MCLA Bracketology: Grand Valley State Leads D2

The D2 Tournament seems much more interesting and much more open to seeing a new Champion this year. This year we have seen the deposing of the back to back champion St. Thomas Tommies fall from their stranglehold #1 position down to the 4th seed, which happens to be their lowest seed since 2007. This year also saw the most movement in the top ten that I can remember in recent years.

* Winners will be Italicized
#1 Grand Valley St. (CCLA AQ) vs. Montana St. (RMLC AQ)
Grand Valley St. has garnered the #1 seed in the tournament this year, which is the first time since 2011 when the team was lead by a stellar offense and a very tough defense. This year’s team is very different from the 2011 team, for one this year’s team is much younger and much less experienced. When I saw the Lakers play in Minnesota earlier this season the team looked like a good team that would make the National Tournament, but would have some problems with the teams like St. Johns and the like that rely on shut down defense and great goaltending.

Montana St. is making the their first National Tournament appearance. The Bobcats from Bozeman won the RMLC Conference this year, although the RMLC is not what the D1 side of the conference is. Although the Bobcats are in their first tournament I believe they will be able to give the Lakers a run that most #1 seeds don’t get to see in the first round. Unfortunately for the Bobcats I do not see how they can pull an upset against Grand Valley St. this year.

#2 St. John’s (UMLC) vs. Missouri Valley College (GRLC AQ)
St. John’s is one of the best teams year in and year out, no matter what the season and no matter what the UMLC has in for store. Much like the D1 RMLC the D2 UMLC is probably the toughest conference in the MCLA D2. When you hear that the UMLC is sending three teams to the National Tournament and all without an automatic qualifier, you know it’s tough conference to come out of.
Missouri Valley happens to be the fifth different GRLC team to make the tournament in the last five years, unfortunately none have made it past the first round. Vikings do seem to match up fairly well against the Johnnies. The Vikings score close to 20 goals a game, while the Johnnies give up roughly 7 goals a game. Really the Vikings offense can cancel out the Johnnies defense so as long as the Vikings can limit their turnovers and keep the Johnnies offense on limited possessions they will have a slim but decent chance at winning the game.

#3 Dayton (CCLA) vs. United State’s Coast Guard Academy (PCLL AQ)
The Dayton Flyers are probably one of the toughest teams to face in the country year in and year out. As I have come to call them they are the Dayton Machine, doesn’t really matter who’ve they have on the team they seem to win games and win in the tournament. The one thing I think that the Flyers have in their favor is that they have the experience of the being in this situation before.

USCG won the PCLL Championship this season and had to beat their biggest PCLL rival, Briarcliffe, to do it. The Bears have a very good chance to win this game, their numbers are almost the exact same as Dayton’s and they play a very similar style of lacrosse. I am going big hear and going with the” under- Bears” in this one.

#4 St. Thomas (UMLC) vs. Reinhardt (SELC AQ)
St. Thomas is once again in the top end of the bracket in the National Tournament. Unlike the last number of years they are not necessarily one of the big favorites in the tournament, in my opinion. St. Thomas had uncharacteristic struggles in the UMLC this season, and outside it, going 2-2 in the conference and losing to Indiana Tech in an out of conference game. Although losing to both NDSU and St. John’s during the regular season the Tommies had a better showing in the UMLC Tournament, where they took runners-up to St. John’s. The Tommies have a relatively easy match up against Reinhardt this year and should make to the Second Round.

Reinhardt won the SELC this season taking down Kennesaw St. in the finals to get to the National Tournament. Unfortunately they ended up drawing a team that has won four of the last five championships and is one of the most decorated programs in the MCLA. I would love to say that I predict another upset in the top 4 but in good conscience I cannot.
#5 North Dakota St. (UMLC) vs. Concordia (SLC AQ)

The Bison from Fargo, ND are coming into the National Tournament as the fifth seed and the final team from the UMLC. NDSU has had one of it best years this year and will definitely look to do better than its first round lost to Liberty last season. The Bison come in once again very young on offense, but lead by experience on defense. With big wins against St. Thomas, Grove City, and Indiana Tech the Bison will look to be a major contender for this year’s crown.

The Concordia Eagles are making their third straight National Tournament. They did not get a favorable match-up in the first round. Unfortunately for the Eagles, they face a team who scores goals and does it quick. The Eagles give up about 10.5 goals a game which against a team that gets a lead and holds on to it it’ll be a tough uphill game.
#6 Grove City College (CCLA) vs. Western Washington ( PNCLL AQ)

Grove City was a very popular team throughout the season this year. The Wolverines never dropped out of the top six all year. This Grove City team is a master at timely scoring, having won two games in overtime this year.

The Vikings from Bellingham, WA will definitely be keeping the Wolverines up at night until Monday morning rolls around. Western Washington is coming off its best season since 2010 where they made the Tournament. This Vikings team has had some pains over the last few years but it looks like the program has come around and can be a national presence from the Northwest Pacific. At this point I must let you know that this one of those teams that appeals to me AND that I am going to be calling an upset in this game.

#7 Indiana Tech (CCLA) vs. Florida Gulf Coast (SELC)
Indiana Tech garnered the seventh seed in the National Tournament and also spent most of the season in the top 15 of the polls. The Warriors do not match up well with Gulf Coast who plays very good defense and is able to score when needed, but the Warriors gave up 122 goals in 14 games.

Florida Gulf Coast is a team that intrigues me greatly, they have good wins over Grove City, Palm Beach Atlantic, Northern Colorado, and Lindenwood-Belleville. Unfortunately their SELC Tournament lost to Charleston worries me. People will say that I am being biased against the CCLA, and they’re right. I believe that there is a large gap in play between GVSU/ Dayton and Indiana Tech/ Grove City. This is why I am going with back to back upsets.

#8 Western Oregon (PNCLL) vs. Savannah College of Art and Design (SELC)
Western Oregon is a team that I do not know how to feel about this year. They went 15-0 in the regular season and then lost in the PNCLL Championship game. Although going on a very good run it doesn’t seem like the Wolves really didn’t challenge themselves with a very difficult schedule. Other than getting wins against Montana St., Western Washington, and Concordia none of the teams they played really had a chance to do much against them. The Wolves inflated their schedule and their numbers show it 327 goals for and 123 goals against in 16 games.

SCAD, unlike WOU, went and got a schedule that a team could look at and get a sense of what they’ve got. SCAD went 7-6 on the season but 3 of the 6 came to Tournament teams. The Bees went and played Dayton, St. Thomas, and Indiana Tech although losing to all three none of the three games were out of hand. The last time the Bees were a ninth seed they had success in the opening rounding beating NDSU 10-8 in what could be considered the best game all of that tournament. I am going to go with history in this one and pick the Bees to win the game but it will be a close one.

The Games start off with Western Oregon vs. SCAD and Grove City vs. Western Washington at 11 am. Once again if you think I am wrong, or right, please let me know @AlexUrquhart13 on Twitter.