Ten to Watch: We Pick, You Pick

by Lacrosse Magazine Online Staff

Each Friday, we hash out the top 10 games of the weekend ahead in college lacrosse.

Enter your picks next to each game and see how they stack up to ours, then click the "Submit Picks" button below. Go undefeated -- like B-Logue rocked last week -- and we'll feature your new picks with ours next week. You know, a little face time next to the pros.

Note: Submissions received after the first game begins will not be considered.

WD1: No. 8 Syracuse at No. 6 Georgetown - Friday, 6 p.m. 

Hook: The Orange (8-2, 3-0) and Hoyas (7-3, 2-0) currently sit atop the Big East, separated by a half game. Both teams can score in spurts. Look no further than Georgetown's 14 second half goals to down Notre Dame last week. Syracuse is riding a 16-game winning streak in the Big East, including the 2007 and 2008 Big East tournaments. With neither defense being anything to write home about, expect a high-scoring affair.

WD1: No. 5 Duke at No. 1 Northwestern - Friday, 7 p.m.

Hook: Hannah Nielsen's next assist will break the NCAA career record. She's tied with another Australian, Jen Adams, with 178. Nielsen currently leads the nation with 37 assists and 72 points this season. But could this be that token loss for the Wildcats? Duke has done it before, in 2006. The Blue Devils are one of just three teams that can claim to have beaten the Wildcats since their phenomenal run of NCAA titles began in 2005. They'll need a big game from goalie Kim Imbesi, a three-year starter. That's for sure.

When was the last time an NCAA record of this magnitude went down with this little hype? Northwestern has completely dulled our sense of achievement. It's a purple machine. The warm and fuzzies are gone. Not only is Nielsen chasing history, but attack mate Hilary Bowen has scored a goal in 50 consecutive games. That's the fourth-longest streak in NCAA history. But you don't know. You don't care. You simply shrug your shoulders and sigh, "That's Northwestern being Northwestern." I don't expect Duke to capitulate as easily. But I don't expect the Blue Devils to fare any better than the previous 47 opponents to visit Lakeside Field, either.

MD1: No. 8 Maryland at No. 17 Navy - Friday, 7 p.m.

Hook: Richie Meade could not have picked a better time to find a goalkeeper he can trust. Senior Tommy Phelan became the third Navy goalie to start a game this year, and he came through with a career-best, 15-save performance last week against Georgetown. (Senior Matt Coughlin and freshman RJ Wickham started the first three and previous six games, respectively.) The timing? These Terps are likely looking to vent some frustration after last week's seven-overtime loss to Virginia in which their apparent game-winning goal was waived by an inadvertent whistle in the first OT. Look for Navy to slow the pace, as has suited the Mids in this series. They've won four of the last five, and eight of the last 10 games between the teams have been decided by one goal.

WD1: No. 14 Penn State vs.  No. 4 North Carolina - Saturday, 11 a.m. 

Hook: As LMO's Daniel Malloy wrote Thursday, Penn State's season could be in the balance. Provided Northwestern wins the ALC (a next-to-certain provision), the Nittany Lions must spring an upset this weekend at the ALC-ACC Challenge in Columbus, Ohio, to harbor any hope of an at-large bid to the NCAA tournament. Considering Maryland, PSU's opponent Friday, is the hottest team this side of Evanston, UNC might be the Nittany Lions' best bet for said upset.


MD1: No. 1 Virginia vs. No. 10 North Carolina - Saturday, 12 p.m.  

Hook: North Carolina's ACC demons are now 20 and counting. The Tar Heels' quest for an exorcism takes center stage at Giants Stadium, site of the Inside Lacrosse Big City Classic, in the first of three games in East Rutherford, N.J. Unfortunately for UNC, UVA goalie Adam Ghitelman hit his stride in the seven-OT epic against Maryland, reeling in 22 saves, including six in overtime. The Wahoos can ill afford the sloppy play that plagued them early against Maryland, as the Heels boast the nation's top faceoff specialist in Shane Walterhoefer -- he'll hoard possessions like a squirrel with acorns. UVA's Chad Gaudet provides a change of pace facing off with a long stick; he'll want to disrupt Walterhoefer's rhythm.


On Saturday, all UNC-related good will/karma/bargaining with God will be directed towards the big game in Detroit, not the one in Giants Stadium. Besides, Virginia has taken on an unbeatable Superman quality this season after the 7OT win against Maryland.


Wouldn't it be a great story if North Carolina buried its ACC frustration alongside Jimmy Hoffa by beating No. 1 ranked and undefeated Virginia in the shadow of the Big Apple? Yes, it would be, but I don't see it happening. Virginia has survived two straight close calls, a one-goal win over Hopkins and Saturday's epic seven-overtime win over Maryland. That's bad news for Carolina. My sizable gut is telling me that Virginia is ready for a huge breakout game on the big stage.
 

MD2: No. 1 NYIT at No. 3 C.W. Post - Saturday, 12 p.m.

Hook: Back-to-back one-goal wins have kept the top-ranked Bears unbeaten, but they could be ripe to fall. They were dominated by Molloy in the first and fourth quarters, but held on for a crazy 16-15 victory. LM Preseason Player of the Year Kevin Hennessy has appeared in just three games and has not played since March 9, but NYIT's offense hasn't missed a beat. Keith Henderson leads with 24 goals and 36 points. Post's lone blemish is a one-goal setback at No. 2 Le Moyne, and Greg Cerar (29g, 24a) has been on fire and has to be considered a player-of-the-year candidate.


We're just barely into April and out of the seven small college/club divisions that we did a preseason ranking for, only one top ranked team remains undefeated: NYIT in men's Division II. The Bears are unblemished, but not exactly cruising to another championship game appearance: they've beat Dowling and Molloy in successive weekends by a total of two goals. I think the last remaining preseason No. 1 goes down on Saturday when the Bears face No. 3 C.W. Post. It's by no means the end of the line for NYIT -- and it might even provide a welcomed wake-up call -- but it will make every non-D-I title chase very exciting in May.

MD1: No. 13 Harvard at No. 3 Cornell - Saturday, 1 p.m.

Hook:
The injury bug has bitten Cornell in a big way. Just as the Big Red's maligned defense has gotten healthy and meshed, John Glynn has injured his elbow. His return questionable, head coach Jeff Tambroni has ruled out Glynn for faceoffs. His backup there, Tommy Schmicker is also nursing an injury, meaning do-everything standout Max Seibald could be called more often to the "X." Given extra possessions, Harvard could be dangerous. The Jeff Cohen-Dean Gibbons tandem has lived up to the hype, with the freshman and sophomore ranking 1-2 on the Crimson in scoring.

MD1: No. 2 Syracuse vs. No. 5 Princeton - Saturday, 2:30 p.m.

Hook: Kenny Nims singlehandedly kept Syracuse from an upset last week at Loyola, scoring twice in the final 3:21 as the Orange escaped with a one-goal win. The bad news: Syracuse lost captain Spencer Van Schaak, a short-stick defensive midfielder, for the season with a knee injury, according to the Syracuse Post-Standard. Special teams could play a factor. Syracuse boasts the nation's top extra-man offense, while Princeton has the No. 2-ranked man-down unit. Fitting that these two teams should be the centerpiece of the Inside Lacrosse Big City Classic, which had reportedly sold 17,000-plus tickets as of Wednesday.

MD1: No. 1 Stevenson at No. 4 Salisbury - Saturday, 7 p.m.

Hook: Paul Cantabene says it's a rivalry; Jim Berkman says it's not. Who cares? This will be a heck of a game. Though the Mustangs overtook the No. 1 ranking this week -- thanks to Salisbury's first regular season loss (to Gettysburg) in eons -- the mental edge still favors the Sea Gulls. Especially at home. Winner takes the driver's seat in the Capital Athletic Conference, not that either team needs to feel insecure about its NCAA tournament hopes. The Mustangs must stay out of the penalty box if they hope to hold off the Gulls. They gave up three goals in six man-down situations in a narrow win over Wesley, whose marksmanship pales in comparison to shooting-conscious Salisbury.


Edward Lee of The Baltimore Sun quoted this week Stevenson men's coach Paul Cantabene and Salisbury men's coach Jim Berkman on whether or not the Stevenson-Salisbury series is a rivalry. If you have to ask if a series is a rivalry, then it probably isn't a rivalry in the traditional sense we all think of.
That being said, this series is a rivalry by definition in that both are members of a conference (the Capital Athletic Conference) and competing for its only championship. And while Berkman deferred to Lee that the Mustangs have only been in the league for three years, he better get used to big games for conference supremacy with Stevenson. We highlighted the Mustangs' ascension under Cantabene in the February issue of LM, but it didn't take a soothsayer to accurately predict Stevenson would eventually surge with him at the helm. The university is trying to boost its profile and, without football, men's lacrosse is the school's vehicle to do just that.

Cantabene may someday return to the Division I level, but in the short term, he's done enough to add intensity and competitiveness to Stevenson-Salisbury matchups - and to knock off plenty of other D-III foes as well. Expect another intense matchup Saturday night under the lights at Sea Gull Stadium, where, yes, a rivalry will begin in earnest - if it hasn't already.

WD3: No. 2 TCNJ at No. 4 Gettysburg - Sunday, 1 p.m.

Hook: There are four undefeated teams left in WD3, but that number will dwindle on Sunday when these two programs meet in a rematch of the 2006 national championship game. Unlike '06, these two teams are untested at this point. Both squads have fattened up on second tier programs - neither has played a Top 16 team - and each will get the first test against each other. This may challenge Gettysburg's depth, as the Bullets will have played Haverford already Saturday.

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Last Week 10-0 7-3 7-3
8-2
9-1 6-4
Overall 51-19
48-22 47-23
45-25
44-26 43-27
W: Syracuse @ G'town
Syracuse
Syracuse
Syracuse
Georgetown
Georgetown
Georgetown
W: Duke @ Northwestern
Northwestern
Northwestern
Northwestern
Northwestern
Northwestern
Northwestern
M: Maryland @ Navy
Maryland
Maryland
Maryland
Maryland
Navy
Maryland
W: Penn State v. UNC
 UNC
UNC
UNC
UNC
UNC
 Penn State
M: Virginia vs. UNC
Virginia
Virginia
UNC
Virginia
Virginia
UNC
M: NYIT @ C.W. Post
NYIT
NYIT
C.W. Post
C.W. Post
NYIT
NYIT
M: Harvard @ Cornell
Cornell
 Cornell
Cornell
Cornell
Harvard
Cornell
M: Syracuse v. Princeton
Syracuse
Syracuse
Syracuse
Syracuse
Syracuse
Princeton
M: Stevenson@Salisbury
Salisbury
 Salisbury
Salisbury
Salisbury
Stevenson
Salisbury
W: TCNJ @ Gettysburg
TCNJ
TCNJ
TCNJ
TCNJ
TCNJ
Gettysburg