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Friday, May 19, 2017

DI East Regional Preview


The DI club playoff quarterfinals start this weekend. Derek Sagehorn already looked at the upcoming battles in the West so we though we'd take a look at the East.

NYAC vs. Mystic River

Despite an appeal from NYAC that they should play either the Chicago Lions or Rocky Gorge instead of Atlantic North rivals Mystic River the two teams will clash in the quarterfinal stage. That should be a win for fans who will be treated to an outstanding game between two excellent teams. Both NYAC and Mystic River have a great shot at emerging with a national championship and it's going to come down to the small things between the two side to see who wins.

NYAC have only lost once this year, a couple of weeks ago to Old Blue, and have generally put up big scores against their Atlantic North and friendly opponents. A couple examples of solid NYAC wins include big wins over Rocky Gorge and Life as well as two tight wins over Mystic River and Old Blue. The loss to Old Blue was disappointing but given their overall record they have to be considered slight favorites against Mystic River.

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The talent on NYAC is incredible. Led by current Eagle Nate Brakeley and World Cup vets Seamus Kelly and Al McFarland the team also has the likes of the very underrated Harry Bennett and Justin Hundley. They are well coached by former Eagles head coach Mike Tolkin. With veteran players like that NYAC could be ready for a deep run.

Mystic River are also loaded with talent. Jared Collinson, Vinny Daley, Chris Frazier, Jon Kokinda, Sean Rafferty, and Alatasi Tupou are experienced and can get out and run if given the chance. Tupou in particular was the star of last year's national championship run and he's going to be key to any success they have this year.

The results have mostly been positive for Mystic River. They finished third in the Atlantic North and qualified for the playoffs when Old Blue opted not to play. Mystic River were able to run up the score against fellow Boston sides but came up empty in all three of their matches against NYAC and their two matches against Old Blue. They are going to have to dig deep to find the answer against NYAC on Saturday.

Chicago Lions vs. Rocky Gorge

The Chicago Lions are the surprise team in the playoffs after knocking off Columbus in the Midwest final. Columbus had led the Midwest for most of the year and with a handful of ex-Ohio Aviators on their roster it was expected they would claim the Midwest. However, the Lions didn't adhere to any of those expectations winning 33-20. In fairness to the Lions they would have challenged Columbus for the top of the table had they not endured a three match losing streak early in the season. Since then their only blemish is a 31-29 loss to Columbus in March.

JP Eloff is leading the charge for the Lions and has a good cast of supporting characters. He's going to be in a great battle with Ben Cima in the fly-half spot. The big question for the Lions is can they recreate their form that saw them beat Columbus. If so they have a chance against Rocky Gorge.

Rocky Gorge have been on an historic tear in the Mid-Atlantic. They have easily been the best team in the division over the last few years and have become a very solid group. Led by the Cima brothers, Ben and Matias, they also, like the Lions, have a solid group of supporting players. Watch for Nick Kuhl and Chris Kunkel (if available) to have big games.

Offensively Rocky Gorge have crushed their opponents. They have a whopping +401 point differential on the year. They have scored 606 points on the year. Defensively they have also been solid. They didn't give up many points to their Mid-Atlantic opponents. However, there is some worry. They lost in very lopsided fashion to NYAC in early April. That could be a big warning sign for the club if they face NYAC in the final on Sunday.

Our Predictions

We think both matches will be close. It's hard to pick against NYAC against Mystic River so we'll go with them. We also have Rocky Gorge beating Chicago Lions. We could see the Lions picking up the upset but Gorge has played so well. As for Sunday's winner we're going with NYAC. 

2 comments:

  1. Any details as to why Old Blue opted to not to play in playoffs?

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  2. To be fair, Rocky Gorge had to play 3 games the day they played NYAC. Not sure if they had full roster for the game against NYAC.

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