This weekend’s NCAA Lacrosse Tournament First Round gave us four 1-goal games, a 2-goal game and a bunch of goals in the games that weren’t so close.  It was apparent that #Donna got it “mostly” right in terms of seeding with one GLARING MISTAKE, and that was handing #1 Duke a first-round matchup against Delaware, let’s dive into it.

#19 Delaware – 11
#1 Duke – 12

Delaware came out hot, scoring 4 of the games first 5 goals. They took a 4-1 lead with 5:52 left in the first quarter off a really nice underneath dodge by Tye Kurtz, he beat Brower to GLE and stuck it with no angle, diving behind the cage after the finish.

Delaware would extend their lead to 7-3 lead off back to back goals by JP Ward, both unassisted about a minute and a half apart.  The second came just under three minutes into the second quarter, a physical dodge up the right, he got a crappy bouncer off that beat Helm and at this point I was wondering if Duke might pull Will Helm.  They didn’t, and it would pay off.

After Delaware went up 8-4, Duke went on a five-goal run, started by Dyson Williams with 5:39 in the half, a dish by Brennan O’Neill. Duke forced a turnover just over midfield on a Delaware clear, a perfectly timed double-team, the ball went up the other way, ended up in O’Neill’s stick on the point and he hit Williams down low for the easy transition goal.

The run was capped by Andrew McAdorey with 8:48 left in the third quarter, he subbed in from the box, dodged down the left alley, got a step, got down into the lower 5&5 area and stuck it.  That gave Duke a 9-8 lead, their first lead of the game.

Brennan O’Neill was held scoreless the entire game until 7:26 left in the contest, he snagged a rebound above everyone else, took a step and let it rip high to low and that gave Duke back the lead for good as Charlie O’Connor would score the required “eventual game winner”.

I can’t say enough how well Owen Grant and the Delaware defense played O’Neill.  Grant finished the game with 2 caused turnovers, 3 groundballs and an assist. O’Neill was held to 1 goal, 3 assists off 8 shots and a turnover.  I’m pretty sure Grant wasn’t on the field when O’Neill scored that lone goal.

Credit coach D for not pulling Will Helm early.  No one would have blamed him after giving up that ugly bouncer to Ward, but Danowski stayed with Helm and it paid off as he ended up having a solid game, 11 saves vs 11 goals against.  His 4 stops over the course of the third quarter proved huge as Duke used those stops to get back in the game and take their first lead.

Michigan – 15 (OT)
Cornell – 14

I had hitched my wagon to Cornell for this postseason and I wasn’t rewarded with a victory.  This one came down to the wire and required OT in order to get down to a winner and loser and the last 6 minutes of regulation were pretty awesome.

After CJ Kirst scored to tie things up at 11’s, Peter Thompson scored back to back goals about 40 second apart, both unassisted, both solid dodges, the kid can run, his second goal was a straight speed dodge from out top/middle down into the hash as he let it rip on the run and beat Ierlan 5-hole.

Cornell would answer as Hugh Kelleher would bully himself into the middle of the field and rip one low and left on Taylor, and Jack Cascadden would win the ensuing faceoff and streak downfield and score just 9 seconds later, the score was back to tied up, now at 13’s.

Michael Boehm gave Michigan the lead back with just 1:49 left in the contest, a beautiful dodge up the left side, he let it go low to high and put it past Ierlan’s head who guessed low and lost.

Coyle would answer with 59 seconds left in the game, got a pick at X, dodged hard up the left side, the switch didn’t fully take and he had hands free as he got about 2 yards above GLE.

Overtime would be had by the end and it was Peter Thompson saving Michigan’s season and giving the Wolverines their first NCAA tournament win. The play Michigan drew up went south, but Isaac Aronson slipped a pick he set for Boehm, got the ball and found Thompson streaking down toward the opposite pipe and Thompson put the rock home.

Thompson, a 5th year guy, transferred in from Georgetown and picked a hell of a day to have himself a game.  He finished with 4 goals and a dish including 2 goals late in the fourth quarter as well as that sudden death winner.

Also credit Hunter Taylor in cage, the youngster outplayed veteran Chayse Ierlan stopping 16 shots to just 14 goals against.

Also credit to the Michigan faceoff duo of Nick Rowlett and Justin Wietfeldt, they combined to win 18 of 33 draws, not the haul I expected they’d need to get to to upset Cornell, but good enough to gut out a win.  They picked up 15 of the 18 groundballs themselves over those wins.

At the end of the day, I think Taylor factored the most in this victory as he’s gotten hot and has owned this starting role in cage at the right time.

Army – 16
Maryland – 15

Army held a lead for most of this game.  It wasn’t until 2:37 left in the third quarter that Maryland took their first lead of the game, Braden Erksa from Kyle Long, that made the score 12-11 Terps. Note, that was a generous assist as Erksa took two or three steps to the middle of the field before letting it rip low to low.

Army would answer back and tie things up and Jacob Morin would score on a step down from deep to give Army the lead once again 13-12 just 59 seconds into the fourth quarter.  Army scored twice to start the fourth to regain the lead.

After some back and forth between the two teams, with Army holding a 1-goal lead, it was Gunnar Fellows who scored with 53 seconds in the game providing Army with the required insurance goal. That put Army up 16-14.  Maryland would score with 36 seconds left to keep things interesting, but Army would hold on for the win and send the National Champs packing.

In the battle at the dot between two of the best faceoff guys in the nation, it was Luke Wierman that held a single win edge, but Coletti did enough to keep pace and make sure that Army didn’t fall behind in the battle for possessions.  Wierman finished the day winning 18 of 35 with a goal and an assist.  That’s a stat line I’d normally think good enough to see the Terps win.  Coletti won 17 of 35 with no points.

But in cage, Knox Dent made 16 saves for Army while Brian Ruppel struggled stopping only 5 shots all day.

As has been the case all year, Army got production offensively from everyone that played.  Seven guys scored 2 points or more and 11 guys in all tallied at least a point.

Princeton – 12
Penn State – 13

Princeton jumped out to a 7-1 and I thought this game was already decided. Alex Slusher scored that 7th goal with 9:20 left in the half. The shot clock was running out on the Tigers and he dodged hard up the left side and stuck it with a single second left on the possession.

Penn State never gave up though. They scored 11 of the games next 13 goals and by the end of that run they had flipped the score from 7-1 Princeton to 12-9 Penn State.  It was Jeb Brenfleck that stuck that 12th goal for the Nittany Lions, an insanely physical dodge from the left around GLE into the middle of the field, he let it rip semi-low-to-high for the score.  A dirty goal.

With their backs against the wall, Princeton would put together a three-goal run, capped by an Alexander Vardaro stick from the crease, low to low release, dished by Lukas Stanat, and the score was tied up at 12’s.

It was the Binghamton transfer, Kevin Winkoff that scored the game winner for Penn State, a dodge into the middle of the field that Winkoff let rip while on the run, burned it stick side high on Gianforcaro and that was all she wrote by the games end.  Penn State advanced and made me look dumb as I had picked Princeton.

Jack Fracyon won the goalie battle over Michael Gianforcaro by a margin.  Fracyon stopped 16 shots on the day compared to Gianforcaro’s 8 saves. 

Fracyon’s stat line was necessary as Penn State got roasted at the faceoff dot losing on 19 of 29 attempts. Andrew McMeekin won 18 of 28 for Princeton with 11 gbs.

Yale – 17
Georgetown – 19

This was yet another game where we saw some swings high and low out of each team with Yale jumping out to an 8-3 lead after Thomas Bragg was left out top with his hands free in transition, let a laser go and it looked like Yale could roll.

But not so fast, the Hoyas would score 9 out of the next 10 goals in this game and just like Penn State, would flip an 8-3 deficit into a 12-9 lead.

That run was started by Tucker Dordevic just 52 seconds into the second quarter. Minicus dodged down the right alley and found Dordevic on the high crease, Dordevic had to swim his defender and stuck it left handed.

That run was capped by none other than Dordevic, this time on a dish from Declan McDermott, a dodge to the middle of the field and Dordevic was wide open and alone on the low crease, easy find, easy stick.

Yale would manage to tie things back up and eventually regain the lead, but Georgetown would win the shootout with Brian Minicus scoring the game winner with 3:49 left in the game. He dodged up the left from X, got a step and drove to above GLE and put it past Paquette.

Nicky Solomon would score the dagger and that was all she wrote.

Nicholas Ramsey did a solid job at the faceoff dot winning 20 of 36 for Yale. Georgetown was able to overcome that slight possession disparity at the dot by forcing a bunch of turnovers.  Wallace Halpert and Dylan Hess each forced 4 a piece.

Georgetown was also a perfect 21 of 21 clearing the ball.  They beat Yale in nearly every other statistical category other than in faceoff wins.

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