by Jac Coyne | MCLA.us
LA CROSSE, Wis. – As we enter April, there is a common theme popping up in many of the social media feeds that I operate for the MCLA: “Senior Day.”
The last home game for a class of seniors is a bittersweet time. It’s the culmination of years of hard work, dedication and huge sacrifices for the sake of a non-varsity program. Following through on a commitment made should make every senior proud.
But it also feels like the end.
Sure there is probably an away game following Senior Day or perhaps some postseason contests, but there is a finality to being honored during the last appearance on your home field. It is something that will never happen again in your life and you’re only 22. It’s an odd feeling.
But whereas when these same players receive their diploma in a couple of weeks it will mark the end of the undergrad college experience, it doesn’t have to be that way with lacrosse.
There are so many avenues for a graduating senior to continue a fulfilling lacrosse experience. Senior Day doesn’t have to be the end. In fact, it is just the beginning if you want it to be.
Start with becoming a coach. It doesn’t have to be with an MCLA team (although it certainly can be), but maybe it’s committing a couple of Saturdays to teach the fundamentals to some youngsters in your area. Or maybe your home town needs a middle school coach. Or your old high school needs a goalie coach.
If coaching doesn’t come second nature to you, the local US Lacrosse Chapter has tons of information and clinics to bring aspiring teachers and mentors up to speed.
Coaching isn’t for everyone, certainly. OK, become an official.
You can get certified in a matter of weeks through your local board and be reffing youth games. If you have the passion for officiating, you’ll move up the ranks. As you probably found out through your team treasurer, officiating can put a nice little chunk of fun money in your pocket regardless of your level and keep you connected to the sport.
Still not for you? Get involved with your program’s alumni group, or, if necessary, start one.
Look around the association. The top programs are the ones that have an active alumni base that fills all sorts of functions, from helping raise money for critical road trips to giving the current team a good look during the alumni game. It all matters, and every MCLA coach will tell you that.
Enjoy your Senior Day. Take your spot at midfield and soak in the applause from the fans and parents and the congratulations from your teammates. You’ve earned it.
Just don’t look at the ceremony as the end of your lacrosse involvement. It should be just the beginning.
What is the D-I Game of the Week for the period ending April 9? #mcla17
— MCLA (@MCLA) April 5, 2017
Games of Note
No. 10 Colorado State at No. 13 Utah, 1 p.m. – Saturday
I'll be honest: I had to rewrite this section this morning. I had something about how this game could be an elimination game for nationals, but after Thursday night the entire landscape has changed. In case you have been under a rock, Utah stunned No. 3 Colorado, 12-11, in Salt Lake City while Colorado State clipped No. 5 BYU in Provo, 11-10.
All of a sudden, this game is for the top spot in the RMLC and the inside track on grabbing the No. 1 seed in the conference tournament (although that's really not much of an advantage since the tourney is locked in at Boulder and there will be no easy games). Oh, and the winner is pretty much a lock for nationals.
You want a goalie goal? We got a goalie goal. @qswinney31 from way downtown. @laxallstars @laxsportsnet @the_mcla @_themuss @universityofutah Go Utes!
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No. 21 Boston College vs. No. 25 Minnesota, 2 p.m. – Saturday
Both of these teams are second (or maybe even third) fiddle in their own conference, but each has the ability to win their respective league. I’ll feel more confident about the winner’s prospects of making an unlikely run to the AQ.
If there’s one hallmark of this iteration of Boston College is they take a ton of penalties, including the bench. You are what you are, and if the Eagles are going to be the Bad Boyz of the PCLL, more power to them. But that might be playing into the Gophers’ strengths, as this crew can score against anyone.
No. 3 Colorado at No. 5 Brigham Young, 4 p.m. – Saturday
Despite both of these RMLC heavyweights losing, this game hasn't lost any sizzle. In fact, the energy will be ratcheted up another level with the loser getting an 0-2 weekend hung around their neck that will probably result in a lost seed or two at nationals (both of these teams are still going).
New Hampshire at No. 16 Connecticut, 8 p.m. – Saturday
There are several wide open conference races this year, but the PCLL might be the one where truly any of the four eventual qualifiers – likely Northeastern, Boston College, New Hampshire and UConn – could get the AQ. As such, the top seed really doesn't mean a whole lot. This game is just a pair of really good teams trying to gain as much momentum for the postseason as possible.
No. 11 Montana State vs. No. 5 Sierra Nevada, 3:45 p.m. – Friday
Montana State got a taste of what it’s like wearing a Top 10 ranking last week when they got jumped by unranked Great Falls and gave away a couple of seeds in the D-II bracket. Fortunately, they have a couple of contests where they can make up for it.
The Bobcats should be playing free and easy against the Eagles (and No. 2 Concordia-Irvine on Saturday) in Reno because they are not expected to win. If they do grab one, however, it will be gold, and likely vault them back into a home seed at nationals.
@MCLA It's game 7 for the Senior class. The Johnnies are 3-3 in the last 3 years vs. UST, with all 3 regular season games decided by 1 goal
— St. John's Lacrosse (@sjulax) April 7, 2017
No. 7 St. John’s at No. 1 St. Thomas, 8 p.m. – Friday
It’s usually the biggest rival that takes down a seemingly unbeatable team. We’ll see if that can play out here.
No. 2 Concordia-Irvine vs. No. 5 Sierra Nevada, 1 p.m. – Sunday
The St. Thomas-St. John’s game will take top billing this weekend, but don’t sleep on this tilt. Each has made a concerted effort to improve its schedule with trips to the Midwest and both showed out well.
Only St. Thomas has managed to handle these teams in Division II, so the winner will be a favorite to make it to the semifinals, although both could easily do it if the draw is favorable.
No. 8 Cal State Fullerton at No. 17 Northern Arizona, 12 pm. - Sunday
Northern Arizona’s best win is against Division I Utah State, which will give them a little credibility, but certainly not an at-large bid. The Lumberjacks need a quality D-II win because there really isn’t one on its schedule yet after losing to UC Santa Cruz a couple of weeks ago. If they beat Fullerton, we’ll be onto something.
Unfortunately, no one has beat Fullerton yet. San Diego and San Marcos have come close, which leads me to believe the ‘Jacks could certainly pull a stunner here, especially at home. It will probably take NAU out-gunning the Titans, which is no easy task.