Good news: There’s lacrosse this weekend.
Good (or bad) news: It’s literally supposed to rain all across the east coast this weekend and in Denver. So that’s a bummer.
Bad news: Next week is the end of the college lacrosse season.
However, four teams will have their seasons end this weekend in either Hempstead or Annapolis in games that should be absolutely entertaining. Any one of these eight teams left can win the whole thing. I just hope we don’t have four huge blowouts and all this talk was for nothing.
Before we begin, let’s see what the bracket looks like prior to today’s games:
Only two unseeded teams (Denver and Cornell) made the quarterfinals. Two teams (Albany and Yale) have never won an NCAA national championship (I’m not counting Yale’s 1883 title). Six of the eight teams left have made an appearance in Championship Weekend in the past five years (Albany and Yale haven’t been to one in that span). Just some fun facts to throw out there.
Anyway, I’ll be at all four quarterfinal games in Hempstead and Annapolis. Thanks to everyone that had food recommendations as well. I’ll be sure to document my experiences this weekend in various ways. Expect some probably bad food reviews.
I already previewed the two Hempstead games (Loyola-Yale and Denver-Albany) and the other Annapolis game of Cornell-Maryland. Check out today’s recaps of Yale’s win over Loyola and Albany’s thriller over Denver as well!
Now, let’s preview the final game of the weekend! Which is being played tomorrow, unlike today (which Billy King thought)!
ANNAPOLIS REGION (MAY 20): #5 Johns Hopkins Blue Jays vs. #4 Duke Blue Devils (2:30 PM, ESPNU)
The final quarterfinal is a game that not a ton of people are talking about. But Johns Hopkins could be the hottest team left standing.
Tale of the Tape: #5 Johns Hopkins Blue Jays vs. #4 Duke Blue Devils
|#5 JOHNS HOPKINS BLUE JAYS||#4 DUKE BLUE DEVILS|
|#5 JOHNS HOPKINS BLUE JAYS||#4 DUKE BLUE DEVILS|
|Kyle Marr (39)||Goals leader||Justin Guterding (58)|
|Shack Stanwick (33)||Assists leader||Justin Guterding (41)|
|Kyle Marr (55)||Points leader||Justin Guterding (99)|
|Hunter Moreland (96)||Ground balls leader||Brian Smyth (60)|
|Patrick Foley/Daniel Jones (14)||Caused turnovers leader||Peter Welch/JT Giles-Harris (20)|
|Hunter Moreland (195-334, 58.4%)||Face-off leader||Brian Smyth (114-225, 50.7%)|
|Brock Turnbaugh (9.24 GAA, 51.5%)||Goaltender||Danny Fowler (8.36 GAA, 53.7%)|
|11.88 (9th)||Scoring offense||13.76 (4th)|
|7.25 (10th)||Assists per game||7.82 (5th)|
|19.13 (10th)||Points per game||21.59 (5th)|
|9.44 (22nd)||Scoring defense||8.41 (10th)|
|35.2% (31st)||Man-up offense||53.1% (4th)|
|66.7% (T38th)||Man-down defense||70.2% (19th)|
|30.0% (32nd)||Shot percentage||37.8% (2nd)|
|89.9% (13th)||Clearing percentage||88.7% (24th)|
Players to Watch
- Kyle Marr, A, Johns Hopkins: The son of Scott Marr hopes to create a very happy household this weekend if he can help Hopkins advance to Championship Weekend. He went off in the fourth quarter last week against Georgetown, scoring all five of the team’s goals in the final frame and forcing the game into overtime. And he’s got some of the best celebrations in the sport:
Kyle Marr 1st Team All-Celly Squad MVP pic.twitter.com/rQOLAqyoJM— The Crease Dive (@thecreasedive) May 13, 2018
He will float around and try to get an open shot whenever possible. He should be watched at all times, especially against a solid Duke defense. I can’t wait to see him fire some bullets, whether they go in or not tomorrow afternoon.
- Justin Guterding, A, Duke: Hi, President of the Justin Guterding fan club over here! I love how much he matters to this Duke offense and I don’t care if he doesn’t get the respect he deserves. He had the most points in the country at 99 before Ben Reeves broke the 100-point barrier today. His class has never been to Championship Weekend. He’ll try and change that with a supporting cast that includes a budding freshman in Joe Robertson, who had four goals last week against Villanova.
- Patrick Foley, D, Johns Hopkins: I think I would be doing an injustice if I didn’t put Safe’s favorite defenseman in this section. After missing last season, Foley is back with a vengeance. He’s got 14 caused turnovers, which is tied for a team-high with Daniel Jones, and 28 groundballs on the season. More than likely, he’ll be tasked with guarding Guterding and stopping whatever he does on offense. He’s a pretty good cover man, and will look to limit whatever that potent Blue Devil attack can do.
- Nakeie Montgomery, M, Duke: If you haven’t watched a ton of Duke, you might ask yourself who he is? Montgomery is a freshman that has only nine goals and two assists on the season. But in his second start last week against Villanova, Montgomery put up a hat-trick on five shots. I would not be shocked if Duke poled both Brad Smith and Peter Conley at midfield, leaving Joey Manown and Montgomery with a shortstick. If Montgomery gets hot on a shortstick, that may give him a pole and leave either Smith or Conley on a shortie. He could be the key for Duke’s offense.
Things to Watch
Hunter Moreland should win the majority of the face-offs against Brian Smyth and Joe Stein. But what will Hopkins do on those extra possessions? That would need Hopkins to develop some picks and get advantages for them on offense. Duke has a solid defense, especially with their close defensemen, but have stepped off the gas pedal in some stretches this season. But they’ve also been dominant. If Hopkins can set picks and get shots that aren’t on the run, it could be an even game.
Johns Hopkins and Duke have met 19 times in the past, with Hopkins leading the Blue Devils 12-7. However, Duke has won the previous three meetings, including last year’s 19-6 drubbing at Homewood Field.
According to Lax Vegas Lines, Duke is a 1.5 goal favorite over Johns Hopkins. The over/under for goals is 22.5.
This could be the second best game of the weekend, behind Albany and Denver that just happened tonight. One-on-one matchups, I prefer Duke over Johns Hopkins. But I think Dave Pietramala and company have something set up to attack John Danowski, and the players from last year’s team definitely have last year’s result in the back of their minds. Also because Tal Bruno saved a dog from a burning car. And for the second straight year, the ACC will have zero teams at Championship Weekend.
Pick: Johns Hopkins 12, Duke 11