Cole Williams, Attack, Hopkins - The Blue Jays are officially on as hot of a streak as anyone in college lacrosse. Hopkins has won seven straight, and while the competition hasn’t always been the best, the offense for Hop is certainly humming. In that streak they’ve scored at least 13 goals in each game. A major part of the offensive explosion is Cole Williams. I remember in the opening game of the year against Towson, Quint Kessenich said that if Cole Williams can just put it all together, the dodging/finishing/shooting, he can be a force. Quint is looking pretty correct on that one. Williams is up to 25 goals on the season, leading the Jays. He is also easily their best threat to score off the dodge. Guys like Stanwick are dodging to feed, and Tinney does his best work in two man games or as part of a team offense. Cole Williams can get the ball and simply decide to beat his man and score from just about anywhere, and it’s been a long time since Hopkins had a guy like that. His last three games have been a four goal effort against Ohio State, a six point effort against Rutgers, and a hat trick against UVA. Williams is becoming the player this program has been after for years.
Michael Kraus, Attack, UVA - The best dodging attackman in the country plays for UVA. Maybe that’s a bit of a hot take, and there’s certainly a debate to it, but right now, I think I’m taking Kraus ahead of just about everyone. Kraus is up to 59 points on the year on 32 goals and 27 assists, 23 points ahead of the next highest scorer on the team. Those 59 points are good for fourth in the nation behind only Justin Guterding, Jeff Teat, and Will Sands. Kraus leads D1 in unassisted even strength goals and is 10th in the nation in even strength assists. He piled up seven points against UNC, five against Richmond the week before, and seven in a loss to Hopkins the week before that. The sophomore has emerged as the offensive go to guy for the Hoos, taking massive strides since his freshman campaign that saw him operating primarily as a finisher/goalscorer. UVA gets Duke next week and Kraus will no doubt be leaned on again to produce against a defense that has been very strong all season.
Ethan Walker, Attack, Denver - Last week I openly wondered where Denver would be without Trevor Baptise, suggesting that they might not even be a .500 team the way they were playing. On cue, we get an offensive explosion from the Pioneers. Remember the scene in Fistful of Dollars where those three guys make fun of Clint and his mule so he proceeds to call them out, quickdraw, and fire off five shots, dropping the three guys before they can even get a shot off?
Well, Denver is the mule, I’m the guys making fun of the mule, and Ethan Walker is Clint Eastwood. Denver put up 18 goals IN THE FIRST HALF and absolutely blitzed Villanova. Yes, Baptiste was a key again and won 27 of 30 draws. But Ethan Walker scored EIGHT TIMES in this game, and threw in an assist for good measure. Those eight goals came on 11 shots, and all 11 shots were on cage. The Denver team took just 43 shots to reach 22 goals. That, my friends, is efficient. Walker’s shot can energize an entire team when it’s on, and his rapid release means he’s able to get his shot off with little, or even no room at all.
Playing with Will Sands - Will Sands isn’t sneaking up on anyone. The Bucknell star attackman has been racking up points all year, and the Bucknell offense barely even gets started before he touches the ball. He’s third in the nation in points, third in Per100, first in even strength assists with a ridiculous 43, and has 62 points total on the year. You know who really loves those numbers? Sean O’Brien and Connor O’Hara. Coming into the Yale game last week, O’Hara had 28 goals and ZERO assists. O’Brien had 23 goals and ONE assist. That’s right, those two goal scoring machines combined for 51 goals and ONE assist before the Yale game. O’Hara recorded his first two assists of the year against Yale (the 11th game of the season) to go along with four goals, three of which were assisted by Sands. O’Brien scored four goals against Yale and six against Mount St. Mary’s. Sands combined for seven assists and ZERO goals in those games. When Sands has the ball, the defense respects it so much that they drop down and cheat towards him more than they might against other players. O’Hara and O’Brien have been extremely adept at identifying a ball watching defenseman and a cutting lane or open space, and Sands finds them time and time again. This crew is the main reason why Bucknell has been on the streak their on, sporting wins against Loyola, Army, Yale, and losing to Penn by a goal in game they were leading with 5 minutes left.
Navy’s Patriot League hopes - If I asked you, right now, to name the team currently at the top of the Patriot League standings, who you going with? Loyola? Bucknell? Lehigh? Three strikes, you’re out. Navy is sitting at the top of the Patriot League right now, and has a legitimate shot at the regular season crown. Navy has struggled to be consistent on offense this season, as sometimes they’re good enough to put up 13 on Bucknell and other times they’re good enough to only score 5 against Holy Cross. But they just keep winning. They’ve beaten Bucknell, Lehigh, BU, and most recently Colgate. They have a showdown with archrival Army on Saturday that could seal the deal on the regular season top spot for the Midshipmen. The Patriot League is notoriously difficult, and it’s impossible to ignore a team that has gone 6-1 against such quality competition.
Undefeated Seasons - All UMBC is take down number ones. Albany lost to a UMBC squad that came in with a 2-7 record. The two wins were against Marist and in the season opener against Richmond. They had also lost to Mount St. Mary’s, Stony Brook, and UMass Lowell. But that, as they say, is why they play the games. Albany was without Connor Fields and Justin Reh, two guys who’s impact really can’t be replaced. The Albany offense scored three goals on their first 25 shots in this game. TD Ierlan crushed faceoffs again, winning 19-21 for Albany, but when the shooting is that poor, those extra possessions are all wasted. UMBC has a fresman in net, Tommy Lingner, who has been decent this season. Lingner came up with 16 saves in this one. Albany has almost two weeks before their next game, and Head Coach Scott Marr has said that Fields should be back for that one. Albany will likely fall from their number one spot, but not far, and their definitely still the favorite to be the number one overall seed, but this was a shock.
Irish Offense - Back in February, Villanova beat Hofstra 7-2. On the In The Crease podcast put out by Inside Lacrosse, Kyle Devitte reacted the way I did by just yelling, “TWO?!?!??!” into the microphone several times. Well, here we are again. Managing just two goals in a lacrosse game is sad. Managing just two goals when you’re Notre Dame is cause for alarm. I’m aware that Gleason didn’t play because of an injury, and Costabile didn’t play for “personal reasons,” but there are enough guys out there to manage more than two goals. Ryder Garnsey, Pierre Bryne, Mikey Wynne, this is goal scoring talent. Notre Dame’s putrid man up offense carried over from the Syracuse game, and they went scoreless on the EMO yet again. I’ve had questions about this offense all year, with question number one being why Garnsey usually doesn’t start games, but usually ends them with multiple points. Far be it from me to second guess a guy with Kevin Corrigan’s resume, but after this string of games with awful offense......wyd??
Ohio State - The wheels are off the Buckeyes train. Ohio State has lost five straight and six of their last seven. The last win came on March 4, when they managed to beat Detroit Mercy by a score of 8-7. They’ve dropped games to Towson and Marquette this year, which nobody expected from a team that played for the title a year ago. Tre LeClaire looks like he is playing with zero confidence in his ability to free his hands. When the ball comes to him and he has plenty of time and space, his shot is still lethal. But as a dodger, even throwing a hitch to take a step upfield and get a shot around a defender, he looks like he has regressed. Jack Jasinski suddenly can’t beat anyone on a dodge to draw slides. While Matt Schmidt has been decent in goal, and occasionally Josh Kirson in net as well, this team clearly misses the goaltending and defensive presence of Tom Carey who they lost to graduation. The Buckeyes are 5-6 and 0-2 in the Big Ten. Their last three games are Michigan, at Maryland, and Rutgers. It’s hard to imagine this team beating Maryland or Rutgers right now regardless of venue, meaning the upcoming game against rival Michigan might be their only shot at avoiding a winless record in conference play.
Jon Mazza and Sid Ewell, Towson - The Towson Tigers are the latest team to be tripped up by what appears to be off the field issues. Early in the year, Delaware dismissed multiple players from their team. Holy Cross put their Head Coach on administrative leave. There is the ongoing saga stemming from off field issues at Air Force. And now, Towson has suspended two starters, Jon Mazza and Sid Ewell, leaders on either end of the field, indefinitely for violating team rules. In the case of Towson, the team responded to the loss of these stars by absolutely thrashing Drexel, 17-9. The Towson offense had struggled all year, and while you’d think losing the offensive star would hurt, it appears that it didn’t affect the Tigers much. Still, you hate to see this. We likely won’t ever find out what really happened that resulted in these suspensions, and it’s silly to speculate. Regardless, whatever the behavior was, it falls into the realm of putting yourself ahead of your teammates. I hope all involved can learn from this and be better men and lacrosse players as they work to be reinstated.
1,498 day long ACC winless streaks - UVA had gone 1,498 days without winning an ACC game. The streak had become legendary. On Saturday, they beat UNC to end the streak.
The Streak is dead. Long live The Streak. Congrats to the ‘Hoos.— Days Since UVA Has Won An ACC Lax Game (@DaysSinceUVAWon) April 8, 2018
Indeed, The Streak is dead. Long Live the streak.
1— Days Since UVA Has Won An ACC Lax Game (@DaysSinceUVAWon) April 8, 2018