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Texas State Lone Star Alliance Photo: jzodaPhotography

Lone Star Alliance Roundup: We’re Talkin’ Playoffs

With nothing but the Lone Star Alliance playoffs left on the horizon, the games are so close you can smell them! Here’s how things are shaking out!

Editor’s Note: Let’s welcome Preston Ooi and his compadre, Zain Rehman, to the site. With the Lone Star Alliance playoffs coming up this weekend, the guys are dropping in to get us caught up on that sweet Southern lacrosse.

When you hear Texas, Oklahoma, Louisiana, or Arkansas, you think of football and not lacrosse, however the Lone Star Alliance, LSA for Short, of the MCLA is the blooming hub of college lacrosse in the south.


Below is a breakdown of how all of the LSA DI and DII teams are shaping up with playoffs on the horizon.

Division I

North

1. Southern Methodist University (5-0 Div./13-0 Overall): SMU is out for blood this season as their championship run was cut short last year with a 7-8 loss to LSA powerhouse Texas State in the semifinals of the LSA playoffs. Currently sitting at #21 in the national poll, this 44-man roster can definitely do some damage. SMU is a legit contender for the LSA Championship and beat UT 11-2 in the quarterfinals. They’ll play TAMU this Saturday in San Antonio.

2. University of Oklahoma (3-2 Div./6-5 Overall): OU’s only divisional losses were to nationally ranked SMU and TCU. Their season ended with a loss to TAMU 6-16 in the quarterfinals.

3. Texas Christian University (3-2 Div./6-7 Overall): Since they’ve had an up and down season (wins over TAMU and OU, but losses to Texas State by 1 and LSU by 8), it has been tough to get a definitive grasp on how talented the Horned Frogs actually are. Their season ended with a heartbreaking quarterfinal loss to LSU 10-11.

4. University of North Texas (3-2 Div./7-8 Overall): UNT finished off the regular season stronger than expected and jumped over Arkansas to make the playoffs. Their season ended with a loss to defending LSA DI Champs, Texas State 7-14 in the quarterfinals.

5. University of Arkansas (1-4 Div./5-6 Overall): Two of their wins were over North LSA DII team with the other three against lower tier DI teams. Look for them to make a run next year.

6. Texas Tech University (0-5 Div./ 2-7 Overall): With 3 LSA D1 games being canceled, TTU will finish winless in that category but can look to get some wins against DII TAMU-Galveston and Tarleton State. TTU hasn’t been completely dominated in any game they’ve played yet fell short each time. Some key changes will need to be made in the offseason if TTU wants to make a playoff run come next season.

South

Texas State LSA
Photo: JZodaPhotography

1. Texas State University (5-0 Div./10-2 Overall): After a rocky start to the season and some tough out of conference games, Texas State is finally proving to be the LSA powerhouse they’ve been in prior years. With their only 2 losses to Florida State and Liberty, which dropped them out of the national poll, Texas State finished undefeated in the South and, granted all the chips fall into place, will showdown against SMU in a North versus South joust for the LSA Championship and a bid to the MCLA National Tournament. They will be tested against LSU this Saturday.

2. Texas A&M (4-1 Div./10-5 Overall): All 3 of A&M’s losses have come at the hands of LSA DI opponents (TCU, SMU, and Texas State). With a relatively tough schedule of out of conference games, A&M has progressively been getting better and better and made the LSA tourney as the 2nd South seed, giving trouble to whomever they play. Their most difficult obstacle will be the undefeated Mustangs this Saturday.

3. Louisiana State University (3-2 Div./8-7 Overall): LSU fought off the Longhorns for the 3rd seed in the South. They also scheduled a lot of tough out of conference games, which have been a rollercoaster ride. LSU’s win over TCU has built up momentum to propel them deep into the LSA tourney. They will get Texas State this Saturday.

4. University of Texas (2-3 Div./5-8 Overall): UT hasn’t been the UT of recent years. This season, they have been playing well, but closing out games seems to be their issue. Their season ended with a 2-11 loss to SMU. Many of their players are returning next year though.

5. University of Houston (1-4 Div./2-8 Overall): Houston’s only win this season has been Baylor. UH finished the season with only 2 wins, the last one being over LSA DII Texas A&M-Corpus Christi.

6. Baylor University (0-5 Div./2-7 Overall): Last place in the LSA South, Baylor’s only two wins in the season have been against DII University of Texas-San Antonio and Tarleton State University. There are rumors circulating about the Bears dropping down to the DII level as Louisiana-Lafayette did this season. It wouldn’t be such a ridiculous scenario for them if they want to turn their program around.

Division II

North

1. St Gregory’s University (7-0 Div./9-4 Overall): Well organized and well coached, SGU clinched the 1st seed in the North and was the favorite to win the LSA championship. This is to be expected of the only scholarship program in the LSA as they have recruited seasoned players to support James Smith. They have played better competition than most of the LSA and have done well against National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) teams, which are comparable to NCAA II, as well as out of conference teams. They have decided to forego the LSA Tournament in order to play in the KCAC Tournament against other NAIA teams such as Ottawa, University of Saint Mary, and ranked Missouri Valley College.

2. University of Texas-Dallas (6-1 Div./10-1 Overall): A second year program just like SGU, UTD has the same core of starters from last year that includes players who started playing lacrosse in high school or college. Although without DII MVP Casey Glad, UTD’s more balanced team has been doing well against LSA teams. With St. Gregory’s decision to play in the KCAC Tournament, UTD became the 1st seed in the North. They beat the 4th seed DBU in the quarterfinals to advance to San Antonio this weekend to play UTSA. They’re an underdog in the battle for an LSA championship. Hopefully, they can build on this success in the LSA in the future by playing LSA DI teams and more out-of-conference games.

3. Oklahoma State University (5-2 Div./6-7 Overall): The 2015 LSA DII Champions came back this year playing several divisional games early in the season and won all, except against SGU. OSU has been courageous enough to venture out of conference to Missouri and Kansas in order to challenge themselves before finishing off the regular season with three divisional games. This is another second year program t1hat’s an underdog looking for a repeat championship. SFA forfeited to them in the quarterfinals, so they will be crossing divisions to play 1st seed in the South, ULL this Saturday in San Antonio.

4. Stephen F. Austin State University (4-3 Div./4-4 Overall): There is a stark contrast in level of play in the North starting with SFA that has lost to OSU 3-9 and UTD 6-22. That isn’t saying that they lack talent as returners Tanner Brown and Nathan Ochoa have carried the team against several LSA divisional opponents. They forfeited their playoff game against OSU, which will have negative repercussions.

5. Dallas Baptist University (3-4 Div./3-9 Overall): DBU ventured out of conference this year as well, but within the LSA, they have lost to the higher ranked North teams and have beaten the lower ranked ones. Lacrosse is a varsity sport at DBU, and they have the resources to build a competitive team in the future. They slid into the playoffs with SGU leaving, but lost handily to UTD in the quarterfinals to end their season. They have already been signing high school recruits, so keep an eye on them to keep on improving.

6. University of Tulsa (2-5 Div./2-6 Overall): TU’s only wins were against Tarleton State and Abilene Christian. Roster size isn’t a problem, so hopefully the club can recruit better and rally up for a run next season.

7. Tarleton State University (1-6 Div./2-11 Overall): Despite playing LSA DI teams, TSU’s only wins of the season were against Abilene Christian and University of the Incarnate Word. They have hung with the better teams, but just weren’t able to finish. TSU does have a couple of returning attackmen and middies that can play including Face Off Specialist, Kyle Michelsen, who’ll try and redeem the team next season.

8. Abilene Christian University (0-7 Div./0-8 Overall): ACU was the only LSA team to be winless this season. Something needs to be fixed before next season before they can think about making a playoff run.

South

1. University of Louisiana at Lafayette (7-0 Div./10-4 Overall): ULL is easily the number one seed in the South as every team in their division pales in comparison. Their past few seasons in the LSA DI have prepared them to be a top contender in the LSA DII, however they have yet to play one of the top teams. The playoffs will be their stage to shine. They are the current favorite to win it all with a deeper and more experienced squad, but they just need to get through a physical and gunning OSU team first.

2. University of Texas-San Antonio (5-2 Div./7-3 Overall): This is a team whose strength comes from the defense. They need to improve their 8.5-point average to contend with the LSA’s high-octane offenses. They face off against UTD this Saturday for a chance to move on to the championship.

3. Rice University (4-2 Div./4-3 Overall): There is a drop off in level of play between ULL and Rice, but that may be due to recent injury and illness plaguing the Rice team that was only able to field eleven players against UTD. They easily made the playoffs in the South but forfeited their game against UTSA.

4. Sam Houston State University (4-3 Div./6-5 Overall): SHSU fought hard to claim the 4th seed in the South with a strong attack unit, led by Matthew Mann and Brendon Ianiero. Unfortunately, they forfeited their quarterfinal game against ULL. This is the second year in a row that they have not been in the LSA Playoffs.

5. Texas A&M University-Galveston (4-3 Div./4-5 Overall): They were not able to make the playoffs because they have the same record as SHSU but lost to them. This was a team that started out 2-0 Div. against Rice and SEU, however they were not able to carry that momentum throughout the season. TAMUG did something right at the beginning of the season and need to replicate that in the future for success.

6. St. Edward’s University (2-4 Div./2-5 Overall: SEU started the season with a 10-12 loss against UTD giving many hopes that SEU had improved, however that was not the case. A ray of hope for the team is middie sniper Andrew Stingi, who leads the offense.

7. Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi (1-6 Div./1-7 Overall): The Islanders’ only win of the season was against the University of the Incarnate Word, and we can only hope that some recruitment and offseason changes will help bring better competition to the LSA DII.

8. University of the Incarnate Word (0-7 Div./1-8 Overall): Their lone victory was done in spectacular fashion with a triple overtime win over ACU. With only about 10,000 students at the school, it may be difficult to recruit, but all the best to UIW in the future.

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Who’s going to win it all?

As you can see, lacrosse is growing in the southern part of the United States with many new teams, so there’ll be a myriad of teams playing at different levels. In DI, it’s a toss up between SMU and Texas State, who have been or are nationally ranked programs.

Whichever team shows up to play will take the trophy home. With SGU playing in the KCAC, ULL is the favorite to win the DII Championship with UTD and OSU right on their tail, but anything can happen in the playoffs.

Let us know who you think will win it all in the comments down below!

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