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 will be releasing a weekly podcast on Lacrosse All Stars.
The first big weekend of the college lacrosse season is officially in the books. Some teams were able to live up to expectations where others weren’t so fortunate. Some minor changes in this week’s Top 20 compared to last week, but it certainly is change to say the least.
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QUINT KESSENICH’S TOP 20: February 7
The Tweetie birds got nine points from Mike Robinson in a 19-9 win over NJIT. JP Ward and Clay Miller found rope multiple times. The Hens faceoff against the Mount on Saturday between the hedges in Delaware Stadium.
The Arthropods play North Carolina on Friday at 5pm on the ACCNetwork. This Spider program has a poisonous bite that can take down highly ranked big named teams. They have personnel question marks on defense, but should be strong on attack with Ryan Lanchbery and Dalton Young. Head coach Dan Chemotti and assistants Paul Richards, John Hogan, and volunteer Jason Archbell, take a back seat to no one.
18: Johns Hopkins
The Homewood Field food trucks ran out of hot dogs before halftime on Saturday. That just can’t happen.
The Jays defense played well in their season opening win against Jacksonville. The shorties have improved and the close unit and rope seemed to be on the same page. Hopkins now has 998 all-time victories. The offense lacks dodgers and clearing wasn’t smooth which is expected in February. Jack Keogh and Connor DeSimone looked sharp on offense. The band was in mid-season form, belting out ‘Crazy Train’ by Ozzy Osbourne. The freshman class made little impact.
‘We Want More’ hits the road twice this week to Towson on Friday at 6pm and then they face Georgetown on Sunday at 1pm in DC. It’ll be Hopkins first trip to the swamp and second all-time meeting against the Hoyas.
The Tigers host Monmouth on Saturday at 1pm. Seven freshmen were included in the InsideLacrosse Power 100. Princeton head coach Matt Madalon announced Jamie Atkinson, George Baughan, Chris Brown, Erik Peters, and Andrew Song as captains.
The Bulldogs last year went 9-4 winning the NEC and are a strong favorite to repeat. Marc O’Rourke is a player to keep an eye on this year. The senior attackman from Hingham is a top Premier Lacrosse League prospect. He missed the first eight games of 2021 due to myocarditis and then posted 25 points in the final five games. In 2020 he had 33 points in seven games.
“He’s a former HS hockey player in New England, a very good one… with strong wrists and hands. He can get off shots with his left hand through defensive pressure. Marc a high volume shooter and very tough physically.”
– ESPN Analyst Paul Carcaterra
Bryant plays Providence on February 12th at noon.
Dragon-breath opens at UMBC on Feb 19th. They’ve been picked by the league’s head coaches to repeat as CAA Champions. That’s usually the kiss of death.
The Pioneers’ defense made the final stop on Saturday in Salt Lake City to claim a 14-13 victory at Utah. Teddy Sullivan and JJ Silstrop scored four goals apiece in a game played in Rice-Eccles Stadium in front of 2,127 fans. Denver has won ten straight season openers. Cole French made 12 saves in the win.
Denver welcomes Air Force to town on Saturday at 12pm MT.
The Hounds have struggled in their pre-season scrimmages – particularly in faceoffs, turnovers, and team defense. Not sure what to make of that without seeing the actual tape and evaluating who did or didn’t dress and run shifts. Gang Green has a very taxing non-conference schedule and Loyola plays at Maryland on February 12th and at Hopkins on February 19th.
The Big Red host Albany on February 19th at 2pm on ESPN+. Cornell’s attack trio is one of the most dangerous in the country with Michael Long, CJ Kirst, and John Piatelli.
Here are two books that are mandatory reading this spring semester – ‘The Hard Hat: 21 Ways to be a Great Teammate’ by Jon Gordon, and ‘We Showed Baltimore’ by Christian Swezey.
The Quakers play Georgetown on February 19th at noon in Franklin Field on ESPN+. Dylan Gergar had a huge 2020 abbreviated season with 23 points in five games. Coach Mike Murphy named five captains for 2022 – Ben Bedard, Piper Bond, Dylan Gergar, Sam Handley, and Theo Lenz.
The Black Knights have made 17 NCAA tournament appearances. They went 7-4 in 2021 and bring back a nucleus thats capable of winning the Patriot League. Army tends to start strong at the beginning of the campaign but haven’t played their best ball in April and May. Since 2015, Army is 15-17 in the month of April and 3-5 in the month of May.
Lehigh scrimmaged Towson on Saturday in preparation for a February 12th date with NJIT in Newark. Lehigh went 10-2 in 2021 securing their first NCAA tournament bid since 2014. It was a terrific year with a sudden ending. They were not competitive with Rutgers in a home loss in the round of 16. That experience, the success and the failure, becomes motivation this spring.
The team credo is ‘Win Today”, a saying that defines the blue-collar work ethic of this program. This is now a veteran roster that includes a senior only starting defense, FOGO Mike Sisselberger, attackman Tommy Schelling, and LSM Teddy Leggett.
Bada bing, bada bang, bada boom. RU handled LIU 15-6 last weekend as Penn transfer Mitch Bartolo scored five times. Rutgers took 51 shots and worked for a 2/1 ground ball advantage. The Jersey boys host Marist on Wednesday at 3pm. Be careful with mid-week games as anything goes on wacky Wednesday.
7: North Carolina
The Heels square off against Richmond on Friday at 5pm on the ACCNetwork. I’ll be working this game and it certainly is one worth watching. Carolina is likely to start an untested defense of Paul Barton, Evan Bullotta and Maxwell Cooney. That’s two freshmen and a sophomore. It’ll be interesting to see midfielders like Antonio DeMarco, Ty English, and the Scherzinger brothers (Henry & Harrison) operate.
Righty Chris Gray runs the show on attack and I like Carolina’s rope unit. This will be a stern early season test on Franklin Street. The SoCon Spiders are ready to sting.
Yale had a pair of scrimmages on Saturday against Hobart and Fairfield. My spies indicate that the Yale defense wasn’t elite. The 2018 NCAA champions scrimmage RIT on February 12. The Bulldogs will finally play a real game on February 19th, welcoming Villanova to New Haven. Go easy on the pizza.
5: Notre Dame
Rudy scrimmaged Cleveland State on Sunday inside the cozy walls of Loftus, aka the Thunderdome. Irish play Detroit Mercy on Saturday February 19 at 7pm on ACCNetwork.
The Blue Devils smoked Robert Morris 21-12 on Friday in the Bull City, jumping out to a commanding 10-3 lead after one stanza. The offense is stacked with talent – Brennan O’Neil, Dyson Williams, freshman Andrew McAdorey, Joe Robertson, Sean Lulley, Aidan Danenza, Grant Mitchell and others. There are a plenty of mouths to feed and the initial impression is that the puzzle parts may fit better in 2022. The defense was a bit head scratching at times during this game, lacking basic IQ and making poor decisions in the gray areas.
Blue Devils defeated Vermont 15-7 on Sunday at Koskinen. This game featured a better Duke defense and was physical in the half-court. Dyson Williams had the hat trick. Joe Robertson chipped in four points. Goalie Mike Adler was locked in making 15 saves for 68%.
Duke will benefit greatly from these two contests as they don’t have fall or spring scrimmages against outside competition. The film session early this week will be full of lessons. Dino’s Devils host Manhattan on Friday and Jacksonville on Sunday, in another double dip weekend.
The Hoyas sharpened their claws in a scrimmage against UMBC on Saturday. They open with Johns Hopkins on Sunday at 1pm from Cooper Field in the swamp. Wisey’s is your best option for pre-game grub and tailgate supplies. They have a fantastic Oreo cookie that Coach Kevin Warne certainly enjoys. The best two sandwiches are Burger Madness and Chicken Madness.
For those looking to have a Sunday Sunday, Tombs is right next to campus and you’ll find the Hoya faithful there before and after the contest. For those tailgating your best spots will be outside McDonough Arena or the Thompson Athletic Center. Weather looks decent for what will be a big day in the swamp.
The Terrapins put up 21 goals in a season opening mauling of High Point in front of 1,635 frigid fans. Maryland came ready to play jumping out to a 6-1 lead after 15 minutes. Logan Wisnauskas led the Terps with eight points. Transfers Keegan Khan (6 points) and Owen Murphy (4 goals) made strong debuts. The Terps dominated the first and third quarters while the Panthers had success in the second and fourth-quarters. Maryland is now 93-3-1 all-time in season openers winning 29 straight.
“Be the Best” tackles Loyola next on Saturday February 12 at noon on BigTenPlus.
Nothing like a championship ring or banner hanging ceremony to rob a player and team of its mental edge. Air Force led Virginia 3-0 on Saturday after the first quarter. UVA would wake-up out of its celebratory slumber to score 21 goals in claiming a 21-11 win at Klockner Stadium.
The Cavaliers exploded for 10 goals in the second quarter. Payton Cormier the “Oakville Ox” and Xander Dickson both scored four goals. Connor “Shelly” Shellenberger added seven points. Virginia appears committed to a fierce ride in 2022 as Air Force cleared just 14 of 27 times. Not sure I’ve ever seen a clearing stat that ugly. Freshman goalie Matt Nunes collected his first career victory.
UVA faces High Point on Sunday February 13th at 3pm on ACCNetwork in a double-header with the women’s program who’s playing Cal.
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