by Jac Coyne | MCLA.us
LA CROSSE, Wis. – The MCLA is getting older.
We’re now in our 23rd official year of existence, so the association can have a beer if it chooses. Our existence has also given us credibility, as everyone understands we’re not going anywhere, and will remain a viable option well into the future.
As many of us have learned at a personal level, growing older means losing people. I lost my father in July. None of my other relatives are getting any younger. I’m no spring chicken, myself.
The MCLA, as an organization, is starting to feel the same effects.
We lost Colorado State legend Flip Naumburg last May during the tournament. The association responded by naming our Coach of the Year after him and he is one of the inaugural members of our new Hall of Fame.
Last week, we said goodbye to Florida State legend Bill Harkins.
Harkins coached at FSU from 2004-13 and built a powerhouse program that helped put the SELC on the map. The Seminoles trip to the national semifinals in 2005 was the first time an SELC team had made it that far and was a huge moment in the development of our organization.
Not only that, Harkins was a fantastic person. I interviewed him many times when I was still at Lacrosse Magazine and he always called back quickly and provided me with thoughtful feedback.
Like Naumburg, Harkins wanted to rip your heart out for 60 minutes on the lacrosse field, but when the final whistle blew, win or lose, he respected the game and his opponents. He was one of our great ambassadors.
With these two great men moving to the next level, it’s a time to reflect. Perhaps for both current student-athletes and alums, if you had a great MCLA experience it might be worth dropping your old coach an email or call just to say thanks.
As someone trying to build the MCLA off the broad shoulders of guys like Naumburg and Harkins, I wish I had made one last call to both to say thanks. I can only imagine that sentiment is magnified by those who played for them.
Don't let the opportunity pass by you. Appreciate the greatness of your mentors and coaches now, because life moves quickly.
To paraphrase Rusty in Ocean’s 11: “In this league, your luck can change just that quickly.”
Things have certainly spun on a dime since I named the WCLL the best conference in the association last week.
Since that declaration, UCSB got swept out of the desert by Grand Canyon and Arizona while Santa Clara has lost home games to Simon Fraser and Florida State. Cal Poly managed to split against ASU and GCU, rallying from a 6-2 deficit to beat the Lopes, 15-10.
Overall, six of the nine teams now have a losing record. Oops.
Cal (5-0), Stanford (5-0) and Dominican (4-0) have kept up their end of the bargain, but now the WCLL just looks like your garden variety top-heavy conference. Life comes at you fast.
I’ll wait a week until I slap the “Best Conference” curse on some other league.
View this post on InstagramCare to lax? First snow day in years in Tucson. (via @alec2moen)
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Like a Phoenix, Rising from Arizona
It was a big weekend for Arizona State. The Sun Devils, likely still stinging from their omission from nationals last year, took care of business against a pair of ranked WCLL squads.
The Sun Devils held off a late charge from Cal Poly to post a 12-11 win over the No. 23 Mustangs and then looked even more impressive with an 18-4 whitewash of No. 14 UC Santa Barbara.
ASU is now 3-1 and looking an awful lot like a Top 10 squad considering the only loss was a 10-7 setback to a juggernaut Cal outfit. More importantly, they look like a tournament team.
On the other side of town, things aren’t quite as rosy as it is now gut-check time for Grand Canyon.
The Lopes are 1-2 after giving away a 6-2 lead to Cal Poly on Sunday, losing, 15-10. They are now staring down the barrel of No. 9 Colorado, Colorado State, No. 10 Brigham Young in the next 12 days.
That is followed by a trip to No. 5 Concordia. Manny Rapkin is a pro, so he knows what it is at stake, but can GCU respond?
My Top Fives
1. Michigan State (2-0) – Shine is off the Chapman game, but CUI will be interesting.
2. South Carolina (3-0) – Virginia Tech on Saturday. That should be a beauty.
3. California (5-0) – Bears tread water until Hokies come calling on the Ides of March.
4. Liberty (3-0) – Last year’s loss to UConn cost the Flames a seed or two.
5. Concordia-Irvine (4-0) – The scores weren’t particularly impressive this weekend.
1. Minn.-Duluth (1-0) – Game against Minny is irrelevant. Still on top.
2. St. Thomas (1-0) – The score against NDSU lets you know the UMLC is going to be grind.
3. St. John’s (2-0) – Johnnies head in for a month-long slumber.
4. Grand Valley State (0-0) – “Waiting, Sweetheart. Just waiting for you.”
5. Kennesaw State (6-0) – Owls should be 7-0 heading into St. Thomas tilt.
View this post on InstagramDEACS ON TOP! Pretty much the worst playing conditions imaginable today. Jeff seemed to be the only one enjoying himself. Deacs are on a three game win streak going into a little one month break in the season. #godeacs #wakelax #deacsontop #SELC #MCLA #MCLA19
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Slides & Rides
Arkansas ups its mark to 7-0 overall and is now 3-0 in the LSA North after walking over North Texas, 18-5. I postulated that Stanford’s Paul Jepsen was a good Coach of the Year candidate. Well, make sure you’ve got Razorbacks’ Justin Jenkins on that list, too…Vanderbilt jumped up and bit Missouri on Sunday, 12-11…Colorado State’s 10-8 victory over No. 16 Oregon on Sunday should propel the Rams back into the charts. No. 12 ASU and No. 11 Grand Canyon are next up for CSU...Check out a couple of photos galleries: Colorado against Oregon & Oregon State as well as Arizona State vs. Cal Poly.
— Clemson Lacrosse (@ClemsonLacrosse) February 24, 2019
Missouri State’s Donnie Curran picked up his first win as an MCLA coach with the Bears’ 14-5 win over No. 25 MSU-Denver. It was the first Top 25 for MoState in over a decade…Dayton completed its three-game sweep with a comfy, 13-1 win over Wash. U. The Flyers are starting to look like the Flyers we know…Northern Arizona is two-thirds of the way to wrapping up the SLC-II North division top seed. Only Loyola Marymount remains.
Get those nominations for Commanding Performance of the Week powered by Under Armour and those for Pearl’s Goalie of the Week to [email protected] pronto.