ORANGE, Calif. – After leading Grand Canyon to the 2017 MCLA Division I championship by averaging nearly six points a game, Lopes senior attackman Joe Balestrieri earned MCLA Division I Commanding Performance of the Week powered by Under Armour for the period ending May 13.
In the opening round of the 2017 MCLA National Championships powered by Under Armour, Balestrieri came within one of the single-game tournament record for points when he scored six goals and dished out three assists in the Lopes’ wipeout of Northeastern.
In the quarterfinal win against heated rival Arizona State, the Rancho Bernardo, Calif., product struck for a hat trick. He followed that up in the semifinals with six goals and a dime in the victory over California. He capped off the week with two goals and two assists in the championship game triumph over Chapman.
For the week, he accumulated 17 goals and six assists, while also grabbing six ground balls for the national champs.
“Our tournament opponents knew that if they could take away Joe, they would marginalize [championship game MVP] Cam [Wengreniuk] in the process. They tried, but couldn’t,” said Grand Canyon coach Manny Rapkin. “For someone who attracted so much attention, he only had four turnovers in the semis and finals. He adjusted his game relative to what was happening on the field and helped everyone else find success.”
For his efforts in earning the Commanding Performance of the Week powered by Under Armour, Balestrieri received a new Under Armour Command Head – a $100 value. Under Armour is the proud sponsor of the MCLA.
Under Armour Honor Roll
Brian Connolly, Sr. – Georgia Tech
He finished his three-game run in the tournament with nine goals and five assists for the Yellow Jackets, including a two-goal, two-assist first-half performance against Chapman in the semifinals.
Dylan Garner, Jr. – Chapman
The Panthers were the second-lowest to make the finals thanks to Garner, who had 11 goals and an assist in the run. His five-goal output against BYU helped Chapman unseat the top-seeded Cougars.
Max McKone, Sr. – California
The Godekeraw Award winner potted a hat trick in all three games of the tournament, leading Cal to the semifinals for the first time since 2000.
Cam Wengreniuk, Soph. – Grand Canyon
The Edmonton native was the MVP of the championship game with four goals and an assist, finishing with 17 goals and four assists for the week.