Niagara Gazette — The Niagara men’s soccer program added six early signees for the 2014 season, the school’s athletic department announced in a release Wednesday.
The team will welcome Rolando Velazquez, Sergio Lujan, Brennan Koslow, Steve Casey and brothers Navid and Adel Rahman.
“I am thrilled with our initial signing for our 2014 class,” said head coach Eric Barnes. “We have added significant depth in all areas of the field with some nationally recognized prospects. All six players will be competing for playing time immediately upon their arrival, and I wouldn’t be surprised if we saw a couple of them in the starting 11 come next fall.”
Velazquez hails from Junction City, Ore., where he was a two-time all-league honoree and was named Rookie of the Year during his sophomore season at Junction City High School. Velezquez was a member of the U.S. U14 National Team and was ranked as highly as the No. 43 recruit in the country, according to topdrawersoccer.com.
“Rolando is a dangerous winger with great movement on and off the ball,” Barnes said. “He is a sound finisher with an exceptional ability to strike free kicks.”
Lujan comes from Miami, where he played for Miami Coral Park Senior High. He was a member of the U.S. Soccer Development Academy Kendall Soccer Coalition since 2010 and ranked as highly at 109th in the nation.
“Sergio is a versatile attacking player with the ability to play anywhere across our midfield or up top,” Barnes said. “He has a knack for getting into dangerous positions and building the attack.”
Koslow was a three-time all-state selection in Greenville, S.C. at Saint Joseph’s Catholic, where he was named South Carolina A-1 Player of the Year in 2012.
Casey is the lone local player. He was a two-year captain at Williamsville South. The Rahman twins come from Brampton, Ont., where they played for the Bryst Football Academy.
Hogan named MAAC Rookie of the Week
Niagara softball freshman Bridget Hogan (Hamburg) was named MAAC Softball Rookie of the Week, as announced Tuesday.
Hogan had an impactful debut as a Purple Eagle in Niagara’s season-opening four-game weekend classic in Elon, N.C. Hogan batted .357, which was tied for the second highest on the team, led the team in slugging percentage (.714), RBIs (five), doubles (2), total bases (10), home runs (one) stolen bases (one) and tied for the team-high in hits (five).
Hogan’s biggest impact was her 3-for-4, three-RBI performance to spark Niagara’s 5-2 comeback win over Saint Joseph’s in its final game in the Phoenix Opening Classic on Sunday. She tied the game at 2-2 with a two-run homer in the sixth inning and drove in the go-ahead run with a RBI single in the eighth inning. Hogan also made two appearances in the circle, striking out three and allowing 11 hits in 5.2 innings.
Belloso earns MAAC Player of the Week
Niagara men’s tennis junior Inaki Belloso was named MAAC Tennis Player of the Week, announced Wednesday.
Belloso won three of his four singles/doubles matches against Bryant and Colgate at the Turning Stone Classic in Verona over the weekend. Belloso, who is now 8-2 in his last 10 singles matches, defeated Bryant’s Munir Serin, 6-3, 2-6, 10-5, in five singles on Saturday and eased past Colgate’s Nick Laub, 6-2, 6-2 in four singles on Sunday for his fifth straight win. Belloso and doubles teammate Michael Elortegui went 1-1 in No. 1 doubles with the lone win coming over Colgate’s Bobby Alter and Luke Gensburg, 8-7 (5), as the Purple Eagles defeated the Raiders, 6-1.