Colby football, cross country, men's tennis previews

Contact: Bill Sodoma
Date: September 22, 2006
WATERVILLE, Maine --- Previews for the football, cross country and men's tennis seasons are below:

Football: The Colby College football team heads into the 2006 season with a chance at a historical win. The Mules can end the nation's longest football winning streak with a victory at Trinity College on Saturday.

Trinity and Colby will meet in the season opener at 1 p.m. in Hartford. The game will be broadcast on Colby radio station WMHB (89.7 FM) and on the Internet at

The Bantams carry a 30-game winning streak, the longest in any division of college football, into this season. However, Trinity will have a new head coach on the sidelines and the Bantams lost some key players from last year's 8-0 team.

Trinity finished the season ranked first in the New England Division III poll and Colby was right behind in second with its 7-1 record.  With just eight games and 10 teams in the New England Small College Athletic Conference, the two teams have not played each other since the Bantams took a 30-6 win over the Mules back in 2003.

The Bantams' seniors have not lost a game in their collegiate careers. Trinity's last loss came in the second week of the 2002 season with a 30-13 setback at Williams College.

Colby returns a veteran team led by captains Tom Bourdeau and Justin Smith. Bourdeau has been a key member of the offensive line, while Smith has been starting quarterback since the final three games of his first year at Colby.

Smith and running back Chris Bashaw will give the Mules a dangerous offensive backfield. Smith threw for 976 yards and 13 touchdowns in 2005 and Bashaw ran for 508 yards (5.8 yards per carry) and showed the ability to catch the ball. Casey Shea is a leading candidate to start at fullback.

While Brennan Moore moves into a full-time role at tight end, Colby has other solid targets for Smith. Matt Peabody, Justin Candon, Jonathan Forsythe make up the receiving corps.

Bourdeau will anchor the offensive line along with Brett Sabbag and Mike Paleokrassas. Younger players will need to step in and fill the void left by the graduation of some fine linemen.

The Mules will have depth at linebacker and in the defensive backfield on defense. Andrew Heaney, Paul Howanitz, Josh Donabedian, John Murphy and Jackson Parker will all start or see quality minutes at linebacker.

Mike Bracco and Brian Liberty each earned NESCAC Defensive Player of the Week honors last year in the secondary. Bracco led the Mules in total tackles (67), solo tackles (45), and interceptions (4). Liberty was sixth in tackles and also had one interception. Greg Enos had two interceptions in a reserve role last year and will fight for starting spots with Andrew Roland, Tom Daley, and Alex Halls.

Scott Roulston returns on the defensive line, while Kevin Bird played plenty of minutes last year.

On special teams, Brian Bachow '09 will handle the place-kicking duties.

Cross Country: The Colby College cross country teams entertain Bowdoin College in dual meets today. The Colby women are ranked eighth in the preseason national Division III poll, while the Bowdoin men are ranked 20th.

The Colby women won 16-51 over Bowdoin in the dual meet last year. The Mules had the top four finishers and eight of the top nine in the race. Senior All-American Karen Prisby was second to fellow All-American Jess Minty '06. Devan FitzPatrick took third place and Anna King was fourth. Liz Petit was sixth for the Mules and Kathleen Maynard placed ninth.

For Bowdoin, sophomore Courtney Martin returns after taking fifth place in the dual meet last year. Courtney Eustace was 10th and Laura Onderko placed 11th.

While the Bowdoin women are running for the first time this season, Colby finished second at the University of Massachusetts at Dartmouth Invitational last Saturday. The Mules, who have finished fifth at the NCAA meet the past two years, got a fourth from King and a fifth from Prisby. First-year runner Amanda Ivey made her debut a strong one by placing 13th out of 227 finishers.

The Bowdoin men took a narrow 27-28 victory over Colby last year, but race winner Andrew Combs graduated. Owen McKenna was fourth in the race and Nathan Krah placed fifth.

Colby's Dan Vassallo was second and teammate John Swain placed third in the dual meet last year. Jeff Alden was sixth and Michael Collins took eighth place.

Vassallo placed 11th overall at last weekend's UMass-Dartmouth Invitational. Swain took 30th place and Alden was 32nd as Colby placed eighth overall out of nearly 30 teams.

Colby's teams will take next weekend off before running in the Open New England Championships at Boston's Franklin Park on October 7. The Maine State Meet is the following Saturday at Bowdoin.

Men's tennis: The Colby College men's tennis team starts the fall season at the Middlebury Invitational this Saturday and Sunday under co-interim head coaches Jim Begin and Sakhi Khan.

The Mules will play a short season of fall matches, including an added home match against University of Southern Maine on Friday, October 6 at 3:30 p.m. Colby finished the spring season last year at 10-5.

Colby returns its top three singles players in sophomore Bryan Brown and juniors Brody Saunders and Zack Schuman. Brown was tied for the team lead in total wins last year with 23. Schuman had 22 victories, while Saunders added 16 wins while playing just the spring season.

Tim Fuhriman, a sophomore, had 20 wins a year ago and sophomore Alex Chin returns as well after recording 12 victories. Schuman and senior Tom Gildersleeve will serve as co-captains this year.

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