by Jac Coyne | MCLA.us
The season kicked off last weekend with a pair of games, both of which came in the Lone Star Alliance. The predominantly Texas-based conference once again takes center stage on the second weekend of the 2018 season.
The marquee game of the 14-game slate this weekend would have to be the divisional clash between Texas A&M and Texas State. The Aggies visit the Bobcats at 1 p.m. in a game that could have some repercussions come conference tournament time.
Big @LSALacrosse divisional contest between @TexasAggieLax and @TxStateLacrosse on Saturday. How will it shake out?
— MCLA Tournament '18 (@MCLA_Tournament) January 25, 2018
With Oklahoma and Southern Methodist looking like favorites for the top two seeds in the LSA North, avoiding them in the first round is the goal. Saturday’s winner will have a leg up on finishing in the top two in the South division, which would avoid the Sooners and Mustangs until the semifinals.
Keep an eye on A.J. Hepting for the Aggies. The Kingswood, Texas, native totes 82 goals and 40 assists into his junior campaign and should flirt with All-American status this spring. A&M will have to stop a balanced offense led by senior Dylan Hanner (21g, 20a), who has gotten better every year for the Bobcats.
There will also be generational battle going on in this game as Tony Scazzero, entering his 39th season with A&M, tangles with Stephen Torkington, who is in his second year as a head coach.
In LSA-II, Louisiana – ranked as high as No. 15 in the preseason – opens its season tonight against Louisiana Tech before hosting divisional foe Stephen F. Austin tomorrow. The Ragin’ Cajuns are fresh off their first visit to nationals, and should pass these two early tests.
One of the threats to Lousiana’s LSA title defense is Baylor. The Bears rolled to their conference opener and will now look to improve to 2-0 with a home tilt against Trinity.
Get to know Baylor’s senior attackman Trey Cambere. The 6-foot-2, 215-pound attackman dropped a C-note last year (75g, 25a) in 13 games and already has a 10-point effort (6g, 4a) against TAMU-CC.
A D-II game of note outside of the LSA is the opener between San Diego and Biola in an SLC non-divisional tilt on Saturday. With Concordia-Irvine matriculating to D-I this spring, the Toreros – ranked No. 18 in the Inside Lacrosse preseason poll – will have a puncher’s chance at the AQ.
USD’s Drew Harvey could be primed for a breakout season in his senior year after posting 92 goals and 78 dimes in his first three years, and Biola will give him a test.
As usually happens at this point in the season, there are some interesting inter-divisional games on the docket. Florida starts its run by hosting newly-added North Florida on Saturday evening in the SELC while Santa Clara entertains UC Santa Cruz that will act as a gauge for how good the Slugs will be this year in WCLL-II.
Texas Tech will dip its toe in the 2018 campaign by hosting a pair of D-II outfits, as well.
Taking a quick peak at Super Bowl weekend, there are some compelling matchups on the docket.
USC takes the trip from L.A. to Dallas to face TCU on Friday and SMU on Saturday while Stanford travels to UC Santa Barbara on Saturday as the Cardinal looks to rebound from a middling ’17 campaign. Texas A&M at Texas prior to kickoff on Sunday is another tasty outing.
NOTES: If you have number changes or any other tweaks to your locked rosters, send alterations, etc., to firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll take care of it…the official Under Armour MCLA preseason poll will drop on Wednesday…if you missed them, both Inside Lacrosse (D1 & D2) and US Lacrosse Magazine dropped their MCLA preseason polls…USLM announced their Preseason Player of the Year candidates as well as their picks.