North Carolina & Chris Gray Keep Flying – DI Rundown Week 1
Duke showed signs of why it was surrounded by hype, Virginia picked up a victory in an impromptu contest with Army, Chris Gray notched four goals as North Carolina handled Jacksonville and more in Week 1.
Still, plenty of teams are yet to see the field, but it’s starting to feel like a full lacrosse season again. Also, this week has underscored why I decided to track reschedules and cancelations. COVID-19 is clearly continuing to affect games, as we saw a handful of postponements and full cancellations already. Now, onto the rundown!
North Carolina Offense Flies High: Week 1 DI Rundown
Bellarmine 8 v Jacksonville 19
Mercer 8 v Duke 17
Providence 8 v Bryant 9
Saint Joseph’s 7 v Towson 8
Robert Morris 15 v High Point 21
Sacred Heart 8 v Stony Brook 20
St. John’s 19 v Hofstra 18
Air Force 6 v Denver 15
Jacksonville 7 v North Carolina 18
Army 9 v Virginia 14
Loyola 8 v Richmond 7
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.
*2021 Independents: Utah, Robert Morris, Cleveland State, Hampton (2021 season is suspended)
Duke vs Mercer
Mercer was not at full strength, but that likely wouldn’t have mattered much. Duke’s offense is continuing to find itself and is working on its chemistry. It’s definitely not perfect right now, but you can see where all the hype in the offseason came from and that it was not unwarranted. The concern for me right now with the Blue Devils is on defense. They are still rolling with two goalies, but it’s not a halftime split. They noted on the telecast that transfer and Preseason All-American Mike Adler was in a walking boot this week. Despite that, he started the game but was gone by the time the second quarter rolled around. Definitely an area to pay attention to.
Robert Morris v High Point
Following RMU’s strong debut against Duke, this had the potential for a heavyweight bout between teams proving they belong in the national conversation. As it turns out, it was largely an opportunity for Asher Nolting to remind everyone who he is. The big attackman logged seven points off a hat trick and four assists. Where High Point was not shining was in the penalty box. Eight different penalties turned into three extra-man goals for Robert Morris. It may not have mattered in this game, but it will in the future.
Bryant v Providence
This battle of Ocean State rivals went all the way down to the wire. Bryant had the late lead, but Providence was able to answer back with a goal of its own with just 19 seconds left on the clock. The Friars earned a possession on the next faceoff, had a timeout called to draw up a last second play, but Bryant would ultimately win. This is a good sign for Bryant, who has lost three of the last four meetings between the two neighbors as the Bulldogs are really trying to regain control of the NEC.
North Carolina v Jacksonville
Jacksonville had a very steep hill to climb to try and beat UNC in Chapel Hill, but it did put up a good fight. In its midweek game, Jacksonville let its offense unload on the visiting Bellarmine, while its aggressive defense made it hard to guess which team was actually playing its first game. Going into UNC’s house, it would have been understandable to see some hesitation, but there was none. Jacksonville tried to play straight up, and there were some great signs, but UNC was just too good. Chris Gray put four in the net as the Tar Heel playmakers were just imposing their will. Even against great defense and offense, they seemingly could not be stopped.
Army v Virginia
The game that appeared out of nowhere! After Army saw its contest against UMass get cancelled because of COVID-19 issues on the Amherst campus, it had a free date on its calendar. Virginia was more than happy to oblige. Army was still able to play a top-20 opponent, and UVA managed to get another game under its belt before playing Loyola.
Even though Army scored first on its first possession, UVA rattled off the next three and did not lose grip of the game. The Cavaliers started with Matt Moore, Ian Laviano, and Payton Cormier down at attack, which pushed Connor Shellenberger and Charlie Bertrand up to the midfield. And this doesn’t even factor in actual midfielders like Dox Aitken yet. Basically, this lineup will be a major handful for defenses to deal with. The starting attack alone accounted for an 11 combined points.
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.
Games scheduled: 22
Games played: 18 (81.8%)
Games played as scheduled: 16 (72.7%)
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 – Postponed, date TBD
2/13 Mount St. Mary’s v VMI – Postponed, date TBD
2/13 Cleveland St v Marquette – Canceled
Future Games Known to be Affected:
2/16 Bellarmine v North Carolina – Postponed
2/18 Bellarmine v High Point – Postponed
2/20 UMass vs UMass Lowell – Canceled
2/23 Bellarmine v Robert Morris – Postponed
This Week’s Games
Delaware v Mount St. Mary’s (CAA v NEC)
Ohio State v Johns Hopkins (Big Ten)
Robert Morris v Bucknell (Ind v Patriot)
Mount St. Mary’s v Navy (NEC v Patriot)
Duke v Towson (ACC v CAA)
Providence v St. John’s (Big East)
Delaware v NJIT (CAA v AE)
Georgetown v Villanova (Big East)
Utah v Air Force (Ind v SoCon)
UMBC v Saint Joseph’s (AE v NEC)
Bryant v Stony Brook (NEC v AE)
VMI v Colgate (SoCon v Patriot)
Virginia v Loyola (ACC v Patriot)
Jacksonville v Mercer (SoCon)
Michigan v Maryland (Big Ten)
Penn State v Rutgers (Big Ten)
Denver v Marquette (Big East)
Hofstra v Sacred Heart (CAA v NEC)
Army v Syracuse (Patriot v ACC)
North Carolina v Richmond (ACC v SoCon)
Albany v Lehigh (AE v Patriot)
What to Watch
It may go without saying, but all three Big Ten games are at the top of the list. And I do mean all three.
Maryland is trying to show it belongs in the conversation with the other ACC teams for the top spot in the country (which is pretty much a certainty), Rutgers and Michigan are aiming to prove this is the year they break through into the top of the conference, Ohio State is looking to recapture its Final Four run that’s fading into the past, Penn State is entering the post-Ament era, and good old Hopkins has a new coach at the helm and looking to get its program back on track. Storylines across the board!
This week, we’ll also see some teams in their first games, like Syracuse, Navy, Albany, Lehigh, Georgetown, and Villanova. There’s fortunately still a healthy amount of non-conference action happening before nearly everyone keeps things in-house for a bit.
Week 0 DI Rundown
Miss out on last week’s rundown? Get caught up on the previous weekend here!