New England Basketball Weekend Watch (Jan. 10th-12th)

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By Matt Noonan | @NoontimeNation 

Another busy weekend of New England D-III college basketball is set to tip-off this afternoon and evening – hope you are ready for some great games to watch and follow!

Let’s begin with one game to watch in Medford, Massachusetts this evening as the Tufts University women’s basketball team welcomes Wesleyan University to Cousens Gymnasium for a 7 p.m. tip-off.

Friday’s clash between the Cardinals and Jumbos marks the official start of New England Small College Athletic Conference (NESCAC) play.

Tufts enters tonight’s contest riding an impressive 13-game winning streak, which has included recent wins over UMass DartmouthSUNYIT, and Wheaton College. Emily Briggs highlighted the Powder and Blue’s effort against the Lyons on Wednesday by connecting on 7 of 10 field goals for 19 points – she also made all three freebies. Erica DeCandido chipped in 13 points on six of eight shooting.

Wesleyan should certainly provide Tufts with some challenges on both ends of the court – the Cardinals have won eight of 11 contests thus far, including an early January clash with Babson College. The Cardinals began their 2019-20 campaign with six-straight wins.

In their last outing against SUNY Geneseo, last weekend, Caleigh Ryan and Katy O’Connor combined for 24 points, while Emma Roush added 10 points off the bench. 

A few other NESCAC women’s games to watch tonight and this weekend include Bowdoin College at Trinity College (1/10 at 7 p.m.), Amherst College at Middlebury College (1/10 at 7 p.m.), and Amherst at Williams College on Saturday, January 11th at 3 p.m.

On the men’s side of the NESCAC, keep an eye on Friday’s clash between Middlebury and Amherst. The Panthers have won 13-straight contests, including three consecutive 2020 meetings with Colby-SawyerSpringfield College, and Plattsburgh State. This particular outing should be a good test for the Panthers, but also the Mammoths, who began the new year with a 116-44 win over Lesley University before falling to Wesleyan three days later by a score of 79-77.

My prediction for Friday’s Amherst-Middlebury game is the following: The Mammoths will prevail and receive some major contributions from Grant Robinson, Fru Che, and Eric Sellew.

Tomorrow (Saturday, January 11th), WPI will entertain Babson in a very enticing New England Women’s and Men’s Athletic Conference (NEWMAC) contest. The Engineers began conference play earlier this week against MIT, while the Beavers were edged on Wednesday by Springfield.

It’s too early to say this a must-win for the Beavers (or Engineers) as all eight teams play each other twice in a single-season, but this could be a potential preview of the conference championship game next month.

Other Games to Watch (and Follow) this Weekend: 

  • WBB: Framingham State at Westfield State (Saturday, Jan. 11th at 12 p.m.): The Rams can begin conference play with a win on the road against an Owls team, which has not won a game since beating Plymouth State in mid-to-late November.
  • WBB: Western New England at Wentworth Inst. of Technology (Saturday, Jan. 11th at 1 p.m.): Look for the Golden Bears to bounce back after losing to WPI earlier this week. A win over the Leopards would provide WNE with their fourth conference win and keep them within at least one or two games of the University of New England.
  • WBB: Brandeis University at New York University (Saturday, Jan. 11th at 1 p.m.): The Judges face another 10-1 squad in an important conference meeting. Brandeis has won 10 of 11 contests this season so I expect that momentum will help them against the Violets.
  • MBB: Keene State at Rhode Island College (Saturday, Jan. 11th at 3 p.m.): This is an important meeting for both teams as the Anchormen and Owls are in a three-way tie with Western Connecticut for the top spot in the conference. Look for the Anchormen to bounce back after losing to Western Connecticut earlier this week.

D3 Hoops: 10 Games To Watch (Feb. 16th)

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By NoontimeSports.com | @NoontimeSports 

Happy Friday, everyone!

Welcome to our FINAL 10 Games to Watch for the 2018-19 season – crazy how fast the time goes! Let’s go out in style with some great picks before we dive into conference tournament coverage.

Last week, we picked seven of ten games correctly to bump our overall record to 59-31. 


Lesley University at New England College (MBB) | Saturday, February 16th at 1 p.m.: The Pilgrims established a new program-record for consecutive wins (10) one week ago with a 112-97 victory over Becker College. Look for their winning streak to continue on Saturday before they head into the NECC Tournament as the team to beat. PREDICTION: New England College 

Wheaton College at Clark University (MBB) | Saturday, February 16th at 1 p.m.: Look for the Cougars to deliver coach Paul Phillips his final win before he heads into retirement. PREDICTION: Clark University 

Maine Maritime at Thomas College (MBB) | Saturday, February 16th at 1 p.m.: The Terriers beat Maine Maritime at home one week ago before capping their 2018-19 slate with a 90-76 win over UMaine-Farmington. Look for Thomas to find a way past the Mariners and advance to the NAC semifinals next Friday. PREDICTION: Thomas College 

MIT at Coast Guard Academy (WBB) | Saturday, February 16th at 1 p.m.: This a must-win for the Bears, who hope to clinch a spot in next week’s NEWMAC Tournament. MIT rebounded from a tough loss to Smith with a big win on Wednesday over Wheaton. A win for the Engineers would provide them with some additional momentum heading into the postseason. PREDICTION: MIT 

UMass Boston at Rhode Island College (WBB) | Saturday, February 16th at 1 p.m.: The Beacons suffered a heartbreaker the other evening with a one-point loss to UMass Dartmouth (60-59). Look for the Blue and White to bounce back on Saturday with an end of season victory before heading into the LEC Tournament. PREDICTION: UMass Boston 

Wheaton College at Smith College (WBB) | Saturday, February 16th at 2 p.m.: A win for the Pioneers would provide coach Lynn Hersey with her 200th win at Smith. Additionally, a victory would keep the Pioneers’ momentum going into the NEWMAC Tournament. PREDICTION: Smith College 

UMaine-Farmington at Northern Vermont University-Lyndon (WBB) | February 16th at 2 p.m.: This is an enticing opening round NAC Tournament tilt between two teams that both beat each other earlier this winter. NVY-Lyndon may have some momentum heading into this win or go home clash, thanks to a pair of recent victories over SUNY Canton and Northern Vermont-Johnson. PREDICTION: Northern Vermont Univ.-Lyndon 

Babson at WPI (WBB) | Saturday, February 16th at 3 p.m.: The Beavers clinched a share of the NEWMAC crown earlier this week with a 62-40 win over Wellesley College. WPI needs to win to keep their postseason hopes alive, so this is a playoff game for the Engineers. PREDICTION: Babson College 

Eastern Connecticut at Keene State (MBB) | Saturday, February 16th at 3 p.m.: The Owls soar into their final contest of the season as one of the hottest teams in New England. Keene State has won nine-straight and needs this win to keep their momentum going into the LEC Tournament next week. PREDICTION: Keene State 


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Three-Point Heroics Lifts Lesley Past Regis in NECC Quarterfinals

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Lesley’s Devon Mayo sank the game-winning trey on Tuesday evening, which lifted the Lynx past Regis in the NECC Quarterfinals. (PHOTO CREDIT: Lesley University Athletics)

By Matt Noonan (@MattNoonan11) 

By now you probably know that the Lesley University men’s basketball team will be competing in the New England Collegiate Conference (NECC) semifinals on Thursday – the Lynx are scheduled to visit Becker College with tip-off scheduled for 7 p.m.

Yet, how did the Lynx advance to their first conference semifinal in six years?

Simple: a game-winning trey from Devon Mayo with three seconds remaining, which lifted the Lynx past Regis College, 69-68.

Courtesy of Michael Crotty (@CoachCrotty), here is the game-winning basket from last night’s NECC quarterfinals, which was seen on Twitter:

Mayo concluded the contest with 14 points, seven rebounds, seven assists and two steals.

Following the contest, the Lynx men’s basketball team shared the game-winning basket on Twitter, which fans can also see on the Lesley Athletics website:

NECC Men’s Basketball Conference Play Heating Up

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Becker College first-year Antonio White Jr. and the Hawks currently occupy first place in the NECC. (PHOTO CREDIT: Foley Photography)

By Matt Noonan (@MattNoonan11

We have an interesting conference race taking place (and heating up) in the New England Collegiate Conference (NECC) – it has been one of the various leagues we have been eyeing the past few weeks.

As of this afternoon, the Becker College men’s basketball team appears to be in the driver seat for the top spot. Yet, they still have some important games remaining, including a late afternoon/early evening clash with the Wildcats of Wheelock College – that game is scheduled to tip-off at 5:30 p.m.

Wheelock enters the game in a two-way tie for fourth place with Daniel Webster College – the Eagles are 2-2 in their last four games, but scored an impressive win over Lesley University 10 days ago (to be exact!).

The Lynx have been a fun story this season – they’re currently in sole possession of third place with a 6-3 conference ledger and have won 12 games, which matches their win total from the 2007-08 season.

Let’s also not overlook Southern Vermont, which has won five-straight contests. They’re idle this evening, but return to action on Thursday against Mitchell College. The Mountaineers captured the NECC crown last season en route to their second trip in program history to the NCAA Tournament.

The Mountaineers defeated Becker in tournament finale – could we be headed that way again? It’s possible – the two teams are scheduled to meet next month. Southern Vermont will host the initial meeting on Monday, February 6 before traveling to Becker on Wednesday, February 8. Both games will be must-follow!

Finally, keep an eye on Regis College and Mitchell – both teams could make some late season surges and make the positioning for the six-team tournament quite interesting!

Lesley Women’s Soccer Looks To Turn NECC Winning Streak Into NCAA Tournament Success

Lesley University women's soccer has not dropped a single New England Collegiate Conference (NECC) match since October 2008. (Photo Credit: Lesley University Athletics)

Lesley University women’s soccer has not dropped a single New England Collegiate Conference (NECC) match since October 2008. (Photo Credit: Lesley University Athletics)

By Matt Noonan 

Since joining the New England Collegiate Conference (NECC) in 2008, the Lesley University women’s soccer team has posted a 63-1-1 ledger, capturing a quartet of conference tournament championships, while making three straight NCAA tournament appearances since 2012.

Currently, the Lynx find themselves atop the NECC standings with a perfect 5-0 mark in league play. Their most recent win – an 8-0 victory over Wheelock College – marked the program’s 57th straight match they haven’t lost since October 2008.

“I am not a big follower of this whole (winning) streak to begin with,” said Lesley head coach Paul Vasconcelos. “This is a rarity, so we should appreciate it, but we’re just focused on winning as many games as we can.”

Creating a winning culture was the goal for Vasconcelos, who inherited a 2-15-2 squad heading into the 2007 season. Since his initial match on the sidelines, Lesley has posted nine consecutive double-digit win seasons, along with a pair of 18-win campaigns in 2013 and 2014.

Additionally, Vasconcelos has scheduled strong non-conference foes, including Brandeis University – currently ranked 12th in the country – Babson College, MIT, Tufts University and Wellesley College, which has helped the program continue to get stronger.

“We’re not fazed anymore by playing (tough non-conference foes) because we face top-10 teams in the country every season,” said Vasconcelos. “Playing these teams has helped us know we can compete with the best.”

Lesley University celebrates following its exciting overtime win over Tufts University last month. (Photo Credit: Lesley University Athletics).

Lesley University celebrates following its exciting overtime win over Tufts University last month. (Photo Credit: Lesley University Athletics)

Strong competition is also been the reason Lesley hasn’t dropped a game since their two-goal setback to Emerson College last month. Lesley is currently riding a seven-game winning streak and will attempt to capture its eighth straight match when they host Mitchell College tomorrow evening at 8:00 p.m.

Lesley is led by freshman Jordan Mitchell, who has registered seven goals and eight assists. She is currently in a two-way tie for fourth place in the conference in points (22) with with Becker College freshman Lindsey Keith.

Senior Hayley Wirth and junior Julie Essick have each contributed five goals, while sophomore Sarah Pochobradsky has tallied a trio of markers.

In net, Lesley has relied on senior Jackie Berard and sophomore Lilly Donovan – the pair has combined for 42 stops and one shutout.

“This team wants to compete and we couldn’t be more pleased with our freshman class, along with our returning players that worked very hard during the offseason because they knew their was a void being left by our graduating players,” said Vasconcelos.

With four matches remaining, along with the conference tournament, Lesley will look to continue the program’s success and hopefully capture their initial NCAA tournament game next month. Lesley fell to eighth-ranked Montclair State last season in the opening round by one goal, but suffered a 5-1 setback a year earlier to Williams College and 2-0 loss to Misericordia in 2012.

“When your first game is against either Williams or Montclair State that can be tough, however, last year we felt that we were prepared and it showed because our girls played phenomenal,” said Vasconcelos. “We felt we played toe-to-toe with them, we gave them some problems and obviously they’re a really, really talented team, but we’re really pleased (by the effort).”

Vasconcelos knows NCAA tournament success will come, however, he and the Lynx remain focused on their next opponent and will let the outcomes determine whether this is the year Lesley will finally clinch their initial national postseason tournament match.

“I would say that our team is not conscious about the conference winning streak, but instead they are very conscious about the fact that they have been one-and-out the last three years,” said Vasconcelos.

“If we’re able to capture (that NCAA victory), it would be a very rewarding and celebratory time for us. If we’re fortunate enough to go back to NCAA’s this year, we’ll do what we did last year, which is compete and hope for the best.”