Ten to Watch: LMO's Staff Pick 'Em

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, 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.


MD1: Army vs. No. 13 Navy (at M&T Bank Stadium) - Saturday, 11:30 a.m. 

Hook: It's the first time this historic rivalry that the Star Game will be played at a neutral site. Navy's big win last week over Maryland could have come at a cost. Standout attackman Tim Paul sprained his left ankle in the third quarter. An MRI this week revealed that the sprain was less serious than anticipated, according to a statement by Navy head coach Richie Meade, but Paul remains a game-time decision.

WD1: No. 13 Dartmouth at No. 2 Penn - Saturday, 12 p.m.

Hook: Penn has the nation's top-ranked defense and has made a habit of humbling strong teams this season. The No. 2 Quakers have allowed just 45 goals in nine games, including just two goals each in wins over No. 4 North Carolina and No. 20 Cornell. Dartmouth is 3-0 in the Ivy and ranked 13th in the nation, but you have to wonder if the Quakers will be looking ahead to Wednesday's showdown with No. 7 Princeton. That would be foolish. Dartmouth has already taken another unbeaten, No. 3 Maryland, to overtime.

 

Making picks from the vantage point of last place is like going after unattainable women at the bar -- it's been so long since you've gotten an affirmative response that the unattainable suddenly seems, in your blurry eyes, at least, within grasp. Thus, you stab at every potential upset eying the 10-0 week, only to come up emptyhanded. Desparation is an ugly thing. That said, I'm going with Army here. The Black Knights are long overdue. Five of their six losses have come by two goals or less. They'll step up to the challenge.

WD1: No. 4 North Carolina at No. 3 Maryland - Satruday, 12 p.m.

Hook: First place in the ACC is on the line as No. 3 Maryland (13-0, 3-0 ACC) hosts No. 4 North Carolina (11-2, 3-0 ACC). The Terps keep winning, but barely escaped Ohio State last weekend, winning 17-16. UNC will be the Terps first Top 10 opponent since beating Georgetown nearly a month ago (14-12 win on March 11). UNC was throttled 11-2 in a loss to Penn on March 9, but has since ripped off eight straight wins, including a 12-7 win over Georgetown. Maryland is 3-0 against UNC since Cathy Reese took over at Maryland prior to the 2007 season.


Count me among the preseason doubters of the Maryland women since proven wrong by the third-ranked Terrapins. I watched Maryland in some exhibition games at the Champion Challenge, a US Lacrosse event, in Orlando at the end of January. I thought the Terps were the third-best of three ACC teams there (Duke, Virginia). Instead, unbeaten Maryland (13-0, 3-0) can clinch no worse than a share of the conference's regular-season title if it holds off surging North Carolina (11-2, 3-0) Saturday in College Park. Seven Terrapins have scored at least 19 goals this season, and they'll need another balanced effort for 60 minutes against a team unafraid of playing on the road. The Heels are 5-1 away from home.

MD1: No. 7 UMBC at No. 18 Albany - Saturday, 1 p.m. 

Hook: Talk about revenge games. Anytime these two America East juggernauts meet, revenge seems to be at hand, but the Great Danes have got to be salivating over this one -- a rematch of the 2008 America East championship game in which the Retrievers rallied from nine goals down to win 14-13 and advance to the NCAA tournament.


Looking for a darkhorse to advance to Foxboro next month? Consider UMBC, which is hoping to claim its third America East title in four years. The Retrievers have won five straight heading into Saturday's game at Albany, including wins over Maryland and Ohio State, and their only two losses came in close games against Johns Hopkins and Princeton. Coach Don Zimmerman's squad features a balanced offense led by senior middie Alex Hopmann (23g) and five others with between 11 and 18 goals, and a solid defense anchored by veteran goalie Jeremy Blevins (40 career wins), who is capable of carrying a team in the postseason.

MD1: No. 15 Loyola at No. 19 Georgetown - Saturday, 1 p.m.  

Hook: The season is pretty much on the line for the Hoyas (5-5 overall, 1-2 ECAC) Saturday. A loss eliminates them from contention for the conference crown and casts a tall shadow on an at-large bid to the NCAA tournament with a trip to ECAC front-runner Massachusetts next week. The good news for the Hoyas is that if they can get this one, they'll have won three straight heading to Amherst and then finish with pedestrian Rutgers and Penn State on the Hilltop. Entering the season, we thought the Hoyas' lack of a single standout on offense could be a blessing. Ten games in, only three players, led by Ricky Mirabito (19g, 5a) and Andrew Brancaccio (16g, 3a), have scored in double-figures in goals for a squad that averages just over nine tallies per game. The Greyhounds (6-4, 3-1) have come back to the pack somewhat after a 3-1 start, but they've avoided stubbing their toes against an inferior opponent - which Georgetown hasn't. This is likewise a big game for Loyola, which can strengthen its NCAA hopes with a road win followed by home games against league rivals Fairfield and Hobart. For the ‘Hounds, offense has come mainly from its attack unit of Shane Koppens (17g, 12a), Collin Finnerty (16g, 11a) and Cooper MacDonnell (22g, 4a). How those three fare against a traditionally strong Hoya D will be key, and Loyola could certainly use a repeat ECAC Player of the Week performance by freshman midfielder Mike Sawyer, who scored four goals in last week's win at Rutgers.


Fun with typos! Georgetown's pregame notes identify Loyola's points leader as "Shank Koppens." That's a pretty apt nickname for a guy who will (metaphorically) stab you between the ribs if you give him room to maneuver near the crease. Still, my favorite Greyhound is do-it-all longpole PT Ricci, who leads the team with 35 caused turnovers and is third in the country on ground balls per game (6.8). He's not afraid to shoot, either.


The ECAC looks very much like a one-bid league for the NCAA tournament this season and with UMass sitting at 3-0 in the league, Saturday's Loyola-Georgetown game is very much a must-win game for both teams. Loyola is just a half game back of the Minutemen, but has already lost the head-to-head battle. Georgetown is just 1-2 in the league, but a win puts them very much back in the picture. They still have UMass to play and already beat Fairfield (3-1).
 

MD1: No. 10 North Carolina vs. Ohio State (at Calvert Hall, Baltimore) - Saturday, 1 p.m.

Hook: The obvious, emotional hook here is UNC head coach Joe Breschi's first game against his former team, the one he built from the ground up and with which he endured the death of his son. There's also the mentor-protege element between Breschi and OSU first-year coach Nick Myers, who was promoted in Columbus when Breschi left for his alma mater. Ohio State has an opening -- UNC goalie Grant Zimmerman is likely out for the season after suffering a right knee injury in the second quarter of the Tar Heels' loss to Virginia in last week's Big City Classic.


WD3: No. 1 TCNJ at No. 2 Salisbury - Saturday, 1 p.m.

Hook:
Call this game the close encounter. TCNJ is ranked No. 1 in the country and Salisbury is one spot back at No. 2. TCNJ got nine first place votes and Salisbury got eight. TCNJ earned 383 points and Salisbury earned 381. On the field, the two schools have met six times over the last four years, and three games, including Salisbury's 11-10 win in overtime, were decided by one goal. The other three were two-goal games. In other words, it's too close to call.


For the second time in as many years, Salisbury and TCNJ will play a 1-v-2 match-up during the regular season. Last year, No. 1 Salisbury edged No. 2 TCNJ by a goal in overtime, 11-10. This year, the rankings are flipped and it's the Lions who enter the game as No. 1, ending the Gulls' two-week reign at the top of the charts this week. While TCNJ is relatively untested this year - their biggest game was a one goal win over No. 5 Gettysburg - this is already Salisbury's second top-ranked match-up, as the Gulls, then No. 2, upended former No. 1 and defending national champion Hamilton in San Antonio. In total, this will be the fourth Top 6 game of the year for the home team. Regardless, expect the game to be close: the last six times these teams have met dating back to 2005, no more than two goals have separated the two squads at the end.

WD1: No. 8 Notre Dame at No. 9 Syracuse - Saturday 1 p.m.

Hook: Surging Notre Dame (11-2 overall, 4-1 Big East) can virtually lock up second place in the conference if it can win in the Carrier Dome for the first time ever (0-6 including a Big East tournament loss to Georgetown there in 2007). The Irish have won three straight and the first two of a four-game road trip. Notre Dame figures to continue to push its league-leading (16.1 gpg) offense behind senior Jillian Byers, who last week became the first player in the program's 13-year history to score at least 50 goals in each of her four seasons. The Irish have plenty of veteran offensive weapons, but keep an eye on freshman Maggie Tamasitis, who's come off the bench to rank sixth on the team with 25 points. Perhaps surprisingly given that the Orange, too, averages nearly 16 goals per game, Syracuse ranks 10th in the country in scoring defense. If the defense can limit Notre Dame and get the ball to Katie Rowan (fourth in the nation at 5.42 ppg), the Orange can right a ship thrown off course by recent tough losses in meaningful games to Northwestern (19-8) and Georgetown (11-10 in four overtimes).

MD1: No. 9 Johns Hopkins vs. No. 12 Maryland (at M&T Bank Stadium) - Saturday, 2 p.m.

Hook: Who needs this rivalry game more? We've seen March swoons from Hopkins (4-4 overall) before, so Blue Jay haters would be advised to hold off beginning any epitaphs for Hopkins' 37-year NCAA tournament streak. The Blue Jays ended a three-game skid last week at home by beating Albany. Scoff as some do at overcoaching by Dave Pietramala, he gets his team better throughout the season - witness its 37-4 mark in April during his tenure. The Terrapins (6-4) were listless in last Friday's 10-4 loss at Navy, and they may still be hung over, in a sense, from coming an inadvertent whistle away from ending that seven-OT marathon loss at No. 1 Virginia with a win before it started. Much has been made -- or will be if you subscribe to the print LM -- of the Turtles' behemoth attackmen in Will Yeatman (6-foot-6) and Grant Catalino (6-foot-5), and they have certainly produced. But Maryland needs more consistent play if it hopes to end an underpublicized 33-year national title drought. No need to worry about listlessness in this one, though. Few things draw more ire in College Park than supposed elitists and preppies that pervade Homewood. The schools' media relations departments don't even agree on the official series record. Hopkins lists a decisive 66-37-1 advantage, but Maryland claims the first 10 meetings came before the university made lacrosse an official sport.

WD1: No. 10 Vanderbilt at No. 15 Ohio State - Sunday, 12 p.m.

Hook: Two high-octane offenses collide Sunday, as the race behind Northwestern in the ALC heats up. Ohio State has failed to score in double digits just twice this season. Vandy, meanwhile, has not been held to single digits at all this year. Let the sparks fly.

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Last Week 5-5 5-5 5-5
6-4
7-3 4-6
Overall 56-24
53-27 52-28
51-29
51-29 47-33
M: Army vs. Navy
Navy
Navy
Navy
Navy
Navy
Army
W: Dartmouth @ Penn
Penn
Penn
Penn
Penn
Penn
Penn
W: UNC @ Maryland
Maryland
Maryland
Maryland
Maryland
Maryland
UNC
M: UMBC @ Albany
UMBC
UMBC
UMBC
UMBC
UMBC
Albany
M: Loyola @ Georgetown
Loyola
Loyola
Georgetown
Georgetown
Loyola
Georgetown
M: UNC vs. Ohio State
UNC
UNC
UNC
UNC
UNC
UNC
W: TCNJ @ Salisbury
TCNJ
 Salisbury
Salisbury
TCNJ
TCNJ
Salisbury
W: Notre Dame @ Syracuse
Syracuse
Syracuse
Syracuse
Notre Dame
Syracuse
Syracuse
M: Hopkins vs. Maryland
Maryland
 Hopkins
Hopkins
Maryland
Hopkins
Maryland
W: Vandy @ Ohio State
Vanderbilt
Vanderbilt
Vanderbilt
Vanderbilt
Ohio State
Ohio State