Blogs and Commentary

posted 02.28.2011 at 11.34 p.m. by Jac Coyne

Slides and Rides: NCAA Division III

The biggest victory over the weekend was Hampden-Sydney's triumph of Gettysburg – a win that will likely vault the Tigers into the top 15 this week. It was a bizarre road victory, as HSC was statistically dominated by the Bullets, including a 2-to-1 advantage in shots, but the Tigers never let the hosts get on a big roll and put the game away. That's what happened last year when Sydney held a 10-9 lead after three quarters, only to watch Gettysburg go on an 8-0 run in the fourth to take the 17-10 victory. There's a long way to go, especially in a power conference like the ODAC, but this win will keep Ray Rostan's club afloat for a long time.

- As partly chronicled in my story Friday about Stevens, faceoffs killed the Ducks last year, as they finished 41 percent as a team. Stevens went 6-for-28 (21 percent) against Endicott in the season opener on Saturday. That's the bad news. The good news? The Ducks outclassed the Gulls, cruising to a 15-9 victory. It's a testament to a solid defense, backstopped by Eric Yando (19 saves), along with an opportunistic offense. Stevens' faceoff unit will get better as it becomes more experienced, which means the Ducks will be tough out. Coach Gene Peluso and Nicolas Phillipi (five goals) talked about the win after the game.

- Alright, it's time to stop doubting the Devils. At least time for me, anyway. I thought Dickinson wouldn't be able to live up to their 2010 accomplishments, and so far they've shoved that down my throat. The 15-7 win over St. Mary's not only showcased the Red Devils talent, but also the high confidence level they have after last year's performance. Montclair State and Roanoke in the next two Saturdays will be testers, but they're games I'm starting to think Dickinson can win.

- Eighth time is the charm for Springfield. After bowing in all previous seven meetings with Nazareth, the Pride finally broke the streak, notching an 11-8 victory over Nazareth. "The key to the win was solid defense; trying not to let their middies get to the goal as well as good, solid slides," said Springfield coach Keith Bugbee. "Also, good ball control and smart, assisted goals." Knowing Springfield's nearly guaranteed spot in the NCAAs through the Pilgrim AQ, the win might look like gravy, but this was an important victory. With games against Endicott, Stevens, Middlebury, Keene State and Bowdoin -- all potential conference champions -- a home seed could be in the offing if the Pride plays with confidence heading into its conference slate.

- Roanoke has scored at least 20 goals in seven of its last nine February games. The only two times it didn't happen were in games against F&M. The Maroons scored 19 both times...The Jim Rogalski era at Scranton started off with a 10-3 win over DeSales...Franc Cook was back in goal for Lynchburg, as the Hornets took care of Ohio Wesleyan, 10-3. Cook finished with 11 saves and went the distance...Washington College has to be pleased with its start. Anytime you can go on the road and beat out a past-year NCAA qualifier -- and likely conference champion -- it qualifies as a good start to the season. The Shoremen showed a strong defense and just enough offense in the 7-6 overtime win over Goucher...Montclair State held a moment of silence for John Greco, who passed away in November, and then proceeded to go out and beat Muhlenberg, 9-5, in the season opener...I'm not sure whether Wittenberg got caught napping after its gritty win over W&L, or if Sewanee has greatly improved, but that 6-5 final for Witt was surprising.