Adelphi (which has won the most NCAA tournaments, sort of the San Francisco 49ers of Division II women’s lacrosse) comes to town on March 1. Then LU takes to the road for most of the month with showdowns at South Region contenders Indiana (Pa.) and Pfeiffer highlighting the slate. By the time the Lions exit March with a big WILA showdown against Regis and then a return trip to Rollins, their postseason hopes could be firmly established or completely dashed.
In all, Lindenwood will face three of the South Region’s four playoff teams, and three of the team’s playing in the Final Four. It’s the kind of make your own luck strategy that’s necessary in Division II, where only eight teams make the postseason and even a great year can leave you sitting at home. Just look at West Chester last season.
“I relate it to college football,” Cribbin said. “You can have a loss, maybe two, but you have to go in with a mindset that you have to win all your games. With the ratio being so out of whack right now, it’s definitely a numbers game.”
So far so good this fall. Last weekend the Lions went up to Grand Valley State and went 3-0.
The Lions are stacked on the field and graduated just two starters. They return their leading scorer, Shelby Polk (58 goals) and assister, Lindsey Palmer (34 assists). This year will also see the emergence of LU’s huge junior class, which came to campus during the NCAA transition with the understanding that half of their college career would be spent building for 2014.
“It was tough at times,” Cribbin said. “Our juniors knew for the first two years they’d be ineligible. I’m excited for the whole team, but especially for a lot of those kids. We couldn’t be more fired up.”