Ten-2-Watch: Division III Opens on the Marquee
Each week, the Lacrosse Magazine staff picks and previews of the weekend's best, from all levels of the college landscape. Use #Ten2Watch to discuss the games to come, and tweet @LacrosseMag to make your own picks. Also make sure to vote in our LaxMagazine.com Fan Vote Game of the Week.
This weekend features some marquee early contests across the board, including a doubleheader in the Carrier Dome that features a Top 10 Division I men's game between Syracuse and Maryland, followed by the LaxMagazine.com Fan Vote Game of the Week and rematch of last spring's NCAA Division III men's championship game between Stevenson and RIT. Be sure to cast your vote and check out the amazing promotional graphic that some RIT alumni put together, linked below.
MD3: Stevenson (1-0) vs. RIT (0-0), Saturday, 4 p.m. (at Syracuse, N.Y.)
And here we are, once again. Eight months after their back-and-forth clash in Philadelphia that resulted in Stevenson's national championship, the top-ranked Mustangs and No. 2 RIT renew acquaintances, this time in Syracuse's Carrier Dome. Stevenson enters the game after barely escaping in overtime at home against York while the Tigers have been toiling in the snowbound north. Both teams have plenty returning from last year's squads to make one think this rematch will be just as exciting as the original. Fortunately, even with all the hype, the RIT lacrosse alumni group isn't taking a levelheaded approach to promoting the game.
MD1: No. 15 Penn (0-0) at No. 1 Duke (2-0), Friday, 7 p.m.
Duke last Saturday beat a top-five team in February for the first time in John Danowski's eight years in Durham, by downing visiting Denver 14-10. Duke's typical early-season blues haven't happened yet, but Penn knows that they could. The Quakers beat the Blue Devils 14-9 on this weekend last year in Philadelphia. It's once again Penn's season-opener so there likely be a little bit of a feeling out process to live action compared to a Duke squad that has two games under its belt already. But the Quakers defense is for real, with many, including takeaway threat Maxx Meyer, returning from a unit that ranked tops in the nation last season in goals allowed per game (7.38). They'll have their hands full with an attack of Josh Dionne, Jordan Wolf and Case Matheis, and Penn's offense may need to come up. As always, Duke faceoff man Brendan Fowler is the X-factor.
WD1: No. 4 Northwestern (1-0) at No. 5 Duke (3-0), Saturday, 12 p.m.
After an opening nailbite, a one-goal win against Virginia in Atlanta, Northwestern has had a lengthy break, with nearly two full weeks between that and Saturday's showdown with Duke on the road. Senior Kate Macdonald scored the game-winner against the Cavaliers with just 17 seconds remaining to cap the rally after Northwestern found itself down at the half. Entering a second straight matchup against a top-10 ACC team, the Wildcats have won 10 straight against the Blue Devils, including a 12-4 win a year ago at home. Duke has started 3-0 on the season and hit double figures in wins over Elon, Louisville and William & Mary. Kerrin Maurer already has 13 goals for the Blue Devils, who are scoring efficiently by hitting 56 percent of their shots.
MD1: No. 8 Maryland (2-0) at No. 2 Syracuse (2-0), Saturday, 1 p.m.
The Orange gets its first taste of ACC regular season competition when the Terps head to the Carrier Dome. It's the first regular season meeting between Syracuse and Maryland since 1983. They did, of course, play at the Dome in the 2011 NCAA quarterfinal round. The Terps emerged victorious in a 6-5 battle that entered into evidence for those supporting a shot clock. It's hard to imagine Syracuse being slowed down considerably in this one, unless Maryland's Charlie Raffa dominates the faceoff X, which is entirely possible. Chris Daddio has been above 50 percent for Syracuse in the first two games, but Raffa provides a stiff test. Other than that, Maryland has many strong parts on defense to try to counteract perhaps the most dangerous offensive team in the country, a team whose second midfield might just be as good as its first. It's also the first big test for Maryland's baby Terps' on offense, guys like Matt Rambo, while Syracuse is coming off a big win over Albany.
WD1: No. 3 Syracuse (3-0) at No. 10 Virginia (1-2), Sunday, 1 p.m.
A tough early stretch gets no easier for Virginia on Sunday as No. 3 Syracuse comes to town, the third top-10 tilt in its first four games. The Cavaliers opened with a heartbreaking one-goal loss to Northwestern in which they led at halftime, then fell by four to visiting Loyola. They finally got on the right side of the win column this week by topping neighbor Richmond 18-9. Sunday's game is the Orange's first real test of the new season, as Syracuse has ran to three straight wins by a combined 64-13 score against Jacksonville, Stetson and Canisius. Sophomore Kayla Treanor (11 goals, nine assists) and senior Alyssa Murray (10g, 8a) have anchored that potent offense, but the test will be to see if they can put up those big numbers against a tougher defense.
MD1: No. 20 Drexel (0-1) at No. 10 Albany (0-1), Saturday, 1 p.m.
Drexel played a typically close, one-goal game against Virginia last week in a losing effort while Albany went toe-to-toe with Syracuse in a back-and-forth game that was also decided by just one goal. Both teams are eager for a win, just like last year when the Dragons won a 20-19 track meet in west Philadelphia. Drexel midfielder Ben McIntosh had four goals and two assists in that one. It will be interesting to see if he is able to get going again against the Great Danes' defense. Same deal with Albany: The Thompsons will get much of the attention, and production, on offense but they showed against Syracuse that they are more than willing to dish to capable midfielders like Ryan Feuerstein and four other middies who got goals last week. Fourth attackman John Maloney is like a fourth Thompson, with inside finishing skills that blend right in. Albany struggled on faceoffs in the opener, a boost there would help Drexel from winning a fifth in a row in this series.
WD1: No. 8 Georgetown (1-0) at No. 17 Towson (1-0), Saturday, 3 p.m.
A rematch of a tight game from a year ago (Georgetown won 13-10), there is a bit of extra subtext given the fact that the Tigers handed Team USA -- coached by Georgetown's Ricky Fried -- its first loss in five years during the Stars and Stripes weekend in the fall. Both teams are 1-0 on the actual season at hand, with Towson taking a 11-6 win over UMBC behind Andi Raymond and Ashleigh Rohrback. Georgetown routed Delaware in its opener while dominating at the draw 24-8.
MD1: No. 13 Penn State (1-1) at No. 4 Notre Dame (1-0), Saturday, 1 p.m.
The continuous pummeling of the Midwest with winter weather has done no favors for the lacrosse schedule. But they do have the all-clear to play this game outdoors at Arlotta Stadium -- with an expected high of 35 degrees. Considering these teams' propensity for single-digit slugfests, the first team to 10 could claim the victory. The last two games between them have gone to overtime. Notre Dame beat Penn State on the road 10-9 last year, avenging a 4-3 loss in South Bend the previous year. Before that, the Irish had won 10 straight in the series. Notre Dame knows it's going to have to ramp up its offense to compete now in the ACC. A 19-goal outburst in the season-opening win at Jacksonville was a good omen. Sophomore sensation Matt Kavanagh (three goals, four assists) paced 13 different scorers for the Irish. New goalie Conor Kelly (four goals allowed, four saves) wasn't exactly lights out. Penn State, banned from CAA postseason play and therefore its automatic qualifier, has a lot to play for this early in the season. The Nittany Lions need to start building their NCAA tournament resume now. A win over annual RPI beast Notre Dame would be huge. Kyle Van Thof and Erik Myers were pleasant surprises with two goals apiece off the bench in Penn State's 12-11 overtime loss to Loyola last week.
WD1: No. 11 Stony Brook (2-0) at No. 16 Notre Dame (1-1), Saturday, 8 p.m.
The ascention of the Seawolves in recent seasons appears to be continuing thus far in 2014, as Stony Brook took a pair of wins early by a combined 31-1 score over Bucknell and Monmouth. Can they continue that kind of onslaught against a Notre Dame team that is looking to make a statement after a five-goal loss to Boston College in its ACC opener? The Irish are going to have to find a way to slow down Michelle Rubino, who has amassed 11 points, one of three Seawolves (Courtney Murphy and Dorrien Van Dyke) with seven goals so far. Each team can see a bit of itself in the other going into this one -- Notre Dame bosts several players from Long Island, including all-everything rookie Courtney Fortunato. And Stony Brook has new assistant coach Jill Byers, who was a Tewaaraton Award finalist in 2009 for Notre Dame.
MD1: No. 18 St. John's (1-0) at No. 12 Yale (0-0), Saturday, 1:30 p.m.
After losing four-year defensive stalwarts Peter Johnson and Michael McCormack, Yale figured to be a more offensive-oriented team in 2014. But that plan suffered a setback when Canadian finisher Deron Dempster did not report to the team in January. The Bulldogs were going to have a difficult time outscoring St. John's, anyway. With Tewaaraton candidate Kieran McArdle, distributor Kevin Cernuto and oft-overlooked Colin Keegan, the Red Storm boasts the best attack unit outside of Albany. The trio combined for 17 points in a season-opening win over Holy Cross. So on the surface, this game pits Yale's expected weakness against St. John's overwhelming strength. Faceoff man Dylan Levings needs to make this a possession game for the Bulldogs, who were a whisper from making their first NCAA final four appearance since 1990.