Towson Tigers at Johns Hopkins Blue Jays
5 p.m. Saturday, ESPNU
After No. 14 Towson came only one goal away from playing in the national championship, it has a talented team returning. The Tigers were ranked fourth in defense nationally last year, and all three of their defensive starters have returned to compete once again this season. Their difficulty for this game will be on attack, as seven of their attackmen from last season are no longer at Towson (0-0). As for the No. 13 Johns Hopkins, they had a disappointing season last year and want to make sure they start this one off right. Last season, the Blue Jays’ offense averaged more than 11 goals per game. With senior Shack Stanwick returning to the Johns Hopkins starting attack line, they are sure to keep their offensive production going. The Blue Jays’ (0-0) main struggle for this game will likely be on the defensive side, as the Johns Hopkins defense gave up 11.5 goals last season and has graduated many of its main starters. Expect a closely contested game that will have a big bearing on how these teams’ seasons play out.
Boston University Terriers at Ohio State Buckeyes
No. 7 Ohio State is going to be tested in its first game against a strong Boston team. The Buckeyes’ offense waits to get high percentage shots, and its defense plays physically and rarely allows a team to get into games. The only problem is that Ohio State (1-0) has the lost some of its team leaders in Eric Fannell, Tom Carey, and Jake Withers. The loss of those players not only leaves the team missing leaders but also without production on both ends of the field. The No. 20 Terriers are coming off a great victory against Providence and are looking to continue to improve on the way through the season. The player to watch for the Terriers (1-0) will be freshman midfielder John Maclean, who had four goals in Boston’s last game, including the game winner in OT. The Terriers’ game against the Buckeyes will come down to who can hold their own on the offensive side of the field, as it is set to be a high-scoring affair.
Loyola Greyhounds at Virginia Cavaliers
1 p.m. Saturday
After a disappointing past season for Virginia when it missed the tournament, it will strive to start off on the right foot. The No. 15 Cavaliers have made great additions, including 15th-rated attackman Ian Laviano, to their attack squad this year. Laviano can add some goal production to a Virginia (0-0) team that struggled to get goals last season. No. 10 Loyola is looking to keep its defense as good as it was last season. The Greyhounds’ defensive unit graduated only one senior last year and ranked 10th as it allowed only 8.4 goals per game. It will be interesting to see if Loyola’s Pat Spencer, a Tewaarton award finalist, can have the same production as he did last year. Spencer has two new attackmen joining his line. Loyola (0-0) and Virginia need a victory to make sure that their seasons aren’t as disappointing as they were last year.