April 30, 2010

Ten to Watch: Keep Your Enemies Closer

by Lacrosse Magazine Online Staff

Each Friday, your crack laxperts here at Lacrosse Magazine Online 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 5-5 7-3 5-5 7-3 4-6 4-6
Overall 75-35 74-36
70-40 67-43 64-46 61-39

WD1: No. 4 Virginia (13-4) at No. 2 Northwestern (13-1) – Friday 7 p.m. CDT

Perhaps lost in Katrina Dowd's aura is just how disciplined she is in shot selection. Northwestern's star player shoots at a 59.3-percent clip. Syllogism would suggest that since Virginia beat North Carolina and North Carolina beat Northwestern, the Cavaliers have a shot here. But boy, did the Wildcats rebound from their UNC loss. They throttled a very good Vanderbilt team 29-7. We get it, Kelly Amonte Hiller. You don't take losing well. Good thing it only happens once in a blue moon, if that often. Virginia goalie Lauren Benner (.465 save percentage) will need to play the game of her life to buoy the Cavaliers in this top-five matchup in Evanston.

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

MD2: No. 5 C.W. Post (12-1, 7-1) at No. 2 Mercyhurst (12-0, 8-0) – Saturday 1 p.m.

Mercyhurst has a chance to capture its first East Coast Conference title since 2007 with a victory over the defending national champions. The Lakers are riding a school-record 12-game winning streak and feature the ECC’s top scoring offense (16.25 gpg) and its stingiest defense (4.43 gaa). CWP has rebounded with two straight wins since suffering its only loss of the year against Dowling in early April.  Senior Joe Meo (31g) and sophomore Eddie Plompen (28g) pace the Post offense, while senior All-American Mike Cama provides an edge on faceoffs with a .730 winning percentage.

Ohanian: Mercyhurst
Coyne: Mercyhurst
Krome: C.W. Post
Logue: Mercyhurst
DaSilva: C.W. Post
Lochary: Mercyhurst

WD1: Boston University (9-7, 5-0) at Albany (12-2, 5-0) – Saturday 4 p.m.

Albany’s women in the 10-2-W? Clearly, some introductions are needed. The Great Danes (12-2 overall) of the State University of New York at Albany (UAlbany is the common moniker, though we’re not sure why the “U” is needed) are in the midst of their best season ever, having snapped the program record for wins — set in 1998 as a Division II squad -- Saturday with a 13-12 comeback over New Hampshire. The Great Danes’ 5-0 mark in the America East is by far their best since joining the league in 2002. UAlbany (see, it’s old already) is getting it done with stellar all-around play from middie Nikki Branchini, who ranks among the national leaders in draw controls per game (5.0, fourth), ground balls (3.3, eighth) and caused turnovers (2.1, 10th). Taylor Frink (30g, 19a) leads the AE in scoring, and goalie Ashley Ross ranks fifth nationally in save percentage (.525). The Great Danes have had moderate success under fifth-year coach Lindsey Hart (bronze medalist with Team Canada in the 2009 World Cup), but this week marks the first time they’ve garnered consideration in the coaches’ and media polls. Storming into this dog-eat-dog world are the Terriers, winners of four of their last five and likewise 5-0 in the league. Senior attacker McKinely Curro may be saving her best for last, having set a career high with six goals last week in a 19-8 win over Vermont. Her 207 points rank sixth all-time at BU. The winner of this tussle claims the AE regular-season crown and right to host the postseason tournament next weekend.

Ohanian: Albany
Coyne: BU
Krome: BU
Logue: BU
DaSilva: Albany
Lochary: BU

WD2: No. 2 C.W. Post (14-1) at No. 1 Adelphi (14-0) – Saturday 4 p.m.

Adelphi has not missed a beat this year as it looks to defend its national championship. The high-powered Panthers have steamrolled through their first 14 opponents, scoring 20 or more goals in all but one game. Featuring seven players with at least 25 points on the season, Adelphi carries a 32-game winning streak into Saturday’s game. C.W. Post has rebounded well since its double-overtime loss at Lock Haven two weeks ago, with four straight wins by a combined 91-21 margin. The Pioneers feature the same type of high-octane offense (over 19 goals per game) that could challenge Adelphi, but they’ll have to play a near-perfect game.

Ohanian: Adelphi
Coyne: Adelphi
Krome: Adelphi
Logue: Adelphi
DaSilva: Adelphi
Lohary: Adelphi

MD1: No. 10 Cornell (8-4, 3-2) at No. 7 Princeton (9-3, 4-1) – Saturday 5 p.m.

As Brian Delaney detailed today, Princeton is the only guaranteed team in the inaugural Ivy League tournament. Depending on outcomes of this and the other two Ivy League games on Saturday (Dartmouth at Brown, Harvard at Yale), the scenarios include everything up to a four-way tie for the regular season title. It's not often these two powerhouses meet while licking wounds, but Brown's upet of Cornell and Harvard's upset of Princeton has ensured a wild finish to the season. Look for a Chad Wiedmaier-Rob Pannell matchup to steal the stage.

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

MD1: No. 11 Towson (6-6, 4-0) at No. 15 Hofstra (8-4, 1-3) – Saturday 7 p.m.

Is it possible for a team to not qualify for its own conference tournament, yet qualify for the NCAA tournament? Hofstra might be in such a position. Despite its high national ranking, the Pride has had a devil of a time in the CAA, which Towson has surprisingly dominated to date. The Tigers reverted to bad habits in their loss Wednesday at Johns Hopkins, rushing ill-advised shots and squandering man-up opportunities. They can't afford to play as much defense against sharp-shooting Hofstra. Limiting Jay Card's and Jamie Lincoln's scoring chances is paramount.

Ohanian: Hofstra
Coyne: Towson
Krome: Hofstra
Logue: Hofstra
DaSilva: Hofstra
Lochary: Towson

MD1: No. 6 Loyola (9-2, 6-0) at No. 16 Denver (10-4, 6-0) – Sunday 1 p.m. MDT

Anyone else find it ironic that Bill Tierney's venture west has his Denver team in position to claim the Eastern College Athletic Conference championship? Semantics aside, both teams are buzzsaws coming into this highly-anticipated showdown at Invesco Field.  Loyola and Denver sports six- and seven-game winning streaks, respectively. Both have shown resolve down the stretch. The Greyhounds have one of the most disciplined defenses in the country, with a goalie in Jake Hagelin who can also jumpstart quick strikes on offense with crisp outlet passes. What role will the altitude play? Denver might want to get up and down the field, while Loyola might want to pace itself. A loss would put the Pioneers squarely on the bubble (Loyola would appear to be in one way or another) for the NCAA tournament -- and probably on the wrong side of it. Denver controls its own destiny.

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

WD1: Ivy League Championship Game – Sunday 12:30 p.m.

Penn's seniors have not lost an Ivy League game in their entire careers. Led by Ivy League Player of the Year Ali DeLuca, the Quakers (12-3, 7-0) are the top seed, hosting Princeton (6-9, 4-3) on Friday. They meet the winner of Dartmouth (10-3, 5-2) and Cornell (5-8, 4-3) in the championship game Sunday. Penn, Dartmouth and Cornell all boast excellent defenses. Goals will be in short supply at Franklin Field.

Ohanian: Penn
Coyne: Penn
Krome: Penn
Logue: Penn
DaSilva: Penn
Lochary: Penn

MD1: Patriot League Championship Game (in West Point, N.Y.) – Sunday 3 p.m.

What an intriguing race. Start at the top with Army (8-5, 6-0), which was picked to finish fourth in the Patriot League in preseason, but finds itself hosting the conference tournament as its regular season champion. Its opponent, Bucknell (8-5, 3-3), looked like a national contender early, but stumbled in close games. All five of the Bison's losses have been by one goal, including three in overtime. They finally finished on the winning side of a one-goal game when it mattered most, beating Colgate 8-7 to get into the tournament as the fourth seed. In between them are an old standby, Navy (6-7, 4-2), which is riding high off its skid-busting win over Johns Hopkins, and the early-season Cinderella story in Lafayette (8-5, 3-3). This is what postseason lacrosse is about.

Ohanian: Navy
Coyne: Bucknell
Krome: Lafayette
Logue: Navy
DaSilva: Bucknell
Lochary: Lafayette

WD1: MPSF Championship Game – Sunday 1 p.m. MDT

Top-seeded and host Denver (12-4, 6-0) is peaking at the right time, winner of five straight. The Pioneers boast the MPSF’s leading scorer in Ali Flury (45g) and feeder in Lexi Sanders (38a). They’ll face fifth-seeded UC Davis (11-5, 3-3), a 13-11 upset winner over Oregon in the quarterfinals. Keyed by an opening-day upset of Cal, the Aggies got off to a 6-1 start. They’ve fallen back to the pack somewhat, and weren’t competitive in a 17-7 loss at Denver in the regular season. Christina Corsa’s career-high seven points (5g, 2a) keyed the win over the Ducks. The other semi pits second-seeded Stanford (12-5, 5-1) and two-time league player of the year Lauren Schmidt against rival Cal (8-9, 3-3). The Bears’ Vail Horn tied a school record with seven goals to spur a 20-11 rout of St. Mary’s in the quarters. They’ll need a similar effort to topple the Cardinal, which won the regular-seaon matchup 12-7 and owns a 20-7 series lead in the rivalry. Stanford’s Claire Hubbard is the reigning league player of the week and the school’s all-time assist leader. Sunday’s championship winner hosts the Atlantic-10 champion in a May 8 play-in game for the NCAA tournament.

Ohanian: Denver
Coyne: Stanford
Krome: Denver
Logue: Stanford
DaSilva: Denver
Lochary: Denver

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