Same Old, Same Old; Power Rankings Week 3

Not a whole lot has changed from last week other than the fact that Williams is no longer undefeated. With that said though, they proved that they are significantly ahead of any sort of rebuilding designation and that they are above the bottom half of the league no question. Their strong defensive effort against the Bantams, including a shut down of Max Chipouras really showed the rest of the NESCAC that they are ready to make the leap to the next step. What we saw in the other four games did not surprise anybody, and at this point Hamilton has all but rejoined the bottom tier of the league after their exciting week one game. Not much has changed, but here’s where they stand:

1: Trinity
I thought about moving the Bantams down, but they have still only allowed nine points all season and that is not enough of a negative to knock them off of their pedestal. Max Chipouras’ 2.9 yards per carry are a slight cause of concern heading into what’s basically an assured win against Hamilton. My concern is that now he is no longer the NESCAC God of Running. He had a bad game, but still scored a TD and his team can likely win on Saturday with a blindfold on. Until they face a better team, it will be hard to tell exactly how unbelievable this team is, but for now they are ready to roll to 4-0.

2: Middlebury
Middlebury is coming off their second straight win against a sub-par opponent and looks ready to take on Amherst. While they lack a significant running game at this point, young Charlie Ferguson ’21 is averaging nearly 7 yards per carry in his 15 touches this season. While it is a limited sample size, he has filled in nicely the past two games in low pressure situations while Diego Meritus rehabs on his way back to the field. If Meritus comes back strongly, then Midd will be firing on all cylinders.

Conrad Banky and the Panthers are on a roll

3: Amherst
Amherst is in a virtual tie with Midd for the second spot on these rankings, but due to their schedule weakness up to this point they are slightly below. They will face their first tough competition this weekend against the Panthers but with Jack Hickey, an array of solid receivers and a middle-tier NESCAC QB in Ollie Eberth, they don’t have much to worry about in terms of overall position. Kicker John Rak had an uncharacteristically unsuccessful performance by missing three field goals, and he needs to flip the switch for this Saturday because it will be the first time there is any pressure on him all season. Their game against Midd will likely come down to the wire and he needs to be ready to boot it through the uprights from deep, maybe even over 50 yards like last year. There are no major concerns with this team right now, but unless they show some more prowess this weekend, they might not be quite as elite as Midd and Trinity.

4: Wesleyan
By virtue of their opening week loss, this is where the Cardinals sit in the rankings, although they have had a tough schedule up to this point. They knocked off Tufts in OT which was a great sign for their ability to beat the top teams in the conference, and they have what should be two easy wins coming up. They shouldn’t have any issue with Colby or Bates and will be heading into a week six matchup against Amherst with a 4-1 record barring an impossible upset. While QB Mark Piccirillo has been finding the end zone just fine, there is a concern with his high turnover numbers as he has already tossed five picks in three games. They showed that Hamilton is indeed a weaker opponent with a blowout win and their defense has been strong thus far. Their one concern would be the rush D which allowed over 200 yards on the ground two weeks ago. They should sit pretty in this spot, and maybe move up to #3 depending on the outcome of the Midd/Amherst game.

5: Tufts
Tufts only cruised to their win against Bates after the first half, showing weaknesses in their defense by allowing the poor Bobcat offense to score 17 points. Their holes were in the rush defense, and it was the starters who showed the weakness. Bates scored all of their points in the first half, and this game was never totally out of hand. The Jumbos have allowed more rush yards than any of the teams above them in these rankings. Also with only four turnovers on defense, they lack the stoppage power that Trinity and Amherst have while also seeing their run game disappear from last year. Ryan McDonald looked great last weekend though and the duel threat QB is carrying the Jumbos up to this point. They should have an easy time against Bowdoin this weekend, heading into their daunting week five matchup against Trinity.

6: Williams
They are close to passing Tufts on these rankings with their strong defensive performance against Trinity. Their only fault so far is that they don’t have a win against a top tier team, and while Tufts doesn’t either, they still took Wesleyan to OT. Allowing the aforementioned 2.9 yards per carry to Chipouras and just 163 yards passing to Sonny Puzzo, they look capable of quieting any offense. Bobby Maimaron ’21 showed weakness for the first time this season, but did so against the league’s best defense in the Bantams. As an added bonus they have possibly the best athlete in the NESCAC in Adam Regensburg ’18 who played WR, DB, and was an unreal punter last weekend. Oh yeah, he starts on the baseball team too. Look for them to handily beat Bates.

7: Hamilton
Ok so now it’s been three weeks, and other than one close game, Hamilton has looked pretty bad. So why are they sitting at 7th on the rankings and not lower? Well, first of all, they are the only team at this point that has shown any possibility of beating or competing with one of the top teams, and they also have only faced the upper echelon of the NESCAC. Kenny Gray has looked servicable thus far, but without a strong running game, they lack the tools for offensive sustainability in competition with the top dawgs. Their defensive line also has some work to do as they sacked Piccirillo just one time last weekend, allowing him ample time in the pocket. On the bright side, Bryce Phillips and Justin Leigh both had INTs giving me just enough hope that they can beat the bottom teams in the conference. They won’t beat Trinity, but after this week, they will have ended their streak of a brutal strength of schedule.

8: Bowdoin
Well at this point you can pretty much chalk Bowdoin’s predicted game outcomes to a score of about 30-40 points allowed and 14 points scored. They have only faced winning teams thus far and could have success against Bates, Colby, and Hamilton, but still need to show some hope for preventing huge scores on defense. Griff Stalcup ’21 looks to be the QB of the future for the Polar Bears as he took over the starting job and played decently in his second start of the year, making great strides from the first one. He was able to find the end zone for the first time in his passing career, racking up TDs thrown to Bryan Porter and Nick Vallas, the strongest Bowdoin offensive pieces. Like Hamilton, they lacked much presence on their D-line and gave Ollie Eberth plenty of time in the pocket. With another tough contest coming up against Tufts, they probably won’t find the win column this weekend.

Bates couldn’t quite keep up with Tufts on Saturday despite improvements

9: Bates
The Bobcat offense looked much improved against Tufts, actually staying in the game until well into the fourth quarter. With new QB Brendan Costa under center, effectively benching Sandy Plashkes, the Bobcats had a bit more life. Costa showed similarly to Plashkes in ’16 that he can run it a little bit, finding the end zone and accumulating 97 yards on just 16 carries. Granted, one of those was a 70 yard run, proving his other 15 carries non-impactful, but that big play speed is just what Bates needs. Bates matched Tufts with four tackles for losses, but their secondary appeared continually weak by allowing four TD passes to McDonald. Bates should hope Costa keeps improving as his long TD run is basically their lone bright spot up to this point in the season. Look for them to compete initially but fall true to their lack of scoring against Williams.

10: Colby
Bates and Colby are kind of rotating in and out of this last spot by virtue of which team played a worse game the week before. The Mules looked bad against Middlebury last weekend. With just 112 yards passing and 179 yards of total offense, they never stood a chance. Here was the positive: They actually won the first quarter. From then on it was bad news. They were outscored 33-0 the rest of the game, and couldn’t even make their extra point. Don Vivian added a pick on Lebowitz too putting Colby at third place on total turnovers so far. They should compete against Bowdoin and Bates, and just maybe Hamilton, but that’s about it.

Trust the Process: 2017 Williams Football Preview

Editor’s Note: We’re very excited to welcome Matt Karpowicz to the writing team! You might recognize Matt as the rising star center on the Williams basketball team; he’s very tall and therefore hard to miss. He’s a rising sophomore and his favorite musical is Legally Blonde.

2017 Record: 0-8

Projected Record: 3-6

Projected Starters: Offense (Six Returning *)

QB: TBD

RB: Noah Sorrento ’19*/Connor Harris ’18*

WR: Adam Regensburg ’18*

WR: Kellen Hatheway ’19*

WR: TBD

TE: Tyler Patterson ’19*

LT: Kent Blaeser ’19*

LG: TBD

C: TBD

RG: TBD

RT: Patrick Loughran ’19*

Projected Starters: Defense (6 Returners*)

DL: Sam Gowen ’18*

DL: Chris Hattar ’18*

DL: Austin Thomas ’19*

DL: Jameson DeMarco ‘19

MLB: TBD

OLB: Michael Berry ’18*

OLB: TBD

CB: Ben Anthony ’20*

CB: TBD

SS: TBD

FS: TBD

Projected Starters: Special Teams (2 Returners)

K/P: Adam Regensburg ’18*

KR/PR: Jaelon Moaney ’19*

Tyler Patterson
Tyler Patterson ’19 (Courtesy of Williams College Athletics)

Offensive MVP: Skill Positions

Yeah, picking the QB, RB, and WRs to be the Ephs’ offensive MVP might seem like a cop out, but when you average 12.4 points a game for an entire season, it’s hard to target one specific area of importance. This group didn’t make enough plays last year for Williams to have much offensive success, but have returned several playmakers that have shown they have the ability to be serious threats to the rest of the defenses in the NESCAC. TE Tyler Patterson in particular will be a player to watch. While not technically a skill position, he is Williams’ biggest offensive threat. He missed some time last year, and is poised to be a breakout star this season if the Ephs’ offense can be more consistent.

Defensive MVP: DL Sam Gowen ’18/Chris Hattar ’18/Jameson DiMarco ‘19

Sam Gowen
Sam Gowen ’18 (Courtesy of Williams Football)

Gowen and Hattar will return for their last year at the helm of the Williams defensive unit, their third straight as starters, and DiMarco showed in his sophomore season that there will not be much of a drop off after the duo graduate. Although the defense got toasted to the tune of almost 33 points a game (no thanks in part to a cruel homecoming visit from Wesleyan and 56 first half points), they return their top 4 defensive lineman and that sense of continuity should be key to improving this side of the ball. Gowen, Hattar, and DiMarco combined for 7 sacks and 14 tackles for loss. Being able to create havoc in opposing teams’ backfields will be key for this team, especially early in the year as they look to find some consistency in what will be mainly a new secondary.

(For those of you keeping track at home, that’s 9 total MVPs, but that’s what happens when you go 0-8)

Biggest Game: Bowdoin @ Williams 9/16

For all the question marks in this season preview, this will not be one of them. The Polar Bears come to Farley-Lamb for a Week One opener that will immediately see one of the NESCACs two winless teams in 2016 move into a 5 way tie at the top of the league. This is an absolutely must win game for the Ephs, as they look to put last year’s 0-8 campaign in the rear view. Starting out the season by losing what would be their 14th game in a row to equally lowly Bowdoin could seriously derail this purple and gold train before it ever got to leave the station. Opening the season with a win, however, would be exactly the start this young team and second year HC Mark Raymond wants as they hope to begin to turn things around.

Best Tweet:

This is a retweet, but I still love seeing a team get inspired by a coach who’s got one ring total despite having T-Mac, KG, Ray Allen, Paul Pierce, Chris Paul and Blake all in their primes.

Summary:

Last year’s season preview stated that the biggest question in Williamstown would be who would be under center at quarterback, and I am excited to tell you that that question remains unanswered a year later. Whatever options Coach Raymond hoped to have last year were quickly slimmed when John Gannon ’18 tore his ACL in the preseason, and he was forced to pick from a variety of guys who had never taken a collegiate snap at QB. While Jaelon Moaney ’19 and Pete Cahill ’20 got a couple looks, it was Jansen Durham ’20 who spent the majority of the year as QB1. Durham showed flashes of promise, going 24-37 for 200 yards and 2 TDs against eventual champ Trinity, but struggled to take care of the football, and ultimately did not do enough to truly solidify himself as the starter this year. Gannon is now back and healthy for his senior year and 2016-17 Gatorade Massachusetts Football Player of the Year freshman Bobby Maimaron will bring his MA state record 122 career touchdown passes to the Purple Valley in hopes of earning the job as well.

Defensively, this unit will definitely improve. Yes, they did allow 33 points

A more consistent offense will be the key to Williams’ gradual climb to respectability.

a game last year, but that number really doesn’t tell the whole story, as the offense’s 22 turnovers often times forced the defense back onto the field after a short rest and a short field to defend. They should be good enough to give the offense chances to win football games, which is really where the vast majority of the question marks lie. I already touched on the quarterback battle, but there are few other certainties on offense, other than Adam Regensburg ’18 and his 37 catches playing an important role in the air attack. Noah Sorrento ’19 and Connor Harris ’18 have spent the greater part of the last two seasons splitting carries, with Sorrento logging 194 rushes over the last two seasons to Harris’ 181. Steve Bohling ’20 was in the rotation at the end of the season as well, rushing for 85 carries on 18 rushes against Wesleyan and 56 yards on 11 carries against Amherst.

There is a lot of talent on this Williams offense, but it is up to Coach Raymond to find the best way to maximize it. In his final year at St. Lawrence, his offense scored nearly 30 points a game, and the Ephs should trend closer to that 30 than the 12 they hovered around last year. The ninth game will be huge as gives  this young team one more game to mesh, and there are some pieces that could really shine in 2017. There will continue to be growing pains in Williamstown this year, but the sun should begin to come out in the Berkshires.

America’s Pastime Returns to the NESCAC: Baseball Season Preview

Tim Superko ’17 and the Jumbos look to defend their NESCAC title in 2017 (Courtesy of Tufts Athletics).

Editor’s Note: At this point, pretty much every NESCAC baseball team has had a chance to get out on the field and play some games (aside from Williams, who plays their season opener tonight). Devin Rosen is joining us for our NESCAC baseball coverage this spring, which is perfectly timed since we lose a couple writers, Colby and Rory, due to their roles on the Middlebury and Tufts baseball teams. The beginning of the NESCAC baseball season is always a mess for coverage since teams always try to cram as many games as possible into their spring breaks. Once NESCAC games roll around, we will be much more organized with our content. Until then, enjoy this preview of the NESCAC baseball season that Devin put together!

East

Bates

Ryan McCarthy ’17 is primed to lead Bates back to the playoffs this season (Courtesy of Bates Athletics).

Bates opens the season with new coach Jon Martin who comes from the head coaching position at Vassar College. He looks to turn last year’s 14-21 record (4-8 in conference) into a more productive season in 2017. Helping his transition at the leadership helm are senior captains Ryan McCarthy and Brendan Fox. McCarthy has been a three year starter in the outfield for the Bobcats, and 2016 Second-Team All-NESCAC shortstop Fox looks to continue his success after hitting .377 last season. The Bates rotation and bullpen returns most of its staff and is led by Connor Speed ‘18 who looks to open the season as Bates’ number one starter. Anthony Telesca ’17 adds to the returning rotation as well providing depth in the rotation. After a break out year last season, Connor Russell ‘18 aims to round out the Bates rotation. The strong core of returning players for Bates gives the Bobcats the potential to put up a strong fight in the NESCAC this year. In his first season in Lewiston, Coach Martin will have to use his returners to help him achieve a successful season. If Fox can lead the bats, then the solid pitching staff can keep Bates in contention in the competitive NESCAC East.

 

Bowdoin

Brandon Lopez ’19 (Courtesy of Bowdoin Athletics).

Bowdoin had a decently successful 22-14 campaign last spring, but looks to avenge their 4-8 in conference record this season. To do so, however, their pitching staff must fill in the spots of two now-graduated starters who combined for over 93 innings last season. Sophomore Brandon Lopez ’19 looks to be the number one guy for the polar bears after a solid freshman season as a starter. After him, however, it seems that Coach Mike Connolly will have to find a few arms out of the large junior class to eat up innings. Sean Mullaney ’17 aims to maintain his position as the team’s consistent top hitter after having a .304 average in 115 at bats last spring. Similar to the pitching staff, the young talent on this offense will have to step up in order to compete with the rest of the NESCAC. Bowdoin showed promise in their overall record last year and aims to replicate it both in and out of conference.

 

Colby

Brooks Parker ’19 (Courtesy of Colby Athletics).

Colby looks to turn their luck around after a disappointing season last spring. This task is made even tougher after graduating a First-Team All-NESCAC first baseman, Soren Hanson ’16, and a Second-Team All-NESCAC third baseman, Zach Ellenthal ‘16. Sophomore Andrew Currier looks to lead the way in doing so after posting a solid freshman spring which included 20 RBIs. The rest of the lineup will depend on hitting from other lower classmen. On the mound, the Mules graduated their number one starter, Hanson, and most reliable reliever, Tommy Forese. However, just like the lineup, young pitchers such as Brooks Parker ’19 and Will Cohen ’19 gained valuable experience in just their first spring. Look for Coach Dale Plummer to ride these young arms throughout the season while also depending on the more experienced juniors Dan Schoenfeld ’18 and Bobby Forese ‘18. Colby’s lineup and pitching staff took a hit from the most recent graduating class, but look for the young Mules to step up their game. Despite a smaller presence from the senior class, the underclassmen have the potential to compete with the top teams in the NESCAC after gaining a year of valuable experience.

 

Trinity

Brendan Pierce ’18 is off to a hot start for the Bantams in 2017 (Courtesy of Trinity Athletics).

Trinity enters the season having lost high caliber seniors from last spring including First-Team All-NESCAC catcher Scott Cullinane and Second-Team All-NESCAC outfielder Nick Pezzella, as well as their most reliable reliever Sam Jordan, all of whom contributed to a 7-5 conference record. The Bantams’ success in the NESCAC East earned them a playoff appearance, and they advanced to the NESCAC Championship game before losing to in-conference rival Tufts. Despite the talent lost, first baseman Johnny Stamatis ’19 is back after hitting .309 and earning a Second-Team All-NESCAC nod in his first college season. Another key returning bat is NbN writer and Trinity infielder Nick DiBenedetto ’17, who posted a .357 average last spring. On the other side of the roster stands Anthony Egeln Jr. ’18. He is the only returning consistent starter, but after posting a 4-2 record last spring, Egeln Jr looks to take over as the number one starter in the program. In order to keep up with the tough NESCAC East, Trinity’s young talent must replace last year’s seniors with some fluidity. The rotation’s consistency will make or break Trinity’s season as long as their bats heat up.

 

Tufts

The Jumbos are coming off a dominating performance after achieving the best season in school history. With an 11-1 in-conference record and 35-8 overall record, Tufts returns the core of its team. 2x First-Team All-NESCAC third baseman Tommy O’Hara ‘18 leads this stacked line-up along with captain First-Team All-NESCAC outfielder Harry Brown ‘17, who hit a team leading .397 average in 2016. Behind the plate, sophomore catchers Harrison Frickman and Eric Schnepf have a year under their belt after being thrusted into a timeshare of the starting role behind the plate as freshmen last season. In addition to a powerful line-up, Tufts returns most of its dominating pitching staff. Led by captains Speros Varinos ’17 and Tim Superko ‘17, the rotation looks to remain the best in the conference after posting a team ERA of 3.25, over a full run less per game than the second-best ERA in the league. Varinos, the reigning pitcher of the year, looks to best last year’s All-American performance, which included a 2.15 ERA and league-leading 79 strikeouts. He also tied fellow teammate, RJ Hall ’19 with a league-leading 7 wins. Additionally, our very own, Rory Ziomek adds depth to the staff. Tufts has the fire power to maintain their status as the best team in the league, and has their sights set on not only a NESCAC Championship, but a NCAA Regional Championship as well after coming up just short last spring.

 

West

Amherst

Harry Roberson ’18 is back and ready to help his team win the NESCAC Championship this year (Courtesy of Amherst Athletics).

Amherst looks to stay atop the NESCAC West this upcoming season, and the will jump on the back of First-Team All-NESCAC pitcher Jackson Volle ‘17, who had a league leading 1.79 ERA. The pitching staff aims to maintain its status as one of the best in the league, but we will have to wait to see who joins Volle atop the staff after losing a few arms to graduation. At the plate, Amherst returns two Second-Team All-NESCAC selections: shortstop Harry Roberson ’18 and outfielder Anthony Spina ‘17. Roberson had an impressive .336 average while Spina tied the league lead in homeruns with 6. Joining them in this impressive lineup are Ariel Kenney ‘18, who had a team leading 52 hits, and infielder Max Steinhorn ‘18. Outfielder Yanni Thanopoulos ’17 rounds out the lineup that hit a remarkable .316 as a group last year. Amherst has the potential to not only compete in the NESCAC, but to compete for its top spot. Volle gives them a consistently dominant starter while their lineup can hit any arm in the league. If Amherst plays up to their potential, look for them to stay atop the Conference.

 

Hamilton

Hamilton will try to knock off Wesleyan and Amherst in 2017 in order to reach the NESCAC Tournament (Courtesy of Hamilton Athletics).

Hamilton’s ferocious lineup from last season returns its top hitters, including First-Team All-NESCAC outfielder Ryan Wolfsberg ’17, who led the conference in slugging percentage (.645) to go along with a .418 batting average. Adding even more power to the lineup is Andrew Haser ’17, who was tied for the league lead with 6 homeruns last spring. The Hamilton pitching staff is forced to replace now-graduated pitcher Cole Dreyfuss, and first in line to do so are Spencer Vogelbach ‘18 and Dan DePaoli ’18. Look for these two juniors to eat up significant innings for Coach Byrnes. Rounding out the staff is Max Jones ’19, who threw 35.2 innings with a 3.53 ERA in his freshman campaign. Hamilton’s success will depend on its lineup and rotation performing up to their potential. The experienced pitching staff will have the chance to prove they can compete with the best of the NESCAC, and the returning Continental bats have the power to hit any arm in the league. If this occurs, Hamilton will be considered a force to be reckoned with in the competitive NESCAC West.

 

Middlebury

Colby Morris ’19 leads the Middlebury staff in 2017 (Courtesy of Middlebury Athletics).

Middlebury enters the year looking to replace its key seniors from last season. However, plenty of now-sophomores including OF Sam Graf and SS Spencer Tonies, now have a year of experience to potentially improve their campaign from last season. Junior Brendan Donohue will also look to build off his .316 season in contribution to the Panthers season. Pitching, on the other hand, seems to be a plus for the Panthers both now and in the future. Sophomore starters Colby Morris (legendary NbN writer) and John Bunting led the team in innings last season, but with Bunting having transferred, Morris will be looked to to handle even more of the load. Seniors Dylan Takamori and Tucker Meredith additionally look to contribute to the strong staff. Last season Middlebury had a 6-6 in-conference record and aims to stand over .500 this season. To do so, Coach Mike Leonard will have to depend on his pitching staff, comprised of mostly returners. If the Panther bats can stay consistent, the rotation and bullpen can keep Middlebury relevant in the NESCAC West.

 

Wesleyan

Will O’Sullivan ’17 will lead the Cardinals offense this spring (Courtesy of Wesleyan Athletics).

The Cardinals look to repeat last year’s impressive 23-12 record along with winning the NESCAC West. Despite losing three senior bats hitting over .330, including the Player of the Year Marco Baratta, Wesleyan returns a dangerous lineup. Leading the way are two-way player Nick Miceli ’17, who is coming off a Second-Team All-NESCAC performance, and the Roxbury Latin groomed shortstop Will O’Sullivan, who hit a remarkable .370 last spring. Andrew Keith ‘19 proved his potential last season as well and looks to build on the success he enjoyed in 2016. On the mound, Wesleyan returns a solid core of three pitchers, including Miceli, who is joined by Ethan Rode ‘17 and Asher Young ‘17. These seasoned veterans should consume many of the season’s innings. Coach Mark Woodworth will ride his senior leaders throughout the season after they dominated the NESCAC West last spring. As long as his upperclassmen take charge, Wesleyan has the lineup and the rotation to compete for the NESCAC crown.

 

Williams

Luke Rodino ’17 will be in the running for NESCAC Pitcher of the Year once again this spring (Courtesy of Williams Athletics).

Williams aims to get over the .500 hump in NESCAC play this season, and if they do it, their efforts will be led by Second-Team All-NESCAC pitcher Luke Rodino ‘17. He is joined by fellow senior Tyler Duff ’17 as the leaders of the pitching staff. These two seniors look to guide Tom Benz ‘19, Jack Bohen ‘19 and Will O’Brien ‘19, all of whom contributed heavily during their freshman campaign. At the plate, Kellen Hatheway ’19 looks to build on a stellar first year in which he earned the NESCAC Rookie of the Year award after hitting .331 with 21 RBI’s and 24 runs scored. Joining him in the lineup are Adam Regensburg ’18 and Doug Schaffer ’18, as well as Jack Cloud ‘17, who all hit over .300. The freshmen, now sophomore class proved to have the potential to compete against the top teams in the NESCAC. This year for Williams baseball will be about how these sophomores, along with their other key returners, can perform after having last season to rebuild and come together as a group. Williams will use last year’s experience to give them a chance to improve on their record in the NESCAC.

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

The Ephs Believe They Know Howe to Win: Williams Season Preview

Austin Lommen '16 is back as the Ephs try to improve on their 2-6 record. (Courtesy of Williams Athletics)
Austin Lommen ’16 is back as the Ephs try to improve on their 2-6 record from a season ago. (Courtesy of Williams Athletics)

Editors’ Note: While 99 percent of the work done in these previews is credited directly to the author, the projected records are a decision made together by the editors, Adam and Joe. So if you don’t like it, blame us.

Projected Record: 26

Projected Starters (*Seven Returning)

Offense

QB: Austin Lommen ’16 *
RB: Connor Harris ’18
FB: Tom Cifrino ’17
WR: Darrias Sime ’16*
WR: Colin Brown ’16
WR: Adam Regensburg ’18 *
TE: Alex Way ’16 *
LT: Charlie Grossnickle ’16*
LG:  Matthew Jewett ’16*
C: Ben Wertz ’17
RG: Eric Davis ’17
RT: Vincent Molinari ’16*

Defense (*Five Returning)

DE: James Howe ’16*
DT:  Chris Hattar ’18
DT: Ellis Eaton ’18
DE: Jack Ryan ’16
MLB: James O’Grady ’16*
OLB: Johnny Bond ’16*
OLB: Michael Berry ’18
CB: Taysean Scott ’17*
CB: Mike Davis ’17*
SS: Alex Brandeis ’17
FS: Elijah Eaton ’16 / Kevin Walsh ’17

Special Teams

K/P: Bobby Webster ’18
KR/PR: Connor Harris ’18

Offensive MVP: The O-Line

Head Coach Aaron Kelton believes that his team will go as far as their offensive line can take them. Last year, Williams had the worst rushing yards per game average and yet was third in the conference in passing yards per game. Some of that had to do with trailing in a lot of games and being forced to throw, but even in close games the Ephs struggled to run the ball. The offensive line returns many cogs from last year’s team and they appear to be stronger all around. In order for the offense to start putting up points at the pace the Ephs would like, the offensive line will need to open up holes for elusive running back Connor Harris ’18 to gain big yards.

Defensive MVP: DE James Howe

Howe’s sophomore year campaign was one of the best in school history, recording 10 sacks and 55 tackles. Last season, Howe was specifically game planned and targeted heavily, which caused his sack total to drop to zero. The Ephs recorded less sacks overall last season, dropping from 19 sacks in 2013 to six in 2014. Despite the low sack numbers, the Ephs still gave up the second least passing yards per game in 2014. If Howe and Co. can get pressure on the quarterback this season those pass defense stats will become even more impressive. Coach Kelton alluded to the fact that they may try and move Howe around on the line to try and help get him more 1-on-1 match ups where he thrived in 2013. As the sole defensive captain, Howe will go a long way in setting the tone for the Ephs on that side of the ball.

Biggest Game: Williams vs. Amherst Nov. 14

Williams clinched its first 8-0-0 season by defeating Amherst 17-14 in 1989. The reported attendance of 13,671 is the largest ever recorded for a D-III football game in New England. The first Biggest Little Game was played in 1884 and has been played every year since. (Courtesy of Williams Athletics)
Williams clinched its first 8-0-0 season by defeating Amherst 17-14 in 1989. The reported attendance of 13,671 is the largest ever recorded for a D-III football game in New England. The first Biggest Little Game was played in 1884 and has been played every year since. (Courtesy of Williams Athletics)

Doesn’t matter what year it is, the Ephs always have the Lord Jeffs circled on the calendar. Referred to as “The Biggest Little Game in America”, this match up is the longest-running rivalry in Division III, but Amherst has taken control of the series by winning the last four games. The game this year will be a 12:00 PM start televised on NESN unlike last year when they played under the lights in Amherst. The last time Williams pulled out a win in the series was in 2010 when the Ephs finished undefeated and were the NESCAC Champions. Even though the two teams’ records have diverged in recent years, this is always a close, hard-fought game. As long as the Ephs beat Amherst, many up in the Purple Valley will feel it was a successful year.

Biggest Surprise in Camp: WR Darrias Sime

Last season Sime only averaged 1.6 catches per game and totaled 169 yards and one TD. The Ephs seemed to share the bulk of the workload between six different receivers so it was hard for any one guy to get a ton of touches. Sime is a big, physical receiver coming in at 6’4″ 225 pounds and a two-sport athlete as a member of the basketball team. Coach Kelton is raving about the way he’s looked in camp and said Sime could be a go-to target for QBs Austin Lommen and Mark Pomella ’16. Sime has been a promising talent for a little while now, and if he can deliver on that promise as a senior it would give the offense an entirely different look. From reports so far, Sime looks poised for a big senior season.

Best Tweet: Williams Quarterbacks Coach Kijuan Ware was at Broncos camp in August as part of the Bill Walsh NFL Minority Coaching Fellowship.

Summary

Last season was a year to forget for the Ephs who went 2-6 with four of those losses coming by eight points or less. On the offensive side of the ball, the Ephs lost their leading rusher, Alex Scyocurka ’14, and leading receiver, Steven Kiesel ’14, to graduation. On the ground, look for Harris and Greg Plumb ’18 to get the majority of the work there. Harris only measures in at 5’8″ 170 pounds, but has looked like he put on more muscle this offseason so that number might be a little low. Plumb, on the other hand, is a much larger tailback at 6’0″ that is a more physical, downhill runner and is expected to make an impact in short yardage situations. Sime and Brown will strive to replace the production provided by Kiesel. Like Sime, Brown is tall at 6’5″ and will tower over smaller defensive backs in the league. Regensburg is dealing with a leg injury currently but he should be ready for the opener and looks like he will line up in the slot. Backup quarterback Pomella will be used at wide receiver, as well. Lommen will once again be under center for Williams. Coach Kelton stressed how he wants to get as many athletic playmakers on the field at once and he acknowledges how useful Pomella could be even if he is not running the offense. Lommen, meanwhile had a solid first season under center, but needs to correct his poor 7:9 TD:INT ratio. He will have to find a new security blanket without Kiesel, but he should be able to make a lot of plays.

On the defensive side of the ball, graduation hit the defensive line hard. Howe, our defensive MVP, anchors this group. Jack Ryan ’16 moves down from outside linebacker into the other defensive end spot and two sophomores, Chris Hattar ’18 and Ellis Eaton ’18, figure to be the interior lineman. The Ephs hope to get some strong play from its linebacking corps. Michael Berry ’18 will replace Ryan ’16 at the outside linebacker position alongside James O’Grady ’16 and John Bond ’16. Both cornerbacks are back from last season but the real question for the Ephs will be is how strong is the safety play. Looking to replace Tom Cabarle ’14, second on the team in tackles and first in interceptions, is Alex Brandeis ’17. Kelton seems extremely confident in Brandeis’ ability to not only replace but possibly even exceed the numbers Cabarle put up last season. Justin Harris ’17 was expected to be a force at safety this season, but a broken wrist in camp has sidelined him for the season, thrusting Eaton and Walsh into a larger role.

This team has a tough schedule yet again starting off with three of four games on the road against two heavyweights (Trinity Week 2 and Middlebury Week 4) and two teams that appear to be improved (Bowdoin Week 1 and Bates Week 3). Ultimately this season comes down to winning the close game. Last year, as we mentioned above, the Ephs came up just short but had opportunities to win games. Week 2 at Trinity is where we’ll start to figure out at what level this Ephs team will play at this year.

Slinger Shows Impeccable Timing: Stock Report 3/31

The new New England Baseball Complex allowed for Tufts and Bowdoin to play this weekend. (Courtesy of Masslive.com)
The new New England Baseball Complex allowed for Tufts and Bowdoin to play this weekend. (Courtesy of Masslive.com)

After the first game of the weekend, Bowdoin was feeling good about stealing their series against Tufts because Henry Van Zant ’15 had just led them to a game one victory. Then the strength of the Tufts pitching staff took over. First it was Andrew David ’16 going all nine innings without allowing one run as Tufts won comfortably 6-0.  The real big story, however, was Kyle Slinger ’15 shaking off an early season injury and returning to the mound for the Monday rubber game.

Like we thought might happen, Tufts’ manager John Casey took advantage of the two extra days for Slinger to recover. However, when Aaron Rosen ’15 hit a solo homer to lead off the game, it looked like Slinger might not be quite ready to go. Then he recovered and allowed no more runs the rest of the way, leading Tufts to a 10-1 win. In the top of the 7th with the score 5-1 Tufts, Slinger allowed two base runners, and the top of the lineup was coming up. Casey stuck with his stud, and Slinger struck out Rosen before getting a fly out to get out of the jam.

The series win for Tufts means they remain atop the East. Their pitching is right up there with Wesleyan for the best in the league, and they should only get healthier. The Jumbos have next weekend off from NESCAC play before heading to Trinity.

Stock Up

 Catcher Bryan Egan ’15 (Tufts)

Slinger’s offensive counterpart yesterday was Egan, who went 3-4 with a homer and four RBI. The home run came in the 6th inning and was a two run shot that put the Jumbos up 5-1. Petry didn’t do much in the other games this weekend, but he does hold a season OBP of .492. Though some of it is because Tufts has played in a lot of games, Egan leads the NESCAC in RBI with 22. The senior was a part-time reserve last year behind All-NESCAC performer Nick Cutsumpas ’14. It is great to see him step up in his final year and become a crucial part of the Jumbos’ offense.

Starting Pitcher Henry Van Zant ’15 (Bowdoin)

The senior was sensational in the opening game of the the series between Tufts and Bowdoin. He went all seven innings allowing only one unearned run on only four hits. Through the first three innings he faced the minimum of nine hitters. Unlike usual, Van Zant did not strike out a lot of hitters, but he did a great job of keeping the ball on the ground. The Jumbo offense has the second highest ground out/fly out ratio in the NESCAC (more exact fly ball to ground ball ratios are not available), and on Friday the ball left the ground eight times counting hits and fly outs. The one run that Tufts scored was not Van Zant’s fault at all. Bryan Egan ’15 reached second on an error by shortstop Sean Mullaney ’17. After Egan advanced on another groundball, Cody McCallum ’16 reached on an infield single with two outs to score Egan.

Utility Adam Regensburg ’18 (Williams)

In his first three games in conference play, Regensburg went 6-11 and had two hits in every game against Middlebury. Working out of the two-hole, he hit a home run in the first game and stole two bases in the final one. Regensburg also has a season long OBP of .450 which is perfect for that position in the lineup. Besides that bat, he played a different position in each  game. In the first game he started in right field, second base in the second, and left field for the third. So basically Regensburg is the NESCAC equivalent of Ben Zobrist, someone who can play lots of positions and provide offense as well. Sabermetricians have been calling Zobrist criminally underrated for so long that he probably became overrated somewhere along the way. Check back in two years to decide whether Regensburg has become overrated by then. Until then, he looks like a great freshmen player for a Williams team that got a huge sweep this weekend.

Stock Down

Middlebury

It’s never a good combination to be both unlucky and not very good, and that is what Middlebury has been so far. The Panthers got walked off on in three consecutive games down in Arizona with the final one coming at the hands of Williams in the series opener. Some of the freshmen like Brendan Donahoe ’18 and Raj Palekar ’18 have made good first impressions, but the pitching is such a mess. The Panthers are now 0-9, and their schedule is front-loaded with NESCAC games so that nine of their next 11 games come against Amherst, Hamilton and Williams. When their first win comes is not easy to tell, but the odds are that it won’t be this coming weekend on the road against Amherst.

Mother Nature

For goodness sake, get it together, weather. Maybe I’m soft for complaining about the weather, but I don’t care. Whatever happened to the saying ‘March comes in like a lion and leaves like a lamb?’ It was snowing in Brunswick, Maine for a good few hours yesterday. Granted, it fortunately wasn’t really sticking, but the snow banks weren’t exactly dissipating either. Baseball is a sport best played in the summer of course, but we don’t have that luxury in college baseball. The weather forecast is decent for the next week, but I’m looking for some serious improvement ASAP. Nature, I really want to be able to watch a home baseball game at some point this year. Please make that happen.

Balance Necessary for Ephs: Williams Baseball Season Preview

Williams starts the season today in Arizona. (Courtesy of Williams Athletics)
Williams starts the season today in Arizona. (Courtesy of Williams Athletics)

2014 Record: 13-16 (7-5, Third in NESCAC East), missed NESCAC playoffs

Starters Returning: 8 (6 Position Players, 2 Starting Pitchers)

Projected Lineup: (Stats are from 2014)

SS Jack Roberts ’17 (.302/.342/.368, 1 HR, 19 RBI)
2B Beau Horan ’16 (.163/.260/.209, 0 HR, 5 RBI
LF Luke Pierce ’15 (.312/.371/.440, 1 HR, 22 RBI)
CF Jack Cloud ’17 (.402/.463/.526, 0 HR, 22 RBI)
C Phil McGovern ’15 (.276/.325/.362, 0 HR, 17 RBI)
1B Nate Michalski ’17 (.230/.293/.311, 0 HR, 16 RBI)
RF David Rosas ’16 (.306/.342/.333, 0 HR, 5 RBI)
3B Adam Regensburg ’18
DH Kirby Neuner ’15 (.222/.467/.333, 0 HR, 2 RBI)

RHP Thomas Murphy ’15 (5-2, 3.77 ERA, 5.23 K/9, 43.0 IP)
RHP Luke Rodino ’17 (0-2, 5.63 ERA, 5.62 K/9, 24.0 IP)
RHP Daniel Smith ’16 (1-2, 9.98 ERA, 10.57 K/9, 15.1 IP)

Offensive Overview:

The unquestioned strength of the Ephs a year ago was their hitting. They were first overall in the NESCAC in OPS (on-base percentage + slugging percentage). They will certainly miss Matt Kastner ’14 and Thomas Stephens ’14, but with guys like Jack Cloud ’17 and Luke Pierce ’15 back, they will once again be very good. Cloud hit .402 as a freshman, and it will be exciting to see what he can do as a sophomore. Fellow sophomore Jack Roberts ’17 cooled off in conference, but he still hit over .300. A lot of spots are still very much in the air near the bottom of the lineup. Adam Regensburg ’18 will open at third base, but he can also play outfield so he might move around some this season. The core guys at the top have a shot at making this a scary offense once again.

Defensive Overview:

The Ephs defense was just about average in 2014. Their 49 errors, second least in the NESCAC a year ago, is a little misleading because they only played 29 games. For comparisons sake, Tufts played 43 games and made 52 errors. Roberts is moving from second base and replacing departed senior Kastner at shortstop. He had only four errors a year ago, but obviously shortstop is a much harder position to handle. Pierce did not have a single error last year, and he and Cloud will make a nice outfield duo. Phil McGovern ’15 brings experience at the catcher position.

Pitching Overview:

Pitching was unquestionably the major weakness for the Ephs a year ago, but they were actually better than their league worst 6.46 ERA would suggest. If you look only at conference games, the staff had a 3.95 ERA which was a middle of the pack mark. They will miss Steve Marino ’14, but Thomas Murphy ’15 has a chance to be a legitimate ace at the top of the rotation. He started five of their twelve NESCAC games and had a 2.84 ERA while also pitching three complete games. Behind him, Luke Rodino ’17 was solid his freshman year, and the sophomore should improve. Daniel Smith ’16 will get the first chance at the final weekend starting spot. His 9.98 ERA in 15.1 IP is obviously scary, but a 10.57 K/9 ratio indicates that he has the stuff to be a much better pitcher. As a group cutting down on the number of walks will be a key. That is sure to be a focus for new assistant coach, Tanner McIntrye,

Storylines to Watch:

1. In what direction is the program moving?

From 2006-2010, the Ephs finished first or tied for first in the NESCAC West every single year. In the four seasons since then, they have returned to the playoffs only once when they snuck in at 7-5 in the 2012 season. The emergence of Wesleyan and strength of Amherst has made the West a much tougher division, but there is certainly room for Williams to make some noise still. Manager Bill Barrale has been at the helm for eight seasons, and his first four were much more successful than his last four. Last season was a step in the right direction finishing above .500 in conference, and this season must continue that momentum.

2. Do they solve elite pitching?

While the offense was phenomenal for the most part last year, they scuffled against Amherst and Wesleyan. In those six games, the Ephs scored only 3.3 runs per game. In being swept by Wesleyan they managed only five runs in three games. For some reason their bats went cold for those games which was the worst possible time for them. Murphy should give the Ephs a good shot in the two games he pitches against Wesleyan and Amherst, and if the bats come alive then the Ephs can start thinking about breaking into the playoffs.

3. Is Daniel Smith ’16  the answer?

Finding a third consistent starter is huge for NESCAC teams. Teams usually throw their ace on Friday and keep their lesser starters for the Saturday doubleheader. At the very least having a third starter who can go five innings and keep you in the game before turning things over the bullpen is a necessity. As said above, Smith’s ERA from last year should come way down because of his ability to strikeout hitters. How far down it comes depends on whether he can keep the ball on the ground. A few other pitchers like Arnie Capute ’16 and Eddie Kelly ’15 could also end up starting in the rotation, but Williams would really like Smith to establish himself on their trip to Arizona.

Biggest Series: April 10-11 against Amherst

No question about this one. Not only is this a meeting of the arch-rivals, but a series win would be huge for Williams’ playoff hopes. While Wesleyan is a juggernaut, Amherst is an extremely talented but more vulnerable team. A year ago Williams won one of the three games. The Ephs play Wesleyan the weekend before, but this is the one that really matters.