Bridgewater State Picked First In MASCAC Preseason Poll

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Malik Garrett and the Bridgewater State Bears will look to defend their 2016 MASCAC crown when they kick-off the 2017 season against Buffalo State. (PHOTO CREDIT: Bridgewater State University Athletics)

By Matt Noonan (@MattNoonan11)

The Bridgewater State Bears football team was selected to repeat as Massachusetts State Collegiate Athletic Conference (MASCAC) champions, according to the conference’s release from earlier today.

The Bears captured the league’s crown last fall after winning eight-straight games, including a dramatic 28-27 overtime victory over Framingham State. BSU’s win over the Rams was followed-up with a 37-14 win over Massachusetts Maritime Academy in the annual Cranberry Bowl, which is presented by Ocean Spray.

Bridgewater State returns 11 starters from last season’s squad, including tailback Alex McLaughlin and running back/wide receiver Malik Garrett. Fans should also keep an eye on wide-receiver Jack Lavanchy, who led the conference with seven touchdown receptions.

Framingham State and Western Connecticut State checked-in second and third, respectively, while UMass Dartmouth (fourth) and Plymouth State (fifth) rounded out the top five.

The Rams of Framingham captured the inaugural New England Bowl last season by defeating Salve Regina, 37-34. Quarterback Adam Wojenski and halfback Quron Wright combined for four touchdowns in their team’s final game of the season. Both student-athletes will be competing for the Rams this fall.

Fitchburg State, and Massachusetts Maritime Academy checked-in sixth and seventh, respectively, while Worcester State (eighth) and Westfield State (ninth) rounded out the final two spots in the preseason poll.

The New England Division III Football officially begins next week with teams from the MASCAC competing on either Friday or Saturday.

Salem State Set To Face Tufts In NCAA Tournament

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Salem State’s Marcus Faison and the Vikings will take on Tufts University in the NCAA Division III Men’s Basketball Tournament’s First Round on Friday. (PHOTO CREDIT: Salem State Athletics)

By Matt Noonan (@MattNoonan11) 

Salem State University men’s basketball coach Chris Harvey knows his Vikings will be challenged on the opening day of the NCAA Division III Men’s Basketball Tournament.

Winners of the Massachusetts State Collegiate Athletic Conference (MASCAC), the Vikings earned a date with Tufts University this Friday at St. John Fisher College (Pittsford, N.Y.) with tip-off scheduled for 5:30 p.m.

Salem State and Tufts did not meet this season, but did compete against each other last year at the New England Big 4 Challenge. The Jumbos beat the Vikings, 90-77, thanks to 25 points from Vincent Pace and 20 points from Tom Palleschi.

“It’s going to be a tough match-up for us,” Harvey said of his team’s first-round contest against the Jumbos.

“Coach (Bob) Sheldon is as good as an offensive coach that you will find and they’re playing good defense as well, so it’s cliché, but we will have to bring an A-effort to stay in the game, and if we do that and get a little bit of tempo going then we’ll have a fighting chance.”

The Jumbos, who advanced to this year’s NCAA Tournament as an at-large bid, enter the postseason winners of 20 contests. They saw their bid toward a New England Small College Athletic Conference (NESCAC) crown conclude last Saturday with an 81-65 setback to Williams College.

Despite not facing the Jumbos this season, Harvey and his crew would consider themselves ‘very familiar’ with Tufts – in a way, they believe their last meeting, along with some current film study will help with crafting a game plan for defending the Powder Blue and White.

“We’re very familiar with Tufts (despite) not playing them this year,” Harvey said. “We played them last year and didn’t have success (against them), but we know a little bit about their (current) personnel and we’ll have to dive into film here and try to piece together a plan of attack.”

Part of that so-called ‘attack’ will be attempting to find a way to slow down Tufts’ offense, which has averaged 83 points per game this season. Not only can they score inside the paint, but also outside the half circle, too.

In order to be successful, the Vikings will need every member of its roster to step-up, whether it is on offense or defense. They’ll need their seniors and captains – Marcus Faison and Shyheim Davis-Smith – to guide them, along with some long-range field goals from Jacob Lindland. Additionally, they’ll need Faison and Drew Healy to control the glass on defense.

“We have to do what we do,” said Harvey, “and make sure how we play gets the most of our focus in practice. We’re not going to recreate Tufts, every set they run, every tendency they have, every individual player stuff … I am just a believer in really focusing on what you’re doing and put a lot of focus on that, what they’re doing and at the end of the day just go in confident with your game plan and try to execute and adjust in the flow of the game when you can.”

The winner of Salem State-Tufts will meet host St. John Fisher-St. Lawrence on Saturday, March 4 at 7 p.m.

Weekend Predictions: Williams over Tufts, Castleton over Husson

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Tufts University men’s basketball will look to close out its regular season against Williams on Friday evening. (PHOTO CREDIT: Tufts University Athletics)

By Matt Noonan (@MattNoonan11

Ah, the second to last regular season weekend is upon us – yes, this is the final weekend of New England Small College Athletic Conference (NESCAC) play, for your information – however, it is an important weekend for many teams fighting for spots in their upcoming conference’s tournament.

So, to kickstart your weekend, here are 10 predictions – short and quick, by the way. Let me know if you agree or disagree by sending me a tweet or posting a comment on our Noontime Sports page on Facebook.

Williams at Tufts (MBB | Fri., Feb. 10): It’s the final home game for the Jumbos and their seniors, but I don’t think their last regular season contest will end with a win. Williams seems to have picked-up some serious momentum – they have scored some important wins recently over Middlebury and Wesleyan – and will most likely pick-up another big win over the Powder Blue and White. PREDICTION: Williams 80, Tufts 75

Middlebury at Amherst (WBB | Fri., Feb. 10): The Panthers have been a great story this season – as of today, they would be the fourth seed in the NESCAC and host a playoff game next weekend. Do they have what it takes to get past Amherst? I don’t believe so, but they’ll give the Purple and White a good fight. PREDICTION: Amherst 65, Middlebury 40 

Tufts at Williams (WBB | Fri., Feb. 10): After falling to Amherst last weekend, Tufts will look to close out its regular season slate with back-to-back victories (after tonight’s game, they’ll face Rhode Island College next week), including a win in Williamstown. Expect Michela North and Melissa Baptista to lead the Jumbos to their ninth NESCAC win of the season. PREDICTION: Tufts 65, Williams 45 

Conn. College at Bowdoin (WBB | Sat. Feb. 11): Could this be a potential preview of a possible NESCAC Tournament contest? Possibly, but before we turn our attention to the NESCAC Tournament, let’s focus on the Camels’ five-game winning streak – something one should not overlook. Brian Wilson‘s squad will have to be perfect on both ends of the court in order to secure a win. Yet, I think this game will go in favor of the Polar Bears since they’re at home. PREDICTION: Bowdoin 59, Conn. College 53 

Roger Williams at Endicott (MBB | Sat. Feb. 11): I’ll be at this game as long as Mother Nature doesn’t drop another foot of snow on us – please, Mother Nature … NO! Roger Williams will need its defense to keep the Endicott offense in-check – last game, they held the Gulls to just 21 field goals (60 attempts), while forcing 14 turnovers. PREDICTION: Roger Williams 75, Endicott 72 

Castleton at Husson (WBB | Sat. Feb. 11): As of now, the Eagles of Husson appear to be the front-runner for the North Atlantic Conference (NAC) regular season crown. However, that could change, pending this weekend’s outcomes. And one of those outcomes could be a Castleton win over the Eagles – the victory would have to come on the road, though. Since falling to Husson, the Spartans have captured five of their last six, and need to win out to have a chance to secure the regular season crown. PREDICTION: Castleton 50, Husson 49 

Eastern Conn. State at UMass Dartmouth (WBB | Sat. Feb. 11): Can anyone slow down the Corsairs? I am not sure, especially since they have won eight-straight contests and seem to have a great deal of momentum on their side. They’ll need that momentum, along with a big day from their entire roster to secure an important conference win over the Warriors. PREDICTION: UMass Dartmouth 60, Eastern Conn. State 58 (OT)

Becker at Wheelock (MBB | Sat. Feb. 11): After dropping a pair of games to Southern Vermont earlier this week, Becker will look to return to its winning ways with a victory over the Wildcats. Against Wheelock earlier this season, three Hawks netted double-figures, including Antonio White Jr., who led all scorers with 30 points. PREDICTION: Becker 84, Wheelock 75 

Westfield State at Salem State (MBB | Sat. Feb. 11): This is a must-win for the Vikings, who lost a mid-week clash to Bridgewater State. As of today, Salem State remains the top team in the Massachusetts State Collegiate Athletic Conference (MASCAC), but a loss to the Owls could open the door for Fitchburg State to secure number one seed in the conference. Before we turn the page to Falcons-Vikings (next week, FYI), let’s keep our eyes on this contest as Chris Harvey‘s squad will look to bounce back against an Owls squad that has won three-straight. PREDICTION: Salem State 75, Westfield State 68 

Johnson & Wales at Suffolk (MBB | Sat. Feb. 11): After a slow start, Jamie Benton‘s squad is back in the mix for a top spot in the Great Northeast Athletic Conference (GNAC) Tournament. This should be a layup for the Wildcats – earlier this season, Johnson & Wales defeated the Rams at home, thanks to 23 points from Anthony JerniganPREDICTION: Johnson & Wales 75, Suffolk 65 

New England D3 Basketball: 2016-17 Conference Predictions

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By Matt Noonan (@MattNoonan11

Another NCAA Division III New England basketball season officially tips-off this evening.

Earlier today – I mean, very early this morning – Clark University commenced its campaign with a midnight victory over Worcester State. It was the second time in two years that both schools tipped off after midnight.

In honor of a brand new season, it is time to dish out my Noontime Sports conference predictions – who wins the conference crown, as well as what team(s) will contend for the title.

Commonwealth Coast Conference (MBB)

Conference Champion: Endicott

Contenders: Gordon, Nichols and Wentworth

Dark horse: Western New England

Commonwealth Coast Conference (WBB)

Conference Champion: University of New England

Contenders: Roger Williams, Western New England and Endicott

Dark horse: Salve Regina

Great Northeast Athletic Conference (MBB)

Conference Champion: Albertus Magnus

Contenders: Johnson & Wales, Lasell and Emmanuel

Dark horse: Mount Ida

Great Northeast Athletic Conference (WBB)

Conference Champion: Saint Joseph’s (Maine)

Contenders: Johnson & Wales, Norwich and Emmanuel

Dark horse: Suffolk and Lasell

Little East Conference (MBB)

Conference Champion: Keene State

Contenders: Eastern Conn., UMass Dartmouth and Plymouth State

Dark horse: Southern Maine

Little East Conference (WBB)

Conference Champion: UMass Dartmouth

Contenders: Keene State, Eastern Conn. and Western Conn.

Dark horse: UMass Boston

Massachusetts State Collegiate Athletic Conference (MBB)

Conference Champion: Fitchburg State

Contenders: Salem State and Bridgewater State

Dark horse: Worcester State

Massachusetts State Collegiate Athletic Conference (WBB)

Conference Champion: Framingham State

Contenders: Westfield State, Bridgewater State and Worcester State

Dark horse: MCLA

New England Women’s and Men’s Athletic Conference (MBB)

Conference Champion: Babson

Contenders: MIT, WPI and Springfield

Dark horse: Emerson

New England Women’s and Men’s Athletic Conference (WBB)

Conference Champion: WPI

Contenders: Babson, Springfield and MIT

Dark horse: Coast Guard Academy and Wheaton 

New England Collegiate Conference (MBB)

Conference Champion: So. Vermont

Contenders: Regis, Daniel Webster and Becker

Dark horse: Elms 

New England Collegiate Conference (WBB)

Conference Champion: Regis

Contenders: Elms, Wheelock and Mitchell

Dark horse: Newbury

New England Small College Athletic Conference (MBB)

Conference Champion: Amherst

Contenders: Tufts, Williams, Trinity and Middlebury

Dark Horse: Colby

New England Small College Athletic Conference (WBB)

Conference Champion: Tufts

Contenders: Amherst, Conn. College, Bowdoin

Dark horse: Williams and Colby

North Atlantic Conference (MBB)

Conference Champion: Colby-Sawyer

Contenders: Husson, Thomas and Castleton

Dark horse: Johnson State and Green Mountain

North Atlantic Conference (WBB)

Conference Champion: Husson

Contenders: New England College, Maine Maritime and Castleton

Dark horse: Colby-Sawyer

New England D3 Football: Week 10 Social Media Roundup

By NoontimeSports.com (@NoontimeSports)

Before we officially turn the page to the 11th week of the NCAA Division III Football season – really, the 11th week of the season? Crazy! – let’s take a look back on this past weekend’s action with some of the best in-game and post-game tweets.

Let’s start with Bates-Bowdoin, always a must-see or must-watch game.

 

 

Let’s switch gears to Tufts-Colby …. the Jumbos scored an enormous win over the Mules and after the game tweeted this post-game video. Anyone know what the team is doing in this video?

 

Staying in the New England Small College Athletic Conference (NESCAC), we now take a look at this quality tweet from Wesleyan President Michael S. Roth, who congratulated the Cardinals for winning the Little Three Crown.

 

Following an exciting win over Norwich, Husson celebrated its second Eastern Collegiate Football Conference (ECFC) crown in three seasons. The Eagles clinched the conference title with a win over the Cadets, along with a Mount Ida setback.

 

Another champion was crowned on Saturday as Golden Bears of Western New England – our number one team in New England – defeated Salve Regina to claim the New England Football Conference (NEFC) crown.

 

In addition to WNE and Husson, another championship was earned yesterday as Bridgewater State defeated Framingham State on a dramatic overtime PAT. The 28-27 (OT) win provided the Bears with their first Massachusetts State Collegiate Athletic Conference (MASCAC) regular season crown since 2008.

 

Let’s not sleep on the Bison of Nichols College anymore! The Green and Black scored another exciting win, defeating Maine Maritime. The win secured Nichols its first .500-or-better season since 2007.

 

 

 

 

And finally … drum roll please … Anna Maria celebrated its first win of the season yesterday, defeating Gallaudet! Congrats to AMCAT Nation on an exciting win!