The NAIA has been growing for number of years now but there as always been one consistent road bump for the teams involved, being the lack of national coverage. The league currently only offers one ranking system which features a rating committee comprised of eight raters; two raters per conference/group. All of these rankings are handled on an NAIA level and release publicly every other week compared to once a week.
We decided we would take this into our own hands and contact every NAIA coach directly to get their thoughts on the top ten on a week-to-week basis. This way we can get a better understanding of what coaches across the league value in a national title caliber team and see how their thoughts relate to the official NAIA polls.
Here is our latest NAIA Lacrosse All Stars Coaches Poll of the 2023 season.
Every coach in the NAIA was sent a poll early Monday morning and was given twenty-four hours to provide their top ten rankings. It was as simple as ranking teams one through ten. With this data, we then were able to tally the votes via a point system and comprise the final rankings which you see below.
How do these results compare the official NAIA rankings?
NAIA Men’s Lacrosse Coaches Top 10 Poll (Last Updated April 5, 2023)
- The rating committee is comprised of eight raters – two raters per conference/group.
- Each conference/group produces a conference rating from which raters will use to compile their national ballot. Only teams represented on the conference rating are eligible for the national ballot.
- Each rater will submit a top 15 ballot, which will be used to produce the Top 10 national rating and a list of other teams receiving votes.
- Indiana Tech
- Siena Heights
- Lawrence Tech
What Does This Tell Us? (Written by @NAIALaxInsider on Twitter)
We are a little more than a month away from the NAIA National Championships in Pensacola, Florida, and after this weekend the teams that should be punching their ticket to the tourney are really starting to shape out. We had a top team drop two tough games, we had another contender winning two tough games, and another team making a statement. Before we look at some of those games, though, let’s have a little fun with predicting the top eight that will be going to Florida in May.
Who Goes to Florida?
There are four conferences but with the KCAC not having six teams, they do not get an automatic qualifier that comes out of the conference tournament. So, that means we have three AQs up for grabs and five at-large playoff spots. I don’t think the KCAC gets a team in this year as Ottawa and Columbia are both good, solid teams, but I don’t see a case for them at this time for the top eight. So, that leaves eight spots across three conferences. Where do they pan out?
AAC Grabs Four Spots
There will be four teams from the AAC in the tournament; Keiser, Reinhardt, Webber and Cumberlands. Yes, Cumberlands has a few losses, but they lost to every team above them and have a win over Concordia, which is a strong signature win. I doubt we see any upsets from the teams below them in their conference tournament, and there is no way that a team below these four teams beat three of them in the conference tournament and grab an AQ. These four teams are in and belong there.
Heart and WHAC Fight for Final Spots
That leaves four spots between two conferences, so two teams each, right? Not so fast! First off, Concordia and Indiana Tech get in from the WHAC whether it is an AQ or not. That is where the wrinkle comes in to play. Siena Heights, Aquinas, and Lawrence Tech all are solid teams and could pull out a win or two and nab an AQ. That would mean we would only see the AQ from the Heart of America Conference. Who wins there?
William Penn has the record but their signature win is Madonna or St. Ambrose. Benedictine is solid too and their signature win over Columbia is stronger than William Penn’s, but not by much. This will be a fight to the end and good finish by the 3rd place team in the WHAC could limit the Heart to just one team.
AAC (4): Keiser, Reinhardt, Webber and Cumberlands
WHAC (3): Concordia, Indiana Tech, and Siena Heights
Heart (1): Benedictine
Cumberlands Drops Two
Coming into last Saturday, Cumberlands was faced with a brutal slate against my top three teams in the country. I thought they would be able to grab one game, and they sure came close against Reinhardt. But at the end of the stretch, they finished 0-3 and need to win out to grab a spot in the national tournament, which I think they easily do. From what I hear from NAIA Lacrosse Twitter, they are down to their 3rd FOGO, which is never an easy task to overcome. Hopefully they get healthy quickly to get back in contention.
#1 Keiser defeats #4 Cumberlands 10-6
Keiser got another big win to cement their place as the top team in nation with sold effort. AJ Badik led the way with three goals for Keiser while Keiser’s defense clamped down on Cumberlands, allowing just 16 shots on goals. Goalie Christian Tomei continues his excellent year with 10 saves on those 16 shots.
#5 Webber win over #4 Cumberlands 19-7
Cumberlands had two days rest after playing the top team in the country, and while these guys have played on two days rest many times in their high school days, it is never easy. Throw in the injury bug and Webber just didn’t let up.
Jeremiah Loo led the way with a double hat-trick and assist for a total of seven points while Chase Jackson and Nick Shaeffer both dumped in four goals.
Concordia Holds Strong
Letdown is easy after a win like Concordia had over Indiana Tech, and while Concordia won both games this week, Lawrence Tech gave them a scare to start their week. Officially, Siena Heights was ranked #6 and LTU was #9, though most people thought Concordia’s ranking at #10 was a bit low.
#10 Concordia over #9 LTU 17-15
A high scoring affair saw Concordia outlast LTU to keep rolling. Concordia winning out gives them the regular season title, and they will be getting everyone’s best shot from here on out. Cooper Regimbal and Evan Stuart each had a hat-trick from Concordia, while Travis Wright led the way with four goals. Damien Hudson and Brendan Shinavier each had five goals for LTU.
#10 Concordia over #6 Siena Heights 13-8
Concordia continued their ranked teams onslaught with another win, their 3rd in a row over ranked teams, by downing Siena Heights. Andrews Simmons and Travis Wright both had three goals for Concordia, while Eric Csizmadia scored three goals for Siena Heights.
Concordia has a very winnable slate of games to finish the season, with their toughest test being Wednesday against Aquinas. Don’t be surprised to see them finish without losing anymore games.
Siena Heights Grabs a Win
#6 Siena Heights defeats (RV) Madonna
Eric Csizmadia scored four goals to lead Siena Heights while Devin Plemmons added three goals. For Madonna, Nick Conrad had a hat-trick. This was a much-needed win for Siena Heights and will need some big wins down the stretch to make it into the NAIA Lacrosse National Tournament.
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