TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – The Doak is packed and primed as Minnesota makes a visit to take on the favored Seminoles in a quarterfinal matchup of the 2020 MCLA Virtual Tournament presented by New Balance.
This is a power-packed duel. There are premium players at every level of this contest. Superb athletes who will undoubtedly give it their all.
The biggest factor at this contest is the 81-degree weather in north Florida. There’s still snow on the ground in Minneapolis, so this kind of heat will be foreign for the Gophers.
D-I Quarters: Minnesota at Florida State | https://t.co/ZtBZp7Mr98 #virtualmcla20
— MCLA Tournament '21 (@MCLA_Tournament) April 18, 2020
There will be plenty of heat in the head-to-head matchups, as well. It will allow some under-the-radar seniors to shine.
For Florida State, it will be Evan Crawford.
The three-year player and two-year starter for the Seminoles would continue his upward arc as a close defender.
“His role would shine against Minnesota,” said Florida State coach Darby Brower in a nod to this virtual matchup. “We’d put Travis Quillin on their All-American, Batra, so Crawford would be tasked with marking their attack and helping the rest of the defense work together.”
The Tampa Bay product’s ability to give FSU a do-it-all pole has been critical in the Seminoles’ success.
“He’s a guy that thrives on consistency and playing great team defense,” said Brower. “We ask him to do a bit of everything – he’s one of those poles that can switch to any matchup, play zone, cover middies when we want to double pole the midfield, and he can get involved in the clear game if needed.
“He’s a great teammate and an ultimate Seminole.”
Jake Carter was a long-stick middie by trade, but has bounced from short-stick defensive middie to close defense in the last couple of years. And he’s done it well.
“He has that ‘can-do’ attitude and has delivered every time,” said Minnesota coach Charlie Gee. “That ability to switch positions seamlessly has made him a swiss-army knife for us and to do it as well as he does is impressive and rare. He's an important piece to the defense despite his impact not directly showing on the stats.
“He was reliable and always gave 100 percent. He gave us defensive depth, worked hard finding ways to get us the ball and created offensive opportunities in transition.”
As impressive as anything was Carter’s ability to juggle a lot challenges while still dedicating himself to the Gophers.
“While he's finishing up his classes to graduate this spring, he also works part-time, runs his own recording studio, and still is able to show up for 6am practices,” said Gee.
When the fight moves to the 5G, this will be a monster showdown. We’re talking about two massive universities with boisterous alumni groups.
The numbers should be big.
No. 23 Minnesota has whacked Santa Clara and Georgia Tech in the first two rounds – a pretty impressive double dip.
No. 15 Florida State has already taken down two monsters in Michigan State and New Hampshire. The ‘Noles are definitely favored.
But crazy things happen when we go to the polls.