Category: College Sports News

News, scores, and more from the college sports world.

Podcast: James Baker (In The D3FB Huddle)

By NoontimeSports.com

Our old friend (and yes, former co-host for NCAA D-III football coverage in 2018 and 2019) James Baker of In The D3FB Huddle joined our podcast — we recorded the show on Monday, but the show is available now (Tuesday, June 8, 2021).

Baker and host/producer Matt Noonan discussed a variety of topics, including spring football — a handful of Division I teams in the northeast — that is our neck of the woods! — did compete while many Division II and III teams either practiced or scrimmaged a nearby team. Both Baker and Noonan believe the 2021 D-III season should feature some new storylines as most of the student-athletes we covered have graduated or perhaps transferred to another compete at another level.

In addition to some way-too-early D-III football talk — yes, we will have more from Baker and Noonan soon! — the guys also discussed the opening weekend of the Premier Lacrosse League (PLL), an upcoming Pac-12 football game being played mid-morning in early September, and the Boston Red Sox‘s recent sweep of the New York Yankees.

Listen to our show below or on Anchor, Apple Podcasts, and Spotify!

Let The Countdown Begin For The 2021 College Football Season

The 2021 College Football season is slowly approaching — yes, we advise you to enjoy your summer, but as of today, we’re less than 100 days away from the first set of games. (PHOTO COURTESY: Pilot MKN on Visualhunt / CC BY)

By Matt Noonan

Sure, we’re just a day (or two) away from Memorial Day Weekend, but we’re also another day closer to a brand new season of college football.

Of course, we want everyone to enjoy their summer, especially after a tumultuous year for many, but countdowns have begun to emerge through social media — some teams and coaches are counting the days until their first contest, which will most likely occur on either Friday, September 3 or Saturday, September 4.

According to ESPN.com, ten teams, including Hawaii and UCLA are slated to compete one week earlier on Saturday, August 28 while more matchups will follow on Wednesday, September 1, and Thursday, September 2.

Alabama, which captured the Bowl Championship Series (BCS) title in January, will begin its campaign on Saturday, September 4 against Miami — the game is one of many to watch on the first official weekend of the season — while Clemson will entertain Georgia that evening at 7:30 p.m. Both games will be televised on ABC.

Notre Dame and Florida State will square off on Sunday, September 5 at 7:30 p.m. before Louisville and Ole Miss cap the weekend on Monday, September 6.

While we’ll be keeping our eyes on various teams from the northeast to the west coast (and other pockets of the country this fall), there will be a few local games to watch (and yes, follow!) during the opening weekend, including Colgate at Boston College (Sept. 4), UMass at Pittsburgh (Sept. 4), and Holy Cross at UConn (Sept. 4).

September 4 will also be a busy day for numerous NCAA Division II and III teams — it will certainly be an exciting moment for many that are eager to return to the field as most teams did not play last fall or this spring due to the coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic.

All in all, we’re excited about the upcoming college football season — be on the lookout for more content over the next few weeks and months as we get closer to kickoff — but also eager to produce some additional content on the pros and high schools.

It’s All About “Experience” In Year Two for the SUNY New Paltz Men’s Lacrosse Team

Dwayne Stewart is in his second season as the head coach of the SUNY New Paltz men’s lacrosse team. (PHOTO COURTESY: Sarah Swift)

By Matt Noonan

Dwayne Stewart seemed ready for his next challenge. 

After assisting Ryan Kuhn with starting a men’s lacrosse program at Lincoln Memorial University as both an assistant coach and offensive coordinator from 2015 to 2018, Stewart was ready for his next challenge, coaching a first-year varsity squad at the State University of New York at New Paltz

“I was excited because I was going to be the leader of a team,” said Stewart, who is currently in his second season with the Hawks. 

Being involved with a new program seemed “normal” to Stewart, who has aspirations of one day winning a championship – “I want to do that fast,” he said when introduced as the school’s first-ever men’s lacrosse coach on August 9, 2018. Stewart has won a championship before when he played midfield at the University of Albany in 2013 but as of Thursday morning, the Copiague, New York native seems determined to provide his squad with as much playing and practicing experience as possible this season.

SUNY New Paltz’s inaugural campaign was cut short last spring due to the coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic, but the Hawks enjoyed a successful start, winning two of four matchups, including the team’s first varsity contest against Elmira College.

Stewart and the team used the lockdown, as well as the past few months to begin planning for this season – so far, the squad has competed twice, and despite dropping their initial State University of New York Athletic Conference (SUNYAC) clash to the State University of New York at Plattsburgh (SUNY Plattsburgh) on Monday, Stewart and the Hawks were able to gain a better understanding of what they must work on, so they can be better prepared for future league matchups.

Joseph Bradbury attempts a face-off in his team’s first contest of the 2021 season last month. (PHOTO COURTESY: Sarah Swift)

“It was great to see the level of play (in the SUNYAC),” Stewart said of his team’s recent outing with Plattsburgh. “I am sure my guys learned a lot.”

The Hawks will gain more experience as the season progresses – in fact, they will learn a lot more over the next few weeks when they compete against other league foes, including the State University of New York at Potsdam (SUNY Potsdam), a team they will see next Monday, as well as later this month. But beyond the offensive and defensive reps, Stewart also plans to use these next few weeks to “instill” a team culture, as well as improve the system he is currently teaching the Hawks.

Like any coach, Stewart knows his system – and yes, his team’s goals – will be tweaked over time. But as for his vision – well, more his dream for where the Hawks can go from here is something his young team already believes in.

“You know, I pretty much sold them a dream (for this new program when I was hired in August of 2018) and they believed that dream and vision,” said Stewart when reflecting on his time the past few years with the program.

“We had a really strong showing (last February) against Elmira, and after we got that first win, along with an overtime win against SUNY Purchase, the team really started to buy into that message. And they’re feeding (into it more and more) as a second-year program.”

Player Perspective: Caleb Holdridge (Coast Guard Academy)

Caleb Holdridge recorded seven points on six goals and one assist last Saturday in his team’s season-opening win against Springfield College. (PHOTO COURTESY: Coast Guard Academy Athletics)

By NoontimeSports.com

One year after leading the Coast Guard Academy men’s lacrosse team in goals (17) through six contests, Caleb Holdridge picked-up where he left off last weekend by leading the Bears with seven points on six goals and one assist in his team’s season-opening win against Springfield College.

Holdridge, who grew up and played high school lacrosse nearby in Waterford, Connecticut, admitted he did not anticipate logging that many points in his team’s first contest since last March. Instead, the second-year attackman gave credit to his offensive teammates, who he believes will also enjoy similar success later this spring.

“Our offense this year is very versatile – we have numerous people who can score, finish and get an assist,” said Holdridge, who also scooped three ground balls while recording one caused turnover last Saturday. “In our game against Springfield, we had seven people come out with a point, so I think that in itself is impressive.”

Indeed, the Bears’ opening day performance was impressive as every member of the Blue and Orange contributed to the program’s second win against Springfield, including Matty Johnson, who netted the go-ahead and eventual game-winner with 2:05 remaining in the fourth quarter, and Will Iorio, who concluded the game with two tallies and three assists.

Noontime Sports recently caught-up with Caleb Holdridge to discuss his team’s first win of the 2021 season, but also their outlook for this Saturday’s home date with Babson College.

This may sound like a simple question, but what changed for you (and the offense) in the second half as your team outscored Springfield, 6-3, during the final two frames to secure an opening-day win?

I think the second half is when we finally showed what we had been working on in practice.

The first half was just getting the jitters out and settling our nerves because nobody had played a game in over a year, so it was a surreal experience being back on the field playing against a different colored jersey again. However, once this feeling passed and (my teammates and I) settled in, we were able to display our team’s true potential. We were all able to operate on the same page, and I think this was especially shown in the fourth quarter (when we outscored the Pride. Our offense put away four goals (during the final frame) while our defense did not give up a single point. They also had two crucial stops at the end of the game.  

With your team playing a limited number of games this spring, how important was it to earn that first win? Additionally, do you believe an opening-day win against Springfield will provide the squad with some extra momentum heading into this week’s contest against Babson?  

I think it was a major momentum builder especially with the number of young players we had getting in the game and producing (on both ends of the field).

Dan Lucas recorded 12 saves in his first collegiate start and stood on his head in the fourth quarter with a doorstop save. Ryan Flynn and Dan Zarillo each recorded their first goals, and Gunnar Brodfuehrer won 60 percent of his face-off attempts. All four of these guys are sophomores, too, so I think it is a major confidence booster when we can produce from everywhere on the field no matter the grade or experience.

Wins like this are extremely impactful to get the ball rolling for the next game and even more so with a shortened season.  

What must you and the team continue to do this week as you prepare for your second game? Any adjustments on the offensive end?  

Given it was our first game in over a year, there are definitely areas we need to clean up, but that is also the best part because we have yet to show our true potential. And while this was only our first game of the season, we were still able to show impressive production on both sides of the field. We believe we still have a lot to work on, but it was a good start to this shortened season.

Finally, tell me about returning to the field last weekend. What sort of emotions were both you and your teammates experiencing when stepping onto the field to play a game for the first time in roughly a year?  

It was definitely a surreal experience being in that type of atmosphere again. The week leading up to the game felt a lot longer than it was and I would get goosebumps every time I thought about the game. But once I caught the first pass it was such an easing feeling where it finally felt like something was back to normal in this era of Covid-19.  

D3 Lacrosse Notebook: Springfield’s Sarnacki Shines In Season-Opener

Kate Sarnacki recorded eight points on seven goals and one assist in Springfield College’s season-opener last Saturday against Babson College. (PHOTO COURTESY: Springfield College Athletics)

By Matt Noonan

Kate Sarnacki could not have asked for a better start to her fourth season with the Springfield College women’s lacrosse team.

The Granby, Massachusetts native tallied seven goals and one assist in her team’s season-opener last Saturday against Babson College before Taylor Pichel netted the game-winner in overtime on a free position attempt.

“I had no idea what to expect going into that first game, especially against Babson,” said Sarnacki, who also recorded three caused turnovers and captured one draw control. “I wasn’t sure how their defense would come out, and if we would have to make adjustments if they threw a face guard (at us), but they just let us play and we were able to put the ball in the back of the net.”

While Sarnacki led all scorers with seven goals, Springfield received additional contributions from Taylor Pichel (three goals and one assist) and Katie Martel (three goals). First-year Maddy Roy recorded her first collegiate goal and classmate Colleen Browne picked-up her initial win between the pipes with seven saves.

Springfield’s opening-day win should certainly provide the Maroon and White with some momentum heading into their next few games – Springfield, as well as the Beavers, are playing a conference-only schedule this spring with each team competing in five contests. The Pride are currently one of three teams in the New England Women’s and Men’s Athletic Conference (NEWMAC) that boasts a 1-0 record as both Coast Guard Academy and Wheaton College captured their initial contests of the 2021 season last weekend.

With four games remaining, Sarnacki, along with her teammates, know each matchup is critical in accomplishing their overall goal of winning a conference championship.

“I think it’s even more important with a shortened season because it sets the tone,” said Sarnacki, who has netted 115 goals in 44 contests with the Pride.

“In a normal season, the first half of your schedule is against non-conference opponents so you have time to figure out what works and what you need to adjust to prepare for conference play. This year, we don’t have that time or luxury, so scoring an opening-day win boosts our confidence as a team, but also fuels us to keep getting better every day because we know what we are capable of (doing on a weekly basis).”

Springfield will visit Coast Guard this Saturday in what is certainly an important contest for both squads. The Bears defeated Emerson College last weekend by a score of 17-9, and will attempt to erase memories of a 12-8 setback in 2019 that saw Sarnacki record four points on three goals and one assist.

Said Sarnacki, “We will definitely work to improve our transition game a little bit, and focus on discipline so we can limit our yellow cards on Saturday. Our main focus will be to continue improving all over the field while continuing to enjoy this opportunity to play together.”


News and Notes from the NCAA D-III Lacrosse World