Photo Credit: Shawn Carmen
The University of Washington will be travelling all the way to Boise, Idaho to take on the Boise State Broncos. In the PNCLL DI, Simon Fraser, Oregon and Oregon State have already clinched the 1, 2, and 3 seeds for playoffs, but there is a huge toss up for the number 4 seed. Idaho, Montana, Boise State and Washington all have 2-3 divisional records and these next couple of weeks will be crucial to help decide who that number four team will be for playoffs.
Boise State University has a somewhat depressing record. They are 3-6, but they’ve loss some close games. Sophomore, Adam Smith, has been raking in the stats this year for the Broncos. He’s had 27 goals, 9 assists, and 30 groundballs as a midfielder. For a midfielder to be this productive on offense, it requires a large amount of leadership.[gravityform id="278" title="true" description="true" ajax="true"]
Unfortunately, the offensive side of the ball isn’t where this team is struggling. Every single game that this team has loss, they have given up at least 12 points. In order to be able to click on offense, this defense needs to start being more aggressive and give their teammates a chance. They just played a game at Oregon State that they loss 14 to 7, but was much more close than the score portrays. Boise State was only down by one entering the fourth quarter, but their defense fell apart and allowed seven goals.
The University of Washington has an even more depressing record at 2-7. Thankfully, their two wins are both in conference and count towards their playoff bid. This team has played many hard teams this year, and has many close games. Even though their record is ugly, they can’t give up. They have three more conference games to prove what they’ve got.
Their offense isn’t doing too badly, just like Boise State, but they’re suffering from a defensive stand point. They have two freshman goalies that have been staying strong this season. One has a 77% save percentage while the other has a 66% save percentage.
Even though their goalies are playing very well, they haven’t been able to hold a team under 12 points besides their shutout victory against a very weak Portland State team.
Photo Credit: Robert White
It will be interesting to see which team can snap their losing streak and hopefully launce themselves into playoffs, but I am confident that it will be Washington. Even though they are 2-7, they know what’s at stake and what they are capable of. Holdon Milner will be able to stay strong in goal and the Huskies will walk away with their third conference victory.
Division I Projected Weekend MVP– Alex Crane
The PNCLL South has been extremely exciting this year, especially from the Oregon teams. Western Oregon will be taking a short drive down to Ashland, Oregon to take on the new and uprising Southern Oregon team. Each team has had a long season, and each team has been looking forward to this last game of the regular season for a long time. Southern Oregon wants to end Western’s reign as the number one team in the PNCLL DII South, while Western wants to let Southern know that they don’t have what it takes.
Western Oregon probably has one of the most impressive records in the MCLA. They are 13-0 and averaging over 20 points per game while only allowing 7. They are extremely solid on both ends of the ball, but their key to success is definitely their relentless, fast-paced offensive mentality.
This team knows when they need to score, and doesn’t wait for the opposing defense to set-up. They have a certain discipline on the field with the perfect amount of swagger that will get under the other teams’ skins. The fact of the matter is, they don’t know how to lose.
Photo Credit: Robert White
Southern Oregon on the other hand doesn’t have the bells and whistles that Western has grown and developed over the years, but they do have a system. They are allowing less than six goals per game, and that might be one of the most impressive accomplishments in the MCLA. Sophomore goalies Josh Barnhart and Connor Kelley are splitting time in cage and that has been working out perfectly for them.
Kelley, on his own, is saving over 70 percent of the shots. Another key to success for these boys is possession. Alex Smith is winning 73% of his face-offs. This is huge for Southern’s defense, because that means that they have to guard 73% less possessions and fast breaks off of face-offs.
This game will be a very exciting end of the regular season finale for these two teams, but I don’t think Southern Oregon’s young talent will be able to keep up with Western Oregon’s skill. Western Oregon will be able to earn their first perfect season ever at 14-0, and send a national message to the rest of the MCLA DII teams out there right before playoffs.
Division II Projected Weekend MVP– Jacob Bohince