While the Williams and MCLA basketball teams have put the gear away for the season, three teams with Berkshire County representation will begin their quest for an NCAA Division III championship.
The Southern Vermont men have Brandon Casella of Pittsfield on the team. On the women's side, Westfield State has Williamstown's Lucy Barrett and Pittsfield's Lauren Carnevale on the roster, while Jill Ritrosky plays for Eastern Connecticut.
Casella and the Mountaineers, who finished with a 24-3 record and a New England Collegiate Conference tournament championship, will open in a sectional against Tufts (20-6) in Medford. The winner of that game will play the winner of the game between Franklin & Marshall (22-5) and Skidmore (18-8).
Westfield State (20-7) is the MASCAC women's champion, and will open its tourney run against NESCAC at-large team Bowdoin (20-6) in Brunswick, Maine. The other game features New York University (18-7) and Lehman (20-7). That's a battle of two New York City schools.
Eastern Connecticut (22-6), a repeat Little East Conference tournament champion, will play NESCAC champion Amherst (26-1) in a first-round game at Glassboro, N.J. Rowan (22-5) is hosting the sectional because the Amherst men are hosting their four-team sectional. Rowan will play SUNY-New Paltz (21-6).
Eastern senior forward Ritrosky led all players with 20 points Saturday en route to tournament MVP honors as Eastern beat UMass-Boston 64-56. Ritrosky had 17 points and 14 rebounds in the 67-51 win over No. 5 Masachusetts Dartmouth in the semifinal round.
The brackets for the NCAA Tournament came out Monday and as a conference NESCAC did pretty well. Seven teams, four men's teams, qualified for the tournament.
Two of the four teams, Amherst and Tufts, earned the right to host the first and second rounds. Trinity and conference tourney champion Middlebury are on the road. Trinity (19-7) plays Johnson & Wales (26-2) in the first round while MASCAC champion Fitchburg State (18-9) plays host Plattsburgh (21-5).
Middlebury (17-10) plays Salisbury (21-6) in a sectional at Richard Stockton in New Jersey, as the hosts (21-6) play Keene State (18-10). Amherst, Trinity and Tufts are all in one quarter of the bracket, while Middlebury is on the other side.
The Amherst women won the NESCAC title over Tufts, but because the men are home, are on the road. It's the same thing for the Jumbos, who travel to Biddeford, Maine as the University of New England is the host. Tufts (23-3) will play Regis (24-3), while UNE plays Moravian (19-7).
The only NESCAC team to host on the women's side is at-large Bowdoin.
Amherst and Bowdoin could meet in a regional final, while Tufts is on the other side of the bracket.
Contact Howard Herman at 413-496-6253.