Monday Notebook: MCLA Division II
When Dayton travels south, it's never easy. Last year, the Flyers were supposed to play two-time defending champion St. Thomas in North Carolina and the refs didn't show until hours after the scheduled game time.
"This time, we are getting ready to play SCAD and they have a power surge and the lights don't work," said Dayton head coach Charlie Mark on Saturday night after the Flyers had dispensed with both No. 8 SCAD, 12-10, and No. 19 Kennesaw State, 19-6, on the same day.
The outage on Friday night forced Dayton to play a make-up at 10 a.m. on Saturday morning, and then battle KSU in the originally scheduled game at 4 p.m. Having to reschedule a pair of top 20 teams into an eight-hour span on a moment's notice would be paralyzing for a lot of programs. For the Flyers, it's kind of old hat.
It almost made Mark nostalgic.
"Three years ago when we used to have the CCLA playoffs in one weekend, that's how we did things," Mark said. "When you play Grand Valley State in one game and Davenport in the other, it wasn't a big deal. We're used to that. It didn't bother our guys in the least."
It didn't seem to. While SCAD gave Dayton some problems early with an aggressive, quick-sliding defense that allowed the Bees to build a 6-3 halftime lead, Mark's troops responded in the second half.
"SCAD is excellent," Mark said. "Their defense was excellent. They came down hard on us and that took some getting used to. Once we figured out what we were doing in the third quarter, we had seven goals and they had one. It just took us a little while to figure it out. They were double teaming us quickly and their number two slide was there. They are well-coached. They are good."
As the calendar is about to flip to March, the Flyers are nearly halfway through their schedule – 5-0 with six to play. While several of their top 5 peers haven't concluded their scrimmage season or are just barely out of the gate, Dayton is in midseason form. This is no accident.
With the next three games on the schedule, which picks back up on St. Patrick's day, Mark knew he couldn't go in cold.
"That's the objective when you have a schedule like we have," he said. "The next three games we have – and you almost can't make it up – Briarcliffe, Davenport and GVSU. I mean, c'mon. Those are the three best stick-handling teams in the country, bar none. Better than St. Thomas and better than Westminster. We wanted to come out and build up to that kind of competition, frankly speaking."
As long as they are playing in the North, the game should go off as planned.
- For this outside observer, it appears that the MCLA pollsters are having a hard time figuring out Grand Canyon. The 'Lopes beat Western Oregon and Western Washington last weekend at the tournament in Vegas, only to find a spot at No. 20 in the rankings – an oddly low spot.
It's understandable that other coaches in the league would need a little time figuring out this team. GCU is dropping down from NCAA Division II after their program was dropped by the athletic department, so there is no "book" on the 'Lopes. It's early in the season, so what's the rush, right?
All of the (attentive) pollsters can now see that Grand Canyon is a legit top 10 team. The 'Lopes traveled to Tucson on Saturday to play MCLA Division I No. 22 Arizona, and handed the Wildcats a 10-7 setback. So to recap: a D-II team went on the road to a ranked D-I team and beat them. Time to give it up for the 'Lopes and put them where they belong.
- The Vegas tournament wasn't kind to the PNCLL, with both Western Oregon and Western Washington – the two presumptive favorites – having poor to middling performances, respectively. Is there anyone else? Well, keep an eye on Gonzaga. In their second year after dropping down to D-II, the Zags are currently 3-0 with a pair of wins over (tertiary) Division I opponents. Gonzaga has no prayer of earning an at-large bid, but they'll make the PNCLL conference tourney slightly more entertaining.
- We'll really have to see what happens on March 31 when it plays Elon, but Coastal Carolina's 10-7 loss to South Carolina did nothing to make me think they can't be a player in the SELC tourney...Harding went dark earlier this year and it appears that Georgia State has folded up shop for the season. RIP...it's been a wild season for Kennesaw State. The latest installment has the Owls getting pounded by Dayton, 19-6, followed up by a mildly surprising loss to Indiana Tech, 11-3...Arizona State beat San Diego, 5-4. Cal State-Fullerton beat San Diego on Saturday, 8-7. The Titans have to love that comparative score...I've got my eye on Montana State. The Bobcats have a schedule to be in the at-large discussion if they get the right wins.