Weekend Watch: Your Go To?
by Jac Coyne | MCLA.us
LA CROSSE, Wis. – Say you could craft a team to compete for an MCLA title, how do you build it? More importantly, who do you start with?
There’s something to be said for a stone-cold assassin. A player, say like Rhode Island’s Anthony Guarino or Virginia Tech’s Aidan Smith, who get the ball and are nearly automatic.
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Perhaps slightly more valuable on some people’s list would be the consummate quarterback. The guy like Georgia Tech’s Pierce Quarles or UC San Diego’s Austin Ortel, who can facilitate his teammates while also getting buckets.
Setting up colleagues out of the midfield is an art form, so guys like Concordia’s Tyler Collins and LSU’s Ty Sams definitely bring value.
And how do you like your FOGOs? You can’t go wrong with someone like South Carolina’s Will Frith, who absolutely dominates the dot. Or there’s Air Force’s Nicholas Capannelli, who controls faceoffs and averages three points per game.
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Everyone knows the value of a short-stick defensive midfielder, and no one does it better than Cal State San Marcos’ Kobe Brown. A nearly 60-minute guy, Brown rarely comes off the field and is as much of an offensive threat as defensive.
The MCLA is blessed with great long-stick middies that make a huge impact on the field. There’s lockdown guys like Boston College’s Brendan Cooper and others like UC Davis’ Thomas Neill who aren't afraid to push transition.
Don’t forget about the close defenders. Florida has a handful of them – one of the reasons the Gators are Top 10 – and Montana’s Justin Renk is not the matchup you are looking for.
Or maybe you build your foundation with a goalie. Grant Shafer at Florida Gulf Coast wouldn’t be a terrible building block. Throw in Pitt’s Finnegan Harris and Boise State’s Michael Doud as candidates.
What is the MCLA Division I Game of the Week for the period ending March 12? #mcla23
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For me personally?
In the MCLA, there are tons of great players, but you need the coach to implement the plan and get the most out of the talent.
But I’ll take all of those other guys, too.
GAMES I’M FOLLOWING
No. 7 Grand Valley State at No. 1 Rhode Island, 4:45 p.m. – Friday
Getting the weekend started with a bang! The Lakers head to the biggest little state in the union with a chance to make some noise in their first game. And for those new to the association, GVSU will not be coming into this game rusty. They’ve scrimmaged against quality opponents, even if they don’t advertise it on their schedule.
GVSU will have to find an answer for Guarino, but the program has rarely lacked for quality poles. I’m thinking this one won’t get out of the single-digits.
No. 17 North Dakota State at No. 4 Montana State, 7 p.m. – Friday
I think it’s fair to say that the Bobcats got kind of rooked in the polls this week. They did jump seven spots, which is nothing to sneeze at, but being slotted just behind Montana is awkward. Montana State would probably make the next step with wins over NDSU and MSU-Denver. This is also a good chance for the Bison to make a statement after a slow start.
No. 19 Colorado State at No. 7 Florida, 7 p.m. – Friday
The Gators have been cruising right along, albeit under the radar a bit. A ranked opponents puts the spotlight back on Florida and can give it some momentum heading into a two-week break. For the Rams, this game and Florida State on Sunday provide an opportunity pick up that highly-ranked win that has eluded them.
No. 11 Utah Valley at No. 18 Grand Canyon, 1 p.m. – Saturday
Historically, UVU has had success against the Lopes. They stunned GCU in the 2016 season opener in overtime with the Lopes coming off a national championship. The Wolverines did it again in ’19 with another extra-time victory, 19-18. Both of the wins were at GCU, so there will be some good vibes for UVU in Phoenix. Will we get another thriller?
No. 22 Cal Poly at No. 10 Chapman, 1 p.m. – Saturday
Chapman has come back down to earth after its season-opening massacre in the Twin Cities, picking up narrow losses to Cal and Boston College. The Panthers trimmed South Carolina on Thursday, so they won’t be completely fresh. Poly could use a ranked win, so this would the spot.
No. 21 Boise State at No. 8 Brigham Young, 4 p.m. – Saturday
The Broncos’ road to nationals likely will once again come through the conference AQ, but an upset against the Cougars could change that trajectory. Boise’s best win is over a (now) unranked Utah team, so it’s tough to say whether they can hang with BYU.
It’s a weird feeling that a 5-1 eighth-ranked Brigham Young squad is being underrated at this point in the season. Alas, the wipeout at the hands of Concordia still lingers. Take care of business here and it sets up big one with Liberty the day after St. Patrick’s Day.
No. 1 Georgia Tech vs. No. 4 Liberty, 4 p.m. – Saturday
Speaking of the Flames, they get first crack at the newly top-ranked Yellow Jackets. Tech travels beyond its contiguous neighboring states just once all season, and this contest ain’t the one. The game will be played in Mooresville, N.C., which would qualify as a bedroom community of Charlotte.
It’s tough envisioning Liberty pulling out a win considering the heater the Wreck is on right now. But this is the last D-I game on the March slate for Tech, so maybe the Jackets are looking forward to UGA already?
MSU Denver vs. No. 3 Montana, 11 a.m. – Sunday
The Roadrunners are off to a fine start to the season, bouncing Denver and UT-San Antonio, but the difficulty level goes up a notch in Bozeman. After facing the host Bobcats on Saturday, MSU-D gets an embittered Montana squad still stinging from its loss to MSU last Friday. Hopefully the ‘Runners can show me something.
SLIDES & RIDES
- With all of the fireworks we’ve witnessed in the last two weeks, specifically with all of the travel, this week is on the slower side. Not to say there aren’t some quality matchups, but just a little down from what we’ve experienced.
- Dominican’s one-goal loss to Southern Methodist and its impending game against Texas are a means to an end. The Penguins season boils down to a three-game set to lock up the top seed in the WCLL North. All of these games are helping that objective.
- Due to other obligations, there will likely be no Weekend Watch or The Reverb next weekend. Nominations for weekly awards will still be due by noon on Monday, regardless ([email protected]).