Editor’s Note: From time to time during the season, Peter Tumbas will be checking in with MCLA Notes posts where he breaks down some of the story lines worth spreading in the Men’s Collegiate Lacrosse Association.
Photo Credit: Robert White
Coaches Versus Cancer
Colorado State’s title defense began this weekend in Palm Desert, California. Their team defense has apparently not been affected by key graduation losses to the close defense and face off unit. They allowed only 6 goals to Grand Canyon and 7 to Oregon in two victories.
The last time Colorado State allowed 10 or more goals was March 2, 2013 in an 11-10 victory over UCSB. That’s twenty games in a row including shutouts of Minnesota Duluth and New Mexico.
How hard is it to score 10 plus on the Rams? Since 2006 it has happened only 24 times. The most 10 plus goals allowed in one season was 2008. The Rams went 10-5 that year. Surprisingly, during their worst season over this stretch (in 2009 when they went 11-9), the defense only surrendered 10 plus goals in five games. In 2012 and 2013, they allowed 10 plus goals only once each year. Both seasons ended in a national championship.
The defense has shown up against the most elite talent the league has to offer at the most important times. They’ve permitted 5.5 goals a game during the previous two conference tournaments and 3.87 goals a game during the last two national tournaments.
CSU doesn’t leave the state again until March 20th. Their stout defense will certainly be called upon in the meantime with pending games against Texas, Michigan State, BYU, and Arizona State.
BC Eagles’ Big Impact The Top 5
After dispatching BYU and Chapman, Boston College ran out of gas against Colorado. Not even the MCLA tournament asks teams to face that type of competition in three days.
The Eagles were ranked 10th in the preseason poll. With wins over #4 BYU and #5 Chapman, combined with losses by #8 Oregon and #9 Sonoma State, Boston College could likely move up to #5. A new look top 5 would be:
• Arizona State
• Boston College
Boston College will be favored in their remaining games which will give them an 11-1 record on the season.
Colorado and Colorado will play each other at least once in the regular season and perhaps again in the RMLC tournament. UCSB and Arizona State could meet in the SLC tournament.
If the balls bounce a certain way, Boston College could be the #1 ranked team headed to the national tournament. (Whether they would earn the #1 seed is a different matter.) This is a potentially very exciting narrative for a league that hasn’t had a shake up at the top. Ever.
A Deeper Look Into BC
Boston College’s roster reads like a NESCAC team. Players hail from Staples, Delbarton, Mountain Lakes, Lawrenceville, Moses Brown, and Cold Spring Harbor, to name just a few.
I was a little surprised that the Lacrosse Network announcer would be impressed with a freshman attackman keeping his composure against a BYU pole. Chances are very good that Steven Van Fossan had seen stiffer challenges in practice at Delbarton than he did this weekend against a pole from Utah. This is not a dig at the Utah players at all. Last year in practice Van Fossan was covered at times by Will Reynolds. Reynolds now starts for Princeton as a freshman. Guys from programs like this are used to pressure.
Delbarton poles that would have covered Van Fossan in practice have committed, or are currently playing at, Michigan, Duke, Princeton, Penn, and Villanova.
There was a brief altercation during the Boston College BYU game.
Is there anyone on the MCLA executive board that has the power to hand out punishment? Honest question. This game was webcast. Who knows who was watching when the announcer said, “he just kicked a kid in the chest.”
Full disclosure, this luke warm moment doesn’t deserve a suspension. I’m simply wondering if something worse had happened, could the league step in or would that fall on the conference to hand out punishment?
Should the league have a wheel of discipline a la the NHL? More and more games are being webcast every year. Is the league prepared for more attention?
I sure hope so, because more attention is coming! Here’s to another greatly interesting year of MCLA action!