MCLA Division I Notebook
When Boston College opened its season with a trip to Florida, head coach Kevin Orcutt felt pretty good about his squad. He was still getting used to his players and doing a lot of research to find out just what the MCLA was all about, but the Eagles had three solid weeks of practice before squaring off against Florida State and Miami.
The 2-0 trip was exactly what BC expected.
This last trip to Texas to play three of the top LSA programs? Well, that was a different story.
"I was a little more nervous about the Texas trip because the weather actually knocked down our practice facility," said Orcutt of the bubble that covers the BC football field and is used by a variety of sports. "We basically practiced twice since we got back from Florida. We didn't have a strong foundation going into those three games. I was just doing what I could do to match scores and figure out what Texas, Texas State and SMU were like. We really couldn't do a lot. We couldn't change our offense or defense, so we were a little bit raw because we didn't get practice time. It was no one's fault, it just happened."
While the Eagles weren't able to game plan very well for the Texas teams, they managed to keep their conditioning level up. They weren't about to use that as an excuse for not performing.
"That's one thing we did do. We had a facility for conditioning," Orcutt said. "We played basketball at a high tempo just to stay as fit as we could. It was hard, though. We played three games in four days and the guys passed the test. They could have quit at any time. We had all the excuses in the world if wanted to use them, but the kids played with a lot of heart. They played tough."
The Eagles started with a 14-9 win over SMU, followed by a 9-7 triumph over a then-ranked Texas State squad. The trip wrapped up with a 10-9 overtime victory against No. 12 Texas. Orcutt said the game with the Longhorns was a wild one, with both BC's Nick Shea and UT's Jordan Lee making some great saves, especially in overtime.
"The overtime sequence that we scored on, Texas could have scored on us a couple of times, as well," Orcutt said. "It was up and down the field and a little bit crazy."
Boston College is now in the midst of a three-week break before the conference season begins with a home contest against Boston University on March 26. The Eagles head into that contest with some good vibes and the knowledge that they can win the tight games.
"They're pumped with themselves," Orcutt said of his players. "They aren't talking stupid, but they are happy with themselves. They couldn't have done much better than they did. The seniors were ecstatic because they've never had two trips that went this well. A lot of times when you have these trips and it goes well, it can carry over to the next part of the schedule."
And it won't hurt that BC will also have a facility again, as the outdoor fields have been plowed for use by the Eagles' NCAA Division I women's team.
"Although we won our games, we have a ton of stuff to work on," Orcutt said. "We're playing catch up with all these teams we're playing. By no means do I feel like we can stay right where we are. We have a lot of improving to do. Not that we're bad, we just need to work on our game. We'll have three solid weeks of practice to get ready for BU. We'll go after them and see what happens."
- It was another epic weekend for the No. 22 Georgia Tech meatgrinder. The Yellow Jackets caused head-scratching all over the MCLA with a 2-1 victory over Boston University on Friday night and then followed that up with a 7-3 victory over No. 16 Buffalo on Sunday afternoon. The victories improved the Wreck to 9-2 on the season and will most certainly vault them into the Top 20 this week.
"Buffalo has owned us the last four years -- three of which were 7-6 scores," said GT head coach Ken Lovic. "They won in 2011, 10-6. So getting to seven meant we should win, right? It was nice to get one back. Despite our injuries, some young guys played great and our attack showed up [against Buffalo]. The defense was once again solid and will always be the backbone of our team. I'm happy with another 2-0 weekend but it means nothing until Friday night when we play regional foe Alabama."
- It was a rough weekend in the Pacific Northwest for Sonoma State. After getting a boost last weekend with the win over a ranked Cal team, all of the momentum has disappeared with losses to No. 8 Oregon, 8-6, and unranked Oregon State, 9-7 (although the Beavers have a good shot at getting ranked this week). The Sonoma defense was solid enough, but the offense just couldn't find any flow. Granted, 'Noma ran into a pair of hot goalies -- Oregon's Stephen Oppenheimer made 16 saves while OSU's Nick Widmer turned away 17 shots.
Now the 'Wolves are faced with the prospect of driving back from Oregon on Sunday night and then playing No. 12 Texas on Tuesday. While LSA schools don't typically create a lot of fear, Texas enters the game coming off a near-miss against No. 6 UCSB in which the Gauchos had to rally late in the fourth quarter for a 9-8 win. A loss to Texas wouldn't be the end of the world -- the Seawolves have enough beef on their schedule to rally -- but it would be one more big step toward the danger zone.
- During most years, Southern Methodist's overtime win over Florida State would make the Mustangs interesting. This year? The 'Noles just don't have the juice...Montana is now 2-0 against Division II opponents after beating Montana State and Metro State. The Grizzlies are 1-3 against the senior circuit. They need to return to their roots...after a slow start, South Carolina has rattled off five straight...after winning its rivalry game with Kansas, Iowa has lost five of its last six...if Cal Poly was going to go on a run, this would be a good time to start...Chapman has bounced back nicely with four wins after an uneven start...as anticipated, Virginia Tech struggled in two losses to Colorado and Colorado State, the Hokies can salvage the trip with a win over Simon Fraser on Tuesday...Indiana is 6-1.