The #1 Concordia Eagles’ have survived three games in four days throughout the opening rounds of the MCLA Tournament, earning them a spot in the National Championship Game against the Dayton Fliers. An undefeated record of 20-0, including several wins against D-1 opponents have the Eagles primed and ready to bring home the SLC’s first D2 Championship.
In the 1st round of the tournament the #1 Seeded Eagles fell behind to the #16 Seeded Briarcliffe Bulldogs 5-2 after the 1st Quarter. A 7-0 run in the 2nd Quarter gave Concordia the lead and they never looked back. Attackman Dillion Bernard (Great Oak) led the Eagles with 6pts (4G, 2A), and was supported by fellow attackman Josh Fagan who posted 4pts (3G, 1A). Some teams and MCLA fans began to question the Eagles #1 Seed after their hiccup in the 1st Round, but a gritty 2nd Round victory against the St. John’s Johnnies would silence the critics.
A back and forth contest between two of the best teams in MCLA D-2 would prove to be one of the most exciting games of the tournament. This was truly a game of runs as both teams battle for the lead and a spot in the MCLA Semi-Final Game. After giving up several goals due to Illegal Stick penalties the Eagles fought back and went on an amazing run to take the lead and move on to the next round. Fagan led Concordia with 5pts (5G) along with a 4pts (3G, 1A) from Bernard and 3pts (1G, 2A) from Chase Matranga (Dana Hills). Cody Cook came up big in the cage for the Eagles with 15 saves, and severla in the 4th Quarter which allowed Concordia to make their run.
The Eagles would face the Western Washington Vikings in the Semi-Final game at Chapman for a rematch of Concordia’s 10-4 win earlier this season. The game started off slowly with good defense and goal-tending from both teams, but in the 2nd Quarter the Eagles started clicking on offense and could not be stopped. Whether it was in transition, man-up, or settled play the Eagles were a step quicker, and their shots always seemed to find the back of the net. Though Fagan (4G, 2A), Bernard (4G, 1A), and Matranga (2G, 2A) all had big games offensively it was the stellar play of the Concordia defense that stifled the Vikings explosive offense. Nick Adam (J Serra), Brendan Yount (J Serra), and Jake Pense (De La Salle) all had amazing games to go along with another 16 saves from Cook.
The Championship Game features two high powered offenses, and will likely come down to whoever has the ball last. With one of the toughest regular season schedules in the nation, a revamped coaching staff, and a loaded senior class the Eagles are more than prepared for the task that lies ahead. From all of us here at MaxLaxOC we wish the Eagles the best of luck!