(Photo Courtesy of Virginia Athletics)
Welcome to week three of the college lacrosse season, Y’all!
Having seen every team take the field at least one time thus far, this week is where things really begin to heat up. From New Haven, Conn., to Naples, Fla., and everywhere in between, there are plenty meaningful and high-profile tilts on the docket across the landscape this weekend.
Southwest Florida Shootout
For the second consecutive season, DI lacrosse will takeover Naples, Fla. However, the action is doubled this time around with Michigan playing Marquette earlier in the day before Virginia and Ohio State take take the field for the night cap in what is one of the most highly-anticipated contest of the early season.
Virginia comes into Saturday night’s contest as the top-ranked team in college lacrosse and with a 2-0 record, having beaten Michigan in its opener before taking down Harvard in one of the most lopsided 25-21 contest every played. The Cavaliers have been led by attackman Connor Shellenberger with 16 points (6G/10A) through two games while Payton Cormier has 11 (8G/3A). Both Xander Dickson (7G/2A) and Thomas McConvey (5G/4A) have nine points through those first two contest. Additionally, Petey LaSalla has gone 59.3% (32-for-54) at the faceoff dot while Matthew Nunes had made 25 saves with a 50% save percentage.
Ohio State comes into the contest with a 3-0 record and coming off a come-from-behind victory over North Carolina last Sunday. Jack Myers (6G/8A) has led the Buckeyes thus far with 14 points through three games while Ed Shean has 10 points (8G/2A) on the young season. A trio of transfers in Richie LaCalandra (1G/5A), Kyle Borda (5G), and Kyle Lewis (2G/3A). Drew Blanchard has kept Ohio State strong at the dot, going 28-for-34 (82.4%) thus far.
Considering the style of both of these teams, this contest may very well be won in between the boxes with how well both the Cavaliers and Buckeyes have shown to be in the riding and clearing game over the past few years and through this young season.
Michigan comes into its game against Marquette after beating Hofstra 11-10 on Saturday and then earning a blowout, 19-8, victory over Canisius on Tuesday. Michael Boehm (6G/8A) and Josh Zawada (7G/6A) have helped lead the way for the Wolverines offense with a combined 27 points through three games. Nick Rowlett and Justin Wietfeldt have continued to be a solid one-two punch at the faceoff dot, as expected. One personnel spot to watch with Michigan is goalie. Shane Carr was the starter but freshman Hunter Taylor came in midway through the second quarter against Hofstra and got his first career start against Canisius.
Marquette comes into Saturday looking with a 1-2 record and looking to get back into the win column after suffering losses to Utah and Marquette in previous weeks. Bobby O’Grady has led the way for the Golden Eagles with 17 points off 15 goals and two assist through three contests. Jake Stegman has five goals and eight assists for 13 points through three games. The two-headed monster of David Lamarca (2CT/11GB) and Mason Woodward (6CT/21CT) have led the way on the back end.
Ivies Being Tested
In just the conference’s second week of play, multiple Ivy League programs face arguably their biggest early-season tests.
None is more notable, however, than the Princeton Tigers welcoming in the Maryland Terrapins for what will be a rematch of last year’s NCAA Semifinals contest between the two. Maryland is coming off a 15-12 win over Syracuse in which Luke Wierman went 24-for-31 (77%) at the faceoff dot while Daniel Kelly (4G, 2A) helped lead the way on offense and Teddy Dolan made nine saves with a 43% save percentage in his first start as a Terrapin. Princeton defeated Monmouth 22-9 in its opener last weekend before beating Manhattan 14-8 on Tuesday in a game where they were down at the half. Princeton has been led by Alexander Vardaro (9G/2A) with 11 points while Coulter Mackesy (7G/2A) and Braedon Saris (4G/5A) each have nine points thus far. This game will likely tell us a lot about both squads.
The Penn Quakers welcome the Duke Blue Devils to Penn Park. The Quakers are coming off a season-opening victory over the Georgetown Hoyas in which it was the defense, anchored by an 18-save day from Emmett Carroll and led out front by Ethan Till (3CT), led the way. Cam Rubin had four goals to lead the offense. Duke is coming off an overtime victory over Denver in which Brennan O’Neill had seven points (3G/4A), including the game-winner. This game will likely help reveal further the offensive identities of these teams, and especially Penn.
Following a 20-14 win over Villanova last Sunday in its opener, the Yale Bulldogs will welcome in the Penn State Nittany Lions and will be looking to get payback for last season’s loss. Yale saw Chris Lyon net a career-high nine goals in last week’s win while Matt Brandau (4G/3A) had seven points and Leo Johnson (2G/4A) had six. Penn State is coming off a 17-12 win over Stony Brook in which TJ Malone (4G/2A) led the way. The faceoff dot may be the difference in this one.
Brown travels to Vermont on Saturday. The Bears were upset by Quinnipiac last week before beating in-state rival Providence on Tuesday night in a contest where Matt Gunty (15-for-18) and Dash Sachs (4-for-5) combined to go 82% at the faceoff dot. Vermont is coming off a 14-13 overtime win over Utah last weekend. The Catamounts have been led by the offensive trio of Brock Haley (6G/7A), Hunter Jones (9G/3A), and David Closterman (8G/4A), while Tommy Burke has gone 66% (49-for-74) at the faceoff dot.
Cornell welcomes in Lehigh as it looks to move to 2-0 on the young season. Cornell is coming off a 12-10 victory over UAlbany last week in which CJ Kirst netted six goals. Lehigh is 2-0 and coming off a 19-13 victory over Hobart in which Christian Mule’ (5G/1A) and Scott Cole (4G/2A) led the way.
Additionally, Saturday’s action in the Ivy League will see Harvard will welcome in Bucknell while Dartmouth will welcome in Holy Cross.
Duel in D.C.
After earning a pair of blowout victories, the Notre Dame Fighting Irish trek down to Washington, D.C., to take on the Georgetown Hoyas in what will be the first major test of the season for the Irish.
Notre Dame beat Marquette and Cleveland State soundly last week with Chris (9G/6A) and Pat Kavanagh (2G/12A) having combined for 29 points in those contests. Georgetown, on the other hand, is 0-2 with losses to Johns Hopkins and Penn each of the past two weeks. The Hoyas have seen Tucker Dordevic (8G), Graham Bundy, Jr. (4G/2A), and Brian Minicus (3G/3A) lead the way offensively in those contests.
Both the Hoyas and Irish have very strong defenses and have been defined, in part, by their defenses in recent years. Expect both will come to play on Saturday. Also, the battle between Georgetown’s James Reilly and Notre Dame’s Will Lynch at the dot will be interesting to watch.
Games to Watch
Beyond the aforementioned games, here are some others to keep your eye on this weekend.
You can find a full schedule of this weekend’s games here.
Johns Hopkins vs Utah (Noon, ESPN +): For the first time in history, the Johns Hopkins Blue Jays will welcome in the Utah Utes to Homewood Field. Both programs will be looking to earn bounce back victories with the Blue Jays coming off a defeat against rival Loyola in a contest where its offense struggled. Utah is coming off an overtime loss at home to Vermont.
Rutgers vs Loyola (1pm, Big Ten Plus): The Rutgers Scarlet Knights welcome in arguably the hottest team in college lacrosse on Saturday when the Loyola Greyhounds come to town. Rutgers is coming off a loss to Army West Point in tight, high-scoring battle where Ross Scott (5G/1A) led the way. Loyola is coming off a big win over Johns Hopkins in which its defense stood its ground once more and a pair of midfielders in Evan James and Seth Higgins led the offense with two goals and one assists each. The goalie battle between Rutgers’ Kyle Mullin and Loyola’s Luke Staudt should be a fun one.
Syracuse vs North Carolina (3pm, ACC Network): The first conference contest of the season takes place this weekend as the Syracuse Orange welcome the North Carolina Tar Heels to the Dome. Syracuse is 3-1 and coming off a 15-12 loss to Maryland. North Carolina is 2-1 and coming off a loss to Ohio State. Both squads have seen newcomers play significant roles with freshman Joey Spallina (12G/3A) and transfer goalie Will Mark (54 saves, 64%) making sizable impact for Syracuse while grad transfers Logan McGovern (6G/4A) and Sean Goldsmith (4G/3A) led the way for the Tar Heels.
UMass vs Boston U. (3:15pm, ): An in-state battle, the UMass Minutemen will welcome in the Boston U. Terriers. UMass is 2-0 with wins over Army West Point and UMass Lowell and has been led by Gabriel Procyk (4G/3A) while Matt Knote (28 saves, 72%) has been as advertised in cage. The Terriers are 1-1 and coming off an overtime win over Bryant in which Thomas Niedringhaus had a career day with four goals. Vince D’Alto (6G/5A) has led the Terriers through the early going.
Delaware vs Villanova (Sun, Noon, LacrosseTV): The Delaware Blue Hens welcome the Villanova Wildcats to town for what will be their first major test of the year. Delaware is 3-0 and has seen the duo of JP Ward (8G/9A) and Tye Kurtz (13G/3A) led the way. Villanova is 1-1 and coming off a loss to Yale. The Wildcats have seen Patrick Daly (6G/1A) and Matt Campbell (6G/1A) led the way through the early going.