Saturday signaled the opening of the NCAA lacrosse season as lacrosse fans everywhere rejoiced. We’ve compiled some of the top moments and reactions from college lacrosse’s opening day.
College Lacrosse Opening Day 2020: Top Moments
New Division I Teams (Or Relatively New Teams) Kick-Off Seasons
Merrimack played its first-ever NCAA Division I lacrosse game after winning the Division II championship last year and making the leap to Division I. Drew Hailey scored the Warriors’ first goal in its Division I history against Holy Cross. Merrimack came within a goal at the end of the game, but Holy Cross prevailed 13-12. We hope to see Merrimack build on its success at the Division I level!
On what may be the last blue-sky day we see for a while, our men’s lacrosse season opener on Saturday drew 2,600 fans—the largest home crowd for a D1 lacrosse game west of the Mississippi. And the team got the win! Well done, Coach Brian Holman. @UtahLacrosse @utahathletics pic.twitter.com/8T2iY4vzO4
— Ruth V. Watkins (@RuthVWatkins) February 3, 2020
The University of Utah had its season-opener at home at Rice Eccles Stadium as it took on Bellarmine, winning 16-10. University of Utah President Ruth V. Watkins praised the Utah men’s lacrosse team on social media for the large crowd that the team’s season opener drew as seen in the tweet above.
The Utes also took on Bellarmine in their inaugural season in 2019, winning that game 10-9. The Utes have put together another great schedule as an independent, with teams like Virginia, Duke, Georgetown, Jacksonville and Lehigh adorning the schedule. Another great game to watch this year will be the Utes taking on Hampton University, as the two relatively-new Division I teams — Hampton became a Division I program in 2016 — will compete in what is a good display of the growth of the sport.
Hampton – NJIT
Speaking of Hampton, the Pirates played against another recent addition to the NCAA Division I ranks in NJIT on Saturday. The Highlanders walked away with the 24-7 victory, but the fact that there have been more teams being added at the NCAA Division I level over the last few years — both men’s and women’s — is fantastic.
Air Force Flies High Over Duke
Final score 14-13 Falcons Win!! pic.twitter.com/u5L1TJdFRc
— Air Force Lacrosse (@AF_Lax) February 1, 2020
The major upset over the weekend was Air Force taking down Duke, 14-13. Now, I realize that Duke tends to have a few of those games early in the year every season where they lose to an opponent that some would consider to not be as strong of a team, and then make a deep playoff run come May. But, Air Force was looking pretty good against the Blue Devils and was able to walk away with the win. The Falcons were led by a freshman and Utah-native Brandon Dodd, who scored eight points on four goals and four assists for the day. It’s really great to see more kids from non-traditional areas succeeding at the Division I level. While Dodd certainly has a long way to go in his career, seeing that kind of performance in your career opener against a quality opponent like Duke is certainly nothing to sneeze at.
Quinnipiac’s Will Abbott Gets Flashy
Will Abbott had a great game against No. 16 Rutgers on Saturday, scoring four points in the loss to the Scarlet Knights. The goal shown above was one of his best ones.
Goalies Controlling The Field
Chris Brandau made a solid stop and was able to connect with Bubba Fairman on a quick outlet in order to get the midfielder a take right down the middle of the field for the goal. Having a goalie who can get quick, accurate outlets out to field players can be a major weapon in transition.
Marquette’s Overtime Winner
A nice way to kick off the season yesterday in Cleveland on Chris Kirschner’s OT winner.
— Marquette Lacrosse (@MarquetteMLax) February 2, 2020
The video is a little choppy as it is a GIF, but you can see number 54, Chris Kirschner, sending a half-field shot into the back of the net for the overtime-winner against Cleveland State. Talk about an exciting finish.
What were your favorite moments from college lacrosse’s opening day in 2020? Share in the comments or let us know on social media by tagging us using @LaxAllStars.