May 8, 2013

MD3 Tournament First Round Impressions

by Jac Coyne | | Coyne Archive | Twitter

Another game, another eight points for Cabrini's star attackman Corey Elmer. Elmer scored four goals and set up four others, helping the Cavaliers rout Springfield, 20-8, in the first round of the NCAA Division III tournament on Wednesday. Cabrini travels to second-seeded RIT on Saturday for their next test.
© Kevin P. Tucker

I can hear the Greek chorus now. "The best teams aren't getting in," they'll chant. "Division III is full of haves and have nots," they'll intone. I get it. There were a lot of uncompetitive games in the first round.

The perfect storm of an expanded Pool B combined with the loss of the NCAC among that group sent a bunch of overmatched teams into the fire. The fact that all five Pool Bs were crammed into the saturated South region meant they were going to get matched up with really good teams.

Such is life.

Alas, only three of the blowouts on Wednesday came in Pool B games. Four others came from Pool A conferences, so to put the boring nature of this first round at the feet of the independents – or the NCAA that includes them – is silly. Springfield is a long-time AQ team, and they got burned down by Cabrini. Castleton, Susquehanna and Norwich are also Pool As.

To further stem any Pool B pogrom, Colorado College, which gave us one of the more compelling games against Washington College, is in the independent folder, as well.

There are good teams in the tournament and there are bad teams.

It happens every year. In every tournament. In every sport.

Fortunately, the deeper we get in the tournament – and we only have to wait a couple of days – the quicker we'll forget about this first round. But spare me the witch hunt.

Most Impressive Blowout
Heading into Wednesday, there were only a couple of games that held the promise of drama, and I thought the Cabrini-Springfield tilt might be in that realm. Nope. Corey Elmer posted an eight-point (4g, 4a) day and Bobby Thorp chipped in with three goals and two assists as Cabrini destroyed the Pride, 20-8. After falling behind early, Springfield made it interesting by drawing within one after the first quarter, but the Cavaliers responded with a 7-0 second, putting this one to bed. Saturday's game between Cabrini and RIT definitely got more interesting.

Most Impressive Loss
Two years ago Colorado College posted a 15-0 season and got blasted by Roanoke, 25-5, in the first round of the NCAA tournament. On Wednesday, the Tigers fell, 10-7, to No. 11 Washington College on the road. You know CC head coach Sean Woods isn't into the whole 'moral victory' thing right now, but this is just another important step for a program that lost by a goal to Dickinson earlier this spring. There is no longer a paper Tiger in the Rockies; these guys are for real.

As with any loss, Woods and his staff will look back to certain points of the Washington College game and wonder what could have been. As I look at it, the pivotal moment came early in the fourth quarter. Colorado had battled back from an 8-2 deficit to make it 9-6 heading into the final stanza, but the Tigers got dinged with concurrent unnecessary roughness penalties. Bennett Cord easily converted on the 6-on-4, and that was pretty much ball game. Small things aside, there's a plenty to be optimistic about in Colorado Springs.

Biggest Surprise
Lynchburg's 6-5 victory over St. Mary's isn't necessarily a surprise, but the manner in which they did it was somewhat startling. Trailing 5-2 after three quarters, the Hornets were done. Toast. The offense couldn't do anything against a well-prepped Seahawks team even though the defense was keeping them in it. And then all of a sudden, the Bugs started playing. Vin Curran and Jay Goldsmith opened the fourth quarter with goals 80 seconds apart, and Max Voumard finally tied it with just under 10 minutes to play.

At that point, Curran's third goal seemed predestined, along with Lynchburg's win, solidified by the play of goalie Adam Davey, who appeared to make a lot more saves than the eight he was credited for. No time for back-patting, however, as the Hornets must head to a very familiar location and take on a well-rested Roanoke team on Saturday. If they win that one? Yeah, that will definitely be a surprise.

Biggest Upset
The Midwest just got a little bit more interesting. Aurora, located just outside Chicago, traveled to Ohio Wesleyan – repping the NCAC, the Midwest's bully conference – and punched the Bishops in the mouth, 13-9. Adam Holka was the difference, erasing a 42-29 shot deficit by turning away 15 attempts in the net, while five different players notched at least two goals. The Spartans next have to take a trip to Cortland to face the top seed in the North, but that's just gravy. On this day, Aurora has migrated top-drawer lacrosse a little farther away from the hotbeds.

Nazareth's Luke Wooters had 20 assists in 18 games coming into tonight. He dished out five against Castleton...Adrian successfully avenged it's beatdown at the hands of Otterbein with a 14-11 victory...Beau Wood scored six goals and added an assist for Tufts in a 26-4 steamrolling of Norwich...Montclair State had an 8-6 lead over Stevens early in the third, but the Ducks finished on a 7-3 finishing kick for the 13-11 win...Sewanee (41) and Washington & Lee (50) actually combined for 91 shots, but the Generals were slightly more accurate in their 19-6 win.

Saturday's Matchups (Times TBA)
Adrian at Dickinson
Salisbury at Washington & Lee
Washington College at Stevenson
Lynchburg at Roanoke
Aurora at Cortland
Western New England at Nazareth
Cabrini at RIT
Stevens at Tufts

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