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Wilson’s Wheelhouse: Weekend Edition

Next weekend has a great slate of games lined up for us to enjoy, and that includes the Big City Classic put on at Giants Stadium in New Jersey.  Inside Lacrosse has put together a great event and LAS will be there giving you the inside scoop.  In the meantime, this Saturday features some huge match ups that will affect the end of season rankings as much as any other weekend before conference playoffs begin.

UNC and Hopkins will be a good game but UNC should be able to pull this one out even though Hopkins is something like 41-4 in April over the past 10 years or so.  UNC attackman, Billy Bitter will be back for the Tar Heels and I wouldn’t be surprised to see Coach Pietramala of Hopkins go in a new direction with their goaltending as Michael Gvozden has been struggling as of late.  Sean Delaney won’t play and that’s a big loss for UNC’s midfield.  If Hopkins keeper can play at a higher level, the game could be close but I still expect UNC to win.

Virginia takes on Maryland at 8pm and that game will be broadcast on ESPNU.  Maryland is good this year and probably a top 5 team but Virginia has some unbelievable weapons in their midfield.  Both Rhamel and Shamel Bratton have been looking good lately and generating excellent shots from the outside.  With Ken Clausen and the rest of the UVA D looking strong, the Wahoos should win this one by at least 4 goals.

Last night Duke took a BIG win over Harvard in Massachusetts 15-6.  If Duke can keep up their play, they will be very dangerous in the ACC tourney.  Georgetown barely knocked off a struggling Navy team in Annapolis on Friday night for a win they desperately needed.

Drexel and Hofstra also play this afternoon and both of these teams are looking to make a statement in this game.  Hofstra can put together some good runs on O and has the individual players to make it happen.  They’ve also been playing a lot better as a team.  Drexel is coming on strong with a recent win over previously undefeated Lafayette.

Princeton takes on Brown and the Bears could give the Tigers one heck of a game.  Brown has been very good at times pushing Duke to the limit but they have also lost some games that they probably should have won.  Their brown helmets are awesome but won’t be enough to knock off Princeton as the Princeton O can score in a number of ways and their D is really picking up in consistency after some early doubts.

In D3 action, Connecticut College should win at Bowdoin but you never know with the Polar Bears.  Bowdoin looked good early and then fell off fast.  If they want to make a statement, knocking off the undefeated Camels of Conn College would go a long way.  Conn needs to be careful not to look past Bowdoin because if they do, Coach McCabe will have the Polar Bears ready.

Middlebury needs to get back on track with a win over Colby but Craig Bunker, the Colby fogo is the real deal.  With a lot of possessions, Colby can make this one really interesting.  Wesleyan takes on Tufts and while most think Tufts will take this one easily, they have struggled with zone defenses (Wesleyan’s specialty) this year.

The biggest game in D3 features Salisbury and Stevenson where the number 3 team (Salisbury) travels to in-state rival and current #1, Stevenson.  Salisbury has a solid D and they’ll need it against Stevenson’s attack.  Conor Burgasser will lead the charge for the gulls from the LSM position as they try to shut down Stevenson’s deep midfield unit.  The mustangs midfield was a big question mark early this season but they have since proved to be a legit unit.

Denison lost an NCAC game to Wooster last week and they really need to rebound with a big win over Ohio Wesleyan if they want to regain the respect of the numerous D3 pollsters.  Denison is really a lock to make the NCAAs via a Pool B bid but this win would cement their place as a real top 10 team.  If OWU can win this game, it will be an absolutely huge win for the Battling Bishops.

Gettysburg takes on Washington College and while in years past this was often one of the biggest games for either team, the Bullets should win comfortably over WAC.  Gettysburg has looked great and WAC has been floundering but rivalry games can easily become upsets if someone doesn’t show up to play.

The rivalry games continue in the MCLA as Colorado State takes on the Buffs of Colorado.  The Rams look like the much better team but as Colorado just dropped their (now ex) Head Coach, Pete Stevenson, the Buffs could be extra motivated to prove the move was worth it.  My guess is that they will need some time to form a new identity and that CSU will take this one by at least 5.

Arizona State and Oregon also play each other and this should be an absolutely amazing game.  The Oregon D can push the ball and they have good size and speed on O.  ASU is just a dangerous team all over the field and I like them to really make some waves in the MCLA playoffs this year.  The other LAS guys are pulling hard for Oregon and I think that the Ducks really NEED this win more than ASU, even though they just knocked off previously undefeated Chapman.  Heart could be the difference maker here and if Oregon can string together two great wins in a row, everyone will know they are for real.

Chapman gets a bit of a breather as they face a down Simon Fraser.  If they were playing SFU of last year, this game would be a toss up but I can’t see Chapman dropping this one to the Clansmen of Canada.  2 losses would not sit well with Chapman attackman, Conor Martin, and company.

A lot of the other top MCLA teams including FSU, BYU and BC are off this weekend, probably because of Easter weekend… but next weekend all of these teams storm back with tough games.  Should be another excellent weekend of college lax!

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.

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