May 12, 2014

Breaking Down the MCLA National Tournament

by Tim Haslam | | Twitter

RMLC offensive Player of the Year Riley Sidel and the No. 2 seeded Buffalos are primed for another run at the MCLA National Tournament in California. (Cecil Copeland)

The 2014 edition of the MCLA National Tournament will begin on Monday with 32 teams vying for two championships. Sunny Southern California will play host to the 6 day long event with UC Irvine hosting the first two rounds and Chapman University hosting the Semifinals and Finals. On Monday, May 12, there will be 8 games in each division as teams look to carry the momentum from their season in hopes of advancing. The quarterfinals will be on May 13 with the semifinals on May 15. The championship games will be on May 17 at Noon (D-II) and 3pm (D-I) Pacific Time.

Key Match-ups

No. 1 Arizona State v. No. 16 Indiana

The Sun Devils punched their ticket to the tournament when they won the SLC conference last Sunday with a 13-10 win over Chapman. ASU will look to continue it's undefeated streak after they finished the season and playoffs with a perfect 16-0 record, scoring 13.875 goals per game and only allowing 5.813 goals per game. Indiana is entering the tournament as the GRLC Conference Champion after a 7-6 win over Illinois on Sunday. The Hoosiers are 10-3 with losses to tournament teams Michigan State and Minn-Duluth as well as 9-6 loss to Minnesota in late March. Junior Midfielder and Captian Alexander Eaton leads the way offensively, averaging 3.308 points per game. This will be the first meeting between the two teams.

No. 2 Colorado v. No. 15 Minn-Duluth

The Buffaloes are ready to revenge a 2013 championship loss but will face a tough Minn-Duluth team in the first round. The Buffaloes are the RMLC Champion, beating BYU 15-8 on Saturday.

"We're excited about the opportunity to play a little more lacrosse," said Colorado Head Coach John Galvin. "It's always a great accomplishment for our players, coaches, administration, and University. We will do our best to represent CU."

The Buffaloes went 14-2 on the season with losses to Arizona State and Michigan State. Colorado is dangerous in every position with Senior Attackmen Riley Seidel and Jack Cranston leading the charge.

Minn-Duluth earned a ticket to the tournament with a 7-3 win over Minnesota in the UMLC Championship. The Bulldogs are 9-4 and, like the Buffaloes, lost to Arizona State and Michigan State. The Buffs and Bulldogs are not strangers to one another having played each other four times in the past few years. Colorado holds a 3-1 advantage in the series.

No. 3 BYU v. No. 14 Virginia Tech

The Cougars and Hokies will meet for the second third time with one previous meeting in the 2012 tournament with the Cougars winning 19-12.

No. 4 Chapman v. No. 13 Northeastern

Chapman will be hoping to get to the semifinals in hopes of playing on their home field but a tough Huskies team will be their first challenge.

No. 5 Colorado State v. No. 12 Simon Fraser

Despite a 'down year' for the Rams, they come in as the No. 5 seed and looking to three-peat. Simon Fraser will hope to thwart their plans after going 14-3 in the regular season.

No. 6 UCSB v. No. 11 Cal Poly

The Gauchos and Mustangs are very familiar with each other, having matched up nine previous times. UCSB holds a 7-2 record over Cal Poly. A February meeting between the two squads saw UCSB win 6-5.

No. 7 Michigan State v. No. 10 Texas

The Longhorns and Spartans have similar stats and records so this match-up is intriguing. Both teams played Colorado and Colorado State this season. The Longhorns dropped both contests and Michigan State beat Colorado while losing to Colorado State.

"We are thrilled to have earned another opportunity to compete in the national tournament," said Michigan State Head Coach Brandon Schwind. "Obviously last years loss to Colorado was tough but it is way behind us now and not in our thought process. We are looking forward to making it further in the tournament than last season but our focus still has to be one game at a time."

No. 8 Boston College v. No. 9 Westminster

In just their first D-I season, the Griffins have had a stellar year and landed an at-large spot. Boston College and Westminster have two common opponents this year in BYU and Colorado. Each team lost to the Buffaloes but the Eagles beat BYU 12-8 while Westminster fell to the Cougars, 14-11.

Players to Watch

Tyler Kirkby - Sophomore - Attack - Simon Fraser

Kirkby is averaging 5.118 points per game and registered 65 goals and 22 assists on the season. Kirkby also just took home the PNCLL MVP award. He also led the MCLA in goals scored.

Riley Seidel - Senior - Attack - Colorado

Seidel earned three individual awards in the RMLC this season: 1st Team All-Conference, Offensive Player of the Year and MVP. He enters the tournament averaging 4.94 points per game.

Aaron Fjeldsted - Freshman - Attack - BYU

Fjeldsted won the RMLC Rookie of the Year award after notching 24 goals and 25 assists for the Cougars.

Logan Quinn - Senior - Midfield - Arizona State

Quinn had 31 goals and 22 assists which was enough to earn the SLC Offensive Player of the Year award. The Sun Devils have relied on his services all year and will once again look to Quinn to guide them to a championship.

Daniel Casselli - Sophomore - Attack - Grove City

Casselli averaged 6.09 points per game in 2014 and will look to lead the Wolverines deep into the tournament. In the playoffs, Casselli had 13 points in two games; 7 against Indiana Tech and 6 against Dayton who are both tournament teams.

Schedule and Live Video Links (All times Pacific)

Division I

No. 1 Arizona State v. No. 16 Indiana - 7:45pm
No. 2 Colorado v. No. 15 Minn-Duluth - 7:45pm
No. 3 BYU v. No. 14 Virginia Tech - 7:15pm
No. 4 Chapman v. No. 13 Northeastern - 7:15pm
No. 5 Colorado State v. No. 12 Simon Fraser - 5:00pm
No. 6 UCSB v. No. 11 Cal Poly - 4:30pm
No. 7 Michigan State v. No. 10 Texas - 4:30pm
No. 8 Boston College v. No. 9 Westminster - 5:00pm

Divison II

No. 1 Grand Valley State v. No. 16 Montana State - 2:15pm
No. 2 St. John's v. No. 15 Missouri Valley - 2:15pm
No. 3 Dayton v. No. 14 US Coast Guard - 1:45pm
No. 4 St. Thomas v. No. 13 Reinhardt - 1:45pm
No. 5 North Dakota State v. No. 12 Concordia - 11:30am
No. 6 Grove City v. No. 11 Western Washington - 11:30am
No. 7 Indiana Tech v. No. 10 Florida Gulf Coast - 11:30am
No. 8 Western Oregon v. No. 9 SCAD - 11:00am

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