Wild Opening Weekend

Plus: Monitor to Oversee NJCU; MAC Gets Ice Hockey AQ; Cardinals Send a Message; Plays of the Weekend

SEPTEMBER 4, 2023 | written by STEVE ULRICH

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1. Four Top 10 Teams Fall On Opening Weekend

photo by Pat Deniger

You have a good sense that it’s going to be a crazy year in DIII football when four preseason top 10 teams go down to defeat on opening weekend.

The biggest shocker was No. 23 UW-River Falls easily dispatching No. 3 Mary Hardin-Baylor, 45-22. QB Kaleb Blaha threw for 260 yards and three scores and ran for two more TDs.

No. 6 Saint John’s scored 17 points in the final 8:51 to force overtime, then the Johnnies’ defense made a field goal stand up in a 34-31 victory against No. 6 Trinity (Texas). SJU QB Aaron Syverson threw four TD passes.

No. 18 Johns Hopkins toppled No. 9 Ithaca, 27-17, while No. 17 Cortland handled No. 10 Delaware Valley, 42-13.

The victory vaulted Saint John’s into the No. 4 position in this week’s D3football.com poll behind North Central, Mount Union and Wartburg. Despite the loss to SJU, the Tigers moved up to No. 5. UWRF leapt 14 spots into the top 10 at #9.


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2. State-Appointed Monitor to Oversee Troubled New Jersey City University

by Dana DiFilippo, New Jersey Monitor

“State officials have appointed a monitor to oversee all fiscal operations, budgeting, and staffing at New Jersey City University, just over a year after mounting mismanagement drove trustees to declare a financial emergency and replace top administrators there.

Henry J. Amoroso, an attorney and tenured associate professor of legal studies at Seton Hall University’s Stillman School of Business, will also develop a fiscal accountability plan within six months that sets benchmarks the university must meet and actions it must take to stabilize the school’s finances.”

» Court Awareness: “The appointment comes three months after the state comptroller issued a report that found former school President Sue Henderson and other administrators illicitly budgeted nearly $14 million in federal COVID-19 relief funds to fix a financial crisis and hid their mismanagement from trustees, who then allowed Henderson to resign with a $288,000 severance payment, a car, and a housing subsidy.”

» What They’re Saying: “By repairing the financial harm caused by bad actors, we stand to restore confidence in the education offered and, more importantly, ensure the institution can fulfill its mission to provide high-quality education to its current students and remain a credit to the wider community,” Amoroso said in a statement.”

3. MAC Gets AQ In 2024-25

“Middle Atlantic Conference (MAC) Executive Director Megan Morrison has announced that MAC men's and women's ice hockey will become an NCAA automatic qualifier (AQ) sport beginning in the 2024-25 season.

The MAC has sponsored men’s and women’s ice hockey as a championship sport since 2017-18, but the MAC was not eligible for an NCAA championship automatic berth with fewer than six institutions sponsoring the sports. In 2024-25, with the addition of Misericordia men’s ice hockey and Hood women’s ice hockey, under NCAA legislation, the MAC will be immediately eligible for automatic berths in the NCAA Division III Men's and Women's Ice Hockey Championships.”

» What’s Next: “MAC schools sponsoring ice hockey will separate from the United College Hockey Conference (UCHC)”

» What They’re Saying: “This is the next logical step in the growth of ice hockey in the Middle Atlantic region,” said Morrison. The UCHC has been a good home for MAC institutions sponsoring ice hockey and we hope to continue that partnership through mutual scheduling arrangements to support the growth of the sport even further.”

4. Cardinals Send A Message

Catholic University field hockey

There were some upsets that will shake up the top 10 when the newest rankings are released in soccer, field hockey and volleyball. Who had the biggest weekend of the year? That has to be Catholic field hockey, who toppled #3 Rowan and #11 TCNJ.

Soccer (M)

#1 Chicago t. #8 Gustavus Adolphus 2-2

#18 F&M d. #3 Stevens 2-1

#4 Mary Washington d. #7 Johns Hopkins 4-0

Ohio Northern d. #5 Kenyon 4-2

John Carroll d. #5 Kenyon 4-0

Rochester d. #10 Cortland 4-1

Women’s Soccer

Pomona-Pitzer d. #9 Trinity TX 2-1

Field Hockey

Catholic d. #3 Rowan 2-1

Catholic d. #11 TCNJ 2-1 (OT)

Volleyball (W)

#1 Juniata d. #9 Johns Hopkins 3-1

#15 UW-Oshkosh d. #2 Trinity TX 3-0

Ithaca d. #4 NYU 3-1

#11 Berry d. #8 Transylvania 3-1

5. What We’re Watching Today

It’s a Labor Day Monday and there is a limited schedule of action around DIII. Fire up that Roku, Apple TV or Amazon Fire device!

  • ⚽️ W: Berry vs. Emory, 1p | BoxCast

  • ⚽️ M: Hartwick vs. Oneonta, 2p | Sidearm

6. Lightning Round

🗞 News. Are there other Division III institutions that have their own branded beverages?

7. Comings and Goings

8. Plays of the Weekend

Here are the top plays that we were able to find online from the weekend. Make sure your plays can be found. Share them on Twitter with the #SCTop10 hashtag and/or #D3Plays.

Other Top Plays

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