Event: Mountain Pacific Sports Federation Championships
Where: Peter Barton Lacrosse Stadium – Denver, Colo.
When: Friday through Sunday, all day
Who to watch: Senior Molly Lapolla is entering her final games as an Aggie playing the best she’s played all four years.
The midfielder had 32 goals and 22 assists, good for a team leading 54 points. She also netted three scores in UC Davis’ near upset of Stanford last Sunday.
Did you know? Because this is the third year the MPSF has used a post-season tournament to determine the conference champion, the winner of the event will gain an automatic NCAA National Championship berth. This is due to NCAA bylaws stating that a conference needs to use the championship tournament for two years before the eventual winner can get the automatic bid.
Preview: Some coaches consider the postseason a brand new season.
Coach Elaine Jones wants the playoffs to be a continuation of the final regular season game.
“Despite losing to Stanford, we gained a lot of momentum in the second half of that game,” Jones said. “We need to come out strong just like we did in the Stanford game.”
UC Davis, the No. 5 seed, opens up the championships against Oregon. The Ducks topped the Aggies 13-5 on April 18. Jones called the loss a big disappointment, but expects a different result the second time around.
“It’s nice to play them again because we didn’t play them well at all the first time,” Jones said. “There’s nowhere to go but up after the last time so I expect a much better performance in all areas.”
Jones said the key to topping Oregon is strong offensive and defensive play and more aggressiveness on the field.
“Lacrosse can sometimes be about luck,” Jones said. “But if we play more aggressive, we can get those ground balls that didn’t seem to bounce our way the first time around.”
Even though Oregon topped UC Davis easily the first time around, Jones doesn’t expect the Ducks to take the Aggies lightly.
“Given how we played against Stanford, I don’t expect anyone, especially Oregon, to underestimate us.”
– Jason Alpert