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Tuesday, February 11, 2014

DWC coach Nate Goulet returns to cold weather baseball


NASHUA – Rivier University baseball coach Anthony Perry was asked if he had any advice for newly named Daniel Webster College coach Nate Goulet about preparing a team in the cold, frosty northeast.

“Yes,” Perry said. “He should know there’s a good chance the first time you step on the baseball field is your first game.” ...

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NASHUA – Rivier University baseball coach Anthony Perry was asked if he had any advice for newly named Daniel Webster College coach Nate Goulet about preparing a team in the cold, frosty northeast.

“Yes,” Perry said. “He should know there’s a good chance the first time you step on the baseball field is your first game.”

That, it seems, is the reality for college baseball in this part of the country. Goulet grew up and played ball in Nashua but all of his college coaching experience is south of Maryland. It’s a different world.

“Well, I did coach for awhile at Eastern Tennessee, and we had some snow,” he said.

But Goulet knows it’s not the same. The Eagles will make a Florida trip on March 7 to begin the season, but practices right now are confined to the Vagge Gym and local indoor batting cage/workout facilities.

“It’s a huge adjustment, it really is,” Goulet said. “We had our first meeting and our first team practice and I told the guys, ‘Be patient, it’s going to be a little disorganized. It’s going to take a little bit of time to get acclimated to it.

“But a lot of these guys, they’re from the north. I’m going to ask them for a few suggestions. It’s never been about me.”

But it is now, early on, as Goulet this week assumed the reins of a two-time defending New England Collegiate Conference champion, three years removed from being the CAA Coach of the Year at Old Dominion. He knows how to prepare a team, but it’s certainly different under these conditions.

“I think you have to adjust to what’s given to you,” he said. “The one thing we’re missing is that live game situation.”

For the next five weeks, the Eagles will, like a lot of other schools, go two hours a day in the gym. “We have a gym, but it’s still a cramped area,” Goulet said.

Thus, he may do the old parking lot search, any type of area come later in the month that’s outdoors and wide open.

“Unfortunately, I don’t know how it will go, I’ve never been in this situation as a coach,” Goulet said. “It’s a lot different. It’s very different. Are we going to make mistakes? Yes, but the big thing for me is learning from what we do.”

Perry’s Raiders, meanwhile, who have a roster of 28, sometimes can get outside on the turf field used for lacrosse and field hockey. The indoor facilities - the Raiders use one in Tewksbury, Mass. – can only help so much.

“Everybody looks good hitting in the cage,” he said. “You kind of have to evaluate the mechanics.”

Goulet is coaching in his hometown, inheriting the program after a year as J.P.Pyne’s top assistant, with Pyne moving on to the University of Maine as an assistant. He has 18 newcomers joining 14 returnees, “which is really unheard of in college baseball.”

“I’m not here to reinvent the wheel,” he said. “I’m fortunate for the opportunity. This could be my dream job.”

Certainly a different job. As Perry said, “Baseball outside of New England is a lot different.”

Rivier baseball

Still on baseball, Rivier won’t be going to Florida this year. Instead, they will hop on a bus and head to Maryland and Virginia to play a series of games.

“The team needs a bus trip to bond together,” Perry said. “In the other Florida trips we’ve taken, the team never really bonded. A three hour plane ride just doesn’t do it. But you go 12 hours in a bus, everybody will get to know each other.”

They will stop in Waldorf, Md. to face Gallaudet University, a college for the deaf and hard of hearing that is coached by none other than former Nashua Pride outfielder and major leaguer Curtis Pride. Oh, and his pitching coach is none other than former Pride pitching coach Andre Rabouin. Add to this that Perry is a former Pride bullpen catcher and his hitting coach is former Pride slugger Glenn Murray, and you can see how this all came about.

“It’ll be great, a Pride reunion,” Perry said. “And then right after that we play the 20th ranked team in the country, John Hopkins.”

DWC dinner planned

One of the first duties that Goulet has to do at DWC is organize the program’s Hot Stove Dinner fundraiser. It will be Friday, Feb. 21 at the Nashua Country Club beginning at 5 p.m., with the keynote speaker Ken Ryan. Ryan, some will remember, pitched briefly for the Nashua Pride and had an eight year Major League career, four with the Red Sox and four with the Phillies.

The event will also have memorabilia auctions and raffles.

For ticket information, contact Goulet at 603-577-6104 or email him at ngoulet@dwc.edu.

Proceeds will benefit the Eagles’ baseball program.

Rivier volleyball

What a week for the Rivier men’s volleyball team. The Raiders moved up from eighth to No. 3 in the nation, unheard of for any collegiate team in the city. And they received plenty of honors.

Senior Aaron Almario was chosen as the Great Northeast Athletic Conference’s Offensive Player of the Week, hitting for a .423 clip with 2.42 kills per set. Fellow senior Matt Bynon, out of Burnt Hills, N.Y., was named the GNAC Defensive Player of the Week, highlighted by 16 digs in the win over No. 5 ranked Baruch College.

Finally, freshman Tyler Blank was named the GNAC Rookie of the Week, dishing out a total of 119 assists in the team’s big opening weekend.

Busy weekend

This is a big sports weekend for the colleges. The Daniel Webster men’s basketball team has a big NECC game Saturday at Becker at 1 p.m.

Meanwhile, the Raiders women’s team visits chief GNAC foe Emmanuel in Boston at 3 p.m. Saturday. There’s the New England Collegiate Hockey Association tourney at Conway Arena, and the Rivier men’s volleyball team will try to beat former No. 1 ranked Springfield College a second time in the Springfield College Invitational Saturday at 12:30 p.m.