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Wahoos Lose

Cornell pulled off a huge upset as they defeated the #1 ranked University of Virginia Cavaliers.  The Big Red played flawlessly. Their game plan was possession. Just like last week Cornell controlled the tempo of the game. They couldn’t help the fact that just about everything they threw at Virginia goaltender Adam Ghitelman seemed to get sucked in like a black hole into the net. At the end of the first half he only had 2 saves, and 8 goals against.

I will say this for Ghitelman, his defense was not helping the situation. Between missed coverages, poor slides, players just not having their head on a swivel and missing the cutters, it just seemed like no one was communicating out there on defense.

UVA didn’t get the ball on offense much. Cornell baked up their shots, and Ghitelman wasn’t making any saves. When UVA did try and transition, they committed some unforced turnovers. When they did have scoring opportunities (when not completely missing the goal), Cornell goalie, Jake Myers made the necessary stops.

I called it in my preview…when UVA middies get stymied, UVA loses. Virginia’s midfield totaled 1 goal and no assists. On the flipside, Cornell had 8 players with goals.

The show-down is set for a Central New York final…the question remains…will SU get title#10, or will Max Siebald carry his team to their first title in 21 years.

cortlandgettysburg1So the teams are set!  The Cortland State Dragons for the North and the Gettysburg Bullets for the South.  At stake, only the 2009 crown!!!

What a time to have PC issues.  So after burning through my hard drive I am finally back online.  I would’ve had both games wrong in the D3 Final Four so I’m okay with missing out on a post.  One comment stated that I crawled up in a shell after Salisbury lost.  I laughed, but there were some PC issues and a trip to Dewey caused there to be not enough time to get around to the PC issues.

I didn’t see the Stevenson game.  Were they cocky and didn’t think that they had to show up?  From a Stevenson fan, I got a text stating, “Gettysburg is real good.”  So they must’ve shocked the team and all the Mustang faithful.

Cortland has such a young offense and were able to put a stamp on their victory over the Panthers of Middlebury.  I did not see this beat down coming.  Middlebury was loaded with upperclassmen and seemed to have been on a roll, especially after the Wesleyan game.  Regardless of the outcome of this game, they have put in their application to be a great team for years to come and it has been accepted.

The 2009 D3 National Championship Game!!

Cortland beat the snot out of Gettysburg 14-8 earlier in the season, but this is not the same Bullets team as we saw in March.  But it also is not the same Cortland team, this is a finely tuned machine who has come out to play after a lazy mid season.

Gettysburg is 0-2 in D3 National Championship appearances  losing twice to Middlebury in ‘01,’02.

Cortland has themselves a D2 Championship  with a win over Hobart from 1975 and has a 1-4 D3 National Championship record winning in 2006 against Salisbury and two losses to each Hobart and Salisbury.

This will be Cortland’s 4th consecutive D3 National Championship game appearance.  This feat has been matched by 3 other teams (Hobart 12, Salisbury 6, Middlebury 5)

ncaa_2009-logoAttack
Advantage:  EVEN - Cortland is young so their numbers don’t match up to Gburg’s experience.

Midfield
Advantage:  EVEN - Both have a solid first line and SSM’s.

Defense
Advantage:  Cortland

Goalie
Advantage:  Gettysburg

LSM
Advantage:  Gettysburg - Kehoe.

Coach
Advantage:  Even - Hank has the years, but Beville has the recent NC experience.

Overall Advantage:  Slightly to Cortland

Prediction:  Cortland 13-10

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Welcome all to playoff time! Luckily for us here in D3land, we have an extra round of games mid week.  Here is a plain and simple pick’em for these first round games.  We have some really great match ups for the first round as most teams have faced similar opponents and in two cases each other during the regular season.   It’s going to get real tricky to pick these games as the playoffs go on.  In my mind there are 6-7 teams that could easily take the crown this season!   But first they’ll have to make it to Foxboro where I will take the trophy from the winning team and parade around the parking lots like I just won myself!

–North–

Springfield (11-6) vs Mount Ida (13-6)

Both teams are lead by strong offensive units.  They both beat Babson, however Mount Ida only won 8-7 where Springfield topped them 22-6.  And they both lost to Amherst but Springfields was just a wee bit closer.  Mount Ida has an offense that can put up huge numbers in a run and gun game.  If Springfield isn’t sharp this one could be the shocker of the D3 playoffs.

Prediction:  Mount Ida - 13-12 OT

St. Lawrence (12-3) vs Nazareth (11-6)
Earlier this season, St. Lawrence topped Naz 15-10.  Both teams beat Oswego handidly yet lost by large margins to Cortland.  Naz seems to have a better offense from the numbers and the tilt moves to St. Lawrence on the defensive side. It should be a battle to see who moves on to the next round.  The game against each other was pretty early on and both teams have gotten better along the way.  It should come down to coaching.

Prediction:  St. Lawrence - 12-10

US Merchant Marine 11-5 vs Eastern Conn. St. (14-3)
No common opponents played in 2009.  UMM has played 3 playoff teams going 1-2 (beat FDU-Florham 7-6 and lost to Wesleyan and W&L).  ECS has faced 3 playoff teams also going 1-2 (Win over Mt Ida 14-7 and losses to Salisbury and Montclair St).  ECS has just a tad more fire power and will cruise to the win.

Prediction:  Eastern Conn. St. - 13-8

–South–

Cabrini (14-3) vs Montclair St. (13-4)
Both teams dominated in weak conferences but made up for it with tough out of conference schedules.  No opponents in common.  Monclair St. has faced two playoff teams with losses to both Cortland and Wesleyan.  Cabrini has faced 4 playoff teams going 2-2 (Wins over Haverford and FDU-Florham and losses to Gettysburg and Roanoke).  Look for Cabrini’s strong offense to run away with this one.

Prediction:  Cabrini - 16-8

Denision (12-2) vs OWU (10-4)
Due to travel, OWU and Denison get to meet for a 2nd time this season after a Denison TKO in the 1st meeting.  Common opponents; OWU lost to Lynchburg who Denison crushed, both defeated Oberlin, Adrian, Colorado College, Kenyon, Wooster, Wittenburg and Mount St Joseph.  Denison seems to be the better squad this season out in Ohio.

Preditcion:  Denison 15-10

W&L (15-3) vs FDU-Florham (13-4)
The Generals are coming out of the South’s toughest division in 2009.  Common opponents faced; US Merchant Marines beat FDU and lost to W&L, both beat Desales.  FDU is 0-3 against playoff teams (Cabrini, US Merchant Marines and Haverford).  W&L has played 4 playoff team games and are 2-2 with wins over US Merchant Marines and Roanoke in the ODAC finals and losses to Roanoke and Middlebury.  This will be a warm-up for W&L for the following weekend where they will see Gettysburg.

Prediction: W&L 15-6

Here’s what the 2nd RD games would look like based on my 1st Rd picks.  I will update these after the first round of games if any of my picks are in correct.

–NORTH–
*Cortland St. (15-2) vs Mount Ida (13-6)
Tufts (13-4) vs WNE. (16-2)
*Middlebury (13-2) vs St. Lawrence (12-3)
*Wesleyan (CT) (14-3) vs Eastern Conn. St. (14-3)

–SOUTH–
*Stevenson (15-1) vs Cabrini (14-3)
*Haverford (13-3) vs Salisbury (15-3)
*Roanoke (17-1) vs Denison (12-2)
*Gettysburg (13-3) vs W&L (15-3)

20080527_final-four-017

If you’re a lacrosse fan, you know that Division III has it all. Just like Division I, D3 players have just as much on their plate, practice just as hard and strive for the same goals. The differences are limited between the two divisions (heck you can throw D2 in the D3 category) but the two main ones are size and speed. Other than that, Division III offers top notch skills, great team play, excited fans and intense rivalries just like the big boys.

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In an ongoing series of posts, I will try my best not to hurt any feelings and to be as open minded about what to expect where teams stand and the outcomes of big match-ups. This season offers the most parity that we have ever seen due to the growth of the game. Will there be a new champion come Memorial Day weekend? Only time will tell.

Feel free to critique my picks as you’re entitled to your opinion but I think that they’re dead on.

Mark’s Preseason Rankings
1. Salisbury
2. Gettysburg
3. Middlebury
4. Cortland
5. Stevenson
6. Ithaca
7. Roanoke
8. Lynchburg
9. Cabrini
10. Washington
11. Stevens Tech
12. Haverford
13. St. Lawrence
14. Endicott
15. Wesleyan
16. Geneseo State
17. Bowdoin
18. Nazareth
19. Denison
20. St. Mary’s

A Little About the Top 5:
#1: Even though they lost a lot of points, the obvious pick for #1 has to be the Seagulls of Salisbury University. Jim Berkman has been leading the way and the word ‘dynasty’ is the only appropriate term to use for what the Gulls have done the past few years.

#2: If a team was satisfied with being a constant #2, Gettysburg would take the cake. In the 2000’s, The Bullets have made it to two National Championships and have finished with several #2 overall rankings. However don’t think that Hank’s boys are complacent with being thought of as Number Two. They were one goal away from the dance last year and bring back a heck of a lot of talent back in 2009.

#3: They started off the millennium in great fashion winning three in a row and getting knocked out of their forth. They’re always around come May and with a lot returning will surely be back at the dance.

#4:  The Dragons have been on a run lately but slid to #4 due to a lot of graduation. The boys up at Cortland have gotten used to adversity, winning and scoring a lot of goals. Everyone will be eager to see if Cortland reloads or goes into a period of rebuilding this season.

#5: With a school name change, some huge returnees and some key transfers, Stevenson rounds out the Top 5. The Mustangs return this season with a potent offense, great face off and two-way midfielders and a strong defense that will be a year better. Could they top the Gulls in the CAC? That’s their plan. In 2008, they had a little taste of success but they’ll have to win the big games to be considered the real deal.

Behind these rankings are some talented athletes. Each team has their fair share, but these are the guys that will bring their teams to the next level and hopefully to Foxboro this May. Now I’m almost positive that there’s more than just five guys who can be POY, but for time and safety’s sake here they are…

Mark’s Preseason POY Candidates
1. Kylor Berkman: Mid - SR – Salisbury: D3 POY in 2008 & MOY in 2007
2. Richard Ford: Att - JR – Stevenson: A do it all attackman on a high powered offense.
3. Casey Grugan: Att - SR – Cabrini: A great feeder to the inside and can also finish.
4. Tommy Kehoe: LSM - SR – Gettysburg: Super athlete and a momentum changer
5. Zach Furshman: G - SR – Gettysburg: If he plays big; big things will happen for the Bullets

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