Concordia lights up contenders on Minnesota road trip

It’s usually not surprising to see the Concordia Eagles posting blowout victories, but this was a special weekend. On the MCLA’s biggest Division II stage, the fourth-ranked Eagles wiped out No. 5 St. John’s and No. 3 North Dakota State by a combined score of 33-17. Neither team came within seven goals.

Freshman Jonah Rinaldi (Aliso Niguel) continued his blistering start for CUI. The attackman had seven goals and five assists in the two wins. Fellow attackman Brandon Mayo (Tesoro) was held in check against St. John’s before exploding for six goals against NDSU the following day.

It wasn’t just the attack getting in on the action, though. Midfielders Zach Hodge (Poway) and Connor Reed (Aliso Niguel) stuffed the stat sheet, as well. Hodge had six points against NDSU to run his weekend total to eight. Reed, one of the team’s two long-stick midfielders, had back-to-back games with six ground balls.

The trip isn’t over yet, though. Concordia’s toughest opponent is still ahead, as the Eagles take on No. 1 St. Thomas, last year’s MCLA champion, Tuesday night (8 p.m. PT). It will be a battle for the No. 1 spot in the country and could very well determine how seedings play out in May.

Division I

ASU, GCU survive OT to secure weekend splits

In a thrilling weekend for the state of Arizona, Arizona State and Grand Canyon both came very close to taking losses at the hands of Virginia Tech. So close, in fact, that both teams needed double overtime to hold off the No. 21 Hokies. The other visitor this weekend was BYU, who took care of the Sun Devils and Lopes.

Virginia Tech opened its road trip against No. 2 Grand Canyon in a game many people pegged as an easy win for the Lopes. Not so fast. VT jumped out to a 4-1 halftime lead, marking the first time in GCU’s MCLA history that the team failed to score at least twice in the first half. However, the Lopes tied it with 3:21 left in the game, and Joe Balestrerie (Rancho Bernardo) hit the game-winner in the second overtime to complete his hat trick. In a low-scoring duel, the Lopes survived, 5-4.

Surprisingly, the same thing would happen between ASU and Tech. This time, though, it was the home team that blew a big lead, as the Hokies erased a 7-1 first half ASU lead and took the game to overtime tied 9-9.

ASU pulled it out, though, as Jake Marthens (Trabuco Hills) put away his sixth goal of the game to prevent the upset and keep the Sun Devils’ at-large hopes alive with a 10-9 win.

San Diego State bounces back, upsets Oregon State

When the 23rd-ranked Aztecs met up with the No. 10 Beavers in Palm Desert this weekend, many people were leaning towards Oregon State. However, SDSU held Oregon State scoreless in the fourth quarter and claimed a 9-6 win.

It was a big moment for San Diego State, a team that had fallen in the rankings following losses to Chapman and Oregon at the start of the season. Those losses seem far behind the Aztecs now, though, as they’ve strung together a four-game win streak.

Other News and Notes from SLC

No. 15 Chapman and No. 16 UC Santa Barbara both rolled in their divisional matchups. The Panthers disposed of UCLA, 18-2. The story of that game was the return of Player of the Year Dylan Garner (Portland, Ore.), who looked great with a hat trick and an assist in his first game of the season. A hand injury had sidelined him through the team’s first five games. UCSB’s win came against Claremont, a 12-3 win behind five points from Casey Mix (Corona del Mar) and four from Elliot Stanger (Culver City).

In Division II, the San Diego Toreros grabbed a nice win against No. 20 Fort Lewis. Attackmen Drew Harvey (Sag Harbor, NY) and Chase Tornquist (Tucson, Arizona) each had six points in the win for 18th-ranked USD. The team has one out-of-conference game remaining before the home stretch, a five-game streak of SLC games.