NCAA Lax – Weeks 1 & 2 Rundown
Last weekend was the first weekend of February, which means the return of college lacrosse. Last Friday the Division 1 schedule opened up with Utah’s first ever Division 1 game. Additionally, 22 other Division 1 teams made their 2019 debut last weekend along with 18 Division 2 teams and four Division 3 teams.
(You can discuss this on the BSL Board here.)
Here are some of my reactions to the first week:
Duke remains talented, but is 1-1. Despite the loss of Guterding, the Blue Devils showed no holding back in their 17-9 beatdown over Furman Saturday night. The game was close for about six minutes, and Duke ran away with it. Joe Robertson didn’t stop shooting until he was taken out, and breakout player goes to Senior Jake Seau with a 2 goal 2 assist performance. Yesterday however, they were upset in a lost to High Point 13-9. Duke is back in action Sunday against Jacksonville.
Maryland reloaded. In an 11-6 win over Bucknell, they showed off their youth with Wisnauskas and Bernhardt contributing for 6 goals. New goalie Danny Dolan had 11 saves and expect the Terps to continue to improve as the season goes along and they face tougher tests (like Ohio St and Penn St).
Look out for Ohio: Ohio State and Cleveland State played each other last Saturday in a game I thought would be tightly contested. Cleveland State kept it close and really showed how much they have grown in the past two years. Once a group of freshmen, they now can and will compete with the nations best. As Coach Sheridan keeps recruiting high caliber kids to Cleveland, look out for the Vikings in the future. Ohio State weathered the storm, led by Jack Jasinski and Tre Leclaire shooting well, but their goalie gobbling up 16 saves in a 12-9 win.
Grant Ament (Penn State) and Adam Charlambides (Rutgers) are back. A year ago from Saturday, Ament was in surgery, but this past weekend, he paced the Nittany Lions with 3 goals and 7—yes you read that right 7—assists. Villanova shot poorly in a 17-7 loss but do not knock Penn State goalie Colby Kneese for having 19 saves and 4 goals allowed. Adam Charlambides also led Rutgers to a win after coming off back to back seasons nursing knee injuries. He had 4g, 1a and the Scarlet Knights knocked off Lafayette 14-8.
Wagner and Boston University are on the rise, with good opening weekend wins. Wagner knocked off Bellarmine in OT thanks to solid goalie performance in a low scoring game. The same story is true with Boston U, as local product Joe McSorley had 24 saves to 7 goals alowed in an 8-7 victory.
The full Division 1 scoreboard can be found here.
The only ranked D2 game of the weekend was between #6 Tampa and #10 Belmont Abbey, won by the Crusaders by a score of 13-9. Senior Liam Osborne scored seven goals in the win. Limestone was in action and opened up with a 22-2 win over Tusculum.
The full Division 2 scoreboard can be found here.
In Division 3, two games were played, and Salisbury had a tougher time knocking off Berry than many expected. The game was close, but the Gulls came away with the win 9-7. This raised many questions about Salisbury’s season, but Curtis Gilbert is a great coach down at Berry and his team will always come ready to play.
The full Division 3 socreboard can be found here.
Week 2 Preview
Plenty more teams at each level begin their seasons this weekend, with the majority coming in Division 1. Now that the Super Bowl has passed, it is officially lacrosse season.
Syracuse opens against Colgate on Friday night in the dome. The Orange are looking to their experienced youth this season after a disappointing 8-7 campaign last season.
Two of the bigger games this weekend take place at the same time in Baltimore. Hopkins travels up Charles St to visit Towson in a game the Jays should win. The Tigers will be able to compete and are relying on younger kids to play a big part of their scoring this year, while Hopkins is more experienced after only losing a few big name seniors. In a top-10 matchup, Loyola hosts Virginia in a game that is usually played early in the season each year. The Hoos are bringing in a bunch of firepower offensively, and welcome back Ryan Conrad. The Hounds are debuting some throwback helmets and hope Virginia doesn’t have a trick up their sleeve to deal with Patrick Spencer.
The Umass-Army game is intriguing, as Umass sits at the bottom of the polls, at #18, while Army sits just outside and brings back keeper AJ Baretto and a lot of offense from last year. I expect it to be a closer game than many think, and could quite posibly hand us an upset.
Two teams trending upwards – Sacred Heart and Georgetown – face off in D.C. Georgetown was a tournament team last year and will bring in enough talent to beat Scared Heart, but will they make it an interesting game? We just have to sit, wait and watch.
Finally, the mile high battle between Denver and Air Force. I would like to think this is going to be a closer game than expected, but Denver is favorited by 4.5 goals to take down the Falcons.
The #3, #4, #9 and #20 Division 2 teams begin their 2019 campaign this weekend, as they will be playing in games Friday, Saturday and Sunday.
In Division 3, #12 Washington and Lee visits #8 York in one of the better preseason matchups you will see this year, while #20 Lynchburg visits #2 Salisbury. #15 Roanoke travels to Southern Virginia. Plenty of big games for big teams. Expect the big time players to make big time plays and lead their teams to Memorial Day weekend.
The College lacrosse season is back. Although I can just sit here and make preseason predictions based on recruiting, senior losses, transfers, coaching changes and scheme adjustments, I would much rather sit down and watch the pieces fall into place. Lacrosse season is back, catch yourself on a couch somewhere Saturday to enjoy the green grass, fresh white balls and the smell of spring in the air.