League, 24. RED & BLACK


go to Europe. But if you want to coach in college athletics, then commit yourself to what this is supposed to be about. It’s supposed to be about education, it’s supposed to be about development.” He’s professed a great love for this institution, one that he’s proud to have carried with him as he’s served on various NCAA committees. Even when he made the decision to cut the football program, he made sure to help players who wanted to transfer do so before all the other schools had filled rosters, he honored any scholarships of players who wanted to stay and even those who came back after leaving initially. Coach as Educator. Perhaps the one thing that best exemplifies Peter Roby was the open Q&A he held with the student-athletes at the end of November. Athletes were welcomed to ask any and all questions directly to Roby, who stood front and center and took a variety of concerns stemming from fan transportation, to differences in game start times between men and women, to practice scheduling and everything in between. These weren’t easy questions to ask, and they weren’t any easier to answer. But what separates Roby from the other athletic directors isn’t that he has this relationship with his athletes, it’s that he openly and actively chases it. “It’s one thing to put words on paper or slogans about what you care about; it’s another thing to live it every day,” Roby said. “It’s amazing when somebody brings something to your attention and you act on it and you say ‘you know what? You’re right. We’re going to fix it.’ And then you fix it? That’s pretty powerful. That empowers people. And it makes us better.” Coach as Educator. Jeff Konya, Northeastern’s new athletic director, honored Roby at the first annual Top Dog Awards with the Peter Roby Future Leader Award, given to the male and female athlete that best exemplifies the characteristics it takes to succeed and lead in life after sports. A fitting touch to mark the man who was described by the same Maya Angelou quote from not one, but two different individuals at his retirement party – “I've learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” Roby leaves the interview with his final declaration of pride, about how he’s incredibly proud of how all the different stakeholders, from faculty to student athletes, to former athletes, view Northeastern Athletics. It’s not a scam. It’s not a mockery of the system. It’s a genuine combination of sport and education. He wishes they would have raised more money. “But who doesn’t?” he asks. He wishes they would have won a national championship. “But we’re pretty close,” he says. A decade of work, all neatly tied up with a few lasting thoughts. And as for tomorrow? Well, Roby is going to teach his sports communication class at 2:50 p.m. Because tomorrow is Wednesday. Coach as Educator. Always.





IF PETER ROBY is the local boy who came back to bring Northeastern up the national athletic ladder, then Jeff Konya is the brash out-of-towner, determined to make the final leap up. It takes approximately two seconds to realize what the Michigan native is all about. Every bit the sports marketing guru he is made out to be, Konya bounces ideas off the wall with an energetic enthusiasm that has emanated throughout the whole department since his arrival. After all, just 12 days into his official tenure, the Beanpot was brought back to Huntington Avenue for the first time in 30 years. And after two previous stops as a Division I athletic director, he feels like this is a sign of things to come. “The ceiling here is quite a bit higher,” Konya said. “With the academic reputation of this institution, sitting in the sixth biggest media market in the country, having close to 160,000 living alumni, I think that the ceiling of what we can become and what appealed to me is different from the two previous places I’ve been.” And the ceiling has typically been no match for Konya. A quick look into his time at California State University-Bakersfield and Oakland University reveal a man who is never afraid to go big. A blue basketball court at CSUB. A “blacktop” basketball court at Oakland. Hiring co-head baseball coaches. New marketing campaigns that greatly increased both fundraising and attendance. As for his plans at Northeastern? He mentions everything, from the mundane to the cutting edge. Leveraging what Konya referred to as one of best video production teams in the country. Looking into putting content on Twitch, a popular streaming service. Pushing for sports medicine innovations from cryogenics to mental health. Rebuilding the athletics website. Incorporating e-sports and more. “I have a vision where the student section will have a dedicated part of the scoreboard and their tweets and their engagements will be shown the entire time,” Konya said. “Now nobody has ever done that. But how cool would that be? And that would certainly speak to the students here that they actually own a piece of the game presentation.” While the big, bold headline ideas are percolating, right now Konya’s focus is on more immediate issues. He has created five focus groups within the athletic department to learn more and generate new ideas about facilities, marketing and branding, revenue generation, recognition and strategic planning. Of particular focus is the marketing and branding, something that Konya said Northeastern is lacking, as neither the names, “Northeastern” or “Huskies”, nor the “split N” or “husky head” logos are distinctive in the marketplace. Some of the

ideas have already gotten past the talking stage, like the new athletic hashtag, #HowlinHuskies. “When the NCAA referred to Northeastern on social media during our NCAA participation, we never told them how to refer to us, and they picked up #HowlinHuskies. So if the NCAA picked up on that as a unique term for us, then I think there may be some fire where there’s smoke,” Konya said. While Konya certainly does a lot of talking, he has already proven he can match the talk with results. He already has created a brand new athletic recognition event, the Top Dog Awards, that promises to be a fun and innovative way to bring the athletic department together. The first time Konya spoke to the Student Athletic Advisory Council, he made a guarantee to sign with a national apparel brand and that Northeastern Athletics would be “geared up.” Two weeks later, it was announced that Under Armour would become the official apparel provider in a deal that is reportedly among the best in CAA. Check. “It’s a really big deal compared to where we were before,” Konya said. “Just in terms of the amount of apparel that our teams can get and hopefully can lead to the students getting a robust package of apparel and related gear. I think in that space right now, Under Armour is an up-and-comer, combined with their wanting to partner with us, their wanting to be innovative, they’re letting us beta test all sorts of gear as part of that relationship, and I think that kind of spoke to the partnership.” While the next few years will certainly bring many changes, there is still a little of Roby within Konya. You can see it when he talks about getting the opportunity he’s been waiting for, to work at a private, high level academic institution. You can see it when he talks about creating lasting relationships with teams, coaches and players, like when he followed through on a bet he made with a women’s hockey player about catering Italian food from Boston’s famous North End as an occasional meal if they won the Hockey East Tournament. Check. And you can see it when he shares the story about how Northeastern winning the Beanpot quite literally earned a current student his co-op at Boston Scientific after his interviewer spent nearly all of the time talking about Northeastern hockey. And Konya knows exactly what he is here to do. “There’s equity in the brand. There’s equity in the degree,” Konya said. “And if we can tell that message and that story to our different constituents about why this is important and why there is a huge return on investment for athletics, why we need more traditions, more history, more passion around what we do, then I think we have a real opportunity to approach that ceiling.”







Carlos Peña’s baseball story began with a father and son gathered around a television in the Dominican Republic watching a hometown legend. “I was watching the Cubs play because WGN was the network that we had,” Peña recalled. “At that time, there was a big star from the Dominican Republic named George Bell [...] I must have been 7 years old, and I looked at that and thought, man I want to play there one day. That was my first recollection of wanting to play in the Major Leagues, just watching George Bell.” Bell planted the baseball seed that began to sprout throughout Peña’s childhood. Streetball with his friends, weekend practices with his father and organized Little League kept Peña infatuated with the game from the start. But any normalcy in the D.R. was soon uprooted and transplanted to a hilly suburb in Massachusetts. In 1992, 14-year old Peña and his family moved from San Francisco de Macoris to Haverhill, Massachusetts. In his possession: a love for baseball and big dreams. “I always stress the fact that my parents had a huge decision to make,” Peña said. “They decided to move the entire family over to the US and leave their own lives behind – their own social lives, their own professional careers – which for me is almost impossible to imagine. But that’s how much they wanted us to have broader horizons. In essence, they sacrificed themselves for us.” The 14-year old Peña started at Haverhill High School as a sophomore in the ESL program, but the native Spanish speaker thrust himself into all-English classes as soon as possible, eager to cut out any ability to rely on his native language Education was a priority in the Peña household; it was a chance for young Carlos to seize the opportunities of a new country. “I knew that the better I did in school, the better my opportunities would be,” Peña said. “I always had that in mind. In a sense, I understood because my parents explained that I would reap whatever I would sow. If I wanted to accomplish my dreams, I would have to work at it.” Good grades were coming in as Peña enrolled himself in advanced placement classes. Just a couple years into American life in 1995, he had his eye on higher education. A first-generation college applicant in a world without commercialized internet, Peña and his parents painstakingly hand-wrote 100 letters to colleges around the country.

Wright State University was one of the 100 that wrote back. The Ohio school seemingly checked all the boxes for Peña: “Good engineering, good education and they had a pretty good Division I program as well.” But there was one factor that slipped through the cracks. Throughout his life, from the Dominican Republic to the United States, only two things remained constant for Peña: family and baseball. “I felt like I was on another planet. I think the cultural shock got even more intense after I left my family,” Peña remembered. “At least I had a pretty good Latin community in Haverhill and my family was with me [...] I thought, I’ve been [in America] for three years already, why is this a shock to me? But it was.” Wright State would physically distance him from family and, in effect, mentally distance him from the game he loves. “I wasn’t playing on the team. I think that more than anything made me feel homesick. If I’m swinging the bat and hitting well, then maybe I could’ve been okay.” Peña’s tenure with the Raiders lasted just one year, and following the conclusion of the season, he returned home to Haverhill. He was working at a warehouse in the back of a bank, picking up packages and mail and putting them onto a truck. He tried to keep in baseball shape over the summer, participating in a local league and practicing with his father. It was almost like his childhood all over again, and the overwhelming feeling of falling behind on his baseball path crept into his psyche. When September rolled around, almost all future professional baseball players his age were heading back to their respective schools while Peña had nowhere to go. He was home, but he didn’t truly have one. “At this moment I’m as far from my dreams as I could possibly be,” he said. “At least a year before I was in college, but now I start doubting myself.” That was when friends of the family spread the word of a private school close to home, one that would satisfy his engineering preferences: Northeastern University. However, there was no guarantee of a spot on the baseball team, so before he applied, Peña and his family made the short 38-mile drive to Huntington Avenue. “We walked into the coach’s office – Coach Neil McPhee,” Peña recalled. “There wasn’t much that I could sell of myself. I said basically look, I love playing, my grades are good, but I didn’t play much at Wright State. There wasn’t anything impressive about me, but Coach McPhee told me to apply and see if you could PHOTO COURTESY KEITH ALLISON/ CREATIVE COMMONS

BASEBALL walk on. And I felt very encouraged, like hey, he’s willing to take a look at me.” So he applied, got in and began his Husky career in January 1997 as a walk-on first baseman. “I made some friends; I found a team, I found a home,” Peña said. “It was just crazy, unbelievable fun.” He played, and thus, he hit – to the tune of a .309/.398/.600 slash line with 11 home runs and 41 RBIs. He anchored the middle of a Huskies lineup that took down the University of Maine, University of Vermont and University of Delaware to win the America East Tournament. “There were moments where he showed true brilliance," McPhee told The Eagle-Tribune, Peña’s hometown newspaper, in 2007. "There's nobody on the planet that doesn't like Carlos. We all know a few people like that." One game in particular shaped the rest of Peña’s baseball career, when Northeastern took on Bethune-Cookman in a best-of-three, play-in series for the NCAA tournament. “I hit this long home run over everything. According to my father it went about 600 feet – you know every year it increases, the legend grows and grows,” Peña recalled with a laugh. Peña’s father wasn’t the only one impressed by the moonshot. The general manager of the Wareham Gatemen, a team in the prestigious Cape Cod League, was in the stands scouting for a new first baseman, since their first choice had been deemed academically ineligible. “The GM saw me hit this home run and said to me, ‘What are you doing this summer? Our first baseman is ineligible and we want you to play for us.’ And I was like, ‘Are you kidding me? Of course.’”


He was on a car the very next day riding over to Cape Cod. Now Peña was playing with the best that collegiate baseball had to offer. The Cape Cod League is known for putting players on the fast track to the professional ranks, and thus, the stands were packed with MLB scouts. League MVP, league-leader in home runs and RBIs, third in batting average. That surely grabbed the attention of all in attendance. “That was when I blossomed,” Peña said. “Now that puts me on the map for scouts of pro teams. Now I’m a prospect. All of a sudden everyone’s going, ‘In the 1998 Draft, Carlos Peña is going to go…’ and I’m just happy to be here. It’s miraculous that I was even there.” He helped his draft stock by mashing 13 more home runs in the 1998 season at Northeastern, posting an OPS 16. RED & BLACK


of 1.184. He got on base more often than he didn’t. “Honestly I didn’t care where I got drafted, I just wanted the chance to play,” Peña said. “But as the process went on, I started to understand what it entails and what it means [to be drafted high], and it’s an honor. Teams are looking at kids all around the country, and they [would pick] me first. That’s an honor.” That June, the Texas Rangers made a phone call to their first-round selection, 10th overall. The highest MLB draft pick in Northeastern history. “As soon as that happened, all I could think was, thank you God, thank you, thank you,” Peña remembered. “It was one of those epic moments for our family, especially because of how difficult it was to get to that point.” In September 2001, Peña received another phone call from the Rangers. His season with the Triple-A Oklahoma Redhawks concluded and the MLB roster expanded to include 39 players – and Peña. On September 5, the Rangers hosted the Minnesota Twins. On one end, a 25-year old David Ortiz swung for the fences in his preamble to baseball immortality. On the other, Alex Rodriguez was capping off a 52-home run campaign. A couple of the greatest athletes to come out of the Dominican Republic introduced Carlos Peña to the big leagues. “I remember standing in the on-deck circle in Texas for my first at-bat,” Peña remembered. “There was that sense of gratitude that really overwhelms you. It’s like, this is nuts; how is this happening? I’ve always had this mindset of work hard and accomplish, but when it actually happens, it’s like... woah.”

“This is the materialization of everything I’ve been working for, praying for, struggling for.” Two weeks later, he took an outside fastball to the opposite field and treated both Ranger and broader baseball fans alike to the sight of a Carlos Peña home run. There would be 285 more of those. Following a quick stint in Oakland and a four-year run in the Motor City with the Detroit Tigers, he found his turbulent professional career on the outside looking in, without a home. “Like, are you serious?” he recalled reacting to the news of his release. “With all that I’ve accomplished in

the big leagues I thought that someone would want me, but no one did.” It was like leaving Wright State all over again, except at least then he left on his own terms. The 2006 season was underway, and Peña was watching it unfold on his television. That’s when the New York Yankees called…with a minor league offer. Better than nothing, Peña figured. At least it would get him back in the swing of things. 105 games later, Peña was hitting to the tune of a .824 OPS, but he looked up and didn’t find himself under the bright lights of the Big Apple. His agent, Scott Boras, negotiated his release and Peña was back on the market in the heat of the summer. Fenway Park loomed as a constant backdrop throughout the slugger’s stateside upbringing. Beating up on the competition in Haverhill and on Huntington, the historic stadium sat waiting to be conquered. On August 16, Peña was given the opportunity to play for his hometown team. He just had to earn his way there first. “My agent, Scott Boras, told me if you play well, they’ll call you up,” Peña said. “They’ll honor your performance if you do well. That’s all I wanted to hear.” Peña hit .459 with four home runs in 11 games for Triple-A Pawtucket. 11 games was enough. He was playing at Fenway Park. The day before the five-year anniversary of his Major League debut, Peña stepped into the batter’s box in the bottom of the 10th inning, representing the team he envisioned himself playing for long ago. Leading off the inning, the Red Sox just wanted a baserunner on, but Peña had other plans. He gave the ball a one-way ticket from the bat to the right field bleachers. “It was a walkoff home run for my hometown team – just insane.” Like any thrilling roller coaster, an ascent usually marks the imminence of a drop. After the season, Peña was non-tendered by Boston and hit the open market once again. This time, a different AL East ballclub extended interest – the worst


BASEBALL team in the league, the Tampa Bay Devil Rays. They invited the first baseman to spring training. And subsequently cut him.


He couldn’t even make the roster of the worst team in the league. While his old teammates were out on the town, celebrating their job security, Peña was making the journey home on a Friday night. On Saturday morning, the phone rang – first baseman Greg Norton was hurt, the Devil Rays needed a first baseman again. On Sunday, Peña was back on a plane to Tampa. On Monday afternoon, he was suited up in the dugout on Opening Day. Something weird happened in that 2007 season. Peña started crushing…and he didn’t stop. 46 homers, 121 RBIs, 1.037 OPS. Ninth in AL MVP voting, AL Silver Slugger award. “There was something that I was not able to replicate for the rest of my career, and I don’t think you could replicate it at all unless you’re in a situation that brings PHOTO COURTESY NORTHEASTERN ATHLETICS that out of you. And that was the state of mind that I was in [...] It’s unbeliev- MY TALENT EXPRESSED ITSELF TO THE FULLEST AND MORE. NOTHING WAS THERE TO HOLD IT BACK. I’M GOING TO EARN THIS OPPORTUNITY BY PLAYable that I’m even standING MY HEART OUT, AND ENJOYING IT, AND BEING GRATEFUL. NO FEAR OF ing here, so let’s go hit. FAILURE, WHATSOEVER. NONE. EVERY ATOM AND MOLECULE THROUGH MY VEINS THROUGHOUTMY WHOLE BODY - FEARLESSNESS That mentality cannot be faked. And I exploded. moment,” Peña said of playing in the World Series. “I My talent expressed itself to the fullest and more. Nothremember walking up to the box, and before I did ing was there to hold it back. I’m going to earn this anything else I took a deep breath. I just thought, This opportunity by playing my heart out, and enjoying it, and pitch, this pitch, this pitch. Those two words carry being grateful. No fear of failure, whatsoever. None. somuch power: this pitch. That’s what we have to win, Every atom and molecule through my veins throughout this pitch happening right now.” my whole body – fearlessness.” His whole career, his whole life, Peña was playing For the first time in the majors, Peña wasn’t a pitch by pitch. As a teenager in a new country with a new replaceable first baseman. He was a centerpiece, a language, whose parents sacrificed everything for a middle-of-the-order force that caused opposing pitchers better life: this pitch. As a young adult wishing for a to second-guess every decision. His goals shifted – now higher education and a shot to continue playing the game it was time to win. he loves, sending out 100 letters to colleges: this pitch. "Carlos played such a key role during the transforAs a Northeastern Husky colleges: this pitch. As a mation of our franchise to the Rays," said Rays president Northeastern Husky, clawing his way onto the radar of of baseball operations Matt Silverman during a press professional scouts: this pitch. As a Major League conference. "His contributions both as a player and a baseball player, hanging onto a roster spot by a thread, person can still be felt today. The respect he has for our bouncing around from organization to organization: this organization and the connection he feels to Tampa Bay pitch. And finally as a star, on baseball’s biggest stage: and our fans is heartwarming.” this pitch. It was everything Peña fantasized about back in the The pitch comes in, and Peña hammers it out to deep Dominican Republic, watching George Bell play on TV. right field. The ball sails out of Tampa, making stops in A chance to play in the Major Leagues, and better yet, Chicago, Houston, Kansas City and back to Arlington the World Series. The Tampa Bay Rays were going to the before ultimately landing at One MLB Network Plaza, 2008 Fall Classic. Secaucus, New Jersey, where the most successful North“The environment was unreal, just totally different. eastern baseball alumnus in program history analyzes At that point, nothing matters except for the present the game that shaped his life. 36. RED & BLACK


UNFINISHED BUSINESS AFTER MIKE GLAVINE announced the Huskies’ 2018 season schedule, he sat back and watched his phone screen light up as the calls, text messages and social media posts began to pour in. “Are you crazy?” asked family, friends and fans. “Playing this schedule?” With full weekend series scheduled against major powers Missouri, No. 17 Auburn and Texas Tech, the Northeastern baseball alumnus understood where the concern came from. But after clinching the first CAA regular season title in program history only to fall in the semifinal round of the tournament last season, Glavine had one thing on his mind – redemption. “We have two ways to reach a regional,” Glavine said. “We’ve only always ever focused on the conference championship. I just asked the team, ‘Why don’t we focus on the other way?’ and that’s to make it as an at-large.” The Huskies rose to the occasion, collecting the program’s first-ever win over an opponent from the powerhouse Southeastern Conference – Missouri. The day after, they earned their second SEC win against the same foe. To bookend a sweep of the Snowbird Baseball Classic tournament (Presbyterian, Dartmouth, Villanova, Georgetown), Sean Mellen allowed just two hits against Auburn to hand the Tigers their first loss of the season. It was enough to edge the Huskies into early postseason conversations, with their RPI ranking peaking at No. 2 in the nation in March and remaining within the top 20 since. Glavine’s plan, still in its beginning stages of execution, was working. “I just felt like this team was ready for this type of challenge, especially given the season that they had last year,” Glavine said, leaning back in his chair in his Cabot Center office. “It will help us get over the hump and get back to a regional. I think just challenging them as much as they could will just prepare us for the tournament.” The all-too-familiar opponents still loomed – a full conference slate lay ahead, bringing with it memories of the previous postseason. But the Huskies controlled theirway through an early road set against James Madi



son and swept Elon for the first time in program history to open CAA play at their home field, Friedman Diamond in Brookline. Sitting in a steady second slot in the conference standings, Northeastern leads the CAA in hits (362) and is second in the conference in batting average (.273) and RBIs (189). “We’re a dynamic offense, and if you watch us play we are really fast,” Glavine said. “We have had a bunch of infield hits, stolen bases, things that don’t necessarily show up on the box. We go first to third really well, we score from second almost every time on a single. We do a lot of things with our speed that might not show up statistically but can change a game, and it’s fun to watch.” Glavine cites his upperclassmen with leading the team through the new perspective for the program – and there’s no shortage of production from them to serve as an example. Junior Charlie McConnell – who owns the conference lead in stolen bases (24) and senior Max Burt lead the team, batting .345 and .336, respectively. Ty Robinson and Brian Christian lead a relatively young bullpen – seven of 13 pitchers on the roster are freshmen – with Mellen, a sophomore, anchoring the PHOTO BY JIM PIERCE/ NORTHEASTERN ATHLETICS rotation. His 2.06 ERA and 9-1 record are a total transformation from his first season on Huntington Avenue, when he collected a 10.80 ERA while going 1-2. The change is a welcome one, but something that does not shock Glavine and the rest of the Northeastern program. “There’s a lot that goes into a freshman pitcher, so you tend to see their numbers not quite where they thought they were going to be or where you hoped they’d be,” Glavine said. “He’s just been great. I’m not surprised, he’s extremely talented. He works hard. He has all the makings of being an extremely successful pitcher as he has been this year, and will continue to be.” With a winning percentage above .600 and plenty of baseball left to play, the Huskies are poised to tackle whatever foe awaits – fearless. “They’re not afraid to play anyone, anywhere, anytime,” Glavine said. “As a coaching staff, we want to try to instill that attitude in them, and they have bought into it. It’s just that mindset of continuing to believe it’s going to happen. And we’re there.” APRIL.20.2018





HUSKIES and golden retrievers may not always get along, especially in the world of collegiate athletics. But when it comes to helping out a teammate, the Northeastern Huskies baseball team was more than willing to welcome a different breed aboard. Liam McGourty, who recently celebrated his 11th birthday, has been a member of the Northeastern baseball squad since 2012, when he was signed to the Huskies' honorary roster spot through Team IMPACT. The Norwood, Massachusetts native is living with Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD), which primarily affects boys between the ages of two and six. The disease weakens the body's muscles over time – as Liam himself puts it, "they're not as strong as other people's are." Liam and his family have become an integral part of the Northeastern baseball program during the past six years. Together with his parents Kristen and Jeff and younger sister Abigail, Liam enjoys home games at Friedman Diamond from along the third base line in the family's own set of personalized front-row seats. Members of the baseball team have visited Liam to brighten his dreary hospital stays that are sometimes required for treatments. Several players were in attendance at the McGourty home last week for Liam's birthday party.

The team has also participated annually in the Miles for Liam 5K – sponsored by the McGourty family's Liam's L.E.E.P. foundation, which aims to raise awareness, research, and support for families dealing with DMD – incorporating the event into its 19 Ways community service initiative during each of the past three seasons. It was during the most recent 5K that senior Nolan Lang realized there was more to be done in helping out their youngest teammate. At the event, the NU third baseman met with representatives from Golden Opportunities for Independence, an organization that pairs service dogs with individuals who may need one. Liam and his family had already been in touch with the organization and were waiting for a match when Lang offered to house, raise, and train Liam's eventual service dog. While balancing academics and baseball, Lang (with help from his teammates) attends weekly trainings with Liam's to-be working golden retriever – appropriately named Fenway. Lang works with Fenway daily to reinforce what he has learned in an effort to make Fenway available to Liam as soon as possible. "[We're just] making sure he knows how to be a good dog and when he's ready to go to Liam, he knows what to do," Lang said. *This story originally appeared on




DENTON “CY” YOUNG leaned in for the sign. Across his chest “Boston” was sewn into a collared jersey, laced at the top. White baggy pants rose high above the waist tucked into tall dark socks. A leather glove in the shape of a human hand rested on his knee, ready for the action like the thousands of onlooking spectators. In the heart of the Northeastern campus, the statue of Cy Young, the man for whom the annual award for the best pitcher in each league is named, stands ever-waiting. It was October 1, 1903 – the first game of the first World Series. Honus Wagner and the Pittsburgh Pirates from the dominant National League were in town to take on the Boston Americans (the franchise that would become the Red Sox just four years later) from the newly established American League in a best of nine – yes, nine – game series. Believe it or not, there was an era in Boston baseball that predates historic Fenway Park. Fenway wasn’t constructed until 1912, moved deeper north into Boston from the franchise’s original home. Its home on Huntington Avenue. The Huntington Avenue Grounds, costing all of $35,000 (just under $1 million in today’s dollars), opened in 1901 after owner Ban Johnson decided his new American League needed a Boston-based team to 36. RED & BLACK


compete with the Boston Braves just a quarter mile away. Staff ace Cy Young, player-manager Jimmy Collins and the outfield trio of Patsy Dougherty, Chick Stahl and Buck Freeman were plucked from National League squads and banded together, placing second and third in the team’s first two seasons. But it was their magical third season together in 1903 that would bring the first taste of interleague baseball glory to the city of Boston. The series was meant to be a simple exhibition, an attempt by Johnson to prove that his newfound league was more than a scrap heap from the National League’s remains. No, his intention was to transform major league baseball into a two-league battle for ultimate supremacy. Roughly 12,000 fans packed into the makeshift stadium lined with advertisements for 10-cent cigars and bottled beer. The infield diamond gave way to a sprawling pasture of an outfield measuring 530 feet to center field. Patches of sand lay where grass would not grow, a rough conglomeration resembling the nascent stage of the sport as a whole. Heavy underdogs against the established National League powerhouse, the Boston Americans disappointed the home crowd in Game One, as the Pirates’ four-runfirst off Cy Young proved insurmountable.

This was a time known as the “deadball era” in baseball – the balls did not have same cork center as they would later adopt, taking much more effort to drive the ball. At the same time, pitchers threw their fastball in the low eighties and complemented it with a changeup or maybe a looping curveball. On the plus side, they seemingly had rubber arms, often finishing the games they started. In 1903, Young and Bill Dinneen combined for 69 starts – they went all nine innings in 66 of them. Dinneen spun a three-hit shutout in Game Two, striking out 11 Pirates. Outfielder Patsy Dougherty led off the bottom of the first with an inside-the-park home run, a feat that would not be replicated in the World Series for 112 years. He would then hit the first over-the-fence home run in a World Series later in the sixth. A Game Three loss took the Series back to Pittsburgh (or more accurately Allegheny City), where a second straight defeat put the Americans in a 3-1 hole. However, a new sense of momentum showed up quite literally at Exposition Park in the form of the Royal Rooters. These rowdy Bostonians gathered en masse in the bleachers, flooding the stadium to the point where a rope was assembled in the outfield to hold spectators

back. A ball that found its way under the rope was deemed a ground-rule triple – 17 were hit in the four games in Allegheny City. The Royal Rooters made their presence felt, belting the words to their fight song, “Tessie”, the noise reaching deafening levels whenever Hall-of-Fame shortstop Honus Wagner strode to the plate for the Pirates. Any sense of home field advantage was shattered with “Up from Third Base to Huntington / They sang another victory song”. Boston won three games of the four in enemy territory. With that, the inaugural World Series found its way back to Huntington Avenue for the decisive Game Eight. Bill Dineen takes the mound as hungry students rush in between classes for a quick bite at Rebecca’s. Honus Wagner steals second base in front of the steps to Hayden Hall. Patsy Dougherty hits the first World Series home run, crashing into the window of the Cabot Center. The Royal Rooters sing from the Krentzman Quad. Boston celebrates the first World Series victory on Huntington. The start of a 115-year-old-and-counting baseball tradition happened here – where America’s pastime meets America’s future.

Photo courtesy E. Chickering & Co / Creative Commons

THE ROAD TO GEORGIA Northeastern softball is currently ranked third in the nation. Oh, you didn’t know we had a softball team? Well, we are the club softball team, but since there is no varsity softball squad, we’re the best Northeastern’s got. And we’re pretty damn good to boot. We haven’t always been good. The club softball program at Northeastern started up in 2010 as a member of the National Softball Association. It took the team a few years to work out the kinks, establish ground rules and gain the sense of determination that is required to be taken seriously in the league. When I joined the team freshman year, we went 4-10. Each year we have improved and improved, up to last year, where we qualified for our regional tournament for the first time ever. Then, not only did we qualify for regionals, we qualified for the World Series which was held in Georgia last May. To go from 4-10 to World Series contenders in four years speaks miles to the talent of my teammates, the quality of our coaching and our commitment to seeing this program reach the next level. Having to face the top teams in the nation, we unfortunately went winless at the World Series last year. We took it as a learning opportunity and a chance to set new goals for this season. We haven’t stopped thinking about a return bid since. We started holding team workouts last summer starting in July, and have been having two to three practices per week since. Whether it be working out in Cabot cage from 10 p.m. to midnight, or making the trek to batting cages in Watertown, our team has not stopped working towards reaching the World Series again. Practicing is rarely easy. Northeastern has no home

“YES, NORTHEASTERN HAS A CLUB SOFTBALL TEAM.” - MADISON KELLY softball field. We make due with turf spots and draw our own field down when we need to practice. The club sports staff does their best to juggle all the different teams, but it is a tough and usually thankless job. They have 50-plus teams all vying for the good practice times in Cabot or at Parsons Field, and as many club sports athletes would confirm, even the ‘good’ practice times usually aren’t ideal. Intramural sports also gets priority over club sports, so we will usually end up with the 38. RED & BLACK




midnight slot in Cabot since intramural cornholereceives the premium Cabot time. The new Carter Field should have a softball field once it opens next year, so hopefully next year our team will get to host home games on our actual campus. We always make the best of what we get though, and use every minute we can to get better. Part of why we have been so successful is the grit we have shown as a team. The New England weather rarely is our friend, and the city of Boston doesn’t have a ton of softball fields available to rent for practice or games. Nevertheless we persisted. This fall, we went 16-1. And not just any 16 wins – we outscored our opponents by 135 runs. 168 runs scored in 17 games, and only 28 allowed. You don’t win games without great pitching, and we have some stellar new pitchers on the team. Alexis Schengrund and Lauren Neudorf, our new studs, recorded a combined 109 strikeouts in only 63 innings pitched. That is crazy. You also don’t win games without great coaching. And we have two great coaches, Frank Bourgeois and Joe Kerns, who have helped steer this ship towards victory. Without their guidance and instruction, we would not have had the fall season we had. Our performance hasn’t gone unnoticed by the league and other teams. Right now we are currently ranked No. 3 in the nation – and we had never been ranked before. Talk about a helluva season so far. This historic season goes unnoticed by most, however. We don’t receive a lot of recognition as club sports athletes; we know that. Our accomplishments are rarely highlighted in the school newspapers or on the school’s social media.However, no one signs up for club sports

for the attention of others. We’re not in this for the recognition, free swag, easy practice locations or beautiful home field – because we don’t have any of that. We are in this for the chance to continue playing the sport we love and care so much about. I know I don’t speak for only myself when I say being on such a talented team is a dream come true as a college student. For many of us on the team, when initially choosing which college to attend, we toyed with Division II and Division III schools where we would be able to continue to play softball. However, we all chose NU for being such a great school, understanding this meant we would likely be sacrificing the ability to continue playing the sport we love. Now though, we get to both attend Northeastern and play softball at a level that is equal to (if not better than) most Division III schools. So to sum it all up: yes, Northeastern has a club softball team. We are having a historic season and are fully committed to a return to the World Series. And not just returning, but making a name for ourselves down in Columbus, Georgia on the national stage. PHOTO BY BRIAN BAE

NU TO NFL: MATT LENGEL EVERY KID has a dream of pitching in the World Series, or

being the next Steph Curry, or catching a touchdown pass from Tom Brady, but for most it remains just that – a dream. For Matt Lengel, his dream from his days as a second grader in rural Mechanicsburg, Pennsylvania became a reality, with a little help from Northeastern. “I woke up and I had a dream that I was just playing football and it was really fun and still remember to this day,” Lengel remembered. “I told my dad I wanted to play football and I’ve been playing ever since.” He continued to follow his excitement for football into high school where he would start to see his career of pursuing football take shape. Like most prominent high school athletes, he wanted to play at a top tier Division I school. Born and raised in Pennsylvania, Lengel’s ideal school was Penn State, a powerhouse football program that continues to dominate in Big 10 football. Unfortunately for Lengel, this opportunity did not arise, but he did receive an offer from another Division I program. This program was Northeastern University. They gave Lengel an opportunity, and that is all he could have asked for – an opportunity to prove himself.



“Once I accepted it I really gravitated towards the university and towards the coaching staff for accepting me and seeing something in me,” he said. Lengel redshirted his freshman year, but unfortunately never got the opportunity to play a game as a Husky. After the 2009 season and 77 years of football, Northeastern University’s program was disbanded. This came as an unpleasant shock for the players, who finished the season on a high note after beating Rhode Island to cap what would be their final season. “We met right on the basketball court, and we went in there and the athletic director told us that they’re dropping the program,” Lengel said. ”To be honest, we all thought the coaching staff was getting fired, and that was our initial reaction because that happens more often than a program getting dropped, so that’s what we figured. But once they officially said the program was getting dropped, it got pretty heated and words were said.” Lengel was forced to go through the recruitment process again, a trying task for someone who had received just one Division I offer and had never played at the collegiate level. Fortune struck and Lengel received APRIL.20.2018


an offer to play football for Hofstra University only to get blindsided again. A week later, Hofstra also disbanded their football program, leaving Lengel back in the cycle of finding a place to the play the sport he loved all his life and wasn’t quite ready to give up on. “I did go through a period of ‘do I even want to do this?’” Lengel said. “It was getting too stressful, but I always had my mind set on going somewhere and going to play again as soon as I could.” Lengel received a few Division II offers, but nothing that sparked his interest and offered similar opportunities to what Northeastern had – until Dean Hood and Eastern Kentucky University came in and gave Lengel the chance he had been waiting for. Soon after a visit to the school, Lengel accepted began his new college career with the Colonels. Lengel transferred to Eastern Kentucky for the 2010 spring season and continued in the footsteps of his dream of a football career. He lead all tight ends on the team that season in receptions and receiving yards and continued his prowess into the 2011 season, when he ranked third on the team as a whole in receptions, one of which was a 55-yard touchdown. Tragedy struck at the beginning of the following season as Lengel tore his ACL and was forced to sit out for the rest of the season to recover. Heading into his senior year, Lengel was naturally eager to make up for lost time. Calamity struck again when only two games into his final season he tore his ACL again and was forced to miss the remainder of his senior year. Fortunately, Lengel was granted an extra year at Eastern Kentucky and he made the most of this opportunity. “I still remember sitting in the locker room before our first game,” he said. “I teared up a little bit just because it had been a while, and I couldn’t believe I was getting to play again.” Lengel put up career numbers in his final season at Eastern Kentucky, hauling in his most receptions of any season with 16, beginning to make a name for himself as his college career came to an end, but hopefully what was not the end of his football career. “All I wanted was an opportunity to put a helmet on for an NFL team and get some kind of tryout, some kind of opportunity,” he remembered. “I didn’t

think I was going to get drafted.” An undrafted free agent in 2015, Lengel was quickly picked up by the Cincinnati Bengals and signed to their practice squad, where he remained for a full year, until the New England Patriots came calling and signed him to their 53-man roster. Lengel was not known for running go-routes down the field, but seen more for his blocking abilities which the Patriots desperately needed. He appeared sporadically throughout New England’s season, playing six games prior to the team’s Week 16 home contest against the New York Jets. With his family in town to watch for the first time all season, Lengel lined up in the slot at the 18-yard line beside Malcolm Mitchell, with Julian Edelman motioning behind him. The Patriots were up 13-0 with just over two minutes remaining in the first half and in need of eight yards to transform their second down back into a first. The ball was snapped, and suddenly Lengel found himself on the ground in the end zone with the ball in his chest, being bombarded by teammates and cheers from the crowd. “Brady… touchdown!” came the announcer’s call. “Matt Lengel! The first catch of his career and it’s from Tom Brady. A memory forever.” “You do everything with the intention that it could happen and it could result in me getting a ball,” Lengel said. “I always wanted to be there, especially for Tom, I’m not one to let him down. Once I turned my head and I saw the ball coming and I remember thinking to myself, holy crap, he threw it to me.” After spending the remainder of the 2016 season with the New England Patriots, where he provided multiple receptions and a touchdown – and earned a Super Bowl ring – with household names including Brady and Rob Gronkowski, Lengel was released by the Patriots in September 2017. Lengel was quickly picked up by the Cleveland Browns and made the team’s 53-man roster. He spent the 2017 season in Ohio and was released by the Browns this month, but was picked up by the Houston Texans on April 14, 2018. “I’m excited,” Lengel laughed. “Always nice to have a job.”



What do you do if you are missing a little bit? How do you get over the hump? Athletes all over the world look for that thin competitive edge; I’d be lying if I said we didn’t do the same. That explains why we were in North Conway, New Hampshire with a former U.S. Army Ranger doing burpees in the middle of a frozen lake. As a member of the Northeastern men's soccer team, we have been trying to change the culture of the program. We are not going to dance around the fact that despite the talent we had, we could not get the results we needed. You do not lose eight one-goal games for no reason. Because of this, we ventured into the icy, northeastern wilderness with Coach Spaldo to learn about leadership on and off the field. The challenge started even before the trip did. The preparation was extensive and attention to detail was critical. Two feet two inches of dental floss. Two cotton balls. Two sections of a foot of toilet paper. This, on top of packing base layers, an insulation layer, a shell layer, snacks, water and an oddly specific 2000-3000 cubic inch backpack. As we were leaving at 3 a.m., we witnessed many people just coming back home from their night out while we wondered what the day had in store for us. It only got more difficult the moment we arrived. We received plenty of climbing gear, but most notably two 70-pound sandbags to represent our two teammates who were unable to make the trip – thanks guys! Except these teammates could not walk for themselves, so we were forced to carry them around all day. Right away, we started with an eye opener. We completed 45 minutes of perfect burpees in perfect

unison…in an hour and a half. Even though we failed to meet the time limit, we learned to unconditionally trust our leaders and to move as a single unit. During our next challenge, I was appointed co-leader with Alex Koritsas and we were tasked with a two-hour expedition up a mountainside to plant the Northeastern flag at the top. As the group approached the mountain we were faced with inclines reaching approximately 45 degrees. Since I was a leader, my job was to find the easiest route up the mountainside. Once the incline greatly increased and we were a significant way up the mountain, I turned to witness the same thing Spaldo must have seen during his time as an Army Ranger and the same thing my mom saw when she was in Iraq – soldiers fighting for each other, with each other, together. I saw Harry Swartz on all fours climbing over a block of ice the size of a refrigerator. I saw Coach Gbandi with a 70-pound sandbag on his shoulders, no jacket on and sweating through his t-shirt. And for the first time, I saw an undistinguishable group – coaches and players struggling together. And succeeding together when we reached the mountaintop with 45 minutes to spare. “There are no bad teams, just bad leaders.” Something Coach Spaldo said that I remember vividly. I've been surrounded by an amazing leader since the day I was born – my number one fan, my mom. She has greatly inspired me to be the best I can be, whether that's on the field or in the classroom. One of the first women to graduate from the United States Military Academy, she ran Division I track and received a Bronze Star. My mother fought not only for this country, not only for me, but for the men and women fighting next to her. A value she instilled in me and reiterated by Coach Spaldo that day on the mountain. We end our sessions by breaking our huddle with a shout: “Family”. It sounds incredibly cheesy, but it is the most fitting. My teammates are the ones I train with, the ones I study with, and the ones I live with. Since many of us live far from home, it's all we got. Whether we are on or off the field, our mentality changes, but the people we are with do not. As a team, we know the challenges of competing at the highest level. We have dedicated much time and effort in order to prepare for next season. This spring has been a fight due to so many injuries, requiring us to stay together and find a way to fight through it. Although many of us will be separated for the hot summer days, as soon as we get to preseason we will hit the ground running. Keep an eye out for us. We’ll see you at Parsons. APRIL.20.2018






JIM PIERCE/ Northeastern Athletics


IF YOU’VE ever taken the time to watch the Northeastern women’s soccer team play, you’ve probably noticed an impressive unit putting on a show for 90 minutes. At a school home to one of the nation’s best hockey teams featuring future professionals, other sports tend to be overlooked – women’s soccer being no exception. With former head coach Tracey Leone and current head coach Ashley Phillips at the helm, the Huskies have transformed themselves into a force to be reckoned with with in the CAA, advancing to the NCAA tournament two of the past four seasons and falling one game short of a third appearance in the same time frame. While soccer is strongly believed to be a team sport, a notion aided by last season’s defensively-minded Huskies team, there tend to be standout offensively-minded players who fuel a fire underneath a team. Think along the lines of Lionel Messi, Andres Iniesta or Andrea Pirlo. To perhaps a lesser extent, the Huskies have their own Pirlo: Kayla Cappuzzo, a speedy forward from Merrick, New York, a hamlet along the southern coast of Long Island. Cappuzzo joined the Huskies in 2014, a highly-tout-

ed recruit with mixed feelings about beginning her collegiate career. “Coming in a rookie, you’re nervous,” Cappuzzo remembered. “Everything is new to you, there’s a lot of emotion and there are so many new challenges you have never seen before on and off the field.” At the same time however, Cappuzzo prides herself in her self-proclaimed fiery attitude. “When someone throws something my way and tells me I can’t do it, I am that person that will do everything to prove to them that I can.” A proven scorer in high school with 25 goals and 35 assists in four seasons, the determined Cappuzzo struggled to find the back of the net during the early stages of her freshman campaign. The first month of the season did not see Cappuzzo score once, and the pressure built up on the eighteen-year-old rook. “It mentally started to affect my game,” she noted. “However, I learned to cope with these pressures and was then able to play with confidence”. The tutelage of her teammates helped reinforce the renewed faith in herself, she mentioned. “They taught me everything it takes to be a member

of this team and program,” she lauded. “They set the tone of the necessary attitude it takes to be a successful player in a Division I environment. They set the standards high, pushed me harder than I have ever been pushed before at the time, supported and believed in me.” The confident Cappuzzo and the Huskies rolled to a 13-1-1 record in the final games of the regular season and postseason before dropping a close one to eventual national champion Florida State. Though this was the most successful season in terms of tournament progress she had been a part of, her rookie campaign was only the beginning of a Husky star in the making. Under the guidance of former interim coach and current head coach Ashley Phillips, Cappuzzo quickly grew from a cog in the Huskies’ well-oiled machine to a leader on and off the field. Over the course of four seasons, Cappuzzo has racked up quite the stat line, collecting two All-CAA First Team and two All-CAA Second Team awards while etching her name in Husky history as the all-time program leader in assists (25) and solidifying a role as a top-five point scorer in program history (59). She garners nothing but the highest praise from her teammates, especially those who have benefited from her senior leadership. Freshman striker Chelsea Domond, a player most similar in play style to Cappuzzo, believes Cappuzzo has had a major impact on both her own individual game and the team’s culture. “The way she makes things look easy on the field is impressive,” Domond explains. “I aspire to work just as hard as she does on and off the field. Ever since coming to Northeastern, I’ve always looked up to [Kayla] as a player and a person. I love having her as a mentor and looking to her for any type of advice. She’s also one of the most impactful, determined teammates that I have ever played with.” Phillips notes that Cappuzzo’s innate motivation and natural intelligence made her a strong role model for her teammates. “In the classroom, she currently has a 3.664 cumulative GPA, and she is as committed, if not more, to being a good person in society, as shown through her involvement in numerous community service projects.” The off-field commitment Cappuzzo prides herself in most is Team IMPACT, a non-profit organization that works to connect children suffering from chronic and severe illnesses with collegiate athletic teams. The forward was responsible for connecting the Huskies with Caeleigh Brown, a Norwood, Mass. resident recovering from leukemia. To Cappuzzo, giving back to the community is an easy way to say thank you for the love and support she has received throughout her Northeastern career. “Through the power of our Northeastern soccer team

we have given her endless support, love, motivation, inspiration, a fun and positive atmosphere to be a part of,” said Cappuzzo. “Having Caeleigh as part of the program has been one of the greatest experiences of my four years here as her story is inspiring and motivating to our whole team.” Speaking of support, Cappuzzo’s fan base quite possibly may be rivaled by none, with the her parents having attended nearly every game to support the standout senior. “I can’t put into words everything they have done for me since day one. They would do anything to see me play,” Cappuzzo said. “Living in New York, they made the trip there and back consistently on the weekends just to be there for me.” A Renaissance woman of sorts, Cappuzzo’s presence will most certainly be difficult to replace on this tightly-knit squad. Both Domond and Phillips emphasized the difficulty the team will face in replacing her pace, work ethic and charisma. Equally as important, however, is the void she will leave behind as a person, notes Phillips. “I believe I will miss Kayla more as a person,” she reflects. “[She] is everything a coach hopes for and when you find people like that, they are so hard to lose.” The Huskies, built around a solid core of returning defenders and a strong presence in goal, certainly have the talent to remain dominant within the CAA. Recruiting is the seemingly obvious solution for any club losing such an important player, but Cappuzzo’s unparalleled drive, leadership, and love for the game will certainly be a tough, if not irreplaceable, loss for the pack. When a team flies under the radar as much as the women’s soccer team, its athletes tend not to get the recognition they deserve. If you didn’t know any better, you could easily find Cappuzzo at Rebecca’s, ordering a buffalo chicken wrap (with no cheese or tomato) and studying for an exam, and fail to notice her. Her name may not have the acclaim associated with a Gaudette or a Sikura, but Kayla Cappuzzo is a name that will be recognized within the Northeastern athletic community for years to come.





Our travel day was a time full of laughs at each other getting taken down by our own suitcases, singing songs through delays and a ton of sleeping. We took off at 11PM and arrived in London at about noon, which left plenty of time for us to check into this napping hotel and shower before catching our next flight at four. The hotel looked like a place straight out of Zenon Z4. This was the first time we registered the fact that we were definitely in Europe and things were going to be a little funkier than in the United States. After grabbing a bite to eat at Garfunkel’s (what a great name for our first food in England) we caught our plane and headed on our way to Montpellier. We touched down in France, bussed to our gorgeous hotel that used to be the city hall, and headed out to dinner. Our first tastes of French food was delicious. Sitting at long, garden style tables surrounded by French paintings and marigold colored walls, we knew this trip was going to be unforgettable.


Our first full day of Europe included a tour of Montpellier, adventures to find our lunch in the city and getting to see a professional soccer game between Montpellier and Lyon. Looking back I think one of my overall favorite parts of the trip was the tour through Montpellier. We got to see and learn so much in just a few short hours about how the city progressed and also stayed true to it’s history throughout the years. I also discovered that there are dogs EVERYWHERE in France. It soon became a goal to pet as many European dogs as we could because a few of us are dog crazy. From Saint Bernards to pit bull puppies, we certainly covered it. Taking on lunch on our own was definitely a little more stressful than we thought it would be. Apparently, when I get nervous and someone tries to speak to me in French my immediate reaction is to respond in Spanish, which I do speak. Luckily other teammates were good at pointing to tables and giving a thumbs up so in the end we were all set. We snacked on mini sliders (which the waiter laughed at us for because they were the most American item on the menu) and headed back to the hotel to get ready for the game. The forecast said there was a chance of rain, but we definitely were not expecting what was to come since it almost never pours at this time of year in Montpellier. About two minutes into the game, rain started pouring down in the largest drops I have ever seen in my life. Luckily, we got to see Montpellier score an amazing goal before everyone in the stands ran to get cover behind general seating. From celebrating the amazing goal and performing a capella to distract ourselves from the cold, the rain definitely did not rain on our parade; just made it a little damp.


On Monday, our agenda included touring an olive oil farm and then heading over to tour a winery. Both absolutely gorgeous locations, it was surreal learning about how long the traditions of each place were being kept alive. For example, the olive trees we witnessed were over a thousand years old. Growing up in New England weather, I had never even seen a plant last more than six months. While we got to taste so many delicacies of Southern France, the most refreshing part of the experience was the passion the people felt for what they dedicated their lives to. I hope to carry that same love with me in my future career and for the rest of my life.


Our last day in France was definitely my favorite one. With the best weather we had so far, we all piled on the bus and headed to the beach. Half of the team took advantage of the beach soccer field while half the team hung out on the beach before walking over to the seaport a few blocks down. I will admit I was the only one to jump into the Mediterranean Sea, but there was no way I was leaving Europe without going in. The whole team truly enjoyed themselves and soaked in the calmness the beach area brought. The seaport was basically a canal with shops and places to eat on both sides of the dock. They were all mostly handmade souvenirs and family restaurants that we witnessed, again sticking to the theme of people’s dedication to their authenticity and carrying on their names. After the beach, we had some time off to grab a quick lunch and rest up for our game at night. It was great to be able to suit up with our seniors again and take the field looking to improve our game and bring some American flare to the field. We enjoyed ourselves and the ability to get to play in Europe against such a respectable club and players who truly enjoyed the game.


On Wednesday we packed the bus with our suitcases bright and early and headed south to Barcelona. It would be fair to say that Montpellier and Barcelona are complete opposites of each other. Our hotel was right in the middle of the most famous street known as La Rambla. The two lanes of the road are split in half by a wide walkway with restaurant tents 44. RED & BLACK


and souvenirs carts lining its edges. Shops up and down the street included bubble waffle dessert cones, a market full of the freshest fruits, candied nuts and fish I have ever seen, tapas, sushi, and best of all, a Dunkin’ Donuts. We learned that Barcelona’s economy mostly runs on tourism which was made clear as the streets filled and filled the further into the week we headed. If you walked left out of the hotel, only a mile away you reached Gaudi’s House museum and Tapas Tapas, the amazing restaurant we went to dinner a few nights later. If you walked straight out of the hotel you hit the Gothic quarters, cobblestone streets full of hidden restaurants and outdoor seating that eventually opened up into a large courtyard. If you went right out of the hotel, you would eventually reach an amazing view of the Mediterranean Sea with cable cars carrying tourists across the shore and over giant, beautiful sculptures and the boardwalk stretching down the entire beach. We discovered all these locations through our bike tour we started as soon as we arrived here. It was unanimous that the bike tour was perfect for teaching us where everything was early so when exploring we would have an idea of our surroundings.


On Thursday we took the metro over to Camp Nou, FC Barcelona’s home field. I have never seen such gorgeous grass in my life. With displays of cleats lining the walls and trophies documenting the clubs success, we learned FCB’s emphasis on the fact that their club is a family. We walked through the press room, visiting team’s locker room, sat on the bench and pretended to be running out on the field like goons a few times before grabbing lunch to head back and prepare for our game. Most of the team decided to hit the market in between lunch and our pregame dinner, and it was a decision I would not regret. The chocolate covered strawberries I shared were the size of baseballs. We rested for a bit, suited up, and headed over to play our other friendly match against Espanyol. Playing under the lights in the middle of the city with noises all around is something I’ll never forget. Within all the unfamiliar, the team felt at home as soccer connected us to Europe in a way nothing else could. I would go back and play in a heartbeat.


On this day we got to explore the Montjuic Castle and take in an amazing view of all of Barcelona and the Mediterranean Sea. The colors stretching across the land was much different the view of a city like New York where skyscrapers catch your eye. In this case, the buildings were cohesive and while standing with individual details, they all screamed Barcelona in an elegant, pastel manner. After our sightseeing, we had the rest of the day, up until dinner, to do whatever we like. My best friend from growing up was studying abroad in Barcelona, so I toured the Gaudi House museum with her while some teammates went shopping, some hunted down popular dessert places, and some just walked and took in the city. This time helped me realize that someday I could definitely handle living in a foreign country. At night we all headed over to Tapas Tapas and enjoyed authentic Spanish food while reflecting on how great the trip had already been.


Today was pretty much everyone’s favorite day. We had the opportunity to run a soccer camp for the younger players of Espanyol and they were so much fun. Two of our players translated to the young girls while most of us worked together with them to find common understandings and successfully play soccer focused games. I truly admired the joy the young girls brought to the field and hope they recognized how much that spread to us. As a person studying psychology and possibly wanting to teach or coach one day, this experience only solidified how much of a difference you can make in another person’s life. After the camp, we headed over to La Sagrada Familia which was personally my favorite part of the trip. I was in awe of the architecture within the walls of the cathedral. The stain glass windows wrapping around the entire building shown the most vibrant yet natural colors I could have ever imagined. It is my sister’s dream to visit it, so I Facetimed her while walking around, and it hit me right there how fortunate our team was to experience a type of trip that some people only dream about.


Today was our our last day in Europe. It was pretty depressing leaving, because when will we get a chance to travel across the world with 20 of our friends again? The flight home we were all bawling (not only because we were sad to leave, but because the plane had the movie Wonder on it and I definitely suggest watching it to everyone out there.) Looking back, my day to day journals do not even compare to the real life experience we had going to Europe. I will never forget how close our team and coaches got and the many laughs we shared, all thanks to the generosity of so many people caring about our program. I am speaking for the whole team when I say we are so grateful to go to Northeastern University.

Husky Time


A Year in review

WOMEN’S SOCCER Kerri Zerfoss and Hannah Lopiccolo added two goals for the Huskies as they earned the 2-1 win over Texas Christian University, their first win in Texas and their first over a Big-12 opponent in program history.

Field Hockey


After Vermont came out to grab a two-goal lead, the Huskies bounced back by scoring six straight to top the Catamounts during the annual Celebration of Legends.

The men’s and women’s rowing teams competed at the historic Head of the Charles. The men’s team placed sixth and the women’s team placed 13th in the Championship Fours.


The me women’s field teams the New Champi placing firs teams in co

Sept 8th | Sept 9th | sept 24th | oct 7th | OCT 22nd | OCt 28th | Feb 3rd | MEN’S SOCCER In their season opener, men’s soccer defeated No. 12 University of Massachusetts-Lowell 2-1 in front of a record crowd of 2,017.




The volleyball team extended its winning streak to eight games with a five-set nailbiter in October. Sherrie Wang tied her career-high four aces as the Huskies pulled out the 3-2 victory.

Cross country

In an impressive weekend for cross-country, the men’s team placed second at the CAA Championships. Louiza Wise placed second overall on the women’s side.

k & Field

en’s and track and s each swept w England ionships, st out of 30 ompetition.

WOMEN’S HOCKEY McKenna Brand scored


Behind a win on the mound from Kyle Murphy, the baseball team earned its first win over an SEC opponent in program history with a 10-8 defeat of Auburn.

two goals to lead the Huskies to a 2-1 victory over Connecticut at Matthews Arena and their first Hockey East Championship win in program history.


Sophomore Megan Clark becomes the first Northeastern swimmer to compete at the NCAA Division I Championship meet, where she swam in the 50, 100 and 200 free style events.

| Feb 12th | Feb 24th | FEb 24th | Mar 4th | mar 15th | Mar 17th | Apr 6th Men’s Hockey

Adam Gaudette led the Huskies to their first Beanpot victory since 1988 with a hat trick during the 5-2 rout of Boston University in the championship game.

Women’s Basketball

Women’s basketball hosted Yale in the Women’s Basketball Invitational, the team’s first postseason tourney appearance since joining the CAA.

Men’s Basketball

The men’s basketball team clinched a share of the CAA regular season title with a win over Elon. The Huskies would go on to share the title with Charleston.

Hobey Baker

Adam Gaudette is named the Hobey Baker Award winner at the Frozen Four in St. Paul. He is the first Northeastern player to win the award.



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