The Early D3 Football Outlook: Teams To Watch In 2020

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Western New England’s Steven Fedorchak will be one of many players to watch on the Golden Bears this fall. (PHOTO COURTESY: Chris Marion)

By NoontimeSports.com

Our early New England D-III football coverage has begun with our ‘Way Too Early‘ Top 20 Poll – what did you think? 

Now, it is time to dig a bit deeper and highlight a few teams we believe fans should watch (and keep their eyes on) once the season officially kicks-off in a few months.

Dean College: After winning their first-ever Eastern Collegiate Football Conference (ECFC) title last November, the Bulldogs enter the 2020 season with a great deal of momentum. Sure, their 2019 campaign concluded with a difficult loss to the Gulls of Endicott College in the New England Bowl, but with a slew of starters expected to return this fall, including quarterback Terrell Watts, wide receiver Errol Breaux, and defensive end Wadell Alceus, don’t expect these Bulldogs to take a step backward.

Endicott College: The Gulls – like most squads highlighted on this list – did graduate some key players from last year’s squad, as well as their 2018 campaign, too. But Endicott does return some important pieces on both sides of the ball, including tight end Riley Shanley, defensive back Dylan Gardner, quarterback Dylan Bonfilio, and linebackers Tim Russell and Kevin O’Brien. All five players, along with some newcomers and returners will make the Gulls a team to continue to watch in the Commonwealth Coast Football (CCC Football) conference.

Framingham State: After a slow start to its 2019 campaign, the Rams scored a must-needed win over Westfield State, which provided Framingham with all the momentum they needed to win their conference’s crown. This year, the Rams will look a bit different – they won’t have quarterback Adam Wojenski under center – but will have return some key pieces on both sides of the ball, including halfback Devaun Ford, who was named the Massachusetts State Collegiate Athletic Conference (MASCAC) Rookie of the Year. On defense, look for Joshua Onujiogu to lead a unit that limited opposing rushing attacks to less than 100 yards per game.

Middlebury College: After winning nine consecutive contests last fall, it is hard to pick against these Panthers, who will certainly be challenged from the get-go. Yes, the Panthers bid farewell to some key players from a year ago, but welcome back quarterback Will Jernigan for one more season. Jernigan will be tasked with leading an offense that averaged 30.6 points per game while registering 410.6 yards per contest.

UMass Dartmouth: Quarterback Stephen Gacioch was fun to watch last season – he recorded career-bests in passing yards per game (277.6) and touchdowns (20) while rushing for a career-high six scores. Gacioch should be the player to watch again with these Corsairs, who ended their 2019 campaign with seven wins.

Wesleyan University: Quarterback Ashton Scott enjoyed a successful 2019 season – he finished with 17 touchdowns while completing 147 of 240 passes for 1,939 yards. Scott will be one of a few players to watch on offense – keep your eyes on halfback Glenn Smith and wide receiver Matthew Simco – while Taj Gooden will be asked to lead a defense that limited opponents to 19.1 points per game.

Williams College: We believe this Ephs team has a chance to win the New England Small College Athletic Conference (NESCAC) this fall. They will be challenged, of course, but with quarterback Bobby Maimaron guiding the offense to linebackers Jarrett Wesner and TJ Rothmann leading the defense, these Ephs should be well-prepared to combat whatever they will face once their season begins in September.

Western New England: Some believed the Golden Bears were a bit lower than anticipated on our ‘Way Too Early’ New England D-III Football Top 20 Poll last week. And you know, we agree – these Golden Bears should have been a bit higher on our poll. Wide receiver Steven Fedorchak and linebacker Erich Keutmann should be able to help the Blue and Gold defend their conference crown not just against Endicott, but also other league foes.

A few other teams worth noting – we will certainly have more on them – include MIT, Salve Regina, Trinity College, Tufts University, and Western Connecticut. 

Noontime’s Senior Salute: Nicole Pacheco (Framingham State)

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Nichole Pacheco recorded 144 points with the Framingham State women’s lacrosse program in 60 contests. (PHOTO COURTESY: Framingham State University Athletics)

By NoontimeSports.com

Before her final season with the Framingham State University women’s lacrosse program concluded earlier this year, Nicole Pacheco celebrated a special milestone by netting her 100th goal during her team’s 23-13 victory against Johnson & Wales University.

The goal itself was a fitting ending for Pacheco, who has helped the Rams enjoy a great deal of success these past few years while vying for the team’s initial conference tournament championship.

With Pacheco at midfield, the Rams became a team to watch in the Massachusetts State Collegiate Athletic Conference (MASCAC) – Framingham State won last season’s regular-season crown while making back-to-back appearances in the league’s tournament title game in 2018 and 2019.

Pacheco played 60 games for the Rams, recording 144 points on 101 goals and 43 assists while winning 121 draw controls. After registering 44 points in her first season, Pacheco enjoyed an impressive sophomore year, tallying career-highs in goals (38), assists (19), points (57), and draws (51). She also finished her career with 102 caused turnovers and 207 shots, including 156 shots on net.

We recently caught up with Nicole Pacheco to discuss her time with the Rams, as well as her future plans beyond graduation this spring.


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?

I would say there were two games I’ll always remember. The first is when we beat Bridgewater State for the first time in program history in 2018. The game itself was intense.

The second game I’ll remember is when we beat Westfield State last spring in overtime. The game felt like a scene out of a movie. We fought so hard and it was our first win against the Owls in program history.

Both wins showed how far this program has come and what it is capable of doing in the future.

What have you enjoyed most about competing for the Framingham State women’s lacrosse program these past four years? What will you miss most after graduation? 

Friendships. It’s more than just lacrosse games and practices.

This team has always challenged one another to be better and get better, and I loved that our team fought and never gave up, especially when the odds were against us. I will miss walking down to the field together while stepping onto the turf for practices. 

I will also miss our team’s goal celebrations. Nothing was more electric than running, jumping, hitting sticks, and handshakes after my teammates or I scored a goal. The whole team would go nuts.

Do you hope to stay involved with your sport in the future? Any interest in being a coach? 

Yes, I would like to think that lacrosse will always be a part of my life, and I could potentially see myself in a coaching role in the future.

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

I am a criminology major and plan to further my education by pursuing a master’s degree in one of the following subject matters: advanced counterterrorism or cybersecurity. After I conclude my time in the classroom, I plan to pursue a career in the criminal justice field.

Noontime’s Senior Salute: Grace Gamache (Framingham State)

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Framingham State senior Grace Gamache recorded 283 points in four seasons for the Rams. (PHOTO COURTESY: Framingham State Athletics)

By NoontimeSports.com

Since her initial season with the Framingham State University women’s lacrosse program, Grace Gamache has been a player to watch on offense.

The Dartmouth, Massachusetts native tallied 283 points in four seasons, including 22 points on 15 goals and seven assists in just four games this spring.

After registering 54 points in 13 games as a first-year in 2017, Gamache enjoyed a very successful sophomore season, recording career-highs in goals (55), assists (56), and points (111). Additionally, she snatched a career-best 114 draws while firing 114 shots, including 86 on net.

Gamache earned a trio of first-team honors with the Rams from the Massachusetts State Collegiate Athletic Conference (MASCAC) while leading her team to its first-ever regular-season title last April with a 17-5 win over Worcester State University.

We recently spoke with Grace Gamache about her four years with the Rams, as well as her future plans beyond graduation later this spring.


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

The friendships my teammates and I made these past few years. Getting to do what you love with your best friends every day has been an amazing experience. I have made lifelong friends here at Framingham State, and although we didn’t get to end our four-year career the way we wanted to, I couldn’t have asked for a better experience.

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? 

I would say there were two games specifically that I’ll never forget. The first was my sophomore year against Bridgewater State. The Bears have always been tough competition and one of the top teams in our conference. We won by one goal and it was the program’s first win against Bridgewater State in ten meetings. Our hard work and preparation paid off and it was such a good feeling.

The second game was our overtime win against Westfield State my junior year. We had lost to them the prior year in our conference tournament championship so to be able to beat them, especially in overtime, was amazing.

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

I think what I have enjoyed most about playing and competing for Framingham was being able to see the growth we made as a program. This program has come so far and to make an impact on the future of the team is something I feel is really exciting. I am definitely going to miss putting on that uniform every week and getting to play alongside such an amazing group of young women while playing for a great coaching staff. We have become family over these last four years and that is something I’ll cherish forever.

Do you hope to stay involved with your sport in the future? Any interest in being a coach? 

I definitely plan on staying involved with lacrosse after I graduate. I started a summer camp two years ago for local middle school and high school players and it has been a huge success. I have also had the opportunity to coach for a club team during the summer, as well, so I hope to continue doing that with the hope of eventually coaching a high school program.

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

I am majoring in sociology with a minor in psychology. I have always enjoyed working with people and learning about different parts of society and how they all interact and work together. After graduation, I hope to get my master’s in special education.

Noontime’s Senior Salute: Alex Goslin

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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.

Noontime’s Senior Salute: Mary Kate O’Day (Framingham State)

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Mary Kate O’Day and the Framingham State women’s basketball team competed in their first-ever NCAA Tournament game last month. (PHOTO COURTESY: Frank Poulin/Framingham State Athletics)

By NoontimeSports.com 

For Mary Kate O’Day, her senior season with the Framingham State University women’s basketball team was one both she and fans will certainly remember for quite some time.

The Berlin, Massachusetts native averaged a career-bests in points per game (17.9), rebounds (8.5), and assists (3.1) while leading the Rams to their first-ever Massachusetts State Collegiate Athletic Conference (MASCAC) Tournament Championship with a 66-51 win over Worcester State.

Framingham State would make its initial appearance in the NCAA D-III Tournament days later and conclude its 2019-20 campaign with a school-record 22 wins in a single-season.

Named the MASCAC Player of the Year for the second time in her career, O’Day netted 20 points or more in 12 contests this past season while scoring a season-high 31 points in her team’s 101-91 victory over Westfield State in January. O’Day was honored by both the New England Women’s Basketball Association (NEWBA) and D3Hoops.com (All-Northeast Region) last month, securing spots on the first and second teams, respectively.

O’Day scored 1,557 points in 102 games with the Rams to go with 621 rebounds, 234 assists, and 127 steals. She also recorded 38 blocks, including a career-best 16 this past winter.

We recently caught up with Mary Kate O’Day to discuss her final season with the Rams, as well as her future plans beyond graduation later this spring.


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

I will remember winning the MASCAC championship. We came up short twice in the past, so to finally win it my senior year was something special.

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?

I think the game that I will remember most (from this past year) was when we beat Westfield State on the road. We had only beaten them once in my four years with the Framingham State women’s basketball program, so earning a win against the Owls was (an important step toward eventually winning our conference tournament title on the final day of February).

In addition to our win over the Owls, it has been great seeing both former and current teammates reach certain milestones. I have vivid memories of watching Alycia Rackliffe, Raegan Mulherin, and Emily Velozo score their 1,000th point, respectively, to Lauren Donahue becoming the program’s all-time assists leader. Those are games (and memories) I will never forget. 

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

Meeting so many amazing people. I have become so close with my teammates over the past four years. We have shared some amazing memories together, including two trips to Florida and celebrating New Years’ at Universal Studios. Those were some of my favorite memories with my teammates (and friends).

I will miss most hanging out with my teammates and being apart of a team. Whether we were hanging out in someone’s dorm room, grabbing food off-campus to shooting around before practices, the times we spent together, both on and off the court is something I will miss.

Tell me about your major. How did you choose it and what do you hope to do beyond graduation? 

I am a sociology major. I went into college undeclared but during my sophomore year, I took a sociology class and really enjoyed it. My goal is to get a job with the Special Olympics.