Catching Up With Mass. Maritime Academy’s Kyle Johnston

KyleWebSOCIAL

Massachusetts Maritime Academy senior Kyle Johnston was recently named the MASCAC Men’s Scholar-Athlete of the Year. (PHOTO COURTESY: Mass. Maritime Academy Athletics)

By NoontimeSports.com 

Last week, Kyle Johnston received some exciting news.

The Massachusetts Maritime Academy senior, who has been spotted on the gridiron for the past four years, was named the Massachusetts State Collegiate Athletic Conference (MASCAC) Scholar-Athlete of the YearFramingham State University senior Mary Kate O’Day was also honored by the conference, being named the female scholar-athlete of the year.

“I feel grateful to be honored,” said Johnston, who was nominated for the award by Mike Kelley, who is the director of athletics at Massachusetts Maritime Academy.

“It is a great honor and I am grateful for it. And I am glad I can represent Massachusetts Maritime Academy.”

Johnston became the first Buccaneer to receive this award since Jonathan White, who played soccer at Massachusetts Maritime Academy, in 2011.

For student-athletes to receive this honor, they must be nominated by their school’s director of athletics, be a senior, and achieve at least a 3.2 cumulative grade point average. Recipients are selected by the MASCAC Athletic Directors.

Johnston enjoyed a successful senior season with the Buccaneers, registering career-bests in total tackles (57.0), solo stops (37), sacks (12.5), and tackles for a loss (19.5). Additionally, he recorded a career-high three forced fumbles along with two break-ups. The 12.5 sacks were the most recorded by a defender in the conference – it was also the fifth-highest total in Division III.

Noontime Sports recently spoke with Johnston about his career with the Buccaneers, as well as where he is headed after graduation next month.


When you look back to your playing days with the Massachusetts Maritime Academy football program, what will you remember most? 

The guys. I made some of my best friends through this program.

The Massachusetts Maritime Academy football program consists of some great all-around guys and they deserve to get awards like this too because they are just as competitive and just as good as I am to receive this (type) of honor, if not, better.

My position coach for my first three seasons with the Buccaneers – Odell Jones, who currently oversees the defensive line at Assumption College – was probably one of the best coaches I ever had in my career. He pushed me to my limits and I give him full credit with how successful I am in football today. But I will definitely remember the people the most (because) those are the memories that will last the most for me.

You and your teammates enjoyed a successful 2019 campaign. Do you feel the team (and program) took a step forward this past season?  

Yeah, absolutely. I think it was a total success. My graduating class may have featured the most seniors this program has had in a while, but we stuck together through the ups and downs, and I give all credit to the players, including the grades below us.

I am hopeful the team can continue to build on what they did last year and continue to get better.

Your team competes in a few rivalry games each season. Which one is your favorite and why? 

The (rivalry) we have with both Maine Maritime Academy and Maritime (N.Y.) are important to us and they go through the same stuff we go through (during game weeks). But our rivalry with Framingham State is important – it is always a big game and so is Bridgewater State. Unfortunately, we did not beat Bridgewater State this past year, but I always feel we put forth a good effort against them, as well as Framingham State.

Where will you be headed after graduation next month? 

I just accepted a full-time position earlier this month with Travelers in Braintree, Massachusetts. I will be working in the ocean marine underwriters department.

Finally, do you plan to return to campus hopefully later this year or in the future to cheer on the Buccaneers? 

Absolutely. I would love to come back and cheer on my teammates.

Family, Motivation Fueled Bridgewater State’s Victoria McDonough

VMcDonWeb

Bridgewater State’s Victoria McDonough was a player to watch the past three years with the Bears’ women’s lacrosse program. (PHOTO COURTESY: Bridgewater State Athletics)

By NoontimeSports.com 

Victoria McDonough will always remember the “good times” with the Bridgewater State University women’s lacrosse program: dinners with teammates, spring break trips, and wins, of course. But she will also remember being a part of a family – “We really grew closer and closer every day,” said McDonough of her coaches and teammates.

This family – the Bridgewater State women’s lacrosse program – was instrumental in helping the Marshfield, Massachusetts native thrive on the lacrosse field, including as a first-year student-athlete that was named Massachusetts State Collegiate Athletic Conference (MASCAC) Rookie of the Week four times. 

Over the next two years, McDonough became the player to watch on the Bears, averaging 48.5 goals, 47 assists, and 89 draw controls in 35 contests. She posted a career-high 96 points in 19 games during her sophomore season before registering career-bests in goals (52) and draw controls (92) one year later.

McDonough’s effort last spring earned her a slew of postseason honors, including a spot on the Intercollegiate Women’s Lacrosse Coaches Association (IWLCA) D-III All-Berkshire Second Team.

“I didn’t physically do anything different,” McDonough said when asked how she prepared for her third season with the Bears. “I kept the same workout regiment, but once the season started I (just) noticed a mental change.”

McDonough claims she took more risks as a junior while becoming one of the team’s leaders. She led the Bears to the MASCAC Tournament and was named a captain for the 2020 season.

In just five games this year, McDonough tallied 15 goals and seven assists while snatching 35 draw controls. She was also named the MASCAC Player of the Week on Monday, March 16.

McDonough hopes to stay involved with lacrosse, perhaps as a coach after volunteering for Bridgewater Raynham Girls Youth Lacrosse last year. “(My experience) made me realize how much I want to help these kids learn this sport at a young age,” she said.

As for what the future holds, McDonough claims she is interested in “many different” opportunities and has not decided which path she will pursue after graduation. But one thing she does plan to do is stay involved with her second family – she looks forward to attending games next school year while cheering on her teammates from the stands.

“This team has a lot of amazing players,” she said. “I believe they have a great season ahead of them, and I cannot wait to (cheer them on) next year.”

Noontime’s Senior Salute: Nicole Pacheco (Framingham State)

NicholePachecoWEB

Nichole Pacheco recorded 144 points with the Framingham State women’s lacrosse program in 60 contests. (PHOTO COURTESY: Framingham State University Athletics)

By NoontimeSports.com

Before her final season with the Framingham State University women’s lacrosse program concluded earlier this year, Nicole Pacheco celebrated a special milestone by netting her 100th goal during her team’s 23-13 victory against Johnson & Wales University.

The goal itself was a fitting ending for Pacheco, who has helped the Rams enjoy a great deal of success these past few years while vying for the team’s initial conference tournament championship.

With Pacheco at midfield, the Rams became a team to watch in the Massachusetts State Collegiate Athletic Conference (MASCAC) – Framingham State won last season’s regular-season crown while making back-to-back appearances in the league’s tournament title game in 2018 and 2019.

Pacheco played 60 games for the Rams, recording 144 points on 101 goals and 43 assists while winning 121 draw controls. After registering 44 points in her first season, Pacheco enjoyed an impressive sophomore year, tallying career-highs in goals (38), assists (19), points (57), and draws (51). She also finished her career with 102 caused turnovers and 207 shots, including 156 shots on net.

We recently caught up with Nicole Pacheco to discuss her time with the Rams, as well as her future plans beyond graduation this spring.


Was there a game (or two) that you will remember most from either your senior season or the past three years? If so, which game(s) are they?

I would say there were two games I’ll always remember. The first is when we beat Bridgewater State for the first time in program history in 2018. The game itself was intense.

The second game I’ll remember is when we beat Westfield State last spring in overtime. The game felt like a scene out of a movie. We fought so hard and it was our first win against the Owls in program history.

Both wins showed how far this program has come and what it is capable of doing in the future.

What have you enjoyed most about competing for the Framingham State women’s lacrosse program these past four years? What will you miss most after graduation? 

Friendships. It’s more than just lacrosse games and practices.

This team has always challenged one another to be better and get better, and I loved that our team fought and never gave up, especially when the odds were against us. I will miss walking down to the field together while stepping onto the turf for practices. 

I will also miss our team’s goal celebrations. Nothing was more electric than running, jumping, hitting sticks, and handshakes after my teammates or I scored a goal. The whole team would go nuts.

Do you hope to stay involved with your sport in the future? Any interest in being a coach? 

Yes, I would like to think that lacrosse will always be a part of my life, and I could potentially see myself in a coaching role in the future.

Tell me about your major. How did you choose it and what do you plan to do with it after graduation? 

I am a criminology major and plan to further my education by pursuing a master’s degree in one of the following subject matters: advanced counterterrorism or cybersecurity. After I conclude my time in the classroom, I plan to pursue a career in the criminal justice field.

Noontime’s Senior Salute: Grace Gamache (Framingham State)

GraceGWEB

Framingham State senior Grace Gamache recorded 283 points in four seasons for the Rams. (PHOTO COURTESY: Framingham State Athletics)

By NoontimeSports.com

Since her initial season with the Framingham State University women’s lacrosse program, Grace Gamache has been a player to watch on offense.

The Dartmouth, Massachusetts native tallied 283 points in four seasons, including 22 points on 15 goals and seven assists in just four games this spring.

After registering 54 points in 13 games as a first-year in 2017, Gamache enjoyed a very successful sophomore season, recording career-highs in goals (55), assists (56), and points (111). Additionally, she snatched a career-best 114 draws while firing 114 shots, including 86 on net.

Gamache earned a trio of first-team honors with the Rams from the Massachusetts State Collegiate Athletic Conference (MASCAC) while leading her team to its first-ever regular-season title last April with a 17-5 win over Worcester State University.

We recently spoke with Grace Gamache about her four years with the Rams, as well as her future plans beyond graduation later this spring.


What will you remember most about your final season with the Rams? 

The friendships my teammates and I made these past few years. Getting to do what you love with your best friends every day has been an amazing experience. I have made lifelong friends here at Framingham State, and although we didn’t get to end our four-year career the way we wanted to, I couldn’t have asked for a better experience.

Was there a game (or two) that you will remember most from either your senior season or the past three years? If so, which game(s) are they? 

I would say there were two games specifically that I’ll never forget. The first was my sophomore year against Bridgewater State. The Bears have always been tough competition and one of the top teams in our conference. We won by one goal and it was the program’s first win against Bridgewater State in ten meetings. Our hard work and preparation paid off and it was such a good feeling.

The second game was our overtime win against Westfield State my junior year. We had lost to them the prior year in our conference tournament championship so to be able to beat them, especially in overtime, was amazing.

What have you enjoyed most about competing for your team (and program) these past four years? What will you miss most after graduation? 

I think what I have enjoyed most about playing and competing for Framingham was being able to see the growth we made as a program. This program has come so far and to make an impact on the future of the team is something I feel is really exciting. I am definitely going to miss putting on that uniform every week and getting to play alongside such an amazing group of young women while playing for a great coaching staff. We have become family over these last four years and that is something I’ll cherish forever.

Do you hope to stay involved with your sport in the future? Any interest in being a coach? 

I definitely plan on staying involved with lacrosse after I graduate. I started a summer camp two years ago for local middle school and high school players and it has been a huge success. I have also had the opportunity to coach for a club team during the summer, as well, so I hope to continue doing that with the hope of eventually coaching a high school program.

Tell me about your major. How did you choose it and what do you plan to do with it after graduation? 

I am majoring in sociology with a minor in psychology. I have always enjoyed working with people and learning about different parts of society and how they all interact and work together. After graduation, I hope to get my master’s in special education.

Noontime’s Senior Salute: Mary Kate O’Day (Framingham State)

qSUJpUbE

Mary Kate O’Day and the Framingham State women’s basketball team competed in their first-ever NCAA Tournament game last month. (PHOTO COURTESY: Frank Poulin/Framingham State Athletics)

By NoontimeSports.com 

For Mary Kate O’Day, her senior season with the Framingham State University women’s basketball team was one both she and fans will certainly remember for quite some time.

The Berlin, Massachusetts native averaged a career-bests in points per game (17.9), rebounds (8.5), and assists (3.1) while leading the Rams to their first-ever Massachusetts State Collegiate Athletic Conference (MASCAC) Tournament Championship with a 66-51 win over Worcester State.

Framingham State would make its initial appearance in the NCAA D-III Tournament days later and conclude its 2019-20 campaign with a school-record 22 wins in a single-season.

Named the MASCAC Player of the Year for the second time in her career, O’Day netted 20 points or more in 12 contests this past season while scoring a season-high 31 points in her team’s 101-91 victory over Westfield State in January. O’Day was honored by both the New England Women’s Basketball Association (NEWBA) and D3Hoops.com (All-Northeast Region) last month, securing spots on the first and second teams, respectively.

O’Day scored 1,557 points in 102 games with the Rams to go with 621 rebounds, 234 assists, and 127 steals. She also recorded 38 blocks, including a career-best 16 this past winter.

We recently caught up with Mary Kate O’Day to discuss her final season with the Rams, as well as her future plans beyond graduation later this spring.


What will you remember most about your final season with the Rams? 

I will remember winning the MASCAC championship. We came up short twice in the past, so to finally win it my senior year was something special.

Was there a game (or two) that you will remember most from either your senior season or the past three years? If so, which game(s) are they?

I think the game that I will remember most (from this past year) was when we beat Westfield State on the road. We had only beaten them once in my four years with the Framingham State women’s basketball program, so earning a win against the Owls was (an important step toward eventually winning our conference tournament title on the final day of February).

In addition to our win over the Owls, it has been great seeing both former and current teammates reach certain milestones. I have vivid memories of watching Alycia Rackliffe, Raegan Mulherin, and Emily Velozo score their 1,000th point, respectively, to Lauren Donahue becoming the program’s all-time assists leader. Those are games (and memories) I will never forget. 

What have you enjoyed most about competing for your team (and program) these past four years? What will you miss most after graduation? 

Meeting so many amazing people. I have become so close with my teammates over the past four years. We have shared some amazing memories together, including two trips to Florida and celebrating New Years’ at Universal Studios. Those were some of my favorite memories with my teammates (and friends).

I will miss most hanging out with my teammates and being apart of a team. Whether we were hanging out in someone’s dorm room, grabbing food off-campus to shooting around before practices, the times we spent together, both on and off the court is something I will miss.

Tell me about your major. How did you choose it and what do you hope to do beyond graduation? 

I am a sociology major. I went into college undeclared but during my sophomore year, I took a sociology class and really enjoyed it. My goal is to get a job with the Special Olympics.