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The NCAA division one men’s lacrosse season is approaching playoff time. The season is flying by, and we are only a month away from the National Championship. Teams are looking to make their cases for at-large bids or secure an automatic qualifier through their conference. This is an exciting time in men’s college lacrosse as we look at the most recent games and what lies ahead.
Cornell Squeaks by Princeton 14-13
The Big Red secured a big conference league win it the last 5 seconds of this rivalry game. This was a great game that Cornell needed to win to go to the Ivy League tournament. The whole game was big runs for both teams going at each other back and forth. Cornell started off hot and looked to take command of the game but the Tigers attacked and scored quickly to tie the game going into halftime.
Princeton star Michael Sowers could not be stopped on the day putting in 7 goals and 1 assist. Although this was a disappointing season for the Tigers, that game cemented Sowers into Princeton history. Making him the all-time leading scorer as a Junior. They fought hard but had a few errors that tilted the game. They lost the ground ball battle by a lot, faceoffs, shots, and extra man opportunities did not go their way.
With that in mind, Cornell should have had a little bigger lead but they got the result they needed. A stellar game for Clarke Petterson with 7 points and John Piatelli with 6. Jeff Teat was held to only a goal and 2 assists but got the biggest assist of the game to win it. Faceoff man Paul Rasimowicz had a big day winning 19 out of 29 and 14 ground balls but had a big fault having a faceoff violation on the last one of the game that could have sent the game into OT. The Big Red will now head to the tournament as the #3 seed to face Yale, who earlier in the season beat Cornell by 5.
The rest of the Ivy League tournament is Brown facing Penn. All of these games will be played at Columbia with the championship on Sunday at Noon on ESPNU.
Virginia Holds off North Carolina 14-13
The Cavaliers advance to the ACC championship to face Notre Dame after a tough fought win. This was a game of major runs and momentum swings. Virginia had to find themselves to come back from a big deficit after finding a very quick lead early in the game. They had a really long scoring drought and gave up 7 straight to give up their lead. This game could not have been more even statistically. The teams had the same amount of ground balls, clears, and saves. Along with that, every other category faceoffs, turnovers, shots on goal, and penalties were only 1 different to one team or the other. There were 11 extra-man opportunities which are kinda a lot especially late in the season when you should be tuned in.
The Tar Heels did what they could at the end to try and force overtime but they could not connect. They were led by Justin Anderson with 2 goals and 2 assists while three others tailed up 3 points. That loss ends North Carolina’s season. At least they can be happy they beat their rival Duke this year.
Virginia had several players who came to play and they never quit. Helping lead the comeback was Matt Moore who had 1 goal and 6 assists on the day. Aiding him was Ian Laviano with 4 goals, including the game-winner, along with Michael Kraus and Ryan Conrad both with 3 points. Not a great game for the goaltenders of Virginia though as they made a switch at halftime and the change did no better. Either way, they got the result they wished for and are heading back to Virginia to play a home championship game against Notre Dame.
Penn State Beats Rutgers 14-13
Another close very exciting conference matchup went down between the Knights and Lions. It was quite the battle for the number one team in the nation to end their regular season. Back and forth action all day with 8 lead changes. Statistically, it also was a real even game; besides Penn State winning faceoffs 18 to 11.
The game started with some big runs by both teams, and neither could push a lead out. The Nittany Lions star players played real big games, and this led to their victory. The nation’s leader in assists, Grant Ament, had 7 on the day, and top 3 in goals in the country, Mac O’Keefe, had 5 goals 2 assists. Jack Kelly also had 3 crucial goals for the hat trick, including the game winner with 40 seconds left.
Rutger fought really hard but could not pull off the upset. The Scarlet Knights had two chances at the end of the game that could have sent it into overtime, but neither could not connect. They were led by their young guns Tommy Coyne 6 goals, Adam Charalambides 2 goals and 4 assists, and Ryan Gallagher 1 goal and 4 assists. Luckily for them though they will get a rematch real soon as the Big Ten conference tournament will start. Rutgers is the host team and gets #1 seed Penn State.
Notre Dame Silences Duke 12-10
The Irish advance to the conference finals after a big win over the Blue Devils. Notre Dame got beat by 6 in the regular season by them and now got their revenge. The Irish won behind Matt Schmidt’s 18 saves in net and faceoff man Charles Leonard winning 17 of 26 while snagging 7 ground balls and a goal. They took an early three nothing lead and never looked back. Bryan Costabile also buried 5 goals to help secure the win. Wheaton Jackoboice and Connor Morin both tallied 2 goals and 1 assist on the day as well.
The Blue Devils had a slow disappointing day. The only two who could do anything were CJ Carpenter with 4 goals, and Brad Smith had 1 goal and 3 assists. They could not find any rhythm at all and were chasing the lead the whole game. Coach Danowski was very disappointed with his team’s performance and took the blame for not having them ready. They will still make the NCAA tournament, and we will see what kind of run they can have this year. in the postseason Notre Dame will try to win their second straight ACC title but go to #1 seed Virginia.
Johns Hopkins Stuns Maryland 16-11
The Blue Jays keep their NCAA tournament shot alive with a big win at #2 Maryland. The rivalry started off with Maryland dealing out 2 runs and taking an early lead. From there on, Hopkins was on a mission. They really dominated the game in all aspects of the game after the initial deficit.
Hopkins doubled the shots Maryland took, won the faceoff battle, ground ball battle, and had 0 penalties on the day. Their Freshman star Joey Epstein had a big day putting up 4 goals and 2 assists to secure the victory. Helping him out was Cole Williams and Forry Smith both with 4 points. The Blue Jays offense looked impressive versus a solid defense. Their goalie only had to make 2 saves on the day to help get a W. It has not been the season they were looking for but maybe they might have found some end of the season magic.
Maryland was disappointing after their solid start to the game and couldn’t regain their composure. Bubba Fairman put up a solid fight putting in 5 goals to no avail. I definitely do not expect the same outcome for their rematch in the first round of the Big Ten conference tournament. The Big 10 Championship will be played on Saturday at 7 PM.