Noontime 2012 Countdown: Revisiting Amherst-Williams Basketball Games

By Matt Noonan

One of my fondest memories from this past year was covering the Amherst-Williams men’s and women’s basketball games in Williamstown.

This is a rivalry that certainly lives up to the hype. Its Harvard-Yale, Ohio State-Michigan, and Notre Dame-USC all in one. And on a bone-chilly January evening, I was treated to some great basketball, as well as an exciting ending in the men’s game.

Below I have provided links to my game stories, as well as video interviews and packages from that evening.

Game Stories

Amherst 80, Williams 58 (Women’s Hoops)

Amherst 67, Williams 65 (Men’s Hoops)

Videos

* The final seconds of the men’s game:

* Amherst College’s Aaron Toomey talks about his heroics at the end of the game:

* Both men’s coaches provide their take on the 67-65 outcome:

* Amherst College’s Caroline Stedman talks about her team’s enormous win:

Mass. College Hoops: Div. III Men’s Basketball Rankings

By NoontimeSports.com 

The Div. III college basketball season is in full swing, and below is our first official men’s poll of the season.

Do you agree with our rankings? If not, send us an email to NoontimeSports@gmail.com or contact us on Twitter (@NoontimeSports or @NoonSportsBlog).

1.) Amherst College (5-1) – The Lord Jeffs might indeed be the best squad in the state, but a loss to Springfield College, an honorable mention, proves the purple and white are beatable. The schedule doesn’t get easy for David Hixon’s bunch, as they’ll face Brandeis, Babson and Emmanuel this week.

2.) MIT (6-1) – Despite being the number one team in the country to kickoff the season, the Engineers came down to earth last week with a tough loss to Rhode Island College. However, they rebounded with a victory against Newbury College at home last weekend. Larry Anderson and his Engineers can regain their early season momentum by picking up wins this week.

3.) WPI (7-0) – The Engineers squeaked out a non-conference overtime victory on the road Saturday against Husson. This week, WPI will face Fitchburg State, Rhode Island College and Salem State, which will be telling signs of where this unit is headed.

4.) Westfield State (6-0) Rich Sutter’s squad is on a roll. The Owls remain the top squad in the MASCAC and have picked up wins against Elms, Regis and Springfield. Keep your eyes on Lee Vasquez, who currently leads the squad with 99 points.  

5.) Brandeis (5-1) – After dropping their first game of the season, the Judges have won five straight. Their only setback came against Rhode Island College, a squad that’s receiving a good chunk of votes on the D3Hoops.com poll. Brian Meehan’s squad will play four of their next five contests on the road, which won’t be easy.

Honorable Mentions: Curry College, Springfield College, Wentworth Institute of Technology, Wheaton College, Williams College, Worcester State, UMass Boston

Mass. College Soccer: Updated NCAA Soccer Brackets

By NoontimeSports.com 

The Div. II and III NCAA soccer tournaments kicked off last weekend, and some Massachusetts teams managed to advance to this weekend’s third round.

Here is a look at the remaining squads in each division.

Div. II Men’s Soccer

* UMass Lowell earned back-to-back wins against Post and LIU Post in the first and second round, which earned them a date with Northeast-10 Conference foe Southern New Hampshire on Friday, Nov. 16 in the third round.

Div. III Men’s Soccer

* Following a first round bye, Amherst College defeated Dickinson, 4-0. The Lord Jeffs will remain at home for their third round matchup against Swarthmore College on Saturday, Nov. 17.

* Brandies University and Williams College will tangle in the third round in Amherst on Nov. 17, too, and the winner will meet Amherst or Swarthmore in the quarterfinals on Sunday.

Div. III Women’s Soccer

* Brandies University earned a spot in the third round following wins against Lasell and Union. The Judges will face-off against SUNY Cortland on Saturday, Nov. 17 in Ithaca, New York.

* MIT will take on Messiah on Saturday, Nov. 17 in Grantham, Pennsylvania. The Engineers first two wins came against Haverford and TCNJ.

* Wheaton College will face Carnegie Mellon in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania on Saturday, Nov. 17. The Lyons secured a spot in the third round with wins against Westfield State and Williams College.

Mass. College Football: Championship Saturday Predictions

By NoontimeSports.com 

Saturday will be a special day for some local Massachusetts college football teams, as some units will be competing for their conference championships, while others will attempt to earn one more victory for their seniors.

Below, we’ve provided overviews and predictions on three marquee matchups.

American International at New Haven (NE-10 Championship): You couldn’t have picked a better matchup for the inaugural Northeast-10 Conference championship game. It’s No. 1 vs. No. 2. It’s David vs. Goliath. It’s the “Greatest Show on Turf” vs. “Tom Brady’s 2001 New England Patriots.” And finally, it’s a chance for AIC to redeem themselves following last week’s 37-6 thrashing.

The Yellow Jackets won seven of their eight conference tilts this season, while the Chargers extended its streak from last year to 16-0.

AIC is 2-0 in championship games, according to the NE-10 Football Report (1999 and 2000 Eastern Football Conference Champions).

New Haven’s perfect record marks their fifth undefeated season in program history. The last time the Chargers concluded a season with no losses was in 1995.

Prediction: New Haven 33, AIC 21

Salve Regina at Framingham State (NEFC Championship): Both squads finished the regular season with nine wins. Their defenses were fantastic. However, one thing that separates the two squads is the running game.

Framingham State’s Melikke Van Alstyne led all rushers in the New England Football Conference (NEFC) in yards (1,467 yards) and touchdowns (14). Also, he eclipsed the 4,000 rushing yard mark for his career in a game against Coast Guard three weeks ago.

Expect FSU head coach Tom Kelley to utilize the running game against a defense that’s surrendered 1,828 yards and 17 touchdowns this season.

Prediction: Framingham State 20, Salve Regina 14

Williams College at Amherst College: This is not a championship game, but instead the 127th meeting between these two prestigious institutions.

Trinity College will most likely wrap up the New England Small College Athletic Conference (NESCAC) on Saturday; so don’t expect either squad to be doing some scoreboard watching. Although, you can expect Amherst senior quarterback Max Lippe to throw the ball a lot against a defensive unit that’s allowed 1,637 yards through the air.

The Lord Jeffs rank second in scoring and total defense, so it’ll be interesting to see how the Ephs offense will fare.

Williams head coach Aaron Kelton, who is in his third season, is 1-1 against Amherst.

The Lord Jeffs beat the Ephs last year and will attempt to win back-to-back games for the first time since 1985 and 1986.

Prediction: Amherst 31, Williams 17 

Mass. College Football: Week 6 Honor Roll

By NoontimeSports.com 

Week six has officially concluded, and while we’re slowly turning the page to week seven, here is this week’s Noontime Sports Honor Roll.

Colton Chapple (Harvard): The senior quarterback not only returned to our list for the second week, but also earned some additional honors, too. Chapple was named this week’s Ivy League Offensive Player of the Week for the second-straight week after he completed 24-of-36 passes for 362 yards with four touchdowns, while rushing for 53 yards and one score against Cornell University.

Steve Hopkins (Bentley): Against Saint Anselm, Hopkins had three takeaways, which led to 17 points in the Falcons fifth win of the season. Hopkins had two interceptions on Saturday, which included one he returned for a 40-yard touchdown, as well as a fumble recover in the end zone that resulted in a field goal by the offense following a 14-play drive. Finally, the senior concluded the contest with seven tackles and a pass break-up.

Kevin Arduino (American International College): The sophomore quarterback led all rushers wit 100 yards, as well as completed 8-of-17 passes for 75 yards and one touchdown. He also rushed for one touchdown in his team’s fourth win of the season.

Danny Chun (Amherst College): Despite dropping their team’s first game of the season to Middlebury, the junior linebacker finished the game with 13 tackles (10 solo) and one sack.

Justin Weaver (Tufts University): The first-year halfback tallied 91 total yards (66 yards on 18 carries, five catches for 25 yards) and one touchdown. His touchdown tied the game at 10-10 in the third quarter. However, the Jumbos dropped their third consecutive contest to the Bowdoin College, 17-10.

Brian Staub (Springfield College): The senior cornerback led the Pride’s defense against Hobart with 11 tackles (nine solo), along with one tackle for a loss, one interception and one break-up.

Chris Turner (WPI): Against Union College, the sophomore running back recorded a career-high 154 yards on the ground on 20 carries and a touchdown. He also earned Robert Pritchard Award, too.

Nick Chambers (WPI): The senior, who also earned the Robert Pritchard Award, recorded two sacks in his team’s 21-6 loss against Union. His award signified him as the Most Outstanding Lineman on Homecoming Weekend.

Rob Bambini (Curry College): Against Western New England College, Bambini caught the game-winning score with one second remaining, which clinched Curry College’s third victory of the season. The senior established a few program records on Saturday, too, which included receptions (181), receiving yards (2,537) and touchdown receptions (32). Yet, against the Golden Bears, he caught four touchdowns and led his receiving core with 14 receptions for 177 yards.

Liam Cosgrove (UMass Dartmouth): In his first collegiate start, the freshman gunslinger completed 24-of-45 passes for 235 yards and two touchdowns.

Brad Goldsberry (MIT) – The sophomore running back recorded a career-high 121 rushing, yard in the Engineers 28-7 victory against Plymouth State. He racked up 191 all-purpose yards in the contest, which included 31 receiving yards and 44 yards on kick returns.

Matt Begley (Worcester State): Against Mass. Maritime, the junior linebacker recorded 18 tackles (16 solo), and a sack. He also had an interception in the third quarter, which provided the offense with the ball to score the game-winning score.

Justin Ehrhardt (Westfield State): The Owls senior linebacker had a game-high 11 tackles (eight solo) with three sacks, which resulted in a loss of 28 yards. He also had a forced fumble and fumble recovery, too.

Scott Drosendahl (Mount Ida College): The senior quarterback tallied six touchdowns against Anna Maria on Saturday — four through the air, two on the ground, which lifted the Mustangs to their fourth win of the season.

Mass. College Football: Afternoon Roundup

By Matt Noonan 

A majority of Saturday’s contests are in the books. Yet, while we still wait for the outcomes of the late afternoon and evening affairs, here are the results and highlights from some of the earlier contests.

Hobart 61, WPI 8:Quarterback Nick Strang completed 21-of-31 passes for 309 yards and tossed three touchdowns, while running backs Steven Webb and Bobby Dougherty each tallied two scores on the ground in the Statemen’s fifth consecutive victory of the season.

Endicott College 33, Curry College 28: The Gulls rallied to outscore the Colonels 20-7 during the final two quarters, as Endicott snapped its two-game losing streak with their third win of the season. Quarterback Drew Frenette tossed two touchdowns, while running back Jared DiBiase rushed for 128 yards on 18 carries.

Framingham State 35, Mass. Maritime 28 (OT): The rams overcame a 21-7 first quarter deficit to defeat the Buccaneers in overtime on a one-yard score by running back Melikke Van Alstyne, who 158 yards on 35 carries. Van Alstyne also led all rushers with three touchdowns.

MIT 28, UMass Dartmouth 27: MIT overcame a 17-0 second quarter deficit to claim their second win of the season. The Engineers defense recorded seven sacks for a loss of 22 yards, while quarterback Peter Williams tossed three touchdowns in the win.

Plymouth State 20, Nichols College 14 (OT): Despite a late fourth quarter rally, the Bison’s quest to obtain their first win of the season fell short, as Dustin Matthews capped off a four-play, 25-yard drive with a one-yard touchdown in overtime, which provided the Panthers with their first win of the season.

American International College 27, Assumption College 23: The Hornets scored two touchdowns during the final nine minutes, which lifted them past the host Hounds for their third victory of the season. Kevin Arduino tossed two touchdowns in the win and completed 16-of-29 passes for 152 yards.

Mount Ida College 36, Norwich 32: Quarterback Scott Drosendahl connected with Jordan Hyman on a 17-yard pass with seven seconds remaining in regulation, which helped the Mustangs defeat the Cadets. Drosendahl tossed four touchdowns in his team’s win and completed 25-of36 passes for 389 yards.

* Salve Regina 43, Western New England College 0

* Worcester State 47, Maine Maritime 34

* Coast Guard 59, Fitchburg State 0

* Bridgewater State 26, Westfield State 14

* Merrimack 63, Pace 14

* Gallaudet 52, Anna Maria 24

* Amherst College 22, Bowdoin College 10

* Bates College 31, Tufts University 23

* Trinity College 17, Williams College 13

Amherst College Football Season Preview (VIDEO)

By NoontimeSports.com 

The fourth week of college football is upon us. However, teams from the NESCAC (New England Small College Athletic Conference) officially begin their season this weekend.

Amherst College, the league’s defending champion, will begin their title defense on Saturday at home against Hamilton College. Below is a YouTube video from the college’s athletic department, which highlights the team and the season.

Catching Up With Aaron Kelton (Williams College Football) Part II

Aaron Kelton is focused on making sure Williams College has a great season on the gridiron! (Photo Credit: Williams College Athletics)

By Matt Noonan 

Here is the second part of our conversation with Williams College head coach Aaron Kelton on the Ephs outlook for the upcoming season, as well as various moments and games from last year, which he’s used as teaching tools to help his squad prepare for a successful 2012 campaign.

On keeping the guys focused before their first game against Colby: “We don’t sugarcoat that we play late and what I tell them is go watch the games on Thursday, Friday, [and] Saturday while we’re in camp and once we get out of meetings. I tell them that because that makes them hungrier [for our first game] and kind of motivated. And then the other part is you keep them busy. If you keep them busy then they’re mind isn’t on who’s playing [on the weekends], but what they have to do next, so I try to keep their mind focused on other things.”

On the team’s four consecutive wins last season: “There really were [some positives from those games] and what we did was created some different competitions in practice that were installed in the preseason, which helped to motivate us again. It was right around that stretch that we started to get onto our regular game practice field, so it allowed us to be able to do some things and practice the way that we’re used to practicing, and then really it was just about the guys focusing in – both the staff and the players – and getting the job done. We had tough stretch at the beginning of the year. The middle of the year, we played pretty well and then we struggled [against Amherst College]. For us it was a focus and an execution thing. If you looked at our statistics in those games in that little stretch that we went on, we weren’t turning the ball over, we weren’t giving up big plays, we were doing all those things that we were supposed to do and have fewer mistakes. And that’s what we’re going to try and cut down on the mistakes. We know we’re going to be younger, but we’ll try and throttle it back a little bit and make sure that they’re sure of their assignments and then go play.”

On what the team learned from the Amherst game: “I’ve watched it a couple of times just to try and break down [the film]. We’re always trying to work and get better in our profession, so I look at instances in the game and situations of what we could have done that may have helped us to be a little bit more successful and we’re just trying to learn from [our mistakes]. It was a bitter feeling for those seniors who were leaving and for our team, but coming into this year we’re using it as a motivation tool. We’ll turn it around and find all the great points from that game and talk about some of those in the preseason, but our focus has got to be on our team right now, making sure that we’re doing our assignments and then it’s Colby [College]. Last year is last year, we talk about it, and I stress the lack of success that we had in our program, and for our guys, I want them to feel motivated and positive about what we’re [going] to be able to do this season, so we’ll focus on this year and the guys who’re here and try to make Williams College and our faculty and staff and our students and alumni proud for having a great year.”

On what makes the NESCAC such an exciting football conference: “The fun part about it is that we have some of the brightest student-athletes in the country, who have very rigorous academic challenges that these schools put on them, and then they go out and give everything that they can to support and represent their school. The fact that it is an eight-week season means every game counts. You only get 32 games in your career, so you’ve got to go out and make the most of that situation. And then there’s a lot of parody because there’s a lot of young men that different teams have looked at and many of these different schools have opportunities for them to get an education, so they’re all aware of the coaches and the other players in general, so they have some connection in the recruiting process, so that makes it extremely interesting as well. It’s great football, it’s guys who’re passionate about this game and it’s coaches that are really invested in their futures, both as student athletes and as working professionals.”

NSCAA Unveils Preseason Soccer Poll

(Photo Credit: HowToDrawFunnyCartoons.com)

By NoontimeSports.com 

On Tuesday, the National Soccer Coaches Association of America, (NSCAA) unveiled its first soccer rankings of the season, and a few local squads earned spots in the various divisional lists.

Here are the men and women’s teams that received preseason recognition.

Men’s Soccer:

* In Division I, Boston College was the only squad from Massachusetts to earn a spot in the Top 25 at No. 14, while Brown University secured a spot as the No. 22 team in the country. The Eagles finished their 2011 season with 14 wins, and 15th in the country.

* The only local squad to secure a spot in the Div. II Top 25 was Southern New Hampshire. The Penmen are ranked seventh, and ended their campaign last year with 18 wins. They’ll be the squad to beat in the NE-10 this fall.

* Three teams earned preseason honors in the Division III rankings. Amherst College was listed at No. 6, Babson at No. 18 and Western New England College at No. 23. The Lord Jeffs finished their season with 16 wins, and 10th in the final rankings.

Women’s Soccer:

* Similar to the men’s soccer team, the Boston College women’s squad will begin their season as the No. 11 team in the country. After them, their local rival, Boston University is slated as the No. 23 team in the land.

* Even though they were not ranked, Harvard’s women’s soccer team is one of a few squads receiving votes.

* In Div. II, UMass-Lowell was the only squad to receive a preseason rank at No. 17. Merrimack College, similar to Harvard, is receiving votes.

* Amherst College will begin the season as the No. 7 team in Div. III, while Williams College was slotted at No. 13 and Springfield College at No. 25.

Catching Up With Massachusetts Div. III Sports (LINKS)

By NoontimeSports.com

Memorial Day weekend is vastly approaching, which means a majority of the college sports teams in Massachusetts have either concluded their seasons or in the process of wrapping up their spring campaigns. Some schools concluded their year with National Championships, while others fell short.

Here are a few links from the Div. III college sports scene in Massachusetts.   

* The Williams College women’s tennis team earned its fifth consecutive championship on Wednesday against University of Chicago in Cary, North Carolina. Three Ephs seniors, (Kristin Alotta, Caroline Capute and Taylor French) concluded their careers with their fourth consecutive championships.

* Three members of the Amherst College men’s lacrosse team earned USILA and NEILA honors. Sophomore Devin Acton and junior Danny Gold were named to the NEILA Div. III 2nd Team, while senior Evan Redwood earned his third-straight USILA All-American honorable mention.

* Wheaton College freshman Apollinar De la Cruz was named the D3baseball.com’s National Rookie of the Year on Wednesday, and was also placed on the Honorable Mention Team.

* Babson College senior Joe Young capped off his final golf season with the Beavers by being named the 2012 PING Div. III All-Northeast Region Team.

* Nichols College sophomore Tyler Shute was named on Wednesday to the second annual Worcester Area Baseball All-Star Team.

* Williams College junior Bryan Chow was named the winner of the NCAA Elite 89 Award in the men’s tennis championship.