Ten-2-Watch: Rivalry Weekend in Full Force
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.
Army vs. Navy. Johns Hopkins vs. Maryland. Penn State vs. Ohio State. These are rivalries that echo throughout the game (and in the case of all but the storied Terrapin-Blue Jay bout, throughout all sports as well). Every game matters, but some capture the attention of fans and players alike, and this week's slate is dotted with them. But who does Lacrosse Magazine's crew like?
WD1: No. 17 Penn State (8-5) at No. 8 Ohio State (10-4)
|Maggie McCormick is one of eight Penn State players with 20 or more points on the season. Can they put together a strong offensive day against rival Ohio State? (John Strohsacker/LaxPhotos.com)|
Sunday, 1 p.m.
Currently second in its conference trailing Florida, Ohio State
enters its matchup against ALC rival Penn State coming off four
wins, including one against Vanderbilt last week, which handed
Hopkins its first loss of the season, ending the Blue Jays'
historical 10-0 start to the season. The Buckeyes, currently
boasting a 10-4 record, have also docked a noteworthy win over
Northwestern earlier in the season by one goal in overtime. Junior
attacker Jackie Cifarelli currently leads the nation in assists
with 37. Penn State managed to stay in the top 20 after a one-goal
loss to Northwestern last week, but they rebounded with a 13-8
victory over unranked Cornell on Tuesday. Madison Cyr commands the
Nittany Lions' offense with 38 points (32 goals, six assists),
while her sister, Mackenzie Cyr, tied with Maggie McCormick, leads
in assists with 17. Both teams fell to Florida – Ohio State
by one goal and Penn State by four.
MD1: Navy (4-6) at Army (7-3)
Saturday, 2 p.m.
In true service academy fashion, the front page of Army's athletic website this week featured the words "Mission: Set Army Home Lacrosse Attendance Record." West Point is the site of the 93rd edition of the Army-Navy lacrosse series. No rivalry week is complete without this one. Navy is looking to bounce back after dropping a heart-breaking 7-6 double-overtime decision at home to top-ranked Loyola last Saturday. A goal by Navy junior midfielder Gabe Voumard in the fourth quarter sent the game into extra time, but Loyola's Brian Schultz scored the winner in double OT. Army, with a 5-1 Patriot League record, is riding a three-game win streak with the last win coming in a close 8-7 decision over first-year program Boston University. This game has Patriot League implications as well. Loyola, Army, and Lehigh have already clinched spots in the six-team tournament. Of the six teams vying for the final three spots, Navy, with a 3-4 league record, is the only team was one conference game left. Opening faceoff is at 2:07 p.m. ET on the CBS Sports Network. In-person fans are encouraged to arrive early with a number of events happening at West Point on Saturday.
WD1: No. 1 North Carolina (12-1) at No. 3 Syracuse (12-1)
Saturday, 3 p.m.
Tarnished by one loss to No. 4 Northwestern, North Carolina was able to hold on to its No. 1 spot with a crucial 17-15 win over second-ranked ACC rival Maryland. With the nation's best scoring offense, the Tar Heels were able to come from behind using a 5-0 run to their advantage after trailing 10-9 at halftime. UNC's 17 goals were the most scored against the Terps since 2007 as Abbey Friend and Maggie Bill recorded four goals apiece. Also with one loss on the season, Syracuse fell to Maryland 12-10 despite Orange sophomore Kayla Treanor netting her sixth hat trick of the season. Syracuse is currently riding a six-game winning streak under head coach and lacrosse Hall of Famer Gary Gait. However, Albany gave the Orange a run for their money in a down-to-the-wire game on April 1, coming within one after a five-goal deficit. If the Tar Heels trump the Orange, they can hang on to the lead, but if Syracuse wins, we will have a three-way chess match between UNC, Maryland and Syracuse to become the frontrunner. UNC trounced Maryland by two. The Terps beat the Orange by two. Will Syracuse shake things up this weekend?
MD1: No. 3 North Carolina (9-2) at No. 7 Syracuse (7-3)
Saturday, 6 p.m.
While familiar foes own the marquee this week, this juicy ACC matchup will feature two traditional college lacrosse powers that actually have not met in the regular season since 1994. And both teams are red-hot. North Carolina has worked its way into the national No. 1 conversation with four straight wins over top-20 teams (Harvard, Maryland, Johns Hopkins and Virginia), while Syracuse has defeated Notre Dame and Cornell since its embarassing loss at Duke.
You could call this the Nicky Galasso Bowl. The former ACC Rookie of the Year with the Tar Heels will suit up for the Orange against his former team. But he's as much of a non-factor with Syracuse as he was in his last couple of years at North Carolina. What would Galasso's legacy have been if he decided to play somewhere he could shine, rather than be a bit player on two of the talent-richest programs in the country? Guess we'll never know.
ACC tournament implications add a new wrinkle to this weekend, with just four of the six teams qualifying (the remaining two will play in a consolation game) for a chance to bolster their RPI and seeding potential. A Syracuse win combined with Virginia loss to Duke would give the Orange an ACC tournament berth. North Carolina still has a shot at the top seed.
WD1: James Madison (7-5) at Towson (7-6)
Sunday, 1 p.m.
Both James Madison and Towson are currently unranked, but these two on-the-bubble teams will duke it out this weekend in a premier CAA matchup. James Madison is undefeated in the conference, but has only played one game to take the No. 1 spot, while Towson is tied for second with Delaware, both holding a 2-1 CAA record. Overall, the Tigers only have one more loss than the Dukes and yet both have seven wins, making this weekend a neck-and-neck battle. However, leading in goals, assists and draw controls per game, the Dukes may pull ahead, especially considering Towson has the most turnovers per game in the CAA. JMU also has earned quality wins over Loyola and Penn State.
MD1: No. 12 Yale (6-3) at Brown (6-4)
Friday, 7 p.m.
Coming into the season, the prevailing notion was Yale would need to score more to compensate for losses on defense. But the Bulldogs have shown they can win -- and lose -- in both high-scoring and low-scoring affairs. Their 16-15 barn-burning victory over Princeton preceded a 6-5 loss to Penn. After skirting Providence for an 8-5 win, Yale's offense reappeared in a 16-10 victory over Dartmouth. And for all of that, the Bulldogs' supposedly weaker defense has allowed an Ivy League-low 75 goals.
We won't even start to address the Ivy League logjam. Just know that every result from here could alter the landscape, which currently stands as Harvard (3-0 in Ivy League), Cornell (3-1), Penn (2-2), Yale (2-2), Brown (1-2), Princeton (1-2) and Dartmouth (0-3).
WD1: No. 15 Johns Hopkins (10-2) at No. 4 Northwestern (9-3)
Sunday, 1 p.m.
Johns Hopkins has recently dropped in the polls due to two straight losses at the hands of unranked Vanderbilt and No. 6 Florida. Last weekend, the Blue Jays fell to the Gators 10-9 after a back-and-forth contest. Taylor D'Amore had four goals and three assists in the loss to Florida, which was led by Shannon Gilroy's seven goals. Johns Hopkins came within one goal with 58 seconds remaining, but the clock expired before the Blue Jays could tie the game. All eyes now turn to Northwestern, the first team to upset No. 1 North Carolina. By ending the defending champion's 15-game winning streak, the Wildcats were able to jump the No. 4 spot in the rankings. It marked the 300th all-time victory in program history. Earning wins over two more top-20 teams – Penn State and Penn – immediately following that has put Northwestern back on the final four radar. Johns Hopkins may have the fourth-best scoring defense in Division I, but Northwestern has Alyssa Leonard, who is No. 4 in draw controls. In the Blue Jays' two losses, a constant struggle for possession has been their demise, so it appears they will face another challenge in Northwestern right from the opening draw.
MD1: No. 4 Maryland (9-1) at No. 10 Johns Hopkins (6-3)
Saturday, 2 p.m.
The landscaping crew was out early at Homewood this week, sprucing up the grounds around the Cordish Lacrosse Center for the Blue Jays' homecoming game Saturday with bitter rival Maryland. A sell-out crowd is expected in Baltimore with less than 1,500 tickets available early Thursday after pre-sale alone. It's the 111th meeting between the two sides and, per usual, there are some juicy storylines to watch. The Blue Jays will look to defend their turf and a win would go a long way in helping their NCAA tournament at-large cause. Maryland's young attack, with Connor Cannizzaro now running the point after some personnel shifting, gets its first taste of this blood feud. Charlie Raffa vs. Drew Kennedy at the faceoff X. Veteran Maryland goalie Niko Amato and an experienced Terps 'D' will square off against Wells Stanwick and the Jays' attack-oriented 'O.' Three of the last five Maryland-Johns Hopkins games have been decided by a goal and the last five games have been decided by a total of nine goals. This is the last ACC vs. independent incarnation of the series, as both teams head to the Big Ten next year. With their deep and rich history, once it was announced Maryland was headed to the Big Ten, administrators looked for a way to keep its rivalry with Johns Hopkins intact. One thing led to another, and the Blue Jays became the first affiliate member of the Big Ten. Connected, forever.
WD2: No. 3 Limestone (12-0) at No. 5 Pfeiffer (11-2)
Saturday, 12 p.m.
Limestone hasn't lost to a team from the Carolinas since 2009, but it did used to happen on occasion.
Pfeiffer coach Krissy Bentolila is certainly aware of this fact, she played on the last Falcon team to defeat Limestone, way back in 2007. But Pfeiffer won't come in intimidated. It was just over a year ago that the Falcons kept it close before falling to Limestone, 11-7, for their first loss of the season. Limestone ended up winning by quite a bit more in the first round of the NCAA tournament. Pfeiffer can keep it competitive, but it will certainly be fighting an uphill battle. The Saints have not lost to a South Region team since May of 2012. And they even have Northern talents. Canadian senior Sarah Oor just took possession of fourth place on Division II's all-time assists list.
MD3: No. 3 Cabrini (10-0) at No. 7 Salisbury (12-1)
Friday, 7 p.m.
Viewing this contest through the prism of the NCAA tournament, it doesn't hold a lot of weight. Sure, it'll flesh out some of the seeding choices for the committee, but, barring a historic collapse, both of these squads will be in the brackets on Selection Sunday. Looking at the micro level for each team, this game is pivotal.
Cabrini has posted the program's best start in history to date,
and have not only defeated some of the top teams in the country,
but destroyed them. Still, every Division III team must gauge
itself against Salisbury because of the Gulls tradition of
excellence. A win on Friday night will be like the Cavaliers
pulling Excalibur from the stone. Because Salisbury doesn't gauge
itself via tournament appearances or rankings, but rather
championships, this game will determine just how viable the Gulls
are for ring No. 11. A loss to Cabrini clarifies that Sailsbury
will, for the second straight season, enter the postseason as an
underdog to reach Memorial Day weekend (and they haven't even
played Stevenson yet).
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