The Lindenwood athletic department announced on June 9th what most had been suspecting for awhile: Lindenwood’s men’s lacrosse team will become a member of the Western Intercollegiate Lacrosse Association (WILA), a lacrosse only athletic conference that competes within the NCAA’s Division II. They will compete in the WILA against Adams State (Colo.), Mesa State (Colo.), Dominican (Calif.), and Notre Dame de Namur (Calif.) Full news release available here.
If you are unfamiliar with the new WILA, it’s OK, they’ve only been around for a few months. Lacrosse only conferences aren’t new though for the NCAA. The Great Western Lacrosse League was home to the western Division I lacrosse teams for awhile, before morphing into the current ECAC. The ECAC stands for Eastern College Athletic Conference, and now features the western Division I lacrosse teams, in addition to an extremely confusing website. If you can explain to me what the heck the ECAC is outside of lacrosse in the comments, you win a cookie.
Lindenwood makes the move to NCAA Division II after just concluding its MCLA farewell tour. The Lions went 13-4 in MCLA play in 2011, taking the GRLC conference crown with an overtime winner over Illinois on their home field. This sent them to Denver, where they ended up losing to fellow NCAA varsity-bound Michigan in the first round.
What isn’t reported on their team website on MCLA.us, is their record against their soon to be regular NCAA Division II opponents. Highlights of their non-MCLA tilts? A 7-4 win over Fontbonne, a bottom-third NCAA DIII team. Also, a 9-8 win over soon to be conference foe Adams State on the road in Alamosa, CO. You can view the Lindenwood full 2011 schedule and results at their page here.
How can Lindenwood fare in NCAA Divison II? Well already having a win over a conference team isn’t bad, regardless of what MCLA haters want to say about which starters were or were not playing in that game, or weren’t taking it seriously, or whatever other nonsense is usually spouted when an MCLA team beats an NCAA team.
Taking a look at their in-conference opponents, there isn’t much to write home about at first glance. All four teams rank 28 or lower out of 42 teams in the Laxpower ratings for NCAA DII teams (NDNU-28, Dominican-33, Mesa State-37, Adams State-40). If there’s a conference you want to hop into as a new and developing team, the WILA has to be it for DII.
If you take a gander at the Lindenwood roster, you’ll see that the top two scorers for the Lions in terms of PPG are from Saskatchewan and Manitoba (Cameron and McKay). It’s well known that Troy Hood had the Canadian connection going when he was at the helm in St. Charles, MO. If the Lions can continue to recruit good Canadian talent they will be able to hold their own and hope that they can make further inroads in the Midwestern lacrosse recruiting game.
Coaching wise, the program reached new heights under the aforementioned Hood, winning five GRLC titles from 2004-2010. Hood, however, stepped down suddenly in the summer of 2010. That led to Derek Schaub stepping back into the head coaching role for the Lions, a program he helped start in 2003. Schaub didn’t skip a beat in 2011 though, and got another GRLC title for the Lions. No word on if the program is seeking a new head coach, but it would be shocking if they weren’t comfortable with Schaub at the helm.
Fearless Season 1 prediction: 2-2 record in conference, 4 wins overall in NCAA play.
Best of luck to the Lindenwood Lions in the NCAA!
Lindenwood caught a little heat going out the door when it was thought they bailed on a consolation game at the MCLA tournament in May. Having overheard the conversation where it was agreed upon by BOTH the Colorado coach and the Lindenwood coach that the game didn’t need to be played, I can confirm there is nothing there to complain about.
Want some borderline useless information? You got it: Derek Schaub is also known as a dominating roller hockey coach where he led Lindenwood to two national titles in 2002 and 2003. This info is featured prominently in his coaching profile on the Lindenwood team page.
What do I know about roller hockey? It’s where the Knucklepuck was invented, and is apparently the only version of hockey that black people play:
all photos courtesy lindenwoodlions.com