Sticks of the Week: Danes, Bulldogs look to build tournament résumés

Liam Oram

Sports Blogger

@liam_oram

 

 

Albany Great Danes at Yale Bulldogs

noon Sunday, Ivy League Network

VisitPlano/Flickr

The No. 2 Albany Great Danes’ men’s lacrosse team has one of the most prolific offenses in the nation. That still didn’t stop them from their involvement in one of the biggest upsets of the year, as they lost to UMBC. Senior attackman Connor Fields, who has been a vocal leader with 32 assists this season, has led the Great Danes’ (10-1) flashy offense. Fields has received the most help on offense from the best freshman in the nation, Tehoka Nanticoke. Nanticoke leads the Danes in goals with 31 and has looked practically unstoppable against many of the goalkeepers he has faced. The Great Danes have a force to reckon with on the face-off dot with TD Ierlan, who has made sure the Danes hold a massive number of possessions during games. This has helped take much of the defensive pressure off senior JD Colarusso, who has a solid save percentage of 62. There will be massive offensive pressure for the Danes next game, though, as they travel to face the offense-heavy No. 5 Yale team. The Bulldogs (10-2) have already taken the Ivy League regular-season title this year and look to prove they should be a higher seed in this year’s tournament with a victory in this game. Senior attackman Ben Reeves, who has provided a staggering 35 goals on the season, is leading the Yale offense. The Bulldogs have outscored opponents 163-102 this season. Yale has also received big help from their freshman goalie Jack Starr, who has saved 51 percent of the shots that have been turned his way. Junior midfielder Jack Tigh has also been receiving Tewaaraton Award Watch List nods as he has been in top form with five goals in the last three games. In last year’s matchup, the Great Danes scored a last-second goal that propelled them to victory. Expect nothing less exciting this game.

Ohio State Buckeyes at Maryland Terrapins

1 p.m. Sunday, ESPNU

The Ohio State Buckeyes (6-6) are riding high after they grabbed a big victory against rival Michigan. A stellar defensive performance led the Buckeyes, as their sophomore goalie Josh Kirson turned away seven of the 12 shots that were put on net. The Buckeyes have still gotten great production from their sophomore midfielder Tre Leclaire, who has 23 goals on the year and has been the main force of their offense. The Buckeyes have shown flashes of greatness this season but have yet to truly finish games. This game could change that. A victory at this point against the No. 1 team in the nation could spark them to perform well in the Big Ten tournament. The Buckeyes will have to travel to one of the most hostile environments in the Big Ten to face No. 1 Maryland. The Terrapins (10-1) remain unbeaten in Big Ten play. The remaining champ’s offense has looked as good as ever as star senior midfielder Connor Kelly has 32 goals on the season and has been the biggest leader for this offense. The Terps are still the best in the nation like they were last year. Senior goalie Dan Morris has saved 54 percent of the shots that have been turned his way. Jared Bernhardt is the best long stick midfielder on the field this year. He has not only been a remarkable defender but also has put up 29 goals on the year. Bernhardt is a prime example of how the Terps like to play, as they have balance on all sides of the ball. Last year, these two teams met for their final matchup in the national championship in Foxborough, Massachusetts, where Maryland controlled the entire game. Although Ohio State has graduated many of the players that helped it make it to the title game, it hasn’t forgotten the way it lost last year and will look for redemption in this game.

Penn State Nittany Lions at Rutgers Scarlet Knights

6 p.m. Sunday, Big Ten Network

No. 11 Penn State is playing through a good stretch of games. The Nittany Lions have won four of their last five. Their only loss was by a goal to the reigning champ and No. 1 team Maryland. Penn State’s (8-4) offense has been the main factor in many of its key victories this year. The Nittany Lions have received major goal production from Mac O’Leefe and Kevin Hill this season. O’Keefe has 32 goals, and Hill has 23. Their offensive performance was the main reason they toppled a strong Johns Hopkins team in their last game. The Lions have impressed as they have performed well without their star offensive attackman, Grant Ament, who has missed the season with a foot injury. Nick Spillane has taken the position Ament left behind the crease and has been a big creator of opportunities for the offense. Colby Kneese has been a great net minder. He has stopped 56 percent of the shots that have come his way and has helped win big-time Big Ten games. Kneese will have to be ready as he goes up against a strong offense in No. 10 Rutgers. The Scarlet Knights (8-4) have had a major revival season. They look like Rutgers teams of the past. The Knights have received the most goal production from Jules Heningburg with 32. Their main attack line has also gotten big goals from sophomore Kieran Mullins, who has tallied 27. The Knights have received key victories against Syracuse, Michigan and Delaware. They want to carry huge momentum into the Big Ten tournament, as they will need to win their last two games if they want to earn a spot in the NCAA Tournament. Last year, Rutgers ended its season beating the Buckeyes by one goal to end their season. The Scarlet Knights want to make sure they can finally make the tournament this year, they need to do the same again.

ozone@ocolly.com

 

 

 

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