by Jac Coyne | MCLA.us
LA CROSSE, Wis. – The last time that either MCLA division had a back-to-back champion was in 2013 when both Colorado State and St. Thomas accomplished the feat.
Perhaps it was the loose, sandy soil or the crisp, spring air of Greenville, S.C., that made the association predisposed to creating repeat champions, but it’ll be six full years without a repeat title-bearer if Michigan State or North Dakota State don’t double up in Salt Lake City in a month.
How is a repeat looking in the Beehive State?
As we migrate into April, honestly, not great.
Michigan State has used two of the last few days in March to get over the .500 plateau, which is a step in the right direction.
The Spartans picked up their first ranked win of the campaign on Saturday against No. 10 Virginia Tech, 13-9. Combined with a triumph over Indiana on Friday night at the Clash in Columbus and State is now 6-4 with three games to go.
If you look at their record as objectively as possible right now, they are a bubble at-large team without the CLC automatic qualifier and a probably a double-digit seed if they do grab the AQ.
Fortunately for MSU, the final trio games comes against No. 2 Georgia Tech, No. 6 South Carolina and Davenport. A clean sweep to end the season and a CLC title will turn the Spartans from a bracket filler to contender.
#55 Senior Captain @AustinRolfe goes coast to coast and converts a diving game winner with 6 seconds remaining vs University of Washington. Mustangs wins 10-9. Good weekend. pic.twitter.com/x6I6yxDqQI
— SMU Lacrosse (@SMULacrosse) March 25, 2019
From my perspective, Michigan State has missed the play of goalie Kevin Boland, who would have played a decisive in the Spartans two-goal losses (or fewer) to Chapman, Concordia-Irvine and Arizona.
Flip those three results and MSU is 9-1 and having serious repeat thoughts. Alas, when you lose a national player of the year, there is going to be a void.
North Dakota is in a similar boat in Division II. The Bison gave up an average of 14 goals in losses to No. 2 Dayton and No. 7 Grand Valley State, and now they sit at 4-5 with one game left in the regular season.
Unlike Michigan State, NDSU knows they’ll make nationals. Like MSU, the loss of their national player of the year – Evan Schraut – has also been hugely impactful.
The 10-man ride just doesn’t have the same bite and the settled six-on-six defense has been given up a lot of uncharacteristically simple goals.
Long story short, a repeat is not looking likely. Not impossible, but certainly a long shot.
That’s not necessarily a bad thing in the grand scheme of things, but can we say the MCLA is officially dynasty-free?
View this post on InstagramSome highlights from our 16-3 win over #11 Boston College. That win makes us 5-0 heading into this weekend!
A post shared by UNH Lacrosse (@unhlacrosse) on
My Top Fives
1. California (10-0) – Bears have two weeks to prepare for Noma and the top seed.
2. Liberty (10-0) – Flames move up having played a tougher schedule than GT.
3. Georgia Tech (11-0) – Yellow Jackets give Bama and Auburn a good clubbing.
4. Arizona State (9-1) – Sun Devils now set sights on winning the SLC South.
5. New Hampshire (5-0) – The Wildcats are good. Their schedule? Meh.
1. Minn.-Duluth (7-1) – I’m not going to ding the Dogs for a doubleheader D-I loss.
2. Dayton (8-1) – I’m not going to ding the Flyers too much for the UMD setback.
3. Kennesaw State (9-1) – I’m not going to ding the Owls for taking two weeks off.
4. College of Idaho (7-0) – Yotes are in cruise control at this point.
5. Grand Valley State (6-1) – Productive weekend in Allendale gives Lakers the bump.
Slides & Rides
Central Florida’s overtime win against Florida on Friday night dealt a huge blow to the Gators’ postseason chances. UF now has to beat Florida State and hope the tiebreaker goes its way…fresh off its first divisional win in five years, Vanderbilt made it two, rocking Ole Miss, 18-7…Boston College and Northeastern were looking good early, but now the CLC East appears like it’s going through UConn and UNH…Michigan State, Davenport and Pitt will be the three teams qualifying for the CLC tourney out of the West. MSU-Davenport game will determine top seed.
View this post on InstagramCATS WIN! Arizona defeats Grand Canyon for the first time in program history. @mason_depaola3 had two goals on the day and a big defensive day for the cats, giving @wdhill16 an easy day. Arizona moves to 7-3 and faces UNLV next Saturday for senior day. #beardown
A post shared by Arizona Men's Lacrosse (@uofalacrosse) on
Northern Arizona’s comfortable, 14-5 victory over No. 10 Loyola Marymount not only wraps up the top seed out of the SLC North division, but also places the Lumberjacks ahead of the Lions in the at-large pecking order…the selection committee is going to have a fun time sorting out the western at-large ranking…St. John’s will have to rebound after this weekend in Michigan. Conference tournaments can cure a lot of ills…Bridgewater State’s win over Rhode Island is a big hurdle jumped. The contest with Central Conn. on April 14 looming large…Tulane grabbed the second bid out of the LSA East by downing TAMU-Galveston.
Coaches, remember to get your nominations for the Commanding Performance of the Week powered by Under Armour and Pearl’s Goalie of the Week to firstname.lastname@example.org ASAP. Also, we’re accepting nominations for the US Lacrosse Players of the Month for March.