What to Watch: NCAA Week Three

(Photo Courtesy of Johns Hopkins Athletics)

Welcome to Week three of the college lacrosse season, Y’all!

After two straight weekends of limited action and a decently sized slate last week, we have reached the first normal weekend of the season. Practically ever every conference (outside of MAAC, who starts on March 6th) that has announced their intentions to play this season will have teams that have played at least one game when this weekend comes to a close.

Week three of the college lacrosse season technically got underway on Tuesday when North Carolina defeated High Point 17-15 in a thriller. Mount St. Mary’s also bested Delaware 10-7 on Wednesday afternoon.

Week Two Storylines

Welcome to The Show, Big Ten

As previously mentioned, more teams open up their seasons this weekend. The most notable group beginning play this weekend is the Big Ten, who will play a conference-only slate for the 2021 season.

Penn State travels to Rutgers to open up the post Penn State era at noon on Saturday. All eyes will be on offense in this one with attackman Mac O’Keefe among multiple fifth-year returnees at Penn State and Rutgers featuring Villanova grad transfer Connor Kirst at midfield and fifth-year returnee Kieran Mullins at attack.

The Peter Milliman era at Johns Hopkins begins on Saturday at noon when the Blue Jays welcome the Ohio State Buckeyes to Homewood. While all eyes will be on the beginning of the Milliman era at Hopkins, Ohio State comes in a roster that features five grad players, including star attackman Tre LeClair.

In College park, the Maryland Terrapins welcome the Michigan Wolverines. It will be the first game for new Maryland offensive coordinator Bobby Benson who is tasked with running a group that features Jared Bernhardt, Logan Wisnauskas, Anthony DeMaio, and Daniel Maltz among others.

The Milliman Era Begins at Johns Hopkins

When the Johns Hopkins Blue Jays and the Ohio State Buckeyes step foot on Homewood field against each other at high noon on Saturday, it won’t only mark the start of the lacrosse season for the pair of Big Ten foes. It will also mark the beginning of a new era at Johns Hopkins: The Milliman Era.

After finding much success in just a short period of time as the head coach at Cornell, Peter Milliman has shipped down to Baltimore and taken over one of the most historic programs in the sport, which he is tasked with taking back to the promised land. He brought in two of the brightest coordinators, John Grant Jr. (Offense) and Jamison Koesterer (Defense), a Hopkins alum, to serve on his inaugural staff and be part of returning Hopkins to its former glory.

That task officially begins on Saturday when they go up against Big Ten foe Ohio State. Johns Hopkins is highlighted by attackman in Joey Epstein, midfielder Cole Williams, and has some good experience on the defensive end, including Ohio State goalie transfer Josh Kirson. As mentioned above, they will be going head-to-head with an Ohio State team that features multiple fifth-year returnees, including attackman Tre LeClaire, SSDM Ryan Terefenko, and faceoff man Justin Inacio.

As far as openers go, this will certainly be no cupcake for Milliman and his staff. And you can bet that the lacrosse world will have their eyes fixated on Homewood on Saturday to see how this new era of Hopkins lacrosse.

Other Games to Watch

Loyola vs Virginia (Saturday, 5pm): Both coming off wins on Sunday, the Loyola Greyhounds and Virginia Cavaliers will meet in what has traditionally been one of the best early-season games in college lacrosse. Virginia comes into this one after a 12-6 victory over Army West Point on Sunday. Petey LaSalla went 12-for-16 (75%), Payton Cormier led the offense with five points (3G/2A), and the signature Virginia ride crushed the Black Knights. Loyola is coming off a 8-7 overtime victory against Richmond on Sunday to open the season. Sam Schafer made 10 saves to keep the Greyhounds afloat for the majority of the game and Kevin Lindley scored three straight, including the game-winner, to seal the deal and get the win.

Syracuse vs Army West Point (Sunday, 12pm): In-state foes, the Orange and Black Knights meet again in what has been a really good series in recent years. Last season, Syracuse beat Army West Point 9-7 in a game that featured an epic goalie battle between Syracuse’s Drake Porter and Army’s Wyatt Schupler. Both return this season. Shupler made 12 saves against Virginia last week. Brendan Nichtern (2G/3A) and Adam Byrnes (3G) led the Army offense in last week’s loss. Syracuse also returns a whole heap of talent on offense, including attackmen Chase Scanlan and Stephen Rehfuss, as well as midfielders Jamie Trimboli and Tucker Dordevic, who made up one of the best midfield units in the nation last season.

Villanova vs Georgetown (Sunday, 1pm): Two of the top teams in the Big East will meet on Sunday afternoon in a contest that marks the season-opener for both squads. Georgetown is coming into the 2021 season with lots of hype after going undefeated in the shortened 2021 season and returning a whole host of talent, including attackman Jake Carraway for a fifth season, as well as defenseman Gibson Smith and goalie Owen McElroy, who led one of the nation’s best defenses last season. Villanova returns Keegan Khan and Patrick Daly to lead their offense and Patrick Kennedy to lead their defense. They also have a strong stable of SSDMs, per usual.

North Carolina vs Richmond (6pm): After welcoming in a top-tier SoCon opponent on Tuesday in a game that went down to the wire, the North Carolina Tar Heels will do it once again on Sunday. This time welcoming in the Richmond Spiders. The Tar Heels are 3-0 and have been led by attackman and Tewarraton hopeful Chris Gray, who had a casual seven points (3G/4A) last game. Will Bowen has continued to be a leader on defense, while Collin Kreig has been solid in cage and Andrew Tyeryar and Zach Tucci have torn it up at the dot. Richmond comes into this game after losing 8-7 in overtime against Loyola to open the season on Sunday. In that game, Luke Grayum led the way with two points and Jack Rusbuldt made 12 saves in cage.

You can find a full listing of this weekend’s games here.

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