Each week, College Crosse’s Joe Keegan will try to cover the whole field of D1 lacrosse in ten topics. It’s the 10-man ride!
1. Georgetown offensive coordinator Justin Ward’s group have found creative ways to put up points against the toughest slate of opposing defenses (per analyticslacrosse.com).
The Hoyas have been on the wrong side of three one-goal games against some very good teams (Towson, Loyola and Marquette). Don’t let their record overshadow their offensive output. Ward’s bunch is 15th in adjusted offensive efficiency per analyticslacrosse.com. Some of their most successful looks come when picking with one of their biggest threats: Daniel Bucaro or Peter Conley.
High wing pick-and-pops are the bread and butter actions of teams like Virginia and Brown. The difference is that Zed Williams and Dylan Molloy are normally the ball-carriers for those teams. Georgetown runs these looks with their leading scorers as pickers. It forces the defense to re-think their rules. The ball-carrier is the immediate threat, but is it worth helping from a lethal shooter? Bucaro (29G, 11A) pops to the middle of the field for a much better look than Craig Berge would have found down the alley, but Berge draws the double-team anyways.
Here’s where these actions really get dangerous. Conley (21G, 13A) sets up a pick for a sweep toward the middle of the field. If he makes contact, then Jake Carraway is going to be sprinting through the heart of the defense. As the picker’s defender, you almost have to assume that Conley will make contact to avoid the worst-case scenario. Conley slips the pick to space and Carraway finds him with a pinpoint pass from his hips.
The Hoyas have an opportunity to play spoiler against Big BBQ hopefuls (Providence and Villanova) later this month. They’ll return at least three of their four leading scorers (Bucaro, Carraway and Berge) with a chance to retain Conley, who has another year of eligibility. Keep an eye on this offense as it matures.
2. Lehigh’s upset of Boston University suggests its sophomore class may have a bright future.
After their loss at Navy, IL’s Christian Swezey mentioned that Lehigh was starting several sophomores. The Mountain Hawks got contributions from attackman Tristan Rai (3G, 2A), attackman Andrew Pettit (2G, 1A) and midfielder Lucas Spence (1A) on the offensive end. Defensively, LSM Craig Chick (1A, 4CT), defenseman Eddie Bouhall (4CT) and defenseman Matt Rimol (1CT) helped hold the Terriers to six goals. That unit is 25th in adjusted defensive efficiency per analyticslacrosse.com -- slightly better than a middle-of-the-pack defense, but solid for a young squad. They’re playing better than three defenses with big-time reputations: Penn (38th), Navy (47th) and Denver (53rd). Like the Hoyas’ offense, look for Lehigh to benefit from this experience next spring.
3. Jacksonville transfer Tom Moore has been quietly assembling an All-American season at Binghamton.
Through eight games, Moore (25G, 20A) already has the school record for points in a season. At Jacksonville, Moore was a post-up machine. He’d drive from X and use his huge frame (6-3, 200lb.) to back defenders down to the island. From there he could inside roll or draw a double team. That aspect of his game lives on at Binghamton, but his best looks come screaming off pass down pick downs.
The Bearcats’ offense is predicated on getting Moore topside, which is tough for a defense to prevent. These picks aren’t announced. There’s little time to communicate. Unless the original on-ball defender’s footwork is flawless, Moore will find the middle of the field.
From there, the defense can choose how it wants to let up a goal. Slide from the middle of the field? Or wave haplessly at Moore’s stick as he passes by? The red pill leads to a Moore assist; the blue pill leads to a Moore goal. Spoiler alert: The defense won’t like what happens during the rest of the movie.
4. Whenever College Gameday comes to lacrosse, please put the first matchup at Arlotta.*
The Irish faithful get rowdy on the lawn. They shotgun beers after goals. They are in prime position to storm the field after overtime wins. This week, someone brought a “Nate Solomon smells like poo” sign that would’ve been held much higher had the Irish been able to slow down Solomon. I’m 95% sure Notre Dame has my favorite fan group in NCAA lacrosse.
Then again, the Loyola broadcasts show the parking lot in the background. Who knows what happens in those bleachers...
*(Ed. Note: “Whenever College Gameday comes to lacrosse”)
5. Syracuse’s settled offensive sets featured a variety of personnel combinations.
If freshman Jamie Trimboli’s game-winning goal against Duke last week wasn’t proof enough that he belongs on the first midfield line, then here’s some more: The Orange scored on six of the 13 settled possessions that featured Trimboli, yet only one of the seven settled possessions without him. He posted the second-highest offensive rating behind Stephen Rehfuss (4-for-6) among players who ran at least five possessions. It’s a small sample size, but don’t be surprised if Rehfuss plays his way into the lineup like Trimboli has in recent weeks.
6. Johns Hopkins gave goalie Brock Turnbaugh his first start of the season, and he answered the bell.
Hopkins had been rolling with grad student and former Michigan goalie Gerald Logan early in the season because of his athleticism. Open field moves like this face dodge gave the Blue Jays a boost in the clearing department, something they sorely needed after finishing 49th in D1 (84.3%) last spring.
Turnbaugh stepped between the pipes and stopped shots (12 saves, 6 goals allowed) against Rutgers, but more importantly, he and the Jays cleared successfully on 19 of 20 attempts. Entering the weekend, the Scarlet Knights’s ride had been giving opponents fits. Teams were clearing at a 79.2% success rate against Rutgers -- which would rank 68th in NCAA this season. Turnbaugh’s impact in the crease and in the clearing game prevented Rutgers from playing at #RTempo and pumping in those easy unsettled goals.
7. Richmond controlled the pace in the Battle of the Commonwealth… until they didn’t.
All week long this game was branded as a contrast of styles. For 59 minutes, the run-and-gun Wahoos played at the Spiders’ deliberate pace. Lars Tiffany’s team went 31 minutes between goals at one point, and perhaps more surprisingly, they went more than 58 minutes between unsettled goals. Freshman LSM Jared Conners buried both of Virginia’s unsettled goals -- his first two goals of the season, one in the opening minute and one in the final minute.
8. That Denver-Georgetown game was further proof of Ryan Danehy’s Third Quarter Corollary.
The idea behind the Third Quarter Corollary is simple: The better team wins in the third quarter. Until Patrick McEwen uses real data to prove otherwise, I’m buying in. Winning the third quarter requires a perfect mix of halftime adjustments and conditioning. Bill Belichick is known for spending the first quarter trying to decipher the opposing team’s gameplan, and I’d guess Bill Tierney approaches the opening frame similarly.
Tierney’s team came firing out of the locker room. Trevor Baptiste allowed the Pios to play “make it, take it” as they went on a five-goal run during which the Hoyas never touched the ball. The final two goals of that five-goal run were either scored or started by Baptiste. Notice the timestamps. Baptiste is making a serious case for the Tewaaraton.
9. On up picks and down picks, it’s universally agreed upon that a double-team needs to be sent toward Connor Fields.
Regardless of which direction the pick is facing, Connor Fields is Public Enemy No. 1. Sometimes the defense will trap him as he turns the corner, other times they’ll try to be sneaky. The common denominator that foils both schemes: Fields knows you’re doubling. In fact, he wants you to double. He’ll bait you away from the picker and feed Sean Eccles for a stepdown snipe.
Or if you show your hand right away, he’ll hit the brakes and bury himself.
10. Jared Bernhardt is branded as the most athletic freshman in this class; he may be the most polished, too.
Connor Kelly’s shooting and Bernhardt’s already endless skill set are leading Maryland’s midfield sans Bryan Cole, Henry West and Pat Young. Against Michigan, Bernhardt scored on a stepdown shot, as a pick-and-roll operator at X, and inverting a short-stick. Oh yeah, and he put on a hockey stop clinic at the top of the box to draw an adjacent slide and pick up an assist. There’s not much he can’t do on a lacrosse field -- he even helped ride back a possession that led directly to a Tim Rotanz transition goal.
Masshole of the Week: Charlie Durbin (Belmont Hill, Mass.)
With Austin Sims out due to injury, Durbin has helped the Princeton Tigers’ fourth-ranked offense (per analyticslacrosse.com) chug along. In his last six games, he has 12 goals and 3 assists on 40.0% shooting. He tallied a hat trick against Brown, scoring in a variety of ways. Playing the 5-on-4 situation with Zach Currier, dodging a pole to his off-hand (!) and on the extra-man. I’m here for these high bouncers.