Fall sports makes their mark in MASCAC conference
By Danielle Achin, Tyler Wahl
It was a busy and exciting time for Framingham State Athletics during the first few weeks of November this year.
The Rams Football team clinched the MASCAC conference title, the Volleyball team won their
championship game vs. Worcester State, and the Men’s and Women’s Soccer teams left it all on the field in their postseason matchups.
The action started at home when the Rams Volleyball team won their MASCAC quarterfinal game 3-0 against Salem State. Junior Emily Flaherty’s confidence after their first postseason win foreshadowed the team’s upcoming success.
Flaherty said, “We have so much heart and I think that’s what sets us apart in tough matches. I’m excited for the semifinal game and I know that everyone on the team wants it so badly. If we play with heart, everything will be fine.”
The Rams played with heart as Flaherty predicted and clinched a win in their semifinal game vs. Westfield State.
The explosive offensive combination of sophomore Valerie Sullivan and graduate student Morgan Failla also helped push the team into the MASCAC championship against Worcester State.
The Rams took the MASCAC title home with a 3-2 win over Worcester State, and headed into the first round of the NCAA Division III tournament.
Despite getting knocked out early in the NCAA tournament by RIT 3-0, the team still accomplished their goal of winning a MASCAC championship.
Several individual players were recognized by the MASCAC conference as well. Senior outside-hitter Brandee Thomas and junior middle-hitter Hailey Sanders landed themselves on the 2021 All-MASCAC First team, while Failla and Sullivan were selected for the All-MASCAC Second team.
The FSU Volleyball team finished the season with an overall record of 17-16 and an in-conference record of 5-2.
FSU’s Football team was also recognized for their achievements after closing their regular season 8-2 overall, and securing the MASCAC Championship title against Bridgewater State.
These accomplishments landed the Rams an automatic MASCAC bid to the 2021 NCAA Division III Football Championship where they will be facing Muhlenberg College in Allentown, Pennsylvania for the first round game.
Rams quarterback, Junior Nicolas Goffredo said, “The hardest obstacle we had to overcome was our head coach leaving us right before camp started. We had to get a new staR and head coach and put everything together last minute.
“We also overcame an 0-2 start. It didn’t look pretty and not too many people believed in us then ... but look at us now,” Goffredo said.
Head Coach Tom Kelley returned to the sideline for the 2021 season after the previous head coach unexpectedly retired from the position. Kelley guided his team to victory and earned his fourth MASCAC Coach of the Year honor.
For his efforts, GoRredo also earned the MVP Calder award and First-Year Quarterback award this 2021 season.
“That to me says everything to what I sacrifice to achieve these goals. I knew what I was capable of and it was only a matter of time before I got to show it,” Goffredo said.
Framingham’s Soccer teams also had a taste of some MASCAC action during their postseason runs earlier this month.
Women’s Soccer advanced to the MASCAC semifinal tournament game on Nov. 5 after their victory over Salem State in a penalty kick shootout.
The Rams battled throughout the semifinal game against Westfield State where they fell 3-0 to the Owls closing out their season.
Men’s Soccer also made it to the first title game of the MASCAC tournament after the Rams scored the game winning goal in the final minute of the second overtime against Bridgewater State. Leading them to the championship game for the third straight season.
The men ended their regular season with a 8-12-1 overall record.
The MASCAC championship game took place on Nov. 7 where the team was defeated by the Salem State Vikings by a score of 4-2, ultimately ending the Ram’s 2021 soccer season.
The Framingham State Cross Country team also saw their share of success this season, with sophomore runner Patrick Walsh clinching eighth place in the MASCAC championship 8K course.
Walsh finished with an astounding time of 27:55, but the success did not come without his fair share of struggles.
Walsh said, “My hardest hurdle coming back was definitely the long offseason due to COVID-19. Coming in as a freshman, I haven’t raced since high school before this year, so getting back into the swing of things was tough.”
The long offseason didn’t deter Walsh from his goal however, and the support around him helped push his athletic abilities even further.
“What got me through the season was all the positivity and support from my teammates and coaches. Since we are a small team, that kept us close-knit which was great for morale and chemistry,” he added.
Morale and chemistry seemed to be the story throughout every fall sport this season. Great teamwork, stellar coaching, and positive attitudes helped bring multiple championships and accolades to the FSU Athletics program.