Bears vs. Bears
The week featured two BvB games.
Friday night Duke (Josh Offit) faced Denver (Harrison Archer) in the second game of the Inaugural Mile High Classic in Denver. The Pioneers played the inconsiderate host, putting an end to Duke’s 10 game winning streak by a score of 15-9. Josh earned an assist for Blue Devils in the game.
Saturday evening Princeton (Mike Grossman, Jack Strabo, Brian Reilly and Justin Murphy) faced Cornell (Joe Paoletta and Will Joyce) in the final regular season game for both teams. The Tigers got the win which means they are the Ivy League Champions for 2012 and have the #1 seed and host rights for the Ivy League tournament which will take place Friday and Sunday. Mike Grossman was cited as a very cerebral player during the game broadcast by fellow Landon alum Matt Ward immediately before he picked up an assist. Jack Strabo was credited with a ground ball and Justin Murphy got another turn at the X.
Bucknell (Sam McDonough) took on Colgate in the semi-finals of the Patriot League tournament Friday night. The Bison dropped a 14-9 decision to Colgate. Bucknell will now watch the other league tournaments hoping for the right outcomes that will improve their chances of getting an at-large bid for the NCAA tournament.
Ohio State (Luke Howard) picked up a win over Fairfield, 8-3, in a preview of their ECAC tournament match that will take place Friday in Denver.
Maryland (Kellen Miller) is staying very busy heading into the end of the regular season. Wednesday night the Terrapins traveled up Rt. 15 to Emmitsburg to face Mount St. Mary’s. Maryland beat the Mount 12-8. They followed that effort up with 12-7 win over Bellarmine. Maryland isn’t done yet, they face Colgate in the final regular season game for both teams this Saturday. Colgate downed Maryland in last year’s regular season finale, but Maryland didn’t lose again until the NCAA Championship game on Memorial Day.
Several Bear infused teams saw their seasons come to an end this past week. Hobart (David Chakola) finished their 2012 campaign on a winning note, downing the Air Force Academy 12-8. Georgetown (CT Fisher) finished the year strong, downing Rutgers 13-8. CT had 5 saves on 8 shots in the game, capping his career for the Hoyas. Penn (Will Laco) played in the first game of the Mile High Classic and dropped a tough 10-8 decision to UVA.
This Coming Week
With very few exceptions, the focus this coming week is on conference tournaments. The Patriot League got its tournament out of the way this past weekend as Lehigh got revenge on Colgate for an loss earlier this season, picking up the conference’s automatic qualifier for the NCAA D-I tournament. They are the first team in.
Princeton will host the Ivy League tournament, facing Brown on Friday while Cornell will tangle with Yale. Winners face each other on Sunday with the conference AQ on the line.
Also on Friday, the ECAC tournament will kick off in Denver (a mere 1800 miles from the east coast) as #1 seed Loyola takes on #4 seed Denver and Ohio State has an instant rematch with Fairfield.
NCAA Tournament Preview
ESPNU will broadcast the 2012 tournament selection show on Sunday, May 6 at 9PM. The field will consist of 7 teams which have earned their conference AQ’s plus 9 at-large teams. The selection committee will seed the top 8 teams. While the remaining teams will generally be seeded as well, the committee will also consider travel restrictions to set the final match ups. Teams receiving the top 8 seeds will host games on the weekend of May 12 & 13. Winners from these first round games will move on to quarter final matches in Annapolis and Philadelphia the weekend of May 19 & 20. The whole thing comes to its grand conclusion Memorial Day weekend in Boston with the semi-finals on Saturday and championship game on Memorial Day.
Currently, only Lehigh, the Patriot League tournament champion, is officially in the tournament. It is very likely that Virginia, Duke, North Carolina, Maryland and Johns Hopkins are first in line for at-large berths, leaving 4 to be claimed by teams that didn’t earn their conference AQ. There will be lots of anxious eyes on scoreboards this weekend as a couple of tournament upsets could alter the landscape.
Bears vs. Bears
We’ve been looking forward to the one D-III Bears vs. Bears game all season. Dickinson (Marek Laco) downed Gettysburg (Austin Dodson and Wes Lincoln) 12-8. Wes got a ground ball and Austin fired 4 shots in the Bullets loss. As a consequence of the outcome, these two teams will meet again in the semi-finals of the Centennial Conference tournament on Friday with the winner vying for the conference’s AQ slot on Sunday.
In other games in D-III land, it was a week full of conference tournament games. The biggest shocker has come out of the ODAC conference as Washington and Lee (Will Raul), the sixth and final seed in the conference tournament, backed up a 9-8 win over Hampden-Sydney (sorry, Tim) with a stunning 13-8 upset of #2 seed Roanoke. The Generals have earned the right to play the conference’s regular season winner Lynchburg for the conference’s AQ to the NCAA D-III tournament. After a challenging regular season, W&L has found new life in the post-season.
Things are a bit more settled in the NESCAC where Tufts (Nick Rhoads and Mark Findaro) earned the #1 seed for the conference tournament. The Jumbos finished off their regular season with a 15-7 win over Bowdoin. Nick scored a goal in that game, was 12 of 23 at the faceoff X and was credited with 6 ground qualify for the conference tournament. Tufts downed Amherst 14-10 in their quarter final match. Nick had a goal, 13 ground balls and was 18 of 24 on faceoffs. Mark had a ground ball and a caused turnover. Tufts will now take on Connecticut College on Saturday and Trinity will face Bowdoin. Winner will just have a short time to celebrate as the championship game is scheduled for Sunday. Tufts will be hosting the semi-finals and finals.
Sewanee (Drew Hayhurst) likely saw their 2012 season come to an end as the dropped a 14-9 decision to Colorado College in the SCAC tournament. On the season, Drew started 13 of 16 games had one assist, 27 ground balls and 5 caused turnovers in a great freshman season.
Ohio Wesleyan (Tommy Minkler) picked up a 14-6 win over Wittenberg. Tommy had one goal and one assist in the game. The Battling Bishops have one regular season game left then will watch the D-III selection show Sunday night on NCAA.com to see if they get one of the three Pool B bids.
NCAA Tournament Preview
The D-III tournament has a bit more byzantine set up than the D-I tournament. The committee fills the bracket with teams qualifying for one of three “pools.” Pool A consists of the 18 teams that have earned their conference AQ. Pool B comprises 3 teams from independents and conferences that don’t have AQ’s and Pool C is made up of 7 teams which are from conferences with AQ but which did not get their conference’s AQ. The top 4 seeds will first round byes while the rest of the field will play on May 9. Winners move on to the round of 16 on May 12. The D-III quarterfinals will take place on May 16 and semi-finals on May 20th. The two finalists get a week to prepare for the championship game to be held in Boston on Sunday, May 27th. In both 2010 and 2011, the D-III championship game has seen Tufts face Salisbury. The Jumbos won in 2010 and the Seagulls won last year.