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Army vs. Navy (M&T Bank Stadium (MD)) (11:30 am)

This week’s Game of the week is the yearly Army/Navy game.

Army is 5-6 with no ranked wins. Key losses were to #3 Cornell by 1, #5 Hofstra by 1, #15 Colgate by 1, and #19 Bucknell by 2.
Navy is 8-3 with wins over #19 Georgetown and #12 Maryland. Key losses to North Carolina by 1, Bucknell by 1, and Colgate by 1.

Army’s EMO is a struggling this year only converting on 28% of their opportunities, while their man-down unit is only stopping their opponents 47% of the time. Army is only 46% on FO.  Jason Peyer leads the way with 38 points (26G, 12A), followed by Jeremy Boltus (20,16), Kevin LoRusso (13,6), Brooks Korvin (12,6), and Rob McCallion (9,9). After that the #6 scorer is only at 9 total points.
In net, Tom Palesky has put up a nice 63% save percent and an 8.28GAA.

Navy’s EMO is not struggling as much as Army’s converting 44% of the time. Their man-down defense is lights out one of the best in the nation if not THE best. Their opponents are only converting 13% of the time. Navy’s defense also shines in the fact they have forced 105 opponent turnovers, and are winning the ground ball war by an average of 10 more per game.  Navy’s FO unit is winning 49% of the time. Tim Paul is the points leader for Navy with 30 (17, 13). He is followed by Brendan Connors (15,6), Andy Warner (11,7), Pat Moran (13,3), and Bruce Nechanicky (10,3).

In goal it should be Tommy Phelan. This kid is on one hell of a hot streak right now. In 2 starts, he is 2-0, 6.0 GAA, and 72% save%. That is playing the full 120 minutes. That is playing against both Georgetown and Maryland. The potent MD offense was held to 4 goals against Navy.

Army/Navy is always a good match up. Even though Navy has dominated the W column over the years, Army always hangs tough and plays them close. I think Army has two real good stars with Peyer and Boltus. I think they could give Navy’s D a challenge. I have to give the W to Navy in this one, just because of the way Phelan is playing.

These two teams play lacrosse in the spirit the game was meant to be played. It is an all out war on the field. Yet after the game, there is a bond of brotherhood. With this game it is not only between fellow lacrosse players, but between fellow servicemen.

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Friday Night Army visits the Carrier Dome of Syracuse at 7:00pm. 
After winning the Championship last year, and the beat-down Syracuse handed to Providence last week, Army SHOULD be little more than 3rd gear for the Orange.   However, this gets my vote for 3rd game to watch this week as Army always seems to play Cuse very tight. 

Army Syracuse

Georgetown at Maryland Saturday at 1:00pm
Many think this is THE game to watch this week.  I say its #2 on my list. Maryland is 2-0 after easily beating both Presbyterian and Air Force.  This is Georgetown’s season opener. 

If you got sick of the term “by committee” while watching the NFL this year, don’t watch any Maryland games.  In my opinion, they have the best attack unit in the country.  Why?  The last season Yeatman played (freshman) he put up over 40 points.  Last year, (all freshmen) Catalino had over 40 points, Reed had over 30, and Young had just shy of 30 with 27.  Yeatman and Catalino have started both games; Reed and Young each got 1 start.  11 Maryland players have 2 or more goals, and no one has more than 3.  In fact another 7 players have 1 goal.  Maryland likes to shoot.  They have out shot opponents 121-50. 

FYI in case you forgot, there are 60 minutes per game…so Maryland has shot more shots than minutes they’ve played.  Want more committees, try goalie by committee.  We knew that coming into this season as Phipps and Carter split time fairly evenly last season.  This season time is right down the middle.  Statistically speaking Phipps has a slightly better track record with a save percentage of 61 for his career compared to Carter’s 58, and that doesn’t include this year’s stats yet (77% and 69% respectively). 

Georgetown has a very capable attack unit in Craig Dowd, who just keeps getting better, Ricky Mirabito who should be at 100% after suffering an injury in fall ball, and Maryland transfer Brett Weiss.  Georgetown’s advantage may lie in their midfield unit.  Andrew Branaccio has a cannon of a shot. Scott Kocis returns after an injury sidelined him last year. He showed promise as a freshman scoring 7 goals against good teams. 

The question mark for Georgetown will be their goalie situation.  In the preseason it looked like Jack Davis would get the nod, however none of the 4 goalies the Hoyas are carrying has more than a few minutes experience.

While all the preseason hype puts this as the game of the week, I don’t think it will be that close.  Most teams schedule an easy opponent the first week or so to wipe the rust off.  Georgetown might have bitten off more than they can chew for their season opener…especially with an inexperienced goalie in the pipes.  Maryland will pepper Davis with tons of shots…and from everywhere.  How he reacts will determine the outcome of the game.  If he can make some saves and keep his composure under fire, this could be a great match up.  If MD gets a few in early, I can see the floodgates opening in the second half.  MD by 6.

Georgetown Maryland

Navy visits UNC Friday night at 7:30:  This is my personal pick for game of the week.
UNC is 2-0 this season with an easy victory over Robert Morris (16-4) and a victory over Denver by an even wider margin of victory (20-7).   Navy is 2-0 as well.  They also have one easy win over VMI (13-5) and a hard win over Ohio State (8-6). 

UNC out shot Robert Morris but had trouble finding the net in their first week.  Coach Breschi focused on improving their shooting, and UNC responded by scoring on 20 of 40 shots against Denver for an unheard of scoring percentage.  This week UNC focused on special teams, clears and rides, and is looking for a scrappy tough game against Navy. 

As predicted, Petracca and Bitter are the two top guns on UNC, each with 8 Goals and 5 assists (13points).  Sean Burke is ready to break out as he has yet to tally a goal this season (4 assists).  On the defensive side of the field, UNC has caused 23 turnovers, and keeper Zimmerman has posted a 5.44 GAA but more importantly a save percentage of 64.3%.

Navy wins with their defense.  In two games, they have only had 24 shots on goal against them, only had 6 penalties, and 11 goals against.  Navy is also outstanding on special teams.  Their EMO is over 83% (5-6), and their man-down is a perfect 100% (0-5). 
Navy’s offense is spread around as 3 players all have 4 goals a piece (Paul, Conners, Nechanicky).  Navy’s weakness is between the boxes.  They have only won 46% of their face-offs. 

The key to this game will be Navy’s special teams, and UNC’s shooting.  If  UNC can get off to a fast start, its all over.  Navy can’t compete in a shootout.  If UNC does not get that early jump start, or shoots poorly, Navy’s special teams could prove to be the upset factor.  I am going with UNC on this one by 4.

Navy UNC

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