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I knew it was a leap picking Navy last week, but that was just embarrassing. Hopefully this week goes a little smoother. I think I got caught up too much in the numbers last week.

This week it is the NCAA’s version of Steel Cage Grudge Matches, as 3 of the 4 contests see rivals face each other for a second time this year. Planned? Hmmmm.

Syracuse faces Maryland Saturday 12:00 at Hofstra’s Shuart StadiumNCAA Johns Hopkins Syracuse Mens Lacrosse

Cuse by 3. There…said it. Got it out of the way. Syracuse just has too many weapons on offense. Cody Jamieson showed up big netting 3 goals and 1 assist last week against Siena…and by that I am referring to his points and not his middle.

If the emergence of Cody isn’t enough the Orange also have Kenny Nims (64pts), Steve Keogh (50), Dan Hardy (35), Pat Perritt (23), Chris Daniello (20), and more. Their offense has been held to less than 10 goals in only 2 games. Once in a weird showdown with Georgetown, and once against a typical tough Princeton defense.

On defense the Orange have Sid Smith, Matt Tierney, John Lade, Joel White (LSM), and John Galloway in goal. The defense if anything is where Syracuse needs to step it up. While statistically they only let in 7.4 goals per game, I can tell you they are still not the force they were last year. I am not saying they are bad…just not the well oiled machine that was their defense last year.
Maryland was only able to put up 7 goals against Notre Dame last week. They will need to score more than that to stay in the game against Syracuse. Surprisingly the amazing lineup of Maryland attack was held to 0 goals against the Irish. They took 8 shots (only 4 made it on goal).

Maryland has not put up more than 10 goals against any teams in the top 20 except for 1 game and that was against Duke.
Maryland’s defense won them their upset over Notre Dame. The Irish only had 3 goals. Goalie Phipps had 9 saves with 3 goals against for a save percentage of 75%.

While Yeatman is a big physical attackman, I think his presence has actually hurt the chemistry of Maryland’s attack unit. Think Jeremy Shockey of the Giants. Sure he was gifted…yet they won out the playoffs, and SuperBowl while he sat out and didn’t even go to the games.

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Cornell takes on Princeton in a rematch at 3:00pm in Hofstra’s Shuart Stadium. john_glynn

Cornell won the first match 10-7. I think this game’s results will be exactly the same. Cornell by 3.
After the loss, Princeton has gon on to win its next three games albeit against Dartmouth, Brown, and UMass. Each of those three games they have let in 7 goals. In each of those three games, Princeton has only let in 1 goal in the first have, but 6 in the second half. Fairly consistent loss of focus in the 2nd half.

Cornell is kind of like Syracuse. They focus more on offense, and outscoring their opponent rather than on defense and holding an opponent from scoring.

Against Princeton previously they were able to jump out to an early 3-0 lead in part due to their sheer dominance at the face off X.

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Down at the Naval Acadamy, UVA takes on Johns Hopkins at noon.danny_glading

This is another rematch game from earlier in the season. UVA took that one 16-15. UVA will win this one by about 3. It won’t be a blowout, but Hopkins has not looked dominant especially of late.

I won’t beat a dead horse, but a National Championship team needs a goalie saving more than 51% shots, and letting in less than 9.6 goals. The Jays don’t have that. What they do have is a fiery coach that seemingly wills them to keep winning. In the past 4 games, Hopkins has gone into OT and won against Towson, Loyola, and Brown.

If I am Virginia, and this game goes to OT, I am faceguarding Brian Christopher who has gotten the game winner in each of those OT games.

Virginia has put up 10+ goals in every game except for one wretched 5 goal performance against Duke. Their average is 12.7 goals per game. Their starting attack has over 90 goals alone. On defense, Ken Clausen leads the close D unit, and Adam Ghitelman has put up decent numbers in net (55%Save, 8.1 GAA)

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Duke plays UNC in the late game (3pm) at Navycrotty

This will actually be the third meeting between Duke and UNC this year. Duke has won the other two meetings. I believe they win this one as well. Duke by 1

I don’t understand Duke. They lose to Cornell, Maryland, and Harvard, but beat UVA twice. In the second game against UVA they hold Virginia to 5 goals. 3 games later they switch focus and score 14 against one of if not THE best defense in the country. The answer to both lopsided wins was possession. When an opposing team only has 15 shots on goal, there is a good chance you’ll win. Duke also shot very well and accurately to start. Once that crack shows in a goalie’s confidence, Duke seized on it, and neither goalie was able to save much. Tommy Phelan for Navy ended up with 14 Goals Against and only 5 saves. Ghitelman fared a little better with 14 Goals against and 9 saves.

UNC needs Bitter to step up against Duke. In their first game he only had 1 Assist (0 Goals). In their 2nd game, he did better with 2G/3A. If he can play like he did against UMBC with 8 Goals and 1 Assist, UNC might be able to pull off an upset.
UNC was a team many people thought had a chance to be #1 this year

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I don’t like these mid week games but if you’re going to have more teams, it’s necessary to squeeze it in prior to Memorial Day.  On a little rant here, I don’t feel that it’s right for the D1 teams to have to play 2 games in 3 days.  You prepare for games on Saturday with only a couple during the week over the course of a season.  A fluke injury or crazy weather conditions can cause you a championship.

Okay, rant over.

It’s crazy that 3 out of the 4 match ups have seen each other already this season and that this will be the third meeting between Wesleyan/Middlebury and Salisbury/Stevenson.

Defense is said to win championships and it’s more evident this year than ever.  Roanoke dominated offensively with a pretty weak schedule all season and were taken down handidly by the #2 defense in the land of Denison.  7/8 teams are in the Top 20 defenses (based on GA).  Middlebury is the only one still around still not on the list.

-NORTH-
Western New England @ Cortland

Cortland dominated WNE way back in February.  Has anything changed since then?

WNE’s season was a good one.  With their only losses coming to playoff bound Cortland and Tufts.  Their big wins against playoff caliber teams were against Naz and Springfield.

Cortland started out their season dominating playoff teams like WNE, Montclair and Gettysburg, but then they seemed to take a nap and go through the motions until May came around again.  They lost two tight ones to Ithaca and Geneseo and a feel good win in between to Naz.   But maybe it’s just common now to watch them stampede through the bulk of their schedule.

Attack - EVEN
Midfield - ADV - Cortland
Defense - ADV - Cortland
Goalie - ADV - WNE
Storyline - If You Haven’t Been Watching, We’ve Reloaded

Overall - ADV - Cortland

Prediction - Cortland 15-9

Wesleyan @ Middlebury
The first of two conference rivalries to meet in the Elite 8. Middlebury is 14-2 so far this season with two losses thanks to Wesleyan.  Both games were decided by one goal and the 2nd was a goal infested 15-14 game!

In a comparison of the two, both have senior laden rosters at key positions and both are truly tested after a tough NESCAC schedule.  Take a look at the attack units of these two teams!  It’s tough to point out any flaws except, that 2/3 of Wesleyan’s losses came to weaker opponents (Bowdoin, Williams).

Attack - EVEN
Midfield - ADV - Middlebury
Defense - ADV - Wesleyan
Goalie - Wesleyan
Storyline - “The ‘Stone’ or ‘Spike’ Show”

OVERALL - Slight Edge to Wesleyan

Prediction - Wesleyan 13-12 OT

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-SOUTH-
Denison @ Gettysburg
These two did not face each other in 09.  Both took down OWU (Denison twice) and both teams got beat by Stevenson.  Gettysburg has turned their season around since then so that cannot be the deciding factor.

Against playoff teams, Denison had only played two, the aforementioned OWU and Stevenson games.  Gettysburg faced both of those as well and 5 others losing to Cortland and Haverford, then beat Haverford Cabrini and Salisbury

Attack - ADV Gettysburg
Midfield - ADV Denison
Defense - ADV Denison
Goalie - ADV Gettysburg
Storyline - The Tommy Kehoe Factor

Overall - ADV - Gettyburg

Prediction - Gettysburg 9-8 OT

Salisbury @ Stevenson
No need to compare like opponents in this grudge match.  Having faced similar foe all year and this will be the third meeting, we’re in for a good one.  If Salisbury plays like they did in their first match up, game to Stevenson.  If Stevenson plays like they did in the second match up, game to Salisbury.  If both teams play the way they did when they won…well.

Attack - ADV - Stevenson
Midfield - EVEN
Defense - ADV -  Salisbury
Goalie - EVEN
Storyline - The Battle Behind at X

Overall - EVEN

Prediction - Salisbury 13-10

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In the first round, there are 3 games that should be very interesting.

Saturday May 9th, Brown plays Johns Hopkins at noon.hopkins

Broooown! Rob…this one’s for you buddy.
One of the mild surprises of the selection was to see Brown as a #9 seed. The Bears are 12-3 on the season. This season they have losses to #10 Hofstra (in double OT), unranked Penn (by 1), and #4 Princeton. Their ranked wins came over #15 UMass, #18 Harvard, and #7 Cornell. That one last win over Cornell was enough to get an invite to the show.

Brown’s offense is lead by Andrew Feinberg (40Goals/16Assists), Kyle Hollingsworth (20/26), Thomas Muldoon (32/11), Reade Seligmann (12/20), and Brady Williams (17/14). Their EMO offense is struggling, converting on 39% of their chances. Brown’s difficulties continue at FO where they are winning 41%. Where Brown succeeds is their goalie and defense. Their man down unit is stopping opponents 74% of the time. Their goalie is 2008 Ivy Player of the year, Jordan Burke. His Goals against average is 7.74, and his save% is at 61.7%. These two reasons (defense and Burke) are how Brown beat Cornell. Cornell scored 0 of 4 attempts on EMO. That is 0. Burke had 18 saves and only 9 goals against.

Johns Hopkins ended up the season 9-4. The Jays lost to #4 Princeton, #1 Syracuse, #5 Virginia, and #6 North Carolina. They have ranked wins over #9 UMBC, #10 Hofstrra, #13 Maryland, #12 Navy, and #14 Loyola. Aftter a 3-4 start the team won out. Hopkins has been on a trend the past couple of years. Start off poor, then finish very strong. Statistically speaking this is directly correlated to the play of their goalie Mike Gvozden (MikeyG). This is not necessarily a bad thing. Ask any NHL player and if their goalie is hot during the playoffs then that is all that matters. The regular season is a distant memory. Gvozden on the year is saving 51.2% of the shots he faces letting in an average 9.5 Goals Against. The Hopkins defense did not give Gvozden too much help in the beginning of the year (slides looked slow), but have since stepped it up. The Man down unit is stopping opponents 63% of the time.

On offense, The Jays are led by Kyle Wharton (31/9), Chris Boland (23/16), Mike Kimmel (18/21), Brian Christopher (25/11), and Steven Boyle (19/15). On offense, their EMO is scoring on 47% of their chances.

While Brown has played well at times this year, the Hopkins machine is just too much to handle. I think Brown can put up a fight, but towards the later part of the game, Hopkins depth and multiple threats pull away. The Jays take this one by 4.

Sunday May 10th, Maryland plays Notre Dame at noon.notredamefightingirish

The once highly touted then highly booted Will Yeatman faces his old team …

Anyone find it ironic that the school with the stereotypical mascot of a fighting Irishman (and let’s be honest…what other stereotype goes with an angry Irishman…think Denis Leary), levied such a strict penalty on Yeatman?

Notre Dame is 15-0. No losses. Ranked wins over #14 Loyola, #16 Penn State, #6 UNC, #17 Bucknell, and #19 Villanova. Notre Dame parallels Syracuse in the fact that both schools USED to have good football programs that are now in the tank. Actually the similarities end there…but that doesn’t mean ND is overrated.

I have heard the statements from coaches and past players that Notre Dame is undefeated yet untested…that they need to beat some good teams (Does that infer UNC is not a good team). Everyone also blames ND for poor scheduling. To these naysayers, I say that it is not Notre Dame’s fault that they are not in a top league like the ACC that has to play each other (inflating their own SOS). Nor is it their fault that on open games, teams find little incentive to travel out to Indiana.

The Fighting Irish are led by Neal Hicks (25/17), Duncan Swezey (22/20), Ryan Hoff (32/3), Grant Krebs (28/9), and Peter Christman (14/18). They don’t seem to be missing Will Who. Notre Dame has a number of threats even though they don’t have the “flair factor”.

In goal, Scott Rodgers has posted an amazing 6.08 GAA, and 66.3%. Granted he hasn’t faced stiff competition, yet against UNC, which has some very sharp shooters, Rodgers posted one of his best games ever saving 16 of 23 shots (7.0 GAA/70%save).

I also will throw in the comment that since they have not had such a ragged schedule that late season injuries/fatigue does not plague the team as much as others.

Maryland is 9-6. They had losses to unranked Georgetown, #9 UMBC, #5 UVA, #12 Navy, #8 Johns Hopkins, and #6 UNC. They have ranked wins over #3 Duke, and #6 UNC.
Maryland had a tough schedule this year, yet I am surprised they did not do better. With the amount of offensive talent this team has, they just couldn’t put together the whole package day in and day out. Wether it was a Sophomore slump or the chemistry built last year was affected as there were some changes to the chemistry.

Their special teams units faired well as a whole, as their EMO worked 50% of the time, and Mandown 70% of the time. They also won 52% of their faceoffs. The special units of MD really is like the rest of the team. Not bad, but nothing jumps out and says greatness.

The points leaders are Grant Catalino (22/21), Ryan Young (19/16), Dan Groot (19/14), Will Yeatman (13/13), Travis Reed (16/7). In cage for the Terps should be Brian Phipps. While splitting time with Carter, Phipps just puts up a better performance. (Jason Carter 7.54 GAA, 49.1%. Brian Phipps 7.63 GAA 58%)

By seedings I am not picking the underdog…by traditionalists I am. I am picking Notre Dame to win by 3. I believe MD’s defense will be surprised by the abilities of a number of ND players. ND’s offense, while not overly impressive, will put up enough goals (especially since Rodgers will be standing on his head making big saves for the Irish)

Duke/Navy is my pick for game of the week.  They meet Saturday May 9th at 7:30pm.navy

Duke ended up 13-3. They lost to #18 Harvard, and #13 Maryland. Ranked wins over #17 Bucknell, #14 Loyola, #6 UNC (twice), and #5 UVA (twice). I have no idea how they lost to Harvard and MD but in the same breath were the only team to beat UVA.

Duke’s offense is lead by Tewaaraton finalist Ned Crotty (20/45). The Blue Devils also have Max Quinzani (39/9), Zach Howell (21/16), Justin Turri (15/10), and Brad Ross (18/6).
For special teams, they are 46% on EMO, 62% on man-down, and 55% on FO.

If I had to pick one weakness, it would be in goal. Not that Schroeder is bad, but Duke’s offense is that damn good. Schroeder has a 7.69 GAA, and save% of 50.8%

Navy. What can I say. I love their defense, their physical play, their hustle attitude.

Navy is 11-4 on the year. Losses to #6 UNC (by 1), #17 Bucknell (by 1), unranked Colgate (by 1), and #8 Hopkins. Ranked wins over #13 Maryland, and #17 Bucknell.
Being an LSM, I love defense, and am really excited to hopefully see them in Foxboro. The only game they let an opponent score more than 10 goals was their loss to Hopkins. Their opponents are averaging only 7.2 goals per game. Their Man down is insane. They stop opponents EMO 85% of the time. Hell, If I were Coach Meade, I’d let my defense play man-down the whole game…leave a middie at midfield for a quick outlet pass on a save/turnover. Why? Cause they can ……and their offense needs a little help. The Navy offense is only averaging 9.1 goals per game. Their EMO is only successful 44% of the time. And they only have 2 players with 30+ points on the year. The offense is led by Brendan Connors (21/10), Tim Paul (18/13), Andy Warner (13/14), Pat Moran (20/3), and Joe Lennon (13/9).

In goal for Navy should be Tommy Phelan who has a 7.69 GAA and a save% of 63.3%.
If I were Navy, I would not waste too much time focusing on Crotty. Even in Duke’s losses he put up at least 3 assists each game. They should focus on who he is passing to. Quinzani can and has been shut down before. Navy’s defense should be able to handle Max fairly easily.
I am going with the choke factor on this one. Usually you hear about players “not being able to finish”. Coach Danowski just can’t finish. Under Dano’s tutelage, Hofstra excelled at mediocrity. Even when they had a stacked team in 2006 they failed against UMass. More recently at Duke with much of their starpower intact, they couldn’t even get to the finals in 2008.

Navy with a major upset takes a close one by 1-2.

So if I worked in Vegas, I would definitely not be a handicapper per se.  Picking the games straight up was not a problem as I went 5/6.  I went on a limb with Mt Ida and that limb was definitely cut off.   Hey everyone loves the underdog.

I was stunned to see a couple of the scores in the first round of D3 action.  W&L 6-5 over FDU in OT!  I took a double take on that one.  Mt Ida who I mentioned earlier got a major beat down by Springfield, 21-4.

Here are the rest of the 1st Rd scores if you hadn’t seen them:

Cabrini 17 vs Montclair State 3
Denison 12 vs Ohio Wesleyan 2
Saint Lawrence 14 vs Nazareth 7
Springfield 21 vs Mount Ida 4
Eastern Connecticut 10 vs Us Merchant Marine 9 (OT)!
Washington And Lee 6 vs    Fdu-florham 5 (OT)!!

So the play in games are done and we are now down to business.  Stay tuned for the Round 2 match ups later this week!

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Welcome all to playoff time! Luckily for us here in D3land, we have an extra round of games mid week.  Here is a plain and simple pick’em for these first round games.  We have some really great match ups for the first round as most teams have faced similar opponents and in two cases each other during the regular season.   It’s going to get real tricky to pick these games as the playoffs go on.  In my mind there are 6-7 teams that could easily take the crown this season!   But first they’ll have to make it to Foxboro where I will take the trophy from the winning team and parade around the parking lots like I just won myself!

–North–

Springfield (11-6) vs Mount Ida (13-6)

Both teams are lead by strong offensive units.  They both beat Babson, however Mount Ida only won 8-7 where Springfield topped them 22-6.  And they both lost to Amherst but Springfields was just a wee bit closer.  Mount Ida has an offense that can put up huge numbers in a run and gun game.  If Springfield isn’t sharp this one could be the shocker of the D3 playoffs.

Prediction:  Mount Ida - 13-12 OT

St. Lawrence (12-3) vs Nazareth (11-6)
Earlier this season, St. Lawrence topped Naz 15-10.  Both teams beat Oswego handidly yet lost by large margins to Cortland.  Naz seems to have a better offense from the numbers and the tilt moves to St. Lawrence on the defensive side. It should be a battle to see who moves on to the next round.  The game against each other was pretty early on and both teams have gotten better along the way.  It should come down to coaching.

Prediction:  St. Lawrence - 12-10

US Merchant Marine 11-5 vs Eastern Conn. St. (14-3)
No common opponents played in 2009.  UMM has played 3 playoff teams going 1-2 (beat FDU-Florham 7-6 and lost to Wesleyan and W&L).  ECS has faced 3 playoff teams also going 1-2 (Win over Mt Ida 14-7 and losses to Salisbury and Montclair St).  ECS has just a tad more fire power and will cruise to the win.

Prediction:  Eastern Conn. St. - 13-8

–South–

Cabrini (14-3) vs Montclair St. (13-4)
Both teams dominated in weak conferences but made up for it with tough out of conference schedules.  No opponents in common.  Monclair St. has faced two playoff teams with losses to both Cortland and Wesleyan.  Cabrini has faced 4 playoff teams going 2-2 (Wins over Haverford and FDU-Florham and losses to Gettysburg and Roanoke).  Look for Cabrini’s strong offense to run away with this one.

Prediction:  Cabrini - 16-8

Denision (12-2) vs OWU (10-4)
Due to travel, OWU and Denison get to meet for a 2nd time this season after a Denison TKO in the 1st meeting.  Common opponents; OWU lost to Lynchburg who Denison crushed, both defeated Oberlin, Adrian, Colorado College, Kenyon, Wooster, Wittenburg and Mount St Joseph.  Denison seems to be the better squad this season out in Ohio.

Preditcion:  Denison 15-10

W&L (15-3) vs FDU-Florham (13-4)
The Generals are coming out of the South’s toughest division in 2009.  Common opponents faced; US Merchant Marines beat FDU and lost to W&L, both beat Desales.  FDU is 0-3 against playoff teams (Cabrini, US Merchant Marines and Haverford).  W&L has played 4 playoff team games and are 2-2 with wins over US Merchant Marines and Roanoke in the ODAC finals and losses to Roanoke and Middlebury.  This will be a warm-up for W&L for the following weekend where they will see Gettysburg.

Prediction: W&L 15-6

Here’s what the 2nd RD games would look like based on my 1st Rd picks.  I will update these after the first round of games if any of my picks are in correct.

–NORTH–
*Cortland St. (15-2) vs Mount Ida (13-6)
Tufts (13-4) vs WNE. (16-2)
*Middlebury (13-2) vs St. Lawrence (12-3)
*Wesleyan (CT) (14-3) vs Eastern Conn. St. (14-3)

–SOUTH–
*Stevenson (15-1) vs Cabrini (14-3)
*Haverford (13-3) vs Salisbury (15-3)
*Roanoke (17-1) vs Denison (12-2)
*Gettysburg (13-3) vs W&L (15-3)

20080527_final-four-017

St. Marys College Vs. Salisbury University- 2009 Division 3 action - Photos by Barry Morihlatko

I’m a week or so removed from the D3 scene.  Sorry for the absence but it’s make it or break it for some teams starting now. Conference tournaments are underway and will be finished real soon.  I believe that the NCAA Selection show is this Sunday 5/3.

Thanks to all for positive and or critical feedback on the All-Decade team.  Kreiger was a definite miss on my part and deserves a nod.  If I can create a user poll for this team I think I will do that so you all can vote on the Position Players of the Decade and then on a Player of the Decade.

So back to D3land and the big show. I’m a fan of the AQ as it makes conference play that more important.  We saw that first hand this year in the CAC as Stevenson and St. Mary’s defeated Salisbury and almost had them sitting at home while everyone went to the dance.

We have one lock in Salisbury for pounding #1 at the time Stevenson two weeks ago.  No need to worry, the Mustangs will get invited and should be the #2 in the South behind undefeated Roanoke…assuming they win the ODAC.

This week, we have some match ups that will include some fierce inter-conference rivalries.  At stake, a ticket to the dance!

FRIDAY:ncaa_2009-logo
Centennial Semis @ Haverford
Washington College @ #6 Gettysburg 4:00
McDaniel @ #8 Haverford 1:30

Empire 8 Semis
Nazareth @ #3 Ithaca 4:00
Saint John Fisher @ #20 Stevens Tech 4:00

Liberty Semis
Union @ #18 Saint Lawrence 4:00
Clarkson @ Skidmore 4:00

SATURDAY
SUNYAC Finals
#7 Cortland State @ #9 Geneseo State 1:00

NESCAC Semis @ Middlebury
#17 Wesleyan @ #2 Middlebury 12:00
#19 Bowdoin @ #13 Tufts 3:00

Commonweatlth Coast Finals
#16 Endicott @ #12 Western New England 3:00

Middle Atlantic Finals
Widener @ Fdu-florham 1:00

Colonial Finals
Marywood @ #14 Cabrini 1:00

North Atlantic Finals
Mount Ida @ Castleton State 1:00

Skyline Finals
Kean @ Montclair State 1:00

Pilgrim Finals
Wheaton @ Springfield 1:00

Landmark Finals
Scranton @ Us Merchant Marine 1:00

SUNDAY
ODAC Finals
#10 Washington And Lee @ #1 Roanoke

Cornell at Syracuse 2009 - Photos by Chris Beavers

Johns Hopkins at Syracuse 09 - Photos by Chris Beavers

St. Marys College Vs. Wesley College - 2009 Division 3 action -  Photos by Barry Morihlatko

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