NCL Championship Weekend: 2023 Preview


NCL Championship Weekend: 2023 Preview

We’ve finally made it to the NCL playoffs and Championship Sunday and no matter who hoists the trophy at the end, this will be a postseason for the books! Here are your final four matchups that will take place on Sunday, May 7th at USA Lacrosse in Sparks, MD:

#4 Coppin State @ #1 Morgan State – 4PM ET

#3 Bowie State @ #2 Delaware State – 5PM ET

Championship Game – 7PM ET

The Road To Championship Sunday

NCL season two was an exciting one all throughout, but let’s take a quick look at the paths these teams took to get here.

Morgan State beat Delaware State by a score of 18-13 in Week 5 to clinch the number one seed in the playoffs. Both teams finished with a 9-1 record, and they split their two head-to-head matchups. However, because Delaware State beat Morgan by 4 back in Week 3 and Morgan beat them by 5 in Week 5, Morgan was awarded the higher seed.

Bowie State clinched the #3 seed with their 18-8 win over Lincoln in Week 5 and finished the regular season with a 7-3 record overall.

Coppin State had the most sweating to do out of anyone. Coming into the day, they were 2-6 and were going to need at least one win and some help from Lincoln and UMES (along with some math) for things to fall in their favor. By the end of the day Coppin, UMES, and Lincoln all finished the regular season with a 3-7 record. Coppin clinched the last playoff spot because they were the only team to have wins against both teams in the tiebreaker and owned the goal differential in these head-to-head matchups. 

The NCL Final Four

#4 Coppin State @ #1 Morgan State

On paper, this matchup may seem like it will go Morgan State’s way. The Bears beat the Eagles 24-8 in their first matchup back in Week 1, and they continued their dominance in Week 4, beating Coppin 17-6. Still, it should be clear to those watching that these are not the same teams that saw each other in previous weeks. Morgan State stars Charles Pitt II and Kobie Johnson have returned to the lineup after being injured early in the season, and Coppin State has seen a recent uptick in offense that includes six goals from Derrick Green Jr. in his last two games. This matchup will likely end up closer than many think.

#3 Bowie State @ #2 Delaware State

This is a matchup that you could honestly call a pick-em. Delaware State is led by star Julian Dixon who leads the league in goals with 42, and is joined by Jason Rea Jr., who is 3rd in the league in goals and leads the league in faceoff wins. The challenge for them will be getting the ball past Bowie State star goalie Sean Peavy, who leads the league with 92 saves. On offense, Bowie has a plethora of options to go to including Jared Morgan who is second in the league with 34 goals. Back in Week 3 these two teams played a game that went down to wire with Delaware State prevailing with a 10-9 OT win. This game should be just as exciting, but it’s the NCL Final Four, so I expect it to be even more thrilling.

The winners of these games will advance to the championship game at 7PM. Not only is the prestigious NCL trophy on the line, but so is cash – and a lot of it! The winning team will receive $10k towards their program while the runner-up will receive $5k towards theirs.

Championships Sunday will be an absolute BANGER! Be sure to purchase your tickets for Sunday, May 7th at https://tinyurl.com/NCL-RSVPIFY. All games will be broadcast on Next Level Sports on Thursday May 11th. Head over to Next Level Sports & Entertainment (nlse.com) for your local listings.

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