One of my favorite things about college lacrosse is still the NCAA Championship Weekend. It’s a time when all three division get to compete on the same stage, all for that glorious NCAA Championship trophy. Who wouldn’t love that?
Most people just go to the Division I games, but if you do that, you’re missing out on some fantastic lacrosse. Division II and Division III have top tier talent and coaching, so seeing them can be eye opening for some. If you’re in Philly over the weekend, make sure you check out those games. It’s more than worth your time!
NCAA Championship Rundown – D1, D2 and D3!
Normally this is the DI rundown, but in light of Championship Weekend coming up, I put together… the NCAA Championship Rundown! Here’s your quick look at what happened across DI, DII, and DIII Men’s lacrosse. I would absolutely include women’s in here as well, but I watch women’s lacrosse as much more of a pure fan, which means I don’t pretend to know what’s going on like I do with men’s.
Quick Women’s Preview
OK, since you asked, here is the extent of what I can tell you about the women’s final four.
Maryland and Syracuse meet in the final four, which is a head to head matchup of perennial Tewaaraton favorites Taylor Cummings and Kayla Treanor. They both do draw controls for their team, so you wind up with a true head-to-head battle. Maryland is the heavy favorite to win it all, and has been Syracuse’s kryptonite the past few seasons.
On the other side of the bracket, you have North Carolina and Penn State. UNC was a favorite to make it this far and should be in the championship game. Penn State scored a huge upset over Florida in the second round to advance and beat Penn by four in the quarterfinals. That win over Florida means UNC will in no way overlook them.
OK, that’s about all I got there. These games are awesome and you should watch them. The final four is Friday night with the Championship on Sunday. All games are also in Philadelphia (well, Chester, but basically it’s right there) in Talen Energy Stadium (formerly PPL Park).
Men’s NCAA Championship MEGA Rundown
OK, back to the men’s brackets.
Wednesday DIII Games
7 Ithaca vs. Tufts 19
6 York vs. Gettysburg 7
12 Amherst vs. St. Lawrence 16
10 Denison vs. Salisbury 11
7 #8 Syracuse vs. #1 Maryland 13 (D1)
10 Navy vs. #5 Brown 11 (D1)
4 #2 Merrimack vs. #1 Le Moyne 8 (D2)
9 #3 Notre Dame vs. North Carolina 13 (D1)
8 Towson vs. #7 Loyola 10 (D1)
10 #3 Tampa vs. #1 Limestone 13 (D2)
12 St. Lawrence vs. Tufts 23 (D3)
6 Gettysburg vs. Salisbury 14 (D3)
The NCAA Championship Stat Freaks
Freak of the week: For the second time this year, I have to go with John Connors. I don’t think anyone came away from that game who didn’t want to pat him on the back for the fight he put up against Brown. That game could have been so much uglier, but Connors turned away shot after shot. One of my final hat tips of the year goes to a fantastic goalie performance on one of lacrosse’s biggest stages. 21 HUGE saves? Ridiculous!
Want to see them ALL? Worth it!
Offense: The Cutoff here is a combined 7 goals and/or assists
Limestone’s Colton Watkinson 6G, 1A vs. Tampa
Tufts’ Austin Carbone 8G, 1A vs. Ithaca
Tufts’ John Uppgren 4G, 3A vs. St. Lawrence
Defense: For here, you need 8 GBs, CTs, and/or points
Navy’s Jules Godino 8GB vs. Brown
Brown’s Larken Kemp 5GB, 4CT vs. Navy
Merrimack’s Scott Corcoran 7GB, 5CT vs. Le Moyne
Le Moyne’s Brendan Entenmann 4GB, 5CT vs. Merrimack
Notre Dame’s John Sexton 4GB, 4CT vs. UNC
Salisbury’s Andrew Ternahan 8GB, 1CT vs. Gettysburg
Gettysburg’s Chris Palladino 4GB, 4CT, 1A vs. York
York’s Josh Kluver 5GB, 3CT vs. Gettysburg
St. Lawrence’s Conor Healey 6GB, 2CT, 2G, 2A vs. Amherst
Faceoffs: Greater than 70%, at least 10 attempts
Brown’s Will Gural 18/24 vs. Navy
Loyola’s Graham Savio 15/21 vs. Towson
Limestone’s Kevin Reisman 19/26 vs. Tampa
Tufts’ Conor Helfrich 19/26 vs. Ithaca
Tufts’ Conor Helfrich 22/27 vs. St. Lawrence
Salisbury’s TJ Logue 15/20 vs. Denison
Salisbury’s TJ Logue 16/17 vs. Gettysburg
Goalies: Greater than 70%
OK, he didn’t get 70%, but John Connors’ 21 saves vs Brown was ridiculous.
Le Moyne’s Alex Krawec 13/17 vs. Merrimack
Tufts’ Alex Salazar 17/23 vs. Ithaca
DI Conference Records in the Tournament
Ivy League: 2-1
CAA: 2-1 Now Eliminated
MAAC: 1-1 Previously Eliminated
Southern: 0-1 Previously Eliminated
Northeast: 0-1 Previously Eliminated
America East: 0-2 Previously Eliminated
Big East: 0-2 Previously Eliminated
In a move that at least doesn’t feel like it happens often, each of the four team in the final four will be from different conferences. They also happen to be from the top four conferences all year, which should not be a big shocker. Towson made it close to wiping out the Patriot league, but Loyola was just too much.
Upcoming NCAA Championship Matchups
DI Semifinal #1
|Category||#1 Maryland||#5 Brown|
|Goals For||11.33 (#17)||16.44 (#1)|
|Goals Against||7.72 (#4)||8.67 (#16)|
|Faceoff %||.527 (#26)||.671 (#3)|
|Goalie Rank||.552 (#15)||.617(#1)|
Head to Head: N/A
Yale: MD L by 3; Brown W by 2
Princeton: MD W by 12; Brown W by 11
Penn: MD W by 5; Brown W by 11
Michigan: MD W by 1; Brown W by 14
Hopkins: MD W by 3; Brown W by 9
Navy: MD W by 5; Brown W by 1
Quick Take: This is a game that I have wanted to see all season long. It’s one of the best examples of two elite teams that really play polar opposite styles. Maryland is highly disciplined, Brown is about as faced paced as you can get. If Brown’s defense can keep the ball out of the net, force turnovers, and get the ball to their offense often, they should stay in town for the whole weekend. If Maryland can run their offense like they have been, have smart possessions, while keeping Brown’s shooters in check, the Terps will have yet another shot at a title under John Tillman. It’s tragic that Brown’s Dylan Molloy is injured since him at full health would have made this absolutely electric, but it still can be the game of the weekend.
Upset Grade: Very Possible
DI Semifinal #2
|Category||#7 Loyola||North Carolina|
|Goals For||10.82 (#24)||12.69 (#7)|
|Goals Against||8.06 (#9)||10.19 (#36)|
|Faceoff %||.516 (#29)||.576 (#11)|
|Goalie Rank||.591 (#2)||.500 (#42)|
Head to Head: N/A
Duke: Loyola L by 9, W by 5; UNC W in OT
Virginia: Loyola W by 7; UNC W by 8
Hopkins: Loyola W by 1; UNC W by 4
Quick Take: This game is going to come down to what UNC team shows up. If it’s the same team that has been playing in this tournament so far, get ready for a good one. Loyola is riding a 10 game win streak of their own. I lean slightly towards UNC because I don’t think that any team is overachieving or playing looser than the Tar Heels right now. The ACC regular season champs put on a clinic in their win over Notre Dame. That isn’t to say Loyola is not exceeding expectations of their own. They’re the seeded team, winners of vicious Patriot League, and have looked excellent so far in this tournament. I feel like this one might come down to whichever goalie has the best day.
Upset Grade: Very Possible
|Goals For||14.37 (#6)||20.00 (#1)|
|Goals Against||4.95 (#1)||7.33 (#3)|
|Faceoff %||.523 (#25)||.716 (#2)|
|Goalie Rank||.697 (#1)||.571 (#9)|
Head to Head: N/A
Lake Erie: Le Moyne won by 13, Limestone won by 11
Mount Olive: Limestone won by 14, 7, and 11 (3 games), Le Moyne won by 7
Quick Take: Since 2000, there has only been one year where one of these two teams did not make the championship game. Despite Division II having only five fewer teams than Division I, it is a very top heavy group. This is a rematch from last year when Limestone beat Le Moyne by three to capture their second straight championship. Neither team has lost since then, but that will end on Sunday. It will be a great battle of offense (20 goals per game, really?!) vs. defense and Le Moyne’s goalie Alex Krawec has been a brick wall all year long. Limestone is going to be the favorite, but I expect this to be a nail biter.
Upset Grade: Let’s be serious. This is a coin flip.
|Goals For||17.68 (#1)||16.39 (#5)|
|Goals Against||11.23 (#154)||6.48 (#7)|
|Faceoff %||.616 (#25)||.589 (#37)|
|Goalie Rank||.558 (#53)||Unranked|
Head to Head: N/A
Stevenson: Salisbury won by 7, Tufts lost by 1
Quick Take: Like Limestone, Tufts is also going for their third straight championship. Tufts makes no effort to hide their identity as a team. They are looking to score, then score, followed by a little bit of scoring. Salisbury does have the better defense, but this game is going to be a fast-paced track meet. The DIII championship game is one of my favorites all year long. If you’re in Philly, definitely go check it out in person. If you’re not in the area, watch online where the NCAA will be streaming it along with the DII final.
Upset Grade: Another coin flip. I could see this going either way.