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Week 11 matchups and storylines to watch in college lacrosse

Conference races are getting a lot more tense.

Notre Dame Athletics

Welcome to Week 11 of the 2019 college lacrosse season.

We’re only a couple weeks away from Selection Sunday for the NCAA Tournament. And with the clock ticking, it’s desperation time for some teams to beef up their resumes or conference records before conference tournaments begin.

One conference concludes their regular season play this weekend, while others have a couple more weeks to go before their end of season tourney.

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

The ACC Regular Season Finale And It’s Implications

The lone conference ending their regular season this weekend is the ACC since the conference tournament will take place during the next two weekends? Does it make sense? No. Should it have happened? Also no. But we have to eat what we get fed in this sport.

So because of that, the North Carolina Tar Heels face off against the Notre Dame Fighting Irish to wrap up conference play (Noon, ESPNU). Both of these teams are on the bubble, with Notre Dame just making the tournament as of now on my recent Bracketology prediction and UNC not near. Both teams need a win, but the 6-5 Fighting Irish need it more than the Tar Heels do.

In terms of next weekend’s ACC Championship, the matchups are set. Duke will play Notre Dame, while Syracuse takes on North Carolina. Just like old times, except Virginia is the #1 seed because everybody makes the conference tourney. So...not like old times.

The only thing that needs to be settled is seeding as well as which matchup happens in the ACC First Round. If Notre Dame wins, the Fighting Irish would finish 2-2 along with the Blue Devils and Orange. Since all three of those teams are 1-1 against each other, the next tiebreaker is head-to-head against teams that are higher up in the standings, this case being Virginia. With their win last weekend, Duke gets the #2 seed. We then go back to the head-to-head tiebreaker for Notre Dame and Syracuse, resulting in the Fighting Irish getting the #3 seed and ‘Cuse getting the #4 seed. North Carolina would be last.

If North Carolina wins, we have the Heels joining Duke and Syracuse with 2-2 conference records. But since the Orange won their games against Duke and UNC, they’ll be the #2 seed. The Tar Heels would be the #3 seed with their head-to-head win over Duke, followed by the Blue Devils. Notre Dame would be last.

It’s simple this year. Thank goodness.

In nonconference play, the Duke Blue Devils play the Marquette Golden Eagles in Bethpage, New York (11 AM), while the Syracuse Orange travel to Annapolis to take on the Navy Midshipmen in their first road game against the Mids since 1982 (5 PM, CBS Sports Network). The Virginia Cavaliers also host the Marist Red Foxes (3 PM, ACC Network Extra).

A Big Ten Tournament Preview?

It’s another weekend of big time Big Ten games this weekend. The one that won’t matter as much as the next two is the Michigan Wolverines visiting Piscataway and the Rutgers Scarlet Knights (3 PM, BTN2Go). For Rutgers, it does a little bit as they have the tiebreaker over Ohio State with a 1-2 conference record.

As for the other matchups, the first one on Saturday comes from the horseshoe in Columbus as the Ohio State Buckeyes face off against the Maryland Terrapins (1 PM, BTN). Maryland’s resume is a little below what it has been in recent years, but the Terps still have the talent and skill it takes to reach Championship Weekend. Is there a better duo at attack than Jared Bernhardt and Logan Wisnauskas? Throw in Louis Dubick and midfielder Anthony DeMaio along with Curtis Corley at defense and Danny Dolan in goal and you have the main characters for a potential Big Ten title run.

As for the Buckeyes, they got a much-needed win on the road last weekend against Johns Hopkins. Jackson Reid scored five goals and added an assist in the win, while freshman Johnny Wiseman had a big game with a hat-trick. He will definitely be counted on for the long run. Ohio State is on the fringe of getting a seed in the big dance, but would need some help for getting into the Big Ten Tournament. They could win out and have a really good chance of making the conference tourney. Or they could hope for Johns Hopkins to lose out.

Speaking of the Blue Jays, they have their final two regular season games on the road. Against the top two teams in the conference. First up is an Easter Sunday matchup in Happy Valley against the Penn State Nittany Lions (Sunday, Noon, ESPNU). Hopkins will have to contain the explosive Nittany Lion offense led by Grant Ament and Mac O’Keefe. The Jays need this win in order to keep their tourney chances alive. They’re close to being on life support.

TD Back To Albany

With all the conference tourney races heating up, the biggest nonconference game happens tonight as TD Ierlan and the Yale Bulldogs travel to Albany to face off against the Great Danes (Friday, 7 PM, ESPN+). This will be Ierlan’s first trip to the Capital Region since he transferred to Yale over the summer. TD’s opponent for the start of the game is Austin Jones, who has won 55.4% of his draws so far this year.

The matchup isn’t as flashy as it once was with the Danes having a down year. They’ll need to win the America East in order to make the NCAA Tournament. Tehoka Nanticoke has been playing midfield for most of the season and the star on offense is actually Jakob Patterson. He leads the team with 28 assists and 49 points on the season. He’s second on the team with 21 goals, one behind Nanticoke’s 22. Sean Eccles (21 points), Mitch Laffin (20), Kyle Casey (18), and Ron John (16) are the other Albany players with double-digit point totals.

Battles For Conference Supremacy

It’s not the flashiest weekend for lacrosse, but there’s still some intriguing matchups to watch. Especially in races for #1 in a few conferences.

We’ll start in the NEC. The Hobart Statesmen were the dominant team in the conference before they began to slip a little in the past few weeks. Losses to Syracuse and Saint Joseph’s hurt the Statesmen, and so did a one-goal win to a down Bryant team.

While Hobart’s stock was falling, the stock on Mount St. Mary’s has been rising. After starting the season 0-4, the Mountaineers have won eight of their last nine games, including a road overtime win over Richmond. Those two teams will clash in a game that will decide the top team in the conference and potentially who could host the conference tournament in two weeks (Noon, HWS All-Access). Both teams have good offenses with Eric Holden and Chris Aslanian for Hobart against Chris DiPretoro and Luke Frankeny for the Mount.

The CAA has a surprise team atop the conference. That’s the Delaware Blue Hens. Led by Ben Deluca, the Hens are 10-2 on the season with their only losses coming against Villanova and Johns Hopkins. But their best win is Drexel who has an RPI of 30. Delaware faces off at home against the Towson Tigers (Noon, YouTube). Prior to last weekend, Towson looked like the best team in the CAA. And then they got dominated at home by UMass (they play Fairfield at 3 PM on LSN). The Tigers will more than likely have to win the conference tournament if they want to play deeper in May. Guys like Brendan Sunday, Koby Smith, Zach Goodrich, and Tyler Canto will give challenges to a Delaware squad that could be a year away from really competing. But goalie Matt DeLuca has been one of the best goalies in the country this season. Also keep your eye out for Tye Kurtz at midfield along with attackman Charlie Kitchen.

Over in the Big East, did anyone expect the Providence Friars to be tied for the Big East lead this late in the season? Well they’re in a three-way tie with Denver and Villanova for the top spot in the conference. Providence makes the trip out west to take on the Pioneers (2 PM, Pioneers All-Access). Denver and Villanova are bubble teams, but don’t have very good chances of making it as at-large teams. They’ll need to win the Big East Tournament to play in the postseason. The conference tournament could favor the Pios this year with Peter Barton Stadium as the venue.

As for the Wildcats, they host St. John’s (1 PM, Nova Nation All-Access).

Finally in the Patriot League, the Loyola Greyhounds travel to Michie Stadium to take on the Army West Point Black Knights (2:30 PM, CBS Sports Network). The recent history has been lopsided in favor of the Greyhounds, but after their loss to Boston University last weekend, everything is wide open now. Loyola and Lehigh are 5-1 in conference play, while the Black Knights are 5-2. A win by Army in their conference finale would give a good shot at getting a quarterfinal bye. Pat Spencer against Johnny Surdick is the top one-on-one matchup this weekend.

Elsewhere in the Patriot League, the Boston University Terriers host the upstart Holy Cross Crusaders (3:30 PM, Patriot League Network) in a big game for both teams. The Lehigh Mountain Hawks also host the Bucknell Bison (Noon, CBS Sports Network).

What To Watch For

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

  • Cornell vs. Brown (Noon, ESPN+): It looks like Penn and Yale will be the top two seeds in the Ivy League Tournament. Cornell and Brown are currently tied for third with 2-2 records, and the winner would earn that tiebreaker over the other. With Chayse Ierlan in goal, the Big Red defense needs to step up their game and can’t just rely on Jeff Teat and Clarke Petterson scoring goals.
  • Harvard vs. Princeton (1 PM, ESPN+): In another Ivy League contest, the Crimson and Tigers are tied with a 1-3 record with the loser more than likely being eliminated from postseason contention. Michael Sowers cannot afford to miss the conference tournament for the second time in his three years in New Jersey.
  • High Point vs. Bellarmine (Noon, GLVC Sports Network): After starting the season 0-8, the Knights have bounced back with three-straight wins over Mercer, VMI, and Furman. Not the best crop of teams, but it’ll do for a chance to squeak into the SoCon Tournament. But High Point and Air Force are next for the Knights who will need every ounce of talent and will to deliver the upset against Asher Nolting and the Panthers.
  • Robert Morris vs. Bryant (Noon, NEC Front Row): The hottest team in the NEC? Robert Morris. After starting 1-7, the Colonials have won their last four games and are currently fourth in the conference thanks to a head-to-head win over Saint Joseph’s. The Colonials have Hobart next weekend and will need to hold off Saint Joseph’s who has Wagner and Mount St. Mary’s to wrap up their season.
  • Drexel vs. Hofstra (2 PM, Pride Productions): While the face at the top is the storyline worth discussing in the CAA, the race to fourth is one definitely worth highlighting. Both teams are 1-2 in conference play and each team has looked good in their conference matchups. The Pride gave a good fight to Towson to kick off conference play before upsetting UMass in overtime. The Dragons had tough losses to UMass and Delaware before taking care of Fairfield.
  • Monmouth vs. Quinnipiac (4 PM, Quinnipiac All-Access): The Hawks have not had a good season in 2019. They’re currently 3-7 with wins over Wagner, St. Bonaventure, and Manhattan. But they could be getting the Bobcats at the right time. After going on a six-game win streak, Quinnipiac has lost their last two games and another loss could mean they get leapfrogged by the Hawks for a chance to still qualify for the MAAC Tournament.
  • Hartford vs. Binghamton (1 PM, ESPN+): The Bearcats are still winless with an 0-11 mark. Hartford, who has a 2-2 conference record and would qualify for the America East Tournament if the season ended today, was winless for a good chunk of the season. If Binghamton loses, their last chance for a win would come next Friday night on the road against UMass Lowell. And they’re also looking for an America East Tournament berth.

Division I(I) Lacrosse

On the Division II side, Merrimack took care of Pace and Assumption, two ranked teams at the time. The Warriors wrap up the regular season in the NE10 with two road games, first against #3 Adelphi Saturday at 1 PM, followed by Saint Michael’s Tuesday afternoon at 3:30 PM. The NE10 quarterfinals are next Saturday.

In a Long Island rivalry game, LIU post edged out a 17-14 win over NYIT. The Pioneers wrap up ECC conference play on the road against Mercy at 2 PM.

We’ll keep you up to tabs with both schools in their last year in Division II throughout the remainder of the year. Both teams will become Division I programs come July.

Don’t forget to follow College Crosse on Twitter for this Saturday’s #CollegeCrosseGameday at 10 AM and for the entire 2019 season!