Midwest Lacrosse region-related finals (men and women):
Men: Cortland State 14, Aurora 8
Women: Trinity-CT 19, Augustana-IL 2
(IMHO, Both opening round wins raised the bar a bit, however for both conferences)
I'm not sure how much any win raises the bar for conferences that presently exist for teams that are simply ahead of their parent conference's recognition of a sport, but the opening round wins certainly raise the bar for the schools' programs. Aurora losing 14-8 to the #1 men's team is an impressive accomplishment especially at tournament time. Augustana also lost to the #1 team in the country after traveling @4500 in about a week. Jet lag, anyone?
And the Ohio Wesleyan team Aurora beat in the opening round had been ranked at some point during the regular season as well, I believe. The conference for which Augustana's performance raises the bar will be the CCIW when it officially recognizes lacrosse. Augustana, North Central and Carthage will give the that league immediate respectability. Carthage's goalie btw, Ali Gorman, was ranked 8th in save percentage at .538%. Only slightly more than ten percent of D3 goalies saved over 50% of shots on goal. She's a junior. She'll be back next year.
And speaking of goalies, women's lacrosse fans who witnessed this weekend's games in Middlebury were able to watch All-American Allie Arnal of #14 Rensselaer put on a show. RPI stunned #5 Gettysburg who was clearly looking ahead to avenging their lone loss of the season to Middlebury the next day. A 6-4 halftime lead became a 9-8 defeat and it was all Middlebury could do this afternoon not to become the second upset victim. I'm glad she's graduating in a few weeks.
Congratulations on a successful season to a large handful of Midwest lacrosse programs who clearly intend to get better. I just wish that teams in several of the automatic-tournament-bid-winning conferences in the East would do the same.