Nor'easter News - Week 6
Recap of the Week
Despite the emergence of Fall weather throughout New England, things are really starting to heat up for local D3 squads. No. 8 Conn. College continued its excellent start to the season, putting away two late goals against a resurgent Bates squad. Two of the leading teams in the region this year, Roger Williams and No. 4 Tufts, suffered their first blemishes of the season, with the Hawks falling 3-1 at Endicott, while the Jumbos were held 1-1 on the road at Middlebury. Springfield has sole possession of top spot in the NEWMAC, which it augmented with a 3-1 win over MIT this weekend. Brandeis, who has had an inauspicious start to the season, may have kick-started its resurgence with a 1-0 win on the road at previously unbeaten No. 13 Carnegie Mellon. And No. 6 St. Joseph’s (Me.) notched another win against Anna Maria, 4-0, giving the Monks a good result before they travel to conference foe Norwich for one of their toughest tests of the season so far.
A number of New England teams have had strong seasons to date, but Conn. College has undoubtedly been the surprise of the year. The Camels, who earned their second NCAA bid in history last year, have gone from strength to strength, and are (10-0-0 / 6-0-0) as of this writing (they play Amherst this afternoon, so that could well change). It hasn’t been easy for Conn. by any stretch, as it was made to work for a closer-than-the-scoreline-indicated 2-0 win at Bates, who is enjoying its best season in recent memory at (7-4-0 / 3-4-0). In that matchup, Ben Manoogian and Liam Noonan struck inside the last 15 minutes to give the Camels the three points and sole possession of the top spot in the NESCAC. Of course, their grip on that position is far from secure, as they face both of the last two conference champions this week in Amherst and Tufts. However, with home-field advantage for both contests and stellar defense from its backline and goalkeeper AJ Marcucci, who has given up just one goal in 10 games so far this season, it’d be foolish to bet against Conn. getting results in one or both of those games. The Camels will hope they’re able to do the latter.
For the first time this season, Tufts failed to win, as it was held to a 1-1 draw on the road at Middlebury. The host Panthers got the early jump on a penalty kick in the second minute — the first time Tufts trailed this season — before the Jumbos equalized midway through the first half off a set piece. The match continued to sway back and forth, with Tufts creating the majority of the chances, but the Panthers held firm and saw out the result from there. After playing a Babson side — which has had some trouble scoring but has lost just once this year — at home on Tuesday, the Jumbos will face arguably their biggest test of the year when they travel to Conn. College this weekend to face the 10-0-0 Camels, who have conceded just one goal thus far this year. Having seen its own perfect streak ended this weekend, Tufts will have extra motivation to knock off the current occupants of first place in the NESCAC standings.
The race for the CCC was been blown wide open this weekend, and it’s Endicott, the defending conference champion, who is responsible. The Gulls, who started the season 1-4-0, have now won their last four, and five of their last six — the biggest win of which came against a previously-perfect Roger Williams side. The host Gulls got the jump in the first half, as Evan Couchot buried a penalty kick for the 1-0 advantage. Couchot got his second of the night after the interval, flicking a ball over a defender before hitting a left-footed volley to the far corner. And while Roger Williams pulled one back a few minutes later, Couchot completed his hat-trick before all was said and done, giving Endicott the 3-1 victory. Make no mistake — despite their slow start, the Gulls are well and truly alive in the battle for the CCC.
In the NEWMAC, Springfield has rebounded from an unspectacular start, and is currently sitting at (9-3-0 / 3-1-0). The Pride endured a coaching change this summer, as former Williams assistant Tom Crabill took over from Steffen Siebert, who took a job with the US Soccer Federation (USSF), and it seems that Crabill has continued the program’s emergence. Most recently, Springfield downed MIT at home, 3-1, on Saturday. Midfielder Brad Deckel leads the offense with 5 goals and 2 assists, while goalkeeper Stewart Frank has started all but one game, registering a 0.74 GAA in the process. Springfield will finish the regular season with three tough home tests against defending conference champion WPI, defending CCC Champion Endicott, and conference foe Wheaton (Mass.). With a solid string of results, though, one would have to imagine that the road to the NEWMAC crown will go through Springfield.
Longtime New England contender Brandeis has had a rough start to the year, but the Judges could well have turned a corner after getting a big UAA win on the road at Carnegie Mellon on Saturday. The Judges, who won 2-1 at MIT earlier in the week, flew out of the traps in the first half, outshooting their hosts 8-3, and got all the offense they would need when striker Devan Casey hit a rocket from 25 yards into the far corner for a 1-0 lead. The previously unbeaten Tartans came roaring back in the second half to try to get the equalizer, outshooting the visitors 7-0 and hitting the post with a free kick with less than 10 minutes remaining, but Brandeis held on for its biggest win of the season thus far. The Judges, now 6-4-1 overall and 1-0-1 in the UAA, will now face Rochester and Emory at home in a UAA doubleheader this weekend. If Brandeis can replicate its form from Saturday in those games, it has a great chance of getting good results.
Upcoming Game of the Week: Conn. College vs. Tufts
There are a number of big games in New England — from historical rivalries like Amherst-Williams to grudge matches that have emerged in recent years like Brandeis-Tufts/men/2018-19/index" target="_blank">Tufts. And while Conn. College-Tufts hasn’t quite hit the heights of the fixture in the latter camp, it has the potential to be just as big.
Conn. has previously given Tufts problems. In 2013, a resurgent Jumbos side fell at home to the visiting Camels in overtime, 2-1, as a goal from NESCAC Player of the Year Billy Hawkey was enough to separate the sides. The next year, the Jumbos —winners of the regular season battle, 3-1, on the road — would go on to win the national title, but their chances of earning an NCAA bid were in major doubt after the NESCAC's top seed was knocked out by Conn. at home. 2015 saw visiting Conn. give Tufts a major scare, leading 1-0 and 2-1 in Medford, before Tufts pulled away for a thrilling 3-2 win. The following season, Tufts snuck a 1-0 win on the road.
Last year, the Jumbos rolled through the majority of their NESCAC schedule, particularly at home. However, the Camels were one of the few teams to stem the tide, as then-freshman Marcucci put on a stellar goalkeeping display, holding Tufts to a 0-0 draw in Medford. This year, the matchup will take place in New London, so Conn.’s home field advantage may prove telling. That being said, Tufts will be smarting from dropping its first points of the year, and will no doubt look to keep its good run of results in New London going (the Jumbos have won both of their last two visits to New London).
Regardless, this will surely be a compelling matchup, and, once again — should Conn. continue to emerge within New England — it may be the dawning of another marquee in-region fixture.
Comments or feedback for the author? E-mail Henry Loughlin