D3 Football Notebook: NESCAC Quarterbacks Impressive In First Week

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Middlebury College quarterback Jared Lebowitz tossed three touchdowns in his team’s season-opening win over Wesleyan. (Photo Credit: Middlebury College Athletics)

By Matt Noonan (@MattNoonan11) 

The third week of the Division III football season saw some impressive quarterback performances, including a few from the New England Small College Athletic Conference (NESCAC), which officially began its season last Saturday, September 16th.

Three NESCAC quarterbacks concluded the first week with four touchdowns, while three student-athletes tossed two scores. Middlebury’s Jared Lebowitz was the lone NESCAC quarterback to throw three touchdowns – his final score came in the middle of the fourth quarter, which provided the hosts with a 17-point advantage (30-13) with 9:17 remaining.

Middlebury hung onto defeat Wesleyan, 30-27, thanks to its defense down the stretch.

One of the three student-athletes to toss a pair of scores in his team’s opening day win was Williams’ Bobby Maimaron, who concluded his first collegiate game with 283 passing yards. Maimaron recorded his first collegiate touchdown pass in the opening minutes of the second quarter with a 93-yard strike to Frank Stola – the 93-yard pass was the longest heave by any of the 10 NESCAC signal-callers.

Amherst quarterback Ollie Eberth, who was one of three student-athletes to toss four touchdowns, recorded a 75-yard touchdown pass to Craig Carmilani in the third quarter, which provided the Mammoths with a 27-3 lead. Amherst would go onto capture its first game by defeating Bates, 41-17.

Wesleyan’s Mark Piccirillo did not throw a 70 or 90-yard pass, but did conclude his team’s initial contest with four scores and 432 passing yards. And 15 of his 39 completions were hauled in by Mike Breuler, who is currently second in the league with three touchdown receptions. Hamilton’s Joe Schmidt currently leads all NESCAC receives with four touchdown receptions.

We’ll certainly be keeping an eye on all of these student-athletes this week when they return to the gridiron on Saturday, September 23rd. The NESCAC will feature five games this weekend, including a 6 p.m. kick-off between Tufts and Wesleyan – the game will be played at Wesleyan.

Another big NESCAC game to watch this week is Amherst at Hamilton – this could be a battle of two great offenses, especially from what we saw in the opening week. Hamilton recorded 28 points in his season-opening setback to Tufts, while Amherst tallied 41 points against Bates.

SUNY Maritime’s Matthew Murphy Eclipse 100-point Plateau: For the third-straight week, the Eastern Collegiate Football Conference (ECFC) honored SUNY Maritime’s kicker Matthew Murphy as the Special Teams Player of the Week. As noted in Tuesday’s press release, this is the seventh time Murphy has been honored by the ECFC for his kicking.

Additionally, Murphy was tabbed the Eastern Collegiate Athletic Conference (ECAC) Division III South Region Special Teams Player of the Week for the second consecutive week after booting a career-long 48 yard field, while connecting on five extra point attempts in his team’s seven-point (38-31) win over Merchant Marine.

As noted in today’s release, Murphy is now the program’s third kicker (and seventh student-athlete) to record 100 points or more in his career.

According to the latest NCAA Division III Football statistics, Murphy is tied for seventh in the country in field goals per game (two) and 32nd in field goal percentage (.857).

In addition to Murphy, wide receiver Brandonn Drumgole was named this week’s ECFC Offensive Player of the Week after hauling in 13 receptions for the second-straight week – the 13 receptions in back-to-back weeks are both program records. Drumgole also established a new single-game receiving record of 164 yards against Merchant Marine – he also caught two touchdowns in his team’s seven-point win to bump his season total to five scores.

Program Note: Make sure to circle back later this week for our weekly 10 Games to Watch post, which does include some non-New England teams, as well as a brad new Football Friday Podcast. The Football Friday Podcast is a brand new podcast we started prior to kick-off this season that highlights the various teams, coaches and student-athletes we cover. 

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Story Ideas: Have a good feature on college or high school sports here in New England or the Northeast? Let us know by sending us a tip, idea or thought to NoontimeSports@gmail.com. We welcome all suggestions, friends! 

Weekend Predictions: Williams over Tufts, Castleton over Husson

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Tufts University men’s basketball will look to close out its regular season against Williams on Friday evening. (PHOTO CREDIT: Tufts University Athletics)

By Matt Noonan (@MattNoonan11

Ah, the second to last regular season weekend is upon us – yes, this is the final weekend of New England Small College Athletic Conference (NESCAC) play, for your information – however, it is an important weekend for many teams fighting for spots in their upcoming conference’s tournament.

So, to kickstart your weekend, here are 10 predictions – short and quick, by the way. Let me know if you agree or disagree by sending me a tweet or posting a comment on our Noontime Sports page on Facebook.

Williams at Tufts (MBB | Fri., Feb. 10): It’s the final home game for the Jumbos and their seniors, but I don’t think their last regular season contest will end with a win. Williams seems to have picked-up some serious momentum – they have scored some important wins recently over Middlebury and Wesleyan – and will most likely pick-up another big win over the Powder Blue and White. PREDICTION: Williams 80, Tufts 75

Middlebury at Amherst (WBB | Fri., Feb. 10): The Panthers have been a great story this season – as of today, they would be the fourth seed in the NESCAC and host a playoff game next weekend. Do they have what it takes to get past Amherst? I don’t believe so, but they’ll give the Purple and White a good fight. PREDICTION: Amherst 65, Middlebury 40 

Tufts at Williams (WBB | Fri., Feb. 10): After falling to Amherst last weekend, Tufts will look to close out its regular season slate with back-to-back victories (after tonight’s game, they’ll face Rhode Island College next week), including a win in Williamstown. Expect Michela North and Melissa Baptista to lead the Jumbos to their ninth NESCAC win of the season. PREDICTION: Tufts 65, Williams 45 

Conn. College at Bowdoin (WBB | Sat. Feb. 11): Could this be a potential preview of a possible NESCAC Tournament contest? Possibly, but before we turn our attention to the NESCAC Tournament, let’s focus on the Camels’ five-game winning streak – something one should not overlook. Brian Wilson‘s squad will have to be perfect on both ends of the court in order to secure a win. Yet, I think this game will go in favor of the Polar Bears since they’re at home. PREDICTION: Bowdoin 59, Conn. College 53 

Roger Williams at Endicott (MBB | Sat. Feb. 11): I’ll be at this game as long as Mother Nature doesn’t drop another foot of snow on us – please, Mother Nature … NO! Roger Williams will need its defense to keep the Endicott offense in-check – last game, they held the Gulls to just 21 field goals (60 attempts), while forcing 14 turnovers. PREDICTION: Roger Williams 75, Endicott 72 

Castleton at Husson (WBB | Sat. Feb. 11): As of now, the Eagles of Husson appear to be the front-runner for the North Atlantic Conference (NAC) regular season crown. However, that could change, pending this weekend’s outcomes. And one of those outcomes could be a Castleton win over the Eagles – the victory would have to come on the road, though. Since falling to Husson, the Spartans have captured five of their last six, and need to win out to have a chance to secure the regular season crown. PREDICTION: Castleton 50, Husson 49 

Eastern Conn. State at UMass Dartmouth (WBB | Sat. Feb. 11): Can anyone slow down the Corsairs? I am not sure, especially since they have won eight-straight contests and seem to have a great deal of momentum on their side. They’ll need that momentum, along with a big day from their entire roster to secure an important conference win over the Warriors. PREDICTION: UMass Dartmouth 60, Eastern Conn. State 58 (OT)

Becker at Wheelock (MBB | Sat. Feb. 11): After dropping a pair of games to Southern Vermont earlier this week, Becker will look to return to its winning ways with a victory over the Wildcats. Against Wheelock earlier this season, three Hawks netted double-figures, including Antonio White Jr., who led all scorers with 30 points. PREDICTION: Becker 84, Wheelock 75 

Westfield State at Salem State (MBB | Sat. Feb. 11): This is a must-win for the Vikings, who lost a mid-week clash to Bridgewater State. As of today, Salem State remains the top team in the Massachusetts State Collegiate Athletic Conference (MASCAC), but a loss to the Owls could open the door for Fitchburg State to secure number one seed in the conference. Before we turn the page to Falcons-Vikings (next week, FYI), let’s keep our eyes on this contest as Chris Harvey‘s squad will look to bounce back against an Owls squad that has won three-straight. PREDICTION: Salem State 75, Westfield State 68 

Johnson & Wales at Suffolk (MBB | Sat. Feb. 11): After a slow start, Jamie Benton‘s squad is back in the mix for a top spot in the Great Northeast Athletic Conference (GNAC) Tournament. This should be a layup for the Wildcats – earlier this season, Johnson & Wales defeated the Rams at home, thanks to 23 points from Anthony JerniganPREDICTION: Johnson & Wales 75, Suffolk 65 

A Career Day for Dayton Helps No. 4 Tufts Top Conn. College, 100-83

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Everett Dayton netted a career-high 25 points to lead fourth-ranked Tufts past Conn. College on Saturday afternoon in NESCAC play. (PHOTO CREDIT: Tufts Daily /Laura de Armas)

By Brian Willwerth (@BriWillerth)

MEDFORD, Mass. – The three-pointers kept falling. The points kept adding up. And the top team in the New England Small College Athletic Conference (NESCAC) is still looking down at the rest of the league.

Fouth-ranked Tufts defeated Connecticut College on Saturday afternoon, 100-83, behind a career-high 25 points from Everett Dayton and 13 three-pointers. It was the team’s ninth win a row, and the first time this season they’ve scored 100 points in a game.

“The best thing for us is that we just have great team chemistry,” said Tufts Head Coach Bob Sheldon, whose team improved to 6-0 in the NESCAC.

This was a very entertaining, fast-paced game from both teams. Tufts never trailed in this one, and midway through the first half, it looked like the game might turn into a blowout, with the Jumbos leading by as many as 14. But the Camels (2-4) outscored the Jumbos 16-7 over a five-minute stretch to tie the game at 43. A last-second three-ball by Ethan Feldman gave the Jumbos the lead at the intermission, and they slowly increased that advantage in the second 20 minutes.

Dayton came into this contest averaging 7.5 points a game. But he more than tripled that on Saturday, and added eight assists, also a career high.

“Everett is a real good basketball player,” said Sheldon. “It all came together for him today.”

Connecticut College had four players in double figures, led by Tyler Rowe’s 19.

The Jumbos will face Newbury on Thursday night. The Camels return home on Wednesday night to take on Fisher.

New England D3 Hoops: Games to Watch (Jan. 9 -15)

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Keep an eye on No. 9 Roger Williams on Wednesday as they entertain Western New England at 5:30 p.m. (PHOTO COURTESY: Roger Williams Athletics/ DSPics.com)

By Matt Noonan (@MattNoonan11

Ah, welcome to Monday, everyone!

While we’re still de-thawing (and attempting to melt the snow outside our office here in Massachusetts), it’s time to present a new and weekly Monday blog post titled, ‘Games to Watch.’

This post will highlight a handful of games to follow (or even attend!), so make sure to add these dates/games to your calendar this week.

As usual, if you have a a thought or question or perhaps a thought about any of our recent posts or top 10 polls?  If so, then send us a note at NoontimeSports@gmail.com.

Enjoy the rest of your afternoon/day and hope you tune into these various games to watch!

  • Fitchburg State at No. 10 MIT (MBB), Monday, January 9 at 7 p.m
  • Mount Ida at Lasell (MBB), Tuesday, January 10th at 8 p.m. 
  • Western New England at No. 9 Roger Williams, Wednesday, January 11 at 5:30 p.m.
  • No. 5 UMass Dartmouth at Eastern Conn. St. (WBB), Wednesday, January 11 at 5:30 p.m. 
  • Keene State at No. 8 West Conn. St. (WBB), Wednesday, January 11 at 5:30 p.m. 
  • WPI at No. 1 Babson (MBB), Wednesday, January 11 at 7 p.m. 
  • No. 9 UMass Dartmouth at No. 6 Eastern Conn. St., Wednesday, January 11 at 7:30 p.m.
  • Framingham State at Westfield State (WBB), Wednesday, January 11 at 7:30 p.m.
  • Albertus Magnus at Suffolk (WBB), Thursday, January 12 at 5 p.m. 
  • No. 1 Tufts at No. 6 Middlebury (WBB), Friday, January 13 at 7 p.m. 
  • No. 2 Middlebury at No. 4 Tufts (MBB), Friday, January 13 at 7 p.m. 
  • No. 3 Amherst at Wesleyan (MBB), Friday, January 13 at 7 p.m. 
  • Saint Joseph’s (Maine) at Albertus Magnus (MBB), Saturday, January 14 at 1 p.m. 
  • Castleton at New England College (MBB), Saturday, January 14 at 1 p.m.  
  • Roger Williams at Gordon (MBB), Saturday, January 14 at 3 p.m. 
  • Nichols at No. 7 Endicott (MBB), Saturday, January 14 at 3 p.m. 
  • No. 2 Amherst vs. No. 7 Conn. College (WBB), Saturday, January 14 at 3 p.m.

Catching Up With Rachel Norton (Bowdoin College Women’s Basketball)

Rachel Norton has guided the Polar Bears to eight-straight wins this season. (PHOTO CREDIT: Brian Beard/CIPhotography.com)
Rachel Norton has guided the Polar Bears to eight-straight wins this season. (PHOTO CREDIT: Brian Beard/CIPhotography.com)

By Bob Whitney (@WhitneyBob)

Former Braintree High School scholar-athlete Rachel Norton is finishing her senior year at Bowdon College.

The 2013 Braintree High School graduate, three-sport captain (volleyball, basketball and lacrosse) and honor student has continued to excel at the collegiate level, both in the classroom and on the basketball court.

Norton, in her senior year, is the captain of the Polar Bears’ basketball team where she has led the squad to an 8-0 record and a No. 13 ranking in the most recent national poll (third in the Noontime Sports Women’s Basketball Top 10).

Norton took some time out of a hectic exam week schedule to reflect upon her college experiences.

What motivated you to continue to play at the college level and why did you chose Bowdoin?

I’ve played sports for as long as I can remember, and I just wasn’t ready to give that up after high school. I couldn’t imagine not continuing to play basketball, and perhaps more importantly, I couldn’t imagine not being part of a team. I chose Bowdoin because it has strong academics and athletics, and I felt that I would have a good balance between the two.

What have you noticed are the biggest differences in transitioning from playing in high school to college?

I would certainly say that the pace of the game is significantly faster in college. Everyone is stronger, faster, and quicker.

How prepared were you to play at the collegiate level?

I definitely experienced a transition period on the court where it took me some time to adjust to the faster pace of the college game. However, I think I was extremely prepared for college in the sense that I knew what kind of player and teammate I needed to be at the next level, and I can thank Kristen McDonnell for that. First of all, she stressed the importance of being a good teammate – to be gritty, selfless, and positive – and she always stressed things like defense and boxing out over hitting shots. Everything she values at Braintree High is also valued on my college team, so in that sense, I was able to transition very easily.

What challenges have you faced on the offensive end?

I’ve definitely struggled with confidence on the offensive end. I’ve been working on being more of an offensive threat, and having confidence in taking my shot and attacking the basket. So far this season, I’ve been doing a better job than in past years.

What are the challenges of being a student-athlete?

Time management is definitely a challenge. Striking a balance between sports and school requires planning and good time management skills.

Through eight games, Rachel Norton has averaged 5.3 points per game and is a perfect four-for-four at the charity stripe. (PHOTO CREDIT: Brian Beard/CIPhotography.com)
Through eight games, Rachel Norton has averaged 5.3 points per game and is a perfect four-for-four at the charity stripe. (PHOTO CREDIT: Brian Beard/CIPhotography.com)

What are the benefits/values of playing a sport in college?

I think being part of a team is an invaluable experience, and it has made my time at Bowdoin incredibly enjoyable. I certainly feel that I’ve learned lessons through my sport – the importance of hard work, how to overcome adversity, how to be a good leader – that will serve me later in life.

What advice would you give to a high school player looking for a good fit to play college basketball and get a quality education?

I would definitely encourage them to reach out to coaches and visit as many schools as they can. I’ve really enjoyed my experience as a D3 college athlete and feel like I’m getting a quality education while playing for a strong basketball program.

What are your plans after graduating from Bowdoin?

Great question… I’ll get back to you!

Finally, what kind of senior season do you expect to have?

We’re off to a strong start, so I’m looking forward to seeing what we can do this year, hopefully in both the NESCAC tournament and NCAA tournament. I’m just trying to focus on one game at a time, and really soak up and enjoy my last season of basketball.

Follow Bob on Twitter @WhitneyBob; like him on Facebook and Instagram.

Noontime Sports The Podcast: Episode 14 (James Baker | In The HuddLLe)

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By NoontimeSports (@NoontimeSports

In honor of the NCAA Division III Football Tournament, which kicks-off this weekend, Noontime Sports the Podcast welcomed back James Baker, who is one of the co-hosts of In The HuddLLe – yes, two ‘L’s’ – to discuss the first round of the playoffs.

Baker and host Matt Noonan discussed the ‘Alfred’ section of the tournament tree, primarily the Saxons’ game against Bridgewater State, Western New England hosting Husson and Hobart drawing perennial powerhouse Mount Union.

In addition to some NCAA Tournament talk, Noonan and Baker also discussed the inaugural New England Football Bowl, which takes place this Saturday (Salve Regina versus Framingham State), and the final week of the New England Small College Athletic Conference (NESCAC) football season, too.

Make sure to follow Baker and co-host Frank Rossi on Twitter!

New England D3 Basketball: 2016-17 Conference Predictions

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By Matt Noonan (@MattNoonan11

Another NCAA Division III New England basketball season officially tips-off this evening.

Earlier today – I mean, very early this morning – Clark University commenced its campaign with a midnight victory over Worcester State. It was the second time in two years that both schools tipped off after midnight.

In honor of a brand new season, it is time to dish out my Noontime Sports conference predictions – who wins the conference crown, as well as what team(s) will contend for the title.

Commonwealth Coast Conference (MBB)

Conference Champion: Endicott

Contenders: Gordon, Nichols and Wentworth

Dark horse: Western New England

Commonwealth Coast Conference (WBB)

Conference Champion: University of New England

Contenders: Roger Williams, Western New England and Endicott

Dark horse: Salve Regina

Great Northeast Athletic Conference (MBB)

Conference Champion: Albertus Magnus

Contenders: Johnson & Wales, Lasell and Emmanuel

Dark horse: Mount Ida

Great Northeast Athletic Conference (WBB)

Conference Champion: Saint Joseph’s (Maine)

Contenders: Johnson & Wales, Norwich and Emmanuel

Dark horse: Suffolk and Lasell

Little East Conference (MBB)

Conference Champion: Keene State

Contenders: Eastern Conn., UMass Dartmouth and Plymouth State

Dark horse: Southern Maine

Little East Conference (WBB)

Conference Champion: UMass Dartmouth

Contenders: Keene State, Eastern Conn. and Western Conn.

Dark horse: UMass Boston

Massachusetts State Collegiate Athletic Conference (MBB)

Conference Champion: Fitchburg State

Contenders: Salem State and Bridgewater State

Dark horse: Worcester State

Massachusetts State Collegiate Athletic Conference (WBB)

Conference Champion: Framingham State

Contenders: Westfield State, Bridgewater State and Worcester State

Dark horse: MCLA

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

Conference Champion: Babson

Contenders: MIT, WPI and Springfield

Dark horse: Emerson

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

Conference Champion: WPI

Contenders: Babson, Springfield and MIT

Dark horse: Coast Guard Academy and Wheaton 

New England Collegiate Conference (MBB)

Conference Champion: So. Vermont

Contenders: Regis, Daniel Webster and Becker

Dark horse: Elms 

New England Collegiate Conference (WBB)

Conference Champion: Regis

Contenders: Elms, Wheelock and Mitchell

Dark horse: Newbury

New England Small College Athletic Conference (MBB)

Conference Champion: Amherst

Contenders: Tufts, Williams, Trinity and Middlebury

Dark Horse: Colby

New England Small College Athletic Conference (WBB)

Conference Champion: Tufts

Contenders: Amherst, Conn. College, Bowdoin

Dark horse: Williams and Colby

North Atlantic Conference (MBB)

Conference Champion: Colby-Sawyer

Contenders: Husson, Thomas and Castleton

Dark horse: Johnson State and Green Mountain

North Atlantic Conference (WBB)

Conference Champion: Husson

Contenders: New England College, Maine Maritime and Castleton

Dark horse: Colby-Sawyer