Jules Henningburg - The list of players with more points than Henningburg 46 points through 9 games is very short: Connor Fields (8 games), Justin Guterding (10 games), Will Sands (9 games), and Michael Kraus (10 games). That’s it. Rutgers has won three straight over Lehigh, Syracuse, and Delaware in large part because of Jules. Indeed, Henningburg’s six goals and eight total points against Cuse was a major reason why Rutgers beat the Orange. Henningburg accounts for 44.7% of his teams production; only eight players in the country are sporting a higher percentage than that. He’s also sixth in shooting value over replacement, which is just a way of me telling you that he is a ridiculously efficient and accurate shooter. Henningburg will get the chance to really distinguish himself next week as Rutgers takes on Hopkins, meaning Jules will spend some quality time with standout Hopkins defender Patrick Foley.
Signature wins - At long last, Michigan has that first huge win for their program. The Wolverines traveled to Notre Dame last week and came away with a 13-12 win. Michigan became a club-varsity program in 2001, and has been looking for a win to push them over the top and garner some real national respect since they went D1 in 2012. While they’ve put together decent win loss records recently, they always seemed to come up short against their tough Big Ten opponents and top 20 non-conference foes. No longer. The win against Notre Dame is what this program has been chasing for years. Brent Noseworthy had five goals and six points, and as far as efficiency goes, he is shooting the ball about as well as anyone in America. He is also the top of the list in goals that were assisted. Michigan now looks like a team that you shouldn’t expect to go winless in Big Ten play.
Yale - The Bulldogs are getting things into gear, which should make the rest of the lacrosse landscape worried. Princeton came into town on Saturday and got absolutely worked. The six on six sets looked fairly even, but everything else was all Yale. Conor Mackie won 20-24 faceoffs. They out groundballed Princeton by the ridiculous margin of 46-14. They outshot Princeton 51-20. They caused turnovers with the riding game as Princeton failed to clear seven times. And the really scary part is that all this happened on a quiet day for Ben Reeves. Reeves got an early goal against a zone look from Princeton, but once the Tigers went man to man it was radio silence (more on this later) until late in the fourth when the game was decided. Yale should be finding their way into most pollsters top 4 soon. A win against Penn this Saturday could keep the Elis building their season in the right direction.
Bobby Mo - The rest of the nation is all over the place, but Robert Morris just keeps winning games. They’ve been in the Top 20 for a few weeks now, but I still think they’re position is suffering a bit because they don’t have a blue blood name or program. This squad has beaten Penn State and Marquette as part of a five game winning streak dating back to February. Matt Schmidt passed the 30 point mark on the season in a 15-5 smackdown of Mount St. Mary’s. And it’s not like it’s a one man show. There were FIFTEEN players who registered at least one point for Robert Morris against The Mount. The only thing holding this team back from climbing higher is their schedule. The toughest remaining opponent is probably Bryant this Saturday or away at Hobart next week.
George Baughan, D, Princeton - I told you we’d be coming back to this. Yes, Princeton got doubled up. But like I said before, in settled six on six Princeton looked just fine. They played plenty of two man game to get matchups for Sowers, who was able to take advantage just about every time. The real story though was on the defensive end. George Baughan is a freshman close defender for the Tigers. Princeton started this game in a zone, got blitzed for four quick goals, and switched to man to man. Baughan drew the assignment of guarding Ben Reeves and frankly, Baughan won the matchup. Reeves went silent for the rest of the game, despite Yale dominating possession time and opportunities. Baughan looked confident as he was physical with Reeves, forced him to keep to his right, and got Reeves to take low angle shots that were gobbled up by Tyler Blaisdell. Baughan had two caused turnovers on the day as well. Reeves added two goals late in the game after the outcome was all but decided, but Baughan still held one of the top attackman in the sport nearly scoreless through much of the game on Saturday.
Morgan Cheek - Don’t look now but the Harvard Crimson are en fuego. They beat Dartmouth on Saturday to extend their winning streak to six, but the real big time win this week was the 19-18 OT thriller against BU. Harvard was down 18-12 with just over seven minutes left in this game and then Morgan Cheek started doing damage. Cheek scored to start the six goal run, and then assisted the next three goals to bring the score to 18-16. Cheek would assist Joe Lang with under a minute left to tie it. I’ll give you three guesses who scored the game winner (spoiler: it’s Morgan Cheek). Cheek finished the game with a whopping 13 points on five goals and eight assists. Cheek also had two ground balls and, what might be most ridiculous, turned the ball over exactly zero times while shredding BU. Lacrosse Reference had a game score of 9.66 for Cheek. He was also named the USILA National Player of the Week. Harvard is now 7-1, but will need another big performance as they take on Albany midweek.
Holy Cross - Yes, they won their game. But the rest of the turmoil surrounding this program deserves a big down arrow. Coming into the weekend Holy Cross was 1-7 and riding a 5 game losing streak. Their offense was the worst in the sport in terms of efficiency, and they were routinely finishing games with only 3-5 goals. On top of that, Head Coach Judd Lattimore was placed on administrative leave, as reported by Marisa Ingemi here on College Crosse on Friday. There is talk of upset parents and players stemming from an occasion where players were allegedly forced to run wind sprints during halftime of their game against Brown. Air Force is in the midst of a season that is all but lost as coaching questions swirl around that program, and Holy Cross is seemingly now in the same boat. The players deserve a ton of credit for rallying and coming up with an offensive explosion to beat Quinnipiac 14-13 on Saturday, but it’s hard to believe that one win will be enough to erase what is clearly a season in turmoil for this program.
Penn defense - A week after I sing the praises of the Penn defense and rising stud Mark Evanchick, they surrender a 20 spot to Cornell. That’s just the way this season is going I guess. This game was close for a long stretch, but Cornell pulled away late. They also had 60% of the possession in this one. While faceoffs looked even at game’s end, it really was Cornell winning them early and often, as Penn’s Chris Santangelo went just 9-22. They scored on 55% of their possessions which is incredibly efficient. Jeff Teat went off for six goals and two assists, and Jack McCullough had eight points in the midfield. The Penn defense had been outstanding coming in, and even after giving up 20 on Saturday they only drop to 12th in adjusted efficiency. The Quakers even held Duke to single digits in their game earlier this year, indeed, outside of Cornell on Saturday, only Maryland and Penn State have been able to score 10 or more on Penn.
Sacred Heart - The SHU got off to a 4-1 start and were looking promising, even getting some “also considered” recognition, if not Top 20 votes. The month of March, however, has been about as good to this team as the weather in New England. Sacred Heart has dropped four straight since March 3, and was blown out Bryant over the weekend. The high end of the SHU roster is definitely legit. Max Tuttle has 43 points and Joe Saggese has 35, but the defense has been suspect, as every opponent this year except Stony Brook and Providence (two offenses outside the Top 40) have reached double digits. Robert Morris is likely running away with the NEC regardless, but Sacred Heart certainly can’t wait to flip the calendar over to April.
Beating good FOGOs - Four big games this weekend featured teams getting worked over by faceoff guys leading to a loss. Trevor Baptiste went 21-24 and Denver needed every last one of those possessions to get by Towson in overtime. Justin Shockey went 16-20 for Maryland to severely limit the UNC offense and keep pressure on the very suspect Tar Heel defense. Notre Dame FOGO John Travisano went 17-19 and the Irish went 19-21 as a team en route to a one goal win over Ohio State. Conor Mackie won 20-24 for Yale to power the victory over Princeton. All three of those victories have a chance to swap to defeat, including Yale/Princeton, if those face off performances aren’t so one sided. This absolutely unequivocally is not an argument to remove faceoffs. That would be dumb. This is demonstrating how important those extra possessions generated are by a quality FOGO. Ohio State tried their two headed monster of Christian Feliziani and Justin Inacio. And they tried freshman LSM Evan Riss. Princeton used four different players against Mackie and double poled each draw. Nothing worked. The race to figure out just how to neutralize the dominant FOGO is as intense as ever, but so far, no one can figure it out.
Duke Defense - The Blue Devils got beat by Syracuse over the weekend, 15-14. The result is surprising, but not just because Duke lost. Coming into the weekend Duke had one of the best defenses in the country, and was in the top spot in adjusted defensive efficiency. Only Denver had reached double digits against Duke, and that was over a month ago. Duke’s Joe Stein won 20-32 faceoffs, which should have created enough possession for Duke to handle Syracuse in this one just fine, and the 14 goals you’d think would do the job. But the Duke close defensemen only caused two turnovers between the three of them. Cade Van Raaphorst didn’t have a caused turnover or a ground ball. The Syracuse attack went for 11 points combined. Duke needs to get consistent effort on both ends of the field to beat top tier teams, and they only got it on one half against the Orange.