D3 Notebook: MIT, Tufts, Williams Looks To Continue Their Postseason Success

By Matt Noonan 

It’s been a busy fall for numerous Massachusetts college teams, especially those that extended their campaigns beyond their regular season slates.

As of today, three local Division III squads remain in the hunt for some NCAA championship hardware and below is an update on where each squads stands.

Football: MIT’s football team – perhaps the story of the 2014 fall collegiate season? – won their first-ever postseason contest (in program history!) last weekend with a 27-20 overtime victory against Husson College (the winner of the Eastern Collegiate Football Conference). The Engineers advanced to tomorrow’s second round game against Wesley College, kickoff is scheduled for 12 p.m. If the Engineers can squeak out a victory against the fourth-ranked Wolverines, they’ll extend their season into December and compete against the winner of Hobart-Johns Hopkins on Saturday, December 6.

Men’s Soccer: The Jumbos of Tufts University punched their ticket to the 2014 NCAA Division III Men’s Soccer semifinals with a 1-0 victory against Messiah. Prior to their quarterfinal win, the Powder Blue and White defeated Dickinson, Wheaton (Mass.) and Muhlenberg. The Jumbos have outscored all four of their opponents by a score of 9-0.

Tufts returns to action on Friday, December 5 when they compete against Ohio Wesleyan. Kickoff is scheduled for 2:30 p.m. The game will take place at Swope Soccer Village in Kansas City, Missouri. If the Jumbos prevail, they’d face the winner of Oneonta State-Wheaton (Ill.) on Saturday, December 6 at 2:30 p.m. in the finals.

According to NCAA.com, the Jumbos have never appeared or competed in a national championship match.

Women’s Soccer: The second NESCAC (New England Small College Athletic Conference) squad to extend their fall season into December is the Williams College women’s soccer team. The Ephs, who’ll face Johns Hopkins on Friday, December 5 at 8:30 p.m., secured a spot in the 2014 NCAA Division III Women’s Soccer Tournament semifinals with four consecutive victories. Williams topped Lasell and Ithaca in the first and second rounds before claiming wins against Roger Williams and TCNJ in the third round and quarterfinals. Their last two wins against the Hawks and Lions were decided by one goal.

A win against the Blue Jays would pit Williams against Lynchburg or Illinois Wesleyan – the other two semifinalists. This year’s championship and semifinal matches will occur at the Swope Soccer Village in Kansas City, Missouri. The finals – scheduled for Saturday, December 6 – would occur at 6:30 p.m.

According to NCAA.com, the Ephs have never competed in a national championship match. However, Williams did host a finals match in 1999, but the game featured UC San Diego and Macalester.

Mass. College Football: Harvard Captures ‘The Game,’ MIT Wins First Postseason Contest

By Matt Noonan 

A late touchdown pass from Conner Hempel to Andrew Fischer sealed a 31-24 victory for Harvard University against Yale University on Saturday afternoon at Harvard Stadium in the 131st meeting between the Crimson and Bulldogs.

Trailing 7-3 in the third quarter, Harvard responded with three consecutive touchdowns to earn a 24-7 advantage. Paul Stanton Jr.’s one-yard scamper with 10:06 remaining in the session provided the hosts with their second lead of the afternoon.

Yale’s Tyler Varga jumpstarted a fourth quarter rally with a one-yard TD run with 12:35 remaining. Varga located Morgan Roberts roughly four minutes after his rushing score for an eight-yard touchdown pass before Kyle Cazzetta tied the game at 24-24 with a 33-yard field goal.

With less than a minute remaining, Harvard responded for the final time as Fischer hauled in the game-winning touchdown pass with 55 seconds remaining. Fischer led all receivers with eight receptions for 149 yards and two touchdowns.

Harvard finished their 2014 campaign 10-0 and Ivy League champions.

MIT 27, Husson 20 (OT): The perfect season remains intact as the Engineers’ defense denied a potential game-tying touchdown in overtime to secure their initial postseason victory in program history.

Quarterback Peter Williams completed 20 of 29 passes for 291 yards and two touchdowns, while Justin Wallace rushed for 144 yards and one score.

MIT trailed Husson, 14-10, in the third quarter, but Brad Goldsberry pushed the Engineers ahead, 17-14, with a six-yard touchdown reception with 3:54 remaining in the session.

The Eagles jumped ahead, 20-14, on a 14-yard touchdown reception from Joe Seccareccia to Cody Williams with 5:37 remaining. MIT evened the score at 20-20 with a 38-yard field goal by Tucker Cheyne, forcing an extra session.

In overtime, Williams hooked up with Seve Esparrago for a 13-yard touchdown strike, capping an 11-play, 49-yard drive. On the ensuing possession, Husson drove to the MIT nine-yard line, but came up short on a 4th-and-4 when Seccarecia’s pass fell incomplete.

MIT advances to the second round of the NCAA Div. III Tournament and will play Wesley College next Saturday, November 29.

Framingham State 42, RPI 36: Matthew Silva’s one-yard touchdown run in overtime proved to be the difference as the Rams defeated the Engineers in the ECAC North Atlantic Bowl.

Silva finished the afternoon completing 17 of 34 passes for 273 yards and four touchdowns. He also rushed for 16 yards on three carries.

Framingham State’s Kevin Donahue was named the game’s Most Outstanding Player after making a game-saving tackle in overtime that secure the win for the Rams.

Mass. College Hoops: Locals Earn Spots In Men’s NCAA D3 Tournament

By Matt Noonan 

The NCAA released its pairings for the upcoming men’s Division 3 tournament this afternoon, which begins later this week. Eight squads from Massachusetts earned spots in the tournament and will begin their quest toward Salem, Virginia in either the first or second round.

Below is a breakdown of each matchup, along with what teams they’ll be facing in the first or second round.

Amherst, which captured their third-straight NESCAC crown yesterday, earned a first-round bye. They’ll host the winner of Rhode Island College vs. York (N.Y.) on Saturday, March 8. RIC-York will play in Rhode Island on either March 6 or 7.

MIT, which won their third NEWMAC crown in four seasons, will travel to Plattsburgh State for a first-round matchup. If the Engineers are victorious against the Cardinals, they’ll advance to the second round and face the winner of Eastern Connecticut vs. Husson.

Bridgewater State, the winner of the MASCAC Conference, will travel to Cabrini for their first-round contest. A win for the Bears would pit them against the winner of Richard Stockton vs. Bowdoin College.

WPI will travel to SUNY Purchase for their first-round contest. The Engineers will take on Albertus Magnus, which won its third-straight GNAC crown. A win for WPI would advance them to the second round against either Purchase State or Hartwick.

Williamstown, the home of Williams College, will be the site of three local squads competing for a chance to advance to the third round. Williams College will play Mitchell College, the winner of the NECC Conference, while Babson will take on Gordon College, which captured the CCC Conference Crown with a win over Nichols. The winners of both contests will meet on Saturday.

Finally, Springfield College will travel to Randolph-Macon to play Mary Washington. If the Pride wins, they’ll face the winner of Randolph-Macon vs. DeSales.

Mass. College Football: Afternoon Scoreboard

By NoontimeSports.com 

The early afternoon games are in the books and below are the scores.

* Harvard 35, Lafayette 16

* Colgate 28, Holy Cross 24

* Stonehill 29, New Haven 26

* Merrimack 51, St. A’s 9

* AIC 42, Bentley 14

* Mt. Ida 56, Anna Maria 34

* Husson 19, Becker 18

* WNE 33, Union 30

* UMass Dartmouth 34, Worcester State 33

* Bridgewater State 56, Plymouth State 28

* Westfield State 37, Mass. Maritime 27

* Wesleyan 20, Amherst 14

* Williams 49, Tufts 35

Mass. College Football: Late Saturday Afternoon Roundup

By Matt Noonan 

Here are the late afternoon scores and highlights.

No. 3 Clemson 24, Boston College 14: Quarterback Chase Rettig provided the Eagles with a four-point advantage on 69-yard touchdown strike to Alex Amidon in the third before the Tigers responded with two more touchdowns to pull away for good. Rettig completed 13-of-21 passes for 192 yards and one touchdown, while Amidon finished with six grabs for 121 yards and one touchdown.

UMass 17, Miami (Ohio) 10: The Minutemen earned their first victory of the season thanks to a third quarter touchdown pass from A.J. Doyle and a 25-yard field goal by Blake Lucas in the fourth quarter. Doyle tossed two touchdowns and finished 19-of-35 for 249 yards.

Husson 35, Anna Maria 14: Quarterback Gregory McGoldrick tossed two touchdowns and completed 23-of-36 passes for 299 yards, but that wasn’t enough to help the AMCATs rally to victory. Running back Robert Small was held to 17 yards on 14 carries, but did haul in five catches for 98 yards and one touchdown. Small’s teammate, William Ricard, led all receivers with eight grabs for 103 yards and one touchdown.

SUNY Maritime 30, Becker 7: Dejahn Dawkins registered the only touchdown for the Hawks on a 14-yard scamper, which provided Becker with a four-point advantage in the second before the Pioneers retained the lead for good.

Mass. College Football: Springfield Rolls Past Husson, 36-0

By NoontimeSports.com 

Courtesy of the Springfield College sports information department, here’s today’s release about the Pride’s second win of the season against Husson: 

Springfield, Mass. – September 14, 2013 – The Springfield College football team posted a shutout in its home opener as it blanked visiting Husson College, 36-0, on Saturday afternoon in non-conference play at Stagg Field.

Springfield now improves to 2-0 on the year, while the Eagles are in search of their first victory and drop to 0-2.

After giving up 40 points in its season-opener last weekend to Western New England, the Springfield defensive unit buckeled down, giving up just 166 total yards for the shutout win. It was the first time that Springfield had held its opponent off the scoreboard since October 2, 2010, when it defeated King’s Point, 64-0.

Jonathan Marrero (Boston, Mass. led Springfield with 122 yards on the ground, while Louis Fenaroli (Newtown, Conn.) found the end zone three times after carrying the ball 21 times for 92 yards. As a team, the Pride totaled 396 yards on the ground on 67 rushing attempts.

Defensively, Danny Macalena (Congers, N.Y.) made 10 tackles, including four tackles-for-loss, and Mike Dublin (Portsmouth, R.I) made eight stops and had one of two Springfield interceptions.

For Husson, Kyle McKinnon (New London, Conn.) totaled 80 yards to highlight the Eagles offense. Ellis Throckmorton (Bangor, Maine) was all over the field on defense, registering a game-high 12 unassisted tackles, while also forcing and recovering a fumble. Teammate Stephan Dance (New London, Conn.) added 10 solo stops of his own.

After the defense forced a Husson three-and-out, the Pride put together a 12-play, 67-yard drive that featured eight rushes from Fenaroli. The second-year fullback put the Pride up 6-0 with a one-yard plunge at the 8:20 mark, only to have Joe Saccereccia (Bangor, Maine) block the extra point.

The Pride added to its lead as it found the end zone with four seconds left in the first. After a 62-yard scamper down the right sideline by Joel Altavesta (Tewksbury, Mass.), the Pride punched in another one-yard score thanks to a gritty run by Blake Joppy (Clarksburg, Md.). Altavesta rushed in for a two-point conversion to give the hosts a 14-0 cushion.

Neither team would score in the second quarter, as the Pride hurt itself with fumbles on back-to-back positions. Fenaroli coughed it up inside the 10 with 2:20 left in the half, and after Springfield forced Husson to punt, Joppy mishandled the ball to thwart any late offensive push.

Springfield wasted little time scoring to start the second half. The Pride took the kickoff and marched 70 yards in five plays, using a Fenaroli score from eight yards out and a James Poggio (East Granby, Conn.) two-point conversion to gain a 22-0 lead just 2:23 into the quarter.

Fenaroli scored another one-yard touchdown 2:54 into the fourth quarter and Michael Mastroianni (Durham, Conn.) added a late three-yard touchdown with 1:49 remaining to complete the scoring.

For the game, Springfield held a slight 30:17-29:43 edge in time of possession, including holding the ball for nearly 12 minutes in the fourth quarter. In addition, the Pride was able to hold the Eagles to 0-for-4 on fourth-down conversions, while going 3-for-3 themselves.

The Pride will hit the road next Saturday to take on Mount Ida for a 1:00 pm kickoff.

Mass. College Football: Catching Up With Springfield HC Mike DeLong

By NoontimeSports.com 

It’s ‘game week’ for the Springfield College Pride, and in just a few days they’ll travel a few miles down the road to take on Western New England for the first time in program history.

Earlier today, we caught up with Coach Mike DeLong to preview the team’s matchup, as well as talk about what he saw during the Pride’s training camp.

On kicking off the season this weekend: “We’ve had a film exchange with Western New England, so we’ve had a chance to look at what they did last year, but obviously things change from year-to-year, so you’re always preparing for what you think is going to happen and hopefully you can be sound against what might have changed. We’re hoping that our offense matures early in this first game. Again, we do have some new faces, but a lot of returners and some guys with a lot of game experience, but the starters are going to have to step up.

“We expect Jonathan Marrero to get into a good game flow, our quarterback, hopefully we can establish a little more with our fullbacks and go from there on offense. Defensively what we hope is our team’s speed is really able to be used from the beginning of the game until the end, so those are just a few things, but we need to come out with great pursuit for the ball and offensively we still have to come out and sort out what they’re doing and establish a run.”

On Jonathan Marrero’s progress: “At this point he’s (our starter). As we get ready to load this thing up we fully anticipate him starting and like everybody he’s a little bit sore right now, but we’re bringing him back. We had a very good preseason, but it’s been grueling, the weather the past few days – the air has been heavy, but the guys will be ready to go on Saturday. Jon is certainly more mature, he has a better feel for the big picture of the game and athletically he’s had a year in the weigh room, he’s explosive, he’s a very sound leader and the team will look to him to set a pace.”

On Max Nacewicz’s leadership and experience: “Max is a tremendous athlete, both strength wise and speed wise, and he’s in tremendous shape, but what he’s done to help this team is he gets other people around him better. He’s a solid kid, he just loves to play football, but we expect to a very strong and consistent performance each week.”

On preparing the defense for WNE’s offense: “Well, they have a very experience quarterback over there and I believe he’s a senior and he’s been around, so whenever there is a senior leadership (on the opposite side) and a kid with a lot of experience in that position, you’ve got to try and get him out of rhythm. You have to be able to provide pressure and I am sure that Western New England’s skill group this year is very, very good and has a lot of experience, but I think the key thing for our guys is to disrupt (our opponent’s) offensive rhythm with a strong pass rush. We’re also still hoping that speed will be what we do best on defense, too.”

On facing WNE for the first time: “It used to be the Springfield-AIC game and that was certainly a highlight battle, but now AIC is gone a different direction with a strong Division II program and we’re Division III, so this will be a certainly a high interest game in Springfield. It’s our first time playing them, I know (other teams) play them in other sports and it’s very competitive, so I am sure both teams are looking forward to establishing this as a traditional game. We’re looking forward to playing Western New England and I am sure they’re looking forward to playing us.”

On keys to a successful season: “Well, I think the fact that we were pretty young last year and we’ve got a lot of those guys back and they’ve had a strong offseason and they’re a little bit stronger and the team has developed a real solid work ethic, so I think that’s going to be a positive factor for us. These kids have all gotten a little bit stronger and a little bit faster, but with the experience we’ve gained last year we do have high expectations of the kids that are returning and we expect them to perform at a higher level like we did last year.”

On the remaining other non-league foes: “We expect Husson to be an improved team and Mount Ida had us right on the ropes last year, so we expect to go down there and have a battle with Mount Ida. What we hope to gain from these games is to the opportunity to build up to speed and (prepare ourselves) for the Liberty League, which is a strong conference. Rochester has an outstanding quarterback returning, they’re always tough on defense, but we hope to grow in these games. Again, early season games help develop confidence, so we hope to establish it and do a good job in these early season games, so we can get some confidence as we get ready to go into the league.”