Weekend Takeaways: Costly Win for North Carolina
Maryland dispatched of the latest contender coming after its No. 1 perch, but it's biggest contender may have suffered a big setback despite winning. Two North Carolina offensive threats suffered injuries in an overtime win at Northwestern. Boston College pumped life back into its season with a big win over Syracuse, Western powers USC and Stanford continued to roll and Notre Dame might be the most improved team in the country. A look at the weekend that was.
1. North Carolina's win over Northwestern might have been costly.
North Carolina showed grit in beating Northwestern 9-8 in overtime, but it may have been a costly victory for the Tar Heels as junior Sydney Holman and freshman Olivia Ferrucci both went down with right knee injuries during the game.
Holman was cutting towards the goal midway through the first half when she went down on a play with no contact. She finished the day on crutches. Ferrucci was running across the top of the fan in the final minute of the game as the Tar Heels tried to run out the clock, but fell to the turf just after splitting a double team.
Holman is one of top playmakers on the Tar Heels, having led the team in assists in her first two seasons. She scored North Carolina's first goal of the game against Northwestern, her ninth this season. Ferrucci also had a goal on Sunday, her 14th of the season. A member of the 2015 U.S. U19 team, she was one of the nation's top recruits in this year's freshman class.
The extent of the injuries aren't known at this point, but it had to be an especially painful sight for the North Carolina coaches and players to see. Last season, Molly Hendrick tore her ACL against Louisville and was lost for the season. The following week, senior Brittany Coppa tore her ACL warming up for the Syracuse game. Coppa missed six games before returning for UNC's final two NCAA tournament games playing on the injured knee. Hendrick has come back this season from the injury and is having a tremendous year with a team-high 27 goals.
2. If Maryland is this deep, look out - Take Two
Last week I wrote about Maryland's Taylor Hensh coming from nowhere to put up six points in the Terps 14-9 victory over Syracuse. This week it was Caroline Wannen's chance to step out. Wannen came into the game with just two goals for the season, but erupted for a seven-point afternoon (4g, 3a) in a 14-4 win at Florida.
“This was a big game for her, to be able to step up when those other people are drawing a lot of the attention,” said Maryland coach Cathy Reese. “She found her look, she attacked the cage hard and she’s an excellent shooter. We’ve just been encouraging her to continue to go to goal…so we saw that from her today.”
In the preseason, Reese said that Wannen was a player she expected to emerge this season. Playing behind Maryland's star-studded attack, Wannen saw action in only 21 games over her first two seasons, scoring two goals. Now getting the opportunity, she's making the most of it. Wannen ranks fourth on the team in scoring with 15 points (6g, 9a) and those nine assists lead the team.
More importantly for Maryland, it's showing that it's more than the big three of Taylor Cummings, Megan Whittle and Zoe Stukenberg on offense. Those three are doing their part, having combined for 46 goals, but Maryland has eight players averaing at least one goal per game.
3. Boston College is still a factor on the national scene.
Mikaela Rix and Covie Stanwick would be tough for any program to replace, but that duo led Boston College to heights the school had never before reached in women's lacrosse. Could BC remain a legitimate Top 10 program after their departure? After opening this season with a 4-3 record and blowout losses to Notre Dame and Florida, it looked like that wouldn't be the case, at least right away.
After BC's 13-8 win over No. 4 Syracuse on Saturday, it might be time to reconsider.
BC got tremendous efforts from young and old. Senior Tewaaraton Award contender Sarah Mannelly had four goals and two assists and freshman Sam Apuzzo had three goals and an assist before leaving the game with left foot or ankle injury. Junior goalie Zoe Ochoa also had one of her best games of the season, registering 10 saves.
The Eagles have won four of their last five games, and they are now a perfect 3-0 at home with wins over Massachusetts, Navy and Syracuse. All of it lines up nicely for the return of one of the most dynamic players in the country. Sophomore Kenzie Kent will soon be joining the lacrosse team after helping the BC women's hockey team advance to the NCAA championship game where its perfect season ended at 40-1 with a 3-1 loss to Minnesota.
Lucy Dikeou and Stanford won their fifth straight game, beating Penn State 16-10 on Sunday as Dikeou scored four times. (Lyndsay Radnedge/ISI Photos)
4. The West is for real.
For the second week in a row, there will be two California teams in the Nike/Lacrosse Magazine Top 10. Who would have thought that just a few years ago?
USC, at 7-0, is one of just three undefeated teams in the country - joining Maryland and Cornell. USC has surrendered just 33 goals in its seven victories. The Trojans passed a major test this week with a 14-10 win over Stony Brook on Monday, one of their three victories for the week. USC's next six games are against unranked opponents, meaning it could very well be 13-0 when head coach Lindsey Munday welcomes here alma mater, Northwestern, to Los Angeles.
Stanford also passed a test this week, beating Penn State 16-10 on Sunday for its fifth straight win. The Cardinal haven't lost since falling 13-9 in its opener to a Notre Dame team that looks better every week. Allie DaCar (52.2 save percentage) has been solid in goal for Stanford and the trio of Lucy Dikeou (15g, 10), Kelsey Murray (14g, 5a) and Anna Salemo (14g, 4a) has been too much to handle for opponents.
After winning its last five games at home, Stanford has a very difficult trip east this week. The Cardinal play at Johns Hopkins on Wednesday and then play at Stony Brook on Saturday.
5. Thank you Big Ten Network.
I love the fact that so many schools and conferences stream lacrosse games, but in this day and age, there's still no better presentation of the sport than a well-produced television game. The Big Ten Network's coverage of the Northwestern - North Carolina game on Sunday was fantastic. No waiting for a computer stream to buffer, the ability to see instant replays and multiple angles, quality announcers, useful graphics - it's just a better all-around experience.
Sunday's game was the Big Ten Network's first women's game of the season on the flagship channel, but there are many more to come, with Northwestern at Maryland (March 31) up next.
Aly Messinger, North Carolina: Messinger was huge in the clutch for North Carolina in the Heels 9-8 victory over Northwestern. She scored the game-winner in overtime after having tied the game at 7-7 with 5:45 to play and assisting on UNC's go-ahead goal 11 seconds later.
Caroline Wannen, Maryland: Wannen, a junior, had four goals in her college career heading into Saturday's game against Florida. All she did was pour in four goals against the No. 2 team in the country as part of a seven-point day in the Terps 14-4 victory.
Courtney Murphy, Stony Brook: Murphy did almost all of the damage as the Seawolves held off Delaware for an 8-7 victory. Murphy had five goals, three of them during a five-goal run to open the second half, and an assist in the victory.
Northwestern's Selena Lasota dives on a shot attempt against North Carolina goalie Caylee Waters. Lasota was held to just one goal, but it came with five seconds left in regulation to send the game into overtime. (TD Paulius/Midwest Lacrosse Photography)
Game of the Weekend
North Carolina 9, Northwestern 8
A game of runs ended with some fantastic plays. With No. 3 North Carolina trying to run out the clock clinging to an 8-7 lead, Northwestern's pressure defense caused a turnover on the end line with 22 seconds remaining. NU goalie Mallory Weisse hit Shelby Fredericks at midfield on a long clearing pass, Fredericks ran it into the zone and dished to a trailing Catie Ingrilli. Ingrilli then found the dynamic Selena Lasota inside and she scored for No. 12 Northwestern with just five seconds to play to force overtime.
In the overtime, North Carolina's Kelly Devlin came up with a hard-fought draw control and was fouled. Off the restart she hit Molly Hendrick near the goal and Hendrick passed cross crease to Aly Messinger who caught the ball in the air and quick-sticked it for the game-winning goal before hitting the ground.
Notre Dame's Cortney Fortunato has a NCAA-leading 55 points for the nation's top-ranked offense. (Matt Cashore).
Numbers of Significance
Number of goals that Notre Dame has outscored its opponents by through 10 games. Seven Irish players already have 20 points, led by Cortney Fortunato with a NCAA-leading 55 points (35g, 20a). Notre Dame leads the country in scoring with 16.5 goals per game.
Number of career wins for Loyola coach Jen Adams. The Greyhounds opened Patriot League play with an 8-2 victory over Navy as Molly Wolf made 10 saves.
Winning percentage of Atlantic Coast Conference teams in nonconference games with a record of 44-16 through Sunday. Next closest is the Ivy League at 70 percent. All eight Ivy League teams have winning records out of conference, leading to a 28-12 mark.
Number of games that James Madison has played this season in which both teams have scored in double digits. The Dukes lost the first three of those games, including overtime setbacks to Colorado and Penn State, but have won the last two, including Saturday's 16-11 win at Rutgers.
How the Nike/LM Top 20 Fared
1. Maryland (6-0): beat Florida 14-4; next: at Penn (Wednesday)
2. Florida (9-1): lost to Maryland 14-4; next: vs. Vanderbilt (Saturday)
3. North Carolina (7-2): beat Northwestern 9-8 (ot); next: at Boston College (Saturday)
4. Syracuse (7-3): lost to Boston College 13-8; next: at Notre Dame (Saturday)
5. Notre Dame (8-1): beat Princeton 16-11; next: vs. Virginia (Saturday)
6. USC (7-0): beat St. Mary's 20-3; next: vs. Dartmouth (Wednesday)
7. Louisville (9-1): beat Coastal Carolina 16-2; next: at Cincinnati (Tuesday)
8. Stanford (5-1): beat Penn State 16-10; at Johns Hopkins (Wednesday)
9. Princeton (4-2): idle; at Harvard (Saturday)
10. Penn State (7-2): lost to Stanford 16-10; next: Drexel (March 30)
11. Virginia (4-5): lost to Notre Dame 16-4; next: vs. James Madison (Wednesday)
12. Northwestern (3-4): lost to North Carolina 9-8 (ot); next: vs. Colorado (Thursday)
13. Stony Brook (4-3): beat Delaware 8-7; next: vs. Jacksonville (Thursday)
14. Duke (7-4): beat Villanova 7-4; next: vs. Virginia (Saturday)
15. Towson (6-2): lost to Penn 7-4; next: vs. Delaware (Saturday)
16. Boston College (6-3): beat Syracuse 13-8; next: vs. North Carolina (Saturday)
17. Penn (6-1): beat Towson 7-4; next: vs. Maryland (Wednesday)
18. Massachusetts (6-1): beat Michigan 15-5; next: vs. Albany (Wednesday)
19. Ohio State (7-1): beat Canisius 10-4; at Binghamton (Friday)
20. Temple (7-2): lost to Delaware 10-4; vs. California (Saturday)
After beating a Top 3 opponent for the second straight weekend, No. 1 Maryland will have to get ready for a tough midweek road trip to Penn. (Rob Foldy)
Five to Watch this Week
Stanford at Johns Hopkins (6 p.m., Wednesday): A national television audience on ESPNU will get to see this cross-country showdown. Stanford has won five straight and solidified its place in the Top 10 with a win over Penn State. Johns Hopkins has won four straight games to improve to 7-3, but has yet to beat a ranked opponent. The Blue Jays will get their chance on Wednesday.
Maryland at Penn (7 p.m., Wednesday): The Terps posted huge victories over Syracuse and Florida in marquee showdowns the last two weekends. Can they get up for a midweek road trip against a quality Penn team? Penn has won five straight since losing to Duke in late February.
Delaware at Towson (12 noon, Saturday): The longtime rivals have emerged as the top two teams from the Colonial Athletic Association in the early part of the season. What better way to open league play? Delaware had won six straight before losing a one-goal game to Stony Brook while Towson will also be looking to get back to the winning side of the ledger. The Tigers dropped games to Florida and Penn last week after opening the season 6-0.
Syracuse at Notre Dame (12 noon, Saturday): Minus a double-overtime loss to Louisville, Notre Dame has been downright dominant this season. Six of its nine wins have come by double-digits, including ACC victories over Boston College and Virginia. Syracuse, even with three losses in its last five games, will likely be the Irish's toughest test to date. Syracuse goalie Allie Murray will be returning to Notre Dame, where she played from 2012 to 2014 and was the starting goalie in 2014.
North Carolina at Boston College (1 p.m., Saturday): This was one of the best games of the season last year, with Boston College's Zoe Ochoa making a diving save in overtime during BC's 10-9 victory. It will be the first look at North Carolina after injuries to two key players.
comments powered by Disqus