Monday Notebook: MCLA Division II
- Let me be the first to congratulate North Dakota State for earning a bid to the MCLA national championships in Denver. The Bison needed to finish this weekend with a 2-1 record to have a solid shot at a berth, but they took all of the speculation out of it by upending No. 5 Davenport, 11-10, on Sunday morning to sweep the weekend. Combined with the wins over No. 15 Missouri State and No. 18 Northern Colorado, NDSU is now 10-1 with two games remaining.
Those two games are against No. 2 St. Thomas and No. 3 St. John's, but the game against the Johnnies isn't looking nearly as intimidating. St. John's lost to Davenport on Friday, 10-8, so it's logical to assume the game with NDSU will be competitive. Time will tell whether the Bison can hang with the defending champs.
Regardless of how it finishes out league play, there is no way the committee can conceivably keep North Dakota State out of the tourney. The Bison played a tough schedule and even took a trip to the Pacific Northwest for three games, including a narrow, 15-13 loss to No. 7 Western Oregon. A national championship is a tad ambitious for NDSU at this point, but they could be a handful in the first round for some contender.
- Moorhead State (Minn.) went belly-up during the course of the year and the UMLL took a unique approach to rectifying the situation. Even though none of the Moorhead State games will come close to being played, the conference just classified them all as "scrimmages." I suppose that's one way to do it.
- With the action in St. Paul, a lot of other scores went under the radar, but there were some key results this past weekend. The first was in SoCal where Concordia traveled to presumptive SLC West leader Cal State Fullerton and handed the Titans a 13-12 loss, snatching the top seed in that division. If the Eagles (11-2) can knock off St. Mary's in the regular season finale and advance to the conference championship game, they'll have a very good case for inclusion to Denver.
The other important action was in the SELC. No. 16 Elon lost to No. 9 SCAD, 12-10, before turning around and beating No. 11 Kennesaw State. First off, SCAD will now be a difficult team to keep out of the tournament, even as an at-large. Second, Elon picked up a much-needed win over a ranked opponent. The Phoenix have a very strong schedule, but haven't beaten anybody up to this point. Third, next Saturday's game between Kennesaw and SCAD becomes very important for the Owls. If SCAD wins, KSU would be 10-3 and very much a bubble team.
One of these squads will likely get the SELC AQ, which will change the dynamic, but it would appear the SELC is still in good shape to grab three bids to Denver.
- After a three week dormancy, Utah Valley has reemerged, destroying Western State, 25-2. The Wolverines have a speed bump in Fort Lewis next weekend before hosting Westminster in the regular season finale on April 23...the Missouri State-Missouri Baptist game next Saturday will determine who we're likely to see in Denver out of the GRLC. While they'll play again in the conference champion game with everything on the line, we'll get a good indicator of what to expect.