April 18, 2014

Ten-2-Watch: Conference Races Headline The Weekend

by Lacrosse Magazine staff | LaxMagazine.com | Twitter

Each week, the Lacrosse Magazine staff picks and previews of the weekend's best, from all levels of the college landscape. Use #Ten2Watch to discuss the games to come, and tweet @LacrosseMag to make your own picks. Also make sure to vote in our LaxMagazine.com Fan Vote Game of the Week.












Last Week 6-4 5-5 3-7 8-2 8-2 6-4 3-7 6-4 7-3 2-8 6-4 5-5
Overall 49-31 48-32 47-33 47-33 47-33 45-35 44-36 44-36 43-37 42-38 41-39 39-41













W:FLA@NW NW FLA NW NW FLA NW NW NW NW FLA NW FLA
M:AF@OSU OSU OSU AF OSU AF OSU OSU AF AF OSU OSU OSU
W: UM@UR UM UM UM UM UM UM UM UM UM UM UM UM
M: SIE@QU QU SIE SIE SIE SIE SIE SIE SIE QU SIE SIE SIE
W:NAV@LOY LOY LOY LOY LOY LOY LOY LOY NAV LOY LOY LOY LOY
M:MD@ND MD MD ND MD MD ND ND ND ND MD ND MD
W:SYR@ND SYR SYR SYR SYR SYR SYR SYR ND SYR SYR SYR SYR
M:PRI@HAR HAR PRI PRI HAR HAR PRI PRI PRI HAR PRI PRI PRI
W3:SAL@COR COR SAL SAL SAL COR COR SAL COR SAL COR SAL SAL
M3:SAL@STE STE STE SAL STE STE STE STE SAL SAL STE STE STE


WD1: No. 4 Florida (14-2) at No. 7 Northwestern (9-4)

Who will win the Florida-Northwestern ALC showdown?
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Florida and Northwestern are both fighting for placement in the ALC playoffs and Saturday's tilt in Chicago will help settle who goes where. (John Strohsacker/LaxPhotos.com)

Saturday, 2 p.m.

After a surprising loss to Johns Hopkins this past weekend by only one goal, Northwestern is looking to rebound and regain their spot in the top five. But facing a tough Florida squad is no easy task. The Gators are currently No. 4, trailing the top three teams – Syracuse, North Carolina and Maryland – and are running on a six-game winning streak. They are the No. 1 team in points with 327, No. 2 in draw controls with 16.69 per game and No. 3 in scoring offense with 15.75 goals per game. Florida's Shannon Gilroy dominates in points and goals in the nation, currently with 88 and 73, respectively. Northwestern's Alyssa Leonard however is third in draw controls per game with an impressive total of 98 on the season. Wildcats sophomore Kaleigh Craig leads in goals for her team with 27, while senior Kat DeRonda rests close behind at 26. DeRonda has netted the most points so far this season for Northwestern with 34.

MD1: No. 20 Air Force (8-3) at Ohio State (5-6)

Saturday, 1 p.m.

The top seed in the ECAC tournament could go to the winner (Air Force is 3-0 in the league with no ECAC games left after this one; Ohio State is 2-0 with a game at Fairfield to close the regular season), and either of these teams could realistically grab the league's NCAA tournament AQ bid with a conference title. Ohio State was largely forgotten after a poor start against a stronger-than-normal schedule for the program, but the Buckeyes shouldn't be overlooked with talent on both ends of the field, starting with multi-dimensional Canadian Jesse King, who's got 24 goals and 21 assists for Ohio State. Air Force has 14 seniors and a bonafide offensive threat, too, in Mike Crampton, who has poured in 33 goals and 16 assists. Watch do-it-all senior captain Erik Smith as well, the first-ever MLL draft pick from Air Force. He has 17 goals and 11 assists and won 58.5 percent of the 82 faceoffs he's taken. The Falcons are coming off a 16-8 dismantling of former ECAC leader Fairfield last Saturday while Ohio State has won three in a row against Jacksonville, Delaware and Michigan. Ohio State beat Air Force by a goal last season.

WD1: No. 9 Massachusetts (13-1) at Richmond (9-4)

Saturday, 4:30 p.m.

This weekend's marquee matchup for the Atlantic 10 conference is between Massachusetts and Richmond – the top two teams, both having an undefeated record in conference play. Overall, the Minutewomen have 13-1 record, with their sole loss coming from the ranks of Northwestern, while the Spiders are 9-4 on the season with losses to No. 3 Maryland, No. 16 Virginia, No. 13 Notre Dame and unranked James Madison. Massachusetts can lock up the conference with a win over Richmond, but then will need a follow-up win against the on-the-bubble Duquesne squad on April 27, the final day of conference play. The Minutewomen are fifth in the nation in points, third in caused turnovers and third in scoring defense with goalie Rachel Vallarelli having the third-best goals-against average (5.95). For the Spiders, Emily Doyle is the leader in points with 51, while teammate Anna Jeszeck trails with 30.

MD1: Siena (7-4) at Quinnipiac (5-6)

Saturday, 12 p.m.

Coming off a big overtime win against Detroit to remain unbeaten in the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference, Siena turns its attention to Quinnipiac. Should the Saints win, they will clinch the program's sixth MAAC regular-season title in the past eight seasons. The Bobcats are 3-2 in the league and are tied for second place with Canisius. Siena redshirt sophomore goalie Tommy Cordts won his fourth MAAC defensive player of the week award after a 12-save game against Detroit. He's posted 61.3 save percentage over the last month. Richie Hurley is the engine of the offense, with 19 goals and 34 assists, and the Saints have four other players with at least 15 goals. Quinnipiac, in its first season in the MAAC, would love to upset the apple cart. The Bobcats lost to No. 15 Fairfield 15-10 on Tuesday and like Siena, beat Detroit in overtime this season.

WD1: Navy (14-1) at No. 18 Loyola (11-4)

Saturday, 1 p.m.

With the top seed and the right to host the Patriot League Tournament on the line in Saturday's showdown, Navy looks to upset undefeated Loyola for a share of the regular season title, which would be the Mids' third all time. If the Greyhounds win, however, they will claim the Patriot League crown without contention. Both teams won on the road this past weekend – Loyola against Boston University in a 19-8 blowout and Navy against Holy Cross in a close 8-6 match. With those wins, they both clinched quarterfinal byes. Navy currently boasts the second-best scoring defense in the nation, only allowing 5.8 goals per game and junior attacker Loren Generi is the third best in overall points with 76 behind Florida's Shannon Gilroy (88) and Syracuse's Kayla Treanor (76). Loyola's senior midfielder Marlee Paton was honored as the Patriot League's defensive player of the week, but is also her team's leading scorer with 39 goals. Her teammate Annie Thomas, Paton's go-to connection on the offense, leads the Greyhounds with points at 61.

MD1: No. 7 Maryland (9-2) at No. 8 Notre Dame (6-4)

Saturday, 12 p.m.

It might be hard to imagine a scenario in which Notre Dame does not qualify for the NCAA tournament, but it exists. The Irish would all but guarantee themselves a berth with a win this weekend in South Bend. A loss makes things more mercurial, as they would then need to beat the Terps in the ACC tournament to avoid a win-or-else regular-season finale against a dangerous Army team to avoid a sub-.500 finish. So yeah, there's some motivation here. Will Notre Dame take a page out of Johns Hopkins' book, milk the clock and capitalize in timer-on situations to keep Maryland faceoff man Charlie Raffa, midfielder Mike Chanenchuk and the Terps' young attack from establishing any offensive rhythm?

WD1: No. 1 Syracuse (14-1) at No. 13 Notre Dame (8-6)

Saturday, 3 p.m.

As the new No. 1 squad in the country for the first time in program history in the regular season, Syracuse looks to continue their success with another win over Notre Dame. Now teams are gunning for them. The Orange's first game as No. 1 was a tough match in the cold against Cornell on Tuesday, but they were able to hold on to the lead and win 7-5. An upset at the hands of No. 13 Notre Dame will likely cost Syracuse its No. 1 rank. The Orange currently have the second-best scoring offense in Division I with sophomore Kayla Treanor paving the way to victory with 77 points on the season, also the second best in the nation. The Fighting Irish defeated Duke at home by two last weekend, but fell to Ohio State 12-9 on Tuesday. They will likely give the Orange a scrappy game with their strength on ground balls, grabbing 21.79 per game. Notre Dame's freshman Cortney Fortunato commands her team's offense with 52 points, a total of 39 goals and 13 assists.

MD1: No. 14 Princeton (7-4) at No. 17 Harvard (7-5)

Saturday, 12 p.m.

For all of Princeton's preseason bluster (thanks to likely Tewaaraton Award finalist Tom Schreiber, whose 4.55 points per game currently rank fifth in Division I), Cornell's early-season success and Yale's postseason trajectory, the Ivy League frontrunner at this time is Harvard. But the Crimson does not at this time boast the kind of RPI (ranked 22nd) that would stand up in the NCAA tournament at-large conversation. A win over Princeton, currently among the first four out according to Corey McLaughlin's bracketology, won't necessarily put it over the top. But the loser of this game will face even tougher sledding. And Harvard, which is undefeated at home, would lock up an Ivy League tournament bid with a win and be in the driver's seat for the top seed. Princeton has won three straight games since settling on Eric Sanschagrin as its starting goalie and also got a boost against Dartmouth from faceoff man Justin Murphy, who returned to the lineup after missing four games due to injury. Scenarios remain in which the Tigers could win out and be the Ivy League tournament's top seed or miss the postseason altogether.

WD3: No. 1 Salisbury (16-0) at No. 2 Cortland (13-0)

Sunday, 12 p.m.

Division III's top two teams get the lacrosse slate all to themselves for a much anticipated Easter Sunday showdown in Central New York. But this will be no happy-go-lucky Easter Egg hunt. Salisbury and Cortland are two of the toughest, fastest and most-skilled teams Division III has seen in years. Each rank in Division II's Top 10 of defense despite the fact that both teams have have played six top 20 teams. Both have also reached each of the past two Final Fours and both are overwhelming favorites to return.

Salibury smoked Cortland, 13-7, last March on a frigid afternoon at Franklin & Marshall. It would be the only loss for Cortland until that year's final four. It was also the fifth in what is now 38 consecutive victories for Salisbury. A lot has changed since then. Cortland's leading scorer, Erica Geremia, was playing in just the fourth game of her career. Plenty is the same, too. Salisbury's dynamic goalie Ashton Wheatley is still between the pipes. What happens when an unstoppable force meets an immovable object? Check back on Sunday night.

MD3: No. 3 Salisbury (15-1) at No. 2 Stevenson (13-1)

Saturday, 7 p.m.

With the Sea Gulls entering the game ranked No. 1 in the region and the Mustangs just a peg behind, there's a lot more riding on this game than just a rivalry born from former conference affiliation. It's reasonable to assume that the winner of this contest will have its course to Memorial Day weekend streamlined out of the region. Salisbury is a week removed from handily taming an upstart Cabrini team while Stevenson had to grind out a win over conference foe Widener on Wednesday. Past results will have no bearing on this game, however. It will have a tournament flavor, and may very well be a preview of the South semifinals.


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