On Sunday,18 teams were awarded an opportunity to chase their dream of winning the NCAA 2022 College Lacrosse National Championship.
This year will look different, with six Ivy League teams earning a ⅓ of the available bids.
The second biggest story coming out of the selection show was Duke and Notre Dame being left at home this weekend in favor of Ohio State and Harvard.
The ACC is used to getting the royal treatment. In the last six years, the ACC has averaged 4.2 bids in the NCAA tournament and has won three championships.
This year the ACC just wasn’t as dominant as usual in college lacrosse. They had the third-best nonconference record (26-14, 65%), behind the B1G (34-16, 68%), and far behind the Ivy League (35-10, 77.8%).
Looking at the last six teams bubble teams, it came down to significant wins and significant losses. Looking at the table below from Chris Jastrzembski, the ACC was lacking in the wins department.
Saturday starts a new season. Each game is earned, not given. Four games to make college lacrosse history. Let the games begin!
First Round Numbers
What do the numbers look like in the first-round games in the last five years? Here are the five most fascinating numbers as we head into the weekend. Some of the numbers may even make ACC fans smile.
- 4.67: Average margin of victory in first-round games. We’ve had plenty of one-goal games. The biggest margin of victory? 15 goals. Penn State beat UMBC 25-10 in 2019.
- 6 or 7: The 6 and 7 seeds are most likely to get upset in the first round. They’ve both been knocked out three times since 2016 (👀 Rutgers and Cornell). Denver (2) was the highest seed to get knocked out in 2016 (10-9 loss to Towson).
- 2: We have two first-timers to the college lacrosse tournament this year: Boston and St. Joseph’s. Welcome!
- 3: The B1G has been the finalist three times in the last five years. Maryland twice (2016 and 2021) and Ohio State (2017).
- 3: The ACC has won the most college lacrosse championships. UNC (2016) has one title and UVA (2019 and 2021) are the defending back-to-back champions.
First Round Picks
Saturday, May 14
📍Sherrerd Field at Class of 1952 Stadium
⏰ 12:00 PM
The first of two rematches this weekend. The Tigers defeated the Terriers 12-7 at Class of 1952 stadium back in April. Looking at the box score, this was an evenly matched game. The difference was a 4-1 fourth quarter by the Tigers to put BU away. BU goalie Matt Garber also had a rough day-saving only 9 of the 21 (47%) shots he faced, well below his season average of 54%.
The Tigers have the 2nd best offense in the all of college lacrosse and have seven players with double-digit goals. The Tigers are led by Alex Slusher (41G/8A) and Christ Brown (29 G/34A). Scoring hasn’t been the problem down the stretch. The defense has let down the Tigers in their last two games. A second-half collapse against Harvard and spotting Cornell an 8-goal first-half advantage kept the Tigers out of the Ivy League tournament.
BU won the Patriot League on their home turf last weekend dispatching Lehigh and Army. Ryan Polley has the Terriers primed for the tournament. They faced Harvard, Yale, and Princeton during the regular season. The Terrier attack should feast on Tiger’s defensive woes. BU is led by Vince D’Alto (45G/30A), Timmy Ley (43G/31A) and Louis Perfetto (30G/35A).
⏰ 2:30 PM
Penn sat on the Iron Throne as the Ivy League champion and will face a challenge from the Spiders. At first glance, the Spiders may be dismissed by many college lacrosse fans. A quick look at the numbers shows how evenly matched these two teams are. The question is the health of the Quakers. Midfielder James Shipley and Defenseman Brendan LaVelle didn’t play in the championship game on Sunday. Freshman Tynan Walsh was also hurt late in the 4th quarter against Yale.
The “Cardiac Quakers” have played in close games all season. Their five-goal win over Brown and seven-goal win over Yale were the largest margins of victory on the season. Midfielder Sam Handley (33G/32A) and Attackman Dylan Gregar lead the offense. UVA transfer Patrick Burkinshaw had a strong weekend in the cage saving 69% of the shots he faced against Brown and 64% against Yale.
Richmond ended Jacksonville’s hopes of making their first NCAA tournament in their win in the SoCon Tournament. Richmond was tested in the regular season and knocked off then number two UVA 17-14 in Richmond. Richmond has three players, Ryan Lanchbury, Dalton Young, and Luke Frankeny, with over thirty goals on the season.
⏰ 5:00 PM
What is the recipe for an upset/disaster in May? A hot FOGO and goalie. St. Joe’s has the 3rd best faceoff unit in the country behind specialist Zach Cole (69% on the season). Robbie Seeley has done well since replacing Tucker Alamany between the pipes. No pressure, Coach Shay.
The Hawks have three players, Matt Bohmer, Carter Page, and Tucker Brown, with at least 40 goals on the season and Levi Anderson has scored 30.
Andy Shay and the Bulldogs fell for the third straight time in the Ivy League Tournament final. The vaunted Yale ten-man ride has provided their offense extra opportunities to make up for an average defensive performance this season. The Bulldogs will go as far as Matt Brandau can take them. The senior has 51 goals and 39 assists. Oh, and put a stick on Thomas Bragg when Yale goes on the extra man.
⏰ 7:30 PM
Saturday night has brought up some memorable games. Rember Albany knocking off UNC in the rain in 2017? This one should be no different. You have two teams that know and play in a very similar fashion. These two met in 2020 just before the season was stopped. I bet Lars remembers.
In early April, many had written off Bruno’’s chances of even making the Ivy League tournament. Five straight wins, including wins against Penn, Yale, and Cornell, turned Brown’s season around. Brown is led on offense by Devon McLane (46G/23A) and Brian Antonelli (30G/4A) and by the People’s Goalie, Connor Theriault. Let’s not forget former LSM, Superfan, and advanced scout Larken Kemp.
Virginia is carrying the flag for the ACC in 2022. Similar to Duke and Notre Dame, their schedule is lacking a signature nonconference win. Health issues slowed UVA down in the last few weeks. 17 days of rest and refocus should provide Lars, Connor Shellenberger, and Matt Moore the chance to play Maryland again next week.
Sunday, May 15
(1) Maryland vs. Vermont
📍Capital One Field at Maryland Stadium
⏰ 12:00 PM
Marland has lived up to the #BeTheBest hashtag all season. They have beaten teams by an average of 8.14 goals. Their reward? Playing a team riding a ten-game winning streak, not to mention, three of the top Ivy leagues and the defending back-to-back national champions all standing in their way of winning it all on Memorial Day.
Don’t write off teams that start slow. Vermont had a 2-6 record to start the season and looked out of sorts. The Cats have rebounded with ten straight wins including winning the America East Conference Tournament and the play-in game against Manhattan. The Cats battled with Maryland last year in the first round before eventually falling 17-11.
Where is their weakness? Surely they have one, right? The Terps currently have the nation’s best offense and the 2nd best defense. Bobby Benson has done a masterful job of taking the offense to the next level since coming in from John Hopkins in 2020. The Terps have nine players with double-digit goals and are led by the #1 pick in the PLL draft, Logan Wisnauskas.
⏰ 2:30 PM
These two met back in March. A 7-1 second quarter proved the difference in the Big Red’s 14-11 victory over the Buckeyes. Both teams are similar, having early season successes before showing some flaws as the season wore on.
There was some controversy about Ohio State getting in over Duke and Notre Dame. Early season wins against Harvard, North Carolina, and Notre Dame made sure the Buckeyes were playing this week. The Notre Dame win seems to have been their peek. The Buckeyes have since lost to Denver and twice to both Rutgers and Maryland. Jackson Reid, Jack Meyers, and Colby Smith will have to have big days so the Buckeyes can play at home in The Shoe next week in the quarterfinals.
Cornell’s hot start to the college lacrosse season carried them into April. A three-game stretch against Syracuse, Army, and Brown had many raising questions about how far the Big Red could go in May. John Piatelli (53G/14A) and CJ Kirst (42G/22A) lead a dynamic offense. The defense has raised some serious concerns, especially when an 8-goal halftime lead was nearly erased during the last week of the regular season against Princeton.
⏰ 5:00 PM
Remember my stat from earlier about the six seed? Rutgers has had a top ten offense and defense this season, but I still am not sure how good they are. What is their best win? Regular season Ohio State? Army? They have also struggled when facing teams with similar talent, losing 16-11 to Princeton and by 8+ goals twice to Maryland.
Rutgers has five players with 27 or more goals, led by Ross Scott (40G/22A). These five will have to score to get Rutgers into the quarterfinals. They are helped by having one of the top goaltenders in the game, Colin Kirst. Kirst has saved 53% of the shots he has faced and helps get the ball to their Nascar middies in transition.
The Crimson were supposed to be young and a year away. Nobody told Head Coach Gerry Byrne. Harvard played well and just missed playing in the Ivy League tournament with an overtime loss to Yale in the final game of the regular season. The Crimson are led on offense by Sam King (24G/19A) and Austin Madronic (28G/13A). Keep an eye on goalie Kyle Mullin. He went down with a nasty-looking leg injury in the loss to Yale.
(2) Georgetown vs. Delaware
⏰ 7:30 PM
The final game of the weekend will be from D.C. The Hoyas bring in the nation’s top defense and a surprising top ten offense against the Blue Hens. The Hoyas did a nice job of using the transfer portal to reload their team from last year.
Head Coach Ben DeLuca brings Delaware to the tournament for the first time under his watch. The Blue Hens are on a six-game win streak and are led by Attackmen Mike Robinson (51G/13A) and JP Ward (38G/31A).
We knew Head Coach Kevin Warren was going to have a lock-down defense this season, led by UNC transfer Will Bowen and Goalie Owen McElroy. Warren also used the portal to bring in attackman Alex Trippi from UNC to assist Graham Bundy (42G/25A) and Dylan Watson (58G/6a) on offense. Georgetown has one loss on the season, a 10-8 loss to Princeton in early March. All eyes and talk have been on Maryland and the Ivies this season. I think Coach Warren is ok with that. Look for the Hoyas to make a deep run in the tournament.