By Matt Noonan
Ah, the NCAA Division III Lacrosse Tournament has returned – in fact, it starts tomorrow, so why not dish out a few predictions?
Below are my picks for six games that feature New England teams – let me know if you agree, disagree or want to chat #d3lax on Twitter (@MattNoonan11).
RPI over Amherst: Defense wins championships, right? RPI has a defense that has limited opponents to roughly seven goals per game, so slowing down the Amherst attack will be key for an Engineers victory.
Middlebury over Springfield: The Panthers won the last meeting by defeating the Pride, 10-8. Middlebury also outshot Springfield, 52-21, including 18-2 in the second quarter, so expect the Blue and White attack to guide the Panthers to an early lead, as well as the unit’s 13th victory of the 2016 season.
New England College over St. Lawrence: How about an upset? New England College’s attack is averaging close to 16 goals per game and posted 17 goals or more in a pair of NAC tournament games. Can their offensive output continue against the Saints? Let’s find out!
Keene State over Montclair State: The Owls soared past Eastern Connecticut State in the Little East Conference championship, while the Red Hawks cruised to a Skyline Conference title by defeating Stockton, 13-6. Expect both attacks to highlight this particular contest with Keene’s offense managing to muster one (or two) additional goals.
Western New England over SUNY Cortland: Winners of 11 straight, including the CCC Championship, the Golden Bears enter the tournament on a roll. Can anyone slow down a unit that hasn’t lost since the end of March? Not sure, but I don’t think the Red Dragons will stop WNE’s pursuit of 12 straight wins.
Tufts over Emmanuel:Is this the year the Saints beat the Jumbos? Never say never, but Tufts is peaking at the right time. The Jumbos captured their seventh straight NESCAC crown on Sunday, while Emmanuel won its third-straight GNAC title. Emmanuel should keep pace with Tufts, however, the Powder and Blue will prevail.