by Jac Coyne | MCLA.us
LA CROSSE, Wis. – In a nod to the institutions’ traditional conference roots, a host of teams will be converging on Westwood, Calif., and Prosper, Texas, to fly the banners of the Pac-12 and Big 12, respectively.
Westwood is, of course, the home of UCLA, where the Pac-12 Shootout has been held for the past decade as the event moves into its 12th season. Eight of the 11 MCLA schools that have Pac-12 ties are making the trip to Los Angeles to participate.
Colorado, Oregon and Washington State (defunct for ’19) will not be making the trip. The 12th is obviously Utah, which matriculated at the NCAA Division I level this spring.
Prosper, a ‘burb north of Dallas, will host the Big 12 Classic, featuring five of the conference’s 10 traditional teams. Baylor, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, Texas Tech and West Virginia will all be making the trip.
The BIG 12 Classic returns to Prosper HS for an action packed weekend of college lacrosse. For the 2nd straight year, OU, OSU, Texas Tech, WVU & Baylor will compete for bragging rights & a chance to take home The Cup! Friday’s games at 8:00pm feature WVU vs OU & Baylor vs OSU. pic.twitter.com/Txl4d4h5hW
— PHS Lacrosse (@ProsperHighLax) February 12, 2019
Iowa State, Kansas, Kansas State, TCU and Texas opted out this year.
I enjoy the concept behind these events, as I think in-season tournaments and round robins are an effective way to maximize travel budgets and create a little buzz. Even if it means having to endure 724 “Why don’t these teams go varsity?” tweets.
Sure, they’d be better if every team could make it, but that’s not always easy to do when balancing schedules and budgets.
This mid-season traditional conference homage has expanded even further this year as the Mountain West Conference has planted its seed.
This weekend, Nevada, UNLV and Boise State will be converging on San Diego State to start the ball rolling with the Mountain West Showcase. This is the first installment, with the hope that some of the other MWC outfits – Colorado State, San Jose State, Utah State and Wyoming – will get in the mix in years to come.
Let all the conference banners fly.
Get up #Bison Nation! It’s GAMEDAY! The Herd takes on the University of Minnesota Duluth tonight for their 2019 Home Opener! Opening Faceoff: 7:45PM @ Dacotah Field Dome on the campus of NDSU - wear your green and gold and bring the noise! #GoBison #DefendTheDome #SKIYUHpic.twitter.com/3eQj6BbKtG
— North Dakota State Lacrosse (@NDSUMensClubLax) February 15, 2019
Return of the Champs
Yes, I know. North Dakota State opened up the season last weekend, but it was against a pair of Division I teams. This is the weekend when we get to see both title-bearers from last spring truly kick things off.
Up in Pontiac, Mich., top-ranked Michigan State will entertain No. 23 Minnesota on Friday afternoon in a game that will be streamed here in a big CLC West tilt while No. 1 NDSU welcomes No. 3 Minn.-Duluth to Fargo on the same evening in a UMLC West throwdown.
Both favorites will have their hands full. The rankings in the Bison-Bulldogs matchup provide all the information you need to know about that one, and remember that the Gophers lost by just a goal in their regular season matchup last year with Sparty.
Two great games in what will be a weekend chalk full of them.
What is the MCLA D-I Game of the Week for the period ending Feb. 17? #mcla19
— MCLA Tournament '19 (@MCLA_Tournament) February 11, 2019
No. 3 BYU at No. No. 11 Concordia, 3 p.m. – Friday
All eyes are going to be a couple of miles away at the Cal-Chapman game, but I’m more intrigued with this tilt. Both of these outfits are stacked on both sides of the ball and neither is afraid to get mean if it turns into a slugfest.
As always, the faceoff dot is a crucial area. I’ll give that advantage to the visitors. BYU, 12-9.
Florida at No. 10 Georgia Tech, 7 p.m. – Friday
We’ve been waiting a couple of years now for the Gators to make the leap. Well, they’re off to a 3-0 start this season, but now we find out if they are truly contenders for nationals.
The Ramblin’ Wreck have been chewing up SELC dreams in their defensive meatgrinder for years now. Tough seeing this playing out any other way. Bugs over Gators, 11-4.
No. 3 Minn.-Duluth at No. 1 North Dakota State, 7:45 p.m. – Friday
Scott McNamara is the best attackman in the country for my money, but the Bison defense has never let him get going. In three meetings last year, McNamara combined for four goals and four assists. He had more points than that against Kennesaw State (8g, 1).
This is a revamped NDSU backline, however. These two teams will meet two more times, but I like the ‘Dogs in the first installment, 9-8.
Montana and St. John's meet at 12:30 p.m. CST in Collegeville on Saturday.
The last time they met?
The 2007 MCLA D-II national championship game in Frisco, Texas. Griz won, 15-5. #mcla19 pic.twitter.com/LhgxIjoqxq
— MCLA Tournament '19 (@MCLA_Tournament) February 15, 2019
No. 11 Montana at No. 5 St. John’s, 1:30 p.m. – Saturday
The Grizzlies make the sojourn across the top of the country for a matinee in scenic Collegeville. Can Montana start the season off with a bang against the always-talented Johnnies?
Andrew Moesel is one of the most underrated goalies in the country – he was the PNCLL Defensive Player of the Year and couldn’t even crack the All-America list – and a game-changer. If he gets hot, the Griz can roll with any one. That’s a big “if,” however. Johnnies, 10-8.
No. 12 Boston College at No. 4 South Carolina, 4 p.m. – Saturday
There’s been nary a peep out of Chestnut Hill so far on social media. What does that mean? Well, it means one of two things. Either the Eagles have been toiling away quietly, getting ready to spring a trap on the Gamecocks in the opener. Or last year’s president didn’t pass along the Twitter and IG passwords to the new guy.
It could be a little bit of both. The Eagles are young, but extremely talented. It’ll be Louie DeDonatis’ job to harness that potential. BC gets a break with the Gamecocks playing Friday night against Georgia prior to their matchup, but it’s just a tad early in the season for the Eagles. USC, 12-8.
Slides & Rides
The Cal-Chapman game on Saturday at 1 p.m. should be a classic…a win for Texas A&M on Saturday against Texas State will give Tony Scazzero his 500th win…the Missouri-Missouri State clash has been postponed because of the impending snow storm…keep an eye out later today announcing the SLC Game of the Week schedule. They have some quality contests this year…Auburn is heading to Austin to face Texas on Friday and TCU on Saturday. The Tigers have the_mcla Snapchat account, so swing over there to check out the trip.