Wins matter. It’s only February. Wins matter. Conference play is only just beginning. Wins matter. The 2022 selection committee made a statement last year putting in six Ivy League teams in the NCAA Tournament and having only one ACC earn an at-large bid. Wins matter. The Big Ten and ACC received the message loud and clear. They lead all conferences in quality wins to start the season. Let’s start by looking at the conference that was hurt the most in 2022; the ACC.
Virginia was the sole ACC representative in 2022. The Cavaliers are off to a fast start knocking off Michigan and Ohio State (B1G) along with Harvard (Ivy League). Notre Dame and Duke earned signature February lacrosse wins knocking off Georgetown (Big East) and Penn (Ivy League). UNC split against Johns Hopkins and Ohio State. Those are six big wins for a conference that was lacking quality wins in 2022.
The Big Ten had the second-best non-conference record in 2022, but only earned two at-large bids in addition to their AQ. Maryland bounced back from a loss to Loyola to defeat Syracuse (ACC) and Princeton (Ivy League) in back-to-back weeks. Ohio State (UNC), Penn State (Yale), and Johns Hopkins (Georgetown) each have added a quality win to give the Big Ten five quality wins in the young season.
Which conference is third in quality wins? If you guessed the Patriot League you are correct. Loyola started February on a tear before cooling off Saturday in Piscataway. The Hounds knocked off Maryland and Johns Hopkins to earn themselves and the conference two quality wins. The Ivy League has only one, Penn’s win over Georgetown.
We still have two months of play before the tournament begins in May. It’s already shaping up to be a helluva fight.
Grab your stick, it’s time to hit the wall!
Notre Dame Lacrosse Statement Win
Notre Dame had a bad taste in their mouth after last year’s loss to Georgetown. The Irish spotted the Hoyas a 9-2 first-half lead and were unable to close the gap in the second half. The Irish didn’t wait on Saturday, racing out to a 9-3 lead before putting the Hoyas away in the second half and securing a 15-8 win. Eric Dobson, Chris Kavanagh, and Reilly Gray each had three goals for the Irish. The February woes continue for the Hoyas. Georgetown is 0-4 and looks out-of-sorts on offense. Tucker Dordevic had only one goal. Dordevic teams (he played for Syracuse last year) have not won a game since March 26, 2022. It’s not quite time to panic, but a change of pace or scheme may be in order for the Hoyas. The Notre Dame lacrosse transfers showed there may be no I in the team, but there is definitely a Brian Tevlin.
Princeton #BeTheBested Again
Princeton shook off a slow start Tuesday against Manhattan to come back for the win. They were not as lucky on Saturday against the Terps. Daniel Maltz had four goals for the Terps as they took down the Tigers 11-5 for the third time in the last two years. Princeton looked to gain momentum after a goal in the third quarter, but Maryland Head Coach John Tillman called for a stick check on Princeton’s FOGO Tyler Sandoval. The stick was found to be illegal and the Terps went man-up for the next three minutes and took with it any hopes of a Tiger’s comeback. Hats off to Brown’s Larken Kemp for a golden Ivy League chirp.
Yale Comes Out Cold
Yale was tied with Penn State 1-1 early in the first quarter. Penn State would then go on a 7-0 run and put Yale in comeback mode for the rest of the game. This is the second straight year that Yale’s defense has been seemingly nonexistent. Hats off to Penn State, who mixed in a zone to stifle the talented Bulldog offense for most of the day. Matt Traylor led Penn State with five goals and an assist. Chris Lyons had four goals for Yale.
Duke Outlasts Penn
Duke had another strong first half and was up 8-3 at the half. Unlike two weeks ago in Jacksonville, Duke held on to the 14-12 win, despite being outscored 9-6 in the second half. Andrew McAdorey and Dyson Williams each had three goals to lead the Blue Devils. Cam Rubin and Dylan Gergar each had three goals in the loss for Penn. Sam Handley was held to a single goal for the second week in a row. The big right-hander just seemed to have difficulty getting the ball in space or getting his hands free throughout the game.
UVA Clamps Down on Defense
Virginia was once again impressive on offense Saturday night in Naples. The Cavaliers dispatched Ohio State 17-6, but it was their defense that put on a show. Payton Cormier basked in the Florida sun and finished the day with 7 goals. The Cavalier defense was stout in the win. The Buckeyes ended the game with 23 turnovers to Virginia’s 12. The Cavaliers also had a 45-33 shot advantage. Virginia is one of the deepest and most talented teams in the country. They have great depth and are now starting to put it all together. Ricky Mizen had a nice hustle play for Virginia.