Week 8 of the Coaches Poll Released, RPI Discussion and more!

Issue 62

Good morning lacrosse fans. Thank you for taking time out of your day for the Utah Lax Report. If you have any questions or feedback, feel free to shoot me a note: tim@timhaslam.com.

No podcast this week. I’m starting a new job today which has taken all my time for the past week while I got my ducks in a row.

If you have any old school lacrosse photos related to lacrosse in Utah, please send them my way!

Weber @ Northridge - Full gallery here.

I stopped by Vessel Kitchen on the way home from the Utah game on Saturday it was a treat! If you’re looking for a new place to try, give it a shot, you won’t be disappointed. There are locations in Midvale, Sandy, 9th + 9th and Kimball Junction.

Week 8 Coaches Polls

Before we dive in, I’d like to congratulate the Boys Academic All-State Teams and the Girls Academic All-State Teams. You are the real winners here!

No. 1 Corner Canyon - The Chargers beat Westlake, 17-3, and Lone Peak, 19-8. Junior Mason Quick had 7 points in each game for the Chargers (11G, 3A). Corner Canyon travels Skyridge on Tuesday then hosts No. 6 American Fork on Friday, one of the few remaining games between marquee teams and a game that should also decide Region 4. The Chargers finish the season on Tuesday, May 11, at home against Lone Peak.

No. 2 Olympus - The lone game for the Titans was a 16-3 win over Highland (Highlights) on Wednesday. Junior Cam Rossi had 4 goals and 4 assists on the night. This Wednesday, the Titans will host Pleasant Grove then play No. 10 Brighton for the Region 6 title on Friday. No. 5 Park City travels to Olympus on Tuesday, May 11, for the season finale for both teams.

No. 3 Farmington - After a Viewmont forfeit on Wednesday, Farmington beat Bountiful, 18-12 (Highlights), on Friday. Senior Cole Beynon had 5 goals and 3 assists on the night. Farmington will face Bonneville on Wednesday, Woods Cross on Friday and Bountiful on Monday, May 10. If Bountiful wins the rest of its games (Box Elder, Bonneville), the May 10th game will decide Region 5.

As a side note, I’m not sure how regions award champions where they play twice. I’ve heard that some regions would do a co-region champion and some would do a tiebreaker. If you know, shoot me an email!

No. 4 Mountain Ridge - The Sentinels beat Lehi, 20-4, and Alta, 15-11 (Highlights). Junior David Wright led the Sentinels against Alta, scoring 3 goals and dishing out 4 assists. Mountain Ridge finishes its season this week with a game on Tuesday at Timpanogos, Thursday at home against Mountain View and then travels to No. 5 Park City on Saturday for a mid-afternoon showdown. Pending any mishaps this week in region, Mountain Ridge is the Region 7 champion.

No. 5 Park City - The Miners look to be playing its best lacrosse of the season after a 18-7 win over No. 10 Brighton on Tuesday. Sophomore Chase Beyer had 4 goals and 3 assists for the Miners. Park City then beat Wasatch, 21-5 (Highlights), while also clinching the Region 8 title. Game Night Live was there and you can watch the full game here. Park City hosts Payson on Monday and No. 4 Mountain Ridge on Saturday. Park City will finish its season on Tuesday, May 11, against at No. 2 Olympus.

No. 6 American Fork - A 9-7 win over Pleasant Grove and a 13-3 win over Skyridge will usher in the final week of the season for the Cavemen as they travel to Westlake on Tuesday and to No. 1 Corner Canyon on Friday. When looking at the stats for the last two games, it’s hard to find one person that stands out and I think that’s what makes American Fork dangerous. They had nine players with at least 1 point and seven with 2 or more points.

No. 7 Green Canyon - The Wolves went 3-0 on the week, outscoring opponents 54-10. It started on Monday with a 20-4 win over Bear River then on Wednesday the Wolves beat Logan, 19-4. On Friday, Green Canyon beat Sky View, 15-2. Senior Mason Anderson had 11 goals and 7 assists over the three game span. The Wolves finish the season with a game on Wednesday against Bear River, Friday against Ridgeline and Monday, May 10, against Box Elder.

Davis v. Roy - Full gallery here.

No. 8 Davis - The Darts beat up on Clearfield, 16-2, and Roy, 17-1, this week. Junior Rhett Rice had 5 goals and 6 assists on the week for the Darts. Davis plays Layton on Tuesday then a big Region 1 showdown against Fremont on Thursday.

No. 9 Timpview - The T-birds took to the skies and faced Alta on Tuesday and came away with a 15-13 win. Contributions from Seniors Devin Halversen, Joseph Ivins and Finn Thompson were key in the victory. Timpview followed up the win with a 22-3 win over Timpanogos. Two games remain for Timpview: Tuesday @ Mountain View and Tuesday, May 11, @ Orem.

No. 10 Brighton - The Bengals fell to No. 5 Park City, 18-7, on Tuesday then beat East on Wednesday, 15-3. Brighton will finish its season with a game on Wednesday against Highland and No. 2 Olympus on Friday for the Region 6 title.

I’d also like to give a shoutout to Weber who beat Northridge in OT on Tuesday. It was a great game. You can see pictures from that game here.

If the season ended today, here’s what the playoff brackets would look like:

Also, I’ve been updating an RPI visualization almost daily for the past month. It’s an animation that shows the movement of teams each day. Check it out here.

If you’re a big data fan, then check out this spreadsheet. It combines the UHSAA RPI, MaxPreps RPI, LaxNumbers RPI, Inside Lacrosse RPI and the coaches poll. View it here. It’s updated every Tuesday.

While we’re on the topic of RPI, I keep getting questions, comments and concerns. The majority of emails are about how the RPI is broken. Here’s something I tell the people who email me about the RPI: The RPI is a computer and a computer doesn't take into account an 'eye-test' or 'good losses'. It doesn't take into account past years. It doesn't know who the coaches are. It doesn't know how good a region is or isn't.

I also want to be really clear that at the end of the day, you have to win games. Should winning be 100% of the formula? No, it shouldn’t. I will remind everyone though that until just a few years ago, winning was the only thing that matter for playoff seeding. So it makes sense that it’s still a big part of any system. In order for a team to win a championship, they actually have to WIN the last game. Isn’t it interesting that we use an RPI for playoff seedings but then when the playoffs come it’s about win/loss, not RPI. I will say though that winning shouldn’t be the focus of your program, it’s simply a byproduct. If you’re mad about your position in the RPI, I’m sure you can look at a few games on the schedule and if they had gone another way (you won), your tune would be different.

Let’s use Pleasant Grove as an example. Please know that I consider Pleasant Grove head coach Brae Burbidge one of my best friends in the lacrosse community. I know that I can call or text him at any time of day or night and he’d respond. He has done a ton for our sport, most of which most people don’t even know. He’s also willing to try my food recommendations which I appreciate (a Breakfast Burrito from Hectors). I texted him earlier in the week and he feels confident that Pleasant Grove could beat most B bracket teams and they have hung with Lone Peak, American Fork and Westlake, and I agree. Now, let’s look at some facts. I don't think it's right for a team that has won 27% of its games to be in the 'B' bracket because they are a 'good' team. The Vikings will likely lose to Lone Peak (prove me wrong!), lose to Olympus and beat Skyridge. So you have a team that is 4-10 and should be in the B bracket? Their 4 wins would be Skyridge 2x, Timpanogos and Highland who are all C bracket teams. Now, do I think PG, if they stay in the C bracket, will win the C bracket? For sure. Beating Highland 21-7 should prove that. And I think that game is a perfect example of the problem with the RPI. Pleasant Grove is 35 in the RPI and Highland is 38. You’re telling me the difference between team No. 35 and team No. 38 is 14 goals? We all know that isn’t the case. So how does it get fixed?

I, like many of you, feel that regions who play teams twice in region are at a disadvantage. Please work with your AD, Region rep, etc. to get this overturned for next year. I realize it’s not as easy as flipping a switch, but our brackets would look a lot different in my opinion if there was only one region game against each team in a region. They would look a lot more like they should. The second way to fix it is to play a balanced schedule. Don’t go schedule 16 A bracket teams because if you don’t win, you’ll get punished pretty hard. On the other hand, don’t schedule 16 C bracket teams because if you win them all, you will be in the B bracket at best. Hopefully regions will get more balanced as well. We have several new teams this year who will only get better as time goes on.

No. 1 Park City - The Miners beat Wasatch, 23-2, on Friday in a game that more or less clinched the Region 8 title. Park City takes on Provo on Tuesday, Payson on Wednesday and Lone Peak on Friday. No. 5 Olympus comes to town on Tuesday, May 11, in the season finale.

No. 2 Skyridge - The Falcons beat Lone Peak, 15-5, on Tuesday and survived a scare from American Fork, 10-8, on Thursday. This Tuesday will decide Region 4 when the Falcons travel to Corner Canyon. The last time these two teams played, Skyridge won by 1. Skyridge then plays Pleasant Grove on Thursday and Highland on Tuesday, May 11.

No. 3 Brighton - The Bengals beat East, 26-1, on Wednesday and Lone Peak, 18-9, on Friday. This Friday, Brighton will host No. 5 Olympus in a game that should decide Region 6. The Bengals then go to No. 7 Davis on Monday, May 10, and host No. 4 Mountain Ridge on Tuesday, May 11. Should the Bengals walk away victorious in all three games, its RPI should dramatically improve. Right now Brighton sits at No. 10 in the UHSAA RPI.

No. 4 Mountain Ridge - Region wins against Lehi, 18-1, Alta, 14-6, and Timpview, 20-8, secured the Region 7 title for the Sentinels. The rest of the schedule looks like this: home against Timpanogos on Tuesday, @ Mountain View on Thursday and @ No. 3 Brighton on Tuesday, May 11.

No. 5 Olympus - The Titans beat Highland, 20-7, on Tuesday. Sophomore Eva Thorn had 5 goals and 1 assist in the win. Oly will take on Skyline on Wednesday and No. 3 Brighton on Friday to decide the Region 6 championship. Olympus finishes with an away game at No. 1 Park City.

No. 6 Herriman - The Mustangs continue to roll through region play after beating Jordan, 14-9, and Copper Hills, 27-7. Sophomore Morgan Eldredge had 6 goals and 3 assists against the Grizzlies. Bingham, West Jordan, Riverton and West await the Mustangs.

No. 7 Davis - The Darts cruised past Clearfield and Roy and will host Layton on Tuesday. Junior Macie Wood had her best game in a Darts uniform against Roy when she tallied 4 goals and 3 assists. Two tests remain for Davis: Thursday as it hosts Fremont and Monday, May 10, when it welcomes No. 3 Brighton to town.

No. 8 Waterford - The Ravens will have to wait until the playoffs for its next challenge as it takes on Cedar Valley, Judge and Woods Cross to close out the season.

No. 9 Alta - A 16-6 win over Timpview and a 14-6 loss to No. 4 Mountain Ridge setup the final three games for the Hawks: @ Lehi on Tuesday, Orem at home on Thursday and Timpanogos at home on Tuesday, May 11.

No. 10 Bear River - The Bears continue to dominate its opponents but haven’t been challenged since losing to Box Elder at the beginning of April. The Bears will close out the season against Logan on Tuesday and Ridgeline on Thursday.

Enjoy these highlights from the Corner Canyon v. Lone Peak game from Wasatch LC.

A post shared by @wasatchlc

If the season ended today, here’s what the playoff brackets would look like.

Also, I’ve been updating an RPI visualization almost daily for the past month. It’s an animation that shows the movement of teams each day. Check it out here.

If you didn’t read the boys section above about the RPI, please do so, the same theories apply to the girls side.

College Update

Utah fell to Robert Morris, 16-12, on Saturday to conclude the 2021 season. If you look at the roster moving forward for the Utes, everyone but 4 Seniors are planning to return. There’s also speculation of transfers which only time will confirm. Needless to say, with the ASUN beginning plan next year and a few high profile teams hopefully coming West, 2022 is the year of the Utes!

Westminster lost to No. 18 Colorado Mesa, 16-7 in the season finale. The Griffins will play CSU Pueblo in the Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference Championship Semifinals on Friday, May 7, in Grand Junction, Colo.

BYU beat UVU, 19-7, on Saturday. Both teams will go to the 2021 MCLA Invitational in Texas. BYU will face Liberty and UVU will take on Georgia Tech. Learn more about the event here.

Westminster lost to No. 24 Colorado Mesa on Saturday, 20-5.

That’s it for this week. Be kind out there and be sure to follow ULR on InstagramFacebook and Twitter.

— Tim Haslam