By Matt Noonan (@MattNoonan11)
Welcome to April, New England D3 Lax fans! We have officially made it to the mid-way point of the 2018 season – crazy, right?
With just a few weeks remaining before conference tournaments begin, let’s take a spin around the New England landscape and check-in on every conference.
Stay connected with Noontime Sports lacrosse by following us on Twitter: @Noontime_Lax
Commonwealth Coast Conference (CCC): Endicott College and Roger Williams meet in an important Wednesday afternoon showdown – the winner of this game will most likely be the front-runner for the top seed in the CCC Tournament. Endicott will look to bounce back following a tough loss to Tufts University, while the Hawks will look to extend their winning streak to four games.
Regular Season Champion (Prediction): Roger Williams. The Hawks boast the best overall record in the CCC and should find a way to not only get past Endicott this afternoon, but also their remaining league foes.
Great Northeast Athletic Conference (GNAC): Despite an early season setback to Colby-Sawyer, the Mount Ida College Mustangs have been on a roll, winning eight-straight. They will face Johnson & Wales in two weeks – that game will most likely decide the regular season winner.
Regular Season Champion (Prediction): Mount Ida – let’s go Mustang City!
Little East Conference (LEC): Plymouth State should remain the favorite in the LEC, but don’t be shocked if Keene State catches up to them. The Owls are currently riding a four-game winning streak, as of early Wednesday (Apr. 4th) afternoon, and will certainly be read for their showdown with Plymouth State in a few weeks.
Regular Season Champion (Prediction): As much as I want to pick Keene State, I think Plymouth State will find a way to win the regular season crown.
Massachusetts State Collegiate Athletic Conference (MASCAC): Westfield State was my initial pick earlier this season, but I certainly wouldn’t overlook Framingham State, which is one of four teams that currently boasts a 1-0 league ledger. The Rams face a tough task this weekend against a talented Bridgewater State squad that is also 1-0 in MASCAC play. A win for Framingham State could certainly be a momentum boost for the Black and Gold, but the Bears should find a way to slow down their rival.
Regular Season Champion (Prediction): Bridgewater State. The Bears have done quite well outside the conference and should be the team to beat in late April/early May.
New England Collegiate Conference (NECC): At the moment, the race for the regular season crown is wide open, but perhaps this is the year Southern Vermont wins it all? The Mountaineers have appeared in the NECC playoffs the past three seasons and should certainly be a team to watch over the next few weeks.
Regular Season Champion (Prediction): Southern Vermont. The Mountaineers scored their first win of the season earlier this week over Newbury College and should be able to gain some momentum over the next few weeks, especially with a win over Becker College on Saturday, April 7th.
New England Small College Athletic Conference (NESCAC): Middlebury College is clearly the favorite, but don’t count out the following: Amherst College, Trinity College and Tufts University. All three teams certainly has what it takes to go toe-to-toe with the Panthers, but this maybe the year the Panthers win the conference and go deep in the NCAA Division III Tournament.
Regular Season Champion (Prediction): Middlebury College. As much as I would like to pick Trinity or Tufts, I think the road to a NESCAC crown will go through Vermont.
New England Women’s and Men’s Athletic Conference (NEWMAC): Babson College scored an impressive win recently over Springfield College, which could help them claim the regular season crown. The Beavers still need to a few more wins to sew up the top seed – one game to circle will be a conference tilt with Coast Guard Academy next Saturday, April 14th. The Bears have been a great story this season, winning eight of nine contests thus far, as of early Wednesday (Apr. 4th) afternoon.
Regular Season Champion (Prediction): Babson College. The Beavers’ win over Springfield College last month was exactly what the Green and White needed to set themselves up for a successful final few weeks of the regular season.
North Atlantic Conference (NAC): As of now, it appears New England College is the front-runner, but make sure to keep an eye on Castleton University and Husson University over the next few weeks. This conference maybe run currently by NEC, but come tournament time, anything this possible!
Regular Season Champion (Prediction): New England College. The Pilgrims are averaging close tp 15 goals per game – they currently average 14.90 markers per contest. Their offense could provide challenges for Castleton or Husson, but a match-up in the final against Colby-Sawyer could be an interesting one.