Grow the Game®

the takeoff syracuse orange
Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on linkedin
Share on reddit
Share on whatsapp

The Takeoff: NCAA Men’s Division I — Week 6

Welcome to the newest LAS feature for the NCAA Men’s Division I Lacrosse season, The Takeoff! This will be a weekly spot for the LAS crew to look ahead at the games coming up this weekend and weigh in on trends, teams, players or whatever else they feel like. The only rule of The Takeoff is each person has to give something trending up, and something trending down. The group may change slightly week to week, but we think you’ll like to see what each person is excited for (or dreading) for this weekend’s games. This week: Ryan Conwell and Ryder Cochrane are holding down the fort.

Now, on to The Takeoff!

ncaa d1 conference comparison patriot league robert morris the takeoff

The Takeoff

Stocks Going Up


John Danowski, GOAT. Look, we can make fun of Duke’s random February loss that comes like clockwork every year, but few coaches do a better job of getting players to buy into their system. Think of all the talent that has not only attended Duke, but coexisted with one another. Duke is already back to beating legitimate contenders, having already taken down Denver, Richmond, and Loyola. This year, in particular, the Blue Devils seem to be operating with a team-first mentality. There’s no Jordan Wolf or Myles Jones to carry this squad with star power, but a ton of players are contributing with big minutes (and, of course, points) and a big sophomore jump from Joe Robertson has this Duke team looking like a top-three team, if not the hottest team in the country. Danowski got the USMNT to coalesce this summer and take gold back from Canada, and now he’s got Duke coming together and playing some of the best ball in the country. This man deserves some serious consideration as, if not the best, one of the best coaches in lacrosse history. 


The Crown! We don’t get as many midseason NCAA tournaments anymore, which is really a travesty. Back when we had things like the Big City Classics, it was an amazing opportunity to being some big time talent to some big time venues. Sadly, the attendance usually wasn’t bursting at the seams since nothing can replicate a Championship Weekend atmosphere. But I love when good teams hit the road to a neutral site to square up. This tournament in particular hit the jackpot with surging teams. Jacksonville’s the worst team there, and yet they’ve still be competitive with teams like Duke. Everyone else (Towson, Cornell, and Penn State) are all top five. Charlotte’s getting a treat and that doesn’t even include the MLL draft or MULTIPLE MIKEY POWELL CONCERTS.

Stocks Going Down


Cornell (Cornot?) Blame the Ivy League’s late start if you want, but Cornell hasn’t really played too much so far. They’ve faced Hobart, Lehigh, and a Tehoka-less Albany squad. Through those three games, their total goal differential is only +8. This is the point where I admit that I’m actually a Cornell fan. The Big Red were my first love in lacrosse, and I’ve seen this team fail to get over the hump a few too many times (don’t mention 2009, I’ll start throwing things). (Editor’s note: Syracuse is honoring their 2009 championship team this weekend). This Cornell team reminds me a lot of the Pannell-era teams. Teat slots in nicely for Pannell, a legitimate superstar capable of scoring or feeding as the game dictates. He’s got his Steven Mock in John Piatelli, a natural finisher and a strong Robin to Teat’s Batman. However, like Pannell’s teams, I just don’t think there are quite enough pieces around them. The defense has been average at best so far, with starting goalie Caelahn Bullen sitting at 42% and their defense giving up fourteen goals-per-game. But the most glaring issue? The Big Red are winning just 37% of their faceoffs. A team with nobody to man the faceoff X and a defense that can’t step up in primetime isn’t a top five team. I fully expect Towson to take down Cornell in this week’s main event. 


Stopping to shoot. One of the things that has been fascinating me this season is how standard the set feet shot is across the game. Most of the time, it makes absolutely perfect sense. Work the ball around, find a seam catch, shoot, repeat. I don’t mean feet being set in concrete, but anytime you really break your stride, slow down, or change direction and then shoot. The reason why I’m selling on this is I have fallen in love with the dodging middies who shoot on the run without breaking stride. It doesn’t give the defense time to adjust or switch from matching hips to getting on hands. It’s also harder for the goalie to track the trajectory. When executed well, it’s glorious to see.