(Photo Courtesy of Navy Athletics)
Welcome to week twelve of the college lacrosse season, Y’all!
Technically, week twelve got underway on Tuesday with Marist topping Quinnipiac. We also saw Wagner get their first win of the season against Sacred Heart on Wednesday and Duke beat Notre Dame in overtime on Saturday.
Here’s a look at some storylines coming into the weekend:
Week Twelve Storylines
After not being able to play the historic matchup last season, Army West Point and Navy will meet at Navy Marine-Corp Stadium in Annapolis, Md. on Saturday at noon in front of a crowd of up to 17,000. It will be the 101st meeting between the two service academies.
Navy comes into this contest off the heels of their first-ever win at Loyola and led by a solid defense that features first-year starter Spencer Rees in cage and freshman Jackson Bonitz as one of the Midshipmen’s top close defenseman. Army features a 43-point scorer (20G/23A) in Brendan Nichtern to highlight a solid offense while Wyatt Schupler anchors a traditionally good Army defense.
As always, this game carries a certain level of weight and significance. However, the significance of this year’s contest goes beyond just the rivalry as both Army and Navy are in the NCAA Tournament picture and firmly set in the Patriot League playoff picture. This contest could greatly impact either teams resume.
Elsewhere in the Old Line State, Johns Hopkins welcomed in Maryland for one of college lacrosse’s most historic rivalries to end the season. Saturday’s contest marks the second meeting between the two this season. Maryland won the early-March meeting 18-10.
Maryland is currently sitting atop the sport as the No. 1 team in the nation and riding an 11-game win streak that dated back to late-February of last season. Jared Bernhardt leads the Terrapins with 57 points (39G/18A). The Blue Jays are on a five-game losing streak.
Virginia-Syracuse Part II
In February, the Syracuse Orange exploded in the second half to take down the Virginia Cavaliers 20-10 in the Carrier Dome. But since that meeting, the Orange and Cavaliers’ seasons have gone in completely different directions.
For Syracuse, that win in February is their only ACC win and their last two conference games (Notre Dame, North Carolina) ended in blowout losses at home that have put the Orange on the NCAA Tournament bubble and needing to win, at least, one of their final two games against Virginia or Notre Dame if they want a shot at making the NCAA Tournament. Additionally, attackman Chase Scanlan, who has been the Orange’s second-leading scorer, has been suspended indefidently.
Virginia has gone i the complete opposite direction, going 2-2 in the ACC since that February meeting and having an offensive resurgence over the past month and a half with almost anyone being able to step up any night. The Cavaliers have split the season series against North Carolina and will be looking to do the same against Syracuse this weekend.
The Ivy League in Back (Kinda)
This weekend three Ivy League teams will take the field for the first time since the conference became the first to shut down the season in March of 2020.
On Friday, Penn will travel to 2019 DIII champion Cabrini while Brown will travel to Boston U. in the first DI-DI matchup involving an Ivy League team this week. In addition to the two Friday games, Dartmouth will host NESCAC power Tufts on Sunday afternoon.
Other Games to Watch
Towson vs Delaware: The Towson Tigers are the hottest team in the nation, winning their last three contests in CAA play and trying to set themselves up to sneak into the CAA Tournament after a slow start. Delaware is sitting atop the CAA and coming off an overtime win over Hofstra. Delaware won the last meeting 13-12.
Stony Brook vs UMBC: Stony Brook’s lone conference loss of the season came against UMBC. The two will meet again on Saturday in a contest that could very well shake up the top of the America East. Stony Brook is riding a six-game winning streak.
Air Force vs High Point: The High Point Panthers and Air Force Falcons are currently both in the SoCon tournament picture. The two will meet on Saturday in a contest that could shake up that 3-4 spot in the conference.
Saint Joseph’s vs LIU: The Saint Joseph’s Hawks are undefeated in NEC play and look to have the top seed in the conference tournament in firm grasp. They welcome in the LIU Sharks, who also have a NEC tournament bid locked up for a contest against two of the top teams in the conference.
Notre Dame vs North Carolina: On Sunday, the Notre Dame Fighting Irish welcome in the North Carolina Tar Heels as they look to bounce back from an overtime loss against Duke. North Carolina is coming off a blowout win over Syracuse.