Monday Notebook: NCAA Division II
- One of the perils of consistent success is preconceived notions become ingrained. My prejudice against No. 6 Le Moyne – and it's one based on nearly a decade of data – is that the Dolphins will always be a stingy defensive team. It's basically Dan Sheehan's calling card.
So when the final score against No. 11 Seton Hill came across the wire – a 15-10 victory for Le Moyne, in which the two teams were tied at seven at halftime – I wondered if there was a paradigm shift in Syracuse. Nope. It's just one of the realities about opening a season against a good team.
"The first time out is always interesting, and we had no scout on them from this year," Sheehan said. "I thought our kids did an excellent job after some adjustments at halftime. We held them scoreless for 24 minutes in the second half. We had a careless penalty that put us down for a minute late and we gave up two, but our defense will only get better."
The 10 goals allowed was somewhat out of character, but the Dolphins 15 scores is a good sign. Senior attackman Sean Connors had a hat trick, but nine different players accounted for at least one goal. That's consistent with Sheehan's offensive philosophy.
"We are not built to ride any one player, so I would like to see our balanced scoring," he said.
Le Moyne has three games over the next month against St. Rose, Colorado Mesa and Adams State before the monstrous, Northeast-10 clash with No. 2 Adelphi. Asked what he was hoping to accomplish in preparation for the game against the Panthers, Sheehan hit me with the boilerplate I expected.
"Get better every day, one day at a time," he said.
- What were Sheehan's thoughts on Seton Hill? They could cause some problems in the ECC.
"They have almost everyone back on offense this year," Sheehan said. "This team will score a lot of goals all year long. They are very talented, and are very good stick handlers. We knew we would have our hands full."
- With the aforementioned cautionary tale about reading too much into scores from the first game of the season, I won't linger too long on No. 4 C.W. Post's modest, 9-6 win over Wheeling Jesuit. The score seems oddly close considering past history (14-3 in '11; 22-5 in '10) and the stats were relatively even, but the Pioneers were comfortably ahead, 7-2, late in the first half. The final score says both these teams should be monitored closely over the next few weeks.
- As surprising as the Le Moyne and Post scores were, No. 7 NYIT delivered what we expected on their Left Coast swing. Well, in the first game, anyway. The Bears bounced Notre Dame de Namur, 12-3 on Friday, but Dominican (Calif.) put up a stiffer fight on Sunday. The Penguins made a game of it, but eventually fell, 11-8...Pfeiffer once again looks like it has a stingy defensive team, beating Coker, 9-1. Remember, the Falcons were the only team to make Limestone sweat in the South region last year...Lees-McRae picked up the 13-12 overtime win over Florida Tech. Victories will be a struggle this season for the Bobcats, so it's important to pick them up when they can...Tampa improves to 3-0 with wins over Wingate and Coker. Spartans are probably going to be 5-0 heading into the Limestone game on March 4.