The 2020 New England D-III Lacrosse is over. But despite seasons being cut short due to the spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19), we’re still excited to unveil our third and final poll of the season, which is powered by Zelos Athletics, which turns athletes into champions.
Williams College remained in the top spot – the Ephs capped their 2020 season with an impressive 13-11 victory last Wednesday over RPI. The Ephs, who were ranked first last week, scored just two conference wins this spring, along with a solid 11-10 win over Union College earlier this month.
Both Amherst College and Tufts University capped their respective seasons on high-notes last week with wins over Endicott College and Ithaca College. Wesleyan University remained in the fourth position while Western New England and Middlebury College switched positions, checking-in fifth and sixth, respectively.
Babson College, Coast Guard Academy, and Trinity College remained in the same positions from one week ago while the Gulls of Endicott secured the tenth and final position.
New England D-III Men’s Lax Top 10 Poll | Monday, March 16th, 2020
1. Williams College
4-0, 2-0 NESCAC
Last Week: No. 1
2. Tufts University
4-0, 2-0 NESCAC
Last Week: No. 2
3. Amherst College
3-1, 1-1 NESCAC
Last Week: No. 3
4. Wesleyan University
3-1, 1-0 NESCAC
Last Week: No. 4
5. Western New England
4-1, 0-0 CCC
Last Week: No. 6
6. Middlebury College
3-0, 2-0 NESCAC
Last Week: No. 5
7. Babson College
3-3, 0-0 NEWMAC
Last Week: No. 7
8. Coast Guard Academy
2-4, 0-0 NEWMAC
Last Week: No. 8
9. Trinity College
3-1, 1-1 NESCAC
Last Week: No. 9
10. Endicott College
2-3, 0-0 CCC
Last Week: Not Ranked
On The Rise: Bates College, Hamilton College, Keene State, MIT, Salve Regina, and Springfield College
Today would have been the sectional finals for eight NCAA D-III women’s basketball teams. It would have also been a day of third-round men’s basketball action with eight teams vying for spots in next weekend’s quarterfinals.
Sure, we don’t know who would have extended their respective season an additional day or week, but the opening weekend of the 2020 NCAA D-III Basketball Tournaments did produce some exciting outcomes and finishes, as well as some dramatic moments, which I have highlighted below.
Here are a few moments that I will remember from the opening weekend of both NCAA Tournaments, enjoy!
Tufts’ epic comeback against Western Connecticut. Trailing the Colonials by 21 points at the break, Tufts leaned on Luke Rogers and Carson Cohen to lead the Jumbos past Western Connecticut in an exciting opening round contest last Friday, March 6th in Medford, Massachusetts.
Rogers led the Jumbos with a double-double of 16 rebounds and 15 points while Cohen chipped in 14 points, including two three-pointers.
The win prompted an enormous celebration, which would continue the following day when Tufts beat RPI, 75-66, to secure a date with the College of Brockport in the third round.
Smith College advances to its first-ever “Sweet 16.” The Pioneers entered the postseason with some serious momentum – they scored three-straight wins in the New England Women’s and Men’s Athletic Conference (NEWMAC) tournament and had not lost a game since early February. That momentum carried the Pioneers to not just one, but two postseason wins last weekend over No. 20 DeSales (81-72) and SUNY New Paltz (62-60).
Their win over SUNY New Paltz was highlighted by a late 10-0 run during the final minutes of the fourth quarter, which was capped by a go-ahead and eventual game-winning basket by Amelia Clairmont.
Jim Calhoun makes his initial NCAA D-III Tournament debut. After leading the University of Saint Joseph’s (Conn.) to its initial Great Northeast Athletic Conference (GNAC) title in just its second season as a varsity program, coach Jim Calhoun earned his first trip to the NCAA D-III Tournament. But unfortunately, the Blue Jays’ appearance in the tournament didn’t last long as Hobart defeated the Blue and Gold, 78-74, in the opening round.
The setback to the Statesmen concluded an impressive second season by the Blue Jays, which was highlighted by a 25-game winning streak that stretched from late November to early March. Additionally, the 2019-20 season included an impressive milestone for Calhoun, his 900th win in January.
Eastern Connecticut’s defense highlighted its opening-round win. It was the Warriors’ defense that helped Eastern Connecticut top St. JohnFisher, 60-43, in the opening round and score its first NCAA Tournament victory since 2015.
St. John Fisher was limited to 13 points or less in each frame, including seven points in the second quarter.
Williams College returns to its first NCAA D-III “Sweet 16” in seven years. The Ephs were a team to watch this season – they won 20 of 28 contests and came within a few baskets of advancing to the 2020 New England Small College Athletic Conference (NESCAC) championship last month. But despite losing in the NESCAC semifinals to Tufts University, the Ephs were able to bounce back as an at-large bid to this year’s “big dance” and win back-to-back contests against Albright College and Ithaca College.
Williams trailed Ithaca, 16-14, after opening quarter before outscoring the hosts in the final three sessions to secure a 69-61 win, along with a spot in the NCAA D-III “Sweet 16” for the first time in seven seasons. Maggie Meehan led the Ephs with 18 points on 7 of 17 shooting while Mikaela Topper added 16 points, four rebounds, two assists, and two steals.
When the NCAA D-III Women’s Basketball Tournament pairings were released last Monday, the thought of Williams College facing Tufts University for the third time this season seemed like a possibility. But it wasn’t a given.
For the Ephs and Jumbos to meet in the “Sweet 16,” both teams needed to win their respective pods, which they did. Tufts beat SUNY Cortland and SUNY Poly while Williams topped Albright College and Ithaca College. And now, the two New England Small College Athletic Conference (NESCAC) squads are scheduled to tip-off this Friday, March 13th in Medford, Massachusetts.
When asked about competing against the Jumbos for a third time this season, Williams coach Pat Manning smiled and then said, “Here we go with our third time with Tufts. Hope the third time’s a charm, right?”
Perhaps the third time will be the charm for the Ephs, who have lost twice this winter to the Jumbos, including a six-point setback in the NESCAC semifinals last month, which provided Tufts an opportunity to contend for the conference title against Bowdoin College.
Prior to their meeting in the NESCAC Tournament, Tufts beat Williams on the final Saturday of the regular season by a score of 76-60. Cailin Harrington highlighted the win for the Jumbos with 17 points on five of ten shooting to go with nine rebounds, two assists, and one block while Williams’ Maggie Meehan tallied 17 points, as well, along with one rebound, one assist, and one steal.
Williams, which earned its first trip to the “big dance” in five seasons as an at-large bid, will be making its fifth appearance in the “Sweet 16” on Friday.
For the ninth consecutive season, the Tufts University women’s basketball team secured a spot in the upcoming NCAA D-III Tournament’s “Sweet 16” with a 79-53 win over SUNY Cortlandon Saturday afternoon at Western New England.
Erica DeCandido led the Jumbos and all scorers with 26 points to go with 11 rebounds, three assists, and three steals while Emily Briggs chipped in 21 points on 9 of 15 shooting. Briggs also contributed nine rebounds, two assists, one steal, and one block.
Tufts led 21-14 after one quarter before pushing ahead for good at the break with a 38-22 advantage. Cortland did reduce the deficit in the second half with a 22 point output, but it wasn’t enough to provide the Red Dragons with enough momentum to slow down the Jumos in the final frame.
Three members of the Red Dragons netted double-digits, Casey Travers, who finished with a team-high 13 points on four of nine shooting.
Cortland secured a second-round date with the Jumbos after scoring an opening day win over host Western New England. Tufts defeated SUNY Poly on the first day by a score of 72-34.