We began the week with 17 teams. We’re now down to...16. But at the end of the day, we’ll be down to 12 and then to eight teams tomorrow night. We’re at the fun part of the college lacrosse season, which can also be the sad part because the end is near.
#LaxVegasLines: NCAA Round 1 (Updated) pic.twitter.com/E2Xa2Fp1bW— Lax Vegas Lines (@LaxVegasLines) May 10, 2018
(Ed. Note: For information/entertainment purposes only! #WeDoNotEndorseGambling)
UMass @ #3 Yale: The tournament begins with a New England rivalry. UMass proudly owns the nation’s longest winning streak at 11 games. However, all of those wins came against teams that weren’t above .500. But the Minutemen’s top three scorers of Buddy Carr, Jeff Trainor, and Chris Connolly all have at least 20 assists on the season.
Yale looks to win their first NCAA Tournament game since beating Penn State in the 2013 First Round. With a Tewaaraton finalist in Ben Reeves as well as a stud defense aided by freshman Chris Fake, the Elis hope to get their job done and move on to next weekend.
Watch for the face-off battle between Noah Rak of UMass and Conor Mackie of Yale. If this game gets close, this battle could be very important.
Villanova @ #4 Duke: The Wildcats enter as the last team in the tournament. They’ve been shaky as of late, losing three of their last five games before today’s matchup with the Blue Devils. This Nova team has changed a lot since the start of the season. The most obvious is no Matt Barrett in goal, and quite recently no Nick Testa, as Michael Corrado has gone with Michael Toomey in front of the cage. FOGO Luke Palmadesso has missed the majority of this season, and Dan Fisher hasn’t seen action recently either.
Nova’s young but talented defense has to face a hot offense led by Justin Guterding and his 96 points. He’ll have weapons around him in Joe Robertson at attack as well as Peter Conley and Brad Smith up top at midfield.
The Wildcats will debut some new helmets as well:
We are proud to be protected and represented by @CascadeLacrosse. Check out our new matte navy helmet #BoldCustom #GoNova pic.twitter.com/brxsjVgR4S— Villanova Men's Lax (@NovaLacrosse) May 11, 2018
Mike Corey previews the game with analyst, former head coach, and grass expert Don Zimmerman and talks to Justin Guterding:
On site in Durham, NC getting ready for Round 1 of the @NCAALAX Playoffs. @DukeMLAX is hosting @NovaLacrosse / Game 2 of 8 of our weekend coverage/ It’s going to be a hot one! Winner to the Quarterfinals. Saturday 2:15pm ET @ESPNU @Inside_Lacrosse @LaxPower @ACCMLax @BIGEAST pic.twitter.com/lBm3HX8aUf— Mike Corey (@mikecoreysports) May 11, 2018
Good to catch up with one of the best players in @NCAALAX / Justin Guterding of @DukeMLAX as they get ready to play @NovaLacrosse / First round of the playoffs comes your way tomorrow on @ESPNU / It all begins at 12pm ET @Inside_Lacrosse @LaxPower @USLacrosse @OhioMachinePR pic.twitter.com/0NTOnSptef— Mike Corey (@mikecoreysports) May 11, 2018
Richmond @ #2 Albany: How will the Great Danes play without Connor Fields? That’s going to be a big question against a Spiders team that is very capable of making an upset. Richmond doesn’t have a ton of NCAA Tournament experience, but fifth-year senior Mitch Goldberg was on the team when they made the tournament in the team’s inaugural season. Teddy Hatfield is capable of having a good showing on offense.
Albany will need to get their scoring going immediately. This game may have had a closer margin if last year’s Spider defense was around. Need big performances from Justin Reh, Tehoka Nanticoke, Kyle McClancy, Jakob Patterson, and even Sean Eccles. A start that’s similar to the UMass Lowell game won’t do any good, even if TD Ierlan dominates at the face-off X.
The Spiders also got new helmets:
Spiders picking up brand new, matte navy lids for #NCAALAX first round at Albany!#OneRichmond#BoldCustom pic.twitter.com/H3OPiynelv— Richmond Lacrosse (@SpiderMLAX) May 11, 2018
Virginia @ #6 Loyola: SATURDAY NIGHT LACROSSE is a doozy! It’s a rematch of the season-opener for both teams, which saw UVA won in double OT in Charlottesville. But both teams have changed, especially for Virginia, who’s missing Ryan Conrad due to injury.
But the Wahoos are still very good. Michael Kraus is one of the best attackmen in the country, while Dox Aitken kills it in the midfield. Matt Moore recently broke through in the ACC Tournament against Syracuse and Notre Dame, en route to the conference’s Freshman of the Year award. One question is in goal between Alex Rode and Griffin Thompson.
The Greyhound offense can certainly influence who plays in goal for UVA, if it gets ugly quickly. Pat Spencer is on the other side of the field, but Scott Hooper has shown he can guard some of the very best. But the Cavaliers’ off-ball defense will be big if they want to limit Spencer’s feeding talents.
This could be the best game of the weekend, and I hope we get another offensive shootout.
Here’s game notes for each team:
A reminder to get your First Round Bingo card before today’s games! I’ll be playing along as well, even though I have Newhouse Commencement at noon!
Paul Carcaterra spoke to 104.5 The Team in Albany regarding the NCAA Tournament.
There’s more lacrosse action today with Divisions II and III. We’ll have posts for those games later today.
Song of the Day
I’m so excited. And I just can’t hide it!
Games begin at noon! I’ll see you out there!