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Women’s Lax Games to Watch: Seawolves and Trojans and Terps and Gators, oh my!

Is it Final Four weekend already? Two top-5 teams will square off on each coast this weekend.

The Kylie Ohlmiller bobble head. Menacing. INSTAGRAM/STONY BROOK WOMENS LACROSSE

It’s finally the weekend! One more day of work and it’s time to reeee... lax. Yep. There’s the pun. The women’s lacrosse season is seven days old today and we’ve already seen a couple monster upsets, with North Carolina and Penn State each losing to CAA schools.

Before previewing the action the next couple days, let’s look at some of the midweek scores.

Boston College 20, Holy Cross 2 - Yes, Holy Cross is bad, but this Eagles offense is something to watch. Sam Apuzzo had six goals and two helpers as Boston College looks like a legitimate ACC contender.

James Madison 16, Virginia Tech 11 - The FCS football faithful of Harrisonburg have dreams of a future in the ACC. Maybe they can take their women’s lacrosse team with them. The Dukes have toppled the Tar Heels and the Hokies already this season as they look to climb up the top-10 of the polls. Kristen Gaudian added six more goals in this one.

Northwestern 12, Colorado 7 - Selena Lasota looks to be back in form after an injury shut her down for the entire 2017 season. The Canadian has 9 goals and 6 assists, as the Wildcats are off to a 3-0 start for the first time since 2014.

What a weekend lies ahead! 11 games on Friday, 29 games on Saturday and 12 games on Sunday. Here are three of the matchups most worth looking forward to.

Stony Brook at USC, Friday, 10 p.m. ET

The Seawolves will play their first game of the season 2,500 miles from the north shore of Long Island, taking on the USC Trojans.

Stony Brook, ranked No. 2 in all major polls, enters the season with perhaps the most prolific returning attacking corps in women’s lacrosse history.

Left-handed Kylie Ohlmiller, a magician with the ball, recorded 164 points last year, setting the all-time single-season mark. In front of the net, redshirt Courtney Murphy will return after tearing her ACL a season ago against Northwestern. Murphy is the Seawolves’ slam-dunk shooter. In 2016, she became the only player ever to score 100 goals in a Division-I lacrosse season. If Murph can stay healthy, she is poised to become the all-time career goals leader too. At the other side of the formation is Taryn Ohlmiller, Kylie’s sister. She’s not too bad either, going over 100 points in her rookie season.

The goalie tasked with slowing this trio down? USC senior Gussie Johns, perhaps the best keeper in the county. Jones played for the United States national team last year, and as a sophomore, led the country in goals against average.

The Seawolves and Trojans have become a bit of a transcontinental rivalry, with this being the fourth consecutive season the two squads face off. Two years ago, USC took an 11-5 lead before halftime, hanging on to win 14-11, in a game in which Stony Brook, as head coach Joe Spallina said at the time, “didn’t even get off the bus.”

Last year, Stony Brook got its revenge, winning 9-7 at LaValle Stadium. Kylie Ohlmiller led all scorers with five points (although it was still well beneath her season average of 7.5 points per game).

Following the graduation of former Trojan star Michaela Michaels, it’ll be tough for USC to keep up with the potent Stony Brook offense. Expect the Seawolves to come out on top with a statement road victory.

Prediction: Stony Brook 13, USC 10

Maryland at Florida, Saturday, 12 p.m. ET

After both teams cruised to opening weekend victories, the Terrapins and Gators will meet in Gainesville hellbent on recording a signature victory to send a message across the country.

One year ago, in College Park, Maryland dominated Florida en route to an 18-8 victory, but the blowout may be deceptive. The Gators received an unbelievable nine yellow cards in the game (compared with zero assessed to the Terps), as Maryland converted on seven. With the contest on Florida turf, don’t expect Maryland to have such an officiating advantage this time out.

Following the graduation of Tewaaraton winner Zoe Stukenberg, Maryland showed no sign of rust in their first game against William & Mary. Megan Whittle and Caroline Steele, a pair of veteran stars, each scored four goals in that 18-7 win.

Florida demonstrated a balanced scoring attack in its 16-9 win over Colorado. In that one,six different Gators scored multiple goals.

It’ll be a huge contest for both teams. Maryland is trying to demonstrate its dominance after some question marks in the midfield coming into the season (if only compared to the team’s usual lofty standards). If Florida wins, the Gators will likely garner some attention as the possible No. 1 team in the country, dependent of course, on the results of Stony Brook’s game against USC.

The Gators are tough to beat at home. I think they can crack the armor of Maryland in this one and take a game against the defending champs. Discipline will be key.

Prediction: Florida 11, Maryland 10 (OT)

Northwestern at Duke, Sunday, 12 p.m. ET

As mentioned before, Northwestern rolled over Colorado on Thursday to start its season with three straight victories, but the Wildcats will have a tough test on Sunday against a talented Blue Devils team.

Duke is a bit overshadowed by the school’s top-ranked men’s lacrosse team, as well as by the three-headed monster predicted to be atop the women’s ACC standings this year in Boston College, North Carolina and Syracuse.

But Duke played well in its opener against Elon. Senior attacker Maddie Crutchfield had four goals. The Blue Devils’ top six point-getters from 2017 are all back for more this year. Duke only went 8-9 last season, but that was blemished by a lot of close losses against top-tier opponents.

In their game against Northwestern at home on Sunday, Duke will have an opportunity to show whether they can be taken seriously in 2018. They just might earn a big win.

Prediction: Duke 14, Northwestern 8