Weekend Predictions: Williams over Tufts, Castleton over Husson

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Tufts University men’s basketball will look to close out its regular season against Williams on Friday evening. (PHOTO CREDIT: Tufts University Athletics)

By Matt Noonan (@MattNoonan11

Ah, the second to last regular season weekend is upon us – yes, this is the final weekend of New England Small College Athletic Conference (NESCAC) play, for your information – however, it is an important weekend for many teams fighting for spots in their upcoming conference’s tournament.

So, to kickstart your weekend, here are 10 predictions – short and quick, by the way. Let me know if you agree or disagree by sending me a tweet or posting a comment on our Noontime Sports page on Facebook.

Williams at Tufts (MBB | Fri., Feb. 10): It’s the final home game for the Jumbos and their seniors, but I don’t think their last regular season contest will end with a win. Williams seems to have picked-up some serious momentum – they have scored some important wins recently over Middlebury and Wesleyan – and will most likely pick-up another big win over the Powder Blue and White. PREDICTION: Williams 80, Tufts 75

Middlebury at Amherst (WBB | Fri., Feb. 10): The Panthers have been a great story this season – as of today, they would be the fourth seed in the NESCAC and host a playoff game next weekend. Do they have what it takes to get past Amherst? I don’t believe so, but they’ll give the Purple and White a good fight. PREDICTION: Amherst 65, Middlebury 40 

Tufts at Williams (WBB | Fri., Feb. 10): After falling to Amherst last weekend, Tufts will look to close out its regular season slate with back-to-back victories (after tonight’s game, they’ll face Rhode Island College next week), including a win in Williamstown. Expect Michela North and Melissa Baptista to lead the Jumbos to their ninth NESCAC win of the season. PREDICTION: Tufts 65, Williams 45 

Conn. College at Bowdoin (WBB | Sat. Feb. 11): Could this be a potential preview of a possible NESCAC Tournament contest? Possibly, but before we turn our attention to the NESCAC Tournament, let’s focus on the Camels’ five-game winning streak – something one should not overlook. Brian Wilson‘s squad will have to be perfect on both ends of the court in order to secure a win. Yet, I think this game will go in favor of the Polar Bears since they’re at home. PREDICTION: Bowdoin 59, Conn. College 53 

Roger Williams at Endicott (MBB | Sat. Feb. 11): I’ll be at this game as long as Mother Nature doesn’t drop another foot of snow on us – please, Mother Nature … NO! Roger Williams will need its defense to keep the Endicott offense in-check – last game, they held the Gulls to just 21 field goals (60 attempts), while forcing 14 turnovers. PREDICTION: Roger Williams 75, Endicott 72 

Castleton at Husson (WBB | Sat. Feb. 11): As of now, the Eagles of Husson appear to be the front-runner for the North Atlantic Conference (NAC) regular season crown. However, that could change, pending this weekend’s outcomes. And one of those outcomes could be a Castleton win over the Eagles – the victory would have to come on the road, though. Since falling to Husson, the Spartans have captured five of their last six, and need to win out to have a chance to secure the regular season crown. PREDICTION: Castleton 50, Husson 49 

Eastern Conn. State at UMass Dartmouth (WBB | Sat. Feb. 11): Can anyone slow down the Corsairs? I am not sure, especially since they have won eight-straight contests and seem to have a great deal of momentum on their side. They’ll need that momentum, along with a big day from their entire roster to secure an important conference win over the Warriors. PREDICTION: UMass Dartmouth 60, Eastern Conn. State 58 (OT)

Becker at Wheelock (MBB | Sat. Feb. 11): After dropping a pair of games to Southern Vermont earlier this week, Becker will look to return to its winning ways with a victory over the Wildcats. Against Wheelock earlier this season, three Hawks netted double-figures, including Antonio White Jr., who led all scorers with 30 points. PREDICTION: Becker 84, Wheelock 75 

Westfield State at Salem State (MBB | Sat. Feb. 11): This is a must-win for the Vikings, who lost a mid-week clash to Bridgewater State. As of today, Salem State remains the top team in the Massachusetts State Collegiate Athletic Conference (MASCAC), but a loss to the Owls could open the door for Fitchburg State to secure number one seed in the conference. Before we turn the page to Falcons-Vikings (next week, FYI), let’s keep our eyes on this contest as Chris Harvey‘s squad will look to bounce back against an Owls squad that has won three-straight. PREDICTION: Salem State 75, Westfield State 68 

Johnson & Wales at Suffolk (MBB | Sat. Feb. 11): After a slow start, Jamie Benton‘s squad is back in the mix for a top spot in the Great Northeast Athletic Conference (GNAC) Tournament. This should be a layup for the Wildcats – earlier this season, Johnson & Wales defeated the Rams at home, thanks to 23 points from Anthony JerniganPREDICTION: Johnson & Wales 75, Suffolk 65 

NECC Men’s Basketball Conference Play Heating Up

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Becker College first-year Antonio White Jr. and the Hawks currently occupy first place in the NECC. (PHOTO CREDIT: Foley Photography)

By Matt Noonan (@MattNoonan11

We have an interesting conference race taking place (and heating up) in the New England Collegiate Conference (NECC) – it has been one of the various leagues we have been eyeing the past few weeks.

As of this afternoon, the Becker College men’s basketball team appears to be in the driver seat for the top spot. Yet, they still have some important games remaining, including a late afternoon/early evening clash with the Wildcats of Wheelock College – that game is scheduled to tip-off at 5:30 p.m.

Wheelock enters the game in a two-way tie for fourth place with Daniel Webster College – the Eagles are 2-2 in their last four games, but scored an impressive win over Lesley University 10 days ago (to be exact!).

The Lynx have been a fun story this season – they’re currently in sole possession of third place with a 6-3 conference ledger and have won 12 games, which matches their win total from the 2007-08 season.

Let’s also not overlook Southern Vermont, which has won five-straight contests. They’re idle this evening, but return to action on Thursday against Mitchell College. The Mountaineers captured the NECC crown last season en route to their second trip in program history to the NCAA Tournament.

The Mountaineers defeated Becker in tournament finale – could we be headed that way again? It’s possible – the two teams are scheduled to meet next month. Southern Vermont will host the initial meeting on Monday, February 6 before traveling to Becker on Wednesday, February 8. Both games will be must-follow!

Finally, keep an eye on Regis College and Mitchell – both teams could make some late season surges and make the positioning for the six-team tournament quite interesting!

Noontime Sports 2016 Year In Review

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By Matt Noonan (@MattNoonan11)

Ah, the final day of 2016 has arrived.

And just like past years, it’s time to revisit some of our favorite stories from the past 12 months.

Yet, unlike past years, this year’s ‘year in review’ is made-up of a variety of stories from ‘Catching Up’ to features on the Amherst College and Endicott College football programs to Wheaton women’s basketball providing Coach Melissa Hodgdon with her 200th win as a head coach.

I also made sure to highlight a few podcasts from the past few months – yes, Noontime Sports the Podcast returned this summer and I am super excited to host the 16th episode, which will be posted later next week.

So, sit back, relax, and re-read or listen to some of our biggest posts from 2016, and have a wonderful and safe Happy New Year!

See you in 2017!

Catching Up With Brittany Stone (Regis College Women’s Basketball)

Brittany Stone guided the Regis College women's basketball team to a trio of wins last week. (PHOTO CREDIT: Regis College Athletics)
Brittany Stone guided the Regis College women’s basketball team to a trio of wins last week. (PHOTO CREDIT: Regis College Athletics)

By NoontimeSports (@NoontimeSports.com

After guiding her team to a trio of conference victories last week, Regis College junior Brittany Stone was tabbed the New England Collegiate Conference (NECC) and New England Women’s Basketball Association (NEWBA) Player of the Week.

Stone recorded a pair of double-doubles in two of three games last week, while leading all scorers with 18 points in her team’s 68-37 win over Wheelock.

Stone currently leads the Pride in points (108), free-throws (24-of-31) and rebounds (52) and less than 100 points away from eclipsing the 1,000-point mark.

Earlier this week, Noontime Sports caught up with Stone to discuss her team’s 4-1 overall start, why she chose to major in nursing, as well as what songs she listens to on a game day.

You enjoyed another successful week (last week), recording a pair of double-doubles, so what worked for you? 

Visualizing is something I’ve started doing (this season) and it’s been working well for me. On the bus ride to games, I think of the opening tip and the ending buzzer, and the feeling of winning (a game). Also, during warm-ups, my team helps me get pumped up by giving high-fives and exhibiting a lot of energy. We are always yelling and cheering each other on, even for the little things.

Tell me about playing Daniel Webster last Saturday – similar to the question above, but how were you able to be so successful, both shooting the ball and pulling down rebounds? 

There are so many things motivating us right now, and that’s what I thought about Saturday. For rebounding specifically, our team had a goal to get at least five offensive rebounds each quarter, and that’s what I was thinking about the whole time. I wanted to get as many boards as I could, both offensively and defensively. Shooting is all about the points, so we always want to score as much as possible.

What do you enjoy more during a game: scoring or rebounding? 

This is a hard question because I love doing both. Scoring is probably my favorite because it gives us a lot of energy on the court and bench, which makes us play better.

Your team has played five games thus far and is currently 4-1 overall and 3-0 in NECC play. How has the season gone thus far from your perspective? 

I think this season has been great (thus) far and we’ve definitely learned a lot from our first five games. It is still early in the season, but I believe we have the potential to go further than we ever have.

Your team heads to Las Vegas in a few weeks to compete in the Las Vegas Hoopla. What does your team need to do to be successful in both contests? 

We are facing two very tough teams, so it will be good tests for us. We need to do what we always do, which is play with a lot of energy and just be ready for anything that comes our way. If we play hard like we have nothing to lose then we will be successful.

What is something many fans don’t know about this particular Regis squad?

We have won 96 consecutive conference games, which is in the NCAA record book.

Tell me about choosing your major. What interested you in studying nursing? 

I was originally interested in exercise science my first-year at Regis, but during my sophomore year I switched to nursing because I was more interested in the medical field. My family had many experiences in hospitals, so I always found the nurses to be the most genuine people in those particular settings. Also after reading The Fault in Our Stars and watching movies like My Sister’s Keeper, I knew I wanted to pursue a nursing career in pediatric oncology.

 Have you held any internships or part-time jobs in the field? If so, where? 

This summer I am hoping to work at one of the hospitals in Boston.

Do you have any family members that work in the medical field? If so, did they inspire you to purse this major? 

I do not have any family members that work in the medical field, but like I said, my family has experienced its share of hospital stays and medical diagnoses, so those experiences inspired me to become a nurse.

Being from New England, I would presume you’re a Boston sports fan, so which of the four major teams (Bruins, Celtics, Patriots or Red Sox) is your favorite? 

The New England Patriots are my favorite Boston sports team. My goal is to actually go to a game next season.

You are less than 100 points away from reaching 1,000 points as a member of the Regis women’s basketball team – was that a goal you had heading into Regis? 

It was a goal I have had since my first season and even before  I committed to play college basketball. Since I reached the mark my junior year of high school, I wanted to do the same in college.

You eclipsed the 1,000-point mark in high school – how challenging is it to reach this particular milestone? 

In high school, I thought it would be impossible and I never thought I would reach that milestone. It was definitely a long journey, but it took a lot of hard work and perseverance.

Three songs you listen to on a game day? 

‘Famous’ by Kanye West,

‘Five More Hours’ by Chris Brown,

‘Under Control’ by Calvin Harris

Favorite television show these days? 

When I’m not watching ‘25 Days of Christmas,’ I am probably watching any reality television show.

The last book you read was …? 

The Fault in our Stars by John Green.

Finally, what do you love most about being a student-athlete at Regis? 

I love how  student-athletes are well integrated within the institution’s community. I also like how you are encouraged to pursue both athletics and education when applying to Regis.

Mass. College Lax: Wheelock Makes History, Wins First Game In Program History

The Wheelock College men's lacrosse team made history on Thursday, earning the program's first win in a 6-3 victory against Anna Maria. (Photo Credit: Wheelock College Athletics)
The Wheelock College men’s lacrosse team made history on Thursday, earning the program’s first win in a 6-3 victory against Anna Maria. (Photo Credit: Wheelock College Athletics)

By Matt Noonan 

Wheelock College men’s lacrosse head coach Eric Small was beaming after his team pulled out a hard-fought 6-3 victory on Thursday against Anna Maria College.

The win marked the program’s first-ever victory for the Wildcats, who improve to 1-1 overall.

“It was a truly unbelievable night for our Wheelock Men’s Lacrosse program,” said Small, who is in his second season with the Wildcats.

“The coaching staff did a great job all week instilling a positive mindset in our guys to believe in themselves. (We knew if) we executed our game plan, we would go out and get our first win. They bought in right from the start and the rest is history.”

Entering the second quarter tied at 2-2, Wheelock’s Eddie Romero jumpstarted a four-goal run, spanning the second and third sessions to push the Wildcats ahead for good.

Romero, along with five other players located the back of the Anna Maria net, while Noah Horning earned his first collegiate win between the pipes.

Wheelock, which is in the middle of a six-game road trip, returns to action next Tuesday, March 8 when they visit Curry College for a 3:30 p.m. face-off.

Said Small, “Moving forward, I really think the sky is the limit with this group. To go out and get six goals from six different players really shows them that any one of them can step up at any given time. They have confidence in one another. When it comes to team sports that is everything a coach could ask for.”