James Cahoon‘s lone touchdown pass on Friday evening against Western Connecticut proved to be the difference in an important conference matchup for Bridgewater State.
The Bears, who rallied to beat the Western Connecticut by a score of 21-17, improve to 2-2 overall and 2-0 in the Massachusetts State Collegiate Athletic Conference (MASCAC) — the victory should provide the Red and White with some momentum heading into next week’s meeting with Fitchburg State after starting its 2021 campaign with back-to-back losses to Ithaca College and the University of New England.
Cahoon finished Friday’s contest 19 of 32 for 214 yard and one touchdown while halfback Adam Couch rushed for a game-high 165 yards and two scores.
Steven Silvia and Kodi Saotome combined for 24 total tackles on defense while the entire unit finished the game with four tackles for a loss of four yards, two forced fumbles, two pass break-ups, two interceptions, and one fumble recovery.
Western Connecticut entered its second conference tilt averaging 31.3 points per game — last week, the Colonials produced a season-high 42 points against Westfield State.
Heading into the second month of play, the Bears will certainly be a team to watch — sure, they might be the favorites in a few upcoming matchups against the Falcons, Worcester State, and Westfield State, but you never know if one or all three of these teams could score an upset victory.
As of now — midday, to be exact — the Bears are the only MASCAC squad with two conferece wins, but they could end the day in a three-way tie for the top spot in the conference, pending outcomes from Worcester State-UMass Dartmouth and Framingham State-Westfield State.
Both Framingham State and Worcester State boast identical 1-0 conference records.
There is still a lot of football left to be played, but last night’s outcome should certainly provide Bridgewater State with a great deal of momentum heading into the second month of play, but don’t overlook Western Connecticut, which faces an important test next week at home against UMass Dartmouth.
The fourth week of the New England NCAA Division III football season is set to begin tomorrow with Bridgewater State hosting Western Connecticut in a very important Massachusetts State Collegiate Athletic Conference (MASCAC) meeting.
Both teams enter the contest with identical 1-0 marks in conference play, but a win will certainly provide either the Bears or Colonials with a leg-up heading into the second month of conference play.
But before the Bears and Colonials kick off the fourth week of the 2021 New England D-III football season, allow us to share our five teams to watch this weekend.
In case you missed it, make sure to check out this week’s Noontime Sports New England D-III Top 20 Poll, which featured both Bridgewater State and Western Connecticut.
Bridgewater State (1-2, 1-0 MASCAC): The Bears have been competitive this fall, despite losing two of three contests, but Friday’s tilt with the Colonials of Western Connecticut is somewhat of a “must-win.”
Bridgewater scored its first victory of the 2021 season last Saturday by defeating Plymouth State by a score of 27-24.
Halfback Adam Couch was a big part of his team’s win by rushing for a game-high 150 yards on 26 carries and one touchdown — he also caught two passes for five yards.
Brendan Albert led the Bridgewater State defense with 11 total tackles, including two tackles for a loss of 10 yards, two forced fumbles, and one fumble recovery returned for 12 yards.
Plymouth State won the time of possession — they also outscored the hosts 14-0 in the final session.
Bridgewater will need to play one of its best games of the season on Friday — one of the biggest tasks for the Red and White’s defense is slowing down a Western Connecticut offense that is second in the MASCAC in yards per game (388.7).
If you like offense, then you will be in for a treat as both squads rank in the top three in yards per game behind UMass Dartmouth (409.0) while Western Connecticut leads all MASCAC teams with 94 points through three games. Bridgewater has tallied 67 points through three contests.
Framingham State (1-2, 1-0 MASCAC): Tom Kelley celebrated his birthday last Saturday with a Homecoming Day victory over UMass Dartmouth, which has provided the Rams with some much-needed momentum after dropping back-to-back non-conference games to Brockport and St. John Fisher.
Quarterback Nicolas Goffredo was tabbed the MASCAC Offensive Player of the Week on Sunday after tallying 248 yards of total offense, including 166 through the air to go with two touchdown passes.
Matthew Farley was named the conference’s Special Teams Player of the Week — the first-year kicker converted all six extra points to go with a 23-yard field goal.
This week, the Rams welcome Westfield State to Framingham — it is a game we believe they will win to even their record at 2-2 heading into an important October stretch.
MIT (1-1, 0-0 NEWMAC): The Engineers were idle last week after seeing their comeback against Salve Regina fall short in week two.
This week, coach Brian Bubna’s squad heads to Dean College in what should be an interesting matchup for both the Engineers and Bulldogs.
Both MIT and Dean are seeking their second win of the 2021 season after scoring opening day victories earlier this month
Through two contests, MIT has limited its opponents to just two touchdowns, but can this Engineers defense slow down a Dean offense that is averaging 28.3 points per game? Additionally, Dean’s passing attack could provide challenges for the MIT secondary — that is one matchup to watch — but keep an eye on the Engineers’ rushing attack, which is led by Jay Theriault (115 yards and one touchdown) and Brady Klein (82 yards and two touchdowns).
Springfield College (1-2, 0-0 NEWMAC): Similar to Bridgewater State, the Pride of Springfield has also been quite competitive this fall, despite dropping two of three games to Union College and Western New England.
Against Union, the Pride tallied 435 yards of offense after registering a season-best 495 one week earlier against Rowan University while limiting the Dutchmen to a season-low in total points (30).
Springfield College quarterback David Wells registered season-highs in completions (four), passing yards (145), and one passing touchdown to go with 56 rushing yards and two scores on the ground. Kicker Christian Hutra tallied five points on two extra points and a 30-yard field goal, which brought the visitors within a touchdown with 2:54 remaining.
The Pride head to Husson University this Saturday for a chance to even their record before their initial New England Women’s and Men’s Athletic Conference (NEWMAC) clash next month against Coast Guard Academy.
Springfield last competed against Husson in 2017 when the two squads met in the opening round of the NCAA Tournament.
Williams College (1-0, 1-0 NESCAC): The Ephs were impressive in their initial game of the 2021 New England Small College Athletic Conference (NESCAC) season by scoring a big win over the league’s 2019 champions Middlebury College last Saturday.
Quarterback Bobby Maimaron accounted for three touchdowns, including two on the ground while Joel Nicholas added 41 yards on 13 carries and three scores.
On defense, Jarrett Wesner, Edward Manzella, and TJ Rothman combined for 22 total tackles to go with two interceptions. The defense did not make things easy on Middlebury quarterback Will Jernigan, who threw for a game-high 215 passing yards and two touchdowns, along with three interceptions.
The opening day win momentum should continue this week as Williams travels to Tufts University for an enticing matchup between two teams that are expected to contend for the conference crown.
Tufts dropped its season-opener to Trinity College, but a few Jumbos, including quarterback Matt Crowley, wide receiver Jackson Butler, and linebacker Spencer Alligood played well — all three, along with others will be players to watch on Saturday against Williams.
The last time the Ephs topped the Jumbos in Somerville was October 20, 2012.
A brand new season of NCAA Division III football is set to kick off tomorrow before a few New England squads compete for the first time since 2019 on Friday and Saturday.
Before we officially begin a brand new season of college football — yes, we know some FBS and FCS teams began their respective campaigns last weekend during Week 0 — let’s dish our conference predictions and teams to watch for Region One.
Best of luck to all teams competing, both this weekend and over the next few days/weeks, and if you’re craving more New England (and NCAA D-III) football coverage, then make sure to check out our first Top 20 poll of the season and our preseason team.
Commonwealth Coast Football (CCC)
Predicted conference winner: Western New England: Quarterback Alec Coleman has graduated, but these Golden Bears return a great deal of talent on both sides of the ball that should position the Blue and Gold to win their fourth-straight CCC title.
Teams in the mix: Endicott College, Husson University, Nichols College, and Salve Regina: All four squads will certainly provide challenges for the Golden Bears as the season progresses, but one should not overlook the Eagles of Husson, who return some key pieces from their 2019 squad that will keep the Green and Gold in the mix for the top spot.
Keep your eyes on the University of New England: The Nor’easters are trending in the right direction — the Blue and White could enter their initial week of conference play with two or three non-conference victories.
Eastern Collegiate Football Conference (ECFC)
Predicted conference winner: Dean College: The Bulldogs enter 2021 with a target on their back after winning their first conference crown in 2019.
Teams in the mix: Anna Maria College, Alfred State, and SUNY-Maritime: The Privateers have posted five wins or more since 2015, so don’t be surprised to see them challenge the Bulldogs for the top spot this fall. Also, keep your eyes on the AMCATs of Anna Maria, which enter the 2021 season with high hopes.
Keep your eyes on:Keystone College: The Giants enter the 2021 season as an unknown, but will certainly be a program to watch throughout the fall.
Massachusetts State Collegiate Athletic Conference (MASCAC)
Predicted conference winner: UMass Dartmouth: Quarterback Stephen Gacioch is back for his final season with the Corsairs, along with some key pieces of the 2019 defense, which will help UMass Dartmouth contend for the conference crown.
Teams in the mix: Bridgewater State, Framingham State, and Western Connecticut: There are some questions about who will be under center for all three of these teams, both this weekend and throughout the season, but despite some key graduation losses from 2019 (and yes, 2020), all three units will be in the mix for the conference crown this fall.
Keep your eyes on:Fitchburg State: The Falcons begin a new chapter in their program history with Scott Sperone, who will coach his first game on Saturday against Dean. Also, don’t overlook Plymouth State, which was picked to finish fifth in the preseason conference poll.
Middle Atlantic Conference (MAC)
Predicted conference winner: Delaware Valley: The Aggies are our favorites heading into the 2021 season — yes, they will be challenged by Stevenson and Wilkes — maybe Lycoming College? — but at the end of the day, Duke Greco‘s squad will win the conference and advance to the postseason.
Teams in the Mix: Stevenson University and Wilkes University: Both teams were in the mix in 2019 and will once again challenge the Aggies for the top spot in the MAC.
New England Small College Athletic Conference (NESCAC):
Predicted conference winner: Williams College: The Ephs finished with seven wins in 2019 — Williams ended its season with a victory over rival Amherst College and should return a slew of talent on both sides of the ball that should make them one of the top teams in the conference.
Teams in the mix: Middlebury College, Trinity College, Tufts University, and Wesleyan University: While the Cardinals. and Panthers are certainly expected to contend for the top spot in the conference, the same could be said for the Bantams and Jumbos, who look to bounce back from a five and four win season, respectively.
Keep your eyes on: Colby College: These Mules will certainly surprise a few NESCAC fans this fall — fans of the Mules and NESCAC football will be able to see them compete in 17 days against Wesleyan.
New England Women’s and Men’s Athletic Conference (NEWMAC):
Predicted conference winner: Merchant Marine: We saw the Mariners compete last fall — they beat Coast Guard Academy, thanks to an impressive outing by quarterback Ian Blankenship, who is back for his final season. Joshua King and Matt Strong were recently elected captains, and will lead a squad that garnered three first-place votes in the preseason poll.
Teams in the mix: MIT, Springfield College, and WPI: All three Massachusetts squads will look a bit different than they appeared two years ago, but are certainly equipped to challenge the Mariners for the top spot in the conference.
Keep your eyes on:Norwich University: Mark Murnyack‘s squad may have been picked to finish sixth in the conference, but don’t be surprised if these Cadets score a few exciting and dramatic wins this fall.
Our preseason New England college football coverage rolls on with some early thoughts on the Massachusetts State Collegiate Athletic Conference (MASCAC), which certainly has the making of a multi-team race for the top spot.
2019 Conference Refresh: For the sixth time in seven seasons, Framingham State secured the top spot with an 8-2 overall record, including an 8-0 league record. The Rams advanced to the opening round of the NCAA Division III Tournament but saw their championship hopes dashed to Wesley College by a score of 58-21.
Western Connecticut also finished its 2019 campaign with an identical 8-2 record — the Colonials, who finished tied for second in the conference with Bridgewater State with a 6-2 record, ended their season against WPI in the New England Bowl (the Engineers won the game by a score of 35-6).
The biggest surprise of the 2019 season was UMass Dartmouth — the Corsairs posted seven wins for the first time since 2004 when they represented the conference in the ECAC Northwest Bowl. Quarterback Stephen Gacioch was named the MASCAC Offensive Player of the Year — the junior signal-caller finished second in the conference in efficiency (143.2) while completing 59.2 percent of his passes.
Additionally, Gacioch competed in eight games and recorded career-highs in passing touchdowns (20), passing yards per game (277.6), rushing yards (356), and rushing touchdowns (six).
Massachusetts Maritime ended its season with six wins, which is the most the Buccaneers have tallied since posting an 8-2 record in 1999.
New Signal-Callers: A majority of the quarterbacks from 2019 have graduated, so the expectation is we will see some new signal-callers this fall for some of the “usual” contenders.
Stephen Gacioch is the only starting quarterback returning (that I know of at this time), but it is expected that we’ll see someone new running the offense at Bridgewater, Fitchburg, and Framingham this fall.
Westfield State excited to be back on the field: Like many teams in our region, getting back to the gridiron after a year away due to the coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic is certainly something the Owls of Westfield State were happy to do a few days ago, despite a mini-heatwave. But with cooler weather now arriving to the area, the Blue and White will use this time, as well as the next few days and weeks to prepare for their season-opener against Nichols College on Friday, September 3 at 6 p.m.
Nichols and Westfield last met in the opening week of the 2018 season when the Owls topped the Bison, 25-14, thanks to 205 rushing yards and two touchdowns from halfback R.J. Darby.
Early-Season Favorite(s): It might be easy to pick the Rams of Framingham State, but the Black and Gold enter the upcoming season with some question marks on both sides of the ball, including who will be their starting quarterback. Adam Wojenski has graduated, so it will be interesting to see who coach Tom Kelley selects to lead his offense.
While Framingham State will certainly be a team to watch, the same could be said for these three squads: Bridgewater State, UMass Dartmouth, and Western Connecticut. Like Framingham, all three have some question marks heading into their respective 2021 campaign, but the Colonials will welcome back some key members of its 2019 squad, including wide receiver Will Daniels and cornerback Jarius Bailey.
Don’t rule out Plymouth State, which finished its 2019 campaign with a 6-4 record. The Panthers concluded their 2019 campaign by winning one of their final four contests, but I expect the Green and White to be in the mix this fall.
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.
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: