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Wilson’s Wheelhouse: Weekend Edition

3 - Published May 1, 2010 by in College, International

The regular season is winding down for most of the college teams out there but NCAA conference tournaments are going on up and down the East Coast while NCAA teams in the Midwest, like the NCAC teams in Ohio, and the West, like Colorado College and Whittier, are hoping they’ve done enough to pick up a coveted invite to the dance.

MCLA conference champions are also being sorted out and invites to Denver will be tough to come by this year, what with the increased parity we’ve seen in 2010.

Johns Hopkins beat Towson and it wasn’t even close.  Towson was ridiculously overrated at #10 and Hopkins isn’t as bad as some seem to think but this win (coupled with a win over Loyola next weekend) could get them back in as a potential NCAA team.

If they lose to Loyola, they’re done.  If they win, they’re a maybe.  I think I like Hop to take this one (it’s a week away so don’t hold me to that) even though I think Loyola is a better team.  The Jays will just have more at stake, unless Loyola loses to Denver this weekend.  Then both teams will need the W quite a bit.  In that case, I’d take Loyola and their excellent goalie play.

The Patriot League Semis were on Friday featuring Bucknell vs. Army and Lafayette vs. Navy.  All 4 of these teams were capable of winning the Patriot and getting a ticket to the dance.  I can’t begin to guess who will take the championship between Army and Navy.

I got to see the Navy-Lfayette game on TV and both teams clearly wanted it but Navy played the game like it was going to battle.  I usually roll my eyes when I read this about any military institution’s athletic teams because it’s an overused expression and often not true, but when the Navy goalie is knocking guys over and the hits are almost vicious, it rings a little truer.  On a side note, the Patriot League may not be the best in the division, but it has solid depth and parity and the games are pretty good spectator-wise.

Cornell takes on Princeton on Saturday and this should be a great game.  Both teams have some weaknesses that can be exposed and they know each other pretty well.  I think both teams will put up at least 10 goals and I like Princeton to pull out the W.

In other Ivy League tilts, Harvard takes on Yale and while THE GAME is big when it’s football, lacrosse just isn’t the same story.  Sure, these schools are huge rivals and kids who go there mostly come from lacrosse playing prep schools but for some reason, it’s just not the same.  I like Yale in a big upset.  At this point, it’s pretty much all they have.

Syracuse travels to Notre Dame for the first time ever and ND is going to get whupped, even if ND’s goalie extraordinnaire, Scott Rodgers, has a huge game.  He would need to make 25 saves for ND to win and while he’s capable, Cuse’s shooters are just too good.

In D3 land, the NESCAC teams play a game on Friday and then the first round of the playoffs start Sunday.  Conn College will be the top seed and Wesleyan will be the 8th seed (1o team league – 2 teams don’t make the playoffs).  The interesting thing here is that these teams played Friday with Conn winning 7-5.  On Sunday the Cardinals head back to Conn to take on the Camels in what should be a great rematch only 2 days later.  Neat.

As a TOTAL alum homer, I will pick Wesleyan to knock off Conn on Sunday (even though they lost on Friday) and then they will go on to eventually take home the NESCAC Championship (next weekend) for the second consecutive year.  Sure, they’re the 8 seed and they lost a bunch of games by big margins but whatever, I can’t not pick the Red & Black… this is my only bias, all right?

A really big game that has almost no tangible importance, other than NCAA seeding, on Saturday is Denison-Stevenson.  Stevenson won the CAC last weekend and has already made the tournament.

Denison is most likely a lock for a Pool B bid to the NCAAs (Pool Bs go to schools that play in non-AQ conferences, like the NCAC, or are independents, like Whittier).  So since both teams are “in”, this game is about pride and regional supremacy.  Although Denison is good, I think Stevenson will show them what the top teams really look like and win comfortably.

RIT travels to Nazareth to take on the Golden Flyers and Naz should take this one although I expect it to be pretty tight.  RIT is a tough team but Naz has the guns to take this one.

On Sunday, the Centennial Conference champ will be determined and I just can’t see anyone but Gettysburg emerge with the AQ.  Haverford beat Dickinson and don’t get me wrong, Haverford is good, but not great and while Gburg has had some tight games this season, they will get it done when it counts.  The regular season game between these two was tight so expect a close one.

The MCLA world is going crazy right now with conference tournaments going on all across the country.  The PNCLL tournament Semis take place on Saturday and they’re looking to be some pretty competitve games although I like Oregon and Simon Fraser to emerge as victors.

If you want more info on the PNCLL Tournament, do we have a link for you!  You can check out PNCLLChamps.com for all of the coverage of the tournament.  The games will be broadcast online and the site looks pretty snazzy!  If you haven’t caught an MCLA game yet, these are some good ones to introduce you to the league.

The CCLA and GRLC tourneys are also going on but I think both Michigan and Lindenwood will pull out their respective AQs there although I expect each of them to have at least one tough game to get there.  Parity is here, my friends.

Both Chapman and Arizona State should make it to the Finals of the SLC and that game would be an awesome game to catch live.  If only I didn’t live 3000 miles away… oh well!  I think Arizona State can pull this one out even though I am a big believer in Chapman.

I’ll be out giving lacrosse lessons on Saturday and Sunday and the weather in NYC is supposed to be BE-autiful.  Can’t wait!  It’s going to be nice to get back outside and try to imitate net-ripping Hop attackman, Kyle Wharton.  A lefty can dream!

And now for the sweet, sweet lax photos I promised earlier…

While we’re getting ready for the most exciting part of our season, the action is just getting started down under on the opposite side of the planet.  Check out a couple of shots from the Wembley Lacrosse Club‘s first practices as well as a good shot from their initial game against the Subiaco Lacrosse Club.  Both of these teams are based out of the Perth, Australia suburbs.

I loved night practice at Floreat Oval when I played for Wembley in 2001.

Subiaco and Wembley go for the most literal 50/50 ball I've ever seen. Wembley won the game.

The Wembley goalie, Steve Stojkos, must really HATE yellow.

Thanks to Mick Waddell for the Pictures!  I snagged them from his facebook page and along with another amateur photog, Jake Cutler, also from Wembley, you can expect to see a lot of quality lax action from Perth this summer.  In other photo news, the Thumbspiracy creeps on and makes its way into the D3 ranks… say it ain’t so!

Is he thumbing the actual ball? No. Is he touching the plastic? Yes. Infraction.

Pretty sure everyone and their momma will admit this is thumbing the ball.

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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 connor@lacrosseallstars.com.

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