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King of the Hill

For five-straight weeks Ken Lovic’s Georgia Tech held strong at the top of the MCLA Coaches Poll. Never had the Rambling Wreck even claimed first before this season and they’ve been the only team to earn to spot for more than just a week. Then a road trip to the Rockies knocked the Yellow Jackets off course. It started with a, 13-18, slip up in Boulder when the #3 Buffs put the first dent in Georgia Tech’s flawless record. They followed up the hiccup by just barely squeezing by #10 Colorado State the next day, 12-11. For most teams, that’s not too shabby of a weekend. Yet, the coaches made sure to punish the former kings of the hill by knocking down them down three pegs. #1 California (10-0) was the obvious choice to lead the line, but deciding number two is a much harder decision to make.

#4 Georgia Tech (9-1) would be the obvious choice, right? Their only loss came to one of the top teams of the country, they’ve got about a half dozen wins over ranked opponents, and claimed the top spot for weeks. Not so fast. What about #3 Colorado (11-2)? They just took down the league’s top team by 5 goals and haven’t looked in the rearview mirror since their early season struggles. It’s been a month and some change since that pesky weekend where they dropped to #7 Arizona State and #2 Grand Canyon (8-1). Speaking of the Lopes, it looks like they’re making the strongest case in the country for the runner-up position. Their only mistake of the season came in a struggle with #5 BYU and they’ve got a handful of ranked wins too. The biggest case for GCU is the transitive property of inequalities. The Lopes beat the Buffs and the Buffs beat the Jackets. Therefore Grand Canyon is more worthy of than Colorado and two steps ahead of Georgia Tech.

All of the craziness actually caused BYU (9-2) to shift down a place, despite extending a four-game win streak. Put the top half of the poll wasn’t settled there. #21 Liberty (5-5) fired off and knocked the wind out of the #9 Florida State (9-2) sails, 11-7. They followed up with a one goal win over #16 UConn (4-2), but the loss and a tight margin dropped the Noles two spots. The demotion made room for #7 Arizona State (7-5) and #8 Chapman (9-5) to each take one step forward. After losing their only game of the week, the Sun Devils must be wiping their brows to see positive movement in the polls. Luckily for them, a 7-9 loss to the #2 team comes with merit. The Panthers were also served up a loss this week, falling 7-13 to #6 Cal Poly.

Party in the Pacific Northwest

Knock, knock. It’s #11 Oregon State rapping at the Top 10’s door. The Beavers are a cool 11-1, with their only bruise coming from #20 San Diego State over a month ago. They’re two games away from the PNCLL top seed, with Simon Fraser and #15 Oregon in their path. If they can flawlessly close out the season, they’ll carry a wrecking ball of momentum into Burnaby for the conference playoffs. They aren’t the only team to beat in the Northwest. Oregon hasn’t been back on the turf since losing to Southern Methodist, but even they’ve been bested by #17 Boise State. The Broncos jumped four spots ahead this week with a nail-biting, 11-10, win over #13 Utah. At 5-2, Boise State’s pair of mistakes came to the likes of BYU and Oregon State. Unfortunately they’re left without ranked opponents to close out the regular season. Should they win out, they’ll have to cause some real damage in the PNCLL playoffs to make a case for the National Championship. Don’t count them out.

The Maryland Mixup

Holding onto a ranking for five weeks before ever playing a game, the #21 Boston College season sputtered out to a rocky start. Following up the opening loss to unranked New Hampshire, they went into a four-way dance in Maryland and came out with some interesting results. Friday night featured a, 5-9, loss to #12 Virginia Tech, before #19 South Carolina served up their third loss. The Eagles were able to salvage the season with a tight, 11-10, win over #18 Michigan State on Sunday. The 1-3 start would send BC down another three spots, but the weekend would cost the Spartans the most. The Hokies struck first, slaying Sparty by way of 12 goals to 4, and the loss to the Eagles would send Michigan State spiraling down four positions.

South Carolina went into the weekend undefeated and would have a strong case for the Top 10, if it wasn’t for those pesky Pittsburgh Panthers. The Gamecocks were knocked off of their pedestal with a, 6-9, loss to Pitt on Friday to open the weekend’s events. They bounced back with a pair of wins over BC and Purdue to pick themselves up before heading back to Columbia. Ultimately, Virginia Tech was the only team to heading into Owings Mills and come out unscathed. Two ranked wins are added to the Hokies’ belts, taking down Boston College and Michigan State in back to back afternoons. They’re now a month away from their last loss, and all three have come to ranked competition. It’s now going to come down to the Hokies and the Flames for the SELC Northwest. If that’s not good enough, remember it’s only one quarter of the conference.

Uneasiness in Utah

Brian Homan’s Utes have essentially come out of nowhere, aside from their massive coaching restructure, to pull eyes to the the MCLA. Led by a long-time North Carolina assistant and his wily pack of Major League Lacrosse all-stars, Utah has been making waves in the West and have laid claim to some formidable opponents. After suffering their only losses of the season in one weekend, to #1 Cal and # Arizona State, the Utes have been knocking off top-notch competition by a combined score of 70 to 27. The came Boise States. The Broncos rolled into Salt Lake City with a chip on their shoulders and stunned Utah, 11-10. Dropping two spots in the poll, the Utes have a massive opportunity for a rebound ahead of them. They’ll get Colorado and Colorado State at home, and a local showdown with Utah Valley, before the next rankings release. The pressure is on in the RMLC. Each without a conference loss, the dance between BYU, Colorado, Colorado State and Utah is going become something serious. The six games between the four teams are going be as good, or better, than most tournament games. All eyes on the Rockies.

Powell Weekly Awards: Division I

MVP of the Week: Bryan Larocque, Davenport

The shifty box player out of Windsor, Ontario has been nothing short of a leader for the Panthers for the past three seasons. The junior is 39 goals and 10 assists deep into 2017, leading his squad to six big Midwestern wins. Larocque punched in 9 goals alone this weekend when toppling Western Michigan and Miami, 18 total over the past two weeks. Averaging 4.9 points per game is amongst the MCLA’s best, but his impressive goal tally is impressive enough to claim top in the country.

Goalie of the Week: Mason Moon, BYU

If freshman goaltender Mason Moon didn’t get any recognition here, it would be a shame. Moon is the backbone to the Cougar’s 9-2 season and #5 ranking. The young netminder has turned away 125 shots on goal, averaging just about 70% on the season. This week, Moon blocked 11 shots, allowing only three, over in-state rival Utah State. This youngster has 6 wins over ranked competition already on his resume, most impressively over #2 Grand Canyon, #6 Cal Poly, and #7 Arizona State. He will be thrown to the lions this weekend against #3 Colorado and #10 Colorado State. It’s time to see what the kid is made of.

Coach of the Week: Jon Mundy, Boise State

Less than desirable circumstances sent Boise State searching for a new leader just a couple short years ago. In came former Bronco, and local leader in the lacrosse community, Jon Mundy to put the pieces back together. With the respect of his club, Coach Mundy has led the boys to one of the only rankings in school history in back to back years. Now up to #17, the Broncos shot up four spots in the polls thanks to a, 11-10, win over #13 Utah that had us all on the edges of our seats. Coach Mundy led his boys through the thriller in Salt Lake on a rebound, after dropping their second loss of the season to conference rival Oregon State. The only other damage to the Bronco schedule came from #5 BYU in mid-February. You can be sure that Coach Mundy’s leadership won’t back down now as they prepare to cause havoc in the PNCLL Tournament.

Division II

MVP of the Week: Cade Vlacos, UC Santa Cruz

They might only be sitting at the #19 spot, but don’t sleep on Cade Vlacos and the Banana Slugs. Vlacos is a junior transfer, in from Cal State San Marcos, and is already crushing the number he put up in his first two seasons. The quick-footed attackman has already made his mark with 48 goals and 20 assists so far this season. Since the last poll, Vlacos has punched in another 9 strikes with 2 helpers, making 39 goals in the past month, 11 of which came against ranked competition. Vlacos is currently second-overall in goals scored and his 5.667 points per game is also amongst top in Division II.

Goalie(s) of the Week: Austin Dover & Ryan Weitgenant, St. Thomas

Since St. Thomas is rocking a senior goalie tandem and cruising through their competition, we only thought it would be appropriate to give both goalies some credit. Ryan Weitgenant is absolutely shutting down everything he sees, with a mind-blowing .765 save % to show for it. His three appearance have come back with three wins over ranked opponents, including #11 Montana State, #3 Grand Valley State, and #14 Grove City. His counterpart, Dover, has also been nothing short of spectacular, edging out #4 North Dakota State, #2 Concordia-Irvine, #5 Sierra Nevada, and #6 Dayton, for a combined save average of 61.8%. Each guy is getting his own games, not splitting halves, and they’re getting the job done. Three top teams were no match for the Tommies last weekend, thanks to Dover and Weitgenant.

Coach of the Week: Brian Gross, St. Thomas

How could we not keep the love going for St. Thomas? Coach Gross’ group is steamrolling through their competition and their closest margin was a 3 goal win over #6 Dayton. Last weekend, the Tommies were put through the gauntlet with three top ranked opponents in three short days. He led his group past #3 Grand Valley State, before cracking open #14 Grove City the next day. Then it was a tight one with Dayton before heading back to St. Paul with a unblemished 7-0 record. It’s not easy being #1, but Coach Gross has kept the focus and maintained the pole position for all of 2017. Is it too early to call for Coach of the Year?

Photo by Richard White

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