by Jac Coyne | MCLA.us
LA CROSSE, Wis. – What do you think the likes of Michigan State, Davenport and Pittsburgh were thinking when Minnesota applied to be a member of the CCLA?
Ambivalence? Bemusement? Intrigue? It probably wasn’t fear. While all of the CCLA coaches who voted the Gophers into the league will tell you that they enter every game with a healthy respect for each opponent, it wasn’t like they were admitting Colorado State.
Minnesota has a solid tradition, including a nationals berth in 2005, but it has typically operated in the shadow of Minnesota-Duluth in the UMLC. Then came an exodus within the UMLC to Division II, leaving just Minnesota and Iowa State. Now the Gophers are embarking on a new adventure.
All of this is happening while the program is steadily improving under the leadership of Rich Limpert. Limpert took over in 2013 and has a 38-24 record in the following five seasons. Perhaps most importantly, Limpert has made sure that UM tests itself every year despite being geographically isolated with zero chance of a reciprocal visit.
10-4 is the final score of our rivalry here in Minnesota! Go gophers! #skiumah pic.twitter.com/Of34fVeXiq
— Minnesota Lacrosse (@UMNLacrosse) February 12, 2017
In his first year, Minnesota traveled to Arizona, Arizona State and Grand Canyon. In ’14, it was Georgia Tech and South Carolina. There was a two-week trip in ’15 that featured seven teams, including BYU and Chapman. Last year, it was Cal Poly – which beat the Gophers by a single goal – and Chapman. Yeah, the two teams that would play for a national championship.
Shorter version: the Gophers don’t fear anyone.
Now that UM has raced out to a 4-0 record, including a 23-8 wipeout of a Western Michigan outfit that qualified for the four-team CCLA tourney last spring, the Gophers undoubtedly have the attention of everyone else on their schedule.
That would include the next team on the docket: six-time defending CCLA champion Michigan State on Feb. 24.
The Spartans will be the favorite in their home opener, but they will have to be ready for the likes of Nick Abbott (11g, 7a), Amar Batra (11g, 6a) and a goalie tandem stopping 65 percent of the shots they are seeing.
Minnesota travels to battle Colorado and Colorado State after that. Then Boston College.
None of those teams fear the Gophers yet. But they may start to very soon.
When the @GaTechLAX bus gets stuck at the hotel. Welcome to Oxford! pic.twitter.com/vJK9j2fDO6
— Oxford Police Dept (@OxfordPolice) February 10, 2017
Titans Off to a Strong Start
A pair of ranked losses last spring were likely the difference between Cal State Fullerton being in consideration for the nationals and being off the selection committee's radar. After this past weekend, the Titans are already ahead of the game.
Fullerton went on the road and beat No. 14 Southern Oregon and No. 17 UC Davis by a combined score of 32-13. That's two ranked wins in the pocket early.
This pushes the 12th-ranked Titans to 3-0 to start the season, which is great. But with the paucity of marquee games left on the schedule, Fullerton almost needs to be 11-0 heading into the regular season showdown with Concordia-Irvine on April 12.
Seminoles Send Message
ARE YOU NOT ENTERTAINED?! The #15 Noles finish their west coast trip against #10 Arizona at 7:15 MT/9:15 ET. Follow along on twitter for live updates. Twitter handle: @FSUlacrosse #Noles #st8
A photo posted by FSU Men's Lacrosse (@fsumenslacrosse) on
The crowds in Tempe and Tucson were likely not entertained by the Seminoles' visit to the desert. Not after Florida State flew home with a pair of grinding, single-digit victories over No 8 ASU (8-7) and No. 10 Arizona (9-7).
Junior goalie Anthony Cicio combined for 31 saves in the two wins while junior Davis Goodman notched 10 points, quickly giving the Noles two Top 10 wins to start the season. The way the defense is playing, FSU is going to be in every game it plays, and already looks like a threat to Georgia Tech’s SELC crown.
Division I Notes
- No. 5 Georgia Tech not only got their bus stuck prior to the game against Ole Miss on Friday evening – much to the delight of the Oxford PD (see above) – but got all they could handle from defending LSA champion Southern Methodist. The No. 24 Mustangs led by three goals early before the Jackets responded, eventually winning, 14-9.
What's the MCLA D-I Game of the Week for the period ending Feb. 12?
— MCLA (@MCLA) February 7, 2017
- Texas raced out to a big early lead and coasted home for an 11-9 victory over Texas A&M in College Station. The win gives the Horns a huge leg up in the race for the LSA South top seed. In addition, UT should be a confident bunch when they host defending conference champion SMU next weekend.
Speaking of the Mustangs, they appeared to have No. 5 Georgia Tech on the ropes in their neutral site contest on Saturday before bowing, 14-9. SMU then turned around and squeaked out a victory against Ole Miss in a monsoon, 9-8. They're still the team to beat until it tangles with the Horns.
- UC Santa Barbara salvaged a split on their trip to the Bay Area when they subdued No. 18 Stanford, 8-6, on Sunday afternoon. It was a needed bounce back after the No. 11 Gauchos, as they looked overwhelmed against No. 14 California in a 13-5 setback. After the first two games, it looks like UCSB might have to grind games out on the defensive end to be successful.
- It was a workmanlike trip for Oregon State as the No. 12 Beavers cruised to wins over Dominican and No. 25 Sonoma State...Mario Enea won his first two games as head coach at Oklahoma, rolling past Arkansas and Nebraska...Chapman had to work for it, but finally out-gunned San Diego State, 15-12, thanks to five goals and a dime from Simon Jenkin.
— MoState MLAX (@MoStateLax) February 12, 2017
- Faced with the prospect of a forfeit because the No. 25 Missouri State team bus broke down, PBA made the most of the situation. Doing a solid for a fellow team paid off, as Greg Swanson racked up nine points and the Sailfish posted a 3-0 weekend with a 13-5 victory. Sometimes the good guys finish first. The Bears finished their three-game trip to A-Town with a 1-2 mark and might be short-timers in the poll.
- Sierra Nevada’s WCLL title defense got out to a rousing start in a 23-4 wipeout of San Jose State…Biola is off to a 2-0 start for the first time in program history…Western Washington thumped Western Oregon, 17-6…Kennesaw State bounced back from the Georgia loss to tame UNC-Charlotte.