The regular season served as an appetizer for Colin Briggs, and now the main course awaits for the former Hendricken standout as the Virginia Cavaliers begin their national title defense in earnest.
The Cavs were assigned the No. 5 national seed from the NCAA lacrosse selection committee and will take on Princeton Sunday afternoon in the first round, with the winner moving on to play Yale or fourth-seeded Notre Dame a week later at PPL Park in Chester, Pa., in the quarterfinals.
Despite being ranked No. 1 in both major polls for much of the season, Virginia saw its stock slide down the stretch, as it dropped consecutive contests to Duke and North Carolina before snapping the streak in the regular season finale against Penn.
In some ways, the Cavaliers were punished for their late-season swoon with the match-up assigned to them. Princeton enters the tournament with an 11-4 mark, winning five of its last six games in the lead-up to snag one of the nine at-large bids on offer.
The Tigers also have an additional edge on Virginia; in three previous tournament meetings, Princeton has won all three, including a pair of sudden-death triumphs in national title games in the mid-1990’s.
Briggs will have extra motivation to do well in each tournament game, knowing that this year’s Final Four will be played at Gillette Stadium, just a wrist pass away from the Ocean State.
Going into tournament play, Briggs has scored 18 goals and assisted on 14 others for a total of 32 points, figures that put him among the Cavs’ top three in each category. In addition, Briggs was recently named to a 25-man short list of players still in contention for the Tewaaraton Award, collegiate lacrosse’s top individual honor.
McGuirl ends season on a high note
Don McGuirl wrapped up his freshman season at St. Michael’s by being named to the Northeast-10 Conference’s weekly honor roll for his performance in the Purple Knights’ last three games of the season.
McGuirl, who makes his home in Warwick, went 4-for-8 and drove home four runs as St. Michael’s wrapped up its season with a three-game set against nationally-ranked Franklin Pierce, contributing to a 5-2 upset of the 15th-ranked Ravens on May 3.
In the fourth, McGuirl drilled the first pitch he saw up the middle to drive home Chadwick Estey to make the score 3-2 in favor of Franklin Pierce, before finishing the scoring with a sacrifice fly in the bottom of the eighth that sent Bryan Geary home.
For the season, McGuirl finished with a batting average of .236 with three doubles and 22 RBI, the latter being good enough for a tie atop the Purple Knight leader board despite the fact that McGuirl was placed at the bottom of the order 38 out of a possible 40 times.