New Hampshire Coach Sean McDonnell: “Like so many other programs around the country, the virus took its toll on us,” he added. “I am constantly reminded that the virus controls us, we don’t control it.” AP Photo/David Zalubowski

The University of New Hampshire football team has opted out of its remaining two games of the spring season because of “ongoing COVID-19 issues within the program,” the school announced Tuesday.

The Wildcats’ previous three scheduled games were postponed because of COVID-related protocols. The team has only played one game this spring.

New Hampshire was scheduled to play at home against Stony Brook on Saturday and at Maine on April 17. The Colonial Athletic Association has officially cancelled both those games.

That means UMaine’s final spring game is scheduled for Saturday at Rhode Island.

“We followed the safety protocols to the best of our abilities, dealt with the starts-and-stops that come with COVID, and never wavered in our commitment to play football,” UNH Coach Sean McDonnell said in a release from the school.

“But like so many other programs around the country, the virus took its toll on us,” he added. “I am constantly reminded that the virus controls us, we don’t control it. While I am very disappointed for the team, their families, and our staff, I know in my heart that sometimes the right decision is the hardest decision.”

BASEBALL

COLBY 4, SOUTHERN MAINE 0:  Brady O’Brien and Cabot Maher had back-to-back RBI doubles in the top of the third to break a scoreless game as the Mules (4-1)  blanked the Huskies (10-4)  at Gorham.

Andrew Russell lined a run-scoring double in fourth and later scored on Maher ‘s RBI triple to make it 4-0.

Elijah Cohen went the first four innings for Colby, allowing three hits and fanning two and walking a pair, to get the win.

Andrew Olszak and Andrew Hillier each had doubles for Southern Maine.

Massachusetts goalie Filip Lindberg is among four Minutemen who will not play in Thursday’s national semifinal because of virus protocols. Jeffrey T. Barnes/Associated Press

MEN’S HOCKEY

FOUR UMASS hockey players, including two heroes of the first two rounds of the NCAA Tournament, are in COVID-19 protocols and won’t play in Thursday’s frozen four semifinal against Minnesota Duluth in Pittsburgh.

Goalie Filip Lindberg, who has been dominant in the postseason, and Carson Gicewicz, who had scored three goals in a 4-0 UMass win in the regional semifinal  over Bemidji State, are both out.

Fourth line right-wing Jerry Harding and third-string goalie Henry Graham are also in contact tracing. These are the first UMass players to be shut down by COVID-19 this season.

UMass lists the players as being in contact tracing. Any player who has not tested positive and continues to test negative could be reinstated from COVID protocols if UMass advances to Saturday’s championship game.

The Minutemen will face Minnesota Duluth on Thursday at 9 p.m. The winner will advance to the national championship game Saturday.

“I feel for these players who have sacrificed so much over the last year and committed themselves to getting our team to this point,” UMass Coach Greg Carvel said in a statement. “They have earned the right to compete for a national championship, and to have this unfortunate situation occur now is hard to comprehend. But nevertheless, it’s a result that we have to accept, and we will move forward together and utilize the depth of our roster for Thursday’s game in Pittsburgh.”

Matt Murray is now the only available goalie currently on the UMass roster. He and Lindberg have alternated stints as the team’s No. 1 goalie over the past three years. Murray is 9-4-0 with a 2.01 goals against average and a .913 save percentage. He hasn’t played since Jan. 18.

WOMEN’S BASKETBALL

VANDERBILT: The school has fired women’s basketball coach Stephanie White after five seasons and a 46-83 record.

Athletic director Candice Lee announced Tuesday that White will not return. Lee thanked White and her staff for helping the players navigate the challenges during the coronavirus pandemic over the past year.

“As I continued my evaluation of the program, I ultimately concluded that change is needed at this time,” Lee said in a statement. “I wish Stephanie and her family the best.”

A national search for the next head coach will begin immediately.

White went 13-54 in the Southeastern Conference. Vanderbilt opted out this season after a 4-4 start and 0-3 in the SEC in a decision announced Jan. 18. They had dealt with three cancellations with two SEC games postponed.

The roster was thinned by COVID-19 issues, opt-outs, injuries, a player with myocarditis and another recovering from an ACL injury.

Within the past week, three starters announced they are transferring including top scorers Koi Love and Chelsie Hall and three-year starter Autumn Newby. Hall and Newby are graduates with Hall transferring to Louisville with Newby going to LSU.

This decision comes barely a week after Vanderbilt announced a $300 million project to improve football and basketball facilities and a new Vandy United Fund to raise money for athletics programs. Women’s basketball is slated to get its own dedicated practice court along with improvements to the locker room and offices.

MEN’S BASKETBALL

VILLANOVA: Forward Cole Swider has signed a financial aid agreement with Syracuse and will join the men’s basketball program after three seasons with the Wildcats, the Orange announced Tuesday.

The 6-foot-9, 225-pound Swider appeared in 77 games with 17 starts for the Wildcats and has two years of eligibility remaining. He averaged 5.7 points, 3.1 rebounds, and converted 35 of 87 (40.2%) from the arc this past season.

Villanova finished 18-7 and was ranked No. 18 in the final AP poll in mid-March. The Wildcats won NCAA Tournament games against Winthrop and North Texas before losing to eventual champion Baylor in the round of 16.

NEBRASKA: Former Chicago Bulls assistant Nate Loenser will join Nebraska as an assistant coach and Doc Sadler will become a special assistant to head coach Fred Hoiberg, the school announced Tuesday.

Loenser worked for Hoiberg for two years at Iowa State and for three years with the Bulls. Loenser’s coaching emphasis was on the offensive end, and he also handled a portion of opponent scouting and worked in player development for Hoiberg. Loenser also was an assistant at Southern Mississippi from 2004-10.

Sadler was Nebraska’s head coach from 2006-12 and returned to Lincoln in 2019 after five years as Southern Mississippi’s head coach. He was a full-time assistant the last two years and will take over the role of Bobby Lutz, who left last month to pursue other opportunities.

SAN JOSE STATE: San Jose State hired former Nebraska coach Tim Miles to take over the Spartans’ struggling program.

Miles had a 187-202 record in five seasons at Colorado State and seven at Nebraska. He also coached at lower levels at Mayville State, Southwest Minnesota State and North Dakota State, which made the transition to Division I under his leadership.

Miles has a 399-334 career record in 24 seasons.

UCONN: Senior Isaiah Whaley has decided to take advantage of the extra year of eligibility being offered to athletes by the NCAA and will return for a fifth year with the Huskies, the school announced.

The Big East’s co-defensive player of the year, who is on track to graduate in May with a degree in Urban and Community Studies, averaged eight points, 6.2 rebounds, and 2.6 blocks for the Huskies (15-8), who appeared in the NCAA Tournament for the first time in five years, losing to Maryland in the first round.

The forward started every game for UConn this season and has the program’s longest current starting streak at 29.

AWARDS: Luka Garza of Iowa has won the John R. Wooden Award as the nation’s top men’s college basketball player.

The award presented by the Los Angeles Athletic Club was announced Tuesday on ESPN’s “SportsCenter.”

It was Garza’s fourth player-of-the-year award. He collected honors from The Associated Press as well as trophies named for Oscar Robertson and Lute Olson.

Garza led the nation in total points (747), 30-point games (eight) and field goals made (281). He ranked second nationally in scoring with 24.1 points. The two-time Big Ten player of the year finished his career with 2,306 points, which ranked seventh in conference history.

Garza is the first winner from the Big Ten since Wisconsin’s Frank Kaminsky in 2015. The Hawkeyes lost in the second round of the NCAA Tournament.

Voting took place from March 15-22 by a national panel that covers the sport.

Paige Bueckers of UConn won the women’s Wooden Award.

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