Welcome to our first-round recap of the 2019 NAIA Lacrosse Playoffs. We’ve got analysis on each first-round game in addition to video highlights from the contests.
The first round of the 2019 NAIA Lacrosse Playoffs went mostly as planned, as we didn’t see a true upset happen. But, the playoffs aren’t over, and we could still see something magical happen in the later rounds.
Game 1: Aquinas 10, Lawrence Technological University 9
In what was billed as the WHAC rubber match, featuring the third matchup between these teams this year, we weren’t let down. In my tournament preview I mentioned the need for Aquinas to tighten up and take better care of the ball, which they were able to do for a majority of the game. A few late turnovers let LTU creep back in, but a big performance from freshmen goalie Clayton Boerigter along with a better defensive performance from the defense kept AQ in front. If the Saints want a shot in the second round they’re going to need to turn Sam Werner’s face off control into offensive possessions with improved wing play. He wins nearly every clamp, but that only converted to 13/22.
Post game interview with Aquinas Attackmen Joey Fitzgerald.
- What was unique about playing LTU for a third time this season?
“Playing them for a third time on our field as the away team in nationals was a big way for us to make it official who the better team was. Theres been a lot of noise surrounding this game and im glad we came out on top.”
- After missing nationals last year, what was it like to make it this year and to play at home?
“.Playing at home for nationals is super exciting for us. Being on our home field gives us that motivation to give our everything because we do not like losing at home”
- Biggest difference between today’s game and the WHAC semi’s?
“I’d say the biggest difference between this game and the WHAC semifinal was the way our defense handled their offense and the way we ran our offense. LTU has some quality offensive players and our coaches really game planned to stop what they usually do. Also we were a lot better disciplined in running our offensive system in this game. LTU’s defense likes to play physical and i think we handled that better this time around as well”
Game 2: Indiana Tech 9, Kaiser 7
I think Kaiser shocked everyone with their one on one defense. Anytime you hold Indiana Tech to less than 10 goals you should hold your head high. Unfortunately the Kaiser offense had a tough time against an aggressive and gritty Warrior defense. Playing a lot of man down defense makes it pretty hard to get the ball on offense. I think ITU had the looks they wanted but failed to convert a few of those open looks, moving forward they should be able to bury a few of those shots and display the offensive firepower we all know they have.
Game 3: Reinhardt 13, Madonna 7
Tale of two halves. First half started with a frantic pace with Reinhardt taking advantage of nearly every Crusader mistake and taking a 10-3 lead into the half. Madonna was able to slow down Reinhardt’s offense in the second half, but at the same time they were unable to get much going either as the pace of the game slow considerably. Gavin Banks and Bennett Jarrett combined for 9 of the 13 Eagle goals.
Game 4: Cumberlands 17, Benedictine 10
Who likes short shorts? The Patriots do. In a game where the Ravens looked like they were never really comfortable, the Patriots looked very comfortable, at times to comfortable. With an edge at faceoffs 19/31, shots 51-28, and groundballs 41-26, Cumberlands seemed to be the better team. Early in the fourth they had an offensive explosion that gave them a comfortable lead, before trading goals later in fourth on their way to a 17-10 win. UC came into the game with a bit of swagger and it was obvious that their guys knew how to handle the pressures of the national tournament.
Stay tuned as I’ll be releasing a second-round preview of the 2019 NAIA Lacrosse playoffs shortly. #NAIALAX