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Lehigh asserted itself as the possible top dog in the Patriot League, Duke and UNC played in a thriller and more happened in Week 8.

Lehigh Asserts Itself, ACC Confusion Continues – DI Rundown Week 8

This was a hectic week in Division I men’s lacrosse. There were a handful of upsets and a few other surprising scores. And while some conferences are starting to make a little more sense, others are making even less – Lehigh is making a serious case for top dog in the Patriot, the ACC continues to confuse, Independents had a great week, and more.

But now that we’re into April, it’s a great reminder of how fun April lacrosse is. Now is when teams are starting to realize who they are and if that aligns with who they thought they would be when the season started. Panic buttons are being readied.

Now, onto the rundown!

Lehigh Vies for Top Patriot Spot – Week 8 DI Rundown

Scoreboard

Tuesday

UMass 16 vs Hofstra 10

Thursday

North Carolina 11 v Duke 12

Friday

Fairfield 11 v Delaware 16

Detroit 13 v Canisius 5

Manhattan 8 v St. Bonaventure 9

Saturday

NJIT 9 v Binghamton 11

Jacksonville 15 v Robert Morris 16

LIU 10 v Merrimack 14

Colgate 10 v Bucknell 9

Loyola 14 v Navy 10

Marquette 6 v Denver 16

Providence 6 v Villanova 13

Towson 7 v Hofstra 8

UMass-Lowell 6 v Albany 17

Mercer 15 v Air Force 13

Notre Dame 18 v Syracuse 11

Hobart 11 v Bryant 10

Georgetown 20 v St. John’s 7

Utah 11 v Boston U 10

Vermont 8 v UMBC 10

Stony Brook 17 v Hartford 6

VMI 4 v Cleveland St. 16

Richmond 10 v Virginia 18

Army 12 v Lehigh 13

Ohio State 9 v Rutgers 10

Penn State 10 v Maryland 17

Bellarmine 5 v High Point 13

Quinnipiac 8 v Monmouth 10

UMass 11 v Drexel 12

Sunday

Michigan 13 v Johns Hopkins 10

Lafayette 7 v Holy Cross 10

Conference Comparison

This is the section of the rundown to keep track of how conferences are doing against each other. Intra-conference games are not part of the records below.

ConferenceRecord%+/-
ACC29-10.9670.001
CAA13-70.6500.000
Big East6-40.6000.000
Patriot9-80.500-0.029
America East5-60.4550.000
Independent4-140.3330.111
SoCon7-230.212-0.021
NEC3-140.1760.000
Big Ten0-0
Ivy League0-0
MAAC0-0

*2021 Independents: Utah, Robert Morris, Cleveland State, Hampton (2021 season is suspended)

There were only four out-of-conference games this week, but it was enough to move the needle. UVA was the lone ACC team playing outside of the league and scored a win over Richmond, adding one to the loss column for the SoCon. Jacksonville dropped a close one to Robert Morris while VMI lost to Cleveland State. Combining those games with Utah’s big upset over BU means the Independents went 3-0 this weekend while the SoCon went 0-3. That was just enough for them to switch spots in the table.

Game Notes

ACC Shake Up

Last week, when I wrote about the ACC, the title was “ACC Takes Shape.” Well, that doesn’t work anymore. If you’re a fan of the transitive property to decide Team X beat Team Y and Team Y beat Team Z to determine the better team, I introduce you to the ACC.

Syracuse gained a ton of attention after its dominant win over UVA (which was No. 3 at the time), 20-10, back in late February. Virginia kind of bounced back and only lost by three to UNC, then just beat Notre Dame by one a week ago. Then, Syracuse lost a close one to Duke and just lost by seven to Notre Dame, while UNC lost to Duke in overtime. So, if you’re going to summarize all of this: Duke is just a little better than UNC and Syracuse are both much better than Virginia, who is a litter better than Notre Dame, who is much better than Syracuse. Make sense?

Let’s Talk About Syracuse

Syracuse entered this season with a ton of hype, and I am not afraid that I was a part of that, putting the Orange as my preseason No. 1 team in my initial ballot. But now they sit at 4-3, including 1-2 in the ACC, and it must be asked: what’s up with the Orange? They, along with most ACC teams, are loaded with All-American talent, have great transfers, senior leaders, and impact freshman. So why are the red flags going up? Well, for one, it’s Syracuse. This team gets more media coverage that just about any lacrosse team at any level of the game, so everything gets extra scrutiny. It also has the expectation of a championship every single year. But there are a few trends starting to emerge.

Most of the talk with Syracuse is its first line midfield trio. What’s causing concern is their contribution has been steadily dropping game by game. They start with 55% of the team’s goals in the loss to Army and are now down to 21% and 27% in their last two losses. But that doesn’t seem to be the big indicator for me. When Syracuse is doing well versus the games it loses, there are a few key stats that pop out: shots on goal percentage, save percentage, faceoffs, assist percentage, and caused turnovers.

Starting with the offense, this team really works best when you have a lot of assisted goals that are landing on cage. Sounds kind of obvious, but it’s important to realize where that first line midfield factors in. While they are capable, this team cannot rely solely on those three dodging at will and letting shots fly all game. It needs to be a part of it, but they really need to have their attack line leading the show. It needs to fully be balanced, though. Once the attack or midfield start taking over, things start going south. There needs to be six players on offense, not one or two at a time.

Defensively, the Orange need to win faceoffs and get the caused turnovers up. Overall, they’re okay at faceoffs, but they’ve had a few bad games (like Duke and ND) where they just can’t get the possessions they need to feed the offense. That’s where caused turnovers come into play. They generally clear the ball well and are pretty good with ground balls in the defensive end of the field, so if they can disrupt the passing lanes and create some transition, they’re probably going to be in a better spot. But waiting for shot clock violations or Drake Porter saves is not proving to be a sustainable way of doing things.

Battle for the Triangle, Part 1

Duke is now all-ACC for the rest of the year. They had a one goal win with Syracuse a week ago and had to deal with its first of two meetings with UNC on Thursday. It lived up to the billing. Lacrosse is always called a game of runs, but this one was not. Neither team ever scored more than two goals in a row. There was a single goal in the fourth quarter despite five shots on goal between the two teams. Despite the high-powered offenses on both side, there were turnovers galore, and it led to a somewhat chaotic back-and-forth game for most of the time. The best individual performances were not the offenses, though. Both goalies were impressive, but Duke’s Mike Adler led the way, saving 61% of the shots he saw. The other big showing was Duke’s Jake Naso facing off, winning nine of the last 14 of the game, which was a major part of Duke’s win.

Big Wins for New(ish) Programs

I’m using “new” a little loosely here, but this was a big weekend for some of the newer programs in DI to pickup some big wins in their conference, or in Utah’s case, period. Utah traveling to Boston to beat BU was a massive win. The Terriers are not the force they have been of late, this is still the Utes’ first win over a Patriot League team and their second DI win outside of the Southern Conference. Next was Michigan, who isn’t really that new at this point, but topping Hopkins is. This win over Hopkins is major because it means the only Big Ten team the Wolverines have yet to beat is Maryland. The other two wins that caught my eye were Merrimack over LIU, who were DII opponents for awhile, but LIU was running away in the conference prior to this loss. St. Bonaventure now has multiple wins this year, which is a great sign for that program.

Return of Terefenko

Rutgers just barely snuck past Ohio State after beating the Buckeyes, 22-12, in the first meeting. Oddly enough, that was also the last game Ryan Terefenko played in for Ohio State. And while he didn’t record any points, his two causes turnovers and three ground balls were still part his MO. He also did not need to take faceoffs as Justin Inacio was a dominant (17-of-22) on the day. For Rutgers, this close game doesn’t make me hit a panic button at all. The Scarlet Knights still just have the two losses to Maryland, and Ohio State was the next biggest threat. They should close out the regular season with three-straight wins.

Lehigh Takes the Patriot Driver’s Seat

One of the biggest games of the weekend was in the Patriot League, where Lehigh beat Army to go to 5-0 on the season. And who gets a ton of credit for this game? Mike Sisselberger. He went 23-of-27 in faceoffs with 14 ground balls. But also, despite this close game, Lehigh still was not able to contain Army’s Brendan Nichtern, who still had five goals and two assists on the day. So Lehigh has now topped Army and Loyola, and it’s looking like the Warhawks could roll into the Patriot League Tournament undefeated.

Reschedule Tracker

I’ll be using this section to keep track of which games are postponed or canceled as the season goes on as that information will easily get lost in the shuffle. Every season always has a few games postponed or canceled due to weather or travel issues, but as you’ll see below, this season is already going to be quite a bit different.

Also note: the “Games Scheduled” will include new games added, which may make the percentages look different compared to the missed games listed below. For example: Colgate and Robert Morris both had games canceled, so they played each other, meaning there are two games cancelled but one game played as scheduled.

Games scheduled: 257

Games played: 224 (87.2%)

Games played as scheduled: 210 (81.7%)

Missed Games

2/13 Army v UMass – Canceled

2/13 Army v Virginia – Moved to 2/14 – PLAYED

2/13 Loyola v Richmond – Moved to 2/14 – PLAYED

2/13 Villanova v Delaware – Canceled

2/13 Mount St. Mary’s v VMI – Rescheduled to 4/7

2/13 Cleveland St v Marquette -Canceled

2/16 Bellarmine v North Carolina – Postponed

2/18 Bellarmine v High Point – Rescheduled to 4/3 – PLAYED

2/20 UMass vs UMass Lowell – Moved to 2/23 – Canceled

2/20 Robert Morris v Bucknell – Canceled

2/20 UMBC v Saint Joseph’s – Canceled

2/20 VMI v Colgate – Canceled

2/21 Albany v Lehigh – Canceled

2/23 Bellarmine v Robert Morris – Rescheduled to 3/2 – PLAYED

2/26 Bucknell v Colgate – Rescheduled to 4/3 – PLAYED

2/27 Bellarmine v VMI – Rescheduled to 3/9 – PLAYED

2/27 UMass v Boston U – Canceled

2/28 Bucknell v Delaware – Canceled

3/6 Hofstra v UMass – Moved to 3/30 – PLAYED

3/6 Wagner v St. Joseph’s – Rescheduled to 3/8 – PLAYED

3/6 Navy v Bucknell – Rescheduled to 3/28 – PLAYED

3/9 UMass vs Albany – Moved to 3/23 – PLAYED

3/13 UMBC v Binghamton – Moved to 3/24 – PLAYED

3/13 Mount St. Mary’s v Bryant – Moved to 5/1

3/13 Quinnipiac v Marist – Moved to 4/20

3/13 Colgate v Army – Postponed

3/13 Hofstra v Towson – Moved to 4/13

3/13 Georgetown v Denver – Rescheduled to 3/16 – PLAYED

3/20 St. Bonaventure v Canisius – Rescheduled to 4/6

3/20 Marquette v St. John’s – Postponed

3/20 Hofstra v Syracuse – Postponed

3/20 Siena v Quinnipiac – Moved to 4/7

3/20 Vermont v UMass – Canceled

3/20 Holy Cross v Army – Rescheduled to 3/27 – PLAYED

3/20 Marist v Monmouth – Rescheduled to 4/13

3/20 Navy v Lafayette – Moved to 5/1

3/21 Denver v Villanova – Postponed

3/27 Sacred Heart v Hobart – Rescheduled to 4/30

3/27 St. John’s v Marquette – Postponed

3/27 Canisius v Marist – Rescheduled to 4/11

3/27 Bucknell v Army – Canceled

3/27 Holy Cross v Navy – Canceled

4/3 Marist v Siena – Postponed

4/3 Wagner v Saint Joseph’s – Postponed

4/3 Sacred Heart v Mount St. Mary’s – Rescheduled to 4/14

Interesting note about Marist: it had a 15-11 win over Detroit on March 6 in the opener and has now had three-straight weeks of postponements. That means Marist has gone a full month since its one and only game.

This Week’s Games

Tuesday

St. Bonaventure v Canisius

Wednesday

Siena v Quinnipiac

Mount St. Mary’s v VMI

Thursday

Albany v Syracuse

Friday

Detroit v Monmouth

Marist v St. Bonaventure

Saturday

Binghamton v Hartford

St. John’s v Providence

Virginia v North Carolina

Wagner v Sacred Heart

Hofstra v UMass

Georgetown v Marquette

Cleveland St. v Robert Morris

Lafayette v Bucknell

Villanova v Denver

Duke v Notre Dame

Air Force v Jacksonville

Fairfield v Towson

Drexel v Delaware

UMBC v Albany

Vermont v UMass-Lowell

Canisius v Siena

Saint Joseph’s v Hobart

Army v Loyola

Navy v Lehigh

Stony Brook v NJIT

Merrimack v Mount St. Mary’s

Boston U v Colgate

Johns Hopkins v Ohio State

Rutgers v Penn State

Maryland v Michigan

Manhattan v Quinnipiac

Bellarmine v VMI

Bryant v LIU

Sunday

Richmond v Mercer

What to Watch

Thursday

Albany v Syracuse

Saturday

Virginia v North Carolina

Hofstra v UMass

Duke v Notre Dame

Drexel v Delaware

UMBC v Albany

Army v Loyola

Navy v Lehigh

Rutgers v Penn State

Albany certainly has the biggest week as it transitions into post-Tehoka life.

The Danes get an angry Syracuse on Thursday, then a UMBC squad looking to prove it belongs in the America East conversation. The other ACC games are of course interesting, but the Patriot lineup fascinates me. Army facing Loyola while Lehigh gets Navy is a lineup of the top-four teams in the league and gives Lehigh the opportunity to put its foot down on its competition. The pair of CAA games (Delaware v Drexel & UMass v Hofstra) are also big for seeing who is in charge of that league.

Catch Up on the DI Rundown

This is the ninth DI Rundown of the season. If you want to see what you missed earlier in the campaign, you’ve come to the right place.

Week 0 | Week 1 | Week 2 | Week 3 | Week 4 | Week 5 | Week 6 | Week 7

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