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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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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.

The Princess Bracket:

Every year I look to see who the NCAA has snubbed, who they have overrated, and who they have screwed. This year, as I was looking at the teams, I was reminded of the movie the Princess Bride.

I can picture the selection committee sitting around a stone table talking to each other:
“Virginia beat the most top 10 teams, but they lost to Duke twice, so we CLEARLY can not choose UVA”.
“Duke however has lost to two lowly teams, so we clearly can not choose Duke”.
“Cuse is rated #1 by the coaches, but lost to UVA and Princeton, so we clearly can not choose Cuse”.
Of course the reporters and pundits would have to interject with “Come on…you’re just stalling now aren’t you?”

To which the committee continues unfazed, “Notre Dame is undefeated, but only beat one top 10 team, so we clearly can not choose Notre Dame.”

Pressed for time, the committee tries to distract those trying to follow, “We pick……Oh look what’s that over there? (throws dart at names on a wall)……UVA!”

OK. So maybe the selection did not proceed exactly as I have explained, but it is plausible. No one team clearly dominated the field. Aside from Notre Dame and Navy being higher seeds, I don’t have a huge problem with this year’s field. Part of me thinks Cuse should be #1, but the top 4 could all be shuffled around depending on what team you like more. I can live with a #2 seed.

Overall, I think this is one of the less controversial tournaments as far as who got in, and even seeding. However, as is the case every year, too much emphasis is put on SOS. The calculations double dip the SOS, and as we all know double dipping is not an acceptable practice.

For those whiners out there:
Georgetown was not snubbed, as they couldn’t finish. Yes they have talent, but all that matters is the W.
Harvard was not snubbed. While they beat Duke, who else did they beat? No one.

Now…time for my whining:
My complaint with Notre Dame, is that while they did not have a strong SOS, they did beat 3 top 20 teams and were undefeated. This accomplishment is more deserving than a 7 seed. Especially since the only measuring stick is their win over UNC, and UNC is higher than them. Move ND up to 5 and UNC down to 7. If ND were in UNC’s spot, they might have a shot at making it to the Final Four. Personally I would love to see at least SOME variation in the final four. I don’t mind seeing 2 or 3 stalwarts every year, but seeing the same teams year in and year out does get a little tiresome.

Navy I think should be in Maryland’s spot. Navy has 4 wins over top 20s, and less losses than MD. Also Navy thoroughly beat MD by 6. MD has only 2 top 20 wins, more losses, including Navy. I think Navy’s seeding will screw them playing Duke in the 1st round. With their current spot, Navy COULD upset Duke, but would they have enough in the tank to then beat UNC again?

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Syracuse fans are hoping a #2 seed will help them get back to championship weekend in Boston.

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This weekend there are two games that should be exciting to watch.  UNC/MD and UVA/Hopkins.

Saturday March 21 2:00pm  UNC at Maryland

UNC is 7-2 with a win over #15 Navy, and losses to NotreDame and Duke
Maryland is 5-2 with a win over #8 Duke, and losses to Georgetown and UMBC.

UNC’s scoring leaders are Billy Bitter (17G,14A), Bart Wagner (20,8), and Gavin Petracca (14,12).
Goalie Grant Zimmerman has a solid save percentage of 57%.

In both losses, UNC faced hot goalies. Duke stopped 10 of 18 shots, and NotreDame stopped 16 of 23 shots).  Also in both losses, UNC totaled 0 goals and 11 shots in two games during the third quarter.  Over all 9 games, the 3rd quarter has been the worst statistically speaking for the Heels.  Coach Breschi better make sure no players are twittering during halftime.  Maybe replace their Gatorade bottles with Red Bull or something to get rid of their third quarter lulls.

The attack unit of Maryland has all three top spots on the scoring list.  Catalino has 16G, 14A, Yeatman 8G, 10A, and Ryan Young rounds it out with 12G, 5A. Both goalies have a save percentage above 53%.

The Maryland midfield needs to step it up.  In their first loss to Georgetown, while the whole team had turnover issues, the middies (and goalie) did the most damage.  A few of these TOs happened at key points giving the momentum (if not goal) to Georgetown.  In MDs second loss to UMBC, not 1 goal was scored by a midfielder.  4 great attackman can’t win every game themselves.

I think UNC’s defense and goalie have what it takes to hold the attack unit of MD to under 6 goals.  The deciding factors will be if MD’s midfielders show up, and if they can seize the momentum when UNC comes out flat in the 3rd quarter (they will).  I am going with UNC only by a couple.

Saturday March 21 8:00pm Virginia at Johns Hopkins

Virginia is 9-0 with wins over #2 Syracuse and #3Cornell.
Hopkins is 3-2 with wins over #7 UMBC and #6Hofstra, and losses to Princeton and Syracuse.

I have been accused of being a Hop Hater.  Not true.  After this game I believe they could run the table.  They are a good team.  Just not championship caliber this year…and they won’t win this one either. Haha.

FYI…Yes, I tend to hate on players or teams that the rest of the media hoists on a pedestal.  For example, when Mikey P was at Cuse I rooted against the Orange.  Last year I picked on Gvozden until he started playing better (even Hop fans have to admit he started last year SLOW).   I digress…back to the game at hand…

Hopkins scoring is led by Kyle Wharton (13G, 6A), Steve Boyle (11,5), and Mike Kimmel (9,6).  Hopkins has a lot of contributors on offense but no one really stands out as THE go to guy (nothing like the freak of nature Rabil…I admit I like his skills). Gvozden’s save percentage is at 52% and looked better against Syracuse last week than he did against Hofstra.  Hopefully he is shaking off his slow start again and heating up for the rest of the season.

Matt Dolente was a bright spot at the Face Off X going 15 of 24.  Most of these wins came later in the game as Syracuse dominated everything in the first half.  Hopkins got off to a very slow start not even shooting 10 shots on goal in the first half.  They will need to come out firing or they will be buried by a similar offensive machine in UVA.

UVA scoring is led by Garrett Billings (22,10), Steele Stanwick (18,11), and Danny Gladding (12,15).
UVA has the complete team at every position.  Their offense always gets praised, but their defense is making a name for themselves this year.

Adam Ghitelman is always solid in net (60% save%), and leads a unit that held Towson to 2 goals…both of which came when UVA was man-down.  Even strength, they held a shutout.  Clausen, Kelly, Nizolek, and LSM Timms can all strip the ball away from the most gifted players.

I have to go with UVA by about 4 in this one.  Their defense is on a hot streak, and their offense just keeps on rolling.  Hop will get a moral victory.  I think the whole team will play better, and can win outright…after they lose to UVA.

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Saturday March 14, 1:00pm St. John’s at Loyola

St. John’s is 4-0 with a win over #11 Georgetown.
Loyola is 4-2 with no ranked wins and losses to Notre Dame and Duke.

I have to be honest. I have not seen either of these teams in action yet for myself, however this game intrigues me.
Upstart St. John’s wants to prove that their win over Georgetown was no fluke. They also beat Drexel, while unranked is yearly a decent team.

Loyola on the other hand will play up or down to their opponents. Loyola only lost to Notre Dame by 1, and by 2 to Duke. However they only beat lowly Sienna by 2.

St. John’s is winning the FO battle with 63%, and I can safely say that their shot on goal differential is due to this control of play.  They have out shot opponents an average of 43 shots vs 26 shots per game. When an opponent is only getting a limited number of shots, it is easy to win games when your keeper (Gavin Buckley) is saving 61% of the shots he does face. Loyola is winning about half their face offs, and is averaging about 35 shots per game.

I think St. John’s has a chance in this one. They need to play their style of game, and not be intimidated by Loyola. I am going with them for my upset pick of the week. Either way it should be an entertaining game to watch.

Saturday March 14, 1:00pm UMBC at Maryland

UMBC is 3-2 with no ranked wins, and losses to Hopkins and Princeton.
Maryland is 4-1 with a win over #10 Duke, and a loss to Georgetown.

UMBC’s offense took a backseat in their loss last week to Princeton, but they are still a potent scoring team. The Retrievers are led by Peet Poillon (8 Goals,13 Assists), Kyle Wimer (12,5), Alex Hopmann (13,1), and Rob Grimm (3,7).

Aside from their scoring ability, goalkeeper Jeremy Blevins is playing very solid in net. He has a 9.17 GAA and a save percentage of 56%. Blevins was a big part in keeping UMBC in the game as he made 11 saves against Princeton and only let in 6 goals.

UMBC’s weaknesses are face offs and hustle. No one has won even 40% of their face offs on the team, and as a whole unit, they are only at 33% (and that’s rounding up).  On ground balls, they are averaging 8 less per game than their opponents. Without possession (FO) and control (GBs) the Retrievers make their games that much harder on themselves.  Their defense has to play longer, and harder, and each shot becomes that more crucial on offense.

Maryland last week surprisingly played Towson close…a little too close.  I have said earlier this is one of the best attack units, and they proved it by scoring all of the goals in the Towson win. Not 1 goal was recorded by a midfielder.  They need to get their act together when they face UMBC this week.

Maryland’s top scorers are Grant Catalino (11,10), Will Yeatman (6,8), Ryan Young (9,4), and Dan Groot (5,6).

In goal for this game should be Brian Phipps, as each goalie shares the starts. Phipps has been slightly better statistically speaking with a 7.38 GAA and a save percentage of 61%.

Maryland’s FO unit couldn’t be more different than UMBC’s. No one has won less than 45% of their FOs taken, and as a unit combine for a win percentage of 62%. On GBs, Maryland is averaging 8 more per game than their opponents.

These are the keys to the game.  Maryland needs to continue their FO/GB dominance and control the time of possession.   Their middies need to step up the offensive contributions to give them some breathing room.  For UMBC, they need to take MD’s midfield out of the equation.   Make Maryland beat them with just their attack. If they can do this and start winning FOs (even 50%), they have a chance.

Maryland will win in a surprisingly close one.

Saturday March 14, 2:00pm Hopkins at Syracuse

Syracuse is 3-1 with a win over #11 Georgetown, and a loss to Virginia.
Hopkins is 3-1 with wins over #9UMBC and #12Hofstra, and a loss to Princeton.

Kyle Wharton was a one man show against Hofstra tallying 5 goals and padding his stats. Wharton now leads Hopkins in scoring (11,3), then comes Mike Kimmel (8,6), Steve Boyle (9,4), and Brian Christopher (4,4).

Hopkins needs someone to step up to an injury riddled FO spot. If you take out Mike Powers’ 68% FO wins, the rest of the team is sub-50%. The other weakness is still Mike Gvozden.  Heading into the Hofstra game his save% was below 50%.  Hofstra made him look good by shooting at his body. Every game I watch him, I keep thinking, “Is this the turn around game where he wakes up and turns it on the rest of the year?”

Syracuse has 9 players with 3 or more goals, and is led on offense by Kenny Nims (10,9), Steve Keogh (13,4), and Dan Hardy(6,5).

An area they are suffering this year compared to last is at face offs. Syracuse’s FO unit is winning 46% of the time.

Two shining underrated stars have been John Galloway who has stood on his head in goal saving 62% of the shots he faced, and Joel White. White needs his own stat of intercepted passes. He has an uncanny ability to time and snatch the opponents passes and create turnovers without taking his opponents arm off with a check.

I think the injury to Powers is a huge benefit to Syracuse. I would have to think FOs will be about even in this game now.  The other thing to watch in this game is EMO.  Syracuse EMO unit is scoring 64% of their chances. Syracuse did struggle against UVA only converting 1 out of 4 chances.  With Hopkins getting an average of 6 penalties per game, Syracuse needs to be able to convert near their season average.

I’m going to be a homer and pick Cuse by 4.

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This week there is a double header at M&T Stadium that is billed as a great day of lacrosse. However, Maryland vs. Duke, and Princeton vs. Hopkins just is not as exciting as it once was. A Maryland vs. Hopkins game would have been better.

Maryland plays Duke at 2:30 at M&T Stadium.

Maryland is 2-1. No wins over ranked teams, and 1 loss to #5 Georgetown.

Maryland’s scoring against Georgetown was a big surprise. Their attack which I think so highly of, did not produce (3goals). It was their midfield that showed up. Not only did their midfield unit score most of the goals, they also won 17 of 26 face offs. Maryland is still a team to be reckoned with.

Duke is 2-1. They beat #17 Colgate by just 1 goal, and lost to #14 Harvard. Duke is not waiting until the post season to choke. The Blue Devils just can’t seem to find a rhythm either on offense or defense. The once feared Duke scoring machine only got off 29 shots against Harvard. Their EMO is 2 for 7 on the whole year. Duke is relying too heavily on their midfield lines as their top three scorers are Ned Crotty (4G, 8A), Brad Ross (6G, 2A), and Steve Schoeffel (5G, 0A). Max Quinzani (4G, 1A) has not been able to do much without Greer or Danowski by his side.

On the other side of the field, goalie Rob Schroeder is letting in more than 50% of the shots he faces (24 Goals Against, 22 Saves).

Duke is also below 50% on face-offs.

The Blue Devils should fear the turtle. Maryland should be able to get their midfield and attack firing on Schroeder. Couple that with winning most of the face-offs, Duke will lose and fall into lacrosse mediocrity…Just like Hofstra used to be.

Princeton faces Johns Hopkins at 6:00pm at M&T Stadium.

This game should be better than the beating Duke will take.

Hopkins is 1-0 after a thorough thrashing of Siena last week. While this was expected, there were two key stats in the game that should be examined before this game. The 1st is that Hopkins EMO unit was blanked (0 for 3). The 2nd is that Hopkins was thoroughly beat on face-offs (7 of 18). The Jays need to shore these parts of their game up before facing Princeton. The main highlight was the play of Mike Gvozden and the defense. Yes, I was a hater in the first half of last year, as Gvozden looked like a black hole, but then he turned his season around and was saving everything that was thrown at him. It was nice to see the defense only let Siena take 26 shots on cage, and Gvozden start off with a 73% save percentage (3GA, 23SV).

Hopkins has enough depth that if Princeton can shut down leader Steve Boyle (4G, 2A), Kyle Wharton (3G, 0A), Brian Christopher (1G, 2A), or Mike Kimmel (1G, 1A) can step it up.

Princeton is 1-0 after beating Canisius 14-6.

Interesting to point out, at the half, Princeton was actually losing by 1 to Canisius. That changed in the 3rd quarter, as the Tigers unleashed a barrage of shots and netted 8 goals. Jack McBride led the way (4G, 1A), followed by Tommy Davis (3G, 0A), Chris McBride (2G, 0A), and Rob Engelke (2G, 0A). Key stats for this game were that of the 14 Princeton goals, only 5 were assisted. The Tigers had 6 chances on EMO and converted on half of them. Princeton only allowed 22 shots on goal.

While Princeton’s style of play should guarantee Hopkins doesn’t run away with it, Hopkins defense should smother the Tigers’ attack. This should be a low scoring game with Hopkins winning it on their defense/goalie and midfield scoring.

Syracuse vs. Virginia - Photo by Getty Images North America

Photo by Getty Images North America

The game of the week, if not year is UVA at Syracuse on Friday at 7pm.

This should be a great rematch of last year’s quarterfinal game. Both teams have similar styles of hard defense, and lots of firepower.

Syracuse is 2-0 with no wins against ranked teams.

Their offense is averaging 53 shots per game and 19.5 goals per game. Their main threats are Kenny Nims (6G, 8A), Steve Keogh (8G, 3A), Dan hardy (3G, 3A), Chris Daniello (5G, 0A), and Tim Desko (3G, 2A). Between Nims and Keogh they have picked up any slack left by Leveille’s graduation. The third attack spot has seen Daniello, Desko, and Niewieroski round out the 1-2 punch. The Midfield is led by Hardy, and transfer Kahoe, however Abbott needs to contribute more.

Their defense keeping opponents to 18 shots per game, 4.5 goals per game. Even though they lost Evan Brady and Kyle Guadagnolo, Sid “Vicious” Smith is back, bringing back the physical style of play. He is joined by Matt Tierney and John Lade at close D. In net for Syracuse is John Galloway who has started this season off with a 56% save percentage.

Where Syracuse really excels is their special teams. Their EMO is 8 of 9 (89%), and their man-down unit is a perfect 100% (0-10).

UVA is 4-0 with no wins over ranked teams. Their offense is averaging 53.5 shots per game and 13.25 goals per game. The top guns for UVA are Garrett Billings (14G, 8A), Steele Stanwick (7G, 6A), Brian Carroll (10G, 1A), and Danny Glading (2G, 8A).

Their defense is allowing 5.75 goals per game and 23.5 shots per game. Close D is led by Ken Clausen who plays a fun style of D to watch. His flashiness is complemented by the physical play of Matt Kelly. In between the pipes is Sophomore Adam Ghitelman, a solid goalie who has put up a 62% save percentage this season.

UVA’s special teams is a possible weakness. Their EMO is only 25% (3 for 12), and their man-down unit is 58% (5-12).

I think both attack units will witn the battles against their opponents’ defenses. Glading, and Bilings proved it in last year’s game, and their attack unit only got better with the addition of Steele Stanwick. For Syracuse, while Leveille put on a one-man show against Virginia’s D, I think both Nims and Keogh have stepped it up, and now Syracuse actually has more threats on attack than UVA can cover.

At midfield Syracuse’s defensive middies should be able to hold Carroll from having a huge game, although no one can stop him completely. The question will be can UVA stop Hardy. I think Hardy is one possible deciding factor. The other as stated before will be special teams. If UVA racks up penalties (averaging 3 per game), Syracuse can, and will take advantage. In a close 1 or at the max 2 goal game, Syracuse edges out UVA.

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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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