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    DeSouza fueling sizzling start for Framingham State women’s soccer

    Isabela DeSouza
    Richard Orr/Framingham State University
    Isabela DeSouza

    Rams soccer squad is beating expectations

    With wins in six of its first eight games, including a come-from-behind road victory last Saturday, the Framingham State University women’s soccer team is just one win shy of its total last fall.

    The Rams (6-1-1) have been the surprise team in the Massachusetts State Collegiate Athletic Conference, after being selected to finish fifth in the preseason coaches poll. They take a 1-0-1 conference record into Saturday’s 2 p.m. match against visiting Salem State.

    “I thought the prediction was reasonable, but I knew deep down we were a better team than that,’’ said coach Tucker Reynolds, whose previous seven teams at Framingham State have never started so well.


    A big reason is a former Framingham High star, Isabela DeSouza (inset above).

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    The junior forward was among the team’s top scorers with six goals and four assists. Her second-half tally last weekend at Worcester State tied the score at 2-all, as the Rams rallied from a 2-0 deficit for a 3-2 victory.

    “We wouldn’t be where we are today without her,” Reynolds, a Medway resident who coached the town’s high school varsity boys’ soccer team for five seasons, said of DeSouza. “She’s the most creative women’s player I ever coached, seeing things before they develop and then creating opportunities for herself and her teammates.’’

    The conference’s Rookie of the Year in 2011, DeSouza was slowed by some injuries last season. But she came to preseason camp fit and ready, and “has been a phenomenal teammate,’’ according to Reynolds.

    “Her shot inside the near post last Saturday was from a difficult angle, but I think scoring sensational goals like that is in her DNA,” he said.


    Reynolds, in his 15th year as a girls’ coach in the Massachusetts Olympic Development Program, has four other area players on the Rams roster: starting sophomore attacking midfielder Melissa Miele, a Hudson High grad who has a pair of assists; his second player off the bench, freshman midfielder Claryssa Cunniff (Framingham High); junior back Melissa Higgins (Waltham High); and freshman midfielder Ashley Lees (Maynard High).

    Vana scores new title as Mid-Am champ

    Longtime Marlborough Country Club member Frank Vana Jr. added to his lengthy list of accomplishments by putting his name in the Massachusetts Golf Association record book twice in one day.

    He won the Massachusetts Mid-Amateur Championship at Marshfield Country Club last week for a record ninth time, a feat that also gave the Sudbury native an unprecedented 14th MGA championship.

    Vana, who has been named the Richard D. Haskell MGA Player of the Year nine times, has also won two Mass. Amateur and two Mass. Four-Ball titles, and the MGA’s Father & Son championship.

    His Mid-Am win featured a stirring comeback. Vana rallied from six strokes down on the third and final day of the tournament by carding a 5-under 65. His three-round score of 209 was 1 under par.


    Vana played football, hockey, and golf at Marian High in Framingham and Williston Academy in Easthampton.

    After attending West Point for two years, he starred at Assumption College (class of 1986) as a center on the hockey team, a football linebacker, and as one of only two Greyhound golfers to advance to the NCAA Division 2 individual tournament, and is a member of the Worcester school’s athletic hall of fame.

    Scoba is teaching lacrosse in London

    Former Saint Michael’s College women’s lacrosse star Eliza Scoba, a graduate of Franklin High, is teaching the sport at St. Paul’s Girls’ School in London in conjunction with the English Lacrosse Association.

    Scoba graduated last year from St. Michael’s, where she was a two-year captain with 102 career goals. At St. Paul’s, she will teach lacrosse during physical education classes and help coach the school’s lacrosse teams through next July.

    “I feel very lucky to be working in a field that I love — lacrosse — and to know that I am helping the girls and the program to grow,’’ said Scoba.

    Bentley volleyball

    notches historic win

    Bentley University women’s volleyball coach Sandy Hoffman recorded her 750th career victory when the Falcons defeated visiting Saint Michael’s College on Saturday in four sets.

    Hoffman became the 26th coach in NCAA women’s volleyball history to reach the milestone, and the first in New England. Earlier in the week, she advanced to fourth on the all-time Division 2 win list.

    In another milestone, junior outside hitter Tatiana Froehlich , a Newton North High grad, established a career high with 13 kills for the Falcons, who improved to 9-4 after their sixth straight victory.

    Here and there

    Acton-Boxborough Regional High graduate NathalieGruet, a junior on the field hockey team at Wellesley College, was selected as the New England Women’s and Men’s Athletic Conference Offensive Player of the Week after notching game-winning goals against Mount Holyoke and Connecticut College. She had both tallies for the Blue in their 2-1 victory against Connecticut College, and then assisted on her team’s first goal and tallied the winner in overtime against Mount Holyoke. She was leading Wellesley (8-1, 2-0 NEWMAC) with eight goals and 19 points heading into Wednesday’s game at Gordon College. . . Bridgewater State University senior forward Colin Neri of Upton (Nipmuc Regional High) scored the game-winning goal for the men’s soccer team with just over a minute to play in a 2-1 victory over Westfield State last weekend. Both of Neri’s goals this fall have been game-winners for the Bears, who were 4-4 (2-0 Massachusetts State Collegiate Athletic Conference) prior to Tuesday’s game against UMass Boston. . .  The Bentley University hockey team will play Holy Cross at Fenway Park on Dec. 28 to kick off Citi Frozen Fenway, a 17-day series of events that will feature Division 1 colleges and area high schools as well as community skating sessions on an outdoor rink. Tickets for the Bentley-Holy Cross game go on sale next month.

    Marvin Pave can be reached at marvin.pave@rcn.com.