The Crusaders were one of eight teams to earn a spot in the second round – Holy Cross clinched its first 11-0 season in 31 yesterday after capturing its fourth-straight Patriot League title earlier this month with a 42-14 win over Lehigh University.
Holy Cross will host the winner of New Hampshire-Fordham University, which is scheduled to commence Saturday, November 26 at 2 p.m. The Wildcats will host the Rams after concluding their regular season as co-champions of the Colonial Athletic Association (CAA).
William & Mary shared the CAA title with the Wildcats after New Hampshire outlasted Maine and the Tribe beat Richmond.
Like Holy Cross, William & Mary earned a first-round bye and will compete against the winner of Eastern Kentucky–Gardner-Webb.
Holy Cross is making its four-straight appearance in the NCAA FCS Tournament. The Crusaders boast a 1-4 record in postseason play with their initial playoff win occurring last November with a come-from-behind victory over Sacred Heart University.
New Hampshire last competed in the FCS Tournament in 2017, winning back-to-back contests against Central Connecticut (14-0) and Central Arkansas (21-15) before falling to South Dakota State in the quarterfinals.
In 2014, the Wildcats competed against the Rams of Fordham in the second round, scoring a 44-19 win, which was followed by a quarterfinal victory against Chattanooga. Illinois State ended New Hampshire’s championship run in the semifinals.
2015 was a special year for college athletics in the Bay State.
And before we press fast-forward to 2016, let’s take a look back at some of the biggest stories and headlines from this past year.
* The Tufts University men’s lacrosse team captured its third NCAA title, including the program’s second consecutive crown with a 19-11 victory against Lynchburg.
* Allyson Fournier navigated the Tufts softball team to its third consecutive title as the four-time All-American pitcher helped the Jumbos defeat Texas-Tyler, 7-4.
Tufts concluded the 2015 season with a 51-0 record, while becoming the first Division III softball team to win three consecutive national championships.
* The Boston University men’s ice hockey team captured the Beanpot and Hockey East – the program’s eighth conference title – while earning an automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament.
The Terriers advanced to the ‘Frozen Four’ championship, but fell to Providence College on Causeway Street in Boston.
* Amherst College saw its men’s soccer program capture its initial NCAA title earlier this month with a 2-1victory against Loras. Bryce Ciambella netted the game-winning goal in the 55th minute to lift the Jeffs to victory.
* The Williams College women’s soccer team won its first-ever championship, thanks to a first half marker by Kristina Alvarado, which helped the Ephs defeat Washington (Mo.), 1-0.
* On the gridiron, the Assumption College football team captured the Northeast-10 Conference championship, defeating New Haven, 17-14. Cody Lynn connected with Alex Shain on a one-yard touchdown strike midway through the fourth quarter, which helped the Hounds rally from a five-point deficit.
The Hounds then went onto capture a first-round NCAA Division II tournament game, defeating Bowie State by a score of 51-29. Marc Monks accounted for four touchdowns during his team’s 11th win of the season.
* The Tufts football team finished its eight-game slate with a 6-2 record, winning six games for the first time since 2001. The Jumbos capped their campaign with a 31-28 victory against Middlebury College.
* Amherst College concluded its 2015 football season with an 8-0 ledger, along with the program’s sixth New England Small College Athletic Conference (NESCAC) crown. The Jeffs won the championship last season and shared the crown with Middlebury College and Wesleyan University in 2013.
* The Babson College men’s basketball team advanced to the semifinals for the first-time in program history after rallying past Trinity College (Conn.) in the regional final. Joey Flannery sent the game to overtime with a layup late in the second stanza before Matthew Droney punched the Green and White’s ticket to the semifinals with a trifecta with 54 seconds remaining in overtime.
Babson ended its 2014-15 campaign with 29 victories, along with their first New England Women’s and Men’s Athletic Conference (NEWMAC) championship since 2004.
* The MIT women’s lacrosse team captured the program’s first-ever NEWMAC crown, defeating Wellesley College and Springfield College. The Engineers season concluded with the program’s first-ever NCAA Tournament victory against Regis College (Mass.).
MIT’s Emily Young finished her first season with the Cardinal and Gray by tallying 86 points on 75 goals and 11 assists.
* The Williams women’s tennis team capped its 2015 season with a 5-4 victory against Emory in the national championship. Linda Shin secured the title with a second-set victory.
Williams has now defeated Emory for the title four times (2002, 2010, 2013 and 2015) and lead Division III in women’s tennis titles with nine crowns.
* The Merrimack College men’s lacrosse team won the program’s first-ever NCAA Division II tournament game by beating Adelphi in the quarterfinals. The victory avenged a conference tournament setback to the Panthers.
* Stonehill College signal-caller Matt Foltz made headlines during the fourth week of the season by engineering a trio of touchdown drives during the final 62 seconds as the Skyhawks rallied to beat LIU Post, 40-37. Foltz capped the rally with a last-second heave to Corey White in the end zone.
There’s no doubting that the NCAA’s Division I Football Bowl Subdivision has the best rivalries in terms of national media attention and publicity. There’s also no doubting the top level’s marketability or intensity, but if you’re not willing to plunk down the airfare, hotel, and exorbitant ticket prices for some of those games, here’s a look at some of the local games you might want to check out over the course of the 2011 season, (tournament games excluded).
Maine vs. UNH – First played in 1904, the Battle for the Bryce-Cowell Musket will be contested this year at Cowell Stadium in Durham, NH. With a win this year, Maine would tie the all-time series, (UNH leads the series (44-43-8)). The Huskies of New Hampshire have aspirations to win the Colonial Athletic Association this year, especially as a preseason favorite.
Harvard-Yale or Yale-Harvard, depending on who you root for – commonly referred to as, “The Game,” this rivalry dates back to the late 1800’s. The hatred between Harvard and Yale extends so far beyond the football field to the classroom and beyond. Every year, the students try to one-up the other school, especially after the “We Suck” incident at Harvard Stadium in ’04. Since the Ivy League doesn’t participate in the FCS tournament, this is always the last game of the season and the seniors’ careers. This year it’s in New Haven at the Yale Bowl.
UMass vs. UNH – The teams brought the Colonial Clash to Foxboro last year at Gillette Stadium, but sadly, this rivalry is slowly dwindling down, especially since UMass will be joining the Bowl Subdivision and Mid-American Conference in 2012. The Minutemen lead the series, [43-27-3], and the 2011 game is the final scheduled contest of the season, as well as slated to occur in Foxborough, Massachusetts for the second year in a row.
Bentley College vs. Southern Connecticut State – The Bentley Falcons lost their traditional rival when the Bryant Bulldogs elevated to Division I-FCS, so their Homecoming game is now against SCSU. Last year, Bentley overcame a fourth-quarter deficit to beat the Owls, 36-26, on SCSU’s homecoming day. This year, Bentley has a chance to even the all-time series at [7-7] with a win in Waltham.
Stonehill College vs. St. Anselm College – The Ol’ Bronze Hawk game will be contested this year at Stonehill Stadium, as the Skyhawks will host their Hawk counterparts. Stonehill used a 19-point second quarter and 15-point third quarter to defeat St. A’s last year. The Skyhawks also defeated St. A’s, 31-28, two years ago in a last-minute rally.
Bridgewater State University vs. Mass Maritime – The Ocean Spray Cranberry Bowl saw Mass Maritime dominate BSU last season for their first victory in the rivalry in 14 years. The Buccaneers have been resurgent in the past few years, going .500 last season, as well as over .500 in the New England Football Conference. Yet, they also went [2-4] away from Clean Harbors Stadium, which is located directly on the Cape Cod Canal. They’ll make their yearly visit to Bridgewater on November 5.
Williams College vs. Amherst College –Arguably the greatest rivalry outside of Division I, the Ephs and Lord Jeffs represent something that resembles the credits to a Cheers episode. Williams has dominated the rivalry with over 70 wins, but the “Biggest Little Game” in America is always one of the best draws in New England.
UMass Dartmouth vs. Bridgewater State University – When I was at UMD, my roommate was a fullback on the football team. Every day, he’d return to the dorm from practice and state his dislike for Bridgewater. This year, it’s under the lights at Cressy Field in Dartmouth on September 10th. Bridgewater and Dartmouth are separated by about roughly 15 miles, but you can’t find anyone who goes to either school who actually likes one another. This rivalry is brutal.