Monday Notebook: NCAA Division III
- They've been the gold standard in the Liberty League for a big chunk of the 2000s, but it looks like St. Lawrence's run as the top dog is coming to an end. It might happen with a thud. The slide started last year when the Saints lost five games by two goals or less on their way to an 8-7 record and an exit in the semifinals of the Liberty tourney. There was a sense that it could have been a one-year slump, but midway through the season it looks like SLU will be lucky to match their '10 record.
After seven games, St. Lawrence is 2-5 and have dipped to 0-1 in the conference after giving up an uncharacteristic 16 goals to Skidmore on Saturday. There aren't a whole lot of wins left on the schedule, either. Non-conference games against Plattsburgh and Ithaca will both be challeges, but more importantly, the potential to make the four-team Liberty League tournament isn't looking good. There are five teams -- RPI, Skidmore, Union, Hamilton and Clarkson -- who are favored over the Saints.
This is a good thing for the Liberty, as the team league has a legitimate shot at grabbing one of the six at-large spots this year -- something that wasn't possible during St. Lawrence's salad days. But it will make the Saints' rebuilding effort that much more difficult in the coming years.
- While it appears Morrisville (N.Y.) State, a NEAC institution, dropped wrestling due to a lack of interest and no natural conference, but it's always unnerving when schools drop men's programs. Relative to lacrosse, wrestling is inexpensive and doesn't account for anything near the amount of roster spots, so typically when wrestling is axed, lacrosse was also on the block. The Mustangs have improved significantly over the past couple of seasons, so let's hope they have the time to reach higher.
- Congrats to Plattsburgh senior attackman Kyle Norchi, who became the Cardinals career leader in points when he hit the 255-point mark during Plattsburgh's 17-8 win over Oswego. Norchi had three goals on the day and has played a key role in the Cardinals 7-1 start. Other than Cortland and Geneseo, not many teams are heard from out of the SUNYAC, but Platty is having an excellent season. However, they will have to prove themselves against the Red Dragons and/or Knights if they want to take the next step.
- UMass-Dartmouth learned a painful lesson in the importance of compiling a challenging non-conference schedule. The Corsairs brought a shiny, 7-0 record into their Little East clash with Keene State, which had a pedestrian 4-2 mark. However, while UMD was fattening up against the likes of Becker, Mass. Maritime and Mount Ida, Keene was playing Geneseo, Bowdoin and Springfield.
The outcome? Predictable. Keene State raced out to a 7-1 lead to start the game and coasted home with a 20-11 victory. Griffin Meehan scored seven goals for the Owls, which are one of two teams -- Eastern Conn. being the other -- with reasonable expectations to win the Little East AQ. UMass-Darthmouth should be proud of their start, but the Corsairs need to start thinking big picture with its schedule next year.
- Want to know a team that could cause some problems in the ODAC tournament? Randolph-Macon. The Yellow Jackets are 7-3 and already took Roanoke to overtime...speaking of the ODAC tournament, Hampden-Sydney is on the outside looking in at this point...Alfred's ride came to a brutal end with a 13-9 loss to Nazareth followed by a 24-6 loss to Stevens...a year after going winless in the MAC, Lebanon Valley picked up its second conference win with a 7-4 win over DeSales. Congrats to John Haus for making the Dutchmen competitive in year two.