Two Remain Unbeaten (For Now): Weekend Preview, 10/21

Wesleyan looks to stay in the title hunt this weekend as they host Amherst (Courtesy of Steve McLaughlin/Wesleyan Athletics)
Wesleyan looks to stay in the title hunt this weekend as they host Amherst (Courtesy of Steve McLaughlin/Wesleyan Athletics)

Welcome to Week 5. The halfway point has come and gone, and we are on to Act 2 of the NESCAC football season. We’ve seen some great football so far in 2016 – great plays, streaks snapping, wild finishes, and incredible athletes. The standings have continued to shake out, and now it’s up to Trinity and Middlebury to maintain their undefeated records until they meet up at The Coop in Week 6. Your eyes shouldn’t be on the undefeated teams this week, however, you should be looking at Amherst and Wesleyan, two 3-1 squads still hoping to be in the hunt for the NESCAC crown – Pete wrote more about this one below. He also included a writeup of Bates-Middlebury, as well as an overdramatic humble brag about how much he knows about Wet Hot American Summer, using it as a lens to look at the Hamilton-Colby game. Scroll down towards the bottom if you’re looking to hear my thoughts on the Trinity-Bowdoin and Williams-Tufts game previews.

Also, for those of you who are interested, here is an update on the standings for our writers’ picks. Sid, figure it out, buddy!!!

1.) Rory (14-1)

1.) Pete (14-1)

1.) Liam (14-1)

4.) Colin (13-2)

4.) Colby (13-2)

4.) Nick (13-2)

7.) Sid (12-3)


GAME OF THE WEEK: Amherst (3-1) at Wesleyan (3-1), 1:00 PM, Middletown, Connecticut

Week 5, (yes we’re already in week 5 ) consists of many unbalanced games, but this matchup between Wesleyan and Amherst will eliminate one team’s title hopes and further propel the other’s into week 6. This is what NESCAC football is all about. FANTASTIC opportunity for the Cardinals to not only give Amherst a two loss season (how sweet would that be,) but also to position themselves for a possible tie for first in the league.  Middlebury or Trinity will end up with at least one loss, as they play in a couple weeks, and if Amherst has two losses, Wesleyan could slide into their spot at the top.  Unfortunately, Amherst recently won quite a few games in a row (in case you haven’t heard,) so knocking them off will be no easy task.  Amherst has to be particularly happy with the play of third string quarterback Nick Morales, who was shoved into action by injuries and has been playing very well, including 300 yards and three touchdowns last week against Colby.  Wesleyan will try to keep the Amherst defense guessing with their variety of offensive sets, and keep the powerful Purple and White offense off the field as much as possible.

Rory Ziomek: Amherst 20, Wesleyan 21

Pete Lindholm: Amherst 27, Wesleyan 24

Liam O’Neil: Amherst 21, Wesleyan 17

Colin Tiernan: Amherst 33, Wesleyan 30

Colby Morris: Amherst 31, Wesleyan 17

Sid Warrenbrand: Amherst 27, Wesleyan 10

Nick DiBenedetto: Amherst 38, Wesleyan 13


Bates (1-3) at Middlebury (4-0), 1:00 PM, Middlebury, VT.

In the interest of full disclosure: Almost everyone in my family has gone to either Bates or Middlebury. So naturally I’ll be skipping this one to avoid any uncomfortable family moments.  The Panthers’ performance last weekend in Williamstown can be viewed as either comforting or worrying. On the one hand, it’s pretty nice to be able to put up 49 points on a day where you didn’t even play very well. On the other hand, in the first three quarters Williams exposed some holes in Middlebury’s offensive line, and even made Jared Lebowitz look extremely human.  It didn’t hurt the Panthers in the end, as they were able to overwhelm Williams athletically in the fourth quarter, and they will probably be able to do the same to Bates.  However, WIlliams laid out a blueprint to beat Middlebury, and if Bates can follow it, we could be in for a closer one than we expect. Even if Bates can’t do it, you’d better believe that Trinity has that blueprint pasted all over their locker room.

RZ:  Bates 24, Middlebury 31

PL: Bates 14, Middlebury 40

LO: Bates 14, Middlebury 34

CT: Bates 10, Middlebury 40

CM: Bates 20, Middlebury 34

SW: Bates 6, Middlebury 28

ND: Bates 10, Middlebury 38


Hamilton (1-3) at Colby (1-3), 12:00 PM, Waterville, Maine

In honor of Waterville, Maine, home of the illustrious Camp Firewood, I will attempt to use as many references to Wet Hot American Summer as possible in this preview. This not a sexy matchup. While Amherst and Wesleyan fight passionately like Andy and Katie, this game is more like Beth and Henry. Two lovable, awkward people making corny small talk and flirting with each other so subtly that neither of them can tell.  But, like saving the camp from the falling piece of Skylab, the stakes of this game are higher than it seems. Colby already has a win this season, and cementing themselves as the best of the bottom tier of the league could give them a recruiting edge to build on for the future. However, Hamilton has a win of their own, and is looking to build on their one game win streak in Saturday’s action. Plus the two teams could agree to meet back in Waterville in ten years at 9:30 to reminisce, and that would be nice. One of these two teams will, like Ben and McKinley, get to experience “The Ultimate” this weekend, and might even come out of it with a gorgeous chaise lounge. But the other team will leave like Arty the Beekeeper, unshowered and covered in dirt, having not left the radio station for one activity period all summer.

RZ: Hamilton 24, Colby 21

PL: Hamilton 9, Colby 7

LO: Hamilton 24, Colby 17

CT: Hamilton 10, Colby 17

CM: Hamilton 21, Colby 17

SW: Hamilton 20, Colby 13

ND: Hamilton 13, Colby 19


Trinity (4-0) at Bowdoin (0-4), 12:30 PM, Brunswick, Maine

I don’t really know how to slice it up, but from how the first half of the season has gone, this one features the league’s best team vs. the league’s worst team. Trinity is scoring 37.3 PPG, Bowdoin is putting up just 14.3 PPG. Trinity is allowing only 13.5 PPG, while Bowdoin is allowing 34.5 PPG. Raw stats aren’t everything, but in this case, this is a matchup of an incredible offense vs. a pretty porous defense, and a relatively poor offense vs. a defensive juggernaut. I expect Max Chipouras ‘19 to run for over 100 yards pretty easily, and Sonny Puzzo ‘18 should be able to light up the Bowdoin defense to an even greater extent than he dominated the Tufts passing-D last weekend (20-30 for 273 yards, 2 TDs, and 1 INT). Eric Sachse ‘19 has been perfect on the year, making all 10 of his field goals that he has has attempted and putting all 16 XPAs through the uprights. If there is a bright spot for the Polar Bears, it’s that they totaled their highest point total of the season against Hamilton last weekend (25), and nearly pulled it out. Unfortunately, I just don’t see Bowdoin upsetting Trinity to ruin their perfect season.

RZ: Trinity 41, Bowdoin 6

PL: Trinity 38, Bowdoin 7

LO: Trinity 45, Bowdoin 10

CT: Trinity 37, Bowdoin 16

CM: Trinity 45, Bowdoin 7

SW: Trinity 42, Bowdoin 13

ND: Trinity 41, Bowdoin 7


Williams (0-4) at Tufts (3-1), 1:30 PM, Somerville, Massachusetts

These teams made strides in opposite directions last week, which doesn’t bode well for the host Jumbos. As we’ve noted all week, the score was a little closer at the end than it should have been. After a field goal with 2:32 left, Trinity had a pretty firm grip on the game with a 36-13 lead, but in three plays, Tufts made their way into the endzone. After recovering an onside kick, the Alex Snyder ‘17 threw a 62 yard touchdown pass to Nik Dean ‘17 on the first play of the drive, following up with a 2-point conversion that put Tufts down by just 8. That was as close as the game would get, but for the first 57:28 of the game, Trinity dominated Tufts in pretty much every facet of the game. I’m sure Williams wasn’t thrilled to see Tufts end the game as they were starting to click offensively, but they do have plenty to happy about in relation to their own effort against Middlebury. As Pete noted above, the Ephs gave Midd quite the scare for three quarters, but in the end, the better team pulled away for victory. Regardless of the final score, the competitiveness Williams showed has to be a huge source of confidence for them as they look to upset the Jumbos on Parents Weekend in Somerville. Coach Raymond has to be encouraged by the two-pronged running attack he was able to deploy, featuring backs Connor Harris ‘18 and Noah Sorrento ‘19. Additionally, freshman quarterback Jansen Durham is gaining confidence and comfort, especially with Tyler Patterson ‘19, who pulled in 7 catches for 176 yards against the Panthers last weekend. If Williams shows this dual threat offense this weekend, the Jumbos are going to have to bring their A-game to avoid a big upset.

RZ: Williams 17, Tufts 20

PL: Williams 10, Tufts 14

LO: Williams 3, Tufts 30

CT: Williams 10, Tufts 45

CM: Williams 20, Tufts 24

SW: Williams 6, Tufts 24

ND: Williams 7, Tufts 20

You Want the Crown? Come to the Coop and Take It: Power Rankings 10/19


Sean Smerczynski '19 (Courtesy of Trinity Athletics)
Sean Smerczynski ’19 (Courtesy of Trinity Athletics)

After this weekend, another one of the big four has fallen, and unfortunately for Tufts, their chances for a league title are much slimmer after facing Trinity. Now, there are just two big dawgs left at the top—Middlebury and Trinity, and heading into week five, it doesn’t look as if one of them will get knocked off of the pedestal. While Middlebury is gunning for the ‘CAC ring, Trinity hasn’t faltered at all this season, posing the biggest threat to the rest of the conference. Week 4 saw little else significant happen, other than a strong performance out of Williams – the Ephs showed me that they can play ball after I questioned them last week. Amherst regained their elite status as they blanked and embarrassed Colby 41-0, Hamilton and Bowdoin each finally played a solid game of football, a good matchup between the lower tier of the NESCAC, and Wesleyan showed Bates why they should be considered in the top tier of the league, finding themselves in second place at the halfway point of the year.

At the halfway point of the year, as pointed out in a previous piece, the tiers of the conference are nearly clear, leaving little up to the imagination as to which teams are still contenders in the title race. I like to think that there are four solid squads that are duking it out—Midd, Tufts, Trinity, and Amherst. Wesleyan is dragging their team into the conversation, although I think that they have had the weakest strength of schedule so far out of the previously mentioned teams. As far as the lower tier goes, Bates seems to be the best of the rest as they have had a number of close games against good teams, but I digress as we go more into detail in this week’s power rankings:


1.) Trinity (4-0)

As a Panther fan, how could I possibly drop Middlebury down a spot in a week that they won? Well, Trinity simply has played better so far this year, and has been pretty much flawless every week. While the final score indicated that Tufts played them closely, Trinity completely controlled the game on their way to their fourth win, and the Bantams haven’t really been challenged thus far, especially impressive due to the way Tufts looked before this past weekend. Trinity scores points and lots of them. While QB Sonny Puzzo ‘18 had a solid game with 273 yards, 2 TDs, and 1 INT, it definitely wasn’t his strongest game. But the Bantams had plenty left behind their signal caller to pick up the little slack he left as Eric Sachse ’20 went a perfect 5/5 on field goals, and Max Chipouras did what he does and ran for nearly 100 yards and another TD. Trinity doesn’t really need a good defense since they score so many points, but they just happen to have a terrifying secondary as Archi Jerome ‘17 picked up his second pick of the year and Tufts went just 9-23 in the air on Saturday. Yes, I do think Midd’s win against Amherst is more impressive than Trinity’s against Tufts, but Trinity did so with more conviction, and lacks weakness in all facets of the game. I wouldn’t want to be a visitor in the Coop; they are the team to beat.


2.) Middlebury (4-0)

As the second ranked team in the ‘CAC, there is little parity here between the top two spots as each squad is deserving of the throne due to their near perfection thus far. While the Panthers did just finish their fourth win in as many chances, they didn’t coast to the finish line nearly as easily as I had expected. Williams looked really bad in their first three games, and for all I know they weren’t as bad as the box scores showed—I haven’t seen them play, but nonetheless, at the end of the third quarter a 28-23 score is not what I predicted. Jared Lebowitz had another great day from the pocket—not as good as his first two games—but still, 290 yards, four passing TD’s, and one rushing TD is something to feel good about. Through 4 games he now has 17 TD’s and just 3 INT’s. Not bad. Diego Meritus also showed us what he is capable of on the ground, rushing for 122 yards and a TD. Conrado Banky and Ryan Rizzo keep finding the end zone as they each had two scores, showing how dangerous this offense is too. Three interceptions on Williams is an impressive statistic too, but I couldn’t shake how close the game was so late. Yeah, they fell to #2, big deal. Lebowitz might break Peyton Manning’s TD record in just 8 games.


3.) Amherst (3-1)

Well what could’ve been a moment for panic from Amherst turned out to be one of resilience as they rallied back to shut Colby out 41-0. Colby isn’t very good, but a shutout in football is noteworthy. They allowed 112 yards of total offense, 87 passing yards, two INT’s, forced a fumble, and had seven sacks. This makes a statement about their defensen- they are scary good. Who cares if Nick Morales is a third string QB, he is clearly good enough to start in this league. 323 yards, 3 TD’s, and no picks is a great performance for anybody at any level, and he shows that guys like Alex Moran really can play if they find the starting lineup. The Purple and White have a real shot at taking a share of the league crown if they win when they need to, and put it all together for their Trinity game. They still might party at the Goathouse after week eight.   


4.) Tufts (3-1)

After their loss against Trinity, I think the Jumbos have a much slimmer chance at getting back up to the top. They managed to make it a close game at the end, but after four weeks, it seems that they might not be able to trade blows with the heavyweights just yet. They are still solid, but at this point if Vegas cared about the NESCAC, Tufts wouldn’t be favored in their remaining tougher games against Middlebury and Amherst, especially considering those games are on the road. The biggest knock on Tufts is that since the ‘CAC is generally a QB dominated league, their lack a dominant QB puts them at a disadvantage. Alex Snyder ‘17 and Ryan McDonald ‘19 have only thrown for 4 total touchdowns this year, less than Lebowitz’s average total per game. They can run the ball well, but against Amherst, running the ball isn’t going to be the winning formula as the former Lord Jeffs own the ground. Tufts will need to make great strides to leap up the ladder back into the company of the top dawgs.  


5.) Wesleyan (3-1)

Similar to Tufts, I’m simply just not sure if Wesleyan will be able to compete against the top NESCAC teams, seeing as they also lost to Tufts earlier in the season. They still have a lot of season left and could potentially make their season with upset wins, but their loss week one is going to come back to bite them. Mark Piccirillo ‘19 didn’t have a big game at all in what seemed to be a convincing win against Bates after the Cardinals got out to a 21-0 lead. Piccirillo threw for just 168 yards and if not for receiver Andrew Mehr, he might not have gotten anything going in the air. The Cardinals’ defense played well, stopping the Bobcat sparkplug Sandy Plashkes, but didn’t have any turnovers to show for it. Wesleyan is a better team than Bates, but I’m not convinced that they can beat any team left on their schedule besides Bowdoin.


6.) Williams (0-4)

The remaining five teams are ranked solely off of momentum. None of the remaining five teams have more than one win and are essentially battling it out to not get the ‘Sacko’ of the NESCAC. Still, how can a winless team be ranked sixth on my rankings? Well, seeing as Williams is the only team that has put up a solid game against one of the top teams in the league, they have earned the honors. They still certainly have a long way to go, as they once again are obviously winless, but they were down only five points going into the fourth quarter (it would’ve been only three if they converted a two point conversion) against Middlebury, thanks to a huge resurgent performance from Tyler Patterson, going for 176 yards receiving and two scores. They did lose to Bates and Colby earlier in the season, two teams that I ranked lower than the Ephs, but this improvement shows what their A+ football can look like, and they still have some easy games left on their schedule. If Jansen Durham faces up against a weaker defense, he should be able to avoid turning the ball over (3 INTs) and could easily lead his team to a couple wins after showing big playmaking ability with the 79 yard TD pass he threw to start the game. I expect them to start racking up some wins in the final half of the season, .


7.) Hamilton (1-3)

Hamilton finally got their first win, but isn’t ranked higher because it was against Bowdoin. Hamilton looked really weak in their first three games, but they are coming off of a big win, which must be a relief to the Continentals. The 25 points they allowed to Bowdoin were the least they allowed all year, but they showed that their offense can at least put up some numbers. Freshman QB Kenny Gray took over for the struggling Cole Hamilton after he threw two INT’s, and once the door opened, the young gun burst onto the scene as a potential weapon. He went 19-32 for 303 yards and a TD pass, and also rushed for a score, equalling Hamilton’s cumulative season points all by himself. Gray gives Hamilton a glimmer of hope for the future.


8.) Bates (1-3)

This is a tough spot for Bates to be in, as it seems that they have regressed from the progress that they made early on in the season. We’ve talked plenty about how Bates relies on QB Sandy Plashkes, and how if he plays well, the Bobcats are capable of playing up to some of the better teams. However, in Week 4 we saw the signal caller perform poorly against Wesleyan, throwing for a TD but only 71 yards in the air. 132 yards of total offense isn’t going to cut it. The Bates linebackers are solid, led by Mark Upton who has three sacks, 30 total tackles, and a forced fumble on the year, but aren’t quite strong enough to carry the team. I may have set Bates’ ceiling a little too high earlier this season, although I still think they are the best of the Maine teams.


9.) Colby (1-3)

I know that Colby has won a game, and might feel slighted that they are a few spots behind Williams, but their inability to get on the scoreboard against Amherst isn’t helping their case. They put up pretty much no offensive numbers this past weekend. Amherst has one of the best defenses in the league, but a shutout in football is not something to be overlooked, no matter who it is against. QB Christian Sparacio threw for just 65 yards and they rushed for just 0.9 yards per carry (including sacks). They seem to have slowly crept towards the bottom of these rankings week by week as their best game of the year was in their Week 1 win against Williams, followed by a not so horrible loss to Middlebury, an ugly loss to Wesleyan, and this 41-0 blowout. Their next two games are against weak opponents—Hamilton and Bates—so if they deserve to jump up in the rankings, it will become obvious.


10.) Bowdoin (0-4)

Ouch. Tenth out of ten in the power rankings is not where any team wants to be, and Bowdoin keeps getting closer to a win, but to no avail. They continue to lower their margin of defeat week by week, but aren’t getting any luck with their early strength of schedule. They have already faced 3/4 of the top ranked teams in the league and aren’t getting any bones thrown their way with their week five matchup against Trinity. Their second half of the year could be much easier after this coming week, but there still aren’t a whole lot of positives coming from

Brunswick, Maine. Cameron Rondeau ’19 had a huge day against the Continentals with 9 tackles and a pick 6, but even on the offensive side, Bowdoin never really put it together. QB Noah Nelson hasn’t been bad, but hasn’t had any great games either as he is averaging 161 yards passing per game and has a 4:3 TD:INT ratio. Bowdoin has some work to do, but if they keep playing close games, one will roll their way eventually.

Coming Down to the Wire: Women’s Soccer Weekly Recap 10/13-10/18

The Jumbos split on the weekend, putting them in 5th place leading into the final week of action (Courtesy of Tufts Athletics).
The Jumbos split on the weekend, putting them in 5th place leading into the final week of action (Courtesy of Tufts Athletics).

Hey everyone listenNo really please listen. NESCAC womens soccer was crazy this weekend, it really was and Im here to tell you all about it. So calm down, or get amped, Im a writer not a cop, and get ready to be spoon fed all the excitement that happened on the pitch this weekend.


Thursday, October 13th

Thomas College @ Bates, Final Score: 1-6 Bates


Saturday, October 15th

Bowdoin @ Hamilton, Final Score: 2-0 Bowdoin

Bowdoin controlled much of this Saturday afternoon matchup, besting the host Continentals by a score of 2-0. The first 20 minutes of play were relatively even until Bowdoin forward Emma Beane 20 stole the ball in Hamiltons half and beat keeper Emily Dumont 18.  Hamilton, perhaps sensing another loss on the horizon, played aggressively in the first half, attempting 12 shots, but couldnt find the back of the net. In the second half, Bowdoins Claire Dardinski 19 scored off a pass from Brigit Bergin after her initial attempt was saved.


Middlebury @ Trinity, Final Score: 2-1 Middlebury

In a battle between two teams vying to be included in the upper echelons of the conference, the visiting Middlebury Panthers defeated the Bantams of Trinity by a score of 2-1. Middlebury struck first in the game when Alissa “Good Will” Huntington 18 scored a header off a corner kick delivered by Amy Martin 17. Middlebury then extended their lead early in the second half when Adrianna Gildner 17 blasted a free kick passed Bantam goalkeeper Julia Pitino 18. Trinity scored their only goal of the afternoon a few minutes later when two great efforts by Trinity players Taylor Kirchgessner 19 and Nicole Stauffer 17 bounced off the crossbar. The ensuing scramble left Panther keeper Ursula Alwang 20 in a precarious position after a diving save attempt and Stauffer was able to finish her rebound. Alwang made a diving save later in the half to protect the Panther lead and earn them the victory.


Tufts @ Conn College, Final Score: 1-0 Tufts

A defensive battle saw the visiting Jumbos defeat the Camels by a score of 1-0. Conn has now lost 3 of their last 4 NESCAC games and seems to be struggling to score as 2 of those losses have been by a score of 1-0. Neither team found the back of the net for the first hour of play, but then, in the 63rd minute, Tufts midfielder Sarah Pykkonen 17 beat Conn keeper Bryanna Montalvo 18 to score the only goal of the game. Pykkonen was assisted on the play by Alessandra Sadler 19. Conn struggled to create scoring opportunities all game and was surely disappointed to lose such an important game at home.


Colby @ Amherst, Final score: 0-2 Amherst

Amherst, unlike Trinity and Conn, held serve in their Saturday game, defeating the visiting Colby Mules 2-0. After Saturday, Amherst had won 6 games in a row and had done so in dominant fashion. The win over Colby was no different. Hannah Guzzi 18 scored both goals for Amherst, one in each half. She scored her first goal at about the 20 minute mark, capitalizing on a possession where Amherst attempted shots on goal 3 times before finally slotting one into the back of the net. Guzzi’s other goal came in the second half, this time scoring off a cross from Maeve McNamara 19. Guzzi is now tied for the league lead in total goals scored with 10. Colby never really got going on offense in this game, only mustering 3 shots and struggling to retain possession.


Wesleyan @ Williams, Final score: 0-6 Williams

Not every game can be close. Or even kind of close. Or even sort of kind of close. Williams, ranked second nationally, absolutely dominated the visiting Cardinals to the tune of 6-0. The Ephs, after Saturdays win, set a new record for consecutive unbeaten matches with 21. The first goal of the game came less than two minutes into the match when Sarah Scire20 had probably the easiest goal of her life after a beautiful pass from Audrey Thomas 17. Next, Natasha Albaneze 18 scored for the Ephs before Thomas added her own goal in the 13th minute of play. Williams closed off their first half onslaught when Lauren Brown 19 rifled a shot past Wesleyan keeper Claire Coyle 20. Scire and Thomas both scored again in the second half to extend the lead to 6 and truly finish off the Cardinals. The Cardinals switched keepers at half, subbing out Coyle in favor of Zoe Cassels-Brown 20 in an attempt to stem the tide of Eph goals.


Sunday, October 17th

Tufts @ Trinity, Final score: 0-2 Trinity

Trinity rebounded from their tough loss to Middlebury to defeat the visiting Jumbos by a score of 2-0. Trinity was dominant defensively, controlling the pace and flow of the game for much of the afternoon. They were also ruthlessly efficient on the offensive end, scoring twice on only eight shots. The first goal of the game came in under 10 minutes when Sheena Landy 17 headed in a corner kick from Kendra Lena 17. Tricia Pollock extended Trinitys lead in the second half, beating Emily Bowers 19 and scoring a screamer from 18 yards out.


Amherst @ Conn College, Final score: 2-1 Amherst

Conn was unable to defend their home for the second time this weekend, falling to the visitors from Western Mass. Conn came out of the gate quickly, scoring less than a minute into the game. Lauren Steele 18 scored her third goal of the season off an expertly placed cross from Alex Baltazar 19. Sloan Askins 20 responded later in the first half on a long shot. Askins also recorded the game winner late in the second half when she finished a cross sent in by Rubii Tamen 19. Conns Baltazar had an excellent chance just before Askinsgoal, but her chip sailed just high of the cross bar.


Bowdoin @ Williams, Final score: 0-2 Williams

Williams put the capper on a perfect weekend by defeating the visiting Polar Bears 2-0. Audrey Thomas scored her third goal of the weekend early in the first half to help the Ephs jump out to a 1-0 lead. Thomas was released on a great pass from Sarah Scire20 who lofted the ball cleverly over the Bowdoin back line. Williamsadded to their tally in the second half when Kristina Alvarado 19 slammed in a shot off a pass from Kristi Kirshe 17. Coming off a win on Saturday, Bowdoin looked relatively outmatched by the team from Williams and struggled to generate good chances, only attempting 1 shot that tested the Williams keeper.

Wesleyan @ Middlebury, Final score: 0-1 Middlebury

Middlebury eked out a victory on Sunday, defeating the visiting Cardinals 1-0. Wesleyan put up a valiant effort, especially on defense, where they consistently bent, but refused to break. The match remained scoreless until the final two minutes of play when Middlebury was finally able to break through. In the 88th minute Amy Martin 17 beat her defender and slid a pass into the box to Emma Shumway 18 who tapped in an easy opportunity to give the panthers the boost they needed to secure victory. The game was certainly highlighted by excellent play in the back lines for the two teams, particularly at the keeper position. Kate Reinmuth 17 for Middlebury and Zoe Cassels-Brown 20 for Wesleyan made 10 combined saves throughout the game, several of which were way, way, way up there on the difficulty scale.


Hartwick @ Hamilton, Final score: 1-1 Tie


Player of the Week

Amy Martin '17 had a huge weekend for the Panthers (Courtesy of Middlebury Athletics).
Amy Martin ’17 had a huge weekend for the Panthers (Courtesy of Middlebury Athletics).

This was a tough week to decide my player of the week award. We had several players who surely deserved the award and I could make a case for giving it to any of them. But it’s not just goal scorers who deserve credit, so this week Im giving it to someone who scored 0 goals. Amy Martin 17 of Middlebury is this week’s player of the week. The senior from Sandy Hook, Connecticut had assists in both games and Middlebury won each game by only 1 goal so she certainly had a sizeable impact. The midfielder is now 7th in the NESCAC in assists in conference games and her passing touch has certainly helped Middlebury go on their recent tear.

The King(s) Stay the King(s): Week Four Stock Report

Image result for nescac football photos 2016
Hamilton QB Kenny Grey ’20 was a revelation this weekend, leading the Continentals to an exciting win.

Week Four saw another undefeated team fall, as Trinity placed themselves squarely at the top of the league with a 36-28 win over Tufts. The game wasn’t as close as the score indicates, however, as Trinity dominated the first half and then sat back in the second half.  The top tier of NESCAC is even clearer than it was at the beginning of the week, with Trinity relegating Tufts to “best of the rest” status.

In the rest of the league, Middlebury got a scare from the suddenly energized Ephs, only leading 28-23 at the end of the third before dominating the fourth to win 49-23. Amherst took out their frustration on Colby 41-0, Hamilton topped Bowdoin in a good one 26-25, and Wesleyan topped Bates 28-7. At first glance this was not a thrilling week here in the CAC, but there were some interesting performances and developments to look at here in the Stock Report.

Stock Up:

Running Back Diego Meritus ‘19

 The Panther back had already been having a nice season as a change of pace option for the rapid fire Middlebury passing attack. But in Williamstown Meritus played like a feature back, adding a previously unseen dimension to the Middlebury offense. He overcame an early fumble to finish with 122 yards on 20 carries and a touchdown. The Panthers were able to ride Meritus as Jared Lebowitz ’18 struggled early, an option that will be crucial in Middlebury’s looming matchups with Trinity and Tufts.


 The Ephs must have been reading their own press last week when we put them on the “Stock Down” list, because they came out against Middlebury as ready to play as they’ve been all year. They got good pressure on Jared Lebowitz in the first half, forcing him into a red zone interception. For the game he completed barely over 50% of his passes, his most uneven performance of the season. They also showed flashes of a dynamic offense, thanks in large part to the return of sophomore tight end Tyler Patterson, who tore Middlebury apart. He ended up with 176 yards on 7 catches, including a 79-yard touchdown on the first offensive play of the game. The Panthers outscored Williams 21-0 in the fourth quarter to put the game out of reach, but Williams showed that 2016 might not be a lost season after all.

Quarterback Kenny Gray

 To borrow from Season Four of Friday Night Lights, Hamilton versus Bowdoin was shaping up to be something of a “Toilet Bowl.” However, it was actually a very exciting game, thanks in large part to an electrifying performance from Hamilton QB Kenny Gray ‘20. Gray didn’t start the game, but in the final three quarters he threw for 300 yards and a touchdown, and

Image result for eric taylor east dillon
All either of these teams need is one Coach Taylor hair tousle and they’d be all set.

added a dramatic, game winning rushing touchdown with 34 seconds left. Hamilton hasn’t had a ton to cheer about in the last few years, but Kenny Gray might have shown a glimpse of a bright future for the Continentals.


Stock Down

Tufts’ Elite Status

With Rory taking a deserved break from Stock Reports this week, we can finally get a less biased perspective on Tufts. Their matchup with Trinity offered the Jumbos a stellar chance to prove themselves as a contender for the NESCAC crown. However, Trinity quickly shut down the Jumbo’s momentum, scoring 27 points in the second quarter en route to a 36-13 lead. Tufts scored twice in the fourth to make it dignified, but there was never a doubt about who was in control. The main culprit for Tufts was quarterback play. Quarterbacks Alex Snyder ’17 and Ryan McDonald ’19 combined to go 9-22 and throw two interceptions, while Trinity QB and Sopranos mobster Sonny Puzzo was 20-30 with two touchdowns. NESCAC is becoming a quarterback’s league, and the Jumbos simply cannot keep up right now.

The NESCAC Playoff System (Or Lack Thereof)

 I think we should grandfather this one into every “Stock Down” section from here until ESPN purchases Nothing But NESCAC in 2024.  But the lack of a playoff is particularly frustrating in the face of the continued lack of parity in the league. Middlebury, Amherst and Trinity are again clearly the best teams. And that’s okay! In most sports leagues there are teams you can rely on being at the top year in and year out. But in NESCAC, those three teams can be penciled in as the best, and there is no playoff system for them to battle it out in. Maybe I just want to see more NESCAC football because it gives me something to write about that isn’t Marxist Literary Theory, but it seems to me that the league would benefit from having the top teams play more instead of all beating up on the lower teams and ending up tied at the top with the same record.

Amherst’s Losing Streak

Image result for white goodman
The Globo Gym PURPLE Cobras? WHITE Goodman? I’m onto something here.

 We were all hoping for Amherst to fall apart after their first loss a la White Goodman at the end of Dodgeball. But the Artists Formerly Known as the Lord Jeffs came back strong against Colby, owning the Mules like a tribe of desert nomads in a 41-0 romp. Third string QB Nick Morales ’18 looked like he’s trying to keep the job, with over 300 yards passing and three touchdowns, and Amherst was able to rest many starters to gear up for a looming matchup with Trinity on November 5th. The Purple and White aren’t going anywhere, folks.

Another Undefeated Team Will Fall: Week 4 Weekend Preview, 10/13

Courtesy of Amherst Athletics
Courtesy of Amherst Athletics

Editor’s Note:

Below is the weekend preview for this week. Colby Morris wrote the bulk of this article, but Pete Lindholm added in the section about the Tufts-Trinity game. If you’re looking for more in-depth analysis of this game (our pick for this week’s game of the week), check it out here. After two weeks of our writers making predictions before each weekend, here is how everyone stacks up:

Rory Ziomek: 9-1

Pete Lindholm: 9-1

Liam O’Neil: 9-1

Colin Tiernan: 9-1

Colby Morris: 9-1

Sid Warrenbrand: 9-1

Nick DiBenedetto: 9-1

Pretty boring that everyone is on the same page, but the field should start to separate after this weekend. Now, on to Colby and Pete’s analyses…


Middlebury at Williams, 1:30 PM, Williamstown, MA

Let’s look at the positives for Williams going into this weekend: It’s a home game. It’s a blunt and harsh analysis, but there aren’t many highlights so far for the Ephs. Their best game was a 9-7 loss to Colby and now they go home to face the hottest team in the ‘Cac. The Panthers had a statement win over Amherst last weekend – especially impressive due to their superb special teams play – eliminating the last weakness in an already strong team. At 3-0 Middlebury should waltz to a win as Williams is on par with both Bowdoin and Colby, whom Midd beat handily. This will be another tough test for rookie QB Jansen Durham ‘20 as he looks to find Adam Regensburg ‘18 through the solid Midd secondary. Regensburg, listed as a DB, is a special teams and offensive weapon, and might just hurt his back trying to carry the team in Williamstown. Prove me wrong Williams.

RZ: Middlebury – 45, Williams – 7

PL: Middlebury – 38, Williams – 10

LO: Middlebury – 40, Williams – 14

CT: Middlebury – 45, Williams – 3

CM: Middlebury – 34, Williams – 3

SW: Middlebury – 38, Williams – 10

ND: Middlebury – 38, Williams – 10

Editor’s Note: I never seen a more popular 38-10 score prediction in my life.


Bowdoin at Hamilton, 12:00 PM, Clinton, NY

Jimmy Giattino '17 makes a play on the ball against Trinity (Courtesy of Hamilton Athletics/Michael P. Doherty).
Jimmy Giattino ’17 makes a play on the ball against Trinity (Courtesy of Hamilton Athletics/Michael P. Doherty).

This has the makings for one of the most competitive games going into the weekend, as each 0-3 team vies for their first win. While Pete picked Hamilton to beat Wesleyan during week two, Hamilton got dominated, as they are on the wrong side of a cumulative score of 105-12 through their first three contests. Unlike Hamilton’s experience thus far, Bowdoin’s 0-3 record doesn’t quite tell the whole story. Sure, they got blown out by Middlebury in week one, but then didn’t do quite as badly against Amherst week two, only losing by three possessions to a great team. Last week against Tufts, the Polar Bears’ offense showed some real prowess, as RB Nate Richam rushed for his first career touchdown. If it wasn’t for an ugly third quarter, the Polar Bears would’ve had a real shot. Granted their defense has been prone to allowing huge offensive days out of opposing teams thus far, but Bowdoin should be able to hold off Hamilton’s weak attack. I’m predicting that the Polar Bears will find their way into the warm, sunny win column.

RZ: Bowdoin – 17, Hamilton – 20

PL: Bowdoin – 10, Hamilton – 20

LO: Bowdoin – 17, Hamilton – 24

CT: Bowdoin – 16, Hamilton – 13

CM: Bowdoin – 24, Hamilton – 7

SW: Bowdoin – 21, Hamilton – 13

ND: Bowdoin – 28, Hamilton – 13


Wesleyan at Bates, 1:00 PM, Lewiston, ME

Frank Williams was this week's offensive player of the week after a huge game against Williams (Courtesy of Josh Kickers/Bates College)
Frank Williams was this week’s offensive player of the week after a huge game against Williams (Courtesy of Josh Kickers/Bates College)

The Bobcats finally made their jump into the win column last weekend against Williams, thanks to a big breakout performance by Sandy Plashkes ‘19. For the first time he showed that he can throw the ball pretty well, quadrupling his previous two games’ passing yards by going 10-24 for 240 yards and 4 TDs. He already showed us that he can fly, breaking off a big 57 yard run against Trinity, and had another 27 yard run last weekend, emerging as a dual threat QB. While their win against Williams doesn’t prove much, they had a similar outcome against Tufts that Wesleyan did, showing that they should be able to compete well this weekend. Wesleyan has rattled off two dominant wins in a row, and Nate Taylor ’18, who broke out with two picks, will be ready to pounce again on Saturday. Wesleyan has only allowed 213 yards per game this year, and with their streaking offense led by team passing and rushing leader Mark Piccirillo ’19, they should be able to hold off the dangerous Bates team. Wesleyan shouldn’t struggle to score, and if they can contain Plashkes, they should come out on top.

RZ: Wesleyan – 27, Bates – 21

PL: Wesleyan – 17, Bates – 13

LO: Wesleyan – 27, Bates – 10

CT: Wesleyan – 33, Bates – 17

CM: Wesleyan – 20, Bates – 17

SW: Wesleyan – 28, Bates – 17

ND: Wesleyan – 28, Bates – 17


Colby at Amherst, 1:00 PM, Amherst, MA

Coming off of their first loss in three years, I do not expect Amherst to waste any time in starting a new streak. They are going to be angry and determined to keep the NESCAC crown, and with only one loss, it’s still possible for them. This means bad news for the visiting Mules as they roll into away territory riding a two game losing streak, after an important, albeit shaky, season opening win against Williams. Jabari Hurdle-Price ‘17 is one of the bright spots for Colby as both a rushing and receiving threat, leading the team with 440 all purpose yards on the year. If Colby is going to make this close, which would be a small miracle, they will need to see some more INT’s from their DB’s Will Caffey and Ian Dickey like in week one. It is bad news for the Mules that third stringer turned starter Nick Morales ‘19 did as well as he did last weekend, and if not for a late pick vs. Middlebury, he would’ve had a flawless day. Jack Hickey ‘19 continued to show that he is a TD machine, making me wish that he was on my fantasy team instead of the disappointing Lamar Miller of the Texans. If Colby can’t stop him, Amherst will surely roll to another blowout win in their quest to climb back up the NESCAC standings.

RZ: Colby – 3, Amherst – 30

PL: Colby 3, Amherst – 45

LO: Colby 7, Amherst – 42

CT: Colby – 14, Amherst – 27

CM: Colby – 6, Amherst – 35

SW: Colby – 7, Amherst – 42

ND: Colby – 7, Amherst – 34


Tufts @ Trinity, 1:30 PM, Hartford, CT

For a longer preview of this game, check out Rory’s piece.  It’s not better written or particularly well-researched, but it is longer and does exist (Editor’s note: Pete is just jealous that I actually have a stake in this game).  Anyway, the Bantams’ eyes lit up last weekend when Middlebury ended Amherst’s reign of terror atop the league.  Trinity has flown under the radar this year as Middlebury and Amherst have battled at the top of the league, but the boys from Hartford have been as impressive as either of those two squads.  Quarterback (and rejected Godfather character name) Sonny Puzzo ‘18 leads the offense, with heavy aid from running back Max Chipouras ‘19.  Of course, it’s important to note that Trinity has played three of the worst teams in the league thus far.  Tufts is far from that ignominious status.  The Jumbos also come in at 3-0, with a quality win over Wesleyan under their belts.  However, they barely eked out a 12-7 win over Bates, whom Trinity put in their front pouch like a mother kangaroo to the tune of 38-7.  Tufts’ offense is dominated by rushing duo Chance Brady ‘17 and Ryan McDonald ‘19, who have scored six of Tufts’ eight touchdowns.  However, Trinity’s more balanced offense and stout defense should be able to overcome that attack.  Look for the Bantams to win handily.

RZ: Tufts – 13, Trinity – 21

PL: Tufts – 14, Trinity – 28

LO: Tufts – 24, Trinity – 26

CT: Tufts – 23, Trinity – 24

CM: Tufts – 10, Trinity – 31

SW: Tufts – 16, Trinity – 14

ND: Tufts – 10, Trinity – 31

Clash of the Titans: Week 4 Game of the Week

(Courtesy of Tufts Athletics)
(Courtesy of Tufts Athletics)

Tufts (3-0) at Trinity (3-0), 1:30 PM, Hartford, CT

It’s Week 4 and the Bantams are finally facing a foe of comparable talent. After three blowout wins by 31, 25, and 31 in Weeks 1, 2, and 3 respectively, Trinity will host Tufts in what will without a doubt be the most highly anticipated game this weekend. Both squads come into this game undefeated, and after Saturday, the NESCAC will have at most 2 teams standing at 4-0 (assuming Middlebury handles their business in Williamstown). Tufts and Trinity are actually pretty similar teams. Both rely heavily on their running game to move the ball, and both rely on their defenses to keep them in games. Additionally, each team has very reliable special teams units. At face value, the two sides are pretty evenly matched. Let’s look at what happened last time these two met.


Last Time They Met: October 17th, 2015, Somerville, MA. Trinity defeats Tufts 34-37(OT)

When these two met last year in Week 4, the situation was eerily similar. Both sides were 3-0, but Amherst had just beat Middlebury as opposed to Middlebury beating Amherst. The difference in 2015 was that Tufts was coming off a .500 season instead of a .750 season, so the Bantams were more heavily favored. Well, the Jumbos did everything right until they got the ball with about 7 minutes remaining. With a 27-24 lead, Tufts was only able to run 2:46 off the clock before being forced to punt the ball back to Trinity, and their inability to get a single first down proved costly. Trinity used every bit of the time that Tufts gave them, and was able to drive down the field to nail a field goal with just 6 seconds left, sending the game to overtime. Then, in overtime, Sonny Puzzo ‘18 threw a quick strike to Bryan Vieira ‘18 for a touchdown on Trinity’s first play. Down 7, the Jumbos needed a TD and a PAT to second it to double-OT, but the big-game experience of the Bantams proved to be crucial, as the Trinity defense buckled down and stopped Tufts without allowing a yard. This game was an instant classic, and I’m sure the Jumbos have been waiting for this rematch for the entire year since then.


Tufts X-Factor: Linebacker Greg Holt ‘20

(Courtesy of Tufts Athletics)
(Courtesy of Tufts Athletics)

Really, Rory? A freshman is going to be the X-Factor against debatably the best team in the league? Yes, absolutely. Trinity averages an incredible 272.7 YPG on the ground, and between the duo of tailbacks Max Chipouras ‘19 and Lucas Golon ‘19, there is really no break for opposing defenses. Enter stage left: Greg Holt. The freshman linebacker is an absolute ball hawk, and he comes into this game ranking third in tackles with an average of 12.3 per game. Though Holt had a down week against Bowdoin, in his first college football game he racked up a game-high 14 tackles, followed by 20 tackles in Week 2 against Bates! The kid knows what to do once the ball is snapped, and with Steve DiCienzo ‘18 (averaging 10.3 TKL/G of his own) flanking him in the Tufts linebacking corps, Holt can be super aggressive when Trinity runs the football. If Holt has a big game for the Jumbos, Tufts will be in a good spot as the game nears the end.


Trinity X-Factor: Quarterback Sonny Puzzo ‘18

Sonny Puzzo '18 (Courtesy of Trinity Athletics).
(Courtesy of Trinity Athletics).

Puzzo is second in the league in passing behind Middlebury’s Jared Lebowitz ‘18, but to me, Puzzo’s stats are actually much more impressive. On a team that rushes for 272.5 YPG, Puzzo still throws for 201.0 YPG, demonstrating just how good this guy is. The Bantams only throw on 36.6% of their plays, and Puzzo still amasses 201 YPG! The most important thing for the Trinity offense is going to be mixing between the pass and the run for equal effectiveness. If the Bantams can keep the Jumbo defense on their heels, Coach Civetti’s players will have a tough(t) time stopping Puzzo and company. Luckily for Trinity, they have a handful of receiving weapons for Puzzo to look to including Darrien Myers ‘17, who has been spectacular so far in 2016. Puzzo still hasn’t thrown an interception this season, and if he can continue to play efficient, mistake-free football, the Bantams will find their rhythm early on.


Everything Else

Like I noted above, Trinity is the top offense in the league, and that is largely due to Max Chipouras’ 126.0 YPG on the ground so far. Though his scoring pace has declined compared to last year (he has just 2 touchdowns so far), the reigning ROY is an integral part of the Trinity offense, and he will be a crucial component of Trinity’s game plan this weekend. The Bantams are gaining 487.3 YPG through three games, but their opponents are just 1-8 and have allowed an average of 27.5 PPG, so I don’t know how good a barometer their offensive output is. Against a solid Tufts defense, things may be a little more difficult for Coach Devanney’s offense.

As a whole, Trinity is allowing just 227.0YPG through the first three weeks; on the other side of the field, the Tufts defense is allowing 285.0 YPG. This is a game where I expect defense will rule, and I’d honestly be surprised if there are more than 10 total points on the board at the end of the first quarter. Against a pretty even opponent, Tufts allowed just 14 points, all of which were scored in the second quarter. For the other three quarters, the Jumbos shut out a Cardinals offense that has since scored 34 and 37 points in Weeks 2 and 3. Meanwhile, the Jumbo offense is facing a defensive unit that has allowed just 8.7 PPG, but again, the teams Trinity has played have not produced much offensively, so it’s hard to judge the Trinity defense in this regard. It would be easy to point to the 21 points that Tufts allowed to Bowdoin as a sign of weakness, but the second defensive unit played most of the second half for Tufts in that game, so I would not be so critical of Coach Civetti’s defense.

I think the biggest edge Trinity is going to have is their ability to stop Tufts’ offense on third down. I mentioned this in the Power Rankings yesterday, but Tufts is just converting just 28% of the time on 3rd down this year. The two other 3-0 teams are converting on 3rd down as follows: Middlebury – 41%, Trinity – 44%. That is a HUGE difference, and I think Week 4 is when it will finally come back to bite the Jumbos. Chance Brady ‘17 is going to have to have a huge game in order to alleviate the pressure on whichever quarterback Coach Civetti throws out there. If I were to guess, Ryan McDonald ‘19 will start. His ability to run (he ranks 3rd in rushing in the league) has been a great weapon offensively for Tufts, but McDonald also went 9-9 for 92 yards and a TD through the air last week, so it seems that he will at least get a shot to prove himself in Tufts’ biggest game of the year to this point.

As I mentioned above, however, Puzzo’s ability to throw effectively will be of enormous significance in this one. The Jumbos may be able to slow down Chipouras, but they can’t stop him completely if Trinity’s aerial attack presents just as much of a threat. As you may have noticed in my POY Race article, Trinity was the only team with two players in the Top 5 on offense; those two players were Puzzo and Chipouras. So far, both have done exactly as expected, and I don’t think there is a defense in this league that can effectively neutralize both threats. Each player compliments the other, and I think as the game wears on, both of the guys will start to figure out the Tufts defense. Though I don’t think they’ll ever fully pull away, the Trinity defense will hold things down until the offense finds a way to put some points on the board and win this game.

There’s a New Sheriff In Town: Power Rankings 10/13

After dethroning the reigning champs, what is next for the Panthers? (Courtesy of Middlebury Athletics).
After dethroning the reigning champs, what is next for the Panthers? (Courtesy of Middlebury Athletics).

Heading into this past weekend, we knew one of the title contenders would end up having to add a tally to the L column, but I truly didn’t think the streak would end for Amherst on Saturday. Well, I was wrong, and so were other Panther doubters – Middlebury is for real (like, for real for real), and Trinity better watch their back, because Coach Ritter’s squad is gunning for the throne. If everything happens as expected between now and Week 6 (which is never a certainty in NESCAC football), Trinity and Middlebury will face off as the two remaining undefeated teams, which could very well be the title match. However, 25% of the NESCAC season stands between now and Week 6, so let’s focus on the here and now.

Elsewhere in the conference, things have started to shake out a bit more, and we have four current groups of teams at this point: Class A, the undefeated teams – Middlebury, Trinity, and Tufts; Class B, the defeatable title contenders – Amherst and Wesleyan, who both stand at 2-1; Class C, the middle of the pack contenders – Bates and Colby, both 1-2 with their sights set on winning the CBB Title, and potentially 4 to 6 win seasons if they can pull off an upset or two; and finally, Class D – the winless group, who are still hoping to climb out of the basement into Class C. There is plenty of time left for teams to shift between these groups, but as of now, this is where we stand:


1.) Middlebury (3-0)

A rightfully earned top spot for the Panthers after ending Amherst’s win streak this past weekend. Without a doubt, this is the most impressive win of any 3-0 team; the only other W in the conversation is Tufts’ solid win against Wesleyan. I found Jared Lebowitz ‘18 to be decently impressive through two weeks, but I am not swayed by the stats of quarterbacks running up the score. This weekend, Lebowitz threw for 261 yards against the league’s best defense, adding 3 touchdowns and just one interception. Not only did he have three TDs, but each was thrown to a different Panther, highlighting Lebowitz’ field vision and the receiving corps’ depth. Additionally, Carter Massengill ‘20 maintained his perfect kicking accuracy on the season, nailing 3 extra points and 2 field goals. If Massengill continues to be this consistent for the Panthers, it will be that much easier for them to hold off their opponents until the likely championship game in Week 6 against Trinity.


2.) Trinity (3-0)

Trinity did what they had to do this weekend as they remained unbeaten against Hamilton. The Bantams are now scoring at a league-best 37.7 PPG clip, but that number will surely be bumped down this weekend against a pretty solid Tufts defense. I’d be foolish to omit the fact that Trinity’s opponents after three weeks are a combined 1-8 on the season. With that being said, Trinity leads the league not only in scoring, but also in points allowed, so they are clearly asserting their dominance over inferior teams. This weekend will be the first true test for Coach Jeff Devanney’s team as they host Tufts in The Coop, and I don’t think I’m really surprising anyone here by noting that the Bantams will be focused on limiting the damage that Chance Brady ‘17 can do on offense. Getting penetration is one of Trinity’s strengths, however, especially when their opponents drop back to pass, evidenced by their league leading 5.0 sacks per game. We know Trinity is good, but like Middlebury had to, the Bantams have to beat another top team if they want Week 6 to be the battle for the championship belt.


3.) Amherst (2-1)

Sure they lost, but Amherst lost to one of the best teams in the league in a game that went down to the wire and was ultimately decided by a single point. The last thing Coach Mills’ team should be doing is panicking right now. For one thing, we’re still under halfway through our season, and Amherst is allowing just 12.3 PPG. THEY ARE ALSO ONLY ALLOWING 0.7 RUSHING YPG AFTER WEEK 3. That’s not a typo. Less than one rushing yard per game. This defense is going to win them games, not to mention that Amherst has an absolutely studly offense. The Purple and White have just had pretty tough luck with injuries at the quarterback position this year; Amherst lost Reece Foy ‘18 in preseason to a knee injury, and Alex Berluti ‘17 hurt his knee in Week 2 with his time table TBD. So what did Nick Morales ‘19, the next QB in line, do on Saturday? He stepped in for his first career start against Middlebury. How’d he do? Oh, he was just 27-38 for 269 yards, a touchdown, and just one interception. His longest pass was a simple 71 yard gain. Maybe I throw too many New England Patriots references in my blogs, but my good friend Bill Belichick likes to emphasize the “next man up” mentality that his team abides by. Maybe Coach Mills is deploying the same mentality in the Amherst locker room? Regardless, Amherst will be just fine, especially once Morales gains comfort and confidence in the pocket.


4.) Tufts (3-0)

Tufts dropped below Wesleyan in last week’s power rankings after a less than stellar win against Bates at home. Thus began the gossip that Tufts lucked out against Wesleyan, and that it showed in their underwhelming performance against a Bates team that they should theoretically have blown out. Even I, a self-proclaimed homer (after Pete shamed me into admitting it), was beginning to doubt Tufts’ ability to put up points. How’d the Jumbos respond? They responded exactly like a title contender should and scored 41 points against Bowdoin this weekend. After Week 3, it’s clear that the Bates game was the fluke, not the Wesleyan game. I am still skeptical of the offense, as they seem to rack up way more three and outs than normal for a 3-0 team (13-47, or 28%, on 3rd down conversions), but as of now it hasn’t hurt them. They’re going to need to show some grit against Trinity this weekend to continue climbing in the power rankings, and more importantly, to continue adding to the win column.


5.) Wesleyan (2-1)

Wesleyan will feel slighted by this drop from #4 back to #5. They have won by 28 and 31 in Weeks 2 and 3 respectively, while Tufts had a slip up against Bates. So why the drop? As I mentioned above, Tufts showed that they do in fact know how to handle the bottom tier teams. To be honest, these big wins against the league’s weaker teams just don’t speak as loudly to me as wins against teams of similar talent. What keeps coming to mind is the opener, and specifically, the way that Wesleyan absolutely fell apart in the 4th quarter against Tufts. Holding onto a late lead is not really applicable in blowouts, so Wesleyan has not been tested again in this regard. The ability to stay composed in a close game with a late lead is an area that I see as a weakness for the Cardinals at this point, and I will continue to see it as such until they prove me wrong. I will say that Mark Piccirillo ‘19 has really impressed me so far this year, and the fact that he can pass and run equally effectively is one of Wesleyan’s biggest weapons. If the Cardinals can lean on Piccirillo late in close games, I don’t think they’ll have another disappointing blown lead.


6.) Bates (1-2)

A blowout loss, a close loss to a top tier team, and a good win against a team of similar skill level. Bates is improving each week, and their upward-trending level of play is in large part due to the performance of quarterback Sandy Plashkes ‘19. Bates has a total of 6 touchdowns this year – guess how many of those touchdowns Plashkes was involved in? You got it, all 6. Plashkes has thrown for 5 TDs and he ran in the remaining score. It’s as simple as this: as Plashkes goes, Bates goes, and if he is dialed in like he was on Saturday against Williams, Bates can stick right with anyone in this league. Tread lightly, Wesleyan. NESCAC Football is about momentum, and the Bobcats are hot right now.


7.) Colby (1-2)

After a last second win in Week 1, the Mules have lost their steam. The Colby defense allowed 35+ points in consecutive weeks on their way to 21 and 31 point losses – not a good sign for a team that heads to Amherst this week. What has hurt Colby thus far is their mediocre aerial attack. The Mules are only throwing for 136.3 YPG, which has made them pretty one-dimensional as a whole. As a result, they have struggled to score the ball, evidenced by their 9.7 PPG total, which qualifies for second worst in the NESCAC. The Fieldston School alum Jabari Hurdle-Price ‘17 is doing all he can, but he is finding less room to work in 2016 as defenses have honed in on him after his breakout season last year. Colby’s workhorse back is most effective when Coach Michaeles engineers a high-volume gameplan for him, so if Colby can open up the field a bit through their passing game, it will create opportunities for a more efficient Hurdle-Price.


8.) Williams (0-3)

Connor Harris '18 has been a consistent workhorse for the Ephs so far (Courtesy of Williams Athletics)
Connor Harris ’18 (left) has been a consistent workhorse for the Ephs so far (Courtesy of Williams Athletics)

A tough spot to be after a tough start for Williams in 2016, but look at the bright side, guys: you’re the highest ranked 0-3 team! That’s no accident on our part, and it’s not just because I’m from Western Mass either. No, Williams has played a grittier brand of football than the other winless teams, but unfortunately for the Ephs things have bounced the wrong way time and again. One word to describe Week 1 for Williams: devastating. After allowing an early score, the Williams D buckled down long enough for the offense to put together a late drive which gave the Ephs the lead with 1:46 remaining. The lead lasted all of 1:41 until Colby won on a last second field goal. Week 2 was just rubbing salt in the wound for Williams as they had to play Trinity in a game that ended in a beating, but it should definitely be noted that Williams played the Bantams the toughest of Trinity’s three opponents thus far. Week 3 was another good game for Williams, but they just couldn’t put together any complete drives in the 4th quarter, ending in a well-fought defeat. Connor Harris ‘18 has been a bright spot for the Williams offense for the tailback spot, and he will be looked to increasingly if he keeps up his 66.3 rushing YPG average, which currently qualifies him for the fourth highest average in the ‘CAC.


9.) Bowdoin (0-3)

I guess if there is a positive for Bowdoin it’s that each game has gotten closer than the previous one, with scoring differentials descending from games one through three. The negative is that the Polar Bears lost by 20 in their closest loss of the season this weekend against Tufts. Bowdoin has the league’s worst defense, a result of their porous secondary allowing 309.7 YPG through the air. To put that in perspective, the second worst pass defense in the league, Hamilton, allows 236.0 YPG. Part of this issue is that Bowdoin is not getting penetration in the backfield consistently, a fact that certainly plays into their poor defense. Offensively, Bowdoin ranks second to last in YPG on the ground. This may not be for lack of running talent, but rather that, like the Jacksonville Jaguars, Bowdoin is constantly playing from behind and so they have to air the ball out to try to catch up (there’s a reason Blake Bortles is my fantasy quarterback). Bowdoin faces off with fellow winless team Hamilton this weekend, and I suspect they will have more success moving the ball in a better matchup for them than Middlebury, Amherst, or Tufts was.


10.) Hamilton (0-3)

Someone had to be last, and Hamilton’s 4.0 PPG average kind of makes them a front runner for this undesirable title. I will say that Hamilton rivals Bowdoin for toughest opening schedule, as the Continentals traveled to Amherst and then Wesleyan before finally getting a home game against Trinity, but they’ve only scored two times in three games. That’s no bueno. Looking ahead, Hamilton has a chance to make a run here as they face Bowdoin, Colby, and Williams in the coming weeks, but they are going to have to improve on both their highly permeable defense and their abysmal ability to move the football. Again, Hamilton’s rushing attack could be suffering from the Jacksonville Jaguars effect, but it’s hard to excuse a 39.7 rushing YPG average. The Continentals have a prime opportunity this weekend to turn their ship around, but they have to take advantage or they may find themselves in a hole they can’t dig themselves out of.

Williams Remains Unbeaten, Still Drops to #2 Nationally: Women’s Soccer Week in Review 10/12


Williams won their two games this weekend, both of which were out of conference matches (Courtesy of Williams Athletics/Evan Gancedo).
Williams won their two games this weekend, both of which were out of conference matches, but fell behind William Smith in the national rankings (Courtesy of Williams Athletics/Evan Gancedo).

Hey everybody, sorry were a little late. You know how weeks go what with work and other work and sometimes work and rarely play. But without further adieu, heres the womens soccer recap of last week!


Tuesday, October 4th

St. Lawrence @ Middlebury, Final Score: 0-3 Middlebury


Wednesday, October 5th

Trinity @ Wesleyan, Final score: Trinity 4-0

The visiting Bantams emerged victorious in this interstate rivalry, besting Wesleyan 4-0. The Bantams scored four times in the first half, and four different Bantam players, Laura Nee 17,  Taylor Kirchgessner 19, Sheena Landy 17 and Andi Nicholson 17, found the back of the net. Wesleyan actually changed goalies going into the second half, subbing out Zoe Cassels-Brown 20 and replacing her with Claire Coyle 20 but the damage had already been done.


University of New England @ Colby, Final score: 1-2 Colby

Maine Farmington @ Bowdoin, Final score: 0-6 Bowdoin


Saturday, October 8th

Wesleyan @ Colby, Final score: 0-1 Colby

The host mules defeated the visiting Cardinals in a hard fought defensive battle 1-0. Wesleyan surely walked away from this game feeling that they should have one. They tested Colby keeper Samantha Rizzo 19 with 15 shots, but were never able to beat her or the hard-nosed Colby defense. Aliza Van Leesten 17 provided all the offense that Colby needed, slotting home a goal off a scrum ensuing from a corner kick. Newly starting Wesleyan keep Claire Coyle 20 was only tested 3 times, and did manage to make 2 saves, but sometimes the ball just doesnt bounce the way you want, which Wesleyan certainly learned on Saturday.


Conn College @ Bates, Final score: 1-0 Conn College

This game largely followed the formula we expected, with the 18th ranked Camels defeating the struggling Bobcats by a score of 1-0. The only goal of the game came with tenths of a second remaining in the first half when Emmy McGoldrick 19 scored off a deflection. Hannah Graves 17 was really the only Bobcat to test Conn goalie Bryanna Montalvo 17, but her shot was saved. Conn held a dominant advantage in shots taken, testing Bates 6 times to just 1 attempt on goal against the Camels.


Hamilton @ Amherst, Final score: 0-3 Amherst

Amherst thoroughly dominated the visiting Continentals, coasting away with an easy 3-0 win. The L*** J**** outshot Hamilton 20 to 6, and had a 9 to 1 advantage after the first period. In that first period Amherst found the back of the net two times. The first came less than three minutes into the game when Rubii Tamen 19 made an incredible run and beat Hamilton keeper Emily Dumont 19. Five minutes later, Dumont was again forced to collect the ball from the netting as Ashlyn Heller 17 scored after receiving a free kick from Megan Root 19. Emily Hester 17 capped off the days scoring, firing a looping shot over the heads of Hamilton after collecting the ball from a defensive mistake in the Continentals’ own half.


Trinity @ Bowdoin, Final score: 1-0 Trinity

The only goal of this contest came about 15 minutes into the game when Trinitys Tricia Pollock 20 blasted a shot from distance. Trinity then held tightly to that lead to escape with the 1-0 win. Bowdoin actually outshot the visiting Bantams 6 to 3 but failed to beat Julia Pitino 18 even one time. Bowdoin also forced 6 corner kicks, but they failed to capitalize on their numerous opportunities.


Tufts @ Middlebury, Final score: 2-3 Middlebury

The most exciting game from the weekend certainly happened in Middlebury, VT where the visiting Jumbos were defeated by the Panthers 3-2. Middlebury fell behind early when TuftsEmma Ranalli 19 scored a beautiful free kick and beat Panther keeper Kate Reinmuth 17.  Middlebury was shut out for the entirety of the first half but struck back early in the second half when Alex Barber 19 scored a shot from roughly 20 yards away off a pass from Sara Dicenso 19. Mariah Harvey-Brown 18 put the visitors back on top, heading in a goal in the 72nd minute, but the Panthers wasted little time responding to this goal, as Adrianna Gildner ‘17 soon tapped in an easy goal off a pass from Amanda Hotvedt 17. With the game knotted at 2-2, and time winding down, everyone expected to be heading into overtime, until Gildner scored her second goal of the afternoon off a rebound shot. Middlebury outshot the Jumbos 16-4 and surely deserved this hard fought victory.


Bard @ Williams, Final score: 0-5 Williams


Sunday, October 9

MIT @ Williams, Final score: 1-4

Bates @ Husson, Final score: 4-0 Bates


Monday, October 10

Brooklyn @ Conn College, Final score: 0-5 Conn College


Tuesday, October 11

Endicott @ Tufts, Final score: 0-4 Tufts

Keene State @ Amherst, Final score: 0-3 Amherst

Colby @ U. Maine Farmington, Final Score: 4-0 Colby

Sage @ Hamilton, Final score: 0-4 Hamilton


Player of the Week

Adrianna Gilder '17 came up clutch for the Panthers against Tufts this weekend (Courtesy of Middlebury Athletics).
Adrianna Gildner ’17 came up clutch for the Panthers against Tufts this weekend (Courtesy of Middlebury Athletics).

I swear Im not playing Middlebury for favorites, but we have to give this player of the week to Adrianna Gildner. The senior forward scored two goals in the last 15 minutes of Middleburys game against Tufts to secure a come from behind 3-2 victory. The two goals were her fifth and sixth of the season, tying her with Trinity’s Taylor Kirchgessner for fourth place on the list of NESCAC scoring leaders. Middlebury, and Gildner, seem to be hitting their stride just at the right moment in the season, and hope to keep this late season form going into the coming weeks.

An Ode to the Streak

(Courtesy of Amherst Athletics)
(Courtesy of Amherst Athletics)

As the old saying goes, all good things must come to an end.  This past Saturday, the Middlebury Panthers ended one of the more impressive streaks in NESCAC history, Amherst’s 21 game win streak.  The last time Amherst College football lost a game was October 19th, 2013.  To put that in perspective, the price of gas was $3.28 a gallon, Donald Trump had not begun his political career, and the Red Sox were 11 days from winning David Ortiz’ 3rd World Series ring.  Spanning four seasons, the streak included three NESCAC championships, two of which featured undefeated campaigns.  Prior to Saturday, the 2018 class at Amherst had never lost.  Amherst’s ultimate goals for the 2016 season are by no means out of reach, but the loss to Middlebury offers a chance to look back at some of the best moments from the team’s impressive win streak…


The beginning…

The run began on October 26th, 2013 with Amherst taking down the Jumbos; a team that was in the midst of their own, more infamous streak.  Game number two saw Coach Mills capture his hundredth career win after a missed PAT doomed Trinity 17-16.  The 2013 season ended with a resounding 20-7 victory against rival Williams, a share of the NESCAC title, and the foundation for the run ahead.



The 8-0 record that the team finished with belies just how tough the road was for this version of Amherst College football.  Five of the games came down to one score including a 3-point overtime win at Wesleyan and 1-point win on the road at Trinity.  These games stick out as examples for the season and streak as a whole.  The win over Wesleyan came in large part due to the kicking performance of Philip Nwosu.  He went 4-4 on field goals including a clutch 41-yarder to tie it in the final minute, and 35-yarder to win it 33-30 in overtime.  Mind you, this was on the road, in the rain, against a team that was also undefeated at the time.  The Trinity game showed that Amherst was a multidimensional team.  After scoring 30+ points each of the previous three games, the Purple and White were only able to muster seven against the Bantams.  But seven points were all the defense needed, stymying the Bantam offense and holding them to six points.  The Trinity game also sticks out because it shows that no matter how talented a team is, to get to 21 straight wins requires a little bit of luck.  Trinity missed both an extra point and a late 23-yard field goal to keep the Purple and White undefeated.  The 2014 season ended with a win over Williams in the “Biggest Little Game in America,” which was played under the lights for the first time.  For the second year in a row, Amherst was crowned the NESCAC football champions and the streak moved to 11 in a row.



The 2015 Amherst College football team picked up right where the previous team left off, beginning the year with four straight blowout wins.  Reece Foy’s emergence at QB offered stability at a position that saw three different people under center the year prior.  The added offensive might meshed with the consistently dominant defense to make the team even better than previous iterations.  Wesleyan offered the first real test for the Purple and White dealing them a halftime deficit of 12-7.  But once again Amherst was up to the task scoring 20 2nd half points to defeat the rival Cardinals 27-18.  After another blowout win over Tufts, the defense buckled down holding both Trinity and Williams to seven points over the final two contests.  The offense did their part as well en route to a third straight NESCAC title and back-to-back undefeated seasons.  

Nothing but smiles across the board for Amherst after their 2015 NESCAC Championship (Courtesy of Amherst Athletics)
Nothing but smiles across the board for Amherst after their 2015 NESCAC Championship (Courtesy of Amherst Athletics)

The End

After adding two more wins to the streak, it finally came to an end with a one- point loss to a Middlebury team that was a favorite to compete for the NESCAC championship.  Amherst was down to its third quarterback after a preseason injury to the aforementioned Foy and an injury to the opening day starter, Alex Berluti ‘17.  Despite a valiant effort from Nick Morales ‘19, the football just did not bounce the Purple and White’s way.  Looking back, the streak could have ended a number of times but as Thomas Jefferson said, “The harder you work, the luckier you get.”  There are so many factors that go into winning a football game that it is hard enough to get just one W.  Winning 21 in a row is a testament to the hard work, preparation, and will to win of both the players and coaching staff.  Achieving excellence is hard but maintaining excellence the way Amherst College football has is even harder.  And while the streak may be over, the season is far from lost.  Don’t cry because it’s over Amherst fans, smile because it happened.

Down Goes Frazier: Week 3 Football Stock Report, 10/11

The Jumbos ran away with it on Saturday against Bowdoin (Courtesy of Tufts Athletics).
The Jumbos ran away with it on Saturday against Bowdoin (Courtesy of Tufts Athletics).

Aside from Clemson beating BC on Friday, the biggest college football upset of the weekend happened in Vermont, where Middlebury was able to topple Amherst in an absolute thriller on Saturday. Obviously, Middlebury wasn’t considered a weak team, but the fact remained that the Panthers were up against an Amherst team that had won 21 straight games and was allowing 5.0 PPG coming into this tilt. Well, Jared Lebowitz ‘18 and his comrades showed no fear on Saturday, and they fended off the Purple and White for a 27-26 win.

The rest of the league action consisted of a number of blowout wins by Trinity, Tufts and Wesleyan, and a solid win for Bates against Williams. It feels like there really haven’t been a ton of close games this year so far as 2016 is really highlighting the talent gap between the two tiers in the NESCAC. Through 15 game, only 4 have been decided by single digits, and 10 games have ended with score differentials of 20 or more points. I expect these large margins of victory will become fewer and far between as we continue through the season, but you never know. In any event, your Tuesday morning stock report can be found below.


Stock Up

Wide Receiver Devon Carrillo ‘17 (Wesleyan)

Carillo had 3 touchdowns, but surprisingly not one came on a reception. Displaying his athleticism, Carrillo lined up in the wildcat formation and rushed for 26 yards and 2 touchdowns. Then, in a flash of versatility, he threw a 48 yard touchdown pass to Mike Breuler ‘18. Maybe we just found ourselves a NESCAC version of Terrelle Pryor?

Wide Receiver Darrien Myers ‘17 (Trinity)

Myers led the Bantams in receiving on Saturday, hauling in 8 catches for 135 yards and two touchdowns. The senior wideout has time and again proven that he is Sonny Puzzo’s favorite target, especially as Trinity approaches the end zone. Through the first three weeks, Myers leads the league with 7 receiving touchdowns, and he will continue to be a prime option for Puzzo in the red zone against Tufts this weekend.

Quarterback Sandy Plashkes ‘19 (Bates)

Sandy must have been clicking around on the NESCAC website last week and noticed that Bates ranked last in most passing categories because he absolutely torched Williams this weekend. The Bobcats are still last in passing yards, but they have moved into a tie for 3rd in passing touchdowns after Plashkes threw for 4 of them on Saturday including this beautiful throw and catch:

Shout out to Marcus Ross ’19 for coming down with that one as he got his Antonio Brown on. Heck of a weekend for Plashkes and the Bobcats as they grabbed their first win against the Ephs.


Stock Down

Mascot-less Teams in the NESCAC

Losing to Middlebury definitely doesn’t crush Amherst’s stock – the Panthers are definitely a title contender this year. However, this weekend proved that Amherst isn’t indestructible and that is something that will give other teams hope as they face off with the ex-LJs. Even though Amherst was right in it until the final whistle, the interception at the end was a very bad turnover, and in an 8-game season, it is plays like that that can decide the season for NESCAC teams. Amherst is by no means out of the hunt, but they now have to rely on Middlebury faltering against someone else, something that the Panthers just proved you cannot count on.

Quarterback Consistency at Tufts

We’re three weeks in and it’s just impossible to tell who is going to start under center for the Jumbos. Against Wesleyan in Week 1, Alex Snyder ‘17 started, got pulled, and then came back in to help lead the Jumbos to victory. In Week 2, Ryan McDonald ‘19 got more action as the Blue and Brown struggled to move the ball through the air and relied more on McDonald’s feet from the quarterback spot. Now in Week 3, McDonald goes 9-9 for 92 yards and a TD as well as 2 rushing TDs, but Snyder goes 3-6 including a 77-yard touchdown bomb to Mike Miller ‘18. Your guess is as good as mine, but I’d say the Jumbos will just take the hot hand approach moving forward.


You’re not taking advantage of your opportunities guys!! Two of the first three games Williams has played have been against bottom half teams (Colby, Bates), and they have come out 0-3. Now, Williams’ schedule consists of the following 5 opponents in order: Middlebury, Tufts, Hamilton, Wesleyan, and Amherst. Take into account that the Ephs are traveling to Tufts, Hamilton and Amherst and things are not looking great for Coach Raymond’s squad. If the Ephs are going to turn things around, they’re going to need to make improvements across the board, because they do not have a very favorable remaining schedule.