Basketball Notebook: Sheldon Announces Retirement From Tufts University

Bob Sheldon, who has coached the Tufts University men’s basketball team for three decades, announced his retirement Thursday. (PHOTO COURTESY: TuftsNow)

By Matt Noonan 

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

Sheldon and the Jumbos matched a program record for wins (23) this past winter while capturing their first-ever NESCAC Tournament Championship by outlasting Colby College in double-overtime

“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. 

The 2020-21 NESCAC winter sports season has been canceled: As noted above, the NESCAC became the first New England D-III conference to cancel its upcoming winter sports season on Thursday, October 7, after postponing its fall season on Friday, July 10

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.” 

Elms College to join the Great Northeast Athletic Conference (GNAC): While it is uncertain if and when Elms College will resume athletic competition in the next few weeks or months, the athletic department did announce some exciting news earlier this week about joining the Great Northeast Athletic Conference (GNAC) for the 2022-23 school year. 

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. 

D3 Lax: Teams To Watch In New England Women’s Lacrosse This Spring

NEd3WLAX TEAMS

By NoontimeSports.com (@NoontimeSports) 

With a brand new season of New England D3 lacrosse underway – yes, a few non-New England schools have already competed at least once this season – it is time to dish out our women’s lacrosse teams to watch in each conference.


Commonwealth Coast Conference (CCC): Endicott College will certainly be the favorite once again, but don’t sleep on Roger Williams or University of New England – both teams will certainly provide challenges to the Gulls, as well as the entire conference.


Great Northeast Athletic Conference (GNAC): Can Johnson & Wales University continue its impressive run from a year ago? Sure, they may have graduated some key pieces to a historic season, but don’t overlook these Wildcats.

Additionally, keep an eye on Lasell College – the Lasers will certainly be a team that could challenge the Wildcats come late April/early May.


Little East Conference (LEC): Plymouth State secured six of seven first-place votes in this year’s preseason coaches poll, so once again, keep an eye on the Panthers. Additionally, keep an eye on both Eastern Connecticut State University and Keene State – two teams that will certainly challenge the Panthers for the top spot in the conference tournament.


Massachusetts State Collegiate Athletic Conference (MASCAC): Westfield State will again be the team to beat this spring, but what about Bridgewater State and Framingham State? Both teams could be in for an exciting spring and will provide challenges for the Owls, both in conference play and the tournament.


North Atlantic Conference (NAC): Can Castleton University make it back-to-back conference champions? Or maybe, we will see the Pilgrims of New England College earn a trip to the big dance? Both teams are scheduled to meet in late April – expect this contest to decide the top seed in the NAC Tournament.


New England Collegiate Conference (NECC): Elms College is certainly the favorite, but maybe this is the year Southern Vermont breaks through? Southern Vermont collected a pair of first-place votes on the preseason coaches poll and will certainly be a team to watch this spring.


New England Small College Athletic Conference (NESCAC): Colby College will have a target on its back after winning the NESCAC crown last year, but don’t overlook Hamilton CollegeMiddlebury CollegeTrinity College and Tufts University. Additionally, let’s not forget about Amherst College, too – they will provide challenges for all five squads listed above.


New England Women’s and Men’s Athletic Conference (NEWMAC): Babson College will be the favorite, but keep an eye on MIT and Springfield College – both teams will be in for exciting springs. Additionally, one shouldn’t sleep on Wheaton College or Wellesley College – both teams tied for fourth on the preseason coaches’ poll.

Thursday’s Conference Tournament Scoreboard

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Worcester State scored an exciting win on Thursday, defeating top-seed Fitchburg State in the MASCAC Semifinals. (PHOTO CREDIT: Worcester State Athletics/Matt Wright)

By NoontimeSports.com (@NoontimeSports) 

Another busy evening of conference tournament basketball is in the books, and below are the results (with links to their box score, courtesy D3Hoops.com).

Albertus Magnus 108, Mount Ida 68 (MBB) 

Lasell 68, Johnson & Wales 61 (MBB) 

Worcester State 71, Fitchburg State 68 (MBB) 

Salem State 69, Bridgewater State 68 (MBB) 

Southern Vermont 82, Wheelock 71 (MBB) 

Becker 64, Lesley 62 (MBB) 

Endicott 84, Eastern Nazarene 66 (MBB) 

Nichols 83, Wentworth 74 (MBB) 

Saint Joseph’s (Maine) 91, Johnson & Wales 90 (2OT) (WBB) 

Emmanuel 74, Norwich 67 (WBB) 

Elms 63, Becker 61 (WBB) 

Regis 66, Wheelock 45 (WBB)

Framingham State 60, MCLA 59 (WBB)

Westfield State 97, Bridgewater State 95 (2OT) (WBB)  

Univ. of New England 75, Eastern Nazarene 59 (WBB) 

Western New England 44, Roger Williams (WBB) 

Mass. College Lax: D3 Conference Semifinals Roundup (#d3lax)

By NoontimeSports.com

There were a few Division 3 conference tournament semifinals that took place this afternoon and below are their outcomes and game summaries.

Men’s Lacrosse:

Endicott 25, Salve Regina 5: Kyle Weber and Nick Pinciaro combined for eight goals and five helpers as the Gulls soared past the Seahawks and punched their ticket to the Commonwealth Coast Conference Championship on Saturday.

Western New England 16, Roger Williams 12: Leading the Hawks by seven goals after three quarters, the Golden Bears were forced to fend off a late rally, which secured them a spot in Saturday’s conference championship against the Gulls. Keegan Dudeck paced Western New England with seven points on four assists and three tallies.

Women’s Lacrosse:

Endicott 15, Gordon 7: Callie Murphy registered six points on three goals and three helpers as the Gulls defeated the Fighting Scots and secured a spot in the CCC Championship on Saturday. Anna Blomberg led Gordon with four points on three goals and one assist.

Roger Williams 19, Western New England 11: Deven Machette recorded seven points on five goals and two assists, as the Hawks defeat the Golden Bears in the CCC semifinals and punched its ticket to the conference finals on Saturday. Western New England’s Jessica Scannapieco and Taylor Scialdone combined for seven goals and one helper.

Regis 20, Elms 8: Teresa Busiek recorded four goals and one assist as the Pride defeated the Blazers in the New England Collegiate Conference (NECC) semifinals. Elms’ Jillian Pirog and Kayla Narey each netted hat tricks in the setback. With the win, Regis advances to the conference championship on Saturday.

Becker 13, Wheelock 7: Ashley Mossey jumpstarted a 5-0 run at 18:26 in the second half, which helped the Hawks go onto defeat the Wildcats in NECC semifinal action. Victoria Belcher led Becker with a hat trick, while Wheelock’s Molly Centore led all scorers with four tallies.

Mass. College Lax: Friday Roundup

By Matt Noonan 

Three games occurred this afternoon and evening, and below are their outcomes and summaries.

Men’s Lacrosse

Regis 9, Bryn Athyn 8: Matt Vogan registered four points (three goals, one assist), while Breandan Crane turned away 12 shots as the Pride earned their first win of the season.

Women’s Lacrosse

Elms 18, Bay Path 1: Lauren Mazza and Kayla Narey each recorded hat tricks as the Blazers defeated the Wildcats and claimed its first win of the season.

Assumption 11, Molloy 6: Lindsay Hagerman recorded three goals and two helpers, while Amy McNeil netted two goals as the Greyhounds picked up their second consecutive win of the season.