Daily Noontime (Thursday, Nov. 12, 2020)

By NoontimeSports.com

Welcome to Thursday, everyone!

It is rather gloomy outside our home office, but that won’t stop us from thinking positive thoughts – we are an upbeat, positive media outlet. You know that right?

Alright, let’s get to some news, beginning with yesterday afternoon’s exciting announcement from the Hockey East.

The Hockey East Association plans to drop the puck for the 2020-21 season next Friday, November 20. Games for the opening weekend, as well as the first few weeks will be aired on NESN while other contests will be seen “through its partnership with ViacomCBSDigital.”

“We’re excited to make this announcement today, and very appreciative of all the hard work by so many in making it happen,” said Steve Metcalf, who is the league’s commissioner, in a statement.

Metcalf would continue by adding, “We’ve worked closely with all our member institutions in establishing protocols in an effort to play as safely as possible, while also giving our teams a complete and meaningful season.”

According to Wednesday’s release from the Hockey East, the league’s 11 men’s teams will compete in 20 contests this winter while its 10 women’s programs will skate in 18 games.

Prior to yesterday’s announcement from the Hockey East, Atlantic Hockey shared similar news last month about its ‘return to play‘ with games beginning later this month.

Staying in the college sports world, the Commonwealth Coast Conference (CCC) also made an announcement yesterday about winter sports – the CCC remains “hopeful that our winter teams will have the opportunity to compete in the 2020-21 academic year.

Other New England NCAA D-III conferences have canceled winter sports competition, mainly conference play and championships, but did leave the door open for its various schools to pursue non-conference contests, pending it safe to do so.

According to D3Hoops.com, only a small number of conferences and schools have elected to cancel or “call off” competition for its winter sports teams. And there are a few schools on this list from both Massachusetts and other parts of New England.

While we do like to keep things positive, we do need to share a heartbreaking (and very sad) report: Penn State‘s Journey Brown is retiring from football due to heart condition, which the 21-year-old halfback discovered during “a routine COVID-19 test in early September.”

The news of Brown’s retirement was announced last night by his coach James Franklin, who did tell reporters that the condition is not related to COVID-19.

Brown shared an emotional tweet last night to his followers – he admitted he did not “expect to make it this far, but it’s about the Journey.”

We wish Brown all the best in the coming days and weeks – maybe we could see him on the sidelines as a coach with Franklin?

Alright, that will do it for now, but make sure to stop by later for another blog or two, and remember to keep smiling, everyone!

Noontime’s Way Too Early D-III Football Conference Predictions

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Frank Stola and the Williams College football team will be one of the favorites in the NESCAC this fall. (PHOTO COURTESY: Kris Dufour/Williams College Athletics)

By NoontimeSports.com 

Our WAY too early New England D-III football preseason coverage rolls on with some predictions on who we think will win their respective conference this season.

Yes, we know these are VERY early predictions and they will certainly change once we get closer to kick-off, but for now, enjoy some way too early thoughts (from your friends at Noontime Sports) on who we think will celebrate a conference championship in November.



Commonwealth Coast Football (CCC)

  • Predicted Winner(s): Endicott College or Western New England
  • Teams to Watch: Husson UniversityNichols College, and Salve Regina University
  • Quick Synopsis: Yes, we know the Gulls and Golden Bears will be the teams to watch this fall, but don’t overlook Husson, Nichols, and Salve Regina as these three teams that will certainly challenge Endicott and Western New England for the CCC crown. Western New England has won the conference the last three years while Endicott has come close the past two seasons to snatching the title from its rival.

Eastern Collegiate Football Conference (ECFC)

  • Predicted Winner: Dean College
  • Teams to Watch: Maritime (N.Y.) 
  • Quick Synopsis: With a 4-1 conference mark, the Bulldogs were able to win their first-ever ECFC title last fall, so expect that momentum to continue one year later. Maritime (N.Y.) will also be a team to watch this season, while the other ECFC teams should provide challenges to both the Bulldogs and Privateers.

Massachusetts State Collegiate Athletic Conference (MASCAC)

  • Predicted Winner(s): Framingham State or UMass Dartmouth 
  • Teams to Watch: Bridgewater State and Western Connecticut 
  • Quick Synopsis: The Rams of Framingham State have enjoyed a great deal of success the past few years, but could this be the year of the Corsairs? With quarterback Stephen Gacioch leading the UMass Dartmouth offense this fall, expect the Corsairs to challenge the Rams for the top spot in the MASCAC.

New England Small College Athletic Conference (NESCAC)

  • Predicted Winner(s): Wesleyan University or Williams College
  • Teams to Watch: Middlebury CollegeTrinity College, and Tufts University
  • Quick Synopsis: As of now it seems as if this conference could be a two-team or five-team race for the NESCAC crown. Williams will welcome back an impressive senior class that should help them overcome the challenges to secure their first outright title since 2008. Keep your eyes on Trinity and Tufts – these two teams could play spoiler – and, of course, don’t overlook the Cardinals of Wesleyan, who will return some impressive talent on both sides of the ball.

New England Women’s and Men’s Athletic Conference (NEWMAC)

  • Predicted Winner: MIT
  • Teams to Watch: Coast Guard Academy, Merchant Marine Academy, and Springfield College  
  • Quick Synopsis: Coach Brian Bubna and the Engineers have won back-to-back NEWMAC championships so it is hard to pick against MIT, which will once again be one of a few teams to watch in this conference. The Bears of Coast Guard Academy could also be a team that takes that next step, but don’t overlook Merchant Marine and Springfield College. Also, let’s not count out WPI, which did graduate a big senior class, but will carry over some momentum from its 10 win season.

Noontime’s Senior Salute: Kaleigh Putnam (Endicott Women’s Basketball)

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Kaleigh Putnam averaged 15.2 points and 3.4 rebounds per game this past winter for the Endicott College women’s basketball team. (PHOTO COURTESY: David Le ’10/Endicott College Athletics)

By NoontimeSports.com | @NoontimeNation 

Beginning today and over the next few weeks, Noontime Sports is going to be highlighting various senior student-athletes we have covered this school year, beginning with Endicott College‘s Kaleigh Putnam, who was named to our All-Noontime New England D-III Basketball Third Team and D3Hoops.com’s All-Northeast Region Fourth Team.

Putnam, who is a sports management major, guided the Gulls to their first-ever Commonwealth Coast Conference (CCC) title in February, along with their initial NCAA Tournament victory over the University of Scranton.

A two-time all-conference honoree, including a first-teamer this past winter, Putnam concluded her time with the Gulls by netting 971 points to go with 354 rebounds, 248 assists, and 101 steals.

Earlier this month, we caught up with Putnam to discuss her final season, but also her future plans after graduation next month.


What will you remember most about your senior year?

I will always remember winning the CCC championship. All of our hard work really paid off and I couldn’t be prouder of my teammates for what we accomplished.

Being able to spend every day with my best friends and playing the sport I love is something that I will cherish forever. Championship day was just an example of what our program and our team were capable of accomplishing this past winter. Also, being able to say that we were the first Endicott women’s basketball team to win the championship is very, very special to me.

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

First, our championship game (against UNE) will be something that I will remember most. That day was so special and historic. Everyone on the team was well-prepared and came out ready to play. It was really special for everyone to step up and play as well as they did.

The other game was our team’s first-round NCAA Tournament contest against Scranton. Scranton was ranked twelfth in the nation (at the time) and no one in the gym thought we were going to win except us. It was probably one of the biggest crowds that we played in front of (this past year) and one of the most fun games that we played in, as well. We were all playing our best basketball (heading into the game) and everything that we had worked for (throughout the season) had come full circle on that particular evening. We proved (to both) ourselves and others that we can compete on a national level.

What have you enjoyed most about competing for the Endicott women’s basketball team (and program) these past four years?

Engaging with the Endicott community. Everyone at Endicott, from the students to the athletic department and faculty, were all very supportive throughout my career. Everyone was invested in the success of the program and I think that really showed. Without their support, we would not have been as successful as we were this past season.

Making the connections with my teammates and coaches and being able to share the experience of playing basketball with them for four years is something that I am going to cherish forever.

Once you officially graduate later this spring, do you plan to stay involved with the sport in some capacity? Any interest in coaching?

I do plan to stay involved in sports, but not just basketball. I could see myself coaching in the future – I have been coaching with an AAU program for the past few years so I will probably continue with that. I could definitely see myself coaching at the college level at some point when the opportunity presents itself.

What interested you in pursuing a degree in Sports Management? What do you hope to do with your degree after graduation?

The passion and the environment that sport brings out in people is something that I want to be around for the rest of my life. It is what drew me to pursue a degree in sport management.

As for my post-graduation plans, I will continue my education at Springfield College next semester to pursue a master’s degree in Athletic Administration. And after my time at Springfield, I would like to pursue a career within college athletics.

D3 Basketball: Men’s Basketball Top 10 Poll (Monday, March 2nd, 2020)

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By NoontimeSports.com | @NoontimeNation

Tufts University returned to the top of our weekly poll, thanks to an exciting (and impressive) win yesterday over second-ranked Colby College in the 2020 New England Small College Athletic Conference (NESCAC) Championship.

With the win, the Jumbos claimed their first-ever league tournament crown and will be at home this weekend for a first-round NCAA D-III Tournament game against Western Connecticut, which is one of our six teams ‘on the rise.’

Colby is headed to the postseason as an at-large bid and so is Springfield College, which will host a pair of first-round games, along with a second-round contest, too. The Pride remains one of our top teams in the region despite falling to Coast Guard Academy last weekend in the New England Women’s and Men’s Athletic Conference (NEWMAC) semifinals.

WPI secured the fourth position after checking-in seventh one week ago while coach Jim Calhoun and the University of St. Joseph’s (Conn.) remained in the fifth position for the second-straight week. The Blue Jays won the Great Northeast Athletic Conference (GNAC) Championship against Albertus Magnus, which extended their current winning streak to 25 consecutive victories since late November.

Middlebury CollegeBabson College, and Amherst College secured the sixth, seventh, and eighth positions, respectively, while Nichols College joined the poll after winning three-straight Commonwealth Coast Conference (CCC) tournament outings, including a come-from-behind quarterfinal matchup against Roger Williams.

Brandeis University secured the final position with a 17-8 overall record. They capped their 2019-20 regular season slate with 72-69 win over New York University.


New England D-III Basketball Men’s Top 10 Week 14 Poll| Monday, March 2nd, 2020

1. Tufts University 21-6, 8-2 NESCAC Last Week: No. 3
2. Colby College 24-3, 8-2 NESCAC Last Week: No. 2
3. Springfield College 22-4, 11-1 NEWMAC Last Week: No. 1
4. WPI 20-7, 10-3 NEWMAC Last Week: No. 7
5. St. Joseph’s (Conn.) 26-2, 11-0 GNAC Last Week: No. 5
6. Middlebury College 20-5, 6-4 NESCAC Last Week: No. 6
7. Babson College 20-6, 10-4 NEWMAC Last Week: No. 4
8. Amherst College 18-8, 7-3 NESCAC Last Week: No. 8
9. Nichols College 20-8, 12-4 CCC Last Week: Not Ranked
10. Brandeis University 17-8, 9-5 UAA Last Week: No. 10

ON THE RISE: Albertus Magnus, Coast Guard Academy, New England College, Trinity College, Western Connecticut, and Westfield State 


Previous Polls: Preseason Poll |Week One| Week Two | Week ThreeWeek Four| Week Five |Week Six |Week Seven |Week Eight|Week Nine | Week Ten|Week 11|Week 12|Week 13 

 

Nichols Tops Endicott, Secures Fourth-Straight CCC Tournament Title

Wentworth and Nichols College

DeAnte Bruton’s double-double helped Nichols College beat Endicott College in Saturday’s CCC Tournament Finals. (PHOTO COURTESY: Nichols College Athletics)

By NoontimeSports.com 

DeAnte Bruton poured in a game-high 38 points on 12 of 27 shooting to go along with 14 rebounds and two assists as the Nichols College men’s basketball team edged Endicott College, 76-75, in this afternoon’s Commonwealth Coast Conference (CCC) championship.

With the win, the Bison have now won four-straight conference tournament championships, including three against the Gulls. Additionally, the victory secures the Bison a spot in the upcoming NCAA D-III Tournament, which tips-off next weekend.

Nichols secured a three-point lead at the break (38-35), thanks to Bruton and Matt Morrow, who combined for 23 points in the first half. Bruton would net 26 points during the final 20 minutes on 7 of 16 shooting. He also netted 10 of 12 freebies in the final session.

Endicott did keep pace with Nichols throughout the second half – they mainly trailed by one or two baskets, but did fall behind by seven points with less than 10 minutes remaining. The Gulls would eventually close the gap to four points (76-72) with 1:06 remaining and then one point (76-75) with 38 seconds remaining, thanks to a made three-pointer by Keith Brown.

Brown and the Gulls would not convert an additional field goal following the made trifecta as Nichols drained the clock before firing a shot as time expired on the shot clock with eight seconds remaining. Brown did get the rebound of the missed field goal but had the ball taken away with two seconds remaining by Kash Jackson.

Morrow concluded the contest with 19 points while Jaekwon Spencer registered 11 rebounds, seven points, two steals, and two blocks.

Brown led Endicott with 23 points, Jalen Echevarria scored 21 points while Matt McDevitt tallied 11 points.

Nichols, which advanced to the elite eight last season, will find out who they will face in the opening round of the NCAA D-III Tournament on Monday, March 2nd.