WCLA SWLL Tournament Preview: Florida-UCF Rematch on Tap?
by J. Jude Hazard | LaxMagazine.com
A setback against dark horse SWLL foe Central Florida dropped Georgia to the fifth seed in this weekend's conference tournament, the winner of which receives an automatic bid to the WCLA Division I National Championship.
© Dirk Dewachter
Florida Club and Central Florida could be on a collision course this weekend for a rematch that would determine the winner of the Southeastern Women's Lacrosse League championship and award the coveted automatic bid to the Women's Collegiate Lacrosse Associates Division I National Championship.
The Knights have quietly put together a 13-2 season with losses to the highly regarded Gators and Texas. Central Florida took Florida right down to the wire before losing 11-10 on March 17. Florida's pair of player-coaches Lauren Lapp and Brittini Peck have the Gators rolling with a 14-2 record heading into the conference tournament.
The SWLL championship kicks off tomorrow at Lassiter High School in Marietta, Ga. The Gators, ranked No. 3 in the latest WCLA Division I poll, take on Florida State. The winner of that game will face the winner of No. 11 Georgia and South Carolina. On the bottom of the bracket, No. 13 Central Florida will take on Clemson, with the winner of that game facing off against the winner of Mississippi vs. Georgia Tech.
Semifinals will take place later Saturday with the championship game set for 1 p.m. on Sunday. (See bracket below.)
Handicapping the SWLL Tournament
No. 3 Florida Club (14-2)
The Gators are the favorites to go 3-0 on the weekend and take the conference championship. Florida's only two losses have been to top programs Colorado and Colorado State. The Gators have dominated their SWLL conference games this year with the exception of the narrow win against Central Florida last month.
No. 13 Central Florida (13-2)
An impressive 9-7 win against No. 11 Georgia on March 31 braces the Knights for the conference tournament this weekend. Central Florida stands a good chance to get by Clemson and the winner of Ole Miss / Georgia Tech to reach the championship game. The Knights are 8-1 in conference play this year.
No. 11 Georgia (9-6)
The Bulldogs have faced top competition in WCLA Division I this year with mostly positive results. Impressive wins against Michigan Club, Colorado Club and Texas make Georgia a legitimate contender for the conference championship. Key losses include Pittsburgh, Florida and Central Florida. The Bulldogs first have to defeat South Carolina on Saturday morning in a rematch of a March 24 tilt in which Georgia prevailed 15-9.
South Carolina (6-3)
The Gamecocks' three losses have come against the only ranked opponents they played this season. Somewhat untested, South Carolina will have to improve over its last performance against Georgia if it wants to advance to the quarterfinals. The Gamecocks played Central Florida close back on Feb. 4 in a 7-6 loss.
The Tigers have not ventured out of SWLL play this season and do not have games against Florida or Central Florida. They lost in blowout fashion to Georgia on Feb. 11. Have they improved in the last two months? We'll find out when they take on Central Florida on Saturday morning.
Ole Miss takes on Georgia Tech in a compelling rematch. The Tigers and Yellow Jackets played in both teams' regular season finale March 31. Mississippi won six straight prior taking nearly the entire month of March off. The rust may have shown as the Tigers lost two games on March 31, including the narrow 10-9 defeat at the hands of Georgia Tech.
Georgia Tech (10-3)
The Yellow Jackets have put together a good regular season record, but all three of the Tigers' losses this year came to teams in this tournament -- Georgia, South Carolina and Clemson. Georgia Tech is currently on a five-game winning streak.
Florida State (6-3)
The Seminoles have the unenviable task of taking on the Gators in the 1 p.m. quarterfinal matchup Saturday. Florida State lost 11-3 to Florida back in February and were thumped by Central Florida 20-5 on Feb. 25. Can the Seminoles pull the massive upset? Any given Saturday...
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