by Jac Coyne | MCLA.us
LA CROSSE, Wis. – Always respect the king.
South Carolina is off to a 5-0 start in the wake of their 2019 national championship, so it is the rightful owners of the top-ranking in the polls. And regardless if they take a loss along the way, they will be the champs until May 9 rolls around.
And maybe even longer.
We’re halfway through February, so it’s time to see who are the biggest threats to the Gamecocks’ crown.
California tops the list of contenders, as you’d expect. The runners-up from last year are talented, savvy and – perhaps most importantly considering our tournament structure – deep across the board.
Getting worked over by South Carolina in the finals should be a nice catalyst for the Bears, as well.
Chapman once again has the look of a champion, but with just one title in five championship game appearances, the Panthers have something to prove. That’s a good thing.
Georgia Tech has the biggest chip on its shoulder. The fact that South Carolina was the first SELC title-bearer instead of the Wreck is stunning. This year’s iteration of the Jackets looks as formidable as any of the previous versions, but can Tech be trusted?
Liberty is another team I’ve got my eye on.
However, if there were future odds on one MCLA team to unseat South Carolina, I’d put my cash on Cal Poly.
Did you hear that groan? That was Mustang coach Bobby Dabrieo reading that last sentence.
Like most coaches, Dabreio loves being under the radar and out of the limelight.
Poly has the goods on both ends of the field to handle anybody. Dominican – perhaps the hottest team in the country heading into the weekend – hosted CP on Saturday and the Penguins got their doors blown off, 20-10. Sonoma State got waxed on Sunday, 21-8.
The crown rests in Columbia, S.C., for good reason. But they better be ready for the grind.
California is coming.
View this post on InstagramGators take down the Pirates to go 2-0 for the weekend. Today’s shovel goes to #17 @mcorazon17 and #6 @koltenmortimerr for their hard work, energy and hustle. As always, it’s GREAT to be a Florida Gator #wontbackdown #straightupthemountain : @kyndalrock
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While perhaps a little off the “contenders” label, Southern Cal is going to be a ranked team this week after sweeping Washington State, No. 7 Arizona State and No. 23 Oregon.
USC’s only loss so far came to Cal Poly – a 14-11 setback in which the Trojans spotted the Mustangs a 7-1 first-quarter lead and outscored Poly 10-7 over the final 45 minutes.
Perhaps the best news for USC is that No. 18 Clemson has offered to make up their cancelled game (snow) from last week when the Tigers make their L.A. trip. It provides USC with another ranked game before heading to No. 19 Arizona if they can make it work.
Chapman appears to be the team to beat in the SLC, but that conference always sends at least two teams to the tourney and USC looks like it could be in the second chair at this point.
MY POWER FIVES
1. Cal Poly (4-0) – The Mustangs punished Dominican and Noma. Trip to ‘Zona looking less scary.
2. California (4-0) – Bears escaped at Concordia. Looked darn good against ASU.
3. Southern Methodist (1-0) – The Mustangs are now the LSA team to beat.
4. Chapman (3-0) – Panthers travel to Cal and then host Poly. They could be heading into March at No. 1.
5. South Carolina (5-0) – Am I surprised at the Alabama score? Yeah, a little.
1. Minn.-Duluth (3-0) – Bulldogs play four tourney teams in five days to start March.
2. St. Thomas (2-1) – The Tommies defense looked awfully good in Minot.
3. Montana (2-2) – All things considered, the Grizzlies held up pretty well in a pair of losses.
4. Northern Arizona (1-0) – A Biola win isn’t going to move the needle, but NAU is more than that.
5. Cal State San Marcos (3-0) – The Cougars shut down Irvine, which no one has been able to do.
Cougars take down UC Irvine in the @MCLA D2 game of the week and improve to 3-0 #AllCougEverything #MCLA pic.twitter.com/V6aZiejsFr
— Cal State San Marcos Lacrosse (@CSUSMLAX) February 17, 2020
SLIDES & RIDES
- Winners and losers from the Pac-12 Shootout? Cal and USC are pretty easy to file in the winner category.
We don’t like to dwell in the negativity in this space, but Stanford and Arizona State have some growing to do. I think both have the potential to rally. Arizona and Washington managed to split their weekends, but the jury is still out.
Finished the weekend 1-1 and safely made it back to Raleigh. @hank_moss31 stuffed 37 cheese balls into his mouth on the bus ride home which unofficially is the new world record @GWR. Congrats Hank pic.twitter.com/sMWhzh6oGj
— Pack Lax™ (@PackLax1) February 17, 2020
- Southern Methodist quietly took over the lead in the race for the LSA championship. Texas A&M was in the driver’s seat, especially after rolling TCU to start the weekend. The Mustangs bumped the Aggies, 11-9, to unsettle the LSA race. It’s going to be interesting.
- Tulane knocked off Louisiana in a subdivisional game. Surprising…East Carolina took Florida to the brink before losing, 8-6. Equally surprising…West Virginia won the Big 12 Challenge for the third straight year…Minn.-Duluth is tough…is Florida a rankable team? Not sure…is Washington (Mo.) ready to make a run at Missouri State in LSA-II?.
- A look ahead to next week: No. 3 Chapman at No. 2 California looks like must-see lacrosse in Division I although there are a bunch of other compelling contests. Utah Valley against Boston College in Atlanta is another intriguing game. Grand Canyon versus Santa Clara is a contest that’ll be talked about in the committee room in May. No. 7 St. John’s at No. 4 North Dakota State headlines the Division II slate.
- Get those nominations for player and goalie of the week to email@example.com ASAP.