Tag: Commonwealth Coast Conference

Noontime’s D-III Football Region One Conference Predictions

Western New England’s Steven Fedorchak and the Golden Bears will once again be a team to watch this fall. (PHOTO COURTESY: Chris Marion)

By NoontimeSports.com

A brand new season of NCAA Division III football is set to kick off tomorrow before a few New England squads compete for the first time since 2019 on Friday and Saturday.

Before we officially begin a brand new season of college football — yes, we know some FBS and FCS teams began their respective campaigns last weekend during Week 0 — let’s dish our conference predictions and teams to watch for Region One.

Best of luck to all teams competing, both this weekend and over the next few days/weeks, and if you’re craving more New England (and NCAA D-III) football coverage, then make sure to check out our first Top 20 poll of the season and our preseason team.

Commonwealth Coast Football (CCC)

Predicted conference winner: Western New England: Quarterback Alec Coleman has graduated, but these Golden Bears return a great deal of talent on both sides of the ball that should position the Blue and Gold to win their fourth-straight CCC title.

Teams in the mix: Endicott College, Husson University, Nichols College, and Salve Regina: All four squads will certainly provide challenges for the Golden Bears as the season progresses, but one should not overlook the Eagles of Husson, who return some key pieces from their 2019 squad that will keep the Green and Gold in the mix for the top spot. 

Keep your eyes on the University of New England: The Nor’easters are trending in the right direction — the Blue and White could enter their initial week of conference play with two or three non-conference victories.

Eastern Collegiate Football Conference (ECFC)

Predicted conference winner: Dean College: The Bulldogs enter 2021 with a target on their back after winning their first conference crown in 2019.  

Teams in the mix: Anna Maria College, Alfred State, and SUNY-Maritime: The Privateers have posted five wins or more since 2015, so don’t be surprised to see them challenge the Bulldogs for the top spot this fall. Also, keep your eyes on the AMCATs of Anna Maria, which enter the 2021 season with high hopes. 

Keep your eyes on: Keystone College: The Giants enter the 2021 season as an unknown, but will certainly be a program to watch throughout the fall. 

Massachusetts State Collegiate Athletic Conference (MASCAC) 

Predicted conference winner: UMass Dartmouth: Quarterback Stephen Gacioch is back for his final season with the Corsairs, along with some key pieces of the 2019 defense, which will help UMass Dartmouth contend for the conference crown.

Teams in the mix: Bridgewater State, Framingham State, and Western Connecticut: There are some questions about who will be under center for all three of these teams, both this weekend and throughout the season, but despite some key graduation losses from 2019 (and yes, 2020), all three units will be in the mix for the conference crown this fall.

Keep your eyes on: Fitchburg State: The Falcons begin a new chapter in their program history with Scott Sperone, who will coach his first game on Saturday against Dean. Also, don’t overlook Plymouth State, which was picked to finish fifth in the preseason conference poll.

Middle Atlantic Conference (MAC)

Predicted conference winner: Delaware Valley: The Aggies are our favorites heading into the 2021 season — yes, they will be challenged by Stevenson and Wilkes — maybe Lycoming College? — but at the end of the day, Duke Greco‘s squad will win the conference and advance to the postseason.

Teams in the Mix: Stevenson University and Wilkes University: Both teams were in the mix in 2019 and will once again challenge the Aggies for the top spot in the MAC.

Keep your eyes on Misericordia University: John Davis begins his first season with the Cougars on Saturday — expect the first-year coach to duplicate his success with the Blue and Gold from his previous stop with The Apprentice School.

New England Small College Athletic Conference (NESCAC):  

Predicted conference winner: Williams College: The Ephs finished with seven wins in 2019 — Williams ended its season with a victory over rival Amherst College and should return a slew of talent on both sides of the ball that should make them one of the top teams in the conference.

Teams in the mix: Middlebury College, Trinity College, Tufts University, and Wesleyan University: While the Cardinals. and Panthers are certainly expected to contend for the top spot in the conference, the same could be said for the Bantams and Jumbos, who look to bounce back from a five and four win season, respectively.

Keep your eyes on: Colby College: These Mules will certainly surprise a few NESCAC fans this fall — fans of the Mules and NESCAC football will be able to see them compete in 17 days against Wesleyan.

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

Predicted conference winner: Merchant Marine: We saw the Mariners compete last fall — they beat Coast Guard Academy, thanks to an impressive outing by quarterback Ian Blankenship, who is back for his final season. Joshua King and Matt Strong were recently elected captains, and will lead a squad that garnered three first-place votes in the preseason poll.

Teams in the mix: MIT, Springfield College, and WPI: All three Massachusetts squads will look a bit different than they appeared two years ago, but are certainly equipped to challenge the Mariners for the top spot in the conference.

Keep your eyes on: Norwich University: Mark Murnyack‘s squad may have been picked to finish sixth in the conference, but don’t be surprised if these Cadets score a few exciting and dramatic wins this fall.

The Early Outlook: Commonwealth Coast Football

Salve Regina University’s Joey Mauriello will be one of many players to watch on the Commonwealth Coast Football (CCC) league this fall. PHOTO COURTESY: George Corrigan

By Matt Noonan

Our preseason New England college football coverage rolls on with some early-season thoughts on the Commonwealth Coast Football (CCC).

In case you missed it, make sure to check out our recent “early outlook” posts on the Eastern Collegiate Football Conference (ECFC) and New England Women’s and Men’s Athletic Conference(NEWMAC).

CCC Teams

  • Curry College
  • Endicott College
  • Husson University
  • Nichols College
  • Salve Regina University
  • University of New England
  • Western New England

2019 Conference Refresh: The Golden Bears of Western New England capped their 2019 campaign with a 9-2 record — the Blue and Gold won seven conference tilts, including a 42-31 victory over Endicott in early November before finishing the regular season with back-to-back wins over Becker College and Husson.

Western New England advanced to the NCAA Division III postseason, but were edged in the opening round by Brockport by a score of 33-28 in the opening round. The Golden Eagles would conclude its “second season” one week later against Muhlenberg College.

Despite missing the national postseason, the Gulls did play one more game — Endicott competed in its second New England Bowl and defeat Dean College, which captured the ECFC. Quarterback Joe Kalosky highlighted his team’s final win by tossing four touchdowns, including two to Shea McManaway, who led the Gulls receiving core with six receptions for 120 yards.

Nichols and Husson secured a two-way tie for third place — the Bison scored six wins in 2019, matching their win total from 2016 when they competed in the New England Football Conference (NEFC).

Finally, UNE doubled its win total from 2018 with four victories while Curry ended its 2019 campaign winning one of its final three contests.

Early-Season Excitement from Salve Regina, Western New England: Like many New England teams, the Western New England football team is “excited” for its 2021 campaign — the Golden Bears will face some unique challenges in the opening weeks against Salisbury University and Springfield College.

“I could not be more excited for the 2021 season,” WNE coach Jason Lebeau said via the team’s schedule release last month.

That excitement to return to the field was echoed by Salve Regina coach Kevin Gilmartin, who recently joined us for a brand new Noontime Sports Podcast (listen to the show on Apple Podcasts, Anchor, and Spotify).

“This whole season we’ve got ten games of teams that every game where we can go 0-10 or we could go 10-0, which is exciting, scary, and could put a couple of more gray hairs up there,” said Gilmartin.

Indeed, there is a great deal of excitement from both teams, as well as throughout the league as it does seem as if the CCC could be a real interesting conference to watch and follow this fall — maybe we’ll see Nichols, Husson or UNE challenge Endicott and Western New England for the top spot?

Husson announces its 2021 captains: The Golden Eagles recently announced their captains for the upcoming season.

And they are the following: Frank Curran (defensive line), Jake Cameron (offensive line), Tyler Halls (wide receiver), and Kaleb Caron (linebacker).

Halls will be one of many offensive players to watch on the Golden Eagles this fall — the Lisbon, Maine native recorded career-bests in 2019 in receptions (71), receiving yards (1,057), and touchdown receptions (10).

Curran ranked second on the defense behind Zach Connolly when it came to total tackles (60.0) while Caron finished third with 51.0 total stops. Both players tallied a team-high seven tackles for a loss.

Joey Mauriello’s final year with Salve Regina: The 2018 Offensive Rookie of the Year will be one of many players to watch in the CCC — the Colts Neck, New Jersey native enjoyed a very impressive second season with the Seahawks, which saw him tally career-highs in rushing attempts (195), rushing yards (1,334), rushing yards per game (148.2), and rushing touchdowns (20).

I expected the senior tailback to be a focal part of the Seahawks’ offense this fall — fans of the Seahawks will have a chance to watch him and his teammates compete in the opening week on Friday, September 3 against Norwich University.

Early-Season Favorite(s): We’re still a few days and weeks away from the first week of the 2021 season, but my early-season favorite is Western New England based off their previous success.

However, I do think this might be the year that Paul McGonagle‘s Endicott Gulls capture the conference and make their first national postseason appearance since 2013. I have seen the Gulls a few times since McGonagle was named the head coach of the program ahead of the 2018 season and believe they have taken the steps to get closer to winning their first-ever CCC title.

A few others teams I expect to be in the mix: Husson, Nichols, and Salve Regina. I think all three squads will provide challenges for Endicott and Western New England this fall, and the same could be said for UNE.

The Early Outlook: New England Women’s and Men’s Athletic Conference

Brian Bubna and the MIT football team have represented the NEWMAC in the NCAA Division III Tournament in 2018 and 2019. (PHOTO COURTESY: Paul Rutherford)

By NoontimeSports.com

Our early season/preseason college football coverage has begun — you may have seen our initial post on the Eastern Collegiate Football Conference (ECFC), but now, it is time to turn our attention to the New England Women’s and Men’s Athletic Conference (NEWMAC).

NEWMAC Teams:

  • Catholic
  • Coast Guard Academy
  • Merchant Marine Academy
  • MIT
  • Norwich
  • Springfield
  • WPI

2019 Conference Refresh: For the second-straight season, Brian Bubna and the MIT Engineers secured the league crown — the Engineers of Cambridge shared the title with the Engineers of Worcester (WPI).

MIT represented the conference in the NCAA Division III playoffs, but saw their bid for a national title conclude in the opening round against Muhlenberg College, which advanced to the national semifinals against North Central. The Cardinals edged the Mules before rolling past University of Wisconsin-Whitewater to secure the national championship.

WPI ended its 2019 campaign with a 9-1 record, along with a 35-6 victory over Western Connecticut in the New England Bowl.

Both teams are expected to be in the mix for the conference crown this fall — the same could be said for Merchant Marine and Springfield College. And perhaps a few more?

Merchant Marine outlasts Coast Guard in lone 2020 contest: The Mariners captured their 16th Secretaries Cup last November with a 24-14 win over Coast Guard, thanks to a game-high 151 rushing yards and one touchdown from Ian Blakenship.

Blakenship will be back under center this fall when the Mariners begin their 2021 campaign at FDU-Florham on Friday, September 3 at 7 p.m. The senior signal-caller from McRae, Georgia has rushed for six touchdowns in three seasons, including four during his team’s 2019 campaign, and has tallied 451 rushing yards in 11 contests. He will certainly be a player to watch for the Mariners this fall — the same could be said fullback Ceaser Gonzalez (103 rushing yards and one touchdowns against Coast Guard last November), Eric Davidson (linebacker) and Joshua King (linebacker).

Last November’s contest also provided us a glimpse of a few Coast Guard players to watch this year, which include Jared Colletti (wide receiver), Finnegan Hall (kicker), and Michael Palermo (linebacker).

Catholic will play six home games this fall: For the first time since 2014, the Catholic Cardinals will compete on their home turf six this time this season, including three times in September against McDaniel College (Sept. 4), Endicott College (Sept. 18), and Christopher Newport (Sept. 25).

Coach Mike Gutelius and the Cardinals did compete once this spring when Catholic outlasted Wilkes University, 27-22. The game was highlighted by an impressive 65-yard touchdown pass from Brady Berger to Preston Jeffrey.

Berger graduated this past spring after being named the Jone Dowd Role Model Award Winner. Jeffrey will be back for his final season with the Cardinals after recording career-highs in games played (eight), receptions (12), receiving yards (205), and touchdown receptions (two) during the 2019 season.

From a local angle, keep your eyes on three Massachusetts natives that will be competing this fall for the Cardinals: Mark Cheffers (wide receiver/Winchendon), Austin Haggerty (defensive back/Westford), and Griffin Renzella (linebacker/Wellesley).

Our Early-Season Favorite(s): It was just one game last November, but the Mariners of Merchant Marine should certainly be in the mix for the NEWMAC title — the same could be said for MIT, Springfield, and WPI.

There are certainly some unknowns when it comes to MIT, Springfield, and WPI, but all three programs have been in the mix in the past, which makes us think it could be a four or possibly five-team race for the top spot.

Coast Guard and Catholic could also be in the mix, and perhaps the dark horse is Norwich, which will begin its 2021 campaign against Salve Regina University, a team that should certainly content for the Commonwealth Coast Football (CCC) crown.

Similar to the ECFC, there are some early-season favorites, but also some teams that could surprise us.

Checking-In On New England D3 Lacrosse

Salve Regina University’s Ethan Robson netted a season-high five goals in last Saturday’s come-from-behind win over Roger Williams. (PHOTO COURTESY: George Corrigan/Salve Regina Athletics)

By Matt Noonan

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.

Before we embark on yet another busy week of games – and yes, practices, too! – let’s revisit the last week of New England lacrosse, which featured some exciting outcomes, including a come-from-behind win by the Salve Regina University men’s lacrosse team last Saturday against Roger Williams University.

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:

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!