WPI head coach Chris Robertson and the Engineers face RPI on Saturday with the Transit Trophy on the line. Photo Credit: Matt Noonan for NoontimeSports.com)
By Matt Noonan
Before Chris Robertson was named the head coach of WPI’s football team, he assisted long-time head coach Ed Zaloom as the squad’s defensive coordinator.
Under Zaloom, Robertson and WPI were competitive, but struggled mightily against RPI during the annual Transit Trophy game.
The Engineers of Troy, New York defeated the Engineers of Worcester 15 consecutive times, however, the streak came to a halt during the 2010 season – Robertson’s initial year as the program’s head coach.
“As an assistant, I would watch Ed lose 11 times to RPI and those were close games, fourth quarter games and heartbreaking (setbacks),” said Robertson. “This game – I do it for him because I know how hard he worked at it.
“That first year – 2010 – was just amazing. Ed and I are still very close and that was something important for me to do to payback the hard work he put in (to the WPI football program).”
Under Robertson, WPI has defeated RPI three times in the past five years, but lost to the Engineers last season by a score of 27-6. RPI leads the all-time series since the coveted Transit Trophy was introduced in October 1979, winning 23 of 35 meetings.
“(This game) means a lot and any time you go out recruiting (prospective players) ask ‘who won the game last year?’ We want to be dominating in (the WPI-RPI) series,” said Robertson, “so that when everybody talks about studying engineering they can think say, ‘do I look at RPI or WPI?’ ”
Saturday’s contest marks the start of Liberty League play for WPI, which matched a program record with three straight wins to start its season – the last time the Engineers began their campaign with three consecutive victories was in 2009.
“We talked about 3-0 to the team once,” said Robertson. “Once we watched the film, (the team realized) there was room for improvement. They’re bright kids and they want to get better and they have seen good times and they have seen bad times, but we’re just focused on getting off to a good start in the Liberty League.”
A win for WPI would conclude the month with four consecutive victories, along with momentum going into a pair of road contests against Hobart (receiving votes) and St. Lawrence.
Said Robertson, “I don’t think we have played our best football yet, but it is nice when you can win some football games despite not great football. I am very proud of the guys so far.”
The Boston College men’s ice hockey team was picked to capture the Hockey East regular season crown this upcoming season, as reported by the league on Monday, September 21.
BC received seven first-place votes, while rival Boston University, which was picked to finish second, earned a trio of first place votes. Providence College – the reigning national champion – was picked to finish third and earned a pair of first-place votes, while UMass Lowell was projected to place fourth and Northeastern University fifth.
New Hampshire, Notre Dame, Vermont and Connecticut rounded out the sixth, seventh, eighth and ninth place positions, while Maine was picked to finish 10th. Merrimack College and UMass completed the 12-team poll, earning 11th and 12th place projections, respectively.
Brandeis University men’s soccer head coach Mike Coven claimed his 500th victory on the sidelines last Saturday when he his team defeated Babson College in double-overtime. (Photo Credit: Jim Pierce/Sportspix.com)
Last Saturday, the Brandeis University men’s soccer team delivered head coach Mike Coven his 500th career victory by defeating Babson College in double-overtime by a score of 1-0.
“It was great for the team, it was great for me personally, but now you have to forget about it and move forward,” said Coven in a phone interview earlier this week.
Noontime Sports caught up with Coven earlier this week to discuss his 500th career victory on the sidelines and below is our conversation with the tenured coach.
Noontime Sports: Tell us a little more about this victory. Your team needed double-overtime to defeat Babson, so it must have been an exciting feeling when Jake Picard headed-in the game-winning goal?
Mike Coven: “It all worked out. Years and years ago before there were conferences and everybody played everybody we played Division I schools, Division II schools and (Division) III schools, but the premiere Division III matchup every year – not just regionally, but nationally – was the Brandeis-Babson game. In 1975 they won a national championship and in 1976 we won the national championship, and we used to recruit out of the same areas, so a lot of the guys on both teams had played against each other in high school and club. There were even times when we each had one brother (playing on each team) so it was a great, great rivalry. (Babson head coach) Jon Anderson actually played on the first couple of Babson teams that I coached against and we remain very close today. Our families socialize and everything, so it kind of came full-circle (in winning my 500th game). It was a home game; it was a Saturday night game where we get very good crowds and (we were playing) Babson. It was a typical Brandeis-Babson game, which goes back-and-forth and it goes into sudden death overtime. We were fortunate to win it, but the whole scenario was great.”
NS: What was the build-up like going into the Brandeis-Babson game? Did you know a win would provide you with 500 victories?
MC: “I knew I was coming up to my 500th victory, but I didn’t know (when it would be) or kept track, but my wife (did), so she really knew when it was going to happen. (The athletic department) built up the excitement with win number 498 and 499, but I was just more concerned with how we played, so I was more concerned about winning the game because Babson is a good team.”
NS: Has the past 43 years on the sidelines gone by fast?
MC: “It has gone by (fast), it is hard to believe that I have been (at Brandeis) for 43 years. I have a freshman forward name Andrew Allen on my team and his dad played here, so I have had two situations where I have coached both the dad and the son. I can remember recruiting (Andrew’s) father, but now I am recruiting his son, so it has gone by so fast and it is unbelievable with how fast it went.”
NS: What do you remember about that first national championship victory in 1976? What memories remain from that exciting overtime win over Brockport?
MC: “I can still see the (game-winning) goal and it building up and even before we scored I saw the (play develop), so at that point I knew we were going to win. At this point (in the match) it was like two seconds before the ball went into the back of the net. I will remember (that game-winning goal) forever. When you win a national championship as a team – the team stays very, very close (afterward). One of the captains, Rob Muller, who lives in New York, calls me on the anniversary of the national championship. I don’t remember the date – I think it was November 20 – but he calls me every day on that date. Murray Greenberg, who was the goalie on the national championship team, he started as a freshman my first-year here (in 1973), so he was the goalie of my first victory at Brandeis. Michael Shannon, who was one of the captains on the national championship team, lives in Houston and we had just played at Trinity in San Antonio over the weekend, and he came to the game and we made him honorary captain, so he went out for the coin toss.”
NS: What makes playing soccer for Brandeis so special?
MC: “There is no football here, so the university has always appreciated a good soccer team and has pushed for a good soccer team, so the student body follows us pretty well, we have good fan support and the administration certainly follows us as well and supports us well. Our conference – the University Athletic Association (UAA) – we travel all over the country and two weekends ago we went to Texas for four days to play, so not many schools emphasize the game as much as we do. Since I have been here we have joined the UAA, we got a new soccer facility, the gym is not new, but it newer than the one when I first started, so it is a great place to work and they treat me very well here.”
NS: Last question, Coach. Would it be the ideal storybook ending to win a championship the same year you earned your 500th career win?
MC: “I would like to. Last year’s team could have won (it all). We went to the (elite) eight and lost to SUNY Oneonta. Tufts University won it all and we had beaten Tufts (last season), 2-0. So, you look at the (landscape of Division III men’s soccer) and say, ‘hey, it can really happen.’ That is our goal, we want to win a national championship and I think Brandeis will win a national championship again soon. It is very possible, we’re not that far away right now.”
Harvard University senior Scott Hosch will commence the season under center for the Crimson. (Photo Credit: AmericanSportsnet.com)
By Matt Noonan
Another weekend of college football has arrived – hooray!
Below are five games to watch/follow (and predictions) – make sure to circle back on on our social media channels this weekend (Facebook and Twitter) for updates, scores and news.
Merrimack at Assumption (Friday, Sept. 18 at 7 p.m.): Both teams will look to capture their first Northeast-10 Conference victory this evening as the Greyhounds host the Warriors in what promises to be an exciting ‘Friday Night Lights’ contest. Assumption’s Brendan Tobey is second in the conference in passing yards per game (246.5) and has tossed three touchdowns thus far, while Alex Shain is the top rusher in touchdowns (three) and yards per game (126.0). Merrimack’s defense is sixth in the NE-10, but tied for fourth in sacks (four). Brian Carroll has had an impressive season for the Warriors on defense, tallying 20 total tackles, including 17 solo stops, so expect him and his teammates to challenge Tobey and Shain. PREDICTION: Assumption 25, Merrimack 23
Boston College vs. No. 9 Florida State Univ. (Friday, Sept. 18 at 8 p.m.): Following a pair of non-conference clashes, the Eagles host their first conference contest against an impressive Seminoles squad that captured their initial games against Texas State (59-16) and South Florida (34-14). Dalvin Cook is second in the nation in rushing, compiling 422 yards on the ground and five touchdowns. The Eagles defense will need to focus on Cook, while winning the time of possession on offense. PREDICTION: Florida State 34, Boston College 20
Harvard at Rhode Island (Saturday, Sept. 19 at 1 p.m.): The Crimson’s title defense begins tomorrow as they travel one state over to face a Rhode Island, which has lost a pair of games this season, including a 47-0 setback to Syracuse. Harvard signal-caller Scott Hosch will start the season under center, looking to guide the Crimson to their fourth consecutive week one victory. PREDICTION: Harvard 30, URI 17
American International College (AIC) at New Haven (Saturday, Sept. 19 at 1 p.m.): This should be an interesting match-up with both squads claiming NE-10 victories last weekend. New Haven rallied to defeat Bentley with a late field goal, while AIC quarterback Kwame Jarvis tossed a trio of touchdown passes in the Yellow Jackets’ 44-13 victory over So. Connecticut State. Andre Anderson of New Haven is second in the conference in rushing yards, averaging 110 yards over two games, while locating the end zone twice. Jerrod Shelby has paced the Yellow Jackets’ defense with a team-high 17 total tackles (eight solo stops) and one sack (six yard loss). New Haven captured this contest last year, registering a pair of touchdowns in the fourth quarter to claim a 31-24 victory. PREDICTION: AIC 28, New Haven 25
UMass vs. Temple (Saturday, Sept. 19 at 3 p.m./Gillette Stadium): The Owls – currently receiving votes in the AP Top 25 and Coaches Poll – have won back-to-back games, including an opening week victory against Penn State (27-10). Last week, the Owls defense intercepted Cincinnati quarterback Gunner Kiel four times en route to 34-26 victory. This week, Temple travels takes on a UMass squad that lost its opener against Colorado, 48-14, but wide receiver Tajae Sharpe finished the game with 11 catches for 138 yards. The Minutemen will need to limit their mistakes from one week ago to defeat a talented Temple squad. PREDICTION: Temple 31, UMass 26
The third week of the college football season begins this evening with a non-Massachusetts contest. Luckily, we don’t have to wait too long as some games kick-off tomorrow evening, but here are some links and news from around the web to get you set for another weekend of football.