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First week of college lacrosse is in the books and we had a bunch of blow outs and very few surprises overall.  I sat down to watch the games in my basement, aka mission control and had 4 games on at most points while drinking Blue Moon’s so it was a glorious day.  Let’s not waste time and dive right into these.

Vermont – 5
Syracuse – 7

Vermont gave Syracuse all the Orange could handle on Saturday in the Dome.  Vermont struck first and the score at the end of the first quarter was 1-0 Catamounts.

But Syracuse rattled off four unanswered goals in the second quarter to take a 4-1 lead into halftime. Sam Olexo scored Syracuse’s first goal of the game from Carter Rice after an incredible save from Will Mark started the transition from the defensive end.  Finn Thomson and Alex Simmons each put up a goal and a dish over that four-goal Syracuse run with Thomson feeding Simmons to give the Orange the 4-1 lead.

All in all, Thomson had a very efficient game scoring a goal and two assists off 4 shots and no turnovers.

Vermont answered Syracuse’s second quarter rally with one of their own scoring the first four goals of the second half and took a 5-4 lead with 4:43 left in the 3rd off a Brock Haley goal.

Joey Spallina would score his first goal wearing the #22 with 36 seconds left in the same quarter to tie things back up at fives and that gave the momentum back to Syracuse.  Spallina had a rough day shooting, scoring just one goal off 15 shots, but for me it proved he can in fact “get off shots”.  Matt Shaffer played huge in cage for Vermont, robbing Spallina more often than not as 8 of Spallina’s shots were “on cage” so despite the off shooting day, I count this as a big positive for Syracuse as Spallina was able to get shots off “easily”. He just needs to score them next week.

Jackson Birtwistle gave Cuse the lead just 1 minute and 19 seconds into the 4th quarter (assisted by Thompson) and Owen Hiltz gave the Orange a 7-5 lead with 7:14 left off a feed from Griffin Cook and that was the ballgame.

Both goaltenders had themselves a day.  Will Mark got the win in cage for Syracuse stopping 13 of 18 shots faced.  Matt Shaffer was just as good for Vermont making 16 saves to 7 goals against.  In the end Mark won the goalie battle as Syracuse won the game.

Birtwistle (2g) and Alex Simmons (1g, 1a, Denver transfer) paced Syracuse’s new-look offense. David Closterman (1g, 1a) and Jonas Hunter (2g) kept Vermont in the contest each doing their damage over Vermont’s four-goal run that ended in the Brock Haley goal to take the lead.

Saam Olexo forced 4 turnovers, picked up 5 groundballs and scored a goal. Landon Clary, Caden Kol and Nick Caccamo combined for another 6 caused turnovers and 6 groundballs. The defense looked much improved. They gave up shots, but they scrapped and got stops. 

THOUGHTS:  Vermont looked as good as I expected them to. Burke won 9 of 16 draws for the Catamounts and they hung with Cuse the entire game.  Syracuse also looked about as good as I expected them to MINUS Spallina’s rough shooting day.  If he finishes just a few more shots, this game goes very differently in terms of the flow.  He got solid looks all game and just struggled to beat Shaffer.

BETTING:  I’m in NY so I didn’t get to bet this one, but I was talking all week about Cuse winning this by 5 to 7 goals or more.  Vermont both covered the spread, and made me look like an idiot.

NEXT WEEK:  Syracuse has UAlbany at home, Vermont is at Boston U.

Air Force – 7
#11 Ohio State – 15

Ohio State slowly but surely put Air Force out of their misery on Saturday taking the non-conference tilt 15-7.

Jack Myers, a guy that I handed a first team preseason All-American vote to, didn’t disappoint going for 4 goals and 5 helpers off just 10 shots in the Buckeyes win.  Scott White and Kyle Borda put up 4 goals and 3 goals respectively.

A huge, and somewhat unexpected factor in the win for OSU was Drew Blanchard going 22 of 26 at the faceoff dot with 12 groundballs. Ohio State was also a perfect 15 of 15 clearing the ball. 

The Ohio State defense played well and Army transfer Marcus Hudgins had 2 caused turnovers and keeper Skylar Wahlund stopped 8 of the 15 shots he faced, good for a .530 save percentage.

THOUGHTS:  I actually thought Ohio State might roll in this one a bit more than they did.  To be certain, OSU played well all over the field, but considering they won 85% of the draws, the final score of this game disappointed me just a touch.  Only because I’m that high on the Buckeyes.  It’s possible Air Force is simply better than I anticipated though so we’ll see what happens next week for each team.

BETTING:  I took Ohio State to cover the spread, and they did, so both a W for my prediction as well as a W on my actual bet.

NEXT WEEK:  Ohio State takes on Cleveland State at home, Air force hosts Denver.

#20 Richmond – 4
#2 Maryland – 15

Another game I got wrong was this Richmond/Maryland tilt.  Maryland dominated from the get go with Logan McNaney getting an early save, bumping it right away to John Geppert who streaked up field and stuck one past Richmond goalkeeper Zach Vigue who had a rough day.

Daniel Maltz (2g, 3a) and Owen Murphy (4g) came out and showed that this Maryland offense may not have as many question marks as I thought.

A bunch of new guys, Braden Erksa (2g, 1a), Jack Brennan (2a) and Daniel Kelly (1g, 1a) all chipped in for the Terps and the depth of their scoring is a very good sign.

As expected, the Maryland defense was absolutely dominant with Brett Makar causing 4 turnovers to go with 5 groundballs and Ajax Zappitello forced 3 turnovers with 2 groundballs.

Factoring huge in the lopsided outcome for Maryland was Logan McNaney stopping 12 of the 15 shots he faced.  Richmond took a ton of shots, albeit they didn’t hit the cage very often.  But in 12 of the 15 tries that they did happen to hit the 6×6, McNaney was a wall.

Luke Wierman was solid at the dot, winning 10 of 17 draws with no points. 

THOUGHTS:  A season ago I had questions about how Maryland would fare without Jared Bernhardt as their main initiator on offense and they ended up with one of the most efficient offenses in the history of college lacrosse.  In their first outing against Richmond, they proved that the idea of “next man up” is very much working in Maryland, at least so far.

For Richmond, this doesn’t look good.  I had mentioned that maybe with all of the talent Richmond lost they may not have gained ground on Maryland.  Well a loss like this makes me wonder how far the Spiders can fall this year in terms of number of wins compared to a season ago.

BETTING: I lost this one, I liked Richmond to cover at +7.5 and they didn’t come close.

NEXT WEEK:  Maryland heads across town to take on Loyola and Richmond travels to Lewisburg, PA to take on Bucknell.

Mount St. Mary’s – 7
Navy – 13

This one put a scare into me in terms of betting for Navy to cover the spread, but by the end of the game, cover they did as Navy ended up beating The Mount 13-7 once all was said and done.

Mount St. Mary’s took an early 2-1 lead off of a Cormac Giblin goal but Patrick Skalniak answered for Navy on a dish from Mac Haley knotting things up at two’s.

Skalniak came out and scored the first goal of the second half giving the Midshipmen a 4-2 lead and they’d never allow The Mount to get closer than that for the remainder of the game.

Skalniak finished the game with 5 goals for Navy and Henry Tolker put up 3 in the win. The Navy defense forced 9 turnovers.

Pat Ryan and Dan Daly split time in net for Navy.  Ryan made 10 saves to just 2 goals against in the first half and Daly came in and stopped 3 shots letting up 5 goals in the second half.  I’m not 100% sure why they split time.  Could have been planned and I wasn’t paying close enough attention to even notice a goalie change. But it seems apparent Ryan was definitely better overall.

Connor Beals and Bobby Turso combined to win 14 of 24 draws and only a single turnover. That played into things remaining closer than some expected. 

THOUGHTS:  I’m not at all surprised Navy didn’t win this by more.  Navy isn’t a team that comes out and runs all over people. They controlled this game for the most part and Navy fans didn’t have any real anxiety tied to this once the second half got underway.

Mount St. Mary’s turned the ball over a ton. 25 times in all and only 9 of them were credited to Navy as being caused by the defense. Failed clears played into those turnover numbers as they were only 19 of 24.

BETTING:  I had mentioned that the spread on this one worried me so I had already taken Navy at -700 (moneyline) and got this one right.  They did end up covering the spread though as well.

Bellarmine – 7
#8 Duke – 19

Duke rolled Bellarmine after a slightly slow start.  Brennan O’Neill scored only 2 goals off 11 shots, but helped five teammates find the back of the net picking up 5 helpers.

Andrew McAdorey (3g, 2a) and Dyson Williams (4g) both had big games for the Blue Devils and were key in helping Duke finally find some flow offensively.

Jake Naso wrecked Bellarmine at the faceoff dot winning 15 of 22 (73%) and picking up 15 groundballs.

THOUGHTS:  Nothing to see here.  Duke did what was expected of them.  O’Neill putting up 5 assists is a great look and McAdorey looked solid at attack.

BETTING:  I took Duke to cover on this one at -11.5 and they did exactly that winning me this bad boy.

NEXT WEEK:  Duke hosts High Point and Bellarmine has St. Bonnies at home.

Utah – 4
#17 Denver – 12

Well I ate total turds on this one.  I had spouted off on every show I put out last week that I thought Utah was going to edge Denver by a goal or two and I was way, way wrong.  It happens.

Denver jumped out to a 3-0 lead and never looked back.  Utah was able to get to within a goal with 4:14 left in the second quarter, but it was short lived with Denver scoring inside of a minute later to go back up 5-3 and the Pio’s sailed from there.

JJ Sillstrop paced Denver with 2 goals and a dish and Noah Manning flipped those stats and reversed them going for a goal and 2 helpers. Jack Thompson was solid in Net for the Pioneers stopping 9 of the 13 shots he faced and picking up the win.

THOUGHTS:  The Denver defense showed up holding Tyler Bradbury to just a single shot.  He did muster 3 assists, but you’ll take that.

BETTING:  This is the one I got wrong.  I took Utah at -200 (moneyline) and I took an L.  HOWEVER, I also took a bet I forgot about for Denver at -2.5 the day the lines came out, so despite hyping up Utah all week, it wasn’t a total loss as I did win a 1 unit bet with Denver covering the spread (and some) despite losing a 2 unit bet with Utah at -200.

NEXT WEEK:  Denver will host another regional rival Air Force next week while Utah will take on Marquette at home.

Hopkins – 12
#18 Jacksonville – 7

Another game I called wrong.  Jacksonville was without Max Waldbaum but played tough over the course of the first half regardless.  The score was tied up at 5’s when Patrick Deans scored to give Hopkins a 1-goal lead that they wouldn’t relinquish.

Jacob Angelus scored 2 goals and an assist over the course of Hopkins’ 8-1 run and finished the game with 2 goals and 2 helpers to pace the Jays. Dylan Bauer scored 2 goals and a helper in the win from the midfield.

The Hopkins defense looked much improved from a season ago.  Transfer Alex Mazzone forced two turnovers, scored a goal and picked up 2 groundballs and keeper Tim Marcille made 15 saves vs only 7 goals against.  That represents a huge improvement in net for Johns Hopkins as they’ve struggled over the past handful of years with consistency between the pipes.

THOUGHTS:  Hopkins did in fact look a lot better and they were playing without their starting fogo.  I’m not ready to throw the towel in on Jacksonville just yet dispute the spread on this loss.  Let’s see how they look when Waldbaum is back.  I didn’t catch what was wrong with him from the broadcast so I’ll keep an eye out.

BETTING:  Took an L on this one, I had the ML on Jacksonville and even if I had taken the spread they didn’t cover.

NEXT WEEK:  Hopkins will take on Georgetown at Homewood and Jacksonville will host Duke.

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