March Madness (Lacrosse Edition)
With each team getting multiple games under their belt, there are just two short months left in the 2019 college lacrosse season. Some of the matchups this weekend look like they could be possible late May matchups. This is the lacrosse that college basketball fans love to see. On any given day, it is anyone’s game. On any given day, the number 1 team, even a top-20 team could go down to the hands of an underdog. Yes, lacrosse fans have seen this for years, upsets have occurred in the past, but not in the way upsets have occurred so far throughout 2019. Like I mentioned last week, just a handful of teams remain undefeated, and that number could dwindle even more this weekend as there are a hefty number of top-5 matchups.
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Last week, the Towson Tigers beat then #1 Loyola at Johnny Unitas Stadium, and rose to the ranks of #1. They will be tested this weekend in Charlotte with games against Jacksonville and Cornell. Just like many college lacrosse analysts have said, although there have been a few #1 teams, no team has emerged as the “best team in the nation”. Yale, Maryland, Loyola, Duke, Cornell, and even Towson have questions being asked about them. They have their strengths and weaknesses. Despite the losses, and question marks that loom over each team’s heads, they will get their chances at redemption. Seasons are not won or lost in February or March, but some teams have set themselves up much better than others at that late season run. Without further ado, here are some of the games to watch this weekend:
Loyola @ Duke
At Koskinen Stadium in Durham, Duke knocked off the Greyhounds in a game that was controlled by the Blue Devils. Duke’s defense controlled the game, only allowing Loyola to get off 22 shots. Nakeie Montgomery had four goals and brought back his offensive prowess showed in the NCAA tournament last year. Loyola didn’t have an answer to the early Duke runs, as they pulled away early and didn’t look back. This will drop Loyola again, and Duke will continue rising as they have won five straignt after losing to High Point about a month ago.
Cornell vs. Penn State
Charlotte is hosting four games this weekend and this proves to be the one of the better ones this weekend, maybe one of the best matchups this year. Both offenses are stacked and we will get to watch Jeff Teat and Grant Ament the entire game. Expect this one to be offensively powered, with lots of goals and defenses that need to adjust to a couple of the best scorers in the college game.
Ohio State @ Hofstra
1-of-3 remaining unbeatens take on a Hofstra team who is on a three-game skid. The Pride are looking to bounce back from a loss to Georgetown with a win over this Ohio State team on the rise. Ohio State still hasn’t been tested with a real quality team early, but they take on Denver next week. But I think this game will be closer than many think and Ohio State will host Denver next week at 6-0.
Princeton @ Rutgers
This is a battle of two on-the-fringe teams that are fighting for a spot in the top-20. Princeton’s Michael Sowers and Rutgers’ Adam Charlambides lead these two-loss teams into a fight that will come down to the wire.
Maryland @ Albany
Tehoka Nanticoke went through a week in which he was suspended and reinstated in a day, and not many really know what happened through that. Albany is not in a good place right now, as they sit at 1-3 and are coming off losses to Cornell (by 2) and Umass (by 6). In 4 games, Tehoka and the Albany offense have not gotten themselves going, and this weekend might prove to be another tough task. Although last week I mentioned the thought of Maryland at 10-0 after March, they lost to Notre Dame in a barnburner. Their offense is humming, and defense has been very solid, averaging 9.3 GA a game. This wont be the week the Great Danes get the offense back in check.
Hopkins @ Syracuse
Two blue-bloods will battle it out in the Carrier Dome for basically only bragging rights and a better spot in the poll. Syracuse lost in the dome to UVA last weekend in OT. Hopkins beat Princeton by two in Jersey. Hopkins is led by a young offense who has been more successful lately, but hasn’t found their true identity. How will they fare against the veteran Syracuse defense of Fusco and Bomberry? I find this being one of the better games of the weekend, and despite the hype that will go into it, I think Hopkins might pull away late in the dome to give the Orange their second straight loss there.
Denver @ Notre Dame
The battle of the west pits Denver at Notre Dame and gives us another matchup of two top-10 teams. Notre Dame is coming off a big win over Maryland and many will wonder if this game will be played indoors again—which might give the initial upper hand to the Irish. Without Ryder Garnsey, midfielders have had to step up for the Irish, as they find their goals coming from a lot of dodges from up top. I would not be surprised to see this turn into a chess match, and Bill Tierney putting some of his stud close-defensemen up top against the Irish’s midfielders. Either way I see the Pios coming out of South Bend with a win in a dogfight.
Towson vs. Cornell
#1 vs. #2. We saw the Towson defense shut down Patrick Spencer, but how will they fare against Jeff Teat? What will we see out of Tyler Canto and Koby Smith? This game is full of questions and unpredictability, and hopefully the outcome and game lives up to what is expected. It is rare that the top-two teams faceoff together, but I think this one will come down to the wire. Towson might make it more of a defensive battle, in which case they will come away victorious again because Cornell has proven to be slower on the defensive side, giving up lots of goals in wins over Colgate and Albany. 1pm on Sunday cant come fast enough.
This will be another exciting weekend in college lacrosse, and many top-10 teams will go down, shaking up the rankings once again in this young season. The #1 team will be tested twice. College lacrosse has been nothing but unpredictable and exciting just over a month into the season.
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.