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We’re either seeing a lot of parity coming to the MCLA, or the great are falling and making way for some new clubs to emerge. Thirteen of twenty teams on the D1 Under Armour Preseason Coaches Poll are at least one loss deep. Look closer and you find there’s six losses to the top three teams combined.

While some teams are doing the shaking, other programs are all shook up. Now that each team has at least a weekend of action under their belts, it’s time to breakdown some notable wins and losses around the league.

Brigham Young Bringing the Noise

That RMLC pack is getting serious. The Cougars shot out of the gate with a 2-0 record with 31 goals scored and only 5 allowed. Did I mention that was to preseason #10 Arizona and darkhorse Boise State? Then things got weird in Vegas when things got a little off track on the first night. What will define #4 BYU is how they responded to their first fall of the season to unranked UNLV, 8-6. Bouncing back the next afternoon, the Cougs got into a defensive struggle with former #1 team in the nation, Cal Poly. Jumping out to a 3-1 start in the first frame, BYU held on with a goal per quarter to outlast the top ranked Mustangs.

It’s never going to get easy for BYU, with showdowns scheduled with seven current Top 25 teams. It starts with a testing roadtrip to Arizona where they will see #13 Arizona State on Saturday night and #2 Grand Canyon on Monday. Taking no time to breathe, they continue on to Southern California to match up the following weekend against #15 Chapman and #23 San Diego State. There’s a lot to prove for the Cougars in the first half of March.

Don’t sleep on Cam Holding’s Michigan State

In their opening weekend the #14 Spartans captured three confidence building wins over #22 Minnesota, 10-9; Indiana, 16-6; and #20 Liberty, 8-4. They’re going to need it this weekend when they head south to Atlanta to meet #9 Florida State and #1 Georgia Tech in back to back afternoons. This is a team that lost eight seniors and heavily dependent on younger talent. Freshman Bennett Osterink (7 goals, 6 assists) and sophomore Charlie Pistner (9 goals, 3 assists) are answering the call. They join junior Brett Braun (9 goals, 4 assists) as the defined leaders of the Spartan offense.

Another junior, goaltender Kevin Boland is also catching attention, making some defining saves to help his team get through the weekend with a 62% save average and 6.33 goals against average. With the Golden Gophers in the rearview, only #24 Davenport stands in the way from the CCLA bid. They’ll get a crack at the Panthers on March 22nd. The Midwest often gets overlooked in the MCLA, it’s best not to sleep on Michigan State.

Golden Start for the Cal Bears

They might not be off the radar, but the #5 California Golden Bears are another squad that teams can no longer take lightly. Through five games, they’ve packed in 74 goals, giving up no more than 5 in each game. It’s a down year for #15 Chapman, but the most recent Cal victory came in a toppling of the Panthers by 8 goals. They’ve got five more Top 25 teams on the docket, three of those are to decide the WCLL.

Senior attackman Max McKone is attacking 2017 with a vengeance and has already racked up 22 goals, no credited assists. Freshman face-off specialist Jake Pistonik is absolutely dominant at the X, winning over 76% of his attempts, over 30 directly to himself. If they keep terrorizing their competition, the Bears will have the nation’s top spot in no time. It seems #11 Utah has a date with all of the best programs and Cal is no exception. We’ve got their Match 13th shootout circled on the calendar.

Changes to Chapman

It’s too early to call it a season for the Panthers, but for a program that remained flawless in a 22 game run to a National Championship, their 2-3 start is causing quite the buzz. The preseason ranking of #1 has now slipped to #15 and it’s still in jeopardy. Things started off with a rocky win over #23 San Diego State before going on a skid starting with a pair of home losses. The new sheriffs in town, #11 Utah, came in and stole a 12-9 win followed by a 8-5 stunner from #7 Oregon. A road trip to Northern California started just as disappointing, losing to #5 Cal, 12-5. On Sunday, Chapman finally appeared to get their affairs in order when they rolled into #25 Stanford with a chip on their shoulders and rolled out with a 17-7 victory.

Only one other team in the SLC is catching the Coaches Poll’s attention, #16 UCSB. The end of the season dance with the Gauchos will likely define the path to the big dance. Until then, Chaptown has plenty of challenges, including #4 BYU, #8 Colorado, #6 Colorado State, and #3 Cal Poly, standing in the way.

Utah Uprising

If you were keeping your finger on the pulse of the MCLA over the offseason, you probably expected this commanding start by the Utes. If you didn’t know, 2016 NCAA D1 National Champion assistant coach Brian Holman packed up his wagon in the offseason and headed west for lacrosse’s manifest destiny. With him came MLL All-Stars Adam Ghitelman, Will Manny, and his son, Marcus Holman to bolster his staff. The new regime brought a different tempo to Utah and the team was responded with three captivating wins to kick of their 2017 campaign.

It all started when they took down preseason #1 Chapman on the road, 12-9, catching a lot of attention from the media. Proving it wasn’t a fluke, they broke down the Washington Huskies, 18-10, in the Pac-12 Shootout, before rolling to Las Vegas, where they handled current #19 UNLV, 15-11. As if their conference schedule isn’t hard enough, they’ve got to fight through six more ranked teams before they find out if they will be taking their revamped program to Orange County in May. More power to #11 Utah as they redefine what MCLA programs can accomplish.

Storm in South Carolina

If unranked South Carolina hasn’t captured any attention by now, it’s likely only going to come through consistently laying the smack downs on their opponents. They are a perfect 4-0, with 79 goals already in the bank and a signature win over former #16 Virginia Tech, 10-8. #12 Boston College is the only ranked team left on their calendar, pulling off a win that weekend is sure to catch some eyes. Regardless of who’s watching, the starting attack line is nothing to be messed with. Junior attackman Graham Lorber is lighting up the scoreboard with 13 goals and 3 assists, backed by seniors Grant Schneider and Russell Coulter with 13 points each. Taking care of things at the midfield, senior Jon Henneberry is 14 points deep into 2017 while face-off specialist Greg Helfrich has been successful on more than 68% of his 96 attempts.

Getting out of the North East division of the SELC should be fairly easy for a team raking in the goals, but it’s still a long way to the MCLA Championship from there. They’ve got 19 guys on the roster averaging at least 1 point per game and a pair of goalies splitting time that can both get the job done. The Gamecocks are a force to be reckoned with.

Cover photo by Robert White

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