By Matt Noonan
It has been an extremely exciting 10 months of Division III College sports.
Tufts University highlighted the school year by winning a trio of championships in men’s soccer, men’s lacrosse and softball. The Jumbos’ softball team accomplished a feat that had never occurred in Division III, winning three consecutive World Series crowns (2013, 2014 and 2015). The men’s lacrosse team captured its second straight title (and third since 2010) by defeating Lynchburg, 19-11, while the men’s soccer team earned its first national championship with a 4-2 win over Wheaton College (Ill.).
Babson College also appeared in the headlines following its amazing come-from-behind win against Trinity College in the Sectional Finals. Trailing the Bantams, 41-33, entering the second stanza, the Beavers rallied by outscoring their opponent, 33-25, which extended the content into overtime. In the extra session, Joey Flannery converted three free throws, John Wickey sank a jumper, Matthew Droney scored a three-pointer and Sam Bohmiller hit a pair of free throws to clinch the victory and send Babson to its first-ever semifinal.
For the second year in a row, the Tufts women’s basketball team advanced to the semifinals. Carla Berube was presented the Pat Summitt Trophy as the 2015 United States Marine Corps/ Women’s Basketball Coaches Association (WBCA) NCAA Division III Coach of the Year in April. Under Berube, the Jumbos won back-to-back New England Small College Athletic Conference (NESCAC) titles (2014 and 2015).
MIT made its initial appearance in the NCAA Tournament and won its first-ever postseason contest against Husson College. Trailing the Eagles, 20-17, Tucker Cheyne booted a 38-yard field goal at the end of regulation that evened the score at 20-20. In the extra session, the Engineers secured the victory when Peter Williams hooked up with Seve Esparrago for a 13-yard touchdown strike.
The Amherst College men’s ice hockey team came within one game of the national championship. The Jeffs earned a semifinal matchup with Wisconsin-Stevens Point following a dramatic 4-3 victory over Norwich University. Mike Rowbotham extended the Jeffs’ season with an overtime goal – his ninth of the season (at the time) – that helped Amherst edge the Cadets. Trinity would up winning the national title, defeating Wisconsin-Stevens Point, 5-2.
A 1-0 victory against Johns Hopkins University sent the Williams College women’s soccer team to the finals. The Ephs, however, fell to Lynchburg in penalty kicks following a scoreless tie after two full halves of soccer, along with a pair of overtime periods. Audrey Thomas scored the lone goal in Williams’ win over Johns Hopkins in the semifinal. Prior to their semifinal and final appearances, the Ephs claimed tournament wins over Lasell College, Ithaca College, Roger Williams University and TCNJ.