October 1, 2011

New England women: NESCAC, GNAC, and more

Wheaton College sophomore Kristina Braga leads the NEWMAC in scoring with six goals.

Pictured on the front page is Salve Regina junior Kaitlyn Birrell.

New England soccer programs are like the fall colors; they are literally everywhere. The number of programs in the region exceeds that of the combined total of the West and North regions. And thus there are more than a few conferences to track if you are a fan of the this area of the country.

We're taken a Saturday snapshot of the eight conferences and reviewed the top teams in each. For a complete picture of the New England region, the women's teams, and the conferences, check out our Team Page.

The CCC (Commonwealth Coast Conference):

The University of New England is undefeated at 3-0 in league play, and is 7-1-1 overall, which is one of the better records in the region. UNE travels to Nichols (1-2, 3-5) for an evening match at 7:30 pm, trying to stay perfect on the road. The league’s ocean-side schools, Salve Regina and Endicott are also 3-0 in the CCC, and will face off at 1:00 pm at Salve Regina. The league’s two top scorers will battle it out in this match: junior Kaitlyn Birrell for SRU and senior Colleen Pepin for EC both have nine goals this season.

The GNAC (Great Northeast Conference):

Lasell College is undefeated at 6-0, 7-2 overall, and hosts Simmons (2-3, 3-6) at 1:00 pm.  Johnson & Wales is also perfect in conference play and faces Emmanuel (3-3, 7-3) at 1:00 pm.  J&W will have to defend well to remain undefeated as Emmanuel has scoring weapon sophomore Lindsey Garvey, leading the league in goals scored with 10. Albertus Magnus and St. Joseph (Conn.) each have one loss and sit in second place, and are in action on Saturday; Albertus plays at Norwich at 3:30 pm, while St. Joseph travels to Rivier for a 1:00 pm match.

The LEC (Little East Conference):

Western Connecticut, Eastern Connecticut, and Keene State in New Hampshire are all 2-0 in league play. UMass Dartmouth and UMass Boston stand at 1-1 in second place. Things here will become clearer on Saturday as Western Conn. hosts Eastern Conn. at 1:00 pm. Keene travels to Plymouth State for a 1:00 pm match, while the UMass sides also face conference foes at 1:00 pm. The league leaders in scoring are junior Daniela Marchitto at ECSU, and freshman Krista Ledin at UMass-Boston. Both have 10 goals on the season. ECSU also has two with 8 goals apiece in freshman Maggie Slivinski and sophomore Nicole Leonard. With this kind of offensive power, the Western Conn. back four will have their hands full.

Sophomore GK Jillian Kirouac of Fitchburg State had 21 saves and two shutouts in last week of September.

The MASCAC (Mass. State Collegiate Athletic Conference):

As with the LEC, the top three teams in the conference are all at 2-0. Fitchburg St. is 8-1 overall, Westfield St. is 8-1-1, and Worcester St. is 6-2-1. Westfield has a 1-0 win over Springfield, a 2-1 win over Eastern Conn., and a 1-0 loss to Skidmore, as part of the toughest schedule thus far in the league. Fitchburg and Westfield square off at noon at Westfield, while Worcester travels to 0-2 Bridgewater St. for a 3:30 pm match. Sophomore Jillian Kirouac of Fitchburg was named the MASCAC co-player of the week for her 21 saves in two shutouts. Fitchburg also has the two top scorers in the league in sophomore Rachel Jamieson (8) and senior Carissa Kennedy (7).

The NAC (North Atlantic Conference):

Castleton State in Vermont stands at 3-0 in NAC play and 7-3 overall. Johnson State, also in Vermont, is 2-0 and 7-1 with their only loss coming at the hands of GNAC member Norwich (4-6). And Colby-Sawyer of New Hampshire is also a clean 2-0 in NAC play, 6-4 overall. Colby-Sawyer and Johnson State have the two leading scorers in the NAC in sophomores Adrienne Bender and Chelsea Hostetter; both have 10 goals thus far in the season. Castleton travels to Elmira (5-3 in the Empire 8 - East region) for a noon match, while Colby-Sawyer hosts Maine-Farmington (2-1) at 2:00 pm, and Johnson State travels to Husson (1-1) for a 3:00 pm match. A win over Elmira would be a good test of Castleton's strength, while C-S and Johnson both need wins to move into a tie for first place in the NAC.

The NECC (New England Collegiate Conference):

Regis College in Weston, Mass. leads the league at 2-0, 6-2 overall. Lesley University, Mitchell College, and Becker College are all 1-0. Mitchell travels to Regis for a key match-up at noon. A Regis win would start to thin out the ranks at the top, but this league has a lot of parity so the outcome might be tight. Becker hosts Wheelock College (0-1) at 1:00 pm, while Lesley hosts Elms College (0-0-1) at 6:30 pm. One advantage that Regis has this season is the play of the NECC leading scorer, freshman Adena Joseph. She has 11 goals in eight matches for the Pride. The other strong performer in this category is Lesley sophomore Jackee Sanchez with 10 goals and the recent NECC Player of the Week award.

The NESCAC (New England Small College Athletics Conference):

Over time, this conference has produced a number of national contenders. Williams has consistently fielded final four caliber teams, while the rest of the league stays highly competitive within the region, if not the country. At this point in the season, No. 19 Amherst leads the standings at 4-0, and 6-0 overall. Middlebury is close on the Lord Jeff's heals at 3-1-1, and 5-1-1, while league newcomer Hamilton is in third at 3-2 and 5-3. Tufts and No. 11 Williams are 2-0-1 are fourth. Amherst already has an overtime win at Hamilton, and a regulation win (rare in this league) over Middlebury.

Amherst hosts Tufts at noon on Saturday, while Middlebury defeated Tufts 2-1 in overtime in an early match. In another early match, Hamilton defeated Bates 1-0. Williams is taking the day off and will host Hamilton on Tuesday at 4:00 pm. The top scorer for the league is sophomore Sarah Duffy of Amherst with seven goals. Middlebury sophomore Scarlett Kirk is also a top performer with six goals.

The NEWMAC (New England Women's and Men's Athletic Conference):

Babson and Wheaton both reside at the top of the standings in this always nationally competitive conference. Babson, who received votes in this week's D3soccer.com Top 25, is 3-0 and 7-1-1 overall. Babson fell 0-1 to No. 4 William Smith (Liberty League - East region) earlier in the season. And Wheaton, who also received votes in the same poll, is 2-0 and 7-1-2, played tough in a 0-1 loss to No. 11 Willliams. Springfield is 1-0-1 and holds third place in the league.

In an early match on Saturday, Babson defeated WPI (0-2-1) 2-0, while Wheaton plays at Mount Holyoke (1-1) at 1:00 pm. Springfield hosts Wellesley (1-1) at 2:30 pm. Wheaton needs a win over Holyoke to stay with Babson, while Springfield needs to create some separation from Wellesley with a win at home.

Check the D3soccer.com scoreboard throughout the day for updates on all these important conference matches.

No contests today.
No contests today.
No contests today.