Football Team Set for 2009 Opener

Football Team Set for 2009 Opener

Sept. 4, 2009

NORTH DARTMOUTH, MA-The University of Massachusetts Dartmouth's football team will try to get their 2009 season off to a good start when they host Alfred in the opener Saturday afternoon. Kickoff is set for 12 noon at Cressy Field.

The Corsairs won three of their final four games last season, finishing at 6-4 and posting their highest win total since they won seven times in 2004. However, UMass Dartmouth returns just four starters and added nearly 50 newcomers this year.

"We are young, but we are very athletic," said UMass Dartmouth Head Coach Mark Robichaud. "Our team has a great attitude right now, they're working extremely hard. I've told the freshmen that their freshman year is over. They can't make freshman mistakes."

Robichaud hopes that his team's athletic ability will pay dividends Saturday. "We have more team speed on defense, and (Defensive Coordinator) Steve Faniel has instilled a great attitude in our defensive players," said Robichaud. "Offensively, we will ride on the shoulders of (senior quarterback) Chris Pinheiro (Norton, MA/Norton HS). Our offensive line has four new starters who are working well together with returning starter (senior) Ryan Griffin (Burlington, MA/Burlington HS/UMass Lowell), and our receivers, led by senior captain Marc Fiore (Wakefield, MA/Wakefield HS), have had a very good camp."

Alfred is 40-15 during the last five seasons, each of which has ended in an Eastern College Athletic Conference Bowl, and four of which they have won (the exception being last year). The Saxons went 7-4 last year, and return the Empire 8 Rookie of the Year in quarterback Tom Secky as well as senior receiver Jared Manzer and senior running back Vinson Manzer from a team that averaged 380 yards and nearly 30 points per game.

"Alfred is a very good team," said Robichaud. "Their quarterback is one of the best quarterbacks in the Empire 8, they have a running back in Hendrix who carried the ball for 1400 yards two years ago before being hampered by injuries last year, and they have a great wide receiver in Manzer. They're going to be tough offensively."

The Corsairs are looking at this game as a way to measure their progress. "We're looking forward to seeing what we can do against a quality opponent like Alfred," said Robichaud. "It will be interesting to watch us this week because we are young at virtually every position. We don't know a whole lot about Alfred. We have no common opponents, and we are coming into the game a little blind. Our players and our coaches are ready, and everyone is excited and optimistic."

UMass Dartmouth will be home again next weekend when they play Bridgewater State.