SELC men's lacrosse tournament quarterfinal matchups set
April 16, 2018 | Johns Creek, Ga.
Liberty University's men's lacrosse team will challenge two-time defending SouthEastern Lacrosse Conference (SELC) Division I tournament champion Georgia Tech in the first round of this weekend's eight-team event, set for 8 p.m. Friday at Mount Pisgah Christian School in Johns Creek, Ga., north of Atlanta.
The Flames (7-4, 3-1 SELC Northwest Region), ranked 11th in this week's MCLA DI Coaches Poll, are coming off a regular-season-ending loss to No. 9 Virginia Tech (9-4, 4-0) while the Yellow Jackets (10-4, 5-0, ranked 12th) clinched the SELC's Southwest Region title with a 12-9 triumph over No. 17 Georgia.
"Getting an opportunity to play Georgia Tech in the first round is a tough matchup," Liberty Head Coach Kyle McQuillan said. "But it is not something we don't feel we can overcome. Our expectation is to make it through the first round and beating Georgia Tech was one of our team's goals going into the season."
Friday's first-round matchup will be webcast live on Georgia Tech's YouTube channel.
"It's definitely going to be the most ranked teams the conference has ever had going into the tournament," McQuillan said. "In the past, we've been lucky to have three or four teams ranked, so it's a big statement for the SELC and an opportunity to showcase the depth of talent in our conference."
Only the SELC Tournament champion is awarded an autobid to the 20-team May 7-11 MCLA National Championships in Salt Lake City, with others hoping for at-large berths based on their final rankings.
"Potentially, every team (in the SELC Tournament) has an opportunity to pick up three more ranked wins this weekend," McQuillan said. "Those games will definitely carry a lot more weight than in the past in securing an at-large opportunity (to nationals.)"
No. 3 South Carolina (14-0, 4-0), winners of the SELC's Northeast Region, will face SELC Southeast runner-up Florida (11-4, 3-1, ranked 23rd). Southeast Region champion Florida State (10-3, 4-0, ranked 16th) will clash with Northeast Region runner-up Clemson (13-2, 3-1, ranked 22nd). Virginia Tech (9-4, 4-0) will face Southwest Region runner-up Georgia (8-5, 4-1, ranked 16th).
The winners of the Liberty-Georgia Tech and Florida-USC matchups will meet in Saturday's 5:30 p.m. semifinal at Northview High School in John's Creek, where the Clemson-FSU and Georgia-Virginia Tech winners square off at 8 p.m.
Semifinal winners will clash in Sunday's 3 p.m. championship, also at Northview.
"We've got to rely on our own play and actions to get us in the tournament," McQuillan said. He is not counting on an at-large bid for the Flames. "The expectation we have been communicating to the guys is this is a win-or-go-home situation. We're going to have that mentality heading into the weekend. If we win that championship this weekend, we don't have to ask anyone for an invitation."