What to Watch During Week Five of The College Lacrosse Season

(Photo Courtesy of Princeton Athletics)

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

Will the madness carry on into the second week of March? This week’s action is headlined by a number of classic rivalry games and intra-regional battles while the MAAC and CAA (to a lesser extent) will see conference play get underway.

Historic Rivalries Renewed

On Saturday afternoon, the No. 7 Rutgers Scarlet Knights will welcome in the No. 14 Princeton Tigers for the 100th meeting between the two programs as they battle for the Tots Meistrell Cup.

The rivalry contest sees Rutgers take the field at home for the last time until April 7th. The Scarlet Knights are coming off an 18-14 victory over the Utah Utes. Rutgers has been led on offense this season by a strong attack line of Ross Scott (19G/7A), Brian Cameron (17G/7A), and Dante Kulas (16G/5A). Kyle Mullin (66 saves, 55%) has anchored a defense where Bobby Russo (1G/1A/18GB/6CT) and SSDM Noah Daniels (1G/3A/13GB/6CT) have helped maintain that transition, or “NASCAR,” offense.

Princeton comes into Saturday’s meeting having lost each of its last two games, including an 13-10 defeat to Georgetown last Saturday. The Tigers’ position is perplexing. They have allowed 14 second half goals and combined for 18 first half turnovers in their last two games (vs Maryland and vs Georgetown). They allowed just nine combined first half goals in those games and score a combined eight second half goals themselves. This weekend is another opportunity for the Tigers to prove themselves. And one of the things to watch is the goalie situation as Griffen Rakower has been the first half goalie all year while Michael Gianforcaro had been the second half goalie. Is a change made this week?

Up in Central New York, the Syracuse Orange play host to the No. 10 Johns Hopkins Blue Jays in a battle of two of the sport’s blue blood and most winningest programs. It will mark the 61st all-time meeting between the historic programs.

Syracuse comes into Saturday off a 14-13 overtime loss to Duke at home last week in what was the Orange’s first home loss to the Blue Devils. The Orange are on a three-game losing streak. Star freshman Joey Spallina (16G/7A) and Owen Hiltz (9G/12A), among other, led a Syracuse offense that has gotten a face-lift from a year ago and is averaging 13.33 goals per game. Will Mark (93 saves, 59.6%) has done his part in cage. Where the questions come for this team are on defense and at the faceoff dot.

Johns Hopkins comes into Saturdays game after losing to No. 1 Virginia 18-13 in the Doyle Smith Cup. Hopkins, however, beat Saint Joseph’s 15-14 last Saturday and earned a hard-fought win over Utah the weekend prior. The storyline the past few weeks for Hopkins has been getting healthy. Jacob Angelus (6G/18A), Garrett Degnon (14G/1A), and Russell Melendez (6G/5A) were all in action the last two games after each missing time early this season. Goalie Tim Marcille (81 saves, 51.9%) has returned after missing the Utah game and LSM/D Beaudan Szuluk (4GB/3CT) is now three games into his season after missing time early.

Four Unbeatens Left

Through the first month of the season just four teams remain without a blemish on their resume: Cornell, (4-0), Dartmouth (3-0), Notre Dame (4-0), and of course Virginia (5-0).

Among the unbeatens, Cornell and Notre Dame face the toughest and most high-profile tests this weekend. Cornell will welcome a Penn State team to Ithaca that has upset a pair of Ivy League programs consecutive in Yale and Penn. The Big Red have seen The attack line of CJ Kirst (20G/6A), Billy Coyle (11G/3A), and Brian Piatelli (7G/3A) headline the offense while Big Red defense, with Chayse Ierlan as its anchor, has been stout all season. Penn State has seen TJ Malone (14G/7A), Matt Traynor (14G/5A), and Jack Traynor (8G/8A) help lead the Nittany Lion offense while grad transfer Chris Jordan and Kevin Winkoff have also been heavily involved. Chase Mullins (54%) has helped drastically improve the faceoff situation in Happy Valley.

Notre Dame will welcome Ohio State to South Bend on Saturday afternoon in a massive battle between powers in the Midwest. The Irish offense has shown to be deep and effective with brother Chris Kavanagh (15G/6A) and Pat Kavanagh (4G/16A) leading things at the attack spot. Liam Entenmann (39 saves, 54%) has anchored a strong defense that includes grad transfers Chris Fake, Chris Conlin. Two-way standout Brian Tevlin has also made his mark. They will face an Ohio State team looking to get back into the win column after a pair of losses. The Buckeyes have a scary defensive duo of their own with Bobby Van Buren and Marcus Hudgins.

Dartmouth is 4-0 for the first time since 2003 and coming off a wild Tuesday night game in which the Big Green came back from down 7-1 to take the 20-16 win on the road against Hobart. The Big Green will be back in action next weekend when they head to Chapel Hill to take on North Carolina.

The top-ranked Virginia Cavaliers will face Towson on Saturday at 4pm.

Other Games to Watch

Outside of the games already mentioned, here are some other games to watch this weekend. You can find a full schedule here.

Duke vs Loyola (Fri, 7pm): The Duke Blue Devils welcome the Loyola Greyhounds to Durham on Friday night for what will b a top 10 matchup. Duke is on a three-game winning streak and coming off a 14-13 overtime victory over Syracuse last week where Brennan O’Neill (4G/2A) led the way. Loyola is looking for its third consecutive win and coming off a 15-11 defeat of Lafayette in its Patriot League opener where Davis Lindsey (3G/2A) and Matthew Minicus (4G) helped run the show.

Yale vs Denver (11:30am, ESPN +): One of the first contests on Saturday will see the Yale Bulldogs defend their home turf against the Denver Pioneers. Yale is coming off a win over UMass its offense exploded for 18 goals with Matt Brandau (4G/4A) and Chris Lyons (5G) leading the way. Denver is coming off a 9-8 win over North Carolina last week in a defensive battle where Ale Stathakis went 70% at the faceoff dot.

Harvard vs Michigan (12pm, ESPN +): The Harvard Crimson welcome the Michigan Wolverines to Cambridge on Saturday afternoon for what will be one of their last non-conference test of the season. Harvard is coming off a 12-5 win over Vermont where its offense got cooking early to help secure the lead and the win. Hayden Cheek (4G) and Miles Botkiss (2G/2A) led the way in that regard while Christian Barnard made 13 saves to anchor the Harvard defense. Michigan is coming off a 16-12 win over Delaware in which Josh Zawada (3G/3A) helped lead the way in a comeback effort.

North Carolina vs Brown (12pm, ACCNX): North Carolina takes on Brown at home on Saturday afternoon. The visiting Bears are on a three-game winning streak and have seen their offense flourish. However, the Bears are expected to be on the lighter side this weekend again with multiple players serving suspensions. North Carolina is coming off an 9-8 loss against Denver. This Carolina team has been headlined, in part, by a pair of offensive transfers in Logan McGovern (12G/8A) and Sean Goldsmith (10G/3A).

Penn vs Villanova (3:30pm, ESPN+): Arguably the most high-profile game of the Philly 4 Classic, the Penn Quakers will welcome in the Villanova Wildcats on Saturday afternoon. These two have split each of the past four meetings. Penn is coming off a 13-12 overtime victory against Saint Joseph’s on Wednesday in which Sam Handley had four goals, including the game-winner. Villanova is coming off a Wednesday night 14-7 win over Drexel in which they outscored the Dragons 9-1 in the second half.


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