Noontime’s ‘What If’ D3 Football Conference Champion Predictions

Bobby Maimaron and the Williams College football team would have been one of our teams to watch this fall. (PHOTO COURTESY: Kris Dufour/Williams College)

By Matt Noonan

Like many of our fans and friends, I miss New England D-III football. But as an optimist, I believe we’ll see our favorite teams and student-athletes back on the gridiron at this time next year vying for conference crowns, along with at-large bids to the NCAA Tournament.

And speaking of conference crowns – and yes, the national postseason, too – I thought it would be fun to produce a special Noontime’s ‘What If‘ post on which teams I believe would have won their respective conference this fall.

As expected, these predictions were not easy as there are a slew of teams and programs capable of winning their respective conference, but here are my predictions. And as usual, you can share your thoughts with me on social media, as well as send a note to MattNoonan@noontimesports.com.

Commonwealth Coast Football (CCC): Western New England

For the past few seasons, the Golden Bears have been the team to watch and beat in this conference. And once again, Western New England would be the squad to watch in the CCC this fall. They would most likely enter their final game of the regular season with two important wins against Endicott College and Salve Regina University. And like most teams highlighted in this post, the 2020 Golden Bears would look a bit different than previous years, especially on offense as they would have a new quarterback, but their defense would be be a unit to watch – it would be led by linebacker Erich Keutmann, who was named a D3Football.com Preseason All-America second-teamer in September.

Eastern Collegiate Football Conference (ECFC): Dean College

The Bulldogs captured their first-ever conference crown last season, thanks to quarterback Terrell Watts, who was named the league’s Offensive Player of the Year, along with wide receiver Errol Breaux and safety Tyzohn Poole. Of course, there would be other student-athletes to watch as the season progressed, but at this point of the 2020 season, the Bulldogs would have claimed some important wins against Castleton University and SUNY Maritime. They would have also beaten a new D-III football team: Keystone College.

Massachusetts State Collegiate Athletic Conference (MASCAC): Framingham State University

Like Western New England, it is hard to pick against the Rams, which would be starting a new chapter in its program history with first-year coach Aynsley Rosenbaum, who spent the past 12 seasons overseeing the Framingham State offense. But like prior years, this would be the team to watch in the MASCAC. Sure, they would look a bit different on offense without quarterback Adam Wojenski, who graduated last spring, but the Rams would welcome back some key pieces from that unit, including halfback Devaun Ford, who was named the 2019 MASCAC Rookie of the Year. Framingham State would be challenged for the top spot by Bridgewater State, UMass Dartmouth, and Western Connecticut.

New England Small College Athletic Conference (NESCAC): Williams College

The Ephs of Williams College suffered just two setbacks last season, including an opening day loss to Middlebury College, which would be a game circled on their calendar this season. Williams would somehow find a way to beat the Panthers at home, along with Wesleyan University, which tripped up the Ephs prior to their season-ending win over Amherst College last November. But for the Ephs to win the NESCAC, they would not only need to beat Amherst, Middlebury, and Wesleyan, but also Trinity College and Tufts University. Additionally, let’s not overlook Colby College and Hamilton College, which would challenge the Purple and Yellow, but in the end, quarterback Bobby Maimaron, along with the rest of the Ephs would make just a few more plays in all nine contests to secure the NESCAC title.

New England Women’s and Men’s Athletic Conference (NEWMAC): Springfield College

Sure, MIT maybe the favorite after winning the NEWMAC crown the past two years, but it would be hard to overlook Springfield College, which would be led by halfback Hunter Belzo and linebacker AJ Smith. The Pride, which finished with six wins last year, would win at least seven, maybe eight games this season, but their most important victory would occur during the final weekend of the regular season against the Engineers in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

Daily Noontime (Tuesday, Nov. 3, 2020)

By NoontimeSports.com

Welcome to Tuesday, everyone. And welcome to Election Day 2020 – have you voted?

It doesn’t matter who you support – Joe Biden or Donald Trumpwe just want all our fans and friends to rock the vote. Your voice matters so make sure it is heard TODAY!

For information on where and when to vote today, visit Vote.org.

Alright, let’s get to some news and links. And we’ll begin in the college sports world where a few local New England NCAA D-III conferences announced yesterday that they will “suspend” or “cancel” winter sports.

  • The New England Women’s and Men’s Athletic Conference (NEWMAC) announced they have suspended winter sports, including men’s and women’s basketball and swimming and diving.
  • The Great Northeast Athletic Conference (GNAC) has “cancelled conference athletic competitions,” which means no basketball, swimming and diving, and track.

While it seems inevitable that more cancelations and postponements will be announced over the next few days and weeks, some local schools, including Clark University and Coast Guard Academy, will explore options for its winter teams. It is possible we could see some local games played, but nothing is official (as of this morning!) so stay tuned.

Let’s switch gears to football – professional football, to be exact – where we could see 16 teams compete in the National Football League’s (NFL) postseason if future games are canceled due to the pandemic.

16 teams may sound crazy, but with frequent reports about players (or members of each team) testing positively for the coronavirus, it certainly could make for an interesting yet exciting postseason.

And here is some more football news and links from the world wide web:

Finally, make sure to tune into a brand new Noontime Sports Podcast today – we welcomed Joe Malkin (Massachusetts Maritime Academy) and Shawn Medeiros (Endicott College) to discuss how sports information directors are creating content when games are not being played.

You can listen to our show on Apple Podcast, Spotify, and Anchor (along with some other channels and platforms, too!).

MIT’s Raman Joins The Memphis Grizzlies As An Assistant Coach

Sonia Raman, who has coached the MIT women’s basketball team for 12 seasons, was named an assistant coach with the Memphis Grizzlies. (PHOTO COURTESY: MIT Athletics/DSPics.com)

By NoontimeSports.com 

Sonia Raman, who has guided the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) women’s basketball team for the past 12 seasons, was named an assistant coach with the Memphis Grizzlies earlier today. 

Raman replaces Niele Ivey, who was recently named the head coach of the Notre Dame women’s basketball team back in April. 

“I’m thrilled to have the opportunity to be part of the Memphis Grizzlies coaching staff,” Raman said, via today’s release, which can be found on the team’s website. “I can’t wait to get to Memphis and get started with Taylor (Jennings), his staff, and the team’s emerging young core.”

Added Jennings, “We are beyond excited to welcome Sonia to the Memphis Grizzlies. She has a high basketball IQ and a tremendous ability to teach the game, as well as a strong passion for the game. She is going to be a great addition to our current coaching staff.” 

Memphis concluded its 2019-20 campaign with 34 wins and 39 losses – they fell short of advancing to the opening round of the National Basketball Association‘s (NBA) restarted playoffs in Orlando, Florida by losing to the Portland Trailblazers in a one-game playoff. Portland, which secured the eighth seed in the Western Conference Playoffs, saw its championship hopes dashed by the Los Angeles Lakers (LA beat Portland in five contests). 

At MIT, Raman guided the Engineers to a pair of New England Women’s and Men’s Athletic Conference (NEWMAC) Tournament Championships, along with two appearances in the NCAA D-III Tournament. Raman is the winningest coach in program history and led the Engineers to 91 victories in the last five years. 

Prior to being named the head coach of the MIT women’s basketball program, Raman spent time as an assistant at alma mater Tufts University and Wellesley College

“I have been proud to call MIT my home for the last 12 years,” said Raman, via today’s announcement from MIT

Noontime’s Senior Salute: Packy Witkowski (Coast Guard Academy)

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Coast Guard Academy senior Packy Witkowski, who is from Melrose, Massachusetts, averaged a career-best 17.7 points this past season with the Bears. (PHOTO COURTESY: Coast Guard Academy Athletics)

By NoontimeSports.com 

Packy Witkowski has always been a player to watch on the Coast Guard Academy men’s basketball team, but perhaps this was a season both he and fans of the program will remember the most.

The Melrose, Massachusetts native, who played high school basketball at Avon Old Farms in Connecticut, averaged a career-best 17.7 points per game. He scored a career-high 477 points in 27 contests to go with 120 rebounds, 34 assists, 20 steals, and five blocks.

Witkowski registered 20 points or more in nine games this past winter while sinking a season-best 33 points on 12 of 21 shooting in his team’s 80-69 win over Merchant Marine Academy. He scored 10 points or more in 21 contests while averaging 17.6 points for the Bears in three New England Women’s and Men’s Athletic Conference (NEWMAC) Tournament games.

The senior guard concludes an impressive four-year run with the Bears, which saw him record 1,518 points in 93 games to go with 502 rebounds, 150 assists, 61 steals, and 15 blocks.

We recently spoke with Witkowski to discuss his final season with the Bears, as well as his future plans with the Coast Guard beyond graduation.


What will you remember most about your senior year with the Bears? 

It’s hard to narrow down to a single event from this past season, but I would say our team’s journey is what I will remember the most.

From starting out in Anchorage, Alaska to finishing in Brockport, New York, it was a journey made by a group of brothers. We did not start well but we kept at it. By the end, we were operating on all cylinders when we needed it most and founds a way through. This culminated in winning three road playoff games in five days to become NEWMAC Tournament Champions to earning an automatic bid into the NCAA D-III Tournament.

The journey was special and an experience I will take with me for the rest of my life.

Looking back on the 2019-20 season, what game (or games) will you remember most? Why these particular games? 

Our NEWMAC Championship game against WPI. To be down 24 points at the break and comeback and win was nothing short of incredible. I am very grateful to have been part of a win like that, but more importantly, on a team that was so resilient. It is difficult to put that one game into words but that is a memory that will bond us forever.

What have you enjoyed most about competing for the Coast Guard Academy men’s basketball team (and program) these past four years? 

Being able to compete (on a daily basis), but really just being a part of this team for four years. Having that competitive outlet and support network from the team and coaching staff has made my experience here at the Coast Guard Academy that much more rewarding and worthwhile. Having the privilege to go to the Academy and represent it while playing a sport that I love has truly been amazing. I will always be grateful for the opportunity I have been afforded and the experiences I have had during my time both here at the Academy and on this team.

Once you officially graduate later this spring, do you plan (or hope) to stay involved with your sport in some capacity? Any interest in coaching in the future? 

I will always love this game and do what I can to keep up with the team going forward. I can see myself getting involved in coaching to some degree down the road because I am passionate about helping and developing others. Coaching would allow me to continue that passion after graduation.

Tell me about your major. How did you choose it? Also, what are your future plans beyond graduation? 

I am finishing up my degree in civil engineering. I have always wanted to have a technical background that would allow me to develop real-world problem-solving skills and that is exactly what this major has provided me.

I believe studying civil engineering has set me up for future success, beginning as an officer with the Coast Guard. School has always been something that has meant a lot to me and I have worked really hard to be successful at it while balancing both my military and basketball commitments.

I will be serving aboard USCGC Reliance as a Deck Watch Officer in June and am very excited to begin my career with the Coast Guard. Beyond that, I am working towards making my dream of being a Coast Guard aviator come true, as well.

Noontime’s Senior Salute: Alex Goslin

AlexGosWEB

Alex Goslin averaged a career-best 13.9 points per game this past season for the Pride. (PHOTO COURTESY: Springfield College Athletics)

By NoontimeSports.com 

Alex Goslin enjoyed a successful senior season with the Springfield College women’s basketball team, averaging career-bests in points per game (13.9) and rebounds (4.6.).

The South Windsor, Connecticut native started every game for the Pride this past winter and concluded her team’s 2019-20 campaign with 374 points, 104 assists, 123 rebounds, and 56 steals. Additionally, Goslin became the 16th student-athlete in program history to eclipse the 1,000th point mark when she netted a game-high 26 points in her team’s 106-62 win last December over Westfield State.

“It was pretty surreal,” Goslin said of her 1,000th point. “It was so loud and I think that just shows the family of Springfield College and how much support we have here from like my family and our Springfield College family.”

Named the New England Women’s and Men’s Athletic Conference (NEWMAC) Women’s Basketball Athlete of the Year, Goslin concluded her four-year career with the Pride by netting scoring 1,220 points in 113 games to go with 367 rebounds, 369 assists, and 190 steals.

We recently caught up with Alex Goslin to discuss her impressive career with the Pride, as well as her plans after graduation.


What will you remember most about your final season with the Pride? 

All of the memories we made together. Not so much the wins or the losses, but more so the time we spent together in the locker room, on campus, and during practices. Additionally, I’ll remember the daily battles we had with each other on the court to competing and pushing each other to get better.

From a personal perspective, it was great to score my 1,000th point (last December), but that was only because of my coaches and teammates.

At the end of the day, it’s less about the personal accomplishments I had and more about the time I spent with the team. It’s hard to pinpoint one single thing that I will remember the most, but I think it would certainly have to be the people (I played with these past four years).

Was there a game (or two) that you will remember most from either your senior season or the past three years? If so, which game(s) are they? 

One game that really sticks out in my mind was when we beat Smith College in last year’s NEWMAC Tournament. It was such a close and competitive game. Smith had some really skilled players on their team, but we battled the whole time and won as a team.

Another game I will remember is when we played MIT during my junior year at home. It was a game we won in the final ten seconds. It was another great win for us and it was one of those moments you dream about as a kid.

From this past season, I think it was our game against Westfield State. I scored my 1,000th point (during the game), and once my shot dropped in I was blown away by the support of both my teammates and our fans. It was our accomplishment, not a personal one, and it made me realize how grateful I was to be a part of such a special program, with the most amazing people.

What have you enjoyed most about competing for your team/program these past four years? What will you miss most after graduation? 

I think I’ve enjoyed all of the connections I’ve made with my teammates, but also the memories I have made these past four years. My coaches and teammates have taught me a lot and enabled me to grow into a person I never knew I could become. I’ve learned life skills that will prepare me for future success while gaining lifelong friends that I know will always be there for me.

I think I will miss the little things such as team dinners, singing and dancing to music on the bus before games, and just being with my teammates off the court.

Do you hope to stay involved with your sport in the future?

I definitely plan to coach in the future. I would love to coach an AAU team at some point and definitely a high school squad, too.

As a future coach, I also hope to run clinics and summer camps to help young girls develop their skills, have fun while competing, and build a basketball community. I also want to continue playing in women’s basketball league.

Tell me about your major. How did you choose it and what do you plan to do with it after graduation? 

I am a math and secondary education major with a minor in athletic coaching. I chose this major because I want to make a difference to future generations, but also empower them to become leaders.

I will be teaching eighth-grade math in Bolton, Connecticut next fall, and as mentioned in your previous question, I would also like to coach (at some point soon). I am really excited to give back the others and take the mission of Springfield College, which is all about education of the whole person in spirit, mind, and body for leadership and service to others everywhere we go.