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Week 2 Storylines and Games To Watch In College Lacrosse

Valentine’s Day weekend special.

Minnesota v Rutgers Photo by Corey Perrine/Getty Images

It’s our first really big weekend of the 2020 college lacrosse season, as nearly every Division I program plays on either Friday or Saturday. Indeed, we have one game tonight and 34 games tomorrow, so make sure you take care of your boo this evening (#ValentinesDay), so you can enjoy lounging around the house in your sweatpants, watching games all day on Saturday with no guilt.

But before we get started reviewing some Week 2 storylines and games that interest me, please check out some pods & interviews from this week that I think you’ll enjoy.

Week 2 Pods

Check out our Crossecast Ivy League Conference Preview that Ryan & Jake taped earlier this week. Additionally, check out our Crossecast Week 2 Preview with Ryan, Jake, Adam & myself that we taped last night.

Coach Myers dropped episode 2 of the Buckeye Lacrosse Podcast on Wednesday.

In the second episode of the Buckeye Lacrosse Podcast, Coach Myers and Dominique Alexander cover a variety of topics, including family life, the Buckeyes’ first two wins of the 2020 season and the recruiting process. The pair also looks ahead to Saturday’s home game versus Massachusetts.

Check out head coach Greg Raymond of Hobart on the Phi-Lacrosse-Ophy Podcast with Jamie Munro.

Here is the most recent episode of the Utah Lacrosse Podcast with Utah assistant coach Marcus Holman.

Check out Ep. 1 of Princeton’s Matt Madalon Report podcast.

Storylines

Welcome home Chase Scanlan: As you might have heard, Syracuse’s Chase Scanlan had a big game in his Syracuse debut versus Colgate. The recent transfer finished the contest versus the Raiders with seven goals, the most goals ever by a ‘Cuse player in his debut, in the Orange’s 21-14 win over Colgate.

Needless to say, Syracuse fans & alums in the media are very excited about “their new shiny toy.” Seven goals a game would be an impressive pace for the Orange sophomore, and I am not sure if he’ll be able to keep it up for an entire season, but for one game at least, Chase Scanlan was exactly what Syracuse’s offense has needed for the last few seasons.

The Ivy joins the fun: This weekend is packed, as nearly every program plays a game on either Friday or Saturday. The most notable new teams to join the 2020 college lacrosse party come from the Ivy League, as every team in the conference, except for Harvard, plays their first game of the season on Saturday.

Yale & Penn look to be the most formidable teams in the conference this season, but don’t count out Cornell, as the Big Red look to rebound in 2020 after missing out on the NCAA Tournament in 2019. The Ivy League may not be as deep from top to bottom as the ACC or the Big Ten, but teams like Brown, Princeton, and maybe even Harvard could surprise a lot of people this year and make the race for the third & fourth spot in the Ivy League Tournament much tighter than expected.

More than Joey Epstein: I won’t lie, I was definitely concerned with how well Hopkins would play offensively against Towson last weekend, given the news that Joey Epstein’s status was uncertain at best for last Saturday’s game. I saw the Hopkins offense last year in the early weeks before Joey took over and it wasn’t pretty at times.

Nevertheless, Hopkins demonstrated that, at least for one week, the Jays had plenty of ammo to hold the fort until Epstein gets back. Indeed, Cole Williams had a huge game, Connor DeSimone & Garrett Degnon finished with three goals a piece, and nine players finished with at least one point versus the Tigers. Hop will travel a couple miles up the road this weekend to take on Loyola on Saturday in what should be a fun game at Ridley.

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Comcast vs. ACC Network: Look, I don’t know what these two have to do but they need to make a deal. I didn’t mind not having the ACC Network in the fall but now this impasse is impacting my life and I just won’t have it. Make the deal, guys. TEAR DOWN THIS WALL!

Games To Watch

Penn vs. Maryland: This is probably the game of the weekend, as it is the only one featuring two top 10 teams. Penn gave Maryland all it could handle last year in an overtime loss to the Terrapins and the Quakers are loaded again in 2020. Maryland had a bit of a scare last Saturday against a very feisty Richmond team, but was able to pull it out in the end in double overtime. I think we are in store for a great game tomorrow between these two and whichever team comes out on top will have a valuable feather in their cap if they have to get an at-large bid to get into the NCAA Tournament on Selection Sunday.

Rutgers vs. Army: These two teams have been lighting it up this season, as the Black Knights have scored 36 combined goals in their first two contests this year while Rutgers scored 37 in their first two games. The key to the game this weekend for me is whether or not Army’s stingy defense (UMass & NJIT scored a combine five goals against the Black Knights) can keep Rutgers’ high-octane offense in check. While Army was impressive holding its first two opponents to a handful of goals, Rutgers should provide a much more difficult challenge for the Black Knights. Outside of Penn vs. Maryland, this might be the best game of the weekend.

Yale vs. Villanova: The Wildcats got worked last weekend against Penn State, but they got smoked against the Nittany Lions last year too and then turned around and beat the Bulldogs in overtime in their very next game. In fact, Villanova is riding a two-game winning streak versus Yale, so ‘Nova shouldn’t be intimidated by the highly ranked Elis when they come to town on Saturday.

This will be Yale’s first game of the season, so we don’t have much tape on them yet, but the Bulldogs will need to replace some key figures on the offense this year, as Yale lost Jack Tigh, Joseph Sessa, John Daniggelis, & Brendan Rooney to graduation in 2019. This should be a fun game if recent history is any indication and I am sure Villanova would love to bounce back from their ugly defeat to Penn State with a win over the Bulldogs.

Johns Hopkins vs. Loyola: As I stated above, I was pleasantly surprised with how well Hopkins played offensively last weekend despite not having Joey Epstein in the line-up versus the Tigers. Epstein’s status for Saturday is still up in the air and given how Petro refrains from leaking information, we probably won’t know if Joey is playing against Loyola until right before game time. Nevertheless, given how well the Jays played on offense last Saturday against Towson, I wouldn’t blame Petro if he decided to give Joey another week of rest so that he is ready for the UNC game next week.

Loyola lost to UVA 12-9 last weekend, but the game was closer than I expected it would be, given it was the first game for the Greyhounds without Pat Spencer and Chase Scanlan. What I am not sure of though is whether or not Loyola found their groove after being down 9-2 with 5 minutes left in the second quarter or if UVA took their foot off the gas in the second half. Alex Rode had a big day in the cage for UVA, finishing the contest with 19 saves (10 of them in the first quarter), so he had a lot to do with Loyola’s cold shooting early on in last weekend’s game.

Loyola shot much better in the second half versus the Cavs, so maybe they figured things out on the offensive end. If the Hounds can shoot a little better and start out the game faster than they did last weekend versus UVA, Loyola might very well steal this one from Hopkins.

It should be another great weekend in college lacrosse. I hope you get a chance to see some of the action.