Monday, December 9, 2013
Mike Keller will ask his University of Southern Maine players at Thursday's practice to do something that's very different from the game they play. He'll ask for their help in saving the life of a rival soccer player.
Jon DeCasanova, 21, a senior midfielder on the Eastern Connecticut State University team, has aplastic anemia. His bone marrow no longer effectively produces red and white blood cells and platelets. He's been hospitalized since Labor Day, and blood transfusions and other treatment have had no effect.
DeCasanova needs a bone marrow transplant to survive. A search of more than 20 million people in the national bone marrow registry found no matches. DeCasanova, from Glastonbury, Conn. has no siblings who could donate their own bone marrow.
The Eastern Connecticut coach got the news last week that a match wasn't found. After his team beat USM 3-0 on Saturday, Eastern Connecticut Coach Greg DeVito approached Keller. Can you help?
"He had tears in his eyes," said Keller. "I know how he felt."
Eastern Connecticut and USM have been at each other's throats on the playing fields and the basketball courts forever, it seems. The rivalry in women's basketball and baseball can get especially heated. Lately, Eastern Connecticut has had a much stronger team in the Little East Conference. It's currently undefeated in the conference and in first place.
Last year, Keller dealt with his own pain when young Buddy Reid took his life. Keller won't forget the support he and his players got from opponents. Wednesday, Keller said he hopes he can effectively explain to his players what's happening at Eastern Connecticut.
They will decide for themselves to get tested, which involves going to a marrow drive and having their cheek swabbed.
He contacted coaching colleagues and friends. The list of recipients took more than three pages.
"I have never wanted to send a mass email to support a cause," wrote Keller. "This one hits close to home please help save this young man's life. We are his last resort."
Josh Hogan (Falmouth) was the top golfer at the Great Northeast Athletic Conference championships at Blackstone National Club in Sutton, Mass. Hogan had a two-day total of 78-76-154. USM was the team runner-up . Peyton Dostie (Standish) was named Little East Conference player of the week. She's scored 14 goals going into USM's last game of the regular season Saturday against Western Connecticut State. Emily Boutin (Old Town) and Mary Moran (Windham) were named to the LEC All-Conference first team in tennis. The pair were the top doubles team. USM will hold an open house for prospective student-athletes Nov. 4, beginning at 9:15 a.m. Register by Oct. 30.
Sam Seekins (South China) and Coby Horowitz (Stow, Mass.) face another test Saturday at the New England Small College Athletic Conference cross country championships on the Bowdoin course. Williams is the defending men's champion and has Wade Davis (Hallowell) among its lead runners. Matt Rand (Cape Elizabeth) has been the lead runner for Tufts this season. He was third in the NESCAC meet last fall. In the women's race, Madelena Rizzo (Ardmore, Pa.) and Olivia MacKenzie (Buxton) will lead Bowdoin. Emily Attwood (Cape Elizabeth) has been a lead runner for Middlebury. The Bowdoin men's and women's teams play in the NESCAC soccer quarterfinals Saturday. The men are at Tufts while the Hamilton women are at Bowdoin.
ST. JOSEPH'S COLLEGE
The men's soccer team has won six straight games and plays Emerson in a Great Northeast Athletic Conference quarterfinal game Saturday at St. Joseph's. Emerson has also won six straight. The volleyball team is assured of home-court advantage when its conference tournament begins Tuesday. The field hockey team is seeded fifth in the North Athletic Conference quarterfinals and plays at fourth-seeded New England College on Saturday. Husson University is the three-time conference champion and this year's top seed.
UNIVERSITY OF NEW ENGLAND
The new Harold Alfond Forum and Ice Rink will be dedicated at 2:30 p.m. Friday. The women's club hockey team, in its first season, plays Endicott at 4 p.m., followed by the men playing Rhode Island in an exhibition game. An open house will be held Sunday from 1 to 3 p.m. with free skating.
Staff Writer Steve Solloway can be contacted at 791-6412 or at: