Men's Weekend Watch: Spotlight on the ATL
1. Big-Time Doubleheader in Georgia
The spotlight is on Atlanta this weekend where the Cobb County Classic Series continues with four games total, including a morning/early afternoon doubleheader of Georgetown-Notre Dame and Denver-Duke at Fifth Third Bank Stadium at Kennesaw State University.
That means the nation's top three teams are in action on the same field back-to-back starting at 11:30 a.m. What else could you want, besides four? Georgetown is no slouch, though. The Hoyas are a program headed in the direction of the Top 10, ranked 11th in the Nike/LM rankings as it opens its season against preseason No. 1 Notre Dame.
Meanwhile, No. 2 Denver and No. 3 Duke are coming off too-close-for-comfort wins over Air Force and Lehigh, respectively, by one and two goals. The Pioneers count five freshman in their top 13 players, as Gary Lambrecht wrote on Wednesday, so maybe the fact that they came back to beat the Falcons after seeing a big lead evaporate is a sign of good things to come rather than concern. For Duke, they opened with two games in three days against High Point and the Mountain Hawks.
The games will be streamed at LB3live.com. To complete a quadrupleheader at the home field of the MLL's Atlanta Blaze, the Kennesaw State women play Davidson at 5 p.m. and Hobart men face Siena at 7 p.m. The forecast high temperature is 67 degrees on Saturday with cloudy skies. Call it warmlanta.
2. The Charles Street Rivalry
Baltimore's Charles Street rivalry might be taking place earlier in the season than fans bargained for, but it's better now than never, right? Both programs already have a game behind them, and both have won. The Blue Jays beat Navy in double-overtime 10 days ago and Loyola took care of Virginia 11-4 on Saturday.
There could be a lot of offense in this one, with Loyola's experienced midfield leading the way for the Greyhounds and Ryan Brown and (some new) company appearing to pick up where they left off last year. Brown had six goals in his 2016 debut against a Navy defense that isn't too shabby.
In the big picture, Johns Hopkins owns the series 47-5, but Loyola has made it a true rivalry as of late, winning in 2013 and 2014 before the teams didn't play last year due to scheduling conflicts related to conference realignment.
3. The Ivies Get Started
The Ivy League really is the smartest around. Sure, there are competition disadvantages to not being able to start practice until Feb. 1 — and the league's seven men's teams each get going this weekend — but at least they are not out in the cold as much as some other teams in the Mid-Atlantic and Northeast.
Three Ivy games to watch: Villanova is at No. 20 Harvard; Michigan, feeling good after beating Colgate, is on the road at Penn; and Penn State makes the trip to No. 14 Cornell.
For Nittany Lions coach Jeff Tambroni, it's the first time coaching against the team he used to lead. Tambroni left Cornell for Happy Valley in 2011. There is also the unfortunate parallel of the Penn State dealing with tragedy in the form of the June death of goalie Connor Darcey, 12 years after Cornell did the same under Tambroni's watch when George Boiardi died after being hit in the chest with shot during a game.
Sophomore Will Schreiner is the Penn State starting goalie and has made 14 saves through two games, both wins by the Nittany Lions. They beat Robert Morris 20-7 and scored nine fourth-quarter goals to beat Hobart 17-12.
For Cornell, last year's starting goalie and former Ivy League rookie of the year Christian Knight remains sidelined with an ankle injury. Brennan Donville is expected to start.
4. Other Games of Intrigue
High Point is 0-2, with losses to Duke and Boston University, but could the Panthers spring an upset Saturday on the road against No. 4 Maryland?
Watch the faceoff battle. The Terps are looking to find their faceoff answer after the graduation of Charlie Raffa. High Point, meanwhile, is breaking in talented freshman, Alex Woodall, who is at 53 percent through two games, sharing time with incumbent starter Jamie Piluso. Maryland was supposed to open with Navy last Saturday but the sides agreed to postpone the game due to the weather.
Did you know that Ohio State has never beaten UMass in program history? They've only played three times, but still. The No. 13 Buckeyes will be the Minutemen's first opponent on refurbished Garber Field. The old AstroTurf surface has been replaced with a state-of-the-art FieldTurf system that is also used by the NFL's Baltimore Ravens and the Loyola Greyhounds.
Virginia-Drexel always seems to be a wild early-season game. The Cavs, coming off an 11-4 loss at home to Loyola, could use a win or the naysayers will start to beat the drum about their chances this year. For its opener, Hofstra travels to No. 7 North Carolina by way of an early Friday morning flight from New York's JFK airport.
Where to Watch on TV/Streams
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