Each week, one of our NAIA writers will give us a run down of which teams are on the rise and which teams took a step back. Take a look at this week’s stock report:
Condordia Lacrosse Soars – NAIA Weekly Stock Report
Concordia lacrosse was picked to finish seventh in this year’s WHAC preseason poll. Despite the preseason disrespect, the Cardinals are undefeated and coming off a top-10 victory over a fellow rising team in No. 8 Tennessee Wesleyan University. I asked Concordia men’s lacrosse head coach Ty McGuire what has contributed to the early season success.
“Simply put, it’s the balance of talent and a deeper understanding of our culture,” McGuire explained.
The program hasn’t lacked talent in the past, but there have been some holes. This 2021 team may not be the most talented version we’ve seen but is definitely the most balanced.
“We also have more real-game experience and leadership than ever before,” McGuire said. “Those guys are a steady presence who are guiding our young talent on how we play.”
Concordia has a very favorable schedule over the next few games and could race out to a 5-0 start if it can get by the trio of Lourdes (2-1), Mount Vernon Nazarene (2-4), and Michigan-Dearborn (0-0).
Ryan Barnes is probably the best player in KCAC history. Now in the beginning of his coaching journey, he is the man leading Clarke from the bottom of the KCAC to its first two-game KCAC win streak in program history. Offensively, Clarke is led by a 6-foot-6 attackmen with a cannon of a shot, Tucker Labelle. In the team’s upset win over Midland University, Tucker had four goals while fellow attackmen Nick Lindsay had five assists. If these two continue at this pace, Clarke should make the KCAC tournament this season.
AAC’s hopes of getting multiple teams in the national tournament
The preseason showed the AAC with three teams in the top 10 (No. 1 Reinhardt, No. 5 Cumberlands, No. 10 SCAD). Now, the list has been trimmed down to two (No. 1 Reinhardt and No. 8 TWU), with Tennessee Wesleyan suffering a loss to an unranked opponent this week. Reinhardt is as much of a sure thing as their is in the NAIA, but the AAC gets a bit more dicey after that. Cumberlands is currently sitting at 2-4 and finds itself outside of the top 10 for the first time since 2017. SCAD has yet to play a game this season and has steadily been dropping in the coaches poll due to this late start. The AAC needs TWU, Cumberlands, or SCAD to win both of their match ups between the three to give the AAC a legitimate second team in the national tournament.
Want More NAIA Content?
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Don’t forget to keep up with the stock reports throughout the season to mark the rise and fall of teams, leagues and narratives in 2021: