This past week we got a TON of lax coverage on TV (well, as long as you have the right cable/dish package) and I got to see UNC-Navy, Hopkins-Siena, Maryland-Georgetown and Hofstra-Princeton.
Kyle Devitte waxed on and off poetically about the Hofstra-Princeton in his Devious Video Recap so I’ll leave that one alone save for a few quick takes: Hofstra is talented but they play like individuals. At least they’re playing that way right now. I expect them to improve in this area dramatically and they have to if they want go deep in the NCAAs. Princeton looked good offensively; they were dynamic and ran multiple sets and scored on many of them. Princeton’s uniforms are suffering from a love-hate thing: I love the gloves and helmets and hate the rest.
I was a little concerned with the Tiger D though. They should be working to force their opponent into bad shots because they have a great keeper but they didn’t really give Fiorito the chances to make saves from 12 yards because they were so aggressive. I’m not complaining because it made for an exciting game but I do think they will need to augment their D a bit to really push for a NC.
UMd-Gtown was probably the game of the weekend though. Marlyand’s settled offense looked really stagnant when the ball was in Yeatman or Catalino’s stick (as it did last year) but both of these guys also look a LOT better than they did last year with Catalino improving the most. He just seems to understand the game a lot better and isn’t forcing as much as he was last year.
I still think the rest of the guys on O are more of a threat to create lots of scoring chances than those 2 though and Bernhardt is a great example of this. He gets the D moving with his speed and this opens up the rest of the field and passing lanes.
Phipps seemed to struggle at times in goal, especially early. He’s got a good D in front of him though and Brian Farrell will clearly be a difference maker. He put the ball on the ground quite a bit and is a threat in transition and to create transition at all times.
Now to those who say the new stick regulations haven’t had any effect on the game, you need to turn your TVs on! I’ve seen a lot more balls down, shallower pockets and takeaways this season than in years past. If the NCAA really wanted to shake things up, they could make offset heads illegal as well (right now kids with weak stick skills are peeing their pants) and that would really change the game. Personally, I think the wider head specs are enough for now and we should let it play out like this for a couple years before making more changes.
Hopkins and Siena both had a ton of turnovers in their game last week but I can’t blame that on stick regs, I can only blame that on a bad performance. Hopkins dropped passes they almost never drop, Siena dropped passes that Pitt wouldn’t drop on a hungover Sunday shoot around. Siena’s poles decided to throw the majority of their passes underhand, for absolutely no reason. This game was ugly and although it was really close, it’s making me too mad to even talk about it much more.
The fact is that after winning 8-7, Petro was SCREAMING at the official over a missed call and that makes things even worse. Petro could clearly play the game, he’s an excellent coach, and is one of the best recruiters, etc. He’s the man and the reason the Hop has returned to greatness but his sideline behaviour is straight up Unacceptable sometimes and screaming at some official because a kid stepped out of bounds on the last play and it didn’t get called (when the game is already over and you WON!) is classless. Win with grace, lose with grace, never blame the officials. That’s how you’re supposed to do it. Be a true leader of men and not just a winner of lacrosse games. We hold him to a higher standard only because we know he’s capable of it.
I talked about the UNC-Navy game in the last Lax Link-O-Rama post of all time on Saturday and posted some pics of UNC heads I dyed for Sean Delaney and Gavin Petracca. This weekend Adam Sear (who had 2 man up Gs against Gtown for UMd) will break out his dyed twigs for the Duke game. Be on the lookout!
In NCAA DIII action number 1 Cortland ran all over number 5-12 (depending on your poll of choice) Western New England College by a score of 12-2. If you thought Cortland’s D was going to struggle with some new faces, then you were clearly wrong. 2 goals. OK! Schneidman leads that group and the 6 foot 16 inches long pole is going to be a star this year.
Something to note is that Chris DeLuca, Cortland’s do-it-all midfielder, had 0 points in the game… looks like he didn’t even play. If Cortland can beat WNEC this badly with a freshman in net and without their best overall player, “look out!” to the rest of DIII. Brewster Knowlton had aroubnd 15 saves for WNEC but it’s clear that a great goalie and crease guy in Santye won’t be enough for the Golden Bears this year.
In other DIII news, there has already been an upset of the highest proportions. On Tuesday, March 2nd Scranton took on 12th ranked Ithaca and didn’t just win… they dominated the game and took home a comfortable 12-5 victory in the season opener for both squads. Ithaca will drop from the Top 20 next week and Scranton is going to get some serious looks.
My alma mater, Wesleyan has scheduled a relatively weak OOC schedule to supplement their NESCAC schedule and this result should serve as a warning to all the teams out there that are playing “lesser” competition in the hopes of an easy win: bring your A-game EVERY. SINGLE. TIME. You never know who’s going to be waiting for you. Big win for Tim Marshall in his first game as Scranton’s HC… Congrats!
Chapman pulled out the 13-11 win over Cal Poly-SLO and this is huge because it keeps me at the top of the Crystal Ball Challenge over on 412Lax. In three weeks, I’ve only gotten 2 games wrong. Maybe we should be choosing harder games. Maybe I just know everything about lacrosse. I’ll go with the former.
Surprise team of the year so far in the MCLA? Tennessee. They’re 5-1 right now although the teams they have beaten have a cumulative record of 6-16. Tennessee’s schedule gets noticeably tougher as the season progresses and they will need to really keep at it to keep up with the early successes.
Another team winning games is Texas State and they sit at 6-0 right now. The teams they have played have a cumulative record of 12-15 and like Tennessee, they play better teams towards the end of the season.
Chapmam, BYU, FSU, ASU and others all look good this year but I still maintain it’s going to take something special to knock off Michigan. The Wolverines have depth, talent, good coaching and they know what it takes to win, win, win. I don’t think they will suffer a letdown and whoever wants to beat UM will need to bring their A game and probably get a little lucky. This is nothing new but I’ll keep saying it if only to motivate those close 2nd place teams to do more… if they don’t, this MCLA season is basically over, folks.
If you want parity, neither the NCAA or the MCLA can even come close to matching the NLL. Washington and Orlando are 6-3 and 4-2, respectively to lead their divisions. Buffalo and Colorado are both 2-6 at the bottom of their divisions and with each division holding at least 5 teams (the East has 6 teams), this spread is pretty solid. There are better teams and worse teams, as there should be, but there is also no way to coronate anyone now and that’s what I like to see. Every game matters, play hard til the end. That’s what a pro sports league should offer!
Colin Doyle is back in Toronto leading the Rock and the NLL in scoring with 61 points in 10 games. He gets the Welcome Back, Mr. Cotter! award for the week. John Grant Jr. came in a close second having scored 51 points in 9 games for Rochester. The Rock have 4 of the top 5 scorers in total points (since they’ve played 10 games) and two of those guys are rookies, Garrett Billings (UVA) and Stephan LeBlanc. Matt Vinc, playing for Orlando, is the game’s top keeper right now stopping over 80% of shots faced.
Later this week I’ll drop my DIII top 20, laxpower.com’s forum poll Top 20 and compare them to the USILA Top 20. LAS may also be bringing on a new DIII expert to keep you all up to speed. Look for another post like this on Saturday, where there will be a little less linkage but just as much laxage… and maybe a whole lot more!
About the Author: Connor is a pretty average lacrosse player at this point who doesn’t know when to give up on the game. He played and coached in the NESCAC and still plays for the Southampton LC in NYC. Connor lives with his fiance in Brooklyn and thanks her for allowing him to keep the dream alive.
Contact him at [email protected].