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Week 0 college lacrosse takeaways: Returns, debuts, achievements, and controversies

The first week involving game action wasn’t that exciting, but it’s still great to be back.

Craig Houtz/Penn State Athletics

Week 0 has come and gone.

The first 12 games of the 2019 college lacrosse season are in the books, and it did provide some talking points to discuss leading into the first big week of the regular season.

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 0.

The Boys Are Back

Missing an entire year due to injury is tough in any sport. But to bounce back with a 10-point effort in your first game back is incredible.

Grant Ament put up three goals and seven assists as the Penn State Nittany Lions trounced the Villanova Wildcats 17-7. Ament contributed to Penn State’s first four goals and nine of their first 10. Overall, Penn State’s starting attack recorded eight goals and nine assists for 17 points. And don’t forget the rise of freshman TJ Malone, who added a hat-trick in his debut.

A little over 220 miles east of Holuba Hall, Adam Charalambides returned to the field for a regular season lacrosse game for the first time since the Big Ten Championship in 2016. He had four goals and an assist in a 14-8 win over Lafayette. And he certainly didn’t look limited whatsoever.

Imagine if both players were with their respective teams for the 2018 season. Would Ament have helped Penn State get to the Big Ten and NCAA Tournaments? Would Charalambides have helped Rutgers finally get to the NCAA Tournament? Imagine how competitive and much more important each Big Ten game would’ve been for every team in the conference.

Overall, solid starts for those two, but the season is just beginning. Both players will face much tougher opponents later in the year. It’s just great to see both of them back on the field.

Next week, we’ll see Daniel Bucaro (Georgetown), Ryan Conrad (Virginia), and Tanner Thomson (Marquette) all return to the field after big injuries.

Less Than Stellar (But Expected) Debuts

Congrats to the Utah Utes and the St. Bonaventure Bonnies for making their debuts this weekend. A big accomplishment for both teams, and what hopefully is a monumental moment for the men’s game with the start of the Utes’ program.

But neither team had the best of games, as many expected. Utah gave up their first goal nine seconds in against Vermont in a 21-6 loss. Josh Stout did have a hat-trick for the Utes. At least Utah put up goals, because the Bonnies were shut out by High Point 13-0 despite 23 saves from freshman goalie Brett Dobson.

Neither result should be surprising, although the Bonnies failing to score was a little shocking. Both teams will have plenty of growing pains this year and next. As Utah head coach Brian Holman told the media in his postgame press conference, experience will help everyone grow and become better players. Mercer and Saint Joseph’s are next for both teams.

What to Think of Cleveland State and Lafayette?

One of the more intriguing finals from Saturday was in Columbus, where the Cleveland State Vikings fought hard with the Ohio State Buckeyes in a 12-9 loss. Tristen Copeland, Ryan Haigh, and Gabe Reno each had two goals, while FOGO Danny Tesler went 13-of-25 on draws. The Vikings outshot the Buckeyes 37-30 and even got within a goal early in the third quarter.

Back in Jersey, Patrick Myers made his Lafayette Leopards coaching debut in the aforementioned 14-8 loss to Rutgers. Despite the loss, Lafayette made it very difficult for Rutgers to pull away until the fourth quarter. The Scarlet Knights were in that three/four goal margin for the majority of the second and third quarters, despite winning only three faceoffs all day. Andrew Robbins recorded a hat-trick in the loss, while Ryan Ness stopped 14 shots in goal.

So what should we think about these performances for both teams?

For Cleveland State, it could be attributed to a little bit of rust from Ohio State as well as the Vikings getting better overall. Last year’s meeting in Cleveland was also competitive before the Buckeyes started to pull away earlier in the third quarter than they did this year. Having players with two years under their belt, one of them involving a full Division I schedule, is better than having one year of experience.

As for Lafayette, they covered the Lax Vegas Lines spread like they did a year ago against North Carolina. Great! But I think the jury is still out on them with a new coaching staff. They have a stretch against NJIT, Wagner, Manhattan, and Binghamton coming up. That should help see where they stand as a program. But if the Rutgers game is a hint of what to expect, they’ll definitely improve.

WAAAGGGNNNNEEERRRR!!!

Speaking of new head coaches, Bill McCutcheon and the Wagner Seahawks defeated Jim Mitchell and the Bellarmine Knights in a battle of new head coaches in Kentucky. Spencer Kaufman scored a hat-trick and the overtime winner as the Seahawks won 7-6 in the first overtime game of the regular season.

The names might not be appealing to some, but if you watched part of the game, it was pretty competitive. Both goalies recorded over 10 saves, with Matt Sefcik stopping 16 shots for Wagner in the win.

Both coaches are instilling new cultures into their programs, and their teams looked ready to compete. Manhattan and Marquette are up next for both teams respectively.

Achievements for Danowski, Chick

Duke Blue Devils head coach John Danowski got career win #400 as the Blue Devils defeated the Furman Paladins 17-9 in the only #SaturdayNightLacrosse game this week. He became the first men’s Division I head coach to do so.

Three national championships at Duke, along with a gold medal in this year’s FIL World Championships, is a ton in itself. 400 wins is also unbelievable. But remember where your roots are!

Up north at Lehigh, senior defenseman Craig Chick recorded five caused turnovers in a 15-8 win over NJIT. Chick moved up to a tie for fourth place on the all-time caused turnovers list in NCAA history with 123. He’s tied with Jamie Hebden of Detroit Mercy and John LoCascio of Villanova. He’s one away from tying Ryan O’Donoghue of Sacred Heart for third place with 124.

After that, he’ll have to catch Brendan Hynes of Richmond at 151 followed by Jordan Houtby of Detroit Mercy at 158.

Controversial dives (Duke/Lehigh)

Here comes the fun part! With the return of the the dive, we’re gonna have plenty of discussions about it! And a lot to digest.

The first controversial occurrence that people saw came in the Duke-Furman game. William Holcomb tried to dive and score, but it was waived off.

Have a look at it for yourself.

Holcomb was given a one minute unsportsmanlike conduct penalty.

Paul Carcaterra had second thoughts about the dive rule.

At the IMLCA Convention back in December, this was brought up with a ton of confusion and debate. How would it be officiated? Could the goalie make contact with the diver and not be penalized? What’s the goal mouth?

Based on what I heard at the convention and what the rules Powerpoint showed to coaches and others in attendance, the referees got this decision right. The Duke goalie, Turner Uppgren, made a challenge on Holcomb and resulted in contact before the ball was out of Holcomb’s stick.

Per the NCAA rules book, here’s what it says regarding the dive in Rule 4, Section 21 (Goal-Crease Prohibitions), along with a definition of the goal mouth:

c. If an offensive player, in possession of the ball and outside the crease area, dives or jumps in a direction away from the goal mouth and lands in the crease, the goal shall be allowed. Provided the ball enters the goal before contact with the crease, goaltender or the goal.

d. If an offensive player, in possession of the ball and outside the crease area, dives or jumps in a direction that is not away from the goal mouth and lands in the crease, the goal shall be disallowed. In addition, the player shall be penalized with a minimum of a 1-minute foul. The penalty may be releaseable or nonreleasable at the discretion of the referee. Contact is not required for a foul to be called under this rule. Defensive contact legal or illegal may have an effect on this play.

Note: The “Goal Mouth” is the area directly in front of the goal cage, including the goal line, where the goalkeeper is located and plays his position. A player “diving” must dive in a direction away from the goal mouth.

As shown before, here’s a visual of what the goal mouth is.

While at the convention, I was able to obtain the slides from the presentation. The final slide was the most similar to what happened with Holcomb.

Another examples surfaced Sunday with Lehigh-NJIT. Lucas Spence looked like he had a clean goal on Alexzander Hunt. But his goal was waived off.

The result of the play was the goal disallowed, Spence getting a one-minute penalty for unsportsmanlike conduct, and defenseman Kevin Falteisek getting a 30-second penalty for pushing.

To me, that looked like a good goal with a penalty to Falteisek being waived off. This looks like to be closest to this.

Also of note, if a diver is parallel to the “goal mouth”, the goal will be disallowed.

So here are the penalties for a diver, per said rules Powerpoint:

1. A one-minute releasable (unsportsmanlike conduct) will be called for a player that dives in a direction that is not away, and has no contact with the goaltender.

2. A one to three-minute non-releasable (unsportsmanlike conduct) will be called when contact with the goaltender is made. The penalty time is based on severity of the contact but in no circumstance less than a one-minute non-releasable foul.

So there you have it. It’ll be fun to see what goes on with the dive, including what coaches think. A lot of them were confused then, and it feels like a lot of them still are.

Let’s move on.

Shot Clock Observations

When watching games this week, I didn’t really feel a difference in play with the shot clock. But PLL coach John Paul was in attendance for Jacksonville-Detroit Mercy and had this nugget.

Detroit Mercy went 16-of-22 on clears. The game wasn’t streamed, but Paul’s point seems to be relevant with a few other teams as well.

  • Boston University: 19-of-30
  • Mercer: 10-of-17
  • NJIT: 21-of-26
  • St. Bonaventure: 18-of-28 (probably more of them being a 1st year team)
  • Wagner: 24-of-29

Most teams were around the mid-80s range for clears a year ago. Still early to tell if it’ll make a noticable difference for the year, but it’s worth noting with plenty of teams starting their seasons this week or next.

Ryder Garnsey Sighting?

As mentioned back in January, Notre Dame Fighting Irish attackman Ryder Garnsey was ruled ineligible for the spring semester.

He’s not playing in games, but he did take part in Notre Dame’s Intrasquad Scrimmage on Sunday and took pictures with fans.

It’s great to see the team have Garnsey still involved in some way. Hopefully he can be eligible to play if the Irish reach the NCAA Tournament when final exams are done in early May.

Other Game Notes

  • Yes High Point dominated St. Bonaventure on the scoreboard. They also did in terms of shots with a 62-17 advantage. Defense outside of Dobson needs plenty of work for the Bonnies.
  • Bo BowHunter was a guy that caught my notice in spring scrimmages. Despite the loss to Detroit Mercy, he had a hat-trick and an assist and started for the Dolphins. Fellow freshman Jack Pucci had three assists, but two of them came in the final 44 seconds of the game. Keep an eye out for both of them for possible All-Freshman nods at the end of the year.
  • Two different jersey numbers in Cleveland State-Ohio State. First, Tre Leclaire wore #44 instead of the #14 he wore the past two seasons. Second, Danny Tesler wore #82 instead of his normal #5. According to the BTN Plus telecast, he wore the number “in honor of someone in his life that may have passed away.”
  • Rutgers started freshman goalie Ben Pounds in goal over senior Max Edelmann. According to our sister site On The Banks, Edelmann missed the game with an injury but is not expected to miss significant time.
  • It could just be me, but it felt like there were an unusual amount of goalies making a large amount of saves this weekend. Out of the 12 games this weekend, 15 starting goalies made at least 10 saves. If you want to include teams that had multiple goalies, 18 of the 24 teams made at least 10 stops.
  • As for guys that made at least 15 saves or more, eight goalies reached that mark, with two of them saving at least 20 shots. Colby Kneese made 19 saves. Last year’s season-high in saves was 22, which was reached twice on May 3 in losing efforts. We had 23 and 24-save efforts this weekend. So maybe that’s an effect of the new shot clock rule?

My Top 20

As mentioned, we had a Week 0 poll that dropped on Monday. Here’s my top 20, which would’ve been my top 20 as well if there was a media poll this week.

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

Not a ton of changes, just a few teams moving up or down a spot. I didn’t want to overreact to news or games/scrimmages, which was why I made some of those decisions.

Week 0 Team of the Week

I want to try something different and do a Team of the Week. How long will it go, who knows. But it gives those who had big games or impacts on close games some well-deserved recognition.

Each 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 0 Team of the Week

Position Player School Notable Stats
Position Player School Notable Stats
Attack Grant Ament Penn State 3 Gs, 7 As in W vs. Villanova
Attack Adam Charalambides Rutgers 4 Gs, 1 A, 3 GBs, 2 CTs in W vs. Lafayette
Attack Asher Nolting High Point 3 Gs, 4 As in W vs. St. Bonaventure
Midfield Spencer Kaufman Wagner 3 Gs in W vs. Bellarmine
Midfield Tre Leclaire Ohio State 3 Gs in W vs. Cleveland State
Midfield William Perry North Carolina 2 Gs, 2 As, 1 GB, 2 CTs in W vs. Mercer
Defense Craig Chick Lehigh 5 CTs, 9 GBs in W vs. NJIT
Defense Chris Price High Point 6 CTs, 4 GBs in W vs. St. Bonaventure
Defense Kyle Stofko Wagner 4 CTs, 4 GBs in W vs. Bellarmine
FOGO Alex Jarzembowski Detroit Mercy 15-of-21 FOs, 5 GBs, 2 Gs in W vs. Jacksonville
LSM Paul Manuszak Detroit Mercy 3 CTs, 6 GBs in W vs. Jacksonville
SSDM Roman Puglise Maryland 3 GBs, 1 G in W vs. Bucknell
Goalie Joe McSorley Boston University 24 SVs, 4 GBs in W vs. Providence

Non-Weekend Games

There’s one, which is Duke hosting High Point Thursday night at 7 PM on ACC Network Extra. The biggest thing I’ll watch is how Asher Nolting does against Duke’s close defense.

I’ll have a weekend preview on Friday.