New England D3 Report: Postseason
As the NCAA D3 tourney is about to begin there are two teams representing the state of Vermont, neither one is Middlebury! That is the most shocking thing for me to come out of selection Sunday. Congrats to Norwich (Great Northeast), Castleton (North Atlantic) and the other AQ’s for punching their ticket to the party. Tufts (NESCAC), Western NE (CCC), Eastern CT (Little East) and Springfield (Pilgrim) will all join them.
But let’s look back at how the conference tourneys went down. In the NESCAC, Jon Broome’s buzzer beater was a second late and Wesleyan upset the Panthers 9-8 and for all intents and purposes knocked them out of Pool C consideration. In the other semi Tufts took a 5-1 halftime lead and never trailed Conn College and won 14-11. In the final Tufts finished the game on a 3-0 run to end Wesleyan’s season with an 11-5 final.
Tufts will take on Great Northeast Champ Norwich in a first round match up on Wednesday. Coach Neal Anderson led the Cadets to a (9-4) mark this season. Tufts, in my eyes has a legit chance to make it to Philly Memorial Day weekend. They have the firepower, have played one of the toughest schedules and fought through some early season adversity.
Western New England failed to gain the #1 seed the CCC playoffs this year, it didn’t matter. The Golden Bears easily dispatched Roger Williams 17-3 in the Semis. In the final, they travelled to Endicott and took care of the Gulls with a stingy defense and earned the 9-5 win.
Castleton is a team that has been flying under the radar all season. They beat New England College for the second time this season 17-5. Attackman Zach Davidson has an eye popping 102 points on the season. They will travel to Rochester to take on Nazareth in the first round.
Many thought this was the year Babson would knock Springfield off their perch in the Pilgrim League. Nope. Springfield defeated the Beavers twice in a week. The first matchup was to gain top seed in regular season finale 13-11. The rematch was a blowout 14-3, so much for Babson knocking out Springfield. They will have a very tough first round game as they travel to Cabrini College of PA.
The Little East once again came down to Keene St and Eastern Ct. The Warriors avenged an earlier loss to the Owls and won the AQ with a 9-8 nailbiter. Mike Devine scored 3 to lead the way. This will set up one of the most intriguing match ups of the first round. The Warriors will have to travel to Western New England. Little East, CCC bragging rights will be on the line. Which is better? CCC or Little East? These two will decide on the field. Both are quality teams that played very challenging OOC schedules this year. I will go out on a limb and give a slight edge to WNE, let’s say 12-9 final. The Golden Bears to go along with Tufts has what it takes to make a deep run in the tourney.
Good luck to all the teams this week.
No Pool C for you!
This is the first time since 1994 that only one NESCAC school has made the tourney, in fact not one Pool C at-large came New England’s way. There is has been much debate and message board talk one thing is clear: The NESCAC schools need to beef up OOC schedules. Simply relying on playing each for SOS is longer going to work. Tufts was the only school to really play a tough out of league this year. Their OOC included (Stevenson, Stevens, Western New England and Endicott).
Middlebury on the other hand played Skidmore, New England College, St Lawrence and Springfield.
Personally with the exception of New England College and maybe Skidmore I didn’t think it was that bad. I personally think the Panthers were robbed.
Wesleyan with (Lasell, NY Maritime, Farmingdale and Gordon) their OOC was never really under serious consideration. Time for Wesleyan to upgrade the schedule.
Conn College, again I don’t think the schedule was that bad. A loss to Plattsburgh really hurt and UMASS Dartmouth, Babson and Montclair St didn’t impress the committee.
You can guess that some NESCAC teams besides Tufts will be travelling down south to play some early season games next season. Too bad some Southern teams don’t have the ambition to come up North and play. But we all know that isn’t going to happen.