March 2, 2012

Ten to Watch: A Swing Weekend in the Works?

by LaxMagazine.com staff

The contenders and pretenders -- in this pick 'em pool and on the field -- may reveal themselves this weekend, with a slate of games that have some of us agreeing to disagree. Who wins the Big Ten showdown between Penn State and Ohio State? On the women's side, who takes the battle out west between Stanford and Vanderbilt or Notre Dame's visit to Columbus? Opinions vary. But one of our consensus picks: top-ranked Virginia over Syracuse on Sunday in front of a national audience on ESPN.

In the event of ties, we're listed alphabetically by last names. All times Eastern.

Follow the weekend's action here at laxmagazine.com.







Last Week   8-2  8-2  8-2 8-2 8-2 8-2  8-2 7-3 5-5 7-3
9-1 6-4
Overall 
 16-4
16-4
 15-5
15-5

15-5

14-6
14-6

14-6
13-7
13-7

13-7

11-9
M:HOP@PRN PRN HOP PRN PRN HOP HOP HOP PRN PRN PRN

HOP

HOP

W:UVA@MD

MD

MD

MD

MD

MD

MD

MD

MD

MD

MD

MD

MD

W:DUKE@PRN

DUKE 

DUKE 

DUKE 

DUKE

DUKE 

DUKE 

DUKE

DUKE

DUKE 

DUKE 

DUKE 

DUKE

M:DUKE@MD

MD 

MD 

MD 

MD 

MD

MD 

DUKE 

MD 

DUKE

DUKE

DUKE 

MD

M:ND@DRX

ND 

ND 

ND

ND

ND

ND 

ND 

ND 

ND 

ND 

ND 

ND

M:PSU@OSU

PSU 

PSU 

OSU 

PSU 

OSU 

OSU 

PSU 

PSU 

OSU

OSU 

OSU 

PSU

W:SBU@HOP

HOP 

HOP 

HOP 

SBU 

HOP 

HOP 

SBU 

SBU

SBU 

HOP 

HOP 

HOP

W:VAN@STAN

STAN 

VAN 

STAN 

STAN 

VAN 

VAN 

VAN 

STAN 

STAN 

STAN 

STAN 

STAN

W:ND@OSU

ND 

OSU 

OSU 

ND

OSU 

ND 

OSU 

OSU 

ND 

ND 

ND 

OSU

M:SYR@UVA

UVA 

UVA 

UVA 

UVA 

UVA 

UVA 

UVA 

UVA 

UVA 

UVA

UVA 

UVA

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 







MD1: No. 2 Johns Hopkins (3-0) at No. 12 Princeton (2-0), 5 p.m. Friday

The Tigers blew out the Blue Jays 8-3 at Homewood Field in 2011, one of the few highlights of a dismal, injury-riddled season for Princeton. That was then-freshman midfielder Tom Schreiber's coming out party, as he had four goals. Now this rivalry returns to Class of 1952 Stadium for the first time since 2005. While the suspension of All-American goalie Tyler Fiorito for Tuesday's game against Manhattan raised eyebrows, he will be back in the cage for Princeton against a Johns Hopkins offense that has struggled to find its rhythm in three underwhelming wins over Towson, Delaware and Siena. With sixth-year senior attackman Chris Boland (collarbone) out indefinitely and the Blue Jays' first midfield line of John Ranagan, John Greeley and Rob Guida shooting a combined 3-for-45 , Hopkins has turned to freshman Wells Stanwick and sophomore Brandon Benn to shoulder more of the load on attack.

WD1: No. 6 Virginia (3-0) at No. 3 Maryland (3-1), 7 p.m. Friday

Virginia (3-0) is off to its best start in three years, while Maryland (3-1) had an unlikely stumble versus Duke, losing 10-9 in Durham. The Cavaliers employed a smart sag defense versus Syracuse, neutralizing the fast-dodging, frequent-shooting Orange, and they’ll likely have a similar look versus the Terps. After years of running its attack through Sarah Mollison behind the cage, now Maryland’s top four scorers are all midfielders, led by Katie Schwarzmann (13 goals). Maryland will be going for its 36th consecutive home win in this ACC tilt; the Terps currently have the fifth-longest active home win streak in all of Division I sports.


Maryland is doing a “Cram the Complex” push to get fans to turn out for its first ACC home game. I’m sure this effort was planned long ago but following the Terps’ surprise loss to Duke last week, having a rowdy fan base will be a nice plus versus a Virginia squad that looked extremely sharp against Syracuse last week. (Also, Virginia fans may well travel to College Park, so Maryland will want to ensure that it’s Terps and not Cavs cramming the complex.) There’s an extensive blog entry on umterps.com about Maryland’s women's lacrosse home win streak. If you’re in the area, this is a game worth going to. The Complex is a nice place to watch a game, with nice tailgating locations and a good snack bar. (Also, the lax should be excellent. But the snack bar has these really good hot pretzels.)

 


Having seen both of these teams already this year, I'm looking forward to seeing how this one plays out. Virginia has a chance to make a loud statement by beating Maryland after an already-impressive collection of wins against Loyola and Syracuse -- on Wednesday, the Greyhounds beat Johns Hopkins and the Orange took Northwestern to overtime. And Maryland, coming off a loss to Duke, will be hungry to get its first ACC win under the belt. The Cavaliers have a nice mix of old — Josie Owen, Julie Gardner, Charlie Finnigan and Ainsley Baker — and young — Liza Blue, Courtney Swan and Jess Loizeaux — that provides plenty of firepower, and they'll have no trouble keeping pace with the Terrapins' group headlined by Katie Schwarzmann, Brooke Griffin, Beth Glaros, Kelly McPartland and Karri Ellen Johnson. It's hard to pick against Virginia, which is off to an incredible start, but Cathy Reese doesn't lose back-to-back games and this one's being played in College Park. I'm taking the Terps in a close one, with Johnson providing the game-winner.


WD1: No. 5 Duke (4-2) at No. 8 Princeton (1-1), 1 p.m. Saturday

After an uneven start to the season, Duke (4-2) beat perennially ACC champ Maryland 10-9, thanks in part to a hat trick from sophomore midfielder Maddy Morrissey. Morrissey, who currently leads the Blue Devils with 11 goals, is part of a youth movement on attack along with freshman points leader Kerrin Mauer (9g, 11a) that makes Kat Thomas’ absence less obvious. Last year this game was a 19-12 win for Duke. The Tigers will need to find a way to keep Duke’s offense in check, especially with top defender Lindsey DeButts sidelined until March with an injury. Freshman goalie Annie Woehling acquitted herself well in her first start versus Villanova with three saves and two caused turnovers, but Saturday will be the first time she’s faced a top-10 offense. 


Princeton senior attacker Jaci Gassaway is featured in the March issue of LM with dodging and shooting tips. She scored five goals on six shots in Princeton’s season-opener. Read the article.


MD1: No. 10 Duke (3-1) at No. 5 Maryland (2-0), 1 p.m. Saturday

Undoubtedly the early-season's top men's Division I in-conference matchup yet, Duke and Maryland have played to an overtime, one-goal game each of the last two regular season meetings. These ACC foes also met in last year's NCAA semifinal content, a 9-4 victory for the Terrapins. Faceoffs played a significant role in the final four game, as Curtis Holmes won 11-of-17 draws to help Maryland control possession. Holmes has been dominant to open 2012, winning roughly 72 percent of draws. But the focus Saturday will be this: How does Maryland's young, evolving defense — all first-year starters — handle Duke's dynamic offense that includes Jordan Wolf, Rob Rotanz, Josh Dionne, Justin Turri, et al.? Notre Dame might have provided a blueprint in its 7-3 defeat of the Blue Devils two weekends ago, which dropped preseason second-ranked Duke out of the top 10, but the Terps still need to execute it.

MD1: No. 9 Notre Dame (1-1) at No. 18 Drexel (1-2), 1 p.m. Saturday

Drexel pushed top-ranked Virginia to the brink in its season-opener, beat Albany and then lost to Villanova. Notre Dame managed just three goals in its loss at home to Penn State on Sunday, and looks to be still finding where it will get some offensive consistency from. Sophomore attackman Nick Beattie, who was going to be counted on to produce some offense, injured his PCL and MCL in the season-opener against Duke, according to a source, and could be out up to eight weeks. That doesn't help matters. Drexel attackman Nick Trizano is also questionable after apparently injuring his leg against Virginia.

MD1: No. 13 Penn St. (2-1) at No. 17 Ohio St. (3-1), 1 p.m. Saturday

The Creator's Trophy is on the line in this one. If Penn State wins, it will hold victories over the Buckeyes and Michigan and be awarded the honor of being the best Big Ten school that sponsors men's lacrosse. The Nittany Lions upset of Notre Dame last week was the biggest win in the short tenue of Jeff Tambroni in Happy Valley, but can Penn State avoid a letdown on the road at Ohio State, where the Buckeyes are trying to rebound from a loss to UMass? That's the big question. In any event, the Creator's Trophy will not be on hand. We're told the physical award is still in the planning stages and should be done by April.


The Buckeyes saw their early-season momentum, spurred by a 3-0 start that included a big win over Denver, come to a grinding halt in last Saturday's disappointing 9-3 loss to UMass. Unfortunately, the road doesn't get any easier in the middle part of the schedule with visits by Penn State, Virginia and Notre Dame in the next three weeks. As for Penn State, the Nits can make quick work of claiming the inaugural Creator's Trophy – a traveling trophy between OSU, PSU and Michigan, the three Big Ten programs that sponsor men's lacrosse. The trophy will go annually to the team that posts a 2-0 record in games between the squads; if each team is 1-1, the trophy will not be awarded in that season. Having already beaten Michigan two weeks ago, PSU can hoist its first trophy of the 2012 campaign with a win on the third day of March. Wonder if there will be a parade?


WD1: Stony Brook (4-0) at No. 20 Johns Hopkins (3-1), 1 p.m. Saturday

When Joe Spallina was dominating the Division II ranks at Adelphi, you just knew that wasn’t good enough for him. He scrimmaged Division I teams every chance he got and you know he wanted to schedule them as well. Now in his first year coaching Stony Brook he gets his biggest opportunity to date. The 4-0 Seawolves, led by three transfers – Demmianne Cook and Claire Petersen from Adelphi and Janine Hillier from Florida – head to Baltimore to face No. 20 Johns Hopkins. The Blue Jays got off to a 3-0 start, but will be looking to bounce back from Wednesday’s 11-7 loss to Loyola. Hopkins’ team save percentage is below 32 percent for the season, so that will be a big concern in shutting down Stony Brook’s offense.


I've been nothing but impressed by Stony Brook's winning scores (13-10, 19-3, 18-5, 18-4) in the early-season in coach Joe Spallina's short tenure. They resemble what Adelphi did to lesser opponents in Division II when he was there. No. 20 Johns Hopkins makes for a tougher opponent for the Seawolves than Colgate, Manhattan, Central Connecticut State and Monmouth, but I think SBU gets a marquee win on the road at Homewood. Winners win, and Demmianne Cook, Claire Peterson, Frankie Caridi, et all. are that.


WD1: No. 11 Vanderbilt (1-1) at No. 16 Stanford (1-3), 4 p.m. Saturday

It’s very early for a must-win game, but this has the feel of one of those games. Stanford rallied for a dramatic 14-13 win over then No. 9 James Madison last weekend, but the Cardinal still sit at 1-3 for the season and this is one of the few ranked teams left on their schedule. Vanderbilt opened the season with a signature 7-5 win over Duke. There’s no shame in losing to North Carolina, as Vandy did last weekend, but back-to-back losses would wipe out the momentum from the big opening win.

WD1: No. 14 Notre Dame (2-0) at No. 10 Ohio St. (4-0), 1 p.m. Sunday

Notre Dame and Ohio State have played one common opponent — Stanford — but unfortunately, the transitive property of equality won't provide much insight into this Midwest showdown. The Fighting Irish capped the Cardinal 17-14, and the Buckeyes beat the Cardinal 14-10. Both teams entered the season ranked outside the top-15 but are undefeated in the early going, and both are guided by promising, new head coaches: Christine Halfpenny is in her first season in South Bend, while it's Alexis Venechanos second year in Columbus. Ohio State rode five goals and three assists from Brittney Zerhusen, who's since graduated, to a 13-8 victory over Notre Dame in 2011. The Buckeyes have outscored opponents 86-26 through five games behind seniors Gaby Capuzzi, Alayna Markwordt and Kirsten Donahue, while the Irish have gotten scoring contributions through two games from 10 different players.

MD1: No. 3 Syracuse (2-0) at No. 1 Virginia (4-0), 4:30 p.m. Sunday

This series might forever be defined by its epic 1997 edition, when Syracuse defeated Virginia 22-21 in the Carrier Dome. Don't expect to see such fireworks Sunday. It just doesn't happen that way anymore. Cavaliers head coach Dom Starsia told Lacrosse Magazine's Joel Censer this week he didn't know if they could play to 17-16, much less a 40-goal game. Virginia's two-man offense schemes and zone defense flirtations and Syracuse likely not wanting to put too much pressure on its goalie platoon of Matt Lerman and Dominic Lamolinara could even keep this game in single digits. After narrowly edging Drexel in their season opener, the Cavaliers have outscored their last three opponents 48-15. It’s been the usual suspects, with Tewaaraton Award winner Steele Stanwick (6g, 10a) initiating, his favorite target Chris Bocklet (10g, 6a) finishing and midfielder Colin Briggs (7g, 6a) bringing the heat from the midfield. A pleasant surprise has been the stout goaltending of Rob Fortunato (5.93 GAA, .648 save percentage). For Syracuse, a 10-9 win over Army did not inspire the greatest confidence, but the Orange is getting the job done on faceoffs with Chris Daddio at 67.6 percent. It’s been a slow start for senior attackman Tim Desko (three goals in two games), who went off for five goals against Virginia at the Carrier Dome last year. 


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