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 19, 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
- William Penn
What Does This Tell Us? (Written by @NAIALaxInsider on Twitter)
Another week has gone by and we are that much closer to the NAIA Lacrosse National Championship! Less than a month to go and teams are making their plays to be included in that exclusive eight team field. Saturday was a great day for NAIA Lacrosse, as we saw two amazing comebacks from two top matchups. For many teams, this was the last weekend of the regular season, so before we get to the games, let’s take a look at where the conferences are at currently.
Reinhardt and Keiser secured the top two seeds in the AAC Tournament, so they get the first-round bye. Keiser defeated Webber to earn that bye but will likely face them again in the semifinalss in what will be another classic game. Reinhardt finished conference play a perfect 8-0, so they grab the top seed as they look for yet another conference championship before they head off to the national tournament.
On Friday, April 21st, #3 Webber will take on #6 SCAD with the winner facing Keiser, while #4 Cumberlands will face off against #5 TWU with the winner taking on Reinhardt.
The WHAC is the most exciting right now just for the number of teams battling it out each and every week. You never knowing who is going to come out on top. They still have another week of games to play, but we know who will be going to the conference tournament, just unsure of the seeding. Concordia and Indiana Tech will likely be the top two seeds, with Siena Heights, Madonna, Lawrence Tech, and Aquinas still shuffling around for the 3-6 positions. Concordia is beating anyone in front of them and Indiana Tech is playing with a chip on their shoulder with dominant wins since their only conference loss to Concordia. After this week’s games, the final WHAC Tournament seedings will be announced and games will start on April 25th.
Heart of America Conference
William Penn wrapped up at least a share of the inaugural regular Heart of America season title, but they still have more work to go in order to make it to Florida. The Heart is not finished with all of their games, but their tournament looks to start on April 26th with the top four teams. Right now, that would be Willy P, Benedictine, Mount Vernon, and St Ambrose, but there is plenty of lacrosse to be played still.
While the WHAC is probably the most exciting, the KCAC will be the most interesting. Ottawa is coming on strong and playing their best lacrosse and fighting for a playoff spot. The KCAC Tournament is set, with #1 Ottawa playing #4 Missouri Baptist and #2 Columbia playing #3 Midland. Ottawa needs a strong showing and possibly an early Siena Heights loss to get into the conversation since the will not get an automatic bid due to not having enough teams in the conference.
The conference tournaments look to be exciting as we will be seeing some top matchups again!
Games of the Week
#1 Keiser Defeats #3 Webber 10-9
This was must-see lacrosse with it being 2-2 at the end of the first and 5-5 at the half. Webber finally broke free in the third with a man-up goal by freshman Jeremiah Loo and then Chase Jackson backed that up with another goal to end the third with an 8-6 lead. Webber’s defense and goalie Alex Cordero helped keep Keiser to just one goal in the third.
Loo fed Nick Sheaffer to start the fourth to put Webber up by three with a ton of momentum. However, Keiser wasn’t going down without a fight. First, Jack Gillen got Keiser back on the board to shave the lead to two before AJ Badik called game. He went off for three straight goals, the final with three minutes remaining, and Keiser held off Webber with a tough D and some critical saves by goalie Christian Tomei to win the battle of Florida.
They will likely meet again in the semifinals of the AAC and we can’t wait!
#7 Siena Heights Edges #8 Aquinas in OT 10-9
This was a roller coaster of emotions for both sides. Aquinas quickly went up by four goals in the first five minutes, and by the end of the first AQ led 6-3 and carried the three goal lead to halftime, leading 7-4. After Mitch Haggart’s second goal of the game on a man-up possession, Aquinas was rolling in the third with a 9-4 lead. Siena Heights had to feel that their playoff hopes were on the line here, as they roared back behind three goals from Jake Gallaher paired with a goal and assist from Eric Csizmadia, with his goal coming with just 1:32 left in the game to tie it up.
With just 33 seconds left to play in the first OT, Gallaher found Dillon Baldwin for the game winner for Siena Heights. Their playoff hopes are still alive and a good showing in the WHAC tournament could clinch that final spot for them.
(RV) William Penn Defeated #10 Benedictine 16-7
This was a big matchup as it is likely a preview of the Heart of America final with an automatic bid for nationals on the line. Benedictine is a good team, but the Statesmen just went off in the second quarter with a 7-1 advantage, and the Ravens just couldn’t claw their way back from such a deficit. Credit goes to the WP defense and goalie Eric Garigan, who made 13 saves on 20 SOG. Breck Putzier put up another big game, with three goals and five assists while Max Taylor dumped in four goals while dissing out two more assists. For the Ravens, Michael Hogan scored a team high three goals and Jordan Rodriguez had two goals and four assists.
I expect both coaches will have their teams ready for the next match-up and likely won’t be this lopsided. I feel William Penn has been on the cusp of a breakout and this may be the tipping point for them, but Coach Dineen will have the Ravens ready and hungry for a national bid in his first year with the team.
from Lacrosse All Stars https://ift.tt/kJcLwGl