I like a good MCLA Vs. NCAA match up, and I really love it when both teams bring their A-games even though the results are only about pride. Whittier hosted Chapman in a fantastic inter-association (National Collegiate Athletic Association and Men’s Collegiate Lacrosse Association) game and it came down the wire!
Chapman won the game 8-7 after being down 6-5, and it was clearly an intense battle from start to finish.
What to watch for in the highlights:
The Music – It’s gangster. Brings an extra level of badassitude to the game film.
:33 seconds in – most amazing open field split dodge ever. Chapman has some speed!
:44 seconds in – speedster Matt Walrath is chased down from behind. Whittier has some speed!
1:02 - did 33 really catch that? Awesome handle and ball movement by the Poets.
1:40 – you serious with that face dodge? Deadly serious.
2:07 – thought he’s rip it! So did Chapman. Kid looks like a beast.
2:14 – Walrath goal. High to high in close with a pole. Kid has a knack for scoring!
2:47 – possibly the greatest save of all time happens in 3 seconds. ALL OUT effort.
3:00 – Finalizer city.
3:30 – Game. Blouses. Chapman’s #3 notches what had to be goal #4 to win it 8-7. Woo!
I’ll skip all the rationale and get right to the point here… Chapman NEEDS to go NCAA D3 as soon as possible. It is clear that they can compete with up and coming teams from DIII right now, and with some additional school support, anything is possible.
I can understand how MCLA proponents and Chaptown Lax alumni might find the above idea offensive. Chapman has a great history in the MCLA , and every kid who plays there genuinely seems to love the experience as it is. But I’m not so sure that going DIII would change all that much for the players, other than the fact that they would be playing a very different schedule, at least for the most part.
And that is where the biggest problem regarding Chapman going D3 comes in. Being in California means long, tough road trips, and possibly, a limited number of overall games. However, by having both Whittier and Chapman within a reasonable distance of one another, more East Coast teams would be willing to make the trip to CA.
In fact, when more East Coast teams start to realize how good the recruiting base is in California, it would probably be hard to keep them away! They would want to come for the exposure. Of course, the weather wouldn’t hurt either. Spring break in LA? It’s better than Maine. Whittier and Chapman could even play each other TWICE each year in a home and away series to add to their schedule’s strength.
And if you look at Whittier as an example, there is NO reason Chapman couldn’t also play some MCLA teams. Whittier does it with Chapman, so Chapman could clearly continue to play UCSB, Cal Poly or even a team like Oregon. Maybe the next Connor Martin will see Chapman play and decide to go there? This could all still work.
At this point, you might be asking yourself, “why does he care so much about Chapman going D3? What does he have against the MCLA?” and it’s a fair question. I single out Chapman because they are a D3 school with a GREAT club team. They are located in an area that is seeing a continuous lacrosse explosion. And they are located relatively close to an existing D3 program.
Simply put, ONE team (Whittier) playing NCAA D3 lacrosse on the West Coast is not enough of a push for other schools to make the jump. But TWO schools, that can play each other, and develop (or re-develop in the Poets’ case) together could be JUST what is called for.
Once there are two teams out West, pushing each other to excel, more teams will follow.
As far as having something against the MCLA… I don’t. Not at all. I think it’s amazing that our community is so passionate about lacrosse that if it doesn’t exist, we create it on our own. But at this point, I think it’s time for Chapman to step up and fully support and fund their program, while making the jump the NCAA Division 3 level. It would be good for the game, good for D3, and it would make varsity college lacrosse even more accessible to 40 more kids per year in California.
The MCLA can succeed without the Panthers, but NCAA D3 lacrosse, especially on the West Coast, may actually need Chapman.
So what do YOU think? Does D3 West Coast lacrosse NEED Chapman? Should Chapman leave the MCLA for the NCAA?
Would the MCLA miss Chaptown? (Of course they would! But HOW?) Could Chapman be a Top 10 NCAA D3 team in the next 5 years?