Saturday will be a fitting punctuation to a spectacular winter sports season, as the Ephs are hosting NESCAC championship contests in four different sports: men’s and women’s ice hockey, men’s swimming and diving, and men’s basketball.  For those off-campus,  webcasts are available for all contests, which begin at 1:00 and last throughout the day.  The hoops webcasts are free.  Spring Street should really be buzzing, with fans from half of NESCAC (Hamilton, Bowdoin, Bates, Middlebury) in town for the team sport showdowns, not to mention fans and swimmers from all NESCAC schools for that championship battle.  If watching, be sure to comment here!

  • Men’s basketball faces off with Bates at 2:00, followed by Midd battling Colby at 4:00.  Williams struggled a bit with a precocious Wesleyan squad in first round action before dominating the second half behind a virtuoso performance by James Wang and a mind-blowing dunk from Troy Whittington.  (It really had to be seen to be believed, but basically, he gathered a lose ball a step past the foul line, took a few dribbles, took off from a few feet from the basket, and improbably slammed it home with authority while getting fouled hard … I’ve never seen a play like it in NESCAC).  Wang and Wesleyan frosh Sha Brown are the two quickest guards in NESCAC, and they should have some great battles over the next few years; both are scintillating players to watch.  The Ephs finished the year 5-0 vs. Little Three opponents.  Although Williams beat Bates by 30 points in January, it will likely not be as easy this time around, as Bates has been on a major roll of late, led by the emergence of frosh point guard Mark Brust.  Bates is a tough, physical, balanced team, but they don’t feature the same star-power as the Ephs.  The most impressive Bobcat is probably Junior Brian Ellis, a former NESCAC rookie of the year and Boston Super Teamer, but an incredible eight different players have led the Bobcats in scoring this season.  If second-ranked Williams topples Bates, they will most likely face number six Middlebury in a titanic Sunday showdown for NESCAC supremacy.  If Williams wins the NESCAC, they are almost guaranteed to host any NCAA games up until the Final Four (and even if they lose, they are still looking good).  The Ephs beat Midd a few weeks ago at Middlebury, but it wasn’t easy, and Midd was missing one of its star players (Ryan Sharry), who is now healthy.
  • Men’s Ice Hockey hosts Hamilton and the women host Bowdoin in first round NESCAC action.  Both Eph teams feature stellar goaltending, Ryan Purdy ’12 for the men and Sara Plunkett ’10 for the women.  Likely all-American Alex Smigelski ’10 continues to lead the Ephs and the NESCAC with 17 goals.  I am no hockey expert, so hopefully someone who is can chime in on the reinvigorated Williams ice hockey teams.
  • In other sports news, check out this great WaPo article on alum Michael Weiner, head of the baseball player’s union.
  • Be sure to check out this great story on Dylan Dethier’s journey around the country; he is playing a golf course in each of the 48 contiguous states.  Ahhh, to be young … Dylan’s blog is here, and the Sports Info story is here.  He’s clearly already been well schooled in Eph-dom from his father and brother, based on the inscription he requested from Bill Simmons at a book signing.
  • Three more articles / notes on future Eph athletes: Ryan McCourt, who will play football, Kathleen Elkins, who will play tennis, and golfer Georgiana Salant.
  • Update on pro soccer career of two-time NESCAC player of the year John Bolton ’06.
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