Tag: University of New Haven

The 2021 New England College Football Season Was Worth The Wait

Matthew Sluka and the Holy Cross football team concluded its 2021 campaign with 10 wins, along with a trip to the NCAA FCS Tournament. (PHOTO COURTESY: Mark Seliger Photography/Courtesy of Holy Cross Athletics)

By Matt Noonan

Another season of New England college football — and yes, preps and high schools, too — are slowly ending. But the 2021 season is still on my mind.

After not seeing so many local teams compete last fall due to the Covid-19 pandemic, it was an amazing feeling to pace the sidelines these last few months and watch numerous student-athletes compete on the gridiron.

The 2021 New England football season will be one we will all remember — in my opinion, it was worth the wait. (And you can revisit some of our favorite memories from the sidelines by watching our end-of-season highlights on YouTube!).

There were some of the “usual suspects” that either won or were in the mix for their respective conference title to some new teams, especially in NCAA Division III that deserve our attention going forward.

Before we officially say so long and farewell to a fun season of coverage, allow me to revisit a few stories that I certainly will remember from this season.

  • Holy Cross not only won its third-straight Patriot League title, including two in the same year, thanks to a shortened spring season to go with their first postseason victory in program history. And despite losing on Friday in the second round of the NCAA FCS playoffs to the University of Villanova, the future is very bright for coach Bob Chesney’s squad.  
  • Harvard University captured their 137th meeting with Yale University last month, thanks to a game-winning touchdown pass from Luke Emge to Kym Wimberly. The 34-31 victory by the Crimson clinched their first eight-win season since 2015. 

  • Sacred Heart University made its second-straight appearance in the NCAA FCS Tournament, but came up short to Holy Cross, which edged the Pioneers in the opening round by a score of 13-10. The Red and White will graduate some key pieces from this year’s squad, but will attempt to win their third-straight Northeast Conference crown next fall.

  • Bentley University and the University of New Haven were two teams to watch in New England NCAA Division II.

    Both teams met twice last month, including in the opening round of the NCAA Division II Tournament. Two weeks earlier, the Falcons and Chargers squared-off in an early November contest with New Haven not only winning the game, but also securing their first Northeast-10 Conference (NE10) crown since 2012.

    The Chargers lost to Kutztown University last weekend in the second round of the playoffs, but they will certainly be a team to watch next season — the same could be said for the Falcons.

  • Bentley’s Stephen Sturm was one of a few NE10 signal-callers to watch this fall as he concluded the season with a league-high 23 touchdown passes.

    Saint Anselm’s Drew Willoughby, who was named the league’s Rookie of the Year, threw for a league-high 2,803 passing yards to go with 22 touchdowns. He averaged 311.4 passing yards per game.

  • Anna Maria College won its first-ever Eastern Collegiate Football Conference (ECFC) title with seven wins, which is the most victories any AMCATs squad has recorded in a single season. And despite losing to Delaware Valley in the opening round of the NCAA Division III Tournament, coach Dan Mulrooney’s squad will certainly be a team to watch next fall, both in and outside of the ECFC.

  • The 2021 Williams College football team made history by becoming the first squad to win nine games in a single season.

    The Ephs capped their campaign with three impressive wins over Amherst College (24-19), Trinity College (42-3), and Wesleyan University (25-0) to clinch a 9-0 record, their first perfect season since 2010.

  • Colby College could be a team to watch next fall as they matched their 2013 squad with four wins.

    The Mules captured their second-straight Colby-Bates-Bowdoin (CBB) crown with a pair of victories over Bates College (10-2) and Bowdoin College (21-10).  

  • Tom Kelley and the Framingham State University football team won their third-straight Massachusetts State Collegiate Athletic Conference (MASCAC) crown outright. The Rams concluded their season with an 8-3 overall record for the third consecutive season, as well as posted a perfect 8-0 league mark for the second-straight year.

    The Rams will continue to be the team to watch (and yes, follow) in 2022, but will certainly be challenged by a slew of teams in the MASCAC.

  • Endicott College captured its first conference crown since 2013, as well as hosted its first-ever NCAA playoff game.

    Coach Paul McGonagle’s Gulls will certainly be a team to watch next fall — the Green and White are young and will return a slew of talent from this year’s squad on both sides of the ball, including quarterback Mike Ingraffia and wide receiver Shane Aylward.

  • After starting its season with a 1-3 record, Springfield College bounced back with six-straight wins to capture its second New England Women’s and Men’s Athletic Conference (NEWMAC) crown. The Pride ended their season with three important wins against Catholic University (28-14), MIT (17-7), and the United States Merchant Marine Academy (28-23).

  • NCAA D-III Football Teams to Watch in 2022: Bridgewater State, Husson University, Salve Regina University, Plymouth State, Trinity College, Tufts University,  UMass Dartmouth, University of New England, and Western Connecticut.

New Haven’s Impressive Season Concludes In Kutztown

Connor Degenhardt and the University of New Haven football team matched its win total from 2012 this fall with 10 victories. (PHOTO COURTESY: Clarus Studios)

By Matt Noonan

For the University of New Haven, Saturday’s NCAA Division II second-round setback to Kutztown University was not an ideal way to conclude an impressive season.

New Haven entered their second postseason contest with a great deal of momentum. But their offense, which has been a unit to watch this fall, struggled against a Golden Bears defense that has limited opponents to roughly two touchdowns per game.

The Chargers produced one touchdown on 48 plays and were held to a season-low 59 rushing yards. Quarterback Connor Degenhardt completed 13 of 22 passes for 97 yards and was sacked twice while Jake Conlan registered 24 yards on six carries, including an eight-yard score late in the final session that brought the visitors within three points (10-7) with 3:10 remaining.

Conlan’s lone touchdown did not spark a comeback as Kutztown’s offense picked up two first downs on its final series to clinch their first-ever win against New Haven to secure a date with Shepherd University this Saturday, December 4 in the quarterfinals.

While New Haven’s offense struggled, its defense played well. The unit sacked Kuztown quarterback Eric Nickel five times and limited Jerome Kapp to a season-low 21 receiving yards.

Kutztown concluded the game with 230 yards of total offense.

“They were great the entire day,” said New Haven coach Chris Pincince of his team’s defense.

Indeed, New Haven’s defense looked great against a Kutztown offense that recorded a season-low 10 points, but sadly, the effort did not translate to Chargers’ offense or special teams.

Despite the setback, the Chargers were a great story this fall. The Blue and Gold produced 10 wins in 12 games to match their win total from 2012. Additionally, they captured their fourth Northeast-10 Conference (NE10) crown — their first since 2012 — and beat Bentley University not once, but twice.

New Haven will once again be a team to watch — and yes, follow — next fall, but will lose some key pieces to graduation, especially on the offensive and defensive lines.

“I thought as a group, we accomplished some of our goals,” said Pincince. “I am excited for the future as long as some of these guys are coming back.”

New Haven Looks To Continue Its Early Postseason Momentum Against Kutztown

Connor Degenhardt scored four touchdowns last Saturday as the University of New Haven beat Bentley University in the opening round of the NCAA Division II Tournament. (PHOTO COURTESY: Clarus Studios)

By Matt Noonan

To secure two wins against a team in a span of three weeks is not an easy feat.

But somehow, the University of New Haven football team was able to come away with its second-straight victory over Bentley University this past weekend to secure a spot in the second round of the NCAA Division II postseason.

Connor Degenhardt registered four touchdowns in his team’s 38-13 win over the Falcons, including three rushing scores while finishing the contest with 38 yards on 11 carries. Zach Mauro led all rushers with 119 yards on 33 carries and Dev Holmes caught four passes for 104 yards and one touchdown.

Bentley, which was making its third appearance in the national postseason, secured its first and only lead early in the second quarter when Nathaniel Larkins capped an 18-play, 75-yard drive with a four-yard rushing touchdown.

Larkins’ touchdown, however, did not shift momentum toward the visitors as the Chargers countered with five touchdowns, including a pair of rushing scores in the second quarter by Degenhardt that provided New Haven with a 17-6 advantage that would expand over the next two frames.

While New Haven’s offense headlined an impressive opening round win, its defense did its job, holding Bentley to a season-low 13 points. Two weeks earlier in a game that determined the winner of the Northeast-10 Conference (NE10), Bentley registered 14 points while New Haven tallied 31.

The first-round victory over the Falcons secured New Haven a date with Kutztown University, which captured the Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference (PSAC) title with a 10-1 overall record (the Golden Bears won all seven league matchups).

New Haven has won all three matchups with Kutztown, dating back to their initial meeting in 1994. The Chargers also beat the Golden Bears in the 2011 NCAA Tournament with the 44-37 victory providing New Haven a spot in the quarterfinals.

Kutztown, which secured an opening-round bye, has won nine-straight contests, including six games at Andre Reed Stadium. The Maroon and Gold are averaging 26.55 points per game while limiting opponents to roughly two touchdowns (13.91).

The Golden Bears are led by Eric Nickel, a quarterback from Bridgewater, New Jersey that has recorded 24 touchdowns this fall, including 11 on the ground.

On defense, linebacker Amani Justice is the player to watch – through 11 contests this fall, the redshirt-senior has recorded a team-best 87.0 total tackles, including 37 solo stops, 50 assists, and four quarterback hurries.

Saturday’s game will begin at 12:05 p.m. with the winner advancing to next Saturday’s quarterfinals.  

Postseason Roundup: RPI Outlasts Endicott; New Haven Rolls Past Bentley

Mike Ingraffia tossed two touchdowns on Saturday in Endicott College’s NCAA D-III Tournament game against RPI. (PHOTO COURTESY: Tammy McManaway)

By NoontimeSports.com

Mike Ingraffia’s second and final touchdown pass with 2:50 remaining in the fourth quarter brought the hosts within one score, but that would be the closest they would get as RPI held onto defeat Endicott College, 20-14, in the opening round of the 2021 NCAA Division III Tournament.   

With the win, the Engineers secured a date with SUNY Cortland, which fended off a late rally by Springfield College in its opening round contest.

George Marinopoulos completed 18 of 27 passes for 175 yards and three touchdowns with two scores landing in the hands of Vinnie McDonald, who led all receivers with seven grabs for 122 yards.

McDonald caught his team’s first and final score – the initial touchdown with 2:07 remaining in the first quarter provided the visiting Engineers with a lead that would expand to 14-0 early in the second quarter when Marinopoulos connected with Peter Lombardi for a four-yard score.

Endicott would respond on the ensuing possession with a 66-yard touchdown strike over the middle from Ingraffia to Geoffrey Ingrando to pull the hosts within one score (14-7) at the break.

RPI would push ahead, 20-7, midway through the third quarter when Marinopoulos located McDonald on a fade pattern in the end zone to provide the Engineers with a two-score cushion that would be reduced to a six-point lead when Ingraffia connected with Kobe Gaudette for a 20-yard touchdown with 2:50 remaining.

Endicott attempted an onside kick on the ensuing possession, which was quickly recovered by the RPI special teams.

RPI concluded the game with 338 yards of total offense on 74 plays while Endicott tallied 190 on 48 plays.

Saturday’s game marked the first time Endicott has hosted an NCAA Tournament game.

University of New Haven 38, Bentley University 13: Connor Degenhardt registered four touchdowns, including three on the ground as the Chargers beat the Falcons for the second time in three weeks to secure a second round NCAA Division II meeting with top-ranked Kutztown University next Saturday, November 27 with kick off scheduled for 1 p.m.

Degenhardt completed 8 of 11 passes for 144 yards and one touchdown while rushing for 38 yards on 11 carries and three scores.

New Haven’s Zach Mauro led all rushers with 119 yards on 33 carries while Dev Holmes recorded four catches for 104 yards and one touchdown.

The Chargers erased a 6-3 deficit late in the second quarter with a pair of touchdowns from Degenhardt that provided New Haven with a 17-6 lead at the break that would morph into a 24-6 advantage after three quarters.

Despite the setback, Bentley’s Stephen Sturm concluded his career by tossing his 58th touchdown while eclipsing 8,000 passing yards.

Delaware Valley 62, Anna Maria College 10:Justin McMillian returned an 82-yard kickoff to start the game while Ryan Kent converted a 37-yard field goal as the AMCATs fell to the Aggies in their first-ever NCAA postseason contest.

Delaware Valley’s Daquan Bohannan and Casey Decker combined for three touchdown passes while Julian White rushed for a game-high 101 yards on four carries and one score.

Muhlenberg College 45, Framingham State 0: Michael Hnatkowsky completed 27 of 36 passes for 352 yards and four touchdowns as the Mules rolled past the Rams in the opening round of the postseason. Michael Brooks led Framingham State’s defense with nine total tackles, including eight solo stops.

SUNY Cortland 26, Springfield College 21: Patrick Ladas capped a 17-play, 75 yard drive with a one-yard touchdown run with 2:43 remaining, but that would be the closest the Pride would get to the Red Dragons hung onto win the 34th meeting between the two schools.

Ladas rushed fro a game-high 88 yards on 28 carries and three schools while Ryan Deguire added 44 yards on six carries.

Jaden Alfanostjohn rushed for a pair of first half scores with his second quarter touchdown providing the hosts with a lead they would not relinquish.

Inside The Matchup: Bentley University @ University of New Haven

Stephen Sturm has been a quarterback to watch this fall in the Northeast-10 — he has thrown 22 touchdown passes while rushing for six scores. (PHOTO COURTESY: Bentley University Athletics)

By NoontimeSports.com

Bentley University and the University of New Haven met two weeks with the Chargers scoring an impressive 31-14 victory over the Falcons.

This weekend, the two teams will meet in the opening round of the 2021 NCAA Division II Tournament with the winner advancing to next week’s second round against top-ranked Kutztown University.

Let’s go inside the matchup to learn more about these two teams, who finished first and second, respectively, in the Northeast-10 Conference (NE10) standings.


Game Time & Location: Saturday’s meeting between the Falcons and Chargers will occur in New Haven, Connecticut with kickoff scheduled for 1 p.m.

Team Schedules: Bentley | New Haven

Team Statistics: Bentley | New Haven


Bentley’s journey to the postseason: Despite seeing a 13-game winning streak that dated back to October 2019 snapped earlier this month to the Chargers, Bentley secured a spot in the 2021 NCAA Division III, checking in as the fifth seed on the upper left-hand side of the bracket. Bentley won nine of ten contests this fall, including every matchup in September and October.

New Haven’s journey to the postseason: An early November win against Bentley allowed the Chargers to secure their first NE10 crown since 2012 — they entered the last week of the regular season as the fourth-best team in Super Region One, which is the seed they received in this year’s tournament. New Haven won nine of ten contests with their only loss coming earlier this year to Bowie State, which entered the week three contest ranked No. 24.

The Bulldogs also secured a spot in the postseason — they will begin their potential title march on Saturday against Lenoir-Rhyne.

Bentley’s last trip to the NCAA Tournament: Believe it or not, Bentley has not competed in the postseason since 2004 — crazy, right? Yes, they captured the NE10 crown in 2019 but did not compete for a national championship after capping their season with a 38-0 victory over American International College.

In 2004, their national title dreams were dashed in the opening round as they lost to Edinboro University by a score of 47-44. The Fighting Scots would see their postseason run conclude in the following round with a 36-32 setback to East Stroudsburg University.

New Haven’s last trip to the NCAA Tournament: In 2018, the Chargers scored an opening-round win over West Chester, thanks to a go-ahead (and eventual game-winning) touchdown by Ajee Patterson, who rushed for a one-yard score. Patterson concluded his team’s opening-round victory with 44 yards on 11 carries and two touchdowns. One week later, the Chargers’ postseason run concluded with a 59-20 setback to Slippery Rock, which outlasted LIU Post in the opening round by a score of 20-14. LIU Post captured the NE10 crown in 2018.

Bentley’s NCAA Tournament history: Saturday’s contest with the Chargers will mark the third time in program history that the Falcons have competed in the NCAA Tournament with their first appearance coming in 2003. Bentley is seeking its initial postseason win after seeing both appearances conclude with opening round setbacks.

New Haven’s NCAA Tournament history: It’s only been three years since the Chargers last competed for a national title, but fans of the program know the Blue and Yellow have appeared in the postseason a few times over the years with their first trip occurring in 1992 with New Haven scoring a pair of wins, including a victory over Ferris State at the Yale Bowl. Their quest for a national crown, however, concluded one week later with a 46-35 setback to Jacksonville State in the national semifinals.

The Gamecocks would go on to win the D-II title against Pittsburgh State — the nine-win season for New Haven was a big improvement from one year earlier when they posted a 3-7 record. New Haven was coached by Mark Whipple in 1992, who is currently the offensive coordinator at the University of Pittsburgh.

Players to Watch on Bentley: Stephen Sturm (QB), Andrew Brazicki (RB) Noah Neville (WR), Cedie Dashiell II (DL/LB | NE10 Defensive Lineman of the Year), Steven Paulino (DL), Cole McCubrey (LB | NE10 Defensive Player of the Year), Jailen Branch (DB), and Charlie Ogletree (P)

Players to Watch on New Haven: Connor Degenhardt (QB), Dev Holmes (WR), Kevin Foelsch (TE), Khalim Cisse (DL), Michael Montecalvo (DL), Khyon Fitzpatrick(LB), Ryan Hodgins (LB), Ryan Dolce (DB), Shawn Tafe (DB), and Briant DeFelice (PK)