NED3 Report Week 6, MIDSEASON
All conferences are in full swing as the season gets to more or less the midpoint. This week we will also look at the conference battles that are shaping up and who will get the AQ to the NCAA tourney, and who may get an at large bid.
THE TOP TEN
|Tufts (7-1)||15-12 WNE, 24-12 Conn College|
|Bates (8-1)||11-3 Hamilton|
|Western NE (6-3)||12-15 Tufts, 13-4 Salve Regina|
|Bowdoin (7-1)||12-6 Babson, 10-8 Trinity|
|Middlebury (5-4)||10-11 RIT, 17-14 Amherst|
|Amherst (7-2)||15-7 Springfield, 14-17 Midd|
|Wesleyan (6-2)||15-8 Colby|
|Keene St (5-3)||14-10 Colby, 18-9 Umass Boston|
|Williams (5-3)||15-6 Colorado Coll, 18-7 Carthage|
|Roger Williams (7-3)||11-6 Wentworth, 13-9 UNE|
1st Star: Jon Bota, Western New England: The Senior scored 10 goals on 16 shots and added a pair of assists for the Golden Bears in their 2-1 week.
2nd Star: Carter Hawthorne, Wesleyan: Shot 5/7 with an assist in Wesleyan’s 15-8 win over Colby
3rd Star: Henry Riehl, Middlebury: shot 6/13 for the week in a loss at RIT and home win versus Amherst. Also added two assists.
Face off player of the Week:
John Jackson, Middlebury: Went 23/32 with 15 GB’s in win over Amherst to lead the Panthers to a NESCAC victory. Also, went 9/24 against RIT.
Without question The NESCAC is the best league in New England and more than likely will have multiple teams in the NCAA. Tufts is seeking their 7th consecutive title. They are still the favorites, but there are teams poised to make a run at them. Although The Jumbos may not have the firepower as in years past they possess three huge ingredients in Alex Salazar 56% save percentage, John Uppgren (23g, 17a) and Conor Helfrich is 59% at FO. I still say Tufts will come out on top in the end.
Bates beat the Jumbos in the regular season in 2015 and seems to have the components to win the title. The Bobcats have a well-balanced squad led by Charlie Fay (22g, 3a) and Jack Allard (39g, 7a). Sam Francis is a solid 59% from the face off dot. They still have plenty of work to do with upcoming games against Bowdoin, Middlebury and Tufts. They are on track to make a second straight NCAA bid.
Middlebury is currently only 5-4, but 3 of the 4 losses are by one goal including three in OT. FO man John Jackson has been stellar all season going 58%. Jon Broome (8g,17a) leads the attack and Freshman Jack Gould has 15 goals from the midfield. The will have a show down with Bates at home Saturday.
Bowdoin is the surprise this year currently sitting at 7-1 and have won seven in a row after opening loss to Amherst. This comes off a 3-12 season in 2015. They also have plenty of work to do with the likes of Bates, Tufts and Wesleyan in NESCAC play. Keene St. will be a big OOC game as well. Shawn Daly has scored 15 goals and leads the offense. Sam Carlin is 57% at the face off dot and Peter Mumford has a 61% save percentage.
Wesleyan seems to be laying in the weeds at 6-2. Their only two losses are in OT (Bates and Middlebury). They have a huge game at home versus Amherst this week.
Speaking of Amherst, they are 7-2 and hold wins over Bates and Bowdoin. They have one of the better attackmen in the league in Quinn Maroney (12g, 36A). Their undoing will be the 38% in the face off game, giving up that many possessions in not a winning recipe.
When it’s all said and done I see the NESCAC with three NCAA bids. My fearless prediction is: Tufts AQ, Middlebury and Bates will emerge as at large teams.
Over the years Springfield has owned the NEWMAC, they have won the last seven AQ’s. However, The Pride is not having a stellar year currently sitting at 3-6. Their OOC schedule is very tough and they will be battle tested for league play. Dylan Sheehan is leading the way on offense with 14g, 14a. As a team Springfield is a 41% face off team.
Coming into the season Babson figured to provide the biggest challenge, but they have some also come out very slowly with a 1-7, including an overtime loss to Springfield this past weekend. What is most concerning are their goals against, The Beavers give up an average 12.8 goals per game and only face off at 37.9%. Not a winning formula.
The biggest surprise thus far is Clark at 8-1. Their only loss has come to Wesleyan, The Cougars have played a less challenging schedule than Babson and Springfield, but they posted a big win over Wheaton on Saturday and they have an inside track to a NEWMAC playoff berth (the NEWMAC takes top 4 for playoffs). Nick Johnson(20g, 22a) and Will Mandracchia (21g, 13a) lead the attack. Also, I have been impressed with midfielder Isaac Bass (18g and 4a) who has shown range in his shooting.
MIT has one of the better attackmen in the league in Graham Davis. He has 26g and 6a thus far. MIT over the years shows they can beat most teams on their schedule, and also lose to anyone on their schedule. Babson and Clark are their next two league games. Wheaton and Coast Guard will also be looking to grab the final playoff spot. Wheaton’s recent loss to Clark has put them behind the eight ball and will need help to qualify for playoffs.
The NEWMAC may not have the overall quality as the NESCAC, but as far as depth and number of teams that can challenge for the AQ it ranks right up there. My fearless prediction is Springfield will remain the Champions of the NEWMAC.
Commonwealth Coast Conference
Last season was the first time the league history two teams qualified for the NCAA tourney. Once again Endicott and Western New England are atop the league and are the favorites.
Western New England has had a great OOC season thus far and sits at 6-3, highlighted by a win in Baltimore over Stevenson. They also gave Tufts a run for their money. The Golden Bears are led by a well balanced offense led by Justin Bard (23g, 11a). As a team they are shooting 33%. They also possess a top faceoff man in David Cedrone who is at 66%. I think it is possible for WNE to get an at large if they don’t get the AQ, although that is far from a certainty. The next two CCC games are on the road at Roger Williams and Endicott.
Endicott suffered a lot of losses to graduation also transitioned to a new coach. They are 3-6, but have played a top schedule. Will Jennings (40g, 8a) and Colin Bannon (23g, 28a) carry the Gulls on offense. Tommy Hughes is one of the top face off players in the country at 71%.
Roger Williams in recent years lagged behind the top two while finishing above the rest of thepack. Once again The Hawks have put together a solid team. Nick Gagnon (25g, 27A )is having a breakout season. Cam Donnelly (2g, 2a) may be the best LSM in the CCC and Connor Carroll 59% save percentage has been a big surprise in goal. Their only 3 losses have come against NESCAC teams. They get WNE and Endicott at home this year.
Salver Regina will push Roger Williams for third, but they have been an inconsistent bunch this year. My fearless prediction is: Western New England takes the AQ and only CCC bid this year.
There is Keene St and everyone else is playing for second. Bryan Rotatori and company have played a very competitive OOC schedule, headlining that is a 19-11 win over Western New England.
My fearless prediction is UMass Boston finishes in second place. The Beacons are showing progress and will have enough to finish ahead of disappointing Eastern CT.
Chris Curtis (20g, 6a) is the best player in the league and his Emmanuel squad will repeat for the AQ for the right to get spanked by Tufts in the first round. Lasell or Mt Ida may have something to say about it, but I’m going with the Saints.
Castleton St looks to repeat here. They will hold off a solid New England College team.
Still lots of lacrosse to play this month, It will be fun to see what happens!
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