NECC Observer

The student news website of Northern Essex Community College, Haverhill and Lawrence, Mass.

NECC Sport’s Preview Fall 2014

NECC baseball players pose with trophyCourtesy of NECC Newsroom

NECC’s baseball team did incredibly well last season.

The 2014-2015 sports year is ready to get underway in a couple of weeks at Northern Essex, and there is a lot of excitement surrounding the Knights this year.  

After great years by all of the Knights’ teams, including the men’s basketball (runner-up in the state tournament) and men’s baseball (6th place finish at the NJCAA World Series and two All-American honorees), the excitement around campus is greater than ever.  

This fall, baseball and softball will have a small season of practices and scrimmages to get prepared for the spring season.  In addition, women’s volleyball begins their season September 17 at Bunker Hill Community College, with the men’s and women’s basketball seasons following at the beginning of November.  

On August 19, 49 potential student athletes met with coaches and athletic director Sue MacAvoy for an orientation to the sports year.  

According to MacAvoy, topics covered in the meeting included eligibility, commitment, time management, and resources at NECC.  

To celebrate the opening of the sports year, the Observer is bringing readers a preview of each team, as well as information on the coaches and results from last season.  

Women’s Volleyball

There is plenty of excitement surrounding the volleyball team this year with many students interested in becoming Knights.  

The season is coming up quickly, with practice starting on Wednesday, September 3 and the first game two weeks later, a September 17 conference battle at Bunker Hill Community College.  

The Knights’ first home game comes September 24, another conference matchup against Holyoke Community College.  

The Knights will take part in several tournaments this season, including the NHTI tournament at New Hampshire Technical Institute in Concord, N.H. the weekend of September 26 through September 28, the Dig Pink tournament at Community College of Rhode Island in Providence, R.I. on Saturday, October 11, hosting the MCCAC tournament at Northern Essex on Saturday, October 18, and the NJCAA Regional tournament at Northern Essex on Saturday, October 25.

Players interested in joining the volleyball team should report to practice Friday, September 5 or see Sue MacAvoy in room D123 of the Sports and Fitness Center.

Women’s Basketball

After not being able to field a team last season due to lack of players, excitement is once again swirling around the Knights basketball team.  

Over the past year, head coach Brent Bass has been recruiting players from around the region, pushing the Knights’ philosophy of good basketball and a quality education.  His main goal is to see that his recruiting is taking effect.  

When asked about his recruiting efforts and the possibility of getting a full squad, coach Bass said, 

“There’s a ton of bodies out there, it’s just a matter of connecting with them and getting them to come out and play here.”

Bass went on to state that the message that he’s been giving to all his potential players is, 

“We’re not here just to play, this is a viable collegiate option for these players.”

This season looks to be a challenging one as the Knights look to get back into the competitive swing of things, with six of their first ten divisional games on the road, including one at perennial powerhouse Roxbury Community College.  

While a full season would have to be considered a successful one, the goal is still to put a competitive team out on the floor.  Once that is established, coach Bass is confident that he can build on that.

All players who are interested in joining the women’s basketball team should attend the meeting with coach Bass on Monday, September 15 at noon in room D129 of the Sports and Fitness Center. 

Softball

Entering their second season since reforming in early 2014, the Knights’ softball team is looking to make big improvements.  

Last season, the Knights fielded their first team in decades, and the results weren’t ideal.  

Despite their 0-8 record, however, the buzz has been getting louder around the building of the team.  

Every player on the 16-person roster in the spring was a freshman, meaning that there is an abundance of returning players to the team, as well as the new recruits from coach Robert Gillespie.  

This is the foundation coach Gillespie is building on, and the Knights look to make a real competitive leap this season.

The team will have a fall practice and scrimmage season to prepare for the upcoming spring season.  

Players who are interested in playing are urged to contact coach Robert Gillespie.

Coach Gillespie is very excited about the new year and is constantly looking for new players to join the team and help make a difference.  He is constantly networking, saying, “We can use as much publicity as we can get this year.”

Baseball

For the third time in three years, and the fourth time in the last eight, the Knights’ baseball team went to the NJCAA Division III World Series in Tyler, Texas.  

 After winning their first game in the tournament, they lost their next two, getting eliminated and finishing with a 21-14 record, good enough for sixth in the nation. 

 The buzz surrounding the team is as loud as ever, as the Knights look to make yet another trip to Texas next spring.  

In addition to their championship-level play, the Knights also had two All-Americans on their roster.  

Zack Beckwith received 2nd team All-American honors before graduating and transferring to UMass Boston, while Dan Peters received Academic All-American honors before graduating and transferring to Rivier College.

 The Knights will also be having a fall practice and scrimmage season to get ready for the upcoming season.  Information on scheduled games will be printed as it becomes available.

This season should prove to be an exciting one for all the Knights’ teams, with plenty of wins and celebrations in the near future. 

 Be sure to come out and support the Knights whenever possible and show your true team spirit.  Information on teams and schedules can be found at the athletic department’s new website,
athletics.necc.mass.edu.

Important correction: In the print version, the term “lady Knights” is used. The Observer has been informed that the women’s teams should be referred to has just, “the Knights,” and we have made the correction online accordingly. Edited Sept. 4.