Matt Tarrant, St. Mary’s (Photo Credit Flickr/gomustangs)
It’s that time of year, sports fans. Conference tournaments are kicking off this week as we pare down the Division III ranks until we have our 30-team NCAA Tournament field. Some tournaments mean more than others, but with only five “Pool C” at-large bids out there winning is still of the utmost priority (ask last year’s NESCAC squads).
Many of the tournaments won’t truly get underway until a week from now, but some of the deeper leagues will be kicking off action on Wednesday with some interesting games expected.
Capital Athletic Conference Tournament First Round
Christopher Newport at No. 13t Mary Washington, 4:00 p.m. (Winner plays York)
St. Mary’s at Frostburg State, 7:00 p.m. (Winner plays Salisbury)
The CAC never disappoints come tournament time. Wednesday’s games will feature this year’s Cinderella (Mary Washington) and last year’s bracket buster (St. Mary’s) fighting for their postseason lives.
Mary Wash is in the midst of its best season ever and are No. 13 in the latests USILA Coaches Poll, but they will have to contend with the only team that has beaten Salisbury this season. Christopher Newport knows they can play with everyone in the conference and would prefer to keep playing past tonight. Both teams need this win, only one can get it though. Prediction: Mary Washington, 13-8
St. Mary’s has had a disappointing season to say the least. After losing a strong senior class, the Seahawks were expected to keep the momentum of last season’s tournament championship rolling with a talented group of returning players. That hasn’t happened, but it isn’t too late. Frostburg comes in as the higher see and with the confidence of a 17-10 win over SMCM last week. Faceoff man Billy Lark gave them a huge lift, going 22-for-25 from the dot with eight ground balls. Prediction: Frostburg, 15-10
North Coast Athletic Conference Tournament First Round
Wittenberg at No. 4 Denison, 7:30 p.m.
Kenyon at Ohio Wesleyan, 7:30 p.m.
Denison is unbeaten and I wouldn’t expect that to change any time soon – let alone tonight. Prediction: Denison, 20-6
Ohio Wesleyan is the NCAC’s best shot at breaking Denison, but first they have to get by a Kenyon group that took them to double overtime back on April 5. We should get another classic tonight. Prediction: Kenyon, 10-9
Johnson & Wales at Emmanuel, 7:00 p.m.
Rivier at Lasell, 3:30 p.m.
St. Joseph’s (ME) at Becker, 4:00 p.m.
Mount Ida at Norwich, 7:00 p.m.
USILA Top 20
No. 3 Stevenson vs. Messiah, 6:00 p.m.
No. 6 Washington College vs. Swarthmore, 7:00 p.m.
No. 7 Tufts vs. Bowdoin, 7:00 p.m.
No. 8 Cortland vs. SUNY Genesseo, 4:00 p.m.
No. 10 Lynchburg vs. Breidgewater, 7:00 p.m.
No. 11 Ithaca at Alfred, 4:00 p.m.
No. 13t Endicott at Curry, 7:00 p.m.
No. 16 Springfield College vs. Clark, 7:00 p.m.
No. 17 Amherst vs. Trinity, 4:30 p.m.
No. 18 Wesleyan vs. Conn College, 4:30 p.m.
No. 19 Franklin & Marshall at Gettysburg, 4:00 p.m.
No. 20 Washington & Lee vs. Shenandoah, 7:00 p.m.