The theme for Saturday’s NCAA DI Men’s Lacrosse Tournament games, “Kings Stay Kings.”
All four higher seeded teams came away with W’s and only two games would be considered “close.”
With that said, the game of the day was without a doubt UMass vs Yale. Sorry UVA vs. Loyola, but this one was out of reach after the 2nd Quarter explosion by Loyola. Duke came away with a 6 goal victory over Villanova, a team that everyone in the lacrosse world was shocked to see in the big dance. Lastly, The Dane Train in Albany steamrolled over the #15 seed Richmond Spiders. Below you will find a dive into each contest, positives, negatives, what we saw and what to expect for those winning teams going forward.
Yale 15 – UMass 13
The Eli’s broke out some fresh matte navy blue lids on a cold, wet day in New Haven but it took them a bit of time to match the heat of their new helmets. UMass came out firing and stayed in this game until midway through the 3rd but the Jackson Morrill and Ben Reeves show proved to be too much for Garber’s Gorillas. UMass was paced offensively by CAA Freshman of the Year Chris Connolly and fellow attackman Ben Spencer. Give UMass credit for the fight the also displayed late in the game, down by 5 late in the fourth, Coach Cannella’s boys did not give up, playing until the final whistle. The biggest difference in this game opposed to the first time these two lined up against one another earlier in the year was Yale’s dominance at the FaceOff X. Connor Mackie, who has been a workhorse all year for the Bulldogs, continued his excelled work winning 20 of 29 draws. In a high scoring game like this, it came down to who had the ball more and who made the most of their opportunities. Yale will take on Loyola next weekend at Hofstra.
Duke 17 – ‘Nova 11
In a game that was still hearing echoes of angry lacrosse fans across the country, Villanova came out firing in hopes of disproving all the haters. After a quarter of back and forth ball, it looked like they could do so, but a 2nd quarter offensive outburst by the Blue Devils separated this game from a 4-4 tie to an 11-4 cakewalk. The closest the Wildcats would ever get again was late in the fourth but the game was still out of reach. Duke was paced offensively by two freshman Joe Robertson and Nakeie Montgomery, while ‘Nova was led by senior Danny Seibel who netted 5 in his final collegiate contest. Another player to spotlight in this game was John Kluh. Yesterday also marked the final game for Kluh who finished with 2 goals. Most people in lacrosse know Kluh’s story, but the 5-4, electric midfielder closed out a strong senior season and helped bring the ‘Cats back to the NCAA Tournament. Next round Duke will face the winner of Johns Hopkins vs Georgetown. The Blue Devils did not get the best goaltending out of senior Danny Fowler today, something to keep an eye on going forward.
Albany 18 – Richmond 9
The Dane Train ran like a locomotive and squished the visiting Spiders of Richmond. The game was never in doubt for Albany as after one quarter the Danes led 5-2 and the game was never close again. The dynamic duo of Connor Fields and Tehoka Nanticoke continued their excellence with Tehoka raking in 4 goals and 2 assists, while Fields netted two himself but dished out 5 more. Richmond’s freshman Ryan Lanchbury and Mitch Savoca led the way for the Spiders, each scoring two goals. The future is bright for Richmond but the time is now for Scott Marr’s Great Danes. TD Ireland was once again nearly automatic at the Faceoff X, winning 24 of 29 draws and JD Colarusso once again stood tall in net with 9 saves. The Danes take on Denver next Saturday at Hofstra. Connor Fields still looks to be affected by his lingering injuries but even #5 at 75% is better than almost anyone in college lacrosse.
Loyola 14 – Virginia 12
Nothing like a night game at Ridley right? How about a night game that got delayed over two hours at Ridley? Talk about a hostile environment. Loyola just seemed to be one step ahead of the Cavs all night long and from the opening whistle appeared to be the stronger team. Pat Spencer was once again an absolute weapon. If he wasn’t a junior he’d easily win the Tewaaraton, so the committee might as well hand him the 2019 trophy in a few weeks as well. You can’t just give all the credit to #7 as it took the likes of #31 Kevin Lindley and #4 Jay Drapaeu to bury the open looks facilitated by Spencer. UVA was once again led by sophomore middie Dox Aitken who scored 4 goals. UVA is young and exciting to watch. Year three of the Lars Tiffany era is building up to be a strong one in 2019 with nearly all their offensive contributors returning next season. An area to note for Loyola in this game was their success at the Faceoff X against a UVA F/O unit that coming riding a strong showing in the ACC and ACC Tournament. #24 for Loyola, Mike Orefice not only was strong at the X but also created instant offense and netted 2 goals. The biggest thing for the Hounds to worry about going forward, goaltending play. People have praised Jacob Stover, but over the past three years, I don’t know if there has been a more inconsistent goalie in the nation. The junior had 7 saves last night while giving up 12. His season save percentage sits at 52% and I’m not sure that will be enough to stop Yale next week.