What. A. Weekend.
The obvious big news from this past weekend came in late on Sunday night when Syracuse, the two-time defending champs, were knocked off by upstart Army. Everyone was shocked with the exception of 11 people on lebookface who just had to say that they knew this would happen. Sorry, but no, you didn’t. Unless you said it, it doesn’t count. Pictures or it didn’t happen. Same concept.
Cuse was 22-1 all time in the Carrier DOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOME in NCAA games before last night. 22-2 is still pretty good. There was simply no way they were going to lose that game because they were that much better. Everyone thought that. I thought it. You thought it. People who don’t even know what lacrosse is thought it.
Army, on the other hand, did not think it and they used great goaltending from Tom Palesky along with solid face off work and an offense that controlled the ball and waited (for the most part) for really good chances. Cuse did what Cuse does and they shot the ball and forced the issue. For a lot of the game, it looked like that would do it. However, Joe Alberici and the Black Knights of the USMA never gave up and 2 OT periods later, they came out winners. That’s why we play the game!
Notre Dame also relied on above-average goaltending to secure the W and Scott Rodgers delivered for the Irish. Princeton could only put up 5 goals, no matter matter how many times their box-hybrid offense was mentioned by the announcers. I must say this game was pretty boring to watch but the result was extremely surprising. I definitely ND would get rolled like they did last year against Maryland but I was oh so wrong.
Once again, they controlled the game, got some great play from their keeper and believed in themselves. You could see how bad they wanted it and how committed they were to their game plan for pretty much the entire game. The Irish did the little things right and didn’t give an inch and that’s how the pulled out the W. Pretty simple stuff but it forced Princeton to make passes they weren’t used to making and kept them out of their comfort level all day. Great job by Coach Corrigan and the rest of his staff.
D1 Men’s lax wasn’t the only municipality on Upset alert. In D3 land, Gettysburg lost to Roanoke and in sticking with our upset theme of the week, the key was control of the face off square. Noke dominated losing like 5 face offs all day and this never allowed a very talented Gburg team to put together strings of goals or at least possessions. It was an uphill battle for the Bullets all day.
RIT also took out Conn College on the road this past weekend and proved that they really are a dangerous team. A lot of people stopped considering RIT a potential NCAA team when they lost 3 early ones however they had talent and were adjusting to a new coach. They also dropped some games right before the E8 tourney but they’re clicking at the right time and will be dangerous when they play Cortland on Wednesday.
Now back to D1ville. Delaware, owners of some of the ugliest helmets in all of D1 lax (tied with Drexel actually in terms of actual hideousness) nearly pulled off a big upset against UNC. UNC is still banged up a bit (and like I’ve said all year, they lack a lot of depth) but I was more surprised at the UNC D’s inability to stop the UDel O. Sure, Dickson is great for Delaware and they have some other guys who can play but what gives? Ryan Flanagan, Chris Madalon and the rest of the D need to step it up again if UNC wants to get past Duke next week.
Hopkins got smoked by Duke. It was REALLY BAD. I wish there had been a more deserving team out there this year so I could complain some more but really… who could you have replaced them with? Did you just say Bucknell? NEXT!
We’ll head to the MCLA where both Utah Valley University (owners of some sweet unifiorms!) and Arizona State came up short in their upstart wins the NC bids. Great efforts by both schools but the establishment is the establishment for a reason. UVU played in the first MCLA D2 game ever in 2005 (where they lost to Sonoma or San Diego or some other S Cali school) so it was cool to see them back almost on top.
The Michigan-ASU game was a treat to watch. Tight game, both teams really wanted it and there were some incredibly exciting moments. I’ll be interested to see if ASU is the same minus one Westfall brother next year but either way, they got to the NC game and it will definitely help their program keep improving. It usually does! Hats off to Michigan for doing what Syracuse couldn’t… win three in a row!
I’ll be back later in the week with more Division 3 NCAA results as well as a preview of the weekend’s D1 games. While there will be less games in terms of quantity, the quality will only continue to improve! In the meantime, string a traditional stick. I dare you.
About the Author: Connor is a life-long lacrosse player who doesn’t know when to give up on the game. He played and coached at Wesleyan University and now 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].