Coming into the meat of the regular season, personnel decisions must be ironed out, leaders must emerge, and every game gains importance.
Early in the season, a fluke loss here or a poor performance there can be masked by quality wins later in the year. Now, there are no excuses, and those teams that want to be title contenders must perform week in and week out.
Wednesday night saw only three Division I matchups, but statements were certainly made. Let's look back at the action to get a clearer view as we more forward.
Game 1: Brown at Hartford
Hartford entered its home matchup with Brown at a less-than-stellar 0-3. Brown came in limping as well, 1-1 after a tough loss to an impressive UMass squad.
With Aidan Genik leading the way with five goals and two assists, Hartford won 20-6 over its Ivy League foe. Hartford goaltender Scott Bementmade 19 saves on his way to an 80-percent save percentage.
Brown struggled in net, posting a 30-percent save rate while splitting time between two goalies.
Moving forward, do not expect either team to be around on selection Sunday. With that said, Brown can play spoiler to some of the Ivy League heavyweights as it enters league play.
Game 2: Michigan @ No. 12 Loyola (Md.)
First, let me say how great it is to see Michigan playing big-time college lacrosse. The Wolverines' ability to step into Division I and immediately compete is great for both the school and the sport.
Wednesday night, Michigan made the trip to Baltimore to face a tough Loyola team. Mike Sawyer led the way with five goals and two assists for Loyola, which won 15-8 to improve to 4-0.
Still, Michigan performed reasonably well as it tries to find its niche in college lacrosse.
Neither team got stellar goalie play. Emi Weiss of Michigan stopped 43 percent of the shots he saw, while Jack Runkel of Loyola stopped 38 percent.
If Loyola wants to stay high in the rankings as it enters league play, it must get better play in goal. Loyola can beat teams like Michigan by outscoring them, but as it looks forward at a tough schedule, its goalie must perform well.
Game 3: Quinnipiac at No. 17 Fairfield
Fairfield's undefeated season continued Wednesday night as it held off Quinnipiac 9-6 at home.
Saving 70 percent of the shots he faced, Fairfield goalie Charlie Cipriano made 14 saves to pace the Stags. Fairfield got a goal and three assists from Drew Federico and a hat trick from John Snellman.
For Quinnipiac, goalie Dylan Torey made 17 saves, recording a save percentage of 65 percent. He was able to keep Quinnipiac close, but Fairfield's winning streak survived the scare.
Fairfield's schedule is quite easy as it moves on. Denver and Ohio State are the only tests left.
Fairfield is a legitimate threat to go undefeated, which could really stir up the seeding on selection Sunday.
Fairfield travels to Vermont this weekend for a Sunday afternoon game.