Photo Credit: Robert White
As the MCLA National Tournament comes to Southern California this week, 32 teams from around the country have made the journey to Orange County with the same dream: Winning a national championship. But for some teams, the journey was longer than others.
Of the 16 teams in the Division I tournament, the average distance traveled – using team schools as the starting point and Ernie Chapman Stadium, the site of the Final Four games, as the end point – was 1392 miles. Among these teams, No. 13 Northeastern (2977 miles) and No. 8 Boston College (2972 miles) traveled the farthest, with No. 14 Virginia Tech not far behind (2409 miles).
One team, though, doesn’t have far to go. Fourth-seeded Chapman, a team that made three consecutive Final Fours from 2008 to 2010, hopes to have home games in the their final two games of this season at Chapman Stadium. Of course the opening rounds, played at UC Irvine, won’t be too far from home either for the Panthers, whose campus is located only about 20 minutes away from UCI’s Anteater Recreation Center (ARC) Fields.
Turning to the Division II field, teams on average traveled farther than their Division I counterparts, with an average of 1857 miles between home schools and Chapman Stadium. However, just like Chapman in Division I, a Division II team essentially is playing home games as well.
Concordia, located in Irvine, CA is literally down the street from UC Irvine, with only about a five minute drive between campuses. After an up and down year that saw the Eagles needing an automatic bid from the Southwestern Lacrosse Conference tournament to reach nationals, No. 12 Concordia hopes to use its home-field advantage to upset higher-seeded teams en route to playoff success. In its opener, Concordia looks to notch a tournament win – which they have failed to do the two previous years – against No. 5 North Dakota State.
(This article was also published on MCLA.us)