Setting The Stage For The First Day of the NCAA D3 Women’s Basketball Tournament

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Mary Kate O’Day and the Framingham State women’s basketball team will make their NCAA Tournament debut on Friday against Amherst College. (PHOTO COURTESY: Frank Poulin/Framingham State Athletics)

By Matt Noonan | @NoontimeNation 

We’re just one day away from the start of the 2020 NCAA D-III Women’s Basketball Tournament, which means its time to highlight a few things you need to know about this year’s postseason while also sharing some predictions, too.

Which New England teams will be competing in this year’s NCAA D-III Men’s Basketball Tournament? 

  • This year, there are 12 teams from our region that will begin their respective quests toward Columbus, Ohio tomorrow, including two teams that will be host sites for both the first and second rounds.
  • Here are the teams that will be representing New England in the 2020 NCAA D-III Tournament: Amherst CollegeFramingham StateEndicott CollegeBowdoin CollegeEmmanuel CollegeEastern ConnecticutSmith CollegeHusson UniversityNew England CollegeWilliams CollegeWestern New England, and Tufts University.

What are the first-round matchups, times and locations? 

Here is the schedule for tomorrow’s (Friday, March 6th) first-round schedule:

  • Tufts University vs. SUNY Poly, 5 p.m. (at Western New England)
  • Williams College vs. Albright College, 5 p.m. (at Ithaca College)
  • Eastern Connecticut vs. St. John Fisher, 5 p.m. (at Messiah College)
  • New York University vs. Emmanuel College, 5 p.m. (at Bowdoin College)
  • Smith College vs. DeSales University, 5:30 p.m. (at SUNY New Paltz)
  • SUNY Cortland at Western New England, 7 p.m.
  • New England College at Ithaca College, 7 p.m.
  • Brooklyn at Bowdoin College, 7 p.m.
  • Endicott College at University of Scranton, 7 p.m.
  • Framingham State at Amherst College, 7 p.m.
  • Husson University at SUNY New Paltz, 7:30 p.m.

Which teams could advance to Saturday’s (March 7th) second round? 

  • Amherst College: The Mammoths are the favorites in their pod as they should be able to top Framingham State tomorrow and then beat either Merchant Marine or Rowan University on Saturday. The Rams should provide some challenges for the Mammoths, so don’t expect Amherst to run away from Framingham State following the opening tip.
  • Bowdoin College: The Polar Bears could be the favorite on their side of the bracket – they should be able to beat Brooklyn, but could face some challenges against either Emmanuel or New York University. But I think the Polar Bear has what it takes to not just win two games this weekend, but perhaps advance to Ohio and possibly play Tufts in the national semifinals.
  • Smith College: The Pioneers enter the postseason with a great deal of momentum. They won three straight New England Women’s and Men’s Athletic Conference (NEWMAC) tournament games last week, including back-to-back contests against MIT and Springfield College. For the Pioneers to advance to the second round, they will need to slow down a Bulldogs squad that has won 14 consecutive contests. DeSales has four players on their roster that are averaging 10 points or more per contest so for Smith to prevail, they will need big games from Amelia Clairmont and Katelyn Pickunka.
  • Tufts University: The Jumbos are primed for a deep postseason run – they should be able to get past SUNY Poly, a team they beat earlier this season, and then either SUNY Cortland or Western New England on Saturday. The loss to Bowdoin in the 2020 New England Small College Athletic Conference (NESCAC) can certainly be used as motivation for games this weekend, as well as future contests later this month.
  • Williams College: The Ephs should certainly be in the mix for a second-round contest on Saturday, but face a talented Lions squad that fell short of winning their respective conference tournament championship. For Williams to be successful, they will need to find ways to stop Albright’s Dejah Terrell, who is averaging 22.4 points and 3.1 blocks per game. Additionally, they will need to keep their eyes Gabby Boggs, who is averaging 9.4 points and 9.4 rebounds. Williams will need a big game from Maggie Meehan, who enters the postseason clash averaging 13.7 points.

What first-round match-up will I be watching? 

  • SUNY Cortland vs. Western New England: The Golden Bears have not played a game since last month. But one can bet they have been preparing for Friday’ match-up with a Red Dragons squad that is 7-5 on the road this season. SUNY Cortland is making its first tournament appearance since 2010 and will be led by Beth Bonin, who is averaging 18.2 points per game. Western New England should be able to counter with their senior trio of Emily FarrellCourtney Carlson, and Meghan Orbann.

First-Round Predictions! 

  • Tufts over SUNY Poly
  • Western New England over SUNY Cortland
  • Albright College over Williams College
  • Ithaca College over New England College
  • SUNY New Paltz over Husson University
  • Smith College over DeSales University
  • St. John Fisher over Eastern Connecticut
  • Bowdoin College over Brooklyn
  • Emmanuel College over New York University
  • Scranton over Endicott College
  • Amherst College over Framingham State

 

D3 Football: 10 Games To Watch (Nov. 16th, 2019)

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By Matt Noonan | @MattyNoonz11

Hello, Friday – how are you?

Forgive me for fighting back tears as this is my final ’10 Games to Watch’ post of the New England D-III Football season. But like most weekends, we should be in for some exciting football.

Last Week: I selected eight of ten contests correctly to bump my overall record to 68-32. Let’s see if I can continue that momentum once more! 

As usual, make sure to stay connected with our New England football coverage on Twitter by following @Noontime_FB.

Also, subscribe to our podcast on iTunes – you will enjoy our hyperlocal sports chatter!

Have a great weekend, everyone!


New England D-III Football Week 11 Predictions | Saturday, Nov. 16th, 2019

Rankings based off this week’s Noontime Top 20 Poll 

No. 3 Endicott College at No. 14 Nichols College (12 p.m.): This is an enticing match-up – I could make the case for both teams winning this contest, but in the end, I am expecting the Gulls to cap their regular-season slate with a victory in Dudley. PREDICTION: Endicott 35, Nichols 24

Curry College at Salve Regina (12 p.m.): The Seahawks lost a heartbreaker last week against the Eagles of Husson, but should be motivated to cap their campaign with a win to provide the Seahawks with some momentum heading into the 2020 season. PREDICTION: Salve Regina 30, Curry 20 

No. 11 Bridgewater State at No. 18 Mass. Maritime Academy (12 p.m.): The Buccaneers scored an exciting win last week against UMass Dartmouth and should be able to use that momentum to beat the Bears in the 41st Annual Cranberry Bowl. PREDICTION: Mass. Maritime 31, Bridgewater State 20 

No. 4 Framingham State at Worcester State (12 p.m.): The Rams are headed back to the postseason, but will look to wrap-up their conference slate with a win against the Lancers. PREDICTION: Framingham State 28, Worcester State 10 

Merchant Marine at No. 17 Coast Guard Academy (12 p.m.): This is the final game for coach Bill George, who announced his retirement earlier this week. Look for the Bears to deliver their longtime sideline boss a win, along with the Secretaries Cup. PREDICTION: Coast Guard 22, USMMA 21 

No. 2 WPI at No. 16 Norwich University (12 p.m.): This is a must-win for the Engineers of Worcester. WPI can clinch its conference crown with a win over the Cadets and MIT loss to Springfield. PREDICTION: WPI 30, Norwich 17 

No. 7 MIT at No. 6 Springfield College (12p.m.): This is a hard match-up to predict – I keep going back and forth – but I am going to take the Pride in this one to beat the Engineers of Cambridge. Springfield needs to beat MIT and have WPI lose to Norwich to secure the conference crown. PREDICTION: Springfield 28, MIT 20 

No. 12 UMass Dartmouth at Westfield State (12 p.m.): Look for the Corsairs to bounce back from last week’s setback to the Buccaneers with an end of season win against the Owls. PREDICTION: UMass Dartmouth 27, Westfield State 13 

Becker College at University of New England (12 p.m.): The Nor’easters will be motivated to end their season with a victory after falling to Endicott last weekend. PREDICTION: UNE 28, Becker 10 

No. 19 Husson University at No. 1 Western New England (1 p.m.): The Golden Bears are playoff-bound, but can gain some additional momentum heading into the postseason with a season-ending win over the Eagles. PREDICTION: WNE 34, Husson 24

D3 Football: Endicott, WNE Secure Spots On East Regional Rankings

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By NoontimeSports.com | @NoontimeSports 

For the second-straight week, two New England D-III football teams appeared on the most recent NCAA East Regional Rankings, which were posted (and announced) earlier today.

Western New England, which checked-in fifth one week ago, secured the sixth position in this week’s rankings, while Endicott College checked in tenth overall.

WPI, which secured the ninth position last week, did not appear on the ten-team list.

Salisbury University remained the top team in the East region for a second-straight week, while Wesley College and Delaware Valley checked in second and third, respectively. Union College, which boasts an impressive 9-0 record, slid into the fourth position while the College of Brockport checked-in fifth.

SUNY CortlandHobart, and Stevenson University secured the seventh, eighth, and ninth positions.

Endicott and Western New England conclude their respective regular-season campaigns this Saturday, November 16th with the Golden Bears hosting Husson University and the Gulls visiting Nichols College.

WNE, which defeated Endicott earlier this season, secured the conference’s automatic bid to the upcoming NCAA Tournament – we will learn who their first-round opponent will be on Sunday, November 17th.

The Gulls of Endicott will most likely represent the Commonwealth Coast Conference (CCC) in the New England Bowl. Endicott competed in its initial New England Bowl last fall but lost to the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy, which competes in the New England Women’s and Men’s Athletic Conference (NEWMAC).

D3 Football: Conference Race Watch (Week Nine)

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By NoontimeSports.com | @NoontimeSports 

We’re just two days away from another busy (and important) weekend of New England D-III Football.

Similar to last week, every Thursday for the remainder of the season will be dedicated to highlighting all five New England conference races. We’ll tell you which team(s) is in position to win their respective conference, as well as the squads that still have a chance to win or share their respective league titles.

As usual, you can follow our New England D-III Football coverage, as well as other regional updates (and news) at @Noontime_FB on Twitter.


Commonwealth Coast Football (CCC)

Current Leaders: Endicott College and Western New England 

In The Hunt: Nichols College 

Analysis: Endicott and Western New England are scheduled to meet this weekend – it is a big game. The winner will most likely have the inside track to the conference title.

Western New England does have wins over Nichols and University of New England, two teams the Gulls of Endicott have yet to face this season.

This matchup – Endicott versus Western New England – always seems to come down to the final drive or the play in the trenches. It will certainly be an exciting game to follow.

With a four-overtime win last Saturday against UNE, Nichols is still very much alive to win or share the conference crown, however, they need to win their final three contests, beginning this weekend against Husson University.


Eastern Collegiate Football Conference (ECFC)

Current Leader: Dean College 

In The Hunt: Gallaudet University and SUNY-Maritime 

Analysis: With wins over Gallaudet and SUNY-Maritime, Dean is in prime position to capture its first-ever ECFC crown.

The Bulldogs play their final two games at home, including this Saturday when they host Alfred State. A win over Alfred State seems like a lock for the Bulldogs, however, the Pioneers have provided their conference foes with multiple challenges the past three weeks.


Massachusetts State Collegiate Athletic Conference (MASCAC)

Current Leader: Framingham State 

In The Hunt: Bridgewater State and Western Connecticut

Analysis: With a 39-14 win last Saturday over the Colonials of Western Connecticut, Framingham State has positioned itself to win the MASCAC title, but they must score victories against Bridgewater State (week 10) and Massachusetts Maritime Academy (this Saturday). Western Connecticut has beaten both teams, so they currently own the tie-breaker.

Bridgewater State is still very much alive after rebounding from an 0-3 start with four-straight conference wins. The Bears need to win their final three contests to have a chance to claim their second conference title.


New England Small College Athletic Conference (NESCAC)

Current Leader: Middlebury College 

In The Hunt: Wesleyan University and Williams College 

Analysis: With two weeks remaining in the NESCAC season, Middlebury appears to be the front-runner, but faces a Hamilton College squad that could provide the Panthers with some challenges. The Continentals enter the game with a lot of momentum following recent wins against Amherst College and Tufts University.

Wesleyan and Williams meet this week with the winner moving into the second position in the standings. If Middlebury gets tripped up by Hamilton, then whoever wins this particular meeting would be tied with the Panthers heading into the final week of the NESCAC season (the NESCAC plays a nine-week schedule, so next week is the final week of the 2019 season).


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

Current Leader: WPI 

In The Hunt: MIT and Springfield College 

Analysis: The Engineers of Worcester – that would be WPI, to be exact – appear to be a lock to win this conference, especially after a commanding win last Saturday against Merchant Marine. They face MIT on Saturday in what is a must-win game for the Engineers of Cambridge. A win over MIT on Saturday should provide WPI with enough momentum to cap their season with back-to-back wins against Coast Guard Academy and Norwich University.

If MIT beats WPI, then they must end their season with wins against Norwich and Springfield to have a chance to secure the conference’s automatic bid for the upcoming NCAA Tournament.

Springfield is idle this weekend, but is still very much alive, despite falling to WPI during the fourth week of the season.

D3 Football: Nichols Outlasts UNE, Framingham State Tops West Conn.

SATURDAY ROUNDUP

By NoontimeSports.com | @NoontimeSports 

For the second-straight season, Nichols College defeated the University of New England. But on Saturday, they needed not one, but four overtime sessions to outlast the Nor’easters in Biddeford, Maine.

Halfback Joshua Pierre-Charles helped the Bison keep their conference title hopes alive by rushing for a two-yard touchdown in the fourth extra session following a 21-yard field goal by UNE’s Kevin Heintz to clinch the three-point victory.

With the win, the Bison improve to 5-2 overall and 3-1 in Commonwealth Coast Football (CCC) league play.

Pierre-Charles concluded Saturday’s thriller with three touchdowns and a game-high 82 yards on 22 carries. He also caught three passes for 24 yards.

Nichols quarterback Michael Pina ended the game with 329 passing yards and three scores while adding 53 yards on nine carries.

UNE led Nichols, 21-14, at the break before both offenses swapped touchdowns and field goals over the final 30 minutes.

Quarterback Brian Peters completed 34 of 50 passes in the setback for 343 yards and four touchdowns – he also rushed for three yards on five carries.

Nichols’ Joe Cox led the defense with 11 total tackles, including six solo stops and one tackle for a loss of four yards. He also added one pass break-up, too.

The Bison face Husson University next weekend in another must-win game for Nichols, which needs to beat the Eagles, Curry College, and Endicott College to have a chance to secure the league title. Nicholas did lose earlier this month to Western New England but has scored conference wins over UNE, Becker College and Salve Regina.

Endicott, Salve Regina, and Western New England all scored conference wins this afternoon – the Gulls and Golden Bears are currently tied for the top spot in the conference and will meet next Saturday, November 2nd in Springfield, Massachusetts with the winner securing the inside track to the conference crown.

Adam Wojenski accounted for five touchdowns, including four through the air, which helped Framingham State defeat Western Connecticut, 39-14, and secure the top spot in the Massachusetts State Collegiate Athletic Conference (MASCAC) with three weeks remaining.

Wojenski completed 15 of 25 passes for 176 yards while rushing for a game-high 84 yards on 16 carries and one touchdown.

The Framingham State defense ended the game with 10 tackles for a loss of 57 yards, including six sacks for a loss of 38 yards. Adeboye Oyaronbi tallied seven total tackles, including four solo stops and two sacks for a loss of 12 yards, while Cully Curran paced the unit with 10 total tackles, including eight solo stops.

Western Connecticut’s Will Daniels led all receivers with eight catches for 149 yards and one touchdown.

With today’s win over the Colonials, the Rams have won five-straight contests since starting the season with back-to-back losses. Framingham State visits Massachusetts Maritime Academy next Saturday – the Buccaneers lost to Plymouth State this afternoon by a score of 7-3.

While Western Connecticut sees its six-game winning streak conclude, they still have a chance to win the MASCAC crown, pending how the final three weeks play out. The Colonials have already beaten Bridgewater State and Massachusetts Maritime, two teams the Rams will face the next two weeks.

Westfield State scored its first win of the season with a 26-7 victory against Fitchburg State. Leesandro Colon rushed for a pair of touchdowns while finishing the game with 132 yards on 20 carries.

Westfield’s Joseph Mazzotta led the Owls defense with 14 total tackles, while George Cole added 12 total stops.

Terrell Watts accounted for five touchdowns – three through the air, two on the ground – while Saquan Kelly rushed for a game-high 80 yards on 15 carries and one touchdown as Dean College defeated Gallaudet University, 56-35, to secure the top spot in the Eastern Collegiate Football Conference (ECFC).

With the win, the Bulldogs improve to 3-4 overall and 3-0 in conference play with just two games remaining. Dean needs to beat Alfred State and Castleton University the next two weeks in order to secure the program’s first-ever ECFC title.


Quick Hitters 

  • The Commonwealth Coast Football (CCC) title race is down to just three teams: Endicott, Nichols, and Western New England. The Golden Bears currently have the edge with a win over the Bison earlier this month, but the Gulls can secure their first-ever CCC title with a victory next Saturday against the Golden Bears, along with a win over the Bison two weeks later. Endicott will also need to beat UNE, too – both Nichols and WNE have beaten the Nor’easters this season.
  • With today’s win over Western Connecticut, Framingham State controls its own destiny with three weeks remaining. They need to beat Bridgewater State and Massachusetts Maritime Academy, along with Worcester State in week 11. The Rams defense (and its offense, too) seem to be peaking at the right time, but their next two matchups against the Bears and Buccaneers are no gimmes.

  • Middlebury College remains the frontrunner in the New England Small College Athletic Conference (NESCAC), but cannot overlook its next two foes, Hamilton College and Tufts University. Hamilton beat Tufts this afternoon in Somerville, Massachusetts – they also scored an exciting win last week against Amherst College, which lost to Wesleyan University in double-overtime earlier today. If the Panthers can get past the Continentals next Saturday, then they should be able to find a way to beat the Jumbos in their season finale.
  • Both Wesleyan and Williams College are both in a position to still win the NESCAC, thanks to wins earlier this fall against Hamilton and Tufts. The Ephs and Cardinals will meet next week in Middletown, Connecticut with second place on the line.
  • WPI appears destined to win the New England Women’s and Men’s Athletic Conference (NEWMAC). The Engineers defeated Merchant Marine, 66-13, to secure their seventh win of the season. WPI will face MIT next weekend in a game the Engineers of Cambridge need to win in order to keep their title hopes alive.

Saturday’s Scoreboard 

  • Endicott College 41, Husson University 16
  • Nichols College 51, University of New England 48 (4OT)
  • Western New England 49, Curry College 27
  • Salve Regina 45, Becker College 0
  • Alfred State 21, Castleton University 15
  • Dean College 56, Gallaudet University 35
  • SUNY-Maritime 13, Anna Maria College 10 (OT)
  • Framingham State 39, Western Connecticut 14
  • Plymouth State 7, Mass. Maritime Academy 3
  • Westfield State 26, Fitchburg State 7
  • UMass Dartmouth 46, Worcester State  8
  • Colby College 23, Bates College 20
  • Hamilton College 36, Tufts University 21
  • Williams College 29, Trinity College 15
  • Wesleyan University 31, Amherst College (2OT)
  • Middlebury College 47, Bowdoin College 29
  • Norwich University 51, Maine Maritime Academy 10
  • MIT 22, Coast Guard Academy 16
  • WPI 66, Merchant Marine 13
  • Springfield College 49, Catholic University 21