Norwich hosts D-III powerhouses in tournament

New Season, New Teams, New Tournament

Adrian and Cortland officially kicked off the Division III women”s season last weekend with the Bulldogs shutting out the Red Dragons 5-0 in Cortland.

However, this weekend things start to pick up with 21 games on tap, including St. Norbert and St. Scholastica’s inaugural games as well as the inaugural East/West Hockey Classic hosted by Norwich University on Friday and Saturday.

St. Norbert and St. Scholastica begin varsity status this season, bringing the total number of D-III teams up to 49, three away from the magic number of 52 that would bring the NCAA Tournament field up to an even eight teams.

Most eyes however, will be on Northfield, Vt. this weekend and Kreitzberg Arena, where defending NCAA runner-up Norwich will host its first ever women’s tournament.

Norwich coach Mark Bolding has pulled out all the stops and brought in a loaded field, giving everyone an early gauge of where they are at heading into the 2010-2011 season.

ECAC West powerhouses Elmira and Rochester Institute Technology will join Norwich, as well as fellow ECAC East league opponent New England College, for this year’s field.

The tournament will feature four pre-determined matchups. with Elmira and New England College opening play at 4 p.m. on Friday, while Norwich hosts R.I.T. at 7 p.m. in the nightcap.    The following day, R.I.T. meets New England College at 3 p.m. with the Cadets facing Elmira at 6 p.m.

Elmira and Norwich have become well-acquainted with each other over the past two seasons, meeting in the NCAA Tournament both years. Elmira downed the Cadets 3-2 in the quarterfinals two years ago and then Norwich beat the Soaring Eagles 3-2 in the Frozen Four last season.

This will mark the first-ever meeting between R.I.T. and Norwich. The Tigers have made one NCAA appearance, coming in 2007 in their last season as a member of the ECAC East before switching over to the ECAC West.

Early Impressions

Welcome to Oswego Mackenzie Lee. The junior transfer from Plattsburgh scored a hat trick in her first game wearing a green and gold sweater, helping the Lakers down Aurora 6-2 in their preseason game last Saturday.

Adrian had five different goal scorers, including two freshman in its 5-0 season opening win over Cortland. The Bulldogs host Oswego this weekend in an intriguing pair of games that I’ll be keeping my eye on.

Poll Picks

1. Amherst
2. Norwich
3. Gustavus Adolphus
4. Plattsburgh
5. Wisconsin-River Falls
6. RIT
7. Elmira
8. Manhattanville
9. Middlebury
10. Lake Forest

It used to be hard to find 10 quality teams to put into this poll. Now anybody that follows the game closely has a hard time trying to figure out what 5-10 deserving teams are left out of the poll. I went through numerous other teams in my head, like Manhattanville, St. Catherine, Trinity, Superior, Adrian, Stevens Point, Utica, Neumann etc. but those are the 10 that I felt deserved to be in the most based on returning players, past history, and incoming recruits.