(Photo by Bob White)
by Jac Coyne | MCLA.us
LA CROSSE, Wis. – How dedicated are you to getting your program to nationals.
A little bit? Kind of? More than most?
The big question is: what are your limits. As Jim Malone asked Elliot Ness in The Untouchables, “What are you prepared to do?”
Montana is showing us this what they are willing to sacrifice for a ticket to Salt Lake City in early May.
It started with a nine-hour one-way bus ride (600 miles) to northwest Oregon to play Western Oregon and Southern Oregon and was followed by an 11-plus hour one-way coach to Minot, N.D., for the opportunity to play No. 1 Duluth and No. 2. St. Thomas.
The weekend after that, the Griz were on the road again, this time to satisfy conference obligations in SeaTac against Western Washington and Pacific Lutheran. That’s another 14-hour round trip ticket.
Montana received a reprieve of sorts on Sunday as No. 7 St. John’s made a trip of their own to Missoula to give the Grizzlies one of their two home games this season.
A bus ride to Idaho and Spokane is followed by a flight to Georgia to face No. 23 UNC-Charlotte and No. 8 Kennesaw State.
A knee-jerk reaction I’ve heard is because of Montana’s location to Salt Lake City, it basically opens them up for more travel during the regular season.
Sounds about right?
Missoula to Salt Lake City is the same travel time as San Diego to San Francisco. Ever make that trip? If you haven’t, you don’t want to (I have…once). Trust me.
Nationals is not an advantage. It just boils down to what Tucker Sargent and his players are prepared to do.
Regardless of what you think, the committee is watching.
What East Coast team will post the best record on their "western" weekend? #mcla20
— MCLA Tournament '20 (@MCLA_Tournament) February 28, 2020
MY TOP FIVES
1. California (6-0) – Cal Poly makes you work. Bears are a different team on the road.
2. South Carolina (9-0) – If the Cocks sweep Tech & UNH this weekend, they’ll be back on top.
3. Liberty (5-0) – With an SELC bid wrapped up, now it’s time to lock up at least an at-large.
4. Chapman (4-1) – Gritty bounce back win against Cal Poly. Panthers showed they can grind.
5. Florida State (5-1) – The next five games will shape the Seminoles season for good or bad.
1. Minn.-Duluth (3-0) – A tourney-style three days await the ‘Dogs in Nashville. Great test.
2. North Dakota State (1-0) – Why aren’t UMD & NDSU playing this spring?
3. Dayton (3-0) – The St. Thomas game is big, but the Duluth game is bigger.
4. Kennesaw State (4-1) – Duluth game will show where they Owls are at nationally.
5. Florida Atlantic (7-0) – FAU will stay undefeated for at least three weeks with a hefty hiatus.
Nashville Judgement at Vanderbilt will dominate the scheduling landscape next week. It starts with No. 6 Grand Valley State finally starting its engines on Thursday against No. 16 MoState and then really gets cooking on Friday afternoon as Dayton and St. Thomas reenact last year’s D-II national championship. Many of the top D-II programs will be in attendance in Nashville. Keep an eye out for a stand-alone release on the event later this week.
In Division I, No. 1 South Carolina at No. 6 Georgia Tech is going to be a peach on Friday night. Despite No. 3 Cal Poly’s loss to No. 4 Chapman, No. 2 Cal visiting SLO is intriguing. New Hampshire and Minnesota have rugged road trips worth watching.
SLIDES & RIDES
- Of the teams that went west for a quick weekend fling, it’s tough to say who returned in the best shape. Georgia Tech took care of ASU and Arizona, as expected, but Georgia’s 13-11 win over Concordia-Irvine stands out. The win also speaks to the depth of the SELC.
Georgia’s loss to Alabama has them on a razor’s edge in qualifying for the SELC tourney. A loss to Auburn in early April and it could be light’s out for the ‘Dawgs. At the same time, they went across country and took down the No. 10 team in the country.
Crazily, UGA entertains No. 12 Michigan State tomorrow (March 2) after a lengthy flight home. A win then and all of sudden Georgia is an at-large player. Stay tuned.
- Congratulations to Brigham Young coach Matt Schneck for winning his 150th game as the skipper of the Cougars. Whoever took over the program after Jason Lamb was going to suffer from high expectations and, despite missing last year’s tourney, Schneck has done an excellent job of keeping the BYU train running. There have only been 24 championship trophies handed out in the MCLA and Schneck as one them. That means something.
- A hearty welcome back to the MCLA to James Foote. Foote played at Central Florida and coached the Knights from 2013-16 before heading off into the high school ranks. He returns to the MCLA as a member of the North Dakota State staff. Solid pick up for the Bison.
- Boston College had a great 1-1 weekend. They beat No. 10 Concordia-Irvine and lost by a goal to No. 3 Cal Poly. Quality losses, yo…UConn losing to Buffalo could have serious repercussions for the CLC…and don’t sleep on the Bulls. They almost came out of the weekend, 2-0, but fell to No. 12 UNH, 8-6…season ends today and USC is an nine seed…Minnesota will be a terrible draw in the tournament (if they win the UMLC).
- Montana took the loss to St. John’s, 13-12, dropping the Griz to 0-3 against the UMLC, but everyone knows Montana is a tournament team at this point…sometimes you don’t get credit for what you should accomplish. As such, I’ll give Dayton propers for taking care of biz…Rice’s Davis Nelson is a Player of the Year candidate in my book. The Owls are seven days from the end of their season, which obviously ends any serious chances, but the kid is a stud.
A Huge Thank You To @PensacolaCHSLax For Hosting This Weekends Lacrosse Gathering! All Teams Battled From Start To Finish Every Game!! Good Luck To @WmuLacrosse @FSULacrosse & @AULacrosse In The Rest Of Your Season. @MCLA @LSALacrosse @Big12Lax @vvlacrosse pic.twitter.com/fDfJjpSH3N
— TCU Lacrosse (@TCUFrogsLax) March 2, 2020
- Get those nominations for Dominant Performance of the Week presented by Warrior and PEARL Goalie of the Week to [email protected] ASAP!