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Learnings from the Weekend

Kyle Wharton and the Blue Jay offense
Kyle Wharton and the Blue Jay offense

A very eventful weekend in the college lacrosse world that saw many teams come up with big wins and also showed us that it will take many automatic qualifiers for some of the better teams in the country to make it to the tournament. 

At-large bids will be at a premium this post season as teams like Maryland, Stony Brook, Villanova and Bucknell may not make the tournament this season due to their parity in their conferences and in all of division one lacrosse.

Johns Hopkins 12 Maryland 11 (OT): Hopkins looked like the Boston Celtics in the first half of this game and found themselves down 7-2 at half, and 8-3 midway through the third but the offense woke up and went on an impressive 8-1 run. 

Pierce Bassett stepped up down the final stretch of the game and came up huge in overtime, stopping Jake Bernhardt from point blank. 

This was a big test for Blue Jays and they showed a lot of resilience.  Chris Boland quietly continues to anchor that offense and put up five goals on the night.  Kyle Wharton is great senior leader on the offense.

I know put the Blue Jays in my final four list. With the loss, it makes it a little harder for Maryland to get that at large bid, especially with only one win over a ranked team.  The 'Terps must win in the ACC tourney.

Notre Dame 10 St. Johns 7: There is no doubt the Fighting Irish can play defense. Goalie John Kemp stepped up with 11 saves and kept his team in the game after trailing 5-2 at halftime to the Red Storm. 

Good teams find ways to win and it seems ugly wins are the "way" to win in 2011.  A win is a win however and Notre Dame moves to 9-0 on the year. 

If Notre Dame finds themselves in a dog fight scoring wise, that will be the true test, as I am not confident the Irish can keep up with teams like Cornell, Syracuse (when their offense is on) and Hopkins or Virginia.  Their saving grace will be defense, which has been the backbone of the team all season.  As Quint Kessenich pointed out in his weekly top 20, Midfielders David Earl and Zach Brenneman are shooting a combined 19 of 91 (21%).   That must change as we head into the final stretch and a April 30th matchup with the Orange is near.

Syracuse 13 Providence 3: It started out a little shacky for the Orange, as the Friars scored the games first goal and kept it close at 3-3 but then the Orange quickly turned their game on and shut the Friars down for the final 50-plus minutes of the game.

The Orange defense woke up a didn't allow Providence to get any good looks at the goal and the defense had some real good slides, something we didn't see against Cornell on Tuesday.  In this contest, the second and third slides came at the right time and helped goalie John Galloway get easy looks at shots.

Junior Bobby Eilers is starting to make a name for himself on the second midfield unit for Coach Desko. 

With the Kraus-Simmons Trophy on the line Tuesday night in the Dome, look for the Hobart contingent to be in full force.  Should be a rowdy game in the Loud House.

Duke 13 Virgina 11: Duke wins the ACC regular season crown with the big victory over their ACC rival. 

No Steele Stanwick in this game as he sat out with a foot injury. The Blue Devils continued their up and down season and should have stamped an at-large bid with this win. 

Junior midfielder Robert Rotanz proved that the Blue Devils have some threats from the midfield besides Justin Turri.  That is a very good sign for Coach Danowski and his squad as you add that to the veteran leadership of Zach Howell.  We now see a Blue Devils team that can attack from many different areas on the field.

The Virginia defense is going to be the Achilles' Heel for the Wahoo's the rest of the season and who knows how they will show up in the ACC tourney and the post-season.  Goalie Adam Ghitelman is keeping them in games, but the long poles just aren't sliding very well lately and are hanging Ghitelman out to dry.

Army 14 Navy 9: All I can say is Jeremy Boltus is making a huge run at player of the year accolades.  This kid is a straight up beast and exemplifies the word "leader."  He is the quintessential player that is most valuable to his team and showed it this weekend in the Army/Navy game in Annapolis.

Boltus put up seven points on Saturday (4 goals, 3 assists) and was a major reason behind the Black Knights outscoring the Midshipmen 10-2 in the second half.

Attackman Garrett Thul scored five goals and added an assist and golie Tom Palesky was his usual self with 11 saves. 

Underrated player of the year in the Patriot League has to go to Tim Henderson, whose vision in the final quarter led to his interception of a Navy pass and ultimetly put the game away as he ran up the field and passed to Boltus who then found Thul for his fifth of the game.

Army knocks Navy out of the Patriot League tournament and moves to 8-4 on the season.

More to come in a bit on the rest of the weekend...