Preview: Saturday’s NCAA Lacrosse Tournament Action
The 2019 NCAA Division 1 Lacrosse Tournament bracket has been set, and we’ll have wall to wall lax action for the next 3 weeks!
The Tournament is always filled with close games and upsets. This year’s dance it will place some big names as lower seeds, almost solidifying chaos.
8 DMV teams will partake, seeing 3 as the higher seeded squad.
Can we see another Cinderella run this year?
Games will take place on Saturday.
9. Syracuse vs 8. Loyola (MD) Noon ESPNU
Pat Spencer has been described as a once in a lifetime player, and this will be Loyola fans last opportunity to see him play at Ridley Athletic Complex.
Spencer was the first player picked in the inaugural PLL draft. He gained this honor after winning offensive player of the year in his first 3 seasons as a Greyhound and All America honors his past 2. He breezed through his injury interrupted Senior season, scoring 40 goals and assisting on 54. As of now, he is the face of lacrosse. If you’re just getting into the sport, you’re gonna want to watch him.
Their opponent will be the Orangemen of Syracuse.
Syracuse has only played outside of the Top 20, 4 times and finished with an impressive 9-4 record.
Goal keeping is their strength, as they’ve given up an average of 9.7 goals per game. Bradley Voigt leads the offense for Syracuse with 35 goals.
12. Georgetown vs 5. Yale 2:30 ESPNU
The 2018 National Champions are coming off another stellar season and are looking to repeat their title run.
Yale went 12-3 on the season. It began with a loss in the first game of the season. Then one in the middle of the season. And then one in the last game of the season. So they’re accustomed to 6 game winning streaks (only need 4 to win the title).
The Eli’s are led by Ivy League Player of the Year, TD Ierlan. The faceoff specialist and transfer from Albany, set D1 records in face off percentage, wins and ground balls last year. This season he didn’t do as good, but blew everyone else out of the water with 214 ground balls won and a pretty good 77% face off percentage. Ierlan is 1 of 5 Bulldogs to make All First Team in the Ivy. Yale represented each position but Goalie in those honors
Their opponent is the 2019 Big East Tournament Champions, Georgetown.
The Hoyas finished the season on a 5 game winning streak, and won by a goal differential of +27.
Georgetown placed 4 people on the All 1st Team Big East squad, including Attack Player of the Year Daniel Bucaro. Bucaro has made All Big East in all 4 of his seasons in DC.
The Hoyas had two 53 goal scorers this year in Daniel Bucaro and Jake Carraway. They both average 5 points a game, and will be Yale’s main focus defensively.
13. Army vs 4. Penn 5:00 ESPNU
A good old fashioned Patriot League vs Ivy League battle will take place at historic Franklin Field on Saturday night.
Both teams won their conference tournament championships, and had chances for at large bids if they didn’t win.
Army went 13-4 on the season, beating five top 20 teams and giving up an average of 8.34 goals per game. They aren’t the flashiest team to watch, but Griffin Shultz’s lock down defense is one any student of the game would love to watch.
The Black Knights have 7 double digit scorers, but 3 have scored 30+. Brendan Nichtern leads the Black Knights in points with 80 via 30 goals and 50 assists. Miles Silva leads the way with 38 goals for Army and Nate Jones is just under him with 33.
Penn has made it back to the Big Dance for the first time in 5 years, and will look for their first win in 30.
The Quakers are led by Tewaaraton nominee Simon Mathias and Ivy League Rookie of the Year Sam Handley, the Quakers enter the tournament with the No. 3 Scoring Offense in the nation (14.9 gpg) and No. 7 in Scoring Margin (3.4).
They had 9 All Ivy Members and are a wrecking crew, winning their past 11 games after a 0-3 starts
14. Robert Morris vs 3. Virginia 7:30 ESPNU
In an old fashioned American matchup, the Colonials will face the Cavaliers.
Bobby Mo has made it back to the dance for the 2nd season in a row, and will look to make it back to back seasons with a win. This is the first time since the play in game has been invented, that a NEC team is not playing in it.
The Colonials are led by two Ontario Canada natives, Tyson Gibson and Corson Kealey. Gibson was the winner of the 2019 NEC Player of the Year award after picking up 62 points. Kealey wasn’t far behind him with 58, which included 49 of them off goals.
Their defense isn’t stellar though. They gave up 27 goals against Penn State in the season opener.
Can Virginia win both the Lacrosse and Basketball national championships? It’s quite possible. The 2019 ACC Tournament Champions finished the year on a 4 game winning streak, winning their 2 last regular season games 46-9.
The Hoos are led by two Tewaaraton Trophy nominees in Dox Aitken and Micheal Kraus. Aitken holds the Virginia record for goals with 99 (May 25) and Kraus leads the ACC in points per game with 4.64. They are a deadly offensive duo.
Sit down in front of your television set on Saturday, and take in some hard hitting lacrosse action. All games will be broadcasted on ESPNU so you don’t even have to touch your remote.
My picks for the games are Loyola, Yale, Army and Virginia.