Week 0 was a great week to kick off the 2020 NCAA lacrosse season. We saw some upsets, some overtime and some beat downs...everything you could ask for in a lacrosse game. The transfers around the country looked solid and even first-year program Merrimack looked promising, despite their overtime loss. This blog will recap scores each week, and preview the upcoming weeks for the ten “prime time” games the Blatant Lacrosse team has chosen. Below are the games we chose this week, along with a brief introduction to each team, and a final score prediction. Week 1 is about to be crazy!
Syracuse v Colgate
The Syracuse Orangemen look to bounce back after losing to Colgate in the opening game of the season last year 12-9. Syracuse offense looks promising with the addition of Chase Scanlan, as well as returning players Stephen Rehfuss, standout freshman Brendan Curry, and Tucker Dordevic. Colgate is looking to regroup after the opening day beating they received from UNC and the high powered offense that they have. Keys to the game will be possession time and a better defensive effort from Colgate, while Syracuse looks to open the season on a high note, executing at a high level in all facets of the game. Final Prediction: Syracuse 15, Colgate 8.
Denver v Air Force
Air Force has proved themselves once again by beating Duke for the third time in the last five years. Air Force is led by freshman attackman Brandon Dodd who led them with a monster four goal and four assist game. Junior, Quincy Peene added four goals and one assist of his own. Air Force’s defense is big, fast, and looked simply stellar at times creating havoc for the Duke offense who was without sophomore standout Joe Robertson in the loss. Denver on the other hand looks to come out of the gate flying led by senior Ethan Walker, who had a down year last year, compared to his first two seasons as a Pioneer. Keys to the game will be smart shots and defensive cohesiveness for Air Force, while Denver looks to capitalize on their offensive prowess to defeat an upbeat Air Force team. Final Prediction: Air Force 13, Denver 12.
Vermont v Jacksonville U
After being stunned in the America East Playoffs, a continuously improving Catamount squad looks to beat another up-and-coming program in Jacksonville U. Jacksonville is led by Head Coach John Galloway and hopes to bounce back after a tough opening day loss to Detroit Mercy. Jacksonville came out of the gate on fire and let them back in the game, instead of taking advantage when they had the chance. Vermont looks to stand strong behind now senior goalie Nick Washuta, and continue their coveted offensive ability moving into this game. Keys to the game will be Jacksonville playing for a complete four quarters and for Vermont, possession time combined with smart shots. Final Prediction: Vermont 14 Jacksonville 10.
Towson v Johns Hopkins
Last year’s match-up between these two Maryland rivals ended in an absolute shellacking with Towson coming out on top 17-8. This year we will see a revitalized Hopkins team offense and a recovering Towson defense. The Blue Jays look like they will be without potential sophomore powerhouse Joey Epstein and Senior Jack Rapine (not playing this season) for this opening game, while bringing back guys like Cole Williams and FOGO Kyle Prouty. While the Tigers will be without departed seniors Zach Goodrich, Brendan Sunday and Alex Woodhall, they will be bringing back Jon Mazza, Koby Smith and transfer from Maryland James Avanzato. Keys to victory will be possession time for both of these teams as Towson’s strengths lie with their defense and Hopkins strengths revolve around their offense. Final Prediction: Hopkins 14 Towson 8.
Maryland v Richmond
Richmond looks to knock off Big10 Powerhouse Mayland this weekend at home. The Spiders are coming off another excellent year going 10-5 and securing another SoCon title. They are led by junior Ryan Lanchbury who is looking like a shoe-in to break the rest of the offensive records for Richmond’s program. They also bring back pre-season all conference LSM Sean Menges, who will be key for the Spiders middle of the field ability. Maryland brings back a lot of their star-studded offense with guys like Jared Bernhardt, Logan Wisnauskas and Bubba Fairman as well as freshman phenom (2019) defenseman Brett Makar who is now another year older and FOGO Justin Shockey. Keys to victory will be faceoffs and ground balls for Richmond and continuing the brand of lacrosse they showed the world last week for Maryland. Final Prediction: Maryland 17 Richmond 11.
Penn State v Villanova
Penn State is probably America’s favorite to win the NCAA championship this year and it is no surprise with guys like Grant Ament and Mac O'keefe leading the way. With many getting caught with the two-headed Penn State monster attack, they forget about the rest of the depth of Penn State. They took advantage of this last week versus Lafayette with 5 others finding the back of the net. Gerard Arceri also deserves a mention as he is now Penn State’s all-time ground ball leader after just one game played in his senior campaign. Villanova is led by Senior midfielder, Connor Kirst who led the team with 50 points in 2019 and will look to defend his title as Big East Midfielder of the Year this season. The Wildcats were picked to finish second in the Big East falling behind Denver by 2 votes. Keys to victory will be for the Wildcats to keep up offensively with Penn State and hopefully force them into half field battles on a majority of possessions. Penn State will look to continue playing the same style we have seen the last couple of seasons with high powered offensive plays and a fast pace. Final Prediction: Penn State 16 Villanova 10.
Duke v High Point
This match-up has definitely been circled on Duke’s calendar leading into the 2020 season. Last year in the second game of the season High Point defeated Duke 13-9 who was ranked number 2 at the time. The Blue Devils look to bounce back from last week’s loss to Air Force and revenge this game from last season. Duke will move on this season without attackman Joe Robertson, who had suffered a torn ACL, while riding their extremely deep midfield unit with guys like Kevin Quigley, Reilly Walsh and Cameron Badour, with Joey Manown and Hill Academy standout Freshman, Dyson Williams at attack. High Point is looking to bounce back from a brutal loss this past weekend to Maryland 23-12, where freshman Tyler Hendrycks showed some awesome promise. High Point brings back guys like Asher Nolting, Ben Baker and Kiby Russell to lead their offense; while trying to recover the loss of PLL standout goalie, Tim Troutner. The Keys to this game will be coming out early and often for High Point while Duke looks to control every part of this game and come out with a promising victory. Final Prediction: Duke 14 High Point 11.
Loyola v Virginia
Virginia is definitely the obvious favorite to go back to the show this year after winning the National championship in a more dominating fashion than the score showed in 2019. Masters of the middle of the field, Lars Tiffany brings back most of his offense including Matt Moore and Ian Laviano, while also bringing back both LSM Jared Connors and defenseman Will Rock. Loyola suffers huge losses with Spencer, Scanlan and Stover departing but will bring back a seasoned Kevin Lindley, Aidan Olmstead on attack and now senior Ryan McNulty on defense. The keys to victory for both of these teams is going to be how well they get out of the gate and who wins the ground ball battle in the middle of the field. Everybody knows Virginia wants this one back after getting destroyed 17-9 last year in this match-up. Final Prediction: Virginia 21 Loyola 11.
Army v Umass
Army looks to continue advancing after the season they put together last year. Led by now sophomore attackman Brendan Nichtern who is coming off a magnificent freshman season with 30 goals and 50 assists. Some notable departures are Goalie AJ Baretto, NCAA defenseman of the year Johnny Surdick and attackman Nate Jones. The Black Knights bring back some solid pieces in Sean O’brien, Matt Manown and Miles Silva. On the opposing side, the Minutemen suffer losses between the pipes and in the middle of the field as well losing LSM Isaac Paparo and goalie Sean Sconone. They will bring back top point scorer who is now an upperclassman in Chris Connolly as well as senior midfielder Jeff Trainor. I look for this one to be another close matchup after Army snuck away with this one in OT last year. Keys to victory for both teams opening the season this weekend will be goalie play as we will see two brand new starters in for both schools. Final Prediction: Army 11 Umass 9.
Ohio State v Boston U
Ohio State brings back a strong 3-time All American Tre Leclaire, Jackson Reid, Jack Myers and FOGO Justin Inacio, as well as their starting goalie from last season in Josh Kirson. Major losses include midfielder and attackman, Ryan Terefenko and Jack Jansinski. This buckeye team will be led by their big attackman Leclaire, but looks like a more complete group in 2020. Boston University suffered a tough loss to Providence with an offense looking a little stagnant without Chris Gray, their star attackman who now plays for UNC. Boston loses Gray, Germain, Homire and Burr and look to find that guy on attack this year with Timmy Ley being one year older. Keys to victory in this one will be for Boston to clear out any second chance opportunities and ground balls, while OSU looks to control the game from the faceoff X and offensive ability. Final Prediction: OSU 17 Boston U 8.