New England Football Offseason Notebook: Sperone Named Fitchburg State Head Coach

10 GAMES WEEK FIVE

By Matt Noonan | @NoontimeNation 

Wednesday was an exciting day for the Fitchburg State University football program as they introduced Scott Sperone as their next head coach.

Sperone, who spent the past three seasons down the road directing the WPI defense, becomes the school’s first full-time head football coach.

“I’m eager to officially step into my role and recruit for our incoming class,” Sperone said in Wednesday’s release. “I’m excited to work with our student-athletes this spring, both on and off the field. I believe that a team working towards a unified goal can achieve great things and I’m looking forward to getting the Falcons ready to fly for the 2020 season.”

Sperone’s path to Fitchburg has featured multiple stops throughout New England over the past two decades with teams in all three divisions, including his alma mater Springfield College. He also spent time as the defensive coordinator with Fairleigh Dickinson University from 2011-17.

Under Sperone’s watch, the WPI defense was a unit to watch, especially this past season as the Engineers concluded their 11-game slate by yielding an average of 14.7 points per game. WPI limited opponents to 277.9 yards per game, including 89.5 rushing yards.

Fitchburg State concluded its 2019 campaign with a 2-8 record, including 1-7 mark against Massachusetts State Collegiate Athletic Conference (MASCAC) opponents.

Sperone isn’t the only new coach in the MASCAC as Framingham State University announced last week that Aynsley Rosenbaum had been named the new coach of the Rams, as announced by former head coach and Director of Athletics Tom Kelley.

Rosenbaum, who is an alum of the Framingham State football program, has been the Rams’ offensive coordinator for the past 12 seasons. He has helped the program win nine conference titles, make five appearances in the NCAA Tournament and win four bowl games, including the inaugural New England Bowl against Salve Regina University in 2016.

Additionally, Rosenbaum’s offenses have been units to watch, especially last fall as the Rams led all MASCAC offenses in points, rushing yards, total offense, and touchdowns.

“I’m honored to take over at my alma mater as its head football coach and follow in the footsteps of Tom Kelley, my mentor, and friend,” Rosenbaum said via last Tuesday’s release on the Framingham State athletics website. “Framingham is a special place with people I truly care about and I look forward to continuing relationships with players, administration, and alumni.”

Framingham State finished 8-3 last fall – they posted an 8-0 mark in conference play and advanced to the opening round of the NCAA Tournament.

Prior to the announcements of Rosenbaum and Sperone, Worcester State University‘s Adam Peloquin was elevated to the interim head football coach. As noted in the release from last November, ” (Adam) will assume the role through the 2020 fall playing season.”

WACBA Women’s Basketball Honor Roll (Tuesday, January 21st, 2020)

WACBABy NoontimeSports.com | @NoontimeNation & @WACBAHoops 

Another week of college basketball in the Worcester area is in the books, which means it is time to unveil our seventh Worcester Area College Basketball Association (WACBA) Women’s Honor Roll for the 2019-20 season.

Noontime Sports is proud to partner with WACBA for the seventh consecutive season to host the weekly honor roll, which will be seen every Tuesday throughout the current college basketball season. Each week, we will select a player and rookie of the week, as well as highlight various milestones, too.

Fans of Worcester college basketball are encouraged to follow @WACBAHoops on Twitter for scores, news and more. 


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Anna Maria College’s Amber Wilson averaged a double-double of 19.5 points and 14 rebounds in two games last week for the AMCATs. (PHOTO COURTESY: Anna Maria College Athletics)

Women’s Player of the Week: Amber Wilson (Anna Maria College | Jr. | New York, N.Y.): In a 1-1 week for the AMCATs, Wilson averaged a double-double of 19.5 points and 14 rebounds to go along with five assists, five steals, and two blocks. Against Rivier University, Wilson registered a double-double of 30 points and 16 rebounds to go along with five steals, four assists, and two blocks. Three days later against Emmanuel College, the third-year guard recorded nine points, 12 rebounds (all defensive caroms), six assists, five steals, and two blocks.


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Lindsay McDonald averaged 10.5 points, three rebounds, and 1.5 assists in two games last week for the Falcons. (PHOTO COURTESY: Fitchburg State University Athletics)

Women’s Rookie of the Week: Lindsay McDonald (Fitchburg State | Fr. | Stoughton, Mass.): McDonald averaged 10.5 points, three rebounds and 1.5 assists per game over two contests for the Green and Gold last week. She posted 12 points, two rebounds, and one assist in a 65-49 triumph over MCLA last Tuesday before adding nine points, four caroms, two assists and one steal ina 106-76 setback to Westfield State on Thursday.


Women’s WACBA Honor Roll | Tuesday, January 21st, 2020

Brianna Capacchione (Assumption College | Sr. | Washington Township, N.J.): Capacchione averaged 12.5 points and 8.5 rebounds per game this week while shooting 36.0 percent from the floor, 30.0 percent from three and 100.0 percent from the foul line. In the Hounds game against Pace, Capacchione scored nine points with six rebounds, three assists, and one steal. Against American International, she led all scorers with 16 points and recorded the double-double with 11 rebounds while going 2-for-4 from three and 6-for-9 from the field.

Riley Berry (Becker College | Soph. | Margate, Fla.): Berry exploded for a career-high 21 points in Becker’s 73-55 win over Dean on Saturday, going five of nine from downtown and three-of-four from inside while dishing out four assists with three rebounds and a steal.

Angelina Marazzi (Fitchburg State | Sr. | Manchester, N.H.): Marazzi averaged 19 points, eight rebounds, three assists and three steals per contest over two games for the Green and Gold last week. She posted 19 points, nine rebounds, four assists, and two steals in a 65-49 triumph over MCLA last Tuesday before adding 19 points, seven caroms, two assist and four steals in a 106-76 setback to Westfield State on Thursday.

Mya Mosley (Worcester State | Sr. | Worcester, Mass.): Mosley averaged 14.3 points and 3.0 rebounds in three contests last week while netting a season-best 28 points in a 75-73 setback to Framingham State. The senior guard concluded her team’s game with the Rams by sinking 11 of 19 shots, including three of five attempts from beyond the arc and three of six freebies. She concluded the week with nine points in a 64-47 win over Salem State while starting the week with six points against Westfield State.

Maddie Blake (WPI | Jr. | Bedford, NH): Blake narrowly missed a double-double as she stuffed the stat sheets with nine points, nine rebounds, two assists and a pair of steals in WPI’s non-conference loss to Middlebury College. 


Fans of Worcester college basketball are encouraged to follow @WACBAHoops on Twitter for scores, news and more. 

 

D3 Football: Team Of The Week (Sept. 24th, 2019)

D3 TEAM OF WEEK

By NoontimeSports.com | @NoontimeSports 

With the third week of the 2019 New England Division III football season in the books, it is now to unveil our Zelos Athletics Team of the Week.

Similar to our ‘Players of the Week’  Zelos Athletics is also powering our teams of the week for the entire football season.


Offensive Team of the Week 

Alex Cohen (Anna Maria College): Against Nichols College, Cohen completed 21 of 43 passes for 311 yards and three touchdowns.

Will Daniels (Western Connecticut): Daniels led all receivers with eight receptions for 162 yards and two touchdowns.

Tyler Halls (Husson University): Halls led the Eagles’ receiving core with seven receptions for 114 yards (16.3 yards) and one touchdown.

David Hamilton (Plymouth State): Hamilton rushed for 142 yards on 17 carries (8.4 yards) and one touchdown in the Panthers’ 34-9 win over Worcester State.

David James (Western Connecticut): James completed 18 of 23 passes for 283 yards and four touchdowns while leading the Colonials with 46 rushing yards on nine carries and one touchdown.

Will Jernigan (Middlebury College): Jernigan accounted for 306 total yards of offense, including 292 passing yards and three touchdowns in his team’s 28-0 win over Bates College.

Seamus Lambert (Trinity College): Against Bowdoin College, Lambert completed 13 of 18 passes for 391 yards and five touchdowns.

Joey Mauriello (Salve Regina University): Mauriello led the Seahawks’ rushing attack with 207 yards on 22 carries (9.4 yards) and five touchdowns in Salve Regina’s first win of the season against Dean College.

Sean McAllen (WPI): Against Husson University, McAllen rushed for 84 yards on 21 carries and three touchdowns.

Bobby Maimaron (Williams College): The third-year signal-caller registered 391 yards of total offense against Tufts University, including 102 yards on 15 carries and one touchdown. Maimaron completed 20 of 38 passes for 289 yards and four touchdowns.

Brian Peters (University of New England): Peters completed 16 of 25 passes for 353 yards and three touchdowns. He also added eight yards on five carries.

Nick Santavicca (Bridgewater State): Santavicca led all rushers last Saturday with 200 yards on 31 carries and three touchdowns against Western Connecticut.

Ashton Scott (Wesleyan University): Scott completed 10 of 16 passes for 170 yards and three touchdowns against Hamilton College. He also rushed for a team-high 82 yards on 21 carries.

Frank Stola (Williams College): Stola led all receivers with 13 receptions for 233 yards and four touchdowns against Tufts University.

DeVante Reid (Trinity College): Reid led the Bantams’ receiving core with six receptions for 246 yards and four touchdowns.

Terrell Watts (Dean College): Against Salve Regina, Watts completed 27 of 44 passes for 293 yards and four touchdowns.

Adam Wojenski (Framingham State): Against Westfield State, Wojenski completed 19 of 28 passes for 230 yards and two touchdowns, while adding 57 yards on six carries 9.5 yards) and one touchdown.

Devin Wollner (Castleton University): Wollner rushed for a game-high 141 yards on 20 carries (7.0 yards) and one touchdown against the Nor’Easters of University of New England.


Defensive Team of the Week 

Richard Austin (Fitchburg State): Austin led the Fitchburg State defense with 11 total tackles, including nine solo stops, four tackles for a loss of 16 yards, one sack for a loss of three yards, one forced fumble, and one fumble recovery.

Eugene Bizer (Coast Guard Academy): Bizer led the Coast Guard Academy defense with 13 total tackles, including five solo stops and one-and-a-half tackles for a loss of eight yards against Norwich University. He also recorded an interception for 16-yards.

Joe Cox (Nichols College): Cox led the Bison defense with nine solo (and total) tackles, including three tackles for a loss of nine yards and one forced fumble.

Brian Donahue (Framingham State): In his team’s first win of the 2019 season, Donahue led the Rams defense with seven total tackles, including six solo stops, one sack for a loss of nine yards and one forced fumble.

Chris Gemayel (Bridgewater State): Against Western Connecticut, Gemayel recorded 11 total tackles, including six solo stops and two-and-a-half tackles for a loss of five yards and one forced fumble.

Joe Kelly (Amherst College): Kelly was a player to watch last Saturday against Colby College. He tallied five total tackles (all solo stops), including three tackles for a loss of 20 yards, one sack for a loss of 10 yards, one forced fumble, one fumble recovery, and two pass break-ups.

Kevin O’Brien (Endicott College): O’Brien led the Gulls defense with a career-high 13 total tackles (nine assists and four solo stops) against Wesley College.

Joshua Salem (Western New England): Salem paced the Golden Bears’ defense with 14 total tackles, including nine solo stops and one tackle for a loss for one yard against Stetson last Saturday evening in Florida.

Tony Slaughter (UMass Dartmouth): Against Fitchburg State, Slaughter led the Corsairs with eight total tackles, including seven solo stops, four tackles for a loss of six yards, two quarterback hurries, one forced fumble, one fumble recovery, and one pass break-up.

Swavaughn Smalls (Anna Maria College): Smalls stuffed the stat sheet against Nichols College with 11 total tackles, including four solo stops, two tackles for a loss of six yards and one-and-a-half sacks for a loss of five yards.

AJ Smith (Springfield College): Smith registered 11 total tackles, including five solo stops, four tackles for a loss of 14 yards and one pass break-up against Union College.

Jared Zieman (Becker College): Against MIT, Zieman led the Hawks with 13 total tackles, including nine solo stops and two-and-a-half tackles for a loss of seven yards.


Special Teams of the Week

Jordan D’Onofrio (Western Connecticut): D’Onofrio converted six extra points while recording three punts for 111 yards with one kick landing inside the Bridgewater State 20-yard line.

Sam Han (Wesleyan University): Han punted the ball six times last Saturday against Hamilton College for 257 yards. Three kicks resulted in touchbacks, while the other three landed inside the Hamilton 20-yard line.

George Lampros (Mass. Maritime): Lampros converted six extra points last Saturday against Maine Maritime Academy while tallying three punts for 129 yards with one kick resulting in a touchback.

Melchior Lynch (Fitchburg State): Against UMass Dartmouth, Lynch recorded seven points on three kicks – two field goals and one extra point – while recording four kickoffs for 221 yards.

Andrew Schreibstein (Williams College): Schreibstein tallied 14 points last Saturday against Tufts University with five extra points and three field goals. He punted the ball four times for 167 yards with two kicks landing inside the Jumbos’ 20-yard line. He also had three touchbacks on three kickoffs.

Bryce Wade (WPI): Wade connected five kicks last Saturday against Husson University, including a 21-yard field goal. Wade concluded the game with seven points (four extra points and one field goal).

Catching Up With Laura Pierce (Fitchburg State Women’s Basketball)

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Laura Pierce, who competed and coached at Wheaton College, was recently named the new women’s basketball coach at Fitchburg State University. (PHOTO COURTESY: Fitchburg State Athletics)

By NoontimeSports.com | @NoontimeSports 

Laura Pierce was ready for that next step in her coaching journey.

She had gained valuable experience at both Wesleyan University and Wheaton College as an assistant for both women’s basketball programs but appeared eager – and ready – to become a head coach.

And that eagerness – and readiness, too – paid off as she was recently named the new women’s basketball coach at Fitchburg State University.

“I am excited to get to work with the young women to create a culture in which our program makes Fitchburg State proud on the court, in the classroom, and in the community,” said Pierce in the press release announcing her hiring.

Pierce inherits a Falcons squad that finished 9-17 a year ago, including 2-10 against Massachusetts State Collegiate Athletic Conference (MASCAC) foes.

The Falcons did qualify for the MASCAC Tournament last winter but saw their bid for a conference crown conclude in the quarterfinals against Bridgewater State University.

Coaching in the MASCAC is something Pierce is very excited about – she described the conference as “really competitive,” while also noting that “you have to bring your best effort every (single) evening.”

Said Pierce, “My hope is that we enter the gym every day with the mindset of effort, focus, and attitude because it will help us be successful, both this upcoming season and in the future.”

Prior to becoming an assistant for both the Cardinals and Lyons, Pierce enjoyed an impressive career at Wheaton, tallying 622 points, 253 rebounds, 424 assists, and 68 steals in 100 games played. Pierce, who was a three-year captain, also attended “So You Want to be a Coach” Program at the Women’s Final Four in Tampa, Florida in April of 2015 before graduating from Wheaton one month later.

Noontime Sports recently spoke with Pierce about her excitement for leading her own program, but also what she learned as both a student-athlete and assistant from Coach Melissa Hodgdon.

What excites you about coaching your own program?

Being able to teach the game I love while shaping these young women’s lives.

Coaching is about so much more than the X’s & O’s (on a chalkboard). It’s about building relationships and mentoring (your players) to become the best they can be, both on and off the court. I have had many coaches and mentors along the way that I have played for and coached with, and they have all have shaped me into the coach and person I am today.

I think the exciting thing about coaching your own program is having a vision and being able to shape that vision throughout the season. It’s all about the process and we’ve got a lot of work to do, but it’s such an exciting time for the Fitchburg State women’s basketball program.

Do you feel your previous stops as an assistant at Wesleyan and Wheaton have prepared you for a successful first season with Fitchburg State?

Absolutely. Kate Mullen, who is the is the head coach of the Wesleyan women’s basketball team, took a chance on me – she hired me right after I graduated college (in May of 2015) and I will be forever grateful to her for providing me with my first collegiate coaching role.

Coach Mullen gave me the opportunity to coach and prepare to play against teams in the New England Small College Athletic Conference (NESCAC), which is one of the most competitive Division III women’s basketball conferences in the country. 

I am really fortunate that both Coach Mullen and Melissa Hodgdon gave me an opportunity to learn and grow as a young coach (these past few years). I consider them not just mentors, but great friends, as well.

Tell me about your experience learning and playing for Melissa Hodgdon. How did she help mold you into the current coach you are today? 

I honestly had never heard of Wheaton until Coach Hodgdon began recruiting me. But attending Wheaton and playing for her was the best decision I ever made.

Coach Hodgdon challenged me every day to become the best basketball player I could be so I could reach my highest potential on the court with hopes of leading the Lyons to a New England Women’s and Men’s Athletic Conference (NEWMAC) championship.

Her biggest impact though is she genuinely cares about each and every one of her players.

I missed my entire sophomore year with a knee injury, but that didn’t stop Coach Hodgdon from including me in team activities. She made sure I was included and kept me engaged throughout the entire season while allowing me to see the game from her perspective. And once my sophomore year concluded at Wheaton, I knew I wanted to become a collegiate basketball coach when I graduated, so I began gaining experience as an intern at the Duke University women’s basketball camp, along with several local camps, too, before I returned to campus for my senior year.

A few years after my final season with the Lyons, I returned to campus after completing my graduate assistantship program at Wesleyan – I knew (deep down that) I wanted to return to Wheaton and assist Coach Hodgdon, who established a program that meant so much to me, both as a student-athlete and assistant coach.

Being able to work (and learn) from Coach Hodgdon as an assistant was an amazing experience. She challenged me to become the best coach while giving me responsibilities that prepared me for my next step in my coaching journey.

Finally, what goals and objectives do you have for the team heading into the upcoming season?

We have a great group of young women returning this year as well as a couple of incoming first-year student-athletes that are excited to get to work. We’re going to focus on getting better every day, whether that be in the classroom, weight room, film room or on the court.

We are also going to have this mindset of getting better (every single day). But our number one goal is always going to be to represent the Fitchburg State community with class and pride.


Stay connected with our New England basketball coverage on Twitter by following @Noontime_Hoops

WACBA Honor Roll: Men’s Basketball Week 11 (Jan. 29th)

WACBABy WACBA Hoops | @WACBAHoops 

WORCESTER – With another week of Worcester basketball in the books, it’s now time to unveil our latest Worcester Area College Basketball Association (WACBA) Men’s Basketball Honor Roll, which includes our men’s player and rookie of the week.

Make sure to stay connected with @WACBAHoops today on Twitter for game results, news and more.

Springfield College and Becker College

Becker College senior Kareem Davis turned in a trio of impressive performances last week for the Hawks. (PHOTO COURTESY: Becker College Athletics)

Men’s Basketball Co-Player of the Week: Kareem Davis (Becker College| Sr.| Lowell, Mass.): Davis continued to demonstrate why he was one of the most dynamic players in the region this past week, as he averaged 35.5 points per game in two games. The senior captain shot 60 percent from the floor, 57.1 percent from behind the arc and 86.7 percent from the free throw line. During last Tuesday’s 107-85 victory at Lesley University, Davis poured in a career-high 40 points with three steals. Facing Eastern Nazarene on Thursday, Davis became Becker’s all-time leading scorer with his 31-point outburst, passing Samuel Durodola, who concluded his career with the Blue and White last winter with 1,699 points.

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Matt Morrow averaged a double-double in a pair of conference games last week for Nichols College. (PHOTO COURTESY: Nichols College Athletics)

Men’s Co-Player of the Week: Matt Morrow (Nichols College | So. | Leicester, Mass.): Morrow shot 68 percent from the field last week while averaging a double-double with 19.0 points and 13.5 rebounds as the Bison went 2-0 and remained atop their conference standings. Morrow collected 10 points, 14 rebounds, two assists, and two steals in a road win at Endicott College last Tuesday before filling the stat sheet with 28 points, 13 rebounds, and two assists in a win at Salve Regina on Saturday.

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In a pair of games last week, Cal Connelly averaged 12.0 points, 4.0 rebounds and 1.5 assists per game.

Men’s Rookie of the Week: Cal Connelly (Assumption College | Fr. | Rochester, N.H.): Connelly came through for Assumption in a 1-1 week, averaging 12.0 points, 4.0 rebounds and 1.5 assists per game while shooting 50 percent from the floor. The forward posted 16 points, five rebounds, one steal and one block in an 11-point win over American International College, before concluding the week with eight points, three rebounds and three assists in a loss to Saint Rose.

Chris Cardoso (Worcester State | So. | Jamaica Plain, Mass.): Cardoso averaged 16 points and 6.6 rebounds in a trio of games last week as the Lancers went 1-2 with their lone win coming against Westfield State last Thursday. The sophomore guard tallied 11 points or more in all three games with his biggest output coming against the Owls with 24 points on 8 of 14 shooting while finishing the game with seven rebounds, one assist, and one steal. For the week, Cardoso recorded 48 points, 20 rebounds, nine assists, and five steals.

Tyler Davern (Clark University | So. | Webster, Mass.): In a pair of games last week against MIT and Springfield, the sophomore forward averaged 13.5 points and 7.5 rebounds. Against MIT, Davern tallied nine points and six rebounds before netting 18 points on 8 of 14 shooting in a 61-53 setback to Springfield. Davern concluded his team’s game against the Pride one rebound short of a double-double as he collected nine caroms while tallying one steal and one block.

Andre Ruff (Fitchburg State | Jr. | Chicago, Ill.): Ruff averaged 15.0 points, 3.3 rebounds, three assists and three steals per contest over three games for the Falcons. He posted 20 points, three rebounds, one assist and two steals in a 79-77 win over Westfield State on Tuesday before adding 16 points, two boards, six assists and five steals in a 95-90 setback to Bridgewater State on Thursday. The junior concluded the week with nine points, five caroms, two assists and two steals in a 68-67 loss to Framingham State on Saturday.

Mike Rapoza (Anna Maria College | Jr. | Charlton, Mass.): In just one contest last week, the Charlton native poured in a team-high 20 points on 10 of 14 shooting, while also recording a game-high 15 rebounds, including six offensive caroms.

Austin Butler (Holy Cross | So. | Latrobe, Pa.): Butler averaged 16.5 points, 4.5 rebounds and 2.0 steals per game on the week. After posting 11 points and six rebounds at Army, the sophomore totaled 22 points, three rebounds and three steals in the victory over Navy. He scored 17 of his points against the Midshipmen in the second half and received the Martin J. O’Malley Award as the MVP of Holy Cross’ Winter Homecoming game.

Matthew Kelly (Assumption College | Soph. | North Potomac, Md.): In a 1-1 week for the Hounds, Kelly averaged 21.0 points with 3.5 assists and 2.5 rebounds per game while shooting 57.7 percent from the floor and making 9 of 14 three-point attempts. The sophomore had 16 points and four rebounds in an 11-point win over American International College before tallying 26 points, seven assists and four steals in a tight seven-point loss to Saint Rose.

Ethan Harrell (WPI | So. | Wexford, Pa.): Harrell averaged 19 points and seven rebounds while totaling three assists, three blocks and a steal in the Engineers’ 2-0 week. After exploding for a career-high 26 points on 10-15 shooting, including 4-6 from beyond the arc, against Springfield College, the sophomore posted 12 points and a career-best nine rebounds at Wheaton College last Saturday.

Stay connected with WACBA Hoops on Twitter by following @WACBAHoops Today!