The biggest time of the year for college lacrosse is here once again, as this Saturday and Sunday saw the first round of the 2015 NCAA lacrosse tournament wrap up and send eight teams to the high-profile quarterfinals.
|2015 NCAA Lacrosse Tournament Round 1 Results|
|No. 1 Notre Dame||12-10||Towson|
|No. 2 Syracuse||20-8||Marist|
|No. 3 North Carolina||19-12||Colgate|
|No. 4 Denver||15-9||Brown|
|Ohio State||16-11||No. 5 Duke|
|No. 6 Maryland||8-7||Yale|
|Johns Hopkins||19-7||No. 7 Virginia|
|Albany||19-10||No. 8 Cornell|
Last year's runner-up and this year's No. 1 seed Notre Dame is still in the mix, but the same can't be said for 2014 champion Duke. The powerhouse No. 5 Blue Devils fell to upstart Ohio State 16-11 in the first round.
There's plenty more action to come, with the quarterfinals split between Denver and Annapolis, Maryland, before the remaining teams pack up and head to Philadelphia for the semifinals and championship games.
Here's a look at the quarterfinal matchups, remaining tournament schedule and the first-round results.
|Remaining Tournament Schedule, Quarterfinals Matchups|
|No. 1 Notre Dame vs. Albany||May 16||Mile High Stadium, Denver||3 or 5 p.m.|
|No. 4 Denver vs. Ohio State||May 16||Mile High Stadium, Denver||3 or 5 p.m.|
|No. 2 Syracuse vs. Johns Hopkins||May 17||Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium, Annapolis||12 or 2:30 p.m.|
|No. 3 North Carolina vs. No. 6 Maryland||May 17||Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium, Annapolis||12 or 2:30 p.m.|
|TBD||May 23||Philadelphia||1 p.m.|
|TBD||May 23||Philadelphia||3:30 p.m.|
|TBD||May 25||Philadelphia||1 p.m.|
Note: A complete, interactive bracket can be found at NCAA.com. Full schedule can be found here.
All in all, five teams from last year's quarterfinals are in the final eight this year: Albany, Denver, Johns Hopkins, Maryland and Notre Dame.
The most intriguing matchup of the quarterfinals may be Notre Dame-Albany. The Fighting Irish needed overtime to defeat the Great Danes 14-13 at this stage last year. Albany is unseeded once again, but they put a thrashing on Cornell in the first round.
"I'm really proud of our effort,"coach Scott Marr said, per Mark Singelais of the Times Union. "We stayed composed early on the road and then turned it around and played well."
Lyle Thompson scored a game-high nine goals, while goalie Blaze Riorden held down the fort with 19 saves and a surprise goal of his own. Bleacher Report has a look at Riorden's daring run:
Albany is the highest scoring team in the nation at 17.4 goals per game heading into the weekend, per the Associated Press, via FoxSports.com, and Thompson is the career scoring leader in Division I history. If Notre Dame's defense isn't right, they could be a major upset victim.
Johns Hopkins is also a major threat as one of the hottest teams coming into the tourney. Mike Preston of the Baltimore Sun has more on how they bamboozled Virginia in their 12-goal win on Sunday:
The Blue Jays scored goals using the hidden ball trick. There were magic acts performed by the Stanwick boys, Wells and younger brother, Shack. Hopkins ran high pick plays to perfection and whenever the Blue Jays wanted, their midfielders would blow by Virginia short-stick midfielders from behind cage for easy goals or assists.
Ohio State, by virtue of beating Duke, will draw plenty of attention, but it faces an extremely tough task in defeating University of Denver in its namesake city.
In a bad weekend for Ivy League schools, Yale might feel the most hard done by. The Bulldogs lost to Maryland 8-7, even though junior midfielder Michael Keasey appeared to have tied up the game in the dying seconds, only for the officials to not rule his on-target shot a goal.
“It looked like the ball hit the crossbar, bounced into the goal and then kicked out with some backspin,” ESPN analyst Quint Kessenich said, per Edward Lee of the Baltimore Sun. “I believe the ball bounces behind the goaltender, over the goal line and then out. A very difficult call by the referees.”
It's an incredibly difficult way to end the season, but the show must go on. Notre Dame has all of the pressure with a No. 1 seed and coming within one game of winning it all last year, but the Great Danes are an all-time underdog with Thompson turning the NCAA Division I record book into his own personal journal. They and six other teams will all be hoping for a trip to Philly, where the sport of lacrosse might enjoy some time in the limelight.