Ten to Watch: Rivals and Rematches on Tap
by Lacrosse Magazine Online Staff
Each Friday, your crack laxperts here at Lacrosse Magazine Online try to handicap the upcoming weekend for the top 10 college games across all divisions. Follow here at laxmagazine.com all season long.
WD1: No. 13 Loyola (9-4, 3-1) at No. 8 Syracuse (7-4, 2-1) – Friday 6 p.m.
Syracuse returns home after a 2-1 road trip that included a 6-5 loss at Notre Dame Sunday. The Orange have been had at the Dome — a 17-10 beating by Dartmouth one of the more curious results this season. Loyola, on the other hand, is an impressive 5-2 on the road, but the Greyhounds also own a loss to Notre Dame. To give Syracuse its second two-game skid of the season, Loyola will need to contain Tee Ladouceur and Christina Dove, who rank fourth and seventh nationally in points per game with 5.09 and 4.91, respectively. That’s not out of the question for the Greyhounds, who allow just nine goals per game and have a potent scorer of their own in junior Grace Gavin (3.23 gpg). The loser of this one falls closer to surging Rutgers in the middle of the Big East pack, while the winner will get the inside track to the No. 3 seed in the league tournament.
WD1: No. 6 Penn (9-3, 4-0) at No. 7 Dartmouth (9-1, 4-0) – Saturday 12 p.m.
This Ivy League first-place showdown features a Penn team that’s been relegated to notch-below status after its third loss to the nation’s Big Three (Maryland, North Carolina and Northwestern) -- all by at least four goals. Surely the Quakers want another shot at those teams, and the best way to do that is probably by assuming a foothold on Ivy territory as the spoiler of Dartmouth’s regular-season home finale. Penn ranks fourth in the nation by allowing just 6.75 gpg, but it’ll need some scorers to step up Saturday against the nation’s third-best defense (6.40 gpg). Keep an eye on freshman Maddie Poplawski, whose 14 goals have her tied for fourth on the team. But spoiling the Big Green’s senior day will be easier said than done. Aside from an opening-day loss to state rival (if an Ivy school could accept such a concept) UNH, Dartmouth has aced every test. U.S. Developmental team goalie Julie Wadland boasts a 6.52 GAA, good for third in the nation. No surprise there. What may be a surprise is the Big Green’s league-leading 13.7 gpg, sparked mainly by Tewaaraton nominee Greta Meyer (26g, 19a).
MD1: No. 9 Georgetown (7-3) at No. 8 Loyola (7-2) – Saturday 1 p.m.
Loyola appears to be well on its way to earning the ECAC AQ to the NCAA tournament with just Denver standing in its way, but the Greyhounds were snubbed for last year’s tourney after a double-overtime loss to Hopkins on the final day of the regular season. Georgetown knows that pain as well – having lost to Penn State in the final game of the regular season in 2008 to find itself on the outside looking in. Suffice to say, neither team can afford a loss here if they want to be comfortable trying to grab an at-large bid. Georgetown’s three losses came to Top 5 teams, but it also lacks a signature win with No. 20 Harvard being its best. Loyola’s at-large resume isn’t any more compelling. The Greyhounds lost to unranked Notre Dame and its best win came last weekend, over now No. 18 Fairfield.
"As the NHL’s Stanley Cup playoffs begin this week, it bears keeping in mind that a hot goaltender can make all the difference in the hockey postseason. Lacrosse can say the same and hot goalies are starting to carry their teams. One of the best right now is Loyola’s Jake Hagelin, named this week as a Tewaaraton semifinalist. The junior is second in the nation in goals against average (6.77) and fourth in saves percentage (.608), and has at least 13 saves in each of the last three games. Coupled with a strong man-down unit, the defense has helped carry the Hounds to their highest rating since 2003."
-- Paul Ohanian
WD2: No. 2 C.W. Post (10-0) at No. 3 Lock Haven (9-0) – Saturday 1 p.m.
Lock Haven is 11-0, averaging 18.8 goals per game and is only ranked third in the division? Yep. That’s because C.W. Post is 10-0 and beating its opponents by an average of 14.5 goals per game. But that’s only good enough for No. 2 in D-II. Why? Because defending champion Adelphi is 11-0 and has only scored fewer than 20 goals once all season. Lock Haven looks like, well, a lock to be the No. 1 seed in the South and C.W. Post is well on its way to securing one of the three spots from the North as teams look for a way to end Adelphi’s reign. Lock Haven has balance with three 50-point scorers (Leigh Titus, Kayleigh Johnson and Allison Berger) while C.W. Post has been dominant on defense this year with freshman Dominique Mosca and junior Sam Powers in goal. Mosca has started the last three games and has a 66.7 save percentage and 3.85 goals against average this year.
Ohanian: C.W. Post
Coyne: Lock Haven
Krome: C.W. Post
DaSilva: C.W. Post
Logue: C.W. Post
Lochary: C.W. Post
MD1: Army (5-5, 3-0) vs. Navy (5-6, 4-1) – Saturday 4 p.m. (at M&T Bank Stadium, Baltimore)
This rivalry, kicking off the Konica Minolta Day of Rivals, has not been much of a rivalry at all of late. Navy is 14-1 against Army since 1998. The Black Knights' only win in that span was a 9-6 victory in April 2008. Both teams are strong in the cage. RJ Wickham has carried Navy this season, while Tim Henderson is a big (6-foot-4) presence between the pipes for Army. The Black Knights look to remain unbeaten in Patriot League play. Navy's right behind Army and Lafayette in the current standings.
MD1: No. 15 Johns Hopkins (5-5) vs. No. 4 Maryland (7-2) – Saturday 6:30 p.m. (at M&T Bank Stadium, Baltimore)
The Konica Minolta Day of Rivals concludes with arguably the biggest rivalry in college lacrosse. When was the last time Maryland was this heavily favored, though? Johns Hopkins must win, or its 38-year NCAA tournament streak is in serious jeopardy. Injuries and tinkering have affected both teams' lineups throughout the season, but the Terps have done a better job adjusting. The game, like many others, could come down to a few timely saves. Maryland's Brian Phipps boasts a .532 save percentage, compared with .536 and .450 for Hopkins goalies Michael Gvozden and Pierce Bassett, respectively. Bassett does a better job igniting transition, however.
DaSilva: Johns Hopkins
Logue: Johns Hopkins
"We know Hopkins is Hopkins, but at some point, the Blue Jays are going to need to beat someone really good to qualify for the NCAA tournament again — and that’s even with a not-so-safe assumption that they would run the table against their “lesser” in-state rivals to close the season. They’re running out of chances. Dave Cottle must be licking his chops. Just 4-14 all-time vs. Hopkins while at Loyola and Maryland, he’s got the chance to sink the Blue Jays to 5-6 with three to play. With signs seemingly pointing to Maryland ending a three-game skid in this 106-year-old rivalry — the Terps have better-performing players with more experience, along with a coach with something to prove — I wouldn’t be surprised if Hopkins pulled the rug out from under the Turtles. The Blue Jays have won eight of the last 10 meetings when entering this game ranked lower than Maryland."
-- Paul Krome
"I love history, and that’s why it’s impossible for me to pick Maryland over Johns Hopkins this weekend. I don’t care if Hopkins defense isn’t what it usually is. I don’t care if just three players have combined for half of Hopkins shots this year. I don’t care if Hopkins is starting a thousand freshmen. Here’s the fact I can’t run away from: Since 2007, Hopkins is 25-5 in the months of April and May and Maryland is 11-12. Case closed. My pick goes to the Blue Jays."
-- Brian Logue
"I agree with Baltimore Sun columnist Mike Preston -- this won't be pretty. Or, as Preston wrote today, "it's going to be downright gritty and dirty." Just whom does such a game favor? Is it the team trying to save its season, Johns Hopkins? Or is it the team with the top long stick midfielder in the nation, Maryland's Brian Farrell? Maryland's midfield has either solidified or remains a question mark, depending on whom you talk to. Hopkins' goalkeeping scenario is definitely that of the, "If you have two goalies, you have no goalies" vein. It might just behoove the Jays to stick with Pierce Bassett, regardless the result. The head games have already claimed three-year starter Michael Gvozden."
-- Matt DaSilva
MD1: No. 7 Drexel (9-2, 2-0) at Towson (4-5, 2-0) – Saturday 7:30 p.m.
Sole possession of first place in the CAA is on the line at
Johnny Unitas Stadium. Towson is riding a three-game winning streak
that includes a 10-9 upset of then-No. 7 UMass last weekend. The
Tigers snapped a 14-game losing streak against ranked opponents
with that victory while also recording their first win over a Top
10 opponent since 2003. Drexel, meanwhile, has won nine of its last
10 games since its season-opening loss to Virginia. Both teams are
winning with solid defense and excellent goaltending.
Drexel’s Mark Manos is ranked third nationally with a .612
save percentage and the Dragons rank fifth in team defense,
allowing 7.8 goals per game. Towson’s Travis Love has been
equally impressive, averaging over 13 saves per game since becoming
the starter six games ago.
MD1: No. 5 Duke (10-3, 0-2) at No. 1 Virginia (11-0, 2-0) – Saturday 8:30 p.m.
The top-ranked Cavaliers are playing their third-straight top
five opponent as they try to remain the nation’s only
undefeated D-1 team. Three goals from Steele Stanwick and 12 saves
from ACC Player of the Week Adam Ghitelman helped Virginia hold off
No. 2 UNC 7-5 in last week’s Big City Classic at the new
Meadowlands Stadium. Duke is riding an eight-game winning streak,
but still searching for its first league victory prior to the start
of next week’s ACC Tournament. The Blue Devils have
averaged 13.5 goals per game during their streak, but have played
just one top-five opponent to date this season.
WD1: No. 2 North Carolina (12-1) at No. 1 Northwestern (11-0) – Sunday 12 p.m. Central
No. 2 at No. 1 in a rematch of last year’s championship game? Sold. If the Wildcats win, they’ll secure a 25th consecutive No. 1 ranking in the IWCLA poll, breaking a record set by Maryland between 1995 and 1998. North Carolina is currently 12-1 with a six-game winning streak (the one loss was 13-12 to Virginia in OT); Northwestern is currently 11-0 with a 40-game winning streak. UNC coach Jenny Levy is not playing the revenge card. “We lost and got pummeled by a great Northwestern team who, you know, for the first 15, 20 minutes of that game, they absolutely jumped down our pants and dragged us all over the field. And it certainly motivated us to work hard,” she said Thursday. “But it has nothing to do about revenge."
Lochary: North Carolina
"I literally cannot remember the last time I picked against Northwestern, but I think the Heels can take them, even in Evanston. The 21-7 championship game had different personnel for Northwestern, and UNC goalie Logan Ripley had an uncharacteristically bad game, so don’t focus on that. Focus on the fact that Ripley is the best goalie in the country (6.16 GAA) on a recent hot streak (13 saves against Duke on Wednesday). Plenty of teams have gotten into double digits against the Wildcats’ this year, too, and that diverse UNC offense that will give defenders a lot to deal with. As long as they can keep turnovers in check (which is what got them in trouble in their one loss to Virgina), the Heels can do this. Plus, the Wildcats could be gassed from playing Johns Hopkins on Friday night, whereas North Carolina is coming off four days’ rest.
-- Clare Lochary
WD1: No. 16 Hofstra (8-3, 2-0) at No. 10 James Madison
(9-2, 2-0) – Sunday 1 p.m.
Last year, this match-up was a 13-12 double-overtime win for Hofstra, but the Dukes are coming off two strong CAA wins last weekend, including an upset of Towson in OT. Hofstra is also 2-0 in CAA play, with a solid 15-7 win over William and Mary to its credit. Keep an eye on JMU freshman Casey Ancarrow, the CAA Rookie and Player of the Week, who is second on the team with 34 total points. (Senior Kim Griffin is first with 25 goals and 14 assists.) If it gets close, give the edge to James Madison, which is 4-1 in one-goal games this season, whereas Hofstra is 1-3.
Ohanian: James Madison
Coyne: James Madison
Krome: James Madison
DaSilva: James Madison
Logue: James Madison
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