Lacrosse: MCLA Tournament Favorite

Submitted by Tim on May 10th, 2011 at 9:48 AM

When last we left our beloved Wolverines, they had wrapped up a 3rd undefeated regular season in the past 4 years, and were getting ready to gear up for the CCLA Conference tournament. On the line at the tournament was the Conference Championship, and The #1 overall seed in the MCLA National Tournament.

Central Michigan

So, this wasn't much of a contest. Michigan is a lot better than Central Michigan in pretty much every way, and it showed on the scoreboard. The Wolverines emerged 23-1 victors over the Chips - who are in up-and-coming program.

If you want more details on the game, check them out here.

Michigan State

This was a much better contest. In fact, I'd go so far as to say Michigan's 11-10 thriller over the Spartans was one of the most exciting Michigan Lacrosse games I've seen in the past three years or so.

The Wolverines built up an 8-4 lead in the second quarter, but Michigan State managed to capitalize on a couple broken rides (essentially a full-court press), and knot the game at 10 late in the third quarter. However, with just seconds to go in the frame, Trevor Yealy put in the 11th goal, and the teams were scoreless throughout the fourth (despite up-and-down play and several exciting moments).

The game featured the standard chippiness of a rivalry, plus a semi-brawl on the sidelines that lasted 30-some seconds.

For more on the State game, click here.

MCLA Tournament

Going forward, Michigan has earned the #1 overall seed in the MCLA National Tournament. They'll take on #16 Seed Lindenwood in Denver on Tuesday the 17th at 4PM Mountain Time. The Lions earned a tournament berth by virtue of winning the GRLC Playoff.

Should seedings hold throughout, Michigan would face Oregon in the second round. The Wolverines beat Oregon in overtime in a neutral-site game earlier this season. The semifinal opponent would be Chapman, again a past Michigan victim this season. In the finals, Michigan would face Colorado State who, you guessed it, they've already beaten this season. The full bracket is here:

Michigan is the overwhelming favorite in what should be their last MCLA Tournament...

Varsity News

(They call that a segue, kids). Though there hasn't been much movement since the initial Inside Lacrosse report a couple weeks back, all the evidence seems to point in the direction of Michigan plying its trade as an NCAA Varsity team in the spring of 2012.

A couple interesting statements happened following the CCLA Tournament that lead me to believe everything is still on track. First, when presenting Michigan Coach John Paul with the conference championship trophy, the announcer said something along the lines of: "probably for the last time ever, Michigan wins the CCLA Trophy." JP played it cool when accepting the trophy, but certainly wasn't in a hurry to deny anything. Following the game, the official @UMichLacrosse twitter account dropped the following:

"Michigan finishes FINAL MCLA regular season with a 103-2 all-time record in CCLA competition."

While it may seem (or ultimately be) inconsequential, it is the first public statement from any official, on-record source that something is definitely going to happen for next season. For the record, Michigan Athletic Director David Brandon was in attendance at Saturday's victory over Central Michigan.

I'm covering the hell out of this story over at GreatLaxState.com, so if you're into every minute detail, check out my posts over there.

Comments

mlax27

May 10th, 2011 at 10:37 AM ^

I like the draw Michigan got. It will be nice to play Oregon again and hopefully show the game earlier this year was a bit of a fluke. 

Sparty must really like their draw as well.  They are favored against Florida State, then play BYU who they already beat and then play Colorado State in the semi's who they played to overtime.  It could be an all Michigan final, which would be a great showing for our local talent. 

With regard to Varsity, the board of regents has the final say and they meet on May 19th.  Good news could come just in time for the NCAA final four, which would be great publicity. 

Tim

May 10th, 2011 at 11:22 AM ^

Sparty was up 5 on Colorado State with under 3 minutes to go in that game, and lost in overtime.

Methinks if they get that far, they're yearning for some revenge.

mgolax

May 11th, 2011 at 12:17 PM ^

If I was Sparty, I would worry less about exacting revenge on CSU and worry more about the revenge BYU plans to exact on them.  The Cougs can't be happy that there's a youtube video up with the words "BEAT DOWN" in the title to describe a 10-7 game the day after BYU played michigan.

laxalum

May 10th, 2011 at 2:10 PM ^

Look for the formal announcement the week before the NCAA final four.  That's my guess at this point.  But I know that JP has been working behind the scenes within the athletic department and externally for at least the last few months on all things varsity.

It's kind of hard to have a bad draw in the tournament for Michigan.  When you are clearly the best team, and you have beaten all of the other highly ranked teams, any draw works.  But there is a TON of pressure on them this year.  Everyone wants to beat them.  It's everyone's last chance to do so.  And it's not like they blow out every team they play.  Sooner or later, if you play enough close games, it has to catch up to you.

Plus, if they are going to announce D1 after the MCLA tournament you better believe that JP and Brandon want to do that on the heels of their fourth straight national championship, rather than their second loss in four years.  This whole varsity thing has to be a distraction.

girltalk

May 10th, 2011 at 9:30 PM ^

No doubt about it, the team is going to be D1 starting immeditely after they win the MCLA Tournament. There wil not be any open try outs in the fall, and the boys currently on the team will know by the end of the season if they will be back on the team come fall. JP is already working on a schedule for Spring 2012. This announcement is long overdue.

phjhu89

May 10th, 2011 at 10:09 PM ^

....on pins and needles.  While there are some really good teams in the ECAC (Denver, Loyola), will they get any elite opponents in the non-conference schedule?  Not that they could handle that kind of opposition yet, but it would be really good for recruiting and tradition building. 

laxalum

May 11th, 2011 at 10:09 AM ^

Gotta figure Penn State and Notre Dame will be on the schedule from the start just because of the natural rivalries there.  UDM will probably be on as well?  I'd guess Hopkins will show up at some point as well because JP and Petro seem to have a really good relationship.

I agree that the team should establish a schedule that presents themselves as an elite program, but they need to be careful not to get carried away.  They need some balance.  Going winless or 1-13 the first couple of years would be a tough start.

mgolax

May 11th, 2011 at 12:27 PM ^

I figure we'll get at least a couple.  We've already scrimmaged OSU, PSU, Army, Hopkins, Bellarmine, etc. and I think it's an attractive game for opponents because of the high visibility.

 

For what it's worth Hopkins came out in the fall of 2007 because they wanted to see a football game that weekend too.

 

*edit - hopkins came out in 2007, not last fall

Wolverine In Iowa

May 11th, 2011 at 9:56 AM ^

Anyone know when the finalists for the Tewaaraton Award get announced?  I can't seem to find any date for that announcement.  All I know is they announce the winners in DC on June 2.