Ten to Watch: Working on Our Night Moves
Each Friday, your crack laxperts here at Lacrosse Magazine Online will try to handicap the upcoming weekend for the top 10 college games across all divisions.
The Rook gained even more steam in what was generally a woeful Week 4 for the LM scribes, going 7-3 to go up three games on Ohanian.
This week we go "under the lights" with three night
Follow the weekend's action here at laxmagazine.com.
MD1: No. 15 North Carolina (4-1) at No. 7 Princeton (1-1) - Friday 7 p.m. (ESPNU)
Princeton's Jack McBride returned from a back injury last week at Johns Hopkins and the Tigers took care of the Blue Jays handily, a week after losing to Hofstra on the road. They're back at home to host North Carolina, who since being upset at Ohio State Feb. 19, has won three straight, against Navy, UMBC and Penn. This is the Tar Heels' first of five matchups with top 12 teams in their next six games, so they will look to start this tough stretch off well. Freshman Nick Galasso, LM's August cover boy, leads North Carolina with 3.8 points per game (19 total). Princeton has a stud freshman of its own in midfielder Tom Schreiber from St. Anthony's on Long Island. Like Galasso, Schreiber leads his team in scoring with six goals and one assist in two games.
Duke may have redeemed its season with an overtime win against Maryland, but the Blue Devils will have their hands full with the Greyhounds, who are strong up the middle with goalie Jake Hagelin and faceoff man John Schiavone. Duke goalie Dan Wigrizer has been hot and cold in his season-plus career. It's easy to forget he's only a sophomore. But his 17-save performance against the Terps was exactly what the Blue Devils needed.
|The law of averages says I'm going to call one of these
Duke games correctly. I'm hoping, anyway.
These two teams last met in the 2010 NCAA semifinal, where Maryland beat Syracuse, 14-5. There's little reason to imagine things will go differently in Saturday in College Park. The Terps are 6-0 while the Orange is 1-2. Syracuse's 21-11 loss to the Cavaliers on Feb. 27 was particularly bruising. Virginia's 21 goals were the most ever allowed in program history. (The previous record was 19, which happened twice in 2008 and 2009, both in losses to Northwestern.) The defense became unglued and racked up five yellow cards; even IWCLA Goalie of the Year Liz Hogan (7 saves) couldn't stop the bleeding and got pulled in the second half. The Orange will need to show some poise and discipline to avoid getting chippy when Maryland starts racking up points, as they inevitably will, with their 17.5 gpg. The Terps lead this series 10-0, and Syracuse has never beaten a No. 1 team in 13 attempts.
|Get it together, Syracuse! Stanford and Virginia aren't
necessarily the worst losses a team could suffer, but the Orange
should be better than this. This Maryland game is the first in a
six-game road series, the longest in program history and one that
includes trips to Northwestern and Florida. That's a tough way to
begin a turnaround, especially with senior defender and team
captain Lindsay Rodgers benched versus the Terps for earning two
yellow cards in the Virginia game.
MD1: No. 13 Ohio State (5-1) at Albany (2-1) - Saturday 12 p.m.
Albany stunned No. 5 Massachusetts on Tuesday and can put the pain of last year's 5-11 season in the rearview mirror with another win over a nationally-ranked opponent. Everybody was talking about the Thompson cousins, Miles and Ty, before the season, but it was another freshman that carried the Great Danes past UMass. Rookie goalie Edmund Cathers, who believe it or not was a first-team all-league selection at attack AND goalie at Corcoran H.S. last year, made 17 big saves. Ohio State hasn't been sharp since its own big upset, a 13-8 win over then No. 3 North Carolina on Feb. 19, but enters the game with a 5-1 mark and two straight wins. They need to get this one with three straight Top 10 opponents (Virginia, Notre Dame and Loyola) on the horizon.
Winner gets a steak from Gino's. Penn, unranked by LM in its preseason college previews, impressed the coaches and surged to No. 9 in the USILA poll after a 3-0 start that included a season-opening 7-3 win over defending champion Duke. The Quakers got a dose of reality Tuesday in a 12-6 thumping by alleged No. 15 North Carolina. Not an upset. The Quakers' chance at rebounding Saturday could hinge on a set of freshman twins. Penn is struggling to score (7 gpg), in part because the Quakers are struggling to get the ball — faceoff middie Danny Feeney has won just 47 percent of draws, which is 38th in the nation. The meltdown at Fetzer Field notwithstanding, Penn's defense has been solid early around goalie Brian Feeney (6.75 GAA). The Wildcats enter this rivalry matchup with momentum, winners of three straight. Ball-hawking LSM Brian Karalunas, featured in the March issue of LM, is up to his old ways with an NCAA-best 3.75 takeaways per game. Villanova's gotten balanced scoring up front through five games, and if the 'Cats can control the possession time, they stand a good chance at cutting into Penn's 15-6 lead in the series.
WD1: No. 5 North Carolina at No. 7 Virginia - Saturday 1 p.m.
Overall, the series between these two ACC titans is tied at 12-12. Virgina beat UNC in OT last year during the regular season and then fell 17-7 in the NCAA quarterfinals. After a two-game losing streak in which they fell to both Northwestern and Penn, the Tar Heels got back on track with a 13-3 win over Denver. Sophomore goalie Lauren Maksym has acquitted herself well with a 7.66 GAA. She'll have to stare down Virginia's Ainsley Baker (15g) and Charlie Finnigan (15g), who are the Cavaliers' leading goal scorers.
This will be the strongest test of the season thus far for undefeated Yale, which owns wins over St. John's, Presbyterian and Mercer. A victory would continue to build momentum for the Elis heading into Ivy match-ups against Cornell and Princeton in the next two weeks. Senior attackman Brian Douglass paces Yale with eight goals and 16 points, but there's also a strong supporting cast that could challenge for the Ivy title once again this spring. Lehigh, playing its third ranked opponent, is looking to rebound from Tuesday's 11-7 loss at No. 13 Ohio State. The Mountain Hawks trailed by just one at half but could muster just three second half goals against the Buckeyes.
The second game of the Face-Off Classic at M&T Bank Stadium in Baltimore will feature a pair of Tewaaraton worthy attackman in Cornell's Rob Pannell and Virginia's Steele Stanwick. That certainly will be a matchup to watch, though they won't exactly square up against each other unless one grabs a long pole. Cornell is coming off a loss at Army Saturday and a win versus Canisius Wednesday. In both games a few Big Red starters, defenseman Max Feely, midfielder David Lau and attackman Steve Mock, either missed time or did not play because of injury. It looks unlikely that they will play Saturday. Virginia, meanwhile, has another Tewaaraton candidate in Shamel Bratton, who has 11 goals in the last two games. The Cavs will look to rebound from their loss to Syracuse last Friday night in front of a packed Carrier Dome in second consecutive high-profile game.
|Cornell and Virginia might be the marquee game nationally,
but the most intriguing matchup at M&T Bank Stadium is probably
Johns Hopkins against UMBC. Hopkins has won all eight previous
meetings between the teams, but has clearly slipped from its perch
as the top lax dog in Baltimore. A victory by Don Zimmerman against
his former team would continue to swing the balance of local
lacrosse power in the only city in America where that really
No. 3 Notre Dame (3-0) at No. 17 Denver (3-1) - Saturday 7 p.m. Mountain
This is the kind of game the Denver administration anticipated when it lured Bill Tierney to the mountains. The Pioneers haven't been tested since losing their opener to No. 1 Syracuse, but No. 3 Notre Dame will certainly provide a challenge and a worthy opponent for a great atmosphere. Notre Dame goalie John Kemp has been phenomenal (5.33 GAA, 66.0 save percentage), and that coupled with the Irish style of play will likely keep this one close and low-scoring.
|Denver coach Bill Tierney hasn't been shy about saying his
offense can score goals, and they've averaged 13.5 goals per game
thus far. If the Pioneers can navigate their way through Notre
Dame's vaunted defense early, they'll have a shot. Limited tickets
were available for this game on Thursday. Denver could have a nice
home field advantage, in fan support and that mile high air. The
Pioneers are 10-1 under Tierney at home.
|Denver issued a press release saying that standing room
only tickets were all that's left at 2,000-seat Peter Barton
Stadium. Should be a great environment for college lacrosse. The
Face-Off Classic in Baltimore will probably sell about 20,000
tickets, and, despite 50,000 empty seats in the city's NFL stadium,
that's good for the sport, too. But if I was offered a ticket to
each, I'd take the one to Denver's campus in a heartbeat, and I
could probably sell it for more on the street outside, too.
This annual clash often turns out to be a preview of a second round NCAA tournament game in May, so it always draws interest. As if to mildly mimic the tourney format, both of these teams will be playing a Friday affair - Cortland is at St. Lawrence and TCNJ at Kean. Like in the tournament, each should advance to Sunday's game relatively unscathed. The Red Dragons will be forced to contain the midfield tandem of Leigh Mitchell and Ali Jaeger, who combined for five goals and six assists in the Lions opening win against Frostburg State. TCNJ will be tasked with contain the Cortland midfield law frim of Hartzheim, Abbott and DiFato, who helped bury Nazareth. Don't put to much emphasis on the result, but there will probably be a sequel.