Canadian and Iroquois Players in the NCAA

Our thanks to Jason Donville for his continued efforts to keep us all up to date on Canadian and Iroquois players playing in the NCAA

The next week will arguably be one of the most exciting of the year for fans of field lacrosse in Canada. This excitement stems from three factors. First, the NCAA Championships will be played next weekend in Boston and three of the four finalist teams have Canadian and Iroquois players in their line-ups. Second, the Toronto Nationals of the MLL which feature many former NCAA stars will play their first home game at BMO Field this Friday after opening with a win in Washington against the Bayhawks over the weekend. Finally, lacrosse fans in Southern Ontario will be trying to keep track of the NCAA and MLL action while attending a very busy provincial championships weekend in the Greater Toronto Area (GTA).

Syracuse, Virginia, Cornell and Duke make it to the final four

The NCAA 2009 Men’s Lacrosse Championships will take place in Boston this weekend with the Div I semi’s on the 23rd, the Div III and Div II finals on the 24th and the Div I final on the 25th of May. In Div I, Syracuse, Virginia, Cornell and Duke have made it to the final four with three of the four teams featuring several Canadian and Iroquois players. The Div II final will feature Le Moyne and CW Post and there are no Canadians on either of these teams. The Div III final features Cortland State against Gettysburg. Gettysburg has one Canadian on its roster (Matt McMurray, a freshman middy from Orangeville) while Cortland State has no Canadian’s on its roster but coach Steve Beville has many friends in Canada.

Virginia versus Cornell

The Virginia vs. Cornell semi-final game will feature seven Canadians. Virginia will be led by Garrett Billings (Langley) and Garrett Ince (Oakville). Billings who is a senior is one of Virginia’s key offensive threats having scored 37 goals and 20 assists in 17 games this year. Ince on the other hand is a freshman and has played less frequently than Billings but should see some face-off specialist time as he boasts a 56% win rate. The Cornell “Big Red” features five Canadians on the roster. Mitch McMichael (Port Perry) and Jonathan Thomson (Orangeville) play midfield for Cornell and should see some good playing minutes against the “Wahoo’s” while long pole middy Michael Howe (St Catharine’s) will also see some playing time in transition. Leif Paulson (Prince George) and Jesse Gamble (Rockwood) have had limited playing time this year but could see the field if injuries occur with the starting attack unit.

Syracuse versus Duke

Syracuse comes into this year’s Championships as the defending champs with one Canadian and two Iroquois players prominent in the line-up. Stephen Keogh (Toronto Beaches) has had a terrific season having scored 46 goals in 16 games this year. Scoring sensation Cody Jaimeson (Six Nations) will also be a player to watch closely. Jamieson received his academic clearance to play late in the season and has quickly scored 5 goals in 4 games with limited playing time. Of course, the Syracuse defense is also anchored by Sid Smith (Oshweken), a senior long pole who can play physically and also has terrific hands. Duke University features no Canadians on this year’s roster.

Where to watch lacrosse this weekend

Over the past 3-4 years, the theScore has picked up both the semi-finals and finals of the NCAA Div I tournament and this is once again the case in 2009. For fans in Southern Ontario, the NCAA TV action starts next Saturday at 12 noon with both semi-s running back to back. The final will almost certainly be televised on Monday the 25th of May but theScore.com schedule is not available that far out.

Nationals win big in Washington DC

As mentioned above, this week upcoming is also a big week for field lacrosse fans in Canada and the MLL’s newest team, the Toronto Nationals are part of the story line. Just to recap, the Toronto Nationals opened their schedule on Friday in Washington DC with a 17-16 win over the Bayhawks. Merrick Thomson (Stony Brook) had seven goals in the win, and Brodie Merrill (Orangeville) added a goal and three assists. This Friday, the Nationals host the Chicago Machine in Toronto at BMO Field. Chicago won their season opener in Denver last weekend and thus both teams enter Friday nights tilt with undefeated records. The Nationals should also have three high impact players in the line-up who were not available last weekend in Matt Vinc (St Catherine’s), Gary Gait (Victoria) and Jordan Hall (Surrey). Hall and Vinc were playing for the NY Titans in the NLL final while Gait was coaching the Syracuse Women’s lacrosse team in the NCAA playoffs last weekend. The Nationals play at BMO Field on Friday at 7:30PM and tickets can be purchased at the LaxShack in Pickering, Sanderson’s in Orangeville, Arrow Sports in Six Nations or through Ticket Master and/or through the Nationals website at nationalslacrosse.com.

This is a great time for Canadian Lacrosse!

We had 153 of our players in the NCAA this year, and 10 of those players will be playing in the NCAA final four this weekend. At the same time, Canada finally has its first MLL team which will play its first home game ever this Friday at BMO Field. For field lacrosse fans in Canada, these are good times.

Yours in Lacrosse

JD

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1 Comment

  1. Great blog! Keep the updates coming. Never knew about this site, but I will make is a regular read from now on. Thanks!


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