(Photo Courtesy of Boston U. Athletics)
Welcome to week 11 of the college lacrosse season, Y’all!
Sadly, only three weeks remain in the college lacrosse regular season. But that means conference races are getting deeper, and in many cases, a bit wilder. This is where things seem to get even more fun each and every year.
On Tuesday evening, Notre Dame defeated Marquette 18-8 and Marist pulled out an overtime victory against NJIT, 12-11, off a James Lyons game-winner.
Thursday saw Duke and Virginia square off in an afternoon ACC battle.
Patriot League Teams Facing Tests
This weekend’s action will feature multiple big time test in the Patriot League that could very well have postseason implications.
On Saturday at high noon, the Boston U. Terriers will trot out onto the field at the Ridley Athletic Contest and take on the host Loyola Greyhounds in a key Patriot League battle. The Terriers currently sit at 5-0 in league play and have clinched a conference tournament berth. The Greyhounds are 4-1 in league play and have also clinched a playoff berth. Their only loss is against Army West Point. The Black Knights, as well as Lehigh, have also clinched playoff spots.
With all of the top four teams in the Patriot League having clinched conference tournament spots, only two things are left. 1.) deciding those final two spots and 2.) finding out who is seeded where. Saturday’s game will help decided the latter.
Loyola is coming off a second consecutive conference win over the weekend as they defeated Navy, 18-7, in a game that saw them make a clear statement as they dominated from start to finish. Aidan Olmstead led the way with seven points (3G/4A) while Evan James had four goals and one assist for five points.
Boston U. is coming off a rough week. Last Tuesday, the Terriers were struck by the freight train than is the Yale Bulldogs in a 22-15 loss. They then went to Princeton and fell 12-7 in a game where held to single-digits for the first time this season.
Saturday’s contest features two teams coming in on different paths, but somewhat similar ones as they both look to prove something. For Loyola, they are still proving who they are after a tough start to the season. For Boston U., they are not only looking to bounce-back from last week but also prove they belong with the big boys in the Patriot League. The Terriers have a 2-5 record against Loyola. Add Army and Lehigh to that mix and the Terriers have gone 5-19 against those teams, which are the final three teams they end the season against.
Up in Ithaca, the Black Knights of Army will have their final non-conference game of the season as they travel to face the Cornell Big Red in one of the marquee matchups of the weekend and the only marquee game that’s not a conference battle. Army comes into Saturday on a three-game winning streak and off a 13-11 win over Colgate in which they ended the contest on a three-goal run that saw Brendan Nichtern involved in each goal to escape a potential upset.
Cornell comes into Saturday’s contest on a four-game winning streak and coming off an overtime victory on Monday in which they defeated rival Syracuse 16-15 off a Hugh Kelleher game-winner. Prior to that contest, the Big Red put on an offensive clinic against Harvard in a big 17-9 Ivy League win.
More Clarity or Chaos in the Ivy League?
The Ivy League has been the best and most competitive conference in college lacrosse this season. And last week, we saw things possibly get even more competitive with Brown upsetting Penn to not only earn their first conference win of the season, but put themselves in the race for the No. 4 seed along with Harvard and the aforementioned Quakers.
On Saturday, Brown will host Yale in what will be the third game of the toughest stretch of their season. The Bears faced Princeton in a 17-8 loss two weeks ago and next week will face Cornell. A win over Yale would boost the Bears’ resume even further. But it will likely be a tougher task for this Bears team, who is led by junior Devon McLane (31G/17A) on the offensive end and anchored by sophomore goalie Connor Theriault on the other.
Yale comes into Saturday’s contest on a four-game winning streak and looking like arguably the best team in the Ivy League at the moment. Led by junior attackman Matt Brandau (28G/25A), the Bulldogs have been looking deeper and more dangerous on offense with each passing week. The Elis beat Boston U. 22-15 during a midweek scrap a week ago before taking down Dartmouth 23-6 last Saturday.
The other more meaningful game in the Ivy this week is the Harvard Crimson traveling to Philadelphia to take on the Penn Quakers. Both teams are coming off losses last week and in the mix for that fourth seed in the Ivy League tournament. It could very well be that this game is what decides who gets that fourth seed and who doesn’t, and that especially true if Yale does take care of business in Providence earlier in the day.
Elsewhere in the Ivy, Princeton will host Dartmouth.
Utah, Robert Morris Meet in Crucial ASUN Clash
On Saturday at 3:00pm ET, Andrew McMinn will lead his Utah Utes squad out on the field against his former team, the Robert Morris Colonials, in one of the most crucial games of the season in the ASUN. Both teams are 2-0 in league play coming into Saturday and both play a similar style, in many respects.
Utah is coming off a 15-11 win over Cleveland State in which they outscored the Vikings 10-5 in the second half to break open what had been a close contest and help them overcome a slow start that saw them trail 6-2 at the end of the first. Josh Stout was especially good with six goals and one assist for seven points.
Robert Morris comes into Saturday after earning a 12-9 win over Bellarmine in which the Colonials ended the game on a five-goal run, which included a 3-0 fourth quarter. Dan Taddeo put up the best performance of his career in the win, tallying six points off two goals and four assists.
Other Games to Watch
Delaware vs Towson: The Towson Tigers are 2-0 in CAA play. The Delaware Blue Hens are 0-2. That stat only partly tells the story if the typical chaos seen in the CAA thus far. Saturday’s meeting between these two in Newark should be expected to be tight and will be an important one as the conference is looking just as tight as ever.
Maryland vs Ohio State: Maryland will host the Ohio State Buckeyes on Saturday afternoon as they look to stay undefeated. They are coming off a 17-9 blowout win over Rutgers in a game where Logan Wisnauskas became the Terrapins all-time leader in career points. For the Buckeyes, they come in to Saturday after a strong fourth quarter helped push them past Johns Hopkins 12-10.
North Carolina vs Syracuse: Both the North Carolina Tar Heels and Syracuse Orange are coming into this weekend looking to get back on track. The Tar Heels, who are currently on the wrong side of the bubble but could still improve NCAA Tournament chances, are coming off a pair of tough losses to Duke and Virginia over the past few weeks. They fell to the Cavaliers 11-4 last week in a game where Chris Gray (3G/1A) was the only Tar Heel to get anything going. Syracuse fell to UAlbany last Thursday before giving Cornell a battle in an overtime loss on Monday. Brendan Curry (4G/1A) and Tucker Dordevic (3G) combined for eight points in that contest.
Johns Hopkins vs Penn State: A battle for fourth in the Big Ten? Maybe not exactly, but this game could very well help settle who will get that No. 4 seed in the Big Ten Tournament, which every team makes. The Blue Jays are coming off a 12-10 loss against Ohio State while Penn State is coming off arguably their best performance of the season as they beat Michigan 9-8 in overtime to ward off a comeback. The Nittany Lions exploded out of the gate for a 9-2 lead at the half and saw seven different goal scorers in the contest.