Noontime Sports is happy to unveil our first regular season (Week Three) D2 Top 5 Poll.
Our D2 Poll is a part of our blog’s new coverage plan, which we are slowly unveiling over the next few days and weeks.
So, without further ado, here is this week’s (Week 3) Noontime D2 Top 5 Poll.
Assumption (2-0) – Bob Chesney’s squad is off to an impressive start. Through two games this season, the Greyhounds are averaging 52 points per game. Can they keep this momentum going against Southern Connecticut State on Friday evening? We’ll find out.
Bentley (1-1) – The Falcons enjoyed a bounce-back game against Saint A’s, thanks to a pair of touchdown strikes by quarterback CJ Scarpa, who concluded the contest 14 of 20 for 185 yards. Joey Piatnik did his job on defense, tallying five total tackles, including four solo stops and one sack. Bentley will look to keep things going at home Friday against Merrimack.
Merrimack (1-1) – Following a tough opening day loss to Bryant, the Warriors rebounded with a come-from-behind win over American International. Give the game ball to quarterback Nick Davis, who helped the Warriors erase a 13-0 deficit en route to claiming a 16-13 victory.
So. Connecticut (1-1) –Quarterback Robert Nittolo enjoyed his best game under center, tossing a trio of touchdowns, while completing 17 of 25 passes for 287 yards. Additionally, he rushed for a season-high 41 yards, along with one score.
American International College (0-2) – Give credit to the Yellow Jackets’ defense, which was led by Azeem Cooper, who finished this past week’s contest against Merrimack with 11 total tackles, two sacks and one quarterback hurry. The Yellow Jackets are showing signs that they’ll crack the win column sooner than later.
It was announced on Friday that Tim Robbins would become the ninth men’s lacrosse head coach at American International College after spending the past season as the squad’s interim head coach.
The Yellow Jackets, who compete in an extremely competitive Northeast-10 Conference, capped their 2016 campaign with a ‘Senior Day’ victory over Georgian Court. Jack McIntyre paced the Black and Gold, tallying six points on four goals and two assists, while Lucas Bombardier netted a hat trick.
Bombardier concluded his initial season of collegiate lacrosse by earning a spot on the conference’s All-Rookie team.
“I am extremely elated to be given the honor of leading the Men’s Lacrosse program of American International College,” Robbins said in the athletic department’s release. “I am excited to continue to work with this tremendous group of young men, to recruit, teach, mentor and coach the young men and establish a winning culture as we strive to reach new heights in the Northeast-10 Conference.”
“Tim Robbins has done a tremendous job for us in an interim role over the past year,” Director of Athletics Matt Johnson said in the release. “He has outstanding lacrosse playing and coaching experience and his current players have been very vocal in advocating for his permanent assignment.”
Robbins joined the AIC staff as an assistant coach prior to the 2015 campaign before Johnson announced last November that he would become the program’s interim head coach.
Prior to arriving at AIC, Robbins spent time as either an assistant or head coach for numerous collegiate programs, including College of Saint Rose where he guided the Golden Eagles to a 7-6 overall record during the program’s initial season in 2012. Additionally, Robbins was instrumental in helping Siena College capture their conference crown (MAAC), while advancing to the program’s first-ever NCAA Tournament in 2009.
Said Johnson, “We are excited about the future of our men’s lacrosse program.”
Another weekend of college football has arrived – hooray!
Below are five games to watch/follow (and predictions) – make sure to circle back on on our social media channels this weekend (Facebook and Twitter) for updates, scores and news.
Merrimack at Assumption (Friday, Sept. 18 at 7 p.m.): Both teams will look to capture their first Northeast-10 Conference victory this evening as the Greyhounds host the Warriors in what promises to be an exciting ‘Friday Night Lights’ contest. Assumption’s Brendan Tobey is second in the conference in passing yards per game (246.5) and has tossed three touchdowns thus far, while Alex Shain is the top rusher in touchdowns (three) and yards per game (126.0). Merrimack’s defense is sixth in the NE-10, but tied for fourth in sacks (four). Brian Carroll has had an impressive season for the Warriors on defense, tallying 20 total tackles, including 17 solo stops, so expect him and his teammates to challenge Tobey and Shain. PREDICTION: Assumption 25, Merrimack 23
Boston College vs. No. 9 Florida State Univ. (Friday, Sept. 18 at 8 p.m.): Following a pair of non-conference clashes, the Eagles host their first conference contest against an impressive Seminoles squad that captured their initial games against Texas State (59-16) and South Florida (34-14). Dalvin Cook is second in the nation in rushing, compiling 422 yards on the ground and five touchdowns. The Eagles defense will need to focus on Cook, while winning the time of possession on offense. PREDICTION: Florida State 34, Boston College 20
Harvard at Rhode Island (Saturday, Sept. 19 at 1 p.m.): The Crimson’s title defense begins tomorrow as they travel one state over to face a Rhode Island, which has lost a pair of games this season, including a 47-0 setback to Syracuse. Harvard signal-caller Scott Hosch will start the season under center, looking to guide the Crimson to their fourth consecutive week one victory. PREDICTION: Harvard 30, URI 17
American International College (AIC) at New Haven (Saturday, Sept. 19 at 1 p.m.): This should be an interesting match-up with both squads claiming NE-10 victories last weekend. New Haven rallied to defeat Bentley with a late field goal, while AIC quarterback Kwame Jarvis tossed a trio of touchdown passes in the Yellow Jackets’ 44-13 victory over So. Connecticut State. Andre Anderson of New Haven is second in the conference in rushing yards, averaging 110 yards over two games, while locating the end zone twice. Jerrod Shelby has paced the Yellow Jackets’ defense with a team-high 17 total tackles (eight solo stops) and one sack (six yard loss). New Haven captured this contest last year, registering a pair of touchdowns in the fourth quarter to claim a 31-24 victory. PREDICTION: AIC 28, New Haven 25
UMass vs. Temple (Saturday, Sept. 19 at 3 p.m./Gillette Stadium): The Owls – currently receiving votes in the AP Top 25 and Coaches Poll – have won back-to-back games, including an opening week victory against Penn State (27-10). Last week, the Owls defense intercepted Cincinnati quarterback Gunner Kiel four times en route to 34-26 victory. This week, Temple travels takes on a UMass squad that lost its opener against Colorado, 48-14, but wide receiver Tajae Sharpe finished the game with 11 catches for 138 yards. The Minutemen will need to limit their mistakes from one week ago to defeat a talented Temple squad. PREDICTION: Temple 31, UMass 26
American International College (AIC) enters the 2015 season projected to be the runner-up in the Northeast-10 Conference, but that prediction isn’t what head coach Art Wilkins is focused on at this time.
Instead, the legendary head coach, who enters his 21st season with AIC, is focused on preparing the Yellow Jackets for its week one opponent: Bryant University.
“I think Mr. (Bill) Belichick has the right approach (to a new season),” said Wilkins, “one game at a time.”
AIC will travel to Rhode Island this Saturday (Sept. 5) to face a Bulldogs squad that was picked to capture the Northeast Conference. Bryant garnered four first-place votes and is coming off an impressive campaign that included eight victories, which tied a program record for wins.
“(We have) a one game season right now and after (we play Bryant) there will be another one (game season), but it is a one game season,” said Wilkins.
Quarterback Kevin Arduino has graduated after a very impressive four-year career, but is expected to assist the team as an assistant coach.
“You (can) never replace a great player (like Kevin), but we’re doing the second best thing. Since he can’t play anymore, we’re going to let him coach and see if some of the magic dust (helps),” said Wilkins.
The Yellow Jackets have five quarterbacks on its roster, including sophomore Shawn Brathwaite, who completed four passes last season and tossed a pair of touchdowns. He also rushed for 31 yards and one score.
Another quarterback to keep an eye on is senior Adam Salvador, who competed in nine games last season, but did not register a single pass. Instead, the senior signal caller rushed for 137 yards on 43 attempts and averaged 15.2 yards per game.
At tailback, expect the Yellow Jackets to rotate five or six players, including junior Marcel DePina, who hails from New Bedford, Massachusetts. DePina registered one touchdown last season on 19 carries, while rushing for 133 yards. He also returned a pair of punts for 34 yards.
“DePina has looked great,” said Wilkins. “I think he is going to be an exceptional player. He is the one we’re counting on right now (at halfback).”
Similar to tailback, the wide receiving core will rely on five or six players to assist the offense. Junior Evan Graham – a Springfield, Massachusetts native – is back after finishing second on the team in receptions (41). Graham, who competed in 11 games, was second on the team in touchdowns (five) and receiving yards (655).
“We think (our receiving core) is the best position on offense right, so we’ll see how it comes together during the first several games,” Wilkins said. “This is an exciting bunch.”
On defense, the Yellow Jackets will count on senior linebacker Demetrius Steed – a Boston native that competed for Bedford High School. Steed ranked third on the team in total tackles (72), but recorded 38 solo stops, four sacks, seven tackles for a loss and a trio of pass-breakups.
“He’s the guy that leads by example and has a high energy level and (can) translate that to his teammates,” said Wilkins. “He is everything you could want.”
AIC also returns seniors Andrew Justice (defensive end), Danny Omoregie (defensive line) and Daquan Holmes (defensive back). Sophomore Rob Hansen returns after leading all freshmen defenders with five total tackles and three solo stops.
Following the Yellow Jackets’ season-opener against the Bulldogs, AIC will commence conference play with a home contest against Southern Connecticut University on Saturday, September 12. The Yellow Jackets will then travel to University of New Haven on Saturday, September 19 before concluding the first month of play with a 1:00 p.m. kick-off against Saint Anselm College at home.
AIC and LIU Post, which competed in the conference’s championship last season, will meet in Springfield on Saturday, October 3 for a 1:00 p.m. kick-off. LIU Post was picked to capture the NE-10 crown for the second consecutive season.