posted 03.28.2011 at 10.02 a.m. by Jac Coyne

Monday Notebook: NCAA Division III

- They are justifiably ranked No. 6 in the country and have an 8-0 record, but should we consider Stevens a "contender?" It's a tough question. Conventional wisdom would say that there are four true contenders for the national championship game -- Tufts, Stevenson, Salisbury and Cortland -- and the rest of the teams will simply be filling out the bracket. If you buy into that, there are still some teams that are built for the "spoiler" role, with the Ducks being one of them.

In his second year in Hoboken, Gene Peluso has crafted a dynamic offense, a stingy defense and a hellacious ride to conquer every team Stevens has faced. As such, the worst case scenario I can envision at this point is a 15-3 record and a spot in the at-large pool. That could be good enough for a bid depending on how other conferences play out, and the Ducks will be a handful for any opponent. The two issues that will likely keep them from being true contenders is lack of playoff experience and faceoffs.

- Wesleyan took a No. 9 ranking and a 4-0 to Lewiston, Maine, in 2006 and left with an 8-4 loss at the hands of unranked Bates. Fast forward to this past Saturday, when the Cardinals, ranked No. 13, took a 6-0 record to the Greater L-A area (Lewiston-Auburn) and again slunk home with a 12-7 setback. The loss could be devastating. With No. 1 Tufts on the road next Saturday followed by No. 19 Trinity at home the following Wednesday, Wesleyan could quickly find itself as an also-ran in the NESCAC.

- March 28 knee-jerk Pool C picks: RIT, Middlebury, Wesleyan, Salisbury, Haverford, Skidmore.

- What's weirder about the ODAC: the fact that Roanoke needed overtime to defeat Randolph-Macon or that Guilford is currently in third place with a 2-1 record? Or what about W&L being in first while average 8.2 goals per game? This conference is gong to be interesting to follow because of all the possibilities, but as a group, this has been a very disappointing year for the ODAC.

- Look for a story later today about the six overtime game between Union and Conn. College last week.

- Colorado College hurdled its second-to-last obstacle between the Tigers and an undefeated season. Admittedly, it wasn't a very high leap when CC cruised past Wooster on its spring break trip, 10-4. Now the only true remaining threat is the regular-season finale at Whittier. The Poets improved to 3-2 with a win at Greensboro and would love to pelt the Tigers for their Pool B resume. 

- Anybody have Lynchburg at 4-5 after nine games? I certainly didn't...Am I the only one who thinks Ohio Wesleyan could give Denison a run on Saturday?...All-American Owen Smith finally returned to the line-up for Bowdoin after suffering a concussion in the hockey NCAA tournament. He managed to dish out a pair of assists, but the Polar Bears fell to No. 20 Amherst, 13-10, and are now out of the at-large hunt...F&M is 6-2 now. Not too shabby...it's time for Skidmore to be ranked...UMass-Dartmouth (6-0) vs. Keene State next Saturday. Keep an eye on it...Wittenberg passed a big test by beating Adrian. Book the Tigers in Pool B...Hamilton is 5-0 with RPI on Saturday...Alfred's still cooking. The Saxons are 7-0 now...so is Hamilton (5-0) and UMass-Dartmouth (6-0).

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