(Photo Courtesy of Maryland Athletics)
Welcome to week 11 of the college lacrosse season, Y’all!
It’s rivalry week. On the docket this weekend are multiple rivalry games, including two of the most historic matchups in the game as Johns Hopkins host Maryland and Navy host Army. We also have Ohio State-Michigan, Virginia-Syracuse, and more.
For the 125th time, the Maryland Terrapins and Johns Hopkins Blue Jays will take the field against each other in what is one of most historic rivalry battles in the game. Maryland has dominated the series as of late, winning each of the last five meetings and seven of the last 10 between these two.
Maryland beat Hopkins 22-7 in the regular season last spring before beating their rival again in the Big Ten semifinals, 16-11.
This time around, things are expected to be much different. The No. 3 Maryland Terrapins welcome in the No. 7 Johns Hopkins Blue Jays to College Park on Saturday night for what will be a top-10 battle under the lights.
Johns Hopkins is currently amidst its best season since 2018 and comes into Saturday having won six of its last seven contest. That includes a 17-8 win over Ohio State last week where the Blue Jays held the Buckeyes to just one goal in the second half of play and off the board for a nearly 28-minute stretch of play.
Hopkins has followed a similar script all season, playing its best at the end of games. With a 3-1 record in Big Ten play, the Blue Jays have outscored their opponents 13-5 in the fourth quarter in Big Ten play. They used a 7-0 third quarter run to pull away from Ohio State last week.
Defense, in many ways, has been a primary strength of this Blue Jays squad as they have allowed an average of 11 goals per game (tied 19th in DI) and held five of their opponents to under double-digits this season. Tim Marcille has anchored that unit in between the pipes, having made 152 saves with a 52.9% save percentage thus far. Scott Smith (22GB/17CT) and Alex Mazzone (57GB/14CT) have led the way out in front as the Blue Jays’ top poles.
Maryland sits at 8-3 overall and 3-1 in Big Ten play with its only conference loss having come against Michigan. The Terrapins defeated Rutgers 11-8 last week in a contest where they jumped ahead 5-0 early in the second quarter and saw four different players notch two goals.
While last year’s Maryland team saw its offense headline things, this year’s squad has been led by a great defense. Freshman Brian Ruppel has stepped in and been very solid, making 96 saves with a 53% save percentage. Ajax Zapitello (27GB/18CT) and Brett Makar (35GB/17CT) have led the way at close while LSM Jack McDonald (24GB/9CT) and SSDM Dante Trader (5G/1A/ 18GB/7CT) have headlined the rope unit. Maryland has allowed 10.2 goals per game thus far.
Luke Wierman has also been a crucial part of this Maryland squad, going 178-for-281 (63%) at the dot through this point in the year.
Given that both the Terrapins and the Blue Jays are both 3-1 in Big Ten play, along with Penn State, Saturday night’s contest is very much a battle for that top seed in the conference tournament.
Elsewhere in the Old Line State, another one of the most traditional lacrosse rivalries will go down as the Navy Midshipmen will host the Army Black Knights under the lights in Annapolis on Saturday night.
Navy comes into the contest looking to score a monumental win. The Midshipmen have won each of their last four games, which includes wins over Boston U. and Loyola. Navy had dropped six straight prior to its current streak. The Midshipmen are coming off a 9-6 win over Lafayette last week. Goalie Pat Ryan has had a jump in production over the past four games, making 52 saves with a 61% save percentage. He made 62 saves with an average save percentage of 45%. Ryan anchors a defense that is allowing 10.38 goals per game as a top-15 scoring defense in DI. Sophomore faceoff man Anthony Ghobriel has come into his own during the past month as well, going 62% at the dot. Additionally, Max Hewitt (22G/9A) and Mac Haley (15G/11A) have been the leaders of an offense that’s seen its fair share of injuries this season.
Army is comes into Saturday ranked No. 8 in the nation and coming off an 11-10 loss to Cornell at home last week. AJ Pilate AJ Pilate (21GB/12CT) helped take away Cornell’s CJ Kirst in the contest. He has been the headliner of a defense that has allowed 8.27 goals per game as one of the best in college lacrosse. That unit is anchored in cage by Knox Dent, who came back from injury last week and made 12 saves. He has 74 saves with a 51% save percentage thus fare. Will Coletti has gone 155-for-251 (61%) at the dot while Reese Burek (22G/19A) and Evan Plunkett (15G/20A) help lead the offense.
Navy has won each of the past two meetings between these two, including an overtime victory last season. But as always, through all the records out when these two get together.
The Game: Lacrosse Edition
On Friday night, the Michigan Wolverines will welcome in archrival Ohio State Buckeyes.
Michigan features a 6-7 record with a 1-3 mark in Big Ten play. Ohio Sate has a 5-7 record and has also gone 1-3 in the Big Ten. Saturday’s matchup will very much have seeding implications for the conference tournament.
The host Wolverines come into Friday night’s contest after falling 11-9 to Penn State last week in a game where they led for the first three quarters before being outscored 5-0 in the final frame. The Wolverines have been headlined by their offense this season, which is averaging 13 goals per game and is led by the attack trio of Michael Boehm (24G/21A), Josh Zawada (22G/20A), and Ryan Cohen (19G/23A).
Ohio State comes into Friday night off a 17-8 loss to Johns Hopkins last week in which they were outscored 7-0 in the third quarter of play. Jack Myers (17G/19A) and Ed Shean (26G/9A) have helped to lead this offense while transfer Marcus Hudgins (23GB/15CT) has been as expected on the back end as leader for the Buckeyes defense. A key storyline over the past month with the Buckeyes is their struggles at the faceoff dot following the Drew Blanchard injury.
Can The Mount Keep Rolling?
Mount St. Mary’s is on its longest winning streak in 23 seasons as the Mountaineers have won each of their last seven contests; each being a MAAC game. The Mount has one lost to one team in conference play: defending champion Manhattan.
On Saturday, the Mountaineers will travel to Siena to close out the regular season. A lot seeding-wise is on the line with this contest as a win for the Mount likely equals them grabbing the No. 1 seed in the MAAC Tournament and being the host school.
The Mountaineers have been led this season by a fairly deep offense as 10 players have notched double-digits thus far. That includes six 20-plus point-getters. Graduate student Jared McMahon (29G/12A) leads the way for the Mountaineers on that end. On the other end, poles Mitchell Dunham (64GB/28CT) and Steven Schmitt (82GB/24CT) have been leaders of a defense that has allowed 9.8 goals per game against MAAC opponents.
Siena, on the other hand, comes into Saturday looking to increase its standing and postseason seeding chances after what has been a bumpy season. Last week, Siena topped Manhattan 10-6, which helped give the Mount the sole top spot in the league. Prior to that win, the Saints fell to Quinnipiac and Marist in tight battles.
Sophomore Ryan McCarthy (16G/20A) has been leading the way for the Saints’ offense this season, along with George Rusnak (16G/16A) and Christian Watts (27G/5A). Christopher Yanchoris has anchored the Siena defense with 143 saves and a 51% save percentage this season.
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.
Penn State vs Rutgers (Fri, 6pm, Big Ten Network): The Nittany Lions host the Scarlet Knights for a Friday night contest that will likely have major postseason implications.
Jacksonville vs Air Force (Sat, Noon, ESPN+): Two of the top teams in the ASUN will go head to head on Saturday at high noon. Both the Dolphins and Falcons are locked into making the postseason as a top-four seed but where each is slotted may be impacted by this contest.
Boston U. vs Lehigh (Sat, Noon, CBS Sports Network): Boston U. welcomes Lehigh to Nickerson Field in what will be a game between two of the Patriot League’s best. The home Terriers will be looking to score another big league win to further solidfy their spot as one of the top two in the league.
Notre Dame vs North Carolina (Sat, Noon, ESPNU): Notre Dame is back from a bye week and facing a North Carolina team that needs a win and is very much looking to bounce back from a last-second loss to Syracuse last week.
Virginia vs Syracuse (2:00pm, ESPNU): Old rivals meet once more in Charlottesville as the Virginia Cavaliers welcome in the Syracuse Orange. Virginia is looking to get back on track after another loss to Duke while Syracuse is looking to build on its momentum as of late and an upset win here would certainly do the trick.