Blogs and Commentary

posted 04.02.2012 at 10.01 a.m. by Jac Coyne

Monday Notebook: MCLA Division I

In his second stint as the head coach at Colorado, John Galvin's approach at the midpoint of the season is pretty simple.

"Every day, we're just trying to figure some stuff out," said Galvin.

It's been a season of lows and highs for the Buffs. They started out the campaign losing three of the first four, including a surprising 6-2 setback at the hands of No. 19 Loyola Marymount, but have since won four of their last six, highlighted by the 5-4 upset against No. 6 Arizona State.

"We kind of came up short in a couple of games, but we were so close," said Galvin, referencing the fact that two of the setbacks were by a goal. "Some breaks went the other way and we didn't create our own luck. That's just how it went. It was disappointing, and I know the guys were pretty upset, but we tried to tell them to keep coming and keep working. That's what we needed to do: keep moving on and keep plugging away. That's what we've been trying to accomplish from day one – we'll work hard so that whatever the outcome is, we'll know we worked hard."

This mantra has evolved because this Colorado team isn't dripping with talent that some of the past editions have benefited from. Three of the top six middies – Riley Kulm, Mitch Erickson and Greg Kelsic – are all new to the Buffs this year. LSM Rowan Sloss, FOGO Harrison Mallen and fourth attackman Jace McGann are rookies, as well.

Galvin has been forced to press these youngsters into prominent roles because of some attrition after he took back the reins of the program. While he also had some academic casualties, the new regime wasn't universally accepted.

"I think some guys from the prior years wanted to do things the same way," Galvin said. "I don't really know what that way was; I just knew what my way was. I knew what I came back for and what my goal was. We definitely lost some guys going through the fall."

Because the players he has have more athletic ability than lacrosse savvy on the offensive end of the field at this point, Galvin and has retooled his schemes, as opposed to trying to pound a square peg into a round hole.

"From going through the fall and sitting down with our staff, we said we don't have the guys to run a 2-2-2 where we can break down a defense and people are going to have to slide to us," Galvin said. "What we have are really good athletes who can run downhill, so we've adjusted our offense. It's giving a guy like Riley Kulm or Greg Kelsic or [junior attackman] Alex Puldy the opportunity to have better looks. We're trying to create with our strengths, and it is kind of opening up all of these different guys."

What Galvin and CU don't need to worry about is their goalie. In his first year coaching Brad Macnee, Galvin understands why the junior netminder is held in such high esteem by opposing coaches and players.

"We know what we're going to get from Brad and our defense," Galvin said. "It's just a constant. Brad is our emotional leader and one of those guys who has a constant drive. He wants his defense to be better. Whether he is letting in nine goals or six goals, he wants to improve. It's a good driving force to have since we have some guys who are kind of young on defense."

Prior to his return this year, Galvin's last experience at Colorado was walking off Dick's Sporting Goods Field in Denver after losing to Michigan in the 2009 semifinals, but that was a long time ago.

"Being back on the sideline is a little bit different," said Galvin, who took responsibility for the loss to Arizona due to mismanagement. "I don't have the kind of team as when I left. That doesn't mean it's bad or good; just different. When you've been doing this for a while, you get used to how sideline management works. I'm getting back into it. There's still a lot to learn. At Chapman, I was too composed and maybe I got a little crazy against Arizona State. I'm getting my mix of emotions. It's finding what is going to be right for me."

- Don't even pretend you're not excited about guessing the seeds in Greenville. There's still plenty of time for teams to change, but this is what I'm thinking if the selection committee went to work on Sunday night.

Things actually played out smoothly except for the final at-large spot. I think there are a bunch of teams in contention, but in the grand scheme of things it won't matter because the "winner" will be plugged into the No. 14 seed and earn the right to play BYU in the first round. Right now, I've got Pittsburgh in that slot, and the Panthers will be even stronger if they can split their Boston trip in two weeks.

No. 16 Illinois (GRLC) vs. No. 1 Cal Poly (WCLL)
No. 15 Minnesota-Duluth (UMLL) vs. No. 2 Colorado State (RMLC)
No. 14 Pittsburgh (AL) vs. No. 3 Brigham Young (AL)
No. 13 Texas (LSA) vs. No. 4. UC Santa Barbara (AL)
No. 12 Michigan State (CCLA) vs. No. 5 Chapman (SLC)
No. 11 Boston College (AL) vs. No. 6 Oregon (PNCLL)
No. 10 Clemson (AL) vs. No. 7 Buffalo (PCLL)
No. 9 Arizona State (AL) vs. No. 8 Virginia Tech (SELC)

- Richmond's loss to Kentucky means the Spiders no longer control their destiny. They need to beat Tennessee and West Virginia, and then get a little help to qualify for the SELC tourney...the switch has flipped for Arizona. After losing four in a row, the Wildcats have won four straight, including wins over Colorado and Texas. If they can win two of their next three games – San Diego, UNLV and ASU – the 'Cats will be in the SLC tourney...Kansas and UConn are the lone remaining undefeated teams in the MCLA-I after Buffalo beat Virginia Tech...keep an eye on that Georgia-Clemson game on Wednesday.