No. 15 Cal (1-1) at No. 2 Arizona State (0-0) – Feb 16 (at Los Angeles)
COYNE: The overtime loss to UC Santa Barbara was undoubtedly a disappointment for the Bears, but there should be reason for optimism. Senior Dan Cohen has picked up right where he left off in ’12 with four goals against the Gauchos (and 10 points on the weekend) and the defense allowed just eight markers in 60 minutes. A weekend of action under its belt should also benefit Cal against a Sun Devils squad playing its first contest.
This ASU team shouldn’t go through the growing pains that last year’s version did, when it took nearly half a season to find its offensive identity. The Devils are still a relatively young team — there are only four seniors on the roster — but the key players earned enough experience last year to see them through. It’ll be the Sun Devils in a less-than-Pac-12 Shootout, 8-5.
SCHOOLER: I wish I was able to see Cal play the Gauchos last weekend, but I will have to take the word of several people in attendance. Multiple sources told me that they were very impressed with the Bears and believe that they will win the WCLL. Relying on a strong offense, run through Cohen, should lead to a successful season for Berkeley.
The Sun Devils have managed to keep intact the majority of their team, but they’re missing an integral part: Dylan Westfall. He was the difference-maker last season in the final push. Without the leadership and emotional strength that he brought to the team, ASU will have some struggles this season, including in this game. I have the Bears winning, 12-10.
No. 18 Florida State (1-1) vs. No. 21 Texas (3-0) – Feb 16 (at New Orleans)
COYNE: Back in 2011, Florida State posted a 19-2 record and made a trip to the national quarterfinals, and still managed to lose to the Longhorns, 12-11, at the Sugar Bowl Classic. They’ll return again to the event this weekend looking for a little revenge, but sporting a team far less talented than that ’11 squad. The ‘Noles have weapons, with middie Luke Donovan (15 points in three games) and goalie Tyler Selman (62.9 sv%), but they’ve already lost to Boston College.
Meanwhile, Texas is breaking in a new coach in Andy Garrigan, but still have those Texas athletes that can pose problems for the best teams. With attackman Spencer Price (14g, 7a) back and healthy, and Jordan Lee — who quietly might be the best goalie in the country — returning between the pipes, the ‘Horns will be ready. Can they make it three straight against the Seminoles (UT also beat FSU, 20-11, in ’10)? I think they will. Longhorns, 13-12.
SCHOOLER: I am really happy that these two teams seem to find a way to play each other every season. This is beginning to develop into a great rivalry. That being said, I can never root for Texas teams, but that is not why I am picking the ‘Noles.
Florida State suffered a tough loss to Boston College two weeks ago. I am a believer in the theory that sometimes a loss is the best thing for a team. It acts as a wake up call. This will be the first big test for Florida State since that game and I expect them to come out on top. Midfield is the key to this game, and FSU holds the advantage there. ‘Noles win, 15-10.
No. 11 Stanford (1-0) vs. No. 7 Oregon (1-0) – Feb 17 (at Los Angeles)
COYNE: We’ve got a pretty good feel for this Stanford team — and the Cardinal are definitely good — but what to make of the Ducks? They’re another one of the traditional powers initiating a new coach in Phil Keebler, and they get their first test tonight when they face Simon Fraser at home in a PNCLL grudge match. The Stanford game will be determined by which team controls the faceoff dot.
Stanford senior draw-man Sean O’Brien dominated UC Santa Barbara in their match-up while Trey Norris is a first-team All-PNCLL faceoff selection from last year, dominating Western Oregon in the Ducks tune-up last week. Who has the advantage in this one? It’ll be O’Brien, helped by the fact that Norris and the Ducks have to scrap with Chapman the night before. Cardinal, 10-9.
SCHOOLER: The outcome of this game hinges on the performance of freshman phenom, Peter Doyle. This guy had a chance to play Division I lacrosse but decided to stick around the Bay Area. I assume he will be able to make the game, and if that is the case, Oregon does not stand much of a chance. Contrary to what Jac has said, the faceoff matchup favors Oregon, but the goalie play will really tilt this in favor of the Cardinal. Stanford wins, 11-8.
No. 22 Simon Fraser (1-0) at No. 25 Chico State (0-0) – Feb 15
SCHOOLER: Chico was a young team last season. They made some noise on the national scene, but could not win the games they needed to make it to the tournament. Simon Fraser had an up and down season in which it had a long stretch of losses, although it finished the season strong.
But the Clansmen relied on Calvin Craig last season, something they will not have the luxury of doing this season. It will take Simon Fraser a few games to learn how to play without him. I’m going with Chico State at home, 15-11.
COYNE: I doubt we’ll be seeing many 30-second shot clocks in this contest. These are a pair of teams who, traditionally, have liked to keep things moving. That’ll be the case here again. Chico is going to upset somebody in the WCLL before the postseason starts, but this is the season-opener. Fraser has three games under its belt, including a rivalry contest. That pays off. Clansmen, 18-15.
For more: http://www.laxmagazine.com/college_men/club/2012-13/news/021313_schooling_schooler_swinging_from_the_gallows_poll