Wish there were more MCLA games on our 2012 TV Schedule? We hear you and are very excited to announce a top-5 match-up to be broadcast between Davenport University (4-3) and the University of Dayton (6-0) this Saturday at 3:00 PM EST.
Before falling to St. Thomas (#1, 5-0) and North Dakota State University (#11, 4-1) this past weekend, Davenport was ranked #1 in the MCLA D2. With their loss, they dropped to #5 and Dayton moved up from their #3 ranking to #2. Nonetheless, this has the makings of a great match-up between the two squads.
You will be able to watch the game live thanks to Davenport’s efforts to stream the game and keep tabs on all the live stats as well. This is also Men’s Lax feature week at Davenport so look forward to more articles on the team being published. Grow The Game!
Check out the full press release on the event below.
For Immediate Release
March 20, 2012
GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. – Davenport University sponsors 26 athletic programs and among them is the national champion Men’s Lacrosse team led by head coach Bob Clarkson. It is rare for a school to treat the non-varsity programs so highly but it is just a part of the plan at the largest private school in the state of Michigan.
The university’s leadership had a grand plan for re-launching a long-dormant athletic program during the fall of 2002 and transforming it into an emerging powerhouse that includes 26 teams, more than 500 student-athletes, 61 coaches, nine administrators and a state-of-the-art DU Student Center that has become the centerpiece of student life on its modern campus along the M-6 corridor in southeastern Grand Rapids.
“I started in a broom closet,” Director of Athletics Paul Lowden said with a laugh. “I remember recruits would come by and meet with you (at the old downtown Grand Rapids campus). I’d talk to them and their parents. There was another closet just off mine, where the women’s basketball coach was working, and the women’s bathroom was on the other side of that wall. You could hear the toilets flushing all the time. Every time.
“It really does keep you grounded.”
The coverage that each sport gets is very different than that of a larger school where varsity and non-varsity sports are treated as different. DU sponsors 18 varsity programs that compete at the varsity levels of the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) while their other eight sports including the men’s lacrosse team are considered non-varsity even though most offer athletic scholarships. The only two that do not are the two hockey programs that are sponsored by the American Collegiate Hockey Association (ACHA).
Head coach Bob Clarkson, who has overseen the men’s lacrosse team since its inception in the fall of 2007, also works at the institution as a professor. Clarkson led the Panthers to their first national tournament in the spring of 2009 and brought home the program’s first ever national title just two years later as Davenport defeated two-time defending MCLA DII national champion St. Thomas in Denver last spring.
Nick Davidson, a former assistant men’s basketball coach, now serves as assistant director of the Student Center and an assistant athletic director. He has been a fixture at Davenport for the past seven years. He is in charge of overseeing the athletic departments’ elite-level club sports.
“We take care of our student-athletes and provide them with good experiences,” Davidson said. “The early thinking was we considered them to be varsity sports. The term ‘club sport’ … we don’t typically use that around here. We appreciate every student-athlete’s commitment to their respective sport. We treat them as equals.”
The 2012 season is underway and the team has already faced four top-20 teams with several more still on the schedule. It is part of a schedule put together by head coach Bob Clarkson that expects to bring out the best in the defending MCLA D2 National Champions.
“We play nine ranked MCLA Division 2 opponents in a row, that will either make or break our season,” said Head Coach Bob Clarkson. “For us, those nine games represent two-thirds of our season.”
The first three of the tough 11 game stretch came this past weekend in St. Louis. The Panthers played well in the first game coming back from a three goal deficit with a couple minutes left before falling in overtime to second-ranked St. Thomas in a rematch of last season’s national championship game.
“We’ve started a little rough and when you play these good teams if you aren’t up to par then you will get beat,” said Clarkson. “These games battle test you and reveal the weaknesses you have. This way we can correct those weaknesses and won’t be surprised if we meet these teams in the National Tournament.”
Davenport did correct some of those weaknesses in a much needed win against #16 Missouri Baptist. After trailing 1-3 after the first quarter, Davenport outscored Missouri Baptist 6-0 in the second and ended the game on a 11-1 run for a 12-4 win.
“The ups and downs of this tough of a schedule can be difficult. One week we can be flying high and the next down,” said Junior Attacker Jordan Richtsmeier. “Also, all the traveling we do to play these top teams can also take its toll.”
Davenport’s next test will come this weekend when they host third-ranked Dayton in a conference match-up at 3:00 PM at the DU Turf Field. The following week the Panthers play a couple games against MCLA D1 opponents Wisconsin in Wales, Wisc. and St. John’s in Chicago.
Watch the game here and make sure to check out all the other games on tv at LaxAllStars.com!