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MCLA Field Report: Week 4

Picture Perfect

Of the teams that have actually competed, six Division 1 teams remain undefeated. #1 Georgia Tech (8-0) and #2 Cal (9-0) are chomping at the bit to see the other fall. The Jackets confidently took down #7 Florida State on Saturday, but the coming weekend’s trip to #5 Colorado and #10 Colorado State will really test what they’re made of. The Bears will begin their 5-game WCLL stretch to close the season, starting with Dominican on Saturday.

At 6-0, #22 South Carolina is still demanding your attention. Say what you want about their opponents, but they’re beating the pants off of them by a combined score of 95-23. Their only close game of the season was a month ago when they took down #18 Virginia Tech, 10-8. #14 Boston College is their only ranked opponent left this season, so buying respect will continue to cost a large goal differential and clean record.

Oklahoma and Florida are both a perfect 7-0, but strength of schedule are holding the football powerhouses back from receiving any national lacrosse attention. With only North Texas and TCU in the way, the Sooners have a chance of stealing the Lone Star outright. The Gators have four games before meeting their rivals, #7 Florida State, the last game of the regular season. If they steal the Noles’ thunder, they’ll be giving teams like #1 Georgia Tech a run for the SELC glory.

Waiting on the Eagles

The first five Coaches Polls of the 2017 season are out and we still haven’t had the pleasure of seeing Boston College take the field. They started at #9 in the preseason rankings and have since dropped to #14. The lack of field time and the success of others have bumped the Eagles down week after week.

Last weekend’s opener with Rhode Island was postponed, so we’ll get the chance to see them for the first time on Saturday at New Hampshire. With only nine games on the docket for the season, they will have to hit the ground running to hang around the Top 25. Four of those games will be against ranked opponents, so they have plenty of time to make a statement.

Not the Same Rams

#10 Colorado State (5-4) fell two more spots in poll this week, but they’re lucky it wasn’t worse. They took a shot in the chin last weekend from #9 Chapman, 6-11, also dealing with a rebound year. The Rams were able to knock off #8 Arizona State in the early part of the season to keep some skin in the game, but lost their next four games against teams currently ranked. Five of their last seven games are against Top 25 teams. It’s their chance to reclaim some of what is lost, or an easy opportunity to throw the rest of 2017 away. What we see out of them over the next three weeks will define their season. There could be some juice from the 2013 and 2014 championship runs left somewhere in the tank. We’ll find out together.

Division II is Even Deeper

Eight programs in DII are undefeated, seven of which are ranked. That number could be even higher, but some have fallen to much more equipt DI units and a good chunk of the entire Top 10 has already played each other.

The one loss teams are dangerous. #3 Grand Valley State (3-1) has only fallen to previously-ranked DI opponent, Davenport, in the season opener. They’ll go gunning for fellow one-loss program, #5 Dayton (6-1) this weekend before getting a chance to knock #1 St. Thomas off of their pedestal to close out March. The Flyers will close their season against the #1, #3, #5, and #8 teams in the country, making or breaking their season. If we’re going to talk about one loss teams, Concordia-Irvine has to be at the top of the list. Their only blemish was #1 St. Thomas, 12 to 16. Against the rest of the field, they’re outscoring teams 148-46. They still have six games and two ranked opponents to get through before it’s tournament time.

The one loss club obviously is playing for keeps, but a field of teams with two slip ups are also causing damage. #4 North Dakota State (4-2), #6 Sierra Nevada (6-2), #8 St. John’s (3-2), and #9 Montana State (5-2) have all caught themselves in a ring of either losing to each other, or #1 St. Thomas. All of the losses come to worthy opponents that won’t send teams hurling down the ladder just for dropping by a tight goal margin. Any one of these programs could come gunning for the top spot by season’s end and they’ll all be forces to reckon with in the postseason.

The two Top 10 squads that are a bit harder to gauge are #7 Kennesaw State (7-2) and #10 Cal State Fullerton (7-0). KSU isn’t blowing teams out of the water, but they’ve worked their way past a handful of formidable opponents in both divisions. Their only losses come to DI’s Georgia and #5 Dayton in a 6 goal game. The Titans, on the other hand, haven’t fought through as tough of a schedule, but they’re still flawless with two wins over ranked teams, #23 Southern Oregon and #25 Fort Lewis. Their sights are set on the season-ender with #2 Concordia for all of the marbles in the SLC.

Keep your eyes on battle of the unbeatens this weekend, #24 College of Idaho (5-0) against #15 UC Santa Cruz (6-0) in Ashland, Oregon. Both teams are off to unexpectedly great starts and a win either way will mean another bump up in rankings. The Banana Slugs have to square off with #23 Southern Oregon the night before, so hopefully they can rest up over the quick turnaround. Luckily for the Yotes, they get Santa Cruz first before meeting the host team on Sunday. It’s a chance for big C of I win right after an even bigger one.

Cover photo by Robert White

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