February 28, 2014

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Ten-2-Watch: Can Maryland Remain in Spotlight?

by Lacrosse Magazine staff | LaxMagazine.com | Twitter

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.

It was a bit of a rough start, to say the least, for the prognosticating crew here at Lacrosse Magazine, with only three of us going .500 or above and the majority hovering just below at 4-6 in the first week. Heavy leans toward Albany and Syracuse on the men's side and Stevenson in the Division III matchup of the week took their toll, but it's a fresh week, so lets get cracking, shall we?








Last Week 7-3 6-4 5-5 4-6 4-6 4-6 4-6 4-6 4-6 3-7 2-8
Overall 7-3 6-4 5-5 4-6 4-6 4-6 4-6 4-6 4-6  3-7 2-8












M: DUK@MD DUK DUK DUK MD
DUK MD DUK DUK MD DUK MD
W: TOW@SYR SYR SYR SYR SYR SYR SYR SYR TOW TOW SYR SYR 
M: SYR@UVA UVA SYR UVA UVA SYR SYR SYR SYR SYR UVA SYR
W: DEN@LOU DEN LOU LOU LOU DEN DEN LOU LOU LOU LOU LOU
M: DEN@PEN PEN DEN DEN DEN PEN  DEN  DEN DEN DEN DEN  DEN
W: MD@DUK MD MD MD MD MD MD MD MD DUK MD MD
M: JHU@PRI JHU JHU PRI JHU PRI JHU PRI PRI PRI JHU JHU
W: PSU@UVA PSU PSU UVA PSU PSU PSU PSU PSU UVA UVA UVA
MD2: LEMvLST LEM LEM LEM LST LST LST LEM LEM LEM LST LEM
WD3: COL@TRI TRI TRI TRI TRI TRI TRI TRI TRI TRI TRI COL

MD1: No. 1 Duke (4-0) at No. 2 Maryland (3-0)

12 p.m. Saturday | In-Game Blog Available at LaxMagazine.com

There have been commercials on local sports talk radio in Maryland this week, advertising tickets for what will be Duke's final trip to College Park for the last ACC matchup between the two schools in any sport. The Terps' leave for the Big Ten this summer. That's the bigger picture, but this is as juicy a lacrosse contest as it gets for March. It's No. 1 vs. No. 2. Duke got through February unscathed for the first season since 2008, including a top-five win over Denver, while Maryland handled Syracuse 18-6 at the Carrier Dome last Saturday. The faceoff battle will be one to watch, where friends and two of the best in the nation, Duke's Brendan Fowler and Maryland's Charlie Raffa go head-to-head. The Blue Devils have experience all over the field and sophomore Luke Aaron has been a pleasant surprise in goal after taking over for Kyle Turri. The Terps also have a top-flight defense with veteran goalie Niko Amato, first-round MLL draft pick Michael Ehrhardt and three-year starter Goran Murray, who has drawn the Jordan Wolf assignment over the seasons, among others. The young Terps offense will face a stiff test from Duke defense, but they nearly scored 20 on Syracuse a week ago. How well they can perform may determine who wins this game.

WD1: No. 12 Towson (2-0) at No. 3 Syracuse (5-0)

1 p.m. Sunday | In-Game Blog Available at LaxMagazine.com

If you saw this one on the schedule in advance, say, a year ago, you wouldn't have thought much of it. But Towson and coach Sonia LaMonica have put together a strong run of late, beating Team USA in the fall (scrimmage, yes. First time any team beat the U.S. women in five years under any circumstances, also yes.) and then topping Georgetown 14-11 last weekend. The Orange have not broken their gaze against any challengers so far this season, holding on for an 11-9 win on Wednesday against a very good Boston College team, so this one should be a good test for both the Orange and the Tigers, who have nothing to lose and everything to gain unless they get absolutely blown out on the road.

MD1: No. 7 Syracuse (2-1) at No. 6 Virginia (5-0)

7:30 p.m. Saturday | Live via ESPN3 and In-Game Blog on LaxMagazine.com; 9 a.m. Sunday replay on ESPNU

The matchup that represents what fans of fast-paced games think lacrosse should look like will unfold Saturday night in Charlottesville. Should be a fun one to watch on the hill under the lights. Onondaga transfer Randy Staats has already shown in his short Syracuse career that he's the real deal, having been bumped up to the Orange starting attack. Mark Cockerton has been en fuego for the Cavaliers with 18 goals and six assists through five games and James Pannell's emergence has powered Virginia's climb up the national rankings. Virginia's defense, led by first-round MLL pick Scott McWilliams, will have its hands full with Syracuse's bevy of talent. As is always the case with Syracuse, the faceoff numbers will be key. Starter Chris Daddio did not fare well against Maryland's Raffa this week. Virginia isn't exactly a faceoff power either, with Mick Parks 42 of 91 (46.2 percent) on the season and Zach Wood (11 of 18) and Jeff Kratky (7 of 22) helping in relief. Virginia won its first three games of the year by one goal, before beating Rutgers and Mount St. Mary's comfortably in the last two. Syracuse is looking to rebound from its loss to Maryland at home last week.

WD1: No. 18 Denver (2-0) at No. 20 Louisville (3-1)

1 p.m. Saturday

A 3-1 start where the only blemish is a three-goal loss to a very good Duke team has earned Kellie Young's Louisville team some chatter early this season, and a win here would certainly add to that with the authority of a Top 20 win added to the resume. Thus far, the Cardinal's wins came against Detroit and solid but unspectacular (and unranked) William & Mary and Old Dominion. Denver makes the trip across the country to at 2-0 but with similarly uninspiring opposition thus far (Fresno State and first-year DI program Colorado). In the two routs (a combined 35-9 score), goalie Hannah Hook has put down an unreal 69% saves mark so far, so if that's pointing at the kind of year she's going to have, Denver will be doing just fine.

MD1: No. 4 Denver (3-1) at No. 19 Pennsylvania (1-1)

1 p.m. Saturday | In-Game Blog Available at LaxMagazine.com

The saying is "If you have two goalies, you have none," but Denver's situation is a little bit different. Both Jamie Faus and Ryan LaPlante are clearly starting caliber goalies and the Pioneers want to play both of them. It's just how and when that are the questions. Faus started the first two games of the year with LaPlante coming in in relief, but since the Pioneers lost to Duke 14-10 in their second game, LaPlante has started the last two games and Faus entered for halftime. Look for that trend to continue against Penn. This is an intriguing matchup, as the Quakers lost to common opponent Duke by just three goals, 9-6 in their opener. Penn has one of the nation's better defenses, allowing only 7.38 goals per game last season and featuring takeaway threat Maxx Meyer. It will face an slick offense designed by Denver assistant Matt Brown and executed by a bevy of talented players like Wesley Berg, Hartford-transfer Jack Bobzien and super freshman Zach Miller. The Penn offense will likely have to get humming and look for the Quakers to try to create some transition goals with trademark two-way midfielders like Drew Belinksy and Zack Losco. Denver won't make another trek east until March 29, so if you want to see the Pioneers in person and live within driving distance of Philadelphia, go check out Franklin Field at 1 p.m. Saturday.

WD1: No. 2 Maryland (4-0) at No. 6 Duke (3-1)

1 p.m. Saturday | In-Game Blog Available at LaxMagazine.com

Duke nearly upended Northwestern last week. Does it have the firepower to take down its other bugaboo? One positive sign from the Blue Devils' 12-11 loss: eight different scorers combined for their 11 goals. So it's not like they need to rely on any one player to keep pace with the high-scoring Terps. On the other hand, Duke let Alyssa Leonard go off for 13 draw controls. And the Blue Devils certainly don't want to give Taylor Cummings that many opportunities with the ball in her stick. Cummings is coming off a three-goal, four-assist, five-draw control performance against Hofstra. Maryland beat Duke 15-6 during the regular season last year and then 14-9 in the NCAA quarterfinals. The Terps have allowed just 5.2 goals per game so far this season. Abbey Clipp made 21 saves, three shy of a Maryland record, in the Terps' 14-7 victory over Penn State last weekend.

MD1: No. 11 Johns Hopkins (3-0) at No. 5 Princeton (2-0)

12 p.m. Saturday | In-Game Blog Available at LaxMagazine.com

Princeton didn't exactly look like the offensive juggernaut we projected it to be in a season-opening win over Hofstra, only turning it on in the second half to escape with a 12-10 victory. At times early, it looked like Tewaaraton Award candidate Tom Schreiber was being too unselfish. He finished strong with three goals on five shots and two assists, while Mike Macdonald added four goals and an assist. The Tigers had a quick turnaround and handled Manhattan as expected Tuesday, winning 14-8 in a game in which they emptied the bench late after blanking the Jaspers in the first and third quarters. Princeton, which has 28 turnovers in its first two games, will have to take better care of the ball against Johns Hopkins. Otherwise, it will inevitably find its way to Wells Stanwick behind the goal. Stanwick must be inspired by having big brother Steele roaming the Homewood halls (as an assistant for the Blue Jays women's team), as he has done a mighty fine impression of him with 13 assists through three games. It's only a matter of time before scorers Ryan Brown (30.4 percent), Brandon Benn (47.1 percent) and especially Rob Guida (18.8 percent) start converting on even more opportunities. Senior goalie Eric Schneider has been terrific thus far in this, his first and only season as a college starter. He's allowing just 6.56 goals per game and stopping 66.7 percent of the shots he sees.

WD1: No. 8 Penn State (2-1) at No. 14 Virginia (1-3)

12 p.m. Saturday 

Whether or not you play the toughest teams in the country, you're not going to get much respect if you don't beat some of them, and that's where the Cavaliers find themselves at this early juncture of the season, standing at 1-3 and with some arguing that they should be dumped from the Top 20. Losses to top-flight teams like Northwestern, Loyola and Syracuse are still losses, and a win over Richmond is not going to inspire effusive praise. Courtney Swan has averaged five points a game so far for Virginia, but they'll need to see some defensive improvement - they've allowed an average of 14 goals thus far and goalie Liz Colgan has saved just 42% of the shots she's seen. Penn State has won two straight in this series and comes in with just one loss on the year - 14-7 to Maryland last weekend. 

MD2: No. 2 Le Moyne (2-0) vs. No. 5 Limestone (4-0)

3 p.m. Saturday at Georgetown Prep (Md.)

The Dolphins and Saints renew acquaintances for the seventh time in the last six years, with Le Moyne holding a 4-2 advantage in that span, including a 7-6 victory last year at the St. Paul's School in Baltimore. The last four meetings have been decided by two goals or less and the maximum spread since 2009 has been four goals. The games are always tight and always entertaining. This game, as usual, will feature contrasting styles.

The Dolphins bring their disciplined approach that has paid of in the four national championship rings since 2004, including last year's title sprint. Limestone has a more creative approach to the game that has obviously been fruitful, as well -- a division-best 14 straight bids to the NCAA tournament. So pace of play will be something to watch in this contest. If the game is low-scoring, advantage Le Moyne. "They do what they do, and they do it really well," said Limestone head coach J.B. Clarke. "It's kind of frustrating." It's a long way down the road, but this also has the potential to be a national championship game preview.

WD3: No. 8 Colby (0-0) at No. 3 Trinity (0-0)

12 p.m. Saturday

Colby hasn't defeated Trinity since 2009, a span of five games, though the Mules have come within two goals of the Bantams four times during that span. That's about as touch as anyone has played the Bantams, who have lost just one regular season game since 2011. Trinity defeated Colby, 8-4, last year in the midst of a 29-game winning streak that was not snapped until last year's Division III title game. The two programs are always close talent-wise, and both coaches have won NCAA titles in the past. The early-season meeting -- it's the first game for both teams and comes just two weeks after NESCAC teams were allowed to begin practicing -- could level the playing field even further.


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