Western New England University sports teams release schedules


June 26, 2013
SPRINGFIELD – The Western New England University football team will play three new opponents, including crosstown rival Springfield College, to highlight the 2013 schedule, which was released today by head coach Keith Emery.

The Golden Bears kick-off their 33rd NCAA season on Sept. 7 against Springfield College of the Liberty League, marking the first-ever meeting between schools separated by a mere 2-1/2 miles.

The Pride are coming off an 8-3 season, including a 31-8 ECAC Northeast Bowl victory over Alfred to end on a five-game winning streak. Springfield will look to occupy the clock with its triple-option offense, ranking second in NCAA Division III rushing offense a year ago. Western New England (WNE) will seek to improve to 7-2 in home openers at Golden Bear Stadium during the Emery era. Western New England and SC have signed a scheduling agreement that will see the City rivals play each other in each of the next four seasons.

Western New England will vie for its fourth-straight Presidents Cup trophy against Westfield State on Sept. 14 when the Golden Bears make the short 14-mile trip down U.S. Interstate 90.

A 35-10 victory last season helped give the Owls (3-7) their first losing season since 2006. Special teams play was a bright spot, however, for Westfield State, which finished first in the New England Football Conference in punt returns and second in kickoff coverage.

Due to NEFC realignment following the 2012 season, a Sept. 28 home date versus Maine Maritime will serve as the conference opener for the Golden Bears, who will be coming off an idle week from the previous Saturday.

In their last meeting against the Mariners on Nov. 20, 2010, WNE set school records for points in a game (66) and total yards (686) as the squad posted a 66-41 victory at Golden Bear Stadium for its first-ever postseason win. Maine Maritime has been one of the best rushing teams in NCAA Division III in recent years, and will be coming off a season in which it finished 26th in the nation last fall.

WNE begins the month of October with the first of two road games at the U.S. Coast Guard Academy – the second of three new opponents this season – on Oct. 5 in the NEFC road opener.

Coast Guard is a disciplined squad after ranking among the top 10 least-penalized programs in the NCAA a year ago. Coast Guard typically likes to spread the ball out on offense, mostly via the pass, evidenced by getting 74 percent of its total yards through the air.

The Golden Bears will be seeking their fourth win in the last five meetings at Salve Regina on Oct. 12. The Seahawks are coming off a strong 2012 campaign in which they reached the NEFC championship game and broke school season records for points scored, all-purpose yards and passing touchdowns. Employing a strong defensive effort to reach the top spot in the division, Salve ranked nationally in tackles for loss, takeaways, total defense and scoring defense.

Union College, on Oct. 19, begins a three-game homestand for the Golden Bears, who will be facing the Dutchmen of the Liberty League for the first time. Union has recorded back-to-back 6-4 campaigns in 2011-12. Over the past four seasons, Union has won two conference championships and an Eastern College Athletic Conference title. In 2012, Union used a very balanced offensive attack by rushing for 196 yards per game and passing for 195.

When the Massachusetts Institute of Technology invades Golden Bear Stadium on Oct. 26, the Golden Bears will seek to extend a five-game winning streak against the Engineers. MIT returns the majority of its starters, including the starting quarterback, running back and wide receivers, as part of an offense putting up almost 400 yards per game.

On the defensive side of the ball, the Engineers also return their top six tacklers. In 2012, the Engineers were the least penalized team in the nation.

The home finale will be Nov. 2 versus Curry, which returns a number of offensive threats, including its starting quarterback, running back and second-leading receiver, from its 6-4 overall and 5-2 NEFC-team a year ago. Curry finished first in the division and fourth in the NEFC in both passing offense and total offense.

In addition, the Colonels possess an aggressive style of defense. The Golden Bears will seek to bounce back from a tough, last-second 35-32 loss last October, which would make three wins in four games against Curry.

For the second straight season, WNE will travel to Beverly to take on Endicott on Nov. 9. Endicott finished in second place in the 2012 NEFC Boyd Division standings, ending the season on a seven-game win streak. The Gulls were ranked ninth in the nation and first in the conference in scoring offense.

They also finished second in the conference (first in the division) in total offense. Despite a wild 50-45 loss, WNE's offense set season highs in rushing yards (256), passing yards (323) and total yards (579).

WNE wraps up the regular season on Nov. 16 at Nichols, as the series returns to a familiar spot on the schedule. Prior to 2010, the Nichols-WNE game had signaled the end of the regular season. The Golden Bears have won six-straight meetings. Nichols last season was fifth in the conference in both passing offense (second in the division) and passing defense (third in the division). In 2012, WNE delivered a 44-20 loss on the Bison during their Homecoming weekend.

League members will play a round-robin schedule format and the NEFC champion will receive an automatic bid to the NCAA Division III Championship.

Women's soccer

Women's soccer coach Ron Dias has announced the Golden Bears' 19-game schedule for the 2013 season, which will begin in Bangor, Maine.

The Golden Bears return the bulk of their young squad that finished 8-11-1 overall last season, which included six one-goal losses.

"We are looking forward to a successful season this fall, because we have a strong nucleus of young talent that saw considerable playing time a year ago," Dias said, who enters his 20th season at the WNE helm. "We're still young but we have more experience, and have a good leadership group in our two seniors, captain Amanda Waluszko and Dana Patrick, plus junior co-captain Avery Clark."

WNE hits the road for the season opening 9th annual Eagle Classic hosted by Husson University on Aug. 31, and Sept. 1. Last season, the Golden Bears outscored Maine Maritime and Husson by a 7-1 combined score to win the mythical championship.

The Golden Bears, which will play nine home games at Suprenant Field, entertain non-conference foes Western Connecticut of the Little East Conference and Southern Vermont from the New England Collegiate Conference on Sept. 5, and Sept. 7, respectively, for a brief two-game homestand.

The Commonwealth Coast Conference docket gets under way on Sept. 14, when WNE travels to Wenham to take on regular-season champion Gordon for a noon start time. After a non-conference home date against Mount Holyoke three days later, the Golden Bears remain on the CCC road circuit to play University of New England in Biddeford, Maine, on Sept. 21.

WNE's CCC home opener is scheduled for the following Saturday against Nichols, beginning at 1:30 p.m.

Other non-conference opponents include crosstown rival Springfield (Sept. 10) at Irv Schmid Sports Complex, Elms (Sept. 24) on the road, Wellesley (Oct. 1) at home, Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts (Oct. 9), also at Suprenant Field, and on the road versus the University of Massachusetts (UMass) Boston (Oct. 16).

The regular-season finale will be played at home on Oct. 30 against defending CCC champion Roger Williams at 3 p.m.

The CCC Tournament will be held on Nov. 2, with the quarterfinals, then on Nov. 5, for the semifinal round, and culminating with the championship contest on Nov. 9. The winner gains the conference's automatic bid to the NCAA Division III Tournament.

WNE kicks off its 30th season with the start of training camp in August.

Field hockey

The field hockey program has released its schedule for the 2013 season on June 21.

Half of the Golden Bears' 18-game docket will be played at home at Golden Bear Stadium, including the Aug. 31 season opener against Keene State of the Little East Conference. WNE remains home for a non-conference match-up with Westfield State four days later.

The Elms College campus in nearby Chicopee will be the site of WNE's first road game on Sept. 12. A date at Mount Holyoke two days later marks the end of a four-game stretch against non-conference opponents.

WNE will face off versus Commonwealth Coast Conference competition for the first time on Sept. 18 at home against Salve Regina.

After two conference road contests at University of New England and Gordon on Sep 21 and Sept. 24, respectively, WNE returns to Golden Bear Stadium for the first of two three-game homestands. Non-conference foe Clark (Sept. 26) from the New England Women's and Men's Athletic Conference, and CCC opponents Nichols (Sept. 28) and Roger Williams (Oct. 2) are included in that first wave to invade Springfield.

Following road dates at Salve Regina on Oct. 8, in a conference game and at NEWMAC-affiliated Smith on Oct. 10, WNE will host three CCC home games in a row including defending champion Endicott (Oct. 12), Gordon (Oct. 16) and UNE (Oct. 19).

The Golden Bears close out the regular season with three consecutive CCC road games at Nichols (Oct. 22), Roger Williams (Oct. 25) and Endicott (Nov. 2).

Cross country

Fourteen-year head coach Brian Walsh announced the 2013 men and women's cross country schedules on June 25.

The Golden Bears will line up on the starting line for the first time on Aug. 31, when they host Anna Maria in a dual meet.

WNE will participate in road meets at Smith College, UMass Dartmouth, Gordon College and Westfield State University over the next six weeks before returning to its home course for the popular Golden Bears Invitational on Oct. 19. Last season, 44 men and women's teams participated in the annual event.

The regular season culminates on Nov. 2, for the Commonwealth Coast Conference Championships, which will take place in Biddeford, by the University of New England.




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