(Photo by Kevin Schoonover)
by Jac Coyne | MCLA.us
LA CROSSE, Wis. – We’re in the final stretch of the season. The 2022 MCLA National Championships presented by New Balance happens in less than a month in Round Rock, Texas.
Let’s take a peek at how the conferences are shaping up at this point (all suppositions are unofficial).
In Division I, Liberty (North) and Virginia Tech (South) have locked in the top seeds and byes into the semifinals at City Stadium in Lynchburg.
As for the first-round games, the Pittsburgh-West Virginia game will determine who's heading to James Madison while NC State visits Clemson if it can sneak past East Carolina this weekend. A potential Clemson-Liberty rematch looms in the semifinals.
UNC-Charlotte’s win over Wake Forest sets them up to take the top seed, but Coastal Carolina could muddy the waters with a win over the 49ers on Saturday. If the Chants win, we’re going to a three-way tie-breaker. Regardless, all three are in the ALC-II tourney.
The fourth spot will come down to Appalachian State and UNC-Wilmington. Long story short, Wilmington is in the sweet spot. The Seahawks would have to lose to Elon and Appy State would have to beat Charlotte for Wilmington not to go.
Another day, another highlight reel goal from the Charlotte Offense.
Middie John Cernava with the wraparound goal with an assist from Nick Ferens (you guessed it).#GoldStandard pic.twitter.com/edhYWrIutT
— Charlotte Club Lacrosse (@49erLacrosse) April 11, 2022
All four of the D-I teams will make the conference tournament, which will be held in Fitchburg, Mass., on April 30-May 1. There is still plenty of action left to firmly set the field.
The D-II tourney will consist of four teams, as well. That means you can slot Rhode Island in the top seed and see how the rest of it plays out. Bridgewater State is almost certainly No. 2, and then UMass-Dartmouth, Central Conn., and Maine will have to figure out the rest.
The top four in each D-I subdivision make the tourney (meaning all but three teams make the postseason) with a crossover format. TCU won the three-team tiebreaker in the South to grab the second seed behind Texas A&M. They are followed by No. 3 LSU and No. 4 SMU.
In the North, Saturday’s showdown between Kansas and Missouri in K.C. will give us the No. 1 seed in the North. Oklahoma will be No. 3 followed by Arkansas.
LSA-II is still in production. Texas A&M D-II is heading to Tulane for one first-round contest out of the the East while UT-San Antonio will travel to Baylor in the South. The Central and North are unknown at this point.
Texas is preventing us from projecting any definitive outcomes in Division I. Brigham Young has qualified and is a near-certain lock for No. 1 while Colorado has also qualified. If Utah Valley beats Texas on Thursday, there is a possibility of a three-way tie for the final two spots. If the Longhorns win, they and Colorado State are in. A CSU win over the Buffs in the season-finale would send the Rams through.
With crossover games counting against the subdivisional record -- a very odd format -- there are still a lot of moving pieces to determine who get the four bids. Newcomers Utah and Air Force Academy are looking good, but nothing is set in stone at this point.
Senior day victory
Securing a spot in the WCLL postseason
Beating rival Sonoma State
Good day! #PenguinPride pic.twitter.com/xHaXRaCWgZ
— Dominican Athletics (@dominicansports) April 10, 2022
The reemergence of Simon Fraser has completely transformed PNCLL-I. SFU has already qualified for the conference tournament and appears to be the favorite to grab the automatic qualifier (which was recently approved despite Fraser’s lack of game qualifications). Oregon has also qualified, but the final two spots are up in the air.
In Division II, Montana and College of Idaho are on a collision course for the AQ, but Western Washington and Northwest Nazarene could jump up and grab a top seed at this point.
The SELC is locked in for both divisions. In D-I, Georgia Tech and Florida have the byes out of the North and South subdivisions, respectively.
The matchups to be held in LaGrange, Ga., will be South Carolina battling Auburn while Florida State tangles with Georgia. The winner of the first game faces Florida in Jacksonville while the second will get the Wreck.
In SELC-II, the semifinal games at the Bolles school will feature North No. 1 Kennesaw facing Florida Atlantic and South No. 1 Florida Gulf Coast running up against Georgia Southern.
The Lopes win over Arizona State on Saturday evening means Grand Canyon is locked into the postseason in SLC-I along with Concordia-Irvine. If the Eagles can beat San Diego State on Wednesday, they are locked in as the top seed.
USC, Arizona, Arizona State and Chapman will all grind out the next two weeks in hopes of grabbing the final two spots. USC and Arizona State would seemingly have the inside track, but there’s still a lot of lacrosse to be played.
In SLC-II, Northern Arizona is the top seed in the North with Loyola Marymount and Claremont following behind them. LMU will get South No. 3 San Diego in the first round in L.A. on the weekend of April 23.
The clash between UC San Diego and San Marcos next weekend will determine who grabs the top seed out of the South subdivision (and gets the bye to Tucson) and who is hosting Claremont in the first round.
I think it’s good to have 0 on the right pic.twitter.com/KyWAnrTCSp
— Minnesota Men’s Lacrosse (@MinnesotaMLax) April 11, 2022
Minnesota has bullied its way to the No. 1 seed out of the UMLC-I West. Illinois, Illinois State and Iowa State will be jockeying for the final two spots this weekend in Bloomington-Normal.
Miami (Ohio) heads to East Lansing this weekend to settle the top spot in the East, but Purdue and Western Michigan are also in the running for the top three.
Everyone makes the tourney in UMLC-II, so it’s about seeding. The East is locked in a three-way tie, and the conference office is still running its tiebreaker protocol. The initial data shows Dayton is No. 1 followed by Grand Valley at No. 2 and Duluth at No. 3.
In the West, we’ll have to wait the outcome of Friday’s St. Thomas-St. John’s clash to determine the matchups for Chaska.
The top three teams from each subdivision qualify in Division I and the last weekend of the year is going to play out identically in both the North and South.
In the North, Cal entertains Dominican to determine the top seed while Nevada will travel to Sonoma State with the loser being eliminated. In the South, Cal Poly heads to UC Santa Barbara with the top seed up for grabs. Santa Clara heads to Stanford for the elimination game.
The top four qualify in WCLL-II and UC Davis has locked up the top seed with an undefeated conference season. Still a work in progress after that, although Chico looks good for one of the remaining three seeds.
MY TOP FIVES
1. Brigham Young (13-0) – Another test passed. Va. Tech will be interesting tonight.
2. Concordia-Irvine (11-1) – Arizona made the Eagles work. That’s a good thing.
3. Florida (13-1) – A potential battle with South Carolina in SELC semis is spicy.
4. Virginia Tech (10-1) – A win over BYU on Monday and things get serious for Hokies.
5. Minnesota (15-0) – The Gophers ain’t gonna be a 16 seed.
1. College of Idaho (8-0) – Depth. That’s the only question for the Yotes.
2. Kennesaw (8-0) – Owls get Florida Atlantic in SELC semis. Good test.
3. Rhode Island (7-1) – UMass-Dartmouth win is better than you think.
4. UC San Diego (9-1) – If the Tritons beat CSUSM, they are in either way.
5. UNC-Charlotte (7-1) – The 49ers torched Wake Forest. Only loss to a good D-I.
- As always, get those nominations for the PEARL Goalie of the Week and Warrior Player of the week to [email protected].