Well, the GIANT Division 3 Men’s Lacrosse Tournament Field has been set, and we’ve got some surprises, first of which is that only ONE NESCAC team made it in. Tufts won the conference, and no one else out of the Wesleyan, Middlebury, Conn crew stood out enough to warrant inclusion. It’s fine, NESCAC alums were getting spooled with bids anyway. That’s just my own way of dealing and rationalizing. Sorry.
Now on to everyone else, and a bright future filled with a couple more weeks of AWESOME lacrosse game!
I’ll supply a link to LaxPower’s full D3 brackets at the end, but for now I’ll go through the basics of what you need to know, and what you need to watch for…
Who’s Number 1?
In the North, Cortland and RIT got the top two bids. This means they get first round byes, and then host games until they lose, or reach the North finals. If Cortland keeps winning, they will host the finals. If RIT wins and CSU loses, they will host the finals. I can’t imagine both of these teams losing, but it’s possible. Tufts has the three seed in the North and Naz got the 4 seed.
In the South, Dickinson is top dog, with Stevenson at #2, and Roanoke or Lynchburg the #3. Both Noke and Lburg have first round games and only Dickinson gets a bye in the South. Washington & Lee is the #4 team in the region. Salisbury lost to St. Mary’s in the CAC Final but got a much better than SMC in the tournament. Is that fair?
First Round Upsets?
Do any first round match ups seem like potential upsets to you? A couple stand out to me!
Aurora over OWU – Ohio Wesleyan is a heavy favorite, but Aurora has more fight in them than you might think. OWU has played some tight games lately, and when these two teams met earlier in the year, OWU escaped with an 11-9 win. Keep an eye on this one.
Montclair State over Stevens – Stevens is a very good team, and should, like OWU, be favored, but MSU is no joke. They have four losses, ALL in tight games, and have been playing well lately. Another game with serious upset potential.
Springfield over Cabrini – This is the upset that I believe to be LEAST likely to occur. Cabrini is a tough team, that should do well this year. However, they play blue collar lacrosse, and so does Springfield, and this means an upset is possible. Who works harder? Who wants it more? It could literally come down to that, and little else.
St. Mary’s Over Lynchburg – Lynchburg started to believe in themselves after their W over Salisbury earlier in the year, and SMC just beat Salisbury for the CAC crown this past weekend. Both teams are in to the tourney, but SMC is riding high. It’s a BIG ask to knock off Lynchburg, but if anyone can do it, St. Mary’s has a great shot!
Who Is Home, And Sad?
There are always a couple of teams that got “left out”, and who now have nothing left to do but pack up the dorms, and head home for Summer. I’ve been on one of these teams, and it feels awful. So who is feeling the worst right now?
Gettysburg – Sure, the Bullets went 9-7 in 2013, but they were right there. This kind of season, where you lose a ton of close games, and drop a couple at the end, can plague you for years. The question of “why were we so close?” can make or break a team for next year. I’m interested to see where Gburg goes from here.
Middlebury – Beat Wesleyan in the NESCAC semis and you’re probably in to the NCAAS, even if you lose to Tufts in the Finals. Unfortunately, Midd lost, and the dream ended. To have your season end by one goal at home to a hated rival is almost too much to take.
Denison – If the NESCAC doesn’t get two bids, the NCAC doesn’t either. Denison finished at 13-3 with a better record than OWU (13-5) but a 10-9 loss to OWU to end the season. Again, losing by one goal to a hated rival is TOUGH!
Plattsburgh – No one expected Plattsburgh to make it this year except Plattsburgh, but that can be enough. A 14-4 season, tighter games with Cortland than in years past, and a program on the upswing. You can bet these boys wanted to make it in, but hopefully the hunger just fuels their 2014 campaign.
York – York lost to St. Mary’s by a goal. St. Mary’s beat Salisbury for the CAC title. Is York kicking themselves? You bet.
Wesleyan – A win in the regular season over Conn, Bowdoin, Bates, or Midd probably would have gotten Wes into the dance. All four of those games were ONE GOAL losses, and they accounted for 4 of Wesleyan’s 5 losses all year, with the final coming in the NESCAC finals to Tufts. Erase the Bates loss, or add in a quality win, and Wesleyan is there.
Widener – Like Wesleyan, Widener was extremely competitive in their losses, losing only one regular season game by more than a goal (Salisbury by 2 goals). The lost to Stevenson by one goal for the MAC AQ. This is a good team. What truly sunk Widener? A 10-9 loss to Albright. What’s up with that?
Want to see the Full Brackets? Head on over to Laxpower.