With only two wins in its last five games, Brigham Young was looking a little wobbly heading into postseason play, but the ship was righted in a big way in the Friday gloaming of Salt Lake City.
BYU had a tough task, facing a Colorado State team that had put the clamps on them just three weeks ago, 10-6. The Cougars managed to flip the script, however, and down the Rams, 10-4. It’s a win that not only sends a message to one of its biggest rivals, but also sets them up nicely heading into the 2016 MCLA National Championships powered by Under Armour.
The Cougars will meet Colorado for the RMLC championship on Saturday at 3 p.m. MDT. The Buffs dispatched Utah Valley, 17-8, in the other semifinal.
Semifinals - Friday
#3 Brigham Young d. #2 Colorado State, 10-4
#1 Colorado d. #4 Utah Valley, 17-8
Finals - Saturday
#3 Brigham Young vs. #1 Colorado, 3 p.m.
It’s a near certainty this conference will only get the automatic qualifier into nationals. Fortunately, arguably the two best teams in the league will have a chance to earn it. After falling into an early hole in one semifinal, Michigan State rallied to rout Western Michigan, 21-7. In a seeding upset, Davenport breezed by Pittsburgh, 18-11 on the other side of the draw.
Sparty and the Panthers clash for all the marbles at 4 p.m. Saturday.
Semifinals – Friday
#1 Michigan State d. #4 Western Michigan, 21-7
#3 Davenport d. #2 Pittsburgh, 18-11
Finals – Saturday
#3 Davenport vs. #1 Michigan State, 4 p.m.
It was a rough day for the GRLC West division as both the second and third seeded team from that crew went down. Purdue crunched Iowa in one first round game, 15-3, after racing out to a big lead. Miami (Ohio) upended a favored Missouri outfit, 12-11 to give the semifinals a very East flavor.
In the semis, we’ll get our first long look at Kansas, which is 10-1 with its only loss coming in February. Saturday’s game against Purdue will represent by far the Jayhawks’ stiffest opponent. The other semifinal is no slam dunk, either, as Indiana only beat the Redhawks by a goal in the regular season.
First Round – Friday
#2E Purdue d. #3W Iowa, 15-3
#3E Miami (Ohio) d. #2W Missouri, 12-11
Semifinals – Saturday
#2E Purdue vs. #1W Kansas, 4 p.m.
#3E Miami (Ohio) vs. #1E Indiana, 7 p.m.
The fans will get they wanted in the conference final on Sunday. Top-ranked and undefeated Chapman advanced along with a surging defending champion Grand Canyon squad by the same 15-11 final.
The Panthers were ahead 11-2 at one point against Arizona State, but the Sun Devils made a push in the second quarter, although Chapman was never in true jeopardy. The Lopes held a 8-5 lead at the break against UC Santa Barbara, which turned out to be essentially the difference in a closely-contested second half.
The last time GCU and Chapman met, it was in the semifinals of the 2015 MCLA Championships powered by Under Armour on the Panthers home field. This time it will be at La Costa Canyon.
Friday – Semifinals
#1N Chapman d. #2S Arizona State, 15-11
#1S Grand Canyon d. #2N UC Santa Barbara, 15-11
Sunday - Finals
#1S Grand Canyon vs. #1N Chapman, 1:45 p.m.
(Photos by Anna Scipione)