My choice for the PNCLL Game of the Week is definitely the match-up north of the border. What better way to kick off March than to have Simon Fraser face off against Oregon for an afternoon brawl?
Simon Fraser has started off their season very strongly with three wins and an extremely close loss to 2013 Final Four contenders BYU. SFU’s defense, led by Senior goalie Darren Zwack with a 65% completion rate, has been extremely solid thus far holding BYU to 8 goals and the rest of their opponents to single digit scores.
Oregon, on the other hand, has the new coach blues with first year head coach Justin Eckenroad. They’ve won the games they were supposed to win against Portland State and Montana, but they didn’t show much fight on the road against some big name MCLA teams. Oregon lost by seven in both of their Palm Desert match ups against number six in the nation, BYU, and number one in the nation, Colorado State. They had an opportunity to take revenge against BYU after a hard 14-17 loss in a 2013 Elite Eight match-up and prove that they have a National Championship contending squad by competing with CSU, but instead the Ducks’ wings got clipped.
I expect this game to go right down to the wire. Oregon has a high power legacy and very rarely goes on 0-3 runs, but I’m going to give the “W” to Simon Fraser. SFU has momentum and will do everything in their power to get this upset in front of their home crowd. Oregon will not go down easily though. After a long week of rest and reflection after their Palm Desert mishap, they can’t wait to get the taste of victory back in their locker room water cooler. I just don’t think Coach Eckenroad and the Oregon squad have found their chemistry yet and individual skill canonly take you so far.
Division I Projected Weekend MVP– Riley Wanzer
There will be a huge weekend in Ashland, Oregon, starting March 1st, to help decide who deserves more respect in the PNCLL South.
Both Portland and Southern Oregon will be matching up against out of conference, MCLA DII opponents, Nevada and UC Santa Cruz respectively. Southern Oregon and Portland are both competing for the rights of the number two spot behind Western Oregon in the PNCLL South.
Besides a rough loss to Montana, Portland has had two pretty easy wins against winless opponents. Southern Oregon has had two wins against the same winless opponents, but they also had a huge win down in California during out of conference play against Saint Mary’s to sweeten their record. Their defense really showed how coherent of a unit they could be by only allowing four goals from a high scoring Saint Mary’s offense.
Each of these teams have something to prove this weekend. Portland wanting to show that their legacy is still in full force, and Southern Oregon wanting to show that 2014 is their year. I am predicting a 4-0 weekend down in Ashland for the PNCLL South, but I feel that Portland will be throwing up big numbers in order to prove that they have forgotten about the Montana loss and mean business.
Division II Projected Weekend MVP– Chris Timm