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Friday, March 5, 2010

Valley Tigers 2010 Status Update

Originally I was considering putting up a post previewing the Valley team. I thought about going into detail about returning players and their stats from last year, but I figured you could get that off of the Valley website. Maybe highlighting some new players and how the team has come together. But that might be providing too much info to our opponents. I will say this though, Valley will be a force to contend with this season.
Although our games and even outdoor practices have been affected by the snow, this group of players is itching to get the season going. With one more week of indoor practices before Spring Break hits us on March 13, we will be stressing game situations and the importance of putting in stick work between practices.

Our post Spring Break plan is to hit the ground running. Based on the current forecast and the hope that the weather continues as is, the snow should be off the fields so we can practice. Since West Des Moines is resurfacing both Valley Stadium and the Southwoods practice field, we will be using Indian Hills for both games and outdoor practices this season. Had the weather cooperated, we would be using the Stadium for both through Spring Break...

With five straight days of practice heading into our *new* opening weekend (March 27), our boys should be more than ready despite their vacation. With games at home on Saturday and at Burke in Omaha on Sunday, we will have a full plate. But the hard work put in all spring will pay off when we begin practice on Monday with a 4-0 record.

The roster is very strong. A couple of players relocated to Iowa from strong lax communities over the summer and we are returning 12 players from last year, including both goalies. The bulk of our d-poles return, as do two of last year's leading scorers at midfield. Only a handful of the returning players are seniors, which means our future looks equally bright.
Some other stuff:
  • It was finally warm enough to break out my brand new Harrow team jacket. Pics will be posted at some point.
  • My new gloves are scheduled to be delivered today. Plan to break them in starting tomorrow. Pics and review to follow.
  • Interest in local lax keeps growing; a couple of new people contacted me this week. At least one has some experience and wants to get back into lax. Could be a great summer with adult, high school, and middle school players all going on Thursday nights. Expect a poll for the official christening of our designated lax league this summer towards the end of the month.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

NCAA Conference Poll Results

A while back I asked which conference your favorite NCAA Lax team competes in. The results have come back and I can now narrow down the teams to find out which college program is tops among the followers of this blog.

Poll Results:
ACC: 18%
America East: 9%
Big East: 18%
Independents: 55%

Nobody chose the Colonial, ECAC, Ivy, Metro Atlantic, or Patriot.

MLL Expansion/Relocation - Realignment #4

The final leg of the MLL Expansion do-over is finally upon us! Part 1 saw few changes, Parts 2 & 3 saw some real movement. This edition sees two teams leave the West Coast and will feature newly configured divisions.

- Providence Quahogs: The Killer Whales leave the potentially strong Pacific NW rivalry with Seattle for what could be an even stronger relationship with Boston. Considering that metro currently hosts the minor leagues for two of Boston's most beloved teams, the Red Sox and Bruins, and Gillette Stadium is a mere 20 miles to the north (approximately the midpoint between the cities), this rivalry has the potential for some heated games. It is not hard to imagine hordes of fans travelling to the opposite stadium - or even "neutral site" games at Gilette.

The "Quahogs" name is derived from the state's official shell. Since Rhode Island is known as the "Ocean State," choosing an aquatic name seems extremely appropriate. The name is also culturally relevant as the characters on Family Guy reside in the fictional town of Quahog, RI.

Instead of throwing a giant clam on the team's helmet's, they would use a graphic derived from the state's flag (pictured). The Quahogs would wear navy blue and Columbia blue to represent the ocean. Athletic gold and white would be used to tie into the team's logo.

All three of the city's major universities play NCAA D1 lacrosse: Bryant, Brown, and Providence. Nearby University of Rhode Island fields a club team in the MCLA. As a result, the Quahogs can choose between a few facilities. Bryant Bulldogs Stadium shows a lot of promise but is limited by its 4400 seat capacity. There is room to expand the stadium, however. Brown Stadium's 20,000 capacity is ideal, but its seating style is less than favorable for lax. Other facilities on all three of the metro's campus would require significant expansion to host the MLL team.

-Des Moines Demons: I had to save the best for last!
Replacing the San Diego Torpedoes, the expansion team in Des Moines would adopt the Demons name and iconography. Designed by Dan Schuster of Design Trust, the Demons logo has become the de facto symbol for the Central Iowa Lacrosse Association. Should Des Moines land a professional team, CILA would glad hand over the name and logo. The MLL Demons would wear red, black, and athletic gold.

As you probably know, there is not exactly a plethora of suitable fields in the DM metro. The only field that springs to mind right away is Drake Stadium. Although the capacity is ideal at just under 15,000 seats, the blue track removes fans from the action and creates a major distraction. The horse shoe shape is also less than ideal for lacrosse. Parking near the stadium is not the best, but fair enough to meet the projected needs.

Once up on a time the Des Moines Menace were working to build their own stadium. Liberty Bank Stadium was designed to have a maximum seating capacity of 17,000 which would be perfect for a professional lacrosse team. The fans would sit closer to the action than at Drake and the venue would be more modern as well. With the Menace seemingly content at Valley and a shortage of land and funds, a Demons team playing at LBS is a pipe dream.

A third option would be Coach Cownie Stadium. Located on the south side of Des Moines, the Cownie Soccer complex is the home of both of the Drake Bulldogs soccer teams and the high school state soccer championship. Clinics and youth tournaments could be held at the remaining fields as the sport grows in Iowa to make Demons games an all day affair. The stadium currently seats 2000 and looks to be easily expanded triple that, possibly more. Upgraded locker facilities, additional restrooms, and possibly a second concession stand would be needed to accommodate the professional teams.The biggest issues (aside from the current lack of seating) all stem from its location. Cownie is very removed from all three major highways (I-35/80, I-235, and 65/5 bypass) on a two lane road. This road and the intersection at SE 14th would definitely need considerable upgrades at the minimum. There is also an active train track that crosses through the main gate to the parking lot. This could be a serious issue on game days. Most importantly, the stadium sits just a few hundred yards south of the Des Moines River. Being in a flood plain creates the hazard of losing the ability to host games. The entire complex was closed for a considerable amount of time in 2008 because of flooding. Still, Cownie provides the more intimate, up close atmosphere that suits lacrosse and may be a better option than Drake.

-Final MLL Divisions & Conferences-

Eastern Division
  • Empire: Buffalo, Syracuse, Rochester, Long Island

  • Northern: Boston, Providence, Toronto, Ottawa
  • Atlantic: Georgia, Carolina, Washington, Pittsburgh
Western Division
  • Pacific: Los Angeles, San Jose, Seattle, Las Vegas

  • Central: Denver, Minnesota, Chicago, Des Moines
  • Southern: Dallas, Oklahoma City, Florida, Jacksonville

The top two teams from each conference qualify for the playoffs. The seventh and eighth team overall from each division also qualify. The playoff system is seeded by division with the winners of each division meeting in the league championship. The playoffs are held over two weekends in up to five locations. The first two rounds of divisional play occur during the first week and the conference and league championships during the second. This system is carried over from the current weekend to keep the pro game similar to the college game.

Week 1, Day 1:

  • Site A - West #1 vs West #8, West #4 vs West #5

  • Site B - West #2 vs West #7, West #3 vs West #6
  • Site C - East #1 vs East #8, East #4 vs East #5
  • Site D - East #2 vs East #7, East #3 vs East #6

Week 1, Day 2:

  • Site A - Winner 1/8 vs Winner 4/5

  • Site B - Winner 2/7 vs Winner 3/6 3

  • Site C - Winner 1/8 vs Winner 4/5
  • Site D - Winner 2/7 vs Winner 3/6

Week 2, Day 1:

  • Western - Winner A vs Winner B, Eastern - Winner C vs Winner D

Week 2, Day 2:

  • Championship - Winner A/B vs Winner C/D

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

MLL Expansion/Relocation - Update

I had part 4 all ready to go, but Blogger had a slight issue and dumped everything I wrtoe up over lunch. I will redo it and hopefully get it posted tomorrow.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Snow = A Later Start

Due to the Ice Age that has affected Des Moines since November, Valley Stadium proved to be uncleanable this weekend. We originally planned to scrape the field on Saturday to give it a week in the sun in preparation for our opening games. Since the drifts were too deep and the field too large, the Tigers will not be able to begin their season as early as planned.
The games for this weekend (March 6 & 7) and next Saturday (March 13) have been postponed. The Tigers season is now scheduled to begin on Saturday, March 27. The games will still be in town - at Indian Hills Middle School.
We hope to make up the six missed games in West Des Moines during the month of April. Updates will be posted here and on the Tigers website.

Tribe 7