by Jac Coyne | MCLA.us
LA CROSSE, Wis. – History has taught us that being a Division II champion doesn’t mean a whole lot at the Division I level. The transcripts of San Diego, Montana and Davenport have shown us this.
As such, external expectations for Concordia-Irvine were tempered heading into this spring when it made the jump to D-I. Throw in a new coach and the fact we’re talking about the SLC, and the overall bar was pretty low.
The Eagles have thrown the historical trend out the window after dismantling a San Diego State team positioned just outside the Top 25 on the Aztecs own field, 15-4. Concordia led 5-0 to start the game and the closest the Aztecs would get was 7-3 in the second quarter.
It was a thorough win on both ends of the field and at the dot.
Was it a mirage or is this squad a postseason contender? Unfortunately, we have to wait a while to truly find out.
The Eagles’ next game is in two weeks against No. 22 Simon Fraser and then eight days later comes No. 2 Chapman. Concordia is making sure they are well-prepared for each game, which is a very smart approach.
Regardless of what happens, unlike a lot of its predecessors who came from Division II, Concordia-Irvine looks like it has the ability to handle the load. At least for one night by the beach.
Bison Beat Down
Considering the quality within the UMLC-II this year, every league game will have an impact on the seeding at nationals. As such, No. 3 North Dakota State’s surprisingly comfortable, 11-5 win over No. 7 Minn.-Duluth will be a nice little feather in the collective Bison caps.
The offense was opportunistic for NDSU, but the defense was stifling. This might be the Bison’s modus operandi for the ’18 campaign and it's not a bad approach in the UMLC.
One more of this ginormous human being and the #LockdownChain #GoodLuck @schraut21
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NDSU heads to Nebraska next weekend to face No. 16 MSU Denver and the Division I Cornhuskers. Duluth doesn’t get any break, traveling to top-ranked St. Thomas next Saturday.
I figured the road trip to play Florida and No. 11 Florida State on back-to-back days would give us an idea of what to really expect out of South Carolina. I didn’t think it would leave me thinking the Gamecocks are the best outfit in the SELC.
That’s kind of where I’m at after USC blew the doors off both the Gators (15-4) and Seminoles (19-5). The Gamecocks are incredibly well-balanced on offense and have an emerging star in junior goalie Colin Hains.
And after this weekend, they are going to have no fear.
My Top Fives
Playing the ranking game – especially in the MCLA – is a dangerous proposition with the kind of passion we have about polls. But sometimes you have to feel some pain to know you’re alive. As you would expect, my top five will be far more volatile than the Under Armour Coaches Polls, which has its first regular season edition on Wednesday.
1. Utah (3-0) – What can you say? They dismantled two Top 10 teams in four days.
2. Arizona State (2-0) – Not as showy as the Utes, but a good start.
3. Grand Canyon (0-0) – We’ll give the champs the benefit for now.
4. South Carolina (6-0) – Already two ranked wins, including taking FSU’s lunch money.
5. Michigan State (4-0) – This is looking like Cam Holding’s best team to date.
1. St. Thomas (1-0) – Win over Minny wasn’t really that close.
2. North Dakota State (1-0) – Defense chewed up Duluth.
3. Grand Valley State (0-0) – Lakers still ramping up to Music City Judgement.
4. Dayton (0-0) – Flyers dust off the cobwebs next week vs. Purdue.
5. Sierra Nevada (1-0) – An easy win, as expected, so far.
DIVISION I NOTES: It’s pretty rare that you can give up 35 goals in two games and still have a fantastic save percentage, but that was Utah State’s Berkley Baskin’s weekend. The 6-foot-4, 240-pounder made 31 saves in a 22-8 loss to Colorado before making 18 more stops in a 13-3 setback to CSU. He finished with a 58.5 save percentage…it’s February 19 and Texas A&M has wrapped up the top seed in the LSA playoffs out of the South division. The Aggies are heading to the Sunshine State for a three-team tour against Florida State, Central Florida and Florida next weekend. That’ll be a nice test for a team looking like the class of the LSA…solid start to the season for Western Michigan taking down Purdue and Buffalo for a 2-0 mark.
The Red River Rivalry between Texas and Oklahoma was a dandy:
DIVISION II NOTES: UC San Diego quietly sprung an 8-4 upset over No. 22 UC Santa Cruz. Good start for the Tritons…congrats to Hardin-Simmons for picking up its first MCLA victory, and 8-6 triumph over Tulsa…Wyoming is off to a 2-0 start…Wake Forest upended No. 23 Appalachian State to improve to 3-0. Deacons might be a threat…Fullerton not wasting its favorite status in the SLC, outscoring three divisional opponents 55-10 in a 3-0 debut.