Tuesday Division III Notebook: Dickinson’s Tough Week Can Be Overcome

Tuesday NotebookWhen the polls came out and everyone looked at where the Dickinson Red Devils sat, I’m not sure anyone would have predicted that they would be 2-2 at this stage of the season. But after dropping games to Cabrini and Montclair State this week, that is exactly where Dave Webster’s team is at heading into March.

Things started off as planned: a blowout win over Lycoming to get the engine going was followed by a solid win over a top-20 St. Mary’s team. But then they ran into the Cabrini buzzsaw last Wednesday and fell 19-9—an extreme margin for two teams expected to be so closely matched.

Then, on Saturday, the Red Devils welcomed Montclair State to town and were shocked 14-11 on their own field. Montclair’s Michael Dorn stood on his head, making 20 saves, while Brett Mangan poured in five goals and an assist to spark an offense that chased Max Pawk after 30 minutes and nine goals.

This was not what Dickinson had in mind. Not like this.

But all is not lost for the Red Devils. Every year we see teams that start off slower than expected come back from the brink and make the NCAA Tournament and with a win over Roanoke on Saturday, Denison on Mar. 22 and a solid run through its Centennial schedule, Dickinson will be a player for at least a Pool C bid, if not an automatic qualifier.

That is easier said than done, however. The Centennial is looking as strong as ever with Gettysburg lurking just behind Dickinson and Washington College looking like one of the strongest teams in the country. Making it harder still: those two teams will come to Carlisle in back-to-back games (April 9 and 12).

I don’t know about y’all, but I wouldn’t doubt a team with a bevy of players left over from a group that went 18-1 just last year. This is what sometimes happens when you schedule tough games early in the season. Just you wait.

Tufts Blasts Middlebury

The NESCAC season got off the ground on Saturday with a marquee matchup between Tufts and Middlebury highlighting the schedule. Here we had two teams with national championship histories and top-20 ratings set to battle on the first day of the season.

It looked like a war, but it ended up a slaughter.

The Jumbos handed Middlebury a 24-6 drubbing, asserting themselves as both a top-five team and the NESCAC favorite before most teams had even gotten their season off the ground. Whether Middlebury is the team we expected them to be or not remains to be seen, but we can’t say that about the No. 4 Jumbos. They are who we thought they were.

Ground balls

  • Have you checked out this week’s D3 Players of the Week and USILA Top 20 Poll? Be sure to check them out every Monday.
  • Cabrini has been pretty awesome so far this year, huh? The Cavaliers blasted Dickinson and then handled Lynchburg over the weekend to jump up to No. 6 in the USILA Poll. Corey Elmer put on a show with 13 points this week. That’s just unfair.
  • How about Springfield College? The Pride went from the top of the unranked pile to No. 10 after beating Stevens over the weekend. SC will face Western New England this week in a huge northern rivalry game that, based on recent history, should favor the Pride. That attack unit is clicking something fierce, too.
  • Speaking of Stevens, have you seen their schedule? The Ducks now sit at 1-2 with games against No. 2 Cortland, No. 4 Tufts, No. 8 Denison, No. 17 Montclair State and a very scrappy Eastern Connecticut team before they start Empire 8 play. Don’t rule out a 2-6 Stevens team rolling into Alfred State on March 29 looking for blood.