by Jac Coyne | MCLA.us
LA CROSSE, Wis. – In my lacrosse reporting travels, I’ve seen championships won with defense.
I’ve also seen them won with offense. I’ve seen noted defensive teams win with a heady offense and wide-open squads take home titles with a gritty defense.
Despite a lot of coach-speak about what wins championships, there is actually no set formula. Likewise, there is no position that will ultimately decide a championship.
Dominant faceoff guys can be mitigated with different tactics to ugly-up the draw. Likewise, lights-out goalies are often only as good as the defense in front of them. If opens looks can be consistently found, the best goalies in the world don’t stand a chance. Lock-offs and face-guarding has silenced the best attackman.
One could argue that the team with the most talent is going to win the championship. There is certainly something to that.
Jim Berkman, the legendary Salisbury coach, often told me that you don’t win Division III championships with Division III players. He often had scholarship-quality personnel that he was able to craft. Likewise, if you said you don’t win MCLA championships with MCLA players, I think most people would nod in understanding.
For my money – and this isn’t exactly an eye-opening revelation – championships are determined by the coaches. In particular, coaches that have the adaptability from game-to-game and quarter-to-quarter to challenge an opponent.
The biggest threat to coaches from my perspective is hubris. While every coach who lost in a championship game as the favorite will tell you that they scouted hard, knew exactly what the other team was going to do, etc., it was almost always a failure of vision.
It’s easy to get trapped in the bubble. You’ve gone the length of the season as a dominant team at the top of the polls and your systems are working flawlessly. The blinders start to form about certain player’s ability to win one-on-one matchups, however.
We have the best goalie in the country. Our faceoff man won’t win less than 65 percent of the draws. No one has the short-sticks we do. It easy to fall into the trap.
Winning can be a hallucinogen if one is not careful.
I will grant that the MCLA format and the need to win four games in six days against high-end opposition changes the dynamics a little bit. Seeding and depth is hugely important.
Coaches have good years and bad years, just like any player. But when they are on their game, the coach can be the difference between a trophy and a runner-up medal.
View this post on InstagramSeniors, it’s been a journey but we aren’t done. #goducks #yougotmybackigotyours
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My Top Fives
1. California (11-0) – Been a while since Cal-Stanford meant something.
2. Liberty (11-0) – A couple of business transactions before Hokies wrap things up.
3. Georgia Tech (12-0) – Nice, solid effort against Michigan State. Good team.
4. Arizona State (10-1) – Sun Devils will be a tournament nightmare.
5. New Hampshire (6-0) – The Wildcats’ offense is nearing unstoppable.
COWBOYS WIN! #OkState takes down North Texas 13-10! The Pokes playoff run begins next weekend in Stillwater! #CowboyLax pic.twitter.com/8ROsPdYbMf
— Oklahoma State Lacrosse (@OSUCowboyLax) April 7, 2019
1. Minn.-Duluth (9-1) – Regular season is in the books. It’s postseason time.
2. Dayton (8-1) – Friday against GVSU will be a monster. The bye is always big.
3. Kennesaw State (9-1) – The Owls now turn their eyes to the SELC tourney.
4. College of Idaho (8-0) – The Yotes have all the pieces. Getting the right seed is key.
5. Grand Valley State (6-1) – Even D-I teams don’t want a piece of the Lakers’ grind.
View this post on InstagramHappy to say our brother “Chowder” had a second successful surgery today after an injury in our second game of the week. We all wish you a speedy recovery and look forward to having you back home. We love you Chowder! #AllCougEverything
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Slides & Rides
Purdue’s double overtime win over Indiana puts the Boilermakers in a great spot to get the top seed out of the UMLC East…Washington’s triple-overtime victory against No. 23 Oregon guarantees the Huskies the top seed in the PNCLL tournament. The Ducks can nail down the second seed with a win over Boise State next week…No. 17 Stanford locked down the second seed out of the WCLL South by downing No. 22 Santa Clara, 8-7…Georgia’s 13-7 win over Auburn locked down an SELC tourney berth out of the SELC Southwest.
View this post on InstagramCheck out the highlights from the boys win over #23 Cal State San Marcos • • • • • Link is in BIO
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No. 11 Florida Gulf Coast pushed its winning streak to five games and now all that left is the showdown with No. 9 North Florida for the top seed out of the SELC South…College of Charleston’s win over Coastal Carolina ensures that the Cougars will be the third seed out of the SELC South…No. 7 St. John’s got a big boost of confidence with the 12-8 win over No. 6 North Dakota State…No. 17 Montana State retained the Copper Cup with a 14-9 triumph over No. 14 Montana…top-ranked Duluth dismissed No. 4 St. Thomas with surprising ease, 11-4…No. 10 UC Davis boosted its stock back up by downing No. 13 UC Santa Cruz.
As usual, get those nominations for the Commanding Performance of the Week and Pearl's Goalie of the Week to firstname.lastname@example.org ASAP.