Welcome to Week 3 of the 2019 college lacrosse season.
By the end of business on Sunday, all 73 Division I teams will have played at least one game. The Cornell Big Red and Hampton Pirates open up shop this weekend, while the seasons continue for everyone else.
As always, make sure you get yourselves ready for the weekend or the season (if you’re team starts this weekend) with a bevy of College Crosse content.
- Post wise, check out our week three picks. Plus, the Big Ten took a few hits, and the debut of Reverse Survivor. We started with 25 teams and we’re already down to 22!
- Keep up to date on literally every men’s Division I game this year with our composite schedule. Easy to navigate, easy to search, and everything is at a simple click or tap. Same goes for the women’s Division I side.
- And of course, our ultimate matrices for the men’s and women’s sides. It’s like Yellow Pages, but for lacrosse.
- On the podcast side, there’s our latest Crossecast that previews the weekend action.
Let’s get started.
But First, Across College Lacrosse
I’ll drop the latest episode of Across College Lacrosse here every weekend to supplement the weekend preview.
The show is going to be slightly different this year. I’m hoping to sandwich a good interview that tells a story in-between short recaps and previews. This week, I had the chance to sit down with Cleveland State Vikings FOGO Danny Tesler to discuss the reason why he switched his jersey number from #5 to #82. We also discussed the season so far, what he loves about Cleveland State, and his love of country music.
Big Red’s Big Debuts
It’s plural, because they play catch up to the other Ivy League teams with two games in three days. They’re also not easy games.
First, they travel to Geneva to take on the Hobart Statesmen Friday afternoon at 5 PM on HWS All-Access. The Statesmen have scored over 20 goals in both games so far this year against Canisius and Siena. Not the two best teams in the world, but Hobart has looked impressive. The team has given up 12 goals in both games, but they were already out of hand. Could be something to look out for with Cornell’s offense.
Sticking with Hobart’s offense, I found this tweet by former Statesman Cooper Stefaniak interesting.
In @PeetPoillon first season as offensive coordinator at Hobart it took them 6 games to score 43 goals. Now that he has the guys HE recruited Hobart has 43 goals through 2 games. Boys are rolling. @HobartLacrosse— Cooper Stefaniak (@CooperStef) February 16, 2019
It could be the perfect storm for the squad and it could result in a run to an NEC championship.
But back to Cornell. They’re not done with the weekend. They have a quick turnaround against the Lehigh Mountains Hawks at 1 PM on ESPN+. Would not have thought Hobart would’ve been the team with a ton of praise while Lehigh isn’t doing so hot at this time back in November. The Mountain Hawks are down a few bodies, especially on offense with Andrew Pettit and Lucas Spence. They got some help with Alex Tumminello and Mickey Fitzpatrick last week. But more guys will have to come in and step up immediately.
Defensively, it should be fine. The big question is not who will defend Jeff Teat (probably Eddie Bouhall), but how will they defend Teat. The face-guarding worked late in the season and it pretty much shut him off. If that happens again, what will Peter Milliman do to counter?
And who will be in goal for the Big Red? My guess is Caelahn Bullen, but wouldn’t be surprised to see freshman Chayse Ierlan in either.
Heavyweight Battle in New Haven
It lost a little bit of luster with the Yale loss to Villanova last weekend, but I’d say this is still the Game of the Week. Penn State takes their high-powered offense to Connecticut to face the defending national champions Saturday at 1 PM on ESPN+.
The current #2 team in the nation is buzzing on offense, scoring at least 17 goals in each of their three games so far against Villanova, Robert Morris, and Stony Brook. The return of Grant Ament, the quarterback of the offense, has made the Nittany Lions one of the best teams of the still early college lacrosse season. The redshirt junior leads the nation with 17 assists on the season and 5.67 assists per game. It also helps having Mac O’Keefe as your finisher. The junior is tied for second in the country with 14 goals with a 4.67 average per game. And don’t forget freshman TJ Malone, who’s second on the team in goals with nine despite not starting.
As for the Bulldogs, we know about their offense with Jackson Morrill and Matt Gaudet attack along with Jack Tigh at midfield. The defense will have their hands full with the Penn State offense. They have experience with sophomore Chris Fake leading the way. Juniors Aidan Hynes and Will Weitzel are the other starters protecting Jack Starr.
Along with the Penn State offense against the Yale defense, look out for the faceoff matchup between Gerard Arceri and TD Ierlan. Both guys were in the top five in faceoff win percentage a year ago and the two top returning FOGOs in the country.
Crab Cake Clash
I like that name, you don’t have to.
For the 94th time, and the 74th straight season, the Maryland Terrapins and the Navy Midshipmen will faceoff in the great state of Maryland at noon on Patriot League Network. And the game should be an intriguing one.
After edging Penn last weekend at Franklin Field, Maryland took care of Colgate Tuesday night in an 11-6 decision. Jared Bernhardt and Logan Wisnauskas each put up five points in the win against the Raiders and are tied for tops on the team with 19 points. After that, it’s alright with Bubba Fairman (9 points), Anthony DeMaio (8 points), and Louis Dubick (7 points) as notable contributors. Danny Dolan is an experienced netminder from his time at UMass and has made some clutch saves in big moments, especially right before overtime against Penn. Brett Makar has looked good in his early college career.
But the Mids bring in a good offense with weapons at attack and up top at midfield. Christian Daniel is their top weapon at attack with a team high seven goals and 10 points. He also leads the team with three caused turnovers. Midfielders Ryan Wade and Greyson Torain bring value to the top of the field as well. And let’s not forget Ryan Kern in goal. I think he’s at least one of the top 10 best goalies in the country.
Fact or Fiction
Some teams have had pretty bad starts. Others have had pretty good starts. For most teams, it could be the start of what to really expect for the majority of the season. Here are games to watch that involve teams in this situation. All games are on Saturday unless noted.
- Johns Hopkins vs. North Carolina (Noon, ACC Network Extra): Imagine a world where Johns Hopkins is in Reverse Survivor. Don’t imagine, because it’s real. It could be a long season for the Blue Jays after tough losses against Towson and Loyola. But a bright spot has been freshman Joey Epstein. Could he get going with senior finisher Kyle Marr? As for the Tar Heels, they’re 3-0 on the season with their biggest win coming last weekend against...Harvard. A good opponent, but they’ve also earned wins against Mercer and Furman. It’ll be a good benchmark of where the Heels are and where they want to be. In what shouldn’t be a shocker, Andy Matthews leads the team in assists with nine, but Tanner Cook has a team-high seven goals. He also hasn’t started in their three games. Jack Rowlett is UNC’s top defender and could be tasked with guarding the young Epstein.
- Virginia vs. Princeton (Noon, ESPN+): Virginia is 1-2. Their lone win was over a short-handed Lehigh team, and the Cavaliers didn’t really impress me in that. So much for being a potential top five team in my book to start the year. Michael Kraus hasn’t been the same player we’ve seen in the past two years. He did suffer an injury in a scrimmage against Bucknell back in January per a couple of sources. It could be a reason why he’s been a little slow to start, although he torched Lehigh with four goals and an assist on Friday night. Matt Moore has taken a larger role on the offense with seven goals and assists thus far at attack. Petey LaSalla has looked good as a second faceoff man to compliment Justin Schwenk, but the defense still needs work. As for the Tigers, they looked very strong against Monmouth. But that’s been their only game. The jury is still out on them.
- Albany vs. Drexel (Noon, LSN): The Great Danes looked good for about the first 15 minutes of their season opener against Syracuse. Then, they scored two more times in the final three quarters. Jakob Patterson was completely shut off by Nick Mellen outside of an assist. Can Tehoka Nanticoke carry the team by himself? I had doubts of that last year, especially in the loss to UMBC. As for the Dragons, they could have been 2-0 if it weren’t for an overtime loss to High Point last Saturday. They did beat Michigan on the road in double overtime on Tuesday. Reid Bowering had seven goals in the win.
- St. John’s vs. High Point (Noon, ESPN+): We should know by now that High Point is a very good team. The Panthers upset two ACC teams already, and people are starting to know who Asher Nolting is (unless you remember he was an All-Freshman First Team choice a year ago). Tim Troutner Jr. is starting to shine as well in his senior year in goal. But the Red Storm are an interesting case. They played well against Rutgers despite giving up a lead midway through the final quarter and crushed Hartford last week. Mike Madsen is shining on offense along with redshirt freshman Jonathan Huber. My guess is Pat Smyth will have duties guarding Nolting Saturday afternoon.
- Hofstra vs. Villanova (Noon, Nova Nation All-Access): I thought the Wildcats wouldn’t have a good season this year. They got dominated by a very good Penn State team, but then upset the top-ranked team in the nation. Some people aren’t happy with me not ranking them and have bothered me for the entire week about it, but I firmly stand on my decision. They’re the 21st best team in my eyes and were around the high 30s to low 40s if I had to do power rankings for all 73 teams. As for the Pride, Nova is a good prove-it test for a team that beat Lehigh 4-3 followed by Utah 14-10.
- Penn vs. Duke (3 PM, ACC Network Extra): Duke was a victim of High Point but rebounded very well with a big comeback win against Denver last Saturday. But the Penn Quakers looked like a team that would compete with some of the best in the country for another season. Can they get a win? We know a lot about their offense since guys like Simon Mathias, Tyler Dunn, and Adam Goldner have been key contributors since they were freshmen, along with goalie Reed Junkin. But the addition of Kyle Gallagher at the faceoff X definitely helps the Quakers with more possessions. It’s also great to see Noah Lejman return to the field after missing the past two seasons due to injuries.
What To Watch For
Outside of the games I already mentioned, here’s others to keep tabs on.
- Michigan vs. Jacksonville (11:30 AM, CBS Sports Network): If you crave lacrosse on television, thank CBS Sports Network. It’ll be the first live game on TV this season and it’s also the Moe’s Lacrosse Classic. The Dolphins are winless, while the Wolverines look to bounce back from a tough double overtime loss to Drexel on Tuesday.
- Towson vs. Georgetown (Noon, HoyaVision): Towson has looked marvelous to start the season. And they will yet again with chrome helmets. Like the Tigers, Georgetown has started undefeated with wins over Sacred Heart and Robert Morris.
Come on. Like we weren't breaking out more helmets this week. pic.twitter.com/qn7Hw14fFV— TU Men's Lacrosse (@Towson_MLAX) February 22, 2019
- Notre Dame vs. Richmond (Noon, ESPN+): One SoCon team has dominated the ACC. Can a second team do the same? Richmond plays Notre Dame and Duke in back-to-back weeks before traveling to Virginia later in the season. Their defense was solid in a 10-9 loss to Maryland. The Fighting Irish also have a solid defense, but the Spiders will give Notre Dame their first real test of the year.
- Loyola vs. Rutgers (2 PM, BTN): Pat Spencer is on television. That’s must watch or stream or listen to lacrosse. It’s also must see/hear entertainment because the Scarlet Knights kind of need this win. Still very early to decide if Rutgers is a bubble team (it’s February 22), but the loss to Army West Point last year was the game that pretty much kept them out of the tournament. They need to take care of business against Loyola.
- Army West Point vs. Syracuse (Sunday 4 PM, ACC Network Extra): The end of the weekend gives us a doozy between two New York teams. Just from experience with the Orange, the Black Knights have always been the toughest team to prepare for. They do things differently than most teams. And in all four games I’ve been a part of while in Central New York, they’ve been close. Brandon Nichtern finally got a start against Marist and leads the team with 13 points. Fellow classmate attackman Miles Silva leads the team with eight goals (which are all of his points). Senior defenseman Johnny Surdick has nine caused turnovers for Army. As for Cuse, who will be the top attackman this week? Two weeks ago it was Nate Solomon, last week it was Bradley Voigt. Will it be Stephen Rehfuss, who has just one assist thus far? Brendan Curry is the team’s best player with five goals and four assists thus far.
Division I(I) Lacrosse
Merrimack opens up their season at home on Saturday at 1 PM against NYIT.
We’ll keep you up to tabs with them as well as Merrimack in their last year in Division II. Both schools move up to Division I next year and will be a part of the NEC.
One note, both teams play each other March 9 at Post.
Don’t forget to follow College Crosse on Twitter for this Saturday’s College Crosse Gameday and for the entire 2019 year!