Things went a little sideways this weekend across the country, and I couldn't be much happier about it. We're not exactly in Alternate 1985 where Biff Tannen is a casino operator and Lorraine McFly is dressed like a hussy, but the narrative continuum is a little odd. That's a good thing, people; enjoy it.
Let's get to the big stories from this weekend.
All Overtime Everything
Out of the 30 games played this weekend, six went to overtime with two of those games seeing three extra periods. While the competitive balance between the combatants makes those results less than surprising, at least two made my face contort in a weird way because my brain was steaming with an overload of confusion:
- Virginia 8, Syracuse 9 (OT). I don't know if this was the game of the weekend, but how the Cavaliers and Orange went at it -- the game was played at 70 total possessions with guys streaking the field for all 63 minutes -- earned my approval: a big red "Bonkers" on the box score. Syracuse walked out of the Dome with a victory that validated it as a potential national contender this season and Virginia proved that it could walk into one of college lacrosse's most difficult environments and play competitively despite not putting its best effort on the carpet. This one doesn't sit in the top five of games that the Cavs and Orange have played over the years, but it was one of this season's better shows in the early season.
- North Carolina 9, Notre Dame 10 (3OT). Matt Kavanagh is the new Sean Rogers, showing up when it mattered most and making amazing (arguably ridiculous) plays when everything was on the line. As the Irish lacrosse Twitter account put it yesterday afternoon, Notre Dame's "record is starting to look like a boxing score card," but that doesn't mitigate the fact that the Irish, against strong competition, continues to exist with an unblemished record of Gatorade baths. On the flip side, Carolina has now been in two games this season -- Notre Dame on Saturday and Massachusetts two weeks ago -- where it had a victory in its grasp and had it slip away almost inexplicably. The Tar Heels are close, and their date with Princeton this Saturday is another opportunity to turn the tide.
- Bryant 5, Vermont 6 (OT). Vermont has taken itself out of Reverse Survivor contention and the Bulldogs are still winless. That makes about as much sense as this picture.
- Ohio State 10, Penn State 9 (OT). I was keeping close tabs on this one for most of the early afternoon; there was something about Ohio State this year that made me wonder whether the Buckeyes were ready to take the step forward that I had projected for them in the fall. When Penn State went into the half with an 8-2 lead, I kind of thought that the Nittany Lions were in their beat-the-piss-out-of-Denver mode and figured that Penn State would salt the game away and satisfy its early heat as a dark horse Championship Weekend contender. So I took a shower. When I came back, the Buckeyes had gone on an unanswered six-goal run (with Logan Schuss only contributing to one, an assist to bring the score to 8-3) over 10 minutes in the third quarter to draw even with the Nittany Lions. The Buckeyes would take the lead with about seven minutes left in the fourth on a Schuss goal, but Penn State would find the equalizer through Shane Sturgis with around four minutes to go to push the game in an extra session. It felt like the Nittany Lions would eventually get the win in overtime given the competition that Penn State has faced this season, but it would be Jesse King and the Buckeyes that would boogie a victory dance, ramming home the game winner with :00.2 seconds left on the clock in the first overtime. Lacrosse is the best.
- Stony Brook 9, Rutgers 8 (3OT). Look: Brian Brecht has Rutgers in a decent position compared to last season, but Stony Brook, coming off a nice win against St. John's in Jamaica earlier in the week, probably shouldn't have been in a dogfight with the Scarlet Knights. This was alternate universe weekend, though, and with Scott Klimchak putting together another nice effort for Rutgers, the Seawolves were able to survive a trip to New Jersey that (1) saw neither team lead by more than a goal from the second quarter on and (2) Rutgers putting in a surprising goal to send the game to overtime with just 43 seconds remaining in regulation. I still don't know what Stony Brook is going to be in 2013 -- it's not a given that the Seawolves are at the same level as UMBC or Albany in the America East -- but Saturday at least tested the Seawolves' strength and proved that they could withstand a difficult situation.
- Brown 9, Massachusetts 8 (OT). The Bears lost to Quinnipiac last weekend in dramatic fashion. This week, they beat a Massachusetts team that had been hammering the brick despite the loss of Will Manny. This all makes sense, especially because Coach K just inked this guy to a National Letter of Intent.
STOP THE FIGHT! Cornell Stomps Colgate, 19-3
I'm not sure there's a soft way to recap this game, so I'm just going to be direct: Cornell cornered Colgate in the hallway, stole their lunch money, stuffed them in a locker, and then made out with the prom queen during third period English. It was 8-0 in favor of the Red at the end of the first quarter and it got to 11-0 halfway through the second period before Conor Braddish finally got Colgate on the board with 6:50 remaining in the first half. It was a clinic for Cornell on a snowy March afternoon in Ithaca, and the Red straight demolished a talented Raiders team from the opening whistle to the final gun. The Red are for real, you guys, and their date with Virginia this coming weekend could show the nation just where Cornell is headed in 2013.
Wes Berg and Tom Schreiber are Nuclear Missiles
Princeton had just 31 possessions on Friday against Johns Hopkins but managed to put 11 goals on the board in a three goal defeat of the Jays at Homewood. The biggest reason for that? Tom Schreiber simply existing, becoming a blur on the field, squeezing off nine shots (many of which had a release point of "He actually got that off?"), and providing a presence on the field that opened up opportunities for Jeff and Jake Froccaro (the brothers combined for eight points). The combination of all of this was offensive leverage for a unit that is looking to find production in the absence of Forest Sonnenfeldt.
As for Johns Hopkins, the Jays continue to look for consistent production from their midfield. Hopkins wasn't necessarily exposed against Princeton -- the Tigers look to have the temperament of a team that has top 10 potential in a crowded field this year -- but the reality of playing one of the nation's better teams left something to be desired from the Jays.
Out in Denver, Wes Berg showed his disdain for Benjamin Franklin ("Electricity is the work of the devil!") and pumped in seven goals on 12 shots (three of those goals were assisted by Eric Law (who had a six-point day)) to help Denver drop Pennsylvania, 15-12. It was mostly the Pioneers' show after a 5-5 first quarter, seeing Denver build a series of multi-goal leads with at least a three-goal cushion through the second quarter (8-5 and 10-7) and much of the second half (an 11-8 lead eventually ballooned to 14-8, enough for the Pioneers to survive a four-goal run from the Quakers over much of the fourth quarter). Denver remains dangerous and legitimate, proof that the last guy you want to see on an opposing sideline in a big game is Bill Tierney.