April 28, 2010

Bracketology: NCAA Division II Tournament

by Chris Gentilviso | Special to Lacrosse Magazine Online

With May just around the corner, the playoff picture is growing clearer for the four- and six-team fields in the NCAA Division II men's and women's lacrosse championships, respectively.

Here's a look at the contenders.

DIVISION II MEN

Who’s likely to qualify:

No. 1 Le Moyne (12-0, 9-0 Northeast 10) -- The Dolphins are one of two perfect D-II teams in the standings. They survived one-goal scares against Mars Hill and Bentley and earned a narrow two-goal win early in the season over No. 4 Limestone. The Dolphins should earn the North region nod, and have a chance to make their fifth straight national title game appearance.

No. 4 Limestone (11-1, 5-0 Conference Carolinas) -- The Saints have won nine straight contests, with their only blemish this season coming in that 8-6 loss to Le Moyne at a neutral site back in early March. Barring a loss on the road to Catawba (8-7) on Saturday, Limestone stands as the favorite for the South region nod.

Who’s on the bubble:

No. 2 Mercyhurst (12-0, 8-0 East Coast Conference) -- The Lakers have already had a banner season, setting a school record for consecutive wins with their 12-game hot streak. But their toughest test comes on Saturday at home against a big conference rival in defending national champion C.W. Post. A win this weekend would be a defining step toward being named the Central region representative.

No. 3 Dowling (10-1, 7-1 East Coast Conference) -- Minus an early March setback at home to Mercyhurst, the Golden Lions have been one of the hottest teams in Division II. They've taken care of business on the defensive end, holding their opponents to eight or fewer goals in 10 games this season. Over the next two weeks, wins against upstart Chestnut Hill and Seton Hill would tighten their grip on a postseason berth.

No. 5 C.W. Post (12-1, 7-1 East Coast Conference) -- Until April 10, the Pioneers were cruising. With the 2009 national championship and a 10-0 start in their possession, the nation's No. 1 team controlled its destiny. Then, Dowling showed up at Hickox Field and pulled off an 8-7 upset. But with a win over Mercyhurst this weekend, the Pioneers' postseason ship can be steered back on track toward an at-large bid

DIVISION II WOMEN

Barring a meltdown in this weekend's PSAC tournament, the six contenders for the NCAA Division II women's lacrosse tournament appears fairly set.

Who's likely to get in:

No. 1 Adelphi (14-0, 11-0 Northeast 10) -- The defending national champions have carried their momentum into 2010, extending their win streak to 32 games. Which team was last to defeat them? This Saturday's opponent and Long Island rival -- No. 2 C.W. Post -- in the 2008 NCAA Division II semifinals. Revenge or repeat? That's to be determined.

No. 2 C.W. Post (14-1, 6-0 East Coast Conference) -- If it were not for a double-overtime loss on the road against Lock Haven, this Saturday's game in Garden City, N.Y. would pit two unbeaten clubs. With 91 goals in their last four wins, the Pioneers will need every bit of that offense to upset the Panthers and make an early postseason statement.

No. 3 Lock Haven (14-1, 10-1 PSAC) -- Last weekend's 11-10 loss at No. 4 Mercyhurst snapped Lock Haven's 13-game win streak. But thanks to a tough schedule, that included wins over both the Pioneers and the Saints, the Lady Eagles are in good shape to make another run at a national championship. Next up is the PSAC conference tournament semifinals on Friday against Bloomsburg (12-5).

No. 4 Mercyhurst (16-2, 9-1 PSAC) -- Fresh off their first-ever NCAA berth in 2009, the Lakers are poised to return to the postseason. They've already eclipsed last year's 14-win total, doing so in style with that 11-10 home win over Lock Haven to close out the regular season. While Gannon eliminated them in the PSAC quarterfinals, the Lakers are in strong position to improve upon last year's first-round NCAA loss to those same Lady Eagles.

No. 5 Limestone (17-1, 7-0 Conference Carolinas) -- Winners of 11 straight contests, the Saints have already captured the Conference Carolinas tournament title. They face off against unranked Rollins at home on Saturday, and with an NCAA bid, will look to avenge a narrow 13-12 loss to Lock Haven in last year's semifinals action.

No. 6 West Chester (16-0, 11-0 PSAC) -- West Chester ran through its regular season schedule and showed it can perform in the clutch, earning a pair of triple-overtime wins against Dowling and Gannon. Now, the Golden Rams will face that same Gannon (12-6) team in the PSAC semifinals on Friday -- a club that just upset Mercyhurst in the conference quarterfinals.


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