A pair of New England D-III Football teams appeared on today’s NCAA East Regional Rankings, which were unveiled for the first time this season.
Western New England, which leads the Commonwealth Coast Conference (CCC), checked-in fifth on the ten-team list, while WPI, which is currently in a three-way tie for first place in the New England Women’s and Men’s Athletic Conference (NEWMAC), secured the ninth position.
Salisbury University was the top team – the Sea Gulls boast a 7-0 record heading into the tenth week of the 2019 season, while Wesley College and Delaware Valley checked-in second and third, respectively. Union College, which currently sits atop the Liberty League (LL) with an 8-0 record and 5-0 conference mark, secured the fourth position.
Ithaca College, the College at Brockport, and SUNY Cortland checked-in sixth, seventh, and eighth, respectively, while WPI and Wilkes University rounded out the poll.
Western New England, which has won all five conference games this fall, including a 42-31 win last weekend against Endicott College, can clinch its conference crown this Saturday, November 9th with a win over Becker College.
WPI, which saw its seven-game winning streak snapped last Saturday against MIT, will look to rebound on Saturday when they host Coast Guard Academy.
Nine weeks of New England D-III Football is officially in the books. And today, the start of the tenth week, we find a new number one team in Western New England, which needs just one more win to clinch the Commonwealth Coast Football (CCC) title.
With a big win this past Saturday against third-ranked Endicott College, the Golden Bears moved into the top spot in our weekly poll with some serious momentum heading into the final two weeks of the season.
WPI, which was our unanimous number one team for the past few weeks, dropped one spot following a heart-breaking defeat to eighth-ranked MIT, which beat the Engineers of Worcester for the first time since 1900. MIT, WPI, and Springfield College (sixth-ranked) are currently in a three-way tie for first place in the New England Women’s and Men’s Athletic Conference (NEWMAC).
Framingham State remains the fifth-best team in New England – they scored a hard-fought 16-6 win over Massachusetts Maritime Academy this past weekend. The Rams host Bridgwater State on Saturday with the outcome most likely determining who will represent the Massachusetts State Collegiate Athletic Conference (MASCAC) in the upcoming NCAA D-III Tournament later this month.
Finally, fourth-ranked Middlebury College matched its 1972 squad with its eighth-consecutive victory by beating Hamilton College, 14-7, in the “Rocking Chair Classic.” Middlebury can clinch the New England Small College Athletic Conference (NESCAC) crown this Saturday with a win against Tufts University. A loss to the Jumbos and a Wesleyan University victory over Trinity College would result in both programs sharing the 2019 title.
As usual, make sure to stay connected with our New England football coverage on Twitter by following @Noontime_FB today!
New England D-III Football Week 10 Poll| November 4th, 2019
1. Western New England
7-1, 5-0 CCC
Last Week: No. 3
7-1, 4-1 NEWMAC
Last Week: No. 1
3. Endicott College
6-2, 4-1 CCC
Last Week: No. 2
4. Middlebury College
8-0, 8-0 NESCAC
Last Week: No. 4
5. Framingham State
6-2, 6-0 MASCAC
Last Week: No. 5
6. Springfield College
5-3, 4-1 NEWMAC
Last Week: No. 6
7. Bridgewater State
5-3, 5-1 MASCAC
Last Week: No. 8
5-2, 4-1 NEWMAC
Last Week: No. 10
9. UMass Dartmouth
6-2, 4-2 MASCAC
Last Week: No. 11
10. Williams College
6-2, 6-2 NESCAC
Last Week: No. 9
11. Western Connecticut
6-2, 4-2 MASCAC
Last Week: No. 7
12. Trinity College
5-3, 5-3 NESCAC
Last Week: No. 13
13. Wesleyan University
7-1, 7-1 NESCAC
Last Week: No. 16
14. Amherst College
4-4, 4-4 NESCAC
Last Week: No. 12
15. Norwich University
5-3, 2-3 NEWMAC
Last Week: No. 14
16. Coast Guard Academy
5-3, 2-3 NEWMAC
Last Week: No. 17
17. Nichols College
5-3, 3-2 CCC
Last Week: No. 15
18. Plymouth State
6-3, 4-3 MASCAC
Last Week: No. 18
19. Mass. Maritime Acad.
5-3, 3-3 MASCAC
Last Week: No. 19
20. Dean College
4-4, 4-0 ECFC
Last Week: Not Ranked
On the Rise: Husson University, Salve Regina University, and Tufts University
Michael Pina threw for a career-best 329 yards this past weekend, along with three touchdowns, which helped Nichols College outlast the University of New England in four-overtimes. (PHOTO COURTESY: Jill Souza)
By NoontimeSports.com | @NoontimeSports
For quarterback Michael Pina, last Saturday’s four-overtime win against the University of New England had the feel of a dramatic movie – it seemed as if it would never end.
“It was wild to be a part of a game like that,” said Pina. “It felt like we were in a movie.”
Pina concluded the game by throwing for a career-best 329 yards, while also rushing for a season-high 53 yards on nine carries. He tossed three touchdowns, too, which helped the Bison move to 5-2 for the first time since 2001.
For his effort against UNE, Pina was named this week’s recipient of the New England Football Writers Association Gold Helmet Award for Division II/III, which is presented by the Jack Grinold Eastern Massachusetts Chapter of the National Football Foundation. Pina, as noted in Monday’s release about the Gold Helmet award, is currently second all-time in program history in touchdown passes (30) and fourth in passing yards (3,442).
Following Saturday’s exciting win, Noontime Sports caught-up with Pina to discuss what it was like to be a part of a four-overtime contest and what his team’s outlook is for this upcoming week’s contest against Husson University.
Tell me about this past week’s effort from your offense and defense. What was the takeaway from both you and your teammates following an exciting four-overtime win against UNE?
This past week’s game was the most exciting game most of us have ever played in. We fought through a lot of adversity on both sides of the ball to come out with the win.
No matter what I can always count on the guy to my left and right to give it (their best) effort. Our offensive line was huge in the run game and that all starts with the great leadership from senior captain Sam Gallant. We were able to rush the ball for four touchdowns.
You threw for a career-high 329 yards in the win. Did you imagine you would throw the ball that much against the Nor’easters?
I wouldn’t say that I imagined (I was going to throw that much against UNE), however, I am always ready to do whatever our coaches ask of me. Whether it is throwing the ball, running the ball or even blocking a defender, (I’ll do what is needed to help our team win).
Your team is still in contention for the Commonwealth Coast Conference (CCC) title, so what is the mindset heading into another game week this week?
The mindset heading into another game is to go 1-0 this week. That has been our goal every week this season. Whatever week it is, we must give full attention to that opponent.
Do you think the offense and defense are peaking at the right time?
Yes, I do believe the offense and defense are peaking at the right time. I also believe our special teams are peaking at the right time, too.
I feel as if all three units can attack the opponent in multiple ways, which makes us dangerous (heading into the final three weeks of the regular season).
Finally – and I know it is only Wednesday – but what must you (and your teammates) do to be successful again this Saturday against Husson?
We have to have the best week of practice we’ve had all year long. Husson University is a team that won multiple championships in the Eastern Collegiate Football Conference (ECFC). They will be extremely well-coached and will want to come to our home field and beat us.
With the eighth week of the New England Division III Football season in the books, it is time to unveil our offensive, defensive and special teams players of the week, which is powered by Zelos Athletics.
Our Noontime Sports ‘Players of the Week’ post is powered by Zelos Athletics, which uses FusionSport Technology to track athletes’ performance metrics during speed, agility, and plyometric drills. Zelos Athletics also provides individual and team speed and agility training, combined with strength & conditioning training, too
This season, Noontime Sports will select at least one player for our three weekly honors: offensive, defensive and special teamer of the week.
The ‘Players of the Week’ post will be published every Monday throughout the season and shared on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.
As usual, stay connected with our Noontime Sports New England football coverage on Twitter by following @Noontime_FB.
Salve Regina University second-year back Joey Mauriello rushed for five touchdowns last Saturday in his team’s win over Becker College. PHOTO COURTESY: George Corrigan
Offensive Player of the Week: Joey Mauriello (Salve Regina University | Halfback | Colts Neck, N.J.): For the second time this season, Mauriello rushed for five touchdowns as the Seahawks defeated Becker College, 45-0, last Saturday in Commonwealth Coast Football (CCC) league play.
The second-year halfback rushed for 202 yards on 27 carries, which is an average of 7.5 yards per play. Mauriello has rushed for 200 yards three times this season while racking up 1,084 yards on 151 carries and 17 touchdowns in seven contests. Additionally, the New Jersey native has caught 11 passes for 80 yards.
Joshua Smiley and the Rams defense shined this past weekend against Western Connecticut. (PHOTO COURTESY: Frank Poulin Photography)
Defensive Player of the Week: Joshua Smiley (Framingham State | Defensive End | Springfield, Mass.): Smiley was one of three defenders to record at least one sack last Saturday as the Rams defense shined in a battle of first-place teams.
The junior defensive end recorded a season-high three sacks for a loss of 24 yards, while also recording one forced fumble in his team’s 39-14 win over Western Connecticut. Smiley ended the game with five total tackles – three of those stops were sacks.
Through seven contests this fall, Smiley has tallied 27.0 total tackles, including 18 solo stops and seven-and-a-half tackles for a loss of 39 yards.
WPI’s Bryce Wade posted a season-high 12 points last week, which helped the Engineers defeat Merchant Marine, 66-13. (PHOTO COURTESY: WPI Athletics)
Special Teams: Bryce Wade (WPI | Punter/Kicker | Modesto, Calif.): Wade tallied a season-high 12 points off 10 kicks last Saturday against Merchant Marine, including a season-long 39-yard field goal.
Additionally, Wade recorded 10 kickoffs for 606 yards with two kicks resulting in a touchback. He also punted the ball once for 40 yards.
Through seven games, Wade has tallied a career-high 57 points off 36 extra points and seven field goals.
We’re just two days away from kicking off the eighth week of the 2019 New England D-III football season – crazy to think we only have four more weeks remaining, right?
As we inch closer to the end of the regular season, we’ll be posting a weekly ‘Conference Race Watch’ for all five New England conference, along with some analysis (and input) on what teams are still alive to win their respective league title.
As usual, you can follow our New England D-III Football coverage, as well as other regional updates (and news) at @Noontime_FB on Twitter.
Commonwealth Coast Football (CCC)
Current Leaders: Endicott College and Western New England
In The Hunt: Husson University and Nichols College
Analysis: As of now, it appears as if next Saturday’s (Nov. 2nd) meeting between Endicott and Western New England could decide this conference’s outright champion, but an Endicott loss this weekend to Husson or a Western New England setback to Curry College would make the final three weeks very interesting.
Endicott’s next four opponents will certainly provide them with challenges – games against Husson, Western New England and Nichols are must-wins, but the same could be said for the University of New England, too, which scored its first-ever win over the Eagles last Saturday.
If Husson and Nichols both lose this weekend then their chances of winning the CCC will would become rather slim. They would both need to win their final three games and hope one of their conference foes could trip-up Endicott and Western New England.
We’ll know a little bit more after Saturday’s slate concludes as to which teams will remain in the mix to win the CCC.
Eastern Collegiate Football Conference (ECFC)
Current Leaders: Gallaudet University and Dean College
In The Hunt: Anna Maria College and SUNY-Maritime
Analysis: Saturday’s match-up between Dean and Gallaudet should help us identify a potential league champion. Dean has scored two impressive conference wins the past two weeks, beating SUNY-Maritime at home before rolling past the AMCATs of Anna Maria on the road last Saturday. This is their final road contest of the season – they have only won one game away from campus this season, while Gallaudet has captured just one home victory.
Gallaudet played its best game of the season last weekend when they beat Alfred State on their home turf – they looked like a much different team than the one that needed an extra session (and extra point) to defeat Castleton University on the road.
A win for either Dean or Gallaudet most likely puts them in the driver’s seat heading into the final two weeks of conference play.
SUNY-Maritime and Anna Maria are both alive for the conference crown but need to win their final three remaining contests in order to have a chance to secure a spot in the upcoming NCAA Tournament. The Privateers and AMCATs both lost to Dean College but can keep pace with the Bulldogs and Bison by scoring wins this weekend.
Massachusetts State Collegiate Athletic Conference (MASCAC)
Current Leaders: Framingham State and Western Connecticut
In The Hunt: Bridgewater State and Massachusetts Maritime Academy
Analysis: Saturday’s matchup between Framingham State and Western Connecticut is a must-win for both squads who have yet to drop a single conference game this fall. The winner will certainly have the inside track to the conference crown, while a loss would not diminish the chance to share the league crown.
Framingham State’s defense was very impressive last week against Plymouth State while the offense seems to be finding its groove at the right time. Western Connecticut has looked rather impressive these past few weeks but did struggle against Bridgewater State. The Colonials beat the Bears back in week three, but Bridgewater State has rebounded quite nicely since the one-score setback, winning four-straight league contests, including a 56-20 win this past Saturday against UMass Dartmouth.
Massachusetts Maritime Academy is still very much alive despite losing to Western Connecticut a few weeks ago. Like the Bears of Bridgewater State, who are idle this weekend, the Buccaneers need to win out and hope Framingham State and Western Connecticut get tripped-up down the stretch.
New England Small College Athletic Conference (NESCAC)
Current Leader: Middlebury College
In The Hunt: Amherst College, Trinity College, Wesleyan University, and Williams College
Analysis: Coach Bob Ritter‘s squad has scored some impressive (and dramatic) wins this fall but could endure some challenges in the final three weeks, especially against Hamilton College (week 10) and Tufts University (week 11). Middlebury played its best game of the 2019 season last Saturday when they beat Wesleyan to secure their sixth-straight win, as well as four victories against four of the top five teams in the NESCAC.
Wesleyan and Williams both lost to Middlebury, but need to win out and hope the Panthers get tripped up down the stretch. Both teams will face each other next weekend in what should be an exciting matchup.
Amherst and Trinity are also in play to share the conference crown, too, but need to win out and hope Middlebury loses one of its final three contests. Additionally, they both need to beat Wesleyan and Williams, too, which won’t be an easy task.
New England Women’s and Men’s Athletic Conference (NEWMAC)
Current Leader: WPI
In The Hunt: Merchant Marine, Springfield College, and MIT
Analysis: The Engineers remain the top team in the NEWMAC thanks to their perfect mark. But that perfect record will be tested these next four weeks, beginning with Saturday’s matchup with Merchant Marine. The Mariners suffered their first conference loss to Springfield College last Saturday – the Engineers beat the Pride last month – so this is somewhat of a must-win for Merchant Marine. If WPI does get tripped-up by Merchant Marine, they still remain the team to beat over the final few weeks.
After starting their season 1-3, Springfield has rebounded with three-straight wins, including two hard-fought victories against Coast Guard Academy and Norwich University. Their win last Saturday against Merchant Marine was by far their most impressive win of the 2019 season. Springfield hosts Catholic University this weekend before enjoying a bye week ahead of their final two contests of the season. Springfield is still very much alive despite losing to WPI but needs to win its final three contests in order to have a chance to share the conference title.
Finally, last year’s NEWMAC champions – that would be MIT – are still in the mix to capture their second-straight title, but also needs to win its final four contests. Upcoming games against Coast Guard, Norwich, Springfield, and WPI won’t be easy, but if coach Brian Bubna‘s squad can pull out a win this Saturday in New London, Connecticut against the Bears it would provide the Engineers of Cambridge with a great deal of momentum heading into their final three contests.