What to Watch: NCAA Week Eight

(Photo Courtesy of Loyola Athletics)

Welcome to week seven of the college lacrosse season, Y’all!

Technically, week seven got underway on Tuesday afternoon when UAlbany earned a statement win over UMass. Additionally, Binghamton topped UMBC in overtime on Wednesday. Duke and Syracuse faceoff in the midweek headliner on Thursday night on the ACC Network. On Friday, High point travels to Richmond and Manhattan host Monmouth.

Here’s a look at some storylines coming into the weekend:

Week Eight Storylines

Rivalry Renewed on Charles Street

Bitter rivals, Towson and Loyola will faceoff at high noon at Johnny Unitas Stadium on Saturday. The meeting will mark the two program’s 64th all-time meeting. Loyola holds a 34-29 series lead four of the last five meetings, including a 15-6 victory last season.

The visiting Loyola Greyhounds come into the contest off the heels of a 24-10 victory over Bucknell and has won their last two games by a combined score of 40-16. Aidan Olmstead has been the leader of the Greyhound offense, tallying 30 points (12G/18), while Kevin Lindley has put up 22 goals and one assist for 23 points and is coming off a seven-goal outing in their win last Saturday.

For the Tigers, things haven’t been looking as great. Towson comes into this matchup with a 2-5 record and searching for a win. Towson has lost each of their past three games by one goal, including an overtime loss against Delaware last week. James Avanzato leads the Tigers with 22 points (12G/10A). Brody McLean has also tallied 20 points on 16 goals and four assist this season. Shane Santora is coming off 50% day at the dot against Delaware and will likely need to produce similarly against Bailey Savio if they want to avoid a similar situation as last season.

Welcome to Denver, TD Ierlan

After announcing his intentions to transfer and play his final year of college lacrosse at Denver back in late January, former Yale faceoff man TD Ierlan is set to make his debut as a Denver Pioneer on Saturday against the Providence Friars Ierlan was originally set to make his Denver debut last week, but the Pioneers’ game against Villanova was cancelled.

Ierlan comes to Denver as one of the most decorated faceoff men in the history of the game. The Victor,N.Y., native holds the NCAA record for faceoff wins and winning percentage in a game and season, as well as career faceoff percentage and ground balls in a career. He helped lead UAlbany to the program’s first Championship Weekend Appearance in 2018 before transferring to Yale, where he helped lead the Bulldogs to to their second straight Championship Weekend appearance and national title game appearance.

At Denver, Ierlan joins and further bolsters a team that is loaded and has Big East and national title aspirations coming into 2021. In addition to reunifying with former Yale teammates Jackson Morrill and Lucas Cotler, Ierlan will join forces with sophomore Alec Stathakis at the faceoff dot. Stathakis has been the Pioneers’ top option at the position since his freshman campaign in 2020 and has gone 121-for-188 (64%) at the dot this season.

High-Profile Big Ten Rematches

The second half of the season for the Big Ten gets underway this weekend, and that means we get to see some high-profile and highly anticipated rematches.

Michigan host arch-rival Ohio State on Saturday at noon in a rematch of a 13-10 Buckeyes win just two weeks ago. The Wolverines come into this one riding high after earning their first win of the season over Penn State last weekend. John Kiracofe made a career-high 17 saves in the win. Ohio State is coming off a 16-8 loss against consensus Big Ten title favorite Maryland.

On Sunday, Rutgers host Maryland and Penn State host Johns Hopkins in a pair of rematches from just two weeks ago. Rutgers is coming off a 15-9 victory while Maryland comes into Sunday’s contest after beating Ohio State 16-8 to move to 5-0 on the season. In the Terrapins and Scarlet Knight’s first meeting, Maryland exploded in the second half to win 19-12 after a fairly tight first half.

Penn State is looking to rebound after two straight losses and Johns Hopkins is looking to rebound after falling to Rutgers and earn their second win of the season over the Nittany Lions. Two weeks ago, the Johns Hopkins offense showcased their depth against an injury-ridden and struggling Nittany Lions squad.

Other Games to Watch

Notre Dame vs Virginia (Saturday, 12pm): The Notre Dame Fighting Irish open up ACC play on Saturday when they host the Virginia Cavaliers. Notre Dame comes into the contest with a 4-0 record and off the heels of a blowout win over Cleveland State. Virginia comes into Saturday’s game with a 6-2 (0-2 in ACC) and coming off a win over Robert Morris. Virginia has already fallen to Syracuse and North Carolina in ACC play and is looking for their first win in the conference this season.

Marquette vs Cleveland State (Saturday, 1pm): After having their originally scheduled opener cancelled, the Golden Eagles and Vikings were able to schedule each other on short notice this week with both teams having an open date following Marquette’s game with St. John’s being cancelled. Last year Marquette won the meeting 11-10 in overtime. Marquette comes into the game looking for their first wi of the season while Cleveland State has just one win thus far.

Marist vs Canisius (Saturday, 1pm): After being on a pause for the past two weeks, the Marist Red Foxes return to play on Saturday when they welcome in the Canisius Golden Griffins. Marist had one game under their belt, a 15-11 defeat of Detroit Mercy. This will be their first game that counts towards their MAAC record.

Stony Brook vs UAlbany (Saturday, 3:30pm): The Stony Brook Seawolves welcome in the UAlbany Great Danes on Saturday in a marquee matchup between two top-tier America East squads. Stony Brook had a 4-3 record and is coming off a 16-9 win over UMass Lowell while Albany is 4-1 and coming off a huge 13-12 midweek win over UMass. This game could very well be an America East title game or semifinal preview.

Full week Eight schedule

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