Tons of excellent lacrosse action this weekend! Man, I love the Spring! I caught the Syracuse-Virginia game on Friday night. Then watched it again on Saturday morning. Then I watched the Hopkins – Princeton game in the early afternoon. More on all of that later on in the post. College lax on TV is awesome, but I’ve got some ideas to make it better. They involve less Hopkins games.
Tried to watch Salisbury – Gettysburg on ESPN3.com, but stupid Cablevision of New York doesn’t allow it. Cablevision: providing crappy service since… forever. Not like any of the other carriers are any better. They all charge too much and have bad service. If it weren’t for lacrosse, I’d quit television. I did catch Chapman – Michigan on the ol’ interbox thanks to CollegeLax. The feed was decent for reading formations but I could only tell when it was a goal because the net moved. In other words, I couldn’t see the ball. Still, MUCH better than no feed at all. Good on ya, Sonny!
Cuse – Virginia
Great game. Physical, fast, up and down lacrosse that resulted in a number of great goals both in settled 6-on-6 and in transition. This is how the game was meant to be played. Emotions were high all night and at the end, there were some moments of bad behavior, but that’s almost to be expected in a back and forth game like this, especially in a #1 vs. #2 match-up in the Dome.
I would say both teams did an EXCELLENT job of keeping their players in check, and when that failed, the refs performed admirably. Any time it looked like things could get out of control, the refs stepped right in. Great, game, great reffing and it could easily be a preview of the National Championship game. Both teams reached back into their bag of tricks uniform-wise and the retro unis were especially excellent on Cuse. Like I said, this is how lacrosse should be played!
More SU-UVa Photos on Laxpower
Tim Desko just straight up finished. He looked great. Jojo Marasco was creative and controlling. A clear leader out there in the #22 jersey. Jeremy Thompson was still, in my opinion, Cuse’s most valuable asset. Face-offs, clearing, creating offense where there was none… the kid does it all. Galloway and the Cuse D looked solid against the tough Wahoo O, but Joel White struggled a little with Shamel Bratton. It makes sense. When a LSM is used to being as fast or faster than anyone he covers, his style of play reflects that. Bratton is probably the only guy faster than White so the next time these two match up, expect White to play SB a little differently.
Princeton – Johns Hopkins
A lot of people thought the Hop was “back” after they destroyed Delaware and Siena. Not so fast. Hopkins has much better athletes than either of those teams. Their dodge the alley, cycle and repeat offense will work very well against teams like this and they can continue to crush weaker teams. The problem is when they face a team that is very well prepared for their predictable O… AND has the athletes to run with Hop. Princeton is one such team.
Tyler Fiorito was eating up the alley dodge shots all day. He wasn’t even phased. Wharton never got going thanks to solid pressure and guys like Palmer, Greeley and Rangan are constrained by the Hop O and therefore can’t truly be creative. In the NLL and MLL, offense is a player’s game. Things happen so quickly that the players must be trusted to make good decisions and practice should revolve around themes, not schemes. This is true for youth to Pro. Hopkins does schemes. Again, this is fine against weaker teams, but simply won’t work with a team like the Tigers.
Hopkins’ boring and anemic offense wasn’t the most surprising thing in this game though. A stagnant O from Petro is nothing new. Right now he just doesn’t have a player like Harrison or Rabil to be his magic bullet. Maybe in 1 or 2 years Ranagan or Greeley will be that guy, but for now, they’re not quite there.
The most surprising thing in this game were both the headshots AND the lack of calls from the refs. I was really kind of shocked actually. Both teams delivered hits to the head without even so much as a penalty called, let alone a locked-in 2 or 3 minute penalty. I’m not sold on the rule yet, but if it’s a rule and if the refs have been instructed to call it, they should do so. The Duke-Notre Dame game saw a couple that went unpunished and so did this game. Refs need to call it, or the NCAA needs to scrap it. But this is getting ridiculous.
More Princeton – Johns Hopkins Photos on Laxpower
Chapman – Michigan
Michigan won 11-8 and it looks like it was one heck of a game. I watched it but can only say it looked like one heck of a game because the feed wasn’t that great. From what I could see, Chapman relies on their attack heavily and their O mids didn’t do a great job of dealing with pressure. For a team looking to knock off Chaptown, pole their mids and lock off their attack. Then push transition because Chapman’s D is really quite talented.
Michigan isn’t killing people, but they ARE winning tight games. This will only help them in their quest for yet another National Championship. They’re beatable this year, but maybe more battle tested than in the past. It could be very hard to sneak up on the Wolverines come tourney time in Denver!
CityLax Gala is only 4 days away!
The CityLax Annual Gala, which serves as a huge fundraiser for the Inner-City Lacrosse Program, is rapidly approaching. Great little article on Inside Lacrosse about the program and the event! If you’re in the NYC area and want to go, it’s not too late to sign up!
DIII Action hits hard and fast! Quick Recap…
Salisbury and Stevenson cruised in their wins. Cortland’s D was outstanding in their win over Union (again! Man, this D call really play!) and Tufts has yet to see action. The NESCAC opens on the 12 of March. Bates got smoked by Keene, then smoked Lasell. The Lazers are still pretty bad it seems. Wesleyan beat Salve Regina but didn’t run zone once in the game. Are we seeing a changing of defensive allignments in Middletown? Doubt we’ll know anything from the Maritime game, but the Bowdoin game on March 12th will really tell us if this team is good (like I think they can be) or bad (like SwankLax thinks).
Carthage is still destroying below average teams. I got to see some film from Carthage thanks to 412 and while they are decidedly NOT a Top 20 team yet, they could be in a year or two. Unfortunately, Carthage literally plays ZERO “good” games in 2011. Carthage, test yourselves in 2012 against someone legit! Can’t wait to see it! I’m always praying for teams from non-traditional areas (Whittier, Southwestern, Centenary (someday soon at least)) to do well in DIII. It will be good for the sport.
More Headshot Nonsense
Evidently Jay Card of Hofstra put a big hit on John Rose of Harvard this weekend. I’ve heard Rose just dropped (and this is from a Hofstra fan) and when he walked off the field, he stumbled and was clearly majorly concussed. IL was live-blogging the game and this is what they had to say:
So did he walk off or not? If he didn’t, it seems like IL minimizing the trauma a bit. I heard Rose was down. And not just for 10-20 seconds. I don’t want them to sensationalize it, and I’m certainly not trying to start a fight, but the issue must be pressed. If we truly believe that concussions and headshots need to be watched more, then it is everyone’s responsibility to act. This starts with the NCAA and the refs and goes through the coaches, players and yes, the media. I didn’t see the game, so I can’t really comment, but the headshot issue just seems to get swept under the rug a little too often, especially when it’s this fresh. I really hope some kid doesn’t have to die for people to take this issue more seriously.
Ok, back to good things…
Quick MCLA Round Up
Boston College beat up Texas A&M quite a bit and then got dominated themselves when they played Arizona State. These scores really do show the differences between the tiers of teams in the top 40 of the MCLA. Truly top teams are definitely heads above the next level down. There are still upsets and close games, but the MCLA is seeing less opportunity for teams to have a meteoric rise.
Cal Poly, Colorado, Idaho and UCSB all performed as expected and Oregon finally got a win over Sonoma State by a score of 9-5. A couple more of these wins and the Michigan loss becomes a better loss. The Ducks need to keep winning though. Another bad loss and it may be too much. Then again, the polls are clearly less than perfect, so who knows? The point is that everyone needs to keep winning if they want to be in for sure, and that’s the best way to have it.
Division 1 NCAA Rumblings
Army looks impressive. A nice win over Cornell this past weekend and their loss to ZooMass seems better too, especially when you consider UMass’ exceptional start to the season. Hopkins is a huge question mark, Princeton looks good but not great, Hofstra is intriguing, Loyola could fit in anywhere from #5 to #15 and the ACC is all kinds of crazy. UNC is still only looking ok, Duke looked bad, Maryland looked great and then Duke beat Maryland. Virginia is clearly the top dog, but their D clearly has some holes and weaknesses, particularly off-ball, that can be exposed.
The Ivy League is wide open, Syracuse looks like the clear #1 and Notre Dame is definitely legit. Penn State dropped a close one to Ohio State (who is making a serious push in 2011!) and will need a year or two to change under Tambroni IMHO. Ohio State is looking like the biggest darkhorse of all-time right now. We’ll see if they can keep it up. Would be great for lacrosse to have OSU as a traditionally strong program moving forward.
The NLL Is MINE!
I’m 5 for 5 on my NLL picks this week. If Boston wins, perfection. I was 23-13 before this weekend. I’d love to be 29-13 in my picks. That would just be too much. I’ll even take 28-14, should Boston lose. I just don’t think they will!
My photo blog from New Orleans last weekend was good. Jeff’s photo blog from Las Vegas’ Best of the West Tournament was very good. Either way, congratulations to us for putting together such excellent live content!
BYU – Minnesota Duluth Highlights
Presented without comment. Ok, one comment. 412, the Flag is kind of nice, ok?
UMass – Brown Highlights
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Loyola – Bellarmine Highlights
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Tim Desko has magic hands