Tag Archives: New England Women’s and Men’s Athletic Conference

D3 Football Preseason: The Favorites

D3 PRESEASON FAVORITES

By Matt Noonan | @MattyNoonz11

Happy Monday!

We’re another day closer to a brand new season of New England Division III football, which means its time to highlight our preseason favorites.

As usual, let us know if you agree (or disagree) with our preseason predictions by posting a comment below!


Commonwealth Coast Conference (CCC): Western New England: The Golden Bears are poised to capture yet another conference crown this fall, but they certainly will be challenged by Endicott CollegeHusson University, and Salve Regina. Expect a big season from quarterback Alec Coleman, who was tabbed our Noontime Sports Offensive Player of the Year last November.

Eastern Collegiate Football Conference (ECFC): Maritime (N.Y.): While I certainly think Dean College will be in the mix for the top spot, in the end, the Privateers will prevail. Both teams will meet in mid-October in what could be a de-facto regular-season championship clash.

Massachusetts State Collegiate Athletic Conference (MASCAC): Framingham State: The Rams enter the upcoming season with some holes to fill, especially at wide receiver and in the secondary, but expect coach Tom Kelley to find the right pieces to fill those voids before Framingham makes the trek to Endicott for a must-see week one clash.

New England Small College Athletic Conference (NESCAC): Trinity College: The Bantams enter the 2019 season with hopes of capturing their fourth-straight conference crown. Trinity can certainly accomplish this task but will need to do it without halfback Max Chipouras, who graduated this past spring. The Bantams should return a slew of talent on both sides of the ball, which will help them contend for a conference crown.

New England Women’s and Men’s Athletic Conference (NEWMAC): Springfield College: The Pride should capture their second NEWMAC title in three seasons, but they certainly will be challenged by Coast Guard AcademyMIT, and WPI. I also think Norwich University could provide some match-up issues, too, but again, I am expecting Springfield to finish atop the NEWMAC standings in late November.


Stay connected with our New England football coverage on Twitter by following @Noontime_FB

D3 Football Preseason: The Contenders

D3FB CONTENDERS

By Matt Noonan | @MattyNoonz11

It’s time to highlight some New England Division III football teams that will be ‘the contenders’ this season in their respective conference.

These contenders are teams that could win their respective conference, but also squads that will challenge the top teams (and favorites) this upcoming season.

As usual, let us know if you agree (or disagree) with the teams highlighted below that we consider ‘the contenders’ for the 2019 New England Division III football season. 


Amherst College: After finishing 8-1 last season, the Mammoths enter 2019 as not just a team to watch in New England D-III football, but also a potential contender in the New England Small College Athletic Conference (NESCAC). With 18 players gone to graduation, the Mammoths will need to rely on its upperclassmen, including quarterback Ollie Eberth, wide receiver James O’Regan and defensive back Avery Saffold to lead the Purple and White to victory.

Bridgewater State: The Bears will definitely challenge Framingham State for the top spot in the Massachusetts State Collegiate Athletic Conference (MASCAC) this fall despite some key graduation losses from last year’s squad, which capped its 2018 campaign with a New England Bowl victory. The New England Bowl win has seemed to provide the Red and White with some much-needed momentum heading into this season.

Coast Guard Academy: The Bears will challenge Springfield College for the New England Women’s and Men’s Athletic Conference (NEWMAC) crown. Coast Guard will lean on its seniors and juniors this fall to continue their momentum from one year ago, which saw the Bears finish 7-3, including 5-2 in conference play.

Endicott College: After finishing with seven wins – the most an Endicott squad has recorded since posting an 8-3 mark in 2013 – the Gulls will attempt to continue that momentum this fall, but it certainly won’t be easy. Western New England should once again be the favorite in the Commonwealth Coast Conference (CCC) followed by Salve Regina. The Gulls will need to play their best football against both squads to have a chance to finish the season with some hardware.

Husson University: It will be interesting to see how the Eagles’ transition from the Eastern Collegiate Football Conference (ECFC) to the CCC goes this fall – they will certainly be competitive against Endicott, Salve Regina, and Western New England. However, with some key graduation losses, especially at quarterback, I am not sure if the Eagles will finish 2019 with some hardware or an appearance in the NCAA Tournament.

MIT: Similar to the Eagles, the Engineers will also need to find a replacement for their quarterback, along with a few new linebackers, too. Coach Brian Bubna‘s squad will certainly be competitive this fall in the NEWMAC, but most likely deal with some challenges when they face Coast Guard, Springfield, and WPI.

Plymouth State: After advancing to the NCAA Tournament in 2017, the Panthers took a step back last season, but still finished with a winning record. They almost beat Western Connecticut but did score an exciting win over Framingham State. Despite some key graduation losses, the Panthers should still be competitive in a conference that may be a two-team race for the top spot.

Salve Regina: The Seahawks’ five-game winning streak last fall proved it’s not how you start, but how you finish. Salve Regina did end its season with a setback to the Bears of Bridgewater State in the New England Bowl but do return a majority of last year’s squad that ended its regular-season slate with an exciting win over Endicott. Salve Regina will be tested immediately with early-season tilts against Dean CollegeMontclair State, and Norwich University.

Williams College: Despite somewhat of a down year, these Ephs certainly have what it takes to challenge Amherst and Trinity College for the top spot in the NESCAC. Look for the Ephs to lean heavily on their junior class to lead them to important conference wins. Quarterback Bobby Maimaron, who is a dual-threat signal-caller, will once again be a player to watch this fall for Williams.

WPI: After a down year the Engineers are poised to bounce back this season – they will be led by a very talented senior class, which will hope to cap their time Institute Road in Worcester with a conference championship. WPI will lean heavily on its run game this fall – look for a big year from halfbacks Sean McAllen and Connor Field.


Stay connected with our New England football coverage on Twitter by following @Noontime_FB. 

D3 Football Preseason: Teams On The Rise

D3 Teams On The Rise

By Matt Noonan | @MattyNoonz11

The first day of August usually means one thing: football has officially returned.

We’re a few weeks away from starting up a brand new college football season – are you excited? I am, which is why I am very excited to begin our preseason football coverage with ‘Teams on the Rise’ in New England Division III.

Let me (and Noontime Sports) know if you agree, disagree or think we left a squad out by posting a comment below!


Anna Maria College: Year number three could be a turning point for coach Dan Mulrooney and his AMCATs, who have high aspirations heading into the 2019 season. With a slew of talent back from last year, as well as a wide-open conference race, one should certainly keep an eye on this squad, which faces some serious challenges next month with games against RPI and Union College. Additionally, a home date with Nichols College will be one to keep an eye on, as well.

Colby College: The Mules are my team to watch in the New England Small College Athletic Conference (NESCAC) this fall. Second-year coach Jack Cosgrove should be able to lead his squad to at least four, possibly five wins this season. Colby finished 3-6 last season – it was the most wins they have recorded since finishing 3-5 in 2016 and 4-4 in 2013.

Dean College: With just two players gone to graduation, these Bulldogs should be equipped (and prepared) to challenge Maritime (N.Y.) for the top spot in the Eastern Collegiate Football Conference (ECFC). Coach Steve Tirrell‘s squad has improved each season since becoming a full-time Division III member in 2017.

Middlebury College: The Panthers will once again be in the middle of the NESCAC pack this fall – the Blue and White graduated 17 student-athletes from their 2018 squad, but should return some key pieces from last season. Middlebury finished 5-4 last season after posting six or seven wins in 2016 and 2017, respectively, and could certainly provide some challenges to a few conference early season favorites, including Amherst CollegeTrinity College, and Williams College.

Nichols College: Perhaps this is the year the Bison take that ‘next step’ and challenge Endicott College, Husson University, Salve Regina and Western New England for the top spot in the Commonwealth Coast Conference (CCC). The Bison finished 5-5 last season and seem to have generated some serious momentum this offseason, which should bode well for coach Dale Olmsted‘s squad.

Norwich University: Could the Cadets challenge Springfield College and others for the top spot in the New England Women’s and Men’s Athletic Conference (NEWMAC)? I think so. Norwich returns some impressive talent on both sides of the ball, which will make this team hard to beat. I have high hopes for the Cadets, who will attempt to match their 2014 squad, which finished with seven wins.

University of New England: The Nor’easters appeared to get stronger as the 2018 season progressed. Similar to Nichols, they face the daunting task of taking down four solid teams to secure the top spot, but I think UNE should certainly improve on their initial season as a varsity program and finish 2019 with at least three or four wins.


Stay connected with our New England football coverage on Twitter: @Noontime_FB 

Catching Up With Laura Pierce (Fitchburg State Women’s Basketball)

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Laura Pierce, who competed and coached at Wheaton College, was recently named the new women’s basketball coach at Fitchburg State University. (PHOTO COURTESY: Fitchburg State Athletics)

By NoontimeSports.com | @NoontimeSports 

Laura Pierce was ready for that next step in her coaching journey.

She had gained valuable experience at both Wesleyan University and Wheaton College as an assistant for both women’s basketball programs but appeared eager – and ready – to become a head coach.

And that eagerness – and readiness, too – paid off as she was recently named the new women’s basketball coach at Fitchburg State University.

“I am excited to get to work with the young women to create a culture in which our program makes Fitchburg State proud on the court, in the classroom, and in the community,” said Pierce in the press release announcing her hiring.

Pierce inherits a Falcons squad that finished 9-17 a year ago, including 2-10 against Massachusetts State Collegiate Athletic Conference (MASCAC) foes.

The Falcons did qualify for the MASCAC Tournament last winter but saw their bid for a conference crown conclude in the quarterfinals against Bridgewater State University.

Coaching in the MASCAC is something Pierce is very excited about – she described the conference as “really competitive,” while also noting that “you have to bring your best effort every (single) evening.”

Said Pierce, “My hope is that we enter the gym every day with the mindset of effort, focus, and attitude because it will help us be successful, both this upcoming season and in the future.”

Prior to becoming an assistant for both the Cardinals and Lyons, Pierce enjoyed an impressive career at Wheaton, tallying 622 points, 253 rebounds, 424 assists, and 68 steals in 100 games played. Pierce, who was a three-year captain, also attended “So You Want to be a Coach” Program at the Women’s Final Four in Tampa, Florida in April of 2015 before graduating from Wheaton one month later.

Noontime Sports recently spoke with Pierce about her excitement for leading her own program, but also what she learned as both a student-athlete and assistant from Coach Melissa Hodgdon.

What excites you about coaching your own program?

Being able to teach the game I love while shaping these young women’s lives.

Coaching is about so much more than the X’s & O’s (on a chalkboard). It’s about building relationships and mentoring (your players) to become the best they can be, both on and off the court. I have had many coaches and mentors along the way that I have played for and coached with, and they have all have shaped me into the coach and person I am today.

I think the exciting thing about coaching your own program is having a vision and being able to shape that vision throughout the season. It’s all about the process and we’ve got a lot of work to do, but it’s such an exciting time for the Fitchburg State women’s basketball program.

Do you feel your previous stops as an assistant at Wesleyan and Wheaton have prepared you for a successful first season with Fitchburg State?

Absolutely. Kate Mullen, who is the is the head coach of the Wesleyan women’s basketball team, took a chance on me – she hired me right after I graduated college (in May of 2015) and I will be forever grateful to her for providing me with my first collegiate coaching role.

Coach Mullen gave me the opportunity to coach and prepare to play against teams in the New England Small College Athletic Conference (NESCAC), which is one of the most competitive Division III women’s basketball conferences in the country. 

I am really fortunate that both Coach Mullen and Melissa Hodgdon gave me an opportunity to learn and grow as a young coach (these past few years). I consider them not just mentors, but great friends, as well.

Tell me about your experience learning and playing for Melissa Hodgdon. How did she help mold you into the current coach you are today? 

I honestly had never heard of Wheaton until Coach Hodgdon began recruiting me. But attending Wheaton and playing for her was the best decision I ever made.

Coach Hodgdon challenged me every day to become the best basketball player I could be so I could reach my highest potential on the court with hopes of leading the Lyons to a New England Women’s and Men’s Athletic Conference (NEWMAC) championship.

Her biggest impact though is she genuinely cares about each and every one of her players.

I missed my entire sophomore year with a knee injury, but that didn’t stop Coach Hodgdon from including me in team activities. She made sure I was included and kept me engaged throughout the entire season while allowing me to see the game from her perspective. And once my sophomore year concluded at Wheaton, I knew I wanted to become a collegiate basketball coach when I graduated, so I began gaining experience as an intern at the Duke University women’s basketball camp, along with several local camps, too, before I returned to campus for my senior year.

A few years after my final season with the Lyons, I returned to campus after completing my graduate assistantship program at Wesleyan – I knew (deep down that) I wanted to return to Wheaton and assist Coach Hodgdon, who established a program that meant so much to me, both as a student-athlete and assistant coach.

Being able to work (and learn) from Coach Hodgdon as an assistant was an amazing experience. She challenged me to become the best coach while giving me responsibilities that prepared me for my next step in my coaching journey.

Finally, what goals and objectives do you have for the team heading into the upcoming season?

We have a great group of young women returning this year as well as a couple of incoming first-year student-athletes that are excited to get to work. We’re going to focus on getting better every day, whether that be in the classroom, weight room, film room or on the court.

We are also going to have this mindset of getting better (every single day). But our number one goal is always going to be to represent the Fitchburg State community with class and pride.


Stay connected with our New England basketball coverage on Twitter by following @Noontime_Hoops

The Early Preseason Outlook: Springfield College Pride

Springfield Pride

By NoontimeSports.com | @NoontimeSports 

Our ‘Early Preseason Outlook’ coverage continues with a closer look at the Springfield College Pride, who begin their season on Saturday, September 7th when they visit Western New England at 1 p.m. The winner of this week one clash will claim Pynchon SAW trophy.

The Pride’s 2018 Season: Springfield concluded ist 2018 campaign with an 8-3 record, along with its first-ever New England Bowl victory, too.

The Pride’s win over Maritime (N.Y.) in the New England Bowl was highlighted by a pair of rushing touchdowns by Hunter Belzo, three interceptions by Jonny Bianchi and a team-hight 12 total tackles from Nick Giorgio.

Prior to scoring an exciting end of season win, Springfield scored early-season victories against Western New England and Kean University, as well as a gritty conference victory at WPI.

Springfield bid farewell to 24 student-athletes from last year’s squad this spring, including Bianchi, Giorgio, and linebacker Tom Casey, but do return a slew of talent that will keep them in the mix for their second New England Women’s and Men’s Athletic Conference (NEWMAC) championship this season.

The 2019 Outlook: While the Pride’s defense will look a bit different this season with some key graduation losses, the unit does return linebacker AJ Smith, who posted career-highs last fall in total tackles (68.0), tackles per game (6.2), sacks (four), and tackles for a loss (nine).

Smith, along Jack Pavelchak (linebacker) and Grayson Heyward (defensive line), will be the leaders of the defense, which yielded 16.3 points per game one year ago.

Quarterback Chad Shade and halfback Hunter Belzo will be the focal points of the Pride’s offense – the duo combined for 23 touchdowns last season and should receive some help fullback Tim Callahan, who finished 2018 with 642 rushing yards on 146 carries and three scores.

Nick Bainter returns to anchor an offensive line that helped the offense rush for 295.2 yards per game last fall. Bainter will receive some help upfront from Jeremy Lipsky, who appeared in 10 games last season, along with John Cox.

Springfield is certainly a team to watch this season – they will definitely contend for the NEWMAC crown – but one of the biggest questions facing this unit is their defense. The offense should have no problem continuing its success on the ground from one year ago.

Springfield’s Schedule: As usual, the Pride will challenge themselves immediately with a trio of non-conference games in the first three weeks before hosting WPI on Saturday, September 28th for a 3 p.m. kick-off. All four September contests are winnable, but they certainly aren’t easy.

A week three match-up with Union College is one to circle – the Pride lost to the Dutchmen last season before rebounding one week later with a hard-fought conference win over WPI.

Springfield will entertain Norwich University in the first week of October before hitting the road for two more important conference meetings with Coast Guard Academy and Merchant Marine.

Weeks after their visit to Merchant Marine, the Pride will cap their 2019 campaign with a visit from MIT, which defeated Springfield last fall to secure their initial NEWMAC crown.

Players to Watch: Chad Shade (Quarterback/Pittsfield, Mass.), Hunter Belzo (Halfback/Middletown, Conn.), Tim Callahan (Fullback/Enfield, Conn.), Ryan Deguire (Halfback/Schenectady, N.Y.), Nick Bainter (Offensive Line/East Bridgewater, Mass.), Jeremy Lipsky (Offensive Line/Glen Rock, N.J),  John Cox (Offensive Line/Stratford, Conn.), AJ Smith (Linebacker/Rahway, N.J.), Jack Pavelchak (Linebacker/Patchogue, N.Y.), and Grayson Heyward (Defensive End/Albany, N.Y.).


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

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