The Wild Pacific Northwest
by Jac Coyne | MCLA.us
LA CROSSE, Wis. – The most compelling postseason races are the ones that produce only one survivor.
That’s why the cannonball run toward the PNCLL automatic qualifier will be as interesting as any conference storyline this spring, mostly because of the presence of five decent candidates that could realistically walk away the bid.
Oregon State is still considered the nominal favorite, but the loss to San Diego State in Palm Desert on Saturday will not only eject the Beavers from the Top 10, but force a second look at the their overall resume to this point.
The same is true for Oregon after the stunning, 12-8 setback to Boise State. The Ducks do have wins over the same SDSU team along with Chapman, so they have a better at-large CV at this point.
The Broncos have injected themselves into the PNCLL race with the Oregon win, but their at-large chances are distant at this point with the 19-3 wipeout loss to BYU hanging around their necks.
And then there is the Simon Fraser wild card. We haven’t seen nearly enough of the Clan to surmise how they are going to stack up, although the 5-3 loss to Cal Poly is intriguing. They play Oregon on Friday, so questions will be answered then.
Washington has to be included just because of the Huskies’ strength of schedule. They have too many losses to be in the at-large discussion, but they will be a grizzled bunch when the conference tournament rolls around (assuming they can grab the one win against BSU/OU/SFU to qualify).
Could the PNCLL score a couple of bids to the 2017 MCLA National Championships powered by Under Armour? Absolutely. In fact, it could plausibly get three if Fraser goes into Utah in two weeks and sweeps BYU and Utah.
The PNCLL hasn’t had multiple bids since 2013, however, so immediate history tells us this is probably going to be a sprint to one brass ring.
And it’s going to be fun to follow.
Eagles Flying High
Concordia-Irvine coach Ryan Brent said on Friday that the Eagles’ trip to the Upper Midwest was not going to be judged on results. This was more of a logistical trial run in preparation for nationals.
It looks like he and CUI can have their cake and eat it to after the Eagles hammered both No. 5 St. John’s (13-6) and No. 3 North Dakota State (20-10) in their own buildings over the weekend.
Now, regardless of how Concordia matches up with No. 1 St. Thomas on Tuesday in the final game of the trip, the Eagles are almost certainly locked into a Top 3 seed at nationals, if not higher.
Congrats to Chapman coach Dallas Hartley for earning his 100th win with the Panthers by beating UCLA, 18-2. #mcla17 pic.twitter.com/PrqcERPlJY
— MCLA (@MCLA) March 5, 2017
Division I Notes
- The 6-5 double-overtime victory for No. 2 Grand Canyon against No. 21 Virginia Tech will be in contention for most exciting game of the season when all is said and done, but what is its more immediate meaning?
When put in context with the Hokies’ 10-8 loss to South Carolina last week, it’s a rather muddy scenario. Fortunately, today’s (Monday) contests featuring Virginia Tech-ASU and Grand Canyon-BYU have the potential to clarify the situation.You can bet the Gamecocks will be rooting hard for the Hokies.
Aztecs cap off the trip to Dub Springs with a win over Oregon State 9-6! Peep those polls this week#mcla17 #slc #sdsulacrosse pic.twitter.com/ucUeFzjRRo
— SDSU Men's Lacrosse (@SDSULacrosse) March 5, 2017
- Texas improved to 7-0 with a weekend sweep of LSU and Ole Miss, further cementing the Longhorns' stake as the best team in the LSA (and likely worthy of a national ranking). A new contender has emerged, however, to give UT pause.
Oklahoma, under new head coach Mario Enea, also hit the 7-0 mark with a rugged, 8-3 win over defending LSA champion SMU. The Sooners and 'Horns meet in Austin on April 9.
- Peter Swander picked up his first Division I win as head coach at USC with Saturday’s 12-6 win over Utah Valley…Indiana avenged its loss to Miami (Ohio) from the GRLC semifinals with an 11-7 triumph…another five goals and an assist for Cal’s Max McKone in an 18-8 rout of Sonoma…clean sweep of Texas A&M and Minnesota for Colorado and Colorado State, although the Gophers pushed the Rams until the end…Washington State won its PNCLL opener, downing Idaho, 8-7.
The Dawgs got their first @MCLA win today against @MST_Lax 10-8! #salukilacrosse pic.twitter.com/xoCEWXWerP
— SIUC Mens Lacrosse (@SIU_MensClubLAX) March 4, 2017
Division II Notes
- There haven’t been too many weekends like this last one for North Dakota State. The Bison were bounced by No. St. Thomas, 15-6, on Friday night at home before losing, 20-10, in the same building to No. 4 Concordia-Irvine.
The losses themselves aren’t troubling – the Tommies and Eagles are obviously solid teams – but the scores certainly raise an eyebrow. The Bison allowed double-digit scoring just four times last year in 18 games (twice in losses to UST) with the most being 14. Now they are allowing 17.5 markers at home.
These are certainly correctable errors and NDSU is still in fine shape to make nationals. Still, there is cause for some alarm in Fargo.
- No. 18 San Diego picked up a solid, 12-8 win over No. 20 Fort Lewis as the SLC just gets stronger and stronger…New Haven got off to a 1-1 start, losing to Westfield State before knocking off Division I Rhode Island, 12-10…Great Falls is off to a 1-0 start with a win over CU-Denver.