(Photo Courtesy of Rutgers Athletics)
College lacrosse is back in full force!
The first full weekend of college lacrosse is in the books, and it’s time to introduce the first installment of my new weekly column that I will put out the Monday after every week of the season. Each week, I will breakdown multiple key points and storylines from the weekend that was.
So, let’s get after it.
Wisnaukas, Khan Take Reigns at Maryland
Maryland lost the best player in college lacrosse with Jared Bernhardt exiting stage left with much praise at the close of last season, ending his career as the 2021 Tewaaraton Award winner and Maryland’s all-time record holder in career points (290) and goals (202).
In spite of that major personnel loss, the Terrapins offense had as good of a 2022 debut as they could’ve asked for, beating High Point 21-13. Much of that success can be attributed to Logan Wisnaukas, who is the latest Terp to don the coveted No. 1 jersey, and Villanova transfer Keegan Khan. The duo combined for 14 points on the day as Wisnaukas put up five goals and three assists for eight points and Khan tallied four goals and two assists.
The pair connected on two goals, including on a behind-the-back goal from Khan that started the Terrapins five-goal run to finally burry things in the third.
Many, including myself, often utter the phrase: Maryland doesn’t rebuild, they reload, and that statement certainly rang true during their season opener on Saturday afternoon.
Utah may have lost their season-opener against Denver 13-14, but my main takeaway from this game was just how exciting a style of play Andrew McMinn has brought to Salt Lake City. It is very much in line with what we saw from his teams at Robert Morris.
The Pioneers better six-on-six play at both ends is ultimately what helped lead to the Utes’ demise on Saturday afternoon, but Utah was able to go toe-to-toe with a top-15 Denver team because of their success in transition and on unsettled situations. That includes two big scoring plays that took place in under 10 seconds.
Josh Stout caused a turnover on a Denver clear that led to a Tyler Bradbury goal to put Utah up 2-1 early in the first.
In the third quarter, a Utes four-goal run ended with a pole feeding a pole. Sammy Cambere caused took the ball up field after causing a turnover and found a trailing Rylan Lemons for the score.
All together, on possessions that ended with goals, the average possession length for the Utes was approximately 50 seconds.* Six of their scoring possessions lasted under 25 seconds.
(*Note: These a rough numbers, so I may be off by about three to five seconds in either direction.)
Mitch Bartolo Shines With The Scarlet Knights
For the second year in a row, Brian Brecht and the Rutgers Scarlet Knights have taken a very good grad transfer midfielder in the transfer portal and moved him to attack. Last year it was Connor Kirst and now its Mitch Bartolo.
The Penn grad transfer had a strong debut with the Scarlet Knights, scoring a carer-high five goals while also adding an assist. Playing alongside Wesleyan transfer Ronan Jacoby and Ross Scott, who has bumped down to attack from midfield, Bartolo and the Rutgers offense as a whole had itself a day as the Scarlet Knights’ beat LIU 15-6.
Brennan O’Neill Shines
The ACC Freshman of The Year from 2021 put down any suggestion of a potential sophomore slump this past weekend as he went off in both of Duke’s wins over Robert Morris and Vermont.
In the Blue Devils’ opener against Robert Morris on Friday night, O’Neill put in the first goal of the game and went on to finish with career-high six goals. He then had a hat trick on Sunday in Duke’s win against Vermont, which included a score off a Rob Pannell-esque question mark dodger, to end the weekend with nine goals.
McGinley’s Big Debut
Mount St. Mary’s pulled off the first big upset of the season, beating Navy 11-9.
A big part if the Mountaineers’ success can be attributed to the 21-save performance from Griffin McGinley in his first career start. He was the anchor for a Mount St. Mary’s defense that, for most of the game, packed in tight and forced the Navy offense to take shots from the outside. The Mount put their trust in the first-year starter to be there in those situations, and he was.
Navy outshot Mount St. Mary’s 50-41 and put 30 of their shots on cage. That included putting nine of 16 shots on cage in fourth quarter alone. McGinley made seven saves during that final stanza.
With Delaware on the horizon, it’ll be interesting to watch how this Mountaineers offense handles that relentless Blue Hens offense.
The Virginia Ride is Back!
After a slow start out of the gate that led to a 3-0 Air Force lead at the end of the first quarter, the back-to-back national champion Virginia Cavaliers found their form as they came out on the winning end of a 21-11 contests to open the season at home. Part of the Cavaliers success came from their ability to ride hard, which has been one of the core identity of Virginia during their last two championship runs.
Virginia held Air Force to 14-27 (51%) in the clearing game. The Cavaliers scored five goals off possessions they gained off a failed Falcon clear. Cole Kaster was a big part of the Cavaliers success in the ride, roaming around in the middle of the field during such situations. He had four caused turnovers and two ground balls on the day.
Ohio State’s Faceoff Unit
Justin Inacio tore it up on Saturday in the Buckeyes’ season opener against the Detroit Mercy Titans, going 18-for-21. But beyond Inacio, the Ohio State faceoff unit has itself a day.
That is especially true for freshman Trent DiCicco who collected nine ground balls and caused one turnover in his college lacrosse debut, where he played on the faceoff wings and was one of the Buckeyes’ most impactful players.
Other Notable Points
- Mike Robinson had nine points (6G/3A) in Delaware’s 19-9 win over NJIT.
- Despite going 8-for-28 at the faceoff dot, Providence beat Holy Cross 16-9.
- Josh Zawada put up a career-high 10 points (5G/5A) in Michigan’s 22-13 win over Bellarmine.