I loved the spirit and enthusiasm displayed by the Laguna Hills Hawks as they proudly wore their “Let Us Play” t-shirts at the semi-finals on Saturday. Teddy Hicks’ boys had an outstanding season and are to be congratulated. They improved from 8-9 in 2011 in to 16-2, won the Sea View League, had a nine-game win streak, and averaged over 13 goals per game; .certainly a season deserving of post season play.
The problem is that 17 teams were deserving of post season play this year and there were only 16 slots. A number of really smart, hard-working, young men and women who took all the right classes and got all the right grades are rejected by Harvard every year. Not because they don’t “deserve” to get accepted or would not do well if admitted but because there are more qualified candidates than openings. This is the position that Laguna Hills and the playoff seeding committee found themselves in. Seventeen qualified candidates for 16 openings. If the Hawks had been selected for the playoffs they would have taken the place of another deserving team, and I’d be writing this same piece but about Esperanza or Beckman or Servite.
There are no automatic qualifiers for these lacrosse playoffs so it becomes the job of the playoff selection committee to identify and seed the 16 best teams. They need to sift through the noise of league titles, schedule strength, win-loss records, early vs. later season performance, etc. and determine which teams are the best. Its not an easy thing to do (maybe that’s why the committee members get paid the big bucks for this task) but the fact of the matter is the seeding committee did an excellent job and should be commended. Servite, the lowest seed, certainly bolstered their case by playing a very competitive 13-10 game against CdM (CdM is allowing less than 5 goals per game this season). The finalists are the #1 and #3 seeds. The final four included three of the top four seeds, and the No. 2 seed came oh so close to getting in also. Nice job seeding committee!
Laguna Hills should be proud of their season, keep building on the momentum they have started, and beef up the schedule a bit so they can prove on the field that they are one of the top 16 teams. If that all works out, some other deserving team or teams will be on the outside looking in next year.