The USJ men’s basketball team has won 17-straight contests, dating back to November 2019. (PHOTO COURTESY: Univ. of St. Joseph’s (Conn.) Athletics)
By Matt Noonan | @NoontimeNation
Winning one or two games in a row is not an easy task in any sports team, but capturing 17-straight contests is pretty impressive.
The University of St. Joseph’s (Conn.) men’s basketball team secured its 17th consecutive victory last night with a 94-57 win over Lasell University. Lasell entered the early week meeting with the Blue Jays undefeated in conference play.
Taelon Martin led the Blue and Gold with 19 points off the bench – he finished 8 of 13 from the field, including 3 of 5 from beyond the arc – while Jordan Powell registered a double-double of 12 rebounds and 10 points to go with five blocks, three assists, and one steal. Jaecee Martin finished Tuesday’s game with 16 points on 6 of 9 shooting.
The Blue Jays led the Lasers, 40-19, at the break and then outscored the hosts in the second half, 54-38.
With the win, USJ improved to 18-2 overall and 6-0 against Great Northeast Athletic Conference (GNAC) teams.
As of now, USJ appears to be a lock for the top spot in the conference tournament later this month with five games remaining. The Blue Jays could, however, encounter some challenges, especially against Anna Maria College and Emmanuel College. Anna Maria has won four of seven conference tilts this winter, while the Saints are 5-1 against league opponents.
Last season, the Blue Jays advanced to the conference championship but fell to Albertus Magnus, which represented the conference in the 2019 NCAA Division III Tournament.
Regular Season Champion (Prediction): Western New England. The Golden Bears seem to be the team to beat in the CCC this spring and should take care of business on Saturday against the Gulls. Maybe they get tripped up down the stretch by Roger Williams or Salve Regina, but the Golden Bears are my pick to win the regular season crown and host the 2018 CCC Tournament.
Great Northeast Athletic Conference (GNAC): This is an interesting conference to watch – there really isn’t a favorite. Lasell College captured the GNAC crown last season, but appears to have rebounded from a difficult start. The Lasers boast a 2-0 ledger in league play and can really push ahead for good with a win this weekend over Mount Ida College. The Mustangs are certainly in contention for the regular season crown, as well as Johnson & Wales, Norwich University and Rivier University.
Regular Season Champion (Prediction): Despite a slow start, I still like Lasell College, especially if they can find a way past Mount Ida this weekend.
Little East Conference (LEC): Keene State will remain the favorite in the LEC, but it will be interesting to watch a few teams over the next few weeks, including UMass Dartmouth, which is riding a three-game winning streak. The Corsairs will meet the Owls this weekend in New Hampshire.
Regular Season Champion (Prediction): Let’s go with … Keene State! The Owls will secure the top seed. Sure, they may get tripped up once (or twice?) down the stretch, but they will be the team to beat in the LEC postseason.
New England Collegiate Conference (NECC): Dean College appears to be the team to beat in the NECC. They currently boast a 5-3 overall ledger and will begin conference play this Saturday, April 7 when they host Mitchell College at 1 p.m.
All three NECC teams will qualify for the tournament later this month, but as of now, it appears the Bulldogs have the upper hand against Mitchell and Becker College.
Regular Season Champion (Prediction): The Dean Bulldogs should most likely be the team that hosts the championship game on Saturday, April 28.
New England Small College Athletic Conference (NESCAC): As expected, the NESCAC has been a fun conference to follow this season – a majority of their team’s have continued to appear in our weekly Top 10 poll.
My guess, as of now, is Amherst College will find a way to secure the top seed, but I wouldn’t rule out Tufts University or Wesleyan University. All three teams will meet over the next few weeks, which will help determine the regular season champion.
Keep an eye on Bowdoin College, Connecticut College and Williams College over the next few weeks, as well.
New England Women’s and Men’s Athletic Conference (NESCAC): Coast Guard Academy has been the team to watch – can they continue their March momentum this month against MIT and Springfield College? Their mid-week match against the Pride in two weeks will most likely determine the top seed in the NEWMAC.
Springfield has enjoyed another successful regular season campaign, as well. They boast a solid 6-3 ledger, which includes some non-conference wins over SUNY Cortland, Nazareth and Union College.
Regular Season Champion (Prediction): I think Coast Guard Academy will find a way to get past Springfield to secure the top seed in the NEWMAC.
North Atlantic Conference (NAC): Once again, New England College appears to be the favorite – I am not sure if Castleton University will catch the Pilgrims, but we shall see.
NEC has rebounded from an 0-4 start with seven-straight wins, including some non-league victories over University of New England, Mount Ida and Norwich University.
Regular Season Champion (Prediction): The New England College Pilgrims will finish its conference slate undefeated and secure the top spot in the NAC playoffs.
The Wildcats secured seven of 11 first-place votes while Lasell College, which checked-in second overall, secured a pair of first-place nods. Saint Joseph’s (Maine) also earned a pair of first-place nods, too – the Monks slid into the third position, while Mount Ida College and Emmanuel College rounded out the top five, checking in fourth and fifth, respectively.
Simmons College, Regis College and Norwich University secured the sixth, seventh and eighth positions, respectively, while Rivier and Alberts Magnus checked-in ninth and 10th overall. Saint Joseph (Conn.) secured the final position, checking in 11th overall.
Johnson & Wales captured the GNAC crown last season by defeating Simmons, 19-5, thanks to an impressive nine-point performance (five goals, four assists) from Maria Patane, who was selected to the All-Touyrnament Team. Lydia Knapp was also named to the All-Tournament Team, while also being named the tournament’s Most Valuable Player (MVP) after recording five points on four goals and one assist.
Lasell collected seven of 10 first-place votes, while Johnson & Wales, Norwich University and Mount Ida each earned one first-place nod – all three teams checked-in second, third and fourth, respectively.
Emmanuel College rounded out the top five positions, while Saint Joseph’s (Maine) and Regis College slid into the sixth and seventh spots.
Rivier University, Albertus Magnus and Anna Maria rounded out the final three spots, checking-in eighth, ninth and 10th, respectively.
The Lasers captured all eighth of their conference games last season before defeating Mount Ida and Norwich in the conference tournament.
The Lasell College men’s lacrosse team captured its first-ever Great Northeast Athletic Conference (GNAC) crown on Saturday with a 13-12 win over Mount Ida College. (PHOTO CREDIT: Matt Noonan/Noontime Sports)
By Matt Noonan (@MattNoonan11)
NEWTON, Mass. – For the first-time in program history, the Lasell College men’s lacrosse team captured the Great Northeast Athletic Conference (GNAC) men’s lacrosse championship with a 13-12 victory over Mount Ida College on Saturday afternoon at Grellier Field.
“Our focus (all season) was to get here, but we (took it) one-step at a time and we didn’t focus on this moment, but instead the process to get here and it paid off,” said Lasell men’s lacrosse coach Bill Mason, who is in his second season with the Lasers.
“We just kept telling the guys to keep things small and stick to the level of our training, and I am so proud of them (that) they were able to do it.”
Lasell, which will be making its first-ever appearance in the upcoming NCAA Division III Tournament next week, received a big boost from senior Michael Susi, who concluded the contest with four goals, including a pair in the final frame.
“(Mike) has worked so hard all year and he’s got iced-cold veins to take some of those shots (that he did),” said Mason.
Susi’s third goal, an early fourth quarter strike, jumpstarted a three-goal run for the Lasers, which helped the hosts secure the lead for good – the team’s third goal provided Lasell with a 12-9 advantage.
Mount Ida (14-5) trimmed the deficit not once, but twice, and came close to netting the equalizer in the final minute. However, Lasell’s defense, along with senior goaltender Jorge Salazar, closed the door on a possible Mustangs comeback, which could have sent the contest to overtime.
In addition to Susi, Lasell received multiple offensive contributions from senior Josh Gallant (two goals and two assists), junior Austin Tomasetti (two goals and two assists) and sophomore Ryan Madden (three goals), who was tabbed the conference tournament’s most valuable player.
“We got this win as a team and we could not be more happy about it,” said Madden. “To win this, all that work from last year and that work from this year, and we were able to take the ‘ship this year.”
Both teams swapped goals through the opening minutes of the initial session before Mount Ida secured a 5-2 lead after the first 15 minutes. The teams would enter the break tied at 7-7 before concluding the third quarter tied at 9-9.
Lasell will enter the upcoming NCAA Tournament riding a five-game winning streak, which dates back to a 13-4 win over Saint Joseph’s (Maine) last month.