UMass notebook: Starters Nick Mariano, Zach Oliveri transfer from men’s lacrosse team

Last modified: Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Two key pieces of the UMass men’s lacrosse team will finish their careers elsewhere.

UMass coach Greg Cannella confirmed Wednesday that leading scorer Nick Mariano, who just completed his sophomore year with 22 goals and 20 assists, is transferring to Syracuse. Mariano will be eligible immediately as first-time lacrosse transfers aren’t required to sit out a season.

“I wish him luck in his endeavors,” Cannella said Wednesday.

Mariano joins senior goalie Zach Oliveri, who completed his degree at UMass before transferring to Stony Brook, where he will have one season of eligibility for coach Jim Nagle. Oliveri, whose father James died last year, expressed a desire to be closer to his mother on Long Island in a tweet earlier this summer.

“I want to thank Coach Cannella and the University of Massachusetts for my experience there the past four years. It’s an incredible University and I am proud to have my degree from there. I would recommend it to any young player considering colleges. I have decided to finish my education at SBU to spend more time with my Mom on LI. My family has gone through a tough year with the loss of my father James after his battle with cancer and I felt it was important to be close to my family the next year and open a new chapter. I’d like to thank Coach Nagle and SBU for giving me this opportunity while playing one more year...”

Oliveri started all 15 games for UMass last season. He had a 5-8 record with a 10.34 goals against average and a .505 save percentage.

“I wish Zach luck,” Cannella said. “He wants to be home with his family. I’m all for that. I understand the situation. I wish both of those guys well.”

MINUTEMEN SIGN NHL DEALS — Three former UMass hockey player signed NHL deals on the first day of free agency Thursday. After leading the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins with 45 points in 2014-15, Conor Sheary signed a two-year entry level contract with Pittsburgh. His former Minuteman teammate Joel Hanley signed a one-year two-way (NHL-AHL) deal with the Montreal Canadiens after playing 2014-15 with the Portland (Maine) Pirates.

Mike Kostka, who has been up and down from the AHL to the NHL since 2008, signed a one-year two-way deal with the Ottawa Senators. According to “the contract will carry an annual value of $800,000 in the National Hockey League and $300,000 in the American Hockey League.”

If he makes the Senators, they will be his fifth NHL team.

DIAZ-PATTERSON A HIGHLIGHT FOR PUERTO RICO — There weren’t many positives for Puerto Rico in its five-inning 14-1 loss to Team USA at the World Cup of Softball in California. But Quianna Diaz-Patterson, a graduate of Amherst Regional and UMass, had one of Puerto Rico’s two hits and scored its only run.

Diaz-Patterson didn’t play in Wednesday’s 11-2 loss to Canada.

Puerto Rico, which is 2-2 in the tournament, plays the United States junior national team, Thursday at 7:30 p.m. EDT.

NEW SOFTBALL ASSISTANT — UMass’ softball coaching staff is taking on a Washington feel. Coach Kristi Stefanoni announced the hiring of former Husky All-American Victoria Hayward as an assistant coach. Hayward spent the 2015 season as a graduate assistant at LSU.

She is a member of the Canadian national team that played against Diaz-Patterson Wednesday. Hayward is 5 for 11 (.455) in the tournament.

“Victoria’s leadership and experience as one of the top softball players in the nation will prove beneficial to us as a coaching staff and program,” Stefanoni said in a statement. “She is driven and very focused on what it takes to help lead a program to success. Her experience internationally will not only help our current players but give us a chance to recruit outside the country. I’m excited to have her join our UMass family.”

Hayward joins her former Husky teammate Kaitlin Inglesby, who is the Minutewomen’s pitching coach.

Matt Vautour can be reached at Get UMass coverage delivered in your Facebook news feed at


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