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Junior College Report: April Madness Approaches

This is usually the point in the NJCAA season where teams have settled into their spots, and we can pretty much tell who is going to be around and competing in the latter stages of the season. I say usually because there have been plenty of surprises in the past, and 2019 is looking like it could hold a couple more twists and turns for us before it’s all said and done.

This week’s JCR contains: the new Top Ten Poll, recent scores, recaps from important games, next week’s big game schedule, and some chatter about the 2019 NJCAA season, and who is likely to make the playoffs play in mid-May! To see the JCR Mid-Season All Americans from last week, click here.

This is really where the beating heart of the NJCAA season begins, and it only gets more exciting from here on out.

NJCAA Top 10 Poll – 4/8/2019

# – Team (Record) – Poll points – 1st place votes – last poll rank

1– Nassau (9-1) – 60 – 6 – 1st
2 – Harford (7-1) – 54 – 0 – 2nd
3 – Onondaga (6-2) – 48 – 0 – 3rd
4 – Howard (7-2) – 42 – 0 – 4th
5 – Anne Arundel (4-5) – 31 – 0 – 5th
6 – Suffolk (4-2) – 27 – 0 – 8th
7 – Essex (6-2) – 25 – 0 – 6th
7 – Genesee (3-4) – 25 – 0 – 6th
9 – Mercer (5-5) – 12 – 0 – 9th
10 – Potomac State (5-2) – 4 – 0 – 10th

Others Receiving Votes: Hudson Valley (5-3) 1 point, Monroe (3-4) 1 point

2019 NJCAA Playoff Predictions

This year, six teams will make the NJCAA playoffs and compete for a national title. It’s a similar set up to last year, but if you’re not familiar with it, it can be a little confusing, so here is a recap:

There are four (4) NJCAA Regions that sponsor lacrosse. Regions 3, 15, 19, and 20. Each Region hosts a playoff, and each champion goes to the NJCAA playoffs. That gives us 4 playoff teams.

However, any Region which has two Districts within its membership gets an additional bid to the NJCAA playoffs. In 2018 and again in 2019, that is Region 3. This is the fifth playoff team.

The final spot is an at-large bid, given to the next best team that did not earn a Region bid, and this team is selected by the NJCAA Men’s Lacrosse Committee.

Now let’s get to the predictions!

Region 3 Winner – Onondaga – The Lazers slipped a little early on, but they definitely still look like the class of Region 3 right now. They’re gelling and looking like the old OCC, and that’s good news for a playoff push.

Region 15 Winner – Nassau – I love what Suffolk is doing this year, but NCC looks like the class of the NJCAA right now and they certainly look like the class of Region 3, so to go anywhere else for a Region Champ at this point would be silly. There are still games to be played, but Nassau is truly on fire.

Region 19 Winner – Mercer – For a first year team to be in the Top 10, and looking like their Region favorite is nothing short of amazing. As this Region grows and improves, it’s going to be an exciting place for NJCAA lacrosse.

Region 20 Winner – Harford – The Fighting Owls will have to win in the most competitive top to bottom Region in all of NJCAA men’s lacrosse, but they look like they can do it, and it’s going to help them long-term to get great playoff games, assuming they can win of course!

Region 3 Second Place – Genesee – The Cougars start slow, but they build up in amazing ways during the year, so I fully expect to see this group in the Region 3 title game, and then involved in the playoffs and making their end of season run.

At-Large Bid – Howard (or perhaps Suffolk!) – There is a lot of lacrosse left to be played, and I can’t rule out Essex or Anne Arundel here, but Howard looks like they are starting to peak and find their rhythm right now and if they can win out, they make a strong case. The other team I’m really thinking about here is Suffolk, and the Sharks can make their with out of Region games against Howard, Essex, and Harford. Beat Howard and Essex and Suffolk can earn that spot. Beat all three teams and Suffolk seems like a no-brainer to earn that single at-large bid.

Recent NJCAA Results/Recaps

Last week’s results were interesting and show a couple teams starting to make a late season push as they rack up some wins. Nothing too shocking happened, but there were plenty of quality contests.

Ocean 25, ASA 6
Essex 30, Finger Lakes 3
Brookdale 13, Delaware Tech 7
Mercer 29, Sussex 1
Hudson Valley 13, Herkimer 7
Howard 23, Anne Arundel 13
Tompkins Cortland 17, Mohawk Valley 2
Onondaga 34, Finger Lakes 4
Howard 12, Genesee 6
Harford 26, Anne Arundel 10
Ocean 12, Delaware Tech 7
Nassau 17, Army Prep 11
Essex 25, Potomac State 7
Monroe 16, Jefferson 7
Union 15, Finger Lakes 6
Monroe 22, Herkimer 5

Big Upcoming Games

Wednesday, April 10th
Mercer vs Union – New Jersey NJCAA lacrosse is really taking off, and this is a game that means a lot now, and it will only mean more in the future.
Onondaga vs Herkimer
Brookdale vs Ocean
Jefferson vs Finger Lakes
Hudson Valley vs Mohawk Valley
Harford vs Essex –
This is a huge in-region game for both teams, with Essex looking for a big win, and Harford looking to prove they’re the best in the South.

Saturday, April 13th
Genesee vs Finger Lakes
Essex vs Union
Anne Arundel vs Southern Maryland
Herkimer vs Tompkins Cortland
Potomac State v Mercer
Ocean vs Harford
Howard vs Nassau –
Nassau is looking to cement their spot at the top and a win over Howard is another step, but Howard needs a W too, so expect an all out battle.
Onondaga vs Monroe
Hudson Valley vs Jefferson

Sunday, April 14th
Potomac State vs Brookdale
Howard vs Suffolk

There is still plenty of time left for teams to make a move, and in the playoffs there can always be surprises, so while things may look settled, that is far from the case. Big games need to be won on the field, and we have a great number of contests left on the schedule. And THEN the playoffs start.

Here is to a strong finish, and a great rest of the month of April! Best of luck to everyone out there playing the game!