Blogs and Commentary

posted 02.13.2012 at 10.01 a.m. by Jac Coyne

Monday Notebook: MCLA Division I

- The most surprising victory of the weekend was Michigan State's win over defending Division II national champion Davenport. It wasn't surprising that the Spartans won – they are the No. 6 team in Division I – but the narrowness of the score was stunning: 13-12 in double overtime. My initial thought was, 'Does Michigan State have a lot of work to do or is Davenport loaded for another title run?'

"I would say both," said Michigan State head coach Dwayne Hicks. "This was MSU's second time on the field. Last week we played against Denison and got our feet wet, and this week we played Davenport, which is a very good team. We definitely have a lot to work on, but I will give Davenport a lot of credit. They capitalized on a lot of our mistakes and made this a very good game."

The Spartans raced out to a 7-2 lead to start the game, and looked to be on the cusp of blowing the doors off, but the Panthers kept battling, and were aided by some erratic shooting by State.

"Davenport is a scrappy team and we allowed them to beat us on groundballs," Hicks said. "That's the name of the game. Ground balls led to fast breaks, which led to goals. Transition will be something we will be working on to prepare for Arizona State. That, and hitting the goal. We had 46 shots and scored 13 goals. First game jitters, I hope."

Hicks said close defender Wes Binder was the standout for the Spartans, while a one-on-one save by junior goalie Jake Nyenhuis in the first overtime saved MSU's bacon. Hicks has three weeks to prep his team for No. 2 Arizona State in Tempe.

- The Sun Devils started to ramp up toward the regular season with a scrimmage against Grand Canyon – a team that beat Arizona in a scrimmage, 9-5 earlier this winter. ASU head coach Chris Malone hoped to find out what his attack, which will feature three freshmen, will look like this spring.

"I'm not sure what they are made of," said Malone of his front line prior to the Grand Canyon scrimmage. "They have talent, but can they put it together? Today is a day where we find out if these kids have been paying attention. I feel like we are very strong in the goal and on faceoffs. Our defense is solid. It's the offense that I'm worried about."

The Devils beat the 'Lopes, 9-4, so the jury is probably still out on the ASU attack. Malone & Co., start the regular season against Stanford in L.A. this weekend.

- The defending champions jumped into the weekend with both feet, playing three consecutive games, including two on the road in Boise. It's difficult not to look at the Cougars' 12-8 victory over UNLV on Thursday through the prism of Chapman's 21-4 rout of the Rebels the week before, but it's best not to analyze comparative scores. They really mean nothing (other than the end result). BYU predictably dismissed Boise State on Friday, 15-3, and capped off the weekend by fending off No. 18 Simon Fraser, 14-10.

"The Cougars are the defending champs for a reason and their experience gave them enough of an advantage during certain points in the game to make a difference," said Fraser head coach Brent Hoskins. "They are extremely well coached and play with a lot of maturity."

The competition level spikes considerably next weekend when the Cougars travel to face No. 4 Chapman and No. 7 Cal Pol in a three-day span. This weekend was a successful one for BYU on one level, but it leaves open some questions as to whether the champs are anywhere near peak performance.

- Florida head coach Ryan Winters picked up his 50th career win with the 17-9 victory over divisional foe South Florida...despite it's 0-3 start against Division I teams, I still think Central Florida is a Top 25 team...Texas knocked off Texas State, but Johnny McKnight is not on the 'Horns roster. That hurts...solid wins by both Oregon (against Cal) and Sonoma State (vs. Washington) this weekend...UCSB's 7-6 win over Stanford was an uneventful start to Mike Allan 2.0...give it up to Iowa for not upsetting Wisconsin in the opener, but the Hawkeyes are now 2-0 after bouncing St. Cloud...Boise State stunned No. 18 Simon Fraser on Sunday afternoon, 15-14.