(Photo: Jodi Vosika-ASU Lacrosse)
Earlier this week, news broke that the Men’s Collegiate Lacrosse Association (MCLA) Tournament will finally be relocating back to the west coast. It’s a move that the MCLA needed to make. Not only were the attendance numbers low, but with 12 of the 16 MCLA Tournament teams needing to make a cross-country trip to South Carolina, it just wasn’t economically viable anymore for these western programs.
After touring Phoenix, AZ and Orange County, CA, MCLA officials decided that the tournament was going to officially be moving to O.C. Now, heads are starting to turn towards these west coast teams in determining who this gives the real edge to.
Chapman has the best advantage, distance-wise. It’ll be a hefty 15-mile trip to UC Irvine, where the opening two rounds of the tournament will be played. Last year, Chapman only lost once at home, against Oregon, the surprise PNCLL team that would later eliminate them from the 2013 MCLA Tournament in the opening round.
Since 2007, Chapman has lost only five home games. Something else to keep in mind is the west coast postseason success.
In the Southwestern Lacrosse Conference playoffs, ASU has the edge. The Sun Devils have made championship appearances in all four SLC tournaments, and they have won three.
In the Pacific Northwest Collegiate Lacrosse League, Oregon also has three victories out of its four championship game appearances. And for the Western Collegiate Lacrosse League, it’s Cal Poly.
However, all of these conferences will benefit from the tournament’s move back to the west. There are a lot of numbers being spit out here, but it all boils down to one thing: the east coast is irrelevant in the MCLA. It just isn’t a factor when compared to the powerhouses out west.
Blame it on the NCAA. Blame it on the changing of the tide in youth lacrosse from east coast to west. Blame it on anything, but know that the days of seeing the MCLA tournament anywhere in an eastern state is over and done. Since 2007, no school east of Colorado has made it into the MCLA’s Final Four except Michigan, which has since become an NCAA Division I program.
All of the MCLA benefits, except for the auto-bid teams east of the Rocky Mountain Lacrosse Conference. The fans will show up to support their nearby teams, the event will draw more attention and become more popular, and the teams deserving of a near-home advantage will have it.
You can reach Trey Lanthier on Twitter @TreyLanthier or by email firstname.lastname@example.org.