April 9, 2010

Ten to Watch: No. 1 vs. No. 2... Times Three

by Lacrosse Magazine Online Staff

Each Friday, your crack laxperts here at Lacrosse Magazine Online will try to handicap the upcoming weekend for the top 10 college games across all divisions. Follow here at laxmagazine.com all season long.

Last Week 8-2 5-5 5-5 6-4 5-5 6-4
Overall 56-24 53-27
52-28 52-28 49-31 44-26

WD1: No. 1 Northwestern (9-0) at No. 6 Penn (9-2) - Friday 7 p.m.

The Quakers have shown some uncharacteristic sloppiness in recent games, including the rough 12-6 home loss to Maryland last Friday night, and the Wildcats pounce on mistakes and turn them into goals. Northwestern currently averages 17.22 goals per game, led by the one-two punch of seniors Katrina Dowd and Danielle Spencer, who have each put up 30 goals. Sophomore Shannon Smith isn’t far behind with 29 goals of her own and a team-leading 15 assists.

Ohanian: Northwestern
DaSilva: Northwestern
Krome: Northwestern
Coyne: Northwestern
Logue: Northwestern
Lochary: Northwestern

WD1: No. 12 James Madison (7-2, 0-0) at No. 8 Towson (7-2, 1-0) - Friday 7 p.m.

Northwestern-Penn is the unofficial “best” game of the week, but this CAA throwdown is the more important and potentially more interesting game. Both teams are 7-2, and all four losses were to quality teams. (Towson lost to Syracuse and Maryland; JMU lost to Maryland and Loyola.) This will be a squeaker, but the pre-game edge goes to the Tigers -- they’re playing at home and they defeated the Greyhounds back in March.

Ohanian: Towson
DaSilva: Towson
Krome: Towson
Coyne: James Madison
Logue: Towson
Lochary: Towson

WD1: No. 2 Maryland (12-0, 3-0) at No. 3 North Carolina (10-1, 2-1) - Saturday 11 a.m.

A rematch of last year's NCAA semifinal in which the Tar Heels defeated the Terps, 8-7. Maryland has won 33 of its last 34 games, including an impressive 12-6 win at Penn last weekend. The Heels have won four straight following an overtime loss at Virginia, with blowout victories over Old Dominion and Virginia Tech last week. A Terrapin win cements sole possession of first place in the ACC, while a UNC win likely forges a three-way tie for the top which also includes Virginia. Both teams feature great offensive depth, with eight players on each team having scored 12 goals or better.

Ohanian: Maryland
DaSilva: Maryland
Krome: Maryland
Coyne: Maryland
Logue: Maryland
Lochary: North Carolina

"The Heels have been getting great play out of freshman midfielder Kira Cannizzaro, who hasn’t cracked the starting lineup yet but has played every game, giving UNC 14 goals, 15 GB, 15 DC and 12 CT already. They’ll need an X-factor to defeat the red-hot Terps, but given the excellent shooting of the Carolina offense and the relative newness of Maryland keeper Mary Jordan, I think the Heels can get this upset. Hey, they did it last year didn’t they? (Sidebar: If Penn upsets Northwestern and UNC defeats Maryland…who gets to be No. 1? Also, what are the odds of recreating last year’s final four on the same day in different locations?)"


  MD1: No. 9 Loyola (6-2, 4-0) at No. 14 Fairfield (6-2, 3-0) - Saturday 1 p.m.

Loyola (4-0) and Fairfield (3-0) lead the ECAC and the winner takes a giant leap towards the league’s NCAA AQ, but there will be plenty of other interested parties watching this game. No. 13 Villanova and No. 16 Lafayette both own wins over Fairfield, and will be pulling for the Stags this weekend. No. 15 Johns Hopkins wants Loyola’s resume to look as strong as possible prior to their regular season ending clash on May 8. On the field, Loyola has used the age-old formula of goaltending and faceoffs. Jake Hagelin ranks third nationally with a 7.14 goals against average while John Schiavone (60.0%) leads a faceoff unit that ranks fourth nationally. Goals will be at a premium, as Fairfield senior goalie Joseph Marra is having a stellar season (62.3 save%, 7.33 GAA). In Fairfield’s current five game winning streak, Marra (who began his career at Loyola) has made 57 saves while allowing just 29 goals.

Ohanian: Loyola
DaSilva: Loyola
Krome: Loyola
Coyne: Loyola
Logue: Loyola
Lochary: Loyola

MD1: No. 18 Harvard (5-3, 1-1) at No. 12 Cornell (7-2, 2-1) - Saturday 3 p.m.

The Ivy League tournament might sound so good to everyone these days. What if you don’t even make it? Dartmouth’s upset of Cornell has opened the door to a world of wild possibilities this season and now Cornell and Harvard both find themselves desperately seeking a win. Cornell is 7-2 overall and 2-1 in the league, but closes the regular season with four top 20 opponents – Harvard, Syracuse, Brown and Princeton. There are no gimmes to be found. Harvard is 1-1 in the league but has just one home game remaining — Princeton — so it hardly has a picnic coming its way either. After seeing Dartmouth’s Fergus Campbell make 23 saves against them last weekend, Cornell’s shooters will be licking their chops to face Harvard’s unsettled goaltending situation. Christian Coates and Harry Krieger have combined for the eight starts in goal with just a 49.1 save percentage and a 10.63 goals against average. Cornell has won 11 straight in the series.

Ohanian: Cornell
DaSilva: Cornell
Krome: Cornell
Coyne: Cornell
Logue: Cornell
Lochary: Cornell

"Don't fret, Big Red nation. Cornell will be just fine. Its upset loss came at the hands of a hot goalie. You should be more encouraged that long pole Michael Howe is healthy. As expected, the offense has suffered greatly due to a rebuilding project at midfield. There's only so much Rob Pannell and Ryan Hurley can do. So look at Howe's return as a key cog in the Big Red's return to a style that generates wins from back to front."

MD1: No. 1 Virginia (10-0, 1-0) vs. No. 2 North Carolina (10-0, 2-0) - Saturday 4 p.m. (in East Rutherford, N.J., ESPNU)

Big city. Big stadium. Big game. Big crowd? No reason to think lacrosse fans in the Northeast won't respond, as this battle of the last two unbeatens highlights the first day of events at the new NFL stadium in the Meadowlands. Postseason aside, Carolina can complete its restoration with its first win over a No. 1 team since 1996 (ironically, Virginia) and first win over the Cavaliers in six years. They almost did all that in the 2009 Big City Classic at Giants Stadium across the parking lot, but losing senior goalie Grant Zimmerman hurt in an 11-10, come-from-ahead loss that left the Heels...wait for it...Bitter. The nation knows junior attackman Billy Bitter has followed up on his impressive sophomore campaign, but with senior middie Sean DeLaney not reflected on a "potential depth chart" issued by UNC, Carolina could use the balance it saw when eight players scored in last week's win over Hopkins. Early returns on Virginia had the midfield carrying this team while a young attack unit found itself. The front line is doing just fine, thank you, behind sophomores Chris Bocklet (team-high 30g) and Steele Stanwick (team-high 19a). Defenseman Ken Clausen ranks third nationally with 2.5 caused turnovers per game. In football they call it the Oldest Rivalry in the South. In lacrosse, it's plenty old, but the schools don't agree on the start date nor the all-time series record. After Saturday, everyone will agree on the No. 1 team.

Ohanian: Virginia
DaSilva: Virginia
Krome: Virginia
Coyne: Virginia
Logue: Virginia
Lochary: Virginia

MD1: No. 3 Syracuse (7-1) vs. No. 5 Princeton (7-1) - Saturday 6:30 p.m. (in East Rutherford, N.J., ESPNU)

The last of a five-game day at the new NFL stadium at the Meadowlands -- which begins with a high school game seemingly at sunrise -- pits the winners of 16 of the last 22 national championships. Six of those belong to Princeton under former coach Bill Tierney, and while it's a big stretch to think Tiger supporters would ever say, "Bill who?," their team hasn't missed a beat under new coach Chris Bates. This will be defenseman Chris Wiedmaier's third game back after knee surgery in the fall, and he's made a good defense great again. The Tigers have allowed just 6.5 gpg since his return, and goalie Tyler Fiorito's save percentage is .711 with him -- compared to just .455 in Princeton's first six games. Which Orange weapon can he neutralize? There's plenty to pick from. "New York's College Team," as it purports itself to be, includes three 20-point scorers in Chris Daniello (14g, 15a), Stephen Keogh (22g, 2a) and Cody Jamieson (12g, 8a). Last year, 15 saves from Fiorito helped Princeton to a 12-8 win in what was Syracuse's last loss in a championship season.

Ohanian: Syracuse
DaSilva: Princeton
Krome: Syracuse
Coyne: Syracuse
Logue: Syracuse
Lochary: Syracuse

MD1: Notre Dame (5-4, 0-2) at No. 11 Georgetown (6-3, 2-1) - Sunday 12 p.m.

Do you think the Irish are finished? Back-to-back Big East losses to Rutgers and Villanova have certainly pushed them to the edge (and out of the top 20). Ironic, isn't it, considering Notre Dame head coach Kevin Corrigan was one of the biggest proponents of the power conference adopting men's lacrosse? It's do-or-die time. “Notre Dame still has the capability of playing themselves back in,” Georgetown coach Dave Urick told LMO's Brian Delaney. “They can play themselves back in the picture. That wouldn’t surprise me at all.” Said Corrigan: “It always starts with little things. We’ve lost four games by six goals. It’s a play here and a play there. It’s a combination of plays not made and plays poorly made.” The Irish needs to finish better on offense, and playing the Hoyas' banged-up defense might just be the remedy.

Ohanian: Georgetown
DaSilva: Notre Dame
Krome: Georgetown
Coyne: Georgetown
Logue: Georgetown
Lochary: Georgetown

"Notre Dame is out of the rankings, but not out of the NCAA playoff picture. With Georgetown and Syracuse still on the schedule and wins over Duke and Loyola in its pocket, the Irish can make a strong case even with some troubling losses on the resume. But my pick, which appears worthless this year, is with the Hoyas. Georgetown’s offense (double figures in eight of nine games) has too much firepower."

"What better setting than our nation's capital for a game between teams have struggled with expectations? The Fighting Irish, sky early after early-season wins over Top-10 foes Duke and Loyola, are sinking faster than the President's popularity, right out of the Top 20 and into a must-win Big East game at the Hoyas. Georgetown, traditionally good enough in primaries only to fail miserably whenever the voting really counts, has won four of five -- which means it's probably time for another letdown. Perhaps not, however. A win Saturday puts the Hoyas in a strong second-place position in the league, keeping the pressure on Syracuse, and it would all saddle Notre Dame with an 0-3 conference mark."

MCLA: No. 1 Michigan (9-0) at No. 2 Colorado State (11-0) -- Sunday 12 p.m. (Mountain)

What makes Colorado State any different than the previous 49 consecutive opponents Michigan has defeated in the last three years? For starters, the Rams are one of the few teams in the MCLA that has a pedigree exceeding that of the Wolverines - CSU has the most championships (4) and title game appearances (7) in the association's history. In addition, the Rams have breezed through a schedule just as tough as Big Blue's. It also appears they may playing with a bit of a chip on their shoulder. "We don’t want to beat Michigan because of their streak," said State head coach Alex Smith. "Screw their streak. We want to beat them because they’re playing us."

Ohanian: Michigan
DaSilva: Michigan
Krome: Colorado State
Coyne: Michigan
Logue: Michigan
Lochary: Michigan

WDIA: No. 1 Santa Clara (11-1) at No. 2 Lindenwood (14-1) – Saturday 4 p.m. (Central)

Great scheduling by the host Lions to set up this Lindenwood Invitational showdown. Lindenwood has the hot hand, coming off a perfect run two weeks ago at the A-Town Throwdown, and then dropping BYU, 13-8, in its first game of the Invitational on Thursday. Santa Clara maintained its No. 1 ranking despite a double-overtime loss to UC Davis Club. For all the offense each of these WDIA powers boast, their defenses are nothing to sneeze at, either. Lindenwood has allowed just two opponents to reach double-digit goals this season; Santa Clara has allowed just three.

Ohanian: Santa Clara
DaSilva: Lindenwood
Krome: Santa Clara
Coyne: Lindenwood
Logue: Santa Clara
Lochary: Santa Clara

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