WDIA Teams Take Last Licks at Lindenwood
by David Ely | Special to Lacrosse Magazine
The WDIA regular season has hit its stretch run. Teams have just a few more games to get ready for their conference tournaments. There’s only a handful of opportunities left to pad a resume for the Nationals selection committee.
And there’s no better place for a team to showcase its potential postseason chops than at this weekend’s Lindenwood Invitational.
Lindenwood, Santa Clara, Brigham Young, Michigan, Virginia Tech Club, Minnesota and Central Florida all take the field this weekend to see if they can add a couple of more notable wins to their already impressive seasons.
That field boasts three teams (No. 1 Santa Clara, No. 2 Lindenwood and No. 7 BYU) ranked in the top 10 of the most recent WDIA poll. Then there’s No. 13 Michigan, No. 11 Virginia Tech Club and No. 17 Central Florida, setting the stage for big-time match up after big-time match up throughout the weekend.
And that’s exactly what Lions coach Jack Cribbin had in mind when he first decided to establish the event two years ago.
“[The goal was to] bring elite WDIA programs to the Midwest for a weekend of lacrosse,” Cribbin said. “There was nothing really in the Midwest and we wanted to attract teams here.”
The Lindenwood Invitational first took place in 2008 and then took a year off in 2009 because of scheduling conflicts. But the event’s popularity already is evident, as Cribbin had to turn down a number of schools that were interested in making the April trip to St. Charles, Mo.
What coach wouldn’t want his team to get these kinds of reps against some of the best the WDIA has to offer this close to conference tournament time?
Lindenwood plays four games in four days -- the same kind of schedule it would see in Nationals -- and Cribbin said that the weekend should be a good measuring stick for his club.
If the Lions play the same level of lacrosse they’ve played for the past couple of months, then Cribbin should feel good about their chances in postseason play.
Lindenwood has won 12 games in a row since its one-goal loss to UC Santa Barbara during February’s Santa Barbara Shootout.
A 4-0 weekend highlighted by a win over Santa Clara would make the Lions probably the favorite to win Nationals, but Cribbin isn’t interested in using games played in April to predict future championships.
“They don’t crown a national champion in the month of April,” he said. “We’re just trying to get better and set things up to a invitation to nationals.”
With No. 1 Santa Clara’s 17-16 overtime loss to No. 4 UC Davis on April 3, there are no undefeated teams left in the WDIA. There are only three one-loss teams in the WDIA top 25: Santa Clara, No. 3 Lindenwood and No. 20 Boston College Club … A common theme talking to WDIA coaches this season has been that the top-tier teams are incredibly even and that there’s no clear-cut favorite. That point was backed up when Santa Clara lost to UC Davis. Lindenwood coach Jack Cribbin said this about the 2010 parity in the WDIA: “The competition is the best I’ve seen since I got here… I think there’s no clear-cut favorite. Other years there seemed to be a clear-cut favorite from the beginning of the year...” Colorado got a big boost in its push to a Nationals bid with its 15-14 win over UCLA on April 4. The Buffaloes are now 8-5 on the season and finish their schedule with a Saturday game against Colorado State and an April 26 game against BYU.
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