Albany Great Danes at Maryland Terrapins
11 a.m. Saturday, Big Ten Network
There has been no offense better than No. 1 Albany’s this season. Star attackman Connor Fields gained some major help with scoring from freshman Tehoka Nanticoke, who has nine goals this season. The Great Danes (3-0) instilled a lot of hype in fans this season as Albany dismantled Syracuse in the Carrier Dome for its first game of the season and hasn’t slowed down since. Opposing defenses have yet to figure out the Great Danes’ flashy offense. Albany has also gained major help from sophomore TD Ierlan, who has controlled many of the face-offs he has had this season. The Great Danes’ offense will need to be on point when they take on the reigning champion, No. 2 Maryland. The Terrapins (5-0) have been quietly gaining momentum this season, and they have been on a hot streak lately. Connor Kelly, who has 13 goals this season and has easily been one of the best lacrosse players in the country, leads Maryland. The Terrapins also have a stellar goalie in Dan Morris, who has been putting up great numbers with a 57 percentage of saves. A lot of Maryland’s success still rests on the incredible defense it also had last year, and it has kept the Terrapins winning. It will be a big test to see if they can hold up against one of the best offenses in the nation. This game will a be closely contested affair, and expect to see this matchup again on championship weekend.
Denver Pioneers at Notre Dame Fighting Irish
1:30 p.m. Saturday
No. 4 Denver has been on a massive rebound since losing to Duke in its second game of the season. In the Pioneers’ last game, they took down a strong North Carolina team in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. Denver has still received numerous face-offs from their face-off get-off, or FOGO, Trevor Baptiste. Sophomore attackman Ethan Walker has been on fire for the offense as he netted his fourth straight hat trick recently. Denver has been on a roll lately, and the young Carolina defense couldn’t contain it. The Pioneers (4-1) have been on point as well in their extra man offenses and have capitalized on opposing teams’ penalties. They may not get as many chances to run their EMO offense because they are playing a disciplined No. 11 Notre Dame team. The Fighting Irish (2-1) came only two goals from beating a strong Maryland team and are going to have to play a tough schedule. Denver will not present an easy task for Notre Dame, but the entire Fighting Irish team carries the offense well. All team members share the goal scoring about equally. They are disciplined in many of their games on offense, as they committed a season-low eight turnovers against one of the strongest defenses in their last game. Their offense will have to make sure to keep up the performance it had last game to have a better chance of winning. This game will focus on possession and might come down to whoever can hold onto the ball longer.
Duke Blue Devils at Loyola Greyhounds
2 p.m. Saturday
No. 3 Duke reclaimed some of its confidence after easily handling Richmond in its last game, but its loss to Pennsylvania is still fairly fresh. This is a game that can get the Blue Devils (5-1) back on track with their winning ways. Their offense has been on fire with the production senior attackman Justin Guterding provides. He has 23 goals on the season and has been one of the hardest players to stop in college lacrosse. The Blue Devils have also received help from their senior goalie Danny Fowler. Their defense stepped up incredibly in their last game as they forced Richmond to have 25 turnovers. Duke will have to put all of those strong elements together as they play a No. 7 Loyola team that is searching for more defining victories this season. They have had an incredible offense, and junior attackman Pat Spencer has led the Greyhounds (4-1) to many of their victories. Their offense has played smart in the last couple of weeks. When it comes to crucial moments, they usually complete the gameplan perfectly. The Greyhounds have been on a hot streak lately with four victories, all of which have been against impressive teams such as Towson and Johns Hopkins. Duke and Loyola are hungry for a victory, and committees will likely look at games such as this one when tournament time arrives.