February 24, 2012

Ten to Watch: Duke Bandwagon is Still Full

by LaxMagazine.com Staff

Figure this one out: Most of us were on the wrong end of Notre Dame's win over Duke last Saturday, except Coyne, our Division II, III and MCLA man. But his pick on the BYU-Chapman MCLA matchup ended up a loser when the Cougars won in double overtime. Nevertheless, he leads the group. The Editor and The Rookie are also shooting 80 percent through Week 1. The rest of the pack has to work its way back up the leaderboard. Novak (Lane) Djokovic leads the celebrity pickers thus far.

In the event of ties, we're listed in alphabetical order. Boy, that's a lot of heads. All times Eastern.

Follow the weekend's action here at laxmagazine.com.

Last Week   8-2  8-2  8-2 7-3 7-3 7-3  7-3 6-4 6-4 6-4  5-5 4-6
Overall 
 8-2
 8-2
 8-2
7-3

7-3

7-3
7-3

6-4
6-4
6-4

5-5

4-6
M:MD@GT MD GT MD MD MD
MD MD MD MD MD

GT

MD

M:PEN@DUKE

DUKE

DUKE

DUKE

DUKE

DUKE

DUKE

DUKE

DUKE

DUKE

DUKE

PEN

DUKE

W:ALB@UNC

UNC 

UNC 

UNC 

UNC

UNC 

UNC 

UNC

UNC

UNC 

UNC 

UNC 

UNC

M:ROA@SAL

SAL 

SAL 

SAL 

SAL 

SAL

SAL 

SAL 

SAL 

SAL 

SAL 

SAL 

SAL

M:BUC@NOVA

BUC 

NOVA 

NOVA

NOVA 

NOVA

NOVA 

NOVA 

NOVA 

NOVA 

NOVA 

NOVA 

NOVA

M:HOF@PRN

HOF 

PRN 

PRN 

PRN 

PRN 

PRN 

PRN 

PRN 

PRN 

PRN 

PRN 

PRN

M:MASS@OSU

OSU 

MASS 

OSU 

MASS 

MASS 

OSU 

MASS 

MASS

OSU 

MASS 

OSU 

OSU

W:MD@DUKE

MD 

MD 

MD 

MD 

MD 

MD 

MD 

MD 

MD 

MD 

MD 

DUKE

W:SYR@UVA

SYR 

UVA 

UVA 

SYR

SYR 

SYR 

SYR 

SYR 

SYR 

SYR 

UVA 

UVA

M:ARMY@SYR

SYR 

SYR 

SYR 

SYR 

SYR 

SYR 

SYR 

SYR 

SYR 

SYR 

SYR 

SYR


MD1: No. 7 Maryland (1-0) at Georgetown (0-0), 7 p.m. Friday

A Friday night, local rivalry game away from home, for a Maryland team that only pulled away in the second half against Hartford to win in Week 1? Can Georgetown spring the upset? If nothing else, this game might present the last time the Hoyas and Terps will face each other for a while. Maryland athletic director Kevin Anderson has told his coaches they cannot schedule games against Georgetown until a stalemate over men's basketball is resolved. Anderson has grown frustrated over not being able to figure out a home-and-home series on the hardwood the Hoyas. On the lacrosse field, can Georgetown attackman Travis Comeau (30 goals, five assist) and the Hoyas make something happen against the Terps? It would be a big season-opening win for a program that hasn't been to the NCAA tournament in four seasons.

MD1: No. 16 Penn (0-0) at No. 10 Duke (1-1), 7 p.m. Friday

Last year, Duke opened with a blowout win over a lesser opponent (20-6 over Siena), suffered a setback to perennial thorn in side Notre Dame and received a wakeup call from Penn, which defeated the Blue Devils 7-3 in a grinder at Franklin Field. The Blue Devils' 2012 season seems to be trending the same way — starting with a blowout win of a lesser opponent (16-8 over Rutgers) and yet another regular season loss to the Irish. Will the Quakers catch Duke asleep at the wheel again? Everyone in Durham was on high alert when star attackman Jordan Wolf left last week's 7-3 loss at Notre Dame with a hip injury in the second half. But Wolf returned to practice this week and should be available Friday, which is good news considering Penn boasts All-American caliber long poles in senior long-stick middie Will Koshansky and sophomore defenseman Maxx Meyer. That's not to mention sophomore goalie Brian Feeney, who stoned Duke in his first career start in 2011.

Duke’s fast-paced offense falters when it meets a grinding, slow-down opponent. (Exhibit A: The Blue Devils’ 7-3 loss to Notre Dame last week. Exhibit B: The 9-8 loss to Maryland in the 2011 NCAA semifinal. Exhibit C: The 7-3 loss to Penn in the Quakers’ 2011 home opener.) Brace yourself for more grumbling about shot clocks, everyone.


WD1: No. 16 Albany (1-0) at No. 3 North Carolina (3-0), 5 p.m. Friday

North Carolina has routed two unranked opponents (Richmond and Liberty) and eeked out an 11-9 win against a formidable Florida team. It will be an uphill battle for Albany to steal a win in Chapel Hill. The Great Danes (1-0) will need big days from top goal scorer Ariana Parker (six goals, .857 shooting percentage) and draw control leader Rachel Burek (7 DC) if they expect to be competitive versus the Tar Heels. Abbey Friend leads Carolina in both goals (10 goals) and shooting (.714).

MD3: No. 2 Roanoke (1-0) at No. 1 Salisbury (2-0), Noon Saturday

The clash between the Maroons and the Sea Gulls once again raises the subject of what constitutes a "rivalry" and what is simply a game that is played frequently. This clash almost always features a pair of ranked teams, but 'Noke hasn't won since this year's junior class was born ('92) -- a string of 14 games. The results have run the gamut. There's the 13-12 overtime game in the '06 national semifinals and the 10-7 regular season battle last year. Alas, there's also the 30-8 Gulls victory in '95 and the 28-4 final in '07. This game will always be a highlight of the season if it makes its way onto the schedule, but we'll have to wait and see if the Maroons can make it interesting.

Salisbury's Tyler Granelli went 14-for-26 on faceoffs in the Gulls win over Lynchburg, but he wasn't terribly happy about it. Just about all of his losses were due to procedure calls, which had the junior visibly frustrated during, and after, the game. Salisbury head coach Jim Berkman took Granelli aside at the conclusion of the contest, put his hands on his shoulders and gave him some sage advice: "You have to adapt to the officials, because they're not going to adapt to you." Expect Granelli to heed those words, allowing him to exploit Roanoke's inexperienced faceoff corps and the Gulls to win comfortably.


MD1: No. 14 Hofstra (1-0) at No. 17 Princeton (0-0), 1 p.m. Saturday

The best goalie in the country. Talent, experience and depth on defense. The emotion surrounding the untimely death of the head coach's wife. All signs point to a big bounce-back season for Princeton, which lost 16 players due to injuries at different times last year en route to a 4-8 finish. That slide started with an 11-9 loss to Hofstra in which Jack McBride (now with North Carolina) aggravated a groin injury. It's a testament to All-American goalie Tyler Fiorito and All-American defenseman Chad Wiedmaier that the Tigers kept most of their games close. For the Pride, this is a much different team in the midst of a big rebuilding project on offense. Only one player (midfielder Drew Coholan) who scored in last year's win over Princeton is back in 2012. Hofstra survived a scare from Sacred Heart to win its season opener 11-9. Top midfielders Steve Serling and Ian Braddish went scoreless, but sophomore attackman Lance Yapor was a pleasant surprise with four goals in his first career start. The Pride remains strong up the middle with honorable mention All-American goalie Andrew Gvozden and faceoff man John Antoniades.

My head says to take Hofstra, but after reading Jerry Price’s moving story about Princeton coach Chris Bates’ son, Nick, I can’t bring myself to pick against the Tigers.


MD1: No. 8 UMass (2-0) at No. 11 Ohio State (3-0), 1 p.m. Saturday

On paper, this looks like the best men's Division I matchup of the weekend, as both unbeaten teams are coming off impressive victories and have a chance to crack the top-five with a dominating performance. UMass rode Will Manny and Kyle Smith to an 11-9 victory over Bucknell, while Ohio State upended Denver at the Moe's Southwest Grill Classic in Jacksonville by rattling off four unanswered goals in the second half and playing stingy defense. With 10 goals each in the early going, both Manny and the Buckeyes' Logan Schuss are darkhorse Tewaaraton Award candidates. A pertinent question: How will these teams handle the added pressure of being in the spotlight?

By May, UMass will be one of the those teams that people say they don't want to face in the postseason. I'm not sure I would want to face them now, with Will Manny and a supporting cast that stepped up last week against Bucknell. Ohio State defender Matt Kawamoto is a player to watch could help slow the Minutemen's charge. But UMass will go to the Horseshoe and edge the Buckeyes in what is the most intriguing matchup of the weekend.


MD1: Bucknell (0-2) at No. 9 Villanova (1-0), 1 p.m. Saturday

In the presesaon, this matchup looked liked it would be one of the best of teams considered just outside that elite level. It still could be, but the defending Patriot League champion Bison have started off 0-2, albeit losing to top 20 teams UMass and Delaware. Villanova, meanwhile, has a special offense led by Kevin Cunningham (five goals, two assists last week against Lehigh). The unit returns 12 players from a season ago to the unit. Chemistry? Yes. Bucknell can't afford to drop to 0-3, and it's the home opener for 'Nova.

WD1: No. 2 Maryland (3-0) at No. 5 Duke (3-2), 1 p.m. Saturday

Maryland leads this series 14-8, and has won the last six games straight, including a victory over Duke in last year’s NCAA semifinal. The host Blue Devils dropped early games to Vanderbilt and Northwestern as they’d struggled to re-create their offense after injuries to midfielders Kat Thomas and Bridget Nolan. Duke’s bench is deep and the team may well get its act together and make an NCAA tournament run by May. But in February, against a 3-0 Terp team that is averaging 18.67 points on offense and allowing only 6.00 points on defense, the Blue Devils might need a miracle to beat Maryland for the first time since 2008.

I am one of the few people who totally liked Maryland’s infamous football uniforms this fall, but I’m undecided on the new women’s lacrosse jerseys. I really like the flag shafts they’re playing with, and could maybe get on board with the fading colors on the numbers. But the black and grey shell pattern on the shoulders? Meh. If you’re going to get creative with a uniform, go big or go home – I’d rather see the flag pattern the football team used.


WD1: No. 12 Syracuse (1-0) at No. 10 Virginia (2-0) , Noon Sunday

Syracuse and Virginia have seemed to do their own Jekyll and Hyde impersonations in recent years – big wins followed by baffling losses. But amidst that chaos has been a consistent pattern – Virginia owns Syracuse. Virginia has won seven straight in this series and hasn’t lost to the Orange since 2004. Four of Virginia’s wins during the stretch have come by at least five goals, including last year’s 21-11 drubbing in the Carrier Dome. Virginia, playing with heavy hearts as the George Huguely trial unfolded around them, has opened with wins over Loyola and Richmond. Syracuse, looking to put a disappointing 10-8 season behind itself, opened with an impressive 23-12 win over Boston College. This game is huge for the Orange with Northwestern, Florida and Maryland looming next on the schedule.

I'm lucky enough to have seen both of these teams play already this season — Syracuse at Champion Challenge against Team England and Virginia in Charlottesville against Loyola — and I came away impressed in both instances. Sophomore attacker Alyssa Murray's ridiculous eight-goal outburst against Boston College on Tuesday wasn't much of a surprise, after watching her register a hat trick against the English national team. A Gary Gait- and Katrina Dowd-coached offense is prolific? Color me shocked. The Cavaliers were equally as stout last weekend, racking up 14 goals against an experienced Loyola defense. A healthy Liza Blue, a position/role change for Ainsley Baker and an influx of first-years like Courtney Swan give Virginia a host of weapons beyond last year's unit. So what to expect on Sunday? Well, a high-scoring game. Beyond that, I'll give the Cavaliers a slight edge for two reasons: 1) Virginia topped Syracuse 21-11 last year; 2) The game is being played in Charlottesville.


MD1: Army (2-1) at No. 6 Syracuse (1-0), 2 p.m. Sunday

With so many new faces, especially on defense, expectations for Syracuse at the start 2012 weren't quite as sky-high as recent memory, but a 12-7 victory over Albany last weekend was a good sign for the Orange. Syracuse will have to avoid getting caught looking at the upcoming schedule — it faces top-ranked Virginia in Charlottesville next weekend — because Army is capable of pulling the upset. The Black Knights have won back-to-back games after tripping up against UMass in their season-opener. Though Sunday's game is in-state, it'll be Army's first test outside of West Point this season — which necessitates a four-hour bus ride. Syracuse junior JoJo Marasco tallied a hat trick against the Great Danes, headlining an eight-goal effort by the Orange midfield. Storyline to follow: Who starts in goal for Syracuse, and/or who plays a majority of the minutes in cage?


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