Noontime’s Sunday Shootaround: Tufts Continues Its Winning Ways

NSHoopsShootaround

By Matt Noonan | @NoontimeNation 

With just two games remaining in the regular season, the Tufts University women’s basketball team is inching closer to securing the top seed in the upcoming New England Small College Athletic Conference (NESCAC) Tournament.

Tufts, which scored back-to-back wins this past weekend against Connecticut College and Trinity College, will close out its regular-season slate next weekend when they host Middlebury College on Friday, February 14th and Williams College on Saturday, February 15th.

One week after hosting the Ephs, the Jumbos, who currently reside in the top spot in the conference as of this afternoon, would most likely host a quarterfinal contest. And a win over their quarterfinal opponent would provide the Powder Blue and White with the opportunity to host both the semifinals and championship one week later.

Against the Camels, Erica DeCandido netted a game-high 27 points on 13 of 19 shooting to go along with six rebounds, four steals, and three assists. Emily Briggs added 18 points while Cailin Harrington led all players with 10 rebounds. 

Tufts’ next opponent – Middlebury – has won just one conference game this season. The Panthers defeated Hamilton College last month, thanks to a double-double from Kira Waldman of 21 points and 12 rebounds. Since their win over the Continentals, they have struggled, both in and outside the conference. 

Williams, which lost to Wesleyan University on Friday, has won five of eight conference tilts. They currently reside in the fourth position in the league standings.

If the conference tournament began today, the Jumbos would face Wesleyan, a team they beat last month. Erica DeCandido produced a double-double of 28 points and 10 rebounds against the Cardinals while Molly Ryan finished with 17 points.

The Tufts men’s basketball team is also the top team in the NESCAC – they have won eight consecutive league tilts, including some key match-ups over the past few weeks against Amherst College and Colby College.

Tufts beat Connecticut College and Trinity this past weekend to remain the top team in the league with two games remaining. The Jumbos will visit Middlebury on Friday followed by Williams on Saturday. If Tufts beats both the Panthers and Ephs, they will lock-up the top spot and host a quarterfinal contest.

Luke Rogers recorded a double-double of 11 rebounds and 10 points against Connecticut College on Saturday after stuffing the stat sheet against Trinity with 16 points, six rebounds, two steals, two blocks, and one assist.

The Babson College women’s basketball team secured a two-way tie for first place in the New England Women’s and Men’s Athletic Conference (NEWMAC) by beating Clark University this past weekend by a score of 78-64. Babson, which currently boasts a 6-0 mark in league play, is tied with Springfield College, a team they will face in two weeks (February 19th, to be exact).

Emily Bonifacic highlighted the Beavers’ 13th win against the Cougars by recording a double-double of 33 points and 11 rebounds.

Coach Jim Calhoun‘s team extended its winning streak to 18 yesterday as St. Joseph’s (Conn) defeated St. Joseph’s (Maine), 113-73.

The Blue Jays, who have won seven consecutive Great Northeast Athletic Conference (GNAC) matchups, appear to be in the driver seat for the top spot in the upcoming conference tournament.

St. Joseph’s has four games remaining, including an enticing match-up on Saturday, February 15th against Emmanuel College. The Saints have won six of seven league tilts and will visit St. Joseph’s (Maine) on Wednesday, February 12th.

As of today, Western Connecticut and UMass Dartmouth men’s basketball are the top two teams in the Little East Conference (LEC) while Rhode Island College is a half-game behind the two teams with three games remaining.

RIC, which has won back-to-back contests, including a dramatic 83-80 win on Saturday over UMass Boston, faces Eastern Connecticut on Wednesday, February 12th. It is an important game for both teams, especially the Warriors, who currently trail Keene State for the final spot in the upcoming tournament.

The Westfield State men’s basketball team has won three-straight match-ups, including a 72-55 win on Saturday against Fitchburg State.

With their second win over the Falcons, the Owls secured the top spot in the conference, but share an identical league mark of 7-2 with Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts. MCLA outlasted Westfield State last month in overtime, but the Trailblazers have only won once in their last three outings.

With two weeks remaining in the regular season, both MCLA and Westfield State remain in a position to secure the top spot in the Massachusetts State Collegiate Athletic Conference (MASCAC) Tournament. The two teams are scheduled to meet in Westfield later this month with the outcome possibly deciding the top two spots in the tournament pending both teams win their respective next two contests.

Finally, Framingham State women’s basketball inched closer to securing the top spot in the MASCAC with a season-sweep of Worcester State yesterday. Flannery O’Connor highlighted the Rams’ eighth-straight win by recording a double-double of 27 points and 10 rebounds.

The Rams visit MCLA this week before hosting Salem State on Saturday, February 15th and Bridgewater State next Wednesday, February 19th. All three are winnable games for FSU, which has not lost a game since falling to Emerson College early last month.

New England Basketball Weekend Watch (Jan. 10th-12th)

NEWKNDHOOPSWATCH011020

By Matt Noonan | @NoontimeNation 

Another busy weekend of New England D-III college basketball is set to tip-off this afternoon and evening – hope you are ready for some great games to watch and follow!

Let’s begin with one game to watch in Medford, Massachusetts this evening as the Tufts University women’s basketball team welcomes Wesleyan University to Cousens Gymnasium for a 7 p.m. tip-off.

Friday’s clash between the Cardinals and Jumbos marks the official start of New England Small College Athletic Conference (NESCAC) play.

Tufts enters tonight’s contest riding an impressive 13-game winning streak, which has included recent wins over UMass DartmouthSUNYIT, and Wheaton College. Emily Briggs highlighted the Powder and Blue’s effort against the Lyons on Wednesday by connecting on 7 of 10 field goals for 19 points – she also made all three freebies. Erica DeCandido chipped in 13 points on six of eight shooting.

Wesleyan should certainly provide Tufts with some challenges on both ends of the court – the Cardinals have won eight of 11 contests thus far, including an early January clash with Babson College. The Cardinals began their 2019-20 campaign with six-straight wins.

In their last outing against SUNY Geneseo, last weekend, Caleigh Ryan and Katy O’Connor combined for 24 points, while Emma Roush added 10 points off the bench. 

A few other NESCAC women’s games to watch tonight and this weekend include Bowdoin College at Trinity College (1/10 at 7 p.m.), Amherst College at Middlebury College (1/10 at 7 p.m.), and Amherst at Williams College on Saturday, January 11th at 3 p.m.

On the men’s side of the NESCAC, keep an eye on Friday’s clash between Middlebury and Amherst. The Panthers have won 13-straight contests, including three consecutive 2020 meetings with Colby-SawyerSpringfield College, and Plattsburgh State. This particular outing should be a good test for the Panthers, but also the Mammoths, who began the new year with a 116-44 win over Lesley University before falling to Wesleyan three days later by a score of 79-77.

My prediction for Friday’s Amherst-Middlebury game is the following: The Mammoths will prevail and receive some major contributions from Grant Robinson, Fru Che, and Eric Sellew.

Tomorrow (Saturday, January 11th), WPI will entertain Babson in a very enticing New England Women’s and Men’s Athletic Conference (NEWMAC) contest. The Engineers began conference play earlier this week against MIT, while the Beavers were edged on Wednesday by Springfield.

It’s too early to say this a must-win for the Beavers (or Engineers) as all eight teams play each other twice in a single-season, but this could be a potential preview of the conference championship game next month.

Other Games to Watch (and Follow) this Weekend: 

  • WBB: Framingham State at Westfield State (Saturday, Jan. 11th at 12 p.m.): The Rams can begin conference play with a win on the road against an Owls team, which has not won a game since beating Plymouth State in mid-to-late November.
  • WBB: Western New England at Wentworth Inst. of Technology (Saturday, Jan. 11th at 1 p.m.): Look for the Golden Bears to bounce back after losing to WPI earlier this week. A win over the Leopards would provide WNE with their fourth conference win and keep them within at least one or two games of the University of New England.
  • WBB: Brandeis University at New York University (Saturday, Jan. 11th at 1 p.m.): The Judges face another 10-1 squad in an important conference meeting. Brandeis has won 10 of 11 contests this season so I expect that momentum will help them against the Violets.
  • MBB: Keene State at Rhode Island College (Saturday, Jan. 11th at 3 p.m.): This is an important meeting for both teams as the Anchormen and Owls are in a three-way tie with Western Connecticut for the top spot in the conference. Look for the Anchormen to bounce back after losing to Western Connecticut earlier this week.

D3 Football: The Final Noontime Top 20 Poll (Nov. 25th, 2019)

NSFINALTOP20POLL

By NoontimeSports.com | @NoontimeNation 

It’s time to unveil our final New England D-III Football Top 20 Poll of the 2019 season.

The 2019 season was an exciting one, filled with some new storylines, along with some teams that will certainly be on our radar next fall.

Thanks for a great season and enjoy our final poll (and breakdown, too).


1. Western New England (9-2, 7-0 CCC): The Commonwealth Coast Conference (CCC) champions may have fallen short to The College of Brockport last Saturday in the NCAA Tournament, but did not lose to a single game to a D-III squad this season.

2. WPI (10-1, 6-1 NEWMAC): The Engineers of Worcester were impressive in all three phases this year, but will certainly miss their senior class next fall.

3. Endicott College (9-2, 6-1 CCC): Despite falling short to the Golden Bears a few weeks ago, these Gulls proved they can compete with some of the best teams, both in and outside the region. Endicott finished its season with nine wins for the first time since 2012.

4. Middlebury College (9-0, 9-0 NESCAC): These Panthers found ways to win some hard-fought (and dramatic) games this fall and will certainly be on our radar going forward.

5. Framingham State (8-3, 8-0 MASCAC): After starting their season with back-to-back losses, Framingham State ripped off eight-straight wins to secure a spot in the NCAA Tournament.

6. MIT (7-3, 6-1 NEWMAC): The Engineers’ improbable run to the postseason was impressive with some hard-fought (and important) wins over Coast Guard AcademySpringfield College, and WPI.

7. Springfield College (6-4, 5-2 NEWMAC): Losing to MIT was not an ideal way to end a season. Springfield overcame a 1-3 start to position themselves for a potential national playoff run, thanks to some key wins down the stretch.

8. Wesleyan University (8-1, 8-1 NESCAC): The Cardinals were one of the biggest surprises this season. Despite a lopsided loss to Middlebury a few weeks ago, Wesleyan proved they are (and will continue to be) one of the top teams in the conference going forward.

9. UMass Dartmouth (7-3, 5-3 MASCAC): The Corsairs enjoyed one of their best seasons, matching the 2004 squad with seven victories. UMass Dartmouth was impressive from the get-go and should certainly be in the mix for a conference crown in 2020.

10. Western Connecticut (8-3, 6-2 MASCAC): For the second-straight season, the Colonials ended their campaign with eight wins. Western Connecticut may have not been the juggernaut from last season (or past seasons), but should once again be in the mix for a conference title next season.

11. Williams College (7-2, 7-2 NESCAC): Despite losing a heartbreaking to Middlebury in their season-opener, Williams proved they are (and will continue to be) one of the top teams in the conference. The squad returns some impressive talent next season, which should help the Ephs contend for a New England Small College Athletic Conference (NESCAC) crown.

12. Bridgewater State (6-4, 6-2 MASCAC): The Bears were tough to gauge this season, especially with so many seniors back from last year’s eight-win squad. BSU had a chance to win the conference and compete in the postseason, but saw their playoff hopes dashed with a week ten setback to the Rams of Framingham State.

13. Trinity College (5-4, 5-4 NESCAC): The Bantams’ four-peat never happened, but they did end their season winning three of their final five contests. It will be interesting to see how Trinity rebounds from a five-win season.

14. Nichols College (6-4, 4-3 CCC): The Bison won six games for the first time since 2003. They scored some exciting wins over Salve Regina and the University of New England and should be back in the mix for the conference crown next fall.

15. Amherst College (4-5, 4-5 NESCAC): The Mammoths entered the 2019 season with hopes of winning a conference crown. Instead, they ended their campaign with four-straight setbacks, including a heartbreaking defeat to Hamilton College. Amherst won just four games in 2016 before rebounding with back-to-back winning seasons in 2017 and 2018.

16. Norwich University (5-5, 2-5 NEWMAC): The Cadets began their season with four-straight wins. And for a moment it appeared as if the Maroon and Gold would be the team to beat in the New England Women’s and Men’s Athletic Conference (NEWMAC). But unfortunately, the team’s winning ways concluded over the next few weeks as the Cadets mustered just one victory in its final six contests.

17. Husson University (4-6, 4-3 CCC): The Eagles may have finished with four wins – all four victories came against conference opponents – but they looked pretty impressive against Nichols and Salve Regina.

18. Coast Guard Academy (5-5, 2-5 NEWMAC): Afer starting their season with a 4-1 mark, the Bears mustered just one win during their final five contests. The defense was impressive but struggled down the stretch against Merchant Marine and WPI.

19. Mass. Maritime Academy (6-4, 4-4 MASCAC): After a successful start to their 2019 campaign, the Buccaneers struggled to maintain their momentum by seesawing between the win and loss columns. The Bucs lost three of their final four contests but did score an impressive win on the road at UMass Dartmouth.

20. Salve Regina University (4-6, 3-4 CCC): The Seahawks may have finished with four wins this fall, but proved they are (and will continue to be) a team to watch every season in the CCC. They provided challenges for both Endicott and WNE before ending their season with wins over Curry College and UNE, which should provide the unit with some momentum heading into the 2020 season.

On The Rise: Dean College (4-6, 4-1 ECFC) and University of New England (4-6, 2-5 CCC). 

D3 Football: NCAA & New England Bowl Predictions

WNESOCIALNCAAUPDATE

By Matt Noonan | @NoontimeNation 

Happy Friday, everyone!

I hope you’re as excited as I am for the upcoming NCAA Tournament games tomorrow, along with two New England Bowls.

As usual, Friday’s mean one thing: games to watch and predictions. So, allow me to dish out my picks for the three NCAA Tournament games with New England teams, along with both New England Bowls.

Have a wonderful weekend, stay warm – it is going to be COLD tomorrow – and I’ll do my very best, as usual, to keep you all updated on social media!


NCAA Tournament Games | Saturday, November 23rd, 2019

Brockport at Western New England (12 p.m.): This is a very evenly matched contest – it is even a game the Golden Bears could (and should) win. I’ll give the edge to WNE since they are playing at home, but they will need a big day from their offense, as well as a stellar performance by their run defense. PREDICTION: WNE 31, Brockport 28 

Framingham State at Wesley College (12 p.m.): The Rams have never won an NCAA Tournament game, so perhaps this is the contest Framingham State wins. FSU’s offense and defense have been rather impressive the past few weeks, especially against some talented conference foes, which should translate to a one-point (or two-point) victory on Saturday. PREDICTION: Framingham State 28, Wesley 27 

MIT at Muhlenberg College (12 p.m.): This is a tough draw for the Engineers, who are set to face the fourth-best team in the country, per the latest D3 Football Top 25. MIT has been impressive in their last three outings – they needed to win all three to advance to the postseason – but something tells me the Mules will make a few more plays from the get-go to secure an opening-round win. PREDICTION: Muhlenberg 30, MIT 10 


New England Bowl Games | Saturday, November 23rd, 2019

Dean College at Endicott College (12 p.m.): This one is for the seniors. Look for a monstrous game from the seniors on both sides of the ball to send the Gulls into the offseason with some momentum for the 2020 season. PREDICTION: Endicott 35, Dean 16 

Western Connecticut at WPI (1 p.m.): After losing to the Engineers of Cambridge earlier this month, WPI has looked unstoppable, winning back-to-back games against Coast Guard Academy and Norwich University by a combined score of 124-35. Look for the Engineers to continue their recent momentum against the Colonials in Worcester. PREDICTION: WPI 38, Western Conn. 14 

NCAA D3 Football Tournament: Inside The Framingham State-Wesley Matchup

Adam Wojenski 5

Framingham State quarterback Adam Wojenski will be one of a few players to watch on the Rams this Saturday. (PHOTO COURTESY: Frank Poulin/Framingham State University Athletics)

By Matt Noonan | @NoontimeNation 

It’s time to highlight the second New England D-III football team that will be competing this weekend in the NCAA Division III Tournament. And that squad is the Framingham State University Rams, which enter the postseason on an eight-game winning streak.

The Rams, who captured the Massachusetts State Collegiate Athletic Conference (MASCAC) this fall with some important late wins over Bridgewater StateMassachusetts Maritime Academy, and Western Connecticut, will be making their fifth appearance in the NCAA Tournament, as well as their second-straight trip as Framingham State competed last season against The College of Brockport.

Below are a few notes about Saturday’s match-up, including some stats (and numbers) on both teams, as well as players to watch.


Framingham State (8-2) at Wesley College (9-1) 

Gametime/Location: Saturday, November 23rd at Wesley College, Dover, Delaware. Kickoff is scheduled for 12 p.m.

Rankings: Wesley is currently the tenth best team in D-III, according to the latest D3Football.com Top 25 Poll. Framingham State was not ranked nor receiving votes in this week’s poll.

Conference Affiliation: Framingham State competes in the MASCAC, while Wesley is a member of the New Jersey Athletic Conference (NJAC).

Last Appearance in the NCAA Tournament: The Rams’ 2018 season concluded in the opening round of the NCAA Tournament with a 40-27 setback to Brockport. The Golden Eagles secured a 24-0 lead at the break before the Rams trimmed the deficit in the second half by outscoring the hosts, 27-16.

Quarterback Adam Wojenski concluded the contest 28 of 58 for 450 yards and two touchdowns – he did have three interceptions – while Brockport’s Joe Germinerio completed 19 of 40 passes for 320 yards and three touchdowns.

Wesley did not compete in the NCAA Tournament last season but did advance to the second round in 2017 following a 45-27 win over RPI. The Wolverines’ run toward a national championship concluded with a 49-28 setback to Brockport.

Inside the Numbers with Framingham State: The Rams have produced 346 points this season while allowing 176 … The 346 points are the most any MASCAC team produced this fall. They also led the conference in points per game (34.6), touchdowns (51), rushing yards (1,728), rushing yards per game (172.8), few yards allowed per game (274,8), interceptions (14), and fewest rushing yards allowed per contest (90.5) … Framingham State will be making its fifth appearance in the NCAA Tournament – they have never won a postseason contest. Saturday’s meeting with Wesley will be the team’s second in the postseason as the two squads met in 2015 with the Wolverines winning by a score of 42-22.

Inside the Numbers with Wesley College: Wesley is currently second in the NJAC with 337 points – Salisbury University is first with 417 points. The Wolverines are averaging 33.7 points per game … Wesley is second in the NJAC in scoring defense, limiting opponents to 157 points (15.7 points per game) … Wesley is second in the conference in total offense – they are averaging 441.7 yards per game … The Wolverines are first in total defense in the NJAC, yielding an average of 249.7 yards per game … Wesley boasts the second-best rushing offense in the NJAC behind Salisbury and is first in the conference in passing offense .. Saturday’s postseason contest will be coach Chip Knapp‘s first as the team’s head coach since taking over for coach Mike Drass last season.

Framingham State Players to Watch: 

  • Andrew Fennelly (O-Line): Named the MASCAC Football Offensive Lineman of the Year.
  • Devaun Ford (RB): Named the MASCAC Offensive Rookie of the Year. Ford rushed for 1,003 yards and nine touchdowns in 10 games. He is averaging 100.3 yards per contest.
  • Joshua Onujiogu (DE): Named the MASCAC Defensive Player of the Year. He has recorded 44.0 total tackles and eight sacks in nine contests this season.
  • Adam Wojenski (QB): The senior signal-caller has completed 184 of 303 passes for 2,455 yards and 27 touchdowns (eight interceptions). He has also rushed for 429 yards on 88 carries and four touchdowns.
  • Jacob Maher (TE): The Worcester State transfer leads the Rams in receptions (54), receptions per game (5.4), receiving yards (792) and touchdowns (eight).
  • Cully Curran (DB): Leads the defense with 67.0 total tackles … has recorded 39 solo tackles, including seven-and-a-half tackles for a loss of 22 yards, one fumble recovery, one interception, and five pass break-ups.
  • Anthony Behonick (LB): Second on the team in total tackles (49.0) … the junior linebacker has recorded 37 solo stops, including eight-and-a-half tackles for a loss of 16 yards, two forced fumbles, one fumble recovery, three interceptions, and one pass break-up.

Wesley College Players to Watch:

  • Drew Fry (QB): The first-year signal-caller will get the start on Saturday, as noted (and confirmed) by WDEL 1150AM/101.7FM. Fry, who was a three-year starter for Middletown in Delaware, was named the 2018 offensive player of the year.
  • Marcellus Pack (RB): The senior tailback has rushed for 595 yards on 102 carries and seven touchdowns.
  • Ruhann Peele (WR): The senior wide-out leads the team in receptions (81), receptions per game (8.1), receiving yards (1,141), and receiving touchdowns (12).
  • Corterris Simpson (WR): Second on the team in receptions (45), receptions per game (4.5), receiving yards (522), and touchdowns (five).
  • Nick Bruhn (PK/P): Has recorded 63 points on nine field goals and 36 extra points. His longest field goal was a 31-yard kick.
  • Dante Daniel (LB): The third-year linebacker leads the defense in total tackles (83.0) … Daniel has recorded 43 solo tackles, including eight-and-a-half tackles for a loss of 23 yards, one forced fumble, three fumble recoveries, one interception, and seven pass break-ups.
  • Shymere Vessels (DE): Vessels has recorded 57.0 total tackles, including 26 solo stops, 10 tackles for a loss of 29 yards and one sack for a loss of six yards.