(Photo by Lance Wendt)
by Jac Coyne | MCLA.us
LA CROSSE, Wis. – When the trip to the Rockies showed up on the Clemson schedule this winter, it was a great day for the program.
We wrote about Ole Miss in this space a couple of weeks ago when they unbound themselves of their regional changes to go to L.A. to face USC and UCLA. Clemson was in that same category.
The 17th-ranked Tigers, however, have been a better team record-wise and talent-wise. They probably should have been spreading their wings earlier, but sometimes it takes some program momentum to make it happen.
This year, it did.
And after Clemson left Fort Collins with a 9-8 overtime triumph over No. 20 Colorado State thanks to a Devan Carroll strike, the whole trip became worth it.
Mission accomplished for the Tigers.
Sure, the rankings said Clemson was the favorite, but beating the Rams on their own field will always resonate with the committee. And now, Colorado State will be working for the Tigers the rest of the year.
Every win the Rams pull off for the rest of the year is another chip in Buff Grubb’s stack. And his team will get some travel and ranking points for battling it out with Colorado on Friday.
This win alone won’t get Clemson into nationals. There is still a lot of work to do.
However, if the Tigers finish up the regular season, say, 12-3 and pull off an SELC tourney first-round upset, I would think they’ll be discussed. If they run the table – which would include a win over No. 2 South Carolina in the season finale – then we’re really talking.
But let’s not get ahead of ourselves. Let’s appreciate Clemson for stepping up with a Colorado trip and seeing it pay off in the short term.
Aggies Make Their Mark
The Beehive State has made all sorts of noise in the last year. The Utes went varsity right after BYU sent them packing from the MCLA. Utah Valley kids are – gasp! – waving at people.
Not to be left out of the mix, Utah State made a statement on Saturday when they stunned No. 7 Montana State in overtime, 12-11.
It’s a been a wobbly start for the Aggies with their Fort Lewis game getting wiped out by a Moab blizzard and their home contest against Colorado Mines finding a similar fate.
Knocking off the Bobcats resets all of the algebra, especially with games against College of Idaho and Colorado Denver still on the docket.
Utah State is now 2-1 (the loss coming to a surging D-I Utah Valley outfit) and looking like a team that deserves to be ranked.
View this post on InstagramAn OT 12-11 dub for the boys today Our first win against Montana State since 2015
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Slides & Rides
UConn got back in the game with a 13-9 win over No. 16 Florida State. The Huskies can make a major move by taking down No. 3 Georgia Tech on Sunday morning…the Seminoles have scored a combined three goals in the second halves of losses to the Ramblin’ Wreck and UConn…if the season ended today, Claremont would make the SLC tournament. The Cougars took down San Diego State, 9-8, for the first conference win since 2017…Dominican suffered its first loss at the hands of No. 14 Stanford, 14-10.
No. 5 Kennesaw State put D-II on notice with an 11-10 victory over No. 2 St. Thomas at Judgement. No. 1 Duluth awaits on Sunday morning...No. 8 Dayton and No. 6 Grand Valley State posted comfortable wins over Central Conn. State on Saturday. That’s a rough doubleheader for any team…with the nasty weather, Judgement Weekend could have been a disaster if not for Vanderbilt’s top-notch indoor venue. Much love for the Commodores facilities and rec staff for making the whole thing happen!…quite a shootout between Long Beach and San Marcos, with the Cougars walking away with a 21-20 win…Florida Gulf Coast put a scare into No. 1 Minn.-Duluth, leading by three goals midway through the third. The Bulldogs rallied for a 12-9 triumph.