April 21, 2014

McAnaney: Plenty of Lacrosse Left to be Played

by Eamon McAnaney | LaxMagazine.com | Twitter | McAnaney Archive

Neither Notre Dame nor No. 3 Denver can think its place in the NCAA tournament is secure at this point. (Dirk Dewachter)

With less than 2 weeks to go before selection Sunday we are running out of opportunities to say "there is plenty of lacrosse left to be played" but guess what? There is plenty of lacrosse left to be played.

I think the only teams that are locks now for the postseason are the five ACC teams besides Notre Dame, and Loyola. The immediate question is "How is Denver ranked third in your poll and not a lock?" Take a long look at the Pioneers resume. Then consider a scenario with Notre Dame losing its next two and falling to 6-7 while Denver gets upset in the Big East tournament. That's not a stone cold lock resume.

All you need to know about how cloudy the playoff picture still remains is that while stuck in Chicago traffic trying to get O'Hare my colleague Paul Carcaterra cooked up a string of events that could help Penn State get in as an at-large. Yes either there is a ton of lacrosse left to be played or we need to pay more attention to traffic patterns in the windy city.

Results that Shaped the Rankings

Harvard 9 Princeton 8: The Crimson built a 7-1 second quarter lead only to see the Tigers rally to make it 9-8 with more than five and a half minutes to play, but somehow Harvard was able to hold Princeton scoreless the rest of the way for the victory. "They were bringing it - no doubt - but our defense was equal to the task" said Harvard head coach Chris Wojcik. "I just felt we were so urgent on D and in the right spots all day. We forced them to take shots they didn't want to take. Defensively, we are underrated."

The win gives the Crimson their first perfect season at home since 1990 and it's also the first time Harvard has defeated Cornell and Princeton in the same year since, you guessed it, 1990. "Cornell and Princeton have dominated this league for 25 years so it's a big milestone", said Wojcik. "We have been building towards this overall so to beat them both in the same year is huge for us."

The Crimson now needs a win over Yale to host the Ivy League tournament while the Tigers are eliminated and it's hard to believe that Tommy Schreiber will wrap one of the best careers a midfielder has had at Princeton and in the Ivy without one NCAA Tournament victory on his resume.

Maryland 12 Notre Dame 8: Yes, the matchups were already set for the ACC tournament but it's significant for the Terps to win the regular season title in their last year in the conference. John Tillman's team grew up before his eyes by scoring four unanswered goals to close it out after the Irish rallied to tie it at eight. If you think Maryland might exhale and let up Friday in the rematch, keep in mind that this team is well aware it was picked to finish in last place in the ACC in the pre-season.

The Irish have been in the top 10 all season long but now their once secure grasp on a postseason bid is weakening rapidly.

Hofstra 11 UMass 6: The Minutemen were hoping that a Senior night crowd under the Garber lights against an arch-rival would provide enough emotion to snap a two-game slide, but Greg Cannella's scouting report about the balance of the Hofstra offense was spot on as Mike Malave scored five goals and Sam Llinares had five points to lead the Pride to win number six in a row. The victory secures home field in the CAA tourney for Hosftra but also keeps Coach Seth Tierney's second line in the water for an at-large bid.

UMass now needs a win against Delaware to qualify for the CAA tourney and - oh by the way - set up a rematch with Hofstra.

Eamon McAnaney's Top 20

  • 1 Loyola
  • 2 Duke
  • 3 Denver
  • 4 Maryland
  • 5 Syracuse
  • 6 North Carolina
  • 7 Johns Hopkins
  • 8 Virginia
  • 9 Penn
  • 10 Notre Dame
  • 11 Hofstra
  • 12 Yale
  • 13 Cornell
  • 14 Fairfield
  • 15 Drexel
  • 16 Bryant
  • 17 Harvard
  • 18 Army
  • 19 Princeton
  • 20 UMass

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