Holy Shnikes, what a weekend! Records were broken, streaks were ended and teams played their way both in and out of their national tournaments. We also have new number 1s in both NCAA D1 (although this one boggles me a bit, I’ll get to that later) and NCAA D3.
The new NCAA D1 Men’s #1, Virginia, won the ACC tournament downing Duke (after losing to them the previous week at home) in the Semis and then taking down Maryland (who had bested UNC convincingly in the other semi) in the Finals.
In the end, it doesn’t really matter because all 4 of these teams are going to the dance and they all have a legitimate shot at the National Title.
Virginia is the best of the group but they are beatable if you can limit their attack and shut down their midfield. The latter part is the much more difficult task but it can be done as Duke previously demonstrated.
Maryland did a good job of sliding poles inside out onto the Bratton brother’s wing dodges, but their close D lost the battle with the Virginia attack and Brian Carroll played much better than he did against Duke.
When Maryland went up big early, they were scoring in transition and were playing fast. As they slowed down a bit, it hurt them. Hopkins played a similar style almost all year and it is the reason they won’t make the NCAAs for the first time since before the beginning of the never-never time.
I don’t know when the streak started, Google it if you really care, but it’s a pretty long time and the Hop is lacrosse royalty so this is news.
Another streak that ended was the consecutive win over Navy streak, which ended at 36. Yeah, I was surprised Hop had beaten Navy 36 straight times too. For every season, turn, turn, turn… does that work here? We’ll make it work.
On the other side of the Royal lacrosse family tree sits Syracuse, and how they aren’t number 1 right now is what boggles me. They lost to Virginia earlier in the season by 1 in OT at Virginia. That is true. But they haven’t lost since and have looked really good and they’ve done so with the best D in the entire land.
Virginia lost to Duke and got straight up beat. At home. Even though they have a BUNCH of great wins (Maryland x2, Duke, UNC x2, etc), losing by a bunch at home is nothing like losing by 1 in OT on the road in a 1 v 2 matchup. Cuse should be number one. Pretty simple.
Cuse played Providence and started slow but really dominated. Cuse was up big at the end and Providence was basically content to just hold the ball at the edge of the box and then try little nothing dodges, pull it back out, repeat.
This phrase is overused but perfectly apt, so: WTF? Let the kids dodge! You’re going to lose this game, everyone knows it, so you guys might as well get something out of it. The slow down offense employed by Providence was probably the single most ridiculous thing I’ve seen all year in college lacrosse.
It’s time to throw the kid in the deep end of the pool and let him swim. For Heaven’s sake, he’s 15! Metaphor.
I thought Georgetown’s “best recruiting class ever” would be able to man up and win the games when they counted and sadly, I was wrong. They lost to a… blue collar, if you will… UMass Gorilla squad who it was plain to see just wanted it WAY more.
Andrew Brancaccio really hit his stride in this game and was shooting great but even that wasn’t enough for Gtown to win.
Fairfield lost to Denver but I have got to say, watch out for Fairfield! If they’re able to keep this coach for a while, that school could really improve its team quickly.
It’s right down by the water in CT, close to NYC and it’s a fun time. I used to head down there from Wesleyan once in a while and kick it with the lax bros and it was always a good experience.
On the field, Fairfield plays a very disciplined style of lacrosse at both ends of the field. They have talent and some young players that will see the trajectory of the program continue in the upwards direction.
Denver and Fairfield are both good but I don’t think they’re really that close to Loyola, who is my favorite from the ECAC. The two will play next weekend in what is a huge game as the winner of the ECAC gets to go to the NCAA tournament and gets to host the ECAC playoffs next year (the league first year with playoffs).
In D2 NCAA lax, both Mercyhurst and LeMoyne are undefeaed at 12-0 and they don’t play each other in the regular season. Who else will make D2’s mini tournament? I have no idea. D2 is a land so foreign to me, it’s like they’re speaking Russian with a Swedish accent. Nothing. If there’s anyone interested in covering D2 men’s lax, drop me a line at email@example.com
As I mentioned earlier, there is also a new number 1 in D3 college lacrosse and Stevenson took over that spot after beating Salisbury for the CAC Championship in somewhat of a sweet revenge win after losing to the Gulls in the regular season. Both of these teams were going to the dance but this is a huge win for Coach Cantabene (whom Swanklax just interviewed! Luck you!) and the entire Mustang program.
Cortland kept rolling but Conn College dropped a game to Colby College out of Maine. Colby usually dominates the face off square, as Craig Bunker is the best in the biz, but this one was pretty even at the X and Colby just flat out played better.
Maaaaaaaaannnnn, the NESCAC is so crazy! By the way, record-wise, Conn was literally awful last year. This is a huge turnaround and they’re still a very good team.
The D3 lacrosse landscape is such a complex quagmire of rules and criteria that only one man in the entire world understands it.
Thankfully, his name is actually D-III and he posts on laxpower.com. Without this man, many would be lost. Even with this man, some are still lost in the Geneseo area (I kid, GBK!) but check out his work.
It’s impressive in a nerdy, laxy kind of way. Respek.
For the MCLA tourney predictions and breakdown, 412 is my go to. Pitt might not be going to the dance, but my man is still trying to figure out who is.
That’s dedication, Holmes. I always wondered which “Holmes” that referred to… probably Oliver Wendell Holmes. That’s my bet.
About the Author: Connor is a life-long lacrosse player who doesn’t know when to give up on the game. He played and coached at Wesleyan University and now plays for the Southampton LC in NYC. Connor lives with his fiance in Brooklyn and thanks her for allowing him to keep the dream alive.
Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.