The NESCAC Cancels Fall Sports

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PHOTO COURTESY: NESCAC.com

By NoontimeSports.com

The New England Small College Athletic Conference (NESCAC) will not be playing fall sports this year, according to this afternoon’s announcement.

Today’s announcement follows previous decisions made by other conferences and schools, including Bowdoin College which was the first member of the NESCAC to cancel its fall sports season, while also delaying the start of its winter sports season until next January.

Amherst College and Williams College also announced recently that none of their respective fall sports programs would be competing this year, including the both football teams that have been competing in the ‘Biggest Little Game’ since 1884.

Bates College will also not be playing fall sports either as the athletic department made the decision just a short time ago.

The NESCAC cited “the health and well-being of students, faculty, staff, and the broader community the foremost concern” with making the decision to cancel the fall sports season for its 11 members, along with its seven championships they sponsor.

Middlebury College, which captured last year’s NESCAC Field Hockey championship, defeated Franklin & Marshall in the national title game while Tufts University captured the NCAA D-III men’s championship with a 2-0 win over Amherst College.

Middlebury and Tufts have yet to cancel or suspend their respective fall sports programs as of this afternoon.

According to D3Playbook.com, the NESCAC is not the first D-III conference to either cancel or suspend fall sports. The Centennial Conference (CC) announced earlir this week that none of their schools would play fall sports, including football, while a few conferences hope to play only league games this fall.

Daily Noontime: Wednesday, June 24, 2020

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By Matt Noonan 

Welcome to Wednesday, everyone – hope you are ALL doing well while continuing to stay safe, happy, and healthy.

Let’s get to some headlines, beginning with the return of Major League Baseball (MLB) – yay, baseball is back!


Noontime’s Headlines for Wednesday, June 24, 2020

  • There will be a baseball season, beginning late next month.Teams will be reporting to their home cities next week to take part in spring training 2.0. And one of those teams – the Philadelphia Phillies seem excited to be back on the field to begin preparations for hopefully a successful 60 game season.
  • Speaking of baseball, are you excited to cheer on our hometown Boston Red Sox?Whether you’re excited or not excited, the Red Sox will be playing baseball this summer (and fall), and we will keep our fingers crossed that group of ballplayers will be able to contend for a pennant.
  • It was announced yesterday that Tufts University would be opening its doors to students this fall. But if students don’t feel comfortable returning to campus, they can either study remotely “or take time away from Tufts,” according to The Tufts Daily. Students will need to make a decision about the fall between now and Tuesday, June 30.What does this mean for Tufts athletics? Will we see the Jumbos compete in football?

    As of now, a 2020 schedule hasn’t been posted, but like other schools in the New England Small College Athletic Conference (NESCAC), we should know more in the coming days and weeks.

  • With more student-athletes testing positive for the coronavirus (Covid-19), thoughts of playing college football this fall are starting to look bleak. But hey, what do we know?
  • Finally, Danny Ventura of the Boston Herald reported yesterday that Mystic Valley has decided to suspend its upcoming football season. Could we see more as we inch closer toward a brand new school year?

Noonan: Revisiting My First Lacrosse Championship Game

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Tufts University’s Beau Wood (No. 18) netted the game-winning goal for the Jumbos against Bowdoin College in the 2012 NESCAC Championship game. (PHOTO COURTESY: Matt Noonan)

By Matt Noonan 

The month of May, in my opinion, will always be associated with the sport of lacrosse.

It is a month that features a slew of college tournaments and championships to NCAA postseason runs that concludes on Memorial Day weekend.

But while the sport of lacrosse, as well as other games, remain sidelined for the moment, memories of games covered, including my first-ever New England Small College Athletic Conference (NESCAC) Tournament Final, is on my mind. And it is hard not to think back to that gorgeous day – May 6, 2012, to be exact – when Tufts University outlasted Bowdoin College, 9-8, in double-overtime

At the time, I didn’t know much about lacrosse. I thought it was hockey on grass – maybe basketball, too – but it was a sport I grew to love from watching a talented Tufts team (and program), which had won its first-ever national championship two years earlier against Salisbury University.

I got my first glimpse of these Jumbos in mid-April of 2012 when Tufts rolled past Amherst College, 15-5. It was an impressive win.

Mike Daly, who was the coach of the Jumbos, told me neither he or his coaching staff anticipated his team was going to beat Amherst by ten goals on this particular afternoon. Instead, Daly, who is currently the head coach of the Brown University men’s lacrosse team, told me that his team “just put together a pretty complete effort today.” And that effort would certainly be on display weeks later when I covered Tufts’ dramatic win over a Bowdoin, which would conclude its 2012 campaign in the second round of the NCAA D-III Tournament.

Bowdoin was a good team. They had scored some impressive conference wins in 2012, as well as some important non-league victories against Keene State and Springfield College. They beat Wesleyan University in the NESCAC quarterfinals before knocking off Trinity College in the semifinals shortly after Tufts topped Connecticut College.

Tufts had beaten Bowdoin prior to their championship meeting – the Jumbos topped the Polar Bears, 15-7, in Medford, Massachusetts, which made me think the young men who wore the powder blue, brown and white jerseys that day would duplicate that performance on the same field. But I was wrong.

Instead, I, along with fans and friends of each program, was treated to an amazing back and forth affair that saw Bowdoin erase a two-goal deficit during the final minutes of the fourth quarter to force not one, but two extra sessions.

Tufts had a chance to win the game in the first overtime but neither Nick Rhoads and Beau Wood were able to deposit their attempt past Bowdoin’s, Chris Williamson. Bowdoin would also have a chance to clinch the victory but watched Conor O’Toole‘s shot sail wide of the Tufts cage.

So, with the score still knotted at 8-8, we quickly advanced to a second overtime period. And like many, I wondered which team would score that game-winner? Would it be Bowdoin, since they seemed to have all the momentum, thanks to back-to-back fourth-quarter goals by Keegan Mehlhorn and Will Wise, or Tufts, which had not located the back of the net since the final seconds of the third quarter?

That question would be answered during the sixth and final period when Tufts scored on its third attempt of the session with 1:50 remaining. Beau Wood fired home the game-winner after receiving a pass from Geordie Shafer. And once the ball slipped past Bowdoin’s Chris Williamson, the Jumbos rushed the field to celebrate a hard-fought yet exhilarating win.

“We knew we had to just end (the game) it as soon (as we got the ball),” Wood remarked shortly after his team’s one-goal win.

Indeed, the Jumbos did end it, but not until they forced their second turnover of the second overtime.

Tufts would advance to the NCAA semifinals two weeks later but saw their run toward a national title conclude against SUNY Cortland. The Red Dragons, which beat the Jumbos by a score of 12-10, would end up losing in the finals to Salisbury, who had beaten Tufts in the national title game one year earlier.

Sure, it was disappointing to see a team you had covered fall short of winning the ultimate prize, but I knew eventually this team (and program) would celebrate a championship in the future. And that they did. Tufts would win a pair of titles in the coming years, including their second national championship against Salisbury in 2014. They would also make a third-straight appearance in the championship game in 2016 but lose by one goal to the Sea Gulls of Salisbury.

Tufts will return to the title game again soon. But for now, I consider myself lucky to have covered and chronicled their various campaigns these past few years through NoontimeSports.com. I will always be thankful for the time both Mike Daly and his players provided me after the three contests I covered in 2012 and will continue to look back on this time fondly. I was a young journalist (and blogger), but also someone that wanted to learn more about a sport that I had only played once in my life. And because of Tufts, I am now an avid lacrosse fan, as well as a high school and middle school official here in Massachusetts.

I miss watching and covering games, especially on gorgeous days like today, but I do know better days are ahead for all of us, and they will certainly include exciting and dramatic one-goal victories.

Noontime’s Senior Salute: Jeff Spellman (Bates College)

Undefeated Colby men's basketball defeats Bates 101-84 in Alumni

Bates College senior Jeff Spellman averaged a career-best 15.8 points per game this past winter while averaging 4.4 rebounds, 2.3 assists, and 1.1 steals. (PHOTO COURTESY: Phyllis Graber Jensen/Bates College)

By NoontimeSports.com 

For the third consecutive season, Bates College senior Jeff Spellman led the Bobcats in scoring as the Boston, Massachusetts native produced 379 points in 24 contests this winter, including a career-high 36 trifectas.

Spellman and the Bobcats concluded their 2019-20 campaign with a 12-13 record, as well as a spot in the New England Small College Athletic Conference (NESCAC) Tournament. Bates faced Colby College in an epic triple-overtime quarterfinal meeting, which saw Spellman net a team-high 23 points on 8 of 21 shooting to go along with four rebounds, four steals, and three assists.

Named to the All-NESCAC Second Team last month, Spellman ranked seventh in the conference in points per game (15.8), which was the highest average by any member of the Bates men’s basketball program since Brian Ellis averaged 15.9 points in 2011.

In 87 contests with the Bobcats, Spellman recorded 1,242 points to go with 359 rebounds, 233 assists, and 73 steals. He also tallied nine blocks, including a trio of swipes this season.

We recently caught up with Jeff Spellman to discuss his final season with the Bobcats, but also his future plans after he graduates later this spring.


What will you remember most about your senior year?

When thinking back on my senior year I am reminded of the commitment to growth demonstrated by every one of my teammates, most notably in the offseason. Regret in sport often spawns from a reflection upon wasted effort in one’s preparation, not a failure in the heat of competition. There is not one member of this 2019-20 team that will have any regrets from this past season.

Looking back on the 2019-20 season, what game (or games) will you will remember most? Why these particular games?

I will never forget our game against Middlebury College. Not only was this our last game of the regular season it was also potentially the last game of my classmates’ careers. Never mind the buzzer-beater by Nick Gilpin, but watching him dominate that entire game was something I won’t ever forget. And beating the tenth-ranked team in the country on the road (at that time) was a great feeling. It provided us with a special feeling going into the NESCAC quarterfinals against Colby.

What have you enjoyed most about competing for the Bates College men’s basketball team (and program) these past four years?

We often spoke of embracing the “wrench” mentality.  Long story short this program welcomes adversity with open arms, occasionally seeking it out. We had nothing given to us; everything we accomplished we fought for. That is why I love Bates basketball.

Once you officially graduate later this spring, do you plan to stay involved with the sport in some capacity? Any interest in coaching?

As of now, my plans are to continue to play basketball at the professional level. When or where that happens is up in the air but I am committed to playing this game as long as I can.

What interested you in pursuing a degree in studio art? What do you hope to do with your degree after graduation?

Art has long been an integral part of my life. Simply put, it’s what I enjoy doing most, outside of basketball. I saw no need to shy away from my passion in college and decided to make it my major.  I typically work with photography and film so I can envision myself down the road continuing to utilize both mediums for the work I plan to produce.

Noontime’s Senior Salute: Erica DeCandido (Tufts University)

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Erica DeCandido averaged 16.7 points and 8.3 rebounds per game this past winter for the Tufts University women’s basketball team. (PHOTO COURTESY: Alonso Nichols / Tufts University)

By NoontimeSports.com | @NoontimeNation 

This past winter, Erica DeCandido was the player to watch on the Tufts University women’s basketball team.

The North Wales, Pennsylvania native averaged career-bests in points per game (16.7) and rebounds (8.7) in 29 contests while leading Tufts to a 28-1 overall record.

Recognized as the 2020 New England Small College Athletic Conference (NESCAC) Player of the Year, DeCandido scored 20 points or more seven times this past winter while netting a career-high 28 points in her team’s 78-60 win over Wesleyan University. Additionally, she pulled down 10 rebounds or more in 10 contests and recorded nine double-doubles.

DeCandido scored 1,397 points in 119 games with the Jumbos to go with 685 rebounds, 317 assists, 166 steals, and 67 blocks.

We recently spoke with Erica about her final season with the Jumbos, as well as where she is headed after graduation later this spring.


Despite the way the season concluded, what will you remember most about your senior year?

I will definitely miss the camaraderie. My teammates are my best friends, and college basketball gives you such a great opportunity to do something you love with all the people you love.

Despite all of the wins and that one loss (from this past season), I will remember how much fun we had from (competing on the road) to our bus trips, team meetings, and so much more.

Looking back on the 2019-20 season, what game (or games) will you remember most? Why these games?

I will remember our two road games against Amherst College and Bowdoin College. I think the Amherst game was one of the first games in my collegiate career where we went into overtime which was very intense. The Bowdoin game featured some amazing fans and neither team could miss (a shot). Both were such different games but against two great teams, and we won them both.

What have you enjoyed most about competing for the Tufts women’s basketball team (and program) these past four years?

I’ve certainly enjoyed the high level of competition, not only in the NESCAC but in our everyday practices, too. I was able to play in the D-III National Championship my freshman year, win a NESCAC championship while having an amazing time with my friends. As cheesy as that sounds, that’s why I love playing for this team. We are super close and were able to compete for championships. 

Once you officially graduate later this spring, do you plan to stay involved with the sport in some capacity? Any interest in coaching?

I definitely would love to stay involved with the sport. I do not think I will become a coach (at some point) but I would love to work for basketball non-profits, so I can teach this game I love so much. 

What interested you in pursuing a degree in cognitive brain science? What do you hope to do with your degree after graduation?

I find the brain and psychology very fascinating. We all have brains, but it’s so interesting to see how different things can impact one from the other. It’s fun to learn about what goes on behind people’s actions, thoughts, and decisions.

I currently have a job lined up in New York City, doing client services for a company called Guidepoint.