Four conference championships have been decided so far; all others come down to the final weekend.
For this weekend’s picks blog, Candace and Matt will predict what each conference’s last weekend of the regular season will yield in terms of regular-season champions.
Candace: This is one of the conferences that is decided alrady. I think Morrisville edges Endicott for second, with Canton coming in fourth.
Matt: Stevenson has already clinched, but the battle for second through fourth is still very much up in the air. I say the finish looks like Stevenson at the top, then Endicott, Morrisville and Canton.
Candace: Plattsburgh is still the team to beat, and even if the Cardinals were to get swept this weekend, they own the tiebreaker over Elmira. Utica finishes third, holding off Buffalo State.
Matt: Plattsburgh is the class of D-III, but suffered its first loss of the season last weekend to Utica. While finishing first is all but assured, Elmira is a hard-luck No. 2, followed by Utica and then Buffalo State.
Candace: By far the tightest conference race, I am going with St. Thomas to capture the league crown, with Bethel finishing second and Concordia (Minn.) third.
Matt: Any of St. Thomas, Bethel and Concordia (Minn.) can statistically still win the conference. After writing on Augsburg this week, the Auggies are my sentimental pick to finish fourth. Above Augsburg, I see St. Thomas winning, then Concordia and Bethel, in that order.
Candace: Another tight race, with the two teams in the running playing twice this weekend. I like Lake Forest to hold off Adrian in the race.
Matt: Lake Forest and Adrian have been neck and neck all year and while the former leads by two points right now, the two schools (of course!) play each other twice this weekend. Not sure any goalie can stop Michelle Greeneway, but Adrian has two capable goaltenders. I don’t like calling ties, so I see a split here, which gives Lake Forest the conference.
Candace: This isn’t as tight as it appears to be, because for playoff purposes, the two teams pursuing Norwich, Holy Cross and St. Anselm, are ineligible for the postseason due to Holy Cross being a D-I school and St. Anselm being a D-II school, so for the top seed in the league playoffs, Norwich already has it.
Matt: This looks like it’s down to Norwich and Holy Cross. Norwich has two No. 1 goalies in Celeste Robert and Laurie King, so who starts this weekend? Not sure it matters as the Cadets get to claim another crown.
Candace: This is a barn-burner between two long-time rivals. Like Matt, I see the Lord Jeffs overtaking the Panthers on the last weekend of the season.
Matt: The two-horse race between Middlebury and Amherst is certainly intriguing. Middlebury leads by a single point going into the weekend. I’ll go off the chart here and say Amherst takes both from Wesleyan and Middlebury splits with Williams, giving Amherst the championship.
Candace: The fourth conference that has already been decided. Congrats to Wis.-River Falls, which even if it hadn’t won, has a cushion with a chance to beat Wis.-Eau Claire Saturday.
Matt: Wisconsin-River Falls has already claimed this one, but even if they hadn’t, I see them winning Saturday against Wisconsin-Eau Claire. Stevens Point, meanwhile, hosts Concordia (Wis.) for a nonconference game.