Before we kick-off, a brand new year (and decade) of blogging, editor and founder Matt Noonan shared some thoughts on the blog while also reflecting on how this platform provided him an opportunity to pursue his love of sports, content creation, and video and podcast production.
Noontime Sports launched in 2009 in a Wheaton College (Mass.) dorm room but has become a go-to for New England college and high school sports fan, along with our favorite die-hards of the Boston Bruins, Boston Celtics, Boston Red Sox, and New England Patriots. The site has covered multiple games and events over the past year (and decade), including contests at Gillette Stadium, Fenway Park, and the TD Garden.
In addition to game coverage, Noonan (and colleagues and friends) have produced a variety of features and podcasts – we even hosted a radio show, too – while creating some entertaining (and enjoyable) videos for our YouTube channel.
We’re excited for the upcoming year and next decade of blogging and podcasting, along with some video production, too, and hope you will enjoy Noonan’s reflection on what he has built.
With 2019 slowly winding down and a new year – and yes, decade, too – upon us, it is time to look back at some of our favorite posts we produced over the past 12 months.
The Way Too Early New England D3 Football Top 20 Poll. I think we were VERY excited for another year of New England D-III football coverage back in June. This season, we introduced our first-ever Top 20 Poll – yes, we had some people dispute and question our rankings, but we certainly got people excited with some early preseason coverage.
The Football Friday Podcasttook off – and we even appeared on iTunes and Spotify, too. Talking New England football was fun this summer and fall. And the best part was the show appeared on iTunes and Spotify, so we were able to let our fans take our show with them and listen to in the car on the way to games. Big props to James Baker for his help and expertise – he is a great co-host for the show!
D3 Players to Watch in Massachusetts and Connecticut. We introduced a new piece of content ahead of the D-III lacrosse season with players to watch posts. And two states that did very well – no surprise, of course – was Massachusetts and Connecticut. We also did ‘Players to Watch‘ in Texas, too.
We produced some high school sports content, including a story about Somerville High School returning to the Massachusetts Interscholastic Athletic Association (MIAA) postseason for the first time since 2013.
Happy Sunday, everyone! And welcome back for yet another Noontime Sports rewind post where we reflect on coverage from both the current year and decade (the twenty-tens!).
This particular post will highlight some of the best teams we covered in New England D-III football – let the debate and conversations begin.
As usual, if you have any thoughts (or inputs) please comment below, but again, thanks for stopping by and reading a brand new rewind – let’s go!
The 2010 Williams College Ephs: Williams secured its third outright title with a perfect 8-0 mark which was capped by an end of season win over Amherst College. Additionally, the Purple and Gold captured the Little Three crown while producing their seventh perfect season in program history.
The 2011 Endicott College Gulls: In 2011, the Gulls captured 10 of 11 contests while averaging 40.5 points per game. The offense, led by quarterback Phil Konopka, was impressive, but the same could be said for the Endicott defense, which limited opponents to 16.5 points per contest. Kevin Eagan, who played just one season for the Gulls at defensive line, tallied 104.0 total tackles in 11 contests, including 55 solo stops and 23 tackles for a loss of 87 yards. Endicott finished the season with back-to-back wins, including an ECAC North Atlantic Bowl victory over Mount Ida College.
The 2012 Framingham State Rams: After finishing their 2011 campaign with a 7-4 mark, these Rams flipped the switch following an opening day loss to Endicott College by winning ten-straight contests, including a New England Football Conference (NEFC) Championship against Salve Regina University. Salve Regina was projected to win this particular meeting, but the Seahawks struggled to contain FSU halfback Melikke Van Alstyne, who rushed for 96 yards and two scores. James Muirhead concluded the contest with eight total tackles, including six solo stops, three tackles for a loss of 17 yards and one forced fumble. FSU would advance to the NCAA D-III Tournament but see their bid toward a national title conclude at Cortland State.
The 2013 Endicott College Gulls: Drew Frenette, Spencer Walsh, and Nate Lewis, along with the Endicott defense highlighted an exciting end of season win over Salve Regina to secure the program’s second NEFC crown in four seasons, along with a spot in the NCAA D-III Tournament. Endicott recorded its first shutout of the season and finished 2013 with an 8-3 record. The Gulls entered the postseason with a seven-game winning streak after starting its 2013 campaign with a 2-2 record.
The 2014 MIT Engineers: MIT advanced to the postseason for the first time in school history and won an exciting opening round contest against Husson University before falling to Wesley College in the second round of the NCAA D-III Tournament. The Engineers finished 10-1 in 2014 – they scored some exciting wins over Western New England, Endicott College, and Coast Guard Academy to secure their initial New England Football Conference (NEFC) championship in program history. MIT averaged 446.8 yards of total offense and 35.5 points per contest.
The 2015 Western New England Golden Bears: Western New England captured 10 of 11 contests in 2015, including a pair of conference victories against Endicott and Salve Regina. The Golden Bears produced 40 points or more in five contests and secured a spot in the NCAA D-III Tournament in late November.
The 2016 Western New England Golden Bears: Despite ending their season with a six-point setback to Alfred in the second round of the NCAA D-III Tournament, the 2016 Golden Bears were very impressive, winning 11 of 12 contests by an average score of 39.8 to 19.0. WNE averaged 460.1 yards of total offense in 12 contests and limited opposing offenses to just 110.1 yards on the ground per game. They scored impressive wins over Springfield College, Union College, and Endicott College before beating Husson University in the opening round of the NCAA D-III Tournament.
The 2017 Husson University Eagles: Coach Gabby Price led the Eagles to not just an Eastern Collegiate Football Conference (ECFC) crown in 2017, but also an upset win over Springfield College in the opening round of the NCAA D-III Tournament. Husson beat a very impressive Springfield team, which entered the postseason on a ten-game winning streak. Halfback John Smith rushed for a game-high 164 yards on 43 carries and two touchdowns while Elvin Suazo and the defense limited the Pride to a season-low 264 yards of total offense.
The 2018 Trinity College Bantams: The Bantams concluded their 2018 campaign not just with a 9-0 win over rival Wesleyan University, but also with their third consecutive New England Small College Athletic Conference (NESCAC) championship. Trinity won eight of nine contests and was able to win their ninth conference crown due to a 27-16 win earlier in the season against Amherst College. Trinity averaged 464.3 yards of total offense and 36.0 points per game while limiting opposing defenses to 67.7 rushing yards and 10.0 points.
The 2019 Middlebury College Panthers: Coach Bob Ritter led the Panthers to their first-ever 9-0 season in program history, along with a 2019 NESCACchampionship. The team averaged 410.6 yards of total offense, including 227.4 passing yards while limiting opponents to 108.0 rushing yards per game. Middlebury scored some exciting wins this fall, along with some nail-bitters against Amherst College and Colby College. They scored 45 points against Wesleyan University in late October before producing 47 points one week later against Bowdoin College.
Welcome to the first Noontime Sports rewind post, which will recap the current year of New England (and Boston) sports as well as look back on the soon-to-be past decade of blogging for NoontimeSports.com.
In this particular post, we highlighted our favorite Boston sports teams that we covered (and chronicled) through the site – there were some fun teams to watch and others that made us sick to our stomach over the past nine-to-ten years.
We hope you enjoy this look back at the soon-to-be past decade of Boston sports, which certainly kept us busy, both here on the site and social media.
The Best New England Patriots Team of the 2010s: The 2014 New England Patriots. Sure, you can make the case for the 2016 squad, which overcame a 25-point deficit to beat the Atlanta Falcons or the 2018 squad, which outsmarted Sean McVay and the Los Angeles Rams, but in my opinion, the 2014 squad was the best Pats team of the 2010s. Between the offense and the defense and just the way they manhandled teams after losing to Kansas City, this particular Patriots squad was perhaps one of the best teams under current head coach Bill Belichick.
One of the most impressive games this team played was against the Baltimore Ravens in the second round of the postseason. They ran a few tricky plays, including one that saw Julian Edelman throw a touchdown pass to a streaking Danny Amendola. Additionally, they stole a play from Nick Saban and the Alabama Crimson Tide, which infuriated Baltimore coach John Harbaugh.
But the cherry on top of the sundae was the Malcolm Butler interception on a potential go-ahead touchdown pass late in the fourth quarter of the Super Bowl. Butler will be forever linked to that play – the result ignited an animated (and giddy) celebration by Tom Brady and … Jimmy Garoppolo.
The Best Boston Red Sox Team of the 2010s: The 2013 Boston Red Sox. Following the aftermath of the Boston Marathon bombings, our city became enamored with the local nine, especially after David Ortiz delivered a heartfelt speech just days after the horrendous attacks. Ortiz’s words would be the catalyst for a magical season that concluded with a World Series victory at historic Fenway Park.
Boston, which went from worst (2012) to first (2013), concluded the 2013 campaign with 97 wins. They beat the Tampa Bay Rays in four games before topping the heavily-favored Detroit Tigers in six games. Shane Victorino hit a grand slam in the bottom of the seventh in game six before Koji Uehara shut the door on a possible rally in the top of the ninth.
The win over the Tigers secured the Sox their third American League crown, as well as their third appearance in the World Series in 10 seasons.
The Best Boston Bruins Team of the 2010s: The 2011 Boston Bruins. If the Bruins won the Stanley Cup earlier this year, I would have chosen that team, but instead, I’ll play it safe and go with the squad that won the Stanley Cup eight years ago.
After seeing the 2010 squad collapse in the second round of the playoffs against the Philadelphia Flyers, I was unsure if the 2011 Bruins would be able to make myself (and other Black and Gold fans) proud. But they certainly did.
Their Cup run began with an epic game seven overtime win in the opening round against the Montreal Canadiens, thanks to Nathan Horton. One round later, Boston erased memories of a dreadful collapse from one year earlier by sending the Flyers home with four-straight wins (it was sweet revenge, in my opinion!).
But perhaps Boston’s most impressive win came against the Tampa Bay Lightning in the Eastern Conference Finals, especially in the seventh game. Horton netted the lone goal of the contest, while TimThomas, who won the Vezina Trophy, stopped every shot he faced.
Those ‘smiles’ would not disappear as those same grins reemerged days later after the Bruins defeated the Vancouver Canucks in six games to win their sixth championship in franchise history.
The win over the Canucks was exciting – it was also the team’s third game seven victory of the 2011 postseason, which was the most game seven wins by any team in the National Hockey League (NHL).
Unfortunately, their win over Vancouver did not result in a few more titles as Boston would lose in six games to the Chicago Blackhawks in 2013 and seven games to the St. Louis Blues in 2019.
The Best Boston Celtics Team of the 2010s: The 2017-18 Boston Celtics. After winning their 17th championship in June 2008, the Celtics have yet to return to top of the mountain but have had chances, including ten years after they beat the Los Angeles Lakers in six games when the Green and White almost beat LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers.
Boston was without Kyrie Irving who missed the entire postseason, as well as Gordon Hayward, who suffered a serious end-of-season injury during the team’s initial game of the 2017-18 campaign, which happened to be against the Cavaliers. So, without two of the league’s marquee players, the Celtics turned to both their veteran and youth players to go on an exciting run, which included wins over the Milwaukee Bucks and Philadelphia 76ers (4-1).
Against Cleveland, Boston won the series’ first two games before losing four of the next five contests. They had chances to beat James and the Cavaliers in each of the final five contests, but the youth and inexperience eventually caught-up with the Green and White, who have been really fun to watch this season.
What made this particular postseason run so much fun was the play of both Brown and Tatum, along with Al Horford, Marcus Smart, and Marcus Morris.
Wheaton College’s Mia Len is our Noontime Sports D-III Life Student Blogger. (PHOTO COURTESY: Wheaton College Athletics)
By Mia Len
Welcome back to the second installment of The D-III Life for Noontime Sports (and Noontime Nation, too).
In honor of the first semester officially coming to a close, I thought I would tell you about one of my favorite classes I took this fall called Introduction to Social Entrepreneurship, which was taught by Professor Imran Chowdhury, who is the Diana Davis Spencer Chair of Social Entrepreneurship here at Wheaton College.
Every week, my classmates and I were tasked with reading intriguing case studies, which we would analyze through written reports while sharing thoughts and findings from what we read through lively (and engaging) conversations in the classroom. These analyses we produced were instrumental in helping us with a pair of projects, including an enormous end of the semester presentation and report that I did with two of my classmates, including one of my women’s basketball teammates, Natalie Wind.
Our end of the semester project allowed both myself and project-mates an opportunity to converse with an enterprise beyond campus which is one of the many things I love about our business department here at Wheaton. Being able to have real-life conversations beyond the classroom was something I truly enjoyed.
Additionally, I loved being able to work on an assignment as a team – our project, like our women’s basketball team, took commitment and dedication to create the best analysis we could for our end of semester project, and I am so thankful my partners’ hard work and help.
We presented our findings for our project during the final week of school while enjoying other presentations from our classmates, too, which I thoroughly enjoyed.
I really liked this type of project and class – I always came away learning something new, while having fun reading and analyzing the various case studies we were assigned on a weekly basis.
I hope you enjoyed this glimpse into the academic part of my life – I can’t wait to write again soon and tell you more about the spring semester.
Mia Len is a sophomore at Wheaton College in Norton, Massachusetts, as well as a member of the women’s basketball program. Len, who is a business major, is also our first student-blogger for ‘The D-III Life,’ which provides readers with a glimpse of what it takes to be a student-athlete in NCAA Division III.