Week Three: 3 Games to Watch
Week three already began with some craziness. Tuesday night, Villanova stunned Maryland (13-12) while Marist outfoxed Army (17-9). Is more chaos coming upon us? Hard to say. Here are three games you must watch this weekend. Watch them and be entertained!
#3 Yale at #1 Penn State (12 ET)
If you only watch one game this weekend, make it this one. One team beat Penn State in 2019. Who stopped this seemingly unstoppable force? Yale. The Bulldogs defeated Penn State 14-13 at home, before ending Penn State’s championship run in Philadelphia (21-17). Penn State has an opportunity for revenge.
Both schools defeated a common opponent. The Nittany Lions beat Villanova 19-10, while Yale won 18-12. Score wise, Penn State performed better. That said, I wouldn’t put much stock into this. These teams are practically even. It’s a heavyweight fight. Rocky Balboa vs Ivan Drago.
Penn State crushed Saint Joseph’s 19-4 to start 3-0. The Nittany Lions average 18 goals per game while allowing 7.6. If those numbers stand throughout 2020, Penn State wins it all.
Offensively, Grant Ament (8 goals, 16 assists) and Mac O’Keefe (16 goals, 5 assists) will score. Yale must limit Penn State’s possessions. This prevents the talented duo from impacting the game. Garnering Penn State extra possessions will be faceoff specialist Gerard Arceri (47-69 faceoffs). I hate to put games on one player, but if Arceri doesn’t split faceoffs, Penn State loses. Future professional, TD Ierlan, made the difference in 2019. Arceri couldn’t beat Ierlan in critical draws. Arceri must win faceoffs in big moments.
Yale enters Happy Valley anticipating victory. Penn State’s juggernaut offense doesn’t intimidate Yale. They’ve beaten it twice. If I was Yale, I’d be pissed Penn State is ranked above me. The Bulldogs beat them twice in 2019!
The Bulldogs visit State College 1-0. If Yale draws penalties, forget about it. Yale’s man up is 5-7. You can’t commit penalties and expect success. Offensively, midfielder Lucas Cotler (4 goals, 1 assist) stars alongside attackmen Jackson Morrill (3 goals) and Matt Brandau (3 goals, 3 assists). Faceoff specialist TD Ierlan (23-31 on faceoffs) is responsible for providing extra possessions. Ierlan is the nation’s best faceoff specialist. I haven’t seen anyone top him. No reason to think that happens now.
This game comes down to which faceoff specialist provides his offense with more possessions. Both offenses are elite. Whoever gets more touches wins. These squads are toe-to-toe everywhere minus the faceoff dot. I don’t see Arceri beating Ierlan enough. Penn State is amped to host Yale. The Nittany Lions keep it close throughout. Late in the third, Yale goes on a scoring run. Penn State closes the gap and is down one with thirty seconds remaining. It comes down to Ierlan v Arceri. Ierlan extinguishes Penn State’s final hope by winning the clamp and popping the ball out to himself. Yale runs out the clock. Yale wins by one.
#2 Salisbury at #9 Gettysburg (1 ET)
What the heck Luke? You think. This ain’t a D1 game. You’re right. But it’s time to give our D3 brethren some love. Gettysburg v Salisbury is one of the best lacrosse matchups. Believe it or not, I almost transferred to Gettysburg. I have a special affinity towards the school. In 2018, while considering a transfer, I watched Gettysburg stun Salisbury 11-10 in double overtime. Salisbury returned the favor. The Gulls wore bullet proof armor and stunned Gettysburg 8-7 to make the NCAA championship. 2019’s meeting wasn’t as exciting. Salisbury won 17-10.
Salisbury is good. The Gulls started 2020 with wins over Berry (27-3) and #14 Lynchburg (16-10). The stats are skewed (thanks to Berry), but Salisbury’s offense averages 21.5 goals per game. The Gulls have 116 total groundballs. That’s outrageous. Attackman Griffin Maroney (8 goals, 3 assists) and midfielder Jarrett Bromwell (6 goals) must be contained. Defensemen Jackson Woodward (1 goal, 1 assist, 6 groundballs, 1 turnover) and Brad Apgar (4 groundballs, 2 turnovers) don’t make mistakes.
I believe Gettysburg has the personnel to match Salisbury. Where Salisbury outmatches Gettysburg, is at the faceoff dot. Brett Malamphy (2 goals, 36-39 faceoffs) is a stud. His impact must be limited.
Like Salisbury, the Bullets are 2-0. Gettysburg has wins over Messiah (16-10) and Goucher (14-3). Unlike Salisbury, I feel Gettysburg hasn’t been tested. The Bullets average 15 goals per game. Attackmen Brian Kolen (7 goals, 3 assists) and Jack Fletcher (6 goals, 3 assists) will challenge Woodward/Apgar. Defensively, Gettysburg has the best defenseman in D3 lacrosse. Mitch Wykoff (16 groundballs) is an absolute force. I saw Wykoff play in person. He’s a monster. If the ball is near Wykoff, you’re going to have a bad time. Faceoff specialist, Alex Ulrich (27-38 faceoffs), must split faceoffs with Malamphy. If Salisbury dominates faceoffs, this won’t be close.
Gettysburg, Pennsylvania is one of my favorite places in America. If you’re a visiting Salisbury fan, I highly recommend touring the battlefield and eating lunch at the Dobbin House. They have the best French onion soup! Game wise, I think this will be a close defensive battle throughout; however, Salisbury’s offense makes more plays. The Gulls win by four.
#7 Army at #6 Syracuse *Sunday* (1 ET)
A classic New York rivalry. Some shine is gone thanks to Army’s 17-9 loss at Marist. Still, this is Syracuse’s first test of 2020. Army is determined to recover from Marist and looks to avenge their 2019 loss in Syracuse (8-10).
Barring Marist, the Black Knights have an impressive resume with wins over Massachusetts (17-4) and Rutgers (15-4). Army’s defense is elite. They allow 6.5 goals per game. That’s with an outlier (Marist). Defenseman, Marcus Hudgins (15 groundballs, 10 turnovers), must play at a high level to keep that average down.
Syracuse has the most talented roster Army will see. Attackmen Brendan Nichtern (7 goals, 15 assists), Sean O’Brien (10 goals, 3 assists), and Miles Silva (9 goals, 1 assist) need to make plays. If one has an off day, Army will struggle.
The Orange have cruised to 2-0. Wins over Colgate (21-14) and Binghamton (17-4) haven’t revealed much. Syracuse is loaded with attackmen. Loyola transfer Chase Scanlan (9 goals, 3 assists), Stephen Rehfuss (1 goal, 9 assists), and Griffin Cook (4 goals, 3 assists) will challenge Army’s stout defense. I think they’ll be too much. I don’t see Army’s starting attack consistently beating defensemen Brett Kennedy (5 groundballs, 3 turnovers) and Jared Fernandez (7 groundballs, 2 turnovers) either.
By now, you can tell who I favor. Army is sluggish from Marist and standard academy responsibilities. It’s why I have so much respect for what service academy athletes endure. Unfortunately, this makes it harder to recover from a short week. I’m not on the Syracuse hype train, but here, they are too much. The Orange win by five.
Other Games to Watch
Here are my picks for other notable games. These are gut picks. I didn’t do any additional research on these. Loyola beats Rutgers (15-10). Virginia beats Princeton (14-12). Bucknell stuns Ohio State (14-13). Maryland v Navy is cancelled. Hopkins beats North Carolina (15-11). Duke beats Pennsylvania (13-12).
Will you watch any of these games? Which game are you most excited about? Whatever your thoughts, air them by connecting with me on Twitter or Instagram. You can comment directly onto this article by subscribing. By subscribing, you’ll be notified whenever I publish a new article. Any and all support is appreciated. Thank you for reading and enjoy the games!