Okay, so yeah that is a bit dramatic for a four team league in Des Moines...
Still, we are talking about four perfect records being on the line tonight. Besides opening night, how often do leagues have a night in which every team is holding a perfect record (one way or the other)? That is exactly what we are looking at tonight in Iowa's capital city - the death of two streaks - one winless and one without a loss. The action will be intense and the pace will be incredible.
Welcome to Week Three of the Central Iowa Lacrosse Association Summer League 2010.
Game 1 - 5:45 - Clark Phyiscal Therapy vs Mi Casa Rustic Furniture
In the battle of the winless, Clark holds the advantage with a 5-14 goal differential vs 2-26 for Mi Casa.* Clark showed definite improvement last week and the permanent addition of Valley's Boyd from Lightning will continue their growth. Clark is still lacking on the offensive front, but may benefit from a Mi Casa defense that cannot quite time its slides and has subsequently been leaking like a sieve. Newcomer Ripchinski finally arrives with Penn State experience to help Clark find the net.
Mi Casa is desperate. They want a win, but would settle for a reasonable scoreline after giving up 13 in each of their first 2 games. The offense has had very little time with the ball and the transition game has been nonexistent. Blay has been offered by Lightning (for a player to be named later) to help plug the defensive holes and assist with the transition. A player at Wisconsin-Stevens Point, Blay brings leadership to the back line, though his work responsibilities may limit his attendance. Given the absence of Stewart, Blay will be a welcomed addition tonight. With the early game tonight, I plan to return to my face off and midfield duties which should help balance the lines.
Prediction: Mi Casa gets into the game (finally), but Clark prevails by 3
Game 2 - 6:45 - Lightning Wear vs Wellspring ParableTexas-Oklahoma. Michigan-Ohio State. Florida-Georgia. These are some of college football's greatest match ups.
The Young Guns vs the Bolts may be the CILA equivalent. Both teams bring undefeated records and a corp of Valley players. It's a battle of Captains vs Coaches with Cam Bostwick and Alec Sunermann squaring off against Zielonko and Nielsen. Three of the highest scoring players (Cam Bostwick, Dylan Griess, Ben Couch) in Valley lax's short history line up for Lightning against the future threats of Wellspring (Ben Arends, Ted Crites, Matt Gardner). The field will be contested by the current crop of Valley stars on one side and the next generation on the other. Hunter Couch as been solid all summer with five goals against, including a shutout last week against Mi Casa. But the tandem of Taylor and Will Tornberg has been just as solid with only three goals against.
With teams this evenly matched, predicting a winner can be difficult. Wellspring has had issues on the back line with the absences of Kurt Sundermann and Dirk Arends, but Jamie Tornberg has been a solid skipper and a constant bright spot. His play is aggressive yet intelligent. But will it be enough to hold the aggressive offense of Lightning?
On the other side of the field, the defense may be more fierce. Despite losing Blay and Boyd this week, the back line keeps Mundus and Shelton with McDougal and Alec Sundermann also being extremely capable of wielding the long stick. McDougal's preference for the offense end of the field may be an exploitable weakness. Sundermann proved to be a solid choice in last week's outing. The biggest question is who fills in that third slot? Or do they even need three poles with the combined strength and athleticism of Mundus and Shelton?
Prediction: With strong defense and plenty of offensive options on both sides, this one comes down to patience. Zielonko and Nielsen have enough presence to keep the Young Guns calm and focused enough to squeak out a single goal victory.