We are swiftly moving towards the end of the playoffs, with the semifinals starting off this weekend. Four very strong teams are left standing in the winners’ bracket, with a couple more looking to push up through the losers’ bracket. Let’s recap the quarterfinals that occurred last week, and make some predictions about finals!
Johns Hopkins, perhaps the best team in CSL, took down one of their strongest competitors, Columbia College, handily in a 2-0 sweep. Johns Hopkins Bluejays has looked solid since fall. They won the winter invitational, and are now looking to win the spring playoffs as well. Their semifinals match will be against Universite de Montreal. Montreal also had a very strong playoffs, with only a single game loss to Kennesaw State University in the round of 16. Montreal defeated Virginia Commonwealth University in a 2-0 sweep, finally dropping the VCU squad to losers. VCU has had a tough playoffs, having lost a game in every series up to Montreal, yet still prevailing 2-1 in all of those series. Even though VCU is now in losers, this tenacious team is not going to go down easily.
On the other side of the bracket, Robert Morris University is finally the team strong enough to take down the University of Manitoba. RMU defeated Manitoba 2-0, sending them down to losers. I’ve always looked at Manitoba as the underdog squad, and their second place in the winter invitational shows they are a very strong team. I could easily see this team still making the finals through losers’. Finally, the last quarterfinals match saw Stony Brook University take down UCLA in a tight 2-1 set. I did not expect UCLA to make it all the way to the quarterfinals, but their run has proven they are a very capable team that definitely has a good chance in losers’. I’ve underrated SBU this playoffs, but now that they are in the semis, that are a force to be reckoned with. However, if SBU wants to go further, they have the toughest challenge of their season up ahead.
Prediction: 2-0 Johns Hopkins University
I am a fan of both of these teams; Johns Hopkins is obviously a strong team, and Montreal has the heart and a team able to make it all the way. Unfortunately for Montreal, they have run up against a brick wall. Johns Hopkins has not looked mortal so far in CSL, and they have yet to face a serious challenge the entire season. Johns Hopkins’ strong victory against Columbia College, who I thought would offer them a challenge, shows that Johns Hopkins is here to play, and is not going to stop until they have the trophy. Montreal, like Columbia, is a very strong team, but I don’t think they will be the ones to take down the titans.
Prediction: 2-1 Robert Morris University - Illinois
RMU is finally showing up, and I can finally shout and scream that I knew it all along! RMU didn’t necessarily struggle, but a subpar winter invitational performance and some abnormal game losses made them look uncharacteristically mortal. However, their strong run so far and their 2-0 against Manitoba has me back on the RMU hype train. On the other side, is SBU. Obviously, SBU is a very strong team, and I don’t think they will go down without a good fight. SBU has definitely struggled more in playoffs than RMU, but that doesn’t make them a bad team. SBU is going to need the tenaciousness they have built up to topple RMU this week. This series will probably be much closer than the first matchup above, yet RMU should be able to take down SBU, unless they slip back into old habits.
That wraps up our winners predictions. Remember, the tournament is double elimination, so the teams eliminated are not out until they fall in the losers bracket as well! However, only a single team can make it out of losers’, and with so many incredible teams dropping down as the winners’ bracket tightens up, it’s going to be an absolute slugfest down there. Next week brings us to the winners’ finals, and the winner of that match will give us our 1st grand finals team. The season is rapidly drawing to a close, and it’s looking to be an extremely exciting finish!