College Lacrosse Conference Outlook
With college lacrosse season winding to the end, we overview the conference races as the league tournaments are upon us, as well as the review nation’s top-10 teams as we look forward to the quickly arriving NCAA Tournament.
This past weekend was full of upsets, as #1 Maryland and #2 Albany both went down, opening up the door for Yale to leap into the top spot. With their pounding of Albany, Yale looks to be hitting its stride at the right time heading into the Ivy League Tournament, and senior Ben Reeves looks like a man amongst boys on the field.
North Carolina looked to salvage its season as it took on Notre Dame, but their ACC tournament hopes slipped away after letting up six goals to the Irish. The Tar Heels came away with the win on Senior Day, but will have to sit and wait until the NCAA Tournament field is announced soon to see if their season will continue.
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Up in Connecticut, Vermont took on Virginia at New Canaan High School, and led by Mike D’amario (3,1) and hometown kid Michael Kraus (2,1), the Cavs moved to 10-4 on the year and won a close one, 10-9.
Another game to highlight came from the Carrier Dome, as Navy finished their comeback and beat Syracuse led by late game heroics coming from Joe Varello. Facing his younger brother, Danny at the face-off x all day must have been an interesting challenge for elder brother Joe. But after a tightly contested game all day, Joe Varello scored the game winning goal with 0.2 seconds left in the game, and on the ensuing face-off, the two brothers stood and embraced each other with a hug at midfield. The win was huge for Navy, as they increased their chances to win an at-large bid into the NCAA Tournament if they were to lose the in the Patriot League Tournament.
After the weekend, the Top 10 stands a bit changed in the Maverik Media Poll. The Top 5 was a bit mangled and one new member enters the Top 10.
1) Yale (11-2)
2) Duke (12-2)
3) Maryland (10-2)
4) Denver (10-2)
5) Albany (11-2)
6) Cornell (10-3)
7) Hopkins (9-3)
8) Loyola (10-3)
9) Rutgers (9-4)
10) Bucknell (11-4)
Plenty of conference tournaments begin play this weekend, and the others who don’t will be decided this weekend as well. As the season winds down to the end, here is the outlook for the major conferences and their remaining tournaments.
The ACC Tournament begins this afternoon, with two major matchups in Duke vs Notre Dame and Virginia vs Syracuse. Duke comes in as the favorite as Notre Dame and Syracuse dropped games last weekend, but Virginia comes in as the underdog, looking to prove the doubters wrong.
The Big 10 finishes their regular season schedule this weekend, highlighted by The Rivalry as Maryland travels to Homewood Field to take on Johns Hopkins. The winner will be the #1 seed in the B1G tournament. Rutgers, Penn State and Ohio State sit at 2-2 in the conference, and a win by either of those teams will solidify a spot in the conference tournament.
The Patriot League started their conference tournament last Wednesday, and it continues Saturday with the semifinals when Boston takes on Loyola and Navy plays Lehigh. Loyola comes in as the favorite, as Patrick Spencer may be a Tewaaraton Finalist for the second straight year, but I think Navy comes in with the biggest chip on their shoulder after a big win against an ACC team in Syracuse.
The Big East championship will come from Villanova University, May 3rd and 5th, and as of now, Denver looks to be the favorite for the weekend. Marquette, Georgetown and Villanova prove to be the underdogs, but Villanova and Georgetown have had good seasons so far and might possess the clutch gene to take down Denver and win a league title.
The Ivy League starts their conference tournament May 4th from Columbia University in New York City. Yale and Cornell look to be locks for the tournament thus far, while Penn, Princeton, Harvard and Brown have a chance to make the tournament and fight for an NCAA Tournament appearance. If Yale were to take on Cornell, in the final, look for that game to be an interesting one, as I believe Cornell has the chance with Jeff Teat to take down the Bulldogs.
Look for not one but a few upsets this weekend as the conference tournaments continue and teams begin to go all out in the hopes that their season doesn’t end. Loyola hosts Boston University this evening, Towson hosts Fairfield on Saturday, as well as Hopkins hosting Maryland.