Gael Force

At Play Image 1

Catonsville’s a long, long way from Tipperary, but a local band with a strong UMBC connection is bringing Ireland and other musical ports of call a lot closer with their music.

Five of the six members of fiddlin’ around (yes, the name is lower case) call UMBC their alma mater or their workplace. Tara Ebersole ’08, Ph.D., public policy, Dave Aylsworth ’74, American Studies and Sarah Moreland ’97, M.S. electrical engineering, are alumni. Eric Ebersole is a lecturer in UMBC’s sociology department, and Terry Aylsworth is the executive administrative assistant in the College of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences. (Akron University graduate Bill Batman rounds out the group.)

The band’s layered sound – which weaves mandolin, harmonica, flute, fiddle, and a traditional Irish drum called a bodhran into a more customary guitar, bass and drums – offers a myriad of musical possibilities.

“We can go from traditional Irish to eclectic, and then we fill in the rest,” Terry Aylsworth explains. “We’ll throw in some bluegrass, some Johnny Cash, or any music we want to play that doesn’t have a niche.”

The band’s musical mix often changes with the audience. “We tailor our music sets to our crowds and venues,” Dave Aylsworth says, “so there’s a large variety between gigs.”

Those appearances are increasing in frequency and prestige, including the Catonsville Arts & Crafts Festival and the Maryland Avenue Irish Festival in Annapolis, but Dave Aylsworth insists that fiddlin’ around is all about the love of music. “We’re not out to make money,” he says. “We’re out to have fun.”

— Holly Britton ’11

World Class Coach

World Class Coach

Lacrosse has been kind to Ricky Fried ’88, history. His stellar career at UMBC landed him a spot on the university’s All-Time men’s lacrosse team. Fried has since become a star head coach in the burgeoning field of women’s lacrosse at The Johns Hopkins University and at Georgetown University.

Last summer, he earned an even more prestigious honor when he was named head coach of the 2009-2013 U.S. Women’s Lacrosse National Team – a job he will hold along with the Georgetown job.

Women’s lacrosse is second only to women’s golf in its growth as an NCAA sport over the last decade. Fried was an assistant coach with the American team that won the gold medal at the Federation of International Lacrosse World Cup in Prague last summer.

Now, he looks forward to the chance to hold on to that title in 2013.

“You get an opportunity to work with elite athletes,” says Fried. “At [this] level, that’s the pinnacle of women’s lacrosse. It’s a great responsibility and it’s a privilege to be in that position. I’m excited about the challenges.”

Fried began his coaching career as an assistant with the men’s team at UMBC. After a stint at The Gilman School, he became an assistant coach for the Johns Hopkins women’s team. Fried stayed at Johns Hopkins for nine years before taking over at Georgetown. The 2010 season will be his sixth as the Hoyas’ head coach.

— Jeff Seidel ’85

Shots on Goal

Shots on Goal

UMBC men’s soccer team was great in 2009, boasting 14 wins and the two top scorers in NCAA Division I soccer. But the future promises even more success, because the Retrievers did it all with a team that featured only one senior on the entire squad.

The Retrievers’ 14 wins came with only six losses, including a heartbreaking 2-0 loss to SUNY at Stony Brook in the America East championship game. (A win would have secured the team an NCAA tournament bid.)

But UMBC will return its dynamic scoring duo – rising senior Levi Houapeu (left) and rising junior Andrew Bulls (right)– for next year’s campaign. After Bulls led the entire nation in scoring for most of the season, Houapeu pipped him at season’s end with 43 total points and 2.15 points per game. Bulls finished second in the NCAA with 41 points and 2.05 ppg.

“To be honest, I always believed that this team could be as good as we were this year. No one expected this, but we believed,” said Houapeu.

Among the season’s other significant tallies:
• Houapeu and Bulls both scored 15 goals, combining for 30 of the team’s total of 43 goals.
• The Retrievers’ road victory over top-seeded New Hampshire in an America East semifinal was Coach Pete Caringi’s 200th win at UMBC.
• The 14 victories in 2009 were the most since the Retrievers won 15 games in 2000.
• The Retrievers’ 9-0-0 start to the season was the best in school history.

— Jeff Seidel ’85

Sole Power

Sole Power

UMBC attracts students from many corners of the globe. And sneaker artist and media and communications major Martin Figueroa ’11, has figured out a way that these homesick students can tap their heels together and remember that there’s no place like home. He’s painting the skylines of their hometowns – or any other image that represents their personal style – right onto their sneakers.

Figueroa started drawing sketches on his own shoes three years ago. Before long, friends asked if he would paint their shoes. Figueroa has now designed more than 25 pairs of shoes, with prices starting at $100 a pair, and decided to start a business.

When Figueroa contacted UMBC’s Alex. Brown Center for Entrepreneurship, the staff at the center gave his fledgling enterprise a leg up by putting him in touch with experts to help him get his new business launched. Figueroa hopes to be marketing his work professionally later this year.

Watch the video.

— B. Rose Huber

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