2019 College Lacrosse: April Showers for the Top Teams
Penn State remains #1 in this week’s Top 20, but every other spot in the rankings has changed from last week, as plenty of conference battles got much more interesting due to a few upsets shaking up college lacrosse. Three newcomers enter the Inside Lacrosse rankings this week:
Boston University is coming off a major upset of Loyola this weekend, by a score of 18-11. This saw them climb to #16 in the rankings with only two regular season games left in Patriot League play. They get Holy Cross and Navy, two winnable games that should get them into the conference tourney with a chance to vie for the NCAA tourney.
(You can discuss this on the BSL Board here.)
Georgetown took down in conference for Villanova, moving them up to #18 and giving them a legitimate shot at making the conference tournament. They will need some help to get in, as they battle with Marquette (whom they already lost to) for that fourth spot in the Big East. They’ll need to beat St. John’s in their finale, as well as a couple teams to lose in order to make it in with two conference losses.
Delaware is sitting at #20, and they control their own destiny for the top spot in the CAA during the regular season. They are 3-0 in conference with two tough games remaining: vs Towson and at Umass. They will most likely need to either win out in the regular season, or win the CAA to make the NCAA tournament, but the ball is in their court.
With those that enter, there must be those that exit, three teams dropped out of the rankings as we move into Week 11 of the NCAA Lacrosse season.
Lehigh dropped from the rankings after a 1-1 week, losing to Robert Morris in an out of conference game mid-week. They still sit at 5-1 in the Patriot League and despite a couple of shockers should make the conference tournament. After showing some toughness without their top players, they have Bucknell and Holy Cross to finish the regular season. They lost to Loyola by 6 earlier this month, but I still see them pushing for the conference championship and an automatic bid.
Villanova fell from #16 after losing to Georgetown, and their biggest game will come next weekend against Providence. In order to get themselves in the conference tournament they need to win one of their last two. After beating Denver, last weekends loss was surely an upset, but Villanova should be able to bounce back in the last two weeks.
North Carolina has had an up and down season, and has lost their last two after beating Duke. This weekend’s game against Notre Dame will essentially write their season. Win and they get a chance to play in the ACC tournament, lose and they are done.
Additionally, we have two new members jumping into the Top 5 this week:
Duke, who makes the jump after their win over Virginia. Duke is finished ACC play and will have a spot in the ACC tournament, in which anything can happen. At #3, they will most likely play in the NCAA tournament, and look strong moving into it. One game remains in the regular season, this weekend at Marquette. Look for the Blue Devils to make a deep run in May.
Penn, who has won 7 straight after their three losses to Maryland, Duke and Penn State, moves to #5 in the rankings. Penn will surprisingly most likely hold the top seed in the Ivy tournament. They are led offensively by a Junior and a Freshman, with their core offensive seniors supporting as well. They can finish unblemished if they can take care of business against Dartmouth this weekend.
In the games this weekend, two teams also left the Top 5:
Loyola fell six spots in the rankings to #8 after their first Patriot league loss to Boston University this weekend. After his 11 point performance, Pat Spencer has only posted six points…ONLY six points in the Greyhounds last two games. Essentially it is up to Spencer to bring the Greyhounds back to the postseason. Despite possibly being shut off or heavily guarded, he will need to will the Hounds back in late April.
Virginia lost their first ACC game this weekend to Duke. They still finished 3-1 in the ACC and will be the top seed in next weekends conference tournament. They finish up the regular season with VMI and Marist in two tune-up games for the postseason. Virginia will have their hands full beginning next weekend, but has proven they can compete with anyone in the nation.
What to Watch April 19th – April 21st
With just two weekends left in the regular season, you will see teams contending for the conference tournament, as well as those lose their footing as the playoff push intensifies.
North Carolina at Notre Dame: April 20th, Noon
Possibly the biggest game this weekend, the final spot in the ACC Tournament comes to the winner of this game. North Carolina is essentially playing for their season, and a couple more games wouldn’t hurt Notre Dame’s chances to make a statement going into the NCAA tournament.
Prediction: North Carolina 11, Notre Dame 9.
Brown vs Cornell: April 20th, Noon
Cornell has only lost four games and they come at the hands of four Top 10 teams. Brown is battling for their postseason hopes and this upset would make their hopes much more alive. After losing to Penn and Yale, the Bears get a mid-week game against Providence out of the Big East before this one against Cornell. The young, 4-7 Bears still have a chance this season. I’ll take the upset in this one and give the nod to the Bears pushing for their season. Prediction: Brown 15, Cornell 14.
Delaware vs Towson: April 20th, Noon
Like I mentioned earlier, this CAA matchup will be a battle of two top teams. Both will likely play for the CAA championship, this game essentially determines seeding. Delaware is coming off a win, Towson is coming off a loss. Ill take the hometown Tigers to get back on track. Their offensive talent showed a lot earlier in the season, and Delaware will face their first big conference test this season. Prediction: Towson 13, Delaware 8.
Maryland at Ohio State: April 20th, 1PM
The loss at Rutgers stings for the Buckeyes now, as they will need to win their final two games to play in the Big Ten tournament. This is a big one in the Horseshoe, but Maryland’s two headed monster in Bernhardt and Wisnauskas brings both a scoring and feeding threat. Ohio State’s offense is very one sided—as they look mostly for production off the dodge. Facing a tough defense in Maryland, they will attempt to control the pace of the game and win their one-on-one matchups. Prediction: Maryland 15, Ohio State 11.
Providence at Denver: April 20th, 2PM
The battle of two top teams in the Big East will have the Friars fly out to Denver. The Pioneers were exposed by Michael Sowers earlier this month but I don’t think Providence has anything close to Sowers level. Denver’s Canadian based offensive style has you could say “underperformed” thus far, but the season is far from over. Denver usually shows up later in the season, and they should be able to fight for one of the last spots in the NCAA tournament, and it starts this weekend.
Prediction: Denver 13, Providence 9.
Loyola at Army: April 20th, 2:30PM
Most write ups about Loyola essentially deal with Pat Spencer, but the question this time is what will Army bring to stop him. You could lock him off, or slide early, but Spencer will eventually get the ball into his stick. I see this game being closer than some expect, but Loyola should find a way to show everyone they belong in the Final Four talks. Spencer has seen Baretto (Army’s goalie who played for St. Pauls in high school) before. This game will be a grind. Prediction: Loyola 14, Army 13.
Penn State vs Hopkins: April 21st, Noon
Hopkins is 2-1 in the Big Ten, but their last two games come against Penn State and Maryland. Joey Epstien is the real deal offensively, but the Jays need their supporting cast and talented, experienced defense to step up against Penn State’s 1-2 punch of Grant Ament and Mac O’Keefe. I see the Blue Jays season coming down to “The Game” against Maryland. Penn State just poses too much in their dominant season thus far. Penn State 17, Hopkins 11.
Sam Kuhn currently is the graduate assistant for the men's lacrosse program at Heidelberg University in Tiffin, Ohio and is working to complete his Masters of Business Administration in 2020. Sam graduated from the College of Wooster in 2018, where he received his Bachelors Degree in English and played lacrosse as well. In his four years, Sam was a two time All-NCAC selection, a first team All-Region selection in 2018, and surpassed 100 goals for his career, one of seven members in program history to do so. Sam has interned with Inside Lacrosse, and wrote for the sports section of The Wooster Voice. Sam is looking to pursue a job in sports journalism or a related field upon graduation in 2020. Sam hails from Towson, MD where he grew up and has three younger brothers, two of which play lacrosse currently in college.