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OVERREACTIONS: Division 1 Lacrosse Week 1

Back by popular demand! For those who are new readers, or old readers or who simply need a refresher, I’m the writer who makes outlandish Division 1 Lacrosse takes after every weekend of the college lacrosse season. ESPN’s Dan Graziano is one of my favorite columnists, and every week during the NFL season he publishes an article known as “Overreaction Mondays.” Graziano will make bold statements to either agree with or refute. It’s a fun way to stay engaged with the sport midweek and escape the responsibilities of the real world. Do I agree with every overreaction claim? No. Is it an entertaining way to spark debate? Absolutely. Losses from No.2 Maryland and No.3 Georgetown provides a great excuse to jumpstart extreme takes. Let’s overreact to some Division 1 Lacrosse!

Hopkins Is Back… for Real This Time

One thing was made abundantly clear at Homewood Field, Russell Melendez has arrived. Scoring the first three goals for the Blue Jays and adding another crucial 4th quarter goal, Mellendez was a can’t miss player. I’ve been raving about this kid for months, and he’s making me look pretty good. Cheers. Jacob Angelus (4A) was pivotal in the win as a pass-first attackman. Garrett Degnon and Jonathon Peshko added a hat-trick each, respectively. Although it’s only February, it’s arguably Peter Milliman’s most signature win in blue and black.   

The Jacksonville win looks even more impressive after upsetting Duke for a second consecutive year. Duke is no stranger to losing headscratchers in February, but the Jacksonville win will look nice on the resume down the stretch and will positively affect the always-important RPI rating. At the very least, Saturday’s win silences the critics and instills a level of hope Hopkins fans haven’t felt since Joey Epstien arrived on campus in 2018. 

The Verdict: Overreaction

I think poll voters may have overcorrected Hopkins’ ranking as an ode to excluding the Jays in the preseason. Sure, there’s plenty to be excited about at Homewood Field. Hopkins has defeated two top-20 teams including the former No.3 ranked Hoyas, but Inside Lacrosse has Hopkins at No.6 and US Lacrosse Magazine ranks them at No.5. Hopkins has two of the biggest wins in this young season, but there’s no shot they’re better than Maryland, Rutgers, Ohio State, and Penn. I’m not buying it just yet.

Tuesday’s home game vs North Carolina on ESPNU becomes a must-watch for lacrosse fans everywhere. Our very own Quint Kessenich will be on the call. 

Maryland’s Offense Will Be a Work in Progress Until Big Ten Play

Nothing looked right for the Terps against the young and hungry Loyola Greyhounds; All-American Logan McNaney only made 5 saves off 17 shots on goal, on-ball defense was a mess, and Owen Murphy didn’t register a point. The only constant was Luke Weirman (18-22) and his ability to win faceoffs at will. 

The loss of Eric Malever was heavily felt in the loss. Malever, who suffered a season-ending knee injury during fall-ball, will return to the Terps next spring but there’s not a clear X attackman to replace him in the meantime. Owen Murphy and Daniel Maltz don’t exactly have the dodging ability to challenge a No.1 defenseman, and Daniel Kelly primarily serves as a wing-shooter. Whether it was Jared Bernhardt, Matt Rambo, or Connor Kelly, Maryland always had an alpha attackman to lean on to win one-on-one matchups and carry the load. That doesn’t seem to be the case this year.

The Verdict: NOT an Overreaction 

In a twisted way, I believe Coach Tillman and members within the Maryland community are somewhat okay with an early season loss. Now, that doesn’t mean they’re content with losing, especially to in-state rival Loyola, but ending a regular season win streak of 1,089 days takes pressure off the reigning Division 1 Lacrosse National Champions. 

Duke has created a tradition of losing in February, and with the exception of last year, making deep NCAA tournament runs come May. I’m sure Owen Murphy isn’t thrilled his younger brother, Luke, will hold family bragging rights for stealing a win in his first-collegiate game. 

But let’s face it, the offense struggled to string together solid possessions. The attack group doesn’t possess the same dodging threat as usual, so the midfield group will need to shoulder more of the work. I don’t doubt the Terps offense will eventually click, but it’s not going to happen by the end of the month. It’ll take time, but after all, it’s still Maryland. 

Georgetown Is Not a True National Championship Contender

Expectations have never been higher in D.C. since landing the No.1 transfer class. An historic 15-1 regular season and the No.2 seed in the NCAA Tournament came to a screeching halt as Delaware earned the 2022 Cinderella status. It was a postseason to forget. 

Georgetown opened their 2023 campaign in painstakingly similar fashion to their NCAA first-round defeat. Blown multi goal fourth-quarter leads are becoming a trend. Are these just mere coincidences or is it something more? 

The Verdict: Overreaction

I’m still a believer in Georgetown. The Hoyas still have one of the best five rosters in the country, and everyone is still learning the gel together. Tucker Dordevic, Brian Minicus, and Jacob Kelly all played well. Danny Hincks will see better days in cage, and known quantities like TJ Haley and Declan McDermott hardly made an impact. Rome wasn’t built in a day. This team is simply too good to rule out.

On the other hand, the upcoming schedule doesn’t get any easier. Georgetown hosts reigning midfielder of the year Sam Handley and the Penn Quakers this weekend, and they’re set to face Notre Dame and Princeton in consecutive weekends. We’ll learn a lot about this Georgetown team in the coming weeks, but we must remind ourselves, championships aren’t won in February.