Ten to Watch: New Twist to LMO's Staff Pick 'Em

by Lacrosse Magazine Online Staff

Each Friday, we hash out the top 10 games of the weekend ahead in college lacrosse. In the spirit of March Madness, now you can get in on the bragging rights.

Enter your picks next to each game and see how they stack up to ours, then click the "Submit Picks" button below. Go undefeated and we'll feature your new picks with ours next week -- you know, a little face time next to the pros.

Note: Submissions received after the first game begins will not be considered.

MD1: No. 17 Albany at No. 5 Princeton - Friday, 3 p.m. Eastern 

Freshman goalies stand in between the pipes on both ends of the field, which might encourage more shooting, but neither team should be lulled into false confidence. Princeton's Tyler Fiorito, a McDonogh (Md.) product and U.S. U-19 team player, has been everything he was billed to be coming out of high school as the consensus No. 1 goalie in his recruiting class. Albany's John Carroll, all 270 pounds of him, was not so heralded -- despite strong credentials as a Long Island goalie in the Empire State Games. "We don't get that kind of recognition," said Great Danes head coach Scott Marr.

We’ll find out how serious Princeton is about this shooting thing on Friday. Princeton has played five games this season and all five post-game write-ups on the school’s Web site have drawn extra attention to the number of shots taken. I can’t imagine Albany not shooting, so if Princeton wants to go toe-to-toe in that style of game, it could be a really entertaining afternoon in New Jersey. 

WD1: No. 9 Princeton at No. 5 Virginia - Saturday, 1 p.m. Eastern

UVA has been living on the edge, needing big rallies to overcome deficits in eventual wins over Penn State and William and Mary, which sandwiched the North Carolina loss in which the Wahoos could not dig out of an early hole. Erin Tochihara is cementing her spot as the starting goalie for Princeton. After stopping a career-high 16 shots in a loss to Duke, she made 13 saves in a win over Penn State, including nine in the first half. That does not bode well for Virginia if it gets down.

MD3: No. 5 Ithaca at No. 2 Cortland - Saturday, 1 p.m. Eastern

These two teams met on the same weekend last year, with Ithaca pulling out a 9-8 overtime victory against the Red Dragons. The two teams met later in the national semifinals with Cortland rolling the Bombers, 16-5 for a trip to the title game. Both teams enter this one coming off less than stellar performances. Ithaca needed a goal with four seconds left to down Drew in San Diego, 7-6, while Cortland had to fend off Clarkson, 13-11, in Florida. The winner gets a leg up in the race for home field advantage in the tournament.

Lacrosse’s version of the Cortaca Jug, one of the nation’s better Division III football rivalries between Cortland and Ithaca, takes place tomorrow when the Bombers head up New York Route 13 to take on the Red Dragons in a showdown of top-five teams in the most recent USILA poll. The last time these two rivals met when ranked like this wasn’t long ago. Second-ranked Cortland routed seventh-ranked Ithaca, 16-5, in the 2008 NCAA semifinals before 1,511 at Cortland Stadium. Just five or so games into the season, coaches’ polls can still perpetuate leftover impressions from last season, so I’d like to see a few more games get played in order to have the rankings shake out some. But make no mistake, this is a big early-season game.

WD1: No. 4 Georgetown at No. 6 North Carolina - Saturday, 1 p.m. Eastern

Both teams are coming off big upset wins (Georgetown over Duke; North Carolina over Virginia) and will be eager to maintain momentum. Jordy Kirr makes the Hoyas go, evidenced well by three goals and three assists her last time out. For UNC, Jenn Russell has five goals and two assists in the last two games, both wins helping erase the memory of the team's paltry offensive output in its loss to Penn.


MD1: No. 11 North Carolina at No. 10 Maryland - Saturday, 2 p.m. Eastern 

North Carolina is kind of the interesting focus either way — if Maryland wins, it’s UNC’s 20th straight ACC loss and third loss in four games and, well, the more things change, the more they stay the same; if UNC wins, the Tar Heels will have exorcised their ACC demons.

WD1: No. 16 James Madison at No. 20 Loyola - Saturday, 3 p.m. Eastern 

Loyola is riding high after its 16-9 win over No. 14 Cornell that was never close -- thanks to Grace Gavin, that is. She scored three goals in the first two minutes. Both teams have struggled to find consistency on the defensive end -- namely in the cage. Each occupies a platoon. James Madison's goalies managed just one save each in a loss Wednesday to Princeton. That said, the Dukes have managed to play both Notre Dame and Princeton tight, losing by four and two goals, respectively.

Don’t look now, but Jen Adams has Loyola back on the lacrosse map. The Greyhounds (5-1) have won four straight and have a chance to equal their 2008 victory total with a win on Saturday. The schedule hasn’t been a pushover either, as JMU will be the fourth ranked club to test Loyola. A rejuvenated and efficient offense that shoots nearly 50% and averages over 15 goals per game has helped – but more importantly, the Hounds lead the nation in caused turnovers and rank third in ground balls. 

MD2: No. 3 C.W. Post at No. 2 Le Moyne - Saturday, 5 p.m. Eastern

For the the third straight year, C.W. Post will bring a 6-0 record into its annual matchup with the Dolphins. The past two ocassions, the Pioneers have exited the contest with a 6-1 mark, but John Jez feels he has an older bunch this year, led by senior Greg Cerar, who has 21 goals and 19 assists so far (6.7 ppg). Still, Jez knows his team is an underdog and will have to play almost perfect to win.
 
[Jac Coyne was expecting the birth of his second child when this was posted. "Matt, I've got to start getting ready for delivery here. Come up with something witty about my situation to put as my blurb and go with it," he wrote. Replied DaSilva: "Just remember -- you did this to her." We put Jac under the D-II game, because we knew that's where he'd want to be.]

MD1: No. 1 Virginia at No. 9 Johns Hopkins - Saturday, 8 p.m. Eastern

Some statistical fodder: Johns Hopkins head coach Dave Pietramala is searching for his 100th win as the Blue Jays' head coach. He's 5-1 against top-ranked teams overall and 3-0 against top-ranked teams at Homewood Field. And for all our preseason hype about Danny Glading, LM's preseason player of the year, Garrett Billings and freshman Steele Stanwick have both outscored him through nine games. Still, 9-0 looks pretty, no matter how you slice it.

WD1: No. 11 Vanderbilt at No. 17 Penn State - Sunday, 12 p.m. Eastern

Penn State had intrastate rival Penn on the ropes, confronting the Quakers with their first deficit of the season before yielding in the second half. The Nittany Lions don't have the look of a team that has lost three in a row -- perhaps because they came against then-No. 2 Virginia, then-No. 7 Princeton and No. 3 Penn by a combined five goals.

Can Penn State please close the door on one upset? They've teased us pretty good, them Nittany Lions. They were up 11-5 on Virginia, but yielded a huge run and lost in OT. They were up one on Princeton with 10:55 left, but then relented. They were up one on Penn early in the second half before giving up a 5-0 run. Penn State could afford to work on some stall tactics. I'm thinking they vent their frustrations and run all over Vandy.


WD1: No. 8 Syracuse at No. 1 Northwestern - Sunday, 1 p.m Central

With Syracuse being the team everyone wants to peg to take down Northwestern and beat the Wildcats at their own game, think this might be a game to watch, much? Both offenses can catch fire. Only Northwestern has the ability to use great defense to extinguish a high-scoring opponent .(See: Maggie Bremer owning Katie Rowan in last year's NCAA semifinals.)


Back in January,  I thought this would be the best matchup of the regular season, but ever since Virginia gave Syracuse a beatdown in the Carrier Dome, I've been down on the Orange. A few weeks back, I saw the Wildcats CARVE UP a very good Georgetown team, so I'd be downright shocked if Syracuse can pull this off. They have the high-flying offensive numbers that you'd expect from a Gary Gait team (16.29 gpg), but any team that let Stanford, Virginia, BU and Towson get into double digits is going to have trouble at Lakeside Field.

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Last Week 5-5
5-5
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6-4
6-4
6-4
Overall 35-15
34-16
33-17
31-19
31-19
29-21
M: Albany @ Princeton
Princeton
Princeton
Princeton
Princeton
Princeton
Princeton
W: Princeton @ Virginia
Virginia
Virginia
Princeton
Princeton
Virginia
Princeton
M: Ithaca @ Cortland
Cortland
Cortland
Cortland
Cortland
Cortland
Cortland
W: Georgetown @ UNC
Georgetown
UNC
Georgetown
UNC
Georgetown
Georgetown
M: UNC @ Maryland
Maryland
Maryland
Maryland
UNC
Maryland
Maryland
W: JMU @ Loyola
JMU
Loyola
Loyola
Loyola
JMU
JMU
M: C.W. Post @ Le Moyne
Le Moyne
Le Moyne
Le Moyne
Le Moyne
Le Moyne
Le Moyne
M: Virginia @ Hopkins
Virginia
Hopkins
Virginia
Hopkins
Virginia
Virginia
W: Vanderbilt @ Penn St.
Penn State
 Vanderbilt
Vanderbilt
Penn State
Vandy
Penn State
W: Syracuse @ N'Western
Northwestern
Northwestern
Northwestern
Northwestern
Northwestern
Northwestern