Category: New England College Sports

NCAA Unveils D-III Women’s Lacrosse Championship Bracket

Messiah College, which captured the MAC Conference crown last Saturday, May 1, enters the national postseason with a 16-0 record. (Messiah College Athletics)

By NoontimeSports.com

The road to Kerr Stadium in Salem, Virginia will begin for 37 NCAA Division III women’s lacrosse teams this weekend with 10 teams competing in first-round matchups on Saturday, May 8.

All five opening-round contests will take place at Colby College, along with eight second-round tilts, which will be played on either Saturday, May 8, or Sunday, May 9. Regionals – semifinals and finals – will also take place in Waterville, Maine on May 15 and 16 while additional matchups – second-round meetings, along with regional semifinals and finals – will occur on the campus of Washington and Lee.

33 teams secured automatic qualifiers for the 2021 NCAA D-III Women’s Lacrosse Championship while four squads – the University of Wisconsin-River Falls, Carroll University (Wisconsin), Illinois Wesleyan, and Ithaca College – earned at-large bids. 14 teams enter the national postseason with perfect records, including Messiah College, which boasts an impressive 16-0 ledger.

The 37-team playoff will occur over the next three weekends with a champion being crowned on Sunday, May 23.

The 2020 NCAA D-III Women’s Lacrosse Championship was canceled last March due to the coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic.

Middlebury College captured the 2019 championship with a 14-9 win over Salisbury University, while Gettysburg College claimed the 2017 and 2018 titles.

Checking-In On New England D3 Lacrosse

Salve Regina University’s Ethan Robson netted a season-high five goals in last Saturday’s come-from-behind win over Roger Williams. (PHOTO COURTESY: George Corrigan/Salve Regina Athletics)

By Matt Noonan

It may sound hard to believe, but the New England NCAA D-III lacrosse regular season is slowly approaching the finish line – don’t worry, we still have a few more weeks of games before the conference tournaments commence, so there is still time to watch your favorite teams compete, both this week and later this month.

Before we embark on yet another busy week of games – and yes, practices, too! – let’s revisit the last week of New England lacrosse, which featured some exciting outcomes, including a come-from-behind win by the Salve Regina University men’s lacrosse team last Saturday against Roger Williams University.

Ethan Robson highlighted the win for the Seahawks, netting a season-high five goals off 11 shots while Brendan Kelly added four goals and Liam Cooney tallied three assists. Goalies Ryan Chambers and Connor Cunningham combined for 15 saves. Cunningham would conclude the contest with his initial win between the pipes.

The come-from-behind win was the Seahawks’ second-straight victory of the 2021 season – as of this morning, Salve Regina is one of two teams in the Commonwealth Coast Conference (CCC) with a 2-1 league mark. Endicott College, which defeated Salve Regina in its season-opener, has won five of six contests, including four-straight conference matchups. The Gulls currently occupy the top spot in the conference standings.

Endicott and Salve Regina are scheduled to compete again on Wednesday, April 14 at 4 p.m.

Staying in the CCC, Endicott remains the top team in the women’s standings with a 3-0 conference mark. The Gulls have won three straight after falling to Trinity College in their season-opener and are currently led by Maya Feigenbaum, who has produced 11 goals and three assists in four contests. Kiana Napolitano, who is in her second season with the Green and White, has recorded 11 points on eight goals and three assists.

Bryce Adam, who played high school lacrosse locally at Newton North High School, secured his first New England Small College Athletic Conference (NESCAC) Player of the Week honor of the 2021 season yesterday after leading Tufts University to a 29-11 win last Saturday against Colby College. Adam tallied nine points on five goals and four assists against the Mules – the Jumbos’ 29 goal was a school record.

Two days after the impressive win over Colby, Tufts moved up one spot in the Nike/ US Lacrosse Division III Men’s Top 20 to the second position behind Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT), which remains the top team for the second-straight week. Williams College checked in 15th overall while Bates College and Wesleyan University received consideration for this week’s poll.

The Tufts women’s lacrosse team also beat Colby this past weekend, thanks to Catherine Lawliss, who also earned this week’s NESCAC Player of the Week honor. Lawliss recorded sis points on five goals and one assist while scooping two ground balls in the Jumbos’ second-straight conference win. Tufts is the only team in the NESCAC with a perfect record (2-0) and they will attempt to secure a season-sweep of Connecticut College on Saturday, April 17.

The Babson College men’s lacrosse team commenced their season with a commanding 20-2 win over Wheaton College last Saturday. Ryan Donovan, who played high school lacrosse at Cohasset Hig School, led the Green and White with five points on four goals and one assist while Grey Sunderland and Jack Gregory combined for 20 face-off wins.

Babson will play two more times this month, including this weekend against Emerson College before closing the month of April by welcoming Springfield College to Babson Park. The Beavers and Coast Guard Academy are the only two teams in the New England Women’s and Men’s Athletic Conference (NEWMAC) with perfect marks.

As for NEWMAC women’s lacrosse, Coast Guard and Springfield remain the only teams without a loss – both squads boast identical 2-0 records – while Babson sits one game back with a 2-1 record. Wheaton is currently in third place with a 2-2 mark.

Other news and notes from the New England D-III Lacrosse World:

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

Player Perspective: Marcus Azor (UMass Dartmouth)

Marcus Azor and the UMass Dartmouth men’s basketball team recently captured the 2021 Little East Conference (LEC) Championship. (PHOTO COURTESY: Kyle Prudhomme)

By NoontimeSports.com

Marcus Azor says he continues to replay his team’s Little East Conference (LEC) tournament championship win in his head.

“It has been replaying since the final buzzer went off,” said Azor, a junior guard from Brockton, Massachusetts, who led the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth men’s basketball team to a 108-68 win on Thursday, March 4 against Keene State.

Azor, who finished his team’s final contest with 13 points, seven rebounds, and seven assists, was named the LEC’s Most Outstanding Player after leading the Corsairs to an 8-2 record this winter. The junior guard averaged 21.0 points, eight rebounds, and five assists per game in back-to-back conference tournament games this month, and is already looking ahead to next season with hopes his team will continue its recent momentum once the 2021-22 season tips-off.

“I have no doubt in my mind that my teammates and I will be motivated next year to continue this momentum,” said Azor.

Noontime Sports recently spoke with Marcus Azor to discuss his team’s first conference tournament title since 2009, as well as how the UMass Dartmouth men’s basketball team was able to improve from one game to the next.


Tell me about winning the LEC Championship earlier this month. Are you still replaying the game in your head? 

Yes, I am.

We were so close last season to winning the conference crown, but came up short (against Western Connecticut), so that loss provided us with extra motivation. Most of the 2019-20 team returned this winter, so we were confident that we could achieve our goal of winning the conference crown.

Cutting down the net is truly a moment I will never forget.

In addition to helping your team win the LEC title, you were also tabbed the Most Outstanding Player. What does this particular honor mean to you? 

I owe this honor to my teammates and coaches for challenging me every while giving me the confidence to play my game. Everyone played a huge role in the tournament, so the award could have gone to any member of the team.

All in all, this is truly a special honor to me.

Marcus Azor averaged 21.0 points, eight rebounds, and five assists in a pair of LEC Tournament games this month. (PHOTO COURTESY: Kyle Prudhomme)

You and the team had a successful shortened season, winning eight of 10 contests. How did you and the team improve from one game to the next? 

It always starts off with practice, we make each other work extremely hard, but also ask everyone to put forth their best effort in every drill so we can be more prepared for our next game. And after games conclude, we go over our mistakes through a film review with an emphasis on improving them in our next practice, so we will be better prepared for our next game.

What did you and the team learn from your two setbacks this winter against Eastern Connecticut and Keene State? How did those loses fuel an eventual title run?

Those losses were disappointing because we were leading throughout each contest. We learned that we shouldn’t get comfortable with any sort of lead and continue to be aggressive – we needed to attack when necessary, and I felt that we exhibited that approach in our championship game against Keene State.

With the season officially over, what will you be doing over the next few weeks and months to prepare for next season? And do you imagine you will enter next year’s campaign with additional motivation to continue your squad’s recent success as a senior? 

I’ll be resting the bumps and bruises from the season before returning to the gym to prepare for next season.

Everyone is determined to win the conference title again and make a lengthy run through in the 2022 NCAA D-III Tournament.