Tag: Great Northeast Athletic Conference

Noontime’s New England Small College Basketball Stories of 2021

Marcus Azor and the UMass Dartmouth men’s basketball team celebrated a Little East Conference (LEC) championship in March. ((PHOTO COURTESY: Kyle Prudhomme)

By NoontimeSports.com

It’s hard to pinpoint some of the best storylines of 2021 when it comes to New England small college basketball, but there have been a few, including two conference championship celebrations in March.

The biggest storyline has been the return to the court — like so many schools, teams, and student-athletes that did not compete this past winter due to the Covid-19 pandemic, it has been an exciting few weeks for so many that can finally play and practice again.

Here are a few storylines from the current year worth revisiting — yes, there are quite a few, but these are a few that we will certainly remember next year and beyond.

UMass Dartmouth wins the Little East Conference (LEC) crown: After losing to Eastern Connecticut in overtime in late February, the Corsairs rebounded with three straight wins, including a pair of conference tournament victories over Keene State College (108-68) and Rhode Island College (93-89).

UMass Dartmouth’s impressive victory over the Owls helped the Blue and Gold clinch their first conference crown since 2009.

Marcus Azor was named the tournament’s Most Outstanding Player — the Brockton, Massachusetts native averaged 21.0 points, eight rebounds, and five assists in two postseason contests.

Babson College competes against Harvard University: For the first time since 1996, the Beavers competed against the Crimson in an exhibition contest.

Harvard used a late rally in the second half to defeat Babson, 74-64 — the Green and White led the Crimson, 37-34, at the break.

Babson’s Spencer Cline led all players with 17 points on 6 of 17 shooting, including five of nine from beyond the arc, while Nate Amado recorded a double-double of 10 points and 12 rebounds.

Harvard leads the all-time series, 6-1, with Babson’s last win coming in 1991.

Jim Calhoun departs the University of Saint Joseph: Following his team’s third contest of the 2021-22 season, coach Jim Calhoun announced his retirement from the University of Saint Joseph (Conn.) men’s basketball program.

“It’s just the right time,” he said in a statement last month regarding his departure.

The former Division I bench boss with the University of Connecticut guided the Blue Jays to a 47-17 record in three-plus seasons, which included a Great Northeast Athletic Conference (GNAC) championship last year to go with a trip to the NCAA Division III Tournament.

Calhoun was the program’s first-ever coach — he was succeeded by Glen Miller, who guided the Blue Jays to an exciting 75-62 win over Tufts University two days after the announcement.

Other stories from 2021:

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 (Tuesday, Nov. 3, 2020)

By NoontimeSports.com

Welcome to Tuesday, everyone. And welcome to Election Day 2020 – have you voted?

It doesn’t matter who you support – Joe Biden or Donald Trumpwe just want all our fans and friends to rock the vote. Your voice matters so make sure it is heard TODAY!

For information on where and when to vote today, visit Vote.org.

Alright, let’s get to some news and links. And we’ll begin in the college sports world where a few local New England NCAA D-III conferences announced yesterday that they will “suspend” or “cancel” winter sports.

  • The New England Women’s and Men’s Athletic Conference (NEWMAC) announced they have suspended winter sports, including men’s and women’s basketball and swimming and diving.
  • The Great Northeast Athletic Conference (GNAC) has “cancelled conference athletic competitions,” which means no basketball, swimming and diving, and track.

While it seems inevitable that more cancelations and postponements will be announced over the next few days and weeks, some local schools, including Clark University and Coast Guard Academy, will explore options for its winter teams. It is possible we could see some local games played, but nothing is official (as of this morning!) so stay tuned.

Let’s switch gears to football – professional football, to be exact – where we could see 16 teams compete in the National Football League’s (NFL) postseason if future games are canceled due to the pandemic.

16 teams may sound crazy, but with frequent reports about players (or members of each team) testing positively for the coronavirus, it certainly could make for an interesting yet exciting postseason.

And here is some more football news and links from the world wide web:

Finally, make sure to tune into a brand new Noontime Sports Podcast today – we welcomed Joe Malkin (Massachusetts Maritime Academy) and Shawn Medeiros (Endicott College) to discuss how sports information directors are creating content when games are not being played.

You can listen to our show on Apple Podcast, Spotify, and Anchor (along with some other channels and platforms, too!).

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 Basketball: Men’s Basketball Top 10 Poll (Tuesday, March 17th, 2020)

D3MBBSOCIAL202

By NoontimeSports.com | @NoontimeNation

For the second time this month, the Tufts University men’s basketball team secured the top spot in our final New England D-III Men’s Basketball Top 10 Poll followed by Colby College and Springfield College.

The Jumbos, who captured their first-ever New England Small College Athletic Conference (NESCAC) tournament title earlier this month, won a pair of NCAA Tournament games, including an exciting (and dramatic) opening-round win over Western Connecticut.

WPI secured the fourth position for the second time this month while Middlebury College switched positions with St. Joseph’s (Conn.). The Panthers advanced to this year’s NCAA Tournament as an at-large bid – they beat Westfield State in the opening round before falling to Brockport in the second round.

The Blue Jays of St. Joseph’s made their initial appearance in the ‘big dance’ under second-year coach Jim Calhoun, who guided the Blue and Yellow to the program’s first-ever Great Northeast Athletic Conference (GNAC) championship. Calhoun’s crew lost to Hobart in the opening round of the tournament, but the Blue Jays have a bright future – they will certainly be a team to watch in New England next winter.

Babson College secured the seventh position followed by Amherst CollegeNichols College, and Brandeis University.


New England D-III Basketball Men’s Top 10 Week 15 Poll| Monday, March 17th, 2020

1. Tufts University 23-6, 8-2 NESCAC Previously No. 1
2. Colby College 24-4, 8-2 NESCAC Previously No. 2
3. Springfield College 23-5, 11-1 NEWMAC Previously No. 3
4. WPI 20-8, 10-3 NEWMAC Previously No. 4
5. Middlebury College 21-6, 6-4 NESCAC Previously No. 6
6. St. Joseph’s (Conn.) 26-3, 11-0 GNAC Previously No. 5
7. Babson College 20-7, 10-4 NEWMAC Previously No. 7
8. Amherst College 18-8, 7-3 NESCAC Previously No. 8
9. Nichols College 21-9, 12-4 CCC Previously No. 9
10. Brandeis University 17-8, 9-5 UAA Previously No. 10 

ON THE RISE: Coast Guard Academy, New England College, and Western Connecticut 


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 13Week 14