March 21, 2014

Ten-2-Watch: Another Big Test for Defending Champs

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 big week for our pickers, as everyone went .500 or better for the first time all season, putting all but three at even on the year and the majority in the black. Corey pulled into the solo lead with a 7-3 week while Sean and Emily had the top weeks overall at 8-2. Think you can do better? Let us know in the comments below and we may pick a USL member to take a crack at next week's pick-em... If you can top our mark, there may even be a prize in it for you!

But what of this week, you ask? Our pickers are strong on the Duke men and the Carolina women, so we'll either all look good, or all take the hit.










Last Week 7-3 6-4 7-3 6-4 8-2 8-2 7-3 7-3 6-4 5-5 6-4
Overall 25-15 24-16 24-16 23-17 23-17 23-17 22-18 20-20 19-21 18-22 17-23












M: SYR@DUK DUK DUK DUK DUK DUK DUK DUK SYR DUK DUK DUK
W: UNC@BC UNC UNC UNC UNC UNC UNC UNC UNC UNC UNC UNC
M: COR@PEN COR PEN PEN COR COR PEN PEN PEN PEN COR COR
W: NW@SYR SYR SYR SYR SYR SYR SYR SYR SYR NW SYR SYR
M: PRI@YAL YAL YAL PRI PRI PRI YAL PRI PRI PRI YAL YAL
W: FLA@OSU FLA FLA FLA FLA FLA FLA FLA FLA FLA FLA OSU
M: MD@UNC MD MD UNC MD UNC UNC MD MD MD MD MD
W: UVA@DUK DUK DUK UVA UVA DUK DUK DUK DUK UVA DUK DUK
WD3:FMU@SAL SAL SAL SAL FMU SAL SAL SAL SAL SAL SAL SAL
MD3: COR@STE STE STE STE STE COR COR STE COR STE STE STE


MD1: No. 9 Syracuse (4-2) at No. 4 Duke (7-2)

Who will win Saturday's UNC-Boston College game?
No. 1 North Carolina
No. 4 Boston College

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Abbey Friend and the defending champion Tar Heels have answered all tests so far in 2014. Saturday brings another with a trip to No. 4 Boston College. (Peyton Williams)

Sunday, 12:30 p.m.

In a rematch of last year's national championship game, Syracuse visits Durham for the first-ever ACC clash between the Orange and Blue Devils. Much to Syracuse coach John Desko's chagrin, Duke's prolific faceoff man, Brendan Fowler, is still around and the Orange is still working their way through issues at the X. But they downed Johns Hopkins last week despite losing 21 of 25 draws. The Orange defense, with a new configuration, stepped up with man-to-man and zone looks. Pertinent to this game, as a new-look starting midfield gets its feet wet, the Duke offense hasn't scored more than 10 goals this season against ranked competition, and that was in their second game of the year against Denver, a 14-10 loss. Since then, Duke scored nine in a win over Penn, six in a loss at Maryland, seven in a loss to Loyola and nine in an overtime win last Saturday over North Carolina. Loyola, for example, threw a zone look at Duke and on attack, stars Jordan Wolf and Josh Dionne each shot 1-of-7. Wolf certainly got going against UNC, though, with four goals, one assist and the OT winner. Expect a fast-paced game at Koskinen Stadium as this series enters the ACC history books.

WD1: No. 1 North Carolina (9-0) at No. 4 Boston College (7-1)

Saturday, 1 p.m.

Out of the gate, the defending NCAA champion Tar Heels haven't skipped a beat, dominating en route to a 9-0 start to the season including wins over No. 5 Florida, No. 6 Penn and No. 8 Notre Dame. Thus far, the closest any team has gotten to coach Jenny Levy's charges? Virginia was within four goals in a 14-10 loss on March 8th. While the returners from last year's championship run have played their roles, it has been the influx of a strong freshman class that has helped keep them dominating, led by Sidney Holman's 20 goals and 20 assists so far.  “They’re really stepping up,” senior Abbey Friend said of the first-year players in a recent story in CAROLINA. “We all have a common goal that we’re trying to achieve, and they bought into that really early, so that’s why they’re so successful.” 

Their next test is a trip north to Boston College, which has started similarly strong at 7-1, with its only blemish coming in a two-goal fall against Syracuse. Our staff is unanimous in picking the defending champs, but this should be a tough test for both teams in Chestnut Hill.

MD1: No. 3 Cornell (7-0) at No. 12 Penn (3-2)

Saturday, 1 p.m.

The Ivy League battles continue, with the deck now reshuffled in terms of the league's pecking order compared to the preseason. Cornell is one of only two undefeated teams in the land, with top-ranked Maryland the other. Penn was flying high after an early-season upset of Denver, but has since come back down to earth a bit following an Ivy-opening loss to Princeton last week. The Quakers stated goal was to go undefeated in the league this year, but now they'll look to go 5-1 starting with a big matchup with the Big Red. Cornell has gotten great play from true freshman goalie Christian Knight in his first three collegiate games, all wins against Virginia, Yale and most recently Colgate on Tuesday. Senior attackman Dan Lintner has emerged a consistent goal-scoring threat, averaging 3.5 per game and notching three against Virginia, two vs. Yale and five against Colgate. All that said, we'll know even more about Cornell after this weekend, as Penn, with a stout defense, deep midfield rotation and fast-break tendencies, will be hungry for a win.

WD1: No. 10 Northwestern (4-2) at No. 3 Syracuse (8-1)

Sunday, 1 p.m.

With a balanced offense that has five players already scoring 15 or more times in nine games, the Orange have just one blemish - dropping against Maryland in a recent thriller at the Carrier Dome. But on the year, few teams have had success stopping the Orange, who have outscored foes by a combined 16-8 margin, on average. If the Wildcats - who have won all but one of the 12 times the teams have tangled including four times in the last three years (the 2012 NCAA finals being one of those) - they'll have to figure out a way to slow down Kayla Treanor (30G, 21A) and Alyssa Murray (22, 17). The Wildcats have two losses on the young season, coming by a goal each to Ohio State and Notre Dame. Alyssa Leonard, who recently became the NCAA's leading draw controls record holder, leads with 13 goals and an assist, with Kaleigh Craig (12G, 3A) and Kara Mupo (10, 5) also pouring in on the attack.

MD1: No. 11 Princeton (4-2) at No. 15 Yale (3-2)

Saturday, 12 p.m.

After falling in Ithaca, Yale is 0-1 in the Ivy while Princeton is 1-0 after taking down Penn. As with all teams in the Ivy, these teams have some history. Yale beat Princeton 12-8 for the Ivy League tournament title last May. This year, Tom Schreiber and Mike MacDonald are 1-2 in the conference in points per game (24 and 22), and the Tigers are coming off back-to-back wins over Penn and Villanova on Tuesday. For Yale, senior captain defenseman Jimmy Craft brings a wealth of big-game experience with him and the proven ability to throw in a 70-yard shot for a goal if the opportunity presents itself. The faceoff battle will likely be key in this one, with Yale's Dylan Levings (51 percent on the season) goes head-to-head with Princeton's Justin Murphy (55.7).

WD1: No. 5 Florida (9-2) at No. 16 Ohio State (6-3)

Saturday, 1 p.m.

The Buckeyes are coming in hot, winning their last four after a 2-3 start, including wins over Louisville and Northwestern coming into the weekend showdown at home against the Gators in ALC play. After three straight losses to Canisius, Stanford and Boston College, the Buckeyes have been a different team, according to head coach Alexis Venechanos. "That made our team a little more hungry and they cleaned a lot of things up physically, but I think that mental toughness is a lot of why we are where we are," Venechanos told LM's Laurel Pfahler. "We saw how those little mistakes cost us early in the season, so we've been there already and we want to continue to move forward. It was a good learning experience."

Florida is looking to rebound from a loss to No. 3 Syracuse last week, its second of the year (both to top-flight squads as the other came in its opener against No. 1 North Carolina). Shannon Gilroy has been lighting up opposing teams (43 goals and 55 points are both among the tops in the nation), so the Buckeyes will have their hands full if they hope to keep their streak alive.

MD1: No. 1 Maryland (7-0) at No. 7 North Carolina (6-2)

Saturday 2 p.m.

What a long, strange trip it's been for Maryland midfielder Mike Chanenchuk. Originally recruited to Princeton, he started his college career in 2010 on fire, winning Ivy League Rookie of the Year and second-team All-American honors while setting a school freshman record with 28 goals. Had Chanenchuk not withdrawn from the university the next fall, we might be talking about his former high school teammate, Tom Schreiber, and him as one of the greatest midfield pairings in college lacrosse history. But after leaving Princeton due to academic reasons (he told Inside Lacrosse his surgery for a broken collarbone contributed to the disruption of his school routine), Chanenchuk sat out the 2011 season and landed in College Park in 2012.

Two years later, he is on fire again. Chanenchuk is the nation's top goal-scoring midfielder with 21 goals in seven games and ranks behind only Schreiber in overall scoring (4.14 points per game) among midfielders. He has helped take the pressure off of Maryland's young attack and put himself squarely in the Tewaaraton Award conversation.

An underreported component of the Terps' 7-0 start: Michael Ehrhardt's move from close defense to long-stick midfield. Ehrhardt has 27 ground balls (most among all non-faceoff men) and a team-high 17 caused turnovers.

Maryland will encounter a hungry North Carolina team that by no means wants to fall into an 0-3 hole in ACC play. Both of the Tar Heels' losses are by one goal, but both have come against conference foes (Notre Dame and Duke). Watch out for faceoffs. R.G. Keenan, North Carolina's incumbent specialist, got his first reps (0-for-2) Tuesday against Harvard since being sidelined with an injury early in the season. But brothers Stephen Kelly and Frank Kelly played so well in his absence, both ranking among national leaders in faceoff win percentage, that coach Joe Breschi might just be inclined to go with the hot hand against Maryland's Charlie Raffa.

WD1: Virginia (4-5) at No. 11 Duke (6-3)

Saturday 3 p.m.

Virginia was in a tailspin, and it looked like it would get worse Wednesday. After losing to Princeton, a team that does not carry as much clout as it used to, to fall to 3-5, the Cavaliers trailed James Madison 9-5 with 24:16 remaining. Virginia rallied, played with a sense of urgency on draws, chased down loose balls and forced the Dukes into 10 second-half turnovers to go on a 7-0 run and eventually win 12-10.

That might have changed the momentum of the Cavaliers' season, just in time to play a Duke team that has not been tested since an 11-10 loss March 5 to Georgetown. That was the Blue Devils' third straight defeat at the time. They have since rebounded with wins over Virginia Tech, Davidson and Jacksonville. Virginia has had the tougher schedule to date.

As expected, Duke's Kerrin Maurer is putting up big numbers, with 28 goals, 16 assists and 22 draw controls through nine games. Goalie Kelsey Duryea, an All-American as a freshman, is in a bit of a sophomore slump, allowing 8.92 goals per game and stopping just 48.3 percent of shots she sees. Duryea broke out in a big way during the ACC-heavy portion of the Blue Devils' schedule last year.

Courtney Swan has been the Cavaliers' best player. Her 27 goals, 10 assists and 47 draw controls are all team highs.

WD3: No. 4 Franklin & Marshall (5-0) at No. 1 Salisbury (6-0)

Sunday, 1 p.m.

Any doubts that Franklin & Marshall was back were erased in last year's NCAA quarterfinals, when the Diplomats fell by just two goals to an unbeaten Salisbury team that had not defeated anyone by fewer than six goals up to that point. The Diplomats have only gotten better since then, defeating their five opponents this year by an average score of 16-8. F&M has defeated three Top 20 teams in that span and also handed three of its opponents their first loss. Of course, the Dips haven't played anyone like Salisbury over that span. The Sea Gulls have lost just once since 2011. This one also pits Caroline Krohn and F&M's Top 25 offense against Ashton Wheatley and Salisbury's Top 25 defense.

MD3: No. 6 Cortland (5-1) at No. 2 Stevenson (6-1)

Saturday, 7:30 p.m.

If Cortland scores the goal in overtime in last year's North semifinal with RIT, this is the rematch of the national championship game. Instead, it's just the marquee match-up of the Mustang Classic -- an in-season, two-day, quasi-tournament featuring two of the top teams from both regions. Both of these teams have just one loss, and each picked it up at the hands of RIT in the Carrier Dome.

The last time these two programs met was in 2011 with the Mustangs taking a 10-8 game, but that's ancient history. Cortland will likely be without the services of Tewaaraton watch list member Joe Slavik, who was dinged up in the RIT game, but that won't change the grinding style the Red Dragons will approach this contest with. Meanwhile, Stevenson is flying high after taming Tufts on Tuesday night, playing with a poise rarely seen out of the Mustangs. Spicing up this contest is the fact that both teams won't be as prepared as they usually would be. Cortland faces Lynchburg on Friday night while Stevenson squares off with Nazareth.


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