Daily Noontime: Tuesday, June 30, 2020

DNJune302020

By NoontimeSports.com 

Welcome to the final day of June – we made it!

Tomorrow – Wednesday, July 1, to be exact – marks the beginning of the second half of 2020. Crazy, right?

Let’s end the month of June on a high note, as well as a brand new ‘Daily Noontime,’ too!


Noontime’s Headlines for Tuesday, June 30

  • Yesterday – Monday, June 29, to be exact – we learned that Williams College would not be playing football this fall. In fact, all fall sports have been canceled, and that every team (and program) will not “travel and compete during the fall semester,” according to Williams president Maud S. Mandel.

    Williams joins a small, but growing list of schools that have announced they will not play games this fall due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

  • Just a short time ago, we learned that Bates College plans to welcome its students back to campus this fall but no decision has been made about athletic events, including football contests.

    The Bobcats could play some games this fall, but safety will be the main focus. Additionally, it is possible some fall sports teams could play games in the spring.

  • The University of Massachusetts Amherst will be offering a majority of its classes remotely this fall while students will be allowed to return to campus. But like most schools, life on a college campus will be so much different than it was one year ago at this time.

    Incoming UMass students, including first-years, would have to abide by the school’s plans to keep everyone safe with mask-wearing to social distancing to limiting contact with others.

  • Switching gears to professional football, if Cam Newton is healthy and ready to play in week one, then the New England Patriots could be a Super Bowl contender again, according to the good folks in Las Vegas.
  • Are you planning to attend a college football game this fall? If so, do you worry about your health and safety while cheering on your favorite program?

    As noted in the Wall Street Journal, big-time college football programs know that welcoming 100,000 fans won’t be feasible due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

NCAA President Mark Emmert Is Concerned About Fall Sports

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NCAA President Mark Emmert said no games will be played this fall without students back on campus. (PHOTO COURTESY: Photo by Maxx Wolfson/Getty Images)

By Matt Noonan

As we continue to inch closer toward a brand new college sports season, specifically college football, there seems to be some concern from NCAA President Mark Emmert regarding what various seasons will look like this fall during the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. 

In a recent podcast appearance on The Comeback: COVID-19 and the Return of Sports from The Athletic, Emmert told host Seth Davis that the current situation is “very, very fluid,” and that whatever happens with fall sports will certainly be different than prior years.

“What we do know for sure is whatever occurs it’s going to be different,” said Emmert, who previously stated during an NCAA Social Series last month on Twitter that college athletics could not occur if students were not on campus.

As for what the upcoming football season looks like, including here in New England, Emmert told Davis that it won’t be what “we’re custom to seeing it year in and year out.”

Earlier this week, we learned Bowdoin College would not be playing football this fall – maybe this spring? – while Morehouse College announced today that its cross country nor football teams would not be competing for Southern Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (SIAC) championships this fall. 

The Patriot League announced its plans for the upcoming fall sports season on Monday, which included guidelines for its seven members that play football. Teams will not be allowed to fly to away games while the league stated that “with rare exceptions, the regular-season competition will exclude overnight travel.” 

Holy Cross, which captured the Patriot League crown last fall with a 24-0 victory over Georgetown University, shouldn’t have to fly too many games this fall as eight of its current contests, including three conference matchups, are scheduled to take place in either Massachusetts or Connecticut. However, the Crusaders’ season-opener against Merrimack College on Thursday, September 3 could be canceled due to the league not allowing its members to compete against non-conference foes until Friday, September 4. 

As of today, we are 10 weeks away from the first official weekend of college football in New England as well as 69 days away from watching a slew of teams kick-off their respective campaigns on Thursday, September 3, including Bentley University, University of Connecticut and University of Massachusetts Amherst

Will games begin on time or be pushed back to later in September? Could we see games moved to October, November, or even December? What about pushing back the season until next spring? 

No matter what, Emmert knows the upcoming college sports season will look so much different than it has previously and may only feature conference or in-state contests along with a slew of regional games.

“Nobody can predict anything with certainty and so therefore you shouldn’t rule anything out,” said Emmert. 

“I certainly think that sitting here today that there will be football in the fall. I think it will be different in many respects whether it’s the audiences in attendance or not in attendance, whether it’s the nature of the schedule, whether it’s the length of the season – you know, all of those things will be different and certainly the protocol and the way the games are played and the healthcare that surrounding that has got to be different.” 

Hockey East Tournament – Quarterfinals Schedule

By NoontimeSports.com

The road to the TD Garden for the Hockey East Final-Four will commence on Thursday, Mar. 9 when (No. 7) Providence College faces-off against (No. 2) University of Massachusetts (Lowell).

Eight teams have qualified for this particular tournament, and will need to win a best-of-three-series in order to advance to Causeway Street.

Below we’ve provided the first-round schedule, as well as dates/times, too. For more information on the Hockey East – CLICK HERE.

(No. 1) Boston College vs. (No. 8) University of Massachusetts (Amherst):

* Friday, Mar. 9 – Mass at BC, 7:30pm face-off

* Saturday, Mar. 10 – Mass at BC, 7:00pm face-off

* Sunday, Mar. 11 – Mass at BC, 7:00pm face-off (If Necessary) 

(No. 2) University of Massachusetts (Lowell) vs. (No. 7) Providence College

* Thursday, Mar. 8 – Providence at Lowell, 7:00pm face-off

* Friday, Mar 9 – Providence at Lowell, 7:00pm face-off

* Sunday, Mar. 11 – Providence at Lowell, 7:00pm face-off (If Necessary) 

(No. 3) Boston University vs. (No. 6) University of New Hampshire

* Friday, Mar. 9 – New Hampshire at BU, 7:00pm face-off

* Saturday, Mar. 10 – New Hampshire at BU, 4:00pm face-off

* Sunday, Mar. 11 – New Hampshire at BU, 7:00pm face-off (If Necessary)

 (No. 4) University of Maine vs. (No. 5) Merrimack College

* Friday, Mar. 9 – Merrimack at Maine, 7:00pm face-off

* Saturday, Mar. 10 – Merrimack at Maine, 7:00pm face-off

* Sunday, Mar. 11 – Merrimack at Maine, 7:00pm face-off (If Necessary)

UNH Wins Colonial Clash, Defeats UMass, 27-21

The Wildcats proved to be the better team on Saturday, as UNH defeated UMass, 27-21! (Photo courtesy UNH's Athletic Website)

By Dan Libon 

FOXBOROUGH, MA — As far as University of Massachusetts (Amherst) is concerned, the rivalry with University of New Hampshire is officially over, as the Wildcats walked away with a 27-21 win over the Division I bound Minutemen at Gillette Stadium on Saturday.

“It’s sad. It’s been something special for a long time,” said UNH coach Sean McDonnell, when asked to describe the final meeting between both squads.

The Wildcats started the game with a five-yard touchdown run by Dontra Peters (13 carries, 92-yards) and then converted a two-point conversion thanks to quarterback Kevin Decker, who connected with Brian McNally to give UNH a 8-0 lead.

“We felt we had something,” said McDonnell, when asked about his team’s two-point conversion.

“[We were] going to do things like that [because] it gives us an opportunity to get points on the board [and even win games too].”

UNH then added a late first quarter field goal, which didn’t seem to bother UMass, who scored on a 23-yard touchdown run by Julian Talley, but failed to convert on a two-point conversion. Then, on the ensuing possession, Dontra Peters scored literally two minutes later on a one-yard run, which increased the Wildcats lead to 12-points before the Minutemen registered one more touchdown before halftime.

However, this game of cat and mouse concluded late in the third quarter when UNH expanded its lead on a crucial third-down when Decker connected with Sean Cullen for a 23-yard touchdown. UMass then responded with a nine-minute drive, which resulted in a Kellen Pagel five-yard touchdown run, and another failed PAT.

Afterward, both teams added one field goal each before the regulation clock stuck zero.

UMass Is Ready For Division I Football:  Beginning next season, UMass will move on to the MAC, (Mid-American Conference) and based on their coach’s thoughts after the game concluded, the Minutemen aren’t exactly heartbroken over the end of this particular rivalry.

“You move up, [and] move on. We got a future ahead in the MAC Conference. We’ll create some rivalries there,” said UMass head coach Kevin Morris.

Stars of the Colonial Clash: Dontra Peters led the Wildcats with two rushing touchdowns, while quarterback Kevin Decker finished 11-of-15 for 137 yards and one touchdown.

For the Minutemen, Kellen Pagel went 25-of-42 for 249 yards, and Jonathan Hernandez ran for 89 yards and one score. Hernandez had an up and down kind of day where he was a threat at times but was easily wrapped up at other times.

New UNH Rivalry: With UMass gone from the conference, UNH will put the focus on their remaining rival, UMaine.

“All our energy and efforts have to go to the University of Maine it looks like,” said McDonnell.

UMass Return to Gillette Stadium in 2012: UMass meanwhile will be back at Gillette Stadium next year when it becomes their new home stadium.

“We’ll be very excited to make this our home field.” Said Morris.

NEXT UP: UNH will host URI next week while UMass will travel to Richmond next Saturday.

Catching Up With Don Cahoon (UMass Amherst Hockey Coach)

By Matt Noonan 

University of Massachusetts’s men’s ice hockey team will need to work hard and cooperate with one another, especially if they’d like to rebound from last season’s dismal performance, which ended with six wins, (five of them being in the Hockey East conference) and 23-losses.

Head coach Don Cahoon is optimistic about the upcoming season, and certainly hopes to find Paul Dainton’s replacement between the pipes. The Minutemen currently have four goaltenders on their roster, so expect all of them to get an equal opportunity to showcase their talents, but most likely, Jeff Teglia will be the opening day starter against Northeastern University.

Here’s our conversation with the head coach, enjoy.

How much of an honor is it to be the only college or university from Massachusetts to participate in this season’s Frozen Fenway event?

“I think first you start with a university – the flagship program of the state. We have hundreds of thousands of people that have either come to [University of Massachusetts] or moved back to this – inside [Route] 495 corridor, living and working here, so it’s a real tribute to their support of our university and you’ll see them come out in droves. I think you’ll also see that Maine, New Hampshire [and] Vermont will support this [event] in a big way because Boston’s the hub of the universe, but it’s certainly the hub of New England, and so it’s a real thrill for our kids. It’s going to be a nice opportunity for them to handle a big time venue, a big time platform and it’s going to be exciting for us to prepare for that, participate in that, be part of [the event].”

Looking ahead to the upcoming season, what are some challenges or obstacles that you’re team will have to overcome in order to have a successful season?

“Well [the] biggest question we have is [that] Paul Dainton is now playing professional hockey. [He] graduated and gave us four great years and was a terrific team leader. That’s a void. We have one player that got enough ice time to get a taste of it in Jeff Teglia, but he certainly didn’t play on a regular basis. We have a couple of recruits – freshmen recruits in Steve Mastalerz, who played at Kimball Union Academy and Kevin Boyle, who played for the Westside Warriors in the BCHL and they come with good portfolios, they come with some credible statistics, but at the same time they haven’t played at this level, they haven’t dealt with the pressure of playing at this level and that’s an unknown, so that’s a real challenge for us to be able to move forward and really understand what we have in that position and feel comfortable that everything’s in order [and] where it needs to be. The other challenge was getting [the] center ice position really understood. We’ve had all sort of choices, but we need a lot of those guys to really elevate their level of play, whether it be Branden Gracel, who was a freshman last year or Eric Filiou or [Steven] Guzzo, who got out knocked out with an injury and now is back or whether we play Rocco Carzo there or move Danny Hobbs from the wing into the middle or [Michael] Pereira – we’ve got all sorts of challenges in terms of getting that position solidified.”

One of the biggest keys to winning in the Hockey East is goaltending. How important is it to have solid goaltending against league opponents?

“I don’t think there’s a team that’s ever had great success at this level that didn’t have great goaltending. At a minimum you need very good goaltending. You can’t win in this league without very good goaltending and if you do, it means you’ve got a team that basically is a national championship contender because every team exposes one another enough to penetrate anything less that very good goaltending.”