Tag Archives: NCAA Tournament

D3 Lax Notebook: Amherst, Tufts & Williams Advance To Quarterfinals

NS Lacrosse Notebook

By Matt Noonan | @MattyNoonz11

Three rounds of the 2019 NCAA Division III men’s lacrosse tournament are in the books, which means its time to turn our attention to the quarterfinals.

This year, three of the eight teams competing in the quarterfinals happen to hail from Massachusetts and compete in the New England Small College Athletic Conference (NESCAC). 

Amherst College, which defeated last year’s national champion Wesleyan University, will face Tufts University, while Williams College secured a date with RIT. Both games, along with the two other quarterfinals – Salisbury University versus Denison University and York College (Pa.) versus Cabrini University – will be played Wednesday, May 15th.

The four quarterfinal winners will advance to next Sunday’s (May 19th) semifinals followed by the championship game one week later (Sunday, May 26th) at 4 p.m. in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

Let’s learn more about the three Massachusetts teams that will be competing this week in the quarterfinals.

Amherst College (16-3, 8-2 NESCAC) 

  • The Mammoths advanced to their first quarterfinals in three seasons with back-to-back postseason wins over Wesleyan (16-13) and Elizabethtown College (21-9).
  • Amherst will enter Wednesday’s meeting with the Jumbos with a 16-3 overall mark, including a 5-1 record on the road. Their lone road loss of the 2019 season came against Williams in April.
  • Evan Wolf leads the Mammoths with 107 points on 69 goals and 38 assists, while Colin Minicus ranks first on the team with 44 assists.
  • Juan Gonzalez leads the unit in face-off wins (171), while Dylan Finazzo is second on the team with 83 victories at midfield.
  • Rod Castro has recorded the most caused-turnovers this spring, tallying 36 in 17 contests.
  • Gib Versfeld secured his third win between the pipes on Saturday against Wesleyan – he will enter Wednesday’s contest with a 3-2 mark between the pipes, along with a 56.4 save percentage.
  • Amherst lost to Tufts earlier this spring by a score of 15-14. The Mammoths outscored the Jumbos, 11-5, in the second half, including 5-1 in the final quarter.
  • Through 19 games this spring, Amherst has averaged 18.37 goals per game.

Tufts University (19-1, 9-1 NESCAC) 

  • The Jumbos secured a date with the Mammoths on Wednesday by cruising past New England College (24-7) and Stevenson University (19-4).
  • Tufts will enter Wednesday’s clash with the Mammoths riding a nine-game winning streak, which includes a pair of NESCAC Tournament overtime wins against Middlebury College (14-13) and Williams (17-16).
  • As a team, Tufts has netted 356 goals, including 74 markers in the month of May.
  • Tufts is averaging 18.5 goals per game in May, which is roughly one more than their season average of 17.80 goals through 20 games.
  • Danny Murphy has enjoyed a successful final season with the Powder Blue and White, tallying 88 points on 47 goals and 41 assists, while Max Waldbaum has contributed 78 points on 67 goals and 11 assists.
  • Kyle Helfrich has scooped an impressive 148 ground balls this spring while winning 248 of 441 face-offs.
  • Mason Pollack and Joe Theuer have combined for 19 wins between the pipes and 260 saves, which is an average of 13.68 saves per game between the two goalies.
  • Tufts edged Amherst, 15-14, earlier this season, which helped the Jumbos go onto secure the top spot in the NESCAC Tournament a few weeks later.
  • The Jumbos have won nine of NESCAC championships in the past 10 seasons.

Williams College (17-3, 8-2 NESCAC) 

  • With their third-round win over St. John Fisher on Saturday, the Ephs have now won 10 games at home this spring with their last home setback occurring last April when they fell to Tufts by a score of 11-8.
  • Saturday’s win over the Cardinals was the team’s 17th victory of the 2019 season, which is the most games any Ephs squad has won in a single-season.
  • Williams defeated Keene State (21-10) last Wednesday in a second-round meeting before scoring a 17-12 win over St. John Fisher three days later.
  • Williams will visit RIT this Wednesday – the Tigers needed its defense down the stretch to defeat Union College, 10-9, in their third-round meeting. With their one-goal win against the Dutchmen on Saturday, RIT has now beaten Union three times this season, including once during the Liberty League (LL) playoffs.
  •  RIT and Williams have met just once on the lacrosse field with the Tigers scoring a 15-10 win over the Ephs on March 28, 2014. The game was played at Johns Hopkins University.
  • Williams is currently 2-1 all-time in NCAA Tournament games – their first win in program history came against Keene State last Wednesday.
  • Williams’ first appearance in the NCAA Tournament occurred in 2008 when they lost to Ithaca College, 17-10.
  • Jake Haase leads the Ephs with 93 points on 62 assists and 31 goals, while Cory Lund ranks first on the team with 63 goals.
  • Alex Kitt has won 248 of 422 face-offs while scooping a team-high 132 ground balls.
  • Harry Gahagan has won 17 of 20 games between the pipes this spring. He currently boasts a 10.07 goals allowed average, along with a 53.4 save percentage.

Noontime Hoops Notebook: Whitney’s March Madness Primer

Noontime Hoops Notebook

By Bob Whitney | @WhitneyBob 

Well, it’s time to get the 2019 NCAA basketball tournament underway after Sunday’s selection committee announced the top seeds and brackets for the 68 team field.

There were no surprises at the top with Duke receiving the top seed along with Virginia, North Carolina and Gonzaga.

Tom Izzo’s Michigan State Spartans made a very impressive last-second push for consideration but it was too little – too late. Izzo is a master at preparing his team for March and the Spartans enter the tournament playing some of the best basketball in the country.

Realistically, Michigan State is one of seven or eight teams with a shot to claim the 2019 crown in Minneapolis.

Tennessee and Kentucky were in the conversation but their season-long body of work fell a tad short when compared to Duke, Virginia, Carolina and the Zags.

John Beilein’s Michigan Wolverines, who were the runner up to Villanova in 2018, would be the other squad with a legitimate chance at advancing to the championship game.

The tournament gets started this evening in Dayton, Ohio with ‘first four’ action featuring Farleigh Dickinson (20-13) versus Prairie View A&M (22-12) followed by Belmont (26-5) and Temple (23-9).

The other ‘first four’ concludes on Wednesday with NC Central (18-15) versus ND State (18-15) followed by Arizona State (22-10) against St. John’s (21-12).

The Belmont/Temple matchup is perhaps the most interesting of all the ‘first four’ games. Belmont could be this year’s Cinderella team in the tournament. Temple enters with plenty of emotion on its side as coach Fran Dunphy prepares to write the final chapter on what is likely to be a Hall of Fame coaching career.

Here is an early look at some of the key matchups in each region, exciting players to watch, potential Cinderella teams, and much more.

East Region Preview: Duke, with a healthy Zion Williamson, is the odds-on favorite to win the region, however, Michigan State and Virginia Tech (the Hokies outstanding point guard Justin Robinson is expected back for the tournament) just might get in the way of the Blue Devils bid for Coach K’s sixth national title.

If Duke has an Achilles heel it would be outside shooting.

Two first-round games to watch would be Mississippi State/ Liberty and LSU/Yale.

Liberty under coach Richie Mackay (and a former assistant under Tony Bennett at UVA) sport a stingy defense that could pose problems for Mississippi State. Controversy surrounds a very athletic and talented LSU squad with coach Will Wade embroiled in a recruiting scandal.

Ivy League tournament champ Yale is the real deal so this game is on the upset watch list.

If Belmont gets by Temple they could be a team to watch along with Louisville who has surprised most in the ACC under first-year Coach Chris Mack.

Whitney’s Prediction: Duke and Michigan State will meet in the east final.

West Region Preview: Gonzaga is the top seed with Michigan close behind in a region where most teams enter the tournament with more questions than answers.

Florida State has the talent to advance to the regional final, particularly after they raised a few eyebrows by easily defeating Virginia in the ACC tournament semifinals. But the ‘Noles have been inconsistent and will be challenged to raise their level of play, especially shooting from beyond the arc. The Buffalo Bulls, with an experienced senior-laden lineup, could be the surprise team in the region.

A first-round matchup to keep your eye on would be Marquette/Murray State. The contest pits two of the most explosive players in the country in Marquette’s Markus Howard and Murray State’s Ja Morant. Both are capable of going for 40 points on any given night. Morant has been tabbed a mini Zion Williamson so get ready to hold your breath as these two go head-to-head on Thursday in Hartford.

Whitney’s Prediction: Florida State and Michigan will advance to the west final.

South Region Preview: Top-seeded Virginia is front and center as the Hoos seek to erase the stain from last’s first-round flameout to UMBC.

On paper, this region appears to be stacked in Virginia’s favor as most of the contenders play a slower, defensive-oriented style which is right up Virginia’s alley.

Kansas State may pose a mild challenge to the Hoos but the road to the regional final is wide open for Virginia’s redemption tour bus. If you haven’t seen him catch a peek at Virginia’s All American guard Kyle Guy, who can drain three’s with his eyes closed.

Tennessee and Purdue should battle it out for the chance to face Virginia in the final with a possible challenge from Mitch Cronin’s Cincinnati Bearcats.

Whitney’s Prediction: It will be Virginia and Purdue in the south final.

Midwest Region Preview: This region could have the most drama and surprises of all the four regions.

I like Carolina and I also believe that this is one of Roy Williams best coaching jobs in his Hall of Fame career. The Tar Heels have the horsepower to get to Minneapolis provided they continue to defend at a high level and eliminate costly turnovers. Many are looking ahead to a Carolina/Kansas battle of blue blood programs, but the Jayhawks have been playing poorly and may not get past a first-round date against Billy Coen’s Northeastern Huskies.

Auburn is coming off a spectacular run in the SEC tournament. The knock on the Tigers is that they often play with far less energy than their coach exudes on the sidelines.
Kentucky and Houston should compete for the chance to face Carolina in the final.

Wofford and Seton Hall should be an intriguing first round battle. Both teams are capable of beating anyone in the country and the winner could derail Kentucky’ shot in the region.

Whitney’s Prediction: It will be a Carolina and Houston final.


Stay connected with Bob Whitney throughout the NCAA Tournament by following @WhitneyBob on Twitter! 

New England Sends Four Teams to NCAA D3 Football Tournament

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Framingham State’s Joshua Smiley and the Rams are headed back to the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 2015. (PHOTO COURTESY: Frank Poulin/Framingham State Athletics)

By NoontimeSports.com 

Four New England D3 football teams secured spots in the 2018 NCAA Division III Tournament, which officially begins Saturday, November 17th with 16 opening round contests.

32 teams were selected to compete in this year’s tournament, including a trio of local teams (Framingham StateHusson University and Western New England) which captured their respective conference crown.

MIT, which also earned a spot in this year’s tournament, secured an at-large bid following an exciting 22-7 win yesterday over Springfield College to secure the New England Women’s and Men’s Athletic Conference (NEWMAC) crown (the NEWMAC title was the Engineers’ first in program history).

All four teams will hit the road this week with Framingham State visiting Brockport, Husson traveling to RPI, MIT heading to Johns Hopkins and Frostburg State entertaining Western New England. All four match-ups will commence at 12 p.m. eastern.

Both Husson and WNE advanced to the tournament last year, while Framingham State is making its first appearance in three seasons (the Rams last competed in the national postseason in 2015). MIT is making its second appearance in the NCAA Tournament in program history after making an impressive debut four years ago with an opening round win against Husson.

We’ll have more on all four match-ups later this week, but as always, stay connected with @Noontime_FB on Twitter for news, notes and more from the New England football world! 

Under The Helmet with Framingham State’s Quron Wright & Joshua Onujiogu

FSU Social Noontime Helmet

By NoontimeSports.com | @NoontimeSports 

A new season of Framingham State football is set to begin tomorrow, (Saturday, September 1st) when the Rams host Endicott College in a non-conference clash at 12 p.m.

Last season, the Rams went 10-1, earning a share of the Massachusetts State College Athletic Conference (MASCAC) crown with Plymouth State before capturing its second-straight New England Bowl championship.

This season, the Rams hope to continue its  momentum from last year by leaning on its upperclassmen, including senior halfback Quron Wright and junior defensive end Joshua Onujiogu. Both players will be counted on to lead the offense and defensive, respectively.

Noontime Sports recently caught-up with both student-athletes to share their outlook for the upcoming season, but also what they must do to help their respective unit, too.


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Quron Wright (2) will once again be asked to lead the Framingham State ground game this fall. (PHOTO CREDIT: Frank Poulin)

Quron Wright | Senior Halfback | Worcester, Mass. 

On the upperclassmen leading this year’s team: We have a bunch of new guys on this year’s team, so coach (Tom Kelley) is really putting an emphasis on the upperclassmen with helping the young guys learn their roles, while also learning where they need to be on the field (during different situations).

On this year’s offense: We’re keeping the focus on the same things we did last year, which is just trying to be a little bit faster, while keeping opposing defenses on their heels. Our biggest goal is making sure the upperclassmen make plays when needed.

On preparing for his final season: I worked out a lot this summer. I was coming off a good season from last year, so I just want to keep improving. I watched a lot of film and found things I needed to improve on this season. But for me, my goal is to be more involved in the blocking game on offense, so that has been something I have been working on this offseason.

On what motivates you to be successful: I keep the focus on myself (and improving every day). I personally think I am one of the best (running) backs in the area, so I am extremely motivated and want to end (my final season with the Rams) on a high note.

On facing Endicott College: We don’t have much film on them, so we don’t (always) know what to expect. We just try to go in there and get a feel for them, and then go from there. But it is always fun playing against them. It should be even more fun this year since we will be at home.

On qualifying for the NCAA Tournament this fall: We finished 10-1 last year, but it wasn’t what we expected, so this year we have emphasized trying to take that next step (to contend for a national title).


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Joshua Onujiogu (91) will be counted on to lead the Framingham State Rams defense this fall. (PHOTO CREDIT: Frank Poulin)

Joshua Onujiogu | Junior Defensive End | Wareham, Mass.

On the team’s defense: I think we’re getting better, but there is a lot more work we need to do (due to some key graduation losses from last year’s squad), but we just need to keep working hard. We will be fine.

On what the defense must improve on: We need to improve our communication.

On facing your team’s offense in practice every day: I think we’re facing one of the best offenses that we are going to see this year, so it definitely helps us get better.

On qualifying for the NCAA Tournament this season: Yeah, that is the top goal and we really want (to compete for a national championship this season).


Stay connected with our Noontime Sports football coverage on Twitter by following @Noontime_FB

D3 Lacrosse: Wesleyan Wins First-Ever NCAA Championship

fP0ILBHzBy NoontimeSports.com (@NoontimeSports) 

For the first-time in school history, the Wesleyan University men’s lacrosse team captured the national crown, defeating Salisbury University, 8-6, on Sunday afternoon at Gillette Stadium in the 2018 NCAA Division III championship.

Harry Stanton capped his impressive four-year career with the Red and Black by netting a pair of goals, while setting-up his team’s final marker late in the third quarter, which provided Wesleyan with an 8-4 lead heading into the final session.

Wesleyan’s defense limited Salisbury to just a pair of goals during the final 15 minutes, while Otto Bohan halted the rally with his final save with 13 seconds remaining.

Bohan concluded the contest with 11 stops – he also ended the season with an impressive 17-2 record between the pipes.

The Cardinals secured a 4-0 lead to begin the game, thanks to goals from Stanton and Carter Hawthorne before Salisbury halted the short spurt with a Zach Pompea strike with two seconds remaining. Salisbury would close the gap with back-to-back markers in the second quarter from Corey Gwin before Stanton netted his final goal with 3:07 remaining in the stanza to provide Wesleyan with a 5-3 lead at the break.

Salisbury would again pull within one goal early in the third as Josh Melton buried a feed from Pierre Armstrong before Taylor Ghesquiere jumpstarted a three-goal run with 8:52 remaining in the session that helped the Cardinals enter the final stanza with an 8-4 advantage.

Wesleyan, which concludes its season at 19-3 overall, scored five impressive postseason wins this month, including a pair of victories against RIT and Tufts University to secure a match-up with the Sea Gulls. Wesleyan attempted to reach the finals last season, but saw their run conclude against the Tigers of RIT.

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