Syracuse Orange at Virginia Cavaliers
2 p.m. Sunday
No. 4 Virginia has pulled off an impressive 4-0 start to its season. The Cavaliers have played through a tough nonconference schedule as they have had to beat tough offensive and defensive teams such as Loyola and Princeton. Their offense has improved a lot from last season. Freshman attackman Ian Laviano and sophomore attackman Michael Kraus have provided huge goal production for the Cavs’ offense, while their defense has benefited from the addition of Alex Rode in goal. The Hoos are well-rounded but will face a test in their first ACC game against a hungry No. 12 Syracuse team. The Orange (2-1) are coming off an impressive third overtime victory against a strong Army squad. They got that much-needed victory after Albany destroyed them at home in their last game. Syracuse improved on many of its problems in its last game. Junior Dom Madonna’s goalie play was much improved in this game, and Nate Solomon, who contributed two goals, picked up the offense. These are uplifting signs to an Orange team that lost so many big stars after last season. Syracuse had a big comeback victory last season in this matchup, but these are two drastically different teams from last season. I see this matchup as a closely-contested matchup that will come down to a scoring difference of only a goal or two.
Penn Quakers at Penn State Nittany Lions
After a huge victory against Duke, No.14 Penn has shown how strong its defense is. Junior goalie Reed Junkin led Penn’s defensive effort as he shut down Duke’s high-powered offense, allowing it to score only twice in the second half. Penn also gained major offensive production from Kevin McGeary and Adam Goldner, who each earned three goals. The Quakers (2-1) will need to make sure to keep their momentum going as they play their longtime rival Penn State, a team that is hungry to rebound from a loss to Robert Morris. Penn State (2-2) has been sitting outside the rankings for a couple of weeks, and this is the win that could push them in. Junior midfielder Kevin Hill has had some major production for the Nittany Lions as he has tallied 11 goals on the season. Although the Lions have fallen to several teams this season, they will definitely try to show up for their rival’s games. While many might think Penn will pull away with this game, don’t be surprised if Penn State puts up a fight and upsets the Quakers.
Johns Hopkins Blue Jays at Princeton Tigers
5 p.m. Saturday
After a tough loss on Friday, No. 14 Johns Hopkins needs a big victory to get back on track and make sure its season doesn’t go down in flames. The Blue Jays (1-2) had a back-and-forth game with UNC but couldn’t complete the job at home. Johns Hopkins is a team that has shared the offensive production well but still has struggled to beat tough teams such as Loyola and UNC. A victory against Princeton can get it back on track before it has to play many Big 10 games. No. 20 Princeton has had some struggles to iron out after losing the reignited rivalry game against Virginia. Senior Tyler Blaisdell has tallied good saves for the Tigers (1-1) . They need him to be ready as the Blue Jays are a fast,high-powered offense. The Tigers’ defense has to prepare to stop players such as Shack Stanwick. Their defense has been good this season, and that will be the key for them as that is what has led to many of the Blue Jays’ losses this season. Expect this to be a scrappy game between teams that are hungry for a victory.