Ten-2-Watch: For All the Marbles
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.
The final week of the college season is upon us, kicking off with Friday night's women's DI semifinals at Towson University and concluding with Monday's men's DI NCAA final at Baltimore's M&T Bank Stadium. We'll be selecting the eight games that we can between the women's DI and DIII semifinals and Men's DI semis and DII and DIII finals. And to spice things up a bit, each staffer selected a pick for DI men's and women's champion worth five bonus points (just to make Lane sweat a bit more at No. 1)!
|M CHAMP||Duke||Duke||Duke||Denver||Duke||Maryland||Maryland||Denver||Duke||Duke||N. Dame||Duke|
Women's DI Semifinal: Virginia (12-8) vs. Syracuse (20-2)
|Virginia and North Carolina have both made it to the NCAA semifinals against the odds. Can they continue their runs? (Cecil Copeland)|
Friday, 5 p.m. at Towson University - ESPN3
These two ACC foes will meet for the second time this season. Back in February, the Orange topped Virginia 18-14, despite a neck-and-neck second half when they both netted seven goals. These two teams have improved vastly since then, as evident by Virginia’s sixth seed going into the NCAA Tournament. But will the Cavaliers’ late season surge be enough to down No. 2 Syracuse? Virginia is led by Liza Blue and Courtney Swan on offense with 55 and 53 goals, respectively. They also the two go-to girls on the draw – Swan has controlled 92 while Blue has 56. For Syracuse, the leaders are no other than Tewaaraton finalists Kayla Treanor and Alyssa Murray, who have tallied 107 and 97 points, respectively. However in the Orange’s last tournament game against Boston College, Treanor and Murray combined for only five points due to faceguards, which can be considered relatively low for them. Virginia will be looking to do the same.
Men's DI Semifinal: Maryland (13-3) vs. Notre Dame (11-5)
Saturday, 3:30 p.m. at M&T Bank Stadium - ESPN2
Maryland and Notre meet for the third time in just over a month; the first a 12-8 win by the Terps in South Bend, a 6-5 slugfest won by Notre Dame in the ACC semifinals six days later, in what was probably the Irish's most important game of the season with their then NCAA tournament at-large hopes in jeopardy. My, what can change in a couple weeks. The Irish are back in the national semifinals for the third time in five years, again looking for their first national championship in program history. Maryland, as a program, hasn't won one since 1975. As for the pace of this one? Notre Dame coach Kevin Corrigan said the Irish will play at whatever speed necessary, and they can go both ways. The Irish have averaged 15 goals per game in the last four since the ACC semifinal. Terps coach John Tillman was asked about pace this week and wasn't giving away anything, other than to say the Maryland coaching staff doesn't instruct its player to play so. "I don't think they would go over pretty well," Tillman said.
Women's DI Semifinal: Northwestern (14-6) vs. Maryland (21-1)
Friday, 7:30 p.m. at Towson University - ESPN3
As the only non-ACC team in the Final Four, Northwestern will be
preparing for a new style of play come Friday against the No. 1
Maryland Terps. The last time these two teams faced each other was
in the 2012 semifinals, which resulted in a 9-7 Northwestern win.
Prior to that, they played against each other in the NCAA title
game twice with Northwestern taking the crown in 2011 at Stony
Brook, while Maryland downed the Wildcats in 2010 at Towson. They
now return to Towson and Maryland will surely be looking to rebound
from last year's loss to North Carolina in the NCAA final. The
Terps are led by Tewaaraton finalists Taylor Cummings, who has
docked 59 goals, 23 assists, 116 draw controls, 35 ground balls and
30 caused turnovers, and Maryland's go-to one-on-one defender Megan
Douty, who has scooped up 33 ground balls and 19 caused turnovers.
For Northwestern, Alyssa Leonard leads the way with 51 points and
160 draw controls.
Men's DI Semifinal: Denver (16-2) vs. Duke (15-3)
Saturday, 4 p.m. at M&T Bank Stadium
Duke will play in its eighth straight final four and Denver in its third in the last four years in Saturday's first semifinal game, 1 p.m. ET at M&T Bank Stadium in Baltimore. It's a rematch of a Feb. 15 game in Durham, won by Duke 14-10 in the second game of the season. A little more is at stake now and it will be a different atmosphere — that game back in February was played on Duke's turf practice field, which has only a couple rows of small bleachers, after weather forced it off the Blue Devils' Koskinen Stadium grass. Duke coach John Danowski said this week he's expecting a pace that may not necessarily allow for the number of possessions the Blue Devils are used to. Denver aims to be efficient on offense, sometimes for long stretches of time. If Duke's Brendan Fowler can own the faceoff battle, that could alter the Pioneers' desired game flow. So could the ground ball game. Duke ranks third nationally in that category with 36 per game and Denver was 27th this year with 29.72.
Women's Division III Semifinal: Cortland (22-0) vs. Trinity (18-2)
Saturday, 1 p.m. at Gettysburg College
It almost seems like someone is playing a prank on Cortland. The Red Dragons had their best regular season ever, rolling unbeaten to the top seed in the NCAA tournament and their reward is ... a semifinal showdown with Trinity for the third consecutive season. Trinity has ended Cortland's season by two goals in each of the past two years. Salisbury, which will also be playing at Gettysburg, ended Cortland's season by two goals the year before that. If the Red Dragons are going to buck history and reach their first-ever NCAA championship game, they will need to break through of Trinity's backer zone, which has frustrated opponents all season and allowed just 6.95 goals per game. Incredibly, Cortland has been even better, holding opponents to 5.64 goals per game, fourth-lowest in Division III. Both teams have looked unbeatable lately. Trinity has won 14 in a row and just kept Gettysburg from playing the Final Four on its own field. Cortland hasn't lost all year and just ended the season of Trinity's NESCAC rival Colby, in the quarterfinals.
Men's Division III Final: Salisbury (21-1) vs. Tufts (20-2)
Sunday, 1 p.m. at M&T Bank Stadium - NCAA.com
The rubber-match has arrived. These two are meeting in the Division III National Championship Game for the third time in five years after having split the two earlier winner-take-all encounters, also at M&T Bank Stadium. Tufts won the 2010 title with a 9-6 victory, while Salisbury claimed the 2011 trophy with a 19-7 win. The Jumbos (20-2) advanced with an eye-opening 21-11 semifinal dismantling of No. 1 ranked RIT last Sunday. Senior midfielder Beau Wood led the offensive barrage, finishing with seven goals and one assist. Junior Cole Bailey added five goals and an assist. Tufts loves to get up and down the field and averages 18.7 goals per game and nearly 54 shots per game. Wood, Bailey and John Uppgren have all surpassed the 100-point mark this season. Meanwhile, this year's Sea Gulls (21-1) play against type by seeking to control the pace and limit possessions. Led by three first team All-American defenders – Zeke Smith, Preston Dabbs and Josh Martin - the Sea Gulls are limiting opponents to just 6.3 goals per game. Salisbury rebounded from an early three-goal deficit in last Sunday's semifinal against Washington to post a 13-8 win and earn the program's 15th appearance in the championship game.
Women's Division III Semifinal: Salisbury (21-1) vs. Amherst (18-2)
Saturday, 4 p.m. at Gettysburg College - NCAA.com
This weekend will be the final hurrah for Salisbury's freewheeling goalie Ashton Wheatley, who has lost just two games as a starter in her entire career. Looking to make sure that career ends on Saturday and not Sunday will be a dangerous Amherst team that is returning to the Final Four for the first time in a decade. Jeffs' coach Christine Paradis said that, while the tournament has more hype around in it that it did 10 years ago, on the field, the games remain the same. Amherst and Salisbury have not played each other since 2008, but Salisbury went 2-0 against the NESCAC this season. Amherst knocked off York, which finished second to SU in the CAC, by nine goals earlier in the NCAA tournament. Goals should be at a premium. Amherst (5.47 goals per game) has Division III's No. 1 defense and Salisbury (six goals per game) ranks fifth.
Men's Division II Final: LIU Post (11-5) vs. Limestone (18-1)
Sunday, 4 p.m. at M&T Bank Stadium - NCAA.com
Expectation vs. shocking surprise will be the question on Sunday afternoon, as the top seed from the South, a Limestone team that has just one loss on the season, takes on the unexpected run of the Pioneers, who were a near-miss for the tournament itself but defeated Le Moyne and Adelphi to make it all the way to the final, where they seek their first title since 2010, which was also in Baltimore. Limestone earned its spot in Sunday's finale with a win over Tampa, their second of the season over the upstart squad from Florida. It is their eighth NCAA finals appearance, and the Saints hope to win their first title since 2002.
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