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As a die-hard Syracuse fan, I was on the edge of my seat as Michael Leo scored the game winner with 12 seconds left against North Carolina Saturday in a must-win for the Orange. I was pretty sure Duke was going to roll Virginia for the 105th time in a row, but UVA battled back and made Duke earn the W by the end. Cornell and Georgetown each won one-goal games, the Hoyas needed a Tucker Dordevic goal in OT to taste victory. I’ll talk about these games and many more in this weekends college lacrosse weekend review.

#17 Syracuse – 15
#11 North Carolina – 14

Great game played at a neutral site in Maryland between North Carolina and Syracuse that came down to whether or not Syracuse’s youth would be able to answer the call.

With the score tied at 11’s, Joey Spallina dodged from the right wing and got underneath his defender, dove to the front of the crease to improve his angle and put it past Krieg with 9:36 left in the fourth.  Cuse up by 1.

After Logan McGovern tied things back up at 12’s, Spallina again tested his man on that right wing, closer to GLE, and this time instead of going underneath used a quick release with his hands free to beat Krieg and once again gave Syracuse a 1-goal lead.

Off the ensuing faceoff, Brandon Aviles picked up a groundball that got behind the scrum, took off upfield, the slide never came and he stuck it top left to extend the Orange’s lead to 2-goals for the first time all day.

Carolina wasn’t done as Griffin Gallagher scored with 5:04 left to get the Tarheels back to within a goal, and Dewy Egan scored with 2:43 left in the contest to tie things up at 14’s.

UNC won the ensuing faceoff and got off a shot that required Will Mark make a save with 1:57 seconds left to give Syracuse their final possession.  Easy save at that, poor shot.

Syracuse did a great job running out the clock over the final 1:42.  Spallina took a shot with 54 seconds left that Krieg got a piece of and Owen Hiltz won the first foot race he’s ever won in is life getting to the endline to secure possession with a reset shot clock.

Cuse burned some time leading into a Michael Leo dodge down the right alley.  Leo managed to get underneath his man and on his way to the ground got the shot off that beat Krieg and clinched the game for Syracuse.

Yes, UNC did win the ensuing faceoff and got a shot off to try and time it with about 3 seconds left, but the shot sailed wide and I was happy.

Once again, Cuse got torched at the faceoff dot.  Jack Fine lost 7 of 22 and Richiusa lost 3 of 10.  So credit Andrew Tyeryar for dominating the Orange once again.  He won 20 of 29 and scored a goal.

The Orange shot the ball extremely well as Collin Krieg struggled making only 8 saves vs 15 goals against.  Will Mark was much better making 13 saves vs 14 goals against.  Mark has been huge all season and has made Syracuse’s faceoff woes sting a little less.

The Syracuse defense did a solid job in front of Mark.  Nick Caccamo forced 3 turnovers, Caden Kok forced 2, and youngster Billy Dwan even forced one in addition to picking up 4 groundballs.

Joey Spallina continued his potentially historic freshman campaign by scoring 2 goals with 2 assists and picked up 4 groundballs.  He’s not Pat Kavanagh yet in terms of snagging up gangster GB’s, but as I talked about last weekend with Notre Dame, when your leading scorer leads the team on the day in groundballs, that’s gotta add some juice to the mix.

Cole Kirst (3g, 1a) and Owen Hiltz (1g, 3a) both had big days as well.

In the end, 3 of Syracuse’s final 4 goals were scored by freshman, including the game winner by Leo.  This team is growing up and playing much better lacrosse at this point in the season, and while it may be a little bit too late to go on a run that will make them worthy of an NCAA bid, you can see what this young roster has to offer and the future looks bright.

FOR SYRACUSE, win against either Virginia or Duke over their last two games and they likely improve their RPI enough to be one of the last teams in, or the first teams out.  Win both of those games which will be next to impossible and they get in for sure.

FOR CAROLINA, they are going to be praying that Syracuse loses their next two.  UNC plays Notre Dame twice to finish the season, so if Cuse loses out, and Carolina can split, that gives them a solid chance at making the tournament.  Win both against Notre Dame, and they probably get in regardless.

If Cuse and Carolina both win out, that is the only scenario I see that would get all 5 ACC teams in the tournament.  I don’t think that is going to happen though.

#2 Virginia – 14
#3 Duke – 15

Virginia had gotten back to within 3 goals off an unassisted Payton Cormier goal, but Duke would go on a 4 goal run, started by Aidan Danenza, a quick strike from the left wing on a dish from Owen Caputa, 7-3 duke.

Duke won the ensuing faceoff and O’Neill found freshman Aidan Maguire trailing the play, hit him out top and Maguire stepped down and unleashed fury, 8-3 Duke with 7:11 in the half.

After a UVA penalty, Duke scored an extra man goal with 6:50 left in the half, Dyson Williams from behind GLE found Caputo up on the left wing, the defense didn’t rotate in time and Caputo ripped one past Nunes, top left cheese. 9-3 Duke and the Blue Devils last 3 goals were scored over a 39 second span.

It was Brennan O’Neill that capped the run, scoring unassisted with 4:17 left in the half.

The crazy part about this game is that despite the fact Virginia hasn’t beat Duke since like 2004, Duke has won in 17 straight meetings, and UVA was now down 10-3, they didn’t give up.

They kept battling back, Duke kept answering the bell.  But the final 3 minutes of this game was bonkers.

Payton Cormier split a double-team, two shorties guarding him, straight up split the two with a dirty swim and beat Nunes high to get Virginia back to within 2 goals.

Xander Dickson would score with 1:03 left in the contest to get UVA back to within 2 goals, says unassisted in the box score, but I think it was Thomas McConvey that had the dish.

Then with under a minute to play, O’Neill took two shots that resulted in Virginia getting chances to tie the game up.  The final chance, a one-on-one that O’Neill got stuffed on vs just running to X and running the clock out gave Virginia two shots late to tie, both were turned away by Will Helm and Duke hung on for the victory.

Huge factor in this game, Jake Naso dominated Petey LaSalla.  Naso won 21 of 32 draws (66%) and picked up 9 gbs.  LaSalla won a few key draws late in the game to help with UVA’s run, but Naso was incredible and is a big reason Duke was able to once again beat the Cavs.

Andrew McAdorey paced Duke with 3 goals and a dish and Owen Caputo, Tommy Schelling, Brennan O’Neill and Dyson Williams all put up 2 goals and a helper.

The Duke defense did a great job limiting Connor Shellenberger to just a goal and 2 assists and only 2 shots.  Shellenberger would seem to be obviously hobbled at this point and Virginia is going to need him healthy come tournament time.

Matthew Nunes did all he could for Virginia making 17 saves on the day, but it was Will Helm that got 2 saves late to seal the win.  Helm finished the day with 12 saves.

Virginia turned the ball over way too often, Cormier had 3 turnovers, Griffin Schutz 4, Petey LaSalla had 3 turnovers on draws that he won that he pressed a bit too much.  Considering the possession disparity that Naso caused, those turnovers proved too costly.

#6 Cornell – 11
#7 Army – 10

Cornell jumped out to a 3-0 lead early thanks to Michael Long, nifty finish inside off a feed by JJ Lombardi.

Army would battle back scoring 4 of the games next 5 goals. The Black Knights would tie things up at 4’s off a bit of pick & slip action, Evan Plunkett found Burek slipping underneath and getting a step up the left side (from x).  Punkett hit Burek as he got above GLE and he buried it.

Things would go back and forth for a bit, but it would be Cornell taking a 9-6 lead off a Spencer Wirtheim alley dodge that saw him get underneath his defender near GLE, dove to improve his angle a bit and put it top cheddar.

After Jacob Morin scored a man up goal to get Army back to within 2, Paul Johnson would score 3 unanswered, all by himself to complete a 4-goal run for the Black Knights and give them a 10-9 lead.  The final goal of that run was stuck by Johnson with 7:34 left in the game.

Cornell would score the games final two goals, Michael Long from CJ Kirst with 3:32 left to tie things up at 10’s and Aiden Blake scored with 9 seconds to play, a dish from Billy Coyle to give Cornell the win.

Of course they had technical difficulties and I have no dope highlights to show you.  I would have loved to show you Johnson’s 3 consecutive goals to give Army the lead, as well as Cornell’s final two, but alas, the weather wasn’t great.

Huge win for Cornell on a day that they got outplayed.  Army had fewer turnovers, won the faceoff battle with 13 of 24 and went 2-5 on extra man opportunities (to Cornell’s 0-2).  But the Big Red did just enough to keep pace.

Having Michael Long in the lineup is huge for Cornell.  Army was able to hold CJ Kirst to ZERO GOALS, the first time that has happened all year. Kirst came into the game averaging 4.9 goals per game (6 points per game) and he was held to just 2 assists.  Army did an incredible job limiting his looks, holding him to just 5 shots and 2 turnovers.

Both goalkeepers played well, both Knox Dent and Chayse Ierlan made 12 stops on the day, but Dent gave up 1 more goal than Ierlan did and that decided the game.

#12 Denver – 12
St. John’s – 10

Denver picked up 2 wins in 3 days this weekend beating Towson 12-10 on Thursday evening, and they beat St. John’s 12-10 on Saturday.

St. John’s was 10-7 after Caiden Vlasimsky scored an unassisted goal with 5:50 left in the 3rd quarter.

But Denver would go on to score the games final 5 goals with Michael Lampert scoring 3 of them including the eventual game winner (on a dish from Noah Manning) with 4:17 left in the contest.  AJ Mercurio scored the dagger a little over a minute later.

Lampert had a hell of a game going for 4 goals and 2 assists off 6 shots.

However, as has been the case on a few occasions this year for Denver, this win was brought to you by Alec Stathakis and his 21 of 26 at the faceoff dot.  Stathakis picked up 18 groundballs which means this was an absolute horror show for St. John’s.

Denver has a chance to clinch a tournament bid via their conference tournament, but they are also sitting pretty with an RPI in the area of 10 or so. The Pio’s have Marquette and Providence to finish off the regular season.  I’m not sure off hip how many teams the Big East puts in their tournament, but if only 4 make it, Denver will need to win these next two games as Marquette and Providence are each right behind them in the standings.  Both are winnable games, but Denver has been a bit bipolar this season.  If they don’t win their conference tournament, their RPI is pretty solid, but they also have a bad loss to Air Force on their schedule.

#18 Penn – 15
Harvard – 9

This one was a game of runs.  Penn jumped out to a 3 goal lead, Harvard answered with a 4-goal run of their own and took a 4-3 lead.  Penn scored two straight taking a 1-goal lead, Harvard scored two straight to get the lead back, and then Penn took over scoring the games next 6 goals, enroute to an 11-6 lead they would never relinquish.

Lots of scoring for Penn’s usual suspects.  Cam Rubin paced all scorers with 4 goals and a dish, while James Shipley, Ben Smith and Sam Handley all went for 2 goals and 2 helpers.

Emmet Carroll was huge in cage for the Quakers making 16 saves vs just 10 goals against and that proved pivotal over the 2nd and 3rd quarters where Penn kept pace and then later pulled away.  Carroll had 10 saves over those two periods.

While Penn’s RPI is nice, they are sitting at 5-5.  In order to be eligible for the NCAA tournament, you either have to win your conference OR be at 500 or above and have a resume worthy of an at large.

Right now, Penn has an RPI of 10 which today gets them in. But they play Dartmouth and UAlbany to finish the season, so they have no more chances at improving their RPI, but a loss to either of those two teams will put them firmly on the bubble.  If they can win out, they will have a chance for a quality win in the Ivy tournament where they’ll hope to win and get in.  I think if Penn can win out in the regular season and pick up a win in the Ivy tournament, they probably get an at large even if they lose in the Ivy finals.  But it’s going to be tight and they’d certainly prefer to control their own destiny.

Loyola – 9
Boston U – 16

The Patriot is looking insane at the moment.  Boston U came into this weekends matchup vs Loyola at 4-1 in conference play with Loyola sitting at 3-2.  Army 6-0, Lehigh is 4-1 and Navy and Loyola both 3-2.  So it’s a tight race and Boston U didn’t want to end up 4-2 sitting just a half game ahead of the group below them.

Lucky for the Terriers, the attack trio of Timmy Ley (2g, 4a), Vince D’Alto (4g) and Louis Perfetto (1g, 3a) showed up big time and helped BU pick up the conference win.

Brown – 10
Yale – 16

Yale who was 0-3 in Ivy play coming into this matchup vs Brown badly needed a win to keep their hopes of making the Ivy tournament alive.  They succeeded and now sit at 1-3 at the bottom of the Ivy with Dartmouth with UAlbany and Harvard left to play.

Brown took an early 4-1 lead off a Trevor Glavin man up gaol dished by Devon McLane with 5:59 left in the first quarter.  But Yale would score 7 of the games next 8 goals to take a 3 goal lead, and even though Brown would tie things up at 8’s, Yale got the lead back almost immediately and slow rolled from there.

I’m not sure what that even means for their chances of making the NCAA tournament.

Yale doesn’t have any bad losses, but they are lacking quality wins as well.  They have wins over Villanova, UMass and Denver, pretty solid, but at 5-4 and a chance they don’t make the Ivy League Tournament, they just have to keep blinders on, win their final two games and see what happens.

Hobart – 10
Saint Joseph’s – 11

Hobart trailed this entire game until Bradley Simas tied things up at 8’s off a feed by Will Delano with 1 second left in the third quarter.

James Greene scored a man up goal that gave Hobart a 9-8 lead with 8:41 left to play and Saint Joseph’s needed to score 3 of the games final 4 goals to come back and pull off the 1-goal win.

Saint Joe’s is currently sitting at the top of the A10 with a 3-0 conference record with UMass and High Point on the docket to finish their season. 

Hobart falls to 1-2 in A10 play with 2nd place Richmond and then UMass left to play.

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