The play-in games and first round of the NCAA men’s division one lacrosse tournament are over and done with. We have moved on to the Quarterfinals and are looking forward to the last bit of lacrosse for the year. This season really flew by, but there’s still a champion to be crowned. Eight NCAA men’s division one lacrosse teams remain, and only one will be left standing at the end.
NCAA Lacrosse Tournament Quarterfinal- May 18, 2019
The 18th features some very fierce competition with both the #3 and #2 teams playing on that day. You shouldn’t be disappointed with either day of lacrosse this weekend, but the 18th should be the grittier day. This day also has an ACC showdown between Duke and Notre Dame to look forward to. The NCAA tournament isn’t the best place to make friends but it’s a great place to reconnect with your enemies.
Duke (#2) vs. Notre Dame (#7)
Previous Matchups: Duke (12) – Richmond (11) / Notre Dame (16) Johns Hopkins (9)
Here, we have an ACC match up that could really go down in history. Notre Dame had a big win over Hopkins in the first round, while Duke just avoided elimination at the hands of Richmond. This contest could obviously go either way, but Duke is still considered the favorite at the moment. But keep in mind, Notre Dame bested Duke in the ACC semis 12-10 just three weeks ago.
Duke’s higher seed has gotten them the attention and praise, but Notre Dame is hiding an ace up their sleeve. Ryder Garnsey returned to play against Hopkins this past week and netted a hat trick. He was only part of the winning effort, but his presence demands attention on the field. Notre Dame’s regular notables, Bryan Costabile and Morrison Mirer, also put up big numbers in the domination of the Blue Jays. Unfortunately, for Notre Dame, Duke will likely put up a better fight. Hopkins fell behind 7-1 early against Notre Dame, and Duke should be trying to keep the Irish momentum at an all time low when possible.
The Blue Devils didn’t quite have the explosive victory that Notre Dame had, but their contest against Richmond was far more entertaining. This match was a game of runs, and the Spiders were relentless in their pursuit of a 2nd round appearance. Duke players, on the other hand, expressed that they weren’t satisfied with their level of play but were happy to advance to another shot at the title. Their last championship was in 2014 to give Duke back-to-back wins. However, after the Richmond game, it’s unclear if they will survive the 2nd round for a chance to play for the title
Duke vs. Notre Dame Preview
Saturday, May 18, 2019. 2:30 PM. ESPNU.
With their two previous games this season considered, Duke 14-8 and Notre Dame 12-10, it’s difficult to pick a favorite. Duke’s season has been a bit of a roller coaster that ended up with a #2 spot in the tournament because of some well-timed wins. That being said, they just as easily could have been the #5 or #6 spot. Notre Dame, however, sits exactly where the team should and is showing potential for an upset.
The return of Ryder Garnsey after being suspended for academics is a huge wildcard that many didn’t expect. His name has really flown under the radar this year, but Notre Dame has done just fine without him. Now that he is back with the team, does Notre Dame improve enough on paper to jump over Duke? This is an uncharacteristically offensive-minded Irish team, and Duke may just not be ready to face all that firepower. If Notre Dame can get going early, the don’t expect Duke to be able to contain them for the entire game.
Virginia (#3) vs. Maryland
Previous Matchups: Virginia (19) – Robert Morris (10) / Maryland (14) – Towson (13)
Virginia didn’t exactly cruise into the 2nd round, but their path was much easier than Maryland’s. After a 14-13 OT victory, Maryland is moving on to face Virginia on the 18th. Maryland scored the tying goal with just 3 seconds left in regulation and then punched their ticket at the hands of Louis Dubick. Towson was sent home packing, while Maryland lives to fight another day.
The Terps make it into the 2nd round after previously losing back-to-back games against Johns Hopkins but then righting the ship against Towson. Ironically, the Blue Jays couldn’t get it done in the first round and are the half of that rivalry sitting at home when it really matters. Now they plan to face the Virginia Cavaliers, who have been on a mission to make some noise in the postseason.
Virginia is sitting pretty after their initial win over Robert Morris, but this is crunch time for the ‘Hoos. While these two teams haven’t met yet this year, Virginia has been knocking off most of their competition. They just know how to win when they need to. Their only losses come at the hands of Loyola Maryland, HPU, and Duke. But Virginia may have that X factor of being able to win exactly when they need to. We’ll just have to wait and see what they bring to the table Saturday.
Virginia vs. Maryland Preview
Saturday May 18, 2019. Noon. ESPNU.
Per usual, Maryland had a whole cast of players put up points against Towson in their first round victory. This makes the Terps a difficult team to defend because they can break you down as individuals and as a system. Virginia has a solid core defense, but their ability to defend for a full game will be put to the test against Maryland. One quarter of slipping up can be the difference between survival and the end of the season.
Virginia’s little hot streak of momentum should, however, given them a crutch to lean on during this game. They have won five straight games including the ACC tournament championship. This should give them a little juice to start off the game with, and Maryland has never been a great team at repetitively scoring in quick succession. The Terps like to take their time, and if Virginia can try to jump ahead early with that momentum, then Maryland may be in an uphill battle they can’t escape from. They showed they could battle back against Towson, but Virginia is a stout defense that locks down when they need it most.
Don’t expect this game to be a goal-fest. Instead, watch for some very fundamental defense and decisive goalkeeping. Virginia has been flopping between two different keepers for part of the season, so they at least have an option to change if Maryland starts getting too far ahead.
NCAA Lacrosse Tournament Quarterfinal Mary 19, 2019
Sunday’s lacrosse games are going to be star-powered performances that you won’t want to miss. Pat Spencer could be playing his last lacrosse game for a while, Yale’s Rat Pack of studs will surely drop some points, and Grant Ament & Matt O’Keefe clearly will have a few as well. There will be no drought of goals on Sunday; that’s for sure. So buckle up for a wild weekend of college lacrosse before we end it all at the end of May!
Penn State (#1) vs. Loyola Maryland (#8)
Previous Matchups: Penn State (25) – UMBC (10) / Loyola Maryland (15) – Syracuse (13)
This is a matchup that has been on people’s minds all year long. Any good lacrosse fan wants to see this game take place and is ecstatic that it is a reality. There will be no shortage of offense on either side of this ball game. Just don’t take too many bathroom breaks or you’ll end up missing some of the best highlights for the year.
The headline of this game is offense, but defense may rule the outcome. Both teams allow just about 10 goals per game; however, Loyola is in the top three for man down defense and saves. Taking a few of the opportunities away from the opposing team’s offense will be the difference in this game. That and time of possession. Loyola won the majority of the draws against Cuse in their first round victory, and that was really the biggest separator. The Loyola and Syracuse game in the first round was a thrilling contest that had many left scratching their heads at the outcome. Syracuse seemed to have Loyola on their heels, but a 2nd half comeback got the Hounds into the 2nd round.
Penn State really throttled UMBC to no one’s surprise. This one really was a bloodbath that could have been much worse. The biggest takeaways from this match were that Penn State is still awesome and they didn’t have to exert much energy to get into this game. The full week of rest pretty much negates that benefit for Penn State, but Loyola may still be feeling some bumps and bruises from playing Syracuse.
Penn State vs. Loyola Maryland Preview
Sunday May 19, 2019. Noon. ESPNU.
Penn State only has one blemish on their season, a one-goal loss to Yale, and they aren’t trying to slow down at all. They have the most momentum in NCAA lacrosse right now, but Loyola could literally be the underdogs of the tournament. Loyola was knocked off from the number one spot and now they have the chance to do that to Penn State. Normally, first to ten is the rule for who will win the game; however, this one could be first to 20.
Pat Spencer may be trying to play basketball but he isn’t trying to give up lacrosse just yet. He missed out on the Hounds’ run at the title in 2012 and would like to bring a second to Loyola. Spencer is supported by Kevin Lindley and Chase Scanlan on offense, but Goalie Jacob Stover could really be the star. If Stover can keep the Penn State offense at bay, then Loyola has a much better chance of winning.
Penn State will be throwing everything and the kitchen sink at Loyola this weekend as they try to keep the #1 spot for one more week. Grant Ament is the assisting sensation that everyone is talking about and he will be hoping to dish out as many as possible against Loyola. The Hounds may have a strong defense, but Mac O’Keefe, Dylan Foulds, and Jack Kelly are also huge problems. There are just too many weapons on this Penn State offense, and it’s a tall order to keep them from scoring a lot. They have never gotten below 13 goals in a game this season. Look for there to be plenty of scores in this one.
Penn (#4) vs. Yale (#5)
Previous Matchups: Penn (13) – Army (8) / Yale (19) – Georgetown (16)
We’ve got a third meeting of Yale and Penn this year, and no one knows what is going to happen. Some people might say that Penn has Yale’s number, but both games have only been one-goal wins. It’s also incredibly difficult to beat a team as good as Yale three times in a row.
Penn got into the tournament by beating Yale, for the second time this season, in the Ivy League Tournament final by 1 goal. They capped off an impressive regular season with that automatic qualifier win and now are seeking a three-peat. Their first round victory over Army showed that Penn is a very athletic team but they don’t have any surprises they’ll be able to pull out against Yale. It’s pretty much a test of who can outplay the other on Sunday without too much trickery. A solid game plan will go a long way in this one, and Penn may just have the recipe for success against Yale.
The Bulldogs are fresh off of their first-round win against Georgetown and trying to make a statement. The statement is “we can beat Penn,” but not everyone is convinced. Yale may have won a title last year but they have a few losses on their schedule that don’t make them the best candidate at the moment. It’s difficult to bet against a team that added T.D. Ierlan after winning a National Championship, but Penn does stand in their way. Had they really given Georgetown the business, this would be a different narrative. Unfortunately for Yale, they had to battle pretty hard to make it out of the first round, and another tough challenge awaits them.
Penn vs. Yale Preview
Saturday May 19, 2019. 2:30 PM. ESPNU.
Yale will be coming out with more emotion than imaginable in this game. Penn will have to survive an early Yale punch to stay competitive because they know it’s coming. The opening faceoff will just blow the doors off the place, and both teams are going to battle it out like warriors. There is just too much anticipation and history between these two teams for the first quarter to not be electric. A wise move for Penn would be to try to control the ball right off the bat for a few minutes to really kill the Yale hype. If they can stall for the first 90 seconds and then earn another 90 or score, then Yale will be deflated.
Penn could put Yale down early, but Yale could also best Penn if they get ahead with enough of a lead. Yale has had to claw their way back into the match both times they have played Penn, but Penn hasn’t had to do the same. It’s easier said then done to get ahead of Penn, and also quite difficult when TD doesn’t perform to his normal standard. Ierlan has’t had stellar games either time that Yale has lost to Penn. If he doesn’t show up and show out, then Yale will likely fall to the Quakers.
Possession will dominate this game, and Yale may really try to slow it down if they can get a lead. Penn likes to go up first and has rarely pulled back from behind, so Yale’s best chance is an early lead off of Td Ierlan victories at the X. For Penn, the game plan is simple: keep doing what we’re doing. Penn has put Yale down twice, and they only need to win by one; again.