by Jac Coyne | MCLA.us
LA CROSSE, Wis. – South Carolina is almost certainly going to Salt Lake City.
With the Gamecocks 15-9 victory over blood rival Clemson on Friday night, they have now completed their regular season with a 14-0 mark and a No. 4 national ranking.
I don’t have the fortitude to do the research, but I feel comfortable stating that no team with those assets has missed the national tournament.
Even if USC loses to Florida or Florida State in the first round on Friday, I’m still certain they will get their first-ever invitation to the big dance.
Before we delve into the heights of the Gamecocks’ ceiling, let’s take a minute to appreciate what South Carolina and coach James Harkey have accomplished this spring.
Let’s start by flashbacking to last spring, when the ‘Cocks lost to North Carolina State and Clemson in a six-day span to bounce South Carolina completely out of the SELC tournament.
It was a humiliating turn of events for a program with plenty of talent and high aspirations. They just weren’t ready for the bright lights, so they stayed home.
That setback was undoubtedly one of the motivating factors for this year’s run, and the response has been clear.
In the regular season, the Gamecocks have played six of the other seven SELC qualifiers and beat all of them by a combined score of 82-41. Getting his players to react in a positive way to a setback is what James Harkey at the front of the Coach of the Year list at this point.
With all of the regular season goals met, now we’ll see if the Gamecocks can sustain their success in the postseason. The SELC tournament has not treated South Carolina very well.
In fact, it has been a house of horrors.
Since 2007, USC has qualified for the conference tournament seven times, failing to advance out of the quarterfinals each time. That’s the historical wall facing the Gamecocks.
Can they smash that down like all the other former barriers that have tumbled this spring?
If they do, it will truly be a new era of South Carolina lacrosse.
* * *
Larocque the Vote
If you went to bed early, you may not have seen that Davenport senior attackman Bryan Larocque became the MCLA’s all-time points leader with 341 after dropping seven goals on Pitt.
After BYU’s Ted Ferrin set the record back in 2012, I didn’t think it would be broken because MCLA Division I was getting better and better and there just wouldn’t be the dead weight on the schedule to amass those kinds of numbers.
Auburn downs Alabama in the Iron Bowl of Lacrosse with a score of 13-11!!!! #WarDamnEagle
A post shared by Auburn University Lacrosse (@auburnlacrosse) on
The Panthers’ schedule may not have been as tough as BYU’s, but it’s certainly not one that requires any explanation. It’s an amazing record and Larocque and his teammates should be exceedingly proud.
I'll lay down another marker, saying I don't think it will be broken (whenever it is finalized as Davenport has at least one more game).
Perhaps the most impressive part of the record is Larocque is in the classic Canadian finisher mold, and those guys typically don’t rack up enough assists. It’s a testament to the Windsor, Ont., native’s diversity that he has this record.
Your Lakers are in IL today as we face @Duluthlacrosse at 1PM CST/2PM EST. Should be a good one! #AnchorUp #LetsGoLakeShow #MCLA18 #UMLC18 pic.twitter.com/e20JukcXQ6
— GVSU Men's Lacrosse (@GVSULAX) April 14, 2018
NOTES: If Western Washington defeats Central Washington today, No. 13 Montana wraps up the top seed in the PNCLL North after the Grizzlies beat Gonzaga last night…No. 12 Boston College rallied from a 4-0 deficit to beat No. 13 UConn, 7-6…No. 21 Simon Fraser handled Oregon, 16-9…No. 10 Virginia Tech looked formidable in its 11-6 win over No. 9 Liberty…No. 11 New Hampshire shrugged off a 6-1 hole to start the game to edge Northeastern, 13-12...Auburn won the Iron Bowl over Alabama, 13-11.