Monday Notebook: NCAA Division III
- Say what you want about the ODAC, but they are certainly a charitable bunch. Over the course of the season, the rest of the league has done its best to hand the conference to Roanoke. For the second time this season, an ODAC team allowed the Maroons to make a miraculous fourth-quarter comeback for a victory.
The first time it was Lynchburg who watched Noke go on a 9-0 last period run to turn an 11-5 deficit into a 14-11 victory. On Saturday, it was Hampden-Sydney who rolled over and let the Maroons rally from a 14-8 margin with another 9-0 fourth-quarter skein to take a 17-15 victory.
If that wasn't enough, Washington & Lee, which might have had a chance to unseat Roanoke for the top spot in the ODAC, lost to Virginia Wesleyan, 11-6. Roanoke's a decent team, and have certainly created a lot of its own luck, but the rest of the ODAC should take a tax deduction if they give away anymore games.
- There's a big game on Tuesday that will help give us a clearer picture of what will happen in the MAC. Widener (9-2), the conference winner last spring, will host Messiah (9-2) at 7 p.m. Both teams are 7-0 in the MAC and the winner will almost certainly be the top seed in the conference tournament. There are plenty of spoilers lurking in the MAC, especially Elizbethtown, Eastern and FDU-Florham, but Widener and Messiah are the ones to keep an eye on.
- So how is the first season of SCAC competition going? Pretty good if you're a player on, or fan of, Colorado College. The Tigers completed a perfect 7-0 conference campaign, and were only tested twice. CC beat Sewanee, 12-5, in the conference opener, and then subdued a fiesty Birmingham Southern team last week, 9-5. We'll leave the program names out to protect the innocent, but the other five SCAC scores for Colorado College were 21-1, 28-1, 22-2, 28-0 and 24-3. Assuming they can beat Birmingham Southern again in the conference tournament next week, the Tigers are headed to the NCAAs.
- The knee-jerk reaction hearing of Cabrini's 100-game winning streak in the Colonial States Athletic Conference, which happened when the Cavs beat Centenary on Saturday, is to marginalize the accomplishment by denigrating the CSAC. It's true, the CSAC is a relatively weak league. But Cabrini's accomplishment should highlight just how much the Cavaliers have achieved despite being mired in an immature conference. Just think about all of the other weak conferences whose top team isn't anywhere close to Cabrini.
Every year Steve Colfer tries to take on the best non-conference teams it can schedule and Cabrini is always a tough out in the NCAA tournament. Are they occasionally over-ranked in the polls? Sure, but not only is that not the Cavs' fault, I can think of a whole lot of other programs that fall into that category. Winning 100-straight games in the CSAC in not an spectacular accomplishment, but it highlights just how much Cabrini has managed to accomplish in spite of its conference.
- After I saw that Wittenberg only beat Oberlin by two, I was thinking to myself that the Tigers might be the most overrated team in the country considering their No. 15 national ranking. I stand corrected. Wittenberg went on the road and bounced No. 9 and NCAC bully Denison, 9-8. There wasn't much question in my mind that the Tigers had already wrapped up a Pool B berth, but that clinched it. It also means I might start giving Witt the benefit of the doubt in the future.
- Here's a candidate for Game of the Year. Keene State rallies from an eight-goal deficit to take a 19-17 victory over Eastern Conn. to establish supremacy in the Little East...or maybe it's the 20-19 overtime victory for Greensboro over St. Vincent...Morrisville State played in two entertaining games. The Mustangs beat Hilbert, 26-15 on Thursday and then downed Medaille on Saturday, 19-18...senior Nick Parks scored his 100th goal for Marywood in a 10-7 win over Gwynedd-Mercy...Geneseo's nightmare continues as the Knights lost to Potsdam, 9-8...Frostburg State picked up its first CAC victory, defeating Marymount...congrats to Vassar for beating St. Lawrence. The Saints ain't what they used to be, but that shouldn't damper the Brewer's pride in the triumph...Carthage's long-shot hopes at a Pool B berth were essentially ended by a double-overtime loss to MLC rival Mt. St. Joseph...Colby tried its best to ruin Jon Thompson's return to Waterville, but the former White Mule coach and his new team, Amherst, managed to escape with the overtime win.