So, if you haven’t been paying attention, Middlebury’s men’s basketball team is pretty amazing. After an incredible season, however, the team fell to Amherst 71-69 in the extremely thrilling NESCAC title game earlier today. For a full write-up of the game, check out the Middlebury Athletics page here. Congratulations, boys! And best of luck from MiddBlog as you enter the NCAA tournament!
Posts tagged ‘basketball’
It’s no secret that this season, the men’s basketball team was on the most impressive run that the program has ever seen. On March 18th, some dedicated fans drove down to Virginia to watch the game, while others crowded into McCullough, eyes glued to a projection of the live feed, as the Panthers took on St Thomas in the Final Four. The game was close throughout the first half, with neither team being able to secure a substantial lead. In the second half, St Thomas gained the largest advantage of the game at 40-32. Middlebury answered back with a flurry of points from the likes of Ryan Sharry, Jamal Davis, Jake Wolfin, and Andrew Locke. With less than six minutes left on the clock, the Panthers were holding a 7 point lead at 52-45.
Unfortunately, as the second half continued, St Thomas took advantage of some Middlebury misfortune, including two turnovers, and Wolfin fouling out. With less than a minute left, St Thomas had a 2 point lead, and possession of the ball. Davis came through, however, with a huge steal with 16 seconds left to play. 16 seconds proved to not be enough, and Middlebury’s impressive streak came to an end with a 59-57 loss. It’s easy to let a late season loss blur your vision of the rest of the season, but the truth of the matter is that this team is good. Each season, they are pushing the envelope, moving further and further through the NCAA bracket. This program is gaining strength and will only continue to improve as it matures in the success that it attains.
Over in Rochester, NY, the women’s hockey team was playing their semi final game against RIT. A scoreless first period made the first eight minutes of the second period a little bit of a shock for Middlebury. RIT scored three goals in that time, taking solid control of what was a tied game. The Panthers were able to get on the score board, and by midway through the final period, had cut the lead to one (3-2). The Panthers were unable to take advantage of a few power plays, and although outshooting RIT by 11 in the third period alone, were not able to get past RIT’s impressive goalie. The game finished at 5-2. This loss pushed them into the consolation game, where they played Gustavus Adolphus. Not letting the loss get to them, Middlebury left to question that they are one of the best teams in the country with a resounding 5-0 victory. The win earned them a 3rd place finish in the NCAA tournament.
In many repsects, today seemed like a sure sign that Spring was beginning: the snow decided to melt a little, a few bold patches of grass made an appearance around campus, and the lacrosse teams’ seasons started off (both teams beat Bates). Two teams, however, are refusing to let the winter end. This evening, both the Men’s Basketball team and the Women’s Hockey team found victories in their NCAA games, thus moving them further along in their respective brackets.
The Panthers beat Manhattanville at Kenyon Arena, with a 1-0 victory. The Women’s Hockey team has had an impressive season, boasting a 22-4-1 record, complete with a NESCAC Championship Title. Individually, Lexi Bloom and Madison Styrbicki were both named to the NESCAC First Team, while Julia Ireland received honors for the NESCAC Second Team. Moreover, Coach Bill Mandigo was the recipient of the NESCAC Coach of the Year Award. Coach Mandigo has 426 career wins to his name, making him the winningest women’s hockey coach in the history of women’s hockey. Needless to say, this star studded team has the potential to do very well in the semifinals, where they will challenge the strong team from RIT next week.
While the hockey team was being cheered on by the home crowd, the Men’s Basketball team was continuing their dominant season by beating St Mary’s 65-50. This is the first season that a Middlebury Men’s Basketball team has found its way into the Sweet 16 of the DIII NCAA tournament, making their winning streak all the more impressive. But their success in the NCAA tournament is no accident: they’ve had the season to back it up. The team’s record of 28-1 is a feat in and of itself. That, coupled with a NESCAC title, defensive player of the year Andrew Locke, NESCAC first team member Ryan Sharry, and Coach of the Year Jeff Brown, proves that this team is a force to be reckoned with. We’ll be cheering as they ride the momentum they’ve built, and travel to Virginia to take on St Thomas in the semifinals.
Yesterday saw seven of Middlebury’s winter sports teams competing around New England.
Among the victorious were Men’s and Women’s Hockey, and Women’s Squash. Unfortunately, Swimming and Diving, Men’s and Women’s Basketball, and Men’s Squash had more difficult weekends.
The most surprising loss came from the Men’s Basketball team. Up until yesterday, they had put together a perfect season, having won their first sixteen games. Fellow NESCAC school, Williams, proved to be enough to end this streak, winning 69-64. Losing, although obviously frustrating, could ultimately be a positive experience for this team. With losing comes the opportunity to learn. They get to look back on that game, to see what went wrong. This presents the opportunity for creativity within practice, as they try and eradicate mistakes. Without a little dose of reality, undefeated teams run the risk of becoming overconfident in their strategies. It’s better to lose a game now, than in the playoffs.
The most needed victory came for the Men’s Hockey team. This season has been a little bit of a roller coaster ride for this team, as they have struggled to put together a strong set of consecutive wins. Their record stands at 8-5-3, but beating Bowdoin 4-2 on the road is definitely a step in the right direction. Last year, the same two teams met late in the season, fighting for the NESCAC Championship (which Middlebury won). Bowdoin has always had a strong team, so beating them may be a sign of a strong second half of the season for the Panthers.
ESPN’s show E:60 will run a segment on the 50th anniversary of the tradition of bringing Butch Varno, a local man with cerebral palsy, to basketball and football games. Basketball players give him a ride to football games and football players perform the opposite favor.
Tune in to ESPN at 7 p.m. Tuesday night to watch the segment.
Update: You can watch the segment in its entirety here, and let me say these 12 minutes are absolutely worth your time.