Mass. College Hockey: Updated D3 Commitments

By Matt Noonan 

In honor of the NHL Draft, which is going on this afternoon, we thought we’d share a few updated commitment links courtesy of D3Hockey.com.

Below are the various conferences, which feature a handful of Massachusetts men’s collegiate hockey teams. No Bay State squad acquired hardware this past March, but will attempt to this coming season.

Conference Links: 

* ECAC East

* ECAC Northeast

* MASCAC 

* NESCAC

Mass. College Football: Harvard’s Kyle Juszczyk Completes First NFL Mini Camp

By Matt Noonan 

Former Harvard University tight end/H-back Kyle Juszczyk recently completed his first NFL minicamp with the Baltimore Ravens and is projected to be the starting fullback for the defending Super Bowl champions, according to this afternoon’s release by the Crimson sports information department.

Juszczyk, who was selected in the fourth round of this year’s NFL Draft, has transitioned into a fullback due to the team releasing three-time Pro Bowler Vonte Leach.

The two-time All-American and three-time All Ivy League selection finished his career in Cambridge as the program’s all-time leader among tight ends in receptions (125), receiving yards (1,576) and touchdown receptions (22). He ranked third all-time in touchdowns, sixth all-time in receptions and seventh all-time in touchdown receptions.

Excluding Juszczyk, Harvard will have four alums competing for a job in training camp and they are the following:

Ryan Fitzpatrick ’05, QB (Tennessee Titans)

Desmond Bryant ’09, DT (Cleveland Browns)

Brent Osborne ’11, T (Seattle Seahawks)

Kevin Murphy ’12, T (Minnesota Vikings)

Below is a video the Ravens produced from their YouTube Channel featuring Juszczyk, who shares some fond memories of playing football, along with his favorite game-day tunes.

Bentley’s Battista Represent Falcons, USA In 19th Annual Maccabiah Games

By NoontimeSports.com 

Courtesy of the Bentley University sports information department, here’s today’s release about Lauren Battista, a member of the women’s basketball team, that will be representing the Falcons as a member of the United States women’s basketball team in the 19th Annual Maccabiah Games:

WALTHAM, Mass. – Bentley University rising senior Lauren Battista (North Easton/Oliver Ames HS), a two-time Women’s Basketball Coaches Association Division II All-America and two-time Capital One Academic All-America, will be headed to Israel next month to participate in the 19th annual Maccabiah Games as a member of United States women’s basketball team.

Battista and her Team USA teammates will be participating in training camp, practice and a tour program from July 6-17, with the opening ceremonies for the games scheduled for July 18. Women’s open basketball will get underway July 19, the championship game is 10 days later, and the closing ceremonies for Maccabiah 2013 are July 30.

“I am excited to explore a new culture through the sport that I love,” said Battista. “It will give me the chance not only to see a beautiful country, but also will allow me to meet athletes from all around the world and make new friendships. I am grateful to have been chosen to join a team of talented players from all across the country to share this experience with.  It is a once in a lifetime opportunity and I cannot wait to represent the United States on this international stage,” continued the versatile six-foot forward.

Bentley coach Barbara Stevens, who had the opportunity to coach in Israel in 2004 with the USA Select Team, said “Lauren’s selection to the US women’s basketball team that will compete in the World Maccabiah Games this July is a tremendous honor for her.  The chance to compete against international competition is a fantastic opportunity that will prove to be extremely beneficial as she prepares for her senior season at Bentley.”

Battista has been a standout on the court and in the classroom during her first three years at Bentley. She’s a two-time Northeast-10 Sport Excellence Scholar-Athlete award winner and has been a fixture on the All-Northeast-10 team, earning Player of the Year honors in the conference in 2012.

Number ten on Bentley’s all-time scoring list with 1,504 points, the unselfish Battista ranks in the top ten in program history in nine different statistical categories, including field goal percentage (.530, seventh) and free throw percentage (.804, fifth). In 100 career games, she’s averaged 15.0 points, 6.9 rebounds, 2.6 assists and 1.4 steals while leading the Falcons to an amazing 89-11 record with three NE-10 regular season championships, three NE-10 playoff titles and two trips to the NCAA Division II Elite Eight.

As a junior, Battista put up numbers nearly identical to her career marks while leading the Falcons to an outstanding 30-2 season.

“We will have 12 very talented players representing the USA Open Women’s Basketball team and our expectations are to reclaim the gold medal we won in 2005,” said Jamie Shadian of Northern Arizona University, the team’s coach. “What I hope the players accomplish off the court is to connect to their Jewish culture and heritage and that is as important as our on-court success.”

“After a week of training the team will participate in the ISRAEL CONNECT cultural and educational program prior to the Games commencing,” Shadian continued. “We will have guided tours every day after practice that will allow us to explore the country. Regardless of their prior experiences, I hope each player will walk away from the Games with a new understanding, respect and love for Israel.

Among Battista’s teammates on Team USA will be Jacqueline Kalin, a two-time Missouri Valley Conference Player of the Year at Northern Iowa; two-time Ivy League scoring champion Alyssa Brown of Penn; Sophie Bikofsky, who plays for Brown University; and two other Northeast-10 players, Chloe Rothman of Merrimack and Yuri Sher of Pace.

Bentley will also be represented in the Maccabiah Games by two alumni who’ll be playing for the USA Rugby Team, Ilya Wortman ’08 and Seth Cohen ’07.  Wortman, who lives in South Boston after attending high school in Canton, played four years of varsity football for the Falcons, and Cohen, a veteran of the 2009 Maccabiah Games, was a member of the Bentley club rugby team. He’s a Connecticut native who now lives in New York City.

Puccio Named Head Baseball Coach At Nichols

By NoontimeSports.com 

Courtesy of the Nichols College sports information department, here’s yesterday’s release about Nick Puccio being named the new head coach of the Bison baseball team:

DUDLEY, Mass. – Nichols College Director of Athletics Charlie Robert has announced the hiring of Nick Puccio as head baseball coach.

Puccio spent the last three seasons at Wheaton (MA) College and was a key member of the coaching staff which guided the team to three NCAA Tournament appearances – including the College World Series National Championship game in 2012. During his time in Norton, Puccio coached 13 student-athletes who earned All-New England Honors, another 13 who garnered All-New England Women’s and Men’s Athletic Conference (NEWMAC) honors, and one All-America selection.

“I’m ecstatic to have the opportunity to be the head baseball coach at Nichols College,” said Puccio, who will relocate to Dudley later this summer. “I am very grateful for the opportunity that Charlie Robert has given me. I see nothing but great things in the future of the program.”

Puccio – the lead hitting coach as well as the third base coach for longtime Wheaton head coach Eric Podbelski – saw the Lyons receive the NEWMAC Team Sportsmanship Award on two occasions. Responsible for recruiting the northeast region, Puccio also assisted Podbelski with all day-to-day operations of the program. Puccio is currently the hitting coach and camp director for the Hyannis Harbor Hawks of the Cape Cod Baseball League.

“Working for Eric Podbelski has been one of the greatest experiences in my coaching career,” explained Puccio. “He is one of the best, if not the best, baseball coach I have been around. I have learned so much from him as far as how to maintain a roster and how to go about your job every single day. I couldn’t have asked for a better mentor.”

Puccio began his collegiate coaching career in 2008 at Dean College, where he was the top assistant coach and recruiting coordinator for two years. He helped the Bulldogs win a school-record 27 games in 2009 and saw four student-athletes selected to the all-region team. Puccio returned to his alma mater, Fitchburg State, in 2010 and spent one year as an assistant coach and camp coordinator with the Falcons before he moved on to work as an assistant coach at Southeastern Iowa Community College in 2011.

While in Iowa, Puccio helped the Blackhawks win a program-record 44 games and post the seventh-highest winning pct. in the country (44-16; 733). Puccio – who was also the recruiting coordinator and community advisor – saw nine student-athletes earn All-Iowa Community College Athletic Conference (ICCAC) honors, two student-athletes garner All-America accolades, and two selected in the Major League Baseball (MLB) Draft. The Blackhawks climbed as high as No. 14 in the national rankings during the season.

“I am very excited to have Nick at the helm of our baseball program,” said Robert. “He is well-known and respected throughout the New England baseball community. His passion for the game, along with his high energy, is a great fit for Nichols College, the athletics department and the baseball program.”

Puccio takes over a Bison team which won just five games in 2013 and missed the Commonwealth Coast Conference (CCC) playoffs. “It’s no secret that we won with pitching and defense at Wheaton, as well as a very systematic offense,” said Puccio. “I plan on bringing all three with me to Nichols. We will go after guys who can defend, guys that can throw strikes and be front line arms, and guys who will bring a team mentality. Everyone needs to be pulling the ship in the same direction, and we are going to recruit student-athletes that want to be part of a championship program.”

Puccio received his associate of arts in education from Dean College in 2007 and his bachelor of science in interdisciplinary studies from Fitchburg State in 2010. He is currently working towards a Master’s degree in sports management at American Public University.

Mass. College Lax: Domingos Joins BU Men’s Lax Staff

By NoontimeSports.com 

Courtesy of the Boston University sports information department, here’s today’s release about former Colby College men’s lacrosse coach, Justin Domingos, who has been named an assistant for the Terriers men lacrosse team:

BOSTON – Justin Domingos has been named an assistant coach for the Boston University men’s lacrosse program, head coach Ryan Polley announced on Thursday.

Domingos will be the Terriers’ defensive coordinator, joining Polley and offensive coordinator Drew Kelleher to complete the program’s coaching staff. He arrives at BU after spending the past three seasons as the head coach at Colby College, where he posted a 24-21 overall record and led the Mules to the NESCAC playoffs in each of his first two years at the helm. His defense allowed fewer than eight goals per game in those two seasons, including a conference-best 7.44 goals per game in 2011. Domingos also coached the first Mule to be named a First Team All-American and USILA positional player of the year.

“I’m thrilled to bring Justin aboard,” Polley said. “He has the perfect background to complement Coach Kelleher and myself both on and off the field. As a well-respected coach within the lacrosse community, he will help us attract highest the highest caliber of student-athletes to Boston and help mentor them into outstanding young men.”

Prior to his time at Colby, Domingos spent two seasons as an assistant coach at his alma mater, Gettysburg. He was the defensive coordinator and worked with the face-off men when the Bullets made a national title game appearance in 2009. It was his second stint as an assistant coach at Gettysburg, as he was the offensive coordinator when it advanced to the 2002 national title game.

As a student-athlete at Gettysburg, Domingos served as a team captain for both the football and lacrosse teams during his senior year. In lacrosse, Domingos was a two-year starter as a defenseman and helped the Bullets to a 44-28 record. He was a member of Gettysburg’s 1998 and 1999 Centennial Conference championship teams.

“Justin has been a winner as both a player and a coach and I expect him to instill the work ethic in our players that it takes to be successful at the highest level of Division I lacrosse,” Polley added. “Under his leadership, Justin’s defensive units at both Colby and Gettysburg emerged as top defenses in their respective conferences and I have no doubt he will bring the same result to BU.”

BU will begin varsity play in the 2013-14 season as a member of the nine-team Patriot League.