March 16, 2012

Ten to Watch: The Madness Continues

by LaxMagazine.com staff

March Madness finally caught up to Ten to Watch on Thursday when basketball took over every television and computer screen we could get our eyes on. But 10-2-W experienced much madness before that -- last week, in particular -- which is reflected in several of our records below. Editor Emeritus led the way at 8-2, H-Dubs continued her charge up the big board and Ghandi posted a strong number, but the rest of us were iffy. The degree of difficulty remains high this weekend, with a season-high five levels of play represented. Let's get it on.

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   6-4  5-5  6-4 6-4 7-3 4-6
6-4 8-2 4-6 7-3
4-6 6-4
Overall 
 29-11
29-11
 28-12
28-12

28-12

27-13
26-14

26-14
26-14
26-14

24-16

24-16
M:UNC@DUKE DUKE DUKE UNC DUKE UNC DUKE DUKE UNC UNC DUKE

UNC

UNC

W:TCNJ@COR

COR

TCNJ

TCNJ

TCNJ

TCNJ

COR

COR

TCNJ

TCNJ

TCNJ

COR

TCNJ

M:FAIR@COL

FAIR

COL

COL

FAIR

FAIR

FAIR

COL

COL

FAIR

FAIR

FAIR

FAIR

M:DEL@HOF

DEL

DEL

HOF

DEL

HOF

HOF

HOF

HOF

HOF

HOF

DEL

HOF

W:MD@BC

MD

MD

MD

MD

MD

MD

MD

MD

MD

MD

MD

MD

M:ADEL@LEM

LEM

ADEL

LEM

LEM

LEM

LEM

LEM

LEM

LEM

LEM

ADEL

ADEL

M:SYR@HOP

HOP

HOP

SYR

SYR

SYR

HOP

HOP

SYR

HOP

HOP

SYR

HOP

M:DAV-STT

DAV

DAV

DAV

STT

STT

STT

DAV

DAV

DAV

STT

STT

DAV

M:DEN@ND

ND

DEN

DEN

DEN

ND

DEN

DEN

ND

DEN

ND

ND

ND

W:PSU@VAN

VAN

VAN

PSU

VAN

VAN

PSU

VAN

VAN

VAN

PSU

VAN

VAN


MD1: No. 11 North Carolina (5-2) at No. 15 Duke (4-3), 5 p.m. Friday

The 2012 season hasn't gone as expected thus far for either Duke or North Carolina, but Friday's rivalry game could be a big momentum builder for the winner. The Blue Devils started the year ranked second in Lacrosse Magazine's preseason poll, and the Tar Heels were sixth, but they're off to a combined 9-5 start; Duke lost to Notre Dame, Maryland and Loyola, while Carolina tripped up in back-to-back losses to Lehigh and Penn.

Who will have the edge Friday? If history is any indication, advantage Blue Devils, who have owned the Tobacco Road battle since 2005, taking 13 of the last 14 contests. On Monday, Duke bounced back from its weekend loss to Loyola by beating Harvard 11-8, in which redshirt senior Mike Rock made his first start of the season and recorded a career-high 12 saves, but offensively coach John Danowski wants to see more "lacrosse play instead of athletic play." Carolina coach Joe Breschi has been putting together the puzzle pieces on the offensive end, with many moving parts and players seeing time in different spots. The unit showed encouraging signs against Princeton in the Face-Off Classic, though they've struggled with turnovers. A key matchup: the faceoff X, where R.G. Keenan and CJ Costabile will square off.


Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me. Fool me three times? Well, I'll give Duke the chance. I picked the Blue Devils to beat Notre Dame and Loyola in earlier installments of 10-2-W, and I'm not stopping at Carolina -- if for no other reason than Duke's recent success against the Heels. One of these times I'm bound to be right.


WD3: No. 3 TCNJ (4-0) at No. 4 Cortland (2-1), Noon Saturday

Two returning final four teams go at in central New York. It's the first real test of the season for TCNJ, which has won its first four by an average margin of 10.5 goals. Cortland, although it has played just three games, has had its share of competition already, losing by one to now-No. 2 Salisbury and beating No. 8 Franklin and Marshall in its last two contests. Lindsay Abbott has led Cortland with 18 points thus far. TCNJ's Leigh Mitchell, Lacrosse Magazine's Division II women's preseason player of the year, has been playing at a high level, setting the school record for points in a game (13) on March 8 against Ramapo. The Red Dragons will try to slow her.


These are two of the better teams in the nation and both were final four participants a year ago, nevertheless, it's interesting to see how differently their 2012 schedules are constructed. TCNJ is 5-0, but will be facing its first real challenge of the season Saturday, with top-10 match-ups ahead against Gettysburg, F&M and Salisbury in the second half of the season. Meanwhile, Cortland has been tested early, having already split with Salisbury and F&M heading into the TCNJ showdown. The Dragons don't have another top-20 team on the schedule following this week's game. Play them early, or play them late? For good teams, I wonder if it really matters.


MD1: No 13 Fairfield (7-0) at No. 17 Colgate (6-1), 1 p.m. Saturday

No one would have guessed at the outset of the season that this non-conference game would have such high stakes, but the Stags and Raiders have been two of the surprise stories of 2012. Fairfield's program-best seven-game winning streak to start the season includes impressive overtime triumphs of Hofstra and UMBC. Colgate's lone blip was a 9-6 loss to Dartmouth in which the Raiders did not shoot particularly well and ran into a hot goalie. (The Big Green's Fergus Campbell made 15 saves.) The visiting team has won five of six in this series (Fairfield won a neutral-site encounter in 2004). Colgate junior midfielder Peter Baum leads Division I with 29 goals through seven games, while freshman 6-foot-4, 217-pound freshman Ryan Walsh has 15 points in the last three games. Fairfield's success has been driven by a deep senior class that includes John Snellman and Brent Adams (tied for team lead with 21 points apiece) and goalie Charlie Cipriano, a fourth-year starter who ranks 13th in the country in save percentage (.571) and saves per game (10.83).


I'm really intrigued by this one. Colgate has a legitimate program-defining threat in Peter Baum and seems to have responded well to first-year coach Mike Murphy (former Army assistant) and staff. But this is the Raiders first game against a nationally-ranked opponent. Fairfield has been great thus far – heck, the Stags are undefeated – and an overtime win against UMBC that initially raised my eyebrows, looked better and carries a little more weight after the Retrievers upset Maryland three days later. A non-conference win here would benefit either team come tournament selection time if either is on the bubble, which is a possibility. Oh, I have to pick a winner?


MD1: No. 20 Delaware (3-4) at No. 19 Hofstra (2-3), 1 p.m. Saturday

Two teams that certainly won't mind a fresh start get one in their Colonial Athletic Association opener on Long Island on Saturday. Since beating Sacred Heart in its opener, Hofstra has dropped three of four, including agonizing overtime losses to Fairfield and Notre Dame. An inexperienced Hofstra offense is averaging just 7.6 goals per game and only 42 percent of its goals have been assisted. Clearly they have work to do on that end of the field. Delaware snapped a three-game losing streak with a huge win over Villanova, but then was upset by Stony Brook last weekend. Senior attackman Grant Kaleikau is having a huge season (13 goals, 18 assists), but the Hens have found little consistent offense beyond him.

WD1: No. 5 Maryland (6-2) at No. 14 Boston College (4-3), 1 p.m. Saturday

The Boston College attack is chugging along with 14.29 goals per game, led by freshman U19 alums Michaela Rix (26 goals, two assists) and Covie Stanwick (16g, 10a). The defense (12.57 goals allowed per game) is where the Eagles need help, especially after a 16-12 loss to unranked (but solid) Albany. The only team Boston College has held to single-digits was unranked Holy Cross in its season opener. Head coach Bowen Holden has alternated between starting senior Catherine Conway and freshman Emily Mata in goal with mixed results. That's a tough match-up versus the Terps who have six players with double-digit goals already, led by Katie Schwarzmann (24 goals). Maryland leads the series, 7-0.

MD2: No. 2 Adelphi (4-0) at No. 3 Le Moyne (4-0), 1 p.m. Saturday

Last spring, Le Moyne traveled to Adelphi in late April and handed the Panthers one of their two regular-season losses, 9-8. The Dolphins never got their chance to double-up Adelphi in the Northeast-10 conference tourney (they lost to Merrimack in the semifinals), and it likely cost them the regional bid to the NCAA tournament. Now, in a role reversal, the Panthers are heading up to Syracuse as the higher-ranked team playing against a relatively unknown roster for Le Moyne. The winner still has plenty of heavy lifting to do, but will instantly be the favorite for the North invite.


I've interviewed both Le Moyne's Dan Sheehan and Adelphi's Gordon Purdie outside of the losing locker room at M&T Bank Stadium, and it was a painful chat in each instance. It's certainly a testament to the Northeast-10 that they've managed to be in the finals as much as they have, but it's been five years since one of that conference's teams took home the Walnut & Bronze. I think the NE-10 has its best opportunity to get back on top, and it will be on the backs of Adelphi. That's why the Panthers will win this close one.


MD1: No. 6 Syracuse (3-1) at No. 2 Johns Hopkins (6-0), 4 p.m. Saturday

Where do you begin to describe this epic battle? It's the 50th all-time meeting of the two winningest men's college programs, who have combined to win nearly half (20: 11 for Syracuse, nine for Hopkins) of the national titles since 1971 when men's lacrosse became an NCAA-sponsored sport. The series dates back to a 1921 game that ended in a 4-4 tie, and the Blue Jays lead the series overall 26-22-1, but the Orange have won the last five matchups, including last year's 5-4 double-overtime squeaker at the Carrier Dome that wasn't without controversy.

For Hopkins, Saturday afternoon's meeting with Syracuse will be its toughest test of the young season and also open a challenging four-game stretch (Virginia, Albany, North Carolina and Albany are the corner). The Blue Jays rank second nationally in scoring defense, allowing five goals per game behind the play of Tucker Durkin and goalie Pierce Bassett, while the Canadian connection of Zach Palmer and Brandon Benn pace an offense without Chris Boland and Wells Stanwick, whose statuses are "undetermined," heading into this game, coach Dave Pietramala said. Syracuse escaped St. John's last weekend but a week prior showed it can play with the nation's elite in a 14-10 loss to Virginia. The Orange are still trying to sort through their goalie situation; Matt Lerman and Dominic Lamolinara split time in cage against the Red Storm.


The Blue Jays have an advantage in goal: Pierce Bassett is among the nation's finest, and Syracuse hasn't settled on a starter. They have the advantage at the faceoff X: Mike Poppleton has won 57-of-88 (.648) draws, while Syracuse has lost 33-of-49 (.673) in its last two games. And they have home-field advantage: The game is being played at Homewood Field, where Hopkins has won 10 straight. All signs point toward Hopkins getting its first W against 'Cuse since 2007.

 


Kudos to whoever assembled the game notes for this match; lots of interesting tidbits on this big rivalry. Hop leads the series, 26-22-1, although Desko has the edge against Petro, 9-8. The combined all-time record of both programs is 1,742-607-31.


MCLA2: No. 1 Davenport (3-1) vs. No. 2 St. Thomas (2-0) (at St. Louis), 6 p.m. Friday

The two participants from the 2011 MCLA Division II championship game meet again, this time at the St. Louis Lacrosse Invitational hosted by Missouri Baptist. Davenport took MCLA-I No. 12 Michigan State to double overtime before feasting on some divisional lightweights. St. Thomas has blasted a pair of UMLL lightweights as they enter this game. Both of these teams will be in Greenville in May, so this game is strictly for seeding purposes.


St. Thomas' third straight title was in the bank. The Tommies led, 8-6 entering the final quarter of last year's national championship game against Davenport and were controlling every aspect of the game. "I thought we had them," said UST head coach Pete Moosbrugger after the game. The Tommies didn't have them. The gave up an 8-1 fourth quarter - as well as the opportunity to be the first MCLA-II team to win three titles - in the 14-9 loss. Revenge isn't always the best motivator, but it can be effective. It will be on Friday night.

 

MD1: No. 9 Denver (4-1) at No. 8 Notre Dame (3-1), 1 p.m. Sunday

Denver-Notre Dame is a classic matchup of irresistible force vs. immovable object, as LaxMagazine.com's Gary Lambrecht details in his weekly Division I men's notebook. On paper, this is an exercise in logic. Fortunately, the Pioneers and Irish will play it out on the field in this "western" rivalry game. Notre Dame has managed at points this season to squeak by Hofstra and Drexel in low-scoring one-goal games. The Irish also on Feb. 26 in South Bend lost 4-3 to Penn State, the one common opponent between ND and Denver. Denver shellacked the Nittany Lions last Saturday, finding its offense to jump out to a quick early lead and never giving Penn State a chance. Final score in that one: 14-6. What will this one be?

WD1: No. 11 Penn St. (6-2) at No. 8 Vanderbilt (5-1), 2 p.m. Sunday

This game is a grudge match for the Commodores who lost, 11-8, to the Nittany Lions in Happy Valley last year. PSU goalie Dana Cahill had a career-high 13 saves in that win; she may need to do as well this time around to hold off Vanderbilt's offense. Her current save percentage is a nice .525. The Commodores are 5-1, with their only loss coming to the seemingly unstoppable No. 2 North Carolina. However, they've just squeaked through their last two games, beating Boston College by one and Louisville by two. Are the Commodores ripe for an upset? Their offense is tough to stop, if only because so many people can and will go to goal. Eleven different players have scored for Vanderbilt this season. Senior midfielder Ally Carey has 13 goals and sophomore Katie Mastropieri has 12, but otherwise no one has more than seven.


To quote an ALC coach: "Vanderbilt is scary. Scary good." To quote another D-I coach, in reference to four-year starter and first-team All-American Ally Carey: "Oh my god, when is she going to graduate? I feel like she's been there forever."

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