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The Weekend in Stick: "Morale Week" Brings Upsets and Beatings (Part I)

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"The Weekend in Stick": It's exactly what it sounds like -- a recapitulation of this weekend's most notable. No doink.

(Part II is here.)

It was a huge week across the nation, with a few schools pulling monster upsets and a few more standing in front of the mirror and flexing itself into self-esteem. Part I highlights the biggest stories from the weekend; Part II catches the rest that is notable and adorable.

Delaware Spots Villanova Six, Screws Up Reality and Wins
The Blue Hens had no business beating Villanova in toll-hell Delaware on Saturday, and yet they made it their business to do so. (That's enterprising lacrosse! Alert the Lacrosse Chamber of Commerce to give Delaware an award for entrepreneurship.) After spotting the Wildcats six to start the game, the Blue Hens proceeded to make your mind explode from terminal confusion by holding Villanova scoreless for almost 27 minutes starting with about the 10:00 mark of the the second quarter. Delaware scored eight unanswered goals in that stretch.

None of that makes sense. And when things don't make sense Delaware upsets eighth-ranked Villanova, 13-9.

Grant Kaleikau drove the wagon down the Oregon Trail for Delaware, dodging dysentery along the way and accumulating four points (two goals, two assists). Andrew Tannenberger shot the most bison of the day -- Stop endangering stupid lazy animals! -- with four goals on six shots. He also collected five ground balls on the day, which is like finding awesome wagon wheels just lying by the side of the trail.

The win is a much needed tourniquet for the Blue Hens, which had lost its last three (Loyola, Johns Hopkins, and Mount St. Mary's) after winning its first two. Villanova is now winless against teams not from Pennsylvania, which obviously spells doom for the rest of the Wildcats' season.

Kevin Cassese Deserves Steak Dinners for the Rest of his Life; Lehigh Beats Carolina
The Mountain Hawks went toe-to-toe with the Death Squad of Death and escaped Chapel Hill, North Carolina, with a 9-8 victory. I'll write that again: Lehigh sauntered into Fetzer Field, trailed from the 6:04 mark of the first quarter to the 15 second mark of the second quarter and then proceeded to lead the rest of the way.

In the Saturday schedule/open thread post, I wrote this about the looming game:

Lehigh at North Carolina: Kevin Cassese should get a pot luck dinner thrown in his honor for what he's doing at Lehigh this season. The Mountain Hawks probably won't win in Chapel Hill today, but a good showing puts them in the conversation for the Patriot League title.

Well, that position is getting thrown right in the trash. Lehigh, after beating Pennsylvania and shutting out Manhattan, looks not only like a legitimate Patriot League contender, but maybe a darkhorse candidate to cause a ruckus this year. With out-of-conference games against Yale and Penn State still on the schedule, the Mountain Hawks can cause some serious damage this season. If David DiMaria keeps up his production at attack, this could be one of those special kind of years where they hang the team picture behind glass and people 15 years from now see it and say, "I remember when. . . ."

Meanwhile, what's your story, North Carolina? You no longer want to crush things with crushing force? After edging Navy and losing to Lehigh, the 'Heels need to get things together quickly: Pennsylvania, Princeton, and Duke are the next three for Carolina and, as of right now, they're just as likely to lose their next three as win them.

Syracuse-Virginia Makes You Want to Love Again
71 possessions. 24 goals. End-to-end action from the opening gun until Virginia started salting away the game. Just your standard Syracuse-Virginia "Check out these awesome jetpacks! Let's play lacrosse with 'em!" game.

In the end, the Cavaliers walked out of Klockner Stadium with a 14-10 victory, remaining perfect on the year and dealing the Orange its first loss. The real winner, though, was lacrosse which got a much-needed shot in the arm of Vitamin Run.

The story of the game was Virginia's possession margin, which was a dirty +15. Dominating at the dot (the Cavaliers won 20 of 28 draws) and cleaning up ground balls (the Cavaliers held a +21 advantage) ultimately crushed any hopes the Orange had at pulling the upset on the road. Colin Briggs going for four points (three goals and an assist) and Steele Stanwick (who owned the goal line extended en route to a three point day (one goal and two assists)) obviously helped the Cavaliers' performance.

This may have been a look-ahead to Memorial Day Weekend and if so, I'll pay real American money to watch it.

Hofstra Harrasses Harvard, Has Haughty Hullabaloo
Nailed it. I mean, I straight hammered that headline into the alliteration foundation where it will exist for history to find at some point by an enterprising anthropologist, only to give me fame in death. So, it's kind of a hollow victory, I guess, but a victory nonetheless.

Raise your hand if you thought Hofstra would walk into Cambridge and leave with a victory? (If your hand is up, you're a liar.) Coming off a gut-wrenching, three-overtime loss to Fairfield earlier in the week -- at home! -- Hofstra looked like it was more the team that inched past Sacred Heart to start the season than the NCAA Tournament-ish team it had been in recent seasons. The Pride put that all to the side and -- you're not going to believe this -- with a midfield fastbreak run from freshman long-stick midfielder Ryan Rielly, went ahead 7-6 with 6:52 left in the game. Harvard, despite its cacophony of offensive weapons, couldn't even the score down the stretch and the Crimson absorbed its first loss of the year.

Fun fact: Neither team scored on the man-up on Saturday (Harvard, 0-3; Hofstra, 0-6). Funner fact: THUNDERDOME! is going to be a violent mess again this year if Hofstra comes to play.

. . . and two bonus stories for today.

Maryland Beats Duke at Byrd; Drew Snider is a Man that Likes Flapjacks
Duke never felt like it was out of it, but it also never felt like Maryland was going to let the game get away from them. In the end, the Terps walked out of its building with an insurmountable (I think; I could be way, way wrong on that position) 1-0 ACC record with its 10-7 defeat of the Blue Devils in College Park. Drew Snider did a bunch of man lifting for Maryland on Saturday with three goals, all of them of a "Blasters Set to Destruction!" nature. He was given a flannel shirt and heavy machinery as a reward for his general manliness.

The oddest story of the game was Maryland's Curtis Holmes catching hell at the face-off dot by Duke's C.J. Costabile. Holmes finished the game with only nine of his 20 draws ending in a Terrapin crosse, which was good for 45 percent on the day. Since writing a glowing piece of perfect literature about Holmes, the Terp is at about 51 percent at the dot. Sorry, homie; didn't mean to jinx your meal ticket to hundreds of dollars.

Maryland shouldn't have too much of a problem with its next two -- UMBC and Marist; the schedule doesn't get easier for Duke as the Devils will get, in order, Loyola, Harvard, and North Carolina in its next three.

Hopkins Beats Jeff Froccaro and Tom Schreiber
The Blue Jays continue to play tight games and, regardless of the amount of crap falling from the sky, still find ways to listen to some victory REO Speedwagon out by Dave Pietramala's Chevelle after the game.

This iteration of "Is this the game that the Jays manage to drop? Nope!" was brought to you by a 4-1 run to open the fourth quarter that pushed a tenuous -- and intense -- 6-5 lead to an eventually insurmountable 10-5 cushion. The final tally was 10-8 in favor of Hopkins, but there were a few other things from the game worth noting:

  • Coming off his one-game suspension, Tyler Fiorito had eight saves but looked shaky at times. Less coffee before the game would be my prescription. If that doesn't work, Princeton could be in a bit of trouble this season given how much they rely on Fiorito to make stops. Again, not a bad game from the senior, just some shakiness.
  • While Zach Palmer led the charge for Hopkins, the Blue Jays (finally) got some decent production from their midfield. Coppersmith, Ranagan, Greeley, and Guida all got on the board Friday night, with Ranagan pitching in an assist as well because he was feeling feisty. With Wells Stanwick -- That name should come with a sailor's cap and a blazer with brass buttons! -- nursing a hand injury, Hopkins isn't going to turn away more production from its midfield group.
  • Jeff Froccaro and Tom Schreiber are, again, the biggest cogs for Princeton's offense. So much offense runs through them that they should receive hazard pay. On the bright side, though, Mike MacDonald and Mike Grossman look like nice little pieces to put around them. This Princeton team is only going to get better as the season progresses, which should keep Cornell looking in its rear view mirror.