by Jac Coyne | MCLA.us
LA CROSSE, Wis. – The goals just kept on coming. You remember it.
As much as Brigham Young wanted to get back into that game against Davenport on March 3 in their own barn, the Cougars couldn’t do it.
With a toughness to go toe-to-toe with the physical BYU team and sniper-like shooting, the Panthers put it on the Cougs, 19-16. It was theorized that the 19 goals were the most-ever given up by a BYU team in 22 years of MCLA play.
Ten straight wins later, it’s a lot easier to write that loss off as an anomaly. Maybe it was a bad matchup. Perhaps a bad night? An outlier of some kind?
It’s easy to postulate that right now because Matt Schneck’s crew is looking like the third or fourth most dangerous team in the country to this writer’s eyes.
BYU’s offense makes it easy to be confident in the Cougars’ long-term prospects.
They are fantastically balanced, with seven players sporting at least 20 points and an eighth just one point outside that fraternity. Junior attackman Harry Waddoups (24g, 20a) has made the leap from good to great.
It’s the defensive awakening, however, that has me thinking the Cougars are at least a Thursday team at nationals, if not a Saturday outfit.
Great day for @gcu seniors 55 wins 92% win percentage two national championships SLC conference semifinals April 27th pic.twitter.com/odNv656vgn
— GCU Men's Lacrosse (@GCUlacrosse) April 15, 2018
As leaky as the BYU backline looked at the beginning of the year, now they are able to walk hand-in-hand with the offense. Since a 16-13 shootout win over Oregon on St. Patrick’s Day, the Cougars have allowed 6.17 goals per game in the last six outings.
Sophomore Dalon Hampshire has settled down in the cage (62.8 sv%) and the defense has bowed up and is showing a little grit.
Now the Cougars have the opportunity to show everyone that they don’t play second fiddle to anyone in the RMLC – especially to the nouveau riche squad up in Salt Lake City grabbing all the headlines.
When BYU and Utah meet on Thursdsay it will be a statement game for both teams. And if you don’t think the Cougars can walk away with a win…well…you haven’t been paying attention.
You’ll remember last year that BYU came out of nowhere to grab the No. 1 seed at nationals. They are currently on a track to exceed last year’s successes.
Regardless, the Cougars are in a much better place than they were on that cold March evening when Davenport put them in dark place.
And in hindsight, that game might have been the best thing that happened to them.
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San Marcos Takes Tumble
Cal State San Marcos has been one of the big stories in Division II, racing out to an 11-0 start to season – including wins over UC Santa Cruz, San Diego and UC Davis – and grabbing a No. 12 ranking.
UC San Diego stepped in and ruined the vibe on Saturday night, handing the Cougars an 11-9 setback and grabbing the top seed out of the SLC South in the upcoming conference tournament.
CSUSM will likely take a fall in the polls, but more importantly this was a most inopportune time to take a loss with the Selection Committee condensing its notes.
Is this a death sentence for the Cougars in they don’t grab the AQ? By no means. Frankly, the D-II pool isn’t that deep this year and an extra game in the SLC tourney may not be a bad thing. We’ll find out.
LSA Quarters Go Chalk
Seven of the eight playoff games in the Lone Star Alliance are in the books after Saturday and the higher seeds advanced in all of them.
In Division II, the four regional top dogs advanced to next Saturday’s semifinals in Austin, Texas, setting up a weekend that undoubtedly features the best four teams in the conference.
The two LSA ranked teams – No. 15 Missouri State and No. 24 Baylor – will be in one of the semifinals. MoState beat Baylor, 10-5, on March 3 in Denton, Texas.
Louisiana State and UT-Dallas, who have met in the LSA championship game the last two seasons, will meet in the semifinals this year.
Oklahoma, the top seed out of the North in D-I, advanced comfortably with a 14-6 win over Texas State while the two No. 2 seeds – SMU and Texas – also moved on to next Saturday.
South top seed Texas A&M plays Texas Tech on Sunday to wrap up the final four.
FSU 14, UF 10. Final!!! Seminoles extend their winning streak against the Gators to six straight #StateChamps #WeTakeVenmo pic.twitter.com/fLDQLbxXSx
— FSU Lacrosse (@FSULacrosse) April 15, 2018
DIVISION I NOTES: Cal’s 24-8 victory over Nevada wraps up the top seed in the WCLL tournament, which will be held in Rohnert Park during the last weekend in April. Santa Clara will be the No. 2 seed…Arizona State wrapped up the second seed in the SLC South with the win over Arizona. Do the Sun Devils need to beat SDSU and Chapman to get in?...Grand Canyon put the finishing touches on its season with a convincing, 19-8, victory over UNLV. The Lopes offense is starting to come around.
Dayton is locked into the No. 3E seed in the UMLC tourney. Flyers will face No. 2W St. Johns' in first round in Mahtomedi.
UST & GVSU to decide top seed/bye tomorrow. #mcla18 #RaceforSaltLake https://t.co/7UaZYyt3Io
— MCLA Tournament '18 (@MCLA_Tournament) April 14, 2018
DIVISION II NOTES: No. 1 St. Thomas’ 8-4 win over No. 6 Dayton means Sunday’s game between the Tommies and GVSU will be for the top-seed bye in the UMLC tourney. The Flyers are locked into the No. 3 seed…No. 5 Grand Valley State just made the selection committee’s seeding job even more difficult with the 6-4 win over No. 3 Duluth in South Barrington, Ill., in some brutal conditions…No. 8 Montana State handed No. 21 Colorado Denver its first loss…App State earned the last berth out of the SELC North in the playoffs by beating UNC Charlotte, 13-5….No. 25 UC Santa Cruz upset No. 16 UC Davis to grab the second seed in the WCLL tourney behind Sierra Nevada.