MCLA Division II Notebook
It was a small, silly — and ultimately inconsequential — gaffe, but unfortunately it is a telling one for MCLA Division II.
When Hope College, a program that played its last season in MCLA-II in 2012 and is now a varsity outfit in Division III, showed up in the initial release of the inaugural weekly poll at No. 22, it certainly raised people's eyebrows, mine included.
For me, it wasn't so much that they received votes. Hope was a good team, earning a bid to the tourney in '11, and has consistently been in the consciousness of the poll voters, so a couple of votes from coaches in disparate parts of the country are understandable, if also a little sloppy.
The primary concern was the actual number of votes they received: 71. To get that many votes, either Hope had to be ranked very high on a couple of ballots, or shown up on a good chunk of the submissions. That points to a disconnect among the Division II voters, which consist of coaches and conference administrators. A secondary concern is the Dutchmen's ill-gotten presence wasn't sniffed out by someone before the poll was released. This points to a disconnect among the association's brass.
So a couple of people got a little sloppy and everything eventually was fixed. What's the big deal, right?
Not a big deal, but it still reflects poorly on Division II — a subset of the MCLA that has always fought the stigma of being a developmental league and is now seeing its top teams move to Division I on a consistent basis. D-II needs to be doing things just as well, if not better, than D-I. When it doesn't, it makes it seem like the division, collectively, just doesn't care as much.
I, and many others, know this is not the case. D-II coaches work extremely hard for their programs, sacrificing hours that could be better spent with their family for a salary that often consists of little more than a staff shirt and a gift certificate to Applebee's. I could argue that to coach in Division II, you have to a care a little bit more than the D-I guys.
So when I see this poll blunder, it's bothersome. There are plenty of people, I'm sure, who will chalk up the Hope miscue to a tiny blotch on D-II's record. Taken individually, it undoubtedly is. But when blotches start to add up, they begin to paint a picture — one that isn't always reflective of the organization and those involved in it.
MCLA Division II is a serious outfit with a lot to offer to collegiate lacrosse. It needs to start taking steps to ensure that some people don't get the wrong idea.
- Progams have come and gone, but rare is the team that takes a six-year hiatus and then returns to MCLA action. That's just what Houston has done, and they're making it look good with a 2-0 start to the season. The last time the Cougars showed up on MCLA schedules, it was back in 2006 when they finished with a 1-8 record. After getting its house back in order, Houston returned this spring.
The Cougars are easing themselves back into the association. They are participating in the second division of the Lone Star Alliance, meaning they are not eligible for the MCLA tourney because they are an FBS institution. Still the two victories so far have come against D-I opponents — Texas Tech (13-10) and North Texas (11-8) — which is a great sign for what is basically a start-up program.
Houston will get its first real test of the season this Friday when they travel to Huntsville to take on LSA-II boss Sam Houston State.
- Kyle Peterson owns Marymount (Calif.). Last Sunday, Peterson, a senior, scored 11 goals and dished out six assists, leading Cal State San Marcos to a 25-2 win over the Mariners. Last year, Peterson dropped 10 goals and three dimes on Marymount in a 21-2 loss...as noted in the MCLA-I notebook today, former Cal State Fullerton star Cameron Cole will be with Oregon in 2014...wondering if Fullerton would struggle on offense with Cole and his older brother, Chris? The Titans managed just two goals and nine shots on goal in a loss to San Diego State...St. Mary's got a six-point (3g, 3a) effort out of sophomore Nicolaas Vanderklugt in the 19-3 rout of Pacific. Not bad for a kid listed as a defensive middie...Kennesaw State got stung prior to the season when Tyler Mathews was ruled ineligible. The Owls are 0-2 after bowing the Georgia Tech and Auburn while Georgia is up next.