Virginia, Hopkins Advance in Nike/USL Division I Men's Top 20

PHOTO VIA TWITTER (@UVAMENSLAX)

Virginia's Ian Laviano scored five goals in his collegiate debut Saturday, adding an assist in the Cavaliers' 13-12 double-overtime win over Loyola.


The first two weeks of the regular season brought some entertaining games.

But much of a shift in perception? Not really.

Sure, there was Villanova’s overtime defeat of Penn State in the opening week, and Virginia’s double-overtime defeat of Loyola on Saturday in what looked like it would be a toss-up game in Charlottesville. Beyond that, the only serious tweaks to preseason expectations have come as a result of close victories rather than full-fledged upsets.

In the top five, two teams haven’t played. The other three have combined to go 5-0 by a total margin of 76-27.

In other words, things haven’t gotten truly interesting … yet. But with Denver-Duke on Friday, followed by Yale-Villanova, Albany-Syracuse, Hofstra-Ohio State, Rutgers-Army and Johns Hopkins-Loyola on Saturday, the first real shakeup of the season isn’t far away.

 
Feb. 12, 2018

W/L

Prev

Next

1 Duke 3-0 1 2/16 vs. No. 3 Denver
2 Maryland 1-0 2 2/13 vs. Marist
3 Denver 1-0 3 2/16 at No. 1 Duke
4 Albany 0-0 4 2/17 at No. 9 Syracuse
5 Yale 0-0 5 2/17 vs. No. 12 Villanova
6 Notre Dame 1-0 6 2/24 vs. Richmond
7 Ohio State 2-0 7 2/17 vs. No. 15 Hofstra
8 Rutgers 2-0 8 2/17 at No. 16 Army
9 Syracuse 1-0 10 2/17 vs. No. 4 Albany
10 Johns Hopkins 1-0 12 2/17 at No. 14 Loyola
11 North Carolina 2-0 9 2/17 vs. Lehigh
12 Villanova 1-0 13 2/17 vs. No. 5 Yale
13 Virginia 1-0 16 2/17 at Drexel
14 Loyola 0-1 11 2/17 vs. No. 10 Johns Hopkins
15 Hofstra 0-0 14 2/17 at No. 7 Ohio State
16 Army 1-0 15 2/13 vs. NJIT
17 Penn State 1-1 17 2/17 vs. Stony Brook
18 Penn 0-0 18 2/17 vs. Michigan
19 Princeton 0-0 19 2/17 vs. Monmouth
20 Brown 0-0 NR 2/17 at Quinnipiac
Also considered: Towson, Marquette, Boston University, Providence, Bucknell, UMBC, Vermont





z
Nike/US Lacrosse Rankings
Division I Men | Division I Women
Division II Men | Division II Women
Division III Men | Division III Women

HOT

Virginia (+3)

The Cavaliers and Loyola combined to provide another riveting early February game, with Virginia midfielder Dox Aitken scoring 15 seconds into double overtime to deliver a 13-12 victory. It’s the fifth consecutive year the teams have met in their respective season openers; four have been decided by a goal, and two have gone to overtime.

So it’s no surprise Virginia, which has missed the NCAA tournament the last two seasons, acquitted itself well against the tested Greyhounds. Ian Laviano had five goals and an assist, the most points for a Virginia player in his debut since Drew McKnight had six in the Cavaliers’ famous 22-21 loss to Syracuse to open the 1997 season.

There was also the appropriate mix of semi-controlled chaos that has come to define Lars Tiffany’s teams in recent years. Virginia trailed 8-3 early in the second half, scored nine of the next 10 goals and then ceded three scores in less than four minutes before surviving in overtime. The Cavaliers have earned a slight bump, but there’s still much to prove.

Johns Hopkins (+2)

Coach Dave Pietramala is never going to be fully satisfied with any game, but there was a lot to like about how Hopkins handled its business after fading late in the season in back-to-back years. The Blue Jays pounced quickly on Towson, building a nine-goal lead en route to a 14-6 victory.

The best sign for Hopkins? Goalie Brock Turnbaugh made 13 saves, an encouraging first outing for a player who yo-yoed in and out of the lineup a season ago.

Less encouraging? An 8-for-24 showing on faceoffs. It didn’t hurt the Blue Jays against a Towson team that graduated much of its offensive production from a season ago, but handing more settled, explosive offenses (read: Loyola on Saturday) that much possession could prove costly. Nonetheless, Hopkins looked like a more complete team than it did much of last year.

NOT

Loyola (-3)

The Greyhounds dropped their opener at Virginia in double overtime, which isn’t a terrible result. Loyola falls a little bit to ensure Virginia moves past it, and a little bit because of a lack of results involving other teams.

The biggest thing Charley Toomey’s team lost was an opportunity to bank a potentially useful victory. Loyola has stacked its nonconference schedule with games against high-end competitions — namely Virginia, Johns Hopkins, Towson and Duke. Those teams aren’t always contenders to make deep postseason runs, but they provide a chance to snag quality triumphs the Patriot League doesn’t always provide.

Loyola’s loss isn’t crushing, but it does put a little more of an onus on the rest of the nonconference slate. At the very least, it has to be frustrating for Pat Spencer (three goals, two assists) and company to begin this season the same way as the last one — with a one-goal loss to Virginia.

North Carolina (-2)

Granted, two games is a limited sample size. But the Tar Heels gave up 10 goals to Lafayette in their opener and then 14 in an overtime victory against Furman on Saturday. Defense might be an early issue in Chapel Hill.

The Paladins were a solid 7-8 last year, but they were not an offensive juggernaut against elite opponents, averaging 6.8 goals in four contests against eventual NCAA tournament teams.

North Carolina’s going to score its share of goals; Chris Cloutier and Tanner Cook both scored five times for the Tar Heels against Furman. The defense, though, will need to improve.

IN

Brown

The Bears have yet to debut this season, but they played well down the stretch in 2017 and figure to be a tough out in the Ivy League this year.

Brown moves into the post-Dylan Molloy era Saturday at Quinnipiac, but it brings back three of its top four scorers — Luke McCaleb (27 goals, 22 assists in 2017), Stephen Hudak (34 goals, nine assists) and Jack Kniffin (22 goals, 11 assists). The Bears are worth keeping an eye on in the months to come.

OUT

Towson

There were two safe assumptions to make about the Tigers in 2018: They wouldn’t start anywhere near the level they were playing at while making a push to the NCAA semifinals, and their identity as a program is so strong they’ll figure out a way to end up at or near the top of the CAA by the end of April.

In its 14-6 loss at Johns Hopkins, Towson, previously No. 20, had only one holdover starter on offense from its Memorial Day weekend loss to Ohio State — midfielder Jon Mazza. Facing a Johns Hopkins defense motivated to acquit itself after a couple shaky years wasn’t an ideal formula for the Tigers’ opener.

It’s probably going to take some time for Towson’s offense to sort things out. Nonetheless, there’s a good chance the Tigers find their way back into the top 20 well before the season is complete.

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