also duty-free guys falling over and grabbing their shins
Lax: To The CCLA Finals
Apologies for the lack of updates over the weekend, the general festivities of graduation got in the way (which also resulted in my not making it to yesterday's game... grumble grumble). An update on the first couple rounds of the CCLA conference tournament, and a brief preview of the final this afternoon (2PM at Saline High School ).
Round 1 Recap
After Eastern Michigan was disqualified from the conference tournament, Central Michigan stepped in to fill their spot against Miami (Not That Miami) on Friday. The Chippewas were outmatched, however, falling to the South Division's #2 seed 18-6. I wonder how Eastern would have fared against the RedHawks, considering they lost to Miami on the road in the middle of the season. Regardless, Miami advanced to face Michigan in the semifinals.
On the other side of the bracket, Michigan State showed that they're still interested in making the national tournament by pasting Pittsburgh 15-6. It was the Spartans' first win since April 10, and helped them inch closer to making the MCLA finals.
Miami (Not That Miami)
In their first taste of the conference tournament, Michigan got off to a fast start. They led 7-0 after the first quarter, but the offense became stagnant through the second and third, with the teams matching output at five goals each. Michigan came alive in the final frame, however, scoring 11 goals and holding Miami scoreless to reach the 23-5 final margin.
The Wolverines dominated statistically, nearly doubling up Miami in shots and groundballs, winning more than 75% of faceoffs, and riding the RedHawks to an abysmal 42% on clears. Freshman Thomas Paras scored four goals and four assists, while Trevor Yealy, a leading contender for MCLA Player of the Year honors (and recently-named team MVP) put four in the back of the net himself. Junior defenseman Harry Freid notched the first goal of his Michigan career in the fourth quarter.
David Reinhard (18/25) and Edward Ernst (6/6) dominated on faceoffs, and both Mark Stone (who got the start and allowed one goal) and Andrew Fowler (who played the second half and allowed four goals) played in the cage for Michigan.
The Spartans took down the South's #1 seed, Buffalo, 12-9 yesterday. That victory sets up a rematch of last week's Great Lakes Lacrosse Classic in the CCLA Tournament final, as Michigan looks to capture their fourth consecutive conference crown, and Michigan State looks to upset big brother.
The Spartans may also be looking to seal their place in the MCLA Tournament, as their slide at the end of the regular season put their at-large bid in question. I had them pegged as one of the last two teams in the field coming into the weekend. A win over Michigan would lock up an automatic qualifier (while not keeping MIchigan out of the tournament), but I think the two games on Friday and Saturday may be enough to seal their spot in the tournament. I haven't had a chance to give the tournaments of the other conferences a close look yet, but I think Michigan State is probably in, win or lose. I'll try to have a brief Bracketology segment in tomorrow's weekend recap post.
Since these teams just played last week, I won't preview the Spartans once again, but check out my preview of Michigan State (including an interview with their coach, Duane Hicks), and the recap of last Saturday's game.
I linked it in the previous post (which, in turn, I linked here). They were using ineligible players all year.
Based on the release from the CCLA, it sounds like it was a bit more serious than that, but I don't have any inside information to back that up.
The official recap isn't online yet, but the Michigan Wolverines prevailed again and beat Sparty for the CCLA championship 13 - 11.