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Maite Sturm

Freshman Maite Sturm has been one of the driving forces behind VCU Field Hockey’s resurgence in 2017.

By Andy Lohman

VCU field hockey shifted gears for the 2017 season, and it’s paying immediate dividends.

Midway through Head Coach Stacey Bean’s first year at the helm of the Rams, they have already surpassed last year’s win total (7) with a record of 8-3. The team’s 8-1 record through its first nine matches was the program’s best start since 2012.

The intensity of the program has changed, and the Rams playing up-tempo hockey.

“We’ve just really changed two things,” Bean said. “I think the tempo of training has changed, just the level of focus. And then also we’ve changed our system of play a little bit to put some kids in some positions that I think that are better for their skill set.”

The faster game has led to more goals. Through 11 games, the Rams have found the back of the net 28 times, for a 2.55 goals per game average. Last season, VCU averaged just 2.17 goals per contest.



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SEAL Team PT is back.  Mike Rhoades, a high-energy fella, loves him some SEAL Team. While these players are already in outstanding shape, SEAL Team PT is also an opportunity for team building. These guys can run suicides any day they want, but SEAL Team offers something more. Enjoy!


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Joey Rodriguez, who helped lead the Rams to the Final Four in 2011, returns in 2017 as director of player development for the Rams.

By Andy Lohman

Joey Rodriguez had to take a circuitous route back to VCU, but the fan-favorite point guard from the 2011 Final Four team is now the Director of Player Development for men’s basketball.

“It’s just cool to be back, it brings back so many memories,” Rodriguez said. “We can take this thing to another level and that’s really exciting.”

After an outstanding career at VCU, where he ranks third in school history in both assists (580) and steals (237), and where he helped steer the Rams to a historic Final Four run in 2011, Rodriguez briefly played professional basketball in Turkey and Puerto Rico. He would then begin his coaching career as the Assistant Video Coordinator at Central Florida.

Following a year with the Golden Knights, Rodriguez dove into the realm of high school basketball, first as an assistant coach at Benedictine in Richmond, then taking the reigns as head coach of his alma mater, Lake Howell High School, in Winter Park, Fla. for the 2015-16 season.

“I learned a lot just being thrown into the fire with a great group of kids,” said Rodriguez of his first head coaching gig.

The experience helped him evolve as he transitioned off the court and onto the sidelines.



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After seven years of trying, VCU alumnus Lanto Griffin (’10) recently earned his PGA Tour card.

By Andy Lohman

On the 18th hole of the second stage of the 2016 Tour Q school (a qualifying tournament for the professional golf tour that serves as a pipeline of talent for the PGA Tour), former VCU standout Lanto Griffin hit a perfect putt that rolled right to the hole. And stopped right on the lip. He would miss advancing to the next stage by one shot.

“That was kind of a kick in the stomach,” Girffin said. “I had been playing the best golf of my life and that set me back.”

A single shot would make the difference again during the final stage of the 2017 Q school, but this time it would work in Griffin’s favor.

“I missed full status by one shot but I played the last 11 holes 5-under and birdied the last hole to go from two shots out [of the tour] to one, which I didn’t know how big that was at the time but that ended up getting me seven of the first eight starts, where if I had missed that putt I would have gotten one,” Griffin said.

While Griffin didn’t have full exempt status for the Tour for the whole season, he had gained entry into seven tournaments, from which point he could work his way up the money list to earn more starts later in the year. Griffin will go from being happy to have his foot in the door for the 2017 season, to rubbing elbows with the top players in the game as a PGA Tour Card holder for the full 2018 season.

“That birdie on that last hole in Orange County changed my life,” Griffin said.



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VCU Men’s Basketball Coach Mike Rhoades spent three seasons at Rice University in Houston. He still owns a home there, and he and his family still have many friends in the city. It’s no surprise Rhoades has been heartbroken by the stories and images coming out of Houston, which has been ravaged by flooding produced by Hurricane Harvey. It’s one reason why Rhoades has begun mobilizing efforts to help out those in need in his former city. Learn more:

In lighter fare, JeQuan Lewis is preparing to chase his dream of playing in the NBA. He’ll be in camp with the Milwaukee Bucks this fall, fighting for a roster spot.


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VCU Men’s Basketball Associate Head Coach Jeremy Ballard returns to the Rams this season following stints at Illinois State and Pitt.

By Andy Lohman

After two years as an assistant at Illinois State, then Pittsburgh, VCU Men’s Basketball Associate Head Coach Jeremy Ballard is excited to be back in Richmond.

“I’m ecstatic. VCU is a special place,” Ballard said. “Richmond is a special place and I knew that the first time around. Being away for two years it’s emphasized more and the point is driven home that there aren’t many places like VCU out there.”

Ballard had served as an assistant coach with current head coach Mike Rhoades at VCU under Shaka Smart from 2012-15, helping guide the Rams to three straight NCAA tournament appearances, including the school’s first Atlantic 10 Conference Tournament championship in 2014-15.

A standout player at Colgate University, Ballard worked closely with shooting guard Troy Daniels in his first year as a coach at VCU. Daniels would go on to set a school record for three-pointers in a season (124) and currently plays for the Memphis Grizzlies.

Now Ballard has returned to a place and a school that he loves.



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You feel like you know Issac Vann because he’s been at VCU for a year. But do you? Vann, who starred at Maine as a freshman, sat out last year after transferring. Now, on a team with just five returnees, he’s thrust to the forefront. So let’s get to know him a little.


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Our own Mike Voyack had a chance to sit down recently with most of the 2017-18 VCU Men’s Basketball team, including Rice transfer Marcus Evans. While Evans, who was prolific in two seasons under Mike Rhoades at Rice, averaging 20.1 points per game, will have to sit out the 2017-18 season in accordance with NCAA transfer regulations, his presence will be felt. Evans will work out with the team during the upcoming year, like Maine transfer Issac Vann did last season, and he’ll undoubtedly test VCU’s guards in practice.

Let’s get to know a little more about Evans:


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Unless you’ve been in cryo-sleep, you’re aware Mo Alie-Cox has begun an NFL career with the Indianapolis Colts. What you might not be aware of is that Mo was around recently to sit down with our Mike Voyack to talk about his experience thus far.

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