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Quint Kessenich’s Top 20: April 11, 2022

Quint Kessenich being the latest contributor to the Lacrosse All Stars’ team means that he will be releasing his weekly Top 20 rankings every Monday. Quint Kessenich covers lacrosse for the ESPN networks and hosts the Quintessential Podcast on Lacrosse All Stars.

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Quint Kessenich’s Top 20

20) Brown (6-4)

The Bears clawed their way back into the discussion with a 12-10 win over Penn. Ryan Aughavin, Devon McClane, and Reed Moseyedi led the way with 4 points apiece. Penn led 5-0 before a 7 goal second quarter tied the game at 7-7 going into halftime. Brown State, (1-2) in the Ivy, hosts Yale on Saturday. 

19) Denver (6-5)

The Pios hockey team won the national title on Saturday night in Boston. The lacrosse team won a critical Big East game with a score of 12-10 at Villanova. Goalie Jack Thompson made 15 saves and Jack Hannah scored a hat trick. DU has wins over Utah, Air Force, Canisius, Ohio State, Towson, and Nova. The Big East automatic qualifier is their only pathway into the NCAA tournament. 

18) Saint Joseph’s (9-2)

1,070 raucous fans in the Hawks nest witnessed a barn burner between Bryant and St. Joe’s. The hometown Hawks held on, winning 11-10 to remain unbeaten in the NEC. Hawks nation rejoiced as Tucker Brown scored 4 times. They sharpen their talons at LIU on Saturday at noon. The Sharks have a strong defense. They still have a date with Penn on Tuesday April 26th for the city of brotherly love bragging rights. 

17) Harvard (7-2)

The Crimson, a product of their soft schedule, never got in stride, falling behind 10-1 in a lopsided loss in Ithaca. Their seven game win streak may have been a mirage. Harvard still has dates at Penn, Princeton, and at Yale. They’ve beaten Colgate, Dartmouth, BU, Brown, Michigan, Fairfield, and NJIT. That’s not an NCAA at-large worthy resume, I don’t care how high their Ivy inflated RPI is. They’ll need to find another win or two to be in consideration. 

16) High Point (6-5)

The Panthers handled VMI on Friday 16-5. The Kings of Social Media are at Hampton on Friday and still must play Richmond in the regular season. Important to note, the the SoCon Conference Championship will be played at Vert Stadium, in High Point, NC on May 5th and 7th, a pre-determined site. 

15) Richmond (6-5)

The Spiders followed up their epic win over Virginia with a close loss at Jacksonville. Richmond had their eight game win streak against Jacksonville come to an end. The game slipped away in the middle stages, down 13-6 in the second half, before the Spiders scored the final 5 goals of the game. Ryan Lanchbury had 6 points. Luke Frankeny, a transfer from the Mount, scored 3 times. 

Spiders have wins over Virginia, Marist, Towson, St Bonaventure, UMBC, and Hampton with losses to ranked Jacksonville, North Carolina, Duke and Georgetown. Their resume is not at-large worthy and they’ll have to win the SoCon to play in the NCAA tournament. Mercer comes north this Saturday at 11am.

14) North Carolina (7-4)

Offensive issues plagued UNC in a 11-4 road loss in Charlottesville. They were held scoreless for 19:52 minutes and committed 17 turnovers on the afternoon. Four goals is the fewest by UNC since 2006. It was their fourth consecutive loss to Virginia. Chris Gray was a ray of sunshine with 3 goals and goalie Colin Krieg stood tall. Somebody else on offense needs to step up. Defender Evan Egan did a nice job on Connor Shellenberger. LSM Matt Wright did not play. Both FOGO’s are hobbling. The sub-par non-conference results for the ACC have put the league in a precarious position. The ACC needs Harvard to tank. You get the feeling that UNC, ND, and Duke have work to do, April wins are essential. 

The SU game looms large on Saturday at 4pm on ESPNU. This is a must win for North Carolina. The game will be called by Chris Cotter and Paul Carcaterra.

13) Duke (9-5)

The Blue Devils own losses to Jacksonville, Penn, Loyola, Syracuse, and Notre Dame – their at-large resume is fringe worthy. Their defense has been cringe worthy. The loss to Notre Dame on Saturday once again featured a slow start. Down 6-2, then 12-8, their spirited rally fell short. The 16-15 setback highlights just how many high quality scoring chances the Duke defense is giving up. Goaltending and extra-man made a big difference for the Irish. Reed Landin was a positive surprise with 3 goals.

Nakeie Montgomery finished with 5 points. He’s a Top 3 PLL draft pick – Chris Gray goes No.1 and with Matt Moore being injured perhaps Montgomery gets picked next. The Duke off-ball defense was ugly. Duke needs more wins to feel safe on Selection Sunday. Shocking that a team loaded with so many high profile recruits would be on the bubble.

Virginia plays at Duke on Thursday night at 6pm. (ACCN)

12) Penn (4-4)

The Quakers dropped one to Brown and put a major monkey wrench into their future. Looks like they have to beat Harvard and Dartmouth to make the league tournament. The stunning aspect of the loss was that Penn led 5-0 after the first quarter. Penn only put 10 shots on goal in the second half. 

Penn is 1-3 in the Ivy League. Harvard comes to Franklin Field on Saturday at 3:30pm and they finish their league slate with Dartmouth on April 23rd. After that, they have St Joe’s and Albany.

11) Army (9-2) 

The Black Knights scored 3 late goals to top Colgate 13-11 in front of 1,341 in historic Michie Stadium. The Raiders took an 11-10 lead with 3:56 to go. Comebacks are becoming the norm for Army. Brendan Nichtern scored unassisted to tie it at 11-11. Jacob Morin made it 12-11 and Paul Johnson added the insurance. Nichtern had his usual ho hum 6 point game. Bobby Abshire added 5 points. Army is 5-1 in the Patriot League battling with BU, Loyola, and Lehigh for the league AQ. The league appears to be AQ only admission into the NCAA tournament. Army is at Cornell on Saturday at 3pm. 

10) Notre Dame (4-4)

Rudy’s 16-15 win at Duke gets them to .500 and in the hunt for the remaining at-large bids with four games remaining. The ACC doesn’t have an AQ and there is no ACC tournament this spring, so these games mean a lot. The offense perked up, the passing much sharper as the Irish created high percentage looks, shooting 16 of 41, often from close range against a ball watching Duke defense.

Pat Kavanagh was the man of the match, directly involved in 7 goals. Wheaton Jackoboice found his shooting aim, he had 3 goals. Coach Kevin Corrigan started Jake Taylor on attack for the second week and he was rewarded with 4 points. The bench scoring was ample with Jeffery Ricciardelli, Morrison Mirer, FOGO Will Lynch and Will Angrick contributing. Duke cut it to 13-12 with 18:00 minutes remaining before Jackoboice, Eric Dobson and Lynch nailed key shots.

Irish bus up to Milwaukee to play Marquette on Tuesday. The chocolate covered bacon in the Cream City is a delight. Milwaukee is home to over 30 microbreweries. 

9) Jacksonville (10-2)

The Dolphins defeated Richmond, shooting nearly 40%, just a hair behind Maryland. Like the Terps, Rutgers, and Georgetown, this program has benefitted greatly from the influx of transfers. Those who ignore the new landscape of college sports will find themselves in the cellar. The win over SoCon rival Richmond was the first in program history. They built a 13-7 lead and held on. The 10 win season is also a first. Tyler Corpora, a grad transfer from Hartford, was the star with five points. 

Jax is at VMI next and then at Hampton on Sunday April 17. These conference games are unfortunately drains on the JU RPI. We promote and ask for growth, that is the addition of DI programs at new universities and colleges, yet the computerized system that is used to formulate the NCAA tournament selection penalizes teams from lower level leagues who support and foster this growth. We celebrate Hampton. We hope someday lacrosse will come back to Morgan State. We welcome Lindenwood. Just don’t play them. It’ll destroy your RPI. That’s a horrible way to operate. That’s wrong. It’s counter productive to the big picture. Jacksonville has wins over High Point, Denver, Duke, and Richmond with losses to Utah and Johns Hopkins. 

8) Ohio State (8-3)

Cold and rainy conditions in the Horse Shoe at Ohio State saw Hopkins control the early portion of the game yet the Jays shot 0-8 and had nothing to show for it. Hopkins was their own worst enemy in this game of tightly matched foes. The Jays tweaked their lineup once again, and until they address fundamentals like ground balls, clearing, shooting, and turnovers, will be stuck in the mud.

The 12-10 victory was accomplished via a 4-1 fourth quarter by the Buckeyes. Down 9-8, they capitalized on a Hopkins giveaway on a clear to tie the score. Then a JHU defender bent and broke his shaft on a cross check and had to drop his stick and run off the field. OSU struck again during the momentary 6 on 5 to tie the game and the momentum had fully swung in their favor. Hopkins had no answers on offense in the final 15 minutes.

Jack Myers and Jackson Reid were the MVPs for OSU. Myers continues to lead and carry the ball well. Reid is a crafty Ontario native who scores greasy goals from the slot. Coach Nick Myers benefitted from timely production from Johnny Wiseman and Connor Mitchell. This win means a lot because Ohio State maintains their spot at third in the Big Ten, they held serve, and now has notable resume wins over Harvard, Notre Dame, North Carolina, and Johns Hopkins – all teams that’ll likely be in the final Top 20 of the RPI, and all teams that could wind up on the NCAA at-large bubble. 

Coach Myers sent me and Mike Corey to The Thurman Cafe on Friday for dinner. The burgers and fries are supreme. The Thurman Cafe is a down home neighborhood dive in German Village that comes highly recommended for the quality of food, man-of-the-people ambiance, and friendly service. Coach also shared a video of the new stadium construction – a lacrosse only facility that is scheduled to be up and running in the spring of 2023. This is a terrific upgrade.

The Buckeyes are at Maryland on Saturday at 4pm. They finish with Michigan the following week and may play the Wolverines again in the Big Ten quarterfinals.

7) Cornell (9-1)

The Big Red used a 9-0 surge to dispatch Harvard 17-9 in front of 385 fans in Ithaca. They jumped out to a 10-1 lead over a Harvard team that failed its first Ivy road test. The attack unit of Michael Long, CJ Kirst and John Piatelli combined for 17 points. This win was imperative, resounding and impactful for the Cornell season, Ivy League, and national landscape. At a time when Cornell looked vulnerable, they delivered with a statement win.

Cornell is in the Dome tonight, Monday at 7pm on the ACC Network in a critical ACC-Ivy matchup. Anish Shroff and Ryan Boyle will be in the booth. Cornell and Army square off on Saturday. These contests are the last meaningful non-conference games of the season – the final cross pollination in a year that has seen the Ivy League do exceptionally well. 

6) Virginia (8-2)

The Cavaliers, dealing with injuries and coming off a loss to Richmond, bounced back with a defensive gem beating North Carolina 11-4 at Klockner Stadium in front of 3,500 adoring fans. I love the PA announcer on the hill. Goalie Matt Nunes made 13 stops and Payton Cormier scored 4 times. Midfielder Jeff Conner had 4 points. FOGO Petey LaSalla, who was in a sling all week was back in the lineup and battled for 56% but attackman Matt Moore sat this game out. Griffin Schutz filled in at attack. The defense delivered, especially shorties Jack Peele and Grayson Sallade. UVA is now 4-0 in the ACC and are 6-0 at home. The Wahoos are 19-2 following a loss for coach Lars Tiffany.  

Cavs are in Durham on Thursday night at 6pm on ACCN. This will be a must see television game. Chris Cotter and Paul Carcaterra will work the game. Virginia also plays Quinnipiac on Saturday night at 8pm on the ACC Network.

5) Yale (7-2)

The Bulldogs youth movement has been overwhelmingly successful. Coach Andy Shay opened his bench in a 22-15 mauling of Boston University. Nickerson Field was a no hunting zone on Tuesday. Yale won the second quarter 11-1, a program record for most goals in a quarter shooting for 11 of 18. For the first half Yale shot 18 of 28. Brought back memories of a similar TKO on May 25th, 2019 when Yale put up a 10 spot on Penn State in the first quarter. Matt Brandau had 9 points and continues to play himself into the Tewaraaton discussion. Chris Lyons, a first year attackman from Shawnee HS in New Jersey, has a hat trick in all four appearances. Shawnee has produced a few of my all-time favorites in Curtis Corley (MD 2019), Graham Gill (Navy 2005), and the “Shocker” Chris LaPierre (VA 2014). Toughness must be in the water.

The Eli’s continued their scoring spree, dusting Dartmouth 23-6 on Saturday. An 8-1 second quarter and 9-2 third quarter tell the tale. A 2-2 game suddenly became a 10-2 margin. 16 different Bulldogs scored in the team’s fourth straight win. Matt Brandau and Thomas Bragg had ha ttricks. Brandau finished with 6 points. Eddie Qu, Luke Eschbach, Jack Stuzin Johnny Keib and Carson Kuhl all contributed. The starting defense was Bryce De Muth, Michael Alexander and Chris Fake. Great to see net minder Jack Starr between the pipes late in this contest. Coach Andy Shay was able to play more than 40 members of the roster. Yale took 62 shots.

They are at Brown on April 16th. Top finisher in the Ivy hosts the league tournament.

4) Rutgers (9-2)

A loss to Maryland 17-9 on Sunday night is nothing to be ashamed of. Setbacks expose flaws and are a catalyst for growth. Great teams move forward after losses. Brian Cameron and Shane Knobloch were two positives. Knobloch can really shoot. I’d like to see him shoot overhand or 3/4 arm while on the run, he’d be unstoppable. NASCAR looked more like go carts.

Bada bing, bada bang, bada boom is at Michigan on Saturday at noon on ESPNU with Anish and I. It’s my first trip to Ann Arbor for a lacrosse game. 

3) Princeton (8-2) 

A dummy wing dodge by lefty Chris Brown sucks the defense into support roles, he spins the ball through point behind to Coulter Mackesy. The ball stays hot, out of his stick immediately to the weak side into the crosse of Sam English, who now can feast on a shorty making a long approach. The slide and second slide responsibilities get jumbled. English has the entire area free to iso against a shorty – he jab steps to his left, and turns up field getting to his preferred right hand and the middle of the field, turn and rake. Tiger goal. Princeton half-field patterns are a free-flowing, motion offense, where deception and dummy dodges set up live intended match-ups. Wicked stuff. 

Tigers rolled past Marist 18-7 on Tuesday night. After a slow start, they reeled off nine consecutive goals, holding the Foxes scoreless for 28:07. Marist LSM JT Roselle is a fun player to watch. Princeton is 21-0 all-time against teams currently in the MAAC. PU took 58 shots and was able to play 43 members of the roster, always positive for team morale. 

A 4-1 fourth quarter sealed a 12-7 Saturday victory over BU, a surprisingly low scoring game in a weekend where goal totals appeared to drop nationally. Princeton had been averaging 16.4 goals per game. The Tigers defense, which hasn’t been a team strength, did fantastic work limiting the Terriers. Lefty attack man Chris Brown dished out a career-high seven assists.  

After a two-win week, the Big Green are at Princeton this Saturday.

2) Georgetown (9-1)

The Swamp Dogs have won five straight, the latest being a 15-5 blowout at Providence. Graham “King Kong” Bunny scored 6 times. Connor Morin added 3 goals and the top scoring defense held the Friars to just 2 goals after 45 minutes, up 12-2 before subbing liberally. Goalie Owen McElroy did not play. Marquette visits the nations capital on Saturday.

1) Maryland (10-0)

The Terps played their first game in Maryland Stadium in 43 days, which features a 17-9 demolition of Rutgers in front of a national TV audience on BTN. Maryland has the best team in the nation, but that doesn’t necessarily equate to winning a national title. The best team doesn’t always win on Memorial Day, especially if they play in the later semifinal. If Maryland shows up in Hartford and doesn’t play their “A” game, they’ll lose. If they play well, they’ll win. Their odds in Vegas continue to plummet, now +150 as the strong chalk.

Transfers Keegan Khan (Nova), Jonathan Donville (Cornell), Logan Wisnauskas (SU), and Owen Murphy (JHU) scored 10 of the 17 goals. Defender Ajax Zappitello did outstanding work covering Ross Scott. FOGO Luke Wierman of the “Hog Pen” won 21 of 28 draws, scooping up just six grounders. The staff grinds and coaches the details. They do video breakdowns – charting face-off ball location off scrums, opponent paths, exits and angles – basically they crunch the data and win the 50/50’s ground balls because of a step or two in the right direction. In Wierman’s case this week, he was in complete control. 

In 2021, Maryland’s only loss was by one goal in the NCAA final. Since the start of 2020, Maryland is 30-2. Its not uncommon for a D1 lacrosse team to run the table. It happens, although seemingly less frequent as the sport grows.

  • Bucknell beat Army and finished a perfect 12-0 in 1996, only to be snubbed from the NCAA Tournament, Army got a bid
  • Virginia went 17-0 winning the 2006 NCAA title
  • Johns Hopkins went 16-0 in 2005
  • Princeton was 16-0 in 1997
  • North Carolina finished a perfect 16-0 in 1991
  • Syracuse was unbeaten in 1988 and 1990
  • Johns Hopkins went 14-0 in 1984
  • North Carolina was 12-0 in 1981 and 14-0 in 1982
  • Johns Hopkins went 13-0 in 1979
  • Cornell was 13-0 in 1977 and 16-0 in 1976

Maryland’s only Achilles Heel under coach John Tillman, has been playing on short rest. They’ve lost in the NCAA finals in 2011, 2012, 2015, 2016 and 2021. Saddled with the burden of playing in the late semifinal game on Saturday, too often they haven’t delivered a peak performance on one days prep. 

Terps play Ohio State on Saturday at 4pm.

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