This weekend, the top small schools of the frigid northland will converge upon the eventual site of the 2012 DIII National Championships (Appleton, WI) and duke it out for regional supremacy. With three bids on the line it will be a literal bloodbath, and when I say literal I mean figurative. While there are certainly three teams that are expected to take the bids, there are four other hungry teams and Loras (kidding, Loras) that are salivating at a possible Nationals berth.
Location: Appleton, WA
# of Bids: 3
BAM had little trouble breezing through conferences, with their only real challenge being GOP on Sunday, a game which BAM took 13-8. Behind strong play from FOTY nominee Matt “_____dog” Berthiaume, BAM looks to take the region and (after Harding’s shocking defeat) hopefully lock up the #1 seed for Nationals.
St. Olaf finished second at Northwoods conferences, defeating GOP in a game that essentially didn’t matter for either team. The grapevine informed me that two of Olaf’s best players (Kier Stiegler and Charlie Whitmore) got injured at conferences. I was too lazy to discover whether or not they are good to go for the weekend, but their (potential) absences could be a setback for The Berserkers. Looks as if less-talented-than-Matt-Berthiaume FOTY nominee Ben “Nogirlfriend” Liska will have to put his money where his discs are.
Despite losing to St. Olaf on Sunday of conferences, GOP actually defeated The Berserkers in pool play on Saturday. Although I didn’t witness either of the games, the level of parity between these teams is obvious. Rhys Lindmark and Matt Godfrey lead the O-line with patient offense while (insert GOP D-line player’s name here) lays out like a hot girl on a beach for the D-line.
Grinnell is looking to repeat their success of last year (where they finished 3rd at Nationals), despite losing a large and talented senior class. The Grinnelephants will match up in pool play against MSOE, which is led by the physically imposing John LaFavor.
Finally, Augustana’s Nick Sveiven and Dan Heuer hope to lead their team to an upset against either BAM or GOP on Saturday.
And there you have it! A completely non-biased preview of the regional tournament. Matt Berthiaume for FOTY!!!!!
Featured photo by Lars Benson