Mass. College Hoops: Locals Earn Spots In Men’s NCAA D3 Tournament

By Matt Noonan 

The NCAA released its pairings for the upcoming men’s Division 3 tournament this afternoon, which begins later this week. Eight squads from Massachusetts earned spots in the tournament and will begin their quest toward Salem, Virginia in either the first or second round.

Below is a breakdown of each matchup, along with what teams they’ll be facing in the first or second round.

Amherst, which captured their third-straight NESCAC crown yesterday, earned a first-round bye. They’ll host the winner of Rhode Island College vs. York (N.Y.) on Saturday, March 8. RIC-York will play in Rhode Island on either March 6 or 7.

MIT, which won their third NEWMAC crown in four seasons, will travel to Plattsburgh State for a first-round matchup. If the Engineers are victorious against the Cardinals, they’ll advance to the second round and face the winner of Eastern Connecticut vs. Husson.

Bridgewater State, the winner of the MASCAC Conference, will travel to Cabrini for their first-round contest. A win for the Bears would pit them against the winner of Richard Stockton vs. Bowdoin College.

WPI will travel to SUNY Purchase for their first-round contest. The Engineers will take on Albertus Magnus, which won its third-straight GNAC crown. A win for WPI would advance them to the second round against either Purchase State or Hartwick.

Williamstown, the home of Williams College, will be the site of three local squads competing for a chance to advance to the third round. Williams College will play Mitchell College, the winner of the NECC Conference, while Babson will take on Gordon College, which captured the CCC Conference Crown with a win over Nichols. The winners of both contests will meet on Saturday.

Finally, Springfield College will travel to Randolph-Macon to play Mary Washington. If the Pride wins, they’ll face the winner of Randolph-Macon vs. DeSales.

Mass. College Lax: Springfield Cruises Past ECSU In Season Opener

By NoontimeSports.com 

Courtesy of the Springfield College sports information department, here’s this evening’s release from the women’s lacrosse season opener. The Pride cruised to a 19-1 victory:

Springfield, Mass. – February 25, 2014 - The Springfield College women’s lacrosse team posted a dominant showing in their opening game of the 2014 campaign, cruising to a 19-1 win over Eastern Connecticut State on Stagg Field Tuesday afternoon.

Kelly Gallo (Westfield, Mass.) led Springfield with six points on four goals and two helpers, while Jennifer McDonough (Holbrook, N.Y.)found the back of the cage five times. Colleen Keeley (Agawam, Mass.) dished out four assists and Connie Nielsen (Sayville, N.Y.)produced two goals and three assists.

Anne Versprille (Franklin, Mass.) was one of three Springfield goalies to play between the pipes and earned the win as she made one save in 30 minutes of action.

Springfield put together a dominating first half to begin its season as it outshot the visitors, 20-2, en route to scoring 11 first-half goals.Gallo opened up the scoring 6:07 into the game after she got free on a roll dodge along the crease for the first mark of Springfield’s season. Just 2:43 later, Keeley delivered a terrific look inside to McDonough to put the hosts up a pair.

The Pride’s lead increased to 4-0 after Michelle Dorsey (Wilbraham, Mass.) and Nielsen fired home free-position strikes, and with just over 10 minutes to play, Emily Rodgers (Durham, N.H.) found the back of the cage.

Over the next 2:30, Springfield poured in four goals, with Keeley, McDonough, Dorsey, and Gallo all scored for the hosts. Kendall Krafick (Danbury, Conn.) added her first collegiate goal with 1:21 on the clock, and Nielsen added her second with 10 ticks left to head into the half with an 11-0 cushion.

Springfield continued its offensive pressure in the second half, with Gallo opening up the scoring just 1:35 in the stanza. The Pride would go on to score the first eight goals of the half before the Warriors finally found the back of the cage with 1:24 left in regulation. Erin Conn (Moriches, N.Y.) finished an Ashley Wolk (Barrington, R.I.) feed to spoil the Pride’s plan for a shutout.

All told, Springfield owned a 32-7 edge in shots and won 14 of the game’s 22 draw controls. Nielsen led all players with five draw controls, while Heather Raniolo (Yorktown Heights, N.Y.) scooped up four ground balls.

Springfield will play again on Saturday afternoon when it travels to compete against Roger Williams for a 1:00 pm contest.

Mass. College Hoops: D3 Hoops Games To Watch This Afternoon

By NoontimeSports.com 

With the college hoops regular season slowly winding down, today is certainly an important day for a variety of local Division 3 squads.

Here are a slew of games to keep tabs on as the day progresses. Make sure to check back for a roundup from these contests later this afternoon. Also, make sure to follow Noontime Sports on Twitter (@NoontimeSports or @NoonSportsBlog) for updates.

Men’s Basketball:

No. 3 WPI at Babson College (2 p.m.) – Since losing to the Engineers, the Beavers have won five of its last six games, including last weekend’s overtime thriller against Emerson College. Babson’s Joey Flannery has recorded 60 points in his team’s last two outings. He registered game-highs against Emerson College (43 points) and Wheaton College (17). The freshman forward was held to just nine points in 36 minutes against the Engineers, while teammate John Wickey led all players in that contest with a double-double of 21 points and 11 rebounds.

The Engineers remain the top squad in the NEWMAC, despite falling to Emerson College on Wednesday. A win for the Beavers could certainly put them back in contention to host the conference tournament, but they’ll need help.

WPI’s Sam Longwell has recorded 34 points in his team’s last two contests. He scored 13 points in the Engineers’ 71-70 victory over Springfield and 21 points against the Lions.

Tufts University at No. 10 Williams College (4 p.m.) – With three games remaining, the Jumbos will look to reposition themselves in the standings with a victory against a talented Ephs squad that hasn’t lost since falling to Amherst in January. Tufts earned its first NESCAC win a few weeks ago when they defeated Bates College followed by a road win at Connecticut College.

With eight teams making the conference tournament, Tufts will need to capture this contest, as well as defeat Bowdoin College and Colby College at home next weekend. Williams would be the second seed if the tournament were to start today.

Duncan Robinson, who is seventh in the conference in points (120 points in NESCAC play), is averaging 16 points per game for Williams. He’s also a 90.9 percent free throw shooter, too. Tufts’ Hunter Sabety is 11th in the conference in points (107) and is averaging 14.6 points per game.

Other Games To Watch:

Nichols College @ Western New England (3 p.m.)  – Curry snapped Nichols’ winning streak (10 games), so can the Bison turn it around against the Golden Bears?

Wentworth @ Eastern Nazarene (3 p.m.) – The Leopards returned to the win column earlier this week by defeating University of New England. Can they earn win number 11 against a Lions squad that’s currently second in the conference? Eastern Nazarene has won five straight since falling to Gordon College on Jan. 18.

Becker at Lesley (2 p.m.) – The Hawks are making a push for first place in the NECC. They’re currently on a six-game winning streak and will look to earn a season sweep against the Lynx.

Salem State at Worcester State (3 p.m.) – Don’t count out the Lancers, who’re riding a four-game winning streak. Worcester State will look to avenge their earlier loss to the Vikings (71-62) and earn its fifth conference victory.

Women’s Basketball:

No. 6 Tufts University at No. 15 Williams College (2 p.m.) – Both teams have combined for 39 wins and two losses this season. Tufts will look to extend its winning streak to 21 games, while Williams, which is 19-2 overall and 5-2 in NESCAC play, will look to extend its current winning streak to eight games.

Similar to the men’s team, Williams hasn’t lost since falling to rival Amherst College. However, the Ephs split the season series with the Lord Jeffs by claiming a victory in Williamstown on January 22. Tufts handed the Lord Jeffs their first setback of the season by defeating Amherst in Medford, 63-56.

Both teams rank in the top three in points per game in the NESCAC as Williams is second with 65.9, while Tufts is third with 64.7. The Jumbos have held opponent to roughly 48-49 points per game, while the Ephs defense has yielded an average of 57-58 points per game.

Keep an eye on Williams College’s Ellen Cook, who is averaging 14.2 points per game. Tufts’ Hannah Foley has connected on 41.8 percent of her shots from three-point land.

Other Games To Watch:

Emmanuel College at St. Joe’s (Conn.) (1 p.m.) – The Saints will look to extend its current winning streak to five games when they travel to Connecticut to take on the Blue Jays, who’ve won three straight. Emmanuel is currently second place in the GNAC, while St. Joe’s is fifth.

Wheaton at WPI (2 p.m.) – The Lyons will look to earn their fourth straight win against the Engineers, which dates back to last season. A win would be back-to-back season sweeps for the Lyons, who recently claimed the top spot in the NEWMAC on Thursday with their win over Coast Guard.

MIT at Smith College (2 p.m.) – Since falling to Williams, the Pioneers have rebounded with three consecutive victories, including a 56-51 win over Wellesley last weekend. They’ll look to keep pace with the Blue, Coast Guard and Wheaton by attempting to earn their fourth straight victory against a talented MIT squad.

Eastern Connecticut at UMass Boston (1 p.m.) – The Beacons will attempt to close out the week with back-to-back wins. UMB lost earlier this season to Eastern Connecticut, 67-47.

Framingham State at Bridgewater State (1 p.m.) – The Rams, who’re currently second in the MASCAC, will look to earn an important win against a Bears squad that’s won four straight. Bridgewater defeated Framingham earlier this season, 81-76, thanks to 29 points from Jenna Williamson.

Mass College Basketball – GNAC & LEC Tournament Predictions

Can anyone stop Albertus Magnus? (Photo Credit: GNAC Conference Website)

By Matt Noonan 

Due to popular demand via Twitter on Thursday afternoon, I’ve decided to provide my final predictions for the GNAC and LEC conferences.

Here is my “two-cents” on which basketball squads will receive automatic bids to the upcoming NCAA March Madness Division III tournament.

Men’s Basketball:

GNACAlbertus Magnus is having a great season, and has only lost one contest this this year to Medgar Evers. However, since that particular clash on December 6, the Falcons have flown past their opponents, and currently reside in first place. Should we expect them to cut down the nets in their home gymnasium in two weeks? Well, according to a source, they’d say, “yes!” Prediction – Albertus Magnus

LECAt the moment, Keene State is the clear favorite to scoop up the tournament trophy in late February, but I’m not counting out Western Connecticuit or Eastern Connecticuit, who could certainly provide some issues for the Owls. Both Keene State and West Connecticuit have won 18 games this season, and is possibly a perfect match for the tournament title. Prediction – Western Connecticuit

Women’s Basketball:

GNAC This particular conference race will come down to three teams, Emmanuel College, St. Josephs (Maine) and Rivier. Also, it’s possible that Suffolk University could contend for the tournament crown too. Although, three losses in conference play could certainly derail the Rams chances of GNAC glory. Prediction – Rivier College

LECRhode Island College has been unstoppable this season. Their 20-2 record isn’t a fluke, and currently they’re riding a 17-game winning streak, too. Can they be stopped? We’ll find out! Prediction – Rhode Island College