It’s the weekend in March so the lacrosse action is coming at us full throttle. There are huge games in all the divisions and although there have been some pretty significant games already, this may be the biggest collection of solid action at all levels so far. And it only gets better from here!
Editor’s note: Check out who the rest of the Lax All Stars crew picked in some of the big contests in this week’s Crystal Ball Challenge.
Hofstra takes on Hopkins in what I am referring to as the battle of talent. Both teams rely on their players to make plays and really don’t run anything all that complicated on offense in my opinion. Hofstra does this to a slightly lesser extent, but the Pride still don’t run the O like Princeton or Syracuse. Those teams rely on stars too but they function in a more fluid system rather than a stricter structure of sets that capitalize on match ups like Hopkins and Hofstra have been doing. Hopkins has the slight edge in talent and size and will take this one if it comes down to that. I’d like to see Hopkins do more than just dodge the shorties, they definitely have the horses.
Loyola and Duke will be another good match up and I’m really not sure about this one. Duke has been good but not great and Loyola has shown some improvement. My gut says Duke will pull it out but this one could go either way. Cooper MacDonnell will need to play focused and with a chip on his shoulder because when he does, he can be a goal machine. I expect Crotty to get back to running the show again and for Duke’s shooters to take advantage of Loyola’s aggressive D. The difference could easily come down to goalkeeping.
‘Cuse should beat Georgetown in this Big East game but the Hoyas will put up a fight. Gtown has a solid group of poles and they will really need those guys to step up if they want to hold the Cuse O in check. This problem will be compounded with the loss of Barney Ehrmann on D for the Hoyas.
Umass takes on Harvard in the battle for Massachusetts, public-private rivalry game. Actually this isn’t a rivalry game but it should be. Harvard has been a little up and down this year at 2-1 and UMass has shown some moments of brilliance going 3-1. This match up between top 20 teams could start to really show us which of the cusp teams are going to make a push in May.
Ohio State takes on Albany and you gotta pick the Buckeyes in this one. Albany can not be trusted.
On Sunday, in D3 action, Gettysburg takes on Haverford and while the Black Squirrels of Haverford came in to the season rated highly, they have struggled a bit and haven’t lived up to expectations. Knocking off Gburg, who looks REALLY good early on, would be a big step towards righting the ship. I don’t think they’ll do it but I don’t expect a blow out by any means. Gburg has been putting up good numbers against good teams but Haverford can put up goals when they’re firing on all cylinders and this is has recently been a pretty spirited contest.
Back to Saturday… In other D3 action, Salisbury takes on Ohio Wesleyan in a bit of a trap game for the Gulls. SU just beat Cortland up on Long Island and OWU looks pretty good but they’re not exactly blowing people out of the water this year. If Salisbury doesn’t bring its A-game, OWU will and it could go either way. That being said, SU Coach Jim Berkman will have these guys ready. Why? Because that’s just what he does. The guy can coach and the players down on the Eastern Shore have a love affair with lacrosse. If you haven’t experienced Salisbury lacrosse, you should. You might not end up liking it (a lot of people don’t, many are just haters) but you have to admit that it’s, at the very least, somehow very impressive. It is it’s own culture and that’s pretty cool. SU rolls.
Stevens Tech and Lynchburg are also tangling and this is another one of those games that will help separate the pretenders from the real deal teams. I think Stevens is definitely going to prevail in this game as Lynchburg still seems to reeling from some pretty big losses to graduation 1 and 2 years back. Dave Decker is a really solid keeper for Stevens and has won them games in the past. I don’t think he’ll have to do that here as the Ducks should pull it out by at least a couple.
The NESCAC also opens this weekend and in my not so humble opinion, the Wesleyan - Bowdoin match up is the best one. Bowdoin won 4-3 last year but I like the Cardinals to pull it out this year. Bowdoin is missing it’s best middie because he’s still playing hockey for the Polar Bears and he could be gone for a while because Bowdoin has the potential to go far on the ice this season. Wesleyan has looked solid and even though these early season NESCAC games are usually pretty tight, I like Westech convincingly.
While we’re talking about D3 lacrosse, I need to mention Geneseo. They didn’t make the tourney last year because of a really weak strength of schedule and this season they really tried to beef up their OOC games. And now it’s paying off, well, sort of. They played Ithaca and won 17-7, which is good but the problem is that Ithaca is really not that good this year. They’re 0-3 with losses to Genny, Union and Scranton. You say Union is good? They might be, and losing is one thing, but losing 11-2 is unacceptable for the Bombers. Poor Geneseo, they go and schedule Ithaca to beef up their SOS and now Ithaca is in the dumps.
In MCLA action, everyone’s number 1, Michigan, plays Simon Fraser. Last year I would have been pretty excited but this year I’m expecting a straight up massacre. The Wolverines will roll so harder than 412 at a Tiesto show. It won’t even be funny. Seriously, stop laughing. Murderation.
Editor’s note: Connor was right as usual and Big Blue rolled. Michigan 22- SFU 10
Ok, maybe UM isn’t bullet proof. Arizona State took them to the wire and lost 11-10 at home. This weekend they take on the CSU Rams, also at home and if they can almost beat Michigan, they can beat CSU. However, if the Sun Devils forget they have to keep working and playing at the highest level, CSU will come in there and take them down a peg or two. Basically, this is going to be a great game and ASU and CSU both have sweet uniforms. Looking good, MCLA. Awesome. I like ASU to win this one. I think the year off is still fresh and the chance for wins will be always be taken seriously.
Chapman takes on Texas 2 days later on Monday, and 8-0 Chapman won’t miss a beat in racking up win 9. That’s all I have to say about that. Unless the Chappy boys party too hard this weekend. They seem like responsible young men though.
Florida State vs Cal-Poly goes down today in California. I like Cal-Poly but FSU has probably acclimatized to Cali by now. They’ve been out there for a while. Cal-Poly needs to win this won so they can stop being the team that almost wins big games. FSU is looking pretty good though…
You might hear from me in the next week and you might not. I’ll try to keep in touch as I travel to Orlando for the weekend and then on to Puerto Rico for the rest of the week. Who am I kidding? Even in Paradise I won’t be able to stay away from LAS.
I may need counseling.
About the Author: Connor is a pretty average lacrosse player at this point who doesn’t know when to give up on the game. He played and coached in the NESCAC and still 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.