Syracuse Stunned in Season Opener – DI Rundown Week 2
Army stunned Syracuse, North Carolina escaped two close calls, Georgetown made a statement and more unfolded in Week 2 of NCAA DI play.
Some teams still haven’t played, but we’re moving in the right direction. Finally, it feels like lacrosse season again.
Cancellations and reschedules are beginning to pile up, but the large majority of games are taking place at this point. The biggest news of the last week was the Ivy League canceling its league competition for this spring. While its statement does leave the door open for teams to schedule local out-of-conference games, Yale has already said it will not, and Terry Foy of Inside Lacrosse reported that Cornell has now joined the Bulldogs in that promise. So, while it’s possible, I wouldn’t expect much to happen with the remainder of the league.
Now, on to the teams that did play:
Army Shocks Syracuse in Season Opener – Week 2 DI Rundown
High Point 15 v North Carolina 17
Delaware 7 v Mount St. Mary’s 10
Ohio State 14 v Johns Hopkins 8
Mount St. Mary’s 5 v Navy 8
Duke 19 v Towson 7
Delaware 15 v NJIT 4
Utah 9 v Air Force 10
Bryant 8 v Stony Brook 14
Virginia 15 v Loyola 12
Jacksonville 12 v Mercer 11
Michigan 9 v Maryland 20
Penn State 9 v Rutgers 11
Denver 10 v Marquette 9
Hofstra 13 v Sacred Heart 6
Boston U 15 v Merrimack 12
Army 18 v Syracuse 11
North Carolina 14 v Richmond 9
Providence 16 v St. John’s 8
Georgetown 16 v Villanova 1
Robert Morris 17 v Colgate 14
This is the section of the rundown to keep track of how conferences are doing against each other. Intra-conference games are not part of the records below.
*2021 Independents: Utah, Robert Morris, Cleveland State, Hampton (2021 season is suspended)
Of course, the most notable games were the big upsets: Army over Syracuse and Rutgers over Penn State. But the close calls of High Point against UNC, Richmond against UNC, BU and Merrimack, and UVA versus Loyola were also of note. Then you have the commanding wins by Maryland, Georgetown, and Ohio State.
High Point v North Carolina
Starting with the first game of the week, the UNC-High Point meeting was the first of two between the in-state opponents. This was the first time this year that UNC was really put on its heels (pun not intended) by anyone. For certain stretches oft he game, High Point looked to really be in control. The Asher Nolting-led offense was proving too much for UNC to handle, and it wasn’t one-dimensional, either. Several scorers were getting involved, they were scoring in transition, creating opportunities off the ride, and scoring in 6-of-6 sets. It was truly impressive.
North Carolina v Richmond
North Carolina’s second game of the week was against Richmond, which was an interesting game for the most part. The two went back and forth, and while UNC had built up a handful of a lead around halftime, Richmond still fought its way back in the third before North Carolina took over and sealed up the win in the fourth. It was probably the least “dynamic” this offense has looked all year, but kind of like the Tar Heels did against High Point, I like how they found ways to score based on what was given to them. This is why UNC will be so tough this year. You can’t just shut off Chris Gray at X and expect to win. He moves around the field, and if you pay too much attention there, UNC has five other options. As long as its defense holds, this team can go far.
Boston U v Merrimack
The other close calls were won by BU and UVA. Boston was in its debut against nearby Merrimack, who gave the Terriers everything they could handle. Given BU’s success in the Patriot League as of late, Merrimack turning this into a true game bodes well for the recent DII squad. It’s also great to see a budding in-state rivalry start forming. But at the end of this game, BU was showing its experience. The Terriers closed out the last few minutes in expert fashion to score some buffer points but also burn every second of the clock that they could.
Virginia v Loyola
Virginia-Loyola is another one of those annual matchups that always produces something good. The Cavs were forced to fight out from a hole as Loyola showed it was not to be intimidated. But this may be something that UVA ( and Syracuse, more on that in a minute) will run into this year; it has so many options to score, it may not be obvious who needs to make the play and when. The big difference here was the UVA defense still did well at containing Loyola and getting the ball back up the field. Loyola was forced to be as efficient as possible, because the Cavaliers started dominating time of possession, ultimately giving them the win.
Army v Syracuse
Now, on to Syracuse. This was the debut for the Orange against the always-tough Army team coming off a game against UVA. Out of the gate, Cuse looked unstoppable. Tucker Dordevic scored three goals with two different hands, and the Cuse dodging across the board was incredible. It was also winning faceoffs, and Army seemed incapable of getting a save, a turnover, or anything positive for most of the first quarter. But that was one quarter. Once Army started getting the ball and letting Brendan Nichtern go to work, everything changed. The Black Knights exposed some major flaws on this Syracuse team. For Army’s side of the ball? It looks even better than last year, and this team looked really good last year. The problem year in and year out is if the Black Knights can maintain it for an entire season. If they do, the Patriot League could be a two or three bid league by season’s end.
Georgetown v Villanova
That now leaves us with Georgetown and the Big Ten. Georgetown put the Big East on serious notice with its win. Jake Carraway was a very known quantity going into this year, but exploding for eight goals in this game was incredible. What really stands out was holding Villanova, who came into the game at the No. 18 team in the country, to just a single goal.
Big Ten: Michigan v Maryland, Ohio State v Johns Hopkins, Penn State v Rutgers
In the Big Ten, Maryland’s win was expected but still impressive. Ohio State looked much stronger than I expected in its debut. To start the game, it seemed like there was not a single 1:1 matchup the Buckeyes didn’t like. The Terefenko and Leclaire duo will get the press, but players like Grant Mitchell, Griffin Hughes, and Jack Myers were major contributors to this win.
Last but not least was Penn State losing to Rutgers. Rutgers held Mac O’Keefe to just a single goal off of seven shots while its own duo of Adam Charalambides and transfer Connor Kirst combined for 11 points. You know it’s a good day for Rutgers when it can pull off a major upset like this and Kieran Mullins registers just a single goal off four shots and no assists. Rutgers has had so much potential year after year, but if this game is a sign of things to come, this could finally be its year.
I’ll be using this section to keep track of which games are postponed or canceled as the season goes on as that information will easily get lost in the shuffle. Every season always has a few games postponed or canceled due to weather or travel issues, but as you’ll see below, this season is already going to be quite a bit different.
Also note: the “Games Scheduled” will include new games added, which may make the percentages look different compared to the missed games listed below. For example: Colgate and Robert Morris both had games canceled, so they played each other, meaning there are two games cancelled but one game played as scheduled.
Games scheduled: 46
Games played: 38 (82.6%)
Games played as scheduled: 36 (78.3%)
2/13 Army v UMass – Canceled
2/13 Army v Virginia – Moved to 2/14 – PLAYED
2/13 Loyola v Richmond – Moved to 2/14 – PLAYED
2/13 Villanova v Delaware – Postponed, date TBD
2/13 Mount St. Mary’s v VMI – Rescheduled to 4/7
2/13 Cleveland St v Marquette -Canceled
2/16 Bellarmine v North Carolina – Postponed
2/18 Bellarmine v High Point – Postponed
2/20 UMass vs UMass Lowell – Moved to 2/23
2/20 Robert Morris v Bucknell – Canceled
2/20 UMBC v Saint Joseph’s – Canceled
2/20 VMI v Colgate – Canceled
2/21 Albany v Lehigh – Canceled
Future Games Known to be Affected
2/23 Bellarmine v Robert Morris – Postponed
2/27 Bellarmine v VMI – Rescheduled to 3/9
This Week’s Games
Bellarmine v Robert Morris (SoCon v Ind)
Saint Joseph’s v Delaware (NEC v CAA)
UMass vs UMass Lowell (CAA v NEC)
Towson v Mount St. Mary’s (CAA v NEC)
LIU v Sacred Heart (NEC)
Johns Hopkins v Michigan (Big Ten)
VMI v Bellarmine (SoCon)
Villanova v Marquette (Big East)
Providence v Denver (Big East)
Air Force v Duke (SoCon v ACC)
Vermont v Bryant (AE v NEC)
Towson v Richmond (CAA v SoCon)
Merrimack v Umass Lowell (NEC)
St. John’s v Georgetown (Big East)
Virginia v Syracuse (ACC)
Utah v Loyola (Ind v Patriot)
Saint Joseph’s v Army (NEC v Patriot)
NJIT v Lehigh (AE v Patriot)
Robert Morris v Notre Dame (Ind v ACC)
Bucknell v Colgate (Patriot)
Stony Brook v Hofstra (AE v CAA)
High Point v North Carolina (SoCon v UNC)
Wagner v LIU (NEC)
Maryland v Penn State (Big Ten)
Mount St. Mary’s v UMBC (NEC v AE)
UMass v Boston U (CAA v Patriot)
Rutgers v Ohio State (Big Ten)
Cleveland St v Mercer (Ind v SoCon)
Jacksonville v Navy (SoCon v Patriot)
What to Watch
UMass, Lehigh, and Notre Dame are three of the biggest names that I’m looking forward to seeing on the field for the first time this year. The other litmus test game is Syracuse versus Virginia. They almost always play incredibly close games, but Syracuse did not leave the field on Sunday bursting with confidence. Seeing how the Orange respond will be very interesting given the complications of matching up with UVA’s offense.
In the Big Ten world, the two big ones are Rutgers-Ohio State and Maryland-Penn state. The final one on Sunday between Navy and Jacksonville will help show how for real Jacksonville is.
Catch Up on the DI Rundown
This is the third DI Rundown of the season. If you want to see what you missed earlier in the campaign, you’ve come to the right place.