Tag: Coast Guard Bears

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.  

Blakenship Leads USMMA Past Coast Guard, 24-14.

The United States Merchant Marine Academy (USMMA) beat Coast Guard Academy in the 49th meeting of the Secretaries Cup. (PHOTO COURTESY: USMMA Athletics)

By NoontimeSports.com

Ian Blakenship rushed for a game-high 151 yards on 29 carries and one touchdown while Ceaser Gonzalez added 103 yards on the ground and one score as the United States Merchant Marine Academy topped Coast Guard Academy, 24-14, to claim the Secretaries’ Cup for the second-straight season.

Saturday’s matchup between the Mariners and Bears capped a three-sport, three-game fall series between the two academies, which saw the Coast Guard Academy men’s soccer and women’s volleyball teams secure wins against USMMA last month.

Coast Guard struggled to contain the Merchant Marine rushing attack, which tallied 343 yards on 71 rushing attempts and three touchdowns. Blakenship, Gonzalez, and Matt Restifo each rushed for one score while Jack Ruark tallied six points on three extra points and a 25-yard field goal.

Merchant Marine led Coast Guard, 10-7, at the break and 17-7 after three quarters before Restifo sealed the win with a four-yard touchdown run with 4:48 remaining.

Coast Guard’s Jared Colletti scored twice for the Bears while finishing the contest with 112 yards of total offense, including 88 receiving yards. Eugene Bizer led the Bears defense by recording a game-high 20 total tackles, including 14 solo stops and two tackles for a loss of 10 yards.

John Barbera, who was making his first start at quarterback for the Bears, completed 18 of 34 passes for 181 yards and one touchdown.

With the win, Merchant Marine has now won 34 contests against Coast Guard Academy while the Bears have captured 15 meetings.

Noontime’s Coast Guard-USMMA Prediction

Jake Behne (left) and Hudson Dunaway (right) pose with the Secretaries’ Cup in November 2018. (PHOTO COURTESY: Coast Guard Academy Athletics)

By NoontimeSports.com

The final NCAA D-III football game of 2020 will take place tomorrow between Coast Guard Academy and the United States Merchant Marine Academy (USMMA) with the winner claiming the Secretaries’ Cup.

Last season, the Mariners topped the Bears, 56-41, thanks to quarterback Krystian Abbott, who finished the game with 298 yards of total offense.

Coast Guard captured the 2018 meeting by a score of 26-12 to secure the Secretaries’ Cup for the first time since 2014.

Tomorrow’s matchup – the 49th meeting between these two academies – will be streamed on ESPN3 with kickoff scheduled for 12:05 p.m.

Below is our pregame preview, as well as our prediction – let us know if you agree or disagree by sending a tweet to @NoontimeSports. Enjoy the game, everyone!


Noontime’s Coast Guard-USMMA Preview: It’s been nearly a year since the Bears and Mariners tangled on the gridiron, but it seems as if both teams are eager and ready to play some football.

Coast Guard enters the contest with a great deal of experience on both sides of the ball. Quarterback John Barbera, who has appeared in five contests, including three last season, will start his first game for the Bears – expect the Glen Mills, Pennsylvania native to target Justin Moffatt, who led the NEWMAC last season with 66 receptions while posting a career-best in receiving yards (872) to go with five touchdowns.

Linebacker Eugene Bizer will be tasked with leading a Coast Guard defense that will need to slow down a Mariners squad that averaged 41.1 points per game last fall. Merchant Marine’s offense is very run-heavy and it is expected that the Mariners will lean heavily on halfback Matt Restifo, who finished last season with career-bests in rushing yards (389), yards per game (43.2), and touchdowns.

Eric Davidson and Colton Ray will be two players to watch on the Mariners defense tomorrow – this particular unit limited opposing foes to 112.7 rushing yards per game last season.

Noontime’s Prediction: This has the potential for a back-and-forth affair, but I think this contest will come down to whichever defense can slow down the opposing attack. I don’t anticipate a high-scoring affair like we witnessed last season, but instead both teams scoring at least three, maybe four touchdowns. PREDICTION: Coast Guard 30, USMMA 26

The Final D3 Football Game of 2020 Is Next Saturday

Ryan Jones previously quarterbacked Coast Guard Academy last season against Merchant Marine. (PHOTO COURTESY: Matt Noonan/NoontimeSports.com)

By Matt Noonan

One more NCAA D-III football game remains on the calendar for next Saturday, November 14. And it will feature Coast Guard Academy and the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy.

We learned this particular matchup would occur back in September when both institutions announced they would have three programs – football, men’s soccer, and women’s volleyball – compete for the Superintendents’ Trophy, which is something both academies contend for on a yearly basis, as noted in the September release on the Coast Guard Academy’s athletic website.

The Coast Guard Academy men’s soccer team and women’s volleyball team each captured their respective meeting with Merchant Marine last month.

Last year, Merchant Marine’s football team topped Coast Guard Academy, 56-41, to secure the Secretaries’ Cup while the Bears beat the Mariners one year earlier by a score of 26-12. The 2018 victory marked the first time the Bears had beaten the Mariners on the road since 1996. It was also the first road win in the series for former head coach Bill George, who retired last fall.

Kickoff for next Saturday’s game is at 12:05 p.m. Fans can watch the game on ESPN3 while following along with live stats.

Noontime’s Senior Salute: Packy Witkowski (Coast Guard Academy)

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Coast Guard Academy senior Packy Witkowski, who is from Melrose, Massachusetts, averaged a career-best 17.7 points this past season with the Bears. (PHOTO COURTESY: Coast Guard Academy Athletics)

By NoontimeSports.com 

Packy Witkowski has always been a player to watch on the Coast Guard Academy men’s basketball team, but perhaps this was a season both he and fans of the program will remember the most.

The Melrose, Massachusetts native, who played high school basketball at Avon Old Farms in Connecticut, averaged a career-best 17.7 points per game. He scored a career-high 477 points in 27 contests to go with 120 rebounds, 34 assists, 20 steals, and five blocks.

Witkowski registered 20 points or more in nine games this past winter while sinking a season-best 33 points on 12 of 21 shooting in his team’s 80-69 win over Merchant Marine Academy. He scored 10 points or more in 21 contests while averaging 17.6 points for the Bears in three New England Women’s and Men’s Athletic Conference (NEWMAC) Tournament games.

The senior guard concludes an impressive four-year run with the Bears, which saw him record 1,518 points in 93 games to go with 502 rebounds, 150 assists, 61 steals, and 15 blocks.

We recently spoke with Witkowski to discuss his final season with the Bears, as well as his future plans with the Coast Guard beyond graduation.


What will you remember most about your senior year with the Bears? 

It’s hard to narrow down to a single event from this past season, but I would say our team’s journey is what I will remember the most.

From starting out in Anchorage, Alaska to finishing in Brockport, New York, it was a journey made by a group of brothers. We did not start well but we kept at it. By the end, we were operating on all cylinders when we needed it most and founds a way through. This culminated in winning three road playoff games in five days to become NEWMAC Tournament Champions to earning an automatic bid into the NCAA D-III Tournament.

The journey was special and an experience I will take with me for the rest of my life.

Looking back on the 2019-20 season, what game (or games) will you remember most? Why these particular games? 

Our NEWMAC Championship game against WPI. To be down 24 points at the break and comeback and win was nothing short of incredible. I am very grateful to have been part of a win like that, but more importantly, on a team that was so resilient. It is difficult to put that one game into words but that is a memory that will bond us forever.

What have you enjoyed most about competing for the Coast Guard Academy men’s basketball team (and program) these past four years? 

Being able to compete (on a daily basis), but really just being a part of this team for four years. Having that competitive outlet and support network from the team and coaching staff has made my experience here at the Coast Guard Academy that much more rewarding and worthwhile. Having the privilege to go to the Academy and represent it while playing a sport that I love has truly been amazing. I will always be grateful for the opportunity I have been afforded and the experiences I have had during my time both here at the Academy and on this team.

Once you officially graduate later this spring, do you plan (or hope) to stay involved with your sport in some capacity? Any interest in coaching in the future? 

I will always love this game and do what I can to keep up with the team going forward. I can see myself getting involved in coaching to some degree down the road because I am passionate about helping and developing others. Coaching would allow me to continue that passion after graduation.

Tell me about your major. How did you choose it? Also, what are your future plans beyond graduation? 

I am finishing up my degree in civil engineering. I have always wanted to have a technical background that would allow me to develop real-world problem-solving skills and that is exactly what this major has provided me.

I believe studying civil engineering has set me up for future success, beginning as an officer with the Coast Guard. School has always been something that has meant a lot to me and I have worked really hard to be successful at it while balancing both my military and basketball commitments.

I will be serving aboard USCGC Reliance as a Deck Watch Officer in June and am very excited to begin my career with the Coast Guard. Beyond that, I am working towards making my dream of being a Coast Guard aviator come true, as well.