Tag Archives: New England Small College Athletic Conference

D3 Football: Conference Race Watch (Week 11)

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By Matt Noonan | @MattyNoonz11

Welcome to the final week of the New England D-III Football season – man, this season has flown by. I still remember counting down the days to week one this past summer, but now it is time to unveil our final ‘Conference Race Watch’ post for the 2019 season.

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


Commonwealth Coast Conference (CCC): Western New England. The Golden Bears secured the conference’s automatic berth to the upcoming NCAA Tournament with back-to-back wins this month against Becker College and Endicott College. WNE concludes its regular-season slate on Saturday, November 16th when they host Husson University.

Eastern Collegiate Football Conference (ECFC): Dean College. Despite ending their season with a 38-20 setback to Castleton University, the Bulldogs still managed to secures its first conference crown since becoming a member of the league in 2017. Dean ended its season with a 4-1 record and will most likely play once more this season in a New England Bowl.

SUNY Maritime will represent the conference in the upcoming NCAA Tournament next weekend.

Massachusetts State Collegiate Athletic Conference (MASCAC): Framingham State. Despite starting its season with a pair of losses, the Rams managed to rebound with seven-straight wins, including a 40-20 victory last Saturday against Bridgewater State. The Rams conclude their season on Saturday when they visit Worcester State.

New England Small College Athletic Conference (NESCAC): Middlebury College. The Panthers wrapped up their 2019 slate with a 31-24 victory over Tufts University last weekend. The nine wins are the most recorded in program history – the conference began playing five games in 2017.

New England Women’s and Men’s Athletic Conference (NEWMAC): MIT/Springfield/WPI. This particular conference champion has yet to be decided, but MIT has the easiest path to the league title if they beat Springfield. A loss to the Pride and a WPI win over Norwich University would then provide the Engineers of Worcester with their first conference crown. Springfield can capture the title by beating MIT and having WPI lose to Norwich.

Around The Rim With Bob Whitney: Welcome Back College Hoops

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Former Braintree High and Kimball Union star Nic Timberlake in action last year for Towson University. Timberlake is now a redshirt freshman for Towson this winter after last season’s injury-riddled campaign. (PHOTO COURTESY: Bob Whitney)

By Bob Whitney | @WhitneyBob

In case you haven’t noticed the 2019-20 college basketball season is off and running, highlighted by a nationally-televised doubleheader last evening featuring the top four teams in the men’s basketball preseason rankings: Michigan State, Kentucky, Duke, and Kansas.

For all of us veteran purists, it was hoop heaven, the talent was amazing but the quality of play was spotty at best given such a huge stage on opening night.

That aside, it is my pleasure to pen a weekly hoop column for the hard-working Matt Noonan and his many followers here at Noontime Sports.

I have covered one of the Power Five conferences – the Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC), to be exact – for the last eight seasons, but this year I will focus on a little bit of everything but the primary focus will remain on all that is happening in New England – and that is a lot!

First of all, check out the Noontime Sports Men and Women’s New England D-III Basketball Preseason Top 10 Polls: (Men’s Basketball | Women’s Basketball)

A few thoughts from the basketball polls.

  • No surprise that Amherst College is perched at the top of both rankings. They have been the gold-standard regionally and a regular participant in the NCAA D-III Tournaments for years.
  • Speaking of Amherst, the men’s program suffered a sudden jolt in September when legendary coach David Hixon (after 42 seasons at the helm) opted to take a non-health sabbatical to deal with some family issues. The big question is can the program move on without Hixon’s leadership?

    Those close to the program feel that with the elevation of trusted assistant Aaron Toomey, who played under Hixon and helped win NCAA titles in 2012 and 2013, the transition should be seamless.

  • A game to watch (and to gauge how Toomey and his squad are managing the transition) is on January 10 when New England Small College Athletic Conference (NESCAC) rival Middlebury College travels to Amherst.

ODDS AND ENDS

  • There have been a number of rule changes introduced with the most important one being the extension of the 3-point arc from 17 inches to the international standard of 22 feet, 1 3/4 inches. Although testing of this change in the National Invitation Tournament (NIT) last year found little change in shooting percentage, it was felt by the officiating honchos that it would alleviate congestion in the paint by forcing defenders to guard shooters further away from the basket. Stay tuned on this change.
  • All eyes will be pointing to Cambridge, Mass this season to see if the Harvard University celebrated senior class, led by awesome point guard Bryce Aiken, can finally win an Ivy League title, as well as earn an automatic tournament bid to the NCAA Tournament.

    Better yet, the Crimson will have some home-cooking help in March as this year’s conference tournament moves from the storied The Palestra to Lavietes Pavilion, March 14-15.

    The Ivy poo-bahs move to a conference tournament for men and women was a no-brainer – the atmosphere is pulsating and the quality of play is as good as it gets.

  • A shoutout to former Marquette University assistant Brett Nelson who assumes the reins at Holy Cross after Bill Carmody‘s decision to retire from the coaching ranks.
  • Did you know that we have a number of the top coaches in the women’s college game led by the legendary Barbara Stevens, who ranks fourth in wins among college coaches at Bentley University, Harvard’s Kathy Delaney-Smith, Stonehill College‘s Trisha Brown, Springfield College‘s Naomi Graves, and Babson College‘s Judy Blinstrub. If any of you have a daughter that may be destined to play at the college level the price of admission to catch one of these coaches in action will help with a final decision.
  • In my eight years following ACC men’s basketball, I had the privilege to hear firsthand from some of the great coaches in the game, including Coach Mike KrzyseskiRoy Williams, Jim Boeheim, Rick Pitino, and Mike Brey. Buzz Williams was a real stitch in the press room. But most impressive among this elite group of coaches was the University of Virginia‘s, Tony Bennett.

    Obviously, Bennett’s run to the national title was the big news last year but most noteworthy was his recent decision to forego a well-deserved a big raise. Bennett felt that his family was blessed and thankful for what they have and felt that the money would be better spent in funding a program to help athletes transition to careers after basketball. Bennett is destined to be the voice of the ACC once Coach K and Roy retire.

A FINAL THOUGHT

Best wishes to Kristen McDonnell who left the Braintree high school girls basketball program after a ten-year run which included four D-1 state titles and a bunch of sectional crowns. McDonnell is seeking a new challenge as the Norwood high school boys head coach.

Keep shooting. See you next week!

D3 Football: Week 10 Poll (Monday, Nov. 4th, 2019

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By NoontimeSports.com | @NoontimeSports 

Nine weeks of New England D-III Football is officially in the books. And today, the start of the tenth week, we find a new number one team in Western New England, which needs just one more win to clinch the Commonwealth Coast Football (CCC) title.

With a big win this past Saturday against third-ranked Endicott College, the Golden Bears moved into the top spot in our weekly poll with some serious momentum heading into the final two weeks of the season.

WPI, which was our unanimous number one team for the past few weeks, dropped one spot following a heart-breaking defeat to eighth-ranked MIT, which beat the Engineers of Worcester for the first time since 1900. MIT, WPI, and Springfield College (sixth-ranked) are currently in a three-way tie for first place in the New England Women’s and Men’s Athletic Conference (NEWMAC).

Framingham State remains the fifth-best team in New England – they scored a hard-fought 16-6 win over Massachusetts Maritime Academy this past weekend. The Rams host Bridgwater State on Saturday with the outcome most likely determining who will represent the Massachusetts State Collegiate Athletic Conference (MASCAC) in the upcoming NCAA D-III Tournament later this month.

Finally, fourth-ranked Middlebury College matched its 1972 squad with its eighth-consecutive victory by beating Hamilton College, 14-7, in the “Rocking Chair Classic.” Middlebury can clinch the New England Small College Athletic Conference (NESCAC) crown this Saturday with a win against Tufts University. A loss to the Jumbos and a  Wesleyan University victory over Trinity College would result in both programs sharing the 2019 title.

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


New England D-III Football Week 10 Poll| November 4th, 2019

1. Western New England  7-1, 5-0 CCC Last Week: No. 3
2. WPI  7-1, 4-1 NEWMAC Last Week: No. 1
3. Endicott College  6-2, 4-1 CCC Last Week: No. 2 
4. Middlebury College  8-0, 8-0 NESCAC Last Week: No. 4
5. Framingham State  6-2, 6-0 MASCAC Last Week: No. 5
6. Springfield College 5-3, 4-1 NEWMAC Last Week: No. 6
7. Bridgewater State  5-3, 5-1 MASCAC Last Week: No. 8
8. MIT  5-2, 4-1 NEWMAC Last Week: No. 10
9. UMass Dartmouth  6-2, 4-2 MASCAC Last Week: No. 11
10. Williams College 6-2, 6-2 NESCAC Last Week: No. 9
11. Western Connecticut  6-2, 4-2 MASCAC Last Week: No. 7
12. Trinity College 5-3, 5-3 NESCAC Last Week: No. 13
13. Wesleyan University 7-1, 7-1 NESCAC Last Week: No. 16
14. Amherst College  4-4, 4-4 NESCAC Last Week: No. 12
15. Norwich University 5-3, 2-3 NEWMAC Last Week: No. 14
16. Coast Guard Academy 5-3, 2-3 NEWMAC Last Week: No. 17
17. Nichols College  5-3, 3-2 CCC Last Week: No. 15
18. Plymouth State  6-3, 4-3 MASCAC Last Week: No. 18 
19. Mass. Maritime Acad. 5-3, 3-3 MASCAC Last Week: No. 19
20. Dean College  4-4, 4-0 ECFC Last Week: Not Ranked

On the Rise: Husson University, Salve Regina University, and Tufts University


New England D-III Top 20 Polls: Preseason Poll | Week One Poll |Week Two Poll| Week Three Poll |Week Four Poll| Week Five Poll|Week Six|Week Seven |Week Eight |Week Nine 


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

 

Catching Up With Coach Jay Civetti (Tufts University)

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OJ Armstrong and the Tufts University football team will attempt to capture their fourth win of the season on Saturday, Oct. 26th against Hamilton College. (PHOTO COURTESY: Jonas Powell)

By Brian Willwerth | @BriWillwerth 

With three games remaining in their 2019 campaign, the Tufts University football team sits at 3-3, in the middle of the pack in the New England Small Colleg Athletic Conference (NESCAC).

On Thursday, we caught up with head coach Jay Civetti to talk about the state of the Jumbos.

“When you graduate all five of your offensive linemen (from last season) … I think we knew coming into (the current season that) it would be a challenge,” said Civetti, who also mentioned losing last season’s co-offensive player of the year in quarterback Ryan McDonald.

“It’s a challenge to get that prepared and ready to play,” he added.

But other players have stepped up, especially up front. Also, wide receiver OJ Armstrong is starting to pick it up, coming off a game where he racked up a season-best 142 yards and three touchdowns in their win over Bowdoin College.

“(He) had a breakout game last week, and we’ve been waiting for that to happen,” said Civetti when discussing Armstrong’s impressive play against the Polar Bears.

On defense, the front seven is pretty much the same from a year ago, but Civetti says some guys in the secondary have stepped up, including Johnathan O’Neal and Brandyn Jones. Civetti says he’s been impressed with what he’s seen thus far from the defense in the past couple of weeks.

One player who is not a newcomer but is the team’s leading tackler is senior linebacker Greg Holt, who has posted 62.0 total tackles in six contests this season. Holt is currently second in the conference in total tackles and tackles per game (10.3).

“He’s been an all-league player every year,” said Civetti of his senior linebacker.

“There’s really not any team that can ever really quantify how special a leader he is on the field, and just a remarkable person off the field, too.”

Tufts has two of its last three games at home, starting with a matchup against another 3-3 team tomorrow (Saturday, Oct. 26th) against Hamilton College. The Jumbos have beaten the Continentals in their last two meetings, including in 2017 when Tufts needed overtime to score an opening day win against the New York squad in Somerville.

Player Perspective: Ricky Goodson (Amherst College)

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Ricky Goodson was a player to watch last week when Amherst College topped Bowdoin College for its fourth win of the season. (PHOTO COURTESY: Geoff Botle, Clarus Studios Inc.)

By NoontimeSports.com | @NoontimeSports 

Ricky Goodson has been a player to watch this fall on the Amherst College football team.

Last week, Goodson turned in his best outing of the 2019 season against Bowdoin College when the third-year defensive back posted five total tackles, including four solo stops and one tackle for a loss of 12 yards. Additionally, he forced one fumble, which resulted in a touchdown and registered his first interception of the season.

His effort against the Polar Bears certainly helped the Mammoths bounce back after a heartbreaking defeating to Middlebury College in double-overtime but also earn him the New England Small College Athletic Conference (NESCAC) Defensive Player of the Week honor.

Goodson has tallied a career-high 25.0 total tackles in five games this season, including a career-high 20 solo stops. Two of his tackles have been for a loss of 14 yards.

Noontime Sports caught-up with Goodson to discuss his outing against the Polar Bears, but also what he and the defense must do this week against Hamilton College.

How important was it for your team to return to the win column last week against Bowdoin College after falling to Middlebury College in double-overtime? 

Another mark in the win column is always important for our team, especially with things being so competitive in the NESCAC. Our coaches and teammates were focused on having a strong week of practice and we were able to do just that, which is what led to our victory last Saturday.

You enjoyed one of your best games of the season thus far last Saturday against Bowdoin. How did you prepare yourself to have a successful day on the gridiron? 

Our coach often stresses that preparation starts on Monday during our first walk through and develops during the week through practice and film. I value this approach and continue it through our team’s weekly process.

Many players on the team including myself had multiple midterm assignments last week which interfered with my weekly flow of preparation for the game. I managed to complete my school work and was able to regain focus (last Saturday).

You have a talented defense that has limited opponents to 16 points or less in four games this season. How do the players around you make you a better player? 

The players on our defense give me all the juice I need on game day. I see how they prepare during the week and pregame, and trust that they will fulfill their responsibilities. There is nothing more comforting to a secondary than knowing that your front seven are going to get their jobs done.

Colby College at Amherst College

Through five games this season, Ricky Goodson has posted a career-best 25.0 total tackles. (PHOTO COURTESY: Geoff Botle, Clarus Studios Inc.)

What is something most fans don’t know about the Amherst College defense? 

We are close to one another, both on and off the field. Our defense will often spend free time together which I believe builds a stronger bond that correlates to gameday.

Your team travels to Hamilton College this upcoming weekend. What must you and the defense do to help the squad win a second-straight contest?  

Our defense just needs to play freely. I believe that this defense knows their responsibilities and if we can let go and play fast, we will do what is needed to put our offense in the best position to win the game.

Lastly, with this week’s game being a road contest, what do you enjoy most about playing away from campus? Do you get an additional adrenaline boost running onto an opponent’s field? 

Away games are always a different atmosphere between traveling, staying in hotels and adjusting to a new pregame. But honestly, I love the process of it all.

Game days on the road are always run on a tight schedule which helps me mentally and physically prepare for the game.

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