Saturday is a big one in the MCLA’s Southwest Lacrosse Conference, with fifth-ranked Chapman (13-3, 3-0) heading north to take on No. 3 UC Santa Barbara (11-1, 3-0) in what amounts to the North Division championship game. Faceoff is at 1 p.m. PT, and you can watch it on The Lacrosse Network.
Last year, the two met at Chapman in the final game of the season, with the Panthers taking a 16-5 win before claiming the SLC title.
After a posting 4-2 mark in February, Chapman has 10-1, with the only loss coming 12-11 at No. 1-ranked Cal Poly-SLO. Santa Barbara, on the other hand, beat Cal Poly 10-9 back in February and has lost only at No. 4 Colorado State, 11-3.
Less high profile but no less important from a playoff standpoint, Claremont (8-5, 1-2) visits Loyola Marymount (6-6, 1-2) on Saturday with the No. 3 seed in the SLC playoffs at stake. LMU has lost to both UC Santa Barbara (9-6) and Chapman (21-3) in the last two weeks but still can make the playoffs with a win over Claremont, which has lost to Chapman 15-4, beaten UCLA 3-1 and dropped a scrimmage to D-III Whittier, 20-3.
The only one of these four SLC teams I’ve seen in person this year is LMU, but I have to say I was impressed with attack Colby Rhodes, who is in his first season with the Lions after starting his collegiate career at Penn State. Rhodes, from Bishop’s School in La Jolla, is listed at 6-foot-3 and 215 pounds, and he moves very well around the crease. He leads LMU in goals (29) and points (36), numbers that rank him tied for second in the SLC in goals and tied for fifth in points.
Faceoff for Claremont-LMU is at 1 p.m. PT at LMU’s Leavey Field (above the parking garage on the west side of campus).