Keeping the Pulse, Podcast Highlights and Five Best Teams No One's Talking About
It's been a busy week here at Lacrosse Magazine, highlighted by another knowledge bomb-dropping appearance by yours truly on The Pulse Network. Check out the video clip to see why I'm sort of like Chuck Norris, why I'm still loving that UVA-'Cuse game, why Army and Ohio State have staying power and more. I love some me of me.
Also this week, Sheehan Stanwick Burch and I got Albany women's lacrosse coach John Battaglino on our weekly podcast. The Great Danes are 5-0 and ranked 19th nationally despite season-ending injuries to Mel Rorie and Tara Akstull leaving them perilously thin. "Right now, and I'm not kidding, I have three subs," Battaglino said. He added that he hopes Albany "can be a top-15 team perenially. That's the goal, not the peaks and valleys."
Which inspires me. Here are the five best teams no one's talking about.
1. Rutgers men: The Scarlet Knights are 4-0 and face a significant test this weekend against Penn State. Here's some telling statistical fodder: faceoff man Christopher Mattes leads the NCAA with a ridiculous .785 winning percentage (51-of-65). Rutgers is only allowing 3.5 goals per game. Starting goalie Joseph Donnelly, however, has just a .421 save percentage. Conclusion: possession is the greatest defense Mattes for Team MVP.
2. Albany women: Am I simply sweet on the Great Danes because Battaglino was a good interview? Perhaps. But wins over Penn State and Hofstra are nothing to sneeze at. Battaglino helped turn around the offense as an assistant -- "They mistook activity for productivity" before, he said -- and has kept the team momentum going forward as a head coach.
3. Dartmouth men: Everyone's talking HPY -- Harvard, Penn, Yale -- as challengers to Cornell and Princeton in the Ivy League. But don't sleep on Dartmouth (3-1). Remember goalie Fergus Campbell's epic performance in last year's upset of the Big Red? He's got 25 saves in the last two games.
4. Bucknell men: The Bison (3-1) are one late Penn rally away from being undefeated. The 10-8 win over Villanova was impressive, and the 10-man ride is the envy and bane of many Division I coaches' existence.
5. UMass women: That season-opening, 12-10, nail-biting win over holy Cross didn't inspire confidence. But a convincing run of four straight wins -- including triumphs of BU and New Hampshire -- has restored it. UMass (5-0) at Albany on March 19 should be an unexpectedly great game.