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.
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.
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:
The final day of March has arrived – can you believe it?
I can’t, but what I can say is it has been a busy few weeks in the NCAA D-III lacrosse world – hopefully, you have stopped by to read our various player perspective interviews, along with our weekly notebooks this month! – but before we usher in a brand new month, along with the second half of the season, I thought we could revisit some of the storylines (and yes, headlines, too) from the past few weeks.
Salisbury University Women’s Lacrosse is off to a fast start
Let’s begin with Salisbury University, specifically the women’s team, which recently scored its eighth-straight win, as well as its third conference victory. The Sea Gulls are averaging 15 goals per game – so far, they have deposited 124 shots – and appeared to be in mid-season form earlier this month when they beat The College of New Jersey (TCNJ), 14-8.
Seniors Alexis Strobel (12 goals and 37 assists), Lydia McNulty (21 goals and three assists), and Julie Talbert (11 goals and two assists) have highlighted the Sea Gulls’ impressive attack, which has also received a boost from sophomore Erin Scannell, who has recorded career-highs in goals (26) and points (27).
With five games remaining, the Sea Gulls appear to be the team to beat in the Coast-To-Coast Athletic Conference (C2C) – one game to watch next month is Salisbury’s regular-season finale against St. Mary’s College, which has won three of four contests thus far. The Seahawks’ lone setback occurred earlier this month against Salisbury (14-10 setback).
John Carroll University boasts two NCAA D-III Goal Scorers
Skyler Blake and Colleen Grombala of John Carroll University are currently leading all NCAA D-III lacrosse players in goals – yes, I know this can change with games set to commence later today and this evening.
The Gents recently restarted their lacrosse program and defeated the University of Dallas earlier this month – the win is certainly a step in the right direction for the Maroon and White, which is currently the only NCAA squad in Louisiana.
As of this afternoon, Centenary boasts a 1-8 record but I’ll be rooting for them in their next two contests against Southwestern University and Dallas.
Averett University men’s lacrosse has shown improvements in its fourth season
The four wins are the most for the Cougars, who are scheduled to compete this Saturday, April 3 against William Peace University. This will be the first of two meetings between the two schools this season.
As of this afternoon, first-year Liam Taylor leads the Navy Blue and Yellow with 24 points on 18 goals and six assists.
Keep your eyes on Christopher Newport men’s lacrosse next month
The one-goal win over the Hornets was the first for Christopher Newport in four attempts (Lynchburg would even the season series six days later with a 12-5 win).
Despite a recent loss to Lynchburg, Christopher Newport has looked quite impressive this month – they are scheduled to face some challenging foes in Colorado College, Salisbury University, and Washington and Lee University over the next few weeks.
The Captains and Sea Gulls will square-off this Saturday, April 3 in Maryland with a face-off set for 4 p.m. I would highly recommend streaming the game.
The Washington and Lee women’s lacrosse team has won six-straight contests and will commence the second half of their schedule tomorrow when they visit Shenandoah University. After visiting the Hornets, the Generals will play four more contests before competing in the Old Dominion Athletic Conference (ODAC) Tournament.
The George Fox University women’s lacrosse team will enter the second half of their schedule with a 7-0 record – the Bruins recently scored back-to-back wins last weekend against Willamette University. Andrea Garcia-Milla highlighted her team’s seventh win with six assists to go with five ground balls and one caused turnover.
The first weekend of New England Small College Athletic Conference (NESCAC) action is set to commence this Saturday, April 3 with three contests. Trinity College men’s lacrosse will visit Connecticut College at 11 a.m. followed by Bates College women’s lacrosse visiting Colby College. Connecticut College women’s lacrosse will entertain Tufts University at 3 p.m.
SUNY Cortland men’s lacrosse will enter the month of April with a 2-1 record – they recently defeated Clarkson University, 11-9, thanks to four goals and one assist from Zak Jones.
Like many of our fans and friends, I miss New England D-III football. But as an optimist, I believe we’ll see our favorite teams and student-athletes back on the gridiron at this time next year vying for conference crowns, along with at-large bids to the NCAA Tournament.
And speaking of conference crowns – and yes, the national postseason, too – I thought it would be fun to produce a special Noontime’s ‘What If‘ post on which teams I believe would have won their respective conference this fall.
As expected, these predictions were not easy as there are a slew of teams and programs capable of winning their respective conference, but here are my predictions. And as usual, you can share your thoughts with me on social media, as well as send a note to MattNoonan@noontimesports.com.
Commonwealth Coast Football (CCC): Western New England
For the past few seasons, the Golden Bears have been the team to watch and beat in this conference. And once again, Western New England would be the squad to watch in the CCC this fall. They would most likely enter their final game of the regular season with two important wins against Endicott College and Salve Regina University. And like most teams highlighted in this post, the 2020 Golden Bears would look a bit different than previous years, especially on offense as they would have a new quarterback, but their defense would be be a unit to watch – it would be led by linebacker Erich Keutmann, who was named a D3Football.com Preseason All-America second-teamer in September.
Eastern Collegiate Football Conference (ECFC): Dean College
The Bulldogs captured their first-ever conference crown last season, thanks to quarterback Terrell Watts, who was named the league’s Offensive Player of the Year, along with wide receiver Errol Breaux and safety Tyzohn Poole. Of course, there would be other student-athletes to watch as the season progressed, but at this point of the 2020 season, the Bulldogs would have claimed some important wins against Castleton University and SUNY Maritime. They would have also beaten a new D-III football team: Keystone College.
Massachusetts State Collegiate Athletic Conference (MASCAC): Framingham State University
Like Western New England, it is hard to pick against the Rams, which would be starting a new chapter in its program history with first-year coach Aynsley Rosenbaum, who spent the past 12 seasons overseeing the Framingham State offense. But like prior years, this would be the team to watch in the MASCAC. Sure, they would look a bit different on offense without quarterback Adam Wojenski, who graduated last spring, but the Rams would welcome back some key pieces from that unit, including halfback Devaun Ford, who was named the 2019 MASCAC Rookie of the Year. Framingham State would be challenged for the top spot by Bridgewater State, UMass Dartmouth, and Western Connecticut.
New England Small College Athletic Conference (NESCAC): Williams College
The Ephs of Williams College suffered just two setbacks last season, including an opening day loss to Middlebury College, which would be a game circled on their calendar this season. Williams would somehow find a way to beat the Panthers at home, along with Wesleyan University, which tripped up the Ephs prior to their season-ending win over Amherst College last November. But for the Ephs to win the NESCAC, they would not only need to beat Amherst, Middlebury, and Wesleyan, but also Trinity College and Tufts University. Additionally, let’s not overlook Colby College and Hamilton College, which would challenge the Purple and Yellow, but in the end, quarterback Bobby Maimaron, along with the rest of the Ephs would make just a few more plays in all nine contests to secure the NESCAC title.
New England Women’s and Men’s Athletic Conference (NEWMAC): Springfield College
Sure, MIT maybe the favorite after winning the NEWMAC crown the past two years, but it would be hard to overlook Springfield College, which would be led by halfback Hunter Belzo and linebacker AJ Smith. The Pride, which finished with six wins last year, would win at least seven, maybe eight games this season, but their most important victory would occur during the final weekend of the regular season against the Engineers in Cambridge, Massachusetts.
Prior to yesterday’s announcement from the New England Small College Athletic Conference (NESCAC) regarding an update on the upcoming winter sports season, which has been canceled, Bob Sheldon, who has guided the Tufts University men’s basketball team for the past 33 years, announced he will be stepping down effectively on Thursday, December 31, 2020.
Matt Malone, who has been an assistant under Sheldon for the past 15 years, will take over as the interim coach, according to Wednesday’s (Oct. 7) release from the Tufts University athletic department.
“I was getting near the end of my career as it was, and then when Covid came up and the craziness with that, I just felt that it was time for me to go,” said Sheldon, via the Tufts athletic department story, which can be seen (and read) on the school’s athletic website.
Sheldon noted he “went back and forth” with his decision to retire, but seems content with his choice to leave a program that he believes is in “a good spot going forward.”
Prior to their season concluding earlier this year due to the coronavirus pandemic, Tufts won a pair of NCAA D-III Tournament games in Medford, including a come-from-behind win over Western Connecticut in the opening round.
Sheldon, who is the program’s all-time winningest coach, would have entered his team’s 2020-21 season as one of the Top 25 NCAA D-III winningest coaches after being named the NESCAC and National Association of Basketball Coaches (NABC) Northeast Region Coach of the Year in March.
While health and safety were stressed in yesterday’s release regarding the decision by the conference’s presidents, the NESCAC did note that some of their schools have made “significant modifications” to their current academic calendar, which would limit the number of games each program would be able to compete in.
The NESCAC has made no announcement regarding spring sports – an update will most likely come in a few months – but the conference did say the league’s 11 schools could schedule non-conference games if they choose to. However, D3Sports.com has reported that some schools within the conference have already made decisions for its various winter sports programs, including Middlebury College, which announced yesterday that they “will not hold any athletic competitions during the winter season.”
The Blazers currently compete in the New England Collegiate Conference (NECC) and would join a former member of the eight-team league – that would be Dean College – which joined the GNAC as a full-time member at the start of the current academic year (2020-21)
Both Elms College basketball teams competed last winter in the NECC Tournament with the women’s squad advancing to the conference championship game against Mitchell College.
The GNAC has welcomed a few new schools to its conference over the past few years, including Regis College in Weston, Massachusetts in 2017, and Colby-Sawyer in 2018.