Blogs and Commentary

posted 03.07.2011 at 10.03 a.m. by Jac Coyne

Monday Notebook: MCLA Division I

- It came several games after they probably thought it would happen, but No. 24 Oregon finally jumped into the win column on Saturday with a 9-5 victory over No. 18 Sonoma State. The Ducks were 0-4 heading into the game, including a double-overtime loss to No. 1 Michigan, but finally cashed in.

"The team has stayed optimistic," said Oregon coach Joe Kerwin. "Our captains and seniors have been key. They've been working harder, showing up to practices early, and just being great examples for the younger players. The season hasn't started like they wanted or expected, but they definitely believe we can be a good team."

With its schedule and the talent in Eugene, the Ducks still have to be considered the favorites to win the PNCLL auto qualifier, but there are a lot of brutal games still left on the schedule. Oregon's next game comes today (Monday) against No. 7 Michigan State at home. It is likely the Ducks will still be searching for the perfect mix even as it heads down the home stretch.

"We're still finding our rhythm on offense, in our lineup, our subbing patterns, etc.," said Kerwin. "Our defense has continued to play well. The offense can still be more consistent in getting the shots we want and not necessarily the first shot we see."

- Oregon will be playing a desperate Michigan State team that try to salvage its Northwest swing after bowing to Sonoma State yesterday, 15-14. The key to beating the Spartans is pretty simple for Kerwin.

"Consistency," he said. "That seems to still plague us. We need to put four quarters together of good decisions and energy."

- No. 8 Minnesota-Duluth will be in Denver for the national tournament compliments of their conference AQ, but this weekend has to go down as a disappointment for the Bulldogs. The Dawgs proved on Friday night that they can play with the best in the country in their one-goal loss to No. 4 BYU, but something went wrong in the 13-5 loss to No. 16 Utah. The Utes are a good team with a real chance at earning a trip to Denver, but they are not eight-goals better than Duluth. UMD has some work to do, especially with No. 24 Oregon and No. 6 Colorado looming on back-to-back days in two weeks.

- The contest between Michigan and Chapman ended the way it usually does -- with a Wolverine win -- but the script was slightly different than previous meetings. Usually, the Panthers roll out to a quick lead and watch Michigan slowly claw its way back for the triumph. This time, UM raced out early and held on for the win. Chapman did a nice job slowing down Trevor Yealy (2g) and Chad Carrol (0g), but Thomas Paras and Alex Vasileff (both with 4g and 1a) found plenty of room to room for the Wolverines.

- Central Florida's David Drehoff has been named the MCLA Division I Nike Player of the Month for February...No. 14 Virginia Tech probably doesn't have the schedule to earn an at-large bid, but the 13-11 loss to No. 12 Florida State lets the Hokies know they have a legit shot at the SELC automatic qualifier...after playing to within a goal of No. 11 UC Santa Barbara in the season opener and then hammering No. 24 Oregon the next day, Cal has tapered off. The Bears have lost three straight, and they weren't competitive in the games against No. 4 BYU (15-6) and No. 9 Cal Poly (15-7 on Saturday)...No. 7 Michigan State can still go 2-1 on their Pacific Northwest trip, but they'll be kicking themselves for letting that Sonoma game get away.