I guess you can tell from the headline that post-season lacrosse gets me excited… REALLY, REALLY EXCITED. The best of the best are all playing each other [with the exceptions of Loyola, NYIT, Mercyhurst, Ithaca, Geneseo, Michigan State and Florida who make up the "last teams out" list] and we are making our way towards the biggest games of the year that will take place in Foxborough, MA and Denver, CO.
I’m going to make a game call on every single game this weekend and now that it counts the most, feel free to disagree… I will return to defend my picks in the comments section once the gauntlet has been thrown down. No one defeats the Black Knight! I’m invincible! [Bonus points if you know what movie I'm referencing]
Saturday is a HUGE day in Division 1 NCAA action. A tough Brown team lead by their goalie, Jordan Burke, heads to traditional power Hopkins for a first round matchup. Brown beat Cornell this year so we know they aren’t an easy win with their balanced offense but Hopkins will win this game as they have attackmen that can go on big runs, athletic middies [especially Kimmel] and a very good D. Gvozden can be great when he’s on point but if he’s not playing well, the Hop could be in trouble. UMBC takes on UNC and although Wimer and Co at UMBC have some really great flourishes on O, I don’t think the UMBC D can run with Bitter, Hunt and Petraca of UNC. I like the boys from Chapel Hill to advance.
Hofstra travels to Cornell and although Hofstra is scrappy, Cornell will win this one. Cornell has a balanced offense and two great do it all middies in Seibald and Glynn. Cornell plays physical and will hustle with Hofstra giving up nothing easy. Navy heads to Duke and if there is a game with upset potential, this is it! Duke has a great O but Navy has a great Defense. They play hard, disciplined and physical and I don’t know if Duke has the patience to weather that type of D. I like Duke in a closer game than some predict. I see Navy going up by a couple due to Duke’s weak goaltending and Duke tearing back franticly at the end for the W.
On Sunday a whole new slate of D1 games presents itself for commentary. Maryland heads to Notre Dame to test the unbeaten Irish. I like Maryland in this game even though I am not a huge believer in the Terps in general. When they take out Yeatman or Catalino and go with more speed, they are a far more dangerous team. With their jumbo set they are too predictable. Notre Dame has played a weak schedule this year and will be exposed as long as the Terps keepers perform well. Umass won’t be able to crack the Princeton D enough to keep this one close. Princeton will win by at least 5 goals as Umass will get solid production from Connolly but is thin after that. If Umass’ keeper has a huge day, the Minutemen could compete but Schneider will need to be ON 100%. Siena will get SMOKED by Cuse. Nuff said on that one. Villanova won an AQ bid to the surprise of many but their tournament run will be short as the face off with powerhouse Virginia. The Wahoos have struggled in their last few games so a route of ‘Nova should help them regain their form.
The NCAA Division 2 playoffs only have 4 teams competing [all of whom I correctly called last week] but their playoffs don’t begin until the following week on May 16th.
In Division 3 action there are some great matchups as well. The first round was played mid week and all of the games turned out as expected. The best game of the week was Washington and Lee barely getting by FDU-Florham in OT. W&L now plays Gburg and if they play like they did against FDU, they are going to get worked. W&L lost 5 of their top 6 middies at some point during the season to injuries and although many are back, Yanni Peary and Tommy Kahoe and the rest of the Bullet D will stifle W&L. Bullets win more easily than predicted. Cabrini travels to Stevenson and although some said this was Cabrini’s year, I would heartily disagree. Coach Cantebene will have Stevenson ready and they will roll Cabrini by 6 or more goals.
Denison travels to Roanoke and I’m going with the Big Red out of Denison. This would be a HUGE upset but I don’t that much faith in Noke. They played a weak schedule and lost to W&L when it counted. Denison has a LOT to prove with so many doubters and that will be all the motivation they need to pull out the W. E. Connecticut State travels to my alma mater, Wesleyan, for a first round matchup. ECSU hasn’t won a game against a top 20 team all year and I don’t expect them to start now. Wesleyan’s entire campus is going through some crazy emotions right now as a junior female was shot and killed on campus on Wed. Even with the distractions and permeating sadness, I think Wesleyan will pull out the W but I would expect the game to be quieter and closer than expected. Salisbury travels to Haverford and I’m going with Haverford. This would be the earliest an SU team had ever been bounced from the NCAA tourney and it is a huge risk as a lot of people like SU to win it all but I think Haverford is dangerous and the Gulls may be looking past them.
Springfield travels to Cortland and even though SC destroyed Mt. Ida in their play in game, Cortland will still dominate the Springfield Pride. St. Lawrence beat up on Naz on Wednesday but the story will be different when they head up to Vermont to take on Middlebury. Midd will win this game in a high scoring match. Look for Mike Stone to put up at least 4 goals from Midd’s first midfield line. W. New England College will face of with Tufts in Medford, MA, home of the Tufts Jumbos. Tufts and WNEC played in the regular season and Tufts won BIG. I see Tufts winning again but WNEC will keep it more respectable this time.
On May 12th the big MCLA tourney begins and there will be someUNREAL games out in Denver. BC against UM-Duluth should be a great game. I like Duluth to pull out the Was BC has a history of struggling in the tourney and struggled greatly with Northeastern in the PCLL tourney. Travel may take its toll on BC. CSU and Chapman will do battle and I like Chapman. They need to focus on running their offense and not resorting to one man efforts like they did in the 2nd half against Michigan this year. Their O got predictable and that is why they lost [well, that and Michigan themselves had something to do with it!]. FSU takes on Cal-Poly and while Cal-Poly has a good record with only 3 losses, I like FSU to win here in a really close game. Oregon-BYU should be a really good game if the OU-SFU game was any indicator. The Ducks need to prove they belong and BYU has some suspect losses this year. The field is evening out but I still see the Cougars winning this one by at least 2-3 goals.
I like Sonoma over Lindenwood in a night game. Lindenwood has a better record but Sonoma played a tough schedule and beat a top 10 team. I think Sonoma will be better prepped for the high level of play. Michigan will dominate Texas. I would compare this to Cuse-Siena. UCSB and Colorado showcase a lot of local Cali and Colorado talent but I like UCSB. Colorado has been a little inconsistent for my tastes so I’m going with UCSB. Simon Fraser takes on a good but not great VTech squad. I like SFU to take it to the Hokies with their slick Candian sticks.
Should be a great weekend and beginning to next week. Lots of great games all over the country so if your team is out try to make every effort to check out some of the games still going on! If your team is participating then best of luck! May the best team win!
Spring and summer leagues and tourneys all filling up as well so let us know where you’ll be playing this summer to keep the lax jones going!