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HUGE March Match-Ups: Weekend College Lacrosse Preview

By Blue Star Lacrosse, 03/07/18, 10:45AM EST

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The #Danetrain takes on Maryland, Battle for NJ and More!

MARYLAND vs. AlBANY - GAME OF THE WEEK

12:00 - College Park, MD (watch on Big Ten Network)

In one of the biggest regular season match-ups in recent memory, #1 Albany travels to College Park to take on #2 Maryland.

The Great Danes are led by two attackmen who can light up the stat sheet, Senior Connor Fields and Freshman Tehoka Nanticoke. The two combined for 20 points on Tuesday's dominant win over UMass, and according to AnalyticsLacrosse.com they account for over 80% of the Great Danes scoring this season. 

On the other side, Maryland's offense has been a little more balanced, but the centerpiece is without a doubt senior midfielder Connor Kelly.  Kelly had one of the best performances of the season this past Saturday when he racked up 10 points against a tough Notre Dame defense in a 12-10 win. He had 7 assists, which was 4 short of his entire total for 2017 (when he was a 1st Team All American). 

This game will probably come down to the last possession, which means we should see a great battle at the face-off X. Albany's TD Ierlan has been doing his best Trevor Baptiste impression this season, winning 91% of his draws. That includes a perfect 24-for-24 (!) performance on Saturday against Cornell. Maryland's Justin Shockey will have his hands full, but the freshman should be confident after a dominant 15-for-22 showing against Notre Dame. Look to Maryland's entire face-off unit, including All-American LSM Matt Neufeldt, to try to limit Ierlan and make it a 3-on-3 ground ball. 

Coach Doss's Prediction: 13-12 Maryland in OT

Coach Hopper's Prediction: 16-11 Albany


PRINCETON vs. RUTGERS - GAME OF THE WEEK

1:00 - Princeton, NJ (Go watch it live!)

In our second game of the week, the battle for New Jersey is on as #13 Rutgers takes on Princeton right in our backyard! Rutgers is 4-1 and coming off a big 2-goal win over a resurgent Brown team, while Princeton took down another Jersey program on Saturday with a 15-8 win over NJIT. 

This game will likely come down to Princeton's offense (ranked 13th in adjusted efficiency) and Rutgers defense (ranked 9th). More specifically, it comes down to a match-up of two All-Americans, as Rutgers senior defenseman Michael Rexrode will most likely be tasked with guarding Princeton sophomore attackman Michael Sowers. Sowers has been unstoppable so far, averaging just under 6 points per game - he will look to feed fellow sophomore Phillip Robertson, who has now scored 8 goals on just 11 shots.

Princeton has struggled mightily at the face-off X, with no player averaging over 42%. Look for Rutgers senior FOGO Alex Schoen (Millburn, NJ) to have a big day.  

Coach Doss's Prediction: 11-9 Rutgers

Coach Green's Prediction: 16-13 Rutgers

Coach Hopper's Prediction: 10-6 Rutgers


SYRACUSE vs. HOPKINS

1:00 - Syracuse, NY

Cuse bounced back from an early season beatdown at the hands of Albany with two straight wins over ranked opponents, coming back to beat Army in OT and then edging out a back-and-forth game against Virginia on Sunday. Hopkins has struggled against ranked opponents, losing to both Loyola and UNC by a combined 9 goals, and needs a win here to help their out of conference resume. Neither team has a go-to guy yet on offense - whoever breaks out in this game could set the tone for the rest of the season. 

Coach Doss's Prediction: 15-11 Syracuse

Coach Green's Prediction: 15-13 Syracuse

Coach Hopper's Prediction: 13 - 12 Hopkins

 


PENN vs. VILLANOVA

1:00 - Philadelphia, PA (at Franklin Field)
 
Another huge match up right in our backyard featuring multiple Blue Star alumni and coaches! Penn has had an up and down year, with a huge upset against #1 Duke but setbacks against Maryland and Penn State. Senior midfielder Kevin McGeary can rip it from long range, and senior LSM Connor Keating is one of the best stick handling long poles you will ever see (seriously, watch this guy play). Villanova was on a hot streak with huge wins against Penn State, Yale, and Hofstra, but dropped a tough midweek game against Brown. Senior attackman Christian Cuccinello is the go-to guy on offense, and junior goalie Nick Testa has been lights out at times this season.
 
Coach Doss's Prediction: 15-14 Villanova
 
Coach Green's Prediction: 15-13 Penn

NOTRE DAME vs. DENVER

2:30 - South Bend, IN

Denver has the best face-off man in the country (and probably the history of college lacrosse) in senior Trevor Baptiste. He already has a perfect 100% day under his belt this season and is now sitting at 78.1%.  Canadian sophomore attackman Ethan Walker has also been on fire, averaging over 5 points per game. Look for him to light it up from the lefty shooter spot, and for some slick stick handling in tight. 

Notre Dame is coming off a tough 12-10 loss to Maryland in College Park. Look for junior attackman Ryder Garnsey to build on his 5 point performance, and senior LSM John Sexton to make plays off the face-off wings while trying to negate Baptiste's effectiveness. 

Coach Doss's Prediction: 10-9 Notre Dame (Duh)

Coach Green's Prediction: 9-5 Denver


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