Category Archives: New England D3 Sports

The Early Preseason Outlook: Nichols College Bison

Nichols Bison

By Matt Noonan | @MattyNoonz11

Our ‘Early Preseason Outlook’ college football coverage resumes with a closer look at the Nichols College Bison, who begin their season on Friday, September 6th when they visit Dean College for a 7 p.m. kick-off.

The Bison’s 2018 Season: Nichols enjoyed its best season since 2016 by finishing with a 5-5 mark, including a 4-2 record in Dudley, Massachusetts.

The Bison won three of six Commonwealth Coast Conference (CCC) games while scoring non-conference wins against Anna Maria College and Alfred State.

Nichols ended its campaign with a 39-29 win over Curry College, which seemed to provide the unit with some momentum and excitement for the upcoming season.

Hunter Ferreira, who was a first-year wide-out last season, ended the season by recording a career-high 109 receiving yards and two touchdowns in his team’s win over Curry. His impressive effort resulted in him being tabbed the conference’s offensive player of the week.

Coach Dale Olmsted was named the Worcester Area Football Association Coach of the Year for the second time in three seasons, while seven Bison were named to the 2018 squad.

The 2019 Outlook: The Bison graduated 11 student-athletes from last year’s squad, including halfback Jacob Duffrene, who led the rushing attack with 794 yards on 103 carries and nine touchdowns.

McCoy Scott also graduated after enjoying an impressive final season with the Bison by tallying 99.0 total tackles, including 14.5 tackles for a loss and four sacks. Scott also forced two fumbles, recovering one, while recording one interception.

But despite some graduation losses, the Bison will return some key pieces of last year’s squad, including quarterback Michael Pina, wide receiver Hunter Ferreira, and linebackers Christopher LawrenceMichael Spraulding, and Sean McGuigan.

Additionally, Jared Abbruzzese returns in the secondary, while Patrick Porter will be spotted up front on the defensive line.

Sam Gallant returns to the offensive line for his final season – he was named to Worcester Area Football Association team last fall, while also being honored by the Commonwealth Coast Conference. Gallant has been a leader for the Bison’s offense the past few seasons and will certainly be counted on this fall with helping the team continue its winning ways.

Nichols’ Schedule: The Bison will be challenged immediately by a trio of non-conference squads, including Dean, a team to keep an eye on in the Eastern Collegiate Football Conference (ECFC). Games against Coast Guard Academy and Anna Maria won’t be easy, as well.

Nichols hops into conference play during the final weekend of September when they host Salve Regina before traveling to Western New England.

Weeks later, the Bison will close out their schedule with two marquee contests against Husson University (November 2nd) and Endicott College (November 16th).

Players to Watch: Michael Pina (Quarterback/Brockton, Mass.), Hunter Ferreira (Wide Receiver/Mansfield, Mass.), Daniel Espinosa (Kicker/Tamarac, Fla.), Sam Gallant (Offensive Line/Gardner, Mass.), Christopher Lawrence (Linebacker/Newport, N.H.), Michael Spraulding (Linebacker/Lithonia, Ga.), Sean McGuigan (Linebacker/Charlton, Mass.), Jared Abbruzzese (Defensive Back/Natick, Mass.), and Patrick Porter (Defensive Line/Natick, Mass.).


Stay connected with Noontime Sports’ football coverage on Twitter by following @Noontime_FB.

Catching Up With Brandon Linton (Nichols College Men’s Basketball)

Linton_A13C2113

Brandon Linton was recently named the 20th men’s basketball coach in Nichols College program history. (PHOTO COURTESY: Nichols College Athletics)

By NoontimeSports.com | @NoontimeSports

Last month, Nichols College announced the hiring of Brandon Linton, who becomes the 20th men’s basketball coach in program history.

Linton arrived at the Dudley, Massachusetts campus after spending the past five seasons as an assistant coach at Army West Point where he helped the Cadets with numerous tasks, including scouting reports to working with the wing players at practice to assisting with in-game strategy.

Before assisting the Army West Point men’s basketball program, Linton spent time as an assistant at both his alma mater, Clarkson University, and Bowdoin College.

Coaching a program like Nichols certainly intrigued Linton, who is excited “to continue building on what has already been established” with the Nichols men’s basketball program.

“The chance to take over a program that represents excellence, both on and off of the basketball court was important to me,” said Linton when asked about becoming the new men’s basketball coach at Nichols. “Also, the growth potential of the program was equally intriguing, (as well).”

Nichols concluded its 2018-19 season with an impressive 28-3 mark. The Bison advanced to the quarterfinals of the NCAA Division III Tournament earlier this year, thanks to postseason victories against Amherst CollegeMiddlebury College, and Rowan University.

Additionally, Nichols also captured the 2019 Commonwealth Coast Conference (CCC) title with a 105-90 victory over Gordon College.

Noontime Sports recently caught-up with Coach Linton to discuss his excitement for the upcoming season.

As a former Division III, men’s basketball player did you always want to coach or become a head coach at this particular level? 

Absolutely.  I had the great fortune to play for Adam Stockwell during my first three years at Clarkson. I remember sitting in his office as a freshman and sophomore, and him telling me that I would be a college basketball coach one day.  Prior to that, I had casually thought about the idea of it, but after (those conversations) I began to own that reality. Everything I’ve done since was aimed at this goal of becoming a Division III head coach.

What do you know about the Commonwealth Coast Conference (CCC)? Are you excited to coach in a very competitive league? 

I’m extremely excited to coach in this league.  I know that it is made up of high-level coaches that have built some of the best and most competitive programs in New England.  The talent across the board is impressive and something that I notice has improved since my departure from Division III.  This is a conference that I believe should be a multiple bid league to the NCAA tournament (every season). I look forward to the challenge of being in that mix.

How did your experience with Army West Point shape you into the coach you are today? 

I couldn’t be more grateful for my time at Army.  The development that I was able to take part in both on and off of the basketball court was truly remarkable.  It is the preeminent leadership development institution in the world. From the faculty to the cadets and all the variety of guest speakers that came through West Point, it truly was a hub for leadership development.

Basketball-wise, being able to coach at the Division I level just provides an amazing amount of time that you get to spend coaching and teaching the game to your players.  We also fielded a junior varsity team at West Point, which allowed us as (to gain experience) being a head coach as assistants to the varsity. More than anything, being around the people day in and day out was the number one takeaway that I believe will shape me into the coach I am and hope to be.

Great coaches are great leaders. And great leaders are great people first.

Litnon_3DC81C

Coach Brandon Linton inherits a Nichols College men’s basketball team that finished the 2018-19 season with an impressive 28-3 record. (PHOTO COURTESY: Nichols College Athletics)

What are some of the biggest goals/objectives you (and the men’s basketball program) hope to accomplish between now and the team’s first practice? 

The biggest thing will be developing the framework for meaningful relationships with each other. That is from new staff to players and vice versa. It will also be amongst the current players as well. Acclimating the newcomers into the fold, while also continuing to develop even stronger bonds with your returning teammates (will be a must, as well). That will be our biggest focus prior to our first practice on October 15th.

A few quick-hitters, beginning with your all-time favorite memory of playing basketball. 

Without a doubt, it has to be back in 2008 when I was a part of Clarkson’s first-ever Liberty League (LL) championship. We advanced to the NCAA Tournament as a fourth-seed in our conference’s tournament, which made it even sweeter.

Legitimately, no one believed we could get it done because there was honestly no prior reason to think so, but only the individuals in our locker room believed (we could win a conference championship) and that’s all that mattered. It’s something that has stuck with me ever since (and proves what) the power of belief can accomplish.

Who was a player you idolized growing up? 

Tracy McGrady. Unfortunately for me, my teammates and coaches, however, I played nothing like McGrady, but when I got to college, I really enjoyed watching Rajon Rondo when he first started playing for the Boston Celtics. I enjoyed watching Rondo as a student-athlete with the Celtics – he was a big part of their resurgence. I played the point for Clarkson and I really respected how he played that position. And that’s probably why my three-point percentage was what it was, too.

Finally, if you could coach any basketball player, both current or past, who would it be and why? 

Growing up in New York City, I was and still am a big fan of the New York Knicks. We’ve fallen on hard times for a good 15-20 years, however, as a kid, there were some awesome teams for me to follow.

I fell in love with basketball by watching John Starks play.  I would always wear his number (three) whenever I could in youth tournaments and recreational leagues.  The passion and swag that he played with was everything to me. He embodied what it meant to be a New Yorker, as well. He was hard-nosed, did whatever it took for the greater good of the team, and took the challenge of guarding the best players on the other team. He also jacked three-pointers, too, which was still a newer thing for the game during the 1990s.

John Starks is definitely someone I would love to coach.


Stay connected with our New England basketball coverage by following @Noontime_Hoops on Twitter! 

The Early Preseason Outlook: Mass. Maritime Buccaneers

MMA Bucs

By NoontimeSports.com | @NoontimeSports 

Our ‘Early Preseason Outlook’ coverage shifts to Buzzards Bay for a closer look at the Massachusetts Maritime Academy Buccaneers.

The Bucs will begin their 2019 campaign on Friday, September 13th, 2019 when they host Maritime (N.Y.) in the 12th Annual Chowder Bowl.

The Buccaneers’ 2018 Season: The Buccaneers mustered just two wins last fall, defeating Maine Maritime Academy (22-7) and Worcester State (26-0).

They were competitive in a few conference meetings, including a 17-14 setback to Plymouth State last October.

Mass. Maritime concluded its season with a 21-7 setback to Bridgewater State in the 40th Annual Ocean Spray Cranberry Bowl but hope to right the ship this upcoming season with perhaps an opening day win against Maritime (N.Y.) followed by victories against Maine Maritime and Westfield State.

The 2019 Outlook: The Buccaneers graduated just five seniors from last year’s squad, including wide receiver Paul Sances, who led the receiving core with 48 receptions for 699 yard, but return a slew of talent on both sides of the ball, beginning with linebacker Sean Smialek.

Smialek, along with Jack Fontana, led the defense by combining for 122 total tackles and 7.5 sacks for a loss of 31 yards. Both linebackers will be counted on this upcoming season, along with Kyle Johnston, who will be spotted on the defensive line.

The Bucs return a slew of offensive talent, including quarterback Ty Ebdon, who connected on 74 of 164 passes for a team-high 1,030 passing yards and seven touchdowns. Ebdon will most likely target Will Bennett, who led all receivers with four touchdowns.

Halfbacks Benjamin Sheehan and Matt Long return for their final seasons – both tailbacks reached the end zone five-time last fall, so look for the offense to lean on both student-athletes.

Finally, keep your eyes, Matt Wyzykowski, and James Cooke, who will be asked to anchor the Mass. Maritime offensive line.  

Mass. Maritime’s Schedule: The Bucs begin their season with a pair of trophy games – they will compete for both the Chowder Cup and Admiral’s Cup in the second and third week of September before ending the month with a trip to Westfield State.

Mass. Maritime will host Worcester State in early October before visiting Western Connecticut for a late afternoon tilt on Saturday, October 12th.

Weeks later the Bucs will close out their 2019 campaign with the Kelley Cup against Framingham State before visiting UMass Dartmouth one week later.

The Bucs will host Bridgewater State on Saturday, November 16th for 41st Annual Cranberry Bowl.

Players to Watch: Ty Ebdon (Quarterback/Gales Ferry, Conn.), Benjamin Sheehan (Halfback/Wilbraham, Mass.), Matt Long (Halfback/Weymouth, Mass.), Will Bennett (Wide Receiver/Sandwich, Mass.), George Lampros (Kicker/Punter/Bridgewater, Mass.), Matt Wyzykowski (Offensive Line/Old Saybrook, Conn.), James Cooke (Offensive Line/Wrentham, Mass.), Sean Smialek (Linebacker/South Dartmouth, Mass.), Jack Fontana (Linebacker/Grafton, Mass.), and Kyle Johnston (Defensive Line/Raynham, Mass.)


Stay connected with Noontime Sports’ football coverage on Twitter by following @Noontime_FB.

The Early Preseason Outlook: MIT Engineers

MIT Engineers

By NoontimeSports.com | @NoontimeSports 

Our ‘Early Preseason Outlook’ coverage continues with a closer look at the MIT Engineers, who will look to capture their second-straight New England Women’s and Men’s Athletic Conference (NEWMAC) crown this fall.

MIT kicks-offs its 2019 slate on Saturday, September 7th, 2019 when they host Carnegie Mellon at 12 p.m.

The Engineers’ 2018 Season: MIT enjoyed a very successful 2018 campaign by capturing its first-ever NEWMAC championship while making its second appearance in program history in the NCAA Tournament.

Yet, despite ending its season with a first-round setback to Johns Hopkins University, coach Brian Bubna‘s squad proved they can win games with both its offense and defense, as well as its special teams, too.

MIT pitched three shutouts last season, including a pair in October against Coast Guard Academy (13-0) and Maine Maritime Academy (35-0), while limiting Springfield College to just seven points in their regular-season finale.

Quarterback Udgam Goyal enjoyed one of his best seasons under center, tossing a career-high 18 touchdowns, including three to Eddy Garcia-Montes, who led the receiving core with 45 receptions.

Keithen Shepard enjoyed a very successful second season with the Engineers by catching a career-high 39 receptions for 513 yards and six touchdowns. Shepard will certainly be a player to watch this season – it’s possible he could be the team’s go-to receiver.

The 2019 Outlook: MIT graduated 13 student-athletes from last year’s team, including Udgam Goyal, who was the team’s primary quarterback for the past three seasons, and their top wide-out Eddy Garcia-Montes. Additionally, the Engineers bid farewell to halfback/wide receiver Miguel Wagner, linebacker Andrew DeNucci and defensive back Mitch Maisel.

Replacing all five student-athletes, along with other members of the Class of 2019 won’t be an easy task for Buban and his staff, but they do return some key pieces from last year’s squad, including halfback John Robertson, wide receiver Eric Bradford, and linebacker Sam Cantrell.

The Engineers did graduate a pair of offensive linemen but do return Will Roberts, who will be the anchor of MIT’s line this fall. The Sacramento, California native appeared in 11 contest last season and was named NEWMAC First-Team All-Conference.

The biggest question facing the Engineers is can they repeat their success from a year ago? We’ll find out once a new season of MIT football commences in a few weeks.

MIT’s Schedule: The Engineers commence their title defense with a home date against Carnegie Mellon before embarking on a three-game road trip, beginning Saturday, September 21st at Becker College. MIT will then visit Catholic University before heading to U.S. Merchant Marine in early October.

The schedule gets more challenging in late October when MIT visits Coast Guard before entertaining Norwich University and WPI in early November.

A mid-to-late November clash with Springfield could possibly determine the conference’s representative in the NCAA Tournament.

Players to Watch: John Robertson (Halfback/Brentwood, Tenn.), Keithen Shepard (Wide Receiver/Vancouver, Wash.), Eric Bradford (Wide Receiver/Dublin, Ohio), Jack Montinaro (Wide Receiver/Riverside, Conn.), Will Roberts (Offensive Line/Sacramento, Calif.), Mark Wright (Kicker/Fort Worth, Texas), Sam Cantrell (Linebacker/Seattle, Wash.), Tyler Ray (Defensive Back/Suwanee, Ga.), Ben Wolz (Defensive Line/College Station, Texas), and AJ Iversen (Defensive Back/Kansas City, Mo.).


Stay connected with Noontime Sports’ football coverage on Twitter by following @Noontime_FB.

The Early Preseason Outlook: Maine Maritime Mariners

Maine Maritime Mariners

By Matt Noonan | @MattyNoonz11

Our ‘Early Preseason Outlook’ coverage rolls on with a closer look at the Maine Maritime Academy Mariners, who begin their season on Saturday, September 7th when they visit Maritime (N.Y.) for a 12 p.m. kick-off.

The Mariners’ 2018 Season: Despite finishing 0-9 last fall, the Mariners seemed to play their best football late in the season, especially against Coast Guard AcademyNorwich University and Catholic University. Those three games can be used as valuable teaching tools, but also motivation for the Blue and Gold heading into the upcoming season.

Terrell Thomas enjoyed a very successful first season with the Mariners, leading the defense in total tackles (83.0), solo stops (47), and tackles per game (11.9). The Auburn, Maine native also recorded 2.5 tackles for a loss and three pass break-ups en route to being named the New England Women’s and Men’s Athletic Conference (NEWMAC) Co-Rookie of the Year.

On offense, Dominic Casale enjoyed a successful second season by leading the receiving core with 550 receiving yards on 41 grabs and seven touchdowns. Casale’s 550 receiving yards were the most recorded by any Mariner wide receiver in a single-season since Chris Pelletier registered 567 yards on 22 grabs in 1997.

Additionally, Casale’s seven touchdowns were the most recorded by a wide-out since John Guss in 1989.

The 2019 Outlook: The Mariners graduated five seniors from their 2018 squad, including outside linebacker Derek Breunig, and offensive linemen Kyle Miller and Jacob Doyon, but do return Casale and Thomas, who will certainly be the focal point of the team’s offense and defense, respectively.

Additionally, Maine Maritime returns a slew of offensive linemen, including Mahlon Glidden and Josh Reed, along with quarterbacks Bailey Sawyer and Zackery Brannon.

Halfback Cooper Chiasson returns for his second season after leading the unit in rushing last fall, while Mason Kaserman should be a go-to target for both Sawyer and Brannon.

While Thomas will be a linebacker to watch on defense, the same could be said for defensive back Maxwell Horton, who finished the season with 67.0 total tackles, including 5.5 solo stops for a loss of 15. Additionally, Horton was one of four defenders to record two interceptions.

Fans of the Mariners should also keep their eyes on inside linebacker Justin Pinard, who finished fourth on the team in total tackles with 61.0. He also recorded 2.5 tackles for a loss of three yards, while registering one pass break-up.

Maine Maritime’s Schedule: The first month of the season won’t be an easy one for the Mariners, who will travel to Plymouth State after visiting Maritime (N.Y.) before hosting Massachusetts Maritime Academy for the 47th Annual Admiral’s Cup. One week after entertaining the Buccaneers, the Mariners will welcome Merchant Marine for an important week four match-up.

Trips to MIT and WPI highlight the month of October, along with a home date with Coast Guard Academy.

The Mariners will end their season with back-to-back home games against Catholic and Springfield College.

Players to Watch: Dominic Casale (Wide Receiver/Freeport, Maine), Terrell Thomas (Outside Linebacker/Auburn, Maine), Mahlon Glidden (Offensive Lineman/Scarborough, Maine), Maxwell Horton (Defensive Back/Kicker/Eliot, Maine), and Justin Pinard (Inside Linebacker/New Boston, N.H.).


Stay connected with Noontime Sports’ football coverage on Twitter by following @Noontime_FB.

« Older Entries Recent Entries »