Ten-2-Watch: A New Dawn for a Fresh Season
The spring season kicks into high gear this weekend and that means it's time for Lacrosse Magazine's annual Friday feature to get started. Each week the LM staff will make our picks and provide previews of the weekend's best games, from all levels of the college landscape.
Use #Ten2Watch to discuss our picks, and tweet @LacrosseMag to make your own picks. Also make sure to vote in our LaxMagazine.com Fan Vote Game of the Week. This week it's Maryland at Syracuse women in a matchup of 2012 final four participants.
Follow LaxMagazine.com all weekend for game coverage. All times Eastern.
MCLA2: No. 1 St. Thomas (0-0) vs. No. 3 Westminster (0-0), Noon Saturday in Las Vegas
"I don't ever go into a game worried about losing," said St. Thomas head coach Pete Moosbrugger as he prepared the Tommies to defend their dynasty this weekend against No. 7 Concordia (Calif.) and No. 3 Westminster. "What keeps me up at night before a game is not whether we are going to lose, but are we going to play to our potential?"
With a crafty attack, deep midfield and athletic poles, one gets the sense that UST could come up a little short of its potential and still make it a comfortable three-night stay in Sin City.
MD1: No. 9 Denver (1-0) vs. No. 15 Penn State (1-0), 1 p.m. Sunday in Jacksonville, Fla.
National TV: NBC Sports Network
Both of these teams won their season-openers on the road last week. The Pioneers won at Duke, 14-12, and Penn State left Ann Arbor with an 11-6 win over Michigan.This game highlights the Moe's Southwest Grill Classic at EverBank Field, home of the NFL's Jacksonville Jaguars, and starts a tough stretch of the schedule for the Nittany Lions. After Denver, comes Notre Dame, Ohio State, Lehigh and UMass in the CAA opener.
Denver got a strong performance from sophomore goalie Ryan LaPlante (career-high 18 saves) and breakout game from sophomore attacker Eric Adamson (five goals) as the post-Mark Matthews era kicked off with a comeback win over the Blue Devils. Penn State took 57 shots against Michigan, but canned only 11. They'll look to improve that percentage.
MD1: Drexel (0-0) at No. 7 Virginia (0-0), 1 p.m. Saturday
The plucky, knock-around boys from West Philly take on the bow-tied Wahoos in what has become a February tradition of sorts. Count the Dragons out at your own risk. Six years ago, Drexel attacker Colin Ambler scored in overtime to stun UVA on their own Astroturf. In 2013, if the Dragons can figure out how to win a couple draws and replace Mark Manos in net, they could cause problems for a Virginia team looking to return to its run-and-gun roots in the post-Stanwick era. UVA's crafty Canadian southpaw Mark Cockerton was a goal-scoring force in a scrimmage last weekend against Georgetown.
MD1: No. 3 Notre Dame (0-0) at No. 6 Duke (1-1), 1 p.m. Saturday
A contrast of styles as the up-tempo Blue Devils meet the grinding Golden Domers in Durham. Last week, Duke went 1-1, including a disappointing loss to Denver where the Pioneers scored nine unanswered second half goals. Duke attackman Jordan Wolf has been dominant dodging from X, averaging six points a game. Against Notre Dame, he and the rest Blue Devils offensive group will have to contend with a rock solid Irish backline led by defensive coordinator Gerry Byrne and All-American netminder John Kemp. Also, Notre Dame freshman attacker Matt Kavanagh, the 2012 U-19 tournament MVP and arguably the most talented offensive recruit to ever take his talents to South Bend, will make his NCAA debut.
MD1: No. 12 UMass (1-0) vs. No. 4 North Carolina (1-0), 1 p.m. Saturday at Kennesaw State (Ga.)
When Nicky Galasso, the once-promising talent and former ACC Rookie of the Year, transferred from North Carolina to Syracuse in the offseason, one rival Division I coach told Lacrosse Magazine that his departure combined with that of Jack McBride, Jimmy Dunster and Thomas Wood could actually be addition by subtraction.
And that was before an injury ended Galasso's first season in Syracuse before it ever started.
"Now there are not so many stars that have to mix in and get
their touches with Holman, Bitter and Sankey," the coach said.
Only the Tar Heels could absorb that kind of hit and possibly be stronger for it. Attackman Marcus Holman is the unquestioned field general, and slippery line mates Jimmy Bitter and Joey Sankey work so well off of him. But does North Carolina have the depth at midfield or the chops on defense to keep up with the new NCAA rules?
And before you get too giddy over UMass' season-opening 16-9 win over Army, consider that the Minutemen's starting attackmen (including 2012 Tewaaraton Award finalist Will Manny) shot a combined 2-for-16. That led to more minutes for sophomore attackman Andrew Sokol (three goals, three assists) and junior swing man Matt Whippen (five goals), who cashed in on them.
WD1: No. 8 Virginia (0-0) at No. 6 Loyola (0-0), 1 p.m. Saturday
Last year, the Cavaliers raced to a 14-9 win over the 'Hounds, thanks to a career-high six assists from attacker Josie Owen. Owen has since graduated, and it first seemed that the attack would be decimated. But Virginia got a three-pack of amazing transfers — Casey Bocklet (Northwestern), Caroline Seats (Georgetown) and Sally Jentis (Florida) — so the offense should be OK. Plus, they'll be shooting on a Loyola defense that's still finding its footing behind a new goalie. The Greyhounds may have the advantage on the draw though, with midfielder Taryn van Thof back in action after missing 2012 with a torn ACL.
MD1: No. 1 Loyola (0-0) at Delaware (1-1), 3 p.m. Saturday
Loyola has played with an underdog chip on its shoulder for years, so how do the Greyhounds respond to being the lead dog? Only two starters from last year's national championship team are gone, and two-year captain Scott Ratliff is back as one of the game's most dynamic players while Mike Sawyer is a returning 52-goal scorer. Delaware, which one of these years will finish its schedule before the Ivy League teams play their first game, is looking to avoid a second straight loss. UD struggled to get past first-year program High Point in its opener before digging a big hole (5-0) in a 9-8 loss to Bucknell last weekend. Loyola has won 19 straight in the series which was resumed last year after an eight-year hiatus.
WD1: No. 9 Notre Dame (0-0) at Stanford (0-0), 6 p.m. Saturday
The Irish return a solid draw unit with Barb Sullivan (32DC, 40GB) on the ball and Margaret Smith (47 DC, 37GB) on the circle. The Cardinal need someone to replace graduated draw leader Catherine Swanson. They have several options, including Nina Swanson (Catherine's sister) or sophomore midfielder Hannah Farr. Even if they can't control the draw, the Cardinal have the benefit of senior goalie (and LaxMagazine.com blogger) Lyndsey Munoz. She made a career-high 17 saves against the Irish when the two teams met in 2012.
MD1: No. 4 Johns Hopkins (1-0) at Towson (0-1), 7 p.m. Saturday
The Blue Jays appeared to have taken the new rules and run with them. Hopkins put 58 shots on Siena in a rainy, chilly opening night win at Homewood Field last Friday. Johns Hopkins will stay in Baltimore for its first road game of the year against Towson. The Tigers on Feb. 8 lost to High Point, 9-7, and in the process became a footnote in the history books, landing on the wrong side of High Point's first-ever program win. One would expect the Tigers to come out with an edge against a traditional local foe, but will that be enough? Hopkins beat Towson, 12-6, last year at Homewood.
Fan Vote Game of the Week
WD1: No. 4 Maryland (1-0) at No. 2 Syracuse (1-0), 1 p.m. Sunday
It takes some time, but you can reach the Atlantic Ocean from Syracuse, via the Erie Canal, so the Orange's impending move to the ACC in a roundabout way makes some geographic sense. It made plenty of lacrosse sense, because it set up a potential conference rivalry with Maryland. Unfortunately, Maryland will soon become the 13th or 14th member of the Big Ten. Hopefully for lacrosse fans, these two will continue these non-league showdowns. Syracuse returns plenty after the best season in program history, including Michelle Tumolo and Alyssa Murray. Tewaarton Award winner Katie Schwarzmann is back for the Terps, who add an absurdly-talented freshman class. America's No. 1 recruit Taylor Cummings had two goals and one assist in the opener, and don't sleep on Halle Majorana, who was the star of a very good Manhasset (N.Y.) team since ninth grade.