by Jac Coyne | MCLA.us
(Photo by Jim O'Connell)
This is the time when it all coalesces. Conference tournaments are shaped, at-large resumes are solidified and the unqualified are exposed, often times unmercifully by a traditional rival.
That’s right, it’s moving weekend here in the MCLA, and while there isn’t a full slate of games – there is only one lonely contest listed for Easter Sunday – the ones that we do have are significant. Whether it’s a game to make the postseason, seed a conference tourney or a match-up traditional rival, each game seemingly has something on the line.
Florida week #stillgonnasendit #FSU
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I mean, look at this laundry list of rivalry games:
- Florida State at Florida
- South Carolina at Clemson
- Colorado at Colorado State
- Arizona at Arizona State
- Purdue at Indiana
- Alabama Auburn
.@ClemsonLacrosse and @CocksLacrosse face off Friday night in an upstate showdown that will be one for the ages! @MCLA @CU_Rec pic.twitter.com/pcOuiLyBPi
— Michael Pry (@TigerPryde) April 10, 2017
And the list goes on. Then we have the contests that aren’t necessarily traditional rivalry match-ups, but will determine a top seed. Palm Beach Atlantic at Florida Gulf Coast, Liberty at Virginia Tech, Cal Poly at Cal, UCSB at Chapman, UC Santa Cruz at Sierra Nevada. And on and on.
Even the games that mean absolutely nothing are intriguing. St. Thomas visits Minnesota in a clash of divisions that will have the atmosphere of a playoff game.
When the dust finally settles, we’ll have the brackets set in the CCLA, LSA, RMLC, SELC and the SLC with all of the rest just needing a little tweak next weekend.
It’s just an exciting time of the year, so be sure to follow closely while searching for the Easter bunny.
What is the D-I Game of the Week for the period ending April 16? #mcla17
— MCLA (@MCLA) April 12, 2017
Games of Note
No. 4 Colorado at No. 10 Colorado State, 12 p.m. – Saturday
We’re going to get a little RMLC tournament semifinal preview with this rivalry match-up and the winner getting to wear their home whites when they meet again in the #2-#3 semi in Boulder. As usual, it’ll be a game that’ll feature the run-and-gun Buffs versus the methodical Rams. Same plot, different year.
No. 21 Arizona at No. 8 Arizona State, 12 p.m. – Saturday
Both the LaxCats and Sun Devils are comfortably through to the SLC tournament, but the winner here gets a first round home game against USC. With all due respect to the Trojans, that’s an easier road to the semifinals than a bus ride to either UCSB or Chapman in the first round that awaits the loser.
Whereas ASU is a lock for the MCLA National Championships powered by Under Armour, Arizona probably needs the conference AQ to head back to The OC. Thus, it should be the ‘Cats coming out flying. We’ll see if the Devils are ready to parry the initial assault.
No. 5 Cal Poly at No. 1 California, 1 p.m. – Saturday
Here’s the key match-up of the weekend and one of the last obstacles between Cal and the top seed at nationals. If this game happened a month ago, I’d expect a single-digit grinder, but the Mustangs have found their footing offensively.
In the first 11 games of the season Poly only averaged 8.36 goals per game, and in over half those contests they failed to reach the seven-goal plateau. In the last four games, they have average 18.8, including wins over Chapman and Sonoma. I’m intrigued to see if the Mustangs try to go toe-to-toe with the powerful Bears.
Thanks to Neil Everett for the UCLA lacrosse shout out on sportscenter #SCtop10 (sound on)
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No. 14 UC Santa Barbara at No. 9 Chapman, 3 p.m. – Saturday
The top seed in the SLC North and a bye to the tournament semifinals is on the line. It’s been a slow month for both programs, with the Panthers tidying up their league record against the bottom-feeders while the Gauchos, with their academic quarters system, have been battling exams. Both could use another ranked win, so there’s plenty on the line.
No. 18 UC Santa Cruz at No. 5 Sierra Nevada, 1 p.m. – Saturday
If not for its 0-2 run up to Oregon, Santa Cruz could be sitting pretty right now as its road win over No. 14 Northern Arizona is looking better and better. Now they’ll need to grab this game or win the WCLL AQ (in a likely rematch with SNC). A tall order, regardless. Cade Vlacos (74 points) and Isaac Mier (60) will need big days for the Slugs.
No. 1 St. Thomas at No. 18 Minnesota, 7 p.m. – Saturday
Pickings are a little thin this week on the D-II side, so I went with a juicy inter-divisional clash from Vikings' country. Not really much at stake for either team, but a lot of these players grew up together and played on the same high school teams. Summer bragging rights ensures this will be hotly contested.
No. 13 Palm Beach Atlantic at No. 20 Florida Gulf Coast, 7:45 p.m. - Friday
Both teams have already qualified for the SELC tournament as the top two teams out of the Southeast division, but this could be the final time the two teams every meet – Palm Beach Atlantic will be joining NCAA Division II next spring. They could still meet in the SELC semifinals, but both these teams want to end this rivalry on top.