action:article | category:SPORTS22 | adString:SPORTS22 | zoneID:40

Home » Sports » College Sports

November 14. 2013 11:21PM

Allen Lessels' UNH Notebook: Kaplan keeps on working

DURHAM -- Matt Kaplan, who once again will be smack-dab in the middle of everything on Saturday for the University of New Hampshire football team, earned some high praise from the boss this week.

"Two names jump out at you when you start talking about the hardest workers in the program," said UNH head coach Sean McDonnell. "Chris Setian and Matt Kaplan. Both walked on to the program and earned their way to full scholarships."

Setian is a bruiser of a running back, a senior and one of the Wildcat captains.

Kaplan, a junior defensive tackle and champion high school wrestler out of Franklin, has started every game the last two years and shares the team lead for sacks with five with linebacker Akil Anderson.

"He's one of those kids who has worked his tail off for everything he's gotten in this program," McDonnell said. "He's a phenomenal kid in his work ethic and the energy he has for the game. If we had 90 kids like him, my job would be a lot easier."

McDonnell said he and his staff weren't quite sure what they were getting as they looked at Kaplan in the recruiting process. They liked him and brought him in as a recruited walk-on.

"But he didn't fit the profile," McDonnell said. "He was 5-10 when we recruited him and on the defensive line we're usually looking for guys who are 6-2, 6-3. We're often getting guys who are 215-220 and building them to 275-280 and he was 290. He was a strong kid, but he had to redefine his body a little."

Kaplan did and by the time he was a redshirt freshman he worked his way into a starting a couple of games and played in 11.

He's been a starter since, this year alongside senior Sean McCann in a defensive tackle rotation that also includes sophomores Jullian Turner and Rashid Armand.

Even Kaplan, who is listed at 6-foot-1 and 292 pounds but is probably not quite that tall, has been a little surprised by his success thus far.

"I've always been confident in myself," he said "But if you had told me when I came in that I would be a two-year starter by now, I probably would have laughed. It's nice to see the hard work pays off."

The challenge for Kaplan and the Wildcats this week is to take care of business against an Albany team that has struggled in its first year in the Colonial Athletic Association and will be emotionally charged for the game.

The Great Danes are 1-9 overall and 0-6 in the CAA and this is their last home game, their last chance to get a CAA win on their new Bob Ford Field for the program's longtime head coach. Ford is retiring after 41 years when this season ends.

In addition, Albany gave Maine all it could handle in a 33-27 loss at home last week and earlier lost a 33-30 game at Delaware.

UNH is ranked No. 23 in the country and at 5-4 overall and 4-2 in the CAA needs a win to set up a huge rivalry game at home against Maine next Saturday. The Wildcats must beat both Albany and Maine to have a shot at making the FCS tournament.

- - - - - - -

THE MEN'S hockey team got back on track with an impressive sweep of Massachusetts last weekend — 4-1 in Durham on Friday night and 9-0 in Amherst, Mass. on Saturday — and then tacked on a 4-2 win over Brown for good measure on Tuesday night at the Whittemore Center.

The Wildcats, 4-5-1 overall and 2-2-0 in Hockey East, will try to keep it going with a game at Northeastern tonight at 7. The teams meet again on Saturday night in Durham at 7.

Northeastern is 6-3-0 overall and 1-2-0 in the league. The Huskies beat UMass Lowell, 4-2, last Saturday and in their game before that lost in overtime to Boston College, 4-3.Freshman Mike Szmatula leads the Huskies with four goals and 11 assists for 15 points. Sophomore Kevin Roy is at 8-6-14.

The Wildcats are looking to pick up crucial points in the new-look Hockey East these next two weekends.

After they play two at Providence College next weekend, they will have completed 40 percent of their league schedule and will be done with four Hockey East teams for the regular season.

- - - - - -

THE UNH FIELD HOCKEY TEAM plays at Duke on Saturday at 11:30 a.m. in the first round of the NCAA tournament.

The Wildcats are 15-6 overall and won the America East tournament and an automatic berth in the NCAAs with last Saturday's 3-2 win over Albany. Duke is 14-6.Hannah Richard, a senior from Hopkinton, has scored 13 goals for UNH to rank second on the team. Richard and junior back Maegan Grew, of Hampton Falls, were among the Wildcats who made America East all-star teams. Both were named to the second team.

alessels@unionleader.com


  • Do you support minimizing risk of injury in high school ice hockey by making the penalty for boarding or checking from behind an automatic major?
  • Yes
  • 67%
  • No
  • 33%
  • Total Votes: 937
 NH Sports Angle ╗ more
Links to news and happenings around the world of sports with a Granite State connection, updated daily.

State sells Windham golf course site for $3.06M

Ex-minor leaguers sue MLB over low salaries

$14M to beaten Giants fan returns security focus

Matt Bonner and brother bring rock show back to Redhook

GM: Twin State Speedway progressing with revival

Foot golf arrives on Seacoast

New Hampshire's Burns gets more than he could ever ask for

Pro runner's yoga class will raise money for clean Kenyan water

Menard wrecks as New Hampshire testing concludes

Lawyers try to bar Patriots from paying Hernandez $3.2M bonus

Pease Golf Course celebrates opening of lower nine holes

NFL rule could signal end of Justin Tuck signature facemask and that's a good thing according to UNH findings

NH man almost wins first $500k winner-takes-all open basketball tournament

Blue Jays move Dalton Pompey up to New Hampshire

Field set for 110th anniversary ĹClimb to the Clouds' car race

Contractors volunteer to complete renovations for 5th Annual Jericho ATV Festival

Dartmouth dismisses menĺs lacrosse coach

Jay Perrin looks to take his MMA career to the next level at Combat Zone 49

Dartmouth runner poised for long-term success on pro circuit

'Great Race' makes pit stop in Rochester

CHIP KELLY

Chip Kelly: Last practice not Fred Flintstone leaving work

Traffic jams expected with 30,000 fans at Epping dragway

Calgary Stampsĺ St. Pierre, complete with tattoos and plenty of brawn, not your typical NH wedding planner

Laconia man wins grueling 500-mile race in 9 days

NH native, famed NASCAR engine building, dead at 98

MORE

 New Hampshire Events Calendar
    

   ╗ SHARE EVENTS FOR PUBLICATION, IT'S FREE!

Upcoming Events

 New Hampshire Business Directory

  

   ╗ ADD YOUR BUSINESS TODAY!