It’s Rivalry Week here at LaxAllStars, with big NCAA Division I rivalry games between teams such as Maryland and Johns Hopkins as well as Michigan and Ohio State coming up this weekend. Connor gave us the rundown on some of the NCAA’s biggest college lacrosse rivalries, and while most MCLA rivalry games are still a week or two away, we’ll take a look now at some of the MCLA’s best rivalries.
MCLA rivalries come in two breeds. The first type are rivalries translated to the lacrosse field, which already exist in traditional big time athletics. The second type are rivalries created by the MCLA due to different conferences and match-ups that wouldn’t exist if the teams were governed by the NCAA. So let’s take a look at a few that stand out.
Traditional NCAA Rivalries in the MCLA
The one that immediately comes to mind is of course the one that I’m a part of right now: UCLA vs. USC. In the last few years this rivalry has been reborn on the football field, as after big stretches of domination by the Bruins then the Trojans, UCLA has claimed the last two Victory Bells. In basketball, games get heated as well, although UCLA generally has had the upper hand on the court.
According to our records, the Battle for LA in lacrosse began with two games in 1976, with UCLA taking the first meeting and USC taking the second. The all-time series belongs to the Bruins 23-4, with UCLA winning the last six meetings (including two wins over USC while they were on probation from the MCLA in 2011). Now in the Southwestern Lacrosse Conference, UCLA and USC meet to end their 2014 regular seasons in just under two weeks!
Staying in California, another big time rivalry is Stanford vs. Berkeley. What is known only as “The Big Game” to Cardinal and Bears fans, this game often has playoff implications in the Western Collegiate Lacrosse League of the MCLA. According to the MCLA site, the series is close with Stanford having the 5-4 edge dating back to 2006 (which is as far back as the MCLA site has on record). The Cardinal have won the last four meetings, including last year’s regular season game and WCLL playoff game. The NorCal rivals meet again at the end of April to cap their regular seasons.
Florida vs. Florida State is another traditional rivalry we see in the MCLA. These two have the same series record as Stanford and Cal, but here Florida State has five wins and Florida has four. The two meet in 2014 on April 18, and if the Seminoles get the rivalry win, they will finish 2014 with a perfect regular season record of 11-0 and a perfect Southeastern Lacrosse Conference record of 4-0. But anything can happen in rivalry games, which is why they’re so much fun!
Two MCLA powerhouses that also happen to be snowy in-state rivals? We’re talking Colorado vs. Coloardo State. Heck, these schools are not only Rocky Mountain Lacrosse Conference Rivals, but they are also rivals on the national stage, with CSU taking down Boulder in last year’s national championship game. Each year, the Rams and Buffs play in the Rocky Mountain Lacrosse Showdown, which this year will be hosted by the Denver Outlaws and played at Sports Authority Field at Mile High Stadium.
At the Division II level, St. Thomas vs. St. John’s is an Upper Midwest Lacrosse Conference rivalry that has carried over from an NCAA Division III Minnesota Intercollegiate Athletic Conference. The Tommies have own the series record at 9-6, but theJohnnies have matched up with UST in the UMLC conference playoffs every year since 2008. The two play this Friday to decide the 2014 victor.
Oregon vs. Oregon State is the big rivalry in the Pacific Northwest Collegiate Lacrosse League of the MCLA, although Oregon has historically been the stronger team – they own the all-time series 10-1. However, last year OSU beat big brother Oregon in the PNCLL title game to capture an MCLA tournament berth. Their 2014 regular season meeting is coming up on April 26.
And can we can’t forget the huge SEC football rivalry of Alabama vs. Auburn. In another close series, the Tigers currently hold a 4-3 all-time edge, although Alabama has won the past two years. Will the Crimson Tide strike even in 2014? You’ll have to wait until April 18 for lacrosse’s Iron Bowl.
This list could go on and on of course, but let’s transition to look at two MCLA originated rivalries.
MCLA Originated Rivalries
The two that immediately come to mind are both SLC rivalries. In Division I, it’s Chapman vs. UCSB. You could also throw Arizona State into the mix, as it always seems to be a battle between Chapman and UCSB for the SLC North title, with the winner having to face ASU from the SLC South somewhere in the conference playoffs (often in the finals!).
In Division II SLC, the same situation occurs with Concordia vs. Cal State Fullerton. Although Fullerton won this year’s regular season game, its likely that the Titans and the Eagles will see each other again the conference playoffs, as they have done the pervious four years.
As you can probably tell, I clearly have a West Coast bias, which means I definitely missed some big time rivalries, especially in the “MCLA-originated” rivalries section. Let us know about other great MCLA rivalries by commenting below!