The 2019 NAIA Lacrosse Semifinals saw both Aquinas and Reinhardt advance to the championship game on Saturday, May 11.
BONUS: Read our quarterfinals recap of the 2019 NAIA Lacrosse tournament here.
2019 NAIA Lacrosse Semifinals Recaps:
Aquinas 14, Indiana Tech 8
As predicted the face-off battle was a key component in this NAIA semifinal. Sam Werner went 17-for-24 with a beautiful Canadian left goal. Not only did Werner win the face-offs, he also committed only one turnover, his low for the tournament. When the Warrior offense finally got the ball they didn’t look comfortable. It wasn’t until late in the third in the semifinal that Tech would make a run scoring three unanswered bringing it to 9-7 after three quarters. The fourth quarter was all AQ as they continued to dominate on offense. The Warrior defense understandable paid special attention to Klinsky and Rogers, but all of that attention left a loft of back side cuts wide open. The All-American attack duo combined for eight goals and nine assists. The Saints advance to their first-ever national championship. The main takeaway for Aquinas? Take care of the ball (27 turnovers today) and you will have a shot at taking the NAIA title on your home field.
Reinhardt 12, Cumberlands 8
The Eagles came out looking like a two-time defending champion but the Patriots were able to weather the storm and the teams entered half-time of this NAIA semifinal tied at four. Reinhardt’s defense was very difficult to beat one on one but with pick plays and off-ball movement the Patriots were able to put up an impressive eight goals. Ultimately the offensive firepower from the Eagles would be too much as they were able to score 12 on a solid Cumberlands defensive unit. Reinhardt is now looking to three peat as champions this Sunday.
Looking Ahead To The Championship
In what is a rare case for the tournament, neither of these teams have played each other this year. On paper the teams are similar, with tall athletic defenders, strong goalie play, and offensive star power. In my opinion there will be two major themes: Who wins the face-off battle? Who limits the mistakes? Aquinas has been dominating at the dot all season but has been known to have some high turnover games. Reinhardt on the other hand, has a decent face-off unit but plays a clean game and really likes to possess on offense. If the Saints can limit those turnovers and continue the face-off play they will have a shot at their first-ever NAIA title. If Reinhardt can go at least 40 percent at the dot and make Aquinas uncomfortable in transition, they will continue their historic run and win their third straight NAIA championship.