The regular season is winding down in NCAA Division one men’s lacrosse with week 8 in the books. Teams are competing in conference play, records are in sight, the playoffs are on the horizon, and all is good in the world. The only problem is that not all the teams out there will make the playoffs. Division 1 NCAA men’s lacrosse games are earned, and no one is giving out any free games this year.
Loyola handles Lehigh 15-9
Pat Spencer had a dominating Senior day for the Greyhounds putting up 5 goals and 6 assists. This was not against some scrubs either, a top 20 Lehigh team who was on a 6 game win streak. After that game, the Tewaaraton front runner took the lead for points per game with 7.7. On another note, the nation’s leader in goals, Kevin Lindley, was held to just 1 goal.
The Hounds were also aided by two youngsters who both put up hat tricks. Aidan Olmstead and Chase Scanlan are shaping up to be great understudies of #7. Speaking ofPat Spencer, he looked like a man playing with boys in this game. He could do whatever he wanted, whenever he wanted. His 11 points were not just some
With that win, Loyola takes control of the Patriot League. They opened the game on a 9-0 run and it is hard to come back against one the top teams in the nation with that deficit. It was just not the Mountain Hawk’s day. They really could do nothing to contain Spencer. It took them almost a quarter and a half to put up their first goal but could not put up enough to mount a comeback. Senior Tristan Rai led the squad with 2 goals 1 assist. Both teams will continue on with league play.
Duke topples Notre Dame 14-8
A big top ten matchup gave the Blue Devils their first conference win came at the sake of the Irish. Duke bounced back after losing their previous two games; both of which were ACC games. Once they took the lead after a slow start, Duke really had control of the game. They had several players with great games coming from attack and midfield. The Blue Devils had three players register 5 points of the day. Joe Robertson, Brad Smith, and Nakeie Montgomery all went for a fiver. They really needed this win and for their offense to find themselves. Luckily for Duke, this was that win they were looking for.
Notre Dame did have some sloppy defense at times, but Duke played well enough to force those mistakes. Notre Dame only won the faceoff battle and could not find any advantages anywhere else. The Irish tried to change some things up giving goalkeeper John Zullo his first career
Virginia squeezes by North Carolina 11-10
Another big ACC game that gave the Cavaliers control of the conference in a close one. Virginia had to fight back multiple times throughout the game to secure a big win
It was honestly a shock the game was so close if you only look at the stats. Virginia killed them in ground balls, won the faceoff battle by 11, had fewer turnovers, and more saves. An interesting stat you normally wouldn’t see is North Carolina had 18
This ended as a gritty win for Virginia to stay undefeated in conference play. The Cavaliers’ stud, Michael Kraus, came up big and put up 5 goals and 1 assist. Dox Aitken started the scoring for the ‘Hoos along having the with the game-winner in the final minute for the squad as well. Virginia did, however, get dominated in man up opportunities going 0 for 5 and giving up 3 out of 5. This game will still help the Cavaliers with momentum to end the season as their 8th win in a row. Both teams have tough games next up on their schedules. Duke for Virginia and Syracuse for Carolina.
Villanova stuns Denver 12-11
The player of the game easily went to Villanova Freshman goalie, Will Vitton, who had 19 big saves throughout the day. This game was Denver’s first regular-season conference loss since joining the Big East six years ago. Denver scored very fast to start to the game and only had that lead for very little. They kept trying to fight back, but the Wildcats would keep pushing away. A sold-out home loss is never fun but all they could do is tip their caps to the keeper for standing on his head all game.
Denver even won on faceoffs, ground balls, and the turnover battle. The Pios were led by Ethan Walker, Austin French, and Jack Hannah all getting 3 points on the day. Villanova played great all over the ball and scored at the opportune moments to keep their lead when they wanted it. They did have some bad clears and all really need to thank their goalie for winning them that game. Sophomore Keegan Khan starred in the game on offense with 3 goals and 2 assists. The Wildcats could now sweep the conference already beating the other top teams. Denver has 3 remaining games to get it together to try and make a push into the tournament.
Penn State give it to Ohio State 13-8
It was a very physical Big 10 matchup but number one Nittany Lions rolls on. The first quarter was even as both teams went on tiny runs to make it all 3’s. Once the second quarter started, Penn State put in 3 straight and never looked back. They played great on both sides of the ball behind a great home crowd. Grant Ament had a huge day getting 2 goals and 6 assists for the boys in blue. Ament is now 2nd in points per game and 1st in assists a game. Helping him out for the Nittany Lions was Mac O’keefe and Cole Willard; both with some hat tricks. Penn State is very hot and playing great lacrosse together.
The game did sadly end with 3 straight unnecessary roughness calls; which you do not like to see in the sport. Ohio State drops their second straight loss after the excellent start to the year. They kept trying to fight back into the game but could not quite make it there. Losing your first two conference games is never good, so they hope to really pick it up in these last few games. Ohio State was led by their star attackman Tre Leclaire with 4 goals. Both teams continue their Big 10 play with road games next up.