So we had a couple of interesting games on Sunday, I’ll talk about those including Brown’s dismantling of Vermont. There is a big game tonight (Wednesday) with Towson hosting Loyola.  The Greyhounds will be looking to bounce back after losing last weekend to Rutgers.  This weekend is full of solid games to enjoy and I’ll preview a big assortment of those including some D2 and D3 action.

First up, let’s talk about some Sunday and Tuesday results…

#10 Delaware – 12
Villanova – 13

Delaware was the #10 team in the country on Sunday as they hosted unranked Villanova and the Wildcats went in and picked themselves up a 1-goal upset.

This game went back and forth all day long with both teams taking turns playing around with a lead.  Delaware battled back from a 12-9 deficit half-way through the 4th quarter and the Blue Hens’ Finn Morgan scored on a dish from Jason Seiter knotting things up at 12’s with 2:54 left in the game.

But it was Nova’s Matt Campbell that stuck the game winner with 1:39 left on the clock, dodging down the right alley and putting a shot past Delaware goaltender Matt Kilkeary.  Campbell finished the day with 5 goals and a dish with 3 of those goals and the assist all coming in the second half.

Delaware is still playing without Robinson.  Tye Curts was good for 4 goals and 2 helpers while JP Ward went for 3 goals and 2 assists.  Delaware has played some solid lacrosse but really needs Robinson back in the lineup.  I’m not 100% sure what his injury is actually, but I know they just aren’t quite the same without him.

Villanova had a solid defensive outing forcing 7 turnovers, but Delaware shot themselves in the foot commiting 9 turnovers that were technically logged as unforced.  Chet Comizio had a great day on defense for the Wildcats picking up 7 groundballs and forcing a turnover on one of Delaware’s final two possessions as the Blue Hens tried to tie things back up.  Finn Morgan would get a shot off with 11 seconds to play and hit a pipe, and Stevie Jones picked up the ensuing groundball and huffed it upfield as time expired.

Villanova dominated game play in terms of shots (46 to 32), shots on goal (28 to 20) and groundballs (44 to 38).

Vermont – 12
Brown – 22

One game that had me raising an eyebrow was Vermont hosting Brown.  First off, you noticed right away, this weather was nuts.  A total white out by half time, guys running around on an inch or two of perfect “snow man snow” meaning snow was for sure building up on their cleats.

Also noticed the score was not going the way I assumed.  I figured that Burke would dominate the dot and this would be a close game, but not so.  Burke lost 16 of 36 (44%) as Matthew Gunty (19 of 31, 61%) has had his number two years in a row.

We all know what happens when Vermont doesn’t win 60% or more of the faceoffs on any given day.  They lose, and lose they did.

Devon McLane put up 9 goals and a dish.  Trevor Yeboah-Kodie was an offensive midfielder, doing a bunch of damage in transition, but also getting some more settled runs.  The result, he put up 1 goal and 5 helpers on the day.

Brown dominated Vermont from start to finish.

OK, that’s all I want to talk about in terms of game results, let’s dive into this weekends upcoming games.

#2 Notre Dame @ #4 Maryland

This is for sure the matchup of the weekend, so I’ll talk about this game first.  Both teams have 3 wins although Maryland has that loss to Loyola and Notre Dame hasn’t felt defeat yet.

Maryland comes in with their faceoff man, Luke Wierman, and their defense as their core strengths.  They have played better offensively in wins over Syracuse and Princeton, but to anyone observing, they are being carried by Wierman and this defense. 

Maryland did lose goaltender Logan McNaney to a season ending knee surgery and since he went out they’ve tried both Teddy Dolan and Brian Ruppel in cage.  Dolan struggled a bit in the win over Syracuse and Ruppel played very well against Princeton so it looks like he’ll get the start against Notre Dame.

On the side of the Irish, it’s been a total team effort in their first 3 wins, none more impressive than the 15-8 drubbing of Georgetown. Notre Dame hasn’t been overly reliant on the Kavanaugh brothers offensively which is a great sign. Yes, the brothers are the Irish’s leading scorers at the moment by a margin (Chris has 18 points, Pat has 17 points and the next guy, Ricciardelli only has 9 points).  But in the win over the Hoyas, 5 players put up 3 points and 2 guys had 2 points, so when needed, Notre Dame can produce some depth in their scoring output.

The Notre Dame defense should be prepared to terrorize the Maryland offense a bit.  Chris Conlin (4 caused turnovers), Chris Fake (3 caused turnovers) and company are playing well and with goaltender Liam Entenmann standing behind them, goals should be a bit tougher to come by for Maryland than they have been so far this season.

In the end I think that Maryland will be able to hang in this one because Wierman has been spectacular so far and there is no reason to think he’ll fall off this weekend.  I think Maryland will be in this game to the end thanks to his efforts mixed with the Terps ability limit opposing teams offensive looks.

Prediction:  Notre Dame (by 2 or 3 goals)

#3 Cornell @ #8 Ohio State

Cornell won this matchup TWICE a year ago beating Ohio State at home in early March and then beating them again in the NCAA tournament.

This is a much better Ohio State team in my opinion, especially defensively.  They have 3 defenders capable of guarding an opposing teams #1 guy, but lucky for the Buckeyes they only need one of those guys to guard CJ Kirst.

Cornell has looked a bit shaky defensively at times so far in 2023.  That should play nice with the fact Ohio State is still trying to figure out how they are going to flow offensively.

The Buckeys only put up 8 goals in a win over North Carolina and 6 goals in a loss to Virginia.  Cornell’s defense is probably somewhere in line with North Carolina’s overall, so the under may be a good play for this game.

A season ago Cornell’s Gavin Adler handled Ohio State’s leading scorer, Jack Myers.  I think Adler has a bit less help so I expect Myers to do a bit more damage in this one although I don’t think he’s putting up 7 points or anything crazy.

I think revenge is going to be the topic of this day and we’ll see Ohio State come out hungry and ready for a dogfight.

Prediction: Ohio State (by 1 or 2 goals)

#6 Duke @ #20 Syracuse

Syracuse is clinging to the #20 spot by the skin of their teeth after starting 3-0 and losing two straight to #4 Maryland and #11 North Carolina.  Duke is coming off back-to-back wins over Denver and #10 Penn after losing to #14 Jacksonville.

What we’ve learned thus far about Syracuse is they aren’t going to win very many faceoffs, especially in ACC play and their defense isn’t capable of going toe to toe with ACC offenses while losing the possession battle.

Duke on the other hand wins faceoffs above a 60% clip thanks to Jake Naso.  Naso is sitting at 63% and has taken all but 15 of Duke’s draws this season.  RichiUSA is going to have a hard time on Sunday and that will result in the Syracuse defense and goaltender Will Mark in being pressured all day long by the Duke offense.

On top of that, Syracuse isn’t built to defend a team like Duke with 3 killers at attack.  Landon Clary has been drawing opposing teams top attack and he’s done an admirable job thus far, but guarding the Duke attack is a whole different ballgame compared to what Syracuse has faced thus far, and I fear Syracuse may not have enough defensive depth to keep this game close.

Prediction: Duke (by 5 to 7 goals)

Georgetown @ #5 Princeton

This is officially a must-win game for Georgetown.  We all keep saying this despite the fact the Hoyas can win their conference tournament to get into the NCAA’s, but at this stage they haven’t given anyone reason to believe they are going to do that.  They need quality wins to build their resume (and confidence) and picking up a victory over a #5 Princeton squad that I think may be ranked higher than their ability would be huge.

I think these teams are pretty evenly matched.  I like the Hoyas defense and how they line up against Princeton’s offense.  I don’t think Princeton’s defense is built to wreak havoc by any means and this could be the game that we finally see the Georgetown offense produce some points.

Both teams are so-so at the faceoff dot, but James Reilly for Georgetown is streaky and capable of getting hot and when he gets hot he not only wins draws, but he can put up some points in transition.

I just don’t see the Hoyas starting 0-4.  I think they are going to be hungry and I think that Princeton represents their best shot at a win over these first 4 games.

It’s not like Georgetown has been losing to chumps with their 3 losses coming to #15 Hopkins, #10 Penn and #2 Notre Dame.  Dropping #5 Princeton could be the boost of confidence they need to go on a run.

Losing to Princeton would be a great big kick in the balls.

Prediction: Georgetown (by 2 or 3 goals)

#12 Saint Joseph’s @ #15 Johns Hopkins

A banged up Johns Hopkins squad is getting tested yet again this weekend facing #12 Saint Joseph’s. Thus far, every opponent that 3-2 Hopkins has faced has been ranked except for Utah. Jacksonville (now #15), Georgetown (was #3 when Hop dropped them, now unranked), North Carolina (now #11) and Loyola (now #7).

So Hopkins is as battle tested as any one.  They needed that win over Utah after dropping 2 straight to Carolina and Loyola.  They were banged up in both of those losses and managed to get that 4 goal win over Utah despite having some guys out including goaltender Tim Marcille.

But on the bright side for Hopkins, they’ve continued to play well despite having guys miss some time.  Gib Versfeld stopped 65% of the shots he faced while spelling Marcille against Utah.

Ian Krampf put up 3 goals and a dish getting time due to injured teammates.  Young gun Matt Collison has put up 8 goals being called upon to contribute despite his youth.

If Hopkins has a healthy (or even healthier) Angelus and Melendez running around, then I like their chances against Saint Joe’s.  If those guys are still banged up and miss some minutes, things will be a bit tougher.

On the Saint Joseph’s side, Zach Cole is the guy to watch in this one.  He’s won a whopping 77% of the faceoffs he’s taken thus far in 2023 and Hopkins duo of Tyler Dunn and Logan Callahan are going to have their hands full.  If they get absolutely roached at the dot by Cole, it could be a rough go for Hopkins, especially if injuries continue to cost guys time (I’m beating that to death, I know, but it’s true).

Losing the possession battle to a team that has guys on offense like Carter Page, Matt Bohmer and Levi Anderson is a recipe for disaster.

Prediction: Johns Hopkins (by 1 or 2 goals)

Richmond @ #1 Virginia

The Cavaliers are off to a 3-0 start as expected with Richmond coming to town on Saturday evening.  The UVA offense has been off the charts good thus far with both Connor Shellenberger and Payton Cormier dropping 18 points over their first 3 games.  Shelly has been in sharing mode while drawing a lot of attention with 6 goals and 12 helpers.  Cormier has benefited from the attention Shellenberger has gotten, going for 15 goals and 3 assists.

Richmond has won 3 straight since losing 15-4 at Maryland, but the quality of opponents hasn’t been anything to write home about.  Yes, Richmond has a history of playing well on the road in Charlottesville, but this isn’t the same Richmond team that ran with the Cavs and this isn’t the same Cavs team either.

Petey LaSalla has been getting things done at the faceoff dot winning 56% of his draws, but what’s more impressive, he’s averaging 2 goals per game and has 6 goals over his first 3 outings.

Virginia’s defense has played extremely well at times, and they’ve looked spotty at times.  I expect we’ll see them play well against Richmond and even if they give up goals late, it will already be over.

Prediction:  Virginia (by 9 to 11 goals)

#10 Penn @ #17 Penn State

I was fairly optimistic that Penn State would be a bit better this season but after they lost to Villanova on the road in their second outing I was wondering if I was wrong.  Well wins over Stony Brook and #13 Yale, the Nittany Lions have cracked the top 20 and are hoping to continue their winning ways as they get closer and closer to Big Ten play.

Penn is coming off a loss to #6 Duke after coming out and dealing Georgetown their second loss of the season.  In that loss to the Blue Devils Penn shot the ball like absolute turd and that cost them the game.

While Penn State is better both offensively and defensively, I think Penn will more than likely figure out some of their shooting issues and put on a much better show on Saturday.  Sam Handley will be dodging angry and Cam Rubin will continue his incredible shooting clinic (7 goals off 9 shots in 2 games).

Important matchup to watch, Chase Mullins and Hudson Bohn against Penn’s Chris Arceri at the faceoff dot.  These teams are more closely matched than many think and neither teams faceoff crews have been anything to write home about thus far.  Every possession will count in a game like this.

Prediction:  Penn (by 2 to 3 goals)

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