Monday Notebook: Men's Division II
- That's a wrap, right? With Mercyhurst's defeat of NYIT, Limestone's demolition of Catawba and C.W. Post's dismissal of Mercy earlier in the week, that has to wrap up the four finalists for the D-II crown, correct? The only remaining 'Wild Card,' so to speak, is in the North, but even if Le Moyne gets tripped up by Merrimack/Bentley in the NE-10 semifinals or by Adelphi in the finals, I'm not sure it will really make a difference.
It's not a complete slam dunk because Mercyhurst does have two games left that, if they lost, would upset the apple cart, but setbacks to Seton Hill or Dominican at this point seems far-fetched. Same with Molloy beating C.W. Post (and that might not even matter). Limestone is in the barn, so you can lock them in.
That would leave us with two fantastic national semifinals. On one side you'd have Le Moyne making the trip to Gaffney, S.C., to take on the Saints, as well as get their photo next to the "Peachoid." It's a rematch of an early season classic won by Limestone at Georgetown Prep and both teams should be playing their best in the rematch.
The other game is a ECC rematch between Post and Mercyhurst that the Pioneers won, 4-3, on the Island. This game is going to be in Brookville again, but the Lakers have figured something out since the first meeting, meaning it will once again be a dogfight.
- Congrats to Dominican (Calif.) for winning the first edition of "The Battle for the Bay" between the Penguins and fellow NorCal D-II rival Notre Dame de Namur in a game played at Kezar Stadium in San Francisco. While the Argos had already wrapped up the Western Intercollegiate Athletic Conference title, it was the first-ever win for Dominican over NDNU.
I actually saw the first meeting between Dominican and NDNU back in 2005 when I lived at Travis AFB and drove to the Penguins' campus in San Rafael. NDNU was already Division II -- and even beat No. 9 Bryant that season -- but still played more MCLA programs than varsity ones while Dominican was a non-affiliated start-up about to make the D-II cross-over from the NAIA. I felt my expectations were realistically low heading into the game, but I was not prepared for the 22-0 final. To hear of Dominican beating NDNU is testament to that school and its ability to build a solid program.
The outcome aside, congrats to both of these institutions for keeping the torch burning for the sport in the Bay Area despite a lot of recruiting and travel hardships.
- It's been a wild ride in Brian Dougherty's first year at the helm of Chestnut Hill. The Griffins have marquee wins over Mercyhurst and Dowling, and curious losses to Dominican (N.Y.) and Molloy. However if they can beat Lake Erie next Saturday, they will finish out the season with an 8-6 mark. Considering this second-year program was 4-11 last year, it constitutes huge strides that could make Chestnut Hill another contender in the ECC's stable of studs.
- I didn't think that Catawba would beat Limestone, but I didn't see a 19-3 score. Ouch...both Riley Loewen and Shayne Jackson each had nine points for the Saints in that game...a lot of the coaches I've spoken with are impressed with the strides made my St. Michael's this season. The Purple Knights ended up locking down the No. 3 seed in the Northeast-10 conference tourney, ahead of Merrimack....as I ponder my 12-member All-American team for Division II, choosing the starting attack is going to be extremely difficult. I get three spots at attack, and I can rattle off six guys who are deserving.