Springfield College Pride football preparing for NCAA Division III tournament
SPRINGFIELD, MA (WGGB/WSHM) - The NCAA Division III football tournament begins Saturday and Springfield College is once again one of the 32 teams on the road to that national championship. This time, they kick-off the first round on their home turf.
“I’m very excited. Obviously, this was our goal coming in and it’s even bigger now that we get to play at home this year,” said Springfield College linebacker DJ Brown.
Brown and his football teammates are hyped about this year’s bracket of 32 teams, with the hope of winning the national title. Coming off a 9-1 season and a third straight New England Women’s and Men’s Athletic Conference championship, head coach Mike Cerasuolo told Western Mass News that his team has lots of confidence.
“We don’t get too caught up in what the opponents are doing, how good they might be or whatever. We tell the kids every day we’re pretty good, too. That’s why we’re here,” Cerasuolo said.
This is the first time in program history the Pride has reached three straight NCAA tournaments. Last year, Springfield made it to the second round, but lost to the Ithaca College Bombers. This weekend, however, a rematch between the two programs will be in order and, this time, they will face off at Stagg Field.
“You don’t have to change routines too much and just have the home atmosphere with the crowd and the support of the community, the campus. I just think it’s an unbelievable experience for the kids,” Cerasuolo explained.
Brown had a pick-six last year against the Bombers in the Pride’s 31-20 loss. He hopes things are different this time around and believes the home crowd will give the team a boost.
“Having Ithaca come here instead of going there, it’s unreal. The group that we had since we were freshmen, this is what we’ve been waiting for the whole time,” Brown added.
Knowing this is the last tournament for Brown and other grad students and seniors, Cerasuolo wants them to take away the experience while also hunt for a victory.
“Obviously, they went through tumultuous times throughout their careers in and off the field, and overcame that, adapted throughout it and just kept attacking the day,” Cerasuolo noted. “I just think them being able to be together for another week is awesome because they have built something pretty special here.”
The winner of the game will take on either Christopher Newport or Randolph Macon in the second round next weekend. Kickoff between the Bombers and the Pride is scheduled for noon on Saturday.
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