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Wilson’s Wheelhouse: BIG Weekend Edition

Pretty much every weekend from here on out is a BIG weekend in terms of high-quality lacrosse games.  A lot of teams have already qualified for their national tournament, whether it be through an automatic qualification (Like Denver or Arizona State) or an obvious at-large bid (like Syracuse, Chapman or Gettysburg).

There are still a number of teams duking it out for an invite to the dance and we’ll fill you in on most of that right here!  The MCLA brackets are settled (more on that later) so let’s start off with the big boys of the D1 lax universe.

Loyola lost to Denver last week and therefore lost out on the AQ.  They are still a very strong team and should make the NCAAs but they are going to have to prove their worth against a hungry Johns Hopkins squad that shouldn’t get considered for the tournament without a win here.  I like Steve Dircks and the rest of the Loyola D to get it back together and sneak by the Hop.

Both UNC and Maryland are locks for the D1 tourney.  They play Ohio State and Colgate respectively, where you can expect to see some younger guys and lots of Seniors play considerably more than they normally might.  Some star players could be on the bench by the second quarter in these two games.

The Ivy Finals take place Sunday and the Semis are going on Friday night (which is when this post was being written).  Any of the 4 teams could take it all with Yale and Brown considered to be the underdogs.  Both Cornell and Princeton could make the NCAAs without winning the AQ but nothing is guaranteed so you can bet the action will be of the highest caliber this weekend in the Ivy world.

Villanova takes on Georgetown and whichever team wins will probably get the invite.  I don’t know that either of these teams is a real contender so this game isn’t really a big one even though an NCAA birth is on the line.  Nova is probably the better team but I think Georgetown will pull it out.  I don’t really know why but I think the pressure is on and the Hoyas will finally react appropriately.

In D3 lacrosse, two Upstate NY leagues, the Empire 8 (which has 9 teams, go figure!) and the Liberty are holding their playoffs this weekend.  The Semis were Friday afternoon and RPI and Skidmore emerged as the winners in the Liberty.  I think RPI will take the AQ with a 3 goal margin of victory but Skidmore can get hot and their zone defense can be frustrating when it’s clicking.

In the E8, RIT and Ithaca knocked of Nazareth and St. John Fisher to advance to the finals.  Ithaca beating St. John Fisher should end the playoff hopes for St. JF as they don’t seem to deserve an at-large bid.  I like RIT to take the Championship here.

In the best conference anywhere… ever… of all time, the NESCAC Semis take place Saturday at Tufts‘ home field in Medford, MA.  Tufts is the #2 seed (top seed remaining) and they take on the #8 seed, Wesleyan.  Last week Wesleyan became the first 8 seed to ever win against a 1 seed in ANY NESCAC tourney ever, in ANY sport.  Pretty cool and I’m saying they’ll keep it going on Saturday.

On the other side of the bracket, Bowdoin and Middlebury will tango and this Midd team is the most balanced, non-star power reliant Midd team of all time.  Bowdoin on the other hand, has some real studs at attack and in the midfield.  Midd’s D is not on par with usual expectations and I think Bowdoin takes it by 2-3 goals.

In my imagined Finals, Wesleyan continues to roll and they take down Bowdoin in a rematch of a game where they were killed earlier in the season.  I’m an alum so maybe I’m just dreaming but I’m sticking with my gut and the call I made a couple months back that Wesleyan would repeat as NESCAC champs.  Hey, Cardinals, time to make me look smart!

On the MCLA side of things, the cupboard is literally 100% bare as tournament selections and invites to Denver are already in.  There isn’t a single MCLA game this weekend.  Bummer.  Of course, starting on May 11th, there will be more MCLA action than you could shake a really light longstick at.  Make sure you check out LAS’ MCLA bracket challenge on and see if you can be the best (or in my case, luckiest) prognosticator!

About the Author:
Connor is a life-long lacrosse player who doesn’t know when to give up on the game.  He played and coached at Wesleyan University and now plays for the Southampton LC in NYC.  Connor lives with his fiance in Brooklyn and thanks her for allowing him to keep the dream alive.

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