All of a sudden it was 10am on a Monday and I couldn’t decide what needed to be covered, and what could be left for later. So instead, I’m just going to cram it all in to one post, along with the rest of our awesome daily content. Daily content like MORE discussion on how the MLL can use Team Sponsorships to be bigger and better. The lax world is full of ideas… even if they are sometimes a little half baked!
Now on to the weekend’s lax action!
Maryland beat Duke in the ACC Finals. Only a lucky few got to see the game on TV, as it was broadcast on Fox College Sports, and no one gets that channel, but I was one of the lucky ones. And it turned out to be one a heck of a game! Duke came out dodging well and scoring early. They were on fire. Their poles were covering well and creating turnovers. Dan Wigrizer looked like a rock wall in net. It looked like the Dookies would run away with it, but MD kept winning face offs via Holmes, and then on O they were really working the ball around and sticking Gs.
As the UMD Defense tightened up, and Amato came to life in goal, Maryland picked it up all over the field and came out with the 11-9 win on the road. Grant Catalino showed up and was a threat to rip from a lot of angles. When he didn’t have shot, he either dodged effectively or moved the ball, and didn’t just catch and hold, like he does sometimes. This really kept Duke on their heels later in the game and forced them to slide more than they probably wanted to.
The grass surface allowed for a lot of bounce shots from both teams and later in the game, both goalies seemed to be guessing when players shot overhand. The unpredictable nature of the bounce shots off of the grass really kept the game exciting, and while I love turf for many reasons, grass is best for bouncers. And bouncers are good for lacrosse.
One thing that really stood out to me from this game is how clean it was. It seems like every time I’ve watched an ACC game this year, I’ve seen a lot of high hits, but that wasn’t the case on Sunday. There were a couple of times where Maryland players really laid Duke guys out, but it was always with the shoulder. See kids, it is possible to hit legally and effectively! Now stop making excuses for head shots.
Both of these teams made it abundantly clear that they plan on competing for a Championship come NCAA tourney time. Maryland has skill and depth all over the field and are finally playing to win, and not to not lose, like they seemed to do under Cottle. Duke is fully reloaded and have players who can score from up top, down low, off the dodge or feed and everywhere in between. They’re still young on O, but have some talent and experience on D to balance that out. They are clearly the best two teams in the ACC this year (although both UNC and UVA are very good) but both will face a tough road to Memorial Day, and potentially a rematch before then in earlier rounds, depending on seeding.
One of the more enjoyable moments came via twitter where Maryland fans were giving their Duke counterparts a hard time because of Duke’s “HS facility”, which is basically a grass field with some metal bleachers on one side. They lamented that the games weren’t being played at Byrd Stadium. How quickly Terp fans forget that Byrd has been a dirt pit all year. Would that really be better? Only if you’re biased a Terp!
UMass broke with tradition, switched to Warrior, and ditched their classic white helmets with maroon chin pieces and black face masks. I like the move from Harrow to Warrior. I like their new gloves. I DON’T like their maroon helmets. UMass was synonymous with white helmet, maroon jersey, black shorts. And now they’re not. What a shame.
Rutgers also got Warrior helmets and for some reason the SCARLET KNIGHTS got white helmets. Must have been opposite day at the Warrior Classic. Both Rutgers and UMass lost, to Cuse and Hofstra (video highlights) respectively.
Salisbury took down Stevenson in the CAC Championship game to garner an AQ to the NCAA Division III tournament. Stevenson will clearly be snapping up one of the Pool C bids for non-AQ teams from AQ conferences. For more on the disaster that is POOL B, read SwankLax’s post on what the NCAA should do to right the situation.
Also in D3 land, it looks like THREE teams could finish the season undefeated and in the top 20. Wittenberg has 3 games left, but doesn’t play anyone great. Colorado College has 2 games against D2 WILA teams and Whittier left on their schedule and hasn’t lost yet. Finally, RIT is sitting near the top of the polls and they haven’t dropped a game either. In men’s NCAA D2 action, there are no undefeated teams and in D1, only Notre Dame is flawless. In the MCLA D1 world, Michigan and Texas are also both still undefeated.
Easily the biggest MCLA game of the weekend was BYU taking down Colorado State 8-5 in Provo. I thought CSU might be able to go to Utah and come out with two wins for the weekend (they beat Utah on Friday 14-3), but BYU once again proved tough at home. I wonder how they’ll do in Denver when all these games are in neutral locations?
Colorado traveled to Boston and played BC at Harvard, where they won 9-8 in 2 OTs. I “watched” the game via twitter. Actually very exciting even though I was following along 140 characters at a time.
The NLL regular season is over. And now 8 of the 10 teams (sorry Philly and Edmonton!) will have a chance to compete for the ‘Ship. NLL Playoffs should be fun, and since Brandon Francis is suspended for 3 more games, maybe the Boston – Buffalo series won’t devolve into a boxing match from the get-go. After last weekend’s games, I really think the NLL has to take a look at fighting… 1 on 1 stuff is fine, and serves a purpose. But the thuggery, brawls, and constant cheap shots make the league look like a complete joke sometimes. It’s a fine line, hopefully the NLL is just aware that they are already walking on it.