by Jac Coyne | MCLA.us
LA CROSSE, Wis. -- There was snowfall in the RMLC and heartbreak for the defending Division I champions in SoCal as the postseason picture became a little bit clearer heading into a pivotal Saturday.
Montana State slowly pulled away from Fort Lewis in the opening semifinal to post a 12-6 triumph. Alex Brown posted the hat trick for the Bobcats while Louis Richman chipped in with a score and two assists.
“With the way they were sliding, I knew I was going to be a feeder today,” said Richman. “As long as we get the ‘W,’ that’s what’s important.”
Metro State got off to an equally slow start against Colorado Mines, leading 5-2 at the half. “That’s been an issue for us all season,” said Metro coach Daniel Hunter.
A seven-goal third quarter put this semifinal to bed as the Roadrunners coasted to a 19-3 victory.
The championship game will not only be rematch of last year’s contest, but also the reprise of a game two weeks ago in Bozeman won comfortably by Metro, 15-11.
In Division I, No. 6 Brigham Young jumped all over No. 9 Utah to start the game, scoring the first four goals of the contest before locking down the win with a big fourth quarter for the 10-4 triumph. Chris Severson scored four goals to lead the way for the Cougars.
“We didn’t want to change anything from last week,” said Severson, referencing BYU’s comfortable win over the Utes in the regular season finale. “We just wanted to be sharper.”
They will have to be sharp to slow down Colorado. The Buffs had to deal with both Colorado State and a driving snowstorm in the nightcap, but they managed to conquer both with an 11-7 win.
Colorado put together a solid defensive effort in a 9-7 win over BYU at the beginning of the month, but both teams have improved in the meantime. It should be a gem of a final, which starts at 5 p.m. CDT.
Pacific Northwest College Lacrosse League (PNCLL) – D-II Bracket
The semifinals are set after Gonzaga and Great Falls advanced.
Gonzaga had little trouble with Portland, jumping out early and then coasting home for a 12-4 victory. The Zags will now face the lone unbeaten left in the MCLA – the College of Idaho. The two teams met in late February with the Yotes winning, 13-9.
Great Falls continues to be one of the hottest teams in D-II, winning its sixth straight game and fourth against a ranked opponent. Southern Oregon, the defending PNCLL-II champs, do not get a chance to defend as the Argos move on to face Montana on Saturday.
Great Rivers Lacrosse Conference (GRLC) – D-I Bracket
Purdue rolled Nebraska, 23-3, in the lone D-I first round game to advance to the semifinals where Indiana awaits.
Southwestern Lacrosse Conference (SLC) – D-I Bracket
Joe Balestreri, fresh off being named the SLC Division I Offensive Player of the Year, put an exclamation on that award with a seven-goal performance against UC Santa Barbara in the semifinals as the Lopes rolled, 15-9.
The Gauchos tried to muddy it up as much as possible – and at times they frustrated the Lopes – but GCU’s domination on faceoffs and Balestrerie’s ability to stretch the UCSB zone proved to be too much.
Defending national champion Chapman raced out to an early lead, but Arizona State inched its way back into the game. With the scored tied at eight late in the fourth, Jake Marthens connected on a clever shot from deep to give the Sun Devils a one-goal led before Tommy Carrasco won a scrum in the corner and converted for a 10-8 lead that proved too much.
Dylan Garner, who finished with six goals for the Panthers, scored with six ticks left to cut the final to 10-9, but a late attempt sailed wide, sending ASU to the title game against Grand Canyon.