Parity has come to NJCAA men’s lacrosse, change is in the air, and the early season has become absolutely unpredictable and awesome! In the past, a lot of these games were largely decided before they were played and things tended to heat later in the season, but now? Now we see top teams winning and losing, lots of movement in the Top 10 Poll, and exciting games pretty much across the board.
Welcome to 2019, where anything can happen.
NJCAA Top 10 Poll – 3/18/2019
# – Team (Record) – Poll points – 1st place votes – last poll rank
1– Nassau (4-1) – 60 – 6 – 1st
2 – Harford (3-1) – 54 – 0 – 2nd
3 – Onondaga (2-2) – 45 – 0 – 6th
4 – Essex (3-0) – 44 – 0 – 3rd
5 – Howard (2-1) – 34 – 0 – 3rd
6 – Genesee (1-2) – 33 – 0 – 5th
7 – Suffolk (1-0) – 22 – 0 – 8th
8 – Anne Arundel (1-2) – 18 – 0 – 7th
9 – Mercer (4-2) – 14 – 0 – 9th
10 – Potomac State (4-0) – 6 – 0 – Not Ranked
Others Receiving Votes: Monroe (1-2), 2 points
Nassau stayed at #1 and Harford stayed at #2, but Onondaga jumped up the polls three spots to 3rd, while Essex, Howard, and Genesee all fell a spot or two. Suffolk popped up a spot with a win, Anne Arundel is still in there, and Mercer is looking solid as the rack up wins. Speaking of racking up wins, Potomac State makes the first appearance in the Top 10 that I can remember, so a tip of the hat goes to Keyser Boys and their perfect start to 2019.
Recent NJCAA Results/Recaps
You want good games? There were a bunch last week!
Potomac State 17, Finger Lakes 7 – PSC went up 3-0 after one quarter, 7-1 at the half, and then won each of the last two quarters 5-3, for a pretty dominant performance. Ben Blodgett went off with 6 goals and 3 assists, and Nick Erhardt (2 goals, 3 assists) and Titus Thind (2 goals, 2 assists) also had big days. Nathan Woodhill made 13 saves in only 45 minutes of action for the win. Big win for PSC, and part of the reason why they are in the Top 10 now.
Harford 30, Williamson Trade 1 – Ten different players scored for Harford and they were dominant from start to finish in this one. Owen Consoletti scored six goals (and added an assist) on seven shots. Zach Brooks won 12 of 13 face offs for Harford.
Ocean 10, Union 3 – Ocean was up 7-0 at the half, and while the second was much more even, the big gap allowed Ocean to walk away with a comfortable win. Dillon Clark scored 4 goals and added an assist and Tyler Palmer made 8 saves on 11 shots faced.
Tompkins Cortland 14, Finger Lakes 13 – WHAT. A. GAME! TC went up 4-2 after one, FLCC pulled it to 6-5 at the half, then TC went back up 10-7 after three, and FLCC came out HOT in the 4th scoring the first 4 goals of the quarter to take an 11-10 lead on a Henry Millard goal. FLCC has been up 2-1 early on, but had not held a lead since the 5:07 mark of the first. Pat Harnett scored off a Dante Cuttino feed to tie up, and Millard answered to put FLCC back up 12-11. Cuttino would then score two goals of his own to put TC up 13-12, but with 2:35 left Millard would notch another to tie it up yet again, this time at 13 apiece. With 6 seconds left in the first OT, TC’s Jacob Lewis would get the game winner, and surprise surprise, the assist would be from Cuttino. Millard finished with 6 goals on the day for FLCC, Pat Harnett scored 4 goals and had 4 assists for TC, and Dante Cuttino poured in a number of his 4 goals and 3 assists when TC needed it most and the Panthers got a thrilling OT win.
Potomac State 12, Hudson Valley 11 – If you thought the above OT was good, then you’ll think this one was pretty amazing too. PSC comes out guns blazing and goes up 5-2. HVCC rallies to close the gap to 6-5 at halftime. The third quarter sees the game tied at 9, and the 4th was as exciting as it gets, even if each team only scored two goals. Overtime came and PSC pulled out the win as both teams had chances. Huge road win for PSC!
Mercer 17, Brookdale 1 – MCC went up 6-0, 12-0, and 13-1 after each respective quarter break and tacked on a 4-0 4th to coast to a big win. Jack Earley led the way with 5 goals on 7 shots, while adding 3 assists. Consistent and unselfish stuff right there.
Genesee 18, Monroe 9 – GCC shook off their opening loss with a solid win over Monroe. The tale of the game was set in the first quarter when Genesee would go up 6-0 after 1, and 10-0 before Monroe would score their first goal. GCC played with passion and purpose. Monroe would pick it up and made some runs, but GCC always seemed to have an answer, easing their way to a 9 goal win, as the Cougars got back on the right track. Jason Chiodo’s six goals and an assist led all scorers.
Southern Maryland 13, Union 11 – SM took a 5-1 lead early on, and pushed it to 8-2 before Union really sparked and started putting in some goals. Southern Maryland was able to counter these runs effectively, and when Union did put a couple together, SM answered well and fought off a hard nosed Union team to earn a big 2 goal win. Jordan Sinclair pumped in 7 goals and Will Meadows added 3 more for the bulk of Maryland’s scoring. Union got 6 goals and an assist from Greg Vecchia, and Greg Scaturo also had a day, scoring 4 goals and adding an assist.
Ocean 11, Finger Lakes 6 – Ocean continued their excellent week with another quality win over FLCC. This was a very tight game in the first half, but Ocean used a 5-1 3rd quarter to create some breathing room, and Shawn Poole’s 5 goals and 1 assist led the way. James Manzo also had a day with a goal and 4 assists. Justin Closser had a hat trick for FLCC, and Dan VanNostrand made good on 4 assists on the day. Mike Dhondt (FLCC) had 15 saves, and Tyler Palmer (OCC) made 14 saves, and excellent net-minding was definitely on display.
Harford 30, Brookdale 2 – I don’t mean any disrespect to either team here, but games like these probably won’t get many write ups in the future, just score lines. The individual stat lines are always insane, but I’m going to recap more competitive games when I can. Needless to say, this was a bit of a rout.
Monroe 22, Tompkins Cortland 9 – After losing to Genesee in convincing fashion, MCC really rebounded nicely with this win. This not only speaks well to their talent, but also their mindset. TC battled throughout, but Monroe did a great job of staying focused and winning the next play, which was good, because this game was 3-3 early on, and TC scored the first goal of the game. Monroe stayed composed, and finished the first quarter with a 5-0 run and an 8-3 lead. MCC was led by Brett Cunningham’s 5 goals and 4 assists, but also got a great effort from Mitchell Summers with 4 goals and 3 assists. Cruz Mayberry also went for 2 goals and 3 assists out of the midfield. Pat Harnett went for 4 goals and an assist for TC and while Ben Pallone gave up 22 goals, he also made 19 saves. If you don’t know, that’s a lot.
Mercer 16, Delaware Tech 6 – DTech hung around and kept this one close for a while, but Mercer put the pedal to the metal in the 4th, winning that quarter 8-0, to push an 8-6 game to a much wider margin. 4 of those 8 goals were scored on the man up, as MCC went 4 for 5 on the day on extra man chances. Nick Parente had 5 goals and 3 assists, Isaac Lieboff had a goal and 5 assists, Justin Brown scored 4 goals, Brady Moore went 3 and 1, Tom Harnett had 2 goals and 3 assists as the usual cast of characters for Mercer took over the scoring game.
Jefferson 17, ASA 7 – ASA made their official return after two years off, and while numbers were thin, and the start wasn’t ideal (going down 5-0), ASA showed great fight and got the game to 7-3 at the half. Shel Herring was a bright spot for ASA winning 28 of 31 face offs (not bad!), and a big congrats to Jefferson on a well earned win on the road.
Essex 31, Brookdale 3 – A dominant win for Essex as they roll along in 2019.
Potomac State 17, Union 8 – If you thought PSC’s weekend was over, you were wrong as they played a Sunday game against Union and won yet again to remain perfect. After an effort like that, how do they not get into the Top 10? Answer is, they do! It was 4-1 after the first, and 9-3 at the half and PSC looked good all game long, even though they had already played two games this week. Titus Thind (5g, 2a), Nick Erhardt (4g, 1a), and Ben Blodgett (3g, 2a) led the way again on offense, and Nathan Woodhill made 10 saves on 14 shots (played 40 minutes).
Suffolk 31, Jefferson 1 – Earlier I was questioning Suffolk and where they were at, but this blowout should tell us something. Jefferson beat ASA by 10 the day before, then lost by 30. I don’t love comparative scoring, but this tells me Suffolk is next level from where they were.
Onondaga 21, Howard 11 – Just when you’re ready to write off OCC because they have two losses, they go down to Maryland and just smack around Howard. This is impressive because Howard simply does not get smacked around very often, if at all. Usually they are the ones doing the smacking! OCC came out hot, dominated early, and looked like the Lazers of old. Of course no one REALLY thought OCC was done, but maaaaaybe they weren’t that great? WRONG. Howard is good and I expect them to bounce back, but OCC is also good and they do not want any of us to ever forget it! OCC had 10 different scorers and Percy Booth had a coming out party scoring 5 goals and adding 4 assists. OCC also got big time scoring from Gavin Kesserling as he went for 3 goals and 3 assists, and Phil Barrila had 4 goals and one helper. Jeremy Sforzo had two goals and an insane 6 assists for Howard. Frank Delia mad 18 saves for OCC before being relieved by Christian Hunt and Nick Martino. Zack Van Valkenburgh went 17 for 25 on draws for OCC as they announced they can dominate all over when needed. I’d tell you more about this, but Howard’s highlight video is really all you need to see! Killer work as always HCC video crew!
Nassau 10, Genesee 5 – This game was played at Hofstra, and while it started out as a defensive battle with both offenses having a hard time finding the back of the net, Nassau’s offense picked up in the second half and they earned a big early season win at home on Long Island. Both teams have big games coming up in the next couple weeks and Nassau hosting Essex certainly qualifies. The great NCC defense and goalies will need to continue to show up, create transition, and be the bedrock for this program.
Big Upcoming Games
Tuesday, March 19th
Essex vs Southern Maryland – Big game for Essex and SMC, but you’ve got to think Essex pulls out a solid win here.
ASA vs Finger Lakes – Can ASA pull together now that they’ve really formed up and show improvement against FLCC? For a returning program sometimes it’s just about laying the proper foundation day after day.
Wednesday, March 20th
Anne Arundel vs Ocean – Good chance for AACC to get a win against a good team, get back to the W column, and work out some kinks. Or Ocean can play spoiler and make a name for themselves in 2019!
Union vs Brookdale – Union looks to get a win here, and it’s needed.
Genesee vs Hudson Valley – HVCC fell out of the pollsters minds last week, a win, or even a tight game, in this one could change that.
Jefferson vs Tompkins Cortland – TC wants this win, and needs it to stay where they want to be. Jefferson will come in fired up.
Finger Lakes vs Army Prep – It’s not an official NJCAA game, but it’s an official game, so it’s here!
ASA vs Mercer – Back to back games for ASA and the second one is against high flying Mercer. A great test, but it should be a solid win for MCC.
Howard vs Potomac State – PSC has already made a statement in 2019, can they make an even bigger one and knock off a perennial power? It’s a big ask, but that’s why we play the games!
Thursday, March 21st
Suffolk vs Army Prep – Back to back games for Army Prep but I feel that won’t be an issue. This should be a fun game to watch and I have no idea what will happen. Not an official NJCAA game, but an official game, so this will be heated as pride is on the line.
Friday, March 22nd
Anne Arundel vs Navy Prep – They just keep coming, and I like it!
Howard vs Harford – In years past, Howard entered this game as the heavy favorite, but now Harford is in that spot, cruising it seems, and Howard just lost to OCC by 10. All this combines to make me think that this game will be an epic battle with huge hits and unreal goals, but gritty plays making all the difference. It’s going to be the little things, and it should be gosh darned glorious NJCAA men’s lacrosse!
Saturday, March 23rd
Anne Arundel vs Brookdale – I’ll go with AACC comfortably here.
Essex vs Nassau – Played at Hofstra, going to be good for sure!
Union vs Suffolk – I’m excited to see more of Suffolk. Still a bit of an enigma to me, but I’m ok with that. I like surprises.
Onondaga vs Genesee – I don’t know which game is the best of the weekend, but this has to be up there.
Finger Lakes vs Williamson Trade – I’ll take FLCC here.
Woof, that was a lot of action, and we’ll only see more as the regular season rolls on. There are TONS of webcasts this year. Go search for them for games you want to watch. Well worth it!