Mass. College Hoops: Saturday Afternoon Notes

By NoontimeSports.com

Here are some highlights and notes from the college basketball world in Massachusetts from this afternoon.

* Bentley University women’s basketball head coach Barbara Stevens earned her 700th win with the Falcons against Southern New Hampshire, 52-42 in Manchester, New Hampshire. Stevens, who is in her 27th season with the Falcons, now has a record of 700-153 on the bench and is the 11th women’s basketball coach to reach this historic plateau at one institution.

* Northeastern University’s women’s basketball team earned their third consecutive victory against NJIT, 59-45. The Huskies are 4-2 overall, and now 2-2 away from the Matthews Arena.

* Boston University’s men’s basketball team extended its current winning streak to two, as they kicked-off their current road trip with a 74-66 victory at St. Peter’s. Next up for the Terriers is a trip to Coastal Carolina on Thursday, Dec. 6.

* Boston University’s women’s basketball team earned their first victory against a rank squad, as the Terriers defeated No. 17/15 St. John’s, 66-49. Chantell Alford led all scorers with 22 points. She also chipped in six rebounds and three assists in her team’s fifth victory of the season, too.

* Harvard evened its record at 3-3 with a 73-64 win against Fordham at home. Wesley Saunders scored 17 points, while Jonah Travis came off the bench and netted 16 points. The Crimson will travel to Chestnut Hill on Tuesday to face Boston College, a squad that is coming off a victory against Penn State.

* Stonehill College’s women’s basketball team kept its perfect mark intact with a 56-50 victory against Saint Michael’s. Wellesley’s own Mary Louise Dixon netted a game-high 17 points, while Amy Pelletier added 11 points off the bench.

* Assumption College’s women’s basketball team sustained its first setback of the season, as Adelphi defeated the visiting Hounds, 66-58.

* WPI’s men’s basketball team needed an extra session to squeak out their seventh consecutive victory, as the Engineers defeated Husson, 89-85 in overtime. Sam Longwell led all scorers with 25 points, while Marco Coppola added 24.

* Bridgewater State handed Wheaton College its first loss, as the Bears defeated the Lyons in Norton, 62-50. Michael Lofton paced Bridgewater with 20 points, while Ryan Clinesmith led Wheaton with 18 points.

* Babson College’s women’s basketball team earned its 66th straight New England Women’s and Men’s Athletic Conference (NEWMAC) victory, 63-43 against Mount Holyoke College at Staake Gymnasium. Sarah Collins led the Beavers with her sixth consecutive double-double, finishing with 21 points and 11 rebounds in her team’s sixth win of the season.

*  WPI earned its first NEWMAC victory, as they defeated MIT, 68-56 in Worcester. Kelly Morgan sank four three-pointers in the second half en route to a career-high 18-point day. Morgan, as well as Theresa Logan, discussed their team’s third win of the season above.

* Smith College earned its second NEWMAC win, as they defeated Wheaton, 70-46. Paulina Solis led the Pioneers with 16 points, while Devon Quattrocchi added 14 points, six rebounds and five steals.

* The Tufts University women’s basketball team began the month of December with a 73-51 victory against Regis College. The Jumbos have now won six consecutive games, and remain the top squad in the New England Small College Athletic Conference (NESCAC).

* Finally, Emmanuel College kept its perfect mark intact with a 62-50 victory against Middlebury College in Boston. The Saints are now 6-0 overall, 4-0 at home and 2-0 on the road.

Didn’t see your team featured on our afternoon roundup? Send us an email to NoontimeSports@gmail.com or notify us on Twitter (@NoontimeSports or @NoonSportsBlog).

Mass. College Hoops: Div. III Weekend Predictions

By Matt Noonan 

The college basketball season is officially in full swing and with numerous teams playing this weekend, here are some Div. III games to watch.

Men’s Basketball:

* Lesley University at MIT (Saturday) – The Engineers dropped their first game of the season last night to Rhode Island College, but can they rebound against a fast paced Lesley squad? Prediction: MIT 77, Lesley 56

* WPI at Husson (Saturday) – The Engineers are 6-0. The Eagles are 1-1. Will Chris Bartley be giving out free food at this one? Prediction: WPI 80, Husson 60

* Amherst College vs. Springfield College (Saturday) – Great matchup, two great teams and two great coaches. Charlie Brock and his Pride are off to a great start, but the Lord Jeffs maybe too much for the men sporting Springfield on their chest. Prediction: Amherst 68, Springfield 63

* Stevens at Williams College (Saturday) – Two undefeated squads walk into a gym in Williamstown and one departs with their perfect mark intact. Which one will that be? Prediction: Williams 64, Stevens 59

* Bridgewater State at Wheaton College (Saturday) – Brian Walmsley’s unit is off to a fast start, but can they keep the ball moving against the Bears? Prediction: Wheaton 68, Bridgewater 64

Women’s Basketball:

* Regis College at Tufts University (Saturday) – Both squads made it to the NCAA tournament last year, which is great. However, that won’t dictate the outcome of this contest. The Jumbos are on a roll, and I don’t know if the Pride can stop Hannah Foley or Kate Barnosky. Prediction: Tufts 70, Regis 49

* Middlebury College at Emmanuel College (Saturday) – Can a Saint beat a Panther? It’s possible, right? Prediction: Middlebury 60, Emmanuel 58 (UPSET)

* RPI at Williams College (Saturday) – The Ephs have earned some impressive early season wins against Salve Regina, Springfield College and University of New England. The Hawks enter the game having won four of their last five. Prediction: Williams 63, RPI 52

* Clark University at Coast Guard (Saturday) – The Cougars won the Worcester City Tournament against WPI. They’ve also won four games to start the season, too. Against the Bears, they’ll snag rebounds and score points. Prediction: Clark 66, Coast Guard 42

* Wheaton College at Smith College (Saturday) – The Pioneers only setback came against RPI. However, they did defeat Middlebury, 80-47, which is impressive, eh? Prediction: Smith 59, Wheaton 53    

Mass College Lax Recap: Wheaton Claims First ECAC Crown, Defeats Smith, 20-5

By Matt Noonan

NORTON, MA – It didn’t take long for Wheaton College’s women’s lacrosse team to net their first strike of the afternoon, as freshman Melanie Sharick recorded her only goal of the contest on a free possession at 28:42 in the first half, which provided the Lyons with the lead for good.

Wheaton then registered nine additional tallies prior to halftime, which helped the Lyons go onto defeat Smith College, 20-5, and capture their first ECAC women’s lacrosse championship in school history.

“First off, it’s awesome that two NEWMAC teams were representing in this championship, says a lot for the [conference], and we knew that we had to come out and play Smith 100 percent like yesterday,” said senior Hailey Coburn, who turned in four goals, and dished out three assists.

Added Coburn, “We played Smith before and we won, 24-8, but I don’t think that’s a good indicator of the strength that they have [because] they’re a great team, and we just had to come out and play our game.”

Excluding Coburn, junior Amy Moreira, who was awarded the tournament’s most valuable player, tallied six goals and won four draw controls, while senior Sidney Ferguson, (two goals, one assist), sophomore Charlotte DeSantis, (two goals, one assist), and freshman Morgan Prudden,(two goals) each notched two strikes in the win.

Once the second half began, the Lyons padded their lead with a seven-goal run, which put the game out of reach.

Smith College managed to record the game’s two final goals, as senior Meaghan Fileti, (two goals, one assist) and freshman Jessica Lillquist, (two goals) each rocketed a shot past Wheaton’s backup netminder freshman Katy Ananian before the buzzer sounded.

Draw Controls Fueled Wheaton’s Offense: One of the main reasons why Wheaton was so successful on Sunday was because of their draw controls.

The Lyons finished the game with 12 wins at the face-off line, which propelled the offense to net 20 strikes.

“The draws [are] always the biggest part of the game,” said Moreira. “If you have the draw, you have the ball, and it’s just one of those things where I get pumped just hearing my teammates yelling my name on the side, on the circle, everywhere, and I’m doing it for them, really, in the end.”

“It honesty is the most important part of the game,” exclaimed Coburn. “Amy started taking the draw her freshman year for us, and she’s been a huge asset to the team in that respect, and so they’re lucky they still have her for another year.”

Going Out On Top: Sunday’s match against the Pioneers marked the end of a four-year journey for Coburn, who was very content with winning her final game in a Wheaton uniform.

“Not many teams get to end their season, let alone for me end their career on a win, so going into the future this is the game that I’m always going to remember,” stated the senior midfielder. “Winning it with this team, and winning it with coach [Emily Kiablick], it’s been an amazing experience, and to end it on a win is awesome, so I couldn’t be happier.”

Coburn concluded her Lyons career with 284 points, 199 goals and 85 assists.

Mass College Lax Recap: Smith, Wheaton Punch Tickets To ECAC Finals

By Matt Noonan 

NORTON, MA – Smith College and Wheaton College each punched their ticket to Sunday’s ECAC Div. III/New England women’s lacrosse championship, as both schools defeated their semi-final opponent on Saturday at Keefe Field.

Smith College 22, Lasell College 18: Paced by sophomore Becky Bracken, (nine goals, two assists) and senior Meaghan Fileti, (five goals), the Pioneers ballooned a 13-6 halftime advantage into a four point victory.

Bracken, who led the team with six ground balls, was the catalyst for the Pioneers offense, as she won 14 draws at the face-off line, which resulted in 22 strikes in 60 minutes.

“It’s pretty much crucial to getting the balls, controlling the draw controls, and so just adapting to what’s going on, and realizing just how to get it,” said Bracken.

Fileti added, “I think the draw control [was] really key to our success today, and Becky does a great job of boxing out, and she won it and she played hard and that was really important to us.”

Smith jumped out to a quick two-goal lead before Lasell rallied off two back-to-back strikes to tie the game at 2 at 25:04.

Bracken responded a few minutes later, as the sophomore midfielder jumpstarted Smith’s attack with a 3-0 run followed by a 5-0 run late in the first half, which provided the Pioneers with a seven point cushion at the break, as well as a lead that they never relinquished.

“[We were] really just keeping the pace really fast,” Bracken explained of Smith’s 13 goal first half. “We worked really hard this past week on transitions, and it really clearly showed.”

Smith padded their lead early in the second with an unassisted strike by Bracken, and goal from freshman Mckenzie Hessel before Lasell junior Ashley Slattery, (nine goals, two-assists) sparked a 4-0 run for the Lasers.

The Pioneers answered by netting seven additional tallies in a 16-minute span, as well as relied on their defense to fend off a few various runs by the Lasers to preserve their 10th win of the season.

“We played really well, and we capitalized on our opportunities,” said Fileti.

Wheaton College 20, Framingham State 6: The Lyons registered 10 tallies in less than 12 minutes, and never looked back, as Wheaton earned a spot in the ECAC title game for the first time in school history.

Senior Hailey Coburn and sophomore Charlotte DeSantis combined for 10 goals and four assists in the win, while junior netminder Stephanie Hoomis recorded two saves between the pipes.

“We knew we had to come out here, and beat Framingham. We knew we couldn’t underestimate them, and [for] the past two weeks we’ve been working on our game,” said Coburn. “Coach said before the game [that] it was going to take our 100 percent, [along with] everyone to win it, and just focus on us, so we [could] get to tomorrow, which we did.”

“We had to come out, and play like we’ve always played, which is like hard, tough, [and] act like a family,” said DeSantis.

Wheaton netted 14 of 18 goals in the first half, and solidified their lead with a 4-0 run late in the second, as DeSantis started the rally, which concluded with junior Elizabeth Hickey’s only goal of match.

“This is my second to last game, but it’s this team, we actually made history today. Our team’s never been to the ECAC championship, the program, so it was kind of a chance for everyone, non-starters, starters to come together,” said Coburn. “As a captain, [and] as a leader, I really wanted to get everyone going, and fuel the fire, and get ready for tomorrow.”

“Today was all about the team effort because our awards for our conference have already come out, so all we’re working for is – as a team collectively, to win this tournament,” said DeSantis.

NEWMAC Women’s Tournament Begins On Wednesday, April 25

By NoontimeSports.com 

The 2012 NEWMAC women’s lacrosse tournament is slated to start on Wednesday, April 25, when No. 4 Wellesley hosts No. 5 Smith College.

The winner of Smith-Wellesley will advance to Saturday’s semi-finals against No. 1 Babson College. Springfield College and Wheaton College will also face-off in the second round, too. Also, Babson, Springfield and Wheaton each earned first round byes due to their records.

Last season, Babson defeated Springfield in the title match, 19-7, and earned their fifth consecutive tournament championship crown.

Hersey: “Our Goal Was To Win [On Sunday]”

Photo Credit: Smith College

By Matt Noonan 

BABSON PARK, MA – Sunday’s loss to Babson College wasn’t exactly the easiest thing to digest, especially for Smith College head coach Lynn Hersey, who stated, “I would say that our goal was to win, [but] getting to this point – there’s positives for it, but we’re disappointed with the loss.”

The Pioneers concluded their season with a heart breaking, 74-51 defeat to the Beavers, who wrapped up the NEWMAC conference for the fourth consecutive year. Yet, despite losing to Babson for the third time this season, Hersey believes that this particular game will benefit her team going forward.

“I think we learned a lot from this – we have a young group, one senior, [so] getting back to the NEWMAC championship game for the second year – I think we were hoping for a better result, but we’re going to learn from it, and focus on the future,” said Hersey.

The head coach continued by discussing the team’s consistency throughout the past year by saying, “To win 20 games – that shows a consistency in your program, and maturity in your program to come out and compete, day in and day out.”

Smith kept pace with Babson following the opening tap, but when sophomore Rosa Drummond missed the team’s first shot at 17:56, the Beavers immediately raced down court and earned their first lead of the contest, which was never relinquished. Hersey called a timeout a few minutes later, but the 30-second breather didn’t exactly help the Pioneers stop their opponent, who ended the first half on a 30-13 run.

“I think I was more just trying to focus us back on our game plan,” Hersey said of that particular timeout. “Unfortunately, it kind of came a little too late in the game.”

The Pioneers ended the contest sinking 31.3 percent of their field goals, which wasn’t enough to upset the top-seed in their conference.

“We have a bright future. We lose one senior, and she’s a big player for us, but I think the experience is very valuable,” added the head coach.

Smith will most likely not receive an invitation to the upcoming NCAA Division III March Madness tournament, but could possibly earn a bid for the New England ECAC tournament, which is slated to tip-off on February 29.

“We’ll await an ECAC bid, and take our pathway that way,” said Hersey.