If you love lacrosse, I really hope you have access to cable television and a DVR this weekend. On Friday night we got to see ASU-Simon Fraser and then Michigan-Chapman on Fox College Sports. ASU dominated SFU from start to finish and won 19-9 behind the efforts of the 3 Westfall brothers (as well as the rest of the team, obviously). ASU used their size advantage in the midfield to create mismatches and generate quality looks.
Michigan barely beat Chapman 12-10 even though they lead early and never gave up the lead. Michigan started off the game going up 4-1 and was able to maintain that advantage for much of the contest. Kevin Zorovich was excellent at the f/o square and Chapman eventually seemed content to let him win the clamp and then fight for the GB, which did work out for them nicely a couple of times.
The final should be great and right now I’m thinking Michigan has a slight advantage mentally. They played a tough game against Chapman and they know it will be even tougher in the Finals. ASU, on the other hand, dominated Fraser from the get go and playing a tough game after a romp can be quite a challenge. I’m going to stick with ASU to win it all though as they’re playing really good lacrosse right now and don’t seem overly confident.
The Finals will be televised on Fox College Sports at 8:30pm on Saturday night. Right before the MCLA Div. 1 Final, the MCLA Div 2 Final will take place at 6pm and it will also be broadcast on FCS.
Over on the NCAA side of things, Denver travels to Stony Brook out on Long Island for a first round match-up. I like Denver to take this one but I expect Stony Brook will put up a really good fight and they shouldn’t be underestimated, especially not at home.
Hofstra travels from Long Island to take on Marlyand and if Grant Catalino lets the offense come to him instead of forcing things, the Terps will roll. Their D and goaltending are more than capable of containing the Hofstra O and when the Terp O is clicking, it’s a dangerous unit.
Johns Hopkins, probably the last at-large team in, heads to Duke and although the Blue Jays have been playing really well as of late, the Blue Devils may just have too many options. Ned Crotty can take over the game against a team like the Hop so I expect Duke to win by at least 4 or 5 goals.
Loyola‘s rough road continues as they head to Upstate NY to take on Cornell. Loyola has lost two games in a row and they were both big ones: Denver to lose the ECAC AQ and then Hopkins to end the season. Cornell on the other hand has really stepped up and is playing some great lacrosse right now. Attackman Rob Pannell will try to dictate play for Cornell so Steve Dircks and the Loyola D need to impose their will for Loyola to have a chance.
Mount St. Mary‘s travels to Virginia and this one was over before it started. Weirder things have happened but the Cavaliers will take it home.
The D2 NCAA Semifinals take place next weekend so that division is off for now.
The Division 3 play-in games took place on Wednesday so we’re down to 16 teams. Cabrini out of PA takes on Stevenson down in Maryland, and although Stevenson was the number one team for much of the season, Cabrini, as evidenced by their win over Denison last Wednesday, is dangerous. They’ve got one heck of a player in Casey Grugan at attack but he’ll need to play the game of the century for them to win. Stevenson by 5+.
Endicott takes on in-state Massachusetts rival Tufts and the Jumbos are fling high as they just won their first ever NESCAC Championship. Considering before this year only Middlebury, Williams and Wesleyan had won NESCAC Championships (and Williams and Wesleyan’s only titles came in the last two years!), this is a big accomplishment and means the team is for real. Endicott won their conference as well but it’s simply not as big of a deal. Tufts only glaring problems are that they have lapses at times and let teams back in. At times they also struggle in net. The scary thing is that they’re still good enough to win almost all the time.
Haveford also won their conference, the Centennial, and that is a huge accomplishment for their program. Unfortunately, they still have to travel to Dickinson, whom they bested in the Centennial Conf. Semis. This game will be a battle and total toss up. I like Haverford but that’s just a gut call. 1 goal game in either direction.
Keene State (NH) heads across Vermont and into Upstate NY to take on Cortland State. Keene plays hard and they have some talented, athletic kids but Cortland is a next tier type of team and they should win convincingly. They have depth all over the field, great coaching and they simply know how to get it done.
Middlebury was the third NESCAC team to make the dance and they head to Rensselaer in NY for the round of 16. Midd took this match-up earlier in the season but both of these teams are different than they were then. Midd’s D has really been stepping up and players with potential are starting to really exhibit their skills. With Jake Deane in goal, Midd is looking good in the NCAAs once again.
RIT heads to Conn College and this will be a great game for sure. RIT has talent (thanks to ex-coach Gene Peluso) but first year coach, Jake Coon, is also adding something to the mix. RIT has had some ups and downs and right now they’re on a definite up swing coming off an E8 Championship. Conn College got bounced from the first round of the NESCACs by Wesleyan and they’re looking to do something this season and this is their last chance.
Roanoke won the ODAC and were ranked as high as 4 or 5 this year but they travel to Gettysburg to take on the Bullets. Roanoke has an offense that can score with the best of them and Gettysburg is very well balanced. I like Gburg to take it by a couple in a lower scoring affair than Noke would prefer.
Springfield continues their Southern trip as they take on Salisbury and while Springfield is a good team, they will be lucky just to hang with the Gulls. Salisbury is really playing well late in the year and is back to form. They have players and scorers all over the field and play hard-nosed but sophisticated lacrosse. It’s a pretty thing to watch!
Overall, it is a great weekend to DVR the D1 NCAA and MCLA games (and the D2 MCLA championship game!), watch some of the D3 games on the trust laptop and inundate yourself with as much lacrosse as possible. Or you go hit the wall and then come back here later this week and I’ll tell you all about it. I’m going to hit the wall right now myself. I love traditional.
About the Author: Connor is a life-long lacrosse player who doesn’t know when to give up on the game. He played and coached at Wesleyan University and now plays for the Southampton LC in NYC. Connor lives with his fiance in Brooklyn and thanks her for allowing him to keep the dream alive.
Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.