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Week 1 college lacrosse takeaways: Early season chaos, possible overreactions, firsts, and a tribute

College lacrosse got in full swing this weekend. And so did the pandemonium. Plus, a ton more from the slate of games.

Larry French

Week 1 has come and gone.

More teams opened up their seasons this past weekend, with most of the Ivy League squads beginning their campaigns this week (Cornell starts the following week).

You can check in with the recaps and box scores of games that happened this past weekend and preview what’s to come this upcoming weekend in our composite schedule. And make sure you take a look at our latest Top 20 poll for Week 1.

If you missed my Week 0 takeaways, talk a trip down memory lane.

WHAT CHAOS!!

So nice, we’ll say it twice. And I hope you were able to read that in Mike Emrick’s voice.

Because this week was crazy. And it started on Wednesday with High Point upsetting Duke. The Panthers had some pretty good guys in Asher Nolting and Tim Troutner Jr., the latter of which got on nearly everybody’s radar after a 19-save effort. Also give some love to Chris Young, who had four goals and an assist.

As for Duke’s side (who would struggle against Jacksonville in the first half before going on a 9-2 second half run to win), we’d see a surprising return for Brad Smith. So much for potentially being a very serious injury (and one that might have put his season on the line). We saw him on man-up situations against High Point where he recorded a shot and a ground ball. Against Jacksonville, the senior started at attack and put up two assists with three shots. It’ll be interesting to see how he does against Denver on Saturday.

It continued on Friday with the Colgate Raiders upsetting the Syracuse Orange 12-9 inside the Carrier Dome. I wrote a ton about that game over on our sister site Nunes Magician for you to read. But I will say this. I know it’s just one week of lacrosse, but we could be overreacting on the state of the program (which the Syracuse fanbase does sometimes). Some people on Twitter and even some fans at the game thought this could be a long season. I’d pump the breaks on that just a little and see how the next two-three weeks go. Their schedule is brutal with Albany, Army West Point (who beat UMass in overtime on Saturday), Virginia, Johns Hopkins, Rutgers, and Duke. Luckily, all of those games are at home, but it might not matter. Their easiest game is Hobart, but the Statesmen put up 21 goals on Canisius.

Saturday saw a couple of big upsets unfold. The early portion of games saw the Towson Tigers absolutely demolish Johns Hopkins 17-8. The Blue Jays led Towson 4-2 after the first quarter, but the Tigers scored nine unanswered goals to essentially put the game out of reach for the Jays. Brendan Sunday and Koby Smith had big games for Shawn Nadelen’s squad. They also looked fresh.

A few notes on the uniforms.

  • Shoutout Hopkins for sporting throwback helmets of their own. They were pretty nice.
  • It’s only Week 1, but this might be the best looking game of the season uniform wise.
  • I wish Towson had “State” at the bottom of their gold mesh unis. Now that would’ve had a definite vintage feel.
  • More teams should have vintage throwbacks as an alternate jersey. Syracuse got back in that game two years ago with jerseys they had with actual throwback mesh jerseys (which I believe they’ll rock again this year). Princeton’s latest jerseys are a nod to their 1990s selves.

To end the early upsets, the Hofstra Pride traveled up to Bethlehem to beat the Lehigh Mountain Hawks 4-3. I watched the majority of that game, and it was a snooze fest. A little sloppy as well, but the Pride got things cooking in the fourth quarter with all three goals. James Philbin, Ryan Tierney, and Matt Elder were the goal-scorers in the final 15 minutes of the game. That’s a big win for a very young team.

After the preseason hype for Lehigh (which I was also a part of), it suddenly has fizzled out. Now it also didn’t help that Andrew Pettit was out for the second straight game. He’s “out indefinitely for undisclosed reasons” according to a Lehigh spokesperson per Inside Lacrosse.

The Boys Are Back (Part 2)

Along with Smith, we saw the returns of many other players. But unlike Smith, these guys missed a large chunk of time a year ago.

Let’s begin with Tanner Thomson of the Marquette Golden Eagles who missed all of last season. Thomson scored two goals on nine shots with a ground ball in Marquette’s 15-9 win over Bellarmine. Thomson’s on the starting attack along with John Wagner and freshman Holden Patterson. It was a good start overall for the Golden Eagles, who look to improve to 2-0 on Friday against a tougher opponent in Jacksonville.

Virginia Cavaliers midfielder Ryan Conrad returned after missing the bulk of last season after he tore his meniscus, ACL, and MCL against Syracuse. He looked normal play both ways with a goal and two assists on seven shots on offense, while contributing with two caused turnovers and three ground balls in the loss to Loyola. The Cavaliers have Lehigh next week before a short turnaround against High Point. Two big games in a matter of three days.

Finally, Georgetown’s Daniel Bucaro helped lead the Hoyas with a team-high seven points (3 Gs, 4 As) in a 13-10 win over Sacred Heart. Bucaro, along with fellow attack mates Jake Carraway and Robert Clark, recorded eight goals and eight assists total in the win. Kevin Warne will need to look towards those three as well as midfielder Lucas Wittenberg to give them quality offense this season. Some of their young players, including Alex Mazzone on defense and Owen McElroy in goal had good debuts, with McElroy making 16 saves in the win. The Hoyas have a hungry Robert Morris team on Saturday.

27 Freaking Goals

The Penn State Nittany Lions are for real, especially their offense.

Grant Ament (1 G, 6 As), Mac O’Keefe (5 Gs, 1 A), and Dylan Foulds (2 Gs) combined for 15 points in a 27-10 win over the aforementioned Robert Morris Colonials. They scored 12 times in the second quarter. They had runs of seven goals and 12 goals as well. Boy how Grant Ament changes that team.

44 goals in two games is insane. We were discussing in the College Crosse DMs how the Nittany Lions look a lot like the 2016 Brown Bears, except not turning the ball over a ton. The offense, Gerard Arceri winning a ton of draws, and a solid defense led by Chris Sabia and Colby Kneese in goal is the perfect formula for a championship team. Let’s hope they don’t peak too early. They have Stony Brook on Long Island next Saturday, and there’s been some optimism with the Seawolves this season.

Penn State wasn’t the only team to score at least 20 goals. Hobart put up 21 against the Canisius Golden Griffins in their season-opener, including seven in the second and third quarters. Eric Holden had seven goals and two assists, and Chris Aslanian had five goals and two helpers. The Statesmen are looking for a bounceback year after going 4-10 a year ago. They play Siena on Saturday.

More Firsts

The upsets and 27 goals from Penn State pushed down a huge achievement from out west. The Utah Utes won their first game in program history in game two with a 13-9 win over the Mercer Bears. On defense, Samuel Cambere had five caused turnovers and six ground balls. Meanwhile on offense, freshman Josh Stout scored seven goals with an assist. He was a baller last year in the MCLA and scored a hat-trick in their loss to Vermont 10 days ago. Stout leads the nation with 10 goals (it’s early, but still).

Jimmy Perkins didn’t play and was a temporary assistant coach for the day. He was battling an injury prior to the Vermont game where he scored the program’s first ever NCAA goal. We’ll see if he plays next Saturday against Hofstra.

This was a game I thought Utah could win prior to the start of spring ball. They might have two or three more in them prior to the end of the season, but a big shoutout to Brian Holman and the entire Utes staff for achieving another first in their program.

Also, head coach Patrick Myers got his first ever coaching win as the Lafayette Leopards defeated the NJIT Highlanders 14-10. Senior midfielder Connar Dehnert scored a career-high five goals to push the Leopards to victory. They played pretty well against Rutgers last week and have Wagner on Friday.

Finally, shout out to the Kent State Golden Flashes women’s lacrosse team. They played their first ever game on Sunday against the Cincinnati Bearcats where they lost 19-8. But the Golden Flashes, led by Brianne Tierney (the wife of Cleveland State head coach Dylan Sheridan and the daughter of Denver head coach Bill Tierney), were only down 8-6 at halftime. Freshman Abby Jones scored the program’s first goal to tie the game at one in the first half and finished with three goals. They play Robert Morris on Saturday.

More Thoughts

With the upsets this weekend, many reacted. Some might be overreactions, but we’ll see. That’s why we play three months of regular season lacrosse before conference tournament time in May.

  • Is there concern for the Rutgers Scarlet Knights? They led 9-3 with 8:24 left in the second quarter before the St. John’s Red Storm tied it up at nine before the half. They’d eventually go up three with 10:03 left in the game before Rutgers scored the final seven goals, with Kieran Mullins scoring the last three. They host Army West Point on Saturday.
  • Speaking of the Black Knights, they had one of the better games of the weekend that flew under the radar with a 12-11 overtime win over UMass. Chris Connolly scored a man-up goal with a second left in regulation to force overtime, but freshman Brendan Nichtern scored his fourth goal of the game with 3:34 left in overtime. He added three assists for a seven-point game, but also had a game-high four turnovers. Could be a difference maker for the Black Knights coming up, good or maybe bad.
  • The Maryland Terrapins looked like they would leave Maryland Stadium with a good win over the Richmond Spiders. They did, but it was much closer than expected. The Spiders scored all five goals in the fourth quarter, four coming from Ryan Lanchbury. Fortunately for the Terrapins, Austin Henningsen went a perfect 15-of-15 from the faceoff X while Justin Shockey went 5-of-8. Would this near comeback have happened in the pre-shot clock era? I doubt it. But we got this goal from Bubba Fairman.
  • How about Cleveland State? Last week, they made a game out of Ohio State in Columbus. This week, they fought back from a 7-0 second quarter deficit against Michigan into multiple one-goal margins. The Vikings lost by two, and despite college lacrosse not having any moral victories, I feel like there might be something special brewing with Cleveland State very soon.
  • A quick note on Vikings FOGO Danny Tesler. Last week, I mentioned he was wearing #82 all season to honor a friend. Thanks to Cleveland State for providing the following:

Danny is wearing #82 to honor Turner Cockrell, who passed away this past November. Turner had a rare form of melanoma that spread to his lymph nodes and lungs. Turner wore #82 as a tight end on the Vanderbilt football team since 2016.

Danny was best friends with Turner since middle school and the two classmates played both lacrosse and football together throughout high school. The two also have a few mutual friends that have worn or are wearing #82 in Turner’s honor -- a quarterback at The Citadel and club lacrosse players at Kennesaw State and Georgia.

  • I thought the Navy Midshipmen would struggle a little bit with the shot clock, and boy was I wrong. Greyson Torain (5 Gs, 1 A), Ryan Wade (1 G, 5 As), and Christian Daniel (2 Gs, 2 As) all had good games against Vermont. The Mids have made the middle of the Patriot League interesting again. Even though it always was.
  • Tanner Cook started most of the 2018 season and fizzled out near the end of the year. He’s on the second midfield line now and has eight points through the first two games of the season. It might mean nothing, but it’s definitely a good sign for Joe Breschi that he’s back to helping the offense. Harvard comes to Chapel Hill on Saturday.
  • Couple of things for Denver. First, their new helmets look good. And also look a little familiar.
  • Next is life after Trevor Baptiste, and it looks pretty solid for now. Meet freshman Brett Boos from Parker, Colorado. He went 15-of-19 in his first career game as the Pioneers defeated Air Force 11-4. Next week he’ll face Brian Smyth (and/or Joe Stein) and Duke in Durham. Should be a good test for the first-year FOGO.
  • Speaking of freshmen Pioneers, Ethan Walker isn’t the only stud from Culver out west. Say hello to Alex Simmons.
  • Two-handed goals are overrated.

My Top 20

As mentioned, our Top 20 poll dropped earlier today. Here’s my top 20, which is also my top 20 for the media poll.

  1. Yale
  2. Maryland
  3. Loyola
  4. Penn State
  5. Cornell
  6. Denver
  7. Towson
  8. Duke
  9. Rutgers
  10. Notre Dame
  11. Virginia
  12. Georgetown
  13. Michigan
  14. Colgate
  15. Ohio State
  16. Johns Hopkins
  17. High Point
  18. Albany
  19. North Carolina
  20. Princeton

Blow up the preseason and Week 0 polls. Just burn them and their ashes.

After Towson at seven, it’s so jumbled from 8-20, especially from 11-20. Army West Point and Navy all have good reasons to be in the top 20.

Every voter who contributes in the media poll has a different philosophy. I’ll probably disagree with many of their choices, and they’ll probably disagree with mine. And so will you.

The big thing I’ll highlight is Colgate and High Point. High Point had the better win against Duke for sure. But in my mind, the Raiders are a better team overall than the Panthers. If both teams played each other this week, I’d take Colgate just over High Point. The top 20 in my mind is the best 20 teams in the nation right now. Colgate is the 14th best team in the nation, while High Point is the 17th best in my eyes.

Now watch that become a freezing cold take when Colgate somehow loses and High Point beats Drexel and Virginia next week.

Week 1 Team of the Week

Here’s this week’s Team of the Week. If you missed last week, this list gives those who had big games or impacts on close games some well-deserved recognition. And this week was a lot tougher with more games and teams playing.

Each weekly team will have three attackmen, midfielders, and close defensemen, along with a FOGO, LSM, SSDM, and goalie, which is the same format as the All-Freshmen teams.

Chris’ Week 1 Team of the Week

Position Player School Notable Stats
Position Player School Notable Stats
Attack Kieran Mullins Rutgers 6 Gs, 3 As, 1 GB in W vs. St. John's
Attack Pat Spencer Loyola 5 Gs, 2 As, 1 GB, 2 CTs in W vs. Virginia
Attack Brendan Sunday Towson 6 Gs, 2 As, 3 GBs, 2 CTs in W vs. Johns Hopkins
Midfield Connar Dehnert Lafayette 5 Gs in W vs. NJIT
Midfield Jack Jasinski Ohio State 5 Gs in W vs. Boston University
Midfield Greyson Torain Navy 5 Gs, 1 A, 2 GBs in W vs. Vermont
Defense Gray Bodden Towson 4 CTs, 3 GBs, 1 A in W vs. Johns Hopkins
Defense Samuel Cambere Utah 5 CTs, 6 GBs in W vs. Mercer
Defense Koby Smith Towson 1 CT, 2 GBs, 2 Gs in W vs. Johns Hopkins
FOGO Alex Woodall Towson 21-of-28 FOs, 17 GBs, 1 G, 2 As in W vs. Johns Hopkins
LSM MJ Melillo Michigan 1 CT, 2 GBs, 1 A in W vs. Cleveland State
SSDM Will Blumenberg Colgate 1 G, 3 GBs, 1 CT in W vs. Syracuse
Goalie Tim Troutner Jr. High Point 19 saves, 2 GBs in W vs. Duke

Non-Weekend Games

There’s none. Wow. There’s some D2 (Mercy-AIC, NYIT-Palm Beach Atlantic) and D3 games (Christopher Newport-Washington & Lee) before Friday. So if you want some lacrosse during the week, there you go.