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Week 4 storylines and matchups to watch in college lacrosse

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Syracuse Athletics

Welcome to Week 4 of the 2019 college lacrosse season.

While the best game of the week may have already been played, there’s still plenty of action to catch beginning tonight. And there’s two games on live TV this weekend on ESPNU!

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.

Let’s get started.

But First, Across College Lacrosse

As I did last week, the latest episode of Across College Lacrosse will be here every weekend along with the Weekend Preview.

This week, I had the chance to sit down with Providence Friars goaltender Tate Boyce to discuss the season so far as well as how the new rules in college lacrosse have affected him as a goalie. We also discussed life as a four-year starter, working under John Galloway his freshman year, and what makes the best grits.

Give it a listen below or wherever you get your podcasts. You can also subscribe to the podcast on Anchor, Apple Podcasts, Google Play, Stitcher, and TuneIn. 5 star reviews are also helpful!

Storylines

Friday Night Lacrosse.

It’s a little late for Happy Hour Lacrosse, but there is a pretty good game on taps for tonight. The Richmond Spiders, fresh off an upset against Notre Dame last week, hope to earn another ACC upset with the Duke Blue Devils come to town (7 PM, ESPN+).

Outside of their loss to High Point, the Blue Devils have scored at least 10 goals on offense and allowed less than 10 on defense in every game. Furman, Jacksonville, Denver, and Penn might be a small sample size and not the best quartet of opponents, but Duke looks to be in a groove. Joe Robertson has been the most consistent player on offense and leads the team with 17 goals and 23 points. After this game, they host Loyola Thursday night on ESPNU.

As for the Spiders, they have a 3-1 mark and got in the top 20 thanks to a 9-8 upset over the Fighting Irish last week. Three of their four games have been decided by two goals or less. They beat UMBC by five. Teddy Hatfield (10 Gs, 10 As) and Ryan Lanchbury (17 Gs, 2 As) spearhead the Richmond offense, while the defense is a solid unit with Jason Reynolds anchoring the close defense unit and Jack Rusbuldt manning the cage.

The Undefeateds

Entering the first Saturday in March, six teams are undefeated.

Four of them are teams you might expect to be in this group. Delaware maybe, but absolutely not VMI. It’s their first 2-0 start since 2000 when they went 7-6, the last season the team finished above .500. They look to go 3-0 against Mount St. Mary’s at 3:30 PM. With guys like Ryan Perouty, John Daniel, and Kyle Walsh, it’s very possible.

Delaware meanwhile has looked good in four wins over Mount St. Mary’s, NJIT, Monmouth, and St. Joe’s. They will definitely be tested on the road against the Villanova Wildcats (1 PM, Nova Nation All-Access), who are fresh off an overtime win over Hofstra. The CAA doesn’t look strong this year outside of Towson, so could the Blue Hens be the second best team in the conference?

Towson can relax after Wednesday’s big win over Loyola.

As for the other three teams, they’re involved in some intriguing contests. Cornell hosts the Albany Great Danes (3 PM, ESPN+), but Albany hasn’t looked dominating yet, despite edging Drexel by one last weekend. Ohio State takes on Marquette (1 PM, LSN) in the Patriot Cup down at SMU in Dallas. The Golden Eagles have talent, but fell to Detroit Mercy last weekend. They bested Bellarmine and Jacksonville earlier this year.

Maryland has the best matchup as they have to travel to South Bend to take on the Notre Dame Fighting Irish (Sunday Noon, ESPNU). The Terps are 5-0 with some good wins, but they honestly have some work to do on their end as well. Notre Dame crushed Detroit Mercy 19-6 before losing to Richmond a week ago. Which Notre Dame shows up?

Some Rivalries

There’s some good matchups pitting a few rivals against each other on Saturday.

The biggest one is an ACC opener between the Virginia Cavaliers and the Syracuse Orange inside the Carrier Dome (Noon, ESPNU). It’s a legendary rivalry that was a showcase in the 1990s and has carried on throughout the years. The Orange lead the all-time series by a game, but the Cavaliers got their first win against the Orange since 2014 in the ACC Tournament last May. Cuse looks like they’re clicking, especially on defense, while Virginia has a 2-2 record but hasn’t looked convincingly good so far this season.

Over in Jersey, the Princeton Tigers host Johns Hopkins (Noon, ESPN+) in the Blue Jays’ first visit to Princeton in two years. What happened then? Well, 3rd ranked Johns Hopkins lost to unranked Princeton 18-7. The birth of a meme. Hopkins carried it over to Cuse last year, so Syracuse will have to beat an opponent 18-7 this year. It’s the rules.

A “newer” rivalry that’s been something this decade has been Denver-North Carolina. They kick start the Saturday slate at 10 AM on ACC Network Extra. Also of note, the Tar Heels will open up their new lacrosse stadium a little bit earlier than expected. After last week’s torrential downpour in Chapel Hill, Kenan Stadium’s field was pretty much destroyed. It’s getting new sod, but it won’t be getting lacrosse this weekend.

The Game That Never Happened (Last Year)

It was this time last year the then-undefeated Georgetown Hoyas got stuck on their bus to Long Island in a snowstorm as they were getting ready to take on the Hofstra Pride. That game never happened. This year, barring any weird weather patterns, it will happen (3 PM, LSN). The Hoyas aren’t undefeated after a loss to Towson last week, but they still boast a good offense and a defense that is a mix of experienced guys and newcomers.

What To Watch For

Outside of the games I already mentioned, here’s others to keep tabs on.

  • Lehigh vs. Colgate (Noon, Patriot League Network): Before everything that happened to Lehigh, this was going to be a really good game to watch. Now, it’s still a good game, but it lost a ton of luster. The Raiders are playing in their home opener and hope to continue their early hot start to their season. The Mountain Hawks are 1-3, but their last two losses to Virginia and Cornell have been battles.
  • Robert Morris vs. High Point (Noon, ESPN+): As of now, these look like the two top teams in the NEC and the SoCon (Richmond also looks good, but High Point has some better wins right now). The Panthers needed overtime to beat Drexel two weeks ago and fell to St. John’s last week. How will they respond?
  • Michigan vs. St. John’s (Noon, ESPN3): Speaking of the Red Storm, they’ve looked very good to start the 2019 season. They nearly upset Rutgers at home earlier in February before upsetting High Point on the road last week. Mike Madsen and Jonathan Huber are guys to know on offense, while the defense is slightly underrated with Pat Smyth and Tim Kiel.
  • Penn vs. Penn State (1 PM, BTN Plus): The Nittany Lions lost a tough one last week to Yale in New Haven. Gerard Arceri was dominated at the faceoff X by TD Ierlan. If it was more of a balanced battle, Penn State may have won. Or if Mac O’Keefe’s no-goal was a goal. Whatever. Penn has two losses to Maryland and Duke and the road doesn’t get any easier for them.
  • Bucknell vs. Navy (3 PM, Patriot League Network): Gotta love the Patriot League. It’s insane conference play has teams playing each other in March. Plus, many of the teams are evenly matched up. This one is no exception. The Bison are 1-3, but all three losses (Maryland, Richmond, Ohio State) are close quality losses. Navy is coming off a defeat to Maryland.
  • UMass vs. Yale (3 PM, ESPN+): These two teams had close games last year, with the Bulldogs winning both meetings. The second of them came in the NCAA Tournament, and both times the Minutemen clawed back from down large deficits to make things a little interesting.

Division I(I) Lacrosse

After beating Saint Anselm 15-10 last week, LIU Post continues their homestand against Pace University at 1 PM.

Merrimack opened their season with a 20-13 win over NYIT and will travel to take on Lake Erie Sunday at noon.

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. Both teams play each other next Saturday at Post.

Don’t forget to follow College Crosse on Twitter for this Saturday’s College Crosse Gameday at 9 AM and for the entire 2019 year!