Don’t leave your chances to fate. Nine conferences began their tournaments this weekend. At stake is an opportunity to earn the AQ and birth to the NCAA Tournament. The Seeding Committee will select eight at-large spots. The ACC and Big Ten are likely to eat up at least five at-large births, leaving an three spots open. Michigan and Maryland did their part this weekend winning their quarterfinal matchups against Ohio State and Rutgers, respectively.
The ACC is the only D1 conference without an AQ. UVA wrapped up its season and a likely #2 seed with its win over Notre Dame. Duke took care of a feisty Syracuse squad this weekend and hosts Merrimack this weekend. A win will likely lock up the top seed for John Danowski’s Blue Devils. Notre Dame travels to Durham to face North Carolina. North Carolnia has lacked consistency against top teams this season to be considered a threat. A win against the Irish puts the Tar Heels back in the conversation. But ask Notre Dame and Duke about leaving your selection to fate…
Here are the previews for the nine conference tournaments along with the picks from LPG’s top contributors.
Hats off to Vermont’s Chris Feifs. The Catamounts wrapped up their second straight undefeated America East season and Regualar Season Championship. Bryant and Binghamton will pose a challenge to Vermont’s reign. This is Bryant’s first year in the America East after a long history of conference tournament success in the NEC. Binghamton is looking to continue one it’s strongest seasons in recent years.
Quint Kessenich talked on the UVA broadcast how the ASUN benefits lacrosse. The ASUN welcomes small and large schools from across the country and provides them an opportunity to compete for an NCAA Tournament birth. Utah ended the season on a heater and is one of the highest-scoring teams in D1. Jacksonville stumbled against Air Force down the stretch, but is primed to secure its first NCAA tournament appearance under John Galloway. Beware of Bobby Mo, they are hosting the tournament and upset Utah last year in the conference tournament.
|Hayden King||Utah||Air Force|
St. Joe’s was the Cinderella story of 2022. They followed up with strong season in 2023. Don’t be fooled by their four losses that include a one-goal loss at Johns Hopkins and a two-goal loss at Penn. Richmond, and UMass both have a history of conference tournament success in the SoCon and CAA.
|Craig McMichael||St. Joe’s||UMass|
|Jack Kensil||St. Joe’s||UMass|
|Hayden King||St. Joe’s||UMass|
Is Georgetown finally the team we all thought they were back in January? The Hoyas are winners of ten straight and have shown their ability to win games close and big. Villanova’s offense and Denver’s defense stand in the way of preventing the Hoyas’ faith straight conference tournament championship.
The Wolverines are playing with house money and are playing with confidence. Penn State can ill afford a slow start after a week break. Get the kids out of school early, The Rivalry Part II should be just as entertaining as the first game.
|Craig McMichael||Johns Hopkins||Michigan|
|Hayden King||Penn State||Johns Hopkins|
The CAA might be one of the most competitive tournaments this week. Delaware was 6-1 on the season and the other three teams were 5-2. Each have the ability to make a run.
|Jack Kensil||Delaware||Stony Brook|
Cornell is a lock, everyone else has some work to do. The Ivy League tournament is wide open in 2023. Cornell. is the favorite but stubbed their toe earlier this season against Harvard. We will find out Friday night if Andy Shay has figured out his defensive woes. Princeton has a number of close losses this season, including Saturday’s game against Cornell. Penn continues to play one- and two-goal games.
Marist scored 29 goals on Saturday. Sure they gave up 19, but 29 is impressive. The Mount and Manhattan seemingly have the inside track to the AQ. Manhattan has played stingy defense all season, they just need to score enough to find their second straight tournament appearance.
The Patriot League is Shipping Up to Boston for the second straight year after BU’s victory over Army on Saturday night. Army and BU are seemingly favorites to win. Joe Amplo and Navy have gotten hot late in the season and had a few upsets this season. Loyola has failed to realize the potential they flashed in February.
BONUS: MCLA Preview
We chatted with Grand Valley State head coach Tim Murray back in February. Murray has a strong MCLA D2 Program and is consistently in the MCLA tournament. Despite having a young team again in 2023, Murray has helped lead the Lakers to back to Round Rock, Texas for the MCLA D2 tournament. We caught up with Coach Murray to talk about the season and preview his opponent.
We are proud to have earned a bid to the national tournament again this year. The opportunity to play for a national championship is a goal we have at the beginning of every year. Everything we do from fall scrimmages, winter conditioning, and our regular season is geared towards being ready to play our best lacrosse in May.
We have a challenge in front of us with FGCU. They are a well-coached team. They have the best goalie in the nation, a stout defense, and some dynamic offensive pieces. We are excited for the opportunity to play them, and we know we will have to play our best lacrosse of the season in order to have a chance at advancing.
The opportunity to participate in this tournament is a great honor. There are hundreds of teams that play in the MCLA, and there are only 16 that still have games on the schedule. We are excited and proud to be one of those teams, and we are going to continue to fight for every second of lacrosse we have left.
As a coach, the best part is that I get to spend more time with this team. Over the course of a season, I really fall in love with my team and the players / characters we have on it. Every time we advance means another day we get to be together, which is truly something that I never take for granted.
One of the coolest stories out of Allendale this year was the return of Ty Thorell to the field for Grand Valley. Thorell was involved in a serious car accident in January that sent him to the Emergency room with two broken ribs and surgery on his spleen. Thoreell returned to the field last month and scored a goal in his first game back.
Best of luck to Coach Murray and the Lakers in Round Rock
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