New England D-III Hoops Notebook: Brandeis, Emmanuel Score Impressive Mid-Week Victories

MidWeekD3NotebookHoops

By Matt Noonan | @NoontimeNation 

For the first time since 2005, the Emmanuel College women’s basketball team scored a win over the top team in Division III as the Saints beat Amherst College last night by a score of 60-55.

The Saints, who beat Bowdoin College 14 years ago when they were the top team in D-III, were led by Yuleska Ramirez-Tejeda, who recorded a double-double of 25 points and 10 rebounds. The Cambridge, Massachusetts native connected on 10 of 20 shots from the field, while sinking five of eight freebies.

Emmanuel led Amherst, 23-19, at the break – they would outscore the Mammoths, 26-19, in the final session to secure their fourth win of the season.

The setback snapped an early three-game winning streak for the Mammoths, which scored early-season wins against Babson CollegeIthaca College, and New Jersey City. Amherst is scheduled to face Eastern Connecticut on Saturday before heading to Las Vegas, Nevada three weeks later to compete in the D3Hoops.com Classic.

Emmanuel, which has won four of seven contests thus far, visits MIT on Saturday before hosting Rhode Island College next Monday, December 9th. The win over the Mammoths should provide the Blue and Gold with some momentum heading into their next two contests before heading to Nevada, as well, to compete in two days of the D3Hoops Classic at the end of the month.

Keep your eyes on Ramirez-Tejeda over the next few weeks – the senior guard is averaging 20.7 points and 11.6 rebounds per game. Additionally, she is averaging 2.9 assists per game and sinking 64.4 percent of her free throws.

Brandeis University scored an exciting 99-88 overtime win last night against Babson, thanks to a pair of impressive performances by Hannah Nicholson (19 points and 16 rebounds) and Camila Casanueva (19 points, nine rebounds, and eight assists).

The Judges outscored the Beavers, 25-14, in the extra session – Brandeis utilized an 8-2 run to begin the overtime period, which provided them enough momentum to secure their fifth win of the season.

Brandeis has enjoyed a successful start to its 2019-20 campaign – they won their Tip-Off Tournament early last month with wins against Framingham State and Nichols College while scoring non-conference wins over Roger Williams and Salem State. The Judges’ lone setback came against Tufts University late last month – the Jumbos outscored Brandeis, 41-29, in the second half to secure an 81-77 win.

The Judges will visit Clark University and Johnson & Wales later this week before hosting Becker College next Monday.

Since falling to New England College last month, the WPI men’s basketball team has looked unstoppable as they have now won seven consecutive contests, including a 72-62 win on Tuesday against Tufts.

WPI’s Garrett Stephenson stuffed the stat sheet against the Jumbos with a game-high 21 points to go along with six rebounds, two assists, and one steal. Colin McNamara contributed 13 points, eight rebounds, and four assists, while Reid Walker added 10 points, three rebounds, and one assist.

The Engineers will attempt to stretch their winning streak to eight games on Saturday when they visit Albertus Magnus for a 5 p.m. tip-off.

WPI has scored some impressive regional victories thus far against Tufts, Salem StateFitchburg State, Eastern Connecticut, and Brandeis. After their visit to the Falcons, WPI will be off for the holidays before visiting Framingham State on Saturday, January 4th for its final non-conference clash.

As of this morning, the Engineers are the only New England Women’s and Men’s Athletic Conference (NEWMAC) team that has won eight games thus far. Babson has won all six of its contests, while Springfield College has won five-straight.

Speaking of the Beavers, they host Amherst this evening with tip-off scheduled for 7 p.m. Babson has been a team to watch thus far, but Wednesday’s meeting with the Mammoths will certainly be a good test for the Green and White.

Following their non-conference clash with the Mammoths, Babson will compete in the New England Big 4 Challenge this weekend – their first game is against Salem State on Saturday at 2 p.m. The Big 4 Challenge is always a fun tournament to watch – the two day, the four-game tournament features Babson, Tufts, Brandeis, and Salem State.

NCAA D3 Football Tournament: Inside The MIT-Muhlenberg Matchup

Sean Kent WBE

Sean Kent and the MIT Football team are making their second-straight appearance in the NCAA Tournament. (PHOTO COURTESY: Matt Noonan/NoontimeSports.com)

By Matt Noonan | @NoontimeNation 

In just three days, a trio of New England D-III football teams will begin their pursuit of the ultimate prize: a national championship. And one of those teams is the MIT Engineers, who will travel to Allentown, Pennsylvania to face Muhlenberg College.

MIT is making its second-straight appearance in the NCAA D-III Tournament, as well as it’s third since 2014. The Engineers are 1-2 in their last three national postseason contests and will attempt to even their mark against an impressive Mules squad, which yet to drop a single contest this season.

Below are a few notes about Saturday’s match-up, including some stats (and numbers) on both teams, as well as players to watch.


MIT (7-2) at Muhlenberg (10-0)

Gametime/Location: Saturday, November 23rd at Muhlenberg College, Allentown, PA. Kickoff is scheduled for 12 p.m. at Scotty Wood Stadium.

Rankings: Muhlenberg is currently fourth in the latest D3Football.com Top 25 Poll. MIT is not ranked nor receiving votes.

Conference Affiliate: Muhlenberg competes in the Centennial Conference (CC) – they finished 9-0 against league opponents. MIT competes in the New England Women’s and Men’s Athletic Conference (NEWMAC) and won six of seven league tilts this fall.

Last Appearance in the NCAA Tournament: Both teams appeared in the NCAA Tournament last season. MIT, which captured its first-ever NEWMAC crown last fall, saw its run toward a national championship conclude in the opening round against Johns Hopkins. Muhlenberg advanced to the quarterfinals with wins over Delaware Valley (20-13) and Randolph-Macon (35-6) before falling to Mount Union, 38-10.

Inside the Numbers with MIT: The Engineers rank 124th in scoring offense, averaging 26.4 points per game. They have scored 30 touchdowns this fall while kicking eight field goals … MIT’s defense and Concordia Wisconsin are tied for 77th in scoring defense, yielding 21.00 points per contest … MIT is averaging 333.6 yards of total offense (153.9 rushing and 179.7 passing yards) … The defense has yielded an average of 174.4 passing yards per game while limiting opposing rushing attacks to just 117.0 yards per game.

Inside the Numbers with Muhlenberg: The Mules are currently the 17th highest-scoring offense in D-III, averaging 41.9 points per game. They have scored 56 touchdowns in 10 contests while recording nine field goals. Muhlenberg has converted 52 PATs and recorded one safety for 419.00 points … The Mules boast the ninth-best scoring defense, yielding an average of 11.70 points per game … Muhlenberg is averaging 439.1 yards of total offense (281.60 passing yards per game and 157.5 rushing yards) … The Mules have limited opposing rushing attacks to 70.6 yards per game while the defense is limiting offenses to just 200.30 yards of passing per game.

MIT Players to Watch: 

  • Chris Mauck (QB) – Enters Saturday’s contest with 19 touchdowns and eight interceptions as a starter … Mauck has completed 121 of 241 passes for 1,609 yards
  • Ashton Robinson (RB) – Has rushed for a career-high 366 yards on 95 carries in eight contests this season, along with three touchdowns.
  • Keithen Shepard (WR) – Leads the Engineers with 10 receiving touchdowns … the third-year receiver has caught a team-high 35 passes for 542 yards.
  • Mark Wright (Kicker) – Wright has connected on 8 of 11 field goals with his longest kick being a 43-yarder … he is 22 of 26 on extra points … he has produced 46 points in nine games.
  • Sean Kent (Defensive Back) – The senior defensive back leads the Engineers with 58.0 total tackles … He has recorded 4.5 tackles for a loss of 10 yards while registering two interceptions and five pass break-ups.

Muhlenberg Players to Watch:

  • Frankie Feaster (DE) – Named the CC Defensive Player of the Year for the second-straight season … Feaster helped the Mules defense set a conference record of yielding just 91 points in nine conference contests.
  • Michael Hnatkowsky (QB) – Named the CC Offensive Player of the Year … He has tossed a school-record 34 touchdowns with only three interceptions … He ranks third in D-III in passing efficiency, completion percentage (sixth), and passing touchdowns (seven).
  • James Diggs (RB) – Diggs is averaging 70.0 rushing yards per game, which is fourth in the CC … He has scored seven rushing touchdowns this season.
  • Ryan Curtis (TE) – Named a first-team All-CC honoree … has caught 10 touchdowns and set the conference mark for career receiving yards and receiving touchdowns by a tight end.
  • John Washington (DB) – Washington has recorded 28 tackles, five pass breakups, and two interceptions as a first-time starter with the Mules.
  • Todd Spirt (Kicker) – Spirit leads the conference with 78 points … he is the CC all-time leader in extra points made with 185 (he set a program record with 56 extra points made last season.

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.

New England Basketball Notebook: Harvard Shines In Season-Opener

Men's Basketball between the Harvard Crimson and the Columbia Lions

Bryce Aiken and the Harvard University men’s basketball team are motivated to return to the NCAA Tournament this upcoming season. (PHOTO COURTESY: David Dermer/Harvard Athletics)

By Matt Noonan | @MattyNoonz11

For Harvard University, Tuesday’s 84-27 victory over MIT was an ideal way to begin a new season, but also an opportunity to gain some much-needed momentum heading into an important non-conference clash on Friday with Northeastern University.

Multiple Crimson players contributed on both ends of the floor against the Engineers, including first-year forward Chris Ledlum, who recorded his first collegiate double-double of 13 points and 11 rebounds. Senior Christian Juzang netted 12 points, while classmate Chris Lewis stuffed the stat sheet with nine points, seven rebounds, one assist, and one block.

Harvard’s 57-point victory margin matched the 1945-46 team, which established the mark with their win over Northeastern.

While it certainly was an impressive start to their 2019-20 campaign, Harvard, as well as their coach Tommy Amaker, know they have more work to do in order to accomplish their preseason goals. And one of those goals, according to senior guard Bryce Aiken, is to return to the NCAA Tournament, something the Crimson have not done since 2015.

Harvard has come close to returning to the ‘big dance,’ but has fallen short the past three seasons in the Ivy League tournament. Additionally, they saw their run toward a National Invitational Tournament (NIT) title conclude twice within the past two years, including this past March when they lost a heartbreaker in the second round to North Carolina State University.

But despite falling short of accomplishing past preseason goals or winning tournaments and championships, Aiken remains optimistic. He believes this year’s crew can “make history,” and from what fans witnessed the other evening against MIT, perhaps the senior guard believes this year’s squad is truly capable of not just winning an Ivy League conference tournament but challenging other teams from across the country for the ultimate prize, a national championship. 

“The biggest motivation for us as seniors (this year) is leaving with a bang, man,” said senior Bryce Aiken, who elected to return to campus for one more season after initially entering his name for the 2019 National Basketball Association (NBA) Draft last April.

“We haven’t been to the NCAA Tournament, so that is the biggest motivating factor for us.”

Added Juzang, “It’s been three years of all of us (for) things you can look at and you can call motivation (from) the Ivy League championship games, the NC State game, and we could point to a bunch of different things, but I think the biggest thing is (we’re) internally driven, not getting pushed around by the expectations and whatnot.”

The expectations, as both the coaches and student-athletes know, is rather high for a team that is scheduled to face some stiff competition this month against Northeastern, University at Buffalo, and Texas A&M. Harvard could also face the University of Maryland this month, too – they would need to beat the Aggies of Texas A&M in the opening round of the Orlando Invitational, which is scheduled to commence on Thanksgiving Day.

Weeks after competing in the Orlando Tournament, Harvard will commence conference play in mid-to-late January against Dartmouth College before ending the month with a visit to the University of Pennsylvania, which opened its 2019-20 season with an 81-80 win over the University of AlabamaPenn lost to Harvard last March in the Ivy League semifinals but was picked second in the conference preseason poll.

Yet, before Harvard worries about Dartmouth, Penn, and other future foes, they will keep their focus on Northeastern, a team that beat the Crimson last November, thanks to a game-high 35 points by Jordan Rolland. Rolland will certainly be a player the Crimson will need to slow down in order to pick-up their second win of the season, but from a quick glance at this year’s roster, Harvard is loaded with talent to slow down their opponents’ top players, and will certainly receive a boost from an impressive and hard-working first-year class.

Amaker praised his freshman class, which was ranked 38th nationally, according to 247Sports.com. All five newcomers logged time on Tuesday against MIT and have seemed to adapt to the college game quite well it seems.

“I have been impressed with our first-years,” said Amaker during the team’s media day last Friday. “This is a tough-minded group. They are physical – you look at who they are (with their) bodies and (what) they are capable of taking in … they have been durable, but they have been very (impressive) with their durability, dependability, and then fitting in.

“Our future is good hands with this first-year class.”

No matter who is on the floor Friday and later this season – Aiken, Ludlum, Juzang, sophomore Noah Kirkwood or seniors Seth Towns and Henry Welsh – Harvard is expected to compete and play some impressive basketball that should translate into more wins and an exciting 2019-20 season.

News and Notes from New England: 

  • Andrew Fleming became the 31st player in the University of Maine men’s basketball program to net 1,000 points as the senior helped the Black Bears defeat Merrimack College, 84-64, on Wednesday evening. Fleming, who was named a preseason America East All-Conference honoree, recorded 37 points and 10 rebounds against the Warriors to go along with five assists and two blocks.
  • Keep your eyes on the Saint Anselm College women’s basketball team this weekend – the Hawks, who were picked to finish atop the Northeast-10 Conference will tip-off Saturday, November 9th against Bloomfield College at 6:30 p.m. After facing the Bears, the Hawks will cap their weekend with a late Sunday afternoon contest against the University of Bridgeport.

    Senior Shannon Ryan will be one of many student-athletes to watch on the Hawks this winter. Ryan recorded a double-double of 29 points and 18 rebounds last weekend against Bishop’s University.

  • WPI, which secured the fourth spot in our New England D-III Men’s Basketball Top 10 Preseason Poll, tips-off its season against ninth-ranked Brandeis University on Friday. Both teams are two squads to watch this winter – the Engineers were picked to capture the New England Women’s and Men’s Athletic Conference (NEWMAC), while Brandeis is expected to continue its success from last year under second-year coach Jean Bain.
  • Finally, make sure to read Bob Whitney‘s first column, Around The Rim – I am very excited to have Bob join our team this winter to produce some additional basketball content. Bob has covered the college and high school game for years and will be a great addition to our Noontime Sports staff.

D3 Football: WNE, WPI Appear On East Regional Rankings

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By NoontimeSports.com | @NoontimeSports 

A pair of New England D-III Football teams appeared on today’s NCAA East Regional Rankings, which were unveiled for the first time this season.

Western New England, which leads the Commonwealth Coast Conference (CCC), checked-in fifth on the ten-team list, while WPI, which is currently in a three-way tie for first place in the New England Women’s and Men’s Athletic Conference (NEWMAC), secured the ninth position.

Salisbury University was the top team – the Sea Gulls boast a 7-0 record heading into the tenth week of the 2019 season, while Wesley College and Delaware Valley checked-in second and third, respectively. Union College, which currently sits atop the Liberty League (LL) with an 8-0 record and 5-0 conference mark, secured the fourth position.

Ithaca College, the College at Brockport, and SUNY Cortland checked-in sixth, seventh, and eighth, respectively, while WPI and Wilkes University rounded out the poll.

Western New England, which has won all five conference games this fall, including a 42-31 win last weekend against Endicott College, can clinch its conference crown this Saturday, November 9th with a win over Becker College.

WPI, which saw its seven-game winning streak snapped last Saturday against MIT, will look to rebound on Saturday when they host Coast Guard Academy.