by Jac Coyne | MCLA.us
It’s playoff time.
Play your best. Fight until the end. Enjoy the ride.
Indiana (7-4) at Purdue (5-4) – 8 p.m., Friday
It's taken the entire season, but we’re finally going to get an idea of who is the favorite to take the GRLC bid when these two rival tangle. Purdue got the bid last year thanks to an institutional glitch that sidelined the Hoosiers, but Indiana will be ready to go this spring. The Boilermakers are on a three-game winning streak, including a solid win over South Carolina while the Hoosiers have won back-to-back contests. Indiana’s task is to slow-down Purdue’s attack tandem of senior Greg Behning (24g, 6a) and freshman Evan Sattler (27g, 10a).
No. 11 Stanford (8-3) at No. 25 Cal-Berkeley (8-5) –5 p.m., Saturday
It’s a rivalry so nice, they’re going to play it twice. The Cardinal and Bears meet on Saturday to determine who will be wearing the home jerseys for their rematch in the WCLL semifinals. The winner will get the No. 2 seed and the loser No. 3. The larger impact of this game will come in the at-large chase for nationals. The winner will get a nice chip in their pile, especially if that team pulls the sweep. If the teams split the two games, it could have negative implications for a second bid. The Bears must find an answer to the Cardinal’s dangerous first middie line, led by Peter Doyle (32g, 6a).
No. 14 Oregon State (9-3) at No. 13 Oregon (10-3) – 5 p.m., Saturday
Does the PNCLL have the juice to produce multiple bids this year? Both the Ducks and Beavers are hoping to take the guess-work out of the equation and lock up the AQ, and the winner of Saturday’s matchup grabs the No. 1 seed. It’s no bargain, as a triumph means drawing either Boise State or Washington in the semifinals, but it’ll look good on the resume for Selection Sunday. Oregon is wobbling a little bit right now with a loss to UW and needing OT to beat Simon Fraser, but beating the Beavers will right the ship quickly.
Stonehill (4-5) at Bridgewater State (6-3) – 11 a.m., Saturday
Is Bridgewater State prepared to live up to its preseason favorite status in the PCLL? The Bears will have to put away Stonehill if that’s the plan. BSU has bounced back with six D-II wins after losing to Central Conn. early on, and the victory over Westfield State is looking better and better. Stonehill is in good shape to make the PCLL playoffs, but it won’t be an easy road to the AQ. Trying to contain BSU’s Andrew DaSilva (29g, 12a) will be a tall task for The Hill.
No. 20 Indiana Tech (5-8) at No. 11 Lourdes (10-2) – 3 p.m., Saturday
Don’t assume anything by looking at the rankings or records of this CCLA quarterfinal matchup. This is a rematch of a late-March game that Lourdes barely won, 14-13. It was a close game the whole way with Connor Mishler’s 13 saves likely being the difference for the Gray Wolves. According to our friends over at LaxPower, Tech has played the fifth toughest schedule in the country and have three one-goal losses. Flip those three and the Warriors are a Top 10 team and a lock for nationals. They can still get in with a spirited run in the CCLA playoff, but it starts with a win against Lourdes. Brian Nichter (21g, 22a) needs to lead the way for IT.
No. 6 Grove City (7-3) vs. No. 8 Grand Valley State (6-5) – 6 p.m., Saturday
The rankings and strength of schedule would make me believe that this pair is comfortably into the nationals field, but the winner will sleep a whole lot more comfortably (even if they’ll probably get Dayton in the semis). Both teams will face significant challenges. GVSU has to deal with the two-headed offensive monster of Daniel Casselli (33g, 30a) and David Hall (35g, 13a) that has torched some of the best teams in the country. The Wolverines must contend with the balanced Lakers offense paced by freshman playmaker Jake Parry (15g, 28a).