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Week 10 matchups and storylines to watch in college lacrosse

Another great weekend in lacrosse, highlighted by the 100th meeting of Army-Navy in the sport.

Patrick Tewey Photos

Welcome to Week 10 of the 2019 college lacrosse season.

We’re less than a month away from Selection Sunday and the games continue to get more important. For most teams, a win or loss could decide NCAA Tournament seeding, conference tournament seeding, or potentially whether or not a team can keep their at-large chances alive.

Most conferences have weeks of regular season play remaining, while the ACC only has two. There’s still some intriguing matchups left to play, whether they’re in a conference or out of it.

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.

Storylines

America’s Game Version 100

There’s plenty of big games worth mentioning, and many of them with conference and/or NCAA Tournament implications. But the highlight of the weekend happens in Annapolis for an annual meeting.

For the 100th time, the Army Black Knights and the Navy Midshipmen will play each other (3:30 PM, CBS Sports Network). The game does have some conference implications.

It’ll be tough to unseat Loyola and Lehigh from the top two of the conference (both teams also clinched spots in the Patriot League Tournament), so the race comes down to the 3-6 seeds. Army currently has the #3 seed in the Patriot League with a 4-2 conference record and looks like they’ll be in the PL tourney. Johnny Surdick, a DeMatha product, is one of the best defenders in the country and wears #40 in honor of Brendan Looney, a former Navy and DeMatha defenseman.

As for Navy, they’re sitting at 3-3 and 5th in the conference standings. Both teams need a win, but the Midshipmen need it more to get some breathing room from the bottom three. Each team has one more conference game left (Army has Loyola, Navy has Boston University) and both teams could clinch spots in the PL Tournament with wins. While Army has Surdick, Navy counters with a talented midfielder in Greyson Torain, also a DeMatha grad and good friend of Surdick. This year, Ian Burgoyne wears Looney’s #40.

Annapolis is the perfect setting for game #100. It’ll be cloudy with temperatures reaching the high 60s to low 70s, and the atmosphere will be insane. Hopefully the weather is good enough for a flyover.

Now for the uniforms. Navy is debuting a fresh all-white combination for this game, including a white porthole mesh jersey and a white helmet with the charging goat. It’ll be the first time since 2013’s Army-Navy game the Mids will wear a white helmet.

For your reference, here was Navy’s old white helmet.

As for Army, they made some changes to their uniform, including a new Warrior Burn black helmet and a slightly different black jersey. The Army-Navy logo for this game has also been added. Even with some subtle changes, it still looks sharp.

One more note: The annual Fallen Heroes Classic game between DeMatha and La Salle is Monday night at Tierney Field at US Lacrosse Headquarters. It’s the 9th anniversary of the annual game and was always the game I looked forward to when I was at La Salle.

Other notable Patriot League games include Pat Spencer and the Loyola Greyhounds visiting Chris Gray and the Boston University Terriers (Noon, Patriot League Network), and the Colgate Raiders taking on the Holy Cross Crusaders (12:05 PM, Patriot League Network) in a huge game for what could be the final spot in the conference tournament. Holy Cross has won their last three games, while Colgate has lost their last five.

B1G Implications

Outside of Army-Navy, the biggest game on the docket in my eyes is over in Baltimore. In a huge game with Big Ten and NCAA Tournament implications, the Ohio State Buckeyes look to stop a two-game skid as they visit the Johns Hopkins Blue Jays (Sunday, Noon, ESPNU). Both teams are going in different directions.

Let’s start with the visiting Buckeyes. After winning their first seven games of the season, Ohio State has lost their last two games to Rutgers and Penn State. Offensively, the Buckeyes were slightly better than they were against Rutgers led by Tre Leclaire’s four goals. Their defense has yet another tough assignment with a Hopkins offense that’s spearheaded by freshman Joey Epstein.

And the Blue Jays have been playing some of their best lacrosse in the last two weeks. It’s also big that Hopkins defeated Michigan and Rutgers so far in conference play. That should help them get into the conference tournament. Along with Epstein, Kyle Marr and Cole Williams have started to play a little better, and FOGO Kyle Prouty has rebounded from his tough start to the year and could be a challenge for Justin Inacio. For this weekend, a win would help either team’s case for getting into the NCAA Tournament. With a loss, things could get dicey.

In another Big Ten matchup, the Rutgers Scarlet Knights play host to the Maryland Terrapins on Sunday Night Lacrosse (Sunday, 7 PM, BTN). Despite the 6-5 record, Rutgers have been in a good amount of tight games so far this year. But they need to turn more of those losses into wins. In comes Maryland who doesn’t have a bad resume, but not one that looks impressive according to my Bracketology numbers. Jared Bernhardt and Logan Wisnauskas will give Rutgers’ defenders some headaches, along with midfielder Anthony DeMaio. But if Max Edelmann plays outstanding like he has for most of the season, the Scarlet Knights could steal a big win at home.

The Race To Avoid The 4-5 Game

The Virginia Cavaliers already have a spot in the ACC Tournament and have the top seed in the conference tourney. After that, it’s a crap shoot.

UVA’s last conference game is in Durham where they’ll take on the Duke Blue Devils (Noon, ESPNU). Both teams got big conference wins a week ago. The Cavaliers earned a good win over North Carolina, while the Blue Devils took care of Notre Dame at home for their first conference win of the season.

The biggest development in the ND win involved Brad Smith moving back to midfield and Sean Lowrie starting at attack. That move benefited all parties involved. Smith had a hat-trick and two assists, Lowrie potted a hat-trick, and Nakeie Montgomery got a short stick on him and recorded a goal and a career-high four assists. I’d be interested if defenses decide to double-pole Smith and Montgomery and give Lowrie a short stick defender.

UVA’s offense has given some defenses tough games throughout the year, but the Blue Devils look ready with JT Giles-Harris and Cade Van Raaphorst in the mix. Michael Kraus had five goals and an assist last weekend and Matt Moore has been a welcoming compliment to that attack trio. But if neither guy plays like they have in recent weeks, midfielders like Dox Aitken, Ryan Conrad, and Jeff Connor will have to step up.

Side note: Also in this game, look for the Selection Committee’s Top 10 at halftime. We’ll have a better clue of what the people in charge of selecting the bracket think.

Down the road from Durham in Chapel Hill, the North Carolina Tar Heels host the Syracuse Orange in their Senior Day game (3 PM, ACC Network Extra). While the seniors will be honored before the game, Caton Johnson is one of many “Baby Heels” pushing this team to challenge against the rest of the ACC. Is he the goalie Joe Breschi has been looking for?

The Heels have some young guys, including Nicky Solomon, the younger brother of Syracuse senior attackman Nate Solomon. But the elder statesmen have been big for this team all year such as Timmy Kelly, Andy Matthews, and Jack Rowlett. They’ll need a little bit of both, as well as some good faceoff play from Zac Tucci.

THUNDERDOME!

The CAA is forever the THUNDERDOME in our hearts, even if we may refer it to as the CAA. And the THUNDERDOME got all THUNDERDOMEy last week with Hofstra beating UMass.

This weekend, the Minutemen travel to Towson to take on the Tigers in a big CAA matchup and potential preview of the conference title game (Noon, LSN). After playing in a tight game two weeks ago with Hofstra, the Tigers doubled up on Fairfield in Connecticut last Saturday. Along with their stingy defense, Towson has a pretty good offense led by Brendan Sunday at their disposal.

UMass won the conference last year over Towson in the title game and looked like the best team on paper prior to the season. The Minutemen need offensive production from guys like Chris Connolly and Gabriel Procyk. But the matchups to watch could be at the faceoff X and in goal.

Alex Woodall is one of the top three FOGOs in the country. He’s in great physical shape since last offseason and has been a catalyst for Towson’s transition play. On the other end, Tom Meyers has gone 64.7% and could provide Woodall with a challenge.

In goal, Tyler Canto has been solid in goal for the Tigers despite some rocky outings. He has a 55.2% save percentage and his 6’6” height helps him cover more of the net. On the other side, Sean Sconone leads the country in goals against average (7.91) and save percentage (61.6%).

Speaking of the Pride, they travel to Delaware to face the Blue Hens (2 PM, LSN) Delaware has quietly been a good top 25 team with a 9-2 mark (only losses to Villanova and Johns Hopkins). The Blue Hens’ most impressive win was on the road against Michigan, but they still have Towson at home and UMass on the road left before the CAA Tournament. Still some time to get the top seed in the conference tournament.

Nonconference Games Still Matter!

Conference play is in full-throttle, but there’s still a few nonconference games remaining in the regular season.

One of the biggest ones of the entire season takes place in South Bend, Indiana where the Notre Dame Fighting Irish host the Cornell Big Red (Sunday, Noon, ACC Network Extra). Notre Dame has a 6-4 record and have a high RPI and strength of schedule as they always do. But the record does hurt their overall resume. John Zullo had a strong three quarters against Duke before the Blue Devils pulled away in the final 15 minutes.

On the other side, the Big Red come in after a tough loss to Syracuse in the Carrier Dome. Jeff Teat and Clarke Petterson were pretty much nonexistent against the Orange defense. They face another tough unit with Arden Cohen and Hugh Crance headlining that group. John Piatelli benefited with a hat-trick, but this team runs through Teat. Cornell is in a very similar position they were in last year where they won the Ivy League Tournament. It looks like they’ll have to do it again.

What To Watch For

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

  • Villanova vs. Georgetown (Sunday, 1 PM, CBS Sports Network): The Wildcats left Denver with an über win against the Pioneers. DU doesn’t lose regular season Big East games (that was their first since joining the conference). Georgetown lost Daniel Bucaro in the loss to Loyola on Tuesday, so his status will be up in the air. But the Hoyas won a Big East title without him last year, so it shouldn’t be anything new.
  • Canisius vs. Detroit Mercy (Noon, ESPN+): For some, the MAAC doesn’t matter to them until conference tournament weekend. But we’re getting some quality MAACtion this weekend. The Titans lead the MAAC with a 4-1 record, but the Golden Griffins are one of three teams behind them with a 3-1 mark. As for the other two...
  • Marist vs. Quinnipiac (Noon, Quinnipiac All-Access): They’re facing each other. Do not be surprised if these four teams end up being the four in the MAAC Tournament. But also don’t count out Siena (they play NJIT in nonconference action).
  • Penn State vs. Michigan (Noon, BTN Plus): We highlighted the other two Big Ten games this weekend, while this one covers the best team in the conference against the worst team. The Wolverines did trail Maryland by just two goals entering the fourth quarter before the Terps pulled away. Michigan does have some fight despite some major disadvantages.
  • Penn vs. Harvard (1 PM, ESPN+): The Quakers have two conference games left, Harvard and Dartmouth. Penn took care of Brown last week and will have to face a Harvard team that is under some pressure despite having a few good players such as Kyle Mullin in goal and Kyle Anderson at attack.
  • Marquette vs. Providence (1 PM, Friars All-Access): Last year in Milwaukee, Marquette scored four goals in the final 1:37 of regulation, including a buzzer-beater by Griffin Fleming, before John Wagner scored the game-winner 14 seconds into overtime. It definitely left a bad taste in the Friars’ mouth, and they hope they can get their revenge this year.
  • Richmond vs. Air Force (1:30 PM, Mountain West Network): While High Point could be the #1 seed in the conference, the other two teams in contention are the Spiders and Falcons. Richmond’s offense is led by Teddy Hatfield and Ryan Lanchbury, but don’t forget Air Force’s defense with Brandon Jones and Quentin Carlile.

Division I(I) Lacrosse

On the Division II side, Merrimack defeated Southern New Hampshire last Saturday and Franklin Pierce on Wednesday. The Warriors have a huge home game against Pace Saturday at 4 PM followed by Senior Night on Tuesday at 4 PM against Assumption.

LIU Post took care of UDC last Saturday. The Pioneers also have a huge home game Saturday as they host NYIT at 3:30 PM. They’ll celebrate the 10-year anniversary of their 2009 National Championship team.

We’ll keep you up to tabs with both schools in their last year in Division II throughout the remainder of the year.

Don’t forget to follow College Crosse on Twitter for this Saturday’s #CollegeCrosseGameday at 10:30 AM and for the entire 2019 season! And hopefully I can stream on the College Crosse Twitter account this time!