College Roundup: Williams women's soccer holding steady with No. 1 ranking

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It's been a very good first week for the Williams College women's soccer team. Not only did the Ephs pick up three wins, they maintained the top spot in the national Division III poll, and had a player win her first-ever NESCAC player of the week award.

The defending NCAA Division III national champions beat Hamilton, Trinity and Skidmore to start the season and are the No. 1 team in the latest United Soccer Coaches Division III poll.

Williams is followed in the top five by William Smith, Chicago, The College of New Jersey and Messiah. The only newcomer to the top five was William Smith, seventh the week before.

Williams is one of three NESCAC teams in the Top 25. Middlebury, also 3-0, is ranked ninth, up from 18th. Amherst, another 3-0 team, was not ranked in the preseason and is now 20th.

Williams and Middlebury are 1-2 in the first New England Division III poll. Amherst is fourth, Tufts is sixth and Connecticut College is ninth.

Springfield College is eighth in New England, and the 2-0-1 Pride are led by Pittsfield's Amanda Wright. The senior forward has four goals.

The Williams men, meanwhile, picked up their first win on Saturday and are seventh in New England.

Tufts is No. 1 in the region, followed by Amherst and Saint Joseph's (Maine).

The fourth NESCAC team in the top 10 is fourth-ranked Conn. College.

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The first NESCAC women's soccer player of the week is Williams' Sydney Jones.

The sophomore forward from Boca Raton, Fla., scored five of the eight goals scored by Williams in a week that included a 2-1 win over Hamilton, a 3-1 win over Trinity and a 3-0 win over Skidmore.

She scored the game-winning goal in the 65th minute against Hamilton, adding two goals against Trinity and two against Skidmore.

Jones already has scored as many goals as she did in all of Williams' 2017 national championship season.

Jones was not the only Williams athlete to be a NESCAC player of the week. Field hockey's Libby Dolan and cross country's Aidan Ryan, also received the honors.

Dolan, a senior forward from Barrington, R.I., scored four goals last week for Williams in a 2-0 week. She scored three goals in a 3-2 win over St. John Fisher and got the only goal in a 1-0 win over Trinity.

Williams is ranked 12th in the latest National Field Hockey Coaches Association Top 25. Seven NESCAC teams are in the Top 25, led by top-ranked Middlebury, No. 8 Tufts, 10th-ranked Bowdoin, 14th-ranked Trinity, No. 16 Hamilton and No. 19 Amherst.

Ryan earned the men's cross-country honor by finishing first in the Little Three Championships at Amherst. Running 6 kilometers, he posted a time of 19 minutes, 28 seconds.

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Last week, Pittsfield's Chad Shade won the New England Football Writers Division II-III Gold Helmet after running for 247 yards and six touchdowns. He only gained 116 yards and scored one touchdown in last week's 42-0 win over Kean University, but it was enough to boost Springfield College into the D3football.com Top 25.

The Pride were one of three new teams in this week's Top 25. Wisconsin-LaCrosse was 23rd, Franklin and Marshall 24th, and Springfield was 25th.

Springfield is one of three northeastern schools in the Top 25. Brockport (N.Y.) is ranked fourth and RPI is 21st.

Mount Union is a near-unanimous No. 1, followed by Mary Hardin-Baylor and St. Thomas.

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MCLA athletes were not named MASCAC players of the week, but one Trailblazer was named to the conference's honor roll in each sport MCLA competes in.

Garrett Derosia, a junior forward from Berlin, N.Y., scored a pair of goals in MCLA's 4-2 loss to Western Connecticut in the second game of the CIAO Soccer Classic last weekend.

In women's soccer both award winners were goalkeepers and both were trained in Berkshire County.

MCLA's Megan Richardson, a junior from Adams, was the player of the week. She registered 21 saves and a 0.50 goals-against average as MCLA beat St. Joseph (Conn.) 1-0, but lost to Sage 1-0.

The rookie of the week is former Lee standout Brianna Hawley. She had 13 saves for Westfield State in a 1-1 draw with the University of New England.

In cross country, Chris Gamble was named to the men's honor roll. The senior from Newtown, Conn., finished seventh at the Castleton (Vt.) Spartan Invitational, running the 8-kilometer course in 29 minutes, 30 seconds.

Julie Gambill, a junior from Winchendon, was named to the women's cross country honor roll. The Trailblazer runner was fifth at Castleton, running 5 kilometers in 23:21.

Sara LaFreniere, a junior outside hitter from Dalton, was named to the volleyball honor roll. LaFreniere, one of five Berkshire County players and four former Wahconah players on the MCLA squad, averaged 6.5 kills and 7.5 digs for the Trailblazers, who went 3-1 last week. She had 17 kills and 16 digs in straight-set wins over Castleton and Northern Vermont-Lyndon.

Laiken Cornwell-L'hote, Madison Benlein and LaFreniere's sister Kelsey, along with Lee's Ahna Schlaefer, are on the team.

Howard Herman can be reached at hherman@berkshireeagle.com, @howardherman on Twitter, or 413-496-6253.


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