Big City Classic brings big lacrosse
It's a huge weekend for lacrosse, featuring the tripleheader that is the Inside Lacrosse Big City Classic at Giants Stadium in East Rutherford, N.J., on Saturday (ESPNU, noon ET).
And InsideLacrosse.com pulled out a big gun for analysis this week: Hall of Fame goalie Larry Quinn, an All-American at Johns Hopkins and three-time U.S. World Team goalie. Quinn currently is a lawyer in Baltimore -- opposite Inside Lacrosse's offices on Pratt Street -- and also is the radio analyst for Johns Hopkins games.
Inside Lacrosse asked him for his input because he has seen Syracuse, Princeton, Virginia and North Carolina this season.
Virginia vs. North CarolinaGiants Stadium | ESPNU, noon ET
Cavaliers: 11-0 (1-0 ACC)
Tar Heels: 8-3 (0-2 ACC)
Scoring Leaders: Virginia -- senior attack Garrett Billings (26 goals, 15 assists), senior attack Danny Glading (15 goals, 22 assists), freshman attack Steele Stanwick (25 goals on 50 shots); North Carolina -- sophomore attack Billy Bitter (20 goals, 16 assists), senior attack Bart Wagner (24 goals, eight assists), junior midfielder Sean Delaney (23 goals).
Quinn's take: UVa has shown some vulnerability in the last two games, but has found a way to win. The way the defense shut down Johns Hopkins and Maryland late in both of those games was impressive.
UNC's close defense is big and mobile, and they get it out of the defensive zone quickly. They need to make the UVa attack play 6-on-6 or UVa's quick feet and quick sticks will kill them.
UVa's middies will probably give UNC's defensive middies trouble. Everyone talks about UVa's first midfield, and deservedly so, but its second midfield is big and brings a different challenge for a defense.
I'd rather not play Virginia on a fast turf field. UNC also will have to deal with UVa's constant defensive pressure. UVa gets run by occasionally because they press so far, but they bank on getting more unsettled goals than they give up as a result of that pressure.
Bitter, from UNC, is quick and fast and could take advantage of UVa's aggressive play. UNC was unselfish and patient on offense in the game I saw and they will have to do that against UVa.
Max Pomper, the defensive middie for UVa, gives them great flexibility because he can cover some attackmen and allow UVa to put two poles up top. Mike Timms and Chad Gaudet are great on turning the ball over on face-offs, and, with Shane Walterhoefer's dominance in some games, that may be a key in the game.
Adam Ghitelman is playing more consistently this season and has been spectacular at times. I suspect that he will be brimming with confidence after winning in seven OTs. UNC goalie Grant Zimmerman looked much calmer in the goal against Hopkins. I'm sure having former Hopkins goalie Brian Holman as coach has helped him.
Syracuse vs. PrincetonGiants Stadium | ESPNU, 2:30 p.m. ET
Orange: 7-1 (0-0 Big East)
Tigers: 7-1 (1-0 Ivy League)
Scoring Leaders: Syracuse -- senior attack Kenny Nims (17 goals, 18 assists), sophomore attack Stephen Keogh (26 goals on 40 shots, 65 percent), senior attack-midfielder Dan Hardy (13 goals, 11 assists); Princeton -- sophomore attack Jack McBride (20 goals, five assists), senior attack Tommy Davis (13 goals, 10 assists), senior midfielder Mark Kovler (16 goals, team-high 63 shots).
Quinn's take: Syracuse has struggled on defense of late and goalie John Galloway has been up and down. What impresses me about Galloway, though, is that even if he is struggling in goal, he still makes some big plays -- picks off passes, throws a great outlet, etc. He also doesn't seem to let bad goals faze him. He will struggle early and then make the big save at the end.
Princeton has opened it up on offense this season, but Bill Tierney will never be confused with Jerry Tarkanian. I suspect that Princeton will push it when it can on offense, but not so much that they are vulnerable to a lot of fast breaks.
Jack McBride is an excellent shooter and liked the crowd at M&T Bank Stadium. He should enjoy playing in his backyard at the Meadowlands. Barnes for Princeton has done a nice job at face-offs this season and Syracuse has had trouble finding a consistent replacement for Danny Brennan.
I think Joel White is the most dangerous defensive middie in the college game. He covers well, throws checks, is physical, is good on groundballs and can beat you with the timely goal or assist. Princeton's defense is a good mix of youth and experience, and it's skilled at both ends of that spectrum.
From what I have seen of freshman goalie Tyler Fiorito he is very good and makes you beat him with good shots.
Kenny Nims has played well as the No. 1 guy on attack. Dan Hardy has received criticism for not living up to the expectations of wearing No. 22 for the Orange, and he may have been guilty in the past of playing like a point guard instead of a power forward, but he always draws a pole and has been tough to stop since midseason last season.
Jovan Miller is another middie that you need to watch. His shot is tough to read and he is great between the lines. Matt Abbott has always done the little things well and is such a complete player that it seems like each week in a different way he helps Syracuse win."
Delaware vs. HofstraGiants Stadium | 5 p.m. ET
Blue Hens: 3-7 (0-1 CAA)
Pride: 6-1 (2-0 CAA)
Scoring Leaders: Delaware -- junior attack Curtis Dickson (22 goals, five assists), senior attack Josh Coveleski (10 goals, six assists), junior midfielder Martin Cahill (11 goals); Hofstra -- senior midfielder Michael Colleluori (nine goals, 13 assists), sophomore attack Jay Card (14 goals), freshman attack Kevin Ford (4 extra-man offense goals).
IL's take: Delaware enters shooting 22.7 percent (87-for-383). Otherwise, however, it is a solid team. The Blue Hens are winning 61.9 percent of their face-offs and clearing the ball 80.3 percent. Sophomore lefty goalie Noah Fossner has pretty good numbers overall (9.45 GAA, 58.1 save percentage), but he has 24 saves and has given up 25 goals in the fourth quarter.
For Hofstra, Jay Card has scored five winning goals this season. That includes his goal with four seconds left to defeat UMass, a goal in double overtime to beat Brown and another double-overtime goal against Army. Also, freshman goalie Andrew Gvozden (Severna Park, Md.) has been solid since his first start, a 12-7 loss to Johns Hopkins in which he made 11 saves. His performances since include a nine-save performance in a 9-7 victory over Princeton and eight saves in the fourth quarter and both overtimes against Army.
For more on college lacrosse, check out Inside Lacrosse.