Each Friday, we hash out the top 10 games of the weekend ahead in college lacrosse.
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Hook: Penn has the nation's top-ranked defense and has made a habit of humbling strong teams this season. The No. 2 Quakers have allowed just 45 goals in nine games, including just two goals each in wins over No. 4 North Carolina and No. 20 Cornell. Dartmouth is 3-0 in the Ivy and ranked 13th in the nation, but you have to wonder if the Quakers will be looking ahead to Wednesday's showdown with No. 7 Princeton. That would be foolish. Dartmouth has already taken another unbeaten, No. 3 Maryland, to overtime.
WD1: No. 4 North Carolina at No. 3 Maryland - Satruday, 12 p.m.
MD1: No. 7 UMBC at No. 18 Albany - Saturday, 1 p.m.
Hook: Talk about revenge games. Anytime these two America East juggernauts meet, revenge seems to be at hand, but the Great Danes have got to be salivating over this one -- a rematch of the 2008 America East championship game in which the Retrievers rallied from nine goals down to win 14-13 and advance to the NCAA tournament.
MD1: No. 15 Loyola at No. 19 Georgetown - Saturday, 1 p.m.
Hook: The season is pretty much on the line for the Hoyas (5-5 overall, 1-2 ECAC) Saturday. A loss eliminates them from contention for the conference crown and casts a tall shadow on an at-large bid to the NCAA tournament with a trip to ECAC front-runner Massachusetts next week. The good news for the Hoyas is that if they can get this one, they'll have won three straight heading to Amherst and then finish with pedestrian Rutgers and Penn State on the Hilltop. Entering the season, we thought the Hoyas' lack of a single standout on offense could be a blessing. Ten games in, only three players, led by Ricky Mirabito (19g, 5a) and Andrew Brancaccio (16g, 3a), have scored in double-figures in goals for a squad that averages just over nine tallies per game. The Greyhounds (6-4, 3-1) have come back to the pack somewhat after a 3-1 start, but they've avoided stubbing their toes against an inferior opponent - which Georgetown hasn't. This is likewise a big game for Loyola, which can strengthen its NCAA hopes with a road win followed by home games against league rivals Fairfield and Hobart. For the ‘Hounds, offense has come mainly from its attack unit of Shane Koppens (17g, 12a), Collin Finnerty (16g, 11a) and Cooper MacDonnell (22g, 4a). How those three fare against a traditionally strong Hoya D will be key, and Loyola could certainly use a repeat ECAC Player of the Week performance by freshman midfielder Mike Sawyer, who scored four goals in last week's win at Rutgers.
MD1: No. 10 North Carolina vs. Ohio State (at Calvert Hall, Baltimore) - Saturday, 1 p.m.
Hook: The obvious, emotional hook here is UNC head coach Joe Breschi's first game against his former team, the one he built from the ground up and with which he endured the death of his son. There's also the mentor-protege element between Breschi and OSU first-year coach Nick Myers, who was promoted in Columbus when Breschi left for his alma mater. Ohio State has an opening -- UNC goalie Grant Zimmerman is likely out for the season after suffering a right knee injury in the second quarter of the Tar Heels' loss to Virginia in last week's Big City Classic.
WD1: No. 8 Notre Dame at No. 9 Syracuse - Saturday 1 p.m.
MD1: No. 9 Johns Hopkins vs. No. 12 Maryland (at M&T Bank Stadium) - Saturday, 2 p.m.
WD1: No. 10 Vanderbilt at No. 15 Ohio State - Sunday, 12 p.m.