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Examining the Undefeated: Contender or Pretender?

7 - Published March 25, 2010 by in College

Introduction from Connor Wilson: In case you missed the announcement two weeks ago, LAS is always adding more and more high quality contributors to our ever-growing stable of thoroughbreds and this newest addition is no exception!  Swanklax is a well known force on the Laxpower forum poll and he always brings a sense of total honesty, candor and humor to his posts.

Swank will be picking some DIII games each week and I’ll be adding my picks to the posts as well.  Once again, take it away, Swank!

Tufts (3-0)
Sure, they have yet to play anyone with real stones, but they did thrash Amherst and Salve Regina before squeaking one out against NESCAC foe Colby. With the sheer number of goals this team is capable of amassing, they are a dangerous opponent for anyone. There is little question that the Jumbos are serious players this year.
Verdict: Contender

All-American DJ Hessler leads the charge for the Jumbos.

Denison (4-0)
The Big red confirmed our preseason expectations with their win over Haverford. Only two big regular season games remain for them (Stevenson and OWU), so we’ll have to be patient with this squad. A showdown of undefeated teams with Stevenson in their last game of the season would be epic and is certainly not out of the realm of possibility.
Verdict: Contender

Stevenson (7-0)
Duh.
Verdict: Contender

Gettysburg (8-0)
Do I even have to say it?
Verdict: Contender

Want to see Gburg in action?  Check out some highlights from their game with Cortland on lax.com.

Dickinson (8-0)
They survived a scare against Swarthmore and will really need to crank up the intensity as they pull Gettysburg today. As Roanoke will attest to, they are a strong group that could give the Bullets some trouble, though I think they exit the day at 8-1. More on that in a bit.
Verdict: Contender

RPI (5-0)
I am…less than sold. Having seen RIT play, their RIT victory doesn’t blow me out of the water. Throw in some formidable opponents down the stretch (Skidmore, Middlebury, St. Lawrence) and I think they will fold in the long run. Contenders in the Liberty? Maybe, but most likely a third or fourth place finish. Plus, they have the lamest nickname in DIII lacrosse. Pass.
Verdict: Pretender

Salisbury (8-0)
When in doubt, ask Cortland.
Verdict: Contender

Connecticut College (5-0)
One of the harder teams to call so far. They got a quality win over Trinity and have taken care of business since then, including a victory over NESCAC rival Amherst, who the Camels had not beaten since 2001. They will host Middlebury on Saturday in what should be a war on the banks of the Thames. With a strong defense and great goaltending, Conn is built to give good teams fits.
Verdict: Contender

Middlebury (4-0)
Just managed to knock off Washington & Lee last night by a final tally of 11-9. While that victory would have been more impressive a month ago, the Panthers will take it. They have surprised many, including myself, with their ability to bounce back from huge graduation losses last year.
Verdict: Contender

St. John Fisher (6-0)
I’m sorry E8 fans. Wait…no, no I’m not. I refuse to believe that this team, a team that went to OT with Lycoming (LYCOMING?!?!) is a real threat. Page me when they beat someone that matters (not Ithaca). Nazareth is tops in the E8, though I think we’ll get a solid look at how good SJF is when they play John Jay’s JV squad on Saturday as they will be the best opponent that the Cardinals have faced. Yawn.
Verdict: Pretender

St. John Fisher is an up and coming program. Are they "there" yet? We'll see.

Williams (3-0)
This team is about as dangerous as their nickname suggests, and purple cows only strike fear into the hearts of the lactose-intolerant. Even with Vrla playing well in goal, they don’t have the studs to carry them to anything more than a middle of the pack finish. Sure, they are better than expected, but that ain’t saying much.
Verdict: Pretender

Ursinus (6-0)
Child please. I award you no points and may god have mercy on your soul.

Verdict: Pretender

Hamilton (3-0)
Shoo, the NESCAC doesn’t want you next year.
Verdict: Pretender

Predictions Sure to Be Wrong

For those who read me on Laxpower, I’m 6-4 with NESCAC picks. If Bowdoin’s entire team wasn’t just as broken as Wesleyan’s zone, my numbers with be a lot better. There’s an important lesson here. When in doubt, blame someone else. Because of the absurd number of relevant games this week, I’m shortening up the previews. The picks, however, will continue ot be just as long and incorrect as usual.

Gettysburg @ Dickinson
After resisting the urge to make jokes about Dicks and Bullets penetrating (oops), I realized Roanoke hasn’t beaten anyone who matters except maybe Cabrini, who only kind of matters in the way that a second cousin is only kind of family and if you made a drunken pass at her it might be okay…but you just wish everyone would stop bringing it up at family reunions every summer. But I digress. What really matters is that I think Gettysburg is definitely a top 5 team, while Dickinson probably is more of a top 10-20 team.
The Pick: Gettysburg
Connor Wilson’s Pick: Gettysburg

Dickinson is making some serious noise at 8-0.

Nazareth @ Cortland
SUNYAC>E8. There, I said it. Now, guess who wins in a matchup of each conference’s top team…
The Pick: Cortland
Connor Wilson’s Pick: Cortland

Skidmore v. Tufts (at Hofstra University)
Skidmore is solid, but Tufts is an offensive juggernaut. Time for the Jumbos to pick up a quality win and time that the Liberty League lovers on Laxpower to make a few less posts on how awesome their boys are.
The Pick: Tufts
Connor Wilson’s Pick: Tufts

Williams @ Roanoke
This only gets mention because the Ephs are undefeated. If Roanoke loses, it will be a dark day in the ODAC. I expect a full on rout by the Maroons.
The Pick: Roanoke
Connor Wilson’s Pick: Williams (upset alert!)

Middlebury @Connecticut College
A battle of unbeatens in the NESCAC, as Conn pits its best squad in a long time against a Middlebury team that is not as good as in years pasts. Give me the Camels in an upset!
The Pick: Connecticut College
Connor Wilson’s Pick: Middlebury

Nazareth @ St. Lawrence
Naz may lose to Cortland, but they should have success against the Larries, especially with the sting of a loss to Cortland fresh in their minds. The E8 manages a rare victory over the Liberty League.
The Pick: Nazareth
Connor Wilson’s Pick: Nazareth

Roanoke @ Stevenson
Which one of these things is not like the other? One is a legitimate national Championship contender, the other lost to Dickinson. Any guesses folks?
The Pick: Stevenson
Connor Wilson’s Pick: Roanoke

Roanoke has a big loss but they're rolling right now.

Salisbury @ Gettysburg
I picked against Salisbury last time (my #1 team) and got burned. I’m not making that mistake twice, which means they will almost certainly lose to the Bullets. Still, I’ve learned my lesson.
The Pick: Salisbury
Connor Wilson’s Pick: Gettysburg

St. John Fisher @ John Jay (JV)
Too close to call, so I gotta go with the established program.
The Pick: John Jay (JV)
Connor Wilson’s Pick: St. John Fisher

Got DIII lacrosse questions or comments? Just want to make fun of me or berate me? Send your stuff to swanklax@gmail.com and include your name and town and/or state so I can use you in a mailbag column.

Up Next: How to turn your dumpy state school into a lacrosse powerhouse!
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