Welcome to week 10 of the college lacrosse season, Y’all!
April moves on and we continue to roll through the back end of the regular season. Once more, there are many big games with big consequences this weekend.
Virginia-Duke Part II
For the second time this season, the Virginia Cavaliers and Duke Blue Devils will go up against each other in a massive ACC battle.
Just two weeks ago, a No. 1 ranked Virginia squad welcomed a No. 4 Duke squad to Charlottesville in a contest that saw the visiting Blue Devils take a 16-14 win in a contest where they came out of the gates flying and pulled ahead 7-2 by the midpoint of the second frame.
Duke’s win two weeks ago marked the program’s 24th over Virginia in the last 26 meetings between these two. Undefeated in the regular season against the Cavaliers since 2004 and during the John Danowski era, Duke’s only two losses to Virginia in 19 years both came in the postseason.
In that game, Duke held Virginia’s leading scorer Connor Shellenberger off the board and to just three assists. Duke’s Kenny Brower drew the matchup and held Shellenberger to just one assist when he was on the field.
This time around, the No. 2 Cavaliers will be traveling to Durham to take on the No. 3 Duke.
Virginia is coming off a dominating 19-12 victory on the road against North Carolina. Connor Shellenberger did not play in the contest, but the Cavaliers got a wealth of scoring from their other top playmakers in Payton Cormier (5G/2A), Thomas McConvey (2G/2A), Griffin Schutz (1G/3A), and Xander Dickson (3G/1A).
Matthew Nunes made 12 save at a 52% clip. Virginia also out-groundballed the Tar Heels 42-28 and forced four failed Tar Heel clears (two in the second quarter) using the 10-man ride.
Duke is looking to rebound after faltering 17-12 to Notre Dame on the road last week.
The Blue Devils saw Brennan O’Neill held to just one goal on six shots. Duke was held to four goals in the first half (one in the second quarter). They went nearly 18 minutes without a score during the middle of the game as Notre Dame built a commanding 10-4 lead.
The faceoff dot is the only area where Duke dominated in the contest as Jake Naso went 22-for-32 (68%).
Heading into this contest, many will have their eyes on a.) whether Shellenberg is back or not, and b.) whether the Duke defense can replicate the same performance it brought last time out versus the Cavaliers.
Empire State Battle
Last season, Cornell and Army West Point took the field against each other in Ithaca with the Big Red boasting a 10-1 record while the Black Knights boasted a 9-2 record. By the time the final buzzer sounded, both teams had identical 10-2 records as the Black Knights knocked off the Big Red in a 17-10 upset.
Nearly one year to day later, Cornell take the 3 hour trek south to take on Army in what will be a a battle between the No. 6 and No. 7 ranked teams in college lacrosse.
The Black Knights are coming off a contest last week where they escaped an upset against Colgate, 10-9. Army won the second half 6-4 and it was a trio of man-up goals in the final frame, including a pair from Carl Lambert and Gunnar Fellows late, that helped put the Black Knights over the edge.
Army features the No. 1 scoring defense in college lacrosse, having allowed juts 8 goals per game this season. Sophomore LSM Christian Fournier (27GB/18CT) and defenseman AJ Pilate (21GB/12CT) have been leading the charge out in front. Matt Chess came in cage during the Loyola game to replace an injured Knox Dent and has served as the starter each of the two weeks since. He has made 22 saves with a 57% save percentage.
Will Coletti has gone 142-for-227 (62%) at the dot this season for the Black Knights. He ranks eighth nationally in faceoff win percentage.
Cornell fell 10-8 against Harvard last Saturday. The Big Red bounced back with a 21-11 defeat of Marquette on Tuesday afternoon.
Led by CJ Kirst (49G/11A), Cornell is averaging 15.2 goals per game as one of the best offense in college lacrosse. Two of the three games in which the Big Red have hit the 20 goal mark, Michael Long was in the lineup. That included Tuesday’s game where he had four points off two goals and two assists.
Gavin Adler (46GB/16CT) headlined a Big Red defense that ranks ninth in goals allowed per game (10). That unit is anchored by Chayse Ierlan in cage as he has made 129 saves with a 57% save percentage.
The game within the game might come in between the boxes as Cornell is clearing the ball at a 91% clip this season and can get things going in transition with SSDMs such as Michael Bozzi and others. Army, however, has held their opponents to a 78% clip clearing thus far.
Big Ten Sunday Night
Last week saw all three Big Ten matchups need extra time as two ended in overtime and one ended in double overtime. So, expect more great play from the Big Ten this weekend.
This week, the Big Ten will see two of its games take place on Sunday night as Michigan host Penn State at 6pm while Rutgers will host Maryland at 7pm.
Rutgers-Maryland is the night cap and the biggest game of the weekend across the conference, as well as one of the biggest games of the weekend. Maryland comes into the weekend ranked No. 4 in the nation while Rutgers ranks No. 9.
Maryland is coming off a 12-11 overtime win at Ohio State in which Daniel Kelly led the way with four goals. Braden Erska had the game-winner in OT. Luke Wierman went 19-for-26 (73%) on the day. That included a 9-for-10 (90%) mark during the second half.
Rutgers is coming off a 13-12 overtime win at home against Michigan in which Brian Cameron had four goals and Shane Knobloch (3G/1A) netted the game-winner in OT.
Sunday night’s game will be a rematch of last year’s Big Ten title game, which Maryland won 17-7. Rutgers hasn’t beaten Maryland in the Big Ten Era (2015-present) and has only beaten them once in history (1980) during the team’s 35-game series thus far.
Elsewhere on Sunday, the Michigan Wolverines will be looking to bounce back from that close loss to the Scarlet Knights as they welcome in the Penn State Nittany Lions.
Michigan fell 13-12 in OT to Rutgers last week in a game in which they came back from down 9-4 to force overtime. Averaging 13.40 goals per game this season, the Wolverines’ Scott Bieda-led offense has been a highlight of this team. Michael Boehm (4G/1A) led the Wolverines last game and eight players found the back of the net.
Penn State beat Johns Hopkins 12-11 in double overtime last week as they jumped ahead after getting down 4-0 in the first quarter and held off the Blue Jays’ late-game rally. TJ Malone (4G/4A) led the Penn State offense while Kevin Winkoff (2G/2A) had the game-tying and game-wining goals. Jack Fracyon made 17 saves and notched a few big ones last to anchor the Nittany Lions’ defensive effort.
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.
Boston U. vs Loyola (Noon, ESPN +)
Yale vs Brown (1pm, ESPN +)
Johns Hopkins vs Ohio State (2pm, ESPNU)
Vermont vs Bryant (3:30pm, ESPN +)
Syracuse vs North Carolina (4pm, ESPNU)