Army/Navy Games - I had never been to one of these until this week, and I was not disappointed. I was on hand to cover as a media member, so I was lucky enough to get a lot of access, and being on the field for warm ups to see the emotion and energy coming from these two squads was incredible. There were 15,000 (!!!) people on hand for the Army/Navy game this year. The weather was perfect. The game itself was dramatic, as teams traded goals en route to a 9-8 Navy win. There were moments in this game that were just incredible and indicative of the atmosphere around the whole day. At one point, a Navy player took a time and room shot from about 12 yards. Absolute rip. An Army defender jumped in front of the shot. It hit him, and as he stood up he flexed, yelled, and ran back to the Army sideline as a timeout had been called after the play. These players were absolutely on fire with adrenaline and emotion from minute one, and it didn’t subside at all for the entire game.
Breaking goal records - Insert football score memes here. Goal totals were through the roof this weekend. Loyola put up 23 on BU. Princeton scored 24 against Dartmouth. Quinnipiac got to 19. Duke scored 18, although that’s probably not surprising. The big winner, however, was Yale. The Bulldogs beat Brown by a score of 27-15. The 27 goals are a school record, passing a mark set in 1926. The win also clinches at least a share of the regular season Ivy League crown for Yale, who despite a recent loss to Bucknell, looks every bit a top 5 team. Reeves had 7 points in the win against Brown, and he seems to be sort of forgotten about in Tewaaraton talk for some reason. But it’s other guys on Yale that make this team look like a contender. Breakout seasons from guys like Jack Tigh and Jackson Morrill have Yale looking like a force to be reckoned with.
St. Joe’s - My NBA and NHL teams (Knicks/Rangers) didn’t make the playoffs. The Yankees are off to a mediocre start. So, the success being enjoyed by the city of Philadelphia truly bothers me to my core. Having said that, let’s welcome yet another Philly school to a top 20 appearance this year (I’m voting them in anyway). St Joe’s has now won seven straight after starting the season 0-3. The early losses were bad ones (Fairfield, Providence, St John’s), but they doubled up Bryant this week and sit atop the NEC standings, undefeated in conference play. The Hawks are led by three seniors with over 25 points each. They play Penn this week in the.....let’s call it the Wawa Derby? St Joe’s would get a signature win and a massive boost to confidence and keep the arrow pointed up if they can pull it off.
Penn State - After seeing Gerard Arceri leave the Maryland game last week with a non contact leg injury, I found myself ready to write off Penn State. There’s plenty of talent on that team, sure, but Arceri’s impact at the faceoff X can’t be overstated. Without him, they’ll be a different team. But Arceri showed up ready to play against Hopkins, arguably the hottest team in college lacrosse. And, well, he’s bionic now:
Jokes aside, that is an incredible performance. I think the last time I took a faceoff was in middle school, but I’m sure hamstrings are useful when it comes to taking draws. Arceri still won 16 of 23 faceoffs and a was major key to the upset win over Hopkins. Penn State draws even with Hopkins in the Big 10 standings, and the Nittany Lions are building a strong case for an at large bid if it comes to that.
Albany on TV - Remember back in the beginning of the season when the TV schedule came out? Everyone was all fired up and cranky because Albany wasn’t on TV at all. As ridiculous as that is (they have lacrosse on the internet now!), I understood the frustration. Albany was a team that everyone knew would be a contender and would be, at a minimum an exciting offensive juggernaut. Somehow Albany managed to exceed expectations, also sending out TD Ierlan to win roughly 200% of all faceoffs he takes and JD Colarusso, a candidate for first team All American goalie. And now, rest easy Dane fans, because Albany will be on TV. They’re game with Yale, easily their toughest remaining contest, has been added to the ESPNU slate. Mark those calendars for April 22nd.
Assists in the Notre Dame scorebook - Maybe I’ve just been piling on Notre Dame lately. But after another very mediocre offensive performance, it just seems like it needs to be said again. This offense is bad. Ryder Garnsey starts now, but I don’t blame him for testing the transfer waters. The offense is bland and pedestrian. A player with Garnsey’s creative sparks and ability to be spontaneous just doesn’t fit, which is nuts when you think about it. Coach Corrigan has had this same problem for years: his offenses have plenty of talent, but when the season starts, you get mediocre output. Notre Dame currently does not have a player on the roster with double digit assists. They are the only team in the top 20 who can say that. Garnsey has 9, Gleason has 7, nobody else has more than 5. Through ten games. That is as rotten as it gets. You can’t hope to win every game you play 7-6. It’s unfair to ask that of your defense, especially when you have talented players on the offensive end. It’s time for a new system in ND.
Postseason Hopes - This is the time of year where a few more teams hear their death knell every weekend. This weekend, UNC got put to sleep. Well, not totally. They need an actual miracle to have a shot at any postseason play now. Specifically, they need to beat ND by 14 goals while ALSO scoring less than 26 goals in the game to take UVA’s spot in the ACC tourney. After Army’s loss, they now need to beat Loyola next week AND get some help in the form of BU losing to Holy Cross. It’s actually a really fun time of year. Teams play with desperation to save their postseason hopes, and if they’re eliminated, they play with anger looking to wreck someone else’s season as well. There is genuine intrigue in just about every league in D1.
Rutgers closing tight games - Rutgers has looked, at times this year, like a program ready to make the leap. They’ve got a quality win against Syracuse, and a bona fide star in senior Jules Heningburg. They do, however, struggle with closing big games. When lesser teams come to town, Rutgers handles business just fine. But in big games against Top 20 teams, Rutgers just can’t seem to get over the hump. They lost to Maryland by one goal on Sunday. They also have one goal losses to Hopkins and Princeton, and a two goal loss to Army. That’s four losses on the season by a combined 5 goals. Rutgers record in one goal games is 1-3, with the one being Lehigh. For Rutgers to truly make the leap into the upper echelon with the blue blood programs, they need to wind up on the other end of these games. With remaining games against Penn State and Ohio State, they’ll certainly have their chance.
UVM - The Catamounts are officially back down to Earth. All the way down. The defense has slipped up a bit, and that’s all it has taken for Vermont to start looking pedestrian. Ian Mackay is having an outstanding season, now up to 30 goals. But their schedule really doesn’t have any quality wins. Their one good opponent (Albany), destroyed them 21-5. And this week, they lost to Stony Brook. That’s a loss that likely takes them out of the top 20. Even with a record of 10-2, it’s hard to keep the Catamounts in the polls. They’ve beaten nobody. They take on UVA this weekend at a neutral site, and a win would certainly restore the respect of pollsters. Otherwise, the America East looks to be the conference that has been all wrapped up by Albany.
Harvard - Big down arrow for the Crimson. Harvard was 7-1, with only an early season one goal loss to Holy Cross as a black mark on their record. They had an emotional thrill ride of a victory over BU that got everyone’s attention, and then they started Ivy League play. And then, things got tough. Albany ran all over Harvard at the end of March, and then the Crimson took back to back league losses against Cornell and Penn. Harvard got out to a three goal lead against Penn on Saturday, and then they fell apart. Penn would come away with a 11-7 victory. Harvard has Princeton next weekend, and the Tigers just hung 24 on Dartmouth. They get rival Yale after that, and Yale has been in and around the top 5 all season. Harvard could reasonably lose five straight to end the season.
Binghamton - TWO?????