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posted 03.28.2011 at 10.00 a.m. by Jac Coyne

Monday Notebook: MCLA Division II

- We've hit a lull in the D-II schedule, with many of the top teams idle or playing overmatched conference opponents. Things will pick back up on the weekend of April 9 when Davenport, Northern Colorado and Missouri State head to St. Paul to tangle with either St. Thomas, St. John's or North Dakota State. Davenport plays Dayton next Saturday, but that game isn't quite as interesting as it once was, and the Dayton-Grand Valley game isn't until April 16.

- My March 28, knee-jerk match-ups in the first round of nationals:

No. 16 Sam Houston State at No. 1 Grand Valley
No. 15 Missouri Baptist at No. 2 St. Thomas
No. 14 Kennesaw State at No. 3 St. John's
No. 13 North Dakota State at No. 4 Dayton
No. 12 Cal State Fullerton at No. 5 Western Oregon
No. 11 Elon at No. 6 Briarcliffe
No. 10 Utah Valley at No. 7 Davenport
No. 9 SCAD at No. 8 Westminster

- I spoke with Briarcliffe head coach SeanMichael Pagano while they Bulldogs were driving back from Pennsylvania on Sunday afternoon after sweeping Grove City and Davenport over the weekend. Look for a story about BC's 2-0 weekend later today.

- I'm not bringing up this subject to pile on the Wolverines, but the tacit elimination of Grove City from nationals after this past weekend needs to be addressed. First, GCC should be lauded for their run last year and for attempting to take another crack at it again this year. They obviously don't have the horses they did for a repeat. That said, it's important to establish Grove City's departure from the national scene because it opens up another spot on the board outside of the CCLA.

It could go to any number of different conferences, but I'm thinking it will go to North Dakota State out of the UMLL at this point. This is a change from just a couple of weeks ago, but the more I look at NDSU, the more impressive they appear. The Bison do have two critical games that they must win to stay on course: Missouri State (April 8) and Northern Colorado (April 9). If it handles its business there, North Dakota State will finish 10-4 and have the SOS to get a bid.

For those CCLA backers who think Hope has a shot, the Dutchmen are huge long shots. They'd have to beat either Davenport or GVSU down the stretch and then knock out one of those two teams or Dayton in the CCLA playoffs to have a legitimate chance. I don't think that tie with Missouri State will help very much.

- Briarcliffe's only two remaining possibilities for a loss are against Coast Guard and Stonehill...Western Washington is the best darn 1-8 team in the country...Concordia still has a fighting chance to earn a bid if they can pick up the right wins...can't say the same for St. Mary's...the Division II scoring race will be interesting as there are five players within five points of each other right now.