2020 College Lax: After Week 2
Week 2 Makes Big Changes Throughout the Top 20.
The third weekend in February provided a few key upsets throughout college lacrosse which made a huge impact on how the Top 20 shaped out this past Monday when the rankings were released. As many teams are still attempting to find their identity, many others are thriving on the fact that these early season games have a huge impact on how a team will compete the remainder of the season. Overall, all wins in February are helpful for long-term impact for two reasons.
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For the teams who lose early, a win allows them to bounce back and mitigate the impact of a negative performance. For those who earn key upsets, they show the nation they arent to be messed with, and it should propel them through many more games throughout the season. Every game is important, but getting key victories early in the season does a lot for the morale of players and coaches throughout the country.
Before I highlight the Top 20 teams here is a quick look at other notable games across Maryland.
Mount St. Mary’s scored a huge early win over a Towson squad who has dropped to 0-2 thus far. The Mount shot very effectively on the day, putting 11 out of 15 shots on cage in the back of the net. Jon Mazza (back for his senior year) had three goals and an assist for the Tigers, while Haggerty, Gouin and McCarthy paved the way for Mount with 10 combined goals.
Navy whalloped Furman 19-3 and spread the love offensively with 14 different Midshipmen scoring a goal and 18 players netting a point on the day. They moved to 2-0 on Saturday, but dropped a three goal game to Richmond Tuessday. They have a big one coming up against a Maryland team that was upset by Villanova Tuesday.
Top 20 (according to Inside Lacrosse and the Maverik/Nike Rankings)
1) Penn State took down St. Joe’s 19-4 on Saturday as Mac O’Keefe and Grant Ament continue to put up plenty of points (20 and 25 respectively). Top 3 matchup against Yale this coming weekend should be a fun one.
2) Virginia used a deep offensive performance to slow down the red-hot Lehigh, winning 12-8. They will have to limit Michael Sowers performance (scored 14 points Tuesday night) on Saturday when they host Princeton.
3) Yale opened their season with an 18-12 win over Villanova as they saw Matt Brandau (Boys’ Latin) lead the way offensively with 3 goals and 3 assists. Penn State up next Saturday. Penn State vs Yale will be one of the best games yet of the young college season. Both offenses like to shoot and score, a lot. Yale knocked off the Nittany Lions in the tournament last season and you know Penn State is licking their chops here. The All-American matchup of Chris Fake vs Grant Ament will be one to watch for Saturday.
4) Maryland pulled a massive comeback, coming from eight goals behind to beat a top-10 ranked team in Penn over the weekend. Chris Brandau (Boys’ Latin) made 19 saves in the win. The Terps fell, however, in a mid week one-goal battle at Villanova. They will look to rebound and need to do so with their offense against Navy on Saturday. The Terps should feel lucky they are not sitting right now at 1-3.
5) Syracuse beat Binghampton handily and moved to 2-0 on the young season. Young talent offensively and senior leadership on the defensive side lead the Orange, who look to make a deep run into May. They host Army this Sunday in a game that will be the Orange’s toughest test this year. Despite their loss Tuesday, Army is a talented offense who can catch defenses napping with their productivity. Army brings a little flare that many rarely see in their 2020 team.
6) Notre Dame rose one spot this week after beating Cleveland State 17-7. Bryan Costabile (Mt. St. Joes) had four goals and younger brother of Matt Kavanagh (Pat) had seven points in the win.
7) North Carolina also rose one spot and moved to 3-0. They drubbed Lafayette 24-8 and will face their first real test this weekend when they travel to Homewood Field. Boston U transfer Chris Gray and Nicky Solomon lead the way for the Tar Heels but defensively they may have to be the first to try to stop Joey Epstien’s sophomore campaign this weekend.
8) Penn dropped two spots this week after their heartbreaking loss to #4 Maryland. Not the best way they wanted to end their opener as they need a better performance in the cage. They will face another test in Duke this weekend. Penn will have their hands full, but they possess the weapons offensively and transition (BJ Farrare, McDonogh) to create goals very fast.
9) Army rose five spots and cracked the top-10 for the first time in a long time. In a game that I thought would be an offensive battle, they beat Rutgers 15-4. As the hottest team thus far this season, they also took a setback on Tuesday as they fell to last year’s MAAC Champion Marist 17-9. They open up the Sunday slate this week when they play Syracuse in the Carrier Dome.
10) Duke rose in the rankings after beating Denver. Young guns Caputo and Williams combined for 10 points as the Blue Devils went up early and never really looked back. This is a quality win for a team who lost to Air Force at home two weeks ago. They get Penn this week in another top-10 matchup.
11) Cornell ran all over an Albany team that is looking to bounce back after a disappointing 2019 season. They put up 19 goals in their opener and Jeff Teat only had four assists. They spread the wealth offensively which would be a great theme to see for Cornell as opposing defenses have been able to focus in on Jeff Teat and Clarke Petterson in the past couple years. This Friday they travel to Towson to take on the Tigers in a trap game for Cornell and a must win for Towson.
12) Loyola’s young team took a huge step after a loss to move them up four spots. Their win over Hopkins proved they can stop a high caliber offense and put the ball in the net enough to win. And they have bragging rights over Charles Street for at least the time being. Their upcoming game against Rutgers will be a test against a team who can score very quick and make you pay on the offensive end.
13) Denver dropped four spots after their loss to Duke. They made it a game late but falling down 8-2 early is a tough spot to be in. Jack Hannah will be a great midfielder for the Pios, his ability to score is unlike many in Division 1. They will look to bounce back with two wins this weekend against St. Bonaventure and Cleveland State.
14) Georgetown is 2-0 after beating UMBC by six goals on Saturday. Led by Robert Clark (McDonogh), they return to DC to host Fairfield and Mount St. Marys in the next week.
15) Hopkins lost a big one in the Battle of Charles Street against Loyola last weekend which dropped them four spots in the rankings. They couldn’t get their feet under them offensively, scoring just seven goals in a low-scoring affair. They await a big bounce back game against UNC this Saturday at Homewood.
16) Air Force rose two spots after beating a much improved second year Utah team in the mountains on Saturday.
17) Richmond avenged their double OT loss to Maryland as they took down Marist Friday night by two as Ryan Dunn (Loyola) added three goals in the win. They beat Navy in mid week action to move to 2-1 before traveling to South Bend to match up in a big one with the Irish. They will need to slow down Kavanagh and Costabile in order to keep the score close.
18) Lehigh lost at Virginia and will surely get back on track this week against VMI and NJIT.
19) Ohio State dropped 9 spots after coming out very strong in their first two games against Detroit and Boston. They lost to Umass 9-7 in a game many thought they would win. Grant and Connor Mitchell (Calvert Hall) are posing themselves as offensive threats for the Buckeyes after three games.
20) Delaware entered the top-20 after this weekends 13-1 win over NJIT but will soon drop out as they were upset Tuesday at St. Josephs. Led defensively by debatably the best goalie in the nation Matt DeLuca, they need him to play well and make saves to compete against the best.
Local Schedule Ahead:
Towson vs Cornell, Friday, 4pm
Loyola vs Rutgers, Saturday, 12pm
Mount St Marys vs UMBC, Saturday, 12pm
Maryland vs Navy, Saturday, 12pm
Hopkins vs North Carolina, Saturday, 1pm
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.