by Jac Coyne | MCLA.us
LA CROSSE, Wis. – Like every level of collegiate lacrosse, the MCLA is dominated by postseason favorites. Every year, you mostly see the same teams in postseason contention and many of the same faces when it comes to championship weekend.
So it’s always nice to see a relatively new program come close to breaking through to the next level.
That’s what happening with Santa Clara this season as the Broncos just need a win in their last two games to earn a WCLL tournament bid for the first time since 2008.
Santa Clara arrived at this point by knocking off two-time defending WCLL champion Cal Poly on Saturday afternoon in San Luis Obispo, 6-5.
This improves the Broncos to 4-1 in the conference with just California ahead of them in the race for one of the four spots in the league tournament, which will be held in Rohnert Park, Calif., on April 27-29.
Santa Clara first showed its promise in mid-February when it dealt WCLL rival Sonoma State a 16-12 loss, allowing the Broncos to get out of the gate on the right foot.
Wins against Chico State and Nevada continued the march, setting up the showdown with the Golden Bears. Cal got the best of Santa Clara, 13-9, but the Cal Poly victory has the Broncos on the cusp of a huge seasonal goal.
SCU has been leaning on freshman attackman Keaton Collier (35g, 6a) to pace the offense while using a goalie platoon of sophomore Matt Lencioni (66.7 sv%) and Luke Miller (53.2).
All of this has happened under the guidance of Greg Mengis, who has slowly built the Broncos to this point during his four years as head coach.
As previously mentioned, Santa Clara needs a win against Stanford or Dominican in the next two weeks to lock up a playoff berth (the Broncos have other avenues of qualifying, depending on other results). Both are challenging, but winnable, games for a team trying to create a winning atmosphere.
Time will tell how it plays out, but it’s nice to have someone new thinking about joining the postseason party.
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In the news!!! @HSUTX @LSALacrosse @MCLA pic.twitter.com/ikp3iNn1Uo
— HSU Lacrosse™ (@HSULacrosse) April 8, 2018
Grand Valley Draws First Blood in East
The seeds have already been set in the UMLC-II West Division, but Saturday saw the first movement in the East as No. 5 GVSU made the trip to No. 6 Dayton.
With the 14-10 road triumph over the Flyers, the Lakers assured themselves one of the top two East seeds at the UMLC tournament, which takes place on April 20-22 in Mahtomedi, Minn.
Everything will get fleshed out for all three East participants when St. Thomas, GVSU and Dayton converge on South Barrington, Ill., next weekend. Duluth will also be making the trip to make it a fun four-way.
Dawgs win! Huskies take down Oregon State 11-8 at home, move to 8-3 and remain tied for 1st in Conference standing.
A post shared by HuskyLax (@huskylax) on
New Hampshire Makes Another Statement
UNH drew everyone’s attention with its 2-1 West Coast swing to start out the season, which included wins over ranked Cal Poly and UC Santa Barbara outfits.
With those two fading a bit, the Wildcats needed to recharge the resume and they did just that on Saturday by edging No. 11 Connecticut, 11-10 in Durham.
Meanwhile, the Huskies hand over their hard-earned street cred earned in Delaware, especially the win over Liberty. A second bid out of the PCLL is probably still unlikely, but we’ll see whether this changes the match.
Good Day for CUI
The New Hampshire victory over UConn capped off a productive Saturday for Concordia-Irvine.
Not only did the Eagles hammer UC Santa Barbara to lock down the No. 2 seed out of the SLC North, but their win against UNH earlier in the season got stronger.
There are still a lot of moving pieces in different parts of the country, but if Concordia can roll into the SLC semifinals with an 11-1 record, it’ll probably be tough to keep the Eagles away from Salt Lake City.
After going on a 6-0 run to start the game, @HokieLax falls prey to classic #Fakelead and falls to the Gamecocks 11-10. We remain undefeated and roll into tomorrow against @PittPanthersLax. #enjoii pic.twitter.com/KtrPbKFA1x
— Gamecocks Lacrosse (@CocksLacrosse) April 8, 2018
Gamecocks Improbable Comeback
Trailing 6-0 to start the game against No. 10 Virginia Tech, No. 4 South Carolina looked like toast. Burnt, inedible toast.
An hour later, it was the Gamecocks frolicking in the Blacksburg, Va., snow after charging back to post an 11-10 victory.
USC showed its depth and versatility in the win, using nine different goal-scorers to keep the Hokies guessing on the offensive end. And while Tech seemingly solved the Gamecocks defense early on, the backline rebounded, allowing just four goals in the last 45 minutes.
Spotting the opposition a sixer is not a healthy way to do business, but everything seems to be working for South Carolina these days.
Hawks down Mizzou and bring the sword back to its home @MCLA pic.twitter.com/RiCCOwxUwp
— Kansas Lacrosse (@kuclublacrosse) April 7, 2018
DIVISION I NOTES: The UMLC looked like it was going to be wide open and it just became even more so after Kansas hung a 9-5 loss on Missouri. Mizzou, as you may remember, was picked to win the conference in the preseason coaches poll…Kansas isn’t exactly doing things the easy way, as they have four games in two days next weekend…San Diego State’s win over UNLV could very well send the Aztecs through to the SLC tournament…a win over Elon today qualifies No. 22 Clemson for the SELC tourney.
IT'S GAMEDAY BISON NATION! The Herd takes on #2 UST @ 11 AM today at Sea Foam Stadium. #RollHerd #GoBison
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DIVISION II NOTES: With its 18-4 victory over Florida Atlantic, Florida Gulf Coast will be the top seed coming out of the SELC South…the big WCLL showdown between No. 10 Sierra Nevada and No. 14 UC Davis got pushed off until Sunday at 3 p.m. because of weather…Rice has qualified for the LSA-II tourney and will get a rematch with Louisiana in the quarterfinals…No. St. Thomas’ 11-10 victory over No. 4 St. John’s was a fitting result for such a great rivalry. The Tommies have No. 1 North Dakota State on Sunday…No. 17 Cal State Fullerton snapped its four-game skid with a win over No. 15 San Diego.
As always, coaches, get those nominations for Commanding Performance of the Week powered by Under Armour to [email protected].