May 6, 2011

Bracketology: NCAA Division II Women

by Mark Macyk |

Cassandra Cronin and Dowling can all but wrap up an ECC title Saturday by beating C.W. Post, which would likely ensure the Golden Lions an NCAA tournament spot.

The current setup of NCAA Division II women's lacrosse is a lot like college football's BCS. It's a little unfair and deserving teams will always be shut out, but it makes every single regular season game count.

It also makes bracketology easier. One conference tournament, one conference championship and one non-league game could shake up these rankings, but very likely the three teams that appear to be locks in each region today will be in the NCAA tournament next week.

South Region

1. Limestone (Conference Carolinas Champion)

Record: (17-0, 15-0 South Region), NCAA Regional Rank: 1, IWLCA Rank: No. 3
* Hosts Rollins on Saturday

By defeating Lock Haven and West Chester, Limstone has secured itself a spot in the postseason. It can ensure itself a No. 1 seed and a first-round bye with a win over Rollins on Saturday. It will be Limestone's third game since winning the Carolinas championship on April 17. Since then the Saints have defeated Lock Haven 7-6 and Lenoir-Rhyne 21-2.

2. Lock Haven (PSAC Champion)

Record: (16-2, 16-2 South Region), NCAA Regional Rank: 2, IWLCA Rank: 4

With its 10-9 victory over West Chester in the PSAC championship game, Lock Haven is headed to another NCAA tournament. One would think that because of record and common opponents, Lock Haven is locked into a higher seed than West Chester, but the strength of schedule could change this weekend. Lock Haven played Rollins, which West Chester did not.

3. West Chester (PSAC Runner-up)

Record: (15-4, 15-4 South Region), NCAA Region Rank: 3, IWLCA Rank: 6

West Chester lost to Limestone and Lock Haven in the South, as well as Dowling and C.W. Post, which count as in-region games since New York touches Pennsylvania. Either Dowling or C.W. Post will win the ECC this weekend, which should raise West Chester's resume. Barring something crazy, the Golden Rams are in.

On the outside: Rollins (Independent)

Record: (11-4, 10-2 South Region), NCAA Region Rank: 3, IWLCA Rank: 9
* Visits Limestone Saturday

Rollins is the wrench that can turn this whole region upside down. No one has defeated Limestone. Rollins gets the final regular season chance on Friday. If Rollins wins, it will have the same number of in-region losses as West Chester and Lock Haven, and a win over Limestone to boost its case. It does not help that Rollins' two region losses came against Lock Haven and West Chester. After losing to West Chester on April 23, Rollins has played one game, a 22-7 tune-up against Lenoir Rhyne on Wednesday.

North Region

1. Adelphi (No. 1 seed NE-10 tournament)

Record: (16-0, 15-0 North Region), NCAA Regional Rank: 1, IWLCA Rank: 1
* Hosts Merrimack on Saturday in NE-10 semifinals

We'll spare the "if Adelphi gets tripped up early in the NE-10 tournament" qualifier because, talented as Merrimack is, Adelphi is not going to get tripped up early in the NE-10 tournament. The Panthers are an NCAA lock. Adelphi topped 20 points 15 times this season. Only twice did an opponent reach double figures. They beat Merrimack 25-5 in the regular season. The only team to come close to Adelphi was Le Moyne, and the two teams are on a collision course for the NE-10 final.

2. Le Moyne (No. 2 seed NE-10 tournament)

Record: (16-1, 13-1 South Region), NCAA Regional Rank: 2, IWLCA Rank: 2
* Plays Stonehill at Adelphi on Saturday in NE-10 semifinals

Le Moyne has been every bit as dominant as Adelphi, with only an 11-9 loss to the Panthers blemishing an otherwise perfect season. Because of that loss Le Moyne draws Stonehill in the NE-10 first round, a team the Le Moyne beat 19-9 last week. Seeing a team twice in seven days can make some crazy things happen, but if the Dolphins beat Stonehill they're in.

3. Dowling (First place ECC)

Record: (13-2, 13-2 North region), NCAA Regional Rank: 3, IWLCA Rank: 5
* Plays at C.W. Post Saturday

Dowling will look to defeat C.W. Post for the first time Saturday in a game that all but decides the ECC title. Dowling wraps up the season a day later at home against Seton Hill. Dowling has an early-season loss to Merrimack keeping it from being a lock, but if the Golden Lions win on Saturday they will have wins over Stonehill, C.W. Post and West Chester, and that should be enough to punch their first ticket to the NCAAs.

On the outside: C.W. Post (First place ECC)

Record: (13-3, 13-3 North Region) NCAA Regional Rank: 4, IWLCA Rank: 8
* Hosts Dowling Saturday

First things first. If the Pioneers want to return to the NCAA tournament, they'll need to beat Dowling on Saturday. Then they can start hoping for some other things to fall their way. Post beat West Chester and Merrimack, but has losses to Stonehill, Adelphi and Lock Haven.

On the outside: Stonehill (No. 3 seed NE-10 tournament)

Record: (15-3, 13-3 South Region), NCAA Regional Rank: 5, IWLCA Rank 7
* Plays Le Moyne in NE-10 semifinals at Adelphi on Saturday

The good news is Stonehill has the best chance to boost its postseason resume with games this weekend against Le Moyne and potentially Adelphi. The bad news is Stonehill's final chance to boost its postseason resume comes this weekend against Le Moyne and potentially Adelphi. If the Skyhawks run the table, it will be hard to keep them out the NCAA tournament. They did come closer to beating Le Moyne and Adelphi than most teams, falling to Le Moyne last week 19-9 and Adelphi 20-14 earlier in the season. Stonehill's only other loss came to Dowling.

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