No. 8 Colorado (8-3) vs. No. 2 Colorado State (9-1) – 6 p.m. MDT, Saturday (Invesco Field)
COYNE: It’s great to see a city like Denver stepping up and recognizing the non-varsity world by hosting both an NCAA Division I and MCLA Division I game at the Rocky Mountain Lacrosse Showdown at Invesco Field. Fans who are going will get a glimpse of two of the top teams the MCLA has to offer, which is always a positive.
While the level of play will be high, I don’t envision much drama in the outcome. Colorado State’s proficiency at faceoff, led by Scott Gelston, who has established himself as the best draw man in the association, will allow the Rams to jump out to an early lead that will hold. While the Buffs will always be within five, CSU cruises comfortably, 15-12.
SCHOOLER: The battle at Invesco Field is probably the biggest event in the MCLA aside from the national tournament. They get a huge turnout from the local community and put on a great event. It is probably the closest thing that the MCLA has to a big time NCAA Division I game.
The Rams have owned the Buffs in this matchup. While they both played Chapman to a close game last weekend, I am not ready to jump on the Buffalo bandwagon quite yet. I see the Rams winning this game, 9-4.
No. 22 Cal (5-5) at No. 23 UC Davis (9-3) – Friday, 7 p.m. PDT
COYNE: During my three-year stint living in Suisun City, Calif., I’d often make the trip up to Davis — typically after a swing through both the Napa and Sonoma Valleys sampling the finest domestic zinfandels and big cabs — for dinner. There are plenty of good eateries in the hamlet located a tad west of Sacto and, unlike most places in California, Davis qualifies as a cozy college town. These memories are some of the few positive ones from my stay in the Golden State.
As such, it’s easy for me to root, and pick, the Aggies. With Cal away from its home field, they aren’t as threatening. Even it was in Berkeley, I think Davis would pull out the win. Senior attackman John Parsons (38g, 14a) and freshman midfielder Kevin Busch (23g, 9a) will overwhelm the Bears’ defense and senior netminder David Ginsberg is running at 62.6 percentage. Aggies, 11-8.
SCHOOLER: The Aggies have come out of nowhere this season. They started off the season in a tight battle with the Gauchos and everyone thought that UCSB slipped up, but maybe UC Davis has a legitimate shot at challenging Cal Poly and Cal for the WCLL title. They have a balanced attack lead by middie Brett Zeolla and attackman John Parsons.
With the growth of California lacrosse, Davis is at an advantage. It is not as difficult to get into at Cal, UCLA, UCSB, and UCSD, but still offers a great education and might soon have a quality lacrosse program. While I would usually go with the Bears, I am going out on a limb and picking the Aggies in this one. Davis wins 12-11.
No. 15 Simon Fraser (5-6) at No. 21 Arizona (8-5) – Sunday, 1 p.m. MDT
COYNE: If you’re a mid-level MCLA team, Arizona is going to beat you. That’s where the Wildcats are at this point. They may get better in the future under Mickey-Miles Felton, but at this point, their lot in life is to be among the best of the rest. A couple of weeks ago, that might have been good enough to beat Simon Fraser, which was clearly still trying to find itself after losing a huge senior class last year. That window has closed, however.
The Wildcats will probably try to take the air out of the ball — most teams try to run Simon Fraser in order to grind down its thin bench — and see if they can hang around until the end. I see a low-scoring game, but the Clan will be able to get enough goals in transition and off broken plays to beat Arizona and split their weekend in the desert. Clansmen, 12-7.
SCHOOLER: Remember that seesaw from kindergarten? That is kind of what is going on here. Simon Fraser started out the season low and Arizona was high. Now that the season is coming to an end, Simon Fraser is on the upswing and Arizona is dropping off.
Colton Dow and Calvin Craig are putting up big numbers for the Clansmen. It’s almost as if they are scoring for two people, which is what you need when you roster only has 19 players. Hopefully they do not get too worn down against ASU on Friday night. I have the Clansmen taking this game 13-10 in the desert.