Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Central Mass Lacrosse Playoff Race Update: 5/19/15

Powered by attackmen Jared Ward (2) and Parker Jean (12), along with middie Andrew Cox (23), St. John's has one of the region's most explosive offenses.
By Joe Parello (@HerewegoJoe)

Central MA's established powers have all pretty much punched their tickets to the state tournament, but several squads around the region are still trying to win their way into the postseason.

Check out our look at each district tournament that Central Mass lacrosse teams will play in this postseason, with the teams that are already in, and the teams with work left to do. Note that teams not listed have already been mathematically eliminated from postseason play.

A reminder that a team must have a .500 record to reach the state tournament, with the one exception being a team that plays the majority of its schedule in a higher division. Those teams must simply have a winning record against teams from their own division, per the MIAA's "Sullivan Rule." The one team affected by this rule, for our purposes, is Groton-Dunstable. The Crusaders sit just above .500 while playing a predominantly Division 2 schedule in Mid-Wach A, but G-D is a Division 3 school that has already clinched a winning record against D3 competition.

Also keep in mind that all schools are listed in alphabetical order under each listing, not in the order they will be seeded.

Division 2 Central/West

Already In: Algonquin (12-4), Marlboro (14-3), Shrewsbury (14-5), St. John's (11-5), Tantasqua (12-2), Westboro (11-4), Worcester (11-5)

On the Bubble: Leominster (8-7)

It's mostly about playoff positioning in D2 CW, as Algonquin and St. John's get ready for a massive showdown Wednesday. Shrewsbury also seems in line for a high seed, as does Tantasqua. Westboro still has a chance to improve its seeding with a game left against Algonquin, and Worcester can help itself tremendously with a win against Tantasqua Friday.

Still, the top seed in D2 CW is likely coming from Western Mass, where Longmeadow has not only dominated its home region, but defeated CMass powers Algonquin and St. John's as well.

The only team left on the bubble is Leominster, who needs just one win in its final three games to clinch a spot in the dance. After beginning the year 1-4, the young Blue Devils have bounced back in a big way, and seem headed for the program's third straight playoff appearance.

Division 2 Central/East

No Central Mass teams competing.

Division 3 Central/West

Already In: Assabet (13-0), Grafton (12-5), St. Bernard's (11-7)

On the Bubble: Blackstone Valley Tech (6-8), Northbridge (8-7)

Assabet has a gaudy win total, but the Aztecs haven't played the toughest schedule, so it will be interesting to see where they are seeded. Grafton, on the other hand, has some blemishes, but has played several power teams from Division 2 and out of region. St. B's is a team that can score and could present some real problems early on in the draw.

 On the bubble we have BVT, a Voke school mainstay that needs to win its final two games against AMSA and Montachusett to again qualify for the tournament. Northbridge has a slightly easier path, needing to win just one of its last three to get in. The Rams have a tough one against Tantasqua left, but with winnable games against St. Peter-Marian and Milford on the schedule, Northbridge seems tournament bound.

Division 3 Central/East

Already In:
Groton-Dunstable (8-7)*, Tyngsboro (13-1)

*Qualified with winning record vs D3 competition, per Sullivan Rule.

On the Bubble: Bromfield (8-7), Hudson (6-7), Littleton (6-6), Oakmont (6-7)

First of all, let me give some props to Hopedale, who was alive in the postseason race until a tough loss yesterday. The Blue Raiders have doubled their win total from last year's inaugural varsity season, and seem to be building a nice program.

In the dance we have G-D, who has qualified due to the Sullivan Rule, and play a tougher schedule than almost anybody in this district. They're biggest win thus far may be against their biggest competition for seeding, rival Tyngsboro. The Tigers will get another shot at the Crusaders next Tuesday, and that game could decide which CMass team gets the highest seed in this bracket.

Bromfield needs to win one of three to get in, while Hudson still has five games left and must win at least three of them. Littleton must at least split its final four games, and a big game at Bromfield awaits the Tigers today.

Oakmont has some winnable games left, but it's crunch time for the Spartans who must win two out of their last three to make the dance.


Anonymous said...

Even though the Sullivan rule would have been in effect, GD, much like last year, will not need it to get in. The worst they can do now is .500

Joe Parello said...

Right you are. Yeah, the Crusaders were in because of the Sullivan Rule yesterday when this article ran, but with the win over North Middlesex they would be in regardless. G-D hasn't needed it lately, and it's certainly a controversial rule, but one that is nice to have when you play almost all your games up a division.

Anonymous said...

Very true Joe, playing up helps them. But as the numbers go, they are a large Div 3 team. Yet all the teams they play in MidWach A are far closer to D1 size so it all works out.

Overall though it seems to be adding up to a good year for CMass Lax. Lets hope all those in the tourney does well representing.

Also, THANK YOU for all your efforts for CMass Lax, this year and previous.