"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.)
Friday portended potential nuttiness for the weekend: Maryland traded blows with Duke, Colgate and Bucknell went at it like racing cars, Yale and Bryant played an overtime beauty, and North Carolina dropped Virginia at Klockner. So, yeah: We were warned, we did nothing about it, and then the weekend-proper blew our collective minds. Crazy pants.
Here's the three biggest stories from the weekend.
Your Brain Looks Better in Its Natural, Unexploded State
What a completely ridiculous weekend of unmitigated bonkers. North Carolina kicked it all off with a Friday night takedown of ACC Tournament-host Virginia in rousing 11-9 fashion. With the scored knotted at four at the half, the Heels and Cavaliers traded shots early in the second half, but Carolina's 4-1 run to break a 6-6 tie over about 11 minutes in the final two periods of play ultimately dropped Virginia from the league's postseason tournament. That game, though, was only the start of what would be a wild weekend of upsets:
- With nothing to play for other than pride and the glory of victory, Navy -- sustained throughout by RJ Wickham's mastery between the pipes -- upset Johns Hopkins at Navy-Marine Corps Stadium, 8-2. The Blue Jays' two tallies were its lowest output in about four cycles of music generations and, after last week's tough offensive show, may show a nasty wart that Hopkins' may need to deal with. Navy is done for the year -- no NCAA Tournament, no Patriot League Tournament -- but provided the kind of performance that is going to help define the 2012 season.
- Fairfield -- they of constant dissonance regarding their strength of schedule -- may have put themselves square into the NCAA Tournament at-large conversation with its 9-8 overtime victory against Denver. Sam Snow was the hero on the day for the Stags, ramming home the game-tying score with just seconds remaining on the clock and then getting his name in the box score next to the overtime winner. With the win, Fairfield gets a preferential draw against Ohio State in the ECAC Tournament while Denver, the tournament's host, has to take on still-unbeaten Loyola in the 1-4 matchup. As close as the Stags moved toward the NCAA Tournament on Saturday, the Pioneers' loss moved them that much further away from inclusion with its relatively pedestrian 7-5 record and only one notable victory: at Penn State.
- Hoya Laxa! (Trust me, I feel gross writing that.) All it took was a 4-1 run through the third quarter for Georgetown to get its second win ever in the Carrier Dome. Matt Winter was an abominable beast between the pipes for the Hoyas, stoning Syracuse's shooters at point-blank range at least a half-dozen times in his 12 save performance. The win, though, was somewhat hollow: As Georgetown was good enough to win but not good enough to win by miles and miles, the Hoyas will sit at home for the remainder of this season as Notre Dame, Villanova, Syracuse, and St. John's will square off in Pennsylvania in two weeks in the Big East Tournament. There probably isn't a more poetic way for Dave Urick to potentially end his tenure with the Hoyas, no? (Seriously, if you have a more poetic way for this to end, you should get a writing fellowship somewhere, son.)
- Cornell started Saturday the presumptive host and favorite for the Ivy League Tournament. After a 10-9 setback to Brown -- yes, the Brown that entered the day at 5-7 and had wins against teams with a now-combined record of 13-49 -- the Big Red are going to need a victory at Princeton this coming weekend to capture at least a share of the league's regular season title. Sam Hurster got first-crack at the postseason buffet line with his game winner coming with only four seconds remaining in regulation; Parker Brown was second in line at the grub table due to his helper that generated the Hurster tally. The loss doesn't necessarily move Cornell out of "Contender" status for May, but after squandering a plus-seven possession margin against the Bears (42-35), Ben DeLuca has some work to do.
Duke Wins the Cockamamie RPI-Boosting Tournament over North Carolina, 12-9
Duke won the cockamamie RPI-Boosting Tournament in Charlottesville, Virginia. The end.
Massachusetts and Loyola to Lacrosse World: "If You Want to Beat Us, You Best Come with Kryptonite"
Hofstra has a lot of Towson 2011 in 'em: Tough, grueling losses and a mediocre record to show for it. It's like entering a strong man competition, dead-lifting a Volkswagen, only to lose to a guy that throws youinto the Volkswagen, raises it above his head, and deposits the entirety into the river to watch you drown. It's just sad, really.
The Pride (ROLL PRIDE! HOFBAMA!) gave Massachusetts all they could handle in an eventual 14-13 victory for the now-12-0 Minutemen. Massachusetts withstood tough comebacks from Hofstra all day -- the Minutemen held, at various points, 6-2, 8-4, and 10-6 leads -- to eventually put the game out of reach at 14-11 with only 5:00 remaining in regulation. Tim McCormack had a nice day in the cage with 13 stops while Kyle Smith generated five points on three goals and two assists to help pace the Minutemen. With the win, Massachusetts locked up the THUNDERDOME! regular season crown and the league tournament's number-one seed. The Minutemen continue to poke the bear and may come out of all of this with nary a scratch before they really venture into the forest for some grizzly-wranglin'.
Heading to Geneva isn't always an easy task; weird stuff happens out by the lake. Loyola, though, doesn't much care about the mysteries of man: In a 17-6 trouncing of the Statesmen -- including a 5-0 run in the fourth period -- Loyola proved that it is the class of the ECAC. Mike Sawyer went off for five points on four goals and an assist while shotgun-rider Eric Lusby went three-and one. The Greyhounds seem to have the magic that it had in 1999 when it ran the table and earned the NCAA Tournament's overall one-seed. Loyola draws Denver in its ECAC semifinal out in Colorado, and if the Greyhounds drop the Pioneers again, this might just be the best team in the country.