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Globe West Sports notebook

Curry’s Alksninis shines in the postseason, too

Matt Alksninis was 2010-11 Male Athlete of the Year at Curry College. Matt Alksninis was 2010-11 Male Athlete of the Year at Curry College.
By Marvin Pave
Globe Correspondent / July 10, 2011

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Matt Alksninis capped his record-setting football career at Curry College in dramatic fashion, his game-winning 37-yard field goal at Plymouth State last November lifting the Colonels to a 24-21 overtime win.

The Mansfield High grad has been a standout in the postseason, too. Alksninis, who set records at the Milton school by converting nine consecutive field goals as a junior and making all 70 of his extra point attempts in his final two seasons, was the starting punter for the victorious North squad in the Senior Classic Division 3 All-Star Bowl last December in Salem, Va.

Curry’s 2010-11 Male Athlete of the Year, Alksninis also suited up for a game May 29 in the Netherlands with an all-star team made up of players from the United States and the United Kingdom. Under the direction of Endicott College coach J.B. Wells, the squad defeated a semipro team, the Amsterdam Panthers, 58-25, with Alksninis starting as kicker and punter and receiving the Special Teams Player of the Game award. Alksninis, who also played defensive halfback at Curry, registered the game’s only interception.

The US/UK roster also included Plymouth State linebacker Mike Bruning of Abington, Curry defensive back Bobby Driscoll of Milton, and Curry tight end Andrew Supple of Ashland.

“It was definitely intriguing and great fun,’’ Alksninis said of his European adventure. “Our team had several Division 2 and 3 players from New York and New England. The Panthers had players from ages 20 to 30, and we drew a pretty decent crowd.’’

He also had fond memories of the D3 All-Star game in Virginia that included picking up a botched snap on 4th and 20 and rushing 26 yards for a first down.

Alksninis, who ranks second with 179 career kicking points at Curry, participated in the Boston College Pro Scout day and was also invited to attend the Elite regional NFL kicking combine held in Atlanta last April.

“Matt can play at the next level because he has the attitude and work ethic to do it,’’ said Curry head coach Skip Bandini. “And he wasn’t just a kicker. He was a terrific athlete who worked his tail off.’’

A former soccer player who started placekicking as a 10-year-old in the Mansfield Pop Warner program, Alksninis is staying sharp over the summer by lifting and running and taking a bag of balls and his kicking tee to the field at Mansfield High.

Alksinis, who is exploring the possibility of playing professionally in Canada or in the United Football League, averaged a career-best 42.2 yards per punt last season, planting 20 of his 59 boots inside the 20-yard line.

He said he was surprised and honored with his Male Athlete of the Year selection.

“Surprised because I was a specialist on the football team,’’ said Alksninis, who played on a pair of Hockomock League cochampionship teams at Mansfield High, “and honored because of all the hard work I’ve put in.’’

Alksninis was a three-time All-New England Football Conference first team selection and part of two NCAA Tournament teams at Curry that each won a playoff game. His numerous honors also included selection last year as the Eastern College Athletic Conference first team (North) punter for Division 3 and the All-New England Football Writers D-2/D-3 first team punter.

“He was a leader in every way, and we had complete faith in him,’’ Bandini added.

Patriots Alumni award scholarships
Joseph Berkowitz (Stoughton High) and William Greene of North Easton (Oliver Ames High) were honored June 27 by the New England Patriots Alumni with $5,000 scholarships in the memory of Mosi Tatupu, the former Patriots fullback and special teams standout.

Berkowitz, an honor roll student, was a four-year member of his school’s football and track teams and has volunteered as a camp counselor and tutor. Greene was a senior football captain and Hockomock League All-Star who was chosen to play in the Shriners Classic.

The Memorial Scholarship provides tuition aid to athletes with learning challenges who exemplify the outstanding qualities that characterized Tatupu, who died in February 2010 at age 54.

In addition, tickets are now on sale for the Patriots Alumni Mosi Tatupu Comedy Benefit to be held Aug. 23 in the Fidelity Investments Clubhouse at Gillette Stadium in Foxborough. General admission tickets are $55, VIP tickets are $300, and they are available at www.patriots.com/team/alumni.

The benefit will feature comedians Steve Sweeney, Lenny Clarke, Paul D’Angelo, and Paul Nardizzi; live and silent auctions; and special appearances by Pro Football Hall of Famers John Hannah and Andre Tippett. Proceeds will benefit the Mosi Tatupu Memorial Scholarship Foundation.

Tabor athlete is hailed for service
Torin Zonfrelli of Carver, a football, lacrosse, and wrestling standout at Tabor Academy in Marion, was one of six high school juniors awarded $2,000 Future Leaders Scholarships by the Bay State Games committee for achievement in academics, athletics, community service, and leadership. Tabor’s Athlete of the Year and a captain for the upcoming football season, he founded the Zonfrelli Project, which donates food to those in need. A volunteer for numerous causes, Zonfrelli planned to travel to New Zealand this summer to coach underprivileged children in rugby and also to teach singing. . . . The Boston Park League All-Stars and their Cranberry League counterparts will play a benefit game July 15 at 7:30 p.m. at Veterans Memorial Stadium in Rockland. The gates open at 6:15 for a pregame home run hitting contest. Admission is $5 for adults and $2 for children. Part of the proceeds will go to local youth organizations and the Jimmy Fund.

Marvin Pave can be reached at marvin.pave@rcn.com.