Monday Notebook: NCAA Division II
- You can bet that there are several coaches scrambling to secure tape of the Limestone-Pfeiffer game this morning. The top-ranked Saints have been rolling everybody, including hanging 11 on Le Moyne earlier in the season, but Pfeiffer managed to hold Limestone to just nine markers. What was the Falcons' secret?
Looking at the box score, Pfeiffer doesn't appear to have pulled any tricks. The Falcons outshot Limestone (33-30), held an advantage in ground balls (40-35), essentially split the faceoffs and had the same amount of saves. Without access to the tape, the simplistic difference is Limestone just shot better. Regardless of the reasons, Pfeiffer is obviously a good team and deserves the credit for making Limestone's coronation somewhat less assured.
- It's another week in the books in Division II, so what assumptions can we make at this point? We'll start by putting Merrimack to bed. There is still a Hail Mary shot for the Warriors, which would require winning out, including beating Le Moyne twice and finishing 14-3. Considering what we've seen so far, that's not likely.
On the other side of the coin, we can put C.W. Post on the tournament chess board along with Limestone after the Pioneers ground down Mercyhurst for a 4-3 win. There are five games left on the schedule, and the away game at Mercy will be a challenge, but Post should finish 16-1. While Adelphi is still seriously in the discussion, the Wild Card appears to be between Mercyhurst and Dowling, with the Lakers holding the head-to-head chip. 'Hurst has the tougher road left, however. Le Moyne appears (again) to be the team out of the North.
- Too soon to start talking about the Player of the Year? Probably, but that's never stopped me from jumping the gun. I handed out my Coach of the Year in last week's notebook, so why not at least take a look at who's in the running for POY. I think there are four candidates.
The first two -- Riley Loewen and Shayne Jackson -- are teammates on Limestone. Each has excellent numbers, but I don't think anyone would contest the assertion that they've fattened up on probably the weakest region in the division. Regardless, they are excellent. My knee-jerk assumption is Loewen is the more dangerous player, but I think Jackson might be the straw the stirs the Saints' drink.
The other two are from the Central. C.W. Post's Eddie Plompen and Dowling's Vito Demola have sparkled this season, and both could very well lead their teams to the postseason. Perhaps the surprise about putting this tentative list together is neither Matt Chadderdon nor Jack Harmatuck, Le Moyne's top guns, are on it. Both are excellent players, but I'm not sure if they have the numbers for consideration at this point.
- Congrats to Mars Hill head coach Sean Wood for picking up his 50th career win...it appears that Lees-McRae will go winless this season. The Bobcats are 0-10 with two regular season games to go...I think we're going to look back and say Chestnut Hill's victory over Mercyhurst was the biggest upset of the year.