D-I season opens with Virginia in front
Drama filled finishes and electric individual performances ruled the week. Loyola, Jacksonville and Delaware earned overtime wins and Notre Dame dismantled Duke in Durham. 42 of the 60 Division I teams have opened their season, with the Ivy League not in action yet. I'm still trying to gauge what each team has under the hood, seeing is believing. This upcoming week features key games between Hofstra and Princeton, Navy versus North Carolina, and Maryland at Georgetown.
Quint's Power Rankings
Congratulations to Dom Starsia, who won his 200th game on Saturday, an 11-8 decision over Drexel. Steele Stanwick scored three goals, all in the fourth quarter, and added two assists to lead the Cavaliers. UVA outshot the Dragons 15-5 in the final quarter. Cavs get the very tepid nod for my top spot. March 7th will determine the true No. 1 team in the land, when UVA hosts Syracuse (ESPN360.com).
The Orange beat Denver 15-9 on Friday in the Carrier Dome behind an 8-2 first quarter. Syracuse benefitted from competitive scrimmages against Hofstra and Maryland and was ready to play at game speed. The two-time defending champs won 7 of the first 11 face-offs, and LSM Joel White looked like a POY candidate. But SU only had five assisted goals, a long-term concern. This offense is showing great depth of scoring, but at crunch time, who's going to be the quarterback? On Sunday, the win was not flattered as Denver fell at Jacksonville. Orange host Army on Feb. 28.
3. Notre Dame
Irish coach Kevin Corrigan bemoaned the fact that his goalie Scott Rodgers (15 saves) wasn't a 1st Team All-American in 2009. I love a coach who sticks up for his players, and Rodgers winning performance against Duke puts him at the top of the list right now. We knew Notre Dame could play defense with Kevin Ridgeway, Sam Barnes and Mike Creighton but what surprised me was the offensive production (46 shots). Zach Brenneman (3g) is a premier midfielder. Irish play Penn State on Sunday.
4. Johns Hopkins
Blue Jays beat Manhattan 14-3 on Friday evening on an immaculately plowed Homewood Field. Steven Boyle was crisp with six goals and a pair of assists and the combo of Mike Powers and Matt Dolente won 15 of the 20 face-offs. Nate Matthews ripped three goals and midfielder Mike Kimmel's role is all encompassing. Baltimore has received 79.9 inches of snow this winter, yet the Hopkins only missed one practice session. JHU hosts Delaware on Tuesday Feb. 23 (ESPNU, 5 p.m.)
The Hoyas will be at a slight disadvantage next week against Maryland, as the Terps got a game under their belt this Saturday in Louisville. Midfielder Andrew Brancaccio is probable to play against the Terps after being dinged up in a scrimmage in Charlottesville, and defender Barney Ehrmann did not play on Saturday in a scrimmage loss against Albany.
Terps won at Bellarmine 12-7. Watched a DVD of this game on Sunday and was blown away by the effort displayed by Bellarmine, even in defeat. Knights are playing hard for their coach Jack McGetrick, who is fighting cancer. It was inspiring to see them flying around the field, making plays, and showing spirit and grit. Maryland travels to Georgetown on Saturday.
7. North Carolina
Billy Bitter (2,5) and the Heels topped Lehigh 17-5 this week and play at Navy on Thursday night.
Blue Devils were beaten at home by Notre Dame. Duke must learn to play with a sense of urgency. Their midfielders only chipped in two points on Saturday - surprising considering the stable of talent amongst Justin Turri, Steve Shoeffel, Mike Catalino, Will McKee, Sam Payton and Rob Rotanz. Duke's exhibition win over Team USA is looking more bogus by the minute.
Pride travel to Princeton on Saturday for their opener. Hofstra won six one-goal games in 2009. The CAA conference looks strong in 2010 with the addition of Penn State and UMass. Minutemen were a 20-10 winner over Hartford as Ryan Hantverk (Lynbrook, HS) scored a career high four goals.
Greyhounds snuck past Navy in overtime behind Cooper MacDonnell's six goals. Great win for Loyola, similar to a bracketbuster win in hoops, it's an RPI helper come selection Sunday.
The Bison beat Ohio State 11-5 on Saturday, a week after nearly beating Duke. Split-dodging Charlie Streep had a hat-trick and the defense held the Buckeyes to only 22 shots. Bucknell is at Towson on Saturday.
Big Red seniors Pierce Derkac and Ryan Hurley are both finalists for the 2010 Lowe's Senior CLASS Award. Cornell, under Jeff Tambroni, is a program that I admire for their work ethic, tunnel vision, toughness and respect for the Big Red tradition. There is no better sight than to see the team march onto the field in two military-like lines, and to salute their fans after a game, regardless of the outcome.
Tigers went 13-3 in 2009, with a pair of losses to Cornell. Princeton and their new coach Chris Bates debut with Hofstra on Saturday, a very consequential opener for both squads.
Curtis Dickson found the net seven times, including a deflection for the game winner, as Delaware beat UMBC in three overtimes. It was the weirdest goal I've seen in a while, the errant Dickson shot was headed toward the corner pylon, the UMBC goalie correctly anticipated it and started chasing, and the ball ricocheted off a UMBC defender into the empty net. Blue Hens have legit talent in Dickson, lefty midfielder Martin Cahill, and lengthy defender Pat Dowling. Battle of the Birds - Hens vs. Blue Jays at Homewood Field, Tuesday (ESPNU, 5 p.m.).
Crimson face Canisius on Saturday and then play three in a row on the road. Harvard was 8-5 in 2009, with one goal losses to Georgetown, Cornell and Princeton.
There isn't much difference between teams ranked #3 and #25, just a goal here and there, or a lucky bounce. Attention to detail and doing the little things can make that swing in your favor. Mids dropped a squeeker in OT to Loyola on Saturday. Navy only put 10 shots on Loyola's goal all day. You'll rarely win with that low of a number. Navy hosts North Carolina on Thursday night.
17. Stony Brook
What's a Seawolf? The mascots name is Wolfie. Got a shot to see him this year in May for the NCAA's. Stony Brook swamped Siena 21-14, it looks like a football score in this era of slowdown and specialization. Midfielder Kevin Crowley (4,5) (British Columbia) and attackman Jordan McBride (8g) (British Columbia) give Wolfie a reason to dance.
Retrievers were down 7-4 after three quarters. They fought back to force overtime against Delaware but lost on a fluke deflection goal. The unlucky bounce ended an eight game winning streak in overtime for UMBC. I watched this game in person. Don Zimmerman's team rallied behind Kyle Wimer, who played attack and put up three goals and three assists, Bobby Stockton Nease HS (Fla), and long pole Mike Camardo (3 caused turnovers and 4 ground balls). I want Wimer on my team, he can flat out play the game.
Bears are in hibernation until March 6th against Hofstra. Brown was 12-4 in 2009, return four All-Ivy caliber players (Thomas Muldoon, Read Seligmann, Andrew Feinberg, Peter Fallon), and I love their style and tempo.
Danes beat Georgetown in a scrimmage on Saturday.
Honor Roll: Congratulations to Jacksonville on their first win in program history, a 13-12 victory over Denver in three overtimes. One small step for the Dolphins, one giant step for the lacrosse revolution.
Quint Kessenich covers lacrosse for the ESPN family of networks and welcomes your opinions at email@example.com.
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