NCAA Division I Lacrosse: What We Learned This Weekend
Now that the polls are out, we can evaluate the contenders and separate them from those who will be missing in the NCAA tournament brackets.
Each week, a new team makes a splash, and we learn more about the landscape of college lacrosse.
Here are some quick takeaways and lessons that came to our attention this past weekend.
1. Harvard is Capable of the Upset
Although coming up on the losing end, Harvard played tough against both Duke and Cornell. The Crimson have proven they can score against very good defenses and seem destined to have an upset win coming before the season ends. With Princeton, Penn and Yale still on their schedule, the Crimson have an opportunity to play spoiler in an always-tough Ivy League race.
2. Penn State is on a Roll
With big wins over Bucknell, Villanova and Drexel in their last three games, the Nittany Lions are playing their best lacrosse when it matters. Head coach Jeff Tambroni has his squad positioned for a possible playoff berth but must take care of Hofstra, Towson and Delaware to ensure they have a chance to make a run in the tournament.
3. Princeton Once Again Misses Big Opportunity
The Tigers have been involved in four one-goal decisions this year. Unfortunately for Princeton, the team has only come out on the winning side in one of those matches, taking down Yale in a thriller. The Tigers are without a Top-10 win, but their losses have been heart-breakers. Syracuse outlasted the Tigers in New Jersey Saturday evening, meaning the Tigers are still looking for a signature victory. With Harvard and Cornell still upcoming, Princeton is now in must-win mode down the stretch.
4. Carolina is Loaded for a Tournament Run
Having already beaten Maryland in ACC play, UNC is winning its games and showing its talent to the nation. Going into the season, the Tar Heels were fantastic on paper, but it took a few speed bumps to get the Heels playing to their potential. Having beaten Hopkins and Virginia in its last two games, North Carolina is preparing itself for the ACC tournament, which gives it an opportunity to perhaps leap into one of the top seeds.
5. Loyola is Cruising Under the Radar
With a schedule that is not exactly the toughest we have ever seen, the defending champs are nevertheless taking care of business. Loyola is quietly having a 9-2 season and should be positioned favorably in the tournament brackets. The Greyhounds must beware as they face talented competition for the first time in a while. Although an impressive record bodes well, I really think they are susceptible to an upset in the first round.
6. St. John's Dropped the Ball, Literally
Coming off a huge win over No. 1 Notre Dame a week ago, St. John's had an opportunity to take hold of the Big East conference this weekend when it faced Georgetown. Unfortunately, the Johnnies proved they could not handle the spotlight, and they fell 14-13 at home. St. John's must now rally for a tournament berth, and attacker Kieran McArdle must have some late-season heroics to stay in the Tewaaraton Trophy talks.
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