Ten to Watch: No Love Lost for Goalkeepers
by Lacrosse Magazine Online Staff
Each Friday, your crack laxperts here at Lacrosse Magazine
Online will try to handicap the upcoming weekend for the top 10
college games across all divisions. Follow here at laxmagazine.com all season long.
MD1: No. 7 Duke at No. No. 15 Harvard – Friday 7
If Duke is the Harvard of the South, does Harvard want to be the Duke of the North in lacrosse terms? John Tillman's Crimson opened last season with a signature 9-6 win in Durham, but then faded in Ivy play. Harvard is off to a solid 5-2 start, but this is its last chance to make a mark outside of the Ivy. After opening the season 2-3, Duke has ripped off five straight wins. They key here is whether or not one of these defenses, both giving up around 10 goals per game, can step up.
"Never trust a team with an unsettled goalie situation. The Crimson has been flip-flopping between sophomore Christian Coates (four games played, 3 starts, 9.62 gpg) and freshman Harry Krieger (six games played, four starts, 10.44). Coates started the first two games of the season, including the one-goal loss to Georgetown. Then Krieger got the nod, and got wins over Holy Cross and UMass. But the frosh faltered against Colgate (5 saves) and was pulled at halftime. So Coates was back in the starting spot versus Brown, made one save in 15 minutes and was benched again in favor of Krieger. (The Crimson lost to the Bears, 13-11.) So Krieger started versus Dartmouth, but only put up 3 saves in the 13-11 win. We'll see if he stays in the starting lineup versus the Blue Devils. Duke should shoot early and often in this game. Two underclassmen goalies, neither of whom can feel too confident, plus the trickle-down confusion in the defense. They must be missing Joe Pike real bad in Cambridge these days.
WD1: No. 2 Maryland at No. 6 Penn – Friday 7
There are so many great angles on this game. It's a rematch of the 2008 quarterfinal in which the Quakers rallied to beat the Terps, 9-7. Only four players are still in uniform from that game -- Penn's Ali DeLuca and Emma Spiro and Maryland's Caitlyn McFadden and Karissa Taylor. It's also a Bizarro World 2009 NCAA championship rematch (both the Terps and the Quakers were cruelly ousted in last year's semifinals). Karin Brower Corbett loves defense; Cathy Reese loves offense. Who will prevail at Franklin Field, where Penn is 34-4 since 2006?
"Never trust a team with an unsettled goalie situation. Sophomore keeper Brittany Dipper is the weakest link in Maryland's (admittedly dazzling) starting lineup, and head coach Cathy Reese pulled her after 18 minutes and just two saves versus Towson on Wednesday, a 12-10 rally that almost ruined the Terps undefeated record. Will Mary Jordan, the back-up keeper, get the start in Philly? At the other end of the field, Penn's Emily Szelest (5.71 ga) is one of the best in the business.
MD1: No. 3 North Carolina at No. 14 Johns Hopkins
– Saturday 12 p.m.
All indications are that the reeling Blue Jays, who have lost three straight and four of their last five, must beat either the Tar Heels or Maryland to keep their steak of 38 consecutive NCAA tournament appearances – the longest in any Division I team sport – alive. Problem is, these are the best UNC and Terps teams in years. Hopkins might have an opening against the Heels, whose top two players, Billy Bitter (leg) and Sean DeLaney (shoulder), are in question.
DaSilva: Johns Hopkins
Ohanian: North Carolina
Coyne: North Carolina
Krome: North Carolina
Logue: North Carolina
Lochary: North Carolina
"Never trust a team with an unsettled goalie situation. Gvozden has gotten pulled in two of the last three games, most recently in favor of freshman Pierce Basset in the 15-6 drubbing from UVA. Who knows who we'll see in the crease for the Blue Jays in this must-win game? Incidentally, Hopkins is holding a promotional drawing at the game for a pair of two all-session NCAA D-I championship tickets. That probably seemed like a good draw for Blue Jay fans when they scheduled the promotion back in the preseason. Now it's just a cruel, cruel taunt.
WD1: No. 1 Northwestern at No. 5 Duke – Saturday
Not good news for the Anyone But Northwestern crowd: the Wildcats’ freshmen are starting to hit their strides, so even if this dynasty does end at some point, Northwestern’s not likely to fall very far from the top. Texas native (and May Lacrosse Magazine interviewee) Taylor Thornton won the ALC Defender of the Week award for causing four turnovers and scooping four ground balls in a recent win over Ohio State. Thornton leads the team with 14 CTs and 17 GBs. Classmate Ali Cassera scored four goals on four shots to earn Rookie of the Week honors. It’s the first of three straight on the road for the ‘Cats, but don’t call it a trap game. The Blue Devils have tightened their defense since a 17-4 loss to Maryland to close February, winning five of their last six and holding all but one of those foes to single digits. But to end Northwestern’s 37-game winning streak, Duke must control the ball, something it didn’t do (6-for-17 in DCs) in a frustrating, 8-7 loss to rival Virginia.
"Never trust a team with an unsettled goalie situation. Granted, this one is not really anyone's fault, just bad luck. Sophomore Mollie Mackler went down with a torn ACL and freshman Kaitlin Gaiss has inherited the starting job. Gaiss came up huge in a win over the Hoyas in her first career start and acquitted herself well against Virginia Tech and Navy. But stumbled against Virginia, though, with only three stops in the 8-7 loss to the Cavaliers. It's a tough job for a freshman to stare down the Northwestern attack. If Gaiss pulls it off somehow, she'll be a legend."
MD1: No. 18 Notre Dame at No. 17 Villanova –
Saturday 1 p.m.
Kevin Corrigan was one of the biggest advocates for the Big East Conference, but things didn't go as planned as Rutgers upset the Irish in both teams Ivy opener. last weekend Now the Irish find themselves having lost three of their last five with a must-win game at Villanova. Nova's Big East opener wasn't much much better. Syracuse humbled the Wildcats 20-6 on Monday. Villanova is a perfect 3-0 at home.
DaSilva: Notre Dame
Ohanian: Notre Dame
Coyne: Notre Dame
Krome: Notre Dame
Logue: Notre Dame
Lochary: Notre Dame
"Villanova beat Fairfield, and Fairfield beat Notre Dame. So by transitive property, Villanova could beat Notre Dame, right? No. Why? Because you never trust a team with an unsettled goalie situation. After five games, sophomore Dan Gutierrez (.461) lost the starting spot to freshman Billy Hurley. Hurley has a .500 save percentage after three games, including a 20-6 drubbing by Syracuse. Gutierrez got in the cage for the last 15 minutes up in the Dome, making four stops and allowing five goals. Whichever one of them gets the nod versus the Irish has at least a decent chance of putting up some good stats – the Irish average only 9.62 gpg."
WD1: No. 15 Notre Dame at No. 14 Georgetown –
Saturday 1 p.m.
The Hoyas have struggled, losing four of their last five games against some of the nation’s top teams. The lone win came against Big East rival Villanova, and Saturday’s game is the first of five straight league games — so there’s ample opportunity for Georgetown to right a ship that may not be sinking as much as its 3-5 record indicates. After all, the Hoyas only outshot Princeton 8-2 through three overtimes Sunday but couldn’t cover one in a 15-14 sudden-death loss. But with a suspect OOC record, it’s imperative Ashby Kaestner and Georgetown assume an early leg up in the Big East race. She was named to the league honor roll after six goals, three assists and seven draw controls in two games last week. Notre Dame, meanwhile, has lost two of three after a 4-1 start. The Irish lost their ninth straight meeting with No. 1 Northwestern, 15-5, Tuesday, but there’s a silver lining — Notre Dame has won its next game after a loss to the ‘Cats in each of the last four years, including a win at Georgetown in 2008. Catch Tamasitis if you can. It’s not a bug, but sophomore attacker Maggie — who’s quarterbacking the Irish’s offense nicely with 15 assists to go with eight goals.
Krome: Notre Dame
Logue: Notre Dame
"OMG, two teams with consistent starting goalies! Unfortunately, both those goalies – Georgetown senior Caitlin Formby and Notre Dame freshman Ellie Hilling – have identical .394 save percentages. I’ll give the edge to the Hoyas, who have home field advantage."
WD3: No. 6 Gettysburg at No. 5 TCNJ - Saturday 1
A lot of questions will be answered when these two clash. Gettysburg, once thought to be title contender, is licking its wounds after the Bullets were stunned by Middlebury on their own field while the Lions have yet to play a ranked team. The last time these two teams met was in a regional final of the NCAA tourney last spring, with Gettysburg taking a 10-9 decision. Expect another close one this year.
MD3: No. 2 Salisbury at No. 1 Stevenson - Saturday 2 p.m.
In the first of what promises to be three meetings this season - the others in the conference championship game and in the NCAA tournament - these two Capital Athletic Conference rivals rumble for the first time. Fittingly, they're the top two teams in the country. Both have signature offensive units - Stevenson with its attack and Salisbury's midfield - both have defenses that are better than they get credit for. The match-up to watch will be Stevenson's Ray Witte against Salisbury Ryan Finch at the faceoff X. Both are running at well over 60 percent, so something has to give.
|"Obviously it’s a big game and it’s garnered its share of publicity in the Baltimore area. Some very intriguing comments in Mike Preston’s column. The series is quickly turning into the South’s best rivalry, mainly because you’ve got two very good teams competing for high stakes. We all know Salisbury’s history atop the Division III world. Under coach Paul Cantabene, Stevenson has become an NCAA-caliber team, where it’s likely to remain for the forseeable future. So while the rivalry lacks the history and student-generated animosity of the War on the Shore, it dwarfs that series in terms of the pure competition and talent on the field — and that’s players and coaches. Cantabene and Salisbury’s Jim Berkman are two of the most competitive coaches around, and I’m sure they’ll each find away to motivate their troops, tell them they’re disrespected, don’t belong on the same field, and yada, yada, yada. This game just needs to start so the posturing can stop."|
MD1: No. 8 Hofstra at No. 11 Drexel – Saturday 4
The Pride and the Dragons both play a Canadian-American blend of lacrosse – their personnel have dictated that style. Neither team boasts a great defense, either. So this could be an old-fashioned CAA shootout.
|"It’s been an interesting ride so far for Drexel and first-year coach Brian Voelker. After an opening loss to UVA, the Dragons won six straight, including an eye-opening win over Notre Dame in early March. The streak ended with a 10-8 loss at Villanova, but to its credit, Drexel rebounded with last week’s victory at previously undefeated Lafayette. Now comes the big test. A win over Hofstra will certainly stamp the Dragons as a serious contender in the CAA this season and put them in the hunt for a first-ever NCAA berth. Unfortunately, history is not on their side. Drexel is 2-20 all-time against Hofstra."|
MD1: No. 1 Virginia at No. 4 Maryland – Saturday 8
A primetime ACC match-up that will be televised nationally on ESPNU. The Terps (1-1 in ACC) are looking to rebound from their first loss of the season last week at North Carolina, while Virginia plays its first league game of the season. The Cavaliers have won seven of the last eight meetings between the teams, including last year's seven-overtime classic in Charlottesville. Both teams have great offensive balance and depth, and solid defense and goalkeeping. The difference may come in the midfield and on extra-man opportunities, where Maryland is converting 62.5% of its chances.
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