Category: College Sports News

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New Haven’s Impressive Season Concludes In Kutztown

Connor Degenhardt and the University of New Haven football team matched its win total from 2012 this fall with 10 victories. (PHOTO COURTESY: Clarus Studios)

By Matt Noonan

For the University of New Haven, Saturday’s NCAA Division II second-round setback to Kutztown University was not an ideal way to conclude an impressive season.

New Haven entered their second postseason contest with a great deal of momentum. But their offense, which has been a unit to watch this fall, struggled against a Golden Bears defense that has limited opponents to roughly two touchdowns per game.

The Chargers produced one touchdown on 48 plays and were held to a season-low 59 rushing yards. Quarterback Connor Degenhardt completed 13 of 22 passes for 97 yards and was sacked twice while Jake Conlan registered 24 yards on six carries, including an eight-yard score late in the final session that brought the visitors within three points (10-7) with 3:10 remaining.

Conlan’s lone touchdown did not spark a comeback as Kutztown’s offense picked up two first downs on its final series to clinch their first-ever win against New Haven to secure a date with Shepherd University this Saturday, December 4 in the quarterfinals.

While New Haven’s offense struggled, its defense played well. The unit sacked Kuztown quarterback Eric Nickel five times and limited Jerome Kapp to a season-low 21 receiving yards.

Kutztown concluded the game with 230 yards of total offense.

“They were great the entire day,” said New Haven coach Chris Pincince of his team’s defense.

Indeed, New Haven’s defense looked great against a Kutztown offense that recorded a season-low 10 points, but sadly, the effort did not translate to Chargers’ offense or special teams.

Despite the setback, the Chargers were a great story this fall. The Blue and Gold produced 10 wins in 12 games to match their win total from 2012. Additionally, they captured their fourth Northeast-10 Conference (NE10) crown — their first since 2012 — and beat Bentley University not once, but twice.

New Haven will once again be a team to watch — and yes, follow — next fall, but will lose some key pieces to graduation, especially on the offensive and defensive lines.

“I thought as a group, we accomplished some of our goals,” said Pincince. “I am excited for the future as long as some of these guys are coming back.”

Holy Cross Makes History, Rallies To Beat Sacred Heart, 13-10

Matthew Sluka threw the game-winning touchdown pass on Saturday to send Holy Cross past Sacred Heart in the opening round of the 2021 NCAA FCS Tournament. (PHOTO COURTESY: Mark Seliger Photography/Courtesy of Holy Cross Athletics)

By NoontimeSports.com

Saturday was a historical day for the Holy Cross football team.

The Crusaders won their first-ever postseason contest by rallying to defeat Sacred Heart University, 13-10, in the opening round of the 2021 NCAA FCS Tournament.

With the win, Holy Cross snapped a five-game losing streak in the “second season,” which includes a trio of first-round setbacks to secure a date with Villanova University on Friday, December 3 in the second round. Kickoff is scheduled for 7 p.m.

Holy Cross erased a 10-3 deficit during its final two series with a 38-yard field goal by Derek Ng and a 35-yard touchdown pass from Matthew Sluka to Jalen Coker, which provided the hosts with their first and only lead. Sluka’s touchdown was reviewed, but not reversed — the go-ahead score occurred with 14 seconds remaining in the final session.

Sluka concluded the contest with 171 passing yards on 13 of 19 attempts to go with a game-high 90 yards on 23 carries. Peter Oliver added 15 yards on three carries while Coker led all receivers with five receptions for 103 yards.

Sacred Heart’s Rob McCoy provided the Pioneers with a 7-0 lead early in the first quarter when he capped a 10-play, 75-yard drive with a five-yard score. Holy Cross would counter late in the second with a 23-yard field goal by Ng before Sacred Heart added to its lead with a 33-yard field goal from Noah Gettman with 12:09 remaining in the final stanza.

McCoy led the Pioneers’ rushing attack with seven carries for 62 yards while quarterback Marquez McCray registered 137 yards of total offense, including 78 passing yards.

Holy Cross accumulated 288 total yards of offense on 56 plays compared to Sacred Heart, which finished with 236 yards on 56 plays.

Like Holy Cross, Sacred Heart was seeking its first-ever playoff victory, but today’s loss sends the Pioneers to 0-4 in the postseason, including 0-3 against teams from the Patriot League (Fordham University beat the Red and White in back-to-back seasons in 2013 and 2014).

Sacred Heart concludes its 2021 campaign with eight wins while Holy Cross scored its 10th victory, which is the most a Purple and White squad has accumulated since posting an 11-0 record in 1991.

Holy Cross has never competed in the second round of the FCS Tournament but did appear in the quarterfinals in 1983 when they lost to Western Carolina.

Villanova has won 13 of 22 meetings with Holy Cross, including a first-round matchup in 2009 when the Wildcats defeated the Crusaders, 38-28. The Purple and White’s last win over the Wildcats occurred in 1989.  

Holy Cross, Sacred Heart Seek First Postseason Victory

Quarterback Matthew Sluka has guided the Holy Cross football team to a 9-2 overall record this fall. (PHOTO COURTESY: Mark Seliger Photography/Courtesy of Holy Cross Athletics)

By Matt Noonan

Saturday will be a special day for either Holy Cross or Sacred Heart University.

The two teams secured a date in the opening round of the 2021 NCAA FCS Playoffs with the winner advancing to the second round next Saturday, December 4 against Villanova University.

Neither team has won a postseason contest, but this is certainly not the first time either school has competed in the playoffs.

Holy Cross, which is making its sixth appearance in the postseason, has lost three first-round matchups, a quarterfinal meeting with Western Carolina, and their first and only trip to the Orange Bowl in 1946 to the University of Miami.  

Sacred Heart has made three trips to the playoffs and dropped a pair of first-round contests to Fordham University in 2013 and 2014. This past spring, the University of Delaware outlasted the Pioneers, 19-10.

Both teams captured their respective conference title this fall – the Patriot League for Holy Cross and Northeast Conference (NEC) for Sacred Heart – and boast identical six-game winning streaks, which began last month.

Holy Cross appears to be the “favorite” in this matchup – currently, the Crusaders are ranked 24th in the latest FCS Coaches Poll with the 10th best rushing attack (the team is averaging 217.7 yards per game). Additionally, their defense is very good. The Purple and White have forced 24 turnovers, including 18 interceptions, which is the second-most in the FCS behind Austin Peay with 19 and held opponents to 76.6 rushing yards per game.

Linebacker Jacob Dobbs was named the Patriot League Defensive Player of the Year, while coach Bob Chesney earned the conference’s Dick Biddle Coach of the Year award (Dick Biddle was previously an assistant and coach of the Colgate University football team). Both are also being considered for national awards.

Holy Cross quarterback Matthew Sluka, who was named the Patriot League Rookie of the Year this past spring, has tallied 23 touchdowns this fall, including a team-high 13 scores on the ground. He will certainly be a player to watch, along with halfback Peter Oliver and linebacker Liam Anderson.

The most intriguing matchup to watch on Saturday is the Holy Cross rushing defense against Sacred Heart’s Malik Grant, who led the Northeast Conference with 1,288 yards on 226 carries and nine touchdowns. He is currently averaging 117.09 yards per game and one of 12 FCS halfbacks to rush for 1,000 yards or more this season.

In addition to Grant, fans should keep an eye on halfback Julius Chestnut, who only played four times this fall, but is gaining attention from NFL scouts. The Bowie, Maryland native has rushed for 100 yards or more in three contests while locating the end zone three times.

Holy Cross has won a pair of meetings against Sacred Heart with their last win coming in 2009 when the Crusaders won nine games like they did this fall.

Kickoff is scheduled for 12 p.m. with the game being streamed on ESPN+.

Sacred Heart’s Nofri Hopeful To Lead Pioneers To First Playoff Win

After winning its second-straight Northeast Conference (NEC) crown, Sacred Heart’s Mark Nofri hopes the team’s recent momentum will continue in the FCS playoffs. (PHOTO COURTESY: Sacred Heart Athletics)

By Matt Noonan

Mark Nofri and his Sacred Heart University football team wanted to compete in the postseason this fall – it was a preseason goal.

But after capturing the Northeast Conference (NEC) for the second consecutive season, Nofri’s squad has tweaked its preseason objective to winning the program’s first-ever playoff game on Saturday against Holy Cross.  

“I know it’s one of the next steps we’ve wanted to take,” said Nofri when meeting with the media earlier today.

“This will be the fourth time we’re in the FCS playoffs, and each game we’ve been in we’ve had shots to win it in the fourth quarter (but) just couldn’t get it done.”  

Sacred Heart has certainly been competitive when competing in the postseason – two of their three matchups have been decided by 10 points or less – but for the Red and White to be successful, they must play their best football, especially against a talented Crusaders squad that enters the postseason riding a six-game winning streak.

Like the Pioneers, the Crusaders are also seeking their initial postseason victory – Holy Cross has appeared in four FCS Tournaments, but has lost a trio of first-round matchups, along with a quarterfinal meeting with Western Carolina in 1983. They also saw their bid for a national title conclude this spring against South Dakota State.

No matter the outcome, Saturday will be a special day for one of these programs, but as Nofri explained, “For me personally, I would love it for the kids. I want to see them win a playoff game and be one of the (or) at least the first team in school history to win a playoff game.” 

The 2021 All-Noontime D3 New England Football Team

Bobby Maimaron led the Williams College football team to a 9-0 record this fall in the New England Small College Athletic Conference (NESCAC). (PHOTO COURTESY: Kris Dufour/ Williams College Athletics)

By NoontimeSports.com

With the 2021 NCAA New England Division III season slowly winding down, it is time to unveil our end-of-season team that features a slew of student-athletes from all five conferences. Some of these student-athletes appeared on our preseason team — in case you missed it, feel free to jump back in time to see who made our D3 preseason squad! — but in the meantime, congratulations to everyone on another exciting season, and best of luck to the seniors and graduate students that competed for the final time this fall!

Offense

  • QB: Dante Aviles-Santos (UMass Dartmouth)
  • QB: Bobby Maimaron (Williams College)
  • HB/FB: Adam Couch (Bridgewater State)
  • HB/FB: Devaun Ford (Framingham State)
  • HB/FB: Joey Mauriello (Salve Regina University)
  • HB/FB: Tim Callahan (Springfield College)
  • WR/TE: Errol Breaux (Dean College)
  • WR/TE: Aidan Hogan (Husson University)
  • WR/TE: Philip Lutz (Tufts University)
  • WR/TE: DeVante Reid (Trinity College)
  • WR/TE: Steven Fedorchak (Western New England)
  • WR/TE: Ke’Vaughn Davis (Worcester State)
  • OL: Tucker Gaudette (Castleton University)
  • OL: Bryan Lawton (Framingham State)
  • OL: Pete Noonan (Salve Regina University)
  • OL: Lou Cocozza (Springfield College)
  • OL: Cade Watkins (Western New England) 
  • OL: John Freeman (Williams College)

Defense

  • DL: Chris Rice (Castleton University)
  • DL: Sam Opont (Endicott College)
  • DL: Joshua Onujiogu (Framingham State)
  • DL: Frank Curran (Husson University)
  • DL: Marcus Elysee (UMass Dartmouth)
  • DL: Nick Helbig (Wesleyan University)
  • LB: Tony Hooks (Bates College)
  • LB: Brendan Albert (Bridgewater State)
  • LB: Steven Silvia (Bridgewater State)
  • LB: Tim Russell (Endicott College)
  • LB: Paul Calvetti (MIT)
  • LB: Joshua Salem (Western New England)
  • DB: Armstrong Antoine (Anna Maria College)
  • DB: Dre Kidd (Dean College)
  • DB: Cully Curran (Framingham State)
  • DB: Quinn Girard (Plymouth State)
  • DB: Kyle Niehr (Springfield College)
  • DB: Danny Banks (Wesleyan University)   

Special Teams

  • P: George Lampros (Mass. Maritime Academy)  
  • P: Zac Christian (Western New England)
  • K: Ryan Smith (Endicott College)
  • K: Christian Hutra (Springfield College)
  • KR: Ryan Milliken (Plymouth State)
  • KR: Adam Razza (Western New England)